The CRU graph. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of a degree Celsius and that even that tiny amount of warming started long before the late 20th century. The horizontal line is totally arbitrary, just a visual trick. The whole graph would be a horizontal line if it were calibrated in whole degrees -- thus showing ZERO warming

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

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31 December, 2017

Exhaustive study exonerates Roundup weedkiller

A couple of weeks ago, the EPA released their final version of an exhaustive examination of all the pieces of research that looked at the toxicity of Glyphosate (Roundup).  Roundup is the bete noir of many environmentalists.  Extensive attempts have been made to have it banned.  To Greenies there is no such thing as a good pesticide or a good weedicide. They just know that.  No evidence needed.

To those who have even a nodding acquaintance with the eviidence, it was no surprise what the EPA scientists found. Their report is a book-length document but below is their final summary paragraph:

"Conclusion for Glyphosate

The overall weight of evidence indicates that there is no convincing evidence that glyphosate induces mutations in vivo via the oral route. When administered by i.p. injection, the micronucleus studies were predominantly negative. In the two cases where an increase in micronuclei were reported via this route, the effects occurred above the reported i.p. LD50 for mice and were not observed in other i.p. injection studies at similar or higher doses. While there is limited evidence genotoxic for effects in some in vitro experiments, in vivo effects were given more weight than in vitro effects particularly when the same genetic endpoint was measured, which is consistent with current OECD guidance. The only positive findings reported in vivo were seen at relatively high doses that are not relevant for human health risk assessment"


Note:  "In vitro" means an experiment in laboratory glassware.  "In vivo" means "in rats and mice".

So news about such a controversial subject would have been splashed all over the media, right?  No. Crickets. We had censorship via omission. The title of the report was "Revised Glyphosate Issue Paper: Evaluation of Carcinogenic Potential".  Google that and see if you can find any mention of it in major media.

Ho hum! More assertions in search of evidence

The propaganda below is actually more cautious than many. For instance, it speaks of this year as being "ONE OF the worst years" for disasters, which may actually be true, depending how widely you look for disasters. But it of course proves nothing.  They offer in fact NO evidence that it was all caused by anthropogenic global warming.  All they offer is opinions and "The overwhelming consensus among scientists". Up until a couple of years ago, the overwhelming consensus among scientists was that dietary fat was bad for you.  Now it is said to be good.  So much for consensus proving anything

In the year that President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris accord and downplayed global warming as a security threat, the U.S. received a harsh reminder of the perils of the rise in the planet’s temperature: a destructive rash of hurricanes, fires and floods.

The country recorded 15 weather events costing $1 billion or more each through early October, one short of the record 16 in 2011, according to the federal government’s National Centers for Environmental Information in Asheville, North Carolina. And the tally doesn’t include the recent wildfires in southern California.

In many cases, weather broke records. In others, it was just downright odd, like the February warm spell that sent temperatures to a record 72 Fahrenheit (22 Celsius) in Burlington, Vermont, and spawned a tornado in Massachusetts.

“When all is said and done, this year is going to be one of the worst years on record for U.S. damages,” said Antonio Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Among the most devastating events were hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires in northern California. The killer storms caused economic losses of more than $210 billion in the U.S. and across the Caribbean, and about $100 billion in insured damages, according to Mark Bove, a senior research scientist with Munich Reinsurance America in Princeton, New Jersey.

The list goes on -- ruinous hail in Colorado and Minnesota, tornado outbreaks across the Midwest and South, flooding that damaged a massive dam in California and triggered evacuations downstream. A lake-effect snowband off Lake Erie dumped 34 inches of snow at Pennsylvania’s Erie International Airport on Christmas Day, quadrupling the previous record from 2002, according to the Weather Channel. A warming climate can bring an increase in lake-effect snow, according to NOAA.

Many of the events can be explained by historical weather patterns. The most calamitous, though, showed signs of a warming climate, including Hurricane Harvey, which dropped as much as 60 inches of rain as it meandered around the Texas coast after coming ashore as the first of three Category 4 storms to strike the U.S. this year.

Warming worsened Harvey’s impacts by boosting moisture in the atmosphere and weakening high-altitude winds that would normally push such a system along, according to Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Harvey marked the third-straight year of major flooding in Houston.

In Texas and elsewhere, “there are certainly indications that these extreme rainfall events are occurring more frequently,” said Greg Carbin, branch chief at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Those who are skeptical that climate change is a phenomenon, or that human activity is to blame, contend that dramatic weather this year was happenstance or part of larger, regular meteorological swings. Trump, who has in the past dismissed the concept of man-made climate change as a hoax, announced in June that the U.S. would leave the Paris climate accord, saying it favors other nations at the expense of American workers.

