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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30 December, 2016

2016: Historic Year for Climate (?)

Jeffrey Berardelli, the writer below, says he has a degree and career expertise in Atmospheric Sciences.  He heads his post with the graph below, which is correct in saying that CO2 levels have increased greatly in recent years

But that is actually an embarrassment. He knows perfectly well that the effect of that rise is supposed to be a leap in global temperature.  If there is no such accompanying leap, the entire Warming theory is wrong.  But there has been no such leap.  Now that the effect of El Nino has faded, temperatures have dropped back to the plateau that they have been on for the whole of this century.  See my favourite graph below:

He circumvents that awkward truth by saying that the earth probably had its warmest year this year.  It probably did.  But that is an excellent example of lying with statistics:  Using an inappropriate statistic.  As my favourite graph shows, all the high temperatures were in the first half of the year.  So if you average the temperatures of all the the months of the year, you get an elevated average mainly because of those early high temperatures.  But is an average meaningful in those circumstances? Not if it disguises a trend, which it does. An average would be meaningful if there were highs and lows randomly throughout the year -- but that was not the case.  The average does not reflect where the temperature was going and where it ended up.  In failing to acknowledge that, Berardelli is simply being dishonest.

Furthermore Berardelli is imprecise in what he says about CO2 levels.  They did NOT rise during the Warming event.  I monitored the CO2 figures from both Cape Grim and Mauna Loa right from the onset of the warming -- beginning roughly in August 2015.  And I noted that the 400ppm peak had been reached BEFORE that warming event and then plateaued during the warming event.  There was no rise in CO2 levels accompanying the rise in temperature.  So the temperature rise COULD NOT have been caused by a CO2 rise -- because there was no CO2 rise. And it's now  in the journals that CO2 levels plateaued in 2015 and 2016.  So El Nino did not merely contribute "part" of the 2015/2016 warming event, it contributed the WHOLE of it.  So if we remove the influence of El Nino, we can see that there has been NO anthropogenic global warming for the whole of this century.  The present high levels of CO2 have done nothing.  Warmist theory is wrong

Why is Carbon Dioxide such an important part of our climate system? First I should mention that C02 makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere. But as you may have read CO2 is a Greenhouse Gas. That means it is very effective at absorbing energy in the infrared spectrum (ie. heat). Basically the sun heats the Earth. The Earth releases that heat and it is then absorbed by greenhouse gases like C02 and methane. So the more greenhouse gases you have, the more heat that is absorbed. It's really quite simple.

So why are we so alarmed? From ice core data we know that C02 has never been over 300 parts per million in the last 800 thousand years. Before the industrial revolution (in the 1800s) C02 concentration was at 270 parts per million. But in the last 150 years, with the increasing population and increased burning of fossil fuels for energy, that number has leaped to an unprecedented 400 parts per million.

To repeat what was just stated: in 800 thousand years of records we have never had C02 concentrations above 300 ppm, but now we have leaped to 400 ppm. Clearly humans have changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere. We have changed the balance that has existed for 800,000+ years. That's how an exponentially expanding population of tiny people can overwhelm a relatively large Earth.

Regardless of feelings, this jump in greenhouse gases, most notably CO2, is now driving the Earth's temperatures to record levels year after year. Although not completely done yet, 2016 is on pace to be the warmest ever. Part of that is due to El Nino. But it should be noted that El Nino ended in the Spring of 2016 yet record Global heat was observed well through summer. Since 1880, all of the top 15 warmest years globally, except 1998(an El Nino year), have occurred since the year 2000. We could go on and on about the record setting heat.


Regional voodoo

It was reported recently that Canadian scientists have warned their colleagues in the United States with Trump. It seems science is losing support from governments especially U.S. and Canada. And this issue is closely associated with climate change.
According to New York Times, Donald Trump along with his nominated Cabinet members sided with the idea that climate change is not an urgent threat that should be treated and should be financed with great money and effort. One of these Cabinet members is the future secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson just like other Cabinet members expressed that since climate change is not a settled science then it must not be treated alongside with other much serious problems. The dialogue from Donald Trump which scientists have worry a lot is "climate change is a Chinese hoax and very expensive bullshit".

These caused climate scientists to increasingly try to quantify economic and health impacts for specific regions in shorter time frames. They made attempts to provide these more localized, near-term risk assessments to help inform policy-making for everyone from lawmakers and water managers to firefighters and average residents.

While scientists are pursuing to urge from every individual in the world to large industries and world governments to act with urgency for the solution of climate change, more individual today, as the issue has been franked is urging science in return to give proof that climate change is really that important to settle immediately.

Judith Curry, professor in the School of Earth and Athmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology accepts that Earth is warming but isn't sure of the links between human activity and climate change. "It becomes voodoo once you start trying to attribute regional extreme-weather events to climate change, when it gets down to regional extreme events, like droughts in California or hurricane landfalls in Florida or wildfires in Canada, then it becomes compounded by the fact that you need hundreds of years of data to really make sense of the statistics."

This situation puts science in the risk of losing trust. That's why the urgency to give convincing proof that indeed climate change is attributed to human activity should be presented as soon as possible.


Is global warming going to cancel the ski season? Popular resorts are completely shut down after no snow falls

The beginning and end of the ski season has always varied, sometimes by a little and sometimes by a lot. It is absurd to attribute snowfall variations to global warming.  If we are going to draw inferences from regional variations, what are we to make of the recent snow in the Sahara? Does that prove global cooling?  Inferring global processes from a local one is voodoo science

Unusually high temperatures and a lack of slow is threatening the ski season as popular resorts in Europe have completely shut down.

Some resorts in France have not seen so much as a snowflake in almost a month leaving pistes completely bare.

An estimated 45,000 workers have been left temporarily unemployed, lifts remain stationary and nobody is skiing on the slopes in the worst-hit areas in Massif Central, The Vosges and The Jura in France as well as Charmey in Switzerland.

Weather expert Sandra Larue said December 2016 could end up being the calmest on record due to a 'blocking anticyclone', which can lead to long periods of stable weather, according to BFMTV.

Resorts in the south-western Pyrenées have barely seen any snow all season and some haven't had a fresh dump since November, according to The Local.

It means anybody wishing to get on the slopes have been forced to climb above 2,500m where the temperature is cold enough to cling onto the limited downfalls.

Even high up the mountain in resorts such as Haute-Maurienne near the Italian border and Haute-Tarentaise in the heart of the Alps, no snow has fallen since November.

A top ski resort in Switzerland has had to close its slopes because there is no snow at all on the pistes.

No snow has fallen in Charmey since December 19, leaving the mountain completely bereft of skiers with 2016 registering in the top 10 warmest since Swiss records began back in 1864.

With no snow forecast for at least a week, and with the temperature pushing a balmy 10C, it appears the lifts will remain shut well into the New Year.

The temperature trend in Switzerland is in line with the rest of the world, with 2016 set to be the hottest year on record across the world, the World Meteorological Organization said in November.

Described by My Swizterland, Charmey is a 'fairtytale winter landscape', the delights of the resort are meant to include deep, fresh powder and days in the snow.

With only the odd speck of white, the pistes have been turned into an uninviting sea of discoloured grass.

In Switzerland, the whole year has been up to 0.7 degrees warmer than normal, according to MeteoSuisse - the country's equivalent to The Met Office.

But it's the winter temperatures that have been of particular concern.

In the three months of last winter - from December 2015 to February 2016 - the thermometers hit 2.5 degrees higher than normal, according to The Local, and the trend looks set to continue this year.

Spring was wet in Switzerland, but the summer in Geneva saw a record high 33.5 degrees registered and the heat persisted through autumn.

The ski season looked good in November when a sudden drop in temperature brought with it a fresh dump of snow, but an anticyclone in December melted it all away.

Very little snow has fallen since, leaving the slopes bare and the resorts like Charmey empty.

Some 45,000 seasonal staff have been left in limbo by the weather, according to The Local, with their employers having no need to call them in to work.


Federal Permits Will Allow Wind Farms to Kill More Bald Eagles

New 30-year permits that will be issued next month by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) will quadruple the number of bald eagles that wind farms will collectively be allowed to kill per year and avoid prosecution under the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Under the new $36,000 “incidental take permits” - which are to be reviewed every five years by an independent third party – the number of bald eagles that can be killed by permit holders will increase from 1,100 currently allowed under 2009 regulations to 4,200 when the Final Rule goes into effect on Jan. 17, 2017, according to the Associated Press.

 “The Service’s emphasis on eagle incidental take permits for wind facilities reflects [Obama] Administration priorities for expanded wind energy development and a desire to minimize the impacts of that growth on eagles,” FWS noted. “It does not reflect a belief that wind development poses a disproportionate risk compared to other activities that may incidentally take eagles.”

The FWS explained that the new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations are intended to “minimize the impacts” of wind farms on the eagle population. “There is nothing in the revised regulations that will increase take, though we hope more ongoing unpermitted take will be captured under permits in the future,” the agency said.

The new regulations will require long-term permit holders to “search for injured and killed eagles” and then “estimate total take using methods approved by the Service,” according to the Final Rule published in the Federal Register on December 16th. 

Permit holders will “be required to provide compensatory mitigation to offset predicted take over each 5-year period.”

Potential permittees will also have to “implement all practicable best management practices and other measures that are reasonably likely to reduce eagle take” to less than 5 percent of the LAP [local area population] for a project already in operation.  The “practicable” standard is a modification of the current “unavoidable” standard.

Any permitted facility that exceeds its authorized eagle kill limit would not be fined or criminally prosecuted, although it could still be “subject to an enforcement action at any time for unpermitted prior take of eagles,” according to the Final Rule.

“Only applicants who commit to adaptive management measures to ensure the preservation of eagles will be considered for permits with terms longer than five years,” according to FWS.

But Garry George, Audubon California’s director of renewable energy, pointed out that none of the new technologies used by the wind farm industry to lessen bird deaths “has been proven to work.”

The FWS “may be giving the industry certainty in a permit that allows them to kill eagles for 30 years, but they’re not giving us any certainty that it’s not going to send the population into a spiral,” George said.

Michael Hutchins, director of the American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) Bird-Smart Wind Energy Campaign, also noted that the “lack of an opportunity for public input [during the five-year reviews] makes the rule vulnerable to legal challenges” under NEPA.

After being removed from the Endangered Species Act list of threatened species in 2007, the population of bald eagles is now estimated at 143,000 in the lower 48 states and Alaska. FWS estimates that it “will continue to increase until populations reach an equilibrium at about 228,000.”

But FWS believes the current stable population of 41,000 golden eagles “might be declining toward a lower equilibrium size of about 26,000 individuals.” For that reason, the permitted number of golden eagles killed “would still be set at zero, requiring that all authorized take be offset by compensatory mitigation,” according to the new regulations.

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it’s illegal to kill or injure eagles – even unintentionally – without a permit. The penalties can range up to a $500,000 fine and two years in prison.

FWS says that “no progress has been made” in its efforts to create an “accurate estimate of collision probability” for eagles at wind farms because “to date, so few incidental take permits have been issued at wind facilities.”

In response to comments from the public, FWS noted that “in the last 18 months, the Service has resolved five civil enforcement actions concerning unauthorized incidental take of eagles… at 15 different wind- energy facilities,” resulting in $55,000 in civil penalties and another $1.8 million to develop technologies to reduce the number of bird deaths.

In 2013, North Carolina-based Duke Energy Renewables became the first wind power company to be found criminally liable under MBTA for killing 163 protected birds, including 14 golden eagles, at two of its wind farms in Wyoming. The company pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $1 million fine and another $900,000 in restitution and compensatory mitigation.

Last year, Oregon-based PacifiCorp became the second wind energy company to be prosecuted. It was fined $2.5 million for killing 38 golden eagles and hundreds of other protected migratory birds at its wind energy projects in Wyoming.

“No animal says America like the bald eagle, and the Service is using the best available science to make eagle management decisions that promote eagle conservation,” FWS Director Dan Ashe said in a statement.

“Our success in recovering this bird when its populations plummeted in the lower 48 nearly a half-century ago stands as one of our greatest national conservation achievements. The final revised regulations build on this success, taking a comprehensive approach to eagle conservation and demonstrating the Service’s longstanding commitment to bald and golden eagles, responsible industry operations, and the interests of the American people.”


Renewable energy push to hit the Australian Labor Party's  heartland

Labor’s traditional working-class supporters will bear the brunt of spiking electricity prices and power failures in the fallout from the South Australian, Victorian and Queensland governments’ push towards ambitious renewable energy targets.

Energy experts have warned the shutting down of more coal-fired power plants and the rise of renewables risks leading to a future where wealthier households can pay for better reliability of supply while others are left in the dark.

Most of the impact of the ­nation’s rapidly changing electricity market would be on vulnerable consumers who do not have the resources to invest in technologies to reduce their demand on the grid or generate their own electricity.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has warned that a class of consumers could be prevented from adopting new technologies — such as rooftop solar PV or battery storage — by a limited ability to pay large up-front costs or to ­obtain finance.

Dr Finkel, who is conducting a review of the electricity market for the federal government following the statewide blackout in South Australia in September, said people who rented properties or lived in apartments were limited in their ability to install new technologies.

Migrants with limited English, people with poor financial literacy and those struggling to make ends meet were at risk of paying ­increased costs to subsidise households or businesses able to invest in new technologies. Passive or loyal consumers who were not ­engaged in managing their electricity demand and costs were vulnerable too, Dr Finkel added.

The danger was that, as more consumers took greater steps with the aid of technological ­advance­ments to rely less on the grid, the cost of building and maintaining the network would be spread over a smaller number of “vulnerable” users.

The Australian Energy Market Commission has warned that electricity prices are set to surge during the next two years, largely driven by the ­close of coal-fired power stations in South Australia and Victoria and ongoing investment in wind generation.

Australian Stock Exchange data showed yesterday that base future contract prices for March were highest in South Australia, which yesterday had its third major blackout in four months. For companies to buy a megawatt of electricity in March, it would cost South ­Australian buyers almost $152.91, compared with $100 in Queensland, $63.75 in NSW and $54.50 in Victoria.

South Australia, under Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, has a renewable energy generation mix of more than 40 per cent, the highest of any state. The state’s last coal-fired power station closed in May.

Several peak industry groups canvassed by The Australian agreed that, without the correct policy settings in place, there was a danger of large numbers of consumers relying less on the grid.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said renewable energy targets hit low-income households harder, while the wealthy were able to ­access solar and other incentive schemes, the cost of which was then loaded on to other users.

“This is a double whammy for the poor,” Mr Pearson said.

Victoria’s Labor government has set a 40 per cent renewables energy target for 2025 and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has a 50 per cent target by 2030. The federal Labor opposition has a renewables target of at least 50 per cent by 2030 compared with the Coalition’s target of 23.5 per cent by 2020.

Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood said that, while consumers would not realistically be able to pay directly for more ­reliable supply from the grid, those with the means could install some form of back-up behind the meter, most commonly a generator. “Of course, some consumers can pay more to have their own supply via solar PV and batteries or via gas as did the Coopers Brewery that saved them during the (South Australian) blackout,” he said.

“The critical issue is how the grid is priced as consumers change the way they use it. Volume-based charging just isn’t fair and yet moving to demand-based charging is highly controversial.

“The extreme version is that homes and businesses are charged for the grid being there even if they never use it at all. These are questions that governments and regulators are grappling with and the answers are messy.”

Climate Institute head of policy Olivia Kember said there was a real risk of large numbers of households leaving the grid, which likely would be the result of ongoing policy failure by federal and state governments. “It’s not just a problem for lower-income households, but also apartment dwellers and large industry that needs grid-based power,” she said. “Currently we are seeing coal stations close with only six months’ notice, and no signals to tell the market what is needed to replace them.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said all consumers ultimately would want to be connected to the grid, even as a form of back-up, ­although there was a risk more would be less reliant on it. “The ­reality is if we are going to have a decarbonised system that is going to be reliable, it will cost more and we’ve seen that in South Australia — it is living proof,” he said. “There are a lot of inequities in the system and they are difficult to answer. The inequities can get worse.”

Mr Warren agreed there was a risk that those with the means to invest in new technologies would become less reliant on the grid and leave behind other more vulnerable groups.

“There is evidence that the largest household energy consumers are by far the poorest,” he said.

Warnings by Dr Finkel and the Australian Energy Market Commission that power prices are ­expected to begin rising is being blamed for generator closures, gas supply constraints and international parity gas prices.

The AEMC warned that, by 2018, the national electricity market would be divided into two price regions: cheaper in the north, Queensland and NSW; more ­expensive in the south, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said energy security remained “our number one” ­energy policy priority. “Australians expect access to reliable and affordable electricity and that is what the federal government is determined to provide through the COAG Energy Council,” he said.

“Yes, we have to meet our emissions reduction targets, but it can’t be at the expense of the lights going out or Australians not being able to afford their power bill.”

South Australian opposition cost of living spokesman Corey Wingard said: “The surging price of electricity in South Australia is creating two classes of consumers for this essential service: the haves and have-nots. Sadly many will struggle to keep their airconditioners on this summer … The more consumers that withdraw from the grid the greater the cost that will be borne by those still ­reliant upon it and the greater number of households will be cut off.”

Australian Power Project chief executive Nathan Vass, said ­national energy policy must focus on a low-emissions future that ­included clean coal technologies as well as renewable generation to keep energy prices in check and supply stable. “The closure of the Northern Power Station in SA and Hazelwood in Victoria are driving up power prices and destroying regional economies,” Mr Vass said.



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29 December, 2016

Arctic heatwave could break records

Warmists love the Arctic because it is the only place where florid heating episodes sometimes occur (mainly due to subsurface vulcanism).  But that is in fact a problem.  What are we to make of a warming Arctic when the overall global temperature has been falling -- as it has for all of this year? 

Which tells us of global temperature trends?  The Arctic or the rest of the world?  Can a warming Arctic be a function of global warming when the globe is not warming? 

Warmists are incapable of elementary logic.  When I write about Warmist claims I often feel that I am talking to a four-year-old

Temperatures at the North Pole could be up to 20 degrees higher than average this Christmas Eve, in what scientists say is a record-breaking heatwave.

Climate scientists say these unseasonably warm weather patterns in the Arctic region are directly linked to man-made climate change.

Temperatures throughout November and December were 5C higher than average.

It follows a summer during which Arctic sea ice reached the second-lowest extent ever recorded by satellites.

Dr Friederike Otto, a senior researcher at Oxford's Environmental Change Institute told BBC News that in pre-industrial times "a heatwave like this would have been extremely rare - we would expect it to occur about every 1,000 years".

Dr Otto added that scientists are "very confident" that the weather patterns were linked to anthropogenic climate change.

"We have used several different climate modelling approaches and observations," she told BBC News.

"And in all our methods, we find the same thing; we cannot model a heatwave like this without the anthropogenic signal."

Temperatures are forecast to peak on Christmas Eve around the North Pole - at near-freezing.

The warm air from the North Atlantic is forecast to flow all the way to the North Pole via Spitsbergen, giving rise to clouds that prevent heat from escaping.

And, as Dr Otto explained to BBC News, the reduction in sea ice is contributing to this "feedback loop".

"If the globe is warming, then the sea ice and ice on land [shrinks] then the darker water and land is exposed," she said.

"Then the sunlight is absorbed rather than reflected as it would be by the ice."

Forecasting models show that there is about a 2% chance of a heatwave event occurring every year.

"But if temperatures continue to increase further as they are now," said Dr Otto, "we would expect a heatwave like this to occur every other year and that will be a huge stress on the ecosystem."

Dr Thorsten Markus, chief of NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, said the heatwave was "very, very unusual".

"The eerie thing is that we saw something quite similar (temperatures at the North Pole of about 0C in December) almost exactly a year ago," he told BBC News.

The freeze and thaw conditions are already making it difficult for reindeer to find food - as the moss they feed on is covered by hard ice, rather than soft, penetrable snow. 


EPA Makes an About-Face on Fracking Report: Science or Politics?

Gordon Tomb pays about $40 per month to heat his home in central Pennsylvania. And he wants to keep it that way.

“I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for more than 60 years and have never paid so little for my home heating,” Tomb, a senior fellow with the free market Commonwealth Foundation, said in an interview.

He credits his low heating bills to the boom in natural gas production brought on by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), which enables energy companies to tap into the state’s gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.

“The natural gas industry has been the brightest spot in the Pennsylvania economy for the past decade and it’s likely to be for a long time,” Tomb said “It’s contributed billions to property owners in royalties and leases alone. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues and in wages by the economic activity of hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

In 2009, a handful of Dimock, Pennsylvania, homeowners sued a Houston-based company, alleging their drinking water was tainted by fracking.

The Pennsylvania complaint and others like it from across the country prompted a five-year, $29 million Environmental Protection Agency study, which, according to a draft report released in June 2015, “did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

This was a relief to the oil and gas industry, given that fracking currently accounts for half of the nation’s crude oil production and two-thirds of the natural gas production, yet has also been controversial.

But something happened between last year and last week to make the EPA change its tune.

In its final report released last week, “Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources in the United States,” the EPA said fracking can affect drinking water resources “under some circumstances.”

But it cited no cases in which such contamination was confirmed. Instead, the EPA concluded that there is a paucity of data on which to base a conclusion, and in the instances where data is available, there are too many uncertainties to conclude anything with confidence.

“Because of the significant data gaps and uncertainties in the available data, it was not possible to fully characterize the severity of impacts, nor was it possible to calculate or estimate the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources from activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle,” the study says. “We were, however, able to estimate impact frequencies in some, limited cases (i.e., spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids or produced water and mechanical integrity failures).”

On that thin reed, environmentalists are taking a victory lap. But what changed?

It wasn’t the science, according to Jeff Stier, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, but politics.

“The EPA already said in its draft report that there was no systemic effect on the water supplies from fracking. Nothing in the underlying science of the report was changed, it’s simply a change in their framing of it,” Stier said. “There’s been a concerted political campaign to apply pressure to the EPA. Certainly the report as it was written in draft form would have taken away any leg that activists had to stand on.”

Specifically, Stier says, certain members of Congress, environmental activists, and the EPA’s independent researchers pushed for the scholarly flip-flop.

The draft report, and its fracking-favorable findings, remained status quo for more than a year.

Then in August of this year, the agency’s Science Advisory Board sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The board complained in the 180-page letter that the statement about “widespread, systemic impacts” was not supported and needed revision. The board also advised the EPA add specific research on places with a track record of reported problems—including Dimock, Pennsylvania.

On Oct. 20, McCarthy got a scathing follow-up letter signed by 51 members of Congress. The note blasted not only the 2015 draft report, but the EPA’s public handling of the report, and urged the EPA to either revise the “widespread, systemic impacts” statement, or delete it.

The EPA opted for the delete button, offering this explanation on its website:

After receiving comments from the [Science Advisory Board], EPA scientists concluded that the sentence could not be quantitatively supported. Contrary to what the sentence implied, uncertainties prevent EPA from estimating the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources from activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. Additionally, EPA scientists and the [Science Advisory Board], came to the conclusions that the sentence did not clearly communicate the findings of the report.

‘Hanging on by a thread’

U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, D-Pa., was among those who pressed the EPA to change its conclusion. He said that he has been at the forefront of federal efforts to crack down on fracking to protect communities and environment in which fracking occurs, including his home state.

“I am pleased that the EPA took seriously the issues raised by the Scientific Advisory Board, and revised its report accordingly,” he said. “My priority has always been to see that the fracking industry operates safely and responsibly, and I have repeatedly introduced legislation aimed at encouraging that.”

Tomb, however, is wary of any regulations coming from Washington to a state that’s well-schooled in natural resources and well-equipped with fracking regulations.

“I see nothing good about additional federal regulations in this area,” he said. “The first oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania in the mid-1800s. So this state has been dealing with this industry going on 200 years. And in my lifetime, it’s done very well.”

Stier says the push by the congressmen and the review board is part of a much broader “keep it in the ground” movement.

“The big picture opposition to fracking has nothing to do with drinking water. It’s opposition to humans taking energy out of the earth,” Stier explained. “These opponents realize they would not be able to win a political argument in the court of public opinion considering they don’t want us taking energy out of the ground. So they had to argue that this threatened our drinking water because that’s a way to get everyone to agree because we all want clean drinking water.”

Swapping out the previous conclusion is, according to Stier, a last leg for the anti-frackers on the eve of the Trump administration. “They’re hanging on by a thread to sow doubt about the safety of fracking. But I don’t think it’s a very strong leg to stand on because it’s simply a political document now.”

Indeed, a hostile letter-writing campaign will likely not have the same effect on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt—President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to replace McCarthy at the EPA. Pruitt has been a frequent and effective critic of EPA overreach, and took a leading role in efforts to put the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan on hold.

“From what I’ve seen so far from the Trump administration, they don’t care about idiotic claims by people looking to advance their own skewed view of how the world should be, who want to meddle in everybody’s lives and everybody’s business,” Tomb added. “Most people want to live their lives, raise their families—all that can be done and has been done, while protecting the environment.”


Rick Perry will give back energy to the American people

During the second presidential debate, now President-elect Donald Trump discussed making the nation’s energy sector a priority. Trump laid out a plan to empower energy companies, return energy workers to their job, and explore new, efficient energy sources.

With his latest decision to select former Texas Governor Rick Perry as head of the Department of Energy Trump has taken the crucial step toward increasing production in the American energy sector he has promised the country. Perry will give back energy to the American people.

Trump represents a shift away from the exotic, green energy programs implemented under the Obama administration which prioritize clean energy over efficient and job creating energy options in the petroleum, coal and nuclear industries.

As Jack Gerard, president of the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute representing oil and natural gas companies, explained to Reuters on Dec. 15, “As the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry knows the important impact that energy production has on our nation’s economy. In his new role at the Energy Department, he has the opportunity to encourage increased exports of domestically produced natural gas.”

Rather than seeing the Department of Energy as a tool for regulating energy production, Perry will use the department to fuel energy production in the private sector.

Using his experience and close ties with the Texas oil industry, Perry hopes to recreate the job boom he helped foster through empowering Texas’s oil and gas industries from 2000 to 2015. As energy transition spokesman Sean Spicer reminds us, this is ultimately Trump’s plan, and Perry will be integral in implementing the Trump agenda above all else.

This Trump agenda spans far past oil and gas. The Department of Energy also shares powers including implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the maintenance and production of the American nuclear supply.

This is critical, because Perry will finally be able to carry out his goal of the completion and utilization of Yucca mountain which President Barack Obama defunded in 2011.

Since 2014, Perry has been fighting to re-establish Yucca mountain and thus, re-establish a nuclear energy option in the United States. Despite a congressional act entitled the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 directly outlining that the federal government would take possession and provide a disposable solution for all nuclear waste, in 2009 President Obama abandoned the project at Yucca mountain which would act as an ultimate waste zone. After more than $15 billion was spent developing the site, President Obama had the entire project defunded.

Now, American nuclear energy production is at a standstill. In 2014, Perry supported a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality report on nuclear waste disposal. The report outlined options including reopening Yucca Mountain, building a long-term, commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing capability and having multiple disposal options, so that the nation’s nuclear industry is not dependent upon the politics of Nevada.

The report warned, “Early in 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it was developing a new plan to replace Yucca Mountain — estimating that an HLW disposal solution would not be available until 2048. However, in November 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined that the federal government has ‘no credible plan’ to dispose of HLW. 2048, or whatever year Washington forecasts that a solution will be provided, is too long to wait.”

In Texas alone, the delay of opening Yucca Mountain had cost taxpayers more than $700 million.

Perry has also made gas and oil production economically efficient in his home state, and has been eager to pursue new frontiers for energy development. The Obama administration prevented state governors like Perry from bringing national solutions to American energy and job growth to the table, but now all that is changing.

As James Taylor, President of the Spark of Freedom Foundation a leader in affordable energy production research, told Forbes on Dec. 14, “Affordable energy is a powerful economic stimulant. Energy costs are a factor in virtually all goods and services bought and sold in our economy. When energy prices are lower, the costs of producing goods and services are lower, which operates like a tax cut…  Benefiting from these pro-energy, pro-growth policies, Texas electricity prices have declined nearly 25 percent since 2008. National electricity prices, by contrast, are higher now than in 2008.”

Trump has made it clear since the beginning that he wanted to revitalize our job market and make America efficient again. And Texas led the nation on energy under Perry’s guidance and saw the economic prosperity it generated, now it is Perry’s turn to show the rest of the country he can do it again.



Excerpts from the opening of a June paper by  PATRICK MOORE (Formerly of Greenpeace) below:


This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy.

All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth. This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation.

It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments.

The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.

This extremely positive aspect of human CO2 emissions must be weighed against the unproven hypothesis that human CO2 emissions will cause a catastrophic warming of the climate in coming years.

The one-sided political treatment of CO2 as a pollutant that should be radically reduced must be corrected in light of the indisputable scientific evidence that it is essential to life on Earth.


There is a widespread belief that CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for energy are a threat to the Earth’s climate and that the majority of species, including the human species, will suffer greatly unless these emissions are drastically curtailed or even eliminated. This paper offers a radically different perspective based on the geological history of CO2.

CO2 is one of the most essential nutrients for life on Earth. It has been approaching dangerously low levels during recent periods of major glaciation in the Pleistocene Ice Age, and human emissions of CO2 may stave off the eventual starvation and death of most life on the planet due to a lack of CO2. 

This is not primarily a discussion of the possible connection between CO2 and global warming or climate change, although some mention must be made of it. There has been a great deal of discussion on the subject, and it is hotly contested in both scientific and political spheres.

There is no question that the climate has warmed during the past 300 years since the peak of the Little Ice Age. There is also no question that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and all else being equal, the emissions would result in some warming if CO2 rose to higher levels in the atmosphere.

Yet, there is no definitive scientific proof that CO2 is a major factor in influencing climate in the real world. The Earth’s climate is a chaotic, non-linear, multivariant system with many unpredictable feedbacks, both positive and negative.

Primarily, this is a discussion about the role of atmospheric CO2 in the maintenance of life on Earth and the positive role of human civilization in preventing CO2 from trending downward to levels that threaten the very existence of life.

It is an undisputed fact that all life on Earth is carbon based and that the source of this carbon is CO2, which cycles through the global atmosphere. The original source of CO2 in the atmosphere is thought to be massive volcanic eruptions during the Earth’s early history, the extreme heat of which caused the oxidation of carbon in the Earth’s interior to form CO2.

Today, as a minor gas at 0.04 per cent, CO2 permeates the entire atmosphere and has been absorbed by the oceans and other water bodies (the hydrosphere), where it provides the food for photosynthetic species such a phytoplankton and kelp. If there were no CO2 or an insufficient level of CO2 in the atmosphere and hydrosphere, there would be no life as we know it on our planet.

On a relatively short-term basis (years to hundreds of years), the carbon cycle is a complex series of exchanges among the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, living species and decomposing organic matter in soils and sediments. Over the long term (millions to billions of years), the majority of the carbon that has been absorbed from the atmosphere by plants has been lost to the cycle into deep deposits of fossil fuels and carbonaceous rock (minerals) such as chalk, limestone, marble and dolomite.

By far the majority of the carbon sequestered over the long term is in the form of carbonaceous rock. We do not have a good estimate of the total amount of CO2 that has been emitted from volcanic activity into the global atmosphere. We do not know the total amount of carbon that has been lost to long-term sequestration in fossil fuels and carbonaceous rock, but we do have order-of-magnitude estimates.

We do have quantitative estimates of the level of CO2 in the atmosphere going back more than 600 million years, i.e., the net result of additions from volcanic events, losses to deep deposition in carbonaceous rocks and fossil fuels, the biomass of living species and decomposing organic matter. These estimates become more accurate the closer they are to the present. This paper will focus on the past 540 million years and in particular the past 140 million years.

The best estimate of CO2 concentration in the global atmosphere 540 million years ago is 7,000 ppm, with a wide margin of error.  For the sake of discussion, we will accept that number, which indicates a mass of more than 13,000 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon in the atmosphere, 17 times the present level, during the Cambrian Explosion, when multicellular life evolved. This is considered the advent of modern life, when both plant and animal species diversified rapidly in warm seas and later colonized the land during a warm terrestrial climate.

Prior to this, for more than three billion years, life was largely unicellular, microscopic and confined to the sea.

Note both temperature and CO2 are lower today than they have been during most of the era of modern life on Earth since the Cambrian Period. Also, note that this does not indicate a lock-step cause-effect relationship between the two parameters.


Unsustainable solar scheme being wound down in NSW, Australia

Less than a week before the lucrative NSW solar bonus scheme ends, there is still "mass confusion" among the 146,000 affected households, industry figures say.

The scheme, which was launched in 2011 to encourage the uptake of renewable energy, handed homeowners 60¢ or 20¢ "feed-in" tariffs per kilowatt hour, for the solar energy they put back into the grid.

But from December 31 those homeowners are set to face "bill shock", when their tariff rates drop to around 6¢, which is less than the amount they will be charged for accessing electricity from the grid.

The biggest change for all affected consumers has been the need to switch from a gross meter to a net meter, a process that has been beset by lengthy delays.

Michael Furey, the NSW chairman of the non-profit Australian Solar Council, said: "From the customer side there is mass confusion, and also a huge amount of frustration, because customers have been told to get information from their energy retailers and that has been either difficult to access or confusing."

From January 1, households that already have a net meter can use the electricity they generate to power appliances in the home at the time, while any excess energy is exported to the grid, earning the homeowner an unsubsidised feed-in tariff of around 6¢.

According to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, changing from a gross to a net meter could leave NSW customers between $234 and $461 better off each year.

Mr Furey estimates that an average-sized two-kilowatt system that has not been switched to net metering will cost a homeowner around $1.20 a day, from January 1.

An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said that it understood customers were confused about delays, but it expected to have all net meters installed by the middle of 2017.

"We do not think our performance to date has been good enough ... To make sure not a single EnergyAustralia customer is disadvantaged, we're crediting $40 each month to our NSW solar customers who ... haven't yet had their meter installed."

The feed-in tariffs offered by the major providers from January 1 are 10¢ from Origin, 6.1¢ from AGL and EnergyAustralia and up to 12¢ from smaller market players such as Enova Energy.



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

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


28 December, 2016

The Macassar tyranny

Macassar is a small seaport in Indonesia.  So what has that got to do with Warmism?  Nothing at all.  But its namesake does. 

I refer to Rowland's Macassar Oil, a product first marketed by a London barber in 1783.  It was marketed as a way for men to keep their hair in order and in good health.  It soon had imitators and it became a fashion for men to put oil or grease in their hair.  And that fashion lasted into recent times.  I remember going into Woolworths in the 1950s and buying "Californian Poppy" grease for my hair.

Greasing your hair had become virtually universal.  A man who did not grease his hair was regarded as untidy.

The fashion died fairly decisively in Australia in 1972, when a new Leftist Prime Minister gained power -- the haughty Gough Whitlam.  Shortly after his accession, he went on TV to announce that he was abandoning hair grease. Up until that time, he had always greased his hair -- like most of his unionist supporters. The internet has a short memory so does not record the occasion but what Whitlam said ran roughly as follows: 

"I have always used a pomade to dress my hair.  But fashionable people tell me I am behind the times in doing so.  A modern man does not put anything in his hair. I have therefore ceased being a gluggy and have become a fluffy".

There was at the time some debate over whether rice should be served gluggy or fluffy.

Even unionists ceased greasing their hair after that.  If they were lucky, their wives now blow-dried their hair -- perhaps with a little help from the lady's hair spray.

So what is the lesson from all that?  It shows that a totally useless belief and custom persisted among us for nearly 200 years until it was laughed to death.  Will the equally foolish doctrine of Warmism stay among us for 200 years?  It could.

Ya gotta laugh:  Antarctica very sensitive to global warming

So what does it tell you when Antarctica is not only not melting but even gaining ice? We also read:  "Antarctica was also more sensitive to global carbon dioxide levels".  So again, what does its present state tell us?  It tells us that warming is not happening and that present CO2 levels are not dangerous

Antarctica found amplifying effects of climate change during last global warming

A a new study indicates that the Antarctic warmed about 11 degrees Celsius between about 20,000 and 10,000 years ago while the average temperature worldwide rose about 4 degrees Celsius following Earth's last ice age.

The disparity, that the Antarctic warmed nearly three times the average temperature increase worldwide after the peak of last ice age 20,000 years ago, highlights the fact that the poles, both the Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south, amplify the effects of a changing climate, whether it gets warmer or cooler.

During the last period of global warming, the ice deep inside the Antarctic glaciers warmed more slowly than Earth's surface. By measuring the remaining difference, that the 20,000-year old ice deep in the West Antarctic ice sheet is about 1 degree Celsius cooler than the surface, the researchers were able to estimate the original temperature based on how fast pure ice warms up.

Gary Clow of the U.S. Geological Survey in Lakewood, Colorado, measured in 2011 and again in 2014 the temperature in a 3.4-kilometer-deep borehole from which the West Antarctic Sheet Divide ice core had been drilled during an eight-year project that ended in 2011. Ice at the bottom of the borehole was deposited about 70,000 years ago; ice about one-sixth of the way up about 50,000 years ago; and ice about one-third of the way to the surface 20,000 years ago.

Cuffey, first author of the study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, developed a technique to combine these temperature measurements with isotopic measurements of old ice to come up with an estimated temperature of 11.3 degrees, plus or minus 1.8 degrees Celsius, warming since the depths of the ice age.

Antarctica was also more sensitive to global carbon dioxide levels, Cuffey was quoted as saying in a news release from UC Berkeley, adding that the situation today, with global warming driven primarily by human emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, is different from natural cycles. The ability of the oceans to take up carbon dioxide cannot keep up with the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, meaning carbon dioxide and global temperatures will continue to increase unless humans cut their emissions


Portuguese Greenies are unrealistic too

They think it proves something that they were able to power their electicity grid with renewables for a total of 4 and a half days.  Pity about the other 360 days of the year!

Renewables kept the lights on in Lisbon for four and a half days in May. If you can keep your gaze off the hilltops, imagine away the pylons and forget the occasional tractor of an uncertain vintage coughing along the narrow roads, little appears to have changed in the valleys of north-eastern Portugal for decades, perhaps even centuries.

The gnarled alvarinho vines have been relieved of their fruit to make vinho verde, an old woman in black herds her sheep through a hamlet and hungry eagles hover over the fields, scanning the land for lunch.

But look up, past the villages, the clumps of stout ponies and the wolf-haunted forests of pine, oak and eucalyptus, and the harbingers of an environmental revolution are silhouetted against the December sky.

The 130 giant wind turbines that sprout from the peaks, slicing the air with a rhythmic sigh, have helped Portugal to a remarkable achievement. For four and a half days in May the country ran entirely on electricity from renewable sources: wind, hydro and solar power.

Despite fears of a blackout, the lights stayed on for a record 107 hours between 6.45am on Saturday 7 May and 5.45pm the following Wednesday.

Francisco Ferreira, president of the Portuguese environmental NGO Zero, got wind of what was going on when a friend called that weekend. “He said: ‘I’ve been looking at the graphs and for the past two days we’ve been 100% renewable on electricity production.’ After that, we looked at the data and arrived at 107 hours. We confirmed it with the national energy network, who said we’d had 4.5 days.

“It was great to see that the system was working; to see that we could manage all these renewables even though the circumstances were quite challenging.”

Ferreira and his fellow clean energy advocates hold up those few days as further proof that renewables can reliably replace fossil fuels.

Things may have been helped along by the fact that a good chunk of the 107 hours fell over the weekend – when demand is lower – and by an unusually co-operative Mother Nature, who saw to it that the sun shone and the wind blew favourably.

But supporters of renewable power insist it was down to much more than luck. António Sá da Costa, managing director of the Portuguese renewable energy association Apren, argues it was the result of years of investment and cooperation.

“It was the coming together of three factors, without which none if it would have been possible,” he says. “The first was that we had the power plants in place to take advantage of the natural conditions during that period; second, it was only possible because of the wind, water and sun. The third was that we had the operational grid capability – in terms of both distribution and transportation – to manage this type of situation.”

Yes, the timing was lucky, he adds. But that does not lessen the achievement of linking up hundreds of dispersed renewable power plants instead of taking the easier option of relying on production from one large thermal one.


This is the beachfront home of scaremonger Leonardo DiCaprio

Not much worry about rising sea levels there!

On energy policy, politicians are leading Britain into darkness

As the costliest project any British government has ever proposed, the HS2 rail scheme has rightly drawn heavy criticism from those asking why we are to spend £56 billion on a venture which promises such puny benefits. But most people remain strangely oblivious to a far greater cost to which the Government has committed us, for a purpose even more demonstrably futile.

What should be making front page news is the story revealed by the latest figures from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR), predicting the soaring cost over the next six years of all the “environmental levies” imposed on us under the Climate Change Act. Between now and 2022, according to the OBR, these will amount to £65 billion, of which £36 billion will be subsidies we shall all be paying through the “renewables obligation”, mainly to the owners of our ever-growing number of windfarms.

These subsidies alone will represent a near-trebling of what we are already paying through our electricity bills, which by 2022 the OBR predicts will have risen to nearly £7 billion a year.

But on top of this, under yet another “green levy”, many of us will also be contributing over the same period a further £21 billion in Air Passenger Duty, which already adds up to £150 to the cost of any airline ticket bought in the UK.  Still further, we are all to be made, at an estimated cost of £15 billion, to install “smart meters”, which experts claim are so badly designed that they will give us no benefit whatever.

So all this will fleece us of around £100 billion, nearly twice the cost of HS2. But the other, even more terrifying part of the story is what we are to get for all this mind-boggling expenditure, as the only country in the world committed by law to cut 80 percent of our CO2 emissions by 2050.

Even today, few have yet grasped the Government’s intention that, within 12 years, we shall be taking a further giant step towards eliminating much of our use of fossil fuels. We shall be forced to replace almost all our use of gas for cooking and heating with electricity, and most of our cars and other transport will also have to be powered by electricity too.

So where is all this power to come from, if not from the fossil fuels, coal, gas and oil, which still currently supply more than half our electricity and more than 80 percent of all our energy?  The Government’s answer is that most of it will be provided either by “renewables”, such as the wind and the sun, so intermittent that they can on occasion supply barely one percent of the electricity we need, or by new nuclear power stations, such as that proposed at Hinkley Point, which on current showing may never even be built.

Even during our recent freeze, with electricity demand rising to peak levels and half the power we can import from France disabled by storm damage, we were only keeping our lights on and our computer-dependent economy running with the aid of the few coal-fired power stations we still have left. We were told we were already in the “danger zone” of running out of power.  How timely that I was last week sent a leaflet from my own power distribution company asking: “Are you prepared for power cuts?”

We are sleep-walking towards what threatens to be the greatest self-inflicted disaster this country has ever faced. And the astonishing thing is that the last people to be aware of what is going on are those politicians who have brought this about. Their brains are so addled by groupthink about climate change that, even when the lights do go out, they will still have no idea that it was entirely their own blind stupidity, which made such a catastrophe inevitable.



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, 2016

Warmists have a lot to answer for: It's not just a harmless cult

Baby survives parents' global warming suicide pact.  This does sound like fake news but it comes from a reputable conservative newspaper

A seven-month-old girl survived for three days alone with a bullet in her chest after being shot by her parents as part of a suicide pact over their fears about global warming.
Francisco Lotero, 56, and Miriam Coletti, 23, shot their daughter and her toddler brother before killing themselves.
Their son Francisco, two, died instantly after being hit in the back.

However, their unnamed daughter cheated death after the bullet from her father's handgun missed her vital organs.

Police were alerted by worried neighbours who discovered the massacre three days after the shooting and the girl was taken to hospital.

The youngster is recovering in hospital in the town of Goya in the northern Argentine province of Corrientes, where doctors say she is out of danger.

Her parents said they feared the effects of global warming in a suicide note discovered by police.


Trump Versus The Green Blob: The Biggest Science Scam In History

by James Delingpole

“I’ve waited 40 years for this moment.”

In a congressional meeting room, somewhere on Capitol Hill, one of the world’s leading sceptical climate scientists, Dr. Tim Ball, is toasting the advent of the Trump administration.

“I don’t want to use the phrase tipping point because that’s a phrase that has been abused in the scientific area. But I think we’re on the verge of a dramatic shift,” Ball tells the small invited audience of journalists, scientists, think-tankers, lawyers and DC politicos. He’s talking about the war on the Green Blob.

Most of them are scarred veterans of the decades-long battle to expose the man-made global warming scare as what another speaker, Tony Heller, describes as “the biggest scientific deception in history.” Many have suffered personally and professionally for speaking out against the so-called “consensus.” Ball, for example, a distinguished Canadian professor of climatology, has exhausted all his retirement money defending a legal action brought against him by the notorious climate alarmist Michael Mann, creator of the discredited “Hockey Stick”. (You can hear more about Ball’s struggle for truth on my latest Delingpole podcast—he’s a fascinating, articulate man and he has an inspiring story to tell).

But with Trump’s inauguration it will be the beginning of the end for the Green Blob—that sinister cabal of corrupt politicians, UN- and EU-technocrats, bent scientists, shrill activists, rent-seeking corporatists, blood-sucking lawyers and gullible journalists which has held the world to ransom these last four decades by promoting the man-made climate change scare story and other, related environmental scams.

The protests will be fierce: the global decarbonisation industry alone is worth at least $1.5 trillion a year. So many snouts in such a vast trough—they’re not going to give up easily.

One man present, a member of one of Trump’s transition teams, describes it as the climate realists’ “Anzio Moment.” That is, the teams fighting the Green Blob now have their beach head with the arrival of Donald Trump. The only question now is not “if” they’re going to be able to break out; only “when”—and also “how long.”

If you’re a regular Breitbart reader, you’ll probably be under no illusion about just how loathsome the people in the Green Blob are. But just in case you’re not, in case you’re wondering: “Well, hang on. What if the ‘consensus’ scientists are right? What if man-made global warming is a serious problem? What if Donald Trump is about to ruin everything with his sinister right-wing anti-science agenda?” let me tell you just one story which shows why the forthcoming cleaning of the Augean stables (at institutions like NASA, NOAA and most especially the Environmental Protection Agency) is so very, very right and necessary.

The story begins in 2012 in sunny La Jolla, California. A group of key figures from the Green Blob—academics, professional activists, lawyers, scientists, PR agency heads—have gathered to discuss the heist of the century. Their plan is to terrorise big business with a form of environmentalist blackmail, which they will use, in the manner of a Mafia-style protection racket to bully their target companies (with the help of tame lawyers and complicitous government officials) into handing over millions, if not billions, of dollars. This Danegeld will end up being paid to environmental campaign groups of the kind they work for themselves, thus funding yet more vexatious, money-grubbing actions against still more blameless companies.

And the cleverest thing of all is, this heist isn’t even illegal. Environmentalists have been getting away with this sort of thing for years.

You actually know what happens next because you’ll have read it, splashed all over the mainstream media in what became a campaign called “Exxon Knew.” Hillary Clinton (who was then Secretary of State) demanded an investigation into it; a group of alarmist scientists wrote to President Obama demanding he launch a RICO prosecution of Exxon; two supposedly major journalistic exposes were published at Inside Climate News and the LA Times, then eagerly endorsed in such publications as Scientific American and the Guardian.

Sundry environmentalist politicians and activists weighed in with further demands for action, as I reported here.

    These activists include Sharon Eubanks, a former US Department of Justice attorney who once helped bring a similar case against Big Tobacco; House Democrats Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier; Canadian eco-loon Bill McKibben (who talks, with characteristic wry understatement, of Exxon’s “sheer, profound, and – I think – unparalleled evil”); and, of course, Rhode Island senator Sheldon Whitehouse, another attorney determined to use lawfare to shut down the debate on climate change once and for all.

But what had Exxon had actually done to attract all this opprobrium? Short answer: nothing. But that was never the point. The entire scam—essentially blaming Exxon for knowing something about “global warming” it couldn’t possibly have known because, hey, nobody did at the time; they don’t even know now—was purely designed as a shakedown.

Next stage of the plan was for the politicized U.S. legal system to get involved. This it did earlier this year when the grimly inevitable Al Gore turned up in New York to grandstand at a meeting with a bunch of tame Attorneys General from Democrat states to discuss ‘the potential of commencing new investigations or joining ongoing investigations,’ on climate change.

    New York AG Eric Schneiderman will appear with Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and United States Virgin Island Attorney General Claude Walker at 11:30 a.m. at his Manhattan office, 120 Broadway, 25th Floor.

Again this was all just for show. The main purpose, as one well familiar with the case explained to me in DC, was merely to put the frighteners on the chosen target of this campaign, ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil had been carefully selected as the Green Blob’s shakedown victim because it seemed to fulfil all the necessary criteria. It was a huge oil company with masses of money to squander (its annual revenue is around $270 billion) on environmental pay outs; and, under its CEO Rex Tillerson, it had a track record of corporate cowardice (withdrawing funding from right-wing think tanks; failing to speak up for fossil fuels; kow-towing to greens) which meant that it was considered highly likely not to contest any court action but instead to settle.

The legal case against ExxonMobil would be based on the one used so successfully against Big Tobacco. (One of the key figures in the campaign against Big Tobacco, Stanton Glantz, was present to advise at the La Jolla meeting). Never mind that there were actually no serious similarities: the Big Tobacco companies clearly knew that cigarettes caused cancer; there was no similar knowledge that ExxonMobil possessed about “global warming” that it culpably withheld from its customers. The case, had it gone to court, would have been a nonsense. But that wasn’t the point. The point was, it was never meant to go to court, because ExxonMobil—it had been predicted by the Green Blob—would settle.

Once ExxonMobil had settled, the Green Blob schemed, all the other companies would settle too.

Except it didn’t turn out that way. ExxonMobil—quite remarkably, given Tillerson’s pusillanimity and cautiousness—refused to settle.

The La Jolla plan—which might still yet have stood a chance had Hillary been elected—is now certainly doomed to failure in the Trump era.

But by describing it I hope what I’ve succeeded in doing is giving you an indication of the extraordinary tentacular reach of the Green Blob. For years, the US – and the rest of the Western world—has afforded a climate in which Attorneys General and Senators and Secretaries of State and even Presidents can conspire with university professors and heads of government science institutions and environmental PR companies and green NGOs can exploit green issues in which to wage continual war on both the economy and the consumer, often enriching themselves in the process while the rest of us get poorer and more constrained by needless taxes and regulations.

“Oh come on!” these people have always said when you try to call them on it. “What kind of deranged conspiracy theorist would you have to be to suggest that all these different groups with different interests would be working together to lie about global warming?”

You really don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to believe this stuff, though. All you need is to be cognisant of the facts. These people are crooks. A lot of them should be in prison. In fact, funnily enough, that was the joke that got Tim Ball in trouble with Michael Mann. “He shouldn’t be in Penn State. He should be in the state pen,” Ball quipped.

Not just Michael Mann. They all should.

This scam is a disgrace and has gone on far too long. Trump’s destruction of the Green Blob will come not a moment too soon.


Time to Rename the EPA the Conservation Agency

Roger L. Simon

From the ever-valuable WattsUpWithThat:

"If you think it is colder than you remember last year, you're right. Winter hasn’t officially started yet, it begins on Wednesday, December 21st. But the numbers tell a cold hard fact: as of 7 a.m. EST this morning, Sunday, Dec. 18, the average temperature across the Lower 48 states of the U.S. is colder than any time all last winter.

As this plot of hourly temperatures shows, the average temperature is 16 degrees. F, which is 4 degrees colder than any time last winter. What’s worse, the coldest part of winter is still six weeks away."

Not to worry. As we all know -- or so the "warmists" tell us -- climate is not weather. (What is it, exactly, other than weather over time?  Oh well...)  Furthermore, they insist anthropogenic global warming or -- in its most recent self-protective, factually meaningless euphemism -- "climate change" is "settled science."

Never mind that something as basic to the laws of physics as Einstein's theory of gravity is currently under attack, the over-weening, disastrous effect of human activity on the Earth's temperature is "settled." Those who are even mildly skeptical of this alleged fact are branded as anti-science, even tarnished with the Holocaust-redolent epithet "denier." Is just a bit of projection possibly going on?

I'm agnostic on the issue (not on the projection). But for now, at least, I accept the view of MIT's Richard Lindzen who at a recent conference stated “the only meaningful question would be whether we are seeing anything sufficiently unusual to warrant concern and the answer to this is unambiguously no.”

According to The Hill, Lindzen concluded his address with a quote from  Eric Hoffer: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. And those who benefit in the racket will defend it with passion.”

It's not just Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio who obviously benefit from this racket, er, "great cause." Much of the public at large has been brainwashed.  We see this at almost every cocktail party from New York to Los Angeles where the most passionate arguments in support of global warming usually come from people who abandoned science study with their freshman year college requirement, most often having taken, like Al Gore,  the famous "gut" geology (aka rocks).

As many have noted, global warming and, more generally, environmentalism have become the religion of the liberal. Gaia has replaced God. Whatever your opinion of the theological implications, scientific blindness and bias have been the results.  The economy has also suffered, especially for the working class.

What do we do about it?

Donald Trump has nominated someone more realistic -- Scott Pruitt -- for head of the Environmental Protection Agency currently dominated by climate totalitarians.

Libs in Meltdown Mode over Trump's Pick to Head the EPA
But why not change the name of the agency itself to give it a fresh start? Why not call the the EPA the Conservation Agency?  Yes, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet -- or not -- but bear with me.

Years ago -- before "environmentalism," before Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring"and the banning  of DDT that initiated that movement and may or may not have been a good thing -- there was a national consensus around "conservation."  Almost all Americans wanted clean air and water and, for the most part, we now have it (with exceptions like Flint, Michigan, that should be dealt with immediately).

Conservation was not God. It was simply the right thing to do, preserve places like the Grand Canyon and our other magnificent parks for future generations, enjoy and maintain "our purple mountains majesties" and "shining seas," make sure cities like Flint have what they need and maybe even give a small preference to the farmers of the San Joaquin Valley in their efforts to feed humanity over the survival (0r not) of the Delta smelt.

A Conservation Agency might regulate all that with the proper balanced spirit, not the religious fervor cum bureaucratic insanity of those climate totalitarians.  Words do count.  (Hey, I'm a writer.)

Meanwhile, there are reasons to enjoy the cold weather, though even that American classic is under attack by the (fascistically) well-intentioned.


Congress Should Target Unaccountable EPA Programs

The newly elected congressional majority should be ready and willing to help implement President-elect Donald Trump's promise to tackle onerous regulations. But what about so called "non-regulatory programs" that have significant public policy and marketplace impacts?

Congress can address problems associated with such programs by defunding them or by bringing them under the authority of existing environmental laws.

Top on the list should be the Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Risk Information System, also known as IRIS. IRIS gains its authority simply as a line item inside EPA's Office of Research and Development. As a research program, IRIS operates outside the regulatory process and its accountability systems.

According to EPA's website, IRIS issues "assessments" of chemicals that focus on "identifying and characterizing the health hazards of chemicals found in the environment." Numerous regulatory programs inside EPA, from drinking water to hazardous waste clean-up programs, use IRIS assessments as a basis for regulation. Yet IRIS assessments are regularly criticized as unscientific and poorly designed.

For nearly a decade, congressional oversight committees, the Government Accountability Office, and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have all urged EPA to reform the IRIS process to address scientific and procedural problems. In paricular, a 2011 NAS review of the IRIS assessment for Formaldehyde detailed many problems associated with IRIS assessments and needed reform. The NAS report explained:

Overall, the committee noted some recurring methodologic problems in the draft IRIS assessment of formaldehyde. Many of the problems are similar to those which have been reported over the last decade by other NRC committees tasked with reviewing EPA's IRIS assessments for other chemicals. Problems with clarity and transparency of the methods appear to be a repeating theme over the years, even though the documents appear to have grown considerably in length. In the roughly 1,000-page draft reviewed by the present committee, little beyond a brief introductory chapter could be found on the methods for conducting the assessment. Numerous EPA guidelines are cited, but their role in the preparation of the assessment is not clear. In general, the committee found that the draft was not prepared in a consistent fashion; it lacks clear links to an underlying conceptual framework; and it does not contain sufficient documentation on methods and criteria for identifying evidence from epidemiologic and experimental studies, for critically evaluating individual studies, for assessing the weight of evidence, and for selecting studies for derivation of the RfCs and unit risk estimates.

Congress could address problems with IRIS by moving its functions and funding into the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program at EPA. This action should garner broad support given that the recent TSCA reform law gained overwhelming bipartisan approval in Congress and was signed by President Obama last spring.

TSCA's requirements for reliance on "best available, peer reviewed science" as well as weight of the evidence consideration could make IRIS evaluations more meaningful.  In addition, as part of a formal regulatory program, chemical assessments would hopefully be more transparent.

Like IRIS, EPA's Safer Choice program (formerly called "Design for the Environment") is a non-regulatory program that has public policy and marketplace impacts. The program calls on companies to eliminate certain chemicals from their products voluntarily, largely based on hazard rather than actual risk. Yet "hazard" simply represents the potential for danger given specific circumstances and/or exposures. For example, water is hazardous because excessive consumption can produce fatal "water intoxification" or hyponatraemia.  But we don't need to ban or "voluntarily" phase out water.

Accordingly, Safer Choice is forcing product reformulations without justification, and many useful products may be eliminated from the market.  For example, EPA has used this program to force certain flame retardant chemicals from the marketplace, without much regard for the fact that replacements may not work as well.  The end result may well be increased fire risks and needless loss of life and property.

Safer Choice is not only and duplicative of other programs, it has adverse and potentially dangerous market impacts.  Congress can, and should, defund the program with an appropriations line item that prohibits EPA spending on the Safer Choice program.


Green deaths: The forgotten dangers of solar panels

In recent years, thousands of solar panels have been placed on Australian roofs, and millions installed around the world. But how safe are they?

According to Safework Australia, each year about 30 Australians die in falls from a height, although the number of people involved in installing or maintaining solar panels is not broken down.

Some falls involving people installing or maintaining solar panels are not reported as part of work-related statistics, and then there are people electrocuted when they come into contact with power lines.

In California, where solar panels have been embraced enthusiastically, there has been a rash of deaths like this one, this one, and another three in quick succession. However, it is a worldwide phenomenon, so much so that statistics show roofing is more dangerous than coal mining.

Because of our propensity to put panels on roofs, solar is in fact, far more dangerous than many forms of power generation,  three times more dangerous than wind power and more than 10 times more dangerous than nuclear power, by comparison to the amount of power produced.

This study puts it in perspective, using figures from the United States:

The fifty actual deaths from roof installation accidents for 1.5 million roof installations is equal to the actual deaths experienced so far from Chernobyl. If all 80 million residential roofs in the USA had solar power installed then one would expect 9 times the annual roofing deaths of 300 people or 2700 people (roofers to die). This would generate about 240 TWh of power each year. (30% of the power generated from nuclear power in the USA). 90 people per year over an optimistic life of 30 years for the panels not including maintenance or any electrical shock incidents.

There is an argument, however, that solar power may ultimately be safer than coal-fired generation because of the reduction in pollution. Ironically enough, however, solar power is far more dangerous than nuclear, even in a year when an accident like the disaster at Fukushima occurs.



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, 2016

Coral adaptability again

Easily able to cope with a bit of warming

Gene expression plasticity as a mechanism of coral adaptation to a variable environment

Carly D. Kenkel & Mikhail V. Matz


Local adaptation is ubiquitous, but the molecular mechanisms that give rise to this ecological phenomenon remain largely unknown. A year-long reciprocal transplant of mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) between a highly environmentally variable inshore habitat and a more stable offshore habitat demonstrated that populations exhibit phenotypic signatures that are consistent with local adaptation. We characterized the genomic basis of this adaptation in both coral hosts and their intracellular symbionts (Symbiodinium sp.) using genome-wide gene expression profiling. Populations differed primarily in their capacity for plasticity: following transplantation to a novel environment, inshore-origin coral expression profiles became significantly more similar to the local population's profiles than those in offshore-origin corals. Furthermore, elevated plasticity of the environmental stress response expression was correlated with lower susceptibility to a natural summer bleaching event, suggesting that plasticity is adaptive in the inshore environment. Our results reveal a novel genomic mechanism of resilience to a variable environment, demonstrating that corals are capable of a more diverse molecular response to stress than previously thought.

Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0014 (2016).

The coming battle between the Trump team and economists over the true cost of climate change

The "social cost of carbon"  is entirely imaginary:  Assumption piled upon assumption

As we learn more and more about the tenor of the Trump transition, a key part of its regulatory rollback strategy on climate change is coming into focus.

It seems increasingly likely that the Trump administration would either alter, or attempt to stop using entirely, an Obama-era metric known as the "social cost of carbon" in its federal rule-making processes. And that could have have major effects on the way environmental policies are written (or unwritten) in the coming years.

A recent, highly controversial questionnaire the transition team sent to the Department of Energy requested a list of all "employees or contractors who have attended any Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon meetings," as well as emails and other materials associated with those meetings. It also asked a variety of questions about the assumptions that went into calculating the social cost of carbon.

Meanwhile, a document written last month by Department of Energy transition leader Thomas Pyle and recently obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, suggested that "during the Trump Administration the [social cost of carbon] will likely be reviewed and the latest science brought to bear. If the [social cost of carbon] were subjected to the latest science, it would certainly be much lower than what the Obama administration has been using."

But experts have countered that attacking the social cost of carbon may not hold up under scientific, or even legal, standards. If anything, many scientists believe that its monetary value should be set even higher.

The cost of climate change

Scientists agree that climate change could cause a wide variety of damages to human communities, including natural disasters, harm to human health, reduced agricultural output and lower economic productivity, all of which result in monetary costs to society. The social cost of carbon, then, refers to the cost of emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

A U.S. government working group first convened in 2009 to develop a method for quantifying the social cost of carbon, and the value has since been used to help create a variety of federal environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan. The cost is currently set at about $36 per ton of carbon dioxide.

For an administration that has promised to reduce regulations on oil and gas operations and revive the coal industry, doing away with - or at least reducing - the social cost of carbon is an obvious priority. The higher the cost is set, the more harm the government assumes will be caused by greenhouse gas emissions, which would generally justify more, rather than less, stringent regulation of the fossil fuel industry.

Yet many climate experts now believe the social cost of carbon should actually be even higher than the current estimate. The old models used to calculate the value rely on dated research, they've argued, and there are certain climate-related damages that may not be adequately factored in.


Another good target for EPA reform

Europe gives Trump Administration excellent tutorials on how not to regulate pesticides

Paul Driessen

With reform-minded folks in charge of the Executive and Legislative Branches, unelected, unaccountable, un-removable bureaucrats may soon be exerting far less power over our policies, regulations, lives and livelihoods. Energy and climate are high on the fix-it list. Another important topic is insecticides.

The European Union and Canada have provided object lessons in how not to regulate these important chemicals. Scott Pruitt and his new team over at EPA will certainly want to avoid their malpractice.

For nearly a decade, manufactured controversies have raged around a relatively new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. These advanced systemic crop protectors are absorbed into the plant itself and thus target only pests that suck or chew on crops, particularly during the plants' early growth phases.

That minimizes impacts on beneficial insects - like crop-pollinating bees. domesticated and wild bees are barely exposed and thus unlikely to be harmed when neonic seed or soil treatments are used, in contrast to what can happen when manmade or "organic" chemicals are sprayed on crops. But despite this minimal risk, anti-pesticide activists have tried for years to blame neonics for recent honeybee health problems.

In 2013, their well-funded advocacy campaigns played a major role in causing the EU's decision-making European Commission to impose a "two-year" ban on using neonicotinoids with bee-attractive crops.

Not surprisingly, almost four years later, there is no sign that the Commission will reconsider its position, despite accumulating evidence that managed bee populations are not now and never were in any danger of collapse or extinction. As my longer article on explains, that evidence includes the EU's own 2014 and 2015/16 studies, and nearly a dozen large-scale field studies around the world.

Going even further, the European Food Safety Authority now says bees are at grave risk from neonics used on European crops that do not attract bees, such as winter cereals, beets, potatoes, leafy vegetables, maize (corn) and sorghum - whether the neonics are seed treatments, foliar sprays or soil applications. There may be no actual evidence of harm, the EFSA says, but a risk to bees "cannot be excluded."

Just as crazy, the agency's 2013 Bee Guidance Reference Document lets bureaucrats decide which studies and data can be accepted and deemed relevant - and which can be ignored. It also means chemicals that can control crop pests may never be approved; and only ineffective chemicals will be approved (along with chemicals that are or could be dangerous for bees, but are deemed to be "natural" or "organic").

That explains why EU member nation governments for three years have refused to approve the BGRD. However, in the wacky world of EU regulations, the mere fact that member governments have refused to approve a guidance document doesn't prevent unelected Eurocrats from using it to advance their agendas.

The BGRD specifies a three-tier scheme for evaluating potential impacts on bees. At Tier 1, extremely low laboratory test thresholds pretty much automatically force evaluations under more complex, costly and time-consuming second and third tiers. At the highest tier - full field testing - the guidance specifies wide spatial separation requirements between test fields and control fields, where beehives are located.

To ensure experimental integrity, the BGRD requires that neonic test areas must be free of other pesticide-treated, bee-attractive crops, and far enough away from such areas that tests are not affected. But that means scientists need areas four times larger than Paris, France. That's virtually impossible in densely populated Europe. Catch 22!

To pass the "no risk" test, evaluators must then prove the pesticide being tested doesn't produce more than a 7% fluctuation in a beehive's populations. But natural fluctuations can easily reach 15% from frigid cold snaps, infestations by Varroa destructor mites, or even beekeepers applying chemicals to hives to control mites or other pests and diseases. So it's impossible to show that population changes greater than 7% were not due to neonic use on crops. Catch-22 again! But it gets even worse.

Euro regulators even ignored some of the best available data: large-scale field studies done under Good Laboratory Practices. Nearly a dozen such studies consistently demonstrate that no observable adverse effects on honeybees result from field-realistic exposures to properly applied neonic pesticides.

But instead of accepting these studies, EU bureaucrats rely on laboratory studies that other researchers have shown consistently overdose bees with pesticides. That lets regulators focus on adverse neonic impacts that can justify bans, but under conditions that bees would never encounter in the real world.

In another case, five carefully conducted, inter-related studies published in the journal Ecotoxicology covered a large-scale 2013-14 northern Germany field study of honey bees, bumble bees and solitary red mason bees that forage in oilseed rape (akin to canola) fields treated with the neonic Clothianidin.

The elaborate, sophisticated studies assessed neonic residues from bees and hives under actual field conditions. They found that the residues were well below levels that can adversely affect bees - and that neonics "did not cause any detrimental effects on the development or reproduction" any of the three species. Enter Joseph Heller, yet again.

The studies were paid for by Bayer CropLife, because EU agencies generally don't fund such studies (though they do give millions a year to environmentalist groups). Voila! Anti-pesticide activists can challenge and dismiss the well-documented experimental results - and the EFSA can ignore the results in reaching its latest conclusions on risks to bees that are not attracted to neonic-protected crops. All because of a guidance document that EU member states never approved!

Unfortunately, bad science and regulatory policy are not confined only to the other side of the Atlantic.  HealthCanada recently imposed a phased-in ban on another relatively new neonic pesticide. It did so using an EU-like Catch-22 approach, despite any actual evidence of real-world harm - and without considering insect infestations, crop losses, the absence of safe alternative pesticides, or the fact that other insecticides actually are harmful to bees and/or aquatic life.

All this suggests there is ample reason to worry about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's own inbred inclinations. A late 2014 EPA study/memorandum contends that neonic pesticides were ineffective in controlling soy crop pests. It was refuted by scientists who had better data and repudiated by the US Department of Agriculture. But EPA did not withdraw or cancel the 2014 soy efficacy memo.

A 2015 preliminary EPA assessment essentially exonerated neonic seed treatments, as posing virtually no risk to bees. But another one said neonics on citrus trees are potentially dangerous, even though neonics as the only solution for "citrus greening" disease that is decimating lemon, orange and grapefruit trees.

These EU, Canadian and EPA actions offer important lessons for Trump-Pruitt pesticide regulators.

* Stick to risk-based standards embedded in U.S. legislation, and avoid any drift toward the "precautionary principle," which looks only at alleged or inflated risks from using chemicals - never at the risks of not using them, and never at risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using the chemicals.

* Focus on replicable, evidence-based, field-tested science. Don't let agenda-driven activists pressure EPA (or the Agriculture Department) into excluding the best and most relevant available data.

* Revise or eliminate standards, policies and regulations that were based on less than defensible, real-world data and analyses; that do not fully consider the costs and benefits of using (or not using) available chemicals; or that fail to balance demonstrated agricultural, consumer and environmental considerations.

EPA policies on neonics and other issues would be a perfect place to begin changing the way Washington works.

Via email

Kill wind and solar tax credits as part of tax reform

By Natalia Castro

President elect Donald Trump wants Americans to have a tax code they can understand and that benefits them, unlike the current code. Trump won the election as a business man for the common man, and the first thing he can do to retain that image is to begin to put an end corporate cronyism that runs rampant through the political system.

A perfect target are corporate tax credits, including those enjoyed by green energy industries wind and solar, subsidies the Obama administration has put in place for these industries while the EPA's regulatory war on coal has helped cripple our economy.

Currently, the American Wind Energy Association touts their two luxurious tax credits.  The group explains, "The Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) are meant to keep wind energy attractive for the investors who finance new wind farms as demand for low-carbon fuel sources continues to increase. The PTC is currently worth 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated for the power grid."

Despite wind energy consistently not reaping economic returns and proving an inefficient means to energy sustainability, in 2015 Congress agreed to continue these subsidies through 2020.

But wind energy is not the only ineffective government tax credit which is draining our economy and complicating our tax code, solar energy is receiving the same subsidies.

In fact, the federal government allows for tax credits of up to 30 percent for solar electric property, solar water-heating property, fuel cell property, small wind-energy property, and geothermal heat pumps. In 2015, these credits were extended through 2021.

In order for Trump to follow through on his promise to eliminate this corporate power over federal money, he must work on removing these credits for the tax code; and with Republicans dominating the House and Senate, now is the time to begin.

As William Gale, a co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and a former economic adviser to President George H.W. Bush told the New York Times in Nov. 2016, "Tax reform is the thing that always unites Republicans. I would guess that that's Item 1 on the congressional agenda."

As House Republicans push legislation into Trump's first 100 days, including tax reform, all legislation that allows for corporations to institute ineffective and inefficient policy must be removed. Trump has held strong on his aim to bring competition back to the energy sector, which he cannot do with these policies in place. When tax reform comes up to the table, Trump can kill two birds with one stone.

Remove wind and solar tax credits to force the market to stand on its own and allow room for effective energy production that Americans need. It is time for these corporations to stop feeling the benefits, and time for the American people to receive some for a change.


Horror:  Government websites may soon tell the truth about climate

Google "climate change" and the top two hits are websites that are part of NASA's online climate portal, followed by a Wikipedia entry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's climate website.

Websites maintained by the federal government are among the first online stops for the general public - from students, local policymakers and everyone else - to learn about climate change. There is rising concern among scientists and climate communications experts that those websites may be among the first to be deleted, politicized or degraded with inaccurate climate information after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January, all of which would impact the public's understanding of the science and urgency of climate change.

Trump is populating his cabinet with appointees who reject established climate science and have pledged to overturn nearly all of the government's climate regulations and pull the United States out of the Paris climate pact.

EPA administrator nominee Scott Pruitt has falsely said that scientists disagree about the human connection to global warming, and debate about it should be encouraged. Pruitt, currently Oklahoma's attorney general, says on his official website that he is "a leading advocate against the EPA's activist agenda."

Trump's NASA transition team leader, Chris Shank, has said he wonders if scientists' "rhetoric" about carbon dioxide emissions - the chief driver of climate change - is "really about some neo-Malthusian discussion on population control."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom Trump has tapped to run the U.S. Department of Energy, which conducts extensive climate research, said in 2014 that calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is a "disservice to the country."

Scientists worry that the Trump administration will neglect or delete critical climate data on government websites, and researchers are scrambling to download the data to ensure it is preserved. But there is fear that Trump's cabinet officials will also remove or distort basic climate information that the general public often relies on for its understanding of global warming.

"The first indications we've seen are you're putting a transition team in place that have spent their career attacking the science, dismissing this information and spreading misinformation," said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "There's a real risk they'll push aside and hide that information."

The climate change doubters and denialists in Trump's transition team and cabinet have significant authority within the agencies they lead, strongly suggesting that the climate information the public sees on federal websites is at risk, said Susan Hassol, one of the co-writers of the three U.S. national climate assessments and now the director of Climate Communication, a nonprofit climate science outreach organization.

"If we are to take their public statements and writings at their word, the threat is acute," she said.

In addition to maintaining critical - and continuous - datasets on weather and climate, federal agencies provide a trove of basic information designed to educate the general public about climate change.

Websites such as and NASA's "Vital Signs for the Planet" offer basic facts and data on global warming for a mass audience. The EPA's website is full of basic information about U.S. and global greenhouse gas emissions. The National Park Service has a website that can answer questions about why climate change is melting Glacier National Park's namesake glaciers and the role of global warming in threatening the Everglades.

"Many of these sites have been developed to provide clear and concise expressions of the evidence and their uncertainties," said Rachael Shwom, a Rutgers University sociologist who studies how people make sense of and respond to climate change. "These sites are used in classrooms and by citizens searching to answer their questions and talk to others in an informed way."

Americans could be misled about the world's scientific consensus on climate change if the information on government websites is removed, watered down or distorted, she said. People looking for basic information could seek it from sources that may not be as vigilant about the accuracy of the information they present.

Kathleen Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said federal government websites providing basic information on climate change serve as primary sources of information for the general public. They are also used by journalists to find climate facts when federal agencies such as NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration make major announcements about alarming climate trends.

Policymakers also rely on federal government websites focusing on climate change, she said.

"When a topic comes into news or policy debates, policymakers know there's a trusted source," Jamieson said. "Take those down, and you lose the ability to inform policymakers about those issues. You diminish the issue of its importance."

There is precedent for government officials who disagree with the importance or accuracy of established climate science removing politically inconvenient information from government websites, Hassol said.

"In the past, some of this government information has been altered by partisan actors to serve their agenda," Hassol said. "An example is oil industry lobbyist Philip Cooney who was hired by the George W. Bush administration. Cooney changed the language in government science reports, altering them to exaggerate the uncertainties and downplay the risks and the scientific consensus."



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


25 December, 2016

The good ol' Green/Left double standard again

Dr. Susan Crockford (email: has written a well-informed and approachable book about polar bears.  She has no time for the usual Warmist scare about the bears being "endangered".

The book has only just been released but the Warmists are already on the case.  A review by someone called "Eli" on Amazon reads:

"Caveat emptor: the author's vague self-description as "a professional zoologist who has studied polar bear ecology and evolution for more than 20 years" appears intended to mask the facts that her PhD and professional work are in the field of canine archaeology, and that she has no formal training or expertise in polar bear science. Up to you to decide whether she's the best source of information for you and your kids on polar bear facts and myths."

I would love to know who Eli is.  I want to ask him whether tobacco-grower Al Gore's speeches about global warming should be disregarded because Al's qualifications are in divinity and social science

The Hockey Stick Collapses: 50 New (2016) Scientific Papers Affirm Today's Warming Isn't Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable

Two fundamental tenets of the anthropogenic global warming narrative are (1) the globe is warming (i.e., it's not just regional warming), and (2) the warming that has occurred since 1950 can be characterized as remarkable, unnatural, and largely unprecedented.  In other words, today's climate is substantially and alarmingly different than what has occurred in the past..because the human impact has been profound.

Well, maybe.  Scientists are increasingly finding that the two fundamental points cited above may not be supported by the evidence.

In 2016, an examination of the peer-reviewed scientific literature has uncovered dozens of paleoclimate reconstructions that reveal modern "global" warming has not actually been global in scale after all, as there are a large number of regions on the globe where it has been cooling for decades.   Even if it was warming on a global scale, the paleoclimate evidence strongly suggests that the modern warm climate is neither unusual or profoundly different than it has been in the past.  In fact, today's regional warmth isn't even close to approaching the Earth's maximum temperatures achieved earlier in the Holocene, or as recently as 1,000 years ago (the Medieval Warm Period), when anthropogenic CO2 emissions could not have exerted a climate impact.

In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that the warming in recent decades is not even unprecedented within the context of the last 80 years.   That's because the amplitude of the 1930s and 1940s warm period matched or exceeded that of the warmth in the late 20th and early 21st centuries in many regions of the world.  Furthermore, between the warmth of the 1930s and '40s and the warmth of the 1990s to present, there was a very widely publicized cooling period (late 1950s to early 1970s) that was heavily discussed in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Today's instrumental datasets curiously do not reflect this 20th century warming-cooling-warming oscillatory shape, however, as doing so would not lend support to the modeled understanding that climate is shaped by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which have increased linearly, not cyclically.  In fact, not only has the high amplitude of the 1930s and 1940s warmth been "adjusted" down or depressed in global-scale representations of instrumental temperatures by NASA or the MetOffice, the substantial cooling (-0.5øC in the Northern Hemisphere, including -1.5øC cooling in the Arctic region) that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s has all but disappeared from today's temperature graphs.

Scientists, meanwhile, keep on publishing their results.  And their results don't lend support to the narrative that the globe has been synchronously warming, or warming in linear fashion and in concert with the rise in anthropogenic CO2 emissions.  Indeed, in many regions of the world, decadal-scale cooling has occurred since the mid-20th century.

Listed below are a collection of 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers published within the last year (2016) undermining the "consensus" position that modern warming patterns are global in extent and synchronization, and that today's warmth is both unusual and unprecedented.  The first section (1) identifies the regions of the world where there has been no net warming in recent decades.  The second section (2) puts modern climate into its much larger Holocene context, revealing just how insignificant and unremarkable this current (regional) warming trend has been relative to history.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

News from 1912: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Time to Get Rid of the EPA? Scott Pruitt May Be Just the Guy to Do It

Trump's nominee for the EPA Administrator could - and should - abolish the agency

Several commentators have characterized the selection of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to become the next EPA Administrator as a sharp stick in the eye to the agency and its employees. They're right - and seldom has any herd of federal bureaucrats been more deserving of it. For decades, in administrations Democratic and Republican alike, the EPA has been relentlessly ideological, politicized, corrupt, and incompetent.

When I joined the Food and Drug Administration in 1979, I was essentially apolitical and knew next to nothing about federal regulation. I was a science nerd who had spent the previous 16 years in college, graduate school, medical school, and postdoctoral training. It didn't take long until I learned about the jungle of government bureaucracies, and one of the harshest lessons concerned the perfidy and incompetence of one of the FDA's siblings, the EPA.

I found the EPA to be relentlessly anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-industry. The only thing it seemed to be for was the Europeans' innovation-busting "precautionary principle," the view that until a product or activity has been definitively proven safe, it should be banned or at least smothered with regulation. In fact, during international discussions and negotiations over the harmonization of biotechnology regulations in which I participated, the EPA often seemed allied with the European Union and committed to working against U.S. interests.

To my astonishment, I found that there were entire groups within the EPA whose function it was to lie to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress about the rationale for and impacts of their proposed regulations. And over the years, I discovered that there is a kind of underground railway by which the most incompetent, disaffected, and anti-industry employees from other regulatory agencies find their way to the EPA, creating a miasma of dysfunctional governance.

During the two decades since I left government service, I've continued to watch the EPA's shenanigans with a mixture of awe and vexation. Policy by policy and decision by decision, the EPA has decimated the nation's competitiveness, ability to innovate, and capacity to create wealth. Its policies and decisions have single-handedly killed off entire once-promising sectors of biotechnology, including bioremediation (the use of microorganisms to clean up toxic wastes, including oil spills) and microorganisms that when sprayed on plants could prevent frost damage.

The EPA's expansive and ever-expanding regulations impose huge costs on American businesses and, ultimately, on consumers. An analysis by the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimated that the annual cost of compliance with EPA regulations alone is more than a third of a trillion dollars. Ideology is one thing, but corruption and abuse are quite another. A scheme was exposed some years ago that would have diverted EPA "research" funds to pay outside public-relations consultants. This payola scheme is similar to the agency's longstanding practice of buying influence by doling out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to certain favored nonprofit organizations - money that, according to the inspector general and Government Accountability Office, is dispersed with no public notice, competition, or accountability. The GAO investigators documented systematic malfeasance by regulators, including: 1) making grants to grantees who were unable to fulfill the terms of the grants; 2) favoring an exclusive clique of grantees without opening the grants to competition; 3) funding "environmental" grants for activities that lack any apparent environmental benefit; and 4) failing to ensure that grantees performed the objectives identified in the grants.

I saw firsthand evidence of this while I was an official at the FDA. For some reason I was favored with periodic reports of the research funded by the EPA. The overwhelming majority of it was shoddy, irrelevant, and unpublishable - but the grants bought the goodwill of researchers who would rubber-stamp unscientific EPA policies while serving on advisory committees.

The EPA is the prototype of agencies that spend more and more money to address smaller and smaller risks. In one analysis by the Office of Management and Budget, of the 30 least cost-effective regulations throughout the government, the EPA had imposed no fewer than 17 of them. For example, the agency's restrictions on the disposal of land that contains certain types of wastes prevent 0.59 cancer cases per year and avoid $20 million in property damage, at an annual cost of $194 million to $219 million.

The EPA is the prototype of agencies that spend more and more money to address smaller and smaller risks.

Superfund (officially, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) is one of the EPA's greatest travesties. An ongoing program intended to clean up and reduce the risk of toxic-waste sites, it was originally conceived as a short-term project - $1.6 billion over five years, to clean up some 400 sites (by law, at least one per state and, not coincidentally, about one per congressional district). But it has grown into one of the nation's largest public-works projects: more than $30 billion spent on about 1,300 sites.

How could cleaning up toxic-waste sites not be a good thing? Well, various studies have attempted to evaluate the impacts of Superfund's massive and costly cleanups, but the results are equivocal. Putting that another way, after the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars, no beneficial results have been demonstrable. On the other hand, some Superfund projects have definitely caused harm. University of California-Davis economics professor J. Paul Leigh has analyzed the occupational hazards of environmental cleanup projects and concluded that the risk of fatality to the average cleanup worker - a dump-truck driver involved in a collision, or a laborer run over by a bulldozer, for example - is considerably larger than the cancer risks to individual residents that might result from exposure to untreated sites. EPA official Carl Mazza admitted that the agency is aware that Superfund policies often conflict with risk analysis, but "political considerations" prevent rational, data-driven decision-making.

Another example of flawed decision-making at the EPA is the imposition of overly stringent ambient-air standards under the Clean Air Act. Clean air is desirable, of course, but an EPA rule finalized in February 2012 that created new emissions standards for coal-fired and oil-fired electric utilities was ill-conceived. According to an analysis by Diane Katz and James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation:

The benefits are highly questionable, with the vast majority being unrelated to the emissions targeted by the regulation. The costs, however, are certain: an estimated $9.6 billion annually. The regulations will produce a significant loss of electricity generating capacity, which [will] undermine energy reliability and raise energy costs across the entire economy.

Stung repeatedly by the responses to such benefit-cost calculations, the EPA has begun more often to manipulate the benefit side by invoking so-called non-use benefits of regulations, such as "the value one places on knowing that an aquatic ecosystem is healthy" or "secondary and tertiary ecosystem impacts." The problem with such supposed benefits is that estimating them is highly prone to wishful thinking (read: plucking numbers from the air). For example, regulators might "calculate" that a significant improvement in water quality in the Mississippi River could be a source of benefit to people throughout the nation, not just to those who use the river or who live near it, because it is nationally symbolic.

An EPA subterfuge that has received attention from Senator David Vitter (R., La.) and other Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee is the "sue and settle" maneuver that the EPA uses to advance its radical environmental agenda by substituting a judicial mechanism for the customary interface of legislation and agency rulemaking. The way this works is that extremist environmental groups (some of which receive government grants) sue the federal government on the grounds that agencies are failing to meet their regulatory obligations, and then, behind closed doors, the activists and Obama-administration officials work together to concoct a settlement agreement that furthers activists' (and regulators') radical goals.

Since it was created in 1970, the EPA has been a rogue agency - ideological, poorly managed, and out of touch with sound science and common sense. It is emblematic of what Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn condemned as the "soft despotism" of the "unelected and increasingly assertive class that populates our federal bureaucracies and substitutes rule by regulation for the rule of law."

The nation's experiment with a free-standing environmental agency has failed. The EPA's few essential functions should be relegated to less scientifically and ethically challenged agencies and departments. (It was, after all, created during the Nixon administration by cobbling together elements of various departments, including HHS, Interior, and Agriculture.)

Scott Pruitt may be the guy who could make that happen.


How the Clean Power Plan Hurts States Represented by Democratic Senators

One of President Barack Obama's most controversial regulations is getting a lot of attention after President-elect Donald Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Clean Power Plan (CPP), under the purported authority of the Clean Air Act, requires states to develop plans to reduce emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels. If a state fails to adopt a plan, the EPA creates one for it. The rule will supposedly avert 0.015øF by 2100 of future temperature increases.

In February, the Supreme Court stayed the rule until the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which sat en banc in September for oral arguments, rules in the case, West Virginia v. EPA. Twenty-seven states are part of the lawsuit against the EPA, which argues that CPP is unconstitutional because states are not given the opportunity not to participate in the implementation of the rule.

States and supporters of the lawsuit note that CPP will have an extraordinarily negative impact on the coal industry, on which their economies rely for jobs and energy. According to an analysis by NERA Economic Consulting, the energy sector will spend between $41 billion and $73 billion annually to comply with CPP, making it the most expensive rule ever promulgated. Under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, Congress passed S.J. Res. 24, though without veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate, to reject CPP. President Obama vetoed the resolution.

Pruitt's strong opposition to CPP has been frequently mentioned in coverage of his nomination to serve as head of the EPA. In July 2015, he filed his own lawsuit against the EPA over the rule, though it was later consolidated into West Virginia. "The EPA does not possess the authority under the Clean Air Act to accomplish what it proposes in the unlawful Clean Power Plan. The EPA is ignoring the authority granted by Congress to states to regulate power plant emissions at their source," Pruitt said when he filed the lawsuit. "The Clean Power Plan is an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats' authority over states' energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity. This would substantially threaten energy affordability and reliability for consumers, industry and energy producers in Oklahoma."

"Oklahomans care about issues of air quality and our state policy makers are best-suited and specifically granted the authority by federal law to regulate these issues. We are filing this lawsuit in order to ensure decisions on power generation and how to achieve emissions reductions are made at the local level rather than at the federal level," he added.

Pruitt believes that the EPA has claimed too much authority from Congress, running roughshod over the constitutional separation of powers and the states' ability to decide what is best for their citizens and economies. What is good for New York, for example, may not be good for Oklahoma. Indeed, Oklahoma would not be the only state negative impacted by CPP.

A November 2015 analysis from NERA Economic Consulting warns that consumers and businesses in the lower 48 states will see energy price increases, potentially as large as $39 billion annually. A Democratic senator in a state expected to see a double-digit energy price increase may have a tough time explaining to voters why he either voted against the resolution of disapproval that would have put a stake in the heart of CPP or why he did not vote support Pruitt, who will seek to roll back the rule, in a confirmation vote.

Take Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). His state is expected to see an average energy price increase of 15 percent because of CPP. Yet, he voted to keep the regulations in place in November 2015 when S.J. Res. 24 came to the floor. As did Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), whose constituents will see a 24 percent increase in energy prices. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) also voted to keep CPP in place, and his constituents will see a 17 percent average increase.

While Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted to disapprove of the regulations, which will cause their states to see price increases of 33 percent and 43 percent, are sitting on the fence, at least thus far, on whether they will vote to confirm Pruitt. Manchin recently stopped short of saying he would vote to confirm the Oklahoma attorney general. Heitkamp expressed "serious concerns" about Pruitt's opposition to ethanol.

Tester, who voted to keep CPP in place, was hyperbolic in his reaction to Pruitt's nomination, saying that he "is very concerned about Mr. Pruitt's history of not protecting clean air and clean water." McCaskill, another CPP supporter, said she was "reserving judgment" on Pruitt. Trump won Montana and Missouri by 20 points and 9 points. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), whose state Trump won by 20 points, has been quiet about Pruitt.

Democrats from states Trump won and who support CPP, and either voted to uphold the rule in November 2015 or oppose Pruitt's confirmation, face another awkward reality because their position puts them at odds with some influential labor unions. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which represents 750,000 members, joined the lawsuit against the EPA over CPP. "The EPA is creating energy policy and they have neither the expertise nor the legal authority to do it. We worked with the EPA for years to address greenhouse gas emissions with a plan that is both effective and legal," IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson said when the union joined the lawsuit. "Unfortunately, we don't believe this regulation is either."

The United Mine Workers of America, which represents 80,000 members, also joined the lawsuit against CPP. "Our initial analysis indicates there will be a loss of 75,000 direct coal generation jobs in the United States by 2020. Those are jobs primarily in coal mines, power plants and railroads. By 2035, those job losses will more than -double to 152,000," UMWA President Cecil Roberts said about the damage the rule will do to the economy. "When a U.S. government economic multiplier used to calculate the impact of job losses is applied to the entire economy, we estimate the total impact will be about 485,000 permanent jobs lost."

Raymond Ventrone -- who represents more than 2,000 members of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers in Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania -- has blast the Obama administration's anti-coal agenda, writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "My members learned the hard way that the EPA's goal isn't clean air; it's eliminating coal and our way of life."

"We can have clean air and keep coal as a vital part of our economy, but we can't do it if the EPA and its allies are allowed to continue waging a devastating war against our jobs," he added.

While these labor unions may not have taken a position on Pruitt's nomination, they know that the EPA's Clean Power Plan will hurt their members. Democratic senators who are considering voting against or are on the fence about Pruitt's nomination are sending the wrong message to their constituents at home. This rule will lead to higher compliance costs, energy price increases, and lost jobs. There is not a need for a debate over this. The Senate should confirm Pruitt when he comes to the floor for a vote.


Australia: Rebel Greens faction to fight police, capitalism

This is not exactly new.  Rhiannon was a Trot long before she was a Green.  And she's not the only Trot who went Green when they saw  a chance of more influence there.  Why they have come out openly now is a bit of a mystery, though.  Frustrated at achieving so little, I guess.

A newly formed hard-left faction within the Greens has publicly stated it does not believe in the rule of law or the legitimacy of the Australian state and says it will work to “bring about the end of capitalism”.

Formed around federal NSW senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW upper house MP David Shoebridge, the “Left Renewal” faction has published a statement of principles that is at odds with its own party and contradicts the Greens’ national policies in several key areas.

In forming the faction, Left Renewal said the Greens were failing those with liberal ­beliefs.

“Positions of power and influence within the party are falling to those with liberal politics, who manipulate party processes and abuse their resources to take and solidify their control,” the new faction’s Facebook page says.

The group opposes market-based mechanisms, such as a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, as methods to address climate change, and will have a binding caucus in which members will be forced to follow the ­majority view expressed within the faction.

Candidates supported by the hard Left have lost in recent state preselections in NSW, prompting the unified group looking to wrest power from what it sees as a right-wing body.

In a statement of principles, the group describes itself as ­“advocates for peace” and rejects the authority of the police.

“A rejection of class antagonism, and capitalism, also depends on a rejection of the state’s legitimacy and the right of it, and its apparatuses, to impose oppression upon the working class,” it says.

“We further rejected state- mediated oppression in all of its forms, and recognise that violent apparatuses like the police do not share an interest with the working class.”

Former Greens leader Bob Brown previously has called for Senator Rhiannon to bow out of politics to make room for ­“renewal”.



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23 December, 2016

Liberals rage as Trump eyes killing UN green scheme

Liberals are seething after President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team asked a simple question.  How much taxpayer money are we spending on international “global warming” programs?  The answer will have you seething, too.

Though the United States Senate never ratified the United Nations’ Paris climate treaty, the Obama administration has been following its dictates and funneling billions of taxpayer dollars into the required U.N. programs. But no one knows exactly how much taxpayer money is being shipped overseas.

So members of Trump’s transition team did what any fiscally responsible citizen would do.  They asked.

“As part of a list of questions posed last week to the department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, according to multiple people familiar with the matter, the Trump landing team asked, ‘How much does the Department of State contribute annually to international environmental organizations in which the department participates?,’” The Washington Post reports.

And liberals are freaking out. Why?  The dirty secret of “clean” energy is it requires hundreds of billions of tax dollars.

“According to a 2013 Congressional Research Service report, federal spending on climate change initiatives between fiscal year 2008 and 2013 totaled roughly $77 billion. Two-thirds of those funds went to developing carbon-free technology and deploying those advances, and most of that work was undertaken by the Energy Department rather than State,” the Post reports.

Under the terms of the U.N. climate treaty, the U.S. would pay $3 billion over four years. The payments started a year ago, when the State Department shipped the U.N. $500 million, taken out of a program to stop the spread of the Zika virus.

The Obama administration and liberal media then attacked Republicans over the sudden lack of funds to fight Zika.

Trump has told supporters he will cut off such payments to the U.N.  “(Trump’s) campaign released a policy statement (Nov. 1) suggesting that he would ‘cancel all wasteful climate change spending,’ which would include the elimination of all of the federal government’s international and domestic climate programs as well as a rollback in regulations aimed at cutting carbon emissions,” the Post reports.

“The campaign estimated that these moves would save $100 billion over eight years,” the Post reports.

Trump wants to spend that money on U.S.-based environmental programs, telling supporters he will “use that money to support America’s vital environmental infrastructure and natural resources.”


British High Court Green Lights Fracking

Back in May, a local council awarded the UK's first fracking permit since 2011, but greens concerned about the controversial drilling practice challenged that decision in court. Today, that challenge was dismissed, giving a green light for Britain to finally start plumbing its estimated 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet of shale gas. Reuters reports:

Britain's High Court ruled on Tuesday that a fracking permit awarded by a local council to developer Third Energy was legal, after it was challenged by environmental campaigners, opening the way to shale gas extraction in the UK.

Substantial amounts of shale gas are estimated to be trapped in underground rocks and the British government wants to exploit it to help offset declining North Sea oil and gas output, create some 64,000 jobs and help economic growth.

The contested permit in Yorkshire, in the north of England, was the first approval for shale gas fracking since a moratorium was lifted in 2012. "The substantive claim for judicial review is dismissed," Justice Lang said in her written verdict on the case, ruling that the permit remains valid.

The UK's experience with shale has been a long and tortured one. Public support has ebbed and flowed, and despite strong top-down support for fracking, local opposition (of the NIMBY variety) has stymied all comers over the past five years. It's possible that companies will finally begin to start tapping the UK's considerable reserves of shale gas, but don't expect the protests to stop.

NIMBY opposition has been much stronger in the UK than here in the U.S. for two reasons. First, the population density of the parts of America that contain our most productive shale formations is relatively low (see these maps for proof). Having fewer stakeholders to appease makes it demonstrably easier to negotiate with local communities.

But there's another key to America's shale success: mineral rights. Landowners here in the U.S. also own what's underneath their properties, and are therefore compensated directly by companies seeking to tap shale oil and gas reserves. In the UK, the government owns those resources, which removes the financial incentive for property owners to welcome fracking operations into their communities.

The British government has worked to ameliorate this, setting up a slush fund to pay out to these communities, but this tacked-on mechanism is neither as simple or straightforward as America's system of mineral rights.

Britain's shale experience has been halting, characterized by fits and starts, but this latest court approval could be the regulatory nudge that our allies across the pond need to start their own shale boom.


Obama rushes out 11th-hour regulations targeting beleaguered coal industry

At the eleventh hour, the Obama administration on Monday rolled out regulations to crack down on coal mining across the country, a parting shot against the beleaguered industry as the president leaves office.

The regulations, designed to protect America's streams and waterways from pollution produced during mining operations, will add significant costs to coal mining companies, many of which are struggling to operate.

The Interior Department estimates that it will cost the coal industry about $81 million each year to comply with the rule. The agency stressed that figure is just 0.1 percent of the coal industry's "aggregate annual revenues."

"We traveled the country, visited many mines and met with many of the people who work and live in coal country to make sure we wrote the best rule possible - one that is both economically achievable and protective," said Janice Schneider, the Interior Department's assistant secretary for land and minerals management.

But critics, including leaders in the energy sector and Republicans on Capitol Hill, have said the proposal will be much more expensive and surely will lead to even more layoffs in the industry, which has been losing jobs each year during the Obama administration.

Top Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, said Monday that they intend to work with the incoming Trump administration and scrap the rule early next year.

"The Obama administration is fighting its war on coal to the bitter end. This one rule could have crushing consequences for coal miners, their families and many communities," Mr. Ryan said in a statement. "If we are going to get America back on track, job-crushing regulations like this must stop. Our unified Republican government will act to provide coal country with relief."

The Interior Department's Stream Protection Rule will go into effect 30 days after its official release and publication in the Federal Register, meaning it likely will be implemented Jan. 19, one day before Mr. Trump takes office.

Congressional Republicans will have the power to reverse the rules with a simple majority vote.

Under the Congressional Review Act, enacted in the 1990s, Congress can reverse regulations proposed within the previous 60 legislative days. That means any regulations put forth since June 13 could be reversed with a majority vote, according to the Congressional Research Service.

In addition to the Stream Protection Rule, federal rules limiting fracking on public lands and other environmental regulations also will be in Republican crosshairs in January.

Republicans seem to have at least a few allies across the aisle. Some coal-state Democrats also bashed the Interior Department's latest proposal, arguing that it's duplicative and essentially useless. Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, said he will work with Republicans to pass a bill to, at the very least, weaken the proposal.

"While we all must carefully review this 1,648 page final rule, I want to reiterate that the proposed rule was very alarming in its scope and potential impacts. I believe that the manner in which this rule making was executed was flawed and lacked transparency, and I will pursue legislation to ensure it does not harm our coal mining communities and economies," he said in a statement.

The broad rules require coal companies "to avoid mining practices that permanently pollute streams, destroy drinking water sources, increase flood risk and threaten forests."

More important, companies will be required to test and monitor the conditions of all streams that could be affected by their mining "before, during and after their operations," the Interior Department said. The testing is meant to provide baseline data that would help government agencies determine whether any pollution was caused by coal mining.

"The responsible rule released today represents a modern and balanced approach to meeting the nation's energy needs," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said. "Regulations need to keep pace with modern mining practices, so we worked closely with many stakeholders to craft a plan that protects water quality, supports economic opportunities, safeguards our environment and makes coalfield communities more resilient for a diversified economic future."

Coal industry leaders said the administration clearly is trying to deal another blow to the coal industry on its way out the door.

"The decision to promulgate this duplicative rule at this stage is postelection midnight regulation and therefore obstructionism at its worst," said Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association.


Obsolete Climate Science on CO2

The incoming Trump administration has promised dramatic transformations on many vital domestic issues. The best gauge of this development is the fierce level of opposition his policies have generated from Democratic stalwarts. One representative screed is a New York Times Op-Ed by Professors Michael Greenstone and Cass Sunstein, who lecture the incoming president on climate change: “Donald Trump Should Know: This is What Climate Change Costs Us.”

Greenstone and Sunstein have a large stake in the game: During their years in the first Obama administration, they convened an interagency working group (IWG) drawn from various federal agencies that determined that the social cost of carbon (SCC)—or the marginal cost of the release of a ton of carbon into the atmosphere—should be estimated at about $36 per ton (as of 2015). Choose that number and there is much justification for taking major policy steps to curb the emission of carbon dioxide. Greenstone and Sunstein hoped that the working group process would draw on the “latest research in science and economics,” and establish the claimed costs by “accounting for the destruction of property from storms and floods, declining agricultural and labor productivity, elevated mortality rates and more.”

Their effort should be dismissed as a rousing failure, and as an affront to the scientific method that they purport to adopt in their studies. The first error is one of approach. The worst way to get a full exchange of views on the complex matter of global warming is to pack the IWG entirely with members from the Obama administration, all surely preselected in part because they share the president’s exaggerated concerns with the problem of global warming. The only way to get a full and accurate picture of the situation is to listen to dissenters on global warming as well as advocates, which was never done. After all, who should listen to a “denier”?

This dismissive attitude is fatal to independent inquiry. No matter how many times the president claims the science is rock-solid, the wealth of recent evidence gives rise to a very different picture that undercuts the inordinate pessimism about climate change that was in vogue about 10 years ago. The group convened in the Obama administration never examined, let alone refuted, the accumulation of evidence on the other side. Indeed, virtually all of its reports are remarkable for the refusal to address any of the data at all. Instead, the common theme is to refer to models developed by others as the solid foundation for the group’s own work, without questioning a word of what those models say.

The second major mistake in the government studies is the way in which they frame the social costs of carbon. As all champions of cost/benefit analysis understand, it is a mistake to look at costs in isolation from benefits, or benefits apart from costs. Yet that appears to be the approach taken in these reports. In dealing with various objections to its reports, the IWG noted in its July 2015 response that “some commenters felt that the SCC estimates should include the value to society of the goods and services whose production is associated with CO2 emissions.” Their evasive response has to be quoted in full to be believed: "Rigorous evaluation of benefits and costs is a core tenet of the rulemaking process. The IWG agrees that these are important issues that may be relevant to assessing the impacts of policies that reduce CO2 emissions. However, these issues are not relevant to the SCC itself. The SCC is an estimate of the net economic damages resulting from CO2 emissions, and therefore is used to estimate the benefit of reducing those emissions."

In essence, the benefits from present or future CO2 emissions are not part of the story. Yet a truly neutral account of the problem must be prepared to come to the conclusion that increased levels of CO2 emissions could be, as the Carbon Dioxide Coalition has argued, a net benefit to society when a more comprehensive investigation is made. The entire process of expanding EPA regulations and other Obama administration actions feeds off this incorrect base assumption. The most striking admission of the folly of the entire EPA project comes from EPA Chief Gina McCarthy, who has stated that she would regard a decrease of one one-hundredth of a degree as enormously beneficial, notwithstanding its major cost, because its symbolism would “trigger global action.” No cost/benefit analysis would justify wasted expenditures solely on symbolic grounds. After all, human progress on global warming will only suffer if other nations follow our false siren on CO2 emissions, while ignoring the huge pollution that envelops major population centers like Delhi and Beijing.

Unfortunately, support for regulating CO2 emissions relies unduly on a Regulatory Impact Analysis that is worth no more than the faulty assumptions built into the model. These include the EPA’s hugely complicated Clean Power Plan, temporarily enjoined by the United States Supreme Court, that relies once again on the flawed social costs of carbon estimates.

The weakness of the EPA approach is shown by the data that Greenstone and Sunstein cite to support the contention that global warming has reached dangerous levels. They refer, for example, to a Geophysical Research Letter of 2014 that notes the retreat of ice in the West Antarctic between 1992 and 2011. But that one finding has to be set in context, as is done in the 2016 State of the Climate Report  prepared by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and sent to the U.N. Climate Conference in Morocco. This more complete account notes that the mass gain in East Antarctica has been at 200 billion tons per year on average, compared to the 65 billion tons, which was offset by substantial gains in ice in West Antarctica, generating a net gain of roughly 82 billion tons per year in Antarctic ice between 2003 and 2008. The upshot: “The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away.” Overall, the temperature over the Antarctic has been constant for the past 35 years.

No analysis that looks at the minuses can afford to ignore the larger pluses and maintain its credibility. Indeed, for what it is worth, the CFACT report notes that the ice mass in the Arctic is now about 22 percent greater than it was at its low point in 2012. This fact helps explain why there has been no recent change in the rise of sea levels, and certainly none that can be attributed to the relatively modest level of temperature increases in the past 100 years. Recent trends suggest the rate of increase in ocean levels has been decelerating over the last 18 years, during which time there has been a substantial increase in carbon dioxide levels. Yet the 102 different models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are all high in their estimates, by roughly four-fold. As documented in the 2016 CFACT report, there has been substantially no change in overall global temperature over the past 18 years, and the record highs reported are by tiny fractions of degrees that are smaller than the margin of measurement error. Yet the government’s methodology is to look at the models and ignore the data.

Just that was done by the now anachronistic 2009 EPA Endangerment Findings for Greenhouse Gases, which reported on the overall shrinkage of Arctic ice and claimed that the “elevated CO2 levels” were expected to result “in small beneficial effect[s] on crop yields.” The good news on this point seems to be that the increase in CO2 has led to about a 14 percent increase in green vegetation on earth over the past 30 years, as Matt Ridley reported in a 2016 lecture. It is the best of all possible CO2 worlds if the level of arable land increases with minor temperature changes and there are no appreciable changes in ocean levels. Put these numbers together and a revision of the SCC must be made, as it now appears that the net costs of carbon are negative. Further, the revised projections have only strengthened the lower estimates of global warming from elevated CO2 levels.

This basic conclusion is reinforced by other data, easily accessible, that addresses other concerns raised in the Greenstone and Sunstein article. For starters, there has been no recent increase in the level of storms and floods, or the damage that is said to result from them. To the contrary, the trend line has been unambiguously favorable, as the number of extreme events like floods and storms has declined steadily over the past 100 years. Indeed, the last major event in the United States was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, followed by eleven years of relative tranquility in the United States and around the world. This point is critical because one of the constant claims on global climate change is that the system-wide instability has increased these extreme events, even if overall temperature levels have remained constant.

The overall picture with respect to the SCC, then, is the exact opposite of that described by Greenstone and Sunstein, and that change in direction has a serious effect on the success of various legal challenges. Greenstone and Sunstein note that a legal decision in 2008 held that ignoring the SCC makes an administrative rule “arbitrary and capricious” and thus requires its reformulation by the applicable agency. They also reference another 2016 decision that upheld an administrative decision of the Department of Energy that explicitly took into account the SCC. But these judicial decisions have a surreal aura about them. The key statute for these cases was the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), which was passed in the aftermath of the 1973 Mideast Oil Embargo that followed in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The EPCA’s chief finding was that “the fundamental reality is that this nation has entered a new era in which energy resources previously abundant will remain in short supply, retarding our economic growth and necessitating an alteration in our life’s habits and expectations.”

It was on the strength of this 41-year-old statute that the Court in 2008 required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reissue its rules for the average fuel economy standards for light trucks because they failed to take into account the SCC. The ruling is wholly anachronistic today because the revolution in energy technology has obviated the entire factual premise on which the so-called CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) rules rest. Given fracking, energy is abundant. Thus, the SCC has to be reevaluated in light of evidence collected outside the EPA, and summarized above, none of which was taken into account when working within the closed universe of the current set of environmental and energy laws. At this time, it appears that virtually all the EPA rules rest on outdated science.

Greenstone and Sunstein are not alone in their refusal to deal with evidence that undermines their claims. But if the SCC looks to be negative, the Trump administration should act to eliminate the current endangerment finding for carbon dioxide, and dismantle the regulatory apparatus that rests upon its highly questionable estimation of the positive value of SCC. The sorry truth is that the EPA and the regulatory process in the Obama administration show no respect for the scientific method they claim to rely on.


Forced "Greenhouse" emission reductions entrench high electricity prices in Australia

Significant economic conse­quences are foreshadowed by several ­reports into the electricity industry that were presented to this month’s meeting of ­federal, state and territory energy ministers. Two of those reports addressed issues stemming from Australia’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

One of these, The Future ­Security of the National Electricity Market, was from a group chaired by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel. The other, The Integration of Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy, was prepared by the Australian Energy Market Commission.