The overwhelming consensus among scientists is that Earth’s climate is warming and that greenhouse gases are the prime reason. The American Meteorological Society linked changing climate and severe weather this month in a report that included contributions from researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“When you see an extreme event that is breaking all records, it is more likely to have the fingerprints of human-induced climate change,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.


2017: turning the tide on green crap?

Ben Pile

Eco-miserabilism suffered some welcome setbacks this year

Nothing vexed greens across the world in 2017 more than Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Before Trump, climate change seemed to have been cemented into American and global political life. It was central to President Obama’s global outlook. But at the same time, it had become a symbol of decadence – part of the cosy consensus of political elites and tech and media billionaires, completely detached from ordinary Americans’ lives and interests. Obama’s seemingly powerful, presidential statements about the ‘overwhelming judgement of science’ failed to overcome that gulf.

Trump’s dismantling of the old climate-change agenda began with his transition team’s review of America’s bloated ecological bureaucracy: the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s mandate expanded under Obama; Trump’s team proposed slashing its budget by a third, sacking nearly a quarter of its staff, reducing its scope, and appointing former Oklahoma attorney general and longstanding critic of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, as its administrator. Environmental activists angrily dismissed Pruitt as a ‘climate science denier’. In truth, Pruitt had long urged continued debate and scientific research into climate change, not the complete dismissal of climate concerns from the public agenda.

Then came Trump’s announcement that he would pull the US out of the Paris climate-change agreement – a promise he had made in his election campaign. But that was not quite the abrupt end to America’s involvement with the global climate agenda that activists claimed it was. The exit would be conducted within the terms of the agreement itself. And it would take four years, meaning it wouldn’t be completed until after Trump’s first term had concluded. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process of annual meetings continues, with US participation. The latest meeting was held in Bonn, Germany, in November.

The meeting in Bonn reminded us that there is a frustration with the climate consensus in Germany, too. The losses suffered by Angela Merkel’s CDU in the federal election in September meant she was unable to form a government. That was significant because Germany and Merkel have been positioned as champions of green policy. But, as in America, ambitious climate policy in Germany has contributed to the weakening of the consensus on environmental issues, rather than being, as climate alarmists had hoped, the issue on which dwindling political authority might be re-established.

Germany’s flagship green policy – the half-trillion Euro experiment in renewable energy, Energiewende – looks like it will comprehensively fail to realise the country’s ambition of reducing its CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2020. This is a terrible failure for the host nation of a meeting intended to inflict the same policies on the rest of the world.

Environmentalism’s embarrassments – the endless recycling of failed prognostications, the weak deal at Paris, the scaling back of climate politics in the US, and ruinously expensive energy policy failures – have forced greens to seek new ground on which to do battle. There has been an increasing focus on regional rather than national and global government. Reflecting a growing scepticism with global politics, new media billionaire Michael Bloomberg and California governor Jerry Brown hoped to circumvent America’s position at the Bonn meeting by representing a coalition of US states, businesses and organisations that have pledged to ‘address climate change’ no matter what policies are decided in Washington.

But it’s not easy being green. Brown was interrupted at the Bonn climate talks by his fellow climate campaigners, who accused him of being complicit with fossil-fuel firms. ‘Let’s keep you in the ground’, he told the noisy protesters. Later in the year, as wildfires ripped through California, Brown claimed that climate change was the cause – a claim not supported by empirical evidence. Investigators found that the cause of one of the largest fires had been an accident with a cooking fire at an unofficial homeless camp. The governor of perhaps the richest region in the world does not appear to be competent enough to solve his own state’s problems, like homelessness, yet he jets off with his billionaires to ‘save the planet’.

This indifference to people and their problems is the signature of environmentalism. It also underlines greens’ preoccupation with weather as the root of all humanity’s problems. The end of the summer brought an unwelcome return of hurricanes to the US after an unusual 15-year absence. Much shrill green hysteria followed, inevitably leading to claims that the return of extreme weather showed things were getting worse thanks to manmade climate change – despite statistics showing the opposite of this. Climate-change alarmism is nothing if not repetitive and resistant to reason.

The new emphasis on regional politics also led to a shift away from talking about climate change in huge, abstract terms. Climate change is increasingly framed as an air-pollution issue, rather than in the distant language of computer simulations, minute fluctuations of atmospheric gasses, and polar bears. In January, following a concerted effort by UN agencies, London mayor Sadiq Khan joined other European mayors in pushing dodgy mortality statistics to punish poorer motorists and get them off London’s roads.

Though London’s air is cleaner than it has been for half a millennium or more, Khan claimed that ‘toxic smog’ had created a public-health crisis that is claiming the lives of thousands of Londoners every year. Khan has no more to offer Londoners than Brown has to offer Californians.