The key feature of the Paris Agreement was the pledge by Australia and other developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent by 2030.

Developing countries, which account for a growing 65 per cent of global emissions, have no effective restraints.

Australia ratified the Paris Agreement on the day after Donald Trump’s election victory. The president-elect has pledged to walk away from the agreement, an outcome that would transform it from largely ineffective to totally ­ineffective.

Malcolm Turnbull, however, wishes to push ahead in forcing emission reductions.

But his plans hit a road bump with the release of the draft report from the Finkel committee, which recommended controls over ­future emissions by using a form of carbon tax. When, under media questioning, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg ­acknowledged this, a backbench revolt required Turnbull to ­remove it as a ­policy option.

The same form of carbon tax was canvassed by the AEMC as a means to achieving the planned reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The AEMC costed the measure at $55.4 billion. If, instead, the emission reductions were to be achieved by using a variation of the renewable energy target, these costs would increase to $66.6bn.

Either way, especially in view of the US position, the emission reduction policy is up there in profligacy with two other government spending follies: the National Broadband Network and the submarines.

More immediate energy-­related issues concern the ambitions of Victoria and Queensland to follow South Australia down the renewable path.

Electricity from renewable ­energy costs three times as much to produce as electricity from coal and gas. For this year, the AEMC estimates the cost of existing federal and state renewable energy programs for the average household’s electricity bills at $191 in Queensland (7 per cent of the bill), $109 in NSW, $91 in Victoria and $155 in South Australia.

But these are only the direct costs. The indirect costs, in ­addition to renewable energy’s ­innate unreliability, are greater.

In the first place, this is because electricity market rules mean wind and solar will always run when they are able to do so. This forces other suppliers into stop-start operations, which coal and gas baseload power stations cannot easily accommodate. Those stations are being forced to close and each such closure ramps up the wholesale electricity price.

The AEMC estimates that next year the closure of Hazelwood in Victoria will cause a cost increase of $200 for each household in the state, with lesser cost increases in other jurisdictions.

Second, wind generators ­require increased network spending. The electricity market operator has put a $2.2bn cost on new transmission lines to link Victoria’s proposed wind generators to the grid. This stems from the wind generators wanting to locate in areas where there is weak transmission capacity.

Originally the national electricity market rules required new generators to pay for any addi­tional transmission costs their ­location entailed.

But those sensible rules have gone by the board, hence the costs will be charged to consumers. They amount to about $50 a household a year (and much more than that for businesses).

Third, the AEMC has foreshadowed additional costs, which it is unable to quantify, because of a new back-up power fund to provide system stability to cover wind and solar power’s intrinsic ­inability to offer the same flexibility as the fossil-fuel generators they displace.

Compounding these problems are the measures introduced in NSW and Victoria (and prospectively under a future South Australian Liberal government) to ban or restrict the search for gas.

Households and industry are paying a high price for political meddling reacting to vociferous environmentalists’ pressures and the patronage of renewable ­energy businesses.

Australia has gone much further than any other country with green energy cost impositions.

At the turn of the century, competition reform and privatisations had brought us the world’s cheapest electricity. This has been undone. American and French consumers now pay little more than half our average price and even Japanese households, in a country with negligible domestic energy resources, have electricity cheaper than Australians.

Australia’s low prices were also the attraction for energy-intensive industries, and the news foreshadowing the departure of the Portland Alcoa smelter makes that facility the latest casualty of the nation’s politically induced loss of industry competitiveness.

Sadly, none of the reports before ministers offers a ­return to the low prices households once enjoyed.



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, 2016

Earth's temperatures have always bounced up and down

Temperature reconstructions for the last 10,000 years based on a wide range of proxy data are reported below.  They show that it has in the past been both warmer and cooler than it is today.  Present temperatures are nothing unusual in Earth's history.  Nothing manmade is needed to explain the current temperature averages.  And note that this data concerns the Arctic, the favourite area of the Warmists

Holocene climate change in Arctic Canada and Greenland

Jason P. Briner et al.


This synthesis paper summarizes published proxy climate evidence showing the spatial and temporal pattern of climate change through the Holocene in Arctic Canada and Greenland. Our synthesis includes 47 records from a recently published database of highly resolved Holocene paleoclimate time series from the Arctic (Sundqvist et al., 2014). We analyze the temperature histories represented by the database and compare them with paleoclimate and environmental information from 54 additional published records, mostly from datasets that did not fit the selection criteria for the Arctic Holocene database. Combined, we review evidence from a variety of proxy archives including glaciers (ice cores and glacial geomorphology), lake sediments, peat sequences, and coastal and deep-marine sediments. The temperature-sensitive records indicate more consistent and earlier Holocene warmth in the north and east, and a more diffuse and later Holocene thermal maximum in the south and west. Principal components analysis reveals two dominant Holocene trends, one with early Holocene warmth followed by cooling in the middle Holocene, the other with a broader period of warmth in the middle Holocene followed by cooling in the late Holocene. The temperature decrease from the warmest to the coolest portions of the Holocene is 3.0 ± 1.0 °C on average (n = 11 sites). The Greenland Ice Sheet retracted to its minimum extent between 5 and 3 ka, consistent with many sites from around Greenland depicting a switch from warm to cool conditions around that time. The spatial pattern of temperature change through the Holocene was likely driven by the decrease in northern latitude summer insolation through the Holocene, the varied influence of waning ice sheets in the early Holocene, and the variable influx of Atlantic Water into the study region.

Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 147, 1 September 2016, Pages 340–364

Congress: Obama Admin Fired Top Scientist to Advance Climate Change Plans

Investigation claims Obama admin retaliated against scientists, politicized DoE

A new congressional investigation has determined that the Obama administration fired a top scientist and intimidated staff at the Department of Energy in order to further its climate change agenda, according to a new report that alleges the administration ordered top officials to obstruct Congress in order to forward this agenda.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, released a wide-ranging report on Tuesday that shows how senior Obama administration officials retaliated against a leading scientist and plotted ways to block a congressional inquiry surrounding key research into the impact of radiation.

A top DoE scientist who liaised with Congress on the matter was fired by the Obama administration for being too forthright with lawmakers, according to the report, which provides an in-depth look at the White House’s efforts to ensure senior staffers toe the administration’s line.

The report also provides evidence that the Obama administration worked to kill legislation in order to ensure that it could receive full funding for its own hotly contested climate change agenda.

The report additionally discovered efforts by the Obama administration to censor the information given to Congress, interfering with the body’s ability to perform critical oversight work.

“Instead of providing the type of scientific information needed by Congress to legislate effectively, senior departmental officials sought to hide information, lobbied against legislation, and retaliated against a scientist for being forthcoming,” Smith said in a statement. “In this staff report based on lengthy record before the committee, much has been revealed about how senior level agency officials under the Obama administration retaliated against a scientist who did not follow the party line.”

“Moving forward, the department needs to overhaul its management practices to ensure that Congress is provided the information it requires to legislate and that federal employees and scientists who provide that information do so without fear of retribution,” Smith said.

The report goes into Congress’ efforts to regulate the Low Dose Radiation Research Program, or LDRRP, which sought to test the impact of radiation on human beings. The program, started in the 1990s, was meant to support research into waste cleanup and the impact of nuclear weapons.

In mid-2014, lawmakers introduced legislation, the Low Dose Radiation Act of 2014, to help regulate the program and minimize harmful side effects.

During an October 2014 briefing with senior DoE staff on the matter, lawmakers heard testimony from Dr. Noelle Metting, the radiation research program’s manager.

Less than a month later, lawmakers discovered that Obama administration officials had “removed Dr. Metting from federal service for allegedly providing too much information in response to questions posed by” Congress during the briefing, the report states.

Congressional investigators later determined that the administration’s “actions to remove Dr. Metting were, in part, retaliation against Dr. Metting because she refused to conform to the predetermined remarks and talking points designed by Management to undermine the advancement of” the 2014 radiation act.

Emails unearthed during the investigation “show a sequence of events leading to a premeditated scheme by senior DoE employees ‘to squash the prospects of Senate support'” for the radiation act, a move that lawmakers claim was meant to help advance President Obama’s own climate change goals.

“The committee has learned that one of DoE’s stated purposes for Dr. Metting’s removal from federal service was her failure to confine the discussion at the briefing to pre-approved talking points,” according to the report. “The committee has also established that DoE management … failed to exercise even a minimal standard of care to avoid chilling other agency scientists as a result of the retaliation against Dr. Metting for her refusal to censor information from Congress.”

The investigation concluded that “DoE placed its own priorities to further the president’s Climate Action Plan before its constitutional obligations to be candid with Congress,” the report states. “The DoE’s actions constitute a reckless and calculated attack on the legislative process itself, which undermines the power of Congress to legislate. The committee further concludes that DoE’s disregard for separation of powers is not limited to a small group of employees, but rather is an institutional problem that must be corrected by overhauling its management practices with respect to its relationship with the Congress.”

These moves by the administration were part of an effort to secure full funding for the president’s climate change agenda, the report claims.

“Instead of working to understand the value of the LDRRP for emergency situations, DoE Management engaged in a campaign to terminate research programs that could divert funds from the president’s Climate Action Plan,” the report states.

Congress is recommending a full overhaul of the DoE’s management structure in order to ensure this type of situation does not occur again.


It’s climate regulations that threaten us

H. Sterling Burnett

Here are some climate actions President Trump could take to Make America Great Again

In President-Elect Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter, a “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again,” Mr. Trump outlines several measures he says he will undertake to create jobs and spur economic growth.

While much of his proposed agenda will help to improve the economy while also leaving reasonable environmental protections in place, I believe there are two additional environment-related policy changes that he could take to jump-start the economy.

In a September 21, 2015, appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Mr. Trump said, “I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. I mean, Obama thinks it’s the number-one problem in the world today. I think it’s very low on the list.… We have much bigger problems.”

If these comments accurately reflect Trump’s views, a first important step he could take to undo the damage done by the Obama administration’s vainglorious attempt to control climate and weather would be to reverse the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) determination that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant endangering public and environmental health.

This “endangerment finding” came about in response to EPA following a narrow 5-4 Supreme Court decision in the 2007 case Massachusetts v. EPA. In that case, a majority of the justices ruled that, if EPA determines carbon-dioxide emissions are causing global warming – and global warming may reasonably be expected to endanger public health or welfare – then EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

In fact, the justices ruled, EPA would be required to regulate carbon dioxide under such a finding, unless it can provide a reasonable basis for not choosing to regulate this vitally important, plant-fertilizing gas.

Relying on unsubstantiated projections produced by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, EPA did determine that CO2 emissions from cars and industry do threaten human welfare. That led directly to the agency’s decision to limit those emissions.

For instance, the endangerment finding was the basis for ratcheting up automobile fuel-economy standards to 54.5 mpg by 2025. That could soon mean consumers no longer have the right or ability to choose the vehicles they drive – based on safety, passenger or cargo considerations, for example – by either forcing all but the smallest cars off the roads or, at the very least, making larger cars and trucks too expensive for all but the relatively wealthy to drive.

Additionally, the endangerment finding serves as the foundation for various Obama administration regulations requiring utilities, oil and gas producers, and other entities to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. If these draconian rules are not overturned by the Trump Administration, Americans will pay much more for energy and their energy supplies will be less reliable.

Mr. Trump cannot undo the endangerment finding with the stroke of a pen. To reverse it, he must instead charge EPA to demonstrate, through independent, validated research, that carbon-dioxide emissions are “toxic” (which they are not at any levels that might occur in Earth’s atmosphere) – or that global warming is causing measurable amounts of sea-level rise, increased hurricane numbers or intensity, the spread of diseases, or other harms directly attributable to carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States.

If EPA cannot directly link such problems to U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions – and it can’t – or cannot show such problems can be dramatically reduced by cutting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions – and again it can’t – then EPA should withdraw the endangerment finding.

Withdrawing the endangerment finding would end the legal justification for a range of burdensome climate regulations. In the process, it would also end radical environmental activists’ ability to use courts to impose climate policies on an unwilling public whose elected representatives have repeatedly rejected climate policies.

Second, President-Elect Trump also recognizes that, to fully reverse Barack Obama’s harmful climate policies, the United States must withdraw from international climate agreements that drive and justify many domestic climate actions – and must stop diverting billions of dollars of taxpayer money from important domestic and defense concerns to U.N. climate programs.

In his Contract with the American Voter, Mr. Trump pledges to “cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs, and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.”

Trump can accomplish this unilaterally by halting the Obama administration’s illegal shift of State Department funds – funds that Congress directed would be used in other diplomatic programs, such as combating virulent diseases – to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund.

The easiest way for President Trump to end the United States’ participation in all international climate agreements would be for him, on day one, to remove America’s signature from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Article 25 of the UNFCCC allows any state party to that convention to withdraw upon giving one year’s notice, without incurring any further obligation

In fact, withdrawing from the UNFCCC would cancel United States obligations to all other U.N.-brokered climate agreements subsequent to it, including the Paris “agreement” that President Obama signed, because all subsequent agreements were built upon UNFCCC.

Our nation is not threatened by manmade climate change. It is threatened by regulations implemented in the name of protecting us from dangerous manmade climate and weather.

These two actions would be a great first step toward “putting America first” during President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

Via email

A Chance for Congress to Kill Some Cronyism

President-elect Donald Trump ran in part against the business-as-usual cronyism that has for decades been rampant in Washington, D.C. His pledge to “Drain the Swamp” resoundingly resonated – and helped propel him to the presidency.

Congress has been a chronic, consistent swamp filler. Now, headed into the Trump presidency, Congress has an opportunity to reverse course and start draining. They absolutely should avail themselves.

The prospective cronyism in question revolves around the West Lake Landfill in Bridgetown, Missouri (located near Saint Louis’ Lambert Airport). A limestone quarry in the 1930s, it during World War II and into the 1960s became a dumping ground for, amongst other things, processed uranium.

Thankfully, a 2015 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study concluded that the site actually poses no health risk. Nevertheless, the Agency had in 1990 declared West Lake a Superfund site designated for cleanup – so a cleanup we will have.

But this is government – and government moves…s l o w l y. The EPA didn’t get around to hiring anyone to do the work until…2015. At which point the speed of the private sector would have kicked in. The cleanup company retained would have had the gig finished by the end of this year. One year – and done. No fuss – no more muss.

Great news, right? Well, not for the Teamsters Union. The Teamsters haven’t unionized the landfill cleanup company – so they had no hand in the job. So they began methodically working to kill the cleanup. Because they are, first and foremost, environmentalists concerned about the Earth. I kid. They want the deal cancelled – and redone involving them.

But the Teamsters alone leading the charge isn’t so pretty a messaging face. Like everyone else on the Left, the Teamsters love touchy-feely front groups. These gaggles are the smiley-face masks over the Left’s snarling visage.

For the radical environmentalists opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline – it’s the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe. For the Teamsters, on Westlake – it’s Just Moms Saint Louis: “(F)ounded…in 2013 ‘to educate the community about the potential hazards and health risks surrounding the West Lake Landfill.’ The group has hosted town hall meetings, amassed 18,000 members to its Facebook page, lobbied members of Congress and been described as ‘a surprisingly powerful force.’”

Their “surprisingly powerful” lobbying is a little less surprising – when you remember they are backed by and teamed with the Teamsters: “The Teamsters Union mentions Just Mom STL in numerous press releases and other communications materials on its website.  Moreover, the Teamsters Union has hosted press conferences and educational events with Just Moms STL.”

Remember, Just Moms StL claims to just and only want the Westlake landfill cleaned up. They were founded in 2013 – when they had a prospectively legitimate gripe. But they succeeded – the EPA in 2015 got off its duff and hired a company to do the job. Which would by now be totally finished – were it not for Just Moms StL (and their Teamsters teammates) continuing to agitate.

Which means this isn’t about a landfill cleanup. It’s about the Teamsters cleaning up – at our exorbitant expense.

Which leads us to Washington D.C. – and yet another raft of Congressional cronyism: “In February 2016…the Senate passed a bill to transfer the clean up (from the EPA) to the Army Corps of Engineers. (Missouri) Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill introduced the legislation.”

Get that? A Missouri Democrat – gumming up the works to assist the Teamsters in getting a government gig in Missouri. And lest we forget: “About 20 percent of Teamsters workers are employed by the federal government.” I’m sure that stat has nothing to do with anything here.

If the Army Corps of Engineers takes over, we’ll undoubtedly be subjected to years of additional delay and hundreds of millions of dollars of additional waste.

All to clean up a site that isn’t hurting anyone. And which would already be cleaned up and forgotten – had Just Moms StL taken for an answer the “Yes” they claimed all along to have wanted.

But the Army Corps of Engineers will likely absurdly overpay the Teamsters to do the job – and that’s all that really matters in Crony Town.

The ridiculous McCaskill Senate-passed bill – now sits in the House: “(W)here supporters with ties to big labor unions are pushing to get it passed without scrutiny.”

The bill should proceed – absolutely nowhere. It should suffer death by Congressional inattentiveness. It’s pointless – it’s wasteful – it’s cronyism. It’s everything pre-Trump Washington was.

It’s time to put that past behind us.


Obama Said to Use 1953 Law to Restrict Offshore Oil Drilling

President Barack Obama is preparing to block the sale of new offshore drilling rights in most of the U.S. Arctic and parts of the Atlantic, a move that could indefinitely restrict oil production there, according to people familiar with the decision.

Obama will invoke a provision in a 1953 law that gives him wide latitude to withdraw U.S. waters from future oil and gas leasing, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced. Until now the law has been used mostly to permanently preserve coral reefs, walrus feeding grounds and marine sanctuaries.

Related actions by Canada, including a possible five-year pause on some activity in its share of the Beaufort Sea north of Canada’s Northwest Territories, will be announced at the same time as the U.S. action, the people said.

"If the reports are right, then this is a gift to the public and to our kids that will rank with any in the history of American conservation," said Niel Lawrence, Alaska director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Coming in the waning days of his administration, Obama’s move -- set to be announced Tuesday -- responds to a clamor from environmental activists who have looked for a way to lock in protections before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

Environmentalists said the action would further bolster Obama’s legacy as the president who has done more than any other to combat climate change, because it would illustrate he believes the warming Earth can’t afford the oil and gas locked under the Arctic and Atlantic waters targeted for protection.

“If President Obama acts to permanently protect important areas of the Atlantic Ocean from offshore drilling, he will be making a good decision -- a smart business decision -- based on science and facts," said Jacqueline Savitz, a senior vice president with the conservation group Oceana. "This decision would help to protect existing lucrative coastal tourism and fishing businesses from offshore drilling, which promises smaller, short-lived returns and threatens coastal livelihoods."

Spokesmen for the White House and the Canadian prime minister’s office declined to comment.

Using the so-called 12(a) provision of Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to keep drilling out of big chunks of the nation’s territorial oceans is sure to draw a legal challenge, and there is scant legal precedent on the matter. Trump may rescind Obama’s order, but the statute doesn’t include a provision for reversal and that action may take years to work its way through court.

"I see no evidence that Congress ever intended for these withdrawals to be reversible; courts should respect that," Lawrence said.

The Republican-led Congress could advance legislation to undo the ocean withdrawals and eliminate the underlying provision empowering Obama’s move.


Although oil companies have struggled to tap resources at the top of the globe, industry leaders say they will be needed to meet the world’s energy needs. The industry’s top trade group, the American Petroleum Institute, cast the idea of permanently withdrawing offshore waters as detrimental to national security.

"Blocking offshore exploration would weaken our national security, destroy good-paying jobs and could make energy less affordable for consumers," said Erik Milito, an upstream director for the group. "Fortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent ban, and we look forward to working with the new administration on fulfilling the will of American voters on energy production."

Lucas Frances, spokesperson for the oil industry-supported Arctic Energy Center, said company bidding in recent sales of Alaska and federal territory -- including $870,000 for state waters hugging the coastline -- illustrate there is continued interest in exploring the area.

“The administration has always justified a ban on Arctic development because of an alleged lack of local support or industry interest," Frances said, adding that polling of Native Alaskans shows that is unfounded.

“If reports are true, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Obama administration is playing politics with the future of Alaska,” Francis said.

Obama’s withdrawals would block the sale of new oil and gas leases in portions of the U.S. Atlantic and most of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska. They are not expected to affect drilling or production under existing leases, including 42 parcels that Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Hilcorp Energy Co., Eni Spa, Repsol Sa and other companies own in the Beaufort, according to a government registry last updated in June.

The action also doesn’t affect waters under state jurisdiction, including part of the Beaufort Sea where a Texas company recently trumpeted a potential 6 billion barrel discovery.

Obama had already ruled out selling new leases in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific from 2017 to 2022. This is different: It would explicitly put certain areas off limits for oil exploration and production.



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


21 December, 2016

More wildfires ahead for Tasmania's wilderness as globe warms (?)

Warmists seem determined to turn physics on its head.  The report below is based on global warming causing lower rainfall.  I quote from the underlying bureaucratic report:  "The major impacts projected to occur from climate change are related to increases in vegetation and soil dryness and flammability".

But it's basic that warmer water evaporates more vigorously.  That's why your kettle gives off steam. And that evaporated water comes down soon after as rain.  So warmer oceans should bring MORE rain, not less. Soils should be WETTER, not dryer!  Science flies out the window with Warmists.  Warmism is a cult, not science

Would it have made any difference if this bureaucratic report had undergone peer review?  Probably not

Tasmania's globally recognised and protected wilderness faces a growing threat of bushfire.

That's the worrying revelation of a new report looking at the impact of climate change on the 1.6 million-hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"This report concludes that the risks of bushfire to the TWWHA will increase in coming years under the influence of climate change," author Tony Press wrote in the document published on Tuesday for the state government.

With less than a month until the mid-January anniversary of devastating fires which ravaged about 19,800 hectares of unique and aged temperate rainforest, Dr Press and a team of experts have made a number of recommendations.

"It is likely that climatic conditions like those in 2016 will re-occur, and other aspects of fire risk will also increase," he said.

"It is therefore important to take the lessons learned from the 2016 bushfires, and the climate projections referred to in this report, to prepare for a future where fire management in the TWWHA is expected to be more challenging.

"The increase in bushfire risk has already started, and changes to management are needed now and well into the future."

Across January and February Tasmania recorded thousands of lightning strikes which started multiple fires in dry conditions, with 145 known blazes affecting almost 127,000 hectares.

It took more than 6,500 local, interstate and overseas professional and volunteer firefighters and up to 40 aircraft, as part of a coordinated effort costing an estimated $52 million.

It also sparked a senate inquiry.

"Increased spring and summer dryness, lower rainfall, higher temperatures and increased occurrence of lightning fires, combined, pose a major challenge to fire management in the TWWHA and the long-term protection of its natural and cultural values," the report said.

Eighteen recommendations include improvements or a review of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery methods.

The state government said changes have already been made ahead of the 2016-17 bushfire season.

"It's important to understand that fires within the TWWHA have happened before and the January event was not an isolated occurrence," a ministerial statement read.


Britain to mine coal again

In northeastern England, a battle is raging between grass roots campaigners and a company intent on digging a new open cast mine as world coal prices soar.

A year after Britain closed its last deep coal mine and pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation, the economics of mining have been transformed.

Coal prices have risen by well over 100 per cent this year to $US100 a tonne. Some mining stocks have risen even more, spurred by US President-elect Donald Trump's pledges to revive coal and pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Some wonder how long the coal price surge will last, but in Northumberland, the Banks Group is pressing ahead with plans for a new mine despite opposition from local environmentalists.

Northumberland County Council agreed that Banks could extract three million tonnes of coal by cutting an open cast mine near Druridge Bay, a scenic windswept arc of white sand and grassy dunes on the North Sea coast.

The government has "called in" the application, meaning there will be a public enquiry in 2017.

Jeannie Kielty, who works on community relations for Banks, says open cast is part of the social fabric of the northeast, an area with a long history of coal mining.

"The benefits that come from these sites can't be over-stated," she says. "We are frustrated with the call-in because it delays us, but we still believe we can work the site."

On the other side of the argument is the Save Druridge Bay campaign, led by a hard core of eight campaigners. It also has high-profile support from television personality and comedian and keen bird watcher Bill Oddie.

"Suddenly someone wants to turn the clock back in some really perverse way," Oddie said at a campaigning beach party in May. "It's sacrilege."

Banks has overcome opposition in the past, appealing successfully against a ban on developing another site in the area at Shotton.

Situated on the Blagdon Estate owned by Matt Ridley, a peer and Conservative politician who has said climate change has done more good than harm, Shotton has been mined by Banks since 2008.

Banks says all the coal at Shotton and Highthorn, the site of the proposed mine, can be extracted by the government's 2025 deadline for phasing out coal-fired power generation.

But the company plans to expand. In September, Banks announced it was exporting coal to Spain and has begun canvassing opinion on a project to extract 800,000 tonnes of coal at Dewley Hill near Newcastle.

British planning rules and the government's drive to close coal-fired power stations do allow coal mining in some circumstances.

The phase-out plans apply only to so-called unabated coal, meaning a company that has the technology to reduce emissions can carry on generating power with coal.

Exceptions can also be made if there is a risk that supplies will be disrupted, a danger heightened by Britain's vote to leave the European Union. That makes the country more reliant on its own resources and less sure it can tap into the European power grid.

Big banks say they have stopped funding coal in Britain, although they may consider projects in some emerging economies.

For shareholders, it made financial sense to get out of the industry a year ago, when mining stocks and coal prices were collapsing. Now the mining sector offers attractive yields at a time when interest rates are at record lows.

Shares in Glencore, the world's biggest shipper of seaborne coal, have risen more than 200 per cent since January.

Fossil Free, which campaigns against fossil fuels, says the shift towards a low carbon economy is irreversible. But while 580 international investment institutions pledged to abandon coal in 2015, the group does not know how many have kept their promise.

Northumberland County Council planning officer Frances Wilkinson, who prepared the report recommending approval for Highthorn, faced a different question.

She found the decision very difficult as the environmental impact and the benefits were "finely balanced".

She was guided, she said, by a clause in planning regulations that permission should not be given for coal mining unless the proposal is environmentally acceptable or can be made so, or "it provides national, local or community benefits which clearly outweigh the likely impacts".

Banks says Highthorn will employ 100 people and generate GBP48 million pounds ($A81 million) in related contracts and other benefits to the community.

In 2015, Banks made an operating profit of GBP18 million pounds, down from GBP27 million pounds the previous year because of a fall in coal prices.

It says its break-even coal price is a commercial secret but it can make a profit even when prices are low. The group also includes a renewables arm and a property division.


Is This the End of Obama’s EPA Legacy?

President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to pick Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency indicates that Trump intends to dismantle President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy.

Writers at the Environmental Defense Fund have criticized Pruitt for his ties to fossil fuel interests, implying that placing him in EPA’s top spot would be like putting a fox in charge of the hen house. Nevertheless, Trump is motivated by the belief that EPA needs to “refocus.”

As Obama was running for the White House eight years ago, he said that his environmental plan would make electricity rates “skyrocket.” During his time as president, the EPA has loosed a series of regulations that not only lay the groundwork for higher electricity prices but that have cost tens of thousands of people their livelihoods.

Last month, a District Court judge reprimanded EPA for failing to comply with a requirement in the Clean Air Act mandating that it estimate the number of jobs lost as a result of environmental regulations. Over the last few years, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy responded to requests for such job-loss estimates by stating that those calculations were not done because they are of “limited utility.”

To whom, one might ask? EPA’s bureaucrats, obviously.

It’s unfortunate that the EPA thinks the livelihoods of thousands of people who may be adversely affected by regulation are not worth studying. This is sloppy policymaking that indicates the EPA is more concerned with pursuing a political agenda than with crafting sound policy.

During Obama’s tenure, the EPA has grown bold in manipulating the legal process in order to achieve political goals. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, for example, was sold as a public health safeguard that would cut mercury and acid gas emissions. But the pleasant-sounding rule will cost power plants almost $10 billion per year (a cost passed to electricity consumers), promising benefits of just $4 million to $6 million per year.

In order to justify the high cost of MATS to the public, EPA channeled the ghosts of Enron past and used some creative accounting by including the co-benefits resulting from the reduction of substances that are not covered under the hazardous-air-pollutants program.

More concerning than EPA’s dubious accounting practices, however, is its flippant attitude toward the legal framework within which it must operate. Before the Supreme Court even decided on the appropriateness of MATS, Administrator McCarthy stated that the ruling of the Supreme Court wouldn’t matter because the litigation process had taken so long that most of the power plants were either in compliance already or would be soon.

This means that EPA has the ability to do sloppy work, exploit the legal process, and still get its way, regardless of whether the rule is appropriate and necessary. The British novelist C.S. Lewis wrote of people who behave in such a manner; he called them “moral busybodies ... (who) will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Cheap and abundant energy is the bedrock of our economy and is necessary to maintain our high standard of living. Regulation affecting our energy supply should be appropriate, necessary, and crafted with great care. It should not be done without honest reflection about those who will be harmed in order to achieve the desired result.

Let’s hope that Trump’s pick to head his administration’s EPA is able to refocus and restrain the agency’s overreaches because all Americans are affected by the decisions made by a small group of bureaucrats in Washington.


Let’s Make American Energy Great Again

For the past eight years, President Barack Obama and his allies in Congress have feverishly worked to centralize energy regulatory power in Washington, empowering federal bureaucrats to micromanage how energy producers operate their facilities and run their businesses.

The fundamental problem with centralized regulatory authority is the tendency of Washington bureaucrats to be ignorant of—and often indifferent to—the interests of the people who live in the communities that are affected by their rules.

This isn’t a knock on the men and women who work in the federal bureaucracy, most of whom are well-educated and well-intentioned. But there’s no doubt that a regulator in Washington, D.C., knows less about a coal mine in Sevier County, Utah, than a regulator in Salt Lake City.

But starting in January 2017, we can begin to move all that decision-making power closer to the people.

The incoming Congress and new administration give us the best opportunity in recent memory to put Washington—especially federal energy policy—back on the side of hardworking Americans.

This will require a dual-track approach that simultaneously reins in our hyperactive federal bureaucracy and takes positive steps to return regulatory authority to the states.

We can—and should—start the process of repealing the most harmful and costly federal regulations right away. For President-elect Donald Trump, this means undoing many of his predecessor’s executive orders, like the moratorium on coal leasing.

And on Capitol Hill, we can get to work immediately after the new Congress is sworn in, by using the Congressional Review Act to rescind the laundry list of regulations the Obama administration issued in the past several months.

Much of this can be accomplished in the first 100 days of the new administration. But we must also advance long-term, structural solutions that decentralize regulatory authority out of the federal bureaucracy.

This should begin with a much-needed and fundamental attitude adjustment within administrative agencies (which is one reason I’m extremely encouraged by the nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency), so that Washington’s regulators remember that their job is to work with—not condescend to—the states.

Finally, Congress should work to pass, and get signed into law, legislation that empowers states to resume their rightful role in regulating the energy producers within their borders.

For federal lands states, like Utah, I believe the only fair and sustainable solution is a full transfer of all noncontroversial federal land back to the state governments.

But this is a long-term goal, and in the meantime, we can develop solutions that encourage co-management of public lands and that prevent federal rules from pre-empting or overriding effective regulations implemented by state agencies.

Advancing public policies that support and strengthen the revival of energy production in our country is important for all Americans, but especially for our fellow citizens involved in producing, refining, and transporting our nation’s energy resources—jobs like construction workers, rig and drill operators, and miners—where upwards of 90 percent of workers don’t have, or need, a college degree.

If we want our economy to produce the jobs and wage growth it has in the past, the energy sector is perhaps the best area for the incoming administration to start.


Fact Checking The Claim Of 97% Consensus On Anthropogenic Climate Change

A very cautious approach

The claim that there is a 97% consensus among scientists that humans are the cause of global warming is widely made in climate change literature and by political figures. It has been heavily publicized, often in the form of pie charts, as illustrated by this figure from the Consensus Project.

The 97% figure has been disputed and vigorously defended, with emotional arguments and counterarguments published in a number of papers. Although the degree of consensus is only one of several arguments for anthropogenic climate change – the statements of professional societies and evidence presented in reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are others – there is data to suggest that support is lower. In this post, I attempt to determine whether the 97% consensus is fact or fiction.

The 97% number was popularized by two articles, the first by Naomi Oreskes, now Professor of Science History and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, and the second by a group of authors led by John Cook, the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland. Both papers were based on analyses of earlier publications. Other analyses and surveys arrive at different, often lower, numbers depending in part on how support for the concept was defined and on the population surveyed.

This public discussion was started by Oreskes’ brief 2004 article, which included an analysis of 928 papers containing the keywords “global climate change.” The article says “none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position” of anthropogenic global warming. Although this article makes no claim to a specific number, it is routinely described as indicating 100% agreement and used as support for the 97% figure.

In a 2007 book chapter, Oreskes infers that the lack of expressed dissent “demonstrates that any remaining professional dissent is now exceedingly minor.” The chapter revealed that there were about 235 papers in the 2004 article, or 25%, that endorsed the position. An additional 50% were interpreted to have implicitly endorsed, primarily on the basis that they discussed evaluation of impacts. Authors addressing impacts might believe that the Earth is warming without believing it is anthropogenic. In the article, Oreskes said some authors she counted "might believe that current climate change is natural." It is impossible to tell from this analysis how many actually believed it. On that basis, I find that this study does not support the 97% number.

The most influential and most debated article was the 2013 paper by Cook, et al., which popularized the 97% figure. The authors used methodology similar to Oreskes but based their analysis on abstracts rather than full content. I do not intend to reopen the debate over this paper. Instead, let’s consider it along with some of the numerous other surveys available.

Reviews of published surveys were published in 2016 by Cook and his collaborators and by Richard S. J. Tol, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex. The 2016 Cook paper, which reviews 14 published analyses and includes among its authors Oreskes and several authors of the papers shown in the chart below, concludes that the scientific consensus “is robust, with a range of 90%–100% depending on the exact question, timing and sampling methodology.” The chart shows the post-2000 opinions summarized in Table 1 of the paper. Dates given are those of the survey, not the publication date. I’ve added a 2016 survey of meteorologists from George Mason University and omitted the Oreskes article.

The classification of publishing and non-publishing is that used by Cook and his collaborators. These categories are intended to be measures of how active the scientists in the sample analyzed have been in writing peer-reviewed articles on climate change. Because of different methodology, that information is not available in all of the surveys. The categorization should be considered an approximation. The chart shows that over half the surveys in the publishing category and all the surveys in the non-publishing category are below 97%.

Cook is careful to describe his 2013 study results as being based on “climate experts.” Political figures and the popular press are not so careful. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have repeatedly characterized it as 97% of scientists. Kerry has gone so far as to say that “97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible.” This is patently wrong, since the Cook study and others showed that the majority of papers take no position. One does not expect nuance in political speeches, and the authors of scientific papers cannot be held responsible for the statements of politicians and the media.

Given these results, it is clear that support among scientists for human-caused climate change is below 97%. Most studies including specialties other than climatologists find support in the range of 80% to 90%. The 97% consensus of scientists, when used without limitation to climate scientists, is false.

In the strict sense, the 97% consensus is false, even when limited to climate scientists. The 2016 Cook review found the consensus to be “shared by 90%–100% of publishing climate scientists.” One survey found it to be 84%. Continuing to claim 97% support is deceptive. I find the 97% consensus of climate scientists to be overstated.

An important consideration in this discussion is that we are attempting to define a single number to represent a range of opinions which have many nuances. To begin with, as Oreskes says, “often it is challenging to determine exactly what the authors of the paper[s] do think about global climate change.” In addition, published surveys vary in methodology. They do not ask the same questions in the same format, are collected by different sampling methods, and are rated by different individuals who may have biases. These issues are much discussed in the literature on climate change, including in the articles discussed here.

The range of opinions and the many factors affecting belief in anthropogenic climate change cannot be covered here. The variety of opinion can be illustrated by one graph from the 2013 repeat of the Bray and von Storch survey showing the degree of belief that recent or future climate change is due to or will be caused by human activity. A value of 1 indicates not convinced and a value of 7 is very much convinced. The top three values add to 81%, roughly in the range of several other surveys.

Even though belief is clearly below 97%, support over 80% is strong consensus. Would a lower level of consensus convince anyone concerned about anthropogenic global warming to abandon their views and advocate unrestricted burning of fossil fuels? I think not. Even the 2016 Cook paper says “From a broader perspective, it doesn’t matter if the consensus number is 90% or 100%.”

Despite the difficulty in defining a precise number and the opinion that the exact number is not important, 97% continues to be widely publicized and defended. One might ask why 97% is important. Perhaps it’s because 97% has marketing value. It sounds precise and says that only 3% disagree. By implication, that small number who disagree must be out of the mainstream: cranks, chronic naysayers, or shills of the fossil fuel industry. They are frequently described as a “tiny minority.” It’s not as easy to discount dissenters if the number is 10 or 15 percent.

The conclusions of the IPCC are the other most often cited support for anthropogenic climate change. These conclusions are consensus results of a committee with thousands of contributors. Although this is often viewed as a monolithic conclusion, the nature of committee processes makes it virtually certain that there are varying degrees of agreement, similar to what was shown in the Bray and von Storch survey. The Union of Concerned Scientists says of the IPCC process “it would be clearly unrealistic to aim for unanimous agreement on every aspect of the report.” Perhaps this is a subject for another day.



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, 2016

Graham Readfearn is very shouty in his latest climate peroration

Graham lives in Australia and makes part of his living by writing articles in support of global warming.  So he is not an impartial commentator.  He is well-funded for his puerile efforts. But he has clearly run out of ideas.  What he writes below is just a shouting match -- a stream of abuse.  It's  totally "ad hominem", which is the antithesis of science. 

He mentions not a single climate statistic.  No mention, for instance, that after all the El Nino excitement, the global temperature has returned to its 21st century plateau level. I guess that would be too awkward altogether.

All he was able to do in his article below was to summon up a host of boogeymen.  You are just supposed to agree with him without any benefit of facts and rational argument.  He comes across in his article as a would-be ecofascist Dr. Goebbels, a propagandist for hire.  If he ever knew any science, he seems to have long since forgotten it

For well over a decade now, Australia’s climate policy has been battered, torn and held back by climate science denial and a broader antipathy towards environmentalism. The same interests and ideologies that have worked for decades to reach the current crescendo in the US have been doing the same thing here.

Neatly connecting Australia and the US is the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who earlier this week met with a who’s who of the climate science denial industry in Washington DC, including Ebell.

Think we’re immune to the Trump denialism? You haven’t been paying attention.

When Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal party leadership to Tony Abbott in 2009, it was Turnbull’s then refusal to back away from pricing greenhouse gas emissions that turned the party room against him. From that point onward, pricing carbon became a no-go zone for the Liberal party.

A chief architect of that leadership coup was the then South Australian senator Nick Minchin, who, a month earlier, told ABC’s Four Corners he didn’t accept that humans caused climate change. Rather, Minchin considered the issue a plot by the “extreme left” to “deindustrialise the world”.

After the ABC program aired, the journalist Sarah Ferguson said Turnbull had refused interview requests because he “didn’t want to face the sceptics”.

You might think Turnbull would have learned his lesson. But, from his latest meek surrender to the deniers in his party, it seems not. He still won’t take them on.

Earlier this month, the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, said a review of Australia’s climate change policy would include a look at an emissions trading scheme for the electricity sector – the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Australia.

Within 24 hours, Frydenberg backed down and, soon after, Turnbull said carbon pricing was not party policy and this would not be considered – even though all the expert advice tells him that it would be the cheapest way to cut emissions and would likely deliver billions of dollars in savings on power prices in coming years.

That capitulation was another example of Turnbull giving in to the deniers in the right of the party – in particular, another South Australian senator in the form of Cory Bernardi.

Bernardi, too, refuses to accept the mountains of evidence that burning fossil fuels is causing climate change.

The recently appointed chairman of the Coalition’s backbench environment committee is the Liberal MP Craig Kelly – another climate science denier.

Going further back, Abbott’s position on climate science was heavily influenced by the mining industry figure and geologist Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth – a tome packed with contradictory arguments, dodgy citations and errors too numerous to count (actually, celebrated mathematical physicist Dr Ian Enting did count them and found at least 126).

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Roman Catholic, also took his lead from Plimer’s book.

And who can forget Abbott’s business adviser Maurice Newman and his claims that climate science is fraudulent and acting as cover for the UN to install a one-world government – the exact same position taken by Roberts and other fake freedom fighters.

Another Coalition MP seen as influential is the Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen.

Like Roberts and Bernardi before him, Christensen has attended US conferences of anti-climate science activists hosted by the Heartland Institute (that group has been heavily funded by the family foundation of Robert Mercer, the ultrarich conservative hedge fund manager whose millions helped get Trump elected and whose daughter Rebekah is a pivotal member of Trump’s transition team).

Just like the US, Australia too has its own “free market” conservative groups pushing climate science denial. Look no further than Melbourne’s Institute of Public Affairs (which only last year was called in to “balance” a climate science briefing to Kelly’s committee).

How about the media? Rupert Murdoch’s outlets the Wall Street Journal and Fox News help to push themes that climate scientists are frauds, that action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will wreck the economy and that renewable energy can’t keep the lights on.

The stable of flagship commentators working on Murdoch’s News Corp Australia, led by the likes of Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Chris Kenny and Terry McCrann, are all happy to repeat and embellish those same talking points.

On the radio, the US has popular conservatives such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh pushing climate science denial. In Australia, we have Alan Jones and his stable of shouty Macquarie Radio colleagues.

At this point, some will argue Australia and the rest of the world is investing heavily in renewables. The US, like Australia, is seeing strong growth in the renewable energy sector. That’s all true.

Also true is the progress made through the international agreements made in Paris, even though the climate pledges that make up the deal still fall well short of averting dangerous climate change.

But there’s little doubt that climate science denial is on the march, backed by a conspiracy culture that’s rapidly gaining audiences online.

Trump is climate science denial’s greatest propaganda victory so far. Australia is not immune.


A reasonable bit of research with the compulsory global warming add-on

The authors below do a persuasive job of explaining the big California oyster die-off of 2011 but, on the basis on no data whatever, suggest that such event will become more frequent.  Pitiable

Atmospheric rivers and the mass mortality of wild oysters: insight into an extreme future?

Brian S. Cheng et al.


Climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and severity of extreme events. However, the biological consequences of extremes remain poorly resolved owing to their unpredictable nature and difficulty in quantifying their mechanisms and impacts. One key feature delivering precipitation extremes is an atmospheric river (AR), a long and narrow filament of enhanced water vapour transport. Despite recent attention, the biological impacts of ARs remain undocumented. Here, we use biological data coupled with remotely sensed and in situ environmental data to describe the role of ARs in the near 100% mass mortality of wild oysters in northern San Francisco Bay. In March 2011, a series of ARs made landfall within California, contributing an estimated 69.3% of the precipitation within the watershed and driving an extreme freshwater discharge into San Francisco Bay. This discharge caused sustained low salinities (less than 6.3) that almost perfectly matched the known oyster critical salinity tolerance and was coincident with a mass mortality of one of the most abundant populations throughout this species' range. This is a concern, because wild oysters remain a fraction of their historical abundance and have yet to recover. This study highlights a novel mechanism by which precipitation extremes may affect natural systems and the persistence of sensitive species in the face of environmental change.

DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1462

British power firms could raise bills by £30 a year to prevent blackouts: MPs also suggest industry could return to a three-day week because of a lack of electricity

Household energy bills could rise by £30 a year just to stop the lights going out in winter, MPs warn today.

The influential British Infrastructure Group said the push towards green energy and chronic mismanagement of the system had left the energy sector in ‘crisis’.

Its members, led by former Cabinet minister Grant Shapps, warned it was even possible that British industry could face a return to the three-day week because of a lack of electricity at peak times.

The study says the National Grid’s safety buffer – the amount of spare capacity it has in the system to cope with surges in demand – has shrunk to 0.1 per cent this winter. This is down from about 17 per cent in winter 2011-12.

The report warns there ‘is a sustained danger of intermittent blackouts for the foreseeable future, thanks to dwindling base capacity and freak weather events’. And it says that, by next winter, the lights could go out. The bill for keeping them on could be an extra £30 a year per family by 2020, in addition to current trends for price rises.

The report points much of the blame at green policies and carbon reduction targets which led to a focus on renewable energy and the closure of coal-fired power stations.

Mr Shapps said: ‘It is clear that a perfect coincidence of numerous policies designed to reduce Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions has had the unintended effect of hollowing out the reliability of the electricity generating sector.’

He added: ‘Current projections place the cost of covering potential shortfalls at well over a billion pounds by 2020-21. With top officials suggesting candidly that some measure of energy austerity might be implemented to save costs, British energy policy will soon be, if it is not already, in crisis.’

This winter, National Grid will pay around £122.4million for so-called emergency power – which is purchased from suppliers who do not trade in the normal energy market.

The MPs say this is 800 times the average wholesale price for 2015 and four times the cost of last year’s emergency reserves. The report goes on: ‘While no precise projection can be made of costs in the future, if this trend were to continue year-on-year, by 2020-21 National Grid estimates that it could be spending nearly one and a half billion pounds procuring emergency power.’

It warns: ‘Currently, the British electricity network is going backwards. Capacity margins are so tight that National Grid’s emergency power deals have become the norm.

‘Some households may even face the prospect of power being rationed and returning to a three-day week. ‘Some businesses already have. This is surely a failure of any nationally-directed power strategy.’

Mr Shapps said: ‘The only thing standing between our Christmas lights glowing and total blackout this year will be exorbitant emergency payments to keep the power on.

‘It’s time to put a decade of dithering behind us and build the energy security Britain needs for her post-Brexit future. Hinckley is a good start, but we need to do more to get the shale revolution and renewables taking the strain.’

Daniel Mahoney, head of economic research at the Centre for Policy Studies, said: ‘Mismanagement of energy policy – both from the European Union and the UK Government – has left the UK with desperately narrow capacity margins.’

A spokesman for the National Grid said the 0.1 per cent figure was taken from a report published in July. He added: ‘Our Winter Outlook report in October put the surplus margin for this winter at 6.6 per cent.

‘This is the additional power we expect to have available over and above what is needed to meet electricity demand. We believe the margin is tight but manageable and that we have the right tools and services available, including extra power we can call on if we need it, for times of highest demand.’


Environmentalist insurance policies

Intellectual ammo for holiday party responses to claims that you need meteorite insurance

Paul Driessen

Many liberals went into denial, outrage and riot mode after November 8. Now they’re having meltdown over President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees with climate and environmental responsibilities:

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry at Energy, Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt for EPA, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson at State, Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke at Interior. As Department of Agriculture secretary and multiple assistant, deputy assistant and other senior level positions are filled, the meltdown will likely raise sea levels by several feet.

It’s even worse than “white supremacists” and “Russian hackers” rigging and stealing the election. Having these people at the helm will be an “existential threat to the planet,” say meltdowners.

A typical over-the-top reaction came from an aptly named spokesperson for radical pressure groups and five-alarm climate scientists that feed at the trough of taxpayer and tax-exempt foundation funding “This is the wealthiest, most corporate, most climate-denying cabinet in history,” snorted Kiernan Suckling, director of the anti-development Center for Biological Diversity.

After eight years of anti-fossil-fuel, anti-growth, anti-job, anti-blue-collar policies – and the Left’s fervent wish for eight more years under Hillary Clinton – any Trumpian shift is bound to look that way to them.

So we’re likely to get a bellyful of bombast from like-minded (or ill-informed) office and neighborhood partygoers, especially if they’re too much imbued with holiday spirits. At the risk of offending those who do not share an NRA perspective on gun control (stance, grip, sight alignment, trigger control), here’s a little intellectual ammunition that conservatives may find helpful during those “spirited” discussions.

The United States needs to reduce taxes and regulations that have hobbled energy development and job creation – threatening to put federal bureaucrats firmly in control of our states, communities, livelihoods and living standards. However, as I noted recently, these essential, long overdue changes will come with no reduction in air, water or overall environmental quality standards that ensure our health and welfare. They will address rogue agency actions that actually impair our living standards, health and wellbeing.

Indeed, nearly all these autocratic government actions are based on some variation of the infamous “precautionary principle.” This infinitely malleable pseudo-guideline says chemicals and other technologies should be restricted or banned if there is any possibility (or accusation by radical activists) that they could be harmful, even if no cause-effect link can be proven.

Even worse, the bogus principle looks only at often-inflated risks from using chemicals, energy systems or other technologies that activists or regulators dislike – never at the risks of not using them; never at risks that could be reduced or eliminated by using them. Sustainability “guidelines” are very similar.

Just as perversely, if the Powers that Wannabe like a technology, they ignore or actively suppress any harmful impacts. For instance, since wind turbines can supposedly replace fossil fuels, they ignore bird and bat deaths, human health damage from infrasound, and the fact that essential metals are mined and processed under horrendous conditions by men, women and children in African and Asian countries.

Those environmental, health, human rights, and child labor violations are far away (literally not in their backyards), and thus can be conveniently ignored.

So can the poverty, disease, malnutrition and early death perpetrated and perpetuated by extremist groups that campaign tirelessly to shut down industries in developed nation communities – and prevent the poorest nations on Earth from gaining access to modern technologies that improve and save lives.

Eco-extremists claim they can save lives by preventing higher temperatures, rising seas, and more storms, droughts and crop failures due to “dangerous manmade climate change” decades from now. So they block fossil fuel power plants that provide reliable, affordable energy for modern homes, hospitals, schools and factories that improve health and living standards – and end up killing millions right now, year after year.

Climate change has been real throughout history. Sometimes beneficial (moderately warm, with ample rainfall), sometimes destructive (decades-long droughts or cold spells, glacial epochs with mile-thick ice sheets crushing entire continents), it is driven by solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other powerful natural forces that humans cannot control. Carbon dioxide may play a role, but only a minor one, and rising atmospheric CO2 levels make crops, grasslands and forests grow faster and better.

The “unprecedented” manmade climate cataclysms that Al Gore and Barack Obama promised are not happening. For example, we were supposed to get more frequent, powerful and destructive storms; instead, a record 11 years have passed without one category 3-5 hurricane making landfall in the USA.

To attack fracking and natural gas use, bureaucrats claim methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas – but won’t admit that it is 1/235th as prevalent in Earth’s atmosphere (0.00017%), and at least 1/600,000th as prevalent as water vapor (1-4%), the most important GHG.

Their “social cost of carbon” schemes assign ever-higher monetary impacts to every climate and weather problem they can possibly attribute to using carbon-based fuels – but totally ignore the enormous and undeniable benefits of utilizing oil, natural gas and coal that still provide 82% of US and global energy.

They’re convinced their anti-energy diktats will “save the planet,” by shutting down US power plants and factories, despite vastly greater emissions from China, India and a hundred other nations that are rapidly expanding their fossil fuel use, to lift billions more people out of abject poverty, disease and malnutrition.

The same anti-technology activists and bureaucrats also detest biotechnology and genetically modified crops that require less water and can battle insect predators with a tiny fraction of the insecticides required for conventional grains and vegetables. They equally despise another GM marvel, Golden Rice, which prevents Vitamin A Deficiency that blinds and kills hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Instead of applauding the reduced blindness, malnutrition, starvation and death these crops can bring, precautionary and sustainability extremists obsess about imaginary risks of eating them, allowing more millions to die unnecessarily, year after year. It’s not their kids, after all. Why should they be concerned?

The same callous, phony ethics prevail on the disease front. Eco-activists support bed nets – but not insecticide spraying to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and certainly not DDT, the most powerful, longest-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. Sprayed once every six months on the walls of mud or cinderblock houses, DDT keeps 80% of mosquitoes from entering, irritates those that do come in, so they don’t bite, and kills any that land.

But radical ideologues focus on trivial, irrelevant side effects that “some researchers say could be linked” to DDT use – and let 600,000 parents and children die excruciating deaths every year from malaria.

Every one of these anti-technology, “precautionary” attitudes is the environmentalist equivalent of protecting American kids from powerful chemicals, fatigue, nausea, hair loss, and increased risk of illness and infection – by banning chemotherapy drugs, and just letting the little cancer patients die.

They are the equivalent of requiring you to carry a $10,000-a-year insurance policy that covers you only if you are killed by a meteorite – or by a raptor or tyrannosaur. At least meteorite risks are real, if extremely remote.

Raptors and T rexes exist only in our imaginations, special effects computers and movie theaters – much like the manmade climate chaos and other precautionary extremism that come from computer models and PR hype, and drive too many of our policies, laws and regulations.

Have fun at your holiday parties. This season promises to be even more animated than most.

Via email

The Case for Scott Pruitt to Serve as EPA Administrator

Last week, President-elect Trump tapped Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. In the past, Pruitt has sued the EPA, so it’s understandable that a quick analysis of the situation has left many people wary of this cabinet pick. Nonetheless, a closer investigation reveals that Pruitt is one of Trump’s best cabinet picks yet.

The EPA has not been the only target to come within Pruitt’s iron sights. He has taken on the federal government, the Obama administration, and the IRS as well. In fact, his career has been defined by his willingness to confront a federal government which exceeds its bounds and casts American workers and consumers into a bottomless pit of regulations.

Of all the agencies that need to be reined in, the EPA is one of the more urgent cases. Founded in 1970, the EPA is relatively young but has already become one of the most burdensome agencies. In recent days, the EPA has lost cases in court and even turned the Animas River orange in a completely preventable incident where acid mine waste contaminated the water.

The regulations the EPA places on American businesses means that companies are made to comply with esoteric, ever-changing law. To stay afloat, companies need to spend money on lawyers who can help them navigate through the thicket of regulations. Combine this with a corporate tax and it becomes clear that America is not the most compelling place to have a flourishing business.

Confronted with this fact, American businesses have a choice. They can stay and hemorrhage money in order to stay abreast the regulations; productivity will decrease as workers will be laid off so lawyers can be afforded. Or they can take the more rational approach and relocate their operations to other countries with little to no regulations of this sort. This latter approach will likely entail a net global increase of carbon emissions, something which would not please many defenders of the EPA in its present state.

President-elect Trump’s victory was in no small part due to his consistent campaign promise to bring an era of prosperity to the American energy industry. Time and time again, the EPA has proven a roadblock to this mission.

Environmental issues have constantly been used as justification for more taxes and more regulations. Getting even one semi-qualified individual to advocate for something because it is “good for the environment” is often used as an excuse to write a blank check. And many well-qualified professionals told us that Hillary Clinton would win the Presidency. Let’s not forget that experts are subject to human error too.

Scott Pruitt has established himself as a bold and principled conservative, unable to rest easy while the separation of powers is violated and legislative authority is taken away from the hands of Congress. He has a unique understanding of the unconstitutional regulatory branch and he would surely be pleased to see an environmental policy that works not only for the environment of the natural world, but also the environment of the American worker and consumer.

Voters sent a loud message to Washington: Americans want change. The status quo is not working and America can do better. Regulatory overreach has become the status quo and has proven to have negative effects on Americans of every state and every class. A country that respects the rule of law needs a law that is clear, realistic, and stable.

With Pruitt at the helm, the EPA will be streamlined, legislative authority will be restored to Congress, and America will once more become welcoming to entrepreneurs.

Other picks may have continued down the path the EPA has been pursuing, creating a veritable jungle of regulations and thus disincentivizing innovation. Pruitt is not afraid to point out a mess when he sees one.

There is pollution in Washington. Pruitt saw this long ago. As head of the EPA, he can clear up the hot air and make America an easier place to breathe. Only when this political pollution is dealt with, can we have a clear line of sight and develop a sensible environmental policy that works for all Americans. Environmentalists, take heart! Only one swamp needs to be drained.



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

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


19 December, 2016

An Australian dream that is a Greenie nightmare

Ever since Hitler, Greenies have been doing their best to frighten us into thinking that we are going to run out of food.  Hitler at least had the excuse that there really were food shortages in Germany immediately after WWI but modern-day Greenies live in an era of unprecedented abundance. 

Food shortages -- see Paul Ehrlich -- were the no. 1 scare before global warming came along  as a tool to make us do the Greenie beck and call -- but they still pop out the old scare at times too -- usually presenting it as a result of global warming.  That a warmer world would in fact produce a food bonanza doesn't faze them. Imagine the farming lands in Northern Canada and Siberia that a warmer climate would open up!

But you don't have to imagine anything to realize what Northern Australia does to any food-shortage scare. And it rebuffs such scares in two ways -- both because of its potential and because of its actuality. 

Australia is a continent and as you will read below, there is an area the size of India in Northern Australia which is virtually  unused agriculturally.  And India feeds over a billion people.  As in India, the usability of the land is uneven but with modern farming methods it could undoubtedly produce far more food than the primitive methods used by most Indian farmers do.  So how is that for a potential food bonanza?  Would enough extra food to feed more than a billion people be enough to tone down the scares?

So that is the potential.  The actuality is in fact even more instructive.  WHY has such vast potential gone unused?  We can find out from the one bit of Northern Australia that HAS been developed  -- using a lot of taxpayer money.  I refer of course to the Ord river scheme.  The Ord is a big river that flows through a fertile landscape in North-Western Australia.  And for decades governments have been trying to open it up for farming.  They even built a big dam to ensure year-round water supply.

So what happened?  They succeeded brilliantly at growing all sorts of crops.  They could readily have fed a small nation for a lot of the time.  But most of the crops concerned have now been abandoned.  Just about the only product they export is sandalwood.  And you can't eat sandalwood.  You burn it for incense.

So WHY was the Ord scheme an abject failure?  Because the world is SWIMMING in food.  There are all sorts of clever farmers worldwide who produce food at minimal cost.  So much so that the big costs is distribution: Getting the food into your local supermarket. The farmer gets only a small fraction of what you pay.  And that's not a racket.  Distribution is expensive.  All those trucks and trains and warehouses and wharves and roads and rail lines, loading docks and silos are expensive -- and so are the wages of the men who work in them.  They have to be paid too -- not only the farmer. And the Ord is far away from most potential markets and is connected to none of the existing distribution networks.  Getting food from the Ord into your local supermarket would be way too expensive.  It's all down to those pesky dollars and cents.

The Ord is in fact not far away from some big potential markets in Indonesia, India and China, but those countries, like most countries, want to be able to feed themselves -- and their governments are fixated on that.  The Ord can go hang as far as they are concerned.  And it does. The twin whammy of distribution costs and trade barriers doom the Ord.  And it would be just the same for the rest of Northern Australia. 

Australian politicians have been breast-beating about our empty North for generations and periodically put money into explorations of its potential -- but it never has come to anything and it never will.  The world has TOO MUCH food for that to succeed. So only the cheapest food into your supermarket gets grown.  Famine is not the danger.  Greenies are talking out of their anus gross ignorance

Scientists have been digging up the dirt on northern Australia's potential to become an agricultural powerhouse.

In the biggest undertaking of its kind in Australia, thousands of soil samples were collected from water catchments in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The samples are now being analysed as part of the Federal Government's multi-billion-dollar plan to develop the Top End and double the nation's agricultural output.

"Northern Australia is a vast and underdeveloped landscape that's three million square kilometres — roughly five times the size of France, or the size of India," said CSIRO Research Director Dr Peter Stone, who oversees the science body's Northern Australia program.

Over the past five years, the CSIRO has identified 70 crops which could grow in the north and 16 million hectares of land that is suitable for irrigated agriculture.

"If you ... grabbed all the water you could, there'd be enough to irrigate about one and a half million hectares of northern Australia," he said.

"So overlaying the sweet spots — where soil is suitable and water is not only available, but reliable — is part of the key."
Drilling in Northern Territory

In the basement of the Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane, you could be excused for thinking you had walked into a fanciful coffee roastery.

Grinders are lined up on one side of the room, while on the other, Seonaid Philip stacks trays of the most delectable-looking grinds into an oven for drying.

But the pale greys, rich ochres and velvety chocolates are not coffee, of course, but a collection of outback soils.

"For this project we've collected approximately 4,000 samples," said Ms Philip, who co-ordinated the field trips involving two dozen people in the Fitzroy, Mitchell and Darwin water catchments over 120 days.

"The colours tell us quite a bit about the attributes of the soils. These red ones are highly sought after, highly productive, very good for horticultural development... not the best water-holding capacity, but people can manage around that.

"But this one here is a bit sad," she said, picking up a pot of grey dirt.

"It's leeched, a pale colour, and shows that nutrients have been stripped out of it, probably in a high rainfall area."

Upstairs in the laboratory, the samples undergo a wide range of tests to determine their composition, structure and level of nutrients such as nitrogen, essential for plant growth, and carbon, critical for soil and plant health.

The information is helping to build a detailed map of northern Australian soils, which will be overlaid with a similar map being created for above and underground water resources.

Together the projects form the Federal Government's $15 million Northern Australia Water Resources Assessment.

Developing the north is "vitally important", according to Agriculture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.  "Mining is great, but it's boom and bust ... but agriculture is a constant flow of wealth that comes back," he said.

"If we can, over time, irrigate one and a half million hectares in the north, that would almost double the amount of land we have under irrigation today ... in the whole of Australia, and that would help us to double agriculture over time," Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan told the ABC.

"We don't have a lot of major dams in the north and in the south, in the Murray Darling and other places, we've kind of exploited the resources we already have, so our future opportunities in agriculture, our future opportunities to develop our water resources do predominantly lie in the north."

Senator Canavan said the Government's $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility would help to ensure that any northern foodbowl could get its produce to market.


Rick Perry will give back energy to the American people

During the second presidential debate, now President-elect Donald Trump discussed making the nation’s energy sector a priority. Trump laid out a plan to empower energy companies, return energy workers to their job, and explore new, efficient energy sources.

With his latest decision to select former Texas Governor Rick Perry as head of the Department of Energy Trump has taken the crucial step toward increasing production in the American energy sector he has promised the country. Perry will give back energy to the American people.

Trump represents a shift away from the exotic, green energy programs implemented under the Obama administration which prioritize clean energy over efficient and job creating energy options in the petroleum, coal and nuclear industries.

As Jack Gerard, president of the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute representing oil and natural gas companies, explained to Reuters on Dec. 15, “As the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry knows the important impact that energy production has on our nation’s economy. In his new role at the Energy Department, he has the opportunity to encourage increased exports of domestically produced natural gas.”

Rather than seeing the Department of Energy as a tool for regulating energy production, Perry will use the department to fuel energy production in the private sector.

Using his experience and close ties with the Texas oil industry, Perry hopes to recreate the job boom he helped foster through empowering Texas’s oil and gas industries from 2000 to 2015. As energy transition spokesman Sean Spicer reminds us, this is ultimately Trump’s plan, and Perry will be integral in implementing the Trump agenda above all else.

This Trump agenda spans far past oil and gas. The Department of Energy also shares powers including implementation of the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the maintenance and production of the American nuclear supply.

This is critical, because Perry will finally be able to carry out his goal of the completion and utilization of Yucca mountain which President Barack Obama defunded in 2011.

Since 2014, Perry has been fighting to re-establish Yucca mountain and thus, re-establish a nuclear energy option in the United States. Despite a congressional act entitled the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 directly outlining that the federal government would take possession and provide a disposable solution for all nuclear waste, in 2009 President Obama abandoned the project at Yucca mountain which would act as an ultimate waste zone. After more than $15 billion was spent developing the site, President Obama had the entire project defunded.

Now, American nuclear energy production is at a standstill. In 2014, Perry supported a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality report on nuclear waste disposal. The report outlined options including reopening Yucca Mountain, building a long-term, commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing capability and having multiple disposal options, so that the nation’s nuclear industry is not dependent upon the politics of Nevada.

The report warned, “Early in 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it was developing a new plan to replace Yucca Mountain — estimating that an HLW disposal solution would not be available until 2048. However, in November 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined that the federal government has ‘no credible plan’ to dispose of HLW. 2048, or whatever year Washington forecasts that a solution will be provided, is too long to wait.”

In Texas alone, the delay of opening Yucca Mountain had cost taxpayers more than $700 million.

Perry has also made gas and oil production economically efficient in his home state, and has been eager to pursue new frontiers for energy development. The Obama administration prevented state governors like Perry from bringing national solutions to American energy and job growth to the table, but now all that is changing.

As James Taylor, President of the Spark of Freedom Foundation a leader in affordable energy production research, told Forbes on Dec. 14, “Affordable energy is a powerful economic stimulant. Energy costs are a factor in virtually all goods and services bought and sold in our economy. When energy prices are lower, the costs of producing goods and services are lower, which operates like a tax cut…  Benefiting from these pro-energy, pro-growth policies, Texas electricity prices have declined nearly 25 percent since 2008. National electricity prices, by contrast, are higher now than in 2008.”

Trump has made it clear since the beginning that he wanted to revitalize our job market and make America efficient again. And Texas led the nation on energy under Perry’s guidance and saw the economic prosperity it generated, now it is Perry’s turn to show the rest of the country he can do it again.


Radical Climate Agenda Lost the Election for Democrats. Now, They’re Doubling Down

Left-wing environmental groups are publicly melting down over the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as the next administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some are even calling on the U.S. Senate to block his confirmation.

None of this outrage is sincere, of course, but it still provides a valuable lesson: Environmental groups have learned almost nothing from the 2016 election and remain completely out of touch with blue-collar voters.

Pruitt, a Republican, is a staunch critic of the Obama administration’s climate and energy policies and a key player in legal efforts to overturn them. But even some environmentalists are cringing over the reaction to his nomination.

Before the Dec. 7 announcement, when Pruitt was one of two finalists, veteran environmental advocate Frank O’Donnell predicted what would happen.

“If either of these folks get picked, they will be vilified relentlessly as the personification of evil, of a person who hates children with asthma and loves oil derricks and coal mines,” O’Donnell told E&E News. “Whether that’s a fair characterization or not, I think that’s how they’ll be portrayed,” O’Donnell said.

Sure enough, the environmental left proved O’Donnell right. Pruitt’s nomination to lead the EPA was like “putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires” because he “regularly conspired with the fossil fuel industry to attack EPA protections,” the Sierra Club claimed.

The Natural Resources Defense Council mounted a similar attack against the Oklahoma attorney general, claiming he belongs in the “environmental hall of shame.” A former adviser to President Barack Obama even called Pruitt “an existential threat to the planet.”

So, according to the environmental left, Pruitt cannot lead the EPA because he opposes the policies of the current administration and works too closely with interested groups. That’s a curious argument, to say the least, because you could have said the same things about Obama’s first EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, when she was nominated eight years ago.

“The Sierra Club has had a very close, very positive relationship with Lisa Jackson,” the group boasted in December 2008. “We now very much look forward to working with her in her new role.”

Jackson was a former EPA official who joined the senior ranks of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2002. In 2006, she was promoted to the state agency’s top job. During her time as an environmental official in New Jersey, Jackson took a hard line against the Bush administration, which refused to impose carbon caps on the U.S. economy.

She played a leading role in the creation of a carbon cap-and-trade scheme covering New Jersey and nine other Northeastern states, a program that was designed to put pressure on the federal government to follow suit.

New Jersey was also one of the states behind a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2007—Massachusetts v. EPA—which dramatically expanded the federal government’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Once confirmed as EPA administrator, Jackson tried to expand carbon cap-and-trade beyond the Northeast into all 50 states. At first, the Obama administration proposed national cap-and-trade legislation, but even the Democrats running Congress at the time refused to go along.

Later, Jackson laid the groundwork for Obama’s backup climate plan: EPA regulations that circumvented Congress completely.

The centerpiece of the EPA’s go-it-alone approach, dubbed the Clean Power Plan, was completed in Obama’s second term by Jackson’s successor, Gina McCarthy—another architect of the Northeast’s carbon cap-and-trade scheme.

And emails obtained under public records laws by the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute show close coordination between the EPA and environmental groups—including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council—throughout the entire regulation-making process.

The National Resources Defense Council even wrote the legal blueprint used by EPA officials to create the Clean Power Plan, according to The New York Times.

And yet, despite Jackson’s close ties to the environmental left, there was never any serious campaign to sink her nomination. Quite the opposite, in fact: The Senate confirmed her by unanimous consent two days after Obama’s inauguration.

But today, groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council are trying to impose a wildly different standard: If you oppose the current administration’s policies, you are immediately disqualified from leading the EPA.

Honestly, if that’s the new rule, then why even bother with elections in the first place?

But there’s a much bigger problem for the environmental left. Opposing Pruitt’s nomination and casting him as an extreme figure ignores—and insults—the Democrats and blue-collar voters who also believe the EPA went too far during the Obama years.

President-elect Donald Trump has named Scott Pruitt, attorney general for Oklahoma and a leading litigant against EPA regulations, as his pick for EPA administrator. (Photo: Polaris/Newscom)President-elect Donald Trump picked Scott Pruitt, attorney general for Oklahoma and a leading litigant against EPA regulations, for EPA administrator. (Photo: Polaris/Newscom)
The Clean Power Plan, for example, would impose on states a host of carbon-reduction and renewable energy mandates that trade unions have opposed. A number of unions even joined Pruitt and more than two dozen other state attorneys general in a lawsuit against the Obama EPA, which resulted in a rare Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan.

“The Supreme Court made the right decision in freezing the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan,” the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said when the stay was issued in February. “The problem of human-made climate change is real, but these rules would have unnecessarily disrupted our power grid and cost thousands of good jobs—two things our economy can’t afford.”

Before Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the presidential election, environmental groups were betting that legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan would fail and the Supreme Court would ultimately lift the stay. Now the regulation is “dead,” as David Bookbinder, the former top climate lawyer at the Sierra Club, recently told Politico. But the current leaders of national green groups have vowed to fight on.

That is their right, of course, but maybe they should pause for a moment and reflect on the warning they received eight years ago from the blue-collar wing of the Democratic Party.

“In Massachusetts v. EPA, the court stated that it believed that greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act,” U.S. Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, told a 2008 committee hearing. “This is not what was intended by the Congress and by those of who wrote that legislation.”

Dingell, who retired in 2015, would know. As the longest-serving member of Congress in history, he was there when the Clean Air Act was written in 1970.

He predicted a “glorious mess” of regulatory action and litigation that would affect “potentially every industry … and every person in this country” if the EPA imposed greenhouse gas limits without gaining new authority from lawmakers. The “inherently political decisions” behind such regulations “should be made by the Congress,” Dingell said.

And yet, after a heavily Democratic Congress rejected greenhouse gas legislation in 2010, the Obama EPA ignored these warnings and created the “glorious mess” anyway.

Environmental groups and their donors—especially California billionaire Tom Steyer—mounted a massive defense of the Clean Power Plan and the rest of the Obama administration’s climate agenda in the 2016 election, but it didn’t work.

Dingell’s home state of Michigan voted Republican in a presidential election for the first time in 28 years, part of a much larger voter revolt across the industrial Midwest.

Environmental groups now have a choice: Accept they have a problem with the blue-collar wing of the Democratic Party or pretend the 2016 election never happened.

Based on their reaction to the Pruitt nomination and their continued defense of the EPA’s “glorious mess,” don’t expect the make-believe to end anytime soon.


EPA Finds No Widespread Water Pollution From Fracking

Americans could be forgiven for thinking fracking poses an inherent threat to groundwater.

The anti-fossil fuel “Keep It in the Ground” movement has waged a multimillion-dollar campaign to convince the public of that exact claim, even though there has never been any evidence to support the accusation.

Indeed, anti-fracking activists were peddling “fake news” long before the media professed any concern about it.

But a landmark report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, released earlier this month, finally puts that talking point to bed. After more than half a decade of study, the EPA concluded that “the number of identified cases of drinking water contamination is small” compared to the total number of hydraulically fractured wells.

Put differently, activist claims about “inherent risks” to groundwater are simply not true.

Of course, the EPA did its best to soften the blow to the “Keep It in the Ground” crowd. The agency stressed that oil and gas development as a whole “can” have impacts “under some circumstances,” a fact that was already known before the EPA began spending nearly $30 million in taxpayer money to assess the risk.

The EPA also claimed “data gaps and uncertainties” prevented it from making broad-scale conclusions, which is odd considering how Congress appropriated the EPA the money in order to derive a conclusion about the overall risk.

Even the agency’s admission that the number of contamination cases was small was omitted from the EPA’s press release. It had to be pried out of the agency from the media.

In the agency’s draft report, released in the summer of 2015, the EPA explicitly said it “did not find evidence that these mechanisms [fracking] have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.” The data did not change, but the EPA removed that line from the final report.

The EPA is now defensively claiming that political pressure played no role in how it characterized its results.

Regardless of the EPA’s press strategy, one thing is abundantly clear. The lack of evidence of water contamination from fracking is now the data.

Multiple officials at the EPA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Geological Survey have either said there is no evidence of widespread contamination or have released reports showing no such evidence exists.

Peer-reviewed studies have consistently found little if anything to substantiate the idea that fracking can contaminate groundwater.

At a certain point, you have to accept that the lack of evidence actually means something, especially considering the extensive studies that have taken place.

But if you’re waiting for environmental groups to acknowledge the scientific realities of fracking, don’t hold your breath.

The Sierra Club still claims on its website that “fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans.” Food & Water Watch responded to the EPA’s report by claiming it shows “the inherent harms and hazards of fracking.”

It’s odd how members of “Keep It in the Ground” love to call their opponents science deniers, considering they are willfully denying what the scientific community has said and continues to say about fracking.

Anti-fracking groups have done a masterful job of scaring the public about oil and gas development. Thankfully, we now have proof that their central claim is without merit.


Is It Time to Deregulate All Electric Utilities?

YES: It Is the Best Way to Lower Costs and Increase Innovation

Today’s modern society requires a reliable electricity system. Anyone who has lived through a major blackout, such as occurred in the Northeast in 2003, knows that when the lights go out, life shuts down.

Users of electricity also want power to be affordable, of course, and at the same time, policy makers increasingly are demanding that more of the nation’s energy come from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Meeting these competing challenges won’t be easy. Creating a cleaner, more reliable and less expensive electricity grid is going to require new ideas and a great amount of technological development to lower costs. Unfortunately, these are things that run counter to the incentives of regulated utilities.

In a regulated system, government agencies make basic production and grid-access decisions, and set electricity rates in a way that guarantees utilities a certain rate of return on capital investments and other approved costs. Because utilities’ profits are a function of how much they spend, there is little incentive to cut costs and increase efficiency.

The other option is to rely as much as possible on market forces. While no one has figured out how to completely deregulate the electricity market, "restructuring" clears the way for competition in certain segments, such as generation, that aren’t natural monopolies.

In restructured markets, investment decisions are made by entrepreneurs and engineers instead of government lawyers, and companies spend money only if they believe there is a market for the products they are building. Innovation happens more quickly because it doesn’t have to run through the gantlet of regulatory review.

The push to create a cleaner portfolio of generation resources is just one challenge that calls out for the further use of market forces.

Electricity for the most part can’t be stored, meaning supply must nearly match demand at all times or the grid could come under stress and crash. The problem with renewable power such as wind and solar is that it operates when nature allows, not when grid demand calls for it.

This is already causing problems in California, which has invested heavily in solar energy. The supply of solar power declines rapidly in the late afternoon—right when people are coming home from school and work. The result is tremendous stress on the electricity grid, as a large amount of electricity capacity must be "ramped up" at significant cost to supply power to the system in a short period.

To address this, California—which has a competitive wholesale electricity market—is joining forces with utilities and grid operators in neighboring states in an "energy imbalance market" that allows for transfers of power among participants. A free flow of electrons across the West will allow grid operators to balance supply and demand at a lower cost, and allow California to permit increased penetration of renewable energy sources without building unneeded capacity paid for by consumers. (The market already has saved California ratepayers more than $100 million since late 2014, according to the California electricity-grid-market monitor.)

As technology advances in other areas, power markets will have to adapt further. For example, many are looking forward to an era of electric vehicles, but their widespread use could put more strain on the grid, threatening its reliability. One solution is "time of day" pricing that incentivizes drivers to charge up at night, when power usage and wholesale prices generally are lower. An innovation like that isn’t likely to happen quickly—or at all—in a system where regulators set pricing rules.

Of course, many supply-and-demand challenges could be solved if the cost of storing electricity was brought down to economical levels, allowing it to be implemented in the grid. But again, that is going to require a great amount of technological development to lower costs, along with market rules that allow competitive firms to connect storage facilities to the grid. These are investments that regulated monopolists have little incentive to make.

Restructuring hasn’t lived up to all of its promises. Business customers in restructured states appear to have benefited more than residential customers in terms of lower power prices, perhaps because they have more incentive to shop around.

But in terms of keeping the cost of energy production down, restructuring has worked. Most important, no restructured state is repeating the mistake of spending billions of dollars on nuclear power, which low-cost natural gas has made a money loser.

New technologies, innovation, green power and competitive markets all go together. To create a cleaner, more reliable and less expensive electricity grid, it is time to escape the dictates of government officials and free up competitive forces.


Energy Dept refuses to name staffers who worked on climate

The Department of Energy said Tuesday it will reject the request by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team to name staffers who worked on climate change programs.

Energy spokesman Eben Burnhan-Snyder said the agency received “significant feedback” from workers regarding a questionnaire from the transition team that leaked last week.  “Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled,” Snyder said.

The survey for department leadership included more than 70 questions regarding what the agency does, its workforce, costs, professional affiliations and more.

But it also asked for a list of employees who worked on various climate change priorities in President Obama’s administration, including the Paris climate agreement and the social cost of carbon, an accounting measure for the costs of climate change.

That led to fears that Trump’s administration was undertaking a “witch hunt” to single out those workers.

“We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department,” Burnham-Snyder said in the Tuesday statement, first reported by The Washington Post.

“We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”

The head of the union for workers at the Energy Department's Washington headquarters had also expressed concern with the questionnaire.

“My members are upset and have questions about what this means. These are all civil servants who do their jobs,” Tony Reardon, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement.

“They have no wish to be caught up in political winds — they are nonpartisan employees — scientists, engineers, statisticians, economists and financial experts — who were hired for their knowledge and they bring their talent and experience to the job every day,” he said, adding that the union “will do all it can to ensure that merit system rules are followed.”

Laws and regulations regarding civil service workers make it illegal to fire or punish workers for political purposes, even when an administration changes.



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

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


18 December, 2016

Greenies never give up: "attribution analyses" used to tie global warming to extreme weather

We see below that the latest toy of the Warmists is attribution analysis, a technique originally devised to analyse movements in share prices on the stock exchange.  And we all know how well modelling predicted the big financial crash of 2008, don't we?  They were caught with their algebraical pants down and a lot of smarties got badly burnt.  I construct my share portfolio according to very simple rules and it survived largely unscathed.

And once again it is modelling crap below.  I quote from the journal abstract: " Confidence in results and ability to quickly do an attribution analysis depend on the “three pillars” of event attribution: the quality of the observational record, the ability of models to simulate the event, and our understanding of the physical processes that drive the event and how they are being impacted by climate change. "

So it's just fancy guesswork.   When any of their models show predictive skill will be the time to take their  modelling seriously, but there is no sign of that on the horizon

A new scientific report finds man-made climate change played some role in two dozen extreme weather events last year but not in a few other weird weather instances around the world.

An annual report released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found climate change was a factor, however small or large, in 24 of 30 strange weather events.

They include 11 cases of high heat, as well as unusual winter sunshine in the United Kingdom, Alaskan wildfires and odd 'sunny day' flooding in Miami.

The study documented climate change-goosed weather in Alaska, Washington state, the southeastern United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the western north Pacific cyclone region, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Ethiopia and southern Africa.

'There has to be evidence for it and that's what these papers do,' said NOAA scientist Stephanie Herring, co-editor of the report.

In six cases — including cold snaps in the United States and downpours in Nigeria and India — the scientists could not detect climate change's effects.

Other scientists, though, disputed that finding for the cold snap that hit the Northeast.

Herring highlighted the Miami flooding in September 2015. Because of rising sea levels and sinking land, extremely high tides flooded the streets with 22 inches of water.

'This one is just very remarkable because truly, not a cloud in the sky, and these types of tidal nuisance flooding events are clearly become more frequent,' she said.

The report also found an increase in tropical cyclone activity and strength in the western Pacific can be blamed partly on climate change and partly on El Nino, the now-gone natural weather phenomenon.

But similar storm strengthening hasn't increased noticeably around the United States yet, said study co-editor Martin Hoerling, a NOAA scientist.

The report was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Using accepted scientific techniques, 116 scientists from around the world calculated whether the odds of the extreme weather events were increased by global warming.

They based their calculations on observed data, understanding of the physics of the climate and computer simulations — techniques that the National Academy of Sciences said were valid earlier this year.

Columbia University meteorology professor Adam Sobel, who was on the national academy panel but not part of this report, praised the NOAA study but noted it wasn't comprehensive.

It picked only certain but not all weather extremes to study.

For the February 2015 Northeast cold snap, other scientists have connected the polar vortex pushing south to shrinking ice in the Arctic Ocean.

Judah Cohen, seasonal forecasting chief at Atmospheric Environmental Research in Lexington, Massachusetts, said he even predicted the 2015 polar vortex because of the low sea ice.

He said the same thing is happening with the bitter cold hitting the U.S. this week.

NOAA's Hoerling said the research found a connection between the shrinking ice and the polar vortex but didn't see one causing the other.


Obama EPA Digs for Strife in Fracking Farewell

What do the EPA and OPEC have in common? Not much, but they do share at least one goal: Doing whatever it takes to quash America’s shale bonanza. In May this year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that “[t]he United States remained the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2015,” a trend that began in 2012 thanks in large measure to hydraulic fracturing. This has put the historically market-dominating OPEC in a conundrum.

That’s not to say the fracking industry isn’t facing its own trials. Shale manufactures have had to either reduce oil extraction or shut down altogether due to the years-long spiral in global oil prices. And OPEC has a strategy for keeping it that way. According to Emmanuel Kachikwu, the oil minister for Nigeria, “Sixty [dollars per barrel] I think would be ideal. Once you begin to trend past the mid-$60s, you’re going to have a surfeit of shale producers jump back into the market. Technology is improving with shale every day, and so the cost of production is continuing to drop.”

Fair enough. That’s just business, though the strategy isn’t necessarily a long-term lock because of the evolution of shale machinery. But what isn’t fair is the EPA’s gerrymandering on the issue.

A June 2015 EPA draft report shot down some of the environmental concerns over fracking when it declared, “We did not find evidence that [various] mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.” The final iteration was finally unveiled Tuesday. This time, however, the language is noticeably less amiable.

“EPA identified cases of impacts on drinking water at each stage in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle,” the report now claims. “Impacts cited in the report generally occurred near hydraulically fractured oil and gas production wells and ranged in severity, from temporary changes in water quality, to contamination that made private drinking water wells unusable.”

In fairness, the report does say, “Because of these data gaps and uncertainties, as well as others described in the assessment, it was not possible to fully characterize the severity of impacts, nor was it possible to calculate or estimate the national frequency of impacts on drinking water resources from activities in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle.” Regardless, The New York Times jumped on the news quickly, warning that Trump “must contend with scientific findings that urge caution in an energy sector that Mr. Trump wants to untether.” You mean the scientific findings that showed a different outcome just last year? How convenient.

The EPA is trying to inflict as much damage as possible to the conservative agenda before Obama vacates the White House. The EPA’s change of mind is very similar to the stunt the Army Corps of Engineers pulled when it retracted its Dakota Access Pipeline approval. Fortunately, it’s nothing more than rhetoric. And working class America longs for Jan. 20 — when the government will stop playing games and get the economy moving.


Go Big: Eliminate the Energy Department

The Department of Energy (DOE) traces its roots to the energy crisis of 1973, which was made worse by misguided government policy.  The Arab embargo of 1973 was short lived but it lead to a series of actions that distorted energy policy and created a bureaucracy that now, thanks to the oil and gas renaissance we are experiencing, is in search of a mission.  In addition to the effects of the embargo and price and allocation controls, there was, at the time, a firm belief that the world was going to run out of oil by the end of the century.

Not only does the world have plenty of oil, but the United States is now a net exporter of natural gas--and would be exporting more if DOE was faster with its approvals.

When created in 1977, DOE was given the responsibility for “the design, constructing, and testing of nuclear weapons, and … a loosely knit amalgamation of energy-related programs scattered throughout the Federal Government.”

Prior to DOE, the federal government played a very limited role in energy policy and development.  Presumed scarcity, excessive dependence on OPEC nations, distrust in markets, and the search for energy independence became the foundation for what is now a $32.5 billion bureaucracy in search for relevance.  A series of energy policies have done little to contribute to the abundance of affordable energy that fuels a growing economy.

What DOE has done is squander money on the search for alternative energy sources. In the process, it enabled Bootlegger and Baptist schemes that enriched crony capitalists who are all too willing to support the flawed notion that government can pick winners and losers.  For 2017, a large chunk of DOE spending--$12.6 billion, or 39 percent—is earmarked to “support the President’s strategy to combat climate change.” This is not a justifiable use of taxpayer dollars.

Over 36 years, DOE’s mission has morphed from energy security to industrial policy, disguised as advanced energy research and innovation.  There is a long and failed history of industrial policy by the federal government.  It has failed because it has attempted to decide what energy consumers and industry should want and use.

In contrast, government R&D that has proved successful is that carried out by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  It has been successful for one overriding reason.  It is focused on known clients, the military services, and their specific technology needs.  Lacking specific clients, DOE has become the Department of Pork.  The late Senator William Proxmire once observed that a characteristic of interventionist industrial policy is that “government money will go where the political power is, regardless of economic considerations.”

Energy firms do not need government subsidies to innovate and develop new technologies.  Horizontal drilling and fracking came from the private sector because the incentives to develop shale oil and gas were stronger than the illusions driving alternative energy sources.  Entrepreneurial firms that want to develop new energy technology can go to private markets, which can judge the chances of success.

Abolishing DOE would punish only the crony capitalists who have become addicted to its support.  The nuclear weapons role could be assigned to a new Atomic Energy Commission.  Research to the extent that government wants to fund it could go through the National Science Foundation to centers of excellence for basic research, creating new knowledge for the benefit of our economic and social well-being.  The Energy Information Administration to the extent that its continued existence can be justified could be transferred to the Commerce Department.

If the Trump administration and Congress can muster the courage of its convictions to end DOE, they would then have a basis for creating a new Hoover Commission to re-examine the justification for all government departments and programs.  With the last review in 1947, a top to bottom reorganization is long overdue.


Clean Power Plan Is Dead

David Bookbinder, formerly chief climate counsel for the Sierra Club and now a consultant with the Niskanen Center, is one of the sharpest policy experts I know. Bookbinder was a lead attorney for environmental groups in Massachusetts v. EPA, the landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are air pollutants for regulatory purposes under the Clean Air Act.

During the past two years, the Niskanen Center has warned there is no plausible scenario in which "conservative political force" rolls back the rising tide of greenhouse gas regulation. Hence, the Center argues, conservatives’ only hope of averting decades of regulatory excess is to advocate an alternative climate policy acceptable to the greens—a carbon tax.

Indeed, in March 2016, Niskanen President Jerry Taylor predicted Donald Trump would "get slaughtered" in the presidential contest. Had that happened and Hillary Clinton’s coattails put the Senate back under Democratic control, the carbon tax crowd would no doubt be proclaiming the election results as proof that resistance to coercive climate policy is futile.

But Trump won and now many experts say the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement are in big trouble.

What’s the political lesson for conservatives? The EPA’s regulatory overreach might still loom large had the Republican establishment in Washington, D.C. taken the Center’s advice and endorsed a carbon tax. The clear distinction between a party that is pro-tax and anti-energy and a party that is pro-energy and anti-tax is a product differentiator of immense political value for the GOP. Carbon tax advocacy would have frittered away that asset. Worse, including carbon taxes in the platform would have divided the GOP on an issue of longstanding national controversy and demoralized the party’s activist base.

Bookbinder and Taylor now make the case that, despite Trump’s victory, conservatives should advocate a carbon tax. I’m unpersuaded. What impresses me, though, is Bookbinder’s candor. Even though fear of the Power Plan was useful in pitching conservatives on carbon taxes as the lesser evil, Bookbinder and his colleague David Bailey now pronounce EPA’s marquee policy to be dead:

All that being said, the Clean Power Plan is dead. Regardless of whether the Trump EPA waits for the D.C. Circuit decision, the easiest thing for it to do is first amend the rule to provide that, once the judicial stay of the CPP is lifted, the states will have an extended period (say, 5-7 years) to submit their implementation plans, which effectively kills the CPP. The timing of the steps in a regulatory process is as close to an unreviewable agency action as there is, and no court would overturn it.

Even assuming that the D.C. Circuit then upholds the Rule, EPA could then withdraw the CPP for reconsideration, and thereafter issue a new rule based only on modest inside-the-fence actions. Environmental NGOs and the states supporting the CPP would challenge this, but since there is a legitimate legal argument that EPA’s authority ends at the fence-line (and with 27 states supporting this new interpretation) the D.C. Circuit would, in our view, likely defer to EPA’s new reading.


The green autism

Michael Davis writes from Australia

Dear Leader slayed it on The Bolt Report the other day:

"With the same force we said ‘Stop the Boats’, we have to say ‘Stop the Climate Con’. And by ‘Stop the Climate Con’, we mean ‘Stop lying to the people of Australia on both sides of politics that you can have clean and green energy without destroying the economy. Stop lying. Choose between the two. You either go the Left route and say, ‘We don’t care about the cost, we don’t care how high electricity bills go, we don’t care who goes out of business, we don’t care what happens to the economy or manufacturing. We’re going to pursue our climate change agenda.’ Fine."

He’s right, of course. As it’s oft been noted, environmentalism is a bizarre ideology. On the surface, it makes sense: if we have to suffer a bit now in order to achieve sustainability, future generations will thank us for it. It’s just utilitarianism; the goal is to minimize harm, because we can’t abolish it altogether. But that doesn’t quite explain the greenies’ outright sociopathy. Environmentalists don’t regret the economic damage they cause working- and middle-class Aussies. When they happen upon some uneducated boob who’d rather not sacrifice himself and his family to Mother Gaia, their response tends to be one of mixed annoyance and scorn.

We could chalk this up to the greater hypocrisy of Leftism: just as the partisans of tolerance make the most exacting censors, and the champions of the proletariat are the most unselfconscious elitists, so too our humanist friends tend to value the lives of ferns above those of flesh-and-blood people, let alone unborn babies.

But I couldn’t help but think it was something more than that.

I was still mulling over Rowan’s words when I finally started reading Ryszard Legutko’s new book Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies. As it happens, my ‘something more’ was right there in the introduction. Legutko writes, ‘Although today’s ideology of environmentalism fashioned idolatrous reverence for the earth and its fauna and flora, it did not change the [Lefty] enthusiasm for treating human nature and society in a dangerously technological manner.’

That’s exactly right: it’s the progressives’ unflinchingly materialist view of the world. They see human beings as equal parts producers and consumers – cogs in an economic machine that must be carefully managed, from their work habits to their diet to their recreation. Climate change sceptics, therefore, aren’t to be empathized with, because any harm that comes to them is scientifically irrelevant. This is why climate change denialism is so often likened to creationism. It doesn’t matter that the adoption of Darwin’s theories never led to a tax hike, a wave of unemployment, or skyrocketing utilities bills. That has nothing to do with proper execution of the scientific method.

Seriously, next time an SJW compares climate change to evolution, ask them what the human cost of adopting Darwinism was. The cleverer, more insidious ones will point out that climate change has tremendous human cost. (It set off the Syrian Civil War, after all!) But mostly you’ll get blank stares, like they don’t understand the question. Because they don’t. They are – and I’m trademarking this one – empathetically autistic. They can only ape compassion. It doesn’t come to them spontaneously. And even at that they can only empathize according to predetermined formulae. Refugees, yes; battlers, no. Blacks, yes; whites, no. Gays, yes; straights, no. Eco-terrorists, yes; climate denalists… well.

Admittedly I have my share of greenie sympathies. I think it’s generally a sound idea to not pollute the air, considering how much breathing we do between us. And I’m opposed to deforestation because I was raised on a heavily wooded rural property and I like forests. They’re nature’s playground, minus the dirty needles (usually). But isn’t that incentive enough? Do we really need to approach conservation like balancing a giant carbon-emissions chequebook? Do we need to scare people into thinking their ute’s going to tear a hole in the ozone layer, through which the Whore of Babylon will ride a seven-headed beast and usher in the End Times? I’d think it’d be far easier and more sensible to say, ‘Hey, don’t dump those chemicals in the ocean – we need that water for fish!’



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16 December, 2016

Heatwaves in Australia: This natural killer just got deadlier (?)

There is actually nothing new below -- just the tired old assertion that heatwaves are linked to global warming, the usual exaggerations and a big dash of prophecy.  Bjorn Lomborg sets out well why extreme weather events can NOT be linked to temperature changes; The  one degree temperature rise over a period of 100 years is trivial; That "15 of the 16 hottest years on record all took place in the past 15 years" omits to say that the years almost all differed only by hundredths of a degree, thus indicating a temperature plateau, not warming

IF YOU think it’s hot now, brace yourselves because heatwaves are not only going to increase in frequency but also intensity, threatening to claim more lives each year.

That is the dire warning from scientists who warn Australia remains grossly underprepared for what is becoming our deadliest extreme weather event.

With reports showing the country was getting hotter each year, many Australians underestimated the dangers heatwaves posed.

Lead scientist at research company Risk Frontiers Dr Thomas Loridan said this comes despite more than a century of data and research showing otherwise.

Speaking to, Dr Loridan said heatwaves remained our biggest killer when it came to extreme weather events (such as cyclones or bushfires).

“It’s not only the biggest killer, but actually kills more people than all the other events put together,” he said.

“The 2009 heatwave that hit Victoria and South Australia killed 432 people, or two and a half times the number of people killed in the Black Saturday bushfires that followed.”

Heatwaves are indeed a killer if statistics are anything to go by. From 1844 to 2010, extreme heat events killed at least 5332 people in Australia.

Dr Liz Hanna of the Climate and Health Alliance said adopting a warning system such as this could save many lives as heatwaves became hotter, lasted longer and occurred more often due to climate change.

And there’s no doubt things are getting a lot hotter.

In October, the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO released its biennial State of the Climate Report which highlighted the impact climate change is having on our continent.

The report found between 1910 and 1941 there were 28 days when the national average temperature was in the top extremes recorded. This is compared to the 28 days recorded in 2013 alone.

Alarmingly the report also found 15 of the 16 hottest years on record all took place in the past 15 years.

Since 1910, the country’s climate including mean surface and surrounding sea surface temperature, has warmed by 1 degree centigrade.

Researchers also found the duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across most of Australia.

This comes on top of a 2014 report by the Climate Council which found climate change is causing more intense and frequent heatwaves in Australia.

According to Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, More Often, such events are becoming hotter, lasting longer and are occurring more frequently. The number of hot days Australia experiences are also increasing.

“Since 1950 the annual number of record hot days across Australia has more than doubled,” the report found.


18 States Sue Feds Over Expanding ‘Critical Habitat’ to Areas With No Protected Species

Eighteen states have filed a lawsuit against the federal government over Final Rules that expand the definition of “critical habitat” to include areas that are currently unoccupied by any threatened or endangered species.

The Final Rules, Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat, which were published in the Federal Register on February 11 and went into effect March 14, expand the definition of “critical habitat” to include areas in which “species presence or habitats are ephemeral in nature, [or] species presence is difficult to establish through surveys (e.g. when a plant’s ‘presence’ is sometimes limited to a seed bank).”

“The Final Rules are an unlawful attempt to expand regulatory authority and control over State land and waters,” argues the multi-state lawsuit, which was filed November 29th in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama against Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and the National Marine Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

“The Final Rules allow the Services to declare areas occupied critical habitat that are not occupied by the species and that could not support the species were it moved there, on the supposition that one day the essential physical and biological features might develop and the species might return,” according to the lawsuit.

“The ESA [1973 Endangered Species Act] cannot support this interpretation," it added, noting that the Final Rules make it “easier for the Services to designate unoccupied areas critical habitat than it is to designate occupied areas.”

The ESA defines critical habitat as “specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed…on which are found those physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species.”

But the Final Rules would allow the federal government “to designate areas as occupied critical habitat… even when those areas are neither occupied nor contain those features,” thus extending federal authority over areas where there may be only “indirect or circumstantial evidence of occupation ‘during some portion of the listed species’ life history’,” the lawsuit pointed out.

 “Under this interpretation, [the federal government] could designate entire States or even multiple States as habitat for certain species” in contravention of congressional intent, the lawsuit maintains.

It would also allow federal agencies “to declare that almost any activity destroys or adversely modifies critical habitat under the theory that such activity might prevent the eventual development of the physical or biological characteristics necessary to support an endangered or threatened species,” the lawsuit argued.

The state attorneys general further argued that the Final Rules will “impede” conservation efforts in their states.

“Statutory and constitutional limitations on the authority of federal agencies protect citizens from the intrusion of the federal government into areas where local knowledge is critical to designing effective rules and policies. The preservation of habitat critical to threatened and endangered species is one of those areas,” they argued.

“By displacing local regulatory authority, the Final Rules impede, rather than advance, efforts to protect endangered and threatened species around the country.”

The Final Rules on critical habitat were made in response to President Obama’s Executive Order 13563, in which he directed federal agencies to update their existing regulations.

"Washington bureaucrats have gone beyond common sense by seeking to expand their control to private property adjoining the habitat of an endangered species solely on the basis that these areas might one day be home to a threatened species," Strange said in a Nov. 29 statement announcing the lawsuit.

“The Obama administration is hiding behind bogus rules to perpetrate land grabs, kill energy projects and block economic development,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a party to the lawsuit, said.

“This is nothing more than yet another end run around Congress by a president who is desperate to establish his environmental legacy by any means necessary before his time in office ends.”


Britain facing energy crisis that could see families pay extra to keep the lights on, Ofgem executive says

Britain's increasing reliance on "intermittent" renewable energy means that the country is facing an unprecedented supply crisis, a senior Ofgem executive has warned.

Andrew Wright, a senior partner at Ofgem and former interim chief executive, warned that households could be forced to pay extra to keep their lights on while their neighbours "sit in the dark" because "not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want".

He warned that in future richer customers will be able to "pay for a higher level of reliability" while other households are left without electricity.

Mr Wright said that because Britain has lost fuel capacity because of the closure of coal mines, there is now "much less flexibility" for suppliers.

In a stark warning about the future of energy supply in Britain, Mr Wright said that consumers could be forced to pay more if they want to ensure they always have power.

"At the moment everyone has the same network - with some difference between rural and urban - but this is changing and these changes will produce some choices for society," he told a recent conference.

 "We are currently all paying broadly the same price but we could be moving away from that and there will be some new features in the market which may see some choose to pay for a higher level of reliability.

 "One household may be sitting with their lights on, charging their Tesla electric car, while someone else will be sitting in the dark."

Mr Wright, who Ofgem last night insisted was speaking in a "personal capacity" appeared to lay blame to any future supply issues on the recent focus on renewable energy.

He said: "The system we are all familiar with has some redundancy built into it. It was pretty straightforward and there was a supply margin, but increasing intermittency from renewable energy is producing profound changes to this system.  "We now have much less flexibility with the loss of fossil fuel capacity. Coal has been important, but this is disappearing."

 He added: "In the future not everyone will be able to use as much as electricity as they want, and there will be a need to re-write the rules."

An Ofgem spokesman said: "Ofgem is fully committed to delivering secure supplies for all consumers now and in the future. This is our number one priority. This is why we have driven up network reliability standards and worked closely with Government to ensure secure energy supplies."

 "In order to protect consumers every regulator has to look a possible future challenges. Mr Wright was talking at an University conference in a personal capacity and looking at possible issues that might or might not arise in 10-15 years time."

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has previously said that Britain will need to invest "eye-wateringly large sums of money" just to keep the lights on. The Chancellor put the cost at around £100 billion in the next 20 years to ensure the country meets its energy needs.


EPA Rushes to Lock in Obama Administration Fuel Economy Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency last Wednesday released its proposed Mid-Term Evaluation (MET) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards for model year (MY) 2022-2025 passenger vehicles. The standards function as de-facto fuel economy mandates. EPA had the option to adjust (tighten or relax) the standards, but decided to leave them in place, despite automakers’ pleas that high mileage requirements significantly raise the cost of new vehicles, making them hard to sell in an era of low fuel prices. EPA’s decision to propose the MET last week clearly aims to limit the Trump administration’s options to relax fuel economy mandates for MYs 2022-2025.

The MET, which covers both EPA’s GHG standards and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) explicit fuel economy standards, is required under the agencies’ 2012 joint rulemaking for MYs 2017 and later. That rule was Phase 2 of the so-called National Vehicle Program—a product of closed door negotiations led by former Obama climate czar Carol Browner in May 2009.

Parties to the so-called historic agreement included EPA, NHTSA, California Air Resources Board, major automakers, United Auto Workers, and major environmental groups. In essence, the auto companies agreed never to challenge the Obama administration’s GHG/fuel economy mandates in return for protection from the market chaos EPA threatened to unleash by authorizing California, and thus other states, to establish their own de-facto fuel economy standards. It is a tale of stealth, coercion, and the trashing of the separation of powers, but there is not space to retell here. If you’re curious, check out these two reports.

Here is what’s germane for present purposes. In July 2016, NHTSA told automakers and other stakeholders the agencies would propose their MET in mid-2017 and finalize it in April 2018. Similarly, in a letter to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, EPA air administrator Janet McCabe stated EPA anticipated issuing its proposed MET "in 2017" and "make a Final Determination, no later than April 1, 2018." Yet, as noted above, EPA proposed its portion of the MET last week—four months ahead of schedule.

EPA’s rush to judgment reveals the "National" program is not the coordinated and consistent scheme automakers were promised in the "historic agreement." It may be some time before NHTSA proposes an MET for fuel economy standards. Even if NHTSA wants to adjust the MY 2022-2025 standards, it cannot now do so without subjecting automakers to conflicting requirements.

An article in Automotive News explains how EPA’s action "significantly reduces the latitude for automakers to seek changes to the grand bargain they struck with federal and California regulators in 2011 to advance President Obama’s energy and environmental agenda," and "also limits the options for the incoming administration of Donald Trump to reconcile the rules with his deregulatory campaign rhetoric."

The EPA ruling compresses the promised midterm evaluation of the government's ambitious fuel economy program.

The midterm evaluation, which formally began in July, was a big reason that auto CEOs stood in support of Obama in 2011 when he announced what has come to be known as the One National Program of aligned greenhouse-gas and fuel-economy regulations.

Automakers knew they'd be expected to meet ever-stricter standards in exchange for regulatory clarity. But they were counting on an extended period of data analysis and discussions as an opportunity to vie for changes to the standards to reflect technological hurdles and marketplace realities.

Just weeks ago, industry leaders were seizing on the surprise election of Donald Trump to appeal for even more time to deliberate the feasibility and economic costs of the program, in light of low gasoline prices, booming light-truck sales and tepid demand for hybrids and electric cars.

Instead, the EPA hit the fast-forward button with its proposal to keep the standards as they are, subject to a 30-day comment period. A final ruling, whose original deadline was April 2018, could now come within a month.

The new timeline makes it possible for Obama's appointee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, to be the one who issues the final ruling. If that happens, it would be much tougher for the incoming administration to change the 2025 model year standards, said Dave Cooke, senior vehicles analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"They would have to do a new rulemaking," Cooke said. "That's a large undertaking. This is years' worth of data and pretty rigorous analytic work justifying this conclusion. You can't just snap your fingers and say, "I don't like what the data concludes.'"

The truncated process also helps keep the broader goals of the One National Program on track with more work still to do. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must still set Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for 2022-2025.

Another point to keep in mind—because the MET is not a regulation but an assessment of a regulation, it is not subject to quick repeal via the Congressional Review Act. 

However the MET plays out over the next two months, EPA’s GHG standards may add hundreds to thousands of dollars to the cost of new motor vehicles during 2022-2025. Consequently, the standards could destroy auto industry jobs and undermine U.S. competitiveness if gasoline prices remain low and millions of households don’t want to pay hefty price premiums for high mpg vehicles.


Climate Frauds Rush to Protect Data 'Integrity'

Some cover stories are so conspicuous you can’t help but chuckle. A ridiculous new Washington Post puff piece is no exception. The article begins, “Alarmed that decades of crucial climate measurements could vanish under a hostile Trump administration, scientists have begun a feverish attempt to copy reams of government data onto independent servers in hopes of safeguarding it from any political interference.” Because “independent servers” worked so well for a former presidential candidate…

Of course, government agencies should be concerned. As we noted, “With both the choices of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA and now [Rick] Perry [at the Department of Energy], Trump is showing that he is committed to the goal of rolling back as much government over-regulation as possible.” But that’s a terrible reason to begin frantically importing information. So what’s going on here?

The science community’s history of malice yields the most plausible theory. It began with ClimateGate in 2009 in which a hacker exposed a concerted effort by some of the world’s most influential climate scientists to keep evidence of global cooling in a shroud of secrecy. That was followed by NOAA’s denying a global warming hiatus in 2015 and then outright refusing to present behind-the-scenes collaboration to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Add to all this the fact that the globe’s official measurement bearers are artificially adjusting temperature trends and a likely reason for the frenzy emerges: They’re worried that incriminating information will be exposed by the Trump administration.

Remember, though Trump falls into the “skeptic” category, he has pledged to keep an open mind when it comes to addressing climate change. Regardless, the Left is conjuring up fear that he will manipulate climate data. Which is pretty ironic considering this ruse is quite possibly intended by alarmists to hide the fact they are gerrymandering the truth. They’re no more worried about the integrity of climate data as they supposedly are about the integrity of our elections.


Left-wing Climate Reexamination

UK Labour Party veteran says climate policies that hurt the poor must be abandoned

At age 82, Bernard Donoughue has been a member of the UK Labour Party for six decades. A year ago, it was my great pleasure to have dinner with him in London. At one point, when the conversation turned to wartime rationing, he mentioned that the family into which he was born had been of such modest means that rationing was a blessing. It gave them access to meat they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

During his long career, Donoughue worked for The Economist and The Times. He advised two Prime Ministers, served in Tony Blair’s cabinet, and was a consultant to the Yes Minister television sitcom. In 1985, he was appointed to the House of Lords.

Earlier this week this longtime Labour Party partisan urged his colleagues to "ditch its climate change obsession." Eight years ago, he says, he was among the vast majority in both Houses of Parliament who "unquestioningly" voted in favour of Britain’s Climate Change Act. Afterward, he did some firsthand research.

"The more I explored it, the more I began to question what was being claimed by the evangelical climate change movement," he writes. Donoughue agrees that the climate is changing. In his words: "it always has." He also thinks there’s some connection between human-generated carbon dioxide emissions and the global climate. The problem is that the nature of this connection "has not been conclusively established."

Many climate claims are unpersuasive, he says, and activists who behave abusively toward independent thinkers aren’t helping their cause. But the crux of the matter is that Donoughue is a champion of the working class. Current climate policies hit those people disproportionately. Their home heating costs are skyrocketing, and their energy-intensive steelworker jobs are disappearing. If someone’s boat has capsized, leaving them to drown while punching holes in their vessel in the name of marine wildlife harm reduction doesn’t win you friends.

Arguing that the hardship to which poor families are being subjected is actually pointless, Donoughue urges his party to reexamine its priorities:

There is no sense in the UK damaging its economy and its consumers with high energy costs in pursuit of some fanciful ‘moral leadership’ of the world, when we emit less than 2% of global carbon anyway. That is fatuous ‘virtue-signalling’.

In his view, the Labour Party should "retreat from the punitive 2008 legal emissions targets." It should support only those policies, he says, that are funded via "progressive direct taxation" rather than via regressive levies on home heating.

Perhaps his Party will take his advice. If not, it shouldn’t be surprised when longtime supporters cast their votes elsewhere.


Will cars become mostly electric regardless of the global warming scare?

Robert Friedland breezed through Melbourne last week to attend the annual meeting of his 19.35 per cent-owned and co-chaired Clean TeQ (CLQ), the company working towards a $900 million development of its Syerston nickel-cobalt-scandium project in NSW.

In a rare interview ahead of the meeting, the Singapore-based American-Canadian billionaire mining entrepreneur was asked if the $900m call was a bridge too far for a company the size of Clean TeQ ($225m market value at Friday’s close of 47c a share).

It was a dumb question — he has raised many billions of dollars for mine developments over the years, including Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia before Rio Tinto arrived on the scene.

"You are talking less than a billion dollars Aussie. That’s peanuts. It’s nothing, we’re talking about a little toy mine," Friedland snapped back.

Toy mine perhaps, but one Friedland is adamant is just what the world needs, with its potential to become an ethical source of the raw materials needed in the battery electrification of the world’s automotive industry (nickel and cobalt) and the light-weighting of that industry and the aircraft industry (aluminium-scandium alloys).

To the less worldly of us, the electrification of the world’s automotive fleet is about global warming. Ever the deep thinker, Friedland has a different take.

In the world’s megacities, the contribution to air pollution from internal combustion engines is the immediate problem. The World Health Organisation reckons particulate air pollution from ICEs and other sources is killing as many as five million people a year.

"Air pollution is genetically related to global warming. But they are two entirely different things," Friedland said.

"Global warming is a global issue about the impact of humans on the atmosphere. But it is something of an abstract crisis for the average person in the street. It is air pollution that is killing people right now.

"So we believe that there is going to be a really profound revolution in the automotive industry in the next 10-15 years. Really profound."

As the need to clean up the air in the world’s mega-cities by replacing the fleet of ICEs with battery powered cars takes shape (the batteries may well be coal-fire-powered in some locations but the critical point is that the source can be remote from the mega-cities), the automotive industry has to rethink its entire supply chain of raw materials, just as Henry Ford did with his steel and rubber acquisitions when cars began to replace horses and carts at the start of the last century.

It has to not only rethink the nature of the raw materials, but also the sources of the materials. On the latter point, it is the supply of cobalt that goes into the batteries that is the major concern, given much of it is currently produced by child or artisanal labour in Africa. "And the problem is that it is very hard to sell an electric car in California if the cobalt mine is mined artisinally," Friedland said.

"Western manufacturers are increasingly having their supply chain audited from top to bottom.

"So if you are betting your company on a change in the entire industrial supply chain, you’ve got to have your raw materials coming from a safe and stable place.

"Syerston is a very well-known resource in a country that knows how to develop mines and a country that is auditable. Syerston wins this game."



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, 2016

Scott Pruitt will bring EPA regulatory war on coal to heel under the Trump administration

Americans for Limited Government announced just a week after the election that job one of the Trump administration must be to dismantle the EPA regulations which are crippling our economy; less than a month after he became President-elect, and Donald Trump has already begun this mission.

With the latest appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump is allowing Pruitt to continue his crusade against EPA overreach he has been fighting for years.

During his time as attorney general in the oil and gas intensive state of Oklahoma, he has led several law suits against EPA regulations in his state. In 2014 when the EPA proposed new rules to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, Pruitt responded telling State Impact News that, “The EPA can’t force utility companies to actually incorporate emission control measures unless they’re achievable through technology. And here, there really isn’t any demonstrated technology that will see a reduction of 30 percent.”

Oklahoma and Texas joined together for a Supreme Court case that year the EPA likely overstepped their authority. The case argued that despite how the Obama administration and the agency itself were interpreting the Clean Air Act, it was not a blanket agreement for the EPA to act however they see fit.

Pruitt also led the fight against cross state air pollution rules, mercury and air toxins reduction, and regional haze regulations. Pruitt has also sued the EPA to take apart the agency’s sue and settle scam to expand its powers.

Pruitt’s battles are not about science; they never have been. They are about the crippling regulations the unelected bureaucrats of the EPA impose on states and businesses that destroy local economies.

Since the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the agency has regulated carbon emissions as “harmful pollutants” under the terms of the Clean Air Act. Then, under the Obama administration that is exactly what the EPA did with the 2009 Carbon Endangerment Finding. This rulemaking in turn has been used to justify the continual implementation of regulations that expand the agency’s power and wage a war on coal via the new and existing power plant rules.

The EPA has expanded its reach through sue and settle lawsuits as well. Environmental groups sue the EPA or local governments demanding to have issues addressed. To avoid further litigation, the parties settle the suit and the EPA is given permission to address the issue with newly expanded powers, even if previously the EPA had not jurisdiction or authority over the issue.

Pruitt has already taken a stance against these abusive tactics, not only because they provide the EPA with impermissible powers but because when these “friendly lawsuits” are encouraged they adversely affect the due process system. Pruitt attacked the “loopholes” to legislation that the EPA had been finding, and forced them to be accountable for their policy.

Now as EPA administrator, Pruitt won’t need to sue to get these regulations rescinded. While the removal of these regulations can sometimes take years under the terms of the Administrative Procedures Act, the process will be infinitely more focused and efficient with Pruitt to begin action immediately. We can be certain he’ll get started right away.

The EPA has spent nearly a decade overreaching its power and hampering state economies, finally the agency will be brought to heel by Pruitt. Trump’s selection of Pruitt is evidence of his belief in the American economy above all else, and the coal workers who helped elect Trump to end the war on coal electricity can once again celebrate that he is following through on his promises to the people.


The truth about polar bears

Bear numbers are higher than ever so Greenies counter that with prophecies of future problems -- failing to confront that all their past prophecies have been wrong.  Excerpts below

On the western shore of Hudson Bay, it’s sometimes hard to remember that polar bears are supposed to be going extinct. Every fall, hundreds of bears gather near Churchill, Man., waiting for the bay to freeze so that they can head out onto the ice to hunt for seals. During this period, people in town treat polar bears more like nuisances than a sentinel species whose condition is regarded as the clearest evidence of the coming global climate apocalypse.

By mid-November, the Churchill polar bears have not eaten a full meal in four months, and they spend their days conserving energy. They laze about in front of the assembled crowds, walking in circles, licking at the ground and just generally killing time. Tourists jostle one another, hoping for killer photo ops: the cutest cub, the biggest battlescarred male, the particularly curious subadult that rears up on its hind legs and slaps its paws against the windows of the tour bus. Occasionally, a bear wanders right into town to take a swipe at a garbage can or sniff longingly at the odours wafting out of Gypsy’s Bakery.

Granted, the population numbers have been startling. Research from 1984 to 2004 showed that the western Hudson Bay population, which includes the Churchill bears, had declined from 1,194 to 935. The trendlines from that study suggested that by 2011, the population would fall to as low as 676.

Fast-forward to today and a new study, which reveals that the current polar bear population of western Hudson Bay is 1,013 animals.

Wait … what? More bears than there were 10 years ago? Nearly double the prediction? "Polar bears are one of the biggest conservation success stories in the world," says Drikus Gissing, wildlife director for the Government of Nunavut. "There are more bears here now than there were in the recent past."

Underlying any story about polar bear populations is the reality that it can be extremely difficult working with polar bears. They can range across international boundaries, over hundreds of kilometres of forbidding ice and frigid open water. They can dig into dens or camouflage themselves on snowfields. And mark-recapture studies, in which bears are tranquilized, are problematic. Drugging bears is dangerous for both the animals and the scientists, and Inuit often object to such invasive interactions, since drugging and physically handling bears stresses the animals and is an affront to traditional ecological practices.

So scientists end up counting bears in many different ways, including incorporating observations by knowledgeable local residents. But population estimates are just that: estimates. Some subpopulations of bears haven’t been counted in decades, if ever. And some are counted more frequently but with slightly different survey areas or methodologies from year to year. The Polar Bear Specialist Group, an international consortium of experts, classifies 10 of the 19 subpopulations as being "data-deficient," which isn’t exactly conducive to a coherent discussion about how polar bears are faring worldwide.

In Davis Strait, between Greenland and Baffin Island, the polar bear population has grown from 900 animals in the late 1970s to around 2,100 today. In Foxe Basin — a portion of northern Hudson Bay — a population that was estimated to be 2,300 in the early 2000s now stands at 2,570. And in specific areas of western Hudson Bay, the most-studied, most-photographed group of bears on Earth seems to have been on a slow but steady increase since in the 1970s.

News like this leaves climate-change deniers crowing from the rooftops. But a closer look reveals that everything may not be quite so sunny. "Some populations appear to be doing OK now, but what’s frightening is what *might* happen in the very near future," says wildlife biologist Lily Peacock, who has worked with polar bears for the Government of Nunavut and the U.S. Geological Survey. "All indications are that the future does not look bright."

While it’s tempting to talk about polar bears as a single-species group, the truth is that the success or failure of a single subpopulation might say very little about the health of another one. "The thing to remember is the vast range of the polar bear and the utter size of the Arctic," says Geoff York, the Ottawa-based senior program officer for the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Arctic Programme. "Impacts from warming are unfolding at different rates and different time scales." Polar bears that make their home in James Bay — at the fifty-third parallel north — have experienced ice-free summers for thousands of years. Bears in the High Arctic Archipelago, however, contend with pack ice so thick that it’s often impossible for them to hunt seals. In the southern reaches of the bears’ range, warming could be catastrophic, but higher north, an increase in open water could potentially make hunting easier.

In Davis Strait, for example, both the extent and thickness of the sea ice have been declining dramatically. In theory, this should be trouble for the local bears, which, like polar bears everywhere else, rely on solid sea ice as a hunting platform. Yet this population is an eye-popping 233 percent bigger than it was four decades ago. It’s tempting to simply declare victory and walk away. And yet this new-found abundance is entirely the result of local management practices that originally had nothing to do with bears. Specifically, in 1983, the European Economic Community banned the importation of the hides of whitecoat harp seal pups. In most places, the polar bear diet consists primarily of ringed or bearded seals. But polar bears aren’t picky eaters; when harp seal populations exploded, polar bears gorged. On the other hand, one theory holds that the loss of sea ice could encourage killer whales to move into polar bear habitat, snatching up all the seals and becoming the new dominant marine mammal.

On balance, the majority of polar bear scientists agree that even if the current state of things looks shakily stable, the future for bears is poor. Nonetheless, as long as climate change is political, polar bears will be too. And the tone of the discussion can get downright ugly.

Consider Mitch Taylor’s story. He spent more than two decades as a polar bear researcher and manager for the Nunavut government and has published around 50 peer-reviewed papers. That should garner widespread respect. But Taylor has been highly vocal about his belief that polar bears are mostly doing fine, that cub mortality varies from year to year and that the much ballyhooed predictions of extinction by 2050 are "a joke." He also alleges that a lot of the "exaggerated decline" is just a way to keep certain scientists well funded and to transfer control of the polar bear issue from territorial to federal hands. In response, Taylor’s critics disinvited him from meetings of polar bear specialists that he’d been attending since 1978. They also like to point out that he’s a signatory of the Manhattan Declaration, which questions the very existence of climate change. But amidst all the heated charges and countercharges, it’s hard to argue the fact that few people know polar bears the way Taylor does. And while it might be inconvenient for current political posturing, there’s no denying that certain subpopulations of polar bears are managing to survive, even thrive.


British Government gave £274 million of taxpayer cash to charity ‘to fight global warming’ but has no idea where the money actually went

BRITAIN has given £274million to a controversial climate change organisation – but doesn’t know where the money actually goes, it has been revealed.

The Times reported the huge donation to the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF) was made to help the government reach its target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid.

Britain is the fund’s biggest donor – pledging $3 billion of its $8 billion budget.

The fund was set up by George W Bush in 2008, with the aim of tackling climate change in poorer countries.

But critics say it is unclear who receives the cash – and when questioned by The Times, the government’s Department for International Development said it did not have the relevant information.


Open-Minded, Scientifically Literate Conservatives Less Likely to Believe Humans Cause Climate Change

Holding his two-year-old granddaughter on his lap, Sec. of State John Kerry signs the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the UN headquarters in New York on April 22, 2016. (US State Dept.)
( – Conservatives who engage in “actively open-minded thinking” (AOT) and receive the highest scores on “science intelligence” tests are less likely to accept the premise that human activity causes climate change than their more close-minded and less educated peers, according to scholars at Yale Law School’s Cultural Cognition Project.

A recent study published in the latest edition of the journal Research & Politics found that liberal Democrats were 39 percent more likely to believe that human activity causes climate change than conservative Republicans.

But researchers found that the disparity was not due to conservatives’ lack of AOT, defined as “the motivation to seek out, engage, and appropriately weigh evidence opposed to one’s strongly held beliefs.”

In fact, the more open-minded conservatives were, the more likely they were to diverge from the "consensus" position.

"As subjects' AOT scores went up, their acceptance of human-caused climate change increased only if they held left-leaning political outlooks," the study found. “Among right-leaning subjects, higher AOT scores were associated with slightly less acceptance” of human-caused climate change.

This finding is at odds with the position that attributes political conflict over facts to a personality trait of close-mindedness associated with political conservatism“This finding is at odds with the position that attributes political conflict over facts to a personality trait of close-mindedness associated with political conservatism,” study co-authors Dan Kahan and Jonathan Corbin concluded.

The researchers noted that they had expected that the 39 percent gap between liberals and conservatives would have narrowed as their AOT scores increased, but that’s not what happened.

 “If polarization over the reality of human-caused climate change is a consequence of a deficit in AOT among conservatives, then one would expect the conservatives lowest in AOT to be substantially more skeptical of climate change than those highest in AOT,” the study noted.

“Likewise, if an ideological asymmetry in AOT drives partisan conflict over climate change, then the gap between partisans ought to narrow as partisans’ AOT scores go up. These results were not observed in the data.”

“One might naturally expect that individuals highest in AOT to converge, not polarize all the more forcefully, on contested issues like climate change,” the study stated, adding that “our evidence contravenes this expectation.”

 “The net result is that subjects highest in AOT are in fact the most polarized, just as individuals highest in numeracy, cognitive reflection, and science comprehension are,” the study found.

A previous study by Kahan published in 2014 in the Journal of Risk Research also found that “the probability of belief in human-caused global warming increases slightly for relatively left-leaning individuals,” but “is unaffected for right-leaning ones as OSI_2.0 [scale of ‘ordinary science intelligence’] scores increase.”

The co-authors explain this polarization as the result of “social dynamics” that “are characterized by more or less myside bias” that mainly reflect the study subjects’ group identity.

Thus, both liberals’ and conservatives’ “’beliefs’ about human-caused climate change and a few select other highly divisive empirical issues are ones that people use to express who they are, an end that has little to do with the truth of what people, ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ know,” the latest study concludes.

But one critic pointed out that there could be another explanation.

“Conservatives who know more about science and math are less likely to accept consensus climate science,” climate writer Kip Hansen pointed out on in a blog on Climate Etc, adding that “Kahan never once considers that maybe there is something about consensus climate science that makes it less likely to be accepted by the more conservative scientifically knowledgeable and conservatives who are more open-minded.

“Maybe, just maybe, the more one understands the principles and facts involved in climate science and the more open-mindedly one delves into the gory details — not just taking the word of Acknowledged Authorities and Learned Societies — the less likely one is to simply accept consensus-version climate science,” he added.


Healey's Exxon witch-hunt

by Jeff Jacoby

MAURA HEALEY isn't the first Massachusetts attorney general to run roughshod over the First Amendment in pursuit of a political agenda.

Martha Coakley, Healey's predecessor and mentor, adamantly defended the indefensible Massachusetts "buffer zone" law, which banned peaceful speech and silent protest on public sidewalks near abortion clinics. That law, manifestly unconstitutional, was struck down by a unanimous Supreme Court in 2014.

Now Healey is embarked on her own crusade to punish freedom of speech. The vendetta this time isn't against opponents of abortion, but against ExxonMobil — and, by extension, against any organization that questions the anti-fossil-fuel agenda of global warming alarmists.

That isn't how Healey would put it, of course. Her formal explanation for the astonishingly sweeping subpoena she has issued to Exxon — a demand for 40 years' worth of company documents, letters, emails, phone messages, notes, and recordings — is that her office is pursuing allegations of fraud and consumer-protection violations. As Healey's chief legal counsel has written, Exxon is suspected of trying to "mislead the public, including investors and consumers, with respect to the impacts of climate change." Mislead them how? By claiming that it was appropriate "for Exxon to utilize its substantial fossil fuel reserves for the manufacture and sale of petroleum products," despite knowing that fossil-fuel use and climate change are related.

In essence, Exxon is being charged with fraud because it remains in the business of producing and selling energy.

To be sure, Healey's office hasn't actually sued Exxon for any fraudulent practices. Its litigation so far is aimed at forcing the company to disgorge an ocean of records and correspondence that Healey's staff can then trawl for evidence of wrongdoing.

But the attorney general hasn't bothered to wait for evidence. At a press conference last March, where she joined former Vice President Al Gore and several other state attorneys general, Healey pronounced Exxon guilty of the fraud yet to be investigated. Taking the podium, behind a sign reading "AGs United For Clean Power," Healey made it clear that her mind was already made up.

"Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be — must be — held accountable," Healey said. "We can all see today the troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew, what industry folks knew, and what the company and industry chose to share with investors and with the American public." Her office would be "investigating" Exxon, in other words, because she had already decided that Exxon was wrong.

Give the attorney general credit for candor. At the press conference that day, she could not have been more explicit: She intended to use her official powers to promote her political agenda. "There is nothing we need to worry about more than climate change," she insisted. "Nothing is more important . . . we have a moral obligation to act. That is why we are here today." She promised "aggressive action . . . to address climate change and to work for a better future."

As a citizen and a politician, Healey is fully entitled to condemn fossil fuels, decry global warming, and express scorn for those who don't agree with her and Gore. As the chief law-enforcement officer of Massachusetts, she is not entitled to deploy subpoenas and other investigative and legal tools in order to harass or demonize businesses and organizations that express opinions she doesn't share. Not even when the opinion is on a topic that she considers "more important" than anything else.

The scientific and policy debate over climate change is vigorous and ongoing. It is no more settled than the debate over abortion. And just as the First Amendment flatly forbids Massachusetts officials from using their powers to silence free speech about abortion, it forbids them from using those powers to squelch competing arguments and views about fossil fuels and global warming.

Fortunately for the Bill of Rights, Exxon has deep pockets and the legal muscle to resist Healey's attempted coercion. The company has gone to federal court to stop the AG's subpoena from being enforced, arguing that it amounts to an unconstitutional abuse of prosecutorial power for political reasons. Healey has been ordered by US District Judge Ed Kinkeade to appear in a Dallas courthouse next week for a deposition.

To date, no one has offered any evidence that that Exxon has falsified data, suppressed lab results, or lied through its teeth when asked about the impact of its products on earth's climate systems. There has been nothing comparable, for example, to the 2009 "Climategate" scandal at the University of East Anglia's renowned Climatic Research Unit, which involved the deliberate deleting of inconvenient emails and blackballing of scientific papers. On the contrary: Exxon has been participating openly and actively in the climate-change discourse for decades. It has worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from its inception, funded research into climate science at Stanford and MIT, and published scores of climate-related research papers in peer-reviewed journals going back to the early 1980s. And for at least a decade, Exxon's reports to shareholders have noted openly that climate change could pose a risk to the company's future earnings.

The charge of fraud is a potent one, far too consequential to be hurled recklessly by any government official, never mind an attorney general. To Healey, Exxon's position on climate change may be intolerable. What she proposes to do about it is unconstitutional.


Severe melting of ice sheet is found in Antarctica

Who cares?  It is SHELF ice.  Even if it all melted it would not raise the sea level one iota.  And it's a long way from it all melting anyway

A team of European scientists has found a significant amount of ice sheet melting in East Antarctica during the summer months, in an area that is supposed to be too cold for perceptible ice loss.

The researchers also found that the ice shelf was anything but solid — it had many large pockets of weakness throughout its structure, suggesting a greater potential vulnerability to collapse through a process called "hydrofracturing."
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The findings, by researchers from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, were reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

On the ice sheet covering the Arctic island of Greenland, dramatic melting can be found in the summer. That forms lakes, rivers, and even dangerous "moulins" in the ice, where rivers suddenly run through the thick ice sheet.

But East Antarctica is supposed to be different. It is extremely remote and cold and doesn’t generally see such warm temperatures in summer, so its ice tends to remain more pristine.

"Many people refer to East Antarctica as being too cold for significant melt," says Jan Lenaerts, a glaciologist with Utrecht University in the Netherlands. "There’s marginal melt in summer, but there’s not a lot."

That common wisdom has been challenged in the study by Lenaerts and his colleagues. On the very large Roi Baudouin ice shelf in East Antarctica, which floats atop the ocean, they found a very Greenland-like situation in early 2016.

The researchers had traveled to investigate what had been described as a nearly 2-mile-wide "crater" in the shelf, glimpsed by satellite, which some sources believed had been caused by a meteorite.

To the contrary, they found that it was a large icy lake bed, 10 feet deep. In its center were multiple rivers and three moulins that carried water deep down into the floating ice shelf.

The researchers also drilled through the ice and found "englacial" lakes, sandwiched between the surface of the ice shelf and its base, which is in contact with the ocean beneath it. They found 55 lakes on or in the ice shelf, and a number of them were in this buried englacial format.

This means the ice shelf is anything but solid — it had many large pockets of weakness that can lead to collapses. That’s bad news, because when ice shelves fall apart, the glacial ice behind them flows more rapidly to the ocean, raising sea levels.

The researchers postulate that a "microclimate" exists on the ice shelf that made it all possible — and that a similar mechanism is operating on other East Antarctic ice shelves.

"We see similar things going on on neighboring ice shelves, and also for instance on the Amery ice shelf, which is also a notorious, very large ice shelf on East Antarctica,’’ Lenaerts said. "We see this link between strong winds and blue ice formation, enhanced absorption of solar radiation, and the melt that is enhanced by this process."

The researchers are not saying that these processes are caused by human-induced climate change — they note in particular that on the Roi Baudouin shelf, it appears there has been some melting at the surface since the 1980s.

However, Lenaerts said, it is already clear there is much more melt water during warmer summers than in cooler ones. And global warming will gradually produce warmer Antarctic temperatures, which should increase the volume of melt water atop these ice shelves, pushing them still further in the Greenland direction.

This means the shelves could be subject to the risk of hydrofracturing, in which a great deal of meltwater forms atop the shelf and pushes inside of it, eventually leading to a crackup.

That’s what is believed to have happened in the classic case of the shattering of the Larsen B ice shelf in the Antarctic peninsula in 2002. The fear is that it could happen in the East Antarctic too, where there is a massive amount of ice to potentially lose.


Australia: Sydney temperature panic

Every summer Sydney has some very hot days.  And the Warmists at the BoM always announce that some temperature or other was the hottest ever.  They are rather desperate at the moment.  All they have to report is the "highest minimum", which is a long way from the maximum.  And the maximun of 37C was pretty pissant too.  In 1790 (Yes, 1790, not 1970) the Maximum in Sydney was 42C.  How disappointing for them!

SYDNEY sweltered through its hottest December night on record as the mercury refused to budge to acceptable levels. The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the overnight temperature dipped to 27.1C.

It was the highest minimum on record. The previous record was set on Christmas Day 1858, when it dropped to 26.3C.

The temperature also smashed all but one previous record, making it the second-warmest Sydney evening in recorded history.

BoM forecaster Jordan Notara told AAP they were expecting last night to break the record of 26.3C..

At 6am this morning the temperature at Sydney Harbour was already 29C and at midnight the temperature was still a warm 27C at Observatory Hill.

The mercury hit 37C yesterday with an expected high of 38C today.

The hot night prompted plenty of reaction on social media, with some remarking it is standard Sydney for this time of year.  Others tried to see the lighter side of things.

For those unable to cope with the heat, the good news is a cool change should see the mercury dip to a much more comfortable 22C tomorrow.

“There will be a 5C drop in temperatures within the first few hours, so by early evening people will definitely be feeling the difference,” Mr Notara said.

Sydney’s CBD sizzled at a high of 37.8C — nearly 13 degrees above the city’s long-term average for December — while at Penrith, in the city’s west, the mercury surged to 39.4C.

About 800 people had flocked to the Aquatic Centre at Sydney Olympic Park in the city’s west before lunchtime to seek relief from the city’s hottest December day since 2005.


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


14 December, 2016

Trump has embraced pseudoscience and its deceptive tactics in a post-truth world (?)

Michael J.I. Brown, an Australian astronomer with a big chin, has an amusing article below.  As is usual with the Green/Left, it's only when you know what he does NOT say that you can see the hollowness of his argument. He creates a false dichotomy where the only alternatives for exploring knowledge are academic journal articles and public debate between non-scientists.

So what does that leave out:  Perhaps the most important thing is the unreliability of what is reported in the academic journals.  This is the subject of an agonized debate among academics at the moment after as many as two thirds of journal reports were found to be unreplicable.  And one of the factors in that debate is an admission that scientists sometimes deliberately fake their results to make them interesting enough for publication.  Clearly, anyone who relies on academic journal articles as a sole source of truth is leaning on a broken reed.

The second thing Prof. Brown leaves out is that not all public debates are ill-informed.  You can have fruitful public debates about a topic between people well versed in the available evidence.  That occurs routinely at academic conferences.  Such debates can be very beneficial in ensuring that all parties have a balanced view of their field. But there have been few debates of that kind over climate.  Knowledgeable skeptical scientists and scholars have repeatedly challenged Warmist believers to such debates but the Warmists run away.  They know that people like the formidably well-informed Lord Monckton will make mincemeat of them.  So if astronomer Brown is mourning the absence of such debates, he can look to his Warmist colleagues for the lack of them, not skeptics.

Monckton has even produced his own climate model, one that has better predictive skill than the pathetic GCMs used by Warmists.  Warmists have of course "replied" to Monckton's paper  but the fact that the reply is laden with ad hominems tells you how good their science is.  Even I could comprehensively debunk their reply if I had to, but some of the things I would say are here.  There is a better discussion of the paper here, including a rejoinder by Monckton.  Whatever you conclude about Monckton's model you have to see that he is in the great British tradition of the independent scholar, a category of enquiry not acknowledged by Prof. Brown.

And given that there is no monopoly of knowledge anywhere, why cannot discussion of publicly available data be fruitful?  Prof. Brown is very hostile to the way in which journalist David Rose pointed out that publicly available climate data showed a drastic recent fall in global temperature.  This threat to their beliefs energized lots of Warmists and much scorn was heaped on Roses's  article.  The findings were said to be unrepresentative.  But they were not.  Various authors have now pointed out other lines of evidence that lead to the same conclusion.

Prof. Brown below regurgitates the early criticisms of the Rose finding as if it had not been refuted. He fails in an academic's basic duty to keep up with the relevant literature on his topic.  And the relevant literature is no longer all in the academic journals.  Bodies such as NOAA and NASA regularly report climate data publicly and that data is available to anybody who wants to point out features in it. 

And you don't need to look hard to see how contrary to Warmist claims some of it is.  I am only a humble social scientist but for most of this year I have been pointing out that CO2 levels observed at Cape Grim and Mauna Loa  plateaued for the entire recent warming period -- showing that the warming was due to El Nino, not CO2.  That finding has now found its way into the academic journals but  you read it here first. 

It now needs to be taken into account by Warmists.  But they will ignore it as they usually do with inconvenient climate facts.  The warming concerned was a huge subject of fake news from Warmists, who almost totally ignored El Nino and preached climate Armageddon.  Prof. Brown seems to be much against fake news so how curious it is that he has ignored that bit of very fake and obviously fake news.

Brown's entire rant below is the very cherry-picking he deplores. It is a highly selective coverage of the relevant facts that ignores facts that do not suit him.  It is an extended outpouring of abuse with only the most glancing scientific references and a total lack of epistemological sophistication.  It is a polemic, a Gish gallop in fact. It is not nearly a scientific treatise.  It is Brown who has embraced pseudoscience and its deceptive tactics in a post-truth world

As a scientist, I expect the Trump presidency to have a curious familiarity.

Why? Because the relentless stream of falsehoods and character attacks of Trump’s campaign mainstreamed disinformation tactics that biologists, immunologists and climate scientists have come to know and despise.

Trump has embraced pseudoscience and its accompanying conspiracy theories. He’s tweeted that climate change is a hoax and vaccines cause autism.

Trump has met with Andrew Wakefield, whose fraudulent 1998 study kickstarted the modern anti-vaccine movement. And he has just appointed a climate change denier to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

These pseudoscience communities are nothing new, and they haven’t even bothered to rebadge themselves as “alt-science” (yet).

It’s critical that the broader community learns from the grim experience of scientists when dealing with these attacks. Often scientists failed to appreciate that many public arguments about science are actually political battles, rather than evidence-based discussions. Raw political battle isn’t about seeking truth and reasoned argument. It’s about winning news cycles and elections.

Scientific argument is often methodical, technical and slow. Perhaps this is exemplified by the biggest scientific announcement of 2016, the detection of gravitational waves, which were predicted by Einstein a century ago.

I’m engaged in a scientific argument right now about how rapidly galaxies form stars. My key points are in a 10,000-word manuscript detailing the data, methods, comparison with prior studies, and conclusions. An anonymous astronomer is reviewing that manuscript, and I expect my article to be published in 2017.

So if commentators or politicians demand “an honest debate” about science, what are they doing?

First, don’t ignore the adjective “honest”, with its veiled implication of dishonesty. It can be the starting point for conspiracy theories, with scientists and organisations around the globe manipulating science for no good.

What kind of debate is being sought? Are both sides going to face off by undertaking years of research and submitting 10,000-word manuscripts to scientific journals? Not likely.

Often a very literal debate is being sought, either on television, radio or stage. We find such debates, with their rhetorical flourishes, provocative and entertaining but they rarely advance science.

When Albert Einstein and Phillip Lenard debated relativity in 1920, Einstein wasn’t the clear winner. Perhaps the audience and newspapers that dutifully reported the debate didn’t appreciate that Lenard’s arguments about fictitious gravitational fields were wrong.

Demands for debate – such as the recent call for one by Australian One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts – are often seeking formats where even Einstein couldn’t win an argument about relativity.

They provide theatre and column inches. And critically, they provide equal billing for scientists and those who’ve never truly engaged in science. They embrace false equivalence.

Who am I?

I’m a scientist, but on Twitter people have some strange ideas about who I am. I’ve been accused of being a “warmist” and “alarmist” who is on the “gravy train” with a “bed wetting agenda”. (For the record, I prefer people not to wet their beds.)

I’ve encountered these accusations when discussing evidence, and they’re a means of derailing discussion. “Warmist” and “alarmist” are attempts to frame scientific findings as extreme political positions. Creationists can play this game too, preferring “evolutionism” to “evolutionary biology”. This tactic falsely reframes the argument as a debate between competing and equivalent ideological positions.

It doesn’t matter if the accusations have no factual basis, embrace conspiracy theories or are insincere. That’s not the point. I’ve been accused of using neo-fascist techniques and neo-Marxist attacks on the same day. Donald Trump has never provided evidence that climate change is a “hoax”, with its accompanying global conspiracy of scientists.

This isn’t reasoned argument; it’s disrupting discussion of evidence. It’s about what needs to be true to reject scientists, not what is actually true about scientists.

Scientists slowly accumulate evidence to test their hypotheses, but in political fights evidence only needs to survive the news cycle. Robust methodology, statistics and hypothesis testing be damned.

I was reminded of this recently when the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology tweeted a link to a Breitbart article claiming that global temperatures are falling:

Breitbart wasn’t reporting the findings of a new peer-reviewed study with new data and a compelling analysis, but rather was quoting the Daily Mail’s David Rose.

While the accumulation of data, from satellites and weather stations, shows the globe warming over decades, Rose had a different focus. He highlighted a few months of data, from a deprecated dataset, that excluded polar regions and the oceans, to suggest the “run of record temperatures are at an end”. This is misinformation, as there’s no evidence to show an end to long-term global warming.

Of course scientists picked apart Rose’s article, but by then the news cycle had moved on.

Such articles are a feature, not a bug, in the politicised climate debate. In 2008, Bjorn Lomborg in The Guardian noted “a slight drop” in sea levels, and concluded that we “urgently need balance.” In 2012, the Australian’s Graham Lloyd reported on sea level falls that supposedly “defied climate warnings.” Of course, those were blips in the long-term trend of sea level rise, but those articles did effectively spread doubt about climate science.

Trump has embraced pseudoscience and its tactics, and will be bringing it to the White House. I expect the accusations and misinformation of Trump’s campaign to continue, and like many scientists I will find it all too familiar. To argue with today’s politically expedient statements as if they’re evidence-based and carefully reasoned arguments embraces a false equivalence of fact and fiction. It is a time for true scepticism.


Look who says it all

From The IPCC  Third Assessment Report.  But you can predict "the probability distribution of the system's future possible states" apparently -- whatever that means

The Ignorant Left

Breitbart has a headline:  "When You Hear a Scientist Talk About ‘Peer Review’ You Should Reach For Your Browning"

Leftists got very huffy about it, deploring "gun violence" etc.  One of them eventually woke up that it was a quote from Goering but they still didn't really get it.  Goering was a man of some culture so was punning on the Browning pistol and the poet Robert Browning.  Either meaning is possible.  Even old jokes are lost on the Left.

Trump's best yet

The boss of Exxon, Rex Tillerson is going to be Trump's Secretary of State. Won't the Green/Left love that?  It is a fair bet to drive some of them insane.  Their chief boogeyman suddenly becomes real!

Proud Flag-Waving Communists and Socialists March in Copenhagen to Stop Global Warming

The song is "The Red Flag" (I think)

If the embed does not come up, the link is:

Don’t blame climate change for extreme weather

Bjorn Lomborg

Climate change means more extreme weather: This is a simple, powerful claim that has been pounded into our consciousness for a decade.

From Greenpeace to President Obama to Scientific American, scarcely a weather event happens without someone pointing the finger at global warming and calling for action.

But there are big problems with this simple statement, which are exposed starkly in recent peer-reviewed analysis in the journal Weather, Climate and Society by University of Manchester scientists Vladimir Jankovic and David M. Schultz.

Citing the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations’ global panel of climate change experts, Jankovic and Schultz find that "not all extreme weather events will change, nor will some of the changes — if they even occur — be detectable." They note that some extreme events are expected to become less frequent but become more intense. Some areas of the globe will benefit; others stand to lose.

The reality is very different from the sloganeering. The researchers find "the soundbite of ‘climate change means more extreme weather’ is a massive oversimplification — if not misstatement — of the true state of the science."

Global warming, in general, will mean higher temperatures. But it will increase temperatures most during winter, at night, and in cold places.

Droughts are among the most costly natural disasters and are often linked with climate change. But a comprehensive study in Nature shows that, since 1982, examples of all categories of severity of drought, from "abnormally dry" to "exceptional drought," have not increased but have actually slightly decreased.

Heat waves are another big concern, and global warming will certainly result in more of these. But it will also mean fewer cold waves. Since many more people die from excessive cold than excessive heat, it is likely that fewer people will die altogether.

Let’s look more closely at the hurricanes that drive so much of our climate conversation. In the United States, damage costs from hurricanes are indeed increasing — but this is because there are more people, with more-expensive property, living nearer to coastlines.

In Florida, Dade and Broward counties alone are home to more people today than lived in 1930 in all 109 coastal counties from Texas to Virginia, along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Not surprisingly, that means much more damage. If we adjust for population and wealth, hurricane damage during the period 1900-2013 actually decreased slightly.

Looking into the future, it’s likely that hurricanes will become somewhat stronger by the end of the century. They will also likely become less frequent, and societies will definitely become more robust. A respected Nature review shows that hurricane damage currently costs 0.04 percent of global GDP. Accounting for an increase in prosperity, this would drop four-fold to 0.01 percent by 2100. But the global warming factor making hurricanes fewer but stronger will mean total damage will end around 0.02 percent. This shows that global warming is a problem, but it also shows us that, even accounting for this, damages will decline.

Yet when we see a hurricane we’re told to cut CO2. As Robert Redford distills it, we need to "reduce the carbon pollution that’s fueling these storms." The problem is that we are being pointed in the wrong direction.

Climate policies will do little at a high cost. My peer-reviewed research published in the journal Global Policy shows that — even if maintained throughout the rest of the century — all of the Paris Climate treaty’s 2016-2030 promises on cutting carbon-dioxide emissions will cut global temperature increases by just 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet the cost will run from about $1 trillion to $2 trillion per year for the rest of the century.

Spending 1-2 percent of GDP on climate policies would, at best, help avoid much less than 0.01 percent of GDP lost to hurricanes. That is perhaps one-tenth of one cent back on the dollar. That is an infuriatingly bad investment.

Jankovic and Schultz warn that the overselling of climate impacts on extreme weather risks "reducing scientific credibility." It "masks the social causes of hazard and, consequently, fetishizes climate change into a sole-source danger." In short, a blinkered focus makes us forget that the vast amount of damage comes from societies being unprepared.

This matters to the unprepared communities from New Orleans to New York. We help them best by focusing on infrastructure, such as more secure levees and subway storm covers.

The stakes are much higher when it comes to poorer nations. Poverty is the biggest risk factor when it comes to hurricanes: If you’re poor, you will have a less sturdy house, and nowhere to go. A hurricane hitting Florida kills maybe dozens of people and creates some destruction. But in worse-off countries like the Philippines or Nicaragua, thousands die and the economy is destroyed.

Helping these places by cutting CO2 might feel good to rich world donors but will do almost nothing, despite the high cost. In the short run, we must help construct better shelters, levees, and seawalls, and develop better warning systems, evacuation plans, and emergency relief. We need to be more stringent about the way land can be zoned and used in coastal areas and strengthen building regulations and laws. Above all, we need to build more resilient communities.

In the long run, we should ensure that those in need emerge from poverty, so they can move from being vulnerable to being well-protected.


More methane nonsense

Methane does absorb electro-magnetic radiation in the laboratory but that does not generalize to the atmosphere, where the much more plentiful water vapour absorbs the same wavelengths and therefore pre-empts any effect that methane might have.  Methane is NOT a "greenhouse gas" in real life

A decade-long surge in methane threatens to make the fight against global warming even harder, top researchers have warned.

Levels of the the potent greenhouse gas in the air rose slowly from 2000 to 2006, but climbed ten times more quickly over the following decade, according to new research.

While previous efforts have tended to focus on carbon dioxide levels in the air, experts warn that methane emissions now needs 'urgent attention'

They say it must be measured and reduced immediately to avoid potentially catastrophic climate changes.

'Additional attention is urgently needed to quantify and reduce methane emissions,' researchers wrote in the Environmental Research Letters journal, summarising the findings of a consortium of 81 scientists.

The alarming new date comes from a study published in the journal Earth System Science Data.

The unexpected - and largely unexplained - increase was especially sharp in 2014 and 2015.

'Keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is already a challenging target,' they said, referring to the goal set in the 196-nation Paris climate pact, which entered into force last month.

'Such a target will become increasingly difficult if reductions in methane emissions are not also addressed strongly and rapidly.'

With only 1°C (1.8°F) of warming above pre-industrial era levels so far, the world has seen an uptick in extreme weather, including droughts, superstorms, heat waves and coastal flooding boosted by rising seas.

On current trends, average global temperatures are on track to jump by more than 3°C (5.4°F) by 2100, even if national carbon-cutting pledges annexed to the Paris Agreement are honoured.

Without those pledges, the increase would be much higher.

To date, efforts to keep the planet from overheating have focused mostly on the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels that accounts for at least 70 per cent of warming.

But even as CO2 output has started to plateau, methane (CH4) - which is responsible for about 20 per cent of the increase in global temperatures - is soaring.

Indeed, the pace of recent emissions aligns with the most pessimistic scenarios laid out by the UN's top science authority, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Methane is 28 times more efficient at trapping the sun's heat.

As with carbon dioxide, Earth naturally absorbs and releases methane.

But industrialisation and a surging human population have upset a long-standing natural balance, leaving an excess of both heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.

Even if scientists agree that total emissions of methane are rising sharply, they remain uncertain as to why.

Today, some 60 per cent of methane originates from human activity, the rest coming from wetlands and other natural sources.

About a third of human-generated methane is a byproduct of the fossil fuel industry.

Researchers point to a surge in coal-generated power in China, along with leakage from the natural gas fracking boom in the United States.

'Both these regions are thought to play a role' in the sudden hike, said Marielle Saunois, lead author of the editorial as well as the review, and an assistant professor at the University of Versailles Saint Quentin.

But coal-fired plants and leaks from gas production are not sufficient, and do not fit with the dramatic increase in the last two years, she told AFP.

A more likely culprit, the study concluded, is livestock production and agriculture (especially rice paddies), which together account for nearly two-thirds of man-made methane emissions.

A third possibility is a slow-down in the natural chemical reaction in the atmosphere that breaks down methane.

A more frightening prospect - that climate change has started to unlock massive natural stores of the gas in sub-Arctic permafrost - has been set aside, said Saunois. 'Right now, it is a very minor factor,' she told AFP.

'But there's still a high degree of uncertainty, and not necessarily a consensus among scientists.'

When it comes to climate change, methane's saving grace is that it is much more short-lived in the atmosphere than CO2.



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13 December, 2016

It’s Official: Record Drop Of Global Temperatures Confirmed

New official data issued by the Met Office confirms that world average temperatures have plummeted since the middle of the year at a faster and steeper rate than at any time in the recent past.

The huge fall follows a report by this newspaper that temperatures had cooled after a record spike. Our story showed that these record high temperatures were triggered by naturally occurring but freak conditions caused by El Nino – and not, as had been previously suggested, by the cumulative effects of man-made global warming.

The Mail on Sunday’s report was picked up around the world and widely attacked by green propagandists as being ‘cherry-picked’ and based on ‘misinformation’. The report was, in fact, based on Nasa satellite measurements of temperatures in the lower atmosphere over land – which tend to show worldwide changes first, because the sea retains heat for longer.

However, now the drop in temperature is also showing up in the authoritative Met Office ‘Hadcrut4’ surface record, compiled from measurements from more than 3,000 weather stations located around the world on both sea and land.

To the end of October, the last month for which figures have been released, Hadcrut4 had fallen about 0.5C from its peak in the spring.

The reason is the end of El Nino. The natural phenomenon, which takes place every few years and has a huge impact on world weather, occurs when water in a vast area of the Pacific west of Central America gets up to 3C hotter than usual.

It has now been replaced by a weak La Nina, when the water becomes colder than usual. This means temperatures may still have some way to fall.

El Nino is not caused by greenhouse gases and has nothing to do with climate change. It is true that the massive 2015-16 El Nino – probably the strongest ever seen – took place against a steady warming trend, most of which scientists believe has been caused by human emissions.

But when El Nino was triggering new records earlier this year, some downplayed its effects. For example, the Met Office said it contributed ‘only a few hundredths of a degree’ to the record heat. The size of the current fall suggests that this minimised its impact. When February produced a new hot record for that month, at the very peak of El Nino, newspapers in several countries claimed that this amounted to a ‘global climate emergency’, and showed the world was ‘hurtling’ towards the point when global warming would become truly dangerous. Now, apparently, the immediate threat has passed. It would be just as misleading to say lower temperatures caused by La Nina meant the world was into a new long-term cooling.

But the big question is: what will happen when both El Nino and La Nina are over and the Pacific water returns to its ‘neutral’, average state? Professor Judith Curry, of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, who is president of the Climate Forecast Applications Network, said it would take years before it was clear whether the long-term warming trend was slowing down, staying the same or accelerating.

‘The bottom line is that we can’t read too much into the temperatures of a year or two,’ she said. ‘We will need the perspective of another five years to understand what is going on.’


Trump’s Realistic Thinking on Climate Change

Trump pulled off a really funny one this past week:  By inviting in two of the main climate activist players for an interview, Al Gore and DeCaprio, and then announcing a super skeptic as new EPA chief.  A lot of people were really fooled by the interviews into thinking that Trump was about to change his position and appoint an activist to some important cabinet position.  Trump enjoys a confrontation but also seems to have a sense of humor

President-elect Donald J. Trump said recently that there exists "some connectivity" between human activity and climate change, which may or may not reflect a shift in his view on that scientific question. But he has indicated no change in his policy stance on various attendant regulations, and an "open mind" on a U.S. exit from the unenforceable international agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, reached at Paris last year but never submitted for ratification to the U.S. Senate.

Notwithstanding the predictable sneering from the usual suspects, Mr. Trump is correct on the central policy questions, while the critics are wrong.

His preference for wholesale reform of U.S. climate and energy policies, in pursuit of improved economic conditions for American workers and consumers, can be explained in substantial part by his ability to read a profit/loss statement, that is, the narrow bang-for-the-buck benefit/cost question: What temperature effect would the Obama policies buy us by 2100?

The Obama administration has exhibited a decided reluctance to discuss that issue, the reason for which is obvious: If the entire Obama Climate Action Plan were to be implemented immediately, the temperature reduction achieved in 2100 would be about fifteen one-thousandths of a degree. That is not a number found on the back of some envelope; instead, it is the prediction made by the EPA’s own climate model.

That international action is needed is the advertised premise of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UNFCCC in truth is little more than a global meeting circuit for the world’s elites, as illustrated recently at the latest international gathering of the climate industry in Marrakesh for the 22nd round of pontificating about the urgent crisis confronting mankind, and about the absolute necessity of implementing the Paris agreement.

So let us assume emission cuts far greater than those promised in Paris. Our share of the announced pseudo-agreement with China yields another one one-hundredth of a degree by 2100. An actual cut in Chinese greenhouse gas emissions of 20 percent by 2030 would reduce temperatures by two-tenths of a degree. The same results from a 30 percent reduction by the rest of the industrialized world. And an impossible 20 percent cut by the rest of the developing world would add one-tenth of a degree.

The grand total: about half a degree, to be achieved at a cost of about 1 percent to 2 percent of global GDP every year, inflicted disproportionately upon the world’s poor. And so Mr. Trump is correct to conclude that climate policy is preposterous as a matter of the efficient allocation of scarce resources, and that the provision of clean water and the eradication of terrible diseases in the Third World are far more important priorities.

Moreover, the climate horror stories that pass for enlightened opinion in this area really are hoaxes. Annual increases in sea levels have been constant since at least 1992 and perhaps far longer. The Arctic and Antarctic sea ice levels do not differ as a matter of statistical significance from their 1981-2010 averages; there is some evidence that the Arctic sea ice may be declining, while the Antarctic clearly is growing.

The frequency and intensity of U.S tornadoes have been declining since the mid-1950s. The frequency and accumulated energy of tropical cyclones are near their lowest levels since satellite measurements began in the early 1970s. U.S. wildfires show no trend over the last 30 years. The Palmer drought severity index shows no trend since 1895. U.S. flooding over the last century is uncorrelated with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.

Global per-capita food production has increased monotonically since 1993, and the global leaf area ("greening") has increased about 14 percent since 1982, due in part to carbon-dioxide fertilization.

The crusade against fossil fuels in part is an effort to transfer wealth from red states to blue ones, by increasing energy costs disproportionately in the former. In part it is a religious movement: The interpretation of destructive weather as the gods’ punishment for the sins of Man is ancient. And just as the pagans for millennia attempted to prevent destructive weather by worshipping golden idols, so do modern environmentalists now attempt to prevent destructive weather by bowing down before recycling bins.

At a more general theological level: In the beginning, earth was the Garden of Eden. But mankind, having consumed the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Technological Knowledge, has despoiled it. And only through repentance and economic suffering can we return to the loving embrace of Mother Gaia.

However Mr. Trump has arrived at his perceptions of mainstream climate thinking, he understands that the economic suffering attendant upon current climate policies is worse than pointless, reflecting the condescension of the elites toward ordinary working people. He is right to reject it.


Solar Power Actually Made Global Warming Worse, Says New Study

The net impact of solar panels actually temporarily increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions due to how much energy is used in their construction, a new study by Utrecht University concluded.

Researchers looked at 40 years of CO2 emissions from solar panels, including those caused by their production, then subtracted that by the amount of CO2 they prevented from being emitted. They found many older solar panels would take a decade to lead to a net emissions reduction, which can be longer than their lifespan. They also concluded that the current generations of panels will probably only just reduce net emissions over years.

The study concluded that the solar industry has been "a temporary net emitter of greenhouse gas emissions" and more modern solar panels have a smaller adverse environmental impact than older models. Scientists estimated that by 2018 at the latest, the solar industry as a whole will have a net positive environmental impact.

The research was financially supported by the Technology Foundation STW, which is a governmental agency of the European Commission.

"Solar power has a number of inherent issues, namely that it’s unreliable and expensive," Chris Warren, a spokesperson for the pro-industry Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. " If your goal is to reduce CO2, then adding more solar power can actually hurt your cause. Not to mention it makes electricity more expensive for consumers."

America’s CO2 emissions have fallen by more than 12 percent since their high in 2005. U.S. CO2 emissions likely declined by 2.6 percent in 2015 and are expected to fall an additional 1.7 percent this year.

Fracking is the primary reason for the decline in American CO2 emissions, and not solar or wind power, according to reports published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Natural gas emits about half the CO2 of coal power, and is already cheaper than coal in many locations due to fracking. The EIA estimates roughly 68 percent of the falling CO2 emissions are due to power plants switching from coal to natural gas.

Research published by The Manhattan Institute shows solar power is responsible for 1 percent of the decline in American CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent. For every ton of CO2 cut by solar power, fracking cuts 13 tons.

Some environmental groups already oppose the solar project due to other environmental impacts. The Center For Biological Diversity (CBD) has pursued legal action to block the creation of solar-farms out of fear that they would encroach on 32 endangered desert tortoises and that sunlight-concentrating panels act like super-heated death-rays for birds, killing tens of thousands of them per year.

Government officials have also blocked solar plants due to local environmental impacts as well. California officials blocked a solar power plant from being built in the Mojave Desert, because they  would inconvenience a species of sheep that wasn’t even endangered. The project had previously been approved by federal authorities and would have pumped about $30 million into the local economy.


Climate Change Act has cost Britain the earth

The law that introduced a slew of expensive subsidies for renewable energy will leave us £300 billion worse off by 2030

We now know from three different sources that Britain’s climate and energy policy is not just too expensive but has also been dishonestly presented. Peter Lilley MP, an unusually numerate former cabinet minister, has written a devastating new report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, published today, on the costs of Britain’s Climate Change Act 2008. It reveals "at best economic illiteracy and at worst deliberate deception" by government.

It comes as the National Audit Office has rapped the government’s knuckles for "a lack of transparency [that] has undermined accountability to parliament and consumers" in its energy policy. And a non-executive director of the former Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Tom Kelly, found a systemic underestimation of the costs of the policy as well as "weaknesses in the original governance arrangements that were not rectified over time, a lack of transparency and a tendency to groupthink." No wonder DECC sat on the Kelly report for a year before releasing it.

Mr Lilley calculates, and this is a conservative estimate, that the Climate Change Act will have cost over £300 billion by 2030. That is a gigantic sum subtracted from the earnings of Britons. Worse, this spending has to be forced by law, which implies that there are other productive investments to which it could be put. Indeed, this spending will be largely wasted even in its own terms: Mr Lilley points out that the dash for gas, as well as the recession, cut emissions, while the rush to renewables has merely driven some abroad.

The government also assumed that fossil fuel prices would rise
Worse, Mr Lilley finds that government sources have concealed and downplayed the cost of climate policies. For example, official figures understate the "system" costs of intermittent renewables, such as the need to subsidise fossil fuels in a grid where they are only needed as backup. The government also assumed — wrongly — that fossil fuel prices could only rise, making green subsidies look less costly. Instead they have fallen sharply.

And even the £300 billion estimate omits the cost of biofuels in transport; ignores Britain’s share of the European Union budget, at least 20 per cent of which is spent on "climate-related projects and policies"; includes nothing for international development (though Dfid will spend at least £25 billion by 2030); and excludes the cost of having made British industry less competitive.

When Ed Davey, then energy secretary, wrote about "the impact of all the government’s energy and climate change policies [on] household bills" it turns out he was referring only to the direct costs on individuals’ energy bills and had omitted the two thirds of the cost that falls on businesses’ bills, which pass them on to consumers in higher costs for goods and services. If a supermarket pays more for the electricity to run its refrigerators, it charges more for milk. Challenged on this by Mr Lilley, Mr Davey argued, bizarrely, that many businesses are owned by foreigners, as if that made a difference.

More breathtaking still, Mr Lilley shows that the government has been trying to pass off a cost as a benefit. Both Mr Davey and Chris Huhne, his predecessor, argued that the cost of climate policy could be set against notional energy savings from more efficient appliances and better insulation, which people would buy because of higher energy bills, thus supposedly generating a net saving.

However, improvement in energy efficiency would be desirable even if there were no concern about emissions, or indeed no emissions; and besides, a gain in energy efficiency usually increases the use of energy — a phenomenon known as the Jevons paradox. If they have more fuel-efficient engines, people make more journeys.

So, we have an energy policy that has imposed huge costs on the economy, failed to reduce emissions significantly and was either dishonestly or incompetently presented. That Liberal Democrats were in charge of energy policy for five years and that it was all in a noble cause — ostensibly saving the planet — may partly explain but not excuse this. Yet this does not explain the reluctance of Conservative ministers to revise these policies radically after the end of the coalition.

And where were the watchdogs that are supposed to keep an eye on this policy and check it for effectiveness? The committee on climate change (CCC) was set up by the 2008 act to ensure "a balanced response to the risks of dangerous climate change" (says its website). Yet it has wholly failed to insist on a climate policy whose costs are significantly below the best estimates of the harms of climate change, known technically as the social cost of carbon.

In a lecture in 2013 soon after he became chairman of the CCC, Lord Deben, the former Conservative minister John Gummer, said of climate change that, "the likelihood is almost certain, the scale would certainly be enormous, the effect would be devastating, and the insurance is remarkably cheap." But we know this is nonsense: the costs, as Mr Lilley’s study shows, are enormous in themselves, and are actually greater than even the higher-end estimates of damage from climate change. Nobody pays insurance premiums greater than the largest likely loss.

Mr Lilley was pilloried for being one of three Conservative MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act in 2008, so perhaps he has an axe to grind. So do I, as somebody with a commercial interest in coal mining and who thinks that the risks of climate change, though real, have been exaggerated. I have never objected to a cost-effective climate protection policy and would be delighted to see all the subsidies and imposts replaced by a simple carbon tax well below the social cost of carbon so as to encourage low-carbon innovation, not punish people for doing what at present they can’t avoid, namely using carbon-based energy sources.

But even on true believers’ own terms — indeed, especially on those terms — the Climate Change Act has been disastrous. In devising its climate-dominated energy policy, government has proceeded as if cost was no object. That is economically irrational, morally wrong and politically foolish. It has needlessly put climate policy on a collision course with public opinion. It is no accident that Donald Trump went from advocating strong climate action to embracing scepticism when he decided to run for president. For rust-belt Americans, just-about-managing Britons, not to mention similar constituencies in Germany, Japan and elsewhere, this is an obvious example of an elite policy that is unfair, costly and futile.


Why Big Mining loves Big Green

The Labor/Green coalition in Australia has declared war on coal, oil and gas. So why is Big Mining not fighting back?
BHP Billiton is a big producer of coal, oil, gas, iron ore, copper, nickel and uranium. Rio Tinto is a big producer of uranium, coal, iron ore, copper and aluminium. Glencore is a big producer of coal, copper, zinc and nickel. And Shell is big in oil, gas and bitumen, manufactures biofuels, and generates peak power with natural gas.

These companies employ competent geologists, physicists and chemists who could tell them that CO2 is not a pollutant and is not the primary driver of climate. They must know there is no scientific justification for the green war on hydro-carbon fuels - but none of these big miners speak out against this baseless war on their products. Some even waste shareholder funds producing glossy brochures promoting the green agenda.

Big Mining is not that dumb. Their climate concern is more motivated by self-interest - they see long-term profits flowing from the silly green agenda. They are also political cowards.

 Wind and solar power are indeed "free", but to extract electricity from them is not free – it needs turbines and solar panels, generators and transformers, transmission towers and power lines all of which boosts demand for metals like steel, copper, zinc, nickel and rare earths.

Moreover, wind and solar are very diffuse power sources and need large areas of land together with webs of access roads and power lines in order to generate significant power.

The heavy machinery needed for construction, maintenance and dismantling these green power networks provide more demands for petroleum and mining products. Before one watt of green electricity is generated for consumers, green power has boosted demand for most products of Big Mining.

Green power also needs back-up power ready to swing into action immediately the wind drops or clouds obscure the sun. This is great news for reliable energy suppliers capable of rapid backup, which usually means gas. So Big Gas loves Big Green and is secretly delighted by the war on coal. Lead, nickel, cadmium and lithium miners are also delighted with the soaring demand for energy-storing batteries.

Intermittent energy producers like wind and solar also cause destructive fluctuations in electricity supply and prices – prices can fall to zero on a sunny, windy afternoon, but soar during still, sunless periods. Coal power stations cannot adjust quickly to this destructive variability in electricity prices and will be sent broke, thus providing even more markets for gas.

Big Gas is thus delighted to secretly support the war on coal as it will do wonders for the demand for gas; but they fail to understand that once Greens have destroyed coal power, they will then turn their green guns on to gas.

Uranium producers love the greens. They know that if coal and gas are banned from power generation, and all hydro-power sites are "world-heritage protected", all that is left to stabilise the electricity grids of modern society is nuclear power.

Even coal producers see short-term benefits in supporting inane green ideas like carbon capture and burial. This would greatly increase the amount of coal needed to generate the electricity consumed to collect, separate, compress, transport and bury exhaust gases as well as to refine and fabricate all the metals needed for gas collectors, compressors and pipelines. Long term, the main beneficiaries of this industrial silliness will be nuclear power and uranium miners like Rio and BHP.

So Big Mining can extract benefits from green energy while earning political credits. And their PC executives can polish their green credentials in their suburban circles by supporting the silliness.

On the debit side are the usual victims - taxpayers and consumers of coal, oil, gas, electricity and metals; and employees and shareholders of industries being forced to close or emigrate because of expensive or unreliable electricity supply.



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


12 December, 29016

An amusing exercise in guilt by association

Graham Readfearn is a freelance writer of Northern English origin who now lives in Australia. The Northerners tend to be a grumbly lot -- sometimes with reason -- and Readfearn seems to find grumbles about climate to be profitable

He clearly believes in global warming but offers not one single climate fact in his rant below. In quite an amazing exercise in haughtiness, he offers no evidence or argument for his beliefs whatever.

His entire offering is a logically invalid charge of guilt by association.  He seems particularly disturbed by anyone inclined to take seriously Alex Jones and David Icke.  Trump has agreed with Jones on some things so therefore Trump agrees with Jones on everything, seems to be the loony allegation.

Icke is clearly off the planet and Jones does get carried away at times -- but nothing depends on their being right. Both doubt global warming but it is the scientific facts -- such as the 21st century warming "hiatus" -- that create doubt, not the views of a few heterodox media personalities

What comrade Readfearn has not asked himself is WHY such sites have a big following.  And there is a clear answer to that:  The mainstream media are so biased and selective in their reporting that they have destroyed any independent criterion of truth.  When the mainstream media is visibly loaded with Green/Left propaganda it is an understandable reaction for people to say, "I don't like this propaganda so I will seek out propaganda that suits me".

The mainstream media have destroyed trust in themselves and that opens the door for other sources of news and commentary.  That he can't distinguish propaganda from fact is not the fault of the average Joe.  The Left-media have systematically kept the truth from him.  Leftist fake news has encouraged conservative fake news.

The Left are chronically incapable of thinking long term so it appears not to have occurred to them that by their lack of balance they might ultimately discredit themselves. 

It reminds me of Harry Reid "going nuclear" on the filibuster. In destroying it, it seems not to have occurred to him that he might need it some day.  That day has now come -- with Democrats in the Senate having no weapon to oppose Trump appointments to the courts.  For momentary advantage Reid did his cause great harm.  He may have guaranteed a permanent conservative majority on SCOTUS

Back in December 2015, Donald Trump gave a 30-minute live interview to the website and its combustible leader, Alex Jones. "Your reputation is amazing and I will not let you down," said Trump, who, at the time, was leading in most polls for the Republican presidential nomination.

Jones, a fervent Trump supporter, is a conspiracy theorist writ large. He insists there is "iron clad" evidence that the 11 September terrorist attacks in the US were an "inside job".

Jones has also said that in 1996 governments deployed a worldwide program to secretly put chemicals into the fuel of aircraft to poison people. These "chemtrails" don’t hurt the "globalists" though, because Jones says they have a "special detox".

Oh, and Jones also thinks climate change is a hoax.

Climate change is an issue he covers regularly on his shows, where he has interviewed climate science deniers such as Christopher Monckton (a familiar name to Australians given his multiple speaking tours here), Marc Morano and James Delingpole.

While it’s easy to dismiss the conspiracy culture pushed by Jones as pseudoscientific rubbish, it is not so easy to dismiss the size of the audience he has been building. Jones’s website gets 57m page views per month – double where it was six months ago.

According to analytics site Social Blade, the Alex Jones YouTube channel has 1.8m subscribers and just racked up its one billionth (that’s not a typo) video view. (For comparison, the BBC News YouTube channel has 992,000 subscribers.)

Jones’s Infowars site is part of an ecosystem of hyperpartisan media outlets that insist climate change is a hoax. Like Jones, that ecosystem is rapidly building a receptive online audience.

Those sites can now reach hundreds of millions of people with headlines insisting that human-caused climate change is a hoax, that global warming has stopped or that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is good.

One example. The most popular climate change story across social media in the past six months was not some diligently researched piece from one of the many very good science journalists writing for major news organisations around the world.

Rather, the story claimed that thousands of scientists had come forward to declare that climate change was a hoax. The writer was a guy running a website in Los Angeles who worked for eight years for the UK conspiracy theorist David Icke.

Icke thinks the moon might be some sort of spaceship, that the world is controlled by a globalist illuminati and, yes, that climate change is a hoax. Icke is a regular guest on Infowars.

Infowars will often source material from Breitbart – the website that used to be run by Trump’s campaign chairman and soon-to-be chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Many of Breitbart’s most popular climate change items are written by Delingpole, a British polemicist. Guess what he thinks of climate change?

Given that climate science denial has become a part of the Republican party’s identity, it was hardly surprising that the GOP-led House of Representatives committee on science should tweet a link to a Breitbart climate story written by Delingpole (a story based on a deeply misleading article in the UK’s Daily Mail). [The "Mail" story was NOT misleading.  See here]

Breitbart is also building its audience. According to data from SimilarWeb, the site now gets 168m page views per month, doubling its reach in the past six months.

The Drudge Report – the wildly popular conservative-leaning news aggregator site with 1.7bn page views a month – also helps drive traffic to sites such as Infowars and Breitbart. Its founder, Matt Drudge, was another recent guest of Jones.

Since Trump won the US election, there has been much talk of the influence of "fake news", with Facebook in particular identified as a key conduit. That encompasses news that is blatantly fabricated but also lounge room content farms that pass themselves off as news. Then there are the hyperpartisan opinion sites.

I’m happy to admit the online growth and reach of climate science denialists and conspiracy theorists terrifies me. Why?

The problem is not that these sites exist but that not enough people seem to know the difference between actual news, fake news, partisan opinion and conspiratorial bullshit. One of those people is the president-elect of the United States.

Either that, or people don’t even care to differentiate between fake and real, especially if what they read taps into their own prejudices.

There is a concerted attempt to cut sensible climate policy off at the knees by building a popular online movement against the science itself.

For decades, the fossil fuel industry and so-called "free market" ideologues at conservative thinktanks have misled the public on the science and the risks of climate change.

Now, the decades of material produced by that climate science denial machinery is finding a new audience. Those talking points are being reheated and screamed, in FULL CAPS.

So what’s the answer? No one seems to know but much appears to be in the hands of Google and Facebook.

Other than that, a crash course in critical thinking and recognising climate science denial brought to you by the illuminati might be the order of the day.


Stop buying organic food if you really want to save the planet

An article that pits the Warmists and the food freaks against one-another.  Delightful!  The food freaks do get a well-deserved blast below, though

WANDER around the local supermarket and you will struggle to find any clues to the environmental impact of the food you eat. If you are lucky, some of the seafood might bear the mark of the Marine Stewardship Council, which certifies fish caught in a sustainable way, but that’s about it.

Yet farming is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, only slightly behind heating and electricity. And while it’s relatively easy to cut emissions from electricity by switching to solar, reducing emissions from farming is a tougher nut to crack.

You might think buying local food is always preferable to imported food when it comes to carbon emissions, but even this is not a reliable guide. Food flown thousands of miles can still have a much lower carbon footprint than, say, local produce grown in heated greenhouses.

The one label you’re likely to find on many food items is the "organic" one. But if you care about the environment, don’t buy it (it’s not healthier either, but that’s another story).

For starters, you are not helping wildlife. Yes, organic farms host a greater diversity of wildlife than conventional ones. But because the yields are lower, organic farms require more land, which in the tropics often means cutting down more rainforests.

And organic food also results in higher greenhouse gas emissions than conventional farming.

The trouble is, there is no way to tell whether that basic loaf of bread is better in terms of greenhouse emissions than the organic one sitting next to it on the supermarket shelf.

This divide will become ever greater in the future, because the organisations that set the rather arbitrary standards for what counts as "organic" have firmly rejected the technology showing the greatest promise for reducing farming emissions: genetic modification.

"Food flown thousands of miles can have a much lower carbon footprint than local produce"
Existing GM crops may already be reducing carbon emissions even though they were not designed to do so. Next up: crops that can capture more of the sun’s energy, require less fertiliser and tolerate drought or salt.

But the organic movement will have none of it. There was a faint hope that some might at least accept gene editing, given that gene-edited crops can be genetically indistinguishable from conventional crops. But no, on 18 November the US organic standards board voted unanimously against this.

What we really need are climate labels on foods, so consumers can see whether, say, gene-edited bread is far better in climate terms than organic bread. This isn’t going to be easy. Measuring all the emissions associated with producing food and getting it onto a supermarket shelf is extremely complex, not to say expensive. Most schemes so far have foundered. Tesco tried introducing its own carbon labelling in 2007, for instance, but eventually abandoned the idea.

And it’s pointless unless the labels are easy to follow. One promising proposal is to describe the greenhouse emissions associated with particular food items in terms of what percentage of a person’s typical daily carbon footprint they represent.

Climate labelling is definitely worth pursuing despite the challenges. The only alternative is to allow consumers to continue being hoodwinked by feel-good mumbo jumbo – and the stakes are far too high to let this happen.


Sea level rise – or land subsidence?

Alarmist claims about rising seas inundating coastal areas blame the wrong culprit

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

In his 2006 Inconvenient Truth mockumentary, Al Gore infamously predicted melting ice caps would cause oceans to rise "up to 20 feet" (6.1 meters) "in the near future." Kevin Costner’s 1995 "action thriller" Water World presumed totally melting planetary ice would almost submerge the continents.

However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in 2007 that seas might rise up to only 2 feet by 2107. By comparison, oceans have risen nearly 400 feet since the last ice age ended, reflecting how much water was trapped in mile-thick glaciers that buried much of North America, Europe and Asia. In recent decades, though, global sea level rise has averaged just 7 inches per century – which may explain why Mr. Gore bought an $8.5-million mansion on the California coast in 2010.

And yet "rising seas due to dangerous manmade climate change" remains a contentious issue, with profound land use, wildlife, economic, insurance and policy implications – especially for certain regions, like the Atlantic Coast’s Chesapeake Bay region. Some say "seas could rise" 2.5 to 7 feet (2.1 meters) or more by the end of the century around Norfolk, Virginia, a huge population and agricultural center and home to America’s largest Navy base. Even if that happens, the prediction combines multiple causes.

Saltwater intrusion clearly has been an increasing problem across much of this region for several decades, and storms have sent tides and waves further inland than in the past, flooding and battering homes, croplands and wildlife habitats. Climate alarmists attribute this danger to human fossil fuel use.

As a new report by Dr. Bezdek explains, reality is much different. (His report awaits publication in a scientific journal.) At least for the Chesapeake region, Houston-Galveston, Texas area, Santa Clara Valley, California and other places around the globe, the primary cause of seawater intrusions is not rising oceans – but land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal from subsurface shale and sandstone formations, and to "glacial isostatic adjustments" that have been ongoing since the last glaciers melted.

The solution therefore is not to continue trying to control Earth’s climate – an impossible, economy-busting task that would further impede fossil fuel use, economic development, job creation, and human health and welfare. The solution requires reducing groundwater removal in these coastal areas.

Ice age glaciers buried continental land masses under trillions of tons of ice. Land under the ice was pushed downward, while areas somewhat beyond the glaciers were forced up. Once the ice was gone, the compressed areas began to rise, while lands that had bulged upward began to sink. Isostatic subsidence is still occurring, at about 1 millimeter a year (4.4 inches per century) in the Chesapeake region.

While Chesapeake farms and cities have been utilizing groundwater for centuries, withdrawal rates from Virginia Coastal Plain aquifers skyrocketed between 1950 and 1970, as modern pumps took over. The rates have remained high ever since, causing significant land subsidence.

The aquifer systems involve layers of porous sandstone with water in the interstices between sand grains. These layers are sandwiched between layers (lenses) of impermeable but wet shale and clay. As water is pumped from the sandy layers, the shale-clay layers are squeezed like a sponge by hundreds of feet of overlying rock and sediment, forcing their water into less compressible sands, and then into pumps.

The amount of water in a system, its recharge rates (from rain, snowmelt and other sources), and the degree of compaction depend on how much water is being withdrawn, the thickness of sand and clay layers, and how compressible the layers are. Most of the pumped water ultimately comes from the clays, as they are squeezed dry. Analysts have estimated that 95% of water removed from Virginia Coastal Plain aquifers between 1891 and 1980 came from their clay layers, which have steadily compressed as a result.

Compression means subsidence, at 1.1-4.8 mm/yr – for an average rate of 11 inches per century, on top of the 4.4 in. per century in isostatic subsidence, and compared to the average sea level rise of 7 in. a century.

The net effect in Virginia’s Coastal Plain can thus be nearly 2 feet of subsidence per century. The impacts on land, habitat and property loss, saltwater intrusions, inland storm surges, farming, homes and other buildings, regional economics, wharves, piers and naval bases, and insurance rates is easy to discern.

Confusion arises because discussions often involve "relative sea level rise" – which combines glacial isostatic and groundwater subsidence, along with actual sea level rise – just as we just did with our 2 feet per century total. However, the term obscures what is really going on and lends itself to climate alarmism, by leaving the false impression that the entire problem is melting icecaps and rising seas.

It clearly is not. Focusing attention on alleged "manmade climate cataclysms," supposedly driven by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, will result in our spending hundreds of billions of dollars to replace oil, gas and coal with expensive, subsidized, land-intensive renewable energy systems – while foregoing hundreds of billions of dollars in jobs and economic growth. Meanwhile, China, India, Indonesia and other developing nations will continue doing what they must to lift billions out of abject poverty and disease: burn more fossil fuels, thereby emitting more CO2.

Those nations are not about to succumb to the Obama EPA "social cost of carbon" con game. This is the fraudulent scheme under which bureaucrats blame US oil, gas and coal for every climate and weather event, habitat and species loss, and other problem that they can possibly conjure up anywhere in the world – while completely ignoring the phenomenal and undeniable benefits of using those fuels, and the equally important benefits of having more plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

President-Elect Trump’s nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA underscores his intent to end climate-obsessed government by junk science and Executive Branch decree.

What can be done about the real-world problems of "relative sea level rise"? Sea levels will continue to rise (or fall) in response to ice growth and melting, caused by powerful natural forces over which humans have no control. Glacial isostatic subsidence will continue – albeit at a glacial or geologic pace – unless another ice age buries continents under more miles of ice, again lowering sea levels hundreds of feet, and wiping out arable land, growing seasons and agricultural productivity.

Moreover, once water has been squeezed out of the clay and shale, it cannot easily be replenished. That means the subsidence process cannot be reversed. However, we can nevertheless reduce or even halt subsidence due to groundwater extraction.

Rates and locations of land subsidence and relative sea level rise change over time. Accurate predictive tools and measurements are thus needed to improve our understanding of subsidence in particular areas. Although subsidence rates are not as high on the Atlantic Coast as they have been in the Houston-Galveston area or Santa Clara Valley, the problem is nonetheless serious because of the southern Chesapeake Bay region’s low-lying topography and consequent susceptibility to ocean water intrusion.

In the Houston-Galveston area and Santa Clara Valley, resource managers have moved groundwater pumping away from the coast, reduced groundwater withdrawal rates, increased aquifer recharge and substitut­ed surface water for groundwater supplies. These actions have successfully stopped subsidence in the Santa Clara Valley and slowed the process in the Houston-Galveston area.

Similar steps could be taken in Virginia’s Tidewater or Coastal Plain region. In addition, pipelines could bring fresh water from nearby lakes and rivers, replacing at least some of what is now provided by wells. Yet another option might be to construct one or more desalination plants (in California and Texas, as well), utilizing nuclear or natural gas power to operate facilities that utilize new [(In%20the%20Houston-Galveston%20area,%20glacial%20factors%20play%20no%20role,%20but%20groundwater%20removal%20effects%20are%20compounded%20by%20the%20additional%20removal%20of%20liquid%20hydrocarbons%20from%20subsurface%20formations.)%20DROP?]Israeli technologies that employ a chemical-free reverse osmosis process that converts seawater into freshwater for pennies per gallon.

The new Congress and Executive Branch need to focus our limited money and resources on real problems and viable solutions – not on their false, politically correct, anti-development alter egos.

Via email

Pew: Only 27% of Americans Believe There is Consensus That Human Activity Causes Climate Change

A recent survey by the non-partisan Pew Research Center found that a large majority of Americans are skeptical about the prevailing scientific understanding of climate change, with only 27 percent saying they believe there is a consensus that human activity is its main cause.

That belief is at odds with the scientific community, Pew noted, citing a 2013 report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that concluded "with 95% certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century."

The Pew survey was conducted between May 10 and June 6 as a part of an examination of  public attitudes about scientific research related to climate change and genetically modified foods.

The survey found that only 28% of Americans surveyed believe that climate scientists understand the causes of climate change "very well’- compared to 32% who said that scientists had a "not at all well" understanding of the causes of climate change

It also suggested that despite their skepticism over the cause of climate change, Americans still tend to trust information on it provided by climate scientists over other sources, including the energy industry, the news media, and elected officials.

Pew reported that 39% of those surveyed said that they trust climate scientists "a lot to give full and accurate information", while only 7% answered that they trust energy industry leaders and the news media to do so.

Only 4% of survey respondents said they trusted elected officials to provide accurate information on climate change.

The study also found a deep divide between conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, with 54% of liberal Democrats saying they believe that climate scientists understand the causes of climate change "very well" -  a view supported by only 11% of conservative Republicans.

Moderate- to- liberal Republicans and moderate- to- conservative Democrats fell somewhere in between that wide 43% gap.

However, roughly two-thirds of those surveyed (67 percent), believe climate scientists should have a major role in making policy decisions about climate change, compared to 56% of Americans who believe that the general public should have a major role.


Reining in the EPA

By now it should come as no surprise that Donald Trump is making good on his campaign promises. Yesterday, Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. Pruitt has a record of waging legal battles with Barack Obama’s over-regulating EPA. In fact, he’s currently one of the leaders suing the EPA over its Clean Power Plan, which would create significant price increases for Americans' power bills while having negligible impact on the environment. Pruitt is a big proponent of states' rights over and against the unconstitutionally powerful EPA. Trump’s transition team stated in its announcement that Pruitt is "an expert in Constitutional law [who] brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy."

Maybe the best endorsement for Pruitt has come from those ecofascist groups who, with an almost religious fervor, shout their opposition. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said, "Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires. He is a climate science denier who, as attorney general for the state of Oklahoma, regularly conspired with the fossil fuel industry to attack EPA protections." And Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resourced Defense Council, lamented, "The mission of the EPA and its administrator requires an absolute commitment to safeguard public health and protect our air, land, water and planet. If confirmed, Pruitt seems destined for the environmental hall of shame."

Pruitt responded to his critics: "It should come as no surprise that I am working diligently with Oklahoma energy companies, the people of Oklahoma, and the majority of attorneys general to fight the unlawful overreach of the EPA and other federal agencies."

This is indeed good, because, especially over the last eight years, two of the most abusive and unaccountable federal agencies have been the IRS and the EPA. Now it appears that needed change will be coming in a big way, protecting Americans' freedoms and saving the nation from unneeded expensive and oppressive regulations.



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, 2016

Half the world's species failing to cope with global warming as Earth races towards its sixth mass extinction (?)

There probably is species loss going on.  There always is, always has been and always will be.  But how do we know current losses are unusual?  We could only know if we had a full ennumeration of all the species on earth at some point in time.  But it is widely acknowledged that we are nowhere near having such a list

And the claim that anything is due to global warming is simply an assertion. It is admitted below that the warming has been slight so it is hanging a lot on a little to blame any sort of extinctions on it.  There is simply no proof of such an improbable link.

And the idea that we are "racing towards" something is just prophecy. Things could turn around tomorrow. The numbers of any species fluctuate, with populations sometimes coming roaring back from apparent near-extinction. The Chinook salmon rebound in Canada, for instance. Or the New England cod rebound.

And this study was about "local extinctions" only, which mean very little.  Such "extinctions" mostly just mean that the creature has changed its range.   It has gone from one area and popped up somewhere else. There could be many and various reasons for that.

Creatures that become totally extinct do no doubt become locally extinct first but it doesn't follow that all locally extinct creatures go on to become totally extinct.  I don't believe, in fact, that I have ever heard of a declared locally extinct creature going totally extinct.  No doubt it occurs but it is rare.

So local extinctions are no cause for alarm -- unless of course you are a panicky Greenie -- and what Greenie is not panicky?   Crying wolf is their specialty.

Nearly half the species on the planet are failing to cope with the global warming the world has already experienced, according to an alarming new study that suggests the sixth mass extinction of animal life in the Earth’s history could take place in as little as 50 years.

A leading evolutionary biologist, Professor John Wiens, found that 47 per cent of nearly 1,000 species had suffered local extinctions linked to climate change with populations absent from areas where they had been found before.

Professor Wiens, who is editor of the Quarterly Review of Biology and a winner of the American Society of Naturalists’ president’s award, said the implications for the future were serious because his review showed plants and animals were struggling to deal with the relatively small amount of global warming experienced to date.

So far the world has warmed by about 1C above pre-industrial levels, but it is expected to hit between 2.6 and 4.8C by 2100 if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gases.

Another problem facing life on Earth is the election of climate science denier Donald Trump as US President.

Professor Wiens, of Arizona University, described this as a "global disaster" and, when asked what he would say to the President-elect if he met him, he joked grimly: "Kill yourself immediately."

In his study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, the scientist examined academic papers about 976 different species from all over the world that had been studied at least twice, once about 50 years ago and again within the last 10 years.

"In almost half the species looked at, there have been local extinctions already," he said.

"This is stuff that’s already happened with just a small change to the climate. We’re looking at a two to five-fold increase [in warming over the next century].

"What it shows is species cannot change fast enough to keep up with a small change in climate. That’s the big implication – even a small change in temperature and they cannot handle it."

The study looked at 716 different kinds of animals and 260 plants from Asia, Europe, North and South America, and elsewhere.

Local extinctions were found to have occured among 47.1 per cent of species at the "warm edge" of their traditional range, as it became too hot for them. There were few areas of the planet that were unaffected.

"Overall, the frequency of local extinctions was similar across most climatic zones, habitats, gradients and clade," the PLOS Biology paper said.

However Professor Wiens found climate-related local extinctions were "substantially higher" among freshwater species at 74 per cent of the 31 studied.

The current rate of global extinction of animals and plants is believed to be faster than some of the five great extinction events in the Earth’s history, but so far the total number lost does not compare to the species lost when the dinosaurs were wiped about 65 million years ago.

However one reason geologists are considering declaring a new epoch in our planet’s history is the rapid loss of flora and fauna that will have a noticeable effect on the fossil record.

Professor Wiens said: "It’s true that in terms of global extinction of entire species that have already happened, I think we’re not there [at the sixth mass extinction] yet.

"But I think unfortunately we are on track for that to happen.

"That’s sort of the good news – it hasn’t happened yet. But if we don’t do anything it seems like that’s going to happen in the next 50 to 100 years."

There were already "two bad signs" that Mr Trump’s election would make things worse, Professor Wiens said.

"One would be this person he’s assigned to head the EPA [renowned climate science denier Scott Pruitt] and the other thing is pulling out of the Paris accord [on climate change]," he said.

"The EPA in this country, they are the ones supposed to be protecting the environment."

In what was perhaps a sign of the desperation felt by environmental scientists in the US and elsewhere, he jokingly suggested the UK should invade the US or the US and Canada should swap leaders with Justin Trudeau taking over in the White House.

Asked what he would really say to Mr Trump if they met, Professor Wiens said: "I guess I would tell him ‘what would you think if there was a country on the other side of the world that was releasing gas that was going to cause extinctions in our country, to hurt our crops and make people starve’.

"He would say, ‘tell me where it is and we’ll bomb them tomorrow’. Then I’d say, ‘this is what we’re doing to other countries because we are the big polluters.’

"People are already having serious problems with food security. People are going to die and it’s going to be the fault of our country and other big polluters.

"There is no question he would militarily intervene against a country that was doing to us what we are doing to other countries."


Mosquitos on the Rise Thanks to DDT Ban

Given all the finger-pointing over fake news, it’s worth revisiting the hype over dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. Most people know it by its acronym, DDT, which is a chemical compound that, before the ecofascists succeeded in banning it in 1972, was an effective means of helping control the mosquito population and, by extension, deadly diseases such as malaria. The self-righteous Left heralded the ban as saving the environment. The reality is that the DDT embargo, not so-called climate change, has prompted a rapid buildup of disease-spreading mosquitoes.

Via The Washington Times: "The U.S. mosquito population is on the rise, but don’t blame climate change. Blame the ban on the insecticide DDT. A study published this week in Nature Communications attributed the decay of DDT concentrations as well as urbanization to an increase in mosquitoes over the past 50 years. … The analysis, conducted by researchers from Rutgers, the University of California Davis and the University of California Santa Cruz, flies in the face of statements by environmental groups linking warmer temperatures to mosquito-borne ailments like the West Nile and Zika viruses."

Even the EPA admits DDT "was effective for insect control in crop and livestock production, institutions, homes, and gardens," though it goes on to claim that environmental and biological hazards countermand the benefits. It’s true that DDT is a potent chemical and should be used judiciously. But like many things leftist do-gooders obsess about, the faux alarm created by lobbyists has not helped the situation, either. Just like fossil fuels, which provide cool air and heat during seasonal swings, are crucial to our livelihood, DDT is critical to helping regulate disease-carrying insects. Let’s stop ostracizing it with fake news.


Scott Pruitt will bring EPA regulatory war on coal to heel under the Trump administration

Americans for Limited Government announced just a week after the election that job one of the Trump administration must be to dismantle the EPA regulations which are crippling our economy; less than a month after he became President-elect, and Donald Trump has already begun this mission.

With the latest appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump is allowing Pruitt to continue his crusade against EPA overreach he has been fighting for years.

During his time as attorney general in the oil and gas intensive state of Oklahoma, he has led several law suits against EPA regulations in his state. In 2014 when the EPA proposed new rules to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent, Pruitt responded telling State Impact News that, "The EPA can’t force utility companies to actually incorporate emission control measures unless they’re achievable through technology. And here, there really isn’t any demonstrated technology that will see a reduction of 30 percent."

Oklahoma and Texas joined together for a Supreme Court case that year the EPA likely overstepped their authority. The case argued that despite how the Obama administration and the agency itself were interpreting the Clean Air Act, it was not a blanket agreement for the EPA to act however they see fit.

Pruitt also led the fight against cross state air pollution rules, mercury and air toxins reduction, and regional haze regulations. Pruitt has also sued the EPA to take apart the agency’s sue and settle scam to expand its powers.

Pruitt’s battles are not about science; they never have been. They are about the crippling regulations the unelected bureaucrats of the EPA impose on states and businesses that destroy local economies.

Since the 2007 Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, the agency has regulated carbon emissions as "harmful pollutants" under the terms of the Clean Air Act. Then, under the Obama administration that is exactly what the EPA did with the 2009 Carbon Endangerment Finding. This rulemaking in turn has been used to justify the continual implementation of regulations that expand the agency’s power and wage a war on coal via the new and existing power plant rules.

The EPA has expanded its reach through sue and settle lawsuits as well. Environmental groups sue the EPA or local governments demanding to have issues addressed. To avoid further litigation, the parties settle the suit and the EPA is given permission to address the issue with newly expanded powers, even if previously the EPA had not jurisdiction or authority over the issue.

Pruitt has already taken a stance against these abusive tactics, not only because they provide the EPA with impermissible powers but because when these "friendly lawsuits" are encouraged they adversely affect the due process system. Pruitt attacked the "loopholes" to legislation that the EPA had been finding, and forced them to be accountable for their policy.

Now as EPA administrator, Pruitt won’t need to sue to get these regulations rescinded. While the removal of these regulations can sometimes take years under the terms of the Administrative Procedures Act, the process will be infinitely more focused and efficient with Pruitt to begin action immediately. We can be certain he’ll get started right away.

The EPA has spent nearly a decade overreaching its power and hampering state economies, finally the agency will be brought to heel by Pruitt. Trump’s selection of Pruitt is evidence of his belief in the American economy above all else, and the coal workers who helped elect Trump to end the war on coal electricity can once again celebrate that he is following through on his promises to the people.



Conservatives must strongly support Trump on climate change

And on his EPA, Interior and other environmental nominations – and their policy decisions

Tom Harris

President-elect Donald Trump’s opposition to the global warming alarm is a refreshing change from the Obama administration’s naïve and hugely expensive crusade to lead the world to ‘save the climate."

Not only has Trump been right on the money in his descriptions of the sub-prime science underlying the scare. He also clearly understands that there is little chance the developing world, the source of most of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, will follow the US lead anyway, as it strives to lift billions out of poverty. These nations don’t even have to. There is an "out" clause for developing countries in the United Nations treaty on which the Paris Agreement is based.

Trump has started out well. First, he appointed Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and chair of the Cooler Heads Coalition, to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team.

As one of the ‘climate criminals’ targeted by activists in wanted posters across Paris during the December 2015 UN climate conference, Ebell is no stranger to controversy. He has faced up to aggressive global warming campaigners for years on television and radio, in newspapers and public presentations, and in his advocacy for solid science and affordable, plentiful, reliable energy.

Next, Trump selected Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to run the EPA. Like Ebell, Pruitt is a climate realist. He wrote in the National Review in May of this year, "Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged – in classrooms, public forums and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime."

Climate activists are outraged that such people will now have significant influence over America’s, and indeed the world’s climate, environment and energy policies. Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Washington DC-based Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, sums up the reaction to Trump’s appointments: "The sheer panic and harsh criticism emanating from the Left, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, only validates that he must be ‘saying and doing all the right things.""

Despite listening to people from across the political spectrum on these issues, even meeting with former Vice-President Al Gore on Tuesday, it seems unlikely that Trump will change his mind on climate change. Yet, conservatives cannot afford to withdraw from the fight and simply assume that things will continue to go their way after Inauguration Day.

After all, Trump has not been a consistent opponent of global warming hysteria over the years. He was a registered Democrat from 2001 to 2008, and a major donor to the Clinton Foundation, which identifies climate change as its first "issue area."

In 2009, Trump, along with Ivanka, Donald Junior and Eric Trump, signed an open letter to President Obama and Congress supporting "measures to control climate change," even though doing so is a physical impossibility. The letter, published in the New York Times December 6, 2009, implored:

"Please don’t postpone the Earth. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet."

So, like former Canadian prime Minister Stephen Harper, who campaigned for office as a climate skeptic, but changed sides after being elected, Trump could end up again supporting climate alarmism if realists don’t strongly support his current policies … and hold his feet to the fire if he waivers.

Already, climate activists and their allies in the scientific community are working hard to change Trump’s mind on global warming:

* November 17: An open letter signed by thousands of women scientists was released. They claimed to fear that "scientific progress and momentum in tackling our biggest challenges, including staving off the worst impacts of climate change, will be severely hindered under this next U.S. administration. Our planet cannot afford to lose any time."

Yet, the 2013 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) cited hundreds of research papers published in leading science journals, demonstrating that today’s climate change is nothing to fear. In particular, they concluded that "neither the rate nor magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979–2000) lies outside normal natural variability, nor was it in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climatic history."

Current climate change is so slow – 1.5 degrees between 1880 and 2012, according to the United Nations – that we have plenty of time to properly consider alternative points of view on this complex topic.

* November 30: The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released an open letter it had coordinated to Trump and Congress. The 2,300 scientist endorsers worried that, without adequate research resources, "we will be less prepared to limit the impacts of increasing extreme weather."

This too is misleading. As the NIPCC report explained: "The commonly held perception that twentieth century warming was accompanied by an increase in extreme weather events is a misconception fostered by excessive media attention, and has no basis in facts."

* December 6: Over 800 energy and earth science researchers signed another open letter to Trump, urging him to "take immediate and sustained action against human-caused climate change."

The letter is riddled with mistakes. Besides the UCS extreme weather blunder, they erroneously labelled plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide as "carbon pollution." They claim the science backing the scare is "unequivocal," a claim that is irrational in any scientific endeavor and especially one this immature.

They said that "virtually all climate scientists" disagree with Trump, an assertion easily disproved by the NIPCC reports; dozens of open letters and other documents endorsed by leading climate experts; former space scientists, engineers and astronauts with The Right Climate Stuff group; and a statement by 31,487 American scientists expressing extreme doubt about manmade climate cataclysms.

Backing all this up is the continuous global warming drumbeat from mainstream media. The National Geographic Society provided a good example in "The Global Dangers of Trump’s Climate Denial," in which it erroneously claimed that "Trump’s stance on climate change runs counter to physical evidence [and] near-universal scientific consensus...."

To counter such reporting, Trump must promote solid science to justify his position. In particular, the president-elect must be convinced to make full use of reports such as those of the NIPCC to demonstrate that much of what activists say about climate change is simply wrong.

Otherwise, history may repeat itself – and like Harper and both President Bushes, Trump may yield to the aggressive climate movement. That would be a disaster for the United States, and indeed for all nations that rely on a prosperous America for freedom.

Republicans ... and what is left of moderate Democrats who care about working class Americans ... must get behind EPA Administrator nominee Scott Pruitt. He is truly a leader who has the character, wisdom, legal skills and understanding to lead the EPA in a new, more constructive direction.

Via email

Conservative Group, Liberal Bloggers Trade Shots Over Elon Musk’s Taxpayer Subsidies

A conservative advocacy group has a special name for liberal bloggers who have rushed in to defend the business practices of Elon Musk, the multibillionaire co-founder of taxpayer-funded renewable energy and space technology companies. It calls them "stoogers."

Despite "mounting evidence of cronyism by his crumbling empire, Elon Musk has tapped stooge-like left-wing bloggers to come to his defense," according to a press release from Citizens for the Republic, a grassroots conservative group based in Alexandria, Virginia.

"Musk should not be permitted to bail out his own companies with taxpayer money," @dianasbpa says.

The group bitingly defines a "stooger" as "a liberal person … living in their basement spewing left-wing prevarications and slander via blogs, which few read."

For months now, Citizens for the Republic has been sharply critical of Musk and the government subsidies that flow into his companies. In recent days, however, liberal bloggers and left-leaning news outlets have published articles raising questions about the political action committee’s motivations, objectives, and funding sources.

Diana Banister, a partner in Shirley & Banister Public Affairs and executive director of Citizens for the Republic, told The Daily Signal in an interview that she suspects the blogs "received their marching orders from Musk" in the aftermath of the November elections.

With Donald Trump about to move into the White House, Musk knows that lawmakers may be more inclined to move against "crony government deals" that benefit his companies, Banister said.

Citizens for the Republic keeps tabs on Musk’s corporate enterprises at the "Stop Elon From Failing Again" website.

"If Musk is suddenly afraid of us and what we are exposing, this might be his reaction to the election results," Banister said. "He’s panicked and so are his supporters, and this might explain why you see these obscure left-wing blogs popping up to attack us."

The Daily Signal sought comment from two of Musk’s companies, SolarCity and Tesla Motors, on the criticism of  his business practices and the allegation that he recruited bloggers to defend him. Neither organization has responded.

Musk, 45, is a South African-born, Los Angeles-based business mogul who has gained fame for his efforts to combat global warming and to establish a human colony on Mars.

But Musk also has been subjected to widespread criticism for pulling in billions of dollars in government subsidies for companies that produce electric cars, sell solar panels, and launch rockets into space.

Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp., and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., widely known as SpaceX, cumulatively have benefited from about $5 billion in government subsidies, according to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times from government sources.

Tesla and SolarCity consistently have reported net losses while SpaceX, as a private outfit, does not release financial reports to the public. On Nov. 17, Tesla shareholders approved a $2 billion acquisition of SolarCity.

Musk was chairman and co-founder of SolarCity, a solar energy company based in San Mateo, California. He was also chairman and founder of Tesla Motors, the electric car company based in Palo Alto, California.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings show that Musk was the largest shareholder in both companies. The merger means that Musk could sell electric cars and solar roofs under one corporate brand.

But without taxpayer-funded support, these companies could not survive, Banister told The Daily Signal.

"Musk should not be permitted to bail out his own companies with taxpayer money," she said. "But that’s what happened with this acquisition."

One of the blogs Banister cites as putting out what she views as skewed and misleading material can be found at

A Nov. 24 post there charges that Citizens for the Republic overlooks subsidies the oil and gas industry receives from the federal government. The post says "fake news everywhere" gives Musk good reason to be suspicious that his competitors in the fossil fuel industry lurk behind coverage that is critical of his enterprises.

Musk himself tweeted Nov. 22:  "Can anyone uncover who is behind these fake pieces?"

"Let the trolls launch their slings and arrows Elon’s way," the post says. "They will not deter him from moving toward his goal—a world where fossil fuels stay in the ground and abundant renewable electricity from the sun is the order of the day."

Another liberal blog, "The Drive," on Nov. 22 suggested a link between "big oil" and Citizens for the Republic. That same day, Bloomberg News ran a story about Musk and his online critics that cites the "Stop Elon Musk From Failing Again" website and raises questions about financial support for Citizens for the Republic.

The Daily Signal unsuccessfully sought comment from both blogs via Twitter.

In a press release titled "Bloomberg Smells of Musk," Citizens for the Republic describes Bloomberg News as a "one-sided, left-wing" media operation. It says the Bloomberg article reads like a propaganda piece that overlooks the fact Musk has received billions in taxpayer funding even though his companies "show no signs of financial stability or success."

In an online interview about his report on "internet trolls" who have been critical of Musk, Bloomberg Businessweek reporter Paul Barrett says it is difficult to "connect the dots" between Citizens for the Republic and the group’s supporters.

"The dots are that we don’t believe the government should prop up companies or industries, big banks, big abortion, big education, big media, or any others," Banister said, adding:

We believe in the marketplace. When SolarCity can’t make a profit, and Tesla can’t make a profit, and SpaceX can’t make a profit, it’s not the American taxpayer who should continue to fund these companies. We are against using taxpayer subsidies to bail out failing companies, and we welcome anyone who supports our cause.

The Daily Signal sought comment from Barrett by email, but has not received a response. The Daily Signal also emailed and spoke with a Bloomberg News spokeswoman about responding to Citizens for the Republic, but the outlet has not replied.

Ronald Reagan originally established Citizens for the Republic in 1977, three years before he won the presidency. Conservative activists relaunched the political action committee in 2010 with Banister and Craig Shirley, her partner in Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, as board members.

Shirley, the author of three books on Reagan, also serves as chairman of Citizens for the Republic, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit.  He is founder, chairman, and CEO of Shirley & Banister, and Banister is president of the public relations firm.

In June, Citizens for the Republic set up the Sunlight Project, an initiative "to monitor and expose corruption and cronyism at the nexus of government and business." The "Stop Elon From Failing Again" website is an extension of this project.



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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9 December, 2016

Meteorologist tries to debunk Breitbart

The point she made is an old one and already well answered.  The fall in temperature was NOT found only in the satellite record.  There were similar falls in other measures.  See here. And the land-based record is important precisely because it shows changes first, before the ocean does.  There is more thermal inertia in the oceans but the ocean surface moves in the same direction as the land surface.  So the land record is predictive of overall cooling, which was the point.  The lady is just a pretty face

AN ATMOSPHERIC scientist has delivered a scathing response to alt-right website Breitbart for trying to use a video "with my face on it" to back its misleading views on climate change.

Kait Parker, from the US cable show The Weather Channel, recorded a video debunking Breitbart’s claims saying: "Here’s the thing — science doesn’t care about your opinion".

"Cherry picking and twisting the facts will not change the future, nor the fact ... that the Earth is warming," Ms Parker says in the video published on Tuesday.

Ms Parker’s response was prompted by a Breitbart article that suggested global warming was nothing but a scare and that global temperatures were actually falling.

"Problem is they used a completely unrelated video of la nina with my face in it to attempt to back their point," she said.

"What’s worse is that the US committee on space, science and technology actually tweeted it out."

The climatologist then proceeded to completely dismantle Breitbart’s article, debunking the conclusions it makes.

She said one claim that global land temperatures had plummeted by one degree since the beginning of this year was based on one satellite estimate, and when land temperatures were combined with sea surface temperatures, you actually get a record high temperature.

"Land temperatures aren’t an appropriate measure, the Earth is 70 per cent water and water is where we store most of our heat energy," she said.


Record Ice Growth In Greenland Continues

Greenland is the only part of the Arctic where ice-cover matters.  The rest of the Arctic is floating ice -- which does not raise the water level if it melts

Greenland’s surface has been gaining about three billion tons of ice every day since September 1, blowing away all prior records for ice gain.

Meanwhile, fake news sites like the Guardian continue to lie about Greenland (and everything else.)


EPA pick finalized

And the Green/Left are wailing.  See below:

It’s official: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the person who has wrote this year that "debate is far from settled" about climate change, has been selected by President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team as the future administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Folks who care about the future of the planet may spew out a sigh of relief; famed climate change denier Myron Ebell, who’s heading the EPA transition team and was rumored to head the EPA, won’t take the helm.

They shouldn’t. Ebell may be paid by fossil fuel companies to spread lies about the science of global warming, but Pruitt does something objectively worse: He is paid by fossil fuel companies to wage an all-out war on environmental regulation with American tax dollars.

As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt has sued the EPA several times over incoming regulations dealing with air quality and pollution. His challenges deal not only with rules limiting the greenhouse gas emissions that cause the planet to warm up, but also more local public health concerns like soot and particulate emissions that lead to smog pollution. He’s lost every time.

What will happen when EPA’s most powerful enemy is in the captain’s seat? We’re about to find out.


UK slashes number of Foreign Office climate change staff

The UK has cut the number of Foreign Office staff working on climate change, despite ministers arguing the issue should be a top foreign policy priority.

The Liberal Democrats said it was "appalling" and sent "the wrong signals" to the world, after a minister revealed the figures in a recent parliamentary answer.

Experts said that with Donald Trump promising to roll back international climate efforts and with 2016 set to be the hottest on record, it was a bad time to cut back.

In London, the number of staff working full time on climate change is down by more than two thirds, from 26 in July 2013 to eight now. Overseas, the figure is down from 177 in March 2013 to 149 today.

The UK’s climate change diplomacy is respected internationally, and was seen as playing an important role in the run-up to the Paris agreement, which was agreed in France last year and recently came into force.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns, minister of state for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), said last year: "Climate change is not only a threat to the environment but to global security and economic prosperity. That therefore makes it a top priority not only for environment ministers but foreign ministers too."

Questions were raised by former ministers about the UK’s commitment to leadership on climate change when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) was abolished and merged into the business department in the summer, a move former Labour leader Ed Miliband branded "plain stupid".

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem environment spokesperson, said: "It’s appalling that the number of people working on climate change in the Foreign Office has been substantially reduced, especially now that the Decc has been disbanded.

"It sends all the wrong signals about this government’s commitment to tackling our biggest global threat, and undermines the work being done to encourage other nations to take action."

British diplomatic efforts on climate change have in the past included trying to influence macro economic policy in China to encourage its economy to cut carbon, and pressing the US intelligence community on the risk global warming poses to security. But the Foreign Office’s prioritisation of climate change has been "chipped away" in recent years, say observers.

"This is not a good time to be cutting back on Foreign Office staff working on climate change," said Tom Burke of thinktank E3G, who was adviser to the FCO’s top climate envoy until 2012.

"At a recent private meeting in the state department, the US climate envoy again emphasised how important Britain’s climate diplomacy was in driving forward ambition on climate change. As Trump turns the US back into a climate laggard, rather than the leader it has become, our role in building on Paris becomes essential."

He said the UK’s leverage in international climate negotiations was a result of the Foreign Office’s capability to shape conversations on climate change in capitalcities around the world.

A government spokeswoman said: "The UK’s commitment and leadership on climate action, internationally and domestically, is as strong as ever and we are recognised as the second best country in the world for tackling climate change.

"We take a whole of government approach to our climate change ambitions so that we can benefit from the low carbon transition in our industrial strategy as we deliver an economy that works for all."


The Non-Expert Problem and Climate Change Science

By Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert

Before I start, let me say as clearly as possible that I agree with the scientific consensus on climate change. If science says something is true – according to most scientists, and consistent with the scientific method – I accept their verdict.

I realize that science can change its mind, of course. Saying something is "true" in a scientific sense always leaves open the option of later reassessing that view if new evidence comes to light. Something can be "true" according to science while simultaneously being completely wrong. Science allows that odd situation to exist, at least temporarily, while we crawl toward truth.

So when I say I agree with the scientific consensus on climate change, I’m endorsing the scientific consensus for the same reason I endorsed Hillary Clinton for the first part of the election – as a strategy to protect myself. I endorse the scientific consensus on climate change to protect my career and reputation. To do otherwise would be dumb, at least in my situation.

As regular readers of this blog already know, human brains did not evolve to understand reality in any deep way. If some of us survive and procreate, that’s good enough for evolution. It doesn’t matter that you live in a movie that says you will reincarnate after you die, while I live in a movie that says reality is a software simulation, and perhaps our mutual friend lives in a movie in which his prophet flew to heaven on a winged horse. Those are very different realities, but it doesn’t stop any of us from procreating.  This lesson about the subjective nature of reality is one we learned from watching Trump’s march to the election. As the world looked on, everything they thought they understood about Trump’s chances dissolved in front of them. And yet the world still worked fine.

This perceptual change in humanity is happening as I predicted it would a year before Trump won. I told you he would change more than politics. I said he would open a crack in reality so you could view it through a new filter. That transformation is well underway. I’ll widen the crack a bit more today.

If you have been involved in any climate change debates online or in person, you know they always take the following trajectory: Climate science believers state that all the evidence, and 98% of scientists, are on the same side. Then skeptics provide links to credible-sounding articles that say the science is bunk, and why. How the heck can you – a non-expert – judge who is right?

You probably are not a scientist, and that means you can’t independently evaluate any of the climate science claims. You didn’t do the data collection or the experiments yourself. You could try to assess the credibility of the scientists using your common sense and experience, but let’s face it – you aren’t good at that. So what do you do?

You probably default to trusting whatever the majority of scientists tell you. And the majority says climate science is real and we need to do something about it. But how reliable are experts, even when they are mostly on the same side?

Ask the majority of polling experts who said Trump had only a 2% chance of becoming president. Ask the experts who said the government’s historical "food pyramid" was good science. Ask the experts who used to say marijuana was a gateway drug. Ask the experts who used to say sexual orientation is just a choice. Ask the experts who said alcoholism is a moral failure and not a matter of genetics.

There are plenty of examples where the majority of experts were wrong. What you really want to know is whether climate change looks more like the sort of thing that turns out to be right or the sort of thing that turns out to be wrong. Let’s dig into that question.

It seems to me that a majority of experts could be wrong whenever you have a pattern that looks like this:

1. A theory has been "adjusted" in the past to maintain the conclusion even though the data has changed. For example, "Global warming" evolved to "climate change" because the models didn’t show universal warming.

2. Prediction models are complicated. When things are complicated you have more room for error. Climate science models are complicated.

3. The models require human judgement to decide how variables should be treated. This allows humans to "tune" the output to a desired end. This is the case with climate science models.

4. There is a severe social or economic penalty for having the "wrong" opinion in the field. As I already said, I agree with the consensus of climate scientists because saying otherwise in public would be social and career suicide for me even as a cartoonist. Imagine how much worse the pressure would be if science was my career.

5. There are so many variables that can be measured – and so many that can be ignored – that you can produce any result you want by choosing what to measure and what to ignore. Our measurement sensors do not cover all locations on earth, from the upper atmosphere to the bottom of the ocean, so we have the option to use the measurements that fit our predictions while discounting the rest.

6. The argument from the other side looks disturbingly credible.

One of the things that always fascinated me about jury trials is that attorneys from both sides can sound so convincing even though the evidence points in only one direction. A defendant is either guilty or innocent, but good lawyers can make you see it either way. Climate science is similar. I’ve seen airtight arguments that say climate science is solid and true, and I’ve seen equally credible-looking arguments that say it is bunk. From my non-scientist perspective, I can’t tell the difference. Both sides look convincing to me.

As I have described in this blog before, I’m a trained hypnotist and I have studied the methods of persuasion for years. That gives me a bit of context that is different from the norm. In my experience, and based on my training, it is normal and routine for the "majority of experts" to be completely wrong about important stuff. But in the two-dimensional world where persuasion isn’t much of a thing, it probably looks to most of you that experts are usually right, especially when they are overwhelmingly on the same side and there is a mountain of confirming evidence.

We like to think we arrived at our decisions about climate science by using our common sense and good judgement to evaluate the credibility of experts. Some of you think you have superior sources of information as well. But both sides are wrong. No one is using reason, facts, or common sense to arrive at a decision about climate science. Here’s what you are using to arrive at your decision:

1. Fear

2. Unwarranted trust in experts

3. Pattern recognition

On the question of fear, if you believe that experts are good at predicting future doom, you are probably scared to death by climate change. But in my experience, any danger we humans see coming far in the future we always find a way to fix. We didn’t run out of food because of population growth. We didn’t run out of oil as predicted. We didn’t have a problem with the Year 2000 bug, and so on. I refer to this phenomenon as the Adams Law of Slow-Moving Disasters. When we see a disaster coming – as we do with climate science – we have an unbroken track record of avoiding doom. In the case of climate change danger, there are a number of technologies under development that can directly scrub the atmosphere if needed.

On the question of trusting experts, my frame of reference is the field of influence and persuasion. From my point of view – and given the examples of mass delusion that I have personally witnessed (including Trump’s election), I see experts as far less credible than most people assume.

And when it comes to pattern recognition, I see the climate science skeptics within the scientific community as being similar to Shy Trump Supporters. The fact that a majority of scientists agree with climate science either means the evidence is one-sided or the social/economic pressures are high. And as we can plainly see, the cost of disagreeing with climate science is unreasonably high if you are a scientist.

While it is true that a scientist can become famous and make a big difference by bucking conventional wisdom and proving a new theory, anything short of total certainty would make that a suicide mission. And climate science doesn’t provide the option of total certainty.

To put it another way, it would be easy for a physicist to buck the majority by showing that her math worked. Math is math. But if your science depends on human judgement to decide which measurements to include and which ones to "tune," you don’t have that option. Being a rebel theoretical physicist is relatively easy if your numbers add up. But being a rebel climate scientist is just plain stupid. So don’t expect to see many of the latter. Scientists can often be wrong, but rarely are they stupid.

To strengthen my point today, and in celebration of my reopening of the blog commenting section, please provide your links to pro and con arguments about climate science. This might be the only place in the world you will see links to both sides. If you want to be amazed, see how persuasive BOTH sides of this debate are.

As I said above, I accept the consensus of climate science experts when they say that climate science is real and accurate. But I do that to protect my reputation and my income. I have no way to evaluate the work of scientists.

If you ask me how scared I am of climate changes ruining the planet, I have to say it is near the bottom of my worries. If science is right, and the danger is real, we’ll find ways to scrub the atmosphere as needed. We always find ways to avoid slow-moving dangers. And if the risk of climate change isn’t real, I will say I knew it all along because climate science matches all of the criteria for a mass hallucination by experts.



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, 2016

'Remarkable year': What's behind the record low sea ice in Antarctica?

Above is the heading on an article by Peter Hannam appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Nov. 27. I dealt with it  on Nov. 29th., using logic alone. 

But Tony Heller has now attacked it using 20th century climate history, which is his specialty.  He shows that the principal area of recent sea-ice loss is a polynya (big hole) in the ice of the Weddel sea.  He then goes on to show that a very similar hole in the same place also occurred in 1976, when it was attributed to global cooling

So which is it?  Does a polynya prove global warming or global cooling?  Neither, of course.  It is just one of the natural phenomena that we do not understand -- though a guess that it is due to an underwater volcano would probably not be far off.  There is a lot of underwater vulcanism at both poles.

Tony also has fun with another claim in the Peter Hannam article that reported ice loss in the Northern hemisphere too.  In commenting on that ice loss, Peter said:  "With less ice to reflect the sun's radiation to space, more heat is absorbed by the oceans, added to the warming".

Tony's reply to that was crushing on two grounds: "If Peter actually knew anything about the earth, he would know that the sun doesn’t shine in the Arctic in November – and open water in the Arctic Ocean in November allows heat to escape to the much colder air."

Fracking-Contaminated Groundwater: The Myth that Failed

The myth that hydraulic fracturing, commonly called "fracking," of oil and natural gas is responsible for the widespread, systemic contamination of groundwater (the stuff you drink) is one that is proving tremendously hard to kill. Like a hoard of Birkenstock-and-white-sock-wearing terminators—and here I paraphrase the film—proponents of fracking bans can’t be bargained with, can’t be reasoned with, can’t feel pity or remorse or fear, and they absolutely will not stop, ever, until fracking is dead.

No matter how many blows they get dealt, they keep on coming. No matter what the scientific literature says, they will not stray from their mission.

When you recognize you are dealing with people who consider the piffle in an anti-fracking piece of Manichaean agitprop like the film Gasland to be holy writ, this isn’t very surprising. The problem, however, is not that the congregation believes these things (cultists gonna cult); the problem is your average layman, who does not follow this issue too closely, is also susceptible to believing these things.

Simply put, despite their hysterical claims and protestations to the contrary, the existing scientific evidence shows hydraulic fracturing processes do not pose a systemic impact on groundwater. The latest blow comes from Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), which released a final report earlier this month on drilling activity near the town of Pavillion.

A December 2011 draft report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that hinted at a link between drilling and water contamination turned Pavillion into a locus of the hydraulic fracturing debate, despite then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stating after the report’s release, "… in no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater." EPA officials also expressed concern internally over the "inflammatory and irresponsible" media coverage of the report.

After EPA’s handling of the testing was criticized by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey, among others, EPA turned the investigation over to DEQ in 2013.

The DEQ report concluded drilling activity did not contaminate well water there and that any contaminants found in those wells were likely to be naturally occurring. Further, the monitoring wells EPA drilled were done incorrectly, and the agency itself accidentally introduced the very contaminants that it later detected and reported on.

"Evidence does not indicate that hydraulic fracturing fluids have risen to shallow depths utilized by water-supply wells," states the report’s accompanying fact sheet. "Also, based on an evaluation of hydraulic fracturing history, and methods used in the Pavillion Gas Field, it is unlikely that hydraulic fracturing has caused any impacts to the water-supply wells."

The DEQ report is no lone wolf. Since 2010, there have been at least 15 of these peer-reviewed studies have been produced, including ones by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas-Austin, the Department of Geology at the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati, the California Council on Science and Technology and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Germany’s Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.

The most noteworthy of these is a multi-year study conducted by the EPA itself. Released in June 2015, the study is widely considered to be the most exhaustive research to date on the subject of hydraulic fracturing. The EPA researchers found fracking has not led to systemic impacts on drinking water, stating, "the number of cases where drinking water resources were impacted is small relative to the number of hydraulically fractured wells."

The fracking process has transformed the energy outlook of the United States over the past decade, and the rise of shale gas as a replacement for coal has been primarily responsible for the United States now enjoying its lowest level of carbon-dioxide emissions since 1989. The oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing has enabled us to exploit are cost-effective and abundant, and they can ensure the United States is the world’s largest energy producer well beyond the 21st century.

Federal, state, and local governments have tested thousands of sites for hydraulic fracturing pollution of groundwater and drinking water resources. Flatly, there is no scientific justification for banning hydraulic fracturing or over-regulating it out of existence over concern for groundwater contamination. Regulation should only be based on the best available scientific literature, not on wild, unfounded claims of based on misinformation, fear, and superstition.


EPA May Finally Have to Answer for the Animas River Spill

Remember when the Environmental Protection Agency caused a discharge of 3 million gallons of toxic water into the Animas River, and no one was held accountable? Now the Supreme Court is getting involved.

The toxic spill occurred in August 2015 when EPA workers accidentally caused a leak in an abandoned mine near Durango, Colorado.

Contaminants spread into vital water sources that serve Colorado, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation. The Animas River provides water for drinking, farming, ranching, and tourism in those places.

New Mexico and Colorado are both suing the EPA, and now the Supreme Court has asked the acting solicitor general of the United States, Ian H. Gershengorn, to weigh in on the pending litigation.

This request represents one more chance for the government, and possibly the Trump administration, to hold the EPA accountable for its fiasco.

Accidents by private parties that are remarkably similar to the Animas River spill have led to criminal prosecutions in the past. Consider an example from Alaska:

[One] back-hoe operator accidentally struck an oil pipeline in Alaska in 1994, and 1,000 to 5,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Skagway River. The Environmental Protection Agency had his supervisor—who was at home and off-duty at the time of the accident—criminally prosecuted for negligent discharge under the Clean Water Act.

A district court sentenced him to six months in prison, another six months in a halfway house, another six months on supervised release, and imposed a $5,000 fine.

The article goes on:

A second back-hoe operator accidentally struck open the flooded Gold King Mine of Colorado in August 2015, and 3,000,000 gallons of yellow water laced with mercury, lead, and other toxic heavy metals spilled into the Animas River—a regional source of water for drinking and irrigation. The EPA worked to contain the spill, but it held no one accountable.

The main difference, of course, is the second back-hoe operator happened to work for the EPA.

In October, the Office of the Inspector General, which investigates waste, fraud, and abuse within federal agencies, told congressional staff that "it had found evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the EPA" in relation to the Animas River spill. That included "providing false statements in a criminal investigation and violation of the Clean Water Act."

But the Department of Justice refused to do anything about it, despite the fact that it routinely goes after private parties for relatively trivial acts, such as the Skagway River spill mentioned above, and a separate incident involving the discharge of "1,000 gallons of sewage into a ditch connected to a local reservoir."

Taking the EPA to Task

The New Mexico attorney general and the Navajo Nation did what the federal government refused to do: "hold [the agency] to the same standards that [it] would anyone that would have created this situation," something that EPA Regional Director Shaun McGrath had promised the agency would do right after the spill occurred.

Both New Mexico and the Navajo Nation sued the EPA in federal court. Specifically, New Mexico filed suit against the EPA, Gina McCarthy in her official capacity as EPA administrator, the EPA’s excavation contractor, and several mining companies, requesting "full and just compensation" for the environmental and economic damage caused by the EPA’s spill.

The Navajo Nation’s complaint argued that "after one of the most significant environmental catastrophes in history, the Nation and the Navajo people have yet to have their waterways cleaned, their losses compensated, their health protected, or their way of life restored."

New Mexico Sues Colorado

New Mexico also sued the state of Colorado in the Supreme Court, claiming that the EPA’s spill "was the coup de grâce of two decades of disastrous environmental decision-making by Colorado, for which New Mexico and its citizens are now paying the price."

New Mexico argues that Colorado should be held responsible for lingering pollution at several mine sites, and for the "hazardous conditions" that led to the EPA turning the Animas River yellow.

As part of the long, complex history of regional mines, some Colorado government officials authorized a mining company to plug drainage tunnels below several mines, causing "the mine’s tunnels and workings [to] fill with potentially billions of gallons of water, essentially transforming the mine into an enormous wastewater storage facility."

US Supreme Court: What Does the Executive Branch Think?

Now the Supreme Court has asked Gershengorn to file a brief in New Mexico v. Colorado expressing the Obama administration’s views on the matter. The solicitor general represents the executive branch in litigation before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s request is important because the EPA is ultimately responsible for the Animas River spill. This request provides a further opportunity to discover unpublished facts about the cause of the Animas River spill.

President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has refused to prosecute anyone at the EPA, which sends a clear signal as to what it thinks on the matter.

On Oct. 12, members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Natural Resources sent a stinging letter to the Justice Department.

"By not taking up the case," the congressmen wrote, Justice officials "give the appearance of hypocrisy, and seem to indicate that there is one set of rules for private citizens and another for the federal government. The EPA disaster deserves the same level of accountability to which private citizens are held."

But on Friday, Jan. 20, there will be a new administration at the helm of the Justice Department. And this new administration might have a new perspective on the matter.

If Obama’s DOJ does not act before Jan. 20, a Trump DOJ could send the Supreme Court a brief with a very similar opinion to what Congress and the public have expressed. And the EPA might have to publicly defend its actions before Congress again.

That could become tougher for the agency, because its sole defense for the ongoing lack of accountability is invalid.

The EPA’s Special Pleading

At a June oversight hearing, members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works asked Cynthia Giles, head of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, why the agency had not taken action against any parties responsible for the spill.

Giles stated that "law and enforcement distinguishes between the company who makes and releases pollution and the entities that are trying to respond and clean up pollution that other people created."

But the EPA is wrong. For proof, read the text of the Clean Water Act, the implementing regulations, and opinions by the Supreme Court and two federal circuits. They all make clear that the government is subject to the Clean Water Act in the same manner as private parties.

The only basis for the EPA’s position is a 2012 EPA memorandum co-authored by Giles herself. But the EPA cannot exempt itself from federal criminal law.

Perhaps the solicitor general will agree. According to their October letter, key members of Congress certainly do.

Thus, the Supreme Court’s request for the solicitor general to get involved provides more opportunity for the federal government to make a choice: Either stop criminally prosecuting private parties for mere accidents, or hold its own actors to the same standards and penalties.


California's New Cow Fart Regulations Totally Stink

New law aims to reduce bovine flatulance, but will the cows obey?

Livestock are responsible for roughly 15 percent of the world's greenhouse gases, but if you think getting people to stop driving their cars or using electricity is a difficult task, good luck preventing cows from farting.

California is going to try.

"This bill curbs these dangerous pollutants and thereby protects public health and slows climate change," said Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement when he signed the bill in September, against the wishes of the state's farmers.

The law won't stop cows from farting, of course, because cows are notoriously disrespectful of human-passed laws. Instead, it will make life more difficult for dairy farmers in California.

Dairy farms will be required to reduce methane emissions to 40 percent below their 2013 levels by 2030. The state will spend $50 million help offset the cost of so-called "dairy digesters," which are intended to capture methane spewed from cows and convert it into electricity. After that, the state's Air Resources Board will have the authority to set whatever regulations they deem necessary to reach the stated goal.

Cow farts—or "bovine entric fermentation" if you want to sound smart—pump a lot of methane into the environment. A single cow can produce up to 130 gallons of methane in a single day (even that's not as bad as what dinosaur farts could do), and methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Even if California were to find a way to stop cows from farting—or, more likely, if it were to regulate all its dairy farms out of existence—there would be a miniscule impact on global methane levels. California isn't even the leading producer of agricultural methane in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

On a global scale, the tiny microbes that grow on the roots of rice plants produce 30 percent of all agricultural methane on Earth.

California's not the first to target cows in an effort to rein-in global warming. Some ethical vegetarian groups have allied with global warming activists to call for reducing the number of cows in Africa.

The attack on dairy cows is part of a broader effort to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Doing that means giving a lot more power ot the state's Air Resources Board, which now finds itself in the business of regulating what comes out of bovine buttocks. According to an Associated Press report this week, the board is hoping California's proposal will be a model for other states to follow.


Rolling back environmental progress?

Having achieved major goals, US should refocus EPA and other environmental agencies

Paul Driessen

Donald Trump plans to "roll back progress" on climate change, energy and the environment, activists, regulators and their media allies assert. The claim depends on one’s definition of "progress."

These interest groups define "progress" as ever-expanding laws, regulations, bureaucracies and power, to bring air and water emissions of every description down to zero, to prevent diseases that they attribute to manmade pollutants and forestall "dangerous manmade climate change." Achieving those goals requires controlling nearly every facet of our economy, industries, lives, livelihoods and living standards.

If we are talking about halting and reversing this unbridled federal control, President-Elect Trump has promised to roll "progress" back – and not a moment too soon, if we are to rejuvenate our economy.

Federal land, resource and environmental agencies have unleashed tsunamis of regulations in recent years, and President Obama is poised to issue many more before January 20. The total cost of complying with federal rules was about $1 trillion annually in 2006. It has since doubled, raising the federal reporting and compliance burden to $6,000 per person per year, through late-2016.

The Obama Administration has thus far imposed some $743 billion of those new costs, via 4,432 new rules requiring 754 million hours of paperwork, according to a new American Action Forum analysis. The $2 trillion cumulative annual tab is more than all federal individual and corporate taxes collected in 2015; includes 10 billion hours dealing with paperwork; and does not include state or local regulations. Land use and environmental compliance costs account for a sizable and growing portion of this total.

These costs hogtie innovation, job creation and economic growth. They make millions unemployed.

So let us examine "progress" against two other standards: (1) pollution reductions to date; and (2) the validity of claims used to justify ever more burdensome and expensive environmental regulations.

We can never have zero pollution. The laws of diminishing returns increasingly come into play: getting rid of the last 10% can cost as much as eliminating the initial 90% and is rarely needed. And we cannot control nature’s pollution: volcanoes, forest fires, poisonous algae blooms, deep ocean vents, erosion of rocks bearing mercury and other toxic substances, and other sources.

However, we can reach the point where remaining pollutants pose few or no health risks – and we have largely done so. Since 1970, America’s cars have eliminated nearly 99% of pollutants that once came out of tailpipes, notes Air Quality in America co-author Joel Schwartz. Refiners have eliminated lead from gasoline and reduced its sulfur content by some 95% – while coal-fired power plants now remove 80-95% of the particulates, mercury, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide that they emitted in 1970.

Asthma may be rising, but it’s certainly not because of pollution rates that have fallen dramatically.

Water quality has also skyrocketed. Along the river where I grew up in Wisconsin, a dozen pairs of bald eagles now nest where there were none when I was a kid, when you couldn’t eat the fish or swim in the polluted water. The same thing happened across the USA. Other problems remain to be addressed.

As President-Elect Trump has quipped, "It used to be that cars were made in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now our cars are made in Mexico, and you can’t drink the water in Flint."

That’s because local officials and the USEPA didn’t do their jobs – didn’t monitor or fix failing, corroded lead water pipes. Repairing Flint’s system, and addressing water and sewer problems in other cities, will cost billions of dollars. If we are forced to spend tens or hundreds of billions on exaggerated, fabricated or imaginary risks, there will be little left to resolve our remaining real health problems.

Let us celebrate our progress, and turn our attention to real problems that still must be corrected. Let us also examine claims used to justify regulations – and roll back rules that don’t pass scientific muster.

EPA insists that saving fuel and reducing pollution from now super-clean vehicles requires that cars and light trucks get 54.5 mpg by 2025. But achieving this will force people to drive smaller, lighter, more plasticized, less safe cars – and millions more will be maimed and killed. EPA doesn’t mention that, or acknowledge that fracking ensures another century of oil and gasoline: time to devise new energy sources.

Above all, though, the Environmental Protection Agency’s reason for being, for wanting to steadily expand its budget and personnel, for seeking to regulate our farms, factories, homes and energy supplies, for trying to drive entire industries into bankruptcy – is its assertion that humans are causing catastrophic climate change, thereby endangering human health and welfare. The claims do not withstand scrutiny.

Even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise – spurring plant growth worldwide – except during the strong 2015-16 El Niño, average global temperatures have remained steady for 18 years. Polar and Greenland ice caps, sea levels, hurricanes, floods and droughts refuse to behave in accord with climate chaos claims, computer model predictions, or EPA and Obama White House assertions.

Meanwhile, as EPA moves to impose its "Clean Power Plan" and other draconian rules, developed and developing nations alike are building new coal-fired power plants every week, greatly expanding their oil and gas use, and reducing wind and solar subsidies. Even EPA analyses recognize that ending nearly all US fossil fuel use will prevent an undetectable global temperature rise of just 0.02 degrees by 2100.

So EPA has tried to justify its job and economy-killing climate change and coal eradication rules by claiming they will bring huge "ancillary" health benefits. Those claims too are pure hogwash.

US coal-fired power plants emit less than 0.5% of all the mercury that enters Earth’s atmosphere every year from Asian power plants, forest fires, volcanoes, subsea vents and geysers. EPA nonetheless claims its rules will magically bring benefits like an imperceptible 0.00209-point improvement in IQ scores!

The agency also says banning coal-fired power plants will reduce "carcinogenic" and "lethal" levels of microscopic particulate matter (soot) in America’s air. But EPA has no medical evidence that what is still in our air poses actual problems. In fact, EPA-funded researchers illegally subjected human test subjects – including elderly, asthmatic, diabetic and cardiac patients – to 8, 30 or even 60 times more soot per volume (for up to two hours) than what EPA claims is dangerous or lethal. And yet, no one got sick.

Obviously, EPA’s air quality standards and dire warnings about soot are totally out of whack with reality.

The federal government next concocted what it calls the "social cost of carbon" framework. It assigns a price to using carbon-based fuels and emitting carbon dioxide, by blaming US fossil fuels and CO2 for every imaginable and imaginary "harm" to wildlife, climate and humans worldwide. It completely ignores the enormous and undeniable benefits of using those fuels, the equally important benefits of plant-fertilizing CO2, and horrendous damage that would result from eliminating 81% of America’s energy.

Indeed, EPA and other regulators routinely ignore the impacts that their draconian regulations have on people’s jobs, living standards, health and welfare – including reduced or lost incomes, lower nutrition, welfare dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, and shorter life spans. They then present scientists, "health" and "environmental" organizations and advisory committees that approve and applaud the regulations anyway – often because the agencies pay them millions of dollars a year to do so.

That’s how bureaucrats remain powerful, unaccountable and immune from being fired or having to compensate victims for their incompetent or even deliberate falsifications and actions. We end up being protected from exaggerated and fabricated risks, years or decades from now – by having jobs, companies, industries, families, communities, and our overall health and welfare hammered by over-regulation today.

America’s voters rejected this agenda. Over 90% of the nation’s counties voted to Trump the bridge hand to tyranny. We do not want to roll back true environmental progress. But we do demand a return to sanity, science, and honest consideration of our overall health, welfare and "human environment" in approving regulations that govern our lives. Let’s insist that the new Congress and Administration do exactly that.

Via email


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, 2016

Dana Nuccitelli is up to his old tricks again

He tells a good story if you don't know the details he leaves out or distorts. At issue is the cause of the 2015/2016 global  warming.  But the graph below really tells it all.  The warming was a typical El Nino peak, not the sustained rise we might have expected of anthropogenic global warming. 

And if the rise WERE caused by anthropogenic global warming, there would have to have been a rise in the CO2 content of the atmosphere during 2015 and 2016 to cause it.  But there was not.  The latest readings are that CO2 levels plateaued in 2015 and 2016  -- something I have been pointing out for many months, just from a scan of the raw numbers as they came up at Mauna Loa and Cape Grim.

People sometimes talk of delayed heating, of warming being "left over" from previous years -- but that is nonsense.  Those little CO2 molecules are either up there bouncing heat or they are not.  If I put a pot of water on the gas and a little later turn the gas off, the water immediately starts to cool.  It does not keep on getting warmer for a while. There is no delayed heating.

Nuccitelli doesn't have a leg to stand on.  He is just a skilled liar.  Warmists are great cherrypickers so it is amusing that Nuccitelli is one of those who have accused David Rose of cherrypicking.   I did however put up yesterday a thorough  demolition of that claim

Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Niño
Climate scientists and real science journalists pushed back, holding the post-truth crowd accountable

Human carbon pollution is heating the Earth incredibly fast. On top of that long-term human-caused global warming trend, there are fluctuations caused by various natural factors. One of these is the El Niño/La Niña cycle. The combination of human-caused warming and a strong El Niño event are on the verge of causing an unprecedented three consecutive record-breaking hot years.

Simply put, without global warming we would not be seeing record-breaking heat year after year. In fact, 2014 broke the temperature record without an El Niño assist, and then El Niño helped push 2015 over 2014, and 2016 over 2015.

Sadly, we live in a post-truth world dominated by fake news in which people increasingly seek information that confirms their ideological beliefs, rather than information that’s factually accurate from reliable sources. Because people have become incredibly polarized on the subject of climate change, those with a conservative worldview who prefer maintaining the status quo to the steps we need to take to prevent a climate catastrophe often seek out climate science-denying stories.

Into that environment step conservative columnists David Rose at the Mail on Sunday, parroted by Ross Clark in The Spectator and James Delingpole for Breitbart, all trying to blame the current record-shattering hot global temperatures entirely on El Niño. Perhaps saddest of all, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee tweeted the Breitbart piece, to which Senator Bernie Sanders appropriately responded:

Where'd you get your PhD? Trump University?

The conservative columnists made their case by claiming that, with the recent strong El Niño event ending, temperatures are "plummeting," thus blaming the record heat on El Niño. There are several fatal flaws in their case.

First, the "plummet" they cite is not in global temperatures on the surface where we live, and where temperatures are easiest to measure accurately, but rather in satellite estimates of the temperature of the lower atmosphere above the portions of Earth’s surface covered by land masses. Second, although the satellite data extend as far back as 1979, and the global surface temperature data to 1880, they cherry pick the data by only showing the portion since 1997. Third, the argument is based entirely upon one relatively cool month (October 2016) that was only cool in that particularly cherry-picked data set.

The argument is easily debunked. While there was a strong El Niño event in 2015–2016, there was an equally strong event in 1997–1998. The two events had very similar short-term warming influences on global surface temperatures, but according to Nasa, 2016 will be about 0.35°C hotter than 1998. That difference is due to the long-term, human-caused global warming trend. In fact, according to Nasa, even October 2016 was hotter than every month on record prior to 1998. These "plummeting" post-El Niño temperatures are still as hot as the hottest month at the peak of the 1998 El Niño.


Obama Administration Sides With Protesters, Halting Construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

The Department of the Army handed protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline a victory Sunday when it announced the project would be re-routed. The decision came on the eve of the government’s Monday deadline for protesters to evacuate their encampment.

For the past several months, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have waged a campaign against the pipeline, drawing the support of environmentalists and liberal entertainers. They were upset that the pipeline would cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Now, the company installing the 1,172-mile pipeline will have to find another route or appeal to the incoming Trump administration in 2017.

"Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do," Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Army’s assistant secretary for civil works, said in the statement Sunday. "The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing."

It’s unclear what protesters will do Monday, when they face the deadline to leave. Even before Sunday’s decision, North Dakota’s congressman warned that the fight over the pipeline would likely continue.

"The idea that [the pipeline protest] is about the environment is bogus," Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said last week in an interview with Daily Signal editor in chief Rob Bluey.

The pipeline is designed to transport oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to southern Illinois.

Prior to Sunday’s announcement, Energy Transfer Partners, the company in charge of the project, had estimated it would be fully operational by the end of this year. It is already over 90 percent complete, but environmentalists and citizens of the nearby Standing Rock Sioux Reservation successful halted its construction.

On April 1, tribal citizens founded the "Sacred Stone Camp" near the construction site to protest the pipeline. The group is concerned that it will be constructed close enough to the tribe’s water source, the Missouri River, to cause spillage.

However, according to Time magazine, the pipeline does not pass through tribal land. Since Sacred Stone’s founding, the site has been subject to ongoing protests to halt the pipeline’s construction.

State officials and the Army Corps of Engineers have issued an evacuation notice to protesters, but Cramer said it is unlikely they will comply.

"They have … issued an evacuation notice for the land that the camp is on, the illegal camp, and so as of next Monday [Dec. 5], anyone staying there will be trespassing," Cramer said.

When asked if he was confident that the protesters would leave by the deadline, the congressman said:

I’m not, because the tribe and others have committed to staying there. I will tell you that the 2 feet of snow or so that they’ve got in the last couple of days probably is a greater distraction than an evacuation notice from the [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers, but winter can be a very sobering time in North Dakota on the prairie.

"What started out as a prayerful, peaceful protest of course has turned into a very violent and aggressive riot in many cases," the congressman said in his interview with The Daily Signal. "The blending of agitators and out-of-state people with a different agenda than just protection of water for the tribe has created a lot of chaos," he said.

In the interview, Cramer also rejected the idea that protesters were seeking to defend the environment against the pipeline’s construction.

"This oil is being produced today. It’s being moved now. It’s just not being moved by this efficient, safe means of transportation," Cramer said. "So the idea that some of this is about the environment is bogus. This oil is going to be produced. So I just think that many of the arguments against it are ironic at best and hypocritical most likely."

When asked about how he believed the management of federal lands would change under the incoming Trump administration, Cramer expressed optimism that President-elect Donald Trump would handle things differently.

"We own … over $50 trillion … worth of oil and gas. [Trump is] a businessman; he knows what $50 trillion could do for our country," Cramer said, adding:

Mr. Trump is also an environmentalist. The idea of just exploiting federal lands is something he doesn’t take lightly either, but he’s also smart enough to know that modern technology and appropriate safeguards can be put in place to do it in a safe and reasonable manner while at the same time exploiting it for the benefit of our economy and job creation and, certainly, national security.


New EPA rules push regulatory costs past $1 trillion, $3,080 per person

The new implementation of EPA rules on heavy trucks has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion, 75 percent of which have been imposed by the Obama administration.

That amounts to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person, or an annual cost of $540, according to a new analysis from American Action Forum.

"In other words, each year every person, regardless of age, in the nation is responsible for paying roughly $540 in regulatory costs. These burdens might take the form of higher prices, fewer jobs, or reduced wages," said AAF's Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group.

The staggering amount is likely to surge even higher as President Obama scrambles to lock in several environmental regulations before leaving office. He has already broken records for new regulations and added red tape this year and still has 50 days in office.

Incoming President-elect Trump has promised to kill two current regulations for every new one he adds.

The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins, came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented.

His study goes back to 2005, when George W. Bush was president, and said that Obama is responsible for about three-quarters of the added regulatory costs.

"The Obama Administration surpassed 500 major regulations last summer, imposing $625 billion in cumulative costs. Earlier this year, regulators published the administration's 600th major rule, increasing burdens to $743 billion.

Now, thanks to data from the last term of the Bush Administration and another billion-dollar rule from EPA, the regulatory tally has surpassed $1 trillion. These figures are direct estimates from federal regulators, but it will take more than an effort from these regulators to amend hundreds of major regulations. Congress, the next president, and even the courts must participate in the next generation of regulatory modernization," he reported.


Reality Check: Despite Climate Change Vow, China Pushes to Dig More Coal

America’s uncertain stance toward global warming under the coming administration of Donald J. Trump has given China a leading role (sic!) in the fight against climate change. It has called on the United States to recognize established science and to work with other countries to reduce dependence on dirty fuels like coal and oil. But there is a problem: Even as it does so, China is scrambling to mine and burn more coal.

A lack of stockpiles and worries about electricity blackouts are spurring Chinese officials to reverse curbs that once helped reduce coal production. Mines are reopening. Miners are being lured back with fatter paychecks.

China’s response to coal scarcity shows how hard it will be to wean the country off coal. That makes it harder for China and the world to meet emissions targets, as Chinese coal is the world’s largest single source of carbon emissions from human activities.

Among China watchers, the turnabout also has contributed to questions about the fate of China’s current crop of economic planners. [...]

Coal still produces almost three-quarters of China’s electricity, despite ambitious hydroelectric dam projects and the world’s largest program to install solar panels and build wind turbines. Coal use in China also produces more emissions than all the oil, coal and gas consumed in the United States.

"I get a kick out of people in the West who think China is decarbonizing, because I see no sign of it whatsoever," said Brock Silvers, a Shanghai banker who has previously served on the boards of two Chinese coal companies.

Troubled by pollution and worries about rising sea levels, China moved in recent months to rein in coal. Coal production dropped 3 percent last year — a result of that effort, but also a sign of slowing economic growth as well as a gradual shift in the Chinese economy toward American-style consumer spending and away from exports and heavy manufacturing.

That prompted the International Energy Agency to offer an optimistic reassessment this autumn: Chinese coal use peaked in 2013 and would now decline.

China’s reversal now is prompting skepticism. "There is still a peak coming," said Xizhou Zhou, the head of Asia and Pacific gas and power analysis at IHS Energy, a global consulting group. "It’s still going to increase."

IHS Energy forecasts that Chinese coal demand will not peak until 2026.


Australia: Greenie panic about Great Barrier Reef could harm tourism and agriculture

The Queensland and Federal Governments' reef 2050 progress report to UNESCO says land clearing is a significant challenge to future sustainability.

Scientists link land clearing to sediment runoff and poor water quality, and the report says it could put the reef on UNESCO's 'in danger' list.

Cynthia Sabag, who runs a tropical fruit farm halfway between Townsville and Cairns, said she is concerned about the health of the Great Barrier Reef, but does not think farming is to blame for its deterioration.

"It seems that agriculture has often been made the scapegoat in this debate," she said. "There was no evidence on our land that any of our farming was causing runoff, which would affect the Great Barrier Reef."

The State Government recently failed to pass laws to stop clearing, and now the Federal Government says it might intervene.

That would be a win for conservationists, but for Ms Sabag a return to more precarious times when she was not allowed to clear land for farming. "The way it was prior to the legislation, we had no hope whatsoever of ever selling our property and no hope of retiring, which is pretty demoralising," she said.

"This sort of has given us some hope, but we've lost 10 years of our life and 10 years of developing a property."

Agricultural industry body AgForce echoes Ms Sabag's concerns.

President Grant Maudsley said some politicians do not understand the challenges of managing rural properties.  "It's easy on the left side of politics ... to point at the bush and say the bush is doing the wrong things," he said. "It's simply not the case."

"We would prefer to go down a policy outcome ... and have a little talk about things, but to keep pointing the finger consistently time and time again at one issue as being the problem is rubbish."

Mr Maudsley hopes the reef will not make UNESCO's 'in danger' list and disputes evidence that land clearing is the problem.

"What we're all looking for is reducing runoff, but you don't do that by having all trees and all grass, you have a combination of both," he said. "If you have a complete tree landscape, you actually end up with a really high density of trees, which actually reduces the cover on the ground and water actually runs off."

Mr Maudsley also points out other sectors, including mining, have a role to play in restoring health to the reef.

Conservationists agree and criticise the report's failure to make any substantial policy commitments to dealing with climate change.

Imogen Zethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said reducing fossil fuels is a key part of that. "We really have to start taking some tough decisions, and one of them is that we really should not be opening up any new coal mines," Ms Zethoven said.

She is concerned about the proposed controversial Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which has just secured a rail line, a temporary construction camp and is now seeking federal government funding. "[It's a] devastating mine that will really spell disaster for the reef," she said.

"We are also extremely concerned that the Federal Government appears to be using taxpayer money to fund this reef-destroying project."

"We know that there is a serious issue with jobs in north Queensland, but it's not about any old job, it's the right job.

"It's about jobs that are in industries that are the future, like renewable energy, jobs that are in the tourism sector, which is growing, that will be terribly hurt if this massive Adani coal mine goes ahead."

If the reef is placed on the 'in danger' list it could potentially lose its world heritage status and that could have devastating impacts on the tourism sector.

Daniel Gschwind from Queensland's Tourism Industry Council said it could deter visitors and undermine Australia's reputation as a tourist destination.

"The money they spend on the visits to the reef, to Queensland, to north Queensland amounts to between $5-6 billion every year," Mr Gschwind said.

"That money circulates through local communities, regional communities, on and on, and it employs and generates employment for about 50,000 Queenslanders."

He said UNESCO's assessment is putting the international spotlight on Australia, and the next few years could see it emerge as either the hero or the villain of environmental management.



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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6 December, 2016

New Antarctic panic is just the usual dishonest rubbish

At the risk of extreme tautology, the Larsen C Ice Shelf is a SHELF -- a long, narrow, frosty rim floating on the water alongside the coast of Antarctica.  And as Archimedes discovered over 2,000 years ago, the melting of floating ice does NOT raise the water level.  So the "rising sea level" threat can be put to bed conclusively.

But what about global warming?  It does get one brief mention below.  Since the Antarctic ice as a whole is growing, that is an impossible explanation. 

The cause of the melting will undoubtedly be subsurface vulcanism.  The Larsen C Ice Shelf is on the Antarctic peninsula and the Western Antarctic as a whole is known for subsurface vulcanism. 

And the Larsen C Ice Shelf in particular is in fact known to have cold seeps underneath it, which are a sort of cool volcano.  Whether they are warm enough to explain the recent melting is not clear but in the circumstances there is a good chance that there are hotter areas nearby

An enormous rift has opened up in a section of the Antarctic ice shelf spanning 300 feet. The Larsen C Ice Shelf is gradually breaking up and will eventually produce an iceberg the size of Delaware before it disintegrates entirely.

A team of researchers flew over the gigantic crack in the ice and calculated it to be about 70 miles long, more than 300 feet wide and about a third of a mile deep.

'The crack completely cuts through the Ice Shelf but it does not go all the way across it – once it does, it will produce an iceberg roughly the size of the state of Delaware,' NASA said in a press release.

The collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula in 2002 saw a 1,235 square miles (3,200 square km) section of ice break apart into thousands of icebergs in just 35 days.

Larsen B was thought to have been stable for up to 12,000 years, according to studies on the collapse, but had become a hotspot of global warming.

Previous studies had suggested that the ice shelf began melting only a few years before it disintegrated in 2002.

Rising summertime temperatures are thought to have increased the water flow into cracks which then acted like wedges to lever the ice shelf apart.

It sparked widespread concern about the impact that climate change is having on the ice sheet balance in Antarctica, although a recent study showed ice mass on the continent has actually increased.

Antarctica is gaining more ice than it loses, research by Nasa last year found. It said Antarctica's ice sheet is thickening enough to outweigh increased losses caused by melting glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report which says that Antarctica is losing land ice overall. But it also warns that losses could offset the gains in years to come.

The increase in Antarctic snow began 10,000 years ago and continues in East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica by an average of 0.7 inches (1.7cm) per year, according to the space agency.

Researchers analysed satellite data to demonstrate the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001.

That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

The collapse of the Larsen Ice shelf in 2002, which is one of the biggest on record, is thought to have triggered further acceleration and thinning of the glaciers behind it.

There are now growing fears over the remaining section of the Larsen B ice shelf - which is around 625 square miles, and the large Larsen C ice shelf further to the south.

A recent study revealed that on the opposite side of the Antarctic Peninsula, more than 386 square miles of ice – an area the size of Berlin – has been lost in the past 40 years.

But elsewhere in the Antarctic, the ice sheet has been growing. Satellite data showed that the continent's vast ice sheet has showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice each year between 1992 and 2001.

However, between 2003 and 2008, that has slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year.


One subsidy breeds another

Having distorted the market by big subsidies for "renewables", generating power from gas is no longer economic in Britain.  But Britain needs gas for baseload power.  So now they have to subsidize gas too -- or risk blackouts in the near future.  So huge amounts of money are being wasted for no advantage

As a result of Britain’s energy policies, building new gas-fired power plants is no longer economic. Now, the Government has to subsidise gas investors to keep the lights on.

Four years ago this week, the Government unveiled plans for a bold new dash for gas. New gas-fired power stations, then-energy secretary Ed Davey said, would be required to "provide crucial capacity to keep the lights on".

A new Gas Generation Strategy backed "significant investment" in up to 26 gigawatts (GW) of new plants by 2030. Since then, energy ministers have come and gone, support for solar and onshore wind has been scrapped and the drive for new nuclear has faced security and cost worries.

But support for gas had been unwavering. Relatively cheap and quick to build, much cleaner than coal, and able to generate even when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, gas plants tick all the Government’s boxes. "In the next 10 years, it’s imperative that we get new gas-fired power stations built," Amber Rudd, Davey’s successor, declared last year.

There’s just one problem: pretty much no one’s building them. Only one new station, at Carrington in Manchester, has been completed since 2013 as investment has dried up. This week, though, that could be about to change. A subsidy scheme designed to keep the lights on could, analysts believe, secure construction of several big new gas plants.

Few could dispute that the UK needs new power plants. "An awful lot of capacity has either closed or is closing," explains Richard Howard, of Policy Exchange. The think-tank calculates that some 23GW of conventional thermal power plant capacity has been closed or mothballed since 2010. "That’s more than a third of peak demand," says Howard. "And a further 24GW of coal and nuclear is expected to close between now and 2025. We need to build some new capacity – otherwise the lights will go out."

The problem is, the UK electricity market has changed so much – due in large part to the growth of subsidised renewables – investors say they can no longer justify building new plants based solely on their likely returns from selling power in the market. "Essentially no new capacity is being built without some form of government-backed contract," Howard says.


Mass: West Roxbury pipeline to open, despite protests

A Houston energy company plans to start transmitting gas through a pipeline in densely populated West Roxbury on Thursday, despite two years of protests by neighbors and the continued objections of city officials concerned about public safety.

The news outraged neighbors who fear the pipeline could explode because it travels near an open quarry where dynamite is regularly detonated.

"If that thing is going to blow – and we believe it will blow at a certain point — we’re done," said Nancy Wilson, who lives about three blocks from the pipeline and has been arrested twice while protesting its construction. "We just assume we will be incinerated because of this."

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and other city officials sent letters Monday to federal energy regulators and to the Houston company that owns the pipeline accusing the firm of breaking its promise to share critical safety plans with the Boston police and fire departments.

The commissioners of those departments say that Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. told them they could see the security plan for a crucial gas transfer station outside the quarry’s entrance on Grove Street as well as a "heat map" that indicates which neighbors would need to be evacuated in the event of a leak. But Spectra representatives have not shared that information with the city, the commissioners contend.

"Without this vital information, Boston police and fire will be unable to assess additional security that may be needed and unable to effectively respond in the case of an emergency," Police Commissioner William B. Evans and Fire Commissioner Joseph E. Finn wrote to Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC, a Spectra subsidiary.

Spectra released a statement on Wednesday that noted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week approved the start of gas service in the pipeline and said that transmission is "ready to begin" on Thursday. The five-mile pipeline is part of a larger, $1 billion-project designed to increase the supply of natural gas to New England.

"The West Roxbury Lateral will provide National Grid with additional supplies of clean burning, affordable natural gas for homes, hospitals, businesses, and schools in the city of Boston," the statement said. "The Algonquin system has operated safely in the region for more than 60 years. The . . . project facilities are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to meet or exceed federal safety standards and regulations."

The company said it was reviewing Monday’s letter from Evans and Finn and would respond. Evans said earlier this week during an interview on WGBH radio that city lawyers are considering what other steps they might be able to take to stop the opening of the pipeline.

Walsh already filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year challenging the federal commission’s approval of the project. Oral arguments have not been scheduled in the case.

Walsh said in an interview Wednesday that, unless the court intervenes, there is "virtually zero ability by the city or the state to be able to halt this type of pipeline after it gets approved by the federal government."

He said, however, he is still hopeful that the pipeline can be relocated.

"If you’re looking for a place in any part of the city of Boston to locate this, the last place I would probably put this is next to a quarry," Walsh said.

US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, another pipeline opponent, wrote to the commission twice this month, saying that it was reckless for the agency to allow the project to proceed and that it puts countless lives at risk.

He pointed to several recent pipeline disasters, including a Nov. 16 explosion in Canton, Ill., that killed one person and injured 12.

In addition to raising safety concerns, many neighbors also argue the project will delay the region’s long-overdue transition to renewable energy sources.

Neighbors have held frequent demonstrations at the site and tried to block construction of the project over the summer. Twenty-three people, including Al Gore’s daughter, Karenna, were arrested during one demonstration in June.


Vilifying David Rose: Attacking The Messenger Over Sharp Drop In Land Temps

In the Mail on Sunday last week, David Rose penned an article pointing out the very sharp decline in RSS land only data to October 2016, indicating that ocean surface temperatures might also cool significantly soon and that perhaps scientists and the media over-played the role of man-made global warming in the spike in global temperatures in early 2016 which were precipitated by the natural warming event of El Nino 2015/16. Predictably, he has been vilified for doing so, called a denier, accused of cherry-picking the data to suit his ‘denialist’ agenda etc. etc.

All pretty familiar stuff now to those used to observing the spectacle which is warmist kick-back against any who dare to question any aspect of ‘The Science’.

James Delingpole then joined the fray and published at Breitbart, referencing Rose’s article, pointing out the "icy silence" from climate alarmists following the large drop in land temperatures (as measured by RSS satellite but also, as it happens, by GISS and UAH). Warmist fury peaked El Nino-like when the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology had the audacity to tweet a link to Delingpole the Denier’s Breitbart article. Cue rants from the Keepers of the True Science of Climate Change and numerous other lesser warmist offendotron minions.

The main objection to Rose’s article is that he ‘cherry-picked’ land only data from the RSS lower troposphere dataset and ignored the oceans (he did not) and that (bizarrely) he cherry-picked two data points and ignored the longer record. The whole point of Rose’s article is that this is exactly what the media and scientactivists were doing when they hyped the El Nino to promote the anthropogenic global warming message! And they did. There is no doubt about that (as we shall see).

Firstly, let’s examine whether Rose’s ‘cherrypick’ of the RSS land only data was indeed a cherrypick. As you can see, UAH shows a very similar drop:

The GISS land only dataset shows a similar large decline:

So obviously, it was not simply Rose cherry-picking the data because the evidence is there : over land, temperatures dropped precipitously from Feb to Oct 2016. As Rose points out, the ocean data has been slower to respond, but it’s reasonable to speculate that, in 2017, the oceans might continue to cool (as they are now, and especially if a strong La Nina kicks in), whereupon the Pause in global warming might re-establish itself in which case the El Nino of 2015/16 will come to be seen as a short term weather event only, contrary to the hype we saw from scientists and the media at its peak. Of course, there is the possibility global temperatures might remain at a new higher level in which case we can say that El Nino has contributed to the long term global warming trend (as in 1998). The fact remains, however, most of the short term increase in temperature that we saw over 2014/15/16 can be attributed to the building super El Nino, not GHG global warming. This was not what scientists and the media were saying when El Nino peaked:

Adam Scaife (Met Office): "The vast majority of the warming is global warming, but the icing on the cake is the big El Niño event" ... We think El Niño made only a small contribution (a few hundredths of a degree) to the record global temperatures in 2015.... The forecast for next year is about 0.8C above the 1961-1990 baseline. About 0.2 of that is likely to come from El Niño, hence the 25%"

Peter Stott (Met Office): "El Nino will have contributed a "small amount on top" to the global warming of 2015/16.

When the peak did happen, Gavin was like, ‘Wow’ and this was ‘special’:

The Guardian, supported by comments from a number of scientists, concluded that the global warming occurring at the time was "shocking" and that it constituted a "climate emergency".


Drain the Swamp: Sunset the Renewable Fuel Standard

Just before the Thanksgiving weekend I spoke to a trade association about the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS)—why the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) wants to abolish it, and how reform-minded groups might constructively engage the incoming Trump administration given the President-elect’s well-known support for the RFS. Below is an edited version of my remarks.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, as our name suggests, believes that refereed competition—competition under rules of fair play—advances the public interest. Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek called competition a "discovery procedure." Competition reveals "which goods are scarce," "how scarce or valuable they are," and even "which things are goods." When government grants special privileges to some industries or firms at the expense of others, consumers pay more for inferior products and services, policymakers become captive to special interests, and the favored industry becomes dependent on corporate welfare. Not good! 

CEI therefore opposes any government policy that aims to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. So naturally, we oppose the RFS and advocate its repeal.


How does the RFS limit competition? At a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing in June, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois asked Janet McCabe, the Environmental Protection Agency official who administers the RFS, why EPA proposed 2 billion gallons as the biodiesel target for 2017 when the biodiesel industry says it can produce much more.

McCabe explained (hearing transcript, p. 71) that biodiesel is one of several fuels that qualify as an "advanced biofuel" in the RFS program. So a question EPA wrestles with is "how much of that advanced category should biodiesel basically get a guarantee on?" She continued: ". . . we believe that it is important to have competition and choice and opportunity for a variety of fuels to compete." She noted the target is not a cap on how much biodiesel producers can offer for sale. Rather, it is a cap on how much refiners are obligated to buy and blend. Capping that obligation, she said, "leaves room" for other fuels to compete.

Think about what her explanation implies. If the quota for biodiesel leaves less room for other fuels to compete within the advanced biofuel category, then the RFS as a whole leaves less room for choice and competition in the total motor fuel market. Every gallon of renewable fuel which the RFS guarantees for sale restricts overall market competition and choice by the same amount.

Consider the statutory goal of the RFS—squeeze 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel into the marketplace by 2022, with up to 35 billion gallons blended with gasoline for passenger vehicles. That target won’t be met and becomes increasingly unrealistic each year. But imagine it could and will be done. Thirty-five billion gallons is more than one-quarter of the projected size of the total gasoline market in 2022 (see Figure 1 of this testimony). The ultimate aim of the RFS is to deny fossil fuels the opportunity to compete for one out every four gallons of motor fuel households buy.

Ask yourself: Would your company thrive or even survive if Congress required you to cede one quarter of the market to your competitors? What would you think of a World Series in which one team automatically wins one of the first four games? Or a Super Bowl in which only one team is allowed to go on offense in the first quarter?

This year, EPA proposes to lower the statutory RFS goals in light of the blend wall, a set of market constraints that effectively limits the quantity of ethanol sold to less than 10 percent of the gasoline market. EPA does want to force the market beyond the blend wall, but not as much as the corn ethanol lobby demands. A group of senators led by Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) claim the EPA may not consider the blend wall when determining refiners’ annual requirements, known as Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs). Specifically, they contend that "lack of distribution infrastructure was explicitly rejected by Congress as a reason to grant a waiver [from statutory goals] in 2005."

The Senators don’t provide a source for their statutory interpretation. Yet even if correct, their claim is irrelevant. The blend wall had no bearing on the RFS as created in 2005. The original RFS annual blending targets maxed out at 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. That is only about half the quantity of ethanol U.S. markets can absorb as E10—gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol. Under the 2005 RFS, there was simply no prospect of biofuel production running up against the E10 blend wall.

Biofuel lobbyists often claim refiners have "obligations" to finance the blender pumps and storage tanks that supposedly would enable them to meet the RFS program’s statutory targets. But where in either the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which the created the RFS, or the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which expanded the program, is such an obligation discussed or mentioned?

Biofuel interests have never cited any such provision because it does not exist. Apparently, they want us to believe that if Congress willed the end, it must have willed the means. But sausage-making—writing and passing laws—is not an exercise in abstract logic. Laws embody tradeoffs and compromises and rarely give the affected interests everything they want. Congress considered several bills with provisions requiring refiners to install E85 infrastructure at their affiliated stations. None of those provisions actually made it into the law.

The proximate cause of the blend wall is the incompatibility of high ethanol blends with most retail fuel infrastructure and vehicles on the road. The vast majority of service stations are small businesses with thin profit margins. Installing an E15 or E85 dispenser with a dedicated storage tank can cost up to $200,000. Although EPA approved the use of E15 for 2001 and newer models, most owners’ manuals and warranties for vehicles manufactured before 2015 caution against using E15. Biofuel lobbyists yack a lot about those barriers and demand refiners "invest" in biofuel infrastructure to overcome them. However, they ignore the root cause of the blend wall: crummy fuel economy.

Although ethanol is cheaper by the gallon than gasoline, it has one third less energy. At today’s relative prices, the typical motorist, depending on the size of the vehicle, would have to spend $50-$300 more each year to fill up with E85 instead of regulatory gasoline. In recent years the annual price penalty has been as big as $1,450. If high-ethanol blends actually saved consumers money, they would demand it, and the ethanol industry itself would invest in the blender pumps and storage tanks required to serve that market. Why don’t they?

RFS defenders claim it’s because Big Oil uses its "market power" to prevent retail outlets from offering high-ethanol blends. Rubbish. More than 95 percent of gas stations are independent businesses, and more than 50 percent are unbranded single station operators. A franchise agreement may require the service station to offer premium, regular, and mid-grade gasoline, so if the station has only three pumps, none will be available to provide E15 or E85. But that is not an abuse of market power. It simply means that infrastructure is not free.

Think about it this way. When you take the kids to McDonald’s, you expect the local franchise to carry all the standard items on the McDonald’s menu. That’s the same kind of reliable, predictable service oil companies require their franchisees to offer customers. With this critical difference. McDonald’s does not allow franchisees to sell Burger King Whoppers even if they do so at their own expense. In contrast, branded service stations are free to offer products in addition to the standard fare if they want to and can raise the requisite capital. So far, however, the biofuel lobby has shown little interest in putting its own skin in the game.

How come? Maybe because they know that if ethanol were really the great bargain they claim it is, we would not need a law to make us buy it.

Legal Plunder

I jokingly call the RFS a Soviet-style production quota system. Jokingly, because Lenin and Stalin had the intellectual modesty to establish only five-year plans whereas the RFS, as expanded by Congress in 2007, is a 15-year plan. It sets annual biofuel targets for 2008 through 2022.

Like other central planning schemes, the RFS is fraught with unintended consequences. It incentivizes land conversions eradicating millions of acres of wildlife habitat. Compared to the gasoline it replaces, the RFS increases certain types of air and water pollution, raises food prices, and may actually increase net greenhouse gas emissions.

But even if the RFS worked exactly as advertised, Congress should still repeal it. The RFS literally compels one set of companies to purchase, process, and create a market for other companies’ products. It makes one business the involuntary servant of another. That is not the American way.

To see the anomaly, imagine the shoe were on the other foot. Suppose Congress proposed to enact WVOs (wheat volume obligations) requiring corn farmers to buy and sell annually increasing quantities of wheat. Or IVOs (input volume obligations) requiring corn farmers to purchase annually increasing quantities of specific seeds, fertilizers, and farm machinery—those deemed "sustainable" by the EPA. The howls from RFS supporters would be loud and furious. And justifiably so.

The implication is obvious. The RFS is a system of special privilege. It conflicts with the basic constitutional principle of equality under law.

Prospects for Reform

In the Texas GOP primary debate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) opined that Congress doesn’t have to repeal the RFS because "it is phasing out" and by 2022 "it will go away." Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Although the statutory targets don’t increase after 2022, the RFS does not expire. Rather, Section 211(o)(2)(B)(ii) of the Clean Air Act directs EPA, in coordination with the Departments of Energy and Agriculture, to establish RVOs for the motor fuel industry in "other calendar years"—in principle, until the end of time. The provision also limits EPA’s authority to reduce post-2022 RVOs for biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, and biomass-based diesel.

Terminating the RFS after 2022 will require congressional action and executive leadership.

Our various groups must keep making our separate yet complementary cases for repealing the RFS so there’s a fighting chance the program will sunset after 2022.

How should we engage the Trump administration on RFS reform? In 2007, Congress and President Bush touted the RFS as a policy to mitigate climate change, enhance U.S. energy security, and strengthen rural economies. I suspect only one of those three rationales resonates strongly with the President elect.

Trump doesn’t seem to worry much about climate change. Besides, many environmentalists now attack corn ethanol as more carbon-intensive than gasoline.

Trump cares about energy security but also likely understands that fracking, not the RFS, has made America great again as an energy producer.

So what Trump probably likes most about the RFS is the jobs and wealth it creates in rural America. We need to familiarize him with other side of the story—the costs and risks the RFS imposes on the livestock farmers and chain restaurants.

In general, we should connect the RFS to core Trump campaign themes. Explain why the RFS is a posterchild for bipartisan collusion to "rig" the marketplace on behalf of special interests. "Draining the swamp" includes abolishing the RFS.

Trump wants to downsize or even dismantle the EPA. Well, if the new administration and Congress don’t amend the Clean Air Act, EPA’s power to meddle in motor fuel markets and dispense corporate welfare will increase after 2022. RFS reform is critical to shrinking the EPA.



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


5 December, 2016

It's not the oceans wot did it

Warmists claim that just before the turn of the present century, the oceans for some unknown reason started gobbling up all the extra warmth (theoretically) generated by rising levels of CO2.  And there is some slight evidence of increased heat in the oceans.  The latest paleoclimate proxy study (below) is therefore interesting.  It found two things:

1).  Ocean temperature changes over the last 200 years were "below the detection limit". In other words there has been NO ocean warming at all in our times.

2). Further back in the last 10,000 years there WERE times of rapid and substantial changes in ocean temperature.  In other words, long before that wicked industrialization that Warmists hate, NATURAL changes in ocean temperatures did occur.

So we have got a doubly whammy:  There has been NO recent change in ocean temperature but even if there were, it could be all natural, and, as such, no proof of anything.

Rapid variations in deep ocean temperature detected in the Holocene

Samantha C. Bova et al.


The observational record of deep-ocean variability is short, which makes it difficult to attribute the recent rise in deep ocean temperatures to anthropogenic forcing. Here, we test a new proxy – the oxygen isotopic signature of individual benthic foraminifera – to detect rapid (i.e. monthly to decadal) variations in deep ocean temperature and salinity in the sedimentary record. We apply this technique at 1000?m water depth in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific during seven 200-year Holocene intervals. Variability in foraminifer ?18O over the past 200?years is below the detection limit, but ?18O signatures from two mid-Holocene intervals indicate temperature swings >2?°C within 200?years. More vigorous transport between the surface and deep ocean or stronger eddy variability than that observed in the historical record are potential explanations. Distinguishing externally forced climate trends in deep ocean properties from unforced variability should be possible with systematic analysis of suitable deep sea cores.

doi: 10.1002/2016GL071450

Reality finally hits an old attention-whore

Robert Bradley has up a series of quotations from Jim Hansen showing how his many prophecies over the years have always been couched in the most urgent language and also showing that they have always been wrong.

Which is amusing enough.  Even more amusing, however is his latest utterance, which is a large backdown.  His words this month include: ""The ponderous response of the climate system also means that we don’t need to instantaneously reduce GHG amounts.".

After many failed prophecies, the urgency has gone.

Germany tells World Bank to quit funding fossil fuels

Why is Germany building all those brown coal power stations then?  Is German coal more ethical than third world coal?

German development minister says World Bank must focus "all of its work on climate and sustainability targets"

The World Bank must end its support for the industries that cause climate change, Germany’s federal development minister Gerd Müller has said.

On Wednesday, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Müller met with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to sign a cooperation agreement on climate change.

A statement from the German government said Müller had used the moment to call on the World Bank to put "an end to investments in obsolete and climate-damaging technologies".1

"The World Bank must also focus all of its work on climate and sustainability targets," said Müller.

World Bank cash for fossil fuels: The worst kind of hypocrisy

The bank is considering finance for a new coal plant in Kosovo – despite an internal policy ruling out such projects except in rare circumstances. It has also announced support for large gas projects in Azerbaijan and Ghana among others.

One study has found that the bank’s annual contribution to the wider fossil fuel sector was more than $3bn in 2014.1

Germany contributes €105m to the World Bank’s climate programmes. Under the agreement signed on Wednesday this will be targeted towards helping poor countries cut carbon, providing insurance to communities who may suffer climate impacts and forest sustainability programmes.

Müller said Germany and the World Bank would protect developing countries "through insurance against droughts and flooding, through investments in the vital preservation of forests. Climate change is also an opportunity, especially in the developing countries: renewable energies create jobs and are good for human health".


The world needs more energy!

Poor countries have a right to use fossil fuels and will no longer let anyone stop us

By Steven Lyazi, from Uganda

Our planet is blessed with abundant resources that can generate enormous energy, provide raw materials for wondrous technologies, and build modern homes, roads and other structures – to support every man, woman and child on this earth. But can and will political powers make them available to the people who need them?

Of all these resources, energy is the most important. Nothing happens without energy.

For most of mankind’s history, human or animal muscle, wood and animal dung, water power, and plant or animal oil provided our energy. But the amount and quality of that energy was limited, and therefore what people could do was also limited.

Then, almost suddenly, people began using coal, and then oil, natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear power. Our abilities, and our dreams, began to reach for the heavens – at least in many countries. Sadly, many other countries lagged far behind, and many still do.

They are held back, condemned to continued energy poverty – and thus to real poverty and the diseases, malnutrition and desperation that go with that absence of modern energy. This is partly because many nations are governed by incompetent, corrupt leaders, who care only about enriching themselves, their families, and their close friends, allies and supporters.

But it is also because callous, imperialistic people in rich countries use exaggerated, imaginary or phony environmental concerns and fake disasters to justify laws, regulations and excuses not to let poor countries use fossil fuels or nuclear power or develop their economies.

They tell us we should only use renewable energy. They say nuclear power is dangerous, and oil, gas and coal are dirty and cause dangerous climate change. They don’t seem to think or care about the poverty, diseases and starvation that we suffer because we do not have fossil fuels.

And when they talk about renewable energy, they mean the very limited energy – and economic growth – that come from wind and solar power, or from growing crops for energy instead of to feed our hungry people. They even oppose hydroelectric power for poor nations.

They are rich and well fed, enjoying amazing homes and jobs and technologies in their modern countries. But they tell us poor Africans (and other people) that we must limit our energy and dreams to whatever can come from expensive, insufficient kinds of energies to serve our large and growing populations. This is greedy and selfish, the kind of attitude of people who only think of themselves.

Yes, they use renewable energy, but only a little. Almost all their energy still comes from oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydro power. Only a tiny amount comes from wind, solar or biofuels – that they say should be our only sources of energy.

They have money and power, and they can influence what happens to us. But they are causing massive poverty, disease, starvation and death in third world countries.

I support clean energy and don’t want to see dangerous global warming. I agree that everyone should help ensure that we live in a clean environment. Everyone wants that, and to see their children and grandchildren living in a clean environment.

But that does not mean we should accept more poverty. It does not mean these rich, powerful people should be able to take away our right to live. It does not mean they have a right to put make-believe scare stories in our papers, on our televisions and radios, and on the internet.

It does not mean they should invent claims that our planet is boiling and we are causing droughts and floods – and so we should throw away coal and other cheap energies that we need to survive.

Maybe they are right, and humans are warming the earth or changing the climate – a little. But our weather and climate have always changed, and the world was even warmer during the dinosaur era than it is today, and much colder during the ice ages, with no human activities. Climate change has been going on for millions of years ago, but that doesn’t mean today’s changes are because of humans or will be disasters. 

Environmental agencies and groups say the world is changing and try to tell us what to do to prevent these changes, which they say will all be bad. But getting rid of poverty and disease is also a big change that would be good for all of us, and cannot happen without fossil fuels.

We’ve all been scared to death by horror movies, especially films that are just plausible enough to make us think it could happen. But when these movies (or computer models) are used to scare us away from fossil fuels, that is wrong and we should not be frightened.

What these rich country movie actors, politicians, regulators, scientists and activists forget is that our planet and environment have existed for millions of years, have changed over and over, and will continue to exist either with or without human interference. But we humans have to live here too.

Denying people their right to use fossil fuels is the worst thing someone can do to a fellow human. Western powers developed massively due to cheap fossil fuels and today live like kings. They have no right to deny their living standards to people in developing countries.

Who invented the terms "developing countries" or "third world countries" anyway"? All countries have been developing at some point. In fact, they are always still developing, all the time.

The only wrong interpretation is to say "third world countries" do not have a God-given right to use all their energy, minerals and other resources to develop themselves, and get rich, create good jobs for their people, end poverty and disease, and grow enough food to make everyone well fed and healthy.

In fact, here is a thought for all African leaders: A collective mindset supporting development will make Africa as great as any other region on earth. We all just need to unite around this idea.

The recent United States elections disappointed many people, but made many others happy. To me, they may be a very good thing. They might mean the new President Trump will be a good leader for the entire world. He might make more people question these claims that fossil fuels cause dangerous global warming – and encourage everyone to use more oil, gas and coal to improve our lives, until smart people someday discover different energy sources that really do work.

We all desire to be healthy and live better lives, just like people in developed countries. Yes, we have had greedy, selfish leaders in the past who might have contributed to our status today. But we can and must learn from our mistakes, and Mr. Trump wants to correct his and Mr. Obama’s mistakes.

African and other countries need abundant energy for economic growth. They need all kinds of energy, especially fossil fuels, to become modern and make people’s lives better.

Anyone who tries to prevent us from using these energy resources is denying us our right to improve our lives, and even our right to live, which is the most fundamental right of any human. That is wrong and immoral, and we will no longer tolerate it.

Via email

My Unhappy Life as a Climate Heretic


My research was attacked by thought police in journalism, activist groups funded by billionaires and even the White House.

Much to my surprise, I showed up in the WikiLeaks releases before the election. In a 2014 email, a staffer at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta in 2003, took credit for a campaign to have me eliminated as a writer for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website. In the email, the editor of the think tank’s climate blog bragged to one of its billionaire donors, Tom Steyer: "I think it’s fair [to] say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538."

WikiLeaks provides a window into a world I’ve seen up close for decades: the debate over what to do about climate change, and the role of science in that argument. Although it is too soon to tell how the Trump administration will engage the scientific community, my long experience shows what can happen when politicians and media turn against inconvenient research—which we’ve seen under Republican and Democratic presidents.

I understand why Mr. Podesta—most recently Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—wanted to drive me out of the climate-change discussion. When substantively countering an academic’s research proves difficult, other techniques are needed to banish it. That is how politics sometimes works, and professors need to understand this if we want to participate in that arena.

More troubling is the degree to which journalists and other academics joined the campaign against me. What sort of responsibility do scientists and the media have to defend the ability to share research, on any subject, that might be inconvenient to political interests—even our own?

I believe climate change is real and that human emissions of greenhouse gases risk justifying action, including a carbon tax. But my research led me to a conclusion that many climate campaigners find unacceptable: There is scant evidence to indicate that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the U.S. or globally. In fact we are in an era of good fortune when it comes to extreme weather. This is a topic I’ve studied and published on as much as anyone over two decades. My conclusion might be wrong, but I think I’ve earned the right to share this research without risk to my career.

Instead, my research was under constant attack for years by activists, journalists and politicians. In 2011 writers in the journal Foreign Policy signaled that some accused me of being a "climate-change denier." I earned the title, the authors explained, by "questioning certain graphs presented in IPCC reports." That an academic who raised questions about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in an area of his expertise was tarred as a denier reveals the groupthink at work.

Yet I was right to question the IPCC’s 2007 report, which included a graph purporting to show that disaster costs were rising due to global temperature increases. The graph was later revealed to have been based on invented and inaccurate information, as I documented in my book "The Climate Fix." The insurance industry scientist Robert-Muir Wood of Risk Management Solutions had smuggled the graph into the IPCC report. He explained in a public debate with me in London in 2010 that he had included the graph and misreferenced it because he expected future research to show a relationship between increasing disaster costs and rising temperatures.

When his research was eventually published in 2008, well after the IPCC report, it concluded the opposite: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses." Whoops.

The IPCC never acknowledged the snafu, but subsequent reports got the science right: There is not a strong basis for connecting weather disasters with human-caused climate change.

Yes, storms and other extremes still occur, with devastating human consequences, but history shows they could be far worse. No Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, by far the longest such period on record. This means that cumulative economic damage from hurricanes over the past decade is some $70 billion less than the long-term average would lead us to expect, based on my research with colleagues. This is good news, and it should be OK to say so. Yet in today’s hyper-partisan climate debate, every instance of extreme weather becomes a political talking point.

For a time I called out politicians and reporters who went beyond what science can support, but some journalists won’t hear of this. In 2011 and 2012, I pointed out on my blog and social media that the lead climate reporter at the New York Times,Justin Gillis, had mischaracterized the relationship of climate change and food shortages, and the relationship of climate change and disasters. His reporting wasn’t consistent with most expert views, or the evidence. In response he promptly blocked me from his Twitter feed. Other reporters did the same.

In August this year on Twitter, I criticized poor reporting on the website Mashable about a supposed coming hurricane apocalypse—including a bad misquote of me in the cartoon role of climate skeptic. (The misquote was later removed.) The publication’s lead science editor, Andrew Freedman, helpfully explained via Twitter that this sort of behavior "is why you’re on many reporters’ ‘do not call’ lists despite your expertise."

I didn’t know reporters had such lists. But I get it. No one likes being told that he misreported scientific research, especially on climate change. Some believe that connecting extreme weather with greenhouse gases helps to advance the cause of climate policy. Plus, bad news gets clicks.

Yet more is going on here than thin-skinned reporters responding petulantly to a vocal professor. In 2015 I was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Paige St. John, making the rather obvious point that politicians use the weather-of-the-moment to make the case for action on climate change, even if the scientific basis is thin or contested.

Ms. St. John was pilloried by her peers in the media. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me what she had learned: "You should come with a warning label: Quoting Roger Pielke will bring a hailstorm down on your work from the London Guardian, Mother Jones, and Media Matters."

Or look at the journalists who helped push me out of FiveThirtyEight. My first article there, in 2014, was based on the consensus of the IPCC and peer-reviewed research. I pointed out that the global cost of disasters was increasing at a rate slower than GDP growth, which is very good news. Disasters still occur, but their economic and human effect is smaller than in the past. It’s not terribly complicated.

That article prompted an intense media campaign to have me fired. Writers at Slate, Salon, the New Republic, the New York Times, the Guardian and others piled on.

In March of 2014, FiveThirtyEight editor Mike Wilson demoted me from staff writer to freelancer. A few months later I chose to leave the site after it became clear it wouldn’t publish me. The mob celebrated., founded by former Center for American Progress staffer Brad Johnson, and advised by Penn State’s Michael Mann, called my departure a "victory for climate truth." The Center for American Progress promised its donor Mr. Steyer more of the same.

Yet the climate thought police still weren’t done. In 2013 committees in the House and Senate invited me to a several hearings to summarize the science on disasters and climate change. As a professor at a public university, I was happy to do so. My testimony was strong, and it was well aligned with the conclusions of the IPCC and the U.S. government’s climate-science program. Those conclusions indicate no overall increasing trend in hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or droughts—in the U.S. or globally.

In early 2014, not long after I appeared before Congress, President Obama’s science adviser John Holdren testified before the same Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He was asked about his public statements that appeared to contradict the scientific consensus on extreme weather events that I had earlier presented. Mr. Holdren responded with the all-too-common approach of attacking the messenger, telling the senators incorrectly that my views were "not representative of the mainstream scientific opinion." Mr. Holdren followed up by posting a strange essay, of nearly 3,000 words, on the White House website under the heading, "An Analysis of Statements by Roger Pielke Jr.," where it remains today.

I suppose it is a distinction of a sort to be singled out in this manner by the president’s science adviser. Yet Mr. Holdren’s screed reads more like a dashed-off blog post from the nutty wings of the online climate debate, chock-full of errors and misstatements.

But when the White House puts a target on your back on its website, people notice. Almost a year later Mr. Holdren’s missive was the basis for an investigation of me by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. Rep. Grijalva explained in a letter to my university’s president that I was being investigated because Mr. Holdren had "highlighted what he believes were serious misstatements by Prof. Pielke of the scientific consensus on climate change." He made the letter public.

The "investigation" turned out to be a farce. In the letter, Rep. Grijalva suggested that I—and six other academics with apparently heretical views—might be on the payroll of Exxon Mobil (or perhaps the Illuminati, I forget). He asked for records detailing my research funding, emails and so on. After some well-deserved criticism from the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, Rep. Grijalva deleted the letter from his website. The University of Colorado complied with Rep. Grijalva’s request and responded that I have never received funding from fossil-fuel companies. My heretical views can be traced to research support from the U.S. government.

But the damage to my reputation had been done, and perhaps that was the point. Studying and engaging on climate change had become decidedly less fun. So I started researching and teaching other topics and have found the change in direction refreshing. Don’t worry about me: I have tenure and supportive campus leaders and regents. No one is trying to get me fired for my new scholarly pursuits.

But the lesson is that a lone academic is no match for billionaires, well-funded advocacy groups, the media, Congress and the White House. If academics—in any subject—are to play a meaningful role in public debate, the country will have to do a better job supporting good-faith researchers, even when their results are unwelcome. This goes for Republicans and Democrats alike, and to the administration of President-elect Trump.

Academics and the media in particular should support viewpoint diversity instead of serving as the handmaidens of political expediency by trying to exclude voices or damage reputations and careers. If academics and the media won’t support open debate, who will?



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

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


4 December, 2016

Total dishonesty about last Thursday's blackout in South Australia

The S.A. government is shrilling that the new blackout had "nothing to do" with the previous big one in September.  I suppose that there is some trivial sense in which that is true but the root cause of both blackouts is the same:  South Australia does not have ANY baseload power of its own.  Had they not decommissioned all their coal-fired stations, neither blackout would have happened.  Their windmills are just not a reliable source of power.  During the latest incident they were delivering only 6% of their capacity. 

When the big wind hit in September and shut down the windmills the South Australians could easily have spun up their coal-fired generators to take the load -- if they still had them.  And the same thing applies to the recent loss of supply. 

You have got to have hydrocarbon or nuclear powered generators to get reliable supply and S.A. just does not have enough.  All they have are some small gas-fired ones.  They rely on importing power from hydrocarbon-powered generators in Victoria but Victoria has its own problems -- and will soon have much bigger ones with the closedown of the Hazelwood generator.

The South Australians were so proud of themselves for having such a "Green" electricity system but it was a fantasy.  They need to get a couple of their coal-fired generators spinning again or businesses will start leaving the state and taking jobs with them. New investments will CERTAINLY grind to a halt now. See below

South Australia's electricity system separated from the national power grid overnight, prompting a stern warning from BHP Billiton about threats to Australian jobs and investment.

About 200,000 homes and businesses lost power for over an hour, but BHP’s Olympic Dam operations in the north of the state were interrupted for about four hours.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie issued an urgent warning to policy-makers after the latest incident, which comes two months after the statewide blackout led to about two weeks of lost production at Olympic Dam.

"Olympic Dam’s latest outage shows Australia’s investability and jobs are placed in peril by the failure of policy to both reduce emissions and secure affordable, dispatchable and uninterrupted power," he said in a statement.

"The challenge to reduce emissions and grow the economy cannot fall to renewables alone. "This is a wake-up call ahead of the COAG meeting and power supply and security must be top of the agenda and urgently addressed."

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said Labor had "chased cheap and reliable power out of South Australia".

"South Australians are now saddled with the most expensive and least reliable electricity system in Australia," he said.

"The statement from BHP this morning demonstrates how dangerous this situation has become. The CEO of the world’s biggest mining company has singled out South Australia’s fragile electricity system as a threat to mining in Australia.

"Affordable and reliable power is critical to running a business – it’s not a luxury, it’s an essential!"


Warmists are getting cautious with their prophecies

The authors below show that even with conventional Warmist asumptions the degree of warming to be expected in the near future could be quite low.  The 21st century "hiatus" must be getting to them now that El Nino has finished.  The figures are now in to show that the recent warming was just a blip

Prospects for a prolonged slowdown in global warming in the early 21st century

Thomas R. Knutson et al


Global mean temperature over 1998 to 2015 increased at a slower rate (0.1?K decade?1) compared with the ensemble mean (forced) warming rate projected by Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) models (0.2?K decade?1). Here we investigate the prospects for this slower rate to persist for a decade or more. The slower rate could persist if the transient climate response is overestimated by CMIP5 models by a factor of two, as suggested by recent low-end estimates. Alternatively, using CMIP5 models’ warming rate, the slower rate could still persist due to strong multidecadal internal variability cooling. Combining the CMIP5 ensemble warming rate with internal variability episodes from a single climate model—having the strongest multidecadal variability among CMIP5 models—we estimate that the warming slowdown (<0.1?K decade?1 trend beginning in 1998) could persist, due to internal variability cooling, through 2020, 2025 or 2030 with probabilities 16%, 11% and 6%, respectively.


Dakota Access protesters accused of destroying environment in order to save it

In the name of saving the environment, thousands of green activists fighting to stop the Dakota Access pipeline are making a huge mess.

Those familiar with the camps near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, increasingly are distressed over the pits of human waste and garbage pockmarking the formerly pristine prairie revered by the Standing Rock Sioux as sacred ancestral land.

Rob Keller, spokesman for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, said the protesters are "saying one thing and doing another" when it comes to safeguarding the environment.

"We’ve seen pictures of trenches and the garbage thrown in there. So that’s protecting the land?" Mr. Keller said. "And then the snow came in, and I’m sure it’s just a muddy mess now, because that’s river-bottom water, which is silt. It will be a mess."

Even Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II, who has urged protesters to come "stand with Standing Rock" against the pipeline, is disgusted with how the environmental activists living in the camps have treated the federal property.

"Before this entire movement started, that was some of the most beautiful land around," Mr. Archambault told the news website Vice. "There was a place down there where eagles, over 100 eagles would come and land. There were game down there — deer, pheasants, elk, geese. Now, it’s occupied by people. And when masses of people come to one place, we don’t take care of it."

What’s especially alarming is that the camps are located in a flood plain, meaning that the waste and garbage will be carried into the Cannonball River and the water supply as the snow melts and submerges the area.

Mr. Archambault compared the environmental damage inflicted by the protesters to that of fossil fuel companies.

"We’re no different than the oil company, if we’re fighting for water," said Mr. Archambault. "What’s going to happen when people leave? Who has to clean it up? Who has to refurbish it? It’s going to be us, the people who live here."

National environmental groups backing the protest, including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, and the Indigenous Environmental Network, did not respond to requests asking for comment, but Greenpeace did.

Greenpeace spokesman Perry Wheeler said the blame for any damage lies with those behind the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile project, which Energy Transfer Partners is building almost entirely on private land in order to transport oil from the Bakken field in North Dakota to Illinois.

"Any environmental concerns sit at the feet of the pipeline decision-makers," Mr. Wheeler said in an email.

After issuing an easement for a 1,100-foot stretch of federal land in North Dakota, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is stalling the project as it reviews the tribe’s concerns. The four-state pipeline is about 90 percent complete.

"The best way to ensure the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and our earth are treated the right way is for the Administration to stop what should have never started," said Mr. Wheeler.

State and local officials say they are worried about the environmental damage to the area, but there’s only so much they can do, given that the camps are on federal land.

Scott A. Radig, director of the state division of waste management, said he sent a letter with photos of protesters dumping and burning waste in pits to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over the area, but that he has heard nothing back. That was in September.

"They did not respond to us," said Mr. Radig. "It is federal land, but even though it’s federal land, they still have to follow state laws on state management practices."

The Army Corps, Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Mr. Radig said he has been in contact with Alison Two Bears, the tribe’s environmental director.

"She said that when the camp was closed that they would send us their plan for making sure the site is cleaned up and restored to its original conditions," he said.

Despite its hard line on other environmental transgressors, the Obama administration has given the protesters a pass on camps north of the Cannonball River, allowing them to remain illegally for months and insisting the activists will not be removed forcibly if they defy a Monday deadline to leave.

"They’re on [what] I’ll call a federal refuge because the Army Corps and the Obama administration have refused to demand that they leave that federal land," North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley said in a Thursday interview with WDAY-AM’s Rob Port.

"We’ve had no authority to go in and remove them," said Mr. Wrigley, a Republican. "But now the Army Corps is saying they have to leave by the fifth. We’ll see."

This week’s snowstorm and subfreezing temperatures have done what the administration has not by motivating many activists to leave their tents, teepees and campers and return home, or at least check into the reservation hotel and casino.

Even some activists are fed up with the sanitation of the camps, criticizing outsiders who have treated the protest as a hippie festival instead of helping keep the area clean.

"When Chairman Archambault talks about the destruction of the land with pitching of tents, digging pits in Mother Earth, the garbage and human waste, he is correct," Yvette Hatchere wrote on the Red Warrior Camp’s Facebook page.

"How would some of you feel if we camped in your backyard & left garbage behind and left holes in the ground," she said. "Well, he feels the same way. Pick up your garbage and find ways to get rid of it."


Climate Reality Deniers Are Trying to ‘Bork’ Trump’s EPA Transition Leader

President-elect Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition leader, Myron Ebell, is a huge threat to the green gravy train. Now, with billions of crony dollars at stake, the green slander machine is doing all it can to slime him.

Following their standard tactic, advocates of big government cronyism have picked someone to demonize as the face of small-government, pro-freedom ideals.

Ebell is that face, and he’s enduring the left’s vilification for voicing reasonable thought on climate change policy. Though he bears the burden with grace and humor, there is no excuse for the personal attacks, which are designed to distract attention from the high stakes of the debate.

What’s at stake for big green is billions upon billions of dollars taken from taxpayers and consumers and given to green crony businesses. Just for wind energy alone, grants, tax credits, loan guarantees, and other subsidies add up to at least $176 billion.

What isn’t at stake—contrary to the left’s talking points—is the Earth’s climate.

As costly as our current energy and climate policies are to the economy (they would cost the U.S. a net loss t of 400,000 jobs and up to $2.5 trillion), they are projected to have negligible impacts on global temperatures—even if you believe the questionable climate models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

When judged by their actual effect, it becomes clear that the real goal of international climate policies is a power and money grab that no one, not even its most vocal supporters, believes will have much impact on the climate.

In fact, Christiana Figueres—until recently the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change—noted that the goal of those policies was to rearrange the world economy:

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.

The big problem for the framework convention, the IPCC, renewable energy hustlers, and climate rent-seekers of all sorts is that Ebell is on to their game. So, out come the daggers of personal attacks and character assassination.

Many in the media are more than happy to abet the groups who perpetrate these attacks. The Media Research Center provides a nice sampler of these attacks and associated yellow journalism here.

It’s not at all clear what the name-callers mean when they call Ebell a "climate denier," but in a bizarre semantic twist, they appear to mean that he is not a hysterical climate data denier.

Like most skeptics, Ebell recognizes the basic carbon dioxide science: Adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere may somewhat increase warming. But he also recognizes the much more important question: How much is this "somewhat"?

Ebell and those following the numbers know that the Earth’s warming to date is much less than the IPCC models predicted and that the actual data don’t point to a climate catastrophe.

In addition, the unhinged claims of ever-worsening, extreme climate events don’t square with the data either. There are no upward trends in droughts, floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes.

Because knowledge of these facts is such a threat to the climate-industrial complex, anyone who dares to expose the truth comes under threat of personal destruction.

In 1987, "Borking" became a term for getting shot down after the U.S. Senate torpedoed Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court. We should not allow green activists to make "Ebelling" a synonym for "Borking."


Climate Regs Impede Carbon Reductions

Under the terms of the Kyoto Protocol, participating nations were to pursue a roughly 5% emissions reduction, relative to 1990 levels, by 2012. The endeavor was considered a success by most environmental warriors. As a newly released Breakthrough Institute study notes, "Every country achieved their emissions reduction commitments." But was the agreement really all it’s cracked up to be? The aforementioned Breakthrough study goes on to reveal that, no, it’s not.

"Overall, the carbon intensity of economies that were party to the Kyoto Accord fell more rapidly in the decade before the agreement was signed than in the decade after," according to the report. "In the 10 years before signing, the compound annual growth rate for carbon intensity was -0.7%. In the 10 years after signing it was only -0.2%."

"Similarly," the study continues, "the low-carbon share of energy was growing at an annual rate of 1.0% in the ten years prior to 1997, and only at a rate of 0.3% annually for the ten years after, meaning deployment of clean energy stalled or slowed in comparison to fossil fuels in these countries after they signed Kyoto." What’s the explanation? "What becomes clear in looking at climate policy as it has been implemented at the international level is that most countries have only been willing to commit to decarbonization targets that are consistent with expected business-as-usual trends, accounting for measures that they have intended to take in any event."

Thankfully, America did not participate in this scheme, thanks to the Republican Senate blocking Bill Clinton and Al Gore. And though the Obama administration cosigned the U.S. to last year’s Paris climate accord, past efforts to implement a carbon-reducing system would have fallen short, just like the Kyoto Protocol. According to Reason’s Ronald Bailey, "[T]he Breakthrough analysts conclude that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have actually fallen faster since 2010 than they would have had the the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade scheme been adopted by Congress. The U.S. trend toward lower carbon dioxide emissions was helped along by the global financial crisis, a weak recovery, and the ongoing switch from coal to cheap natural gas for electricity generation."

As for what comes next, Breakthrough says, "Even should the next administration withdraw from the Paris Agreement and abandon the Clean Power Plan, the United States might outperform the commitments that the Obama administration made in Paris if it keeps the nation’s nuclear fleet online, continues tax incentives for deployment of wind and solar energy, and stays out of the way of the shale revolution. By contrast, a Democratic administration indifferent to the fate of the nation’s existing nuclear fleet and hostile to shale gas production might ultimately slow US decarbonization trends."

Given these circumstances, the most pertinent question is this: Why are ecofascists hampering our ability to reduce emissions, which can be accomplished without onerous government regulations?



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, 2016

Reversing Warmist spin

The latest article from shifty Peter Hannam, an Australian environmental writer, gives us a good example of how Warmists "spin" their reports. He has some boring statistics to convey but by biased language has made them seem to suggest global warming.  Let me use different language to describe the same stats.  I will suggest cooling:

"A long run of overcast days in Sydney has finally come to an end.  Sydney is at last back to where we were in 1990 but will it last?

Last month's temperature had three Novembers warmer than it in the past

"It's been persistently cool, particularly in the West," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, at last breaking a long run of cool days -- going back to 1894

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.  But there were similar conditions in 1885"

Contrast the above with what appears below.  Note that I have unspun only the statistics Hannam has chosen to mention.  They were undoubtedly the one best suited to his cause.  If they can be shown to suggest cooling, one wonders what all the unmentioned statistics show. 

Deception is the name of the game for Warmists.  Honest reporting is in general alien to them.  It has to be.  They cannot accept the plain truth of the climate record, which just shows normal ups and downs with no significant trend

Sydney has just capped its sunniest November since 1990, with the relatively warm and dry conditions set to extend well into the start of summer.

Last month was the city's equal-fourth warmest November for maximum temperatures in records going back to 1858, with average temperatures reaching 26.1 degrees, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its latest report. Sydney Airport had an average of 9.5 hours of sunshine during the month.

"It's been persistently warm, particularly in the east," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, the most since 1894 , and its coldest day was a mild 22.7 degrees. All previous Novembers had at least one day below 21 degrees in the city.

The lack of cool days extended across spring, with just six days failing the reach 20 degrees. That's the fewest on record and roughly one-fifth of the average of 31 such days, the bureau said.

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.

That's the biggest turn in the weather for the city in 53 years, and the third-most on record with 1885 the other rival year, Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone, said.

"Since the start of October, it's been drying out" in coast regions, Mr Dutschke said, adding the western parts of the state had more recent rains and will take longer to cure.


Certified-organic GMO Golden Rice

Mischa Popoff

A half-million kids under the age of 5 will die again this year due to Vitamin-A deficiency in the Third World. GMO Golden Rice could provide the nutrients to prevent blindness and death, but it has been awaiting approval for over a decade thanks largely to organic activists who claim this crop will threaten organic crops.

As someone who worked for 5 years as a USDA organic inspector, please let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only will GMO Golden Rice alleviate the suffering of millions, it could also – in point-of-fact – be grown organically! So I joined with 11 scientists and wrote an article last year in The Daily Caller about producing the world’s first organic-GMO crop. I then wrote a brief follow-up immediately after Mr. Trump won the presidency.

Would you please help get the word out about this? GMO Golden Rice has been given to the world, free of charge, by its inventor, Dr. Ingo Potrykus. All that stands in its way is the lack of political will.

Mr. Trump will soon pick America’s next Secretary of Agriculture, and it is my hope that he will choose someone who understands this issue. Organic activists claim GMOs threaten organic crops. But, as is often the case with anti-everything activists, they have never bothered to read their own federal standards for organic production.

I hope you will help. A decade is a long time to wait for a humanitarian solution to such a tragedy.

Via email

NOAA: U.S. Completes Record 11 Straight Seasons Without Major Hurricane Strike

Today the United Sates completes a record 11 straight hurricane season without a major hurricane striking the U.S. mainland, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An unprecedented 11 years, one month and six days has passed since the last major hurricane struck the U.S. mainland, according to data going back to 1851 compiled by NOAA.

"The 2016 hurricane season will end officially on November 30. Hurricane Wilma was the last major hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) to strike the U.S. (October 24, 2005)," NOAA spokesman Dennis Feltgen told

Major hurricanes, defined on the scale as a Category 3 or above, are characterized by wind speeds of 111 mph or higher and strong storm surges capable of causing "devastating" or "catastrophic" damage.

"It is important to note that this scale covers only the wind impact," Feltgen noted. "It has nothing to do with the water impact, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of the fatalities - 50 percent of which occur from storm surge and 25 percent from inland flooding.

"The U.S. has seen major impacts from many hurricanes with significantly lower winds on the scale.  Sandy in 2012 and Matthew in 2016 are just two examples," he pointed out.

The U.S. has now experienced more than 11 years of below-normal levels of hurricane activity since 2005, when four major hurricanes – Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma – struck the continental U.S., killing nearly 4,000 people and causing nearly $160 billion in damages.

Last month, Hurricane Matthew - the first Category 5 hurricane to form in the Atlantic since 2007 – was downgraded to a Category 1 by the time it made landfall in the U.S. on October 8th, two weeks short of the 11-year anniversary of Hurricane Wilma’s landfall.

About 97 percent of all Atlantic basin hurricanes form during hurricane season, which lasts from June 1st to November 30th. Peak hurricane activity typically occurs between mid-August and late October.

Of the total 991 hurricanes recorded between 1851 and 2015, only 12 have been off-season hurricanes that formed between December and May, according to NOAA. Of those, none made landfall in the continental U.S.

CNSNews asked Dr. Gerry Bell, a hurricane specialist and research meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, if NOAA had an explanation for the record-breaking major hurricane hiatus in the U.S.

"I see two main reasons for the recent lack of major hurricane landfalls," Bell replied.

"1) For the U.S. East Coast, the overall wind patterns have been steering more hurricanes out to sea before reaching land; and

2) For the U.S. Gulf Coast, exceptionally unfavorable atmospheric conditions such as strong vertical wind shear and sinking motion have been preventing hurricanes from forming and strengthening over the Caribbean Sea, and have also been preventing hurricanes from moving across the Caribbean Sea.

"As a result, there has been a sharp reduction in the number of hurricanes that would typically migrate into the Gulf of Mexico, which then reduces the likelihood of a land-falling major hurricane along the Gulf Coast," Bell explained.

"A unique aspect of the current U.S. major hurricane landfall drought is its duration, due to the simultaneous lack of landfalls along both the Atlantic and the Gulf Coasts," he pointed out.

The historical record shows that the duration of the current major hurricane drought is "unprecedented," Bell continued.

"The periods with no major hurricane landfalls varies widely between the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast," he added.

"The Atlantic Coast had a 19-year gap [between] 1966-1984 and an 18-year gap [between]1910-1927. The gaps are much shorter for the Gulf Coast, whose previous longest gap was 6 years (1951-1956 and 1986-1991).

 "In contrast, many seasons during both 1966-1984 and 1910-1927 featured major hurricane landfalls along the Gulf Coast while the Atlantic Coast had none. The Gulf Coast saw 7 seasons with major hurricane landfalls during 1910-1927, and 8 seasons with major hurricane landfalls during 1966-1984," he added.

"Therefore, it appears that the duration of the current meteorological conditions, which have simultaneously suppressed major hurricane landfalls along both the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast, is unprecedented in the historical record dating back to 1900," he told CNSNews.

"However, please note that the historical record deteriorates in the early 1900’s and earlier due to a combination of 1) lack of satellites, and 2) low population densities along both the Gulf Coast and portions of the Atlantic Coast (especially the southeast)."

Bell also pointed out that Category 1 or 2 hurricanes such as Matthew or Sandy can still cause enormous property damage and loss of life.

"I think it is a bit misleading to focus only on major hurricane landfalls, since there have certainly been numerous tropical storm and hurricane landfalls during the past decade that have caused significant damage, flooding, loss of life, hardship, etc." he told CNSNews.


Lomborg on Trump’s climate plan

The election of Donald Trump and Republican majorities in both houses have terrified environmentalists and climate campaigners, who have declared that the next four years will be a "disaster."

Fear is understandable. We have much to learn about the new administration’s plans. But perhaps surprisingly, what little we know offers some cause for hope.

What really matters is not rhetoric but policy. So far, we know that President Trump will drop the Paris climate change treaty. This is far from the world-ending event that some suggest and offers an opportunity for a smarter approach.

Even ardent supporters acknowledge that the Paris treaty by itself will do little to rein in global warming. The United Nations estimates that if every country were to make every single promised carbon cut between 2016 and 2030 to the fullest extent and there was no cheating, carbon dioxide emissions would still only be cut by one-hundredth of what is needed to keep temperature rises below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The Paris treaty’s 2016-2030 pledges would reduce temperature rises around 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. If maintained throughout the rest of the century, temperature rises would be cut by 0.31 degrees Fahrenheit.

At the same time, these promises will be costly. Trying to cut carbon dioxide, even with an efficient tax, makes cheap energy more expensive — and this slows economic growth.

My calculations using the best peer-reviewed economic models show the cost of the Paris promises – through slower gross domestic product growth from higher energy costs — would reach $1 trillion to $2 trillion every year from 2030. U.S. vows alone — to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 — would reduce GDP by more than $150 billion annually.

So Trump’s promise to dump Paris will matter very little to temperature rises, and it will stop the pursuit of an expensive dead end.

Climate economists have found that green energy R&D investment would be a much more efficient approach.

This is very much in line with Trump’s campaign promise of "investment in research and development across the broad landscape of academia" and with its suggestion that we could develop "energy sources and power production that alleviates the need for dependence on fossil fuels."

This investment in U.S. ingenuity could help innovate the price of green energy down below fossil fuels. Only then will we truly be able to stop climate change.

Statements by Trump’s campaign also indicate that the next administration will create a global development and aid policy that recognizes that climate is one problem among many.

Asked about global warming, the campaign responded, "Perhaps the best use of our limited financial resources should be in dealing with making sure that every person in the world has clean water. Perhaps we should focus on eliminating lingering diseases around the world like malaria. Perhaps we should focus on efforts to increase food production to keep pace with an ever-growing world population."

This would be a big change. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development analyzed almost all aid from the United States and other rich nations and found that about one-fourth is climate-related aid.

This is immoral when 2 billion people suffer from malnutrition, 700 million live in extreme poverty and 2.4 billion are without clean drinking water and sanitation. These problems can be tackled effectively today, helping many more people more dramatically than "climate aid" could.

Despite its length, and for all of its heat and bluster, the election campaign left many unanswered questions and understandable concerns about the president-elect’s positions on climate change, aid and development.

But, surprisingly, there is now an opportunity. To seize it, the Trump administration needs to go beyond just dumping the ineffective Paris agreement, to an innovation-based green energy approach that will harness U.S. ingenuity. Far from being a disaster, such a policy could mean a real solution to climate change and help the world’s worst-off more effectively.


U.S. will fall short of ethanol, biofuels targets under Renewable Fuel Standard

The federal Renewable Fuel Standard will fall far short of the goals laid out by Congress, government watchdogs said Monday, dealing another blow to the embattled program and giving more ammunition to critics who say it must be ended immediately.

Government Accountability Office reports say the Renewable Fuel Standard, enacted by lawmakers in 2007, has been crippled by higher-than-expected costs of producing ethanol and other biofuels and by the boom in U.S. oil and gas production, which has made fossil fuels far more competitive in the marketplace.

The program, which requires increasing amounts of ethanol and other biofuels to be blended into the nation’s gas supply each year, also will fail to deliver the kinds of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions envisioned a decade ago, the GAO said.

Taken together, the two conclusions raise doubts about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard and support critics’ contention that the program is forcing the use of fuels that are too expensive and incompatible with many of today’s vehicles and infrastructure.

"Given that current advanced biofuel production is far below Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets and those targets are increasing every year, it does not appear possible to meet statutory target volumes for advanced biofuels in the RFS under current market and regulatory conditions," the GAO report reads in part. "Current production of cellulosic biofuels is far below the statutory volumes and, according to experts, there is limited potential for expanded production to meet future higher targets, in part because production costs are currently too high."

Last week, the agency set a 2017 target of at least 19.28 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels to be blended into the nation’s gas supply. That is an increase over this year’s target of 18.11 billion gallons but is far below the target of 24 billion gallons set out in 2007 legislation that established the program.

One reason for the gap, the GAO report said, is a lack of incentives for more biofuels production or upgrades in infrastructure because of the relatively low cost of fossil fuels in the market.

Moving forward, the GAO says, the Renewable Fuel Standard faces a bleak future. Investments into ethanol and biofuels, the watchdog agency said, look to be drying up in the energy marketplace, which has been transformed by the boom of domestic oil and gas drilling over the past decade.

That uptick in fossil fuel production seems to have crushed incentives to invest in biofuels and made once-promising ethanol much less appealing.

"The shortfall of advanced biofuels is the result of high production costs, and the investments in further research and development required to make these fuels more cost-competitive with petroleum-based fuels even in the longer run are unlikely in the current investment climate," the GAO said.

In response to the GAO studies, the EPA conceded that the original congressional timetable now is essentially irrelevant. The agency also cited the relatively low cost of fossil fuels, the cost of new biofuels technology needed to hit the targets and other factors.

"The EPA generally agrees with factors in the draft report identified as affecting the speed and volume of true advanced biofuel production, and which will make achieving future significant increases challenging," the agency said in written comments.

The program is slated to run through 2022, with congressionally set blend targets increasing each year. After that, the EPA and other federal agencies will be responsible for setting targets, assuming the program continues in its current form.

But that is far from a certainty, particularly with President-elect Donald Trump having said he plans to re-examine all energy and environmental programs at the federal level. He has not specifically said whether he will seek to phase out or eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Opponents of the fuel standard say that even though the Environmental Protection Agency has backed off the congressionally mandated levels repeatedly, it is still pushing ethanol and other biofuels blending requirements that are unrealistic and potentially harmful.

"EPA unfortunately finalized a RFS volume requirement that looks to force more biofuel in the fuel supply than consumers want or infrastructure can handle," Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, said in a statement last week. "Refiners should not have the responsibility to force consumers to use products they either don’t want or that are incompatible with their cars, boats, and motor equipment."



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

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


1 December, 2016

Brainless Greenies again

Pope warns Trump: Do not back away from UN climate pact – Pope declares ‘crisis of climatic change’

Both Mr Trump and I were brought up as Presbyterians so I can guess how much notice Mr Trump will take of the Pope

Pope Francis has issued a climate change challenge directly to President Elect Trump. The Pope, in thinly veiled speech, urged Trump not to withdraw the U.S. from the United Nations Paris agreement reached in 2015. The UN treaty has been said by critics to be "history’s most expensive treaty’," with a "cost of between $1 trillion and $2 trillion annually."

Pope Francis warned of the "crisis of climate change."  "The ‘distraction’ or delay in implementing global agreements on the environment shows that politics has become submissive to a technology and economy which seek profit above all else," Francis said, in what Reuters described as "a message that looked to be squarely aimed at" Trump.

Trump pledged to pull the U.S. out of the UN Paris climate agreement and defund and withdraw from the UN climate process. 

Speaking to a group of scientists, including physicist Stephen Hawking, the pope said in his speech that scientists should "work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences". The Pope has previously urged Catholics to pray for a UN climate agreement.

Pope Francis also called for "an ecological conversion capable of supporting and promoting sustainable development." In 2015, the Pope issued an encyclical on climate and the environment titled "Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home."


MRCTV’s New Documentary Shows Casualties of the Left’s ‘War on Coal’

MRCTV’s new documentary, Collateral Damage: Forgotten Casualties of the Left’s War on Coal, addresses the struggles West Virginia coal miners and their families are facing largely due to regulations implemented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Between September 2014 and May 2016, the U.S. lost about 191,000 jobs in the mining industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to data presented in the documentary, coal production in West Virginia alone has declined by 28 percent, and more than 9,000 coal-mining jobs have been lost as a result of government regulations.

"You don’t come into an industry that makes up the support system for so many thousands of people and bankrupt it when it’s already struggling with the [economic] downturn," executive producer Brittany Hughes said at the documentary’s premiere, which was held at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. D.C. Wednesday.

"This is not just an attack on coal. Coal is the first one. It’s the first one. But this is an attack on fossil fuels and this country. At least with the technology we have right now, we can’t run off of windmills and solar panels unless everybody just wants to cover the entire country in them, and even then I’m not sure that it would be effective enough," Hughes added.

In 2015, an MRCTV camera crew went to the southern counties of West Virginia to expose and document the devastating impact EPA regulations were having on coal mining families and their communities.

Jeremy Abraham, a West Virginia coal miner who was laid off from his job after months of worrying whether EPA regulations would impact the mine where he was employed, told the MRCTV crew that because of the severe economic struggles facing his family, he was forced to sell his house and now has to decide whether or not to relocate his family.

I’ve already sold my house. I’m probably going to have to move my family. I mean I’ve got two young babies at home"I’ve already sold my house. I’m probably going to have to move my family. I mean I’ve got two young babies at home. I’ve got a boy that turned three in August and a little girl that just turned 20 months old," Abraham said. "And I really don’t want to pack them up and move them away from their grandparents."

But "our community is dying, everything around us is dying. There’s no jobs, there’s no future for them," he added.

 In his August 2015 response to the adoption of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said: "This latest iteration of the EPA’s regulatory assault against coal-fired power generation is being presented as addressing the concerns of industry, but nothing could be further from the truth.

"Yes, the final regulation tacks on a couple of years to the compliance timeline, but all this accomplishes is to perpetuate uncertainty and provide more time for the rule to do more damage – irreversible damage – to the nation’s industry and electric grid," Raney said.

However, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy defended the plan, stating that "by 2030, the Clean Power Plan will reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels. Because carbon pollution comes packaged with other dangerous pollutants, our plan protects public health, preventing thousands of premature deaths, asthma attacks, and missed work and school days.

"Our plan will grow and strengthen our economy by sending longer term market signals that will drive innovation and investment. It will keep energy affordable and reliable. It will steer us towards where the world is going, not looking back at where it's been," McCarthy said.

But the documentary shows West Virginia’ coal-mining towns slowly drying up, their businesses unable to keep their doors open because of the economic downturn forced upon them by the EPA regulations.

Families are struggling to put food on the table because of job loss, and many residents are contemplating whether or not to leave the places they grew up in in search of work.

During the Wednesday premiere, Hughes said that state officials had invited federal regulators and lawmakers to visit the areas hit hardest by the government regulations, but received no response.

"One of the things we heard most often was that they had invited federal regulators and federal lawmakers to come and see, and that at the time they had not gotten any takers," Hughes said. "We were the only ones who came down and tried to tell their story in any way possible.

One thing that we heard over and over and over again was that people just felt forgotten"One thing that we heard over and over and over again was that people just felt forgotten. People felt like nobody was listening, and that this isn’t just a little hiccup like, ‘Well, I can’t go buy the car that I want next year’. This is ‘I’m losing my home, and my neighbor’s losing their home and the people down the street are losing their homes'," she said.

Although the coal mining community in West Virginia is accustomed to the ups and downs of the coal industry, Hughes continued, the latest government regulations won’t allow them to recover from hard times.

"Their problem is not so much that coal got hit, because they’ve been through that before. I mean these are people that have weathered some pretty rough stuff in that state’s history. They’re sick and tired of being kicked when they’re down.

"And I think that that would be my response to somebody that says, ‘Well, coal was already gonna have a tough time.’ Alright, [but] if you’ve got a person that’s struggling to pay their bills, do you go and take the little bit of money that they do have?"

Hughes said that by filming a documentary that puts a face on the struggling coal mining communities, viewers and federal lawmakers will be challenged to consider their role and take action to help revitalize the affected communities.

"One thing the Left is very, very good at is humanizing their policy issues. Those of us on the Right, we might have the best data and the best science and the best information and the best facts, but if we don’t put a face on it they’re going to win on that every time.

"And so we feel like this really adds a human face to it and can help start to drive that debate," she said.

The Media Research Center has joined with several organizations, including Americans for Tax Reform, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Cornwall Alliance, Energy & Environment Legal Institute, and The Heartland Institute, to give viewers of the documentary a look at the consequences of the Left’s environmental agenda and to expose the mainstream media’s refusal to cover it.


The facts about wind power are more awkward than the Green/Left will admit

Christopher Booker

I must apologise for having last week mistakenly reported that, despite the drive of the US in the Obama years to build ever more heavily subsidised wind and solar farms, the entire contribution of wind and solar to US electricity consumption is still only "less than 14 percent".

Foolishly, I cited that figure only after a quick internet trawl. where it is quoted on various websites, including Wikipedia. Only when I subsequently referred to a more reliable source did I find that the figure was in fact absurdly exaggerated. All the US was actually getting last year for all the billions of dollars it has spent on wind and solar farms was just 5.4 percent of its electricity. Most of the rest of course came from those CO2-emitting, "planet-destroying" fossil fuels that Obama was so keen to see disappear.

Siemens wind farm factory 'great for Britain'Play! 00:52
So how does this compare with the position here in England, where we are continually told that wind and solar are now providing ever more of our own power? The official headline figures do not separate England, where most of us live, from the rest of the UK. But thanks to some very clever detective work by Paul Homewood on his Not A Lot Of People Know That blog, we can see that the English figures are in fact strikingly similar to those for the US. The contribution of English onshore wind and solar farms to electricity used in England amounted last year to just 5.3 percent.

That intermittently generated by all the thousands of wind turbines spread across the English countryside was just 2.4 percent: rather less than that fed into the grid by a single medium-size gas-fired power station like that recently opened at Carrington outside Manchester – which, thanks to the "carbon tax" and the Climate Change Act, could be the last we ever see built. There’s another very uncomfortable fact you will never see quoted on Wikipedia.


Australia: Ethanol mandates costing motorists $85m

Why do Greenies want ethanol in motor fuel?  It just combusts to give off small amounts of CO2 the way other fuels do.  It makes no sense
MOTORISTS in NSW are spending up to $85 million more on petrol due to the state government’s push to force service stations to sell ethanol-laced fuel, according to the competition watchdog.

In its latest petrol market report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the NSW Government’s ethanol mandate has led to less choice and higher costs for Sydney motorists.

Introduced in 2007, the ethanol mandate requires service stations to sell at least 6 per cent ethanol as a proportion of their sales. E10 fuel is a mixture of 10 per cent ethanol and 90 per cent petrol.

Earlier this year, the Baird government ramped up its ethanol push by introducing harsh new penalties of more than $500,000 for service stations that do not stock E10 fuel. Manildra Group, the monopoly provider of ethanol fuel in NSW, is a major donor to state and federal branches of the Liberals, Nationals and Labor.

Former NSW Upper House whip Peter Phelps, who quit in March out of protest against the ethanol fuel laws, told the ABC earlier this year that it was "literally the worst piece of legislation NSW has introduced".

According to the ACCC, the reduced availability of regular unleaded petrol (RULP) has led to higher sales of premium unleaded petrol (PULP) and E10. In 2014-15, PULP made up 54 per cent of total petrol sales while E10 made up 36 per cent. Nationwide excluding NSW, PULP sales were 23 per cent and E10 just 4 per cent.

The ACCC calculates that as a result of the ethanol mandate, Sydney motorists have spent between $75-$85 million extra on PULP, which averaged 11.5 cents per litre more expensive for 95 octane and 18.5 cents per litre for 98 octane than RULP in 2015-16.

"While the use of E10 may be better for the environment, the ethanol mandate has reduced consumer choice and cost Sydney motorists up to $85 million," said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. "It has also boosted Sydney retailer’s profits due to the higher margins on premium fuel."

Mark McKenzie, chief executive of the petrol retailer peak body ACAPMA, said government interference in motorists’ choice of fuel was unwanted and created "perverse economic effects".

"Simply put, people are making a choice as to what product they put in their car and really are thumbing their nose at the government," he said. "We’re talking about a mandate that’s been around for seven years. People have tried E10 and have fled from it.

"The issue here is the arrogance of the Baird government. They think they can make policy to suit themselves and their mates, when there is a broader community they’re supposed to be serving.

"Our view is the choice of fuel is that of the motorist and the government has no place interfering in a core product."

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said while it was true people were buying more premium fuel, there had been a lot of "misinformation" about E10 and it was "demonstrably not true" that it was bad for engines.

"The majors are advertising premium fuels quite heavily. People can buy regular fuel or E10 but they’re buying 98 octane and paying upwards of 30 cents per litre more for no real benefit," he said.

"About three-quarters of the NSW fleet can run on E10. The remaining that can’t are either cars built before 1986 or they are high-performance vehicles that are mostly imported. The manufacturer will specify if a vehicle must run on premium fuel."

Mr Khoury also disagreed with the ACCC’s finding that regular fuel was harder to find. "There is plenty of regular out there," he said. "When we quote petrol prices we’re talking regular, not E10. People are buying it all over the place."

Queensland is set to become the second state to introduce an ethanol mandate from January. Queensland Biofuels Minister Mark Bailey told The Australian many NSW motorists "wrongly assumed" their car could not use E10 because the NSW government did not roll out a consumer education campaign.

"Our ethanol mandate from January is set at a level that will ensure fuel retailers continue to offer a broad range of fuel grades," Mr Bailey said.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the ethanol mandate had been a bipartisan policy since 2007.

"The government made changes to the legislation earlier in the year that will boost competition in the marketplace and provide consumers with greater choice," Mr Dominello said.

"The reforms ensure the mandate is focused on the bigger petrol station operators while providing appropriate exemptions for smaller operators.

"Consumers are encouraged to use the government’s FuelCheck website which empowers them to find the cheapest fuel by publishing petrol prices in real-time for every service station across NSW."



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



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Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman. Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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