The air-pollution issue was then seized upon by UK environment secretary Michael Gove, who, using the same dodgy stats, announced that sales of petrol and diesel cars would be banned in 2040. In November, Gove announced a total ban on neonicotinoids – the insecticide which green NGOs, on highly questionable data, claim is responsible for a decline in bee populations. Writing in the Guardian, no less, Gove gave the basis for his decision: the precautionary principle, the central tenet of environmentalism.

2017, in short, was a year of green crap. But it was also a year in which the torrent of green crap that had become the norm started to encounter the obstacles of greens’ own making. Green crap has always been a desperate struggle to rescue politicians from their own political crises and democratic deficits. Now, in the post-Trump, post-Brexit and increasingly multi-polar world, global and domestic political landscapes are altogether different, and the green crap agenda doesn’t work like it used to. That’s something to celebrate.


Trump Pokes Fun At Global Warming Critics, Tells People To Bundle Up

President Donald Trump poked some fun at his climate change critics while warning New Years revelers to bundle up amid record low temperatures across the eastern seaboard in a Thursday tweet.

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!"

Trump appeared to reference his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords in June. The Paris agreement would have voluntarily committed the U.S. to environmental restrictions along with payments to developing country’s to offset emissions.

“Beyond the severe energy restrictions inflicted by the Paris Accord, it includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund — nice name — which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments.  So we’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars, and we’re already way ahead of anybody else,” the president declared in his speech at the time.


Tesla’s giant lithium-ion battery in South Australia outperforms conventional Power Station

The quick response that a battery offers is useful in some ways but nobody seems to be mentioning that the battey concerned can deliver full capacity for only a matter of minutes.  It is no substitute for a real power source

GLADSTONE Power Station is making news across the world - but probably not in the way it would have preferred.

The 1,680MW coal-fired plant was outpaced by tech billionaire Elon Musk’s giant lithium-ion battery when Victoria’s Loy Yang A3 unit failed early on December 14, The Gladstone Observer reports.

While Gladstone’s number 1 unit was contracted to provide backup power – and did so four seconds later – the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia beat it to the punch by injecting 7.3MW into the national electricity grid just 140 milliseconds after Loy Yang began to trip, according to data from the Australian Energy Market Operator compiled by energy analyst Dylan McConnell.

The speed at which the Tesla-made battery kicked in shocked national energy operators, according to the South Australian Government.

But Gladstone Power Station acting general manager Nigel Warrington said it had to be remembered that Gladstone was capable of generating 16 times as much power as Hornsdale.

“The total output of the Hornsdale battery storage is 70-100MW, whereas Gladstone generates up to 1,680MW, or 16 times more than the battery storage,” Mr Warrington said.

“Hornsdale could not, for example, support the Boyne aluminium smelter with that level of output.”

While the Hornsdale Power Reserve isn’t designed to provide large-scale, base load power - but rather to kick in quickly to stabilise the energy grid - the point is an important one.

It means the success of Mr Musk’s $50 million project - built as a result of a bet he made with the South Australian Government on Twitter - is unlikely to spell the end of Gladstone’s role as a contingency provider of backup power any time soon.

Even Romain Desrousseaux, the deputy chief executive of French renewables company Neoen which operates the Hornsdale battery site, believes it is too early to talk about a 100 per cent renewable energy mix - a sign plants like Gladstone will still have a significant role to play for some time to come.

“You need to be able to bring peaking capacity and firming capacity,” Mr Desrousseaux told the Financial Review.

Mr Warrington said Gladstone was recognised as one of the most responsive coal-fired power stations in Australia in terms of its ramp rate - or its ability to scale up and down quickly.

“We don’t see the move to renewables as an ‘us and them’ argument, it is about working hand in hand and last week was a good example of that,” he said.

NRG would not confirm whether Gladstone Power Station’s number 1 unit - the same unit contracted to provide back-up on the night of the Loy Yang failure - had itself tripped on Tuesday.

“There are no current issues at Gladstone and in fact all six units are operating at high load,” Mr Warrington said yesterday.




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


29 December, 2017

Trans fats:  A failure of logic?

Trans fats in food have long been a whipping boy for food faddists, Greenies and assorted attention-seekers. So the study below has been widely greeted with gladsome hearts.  It has been much-cited in the six months since it first appeared and seems to have won universal approval.

And for once I don't think there is any obvious problems with the statistics.  It does however have the logical problem that seems to bedevil most epidemiological research.  Despite all the warnings from logicians, it decides that correlation is causation.  It assumes that because the data was segregated according to its exposure to trans fats that thereore the effects observed reflected exposure to trans fats.  What else could you conclude? I can hear some angry epidemiologist ask.  Well, I will answer that.

You need some history.  Why did dietary trans-fats come into use in the first place?  Answer:  To replace saturated fats, which, courtesy of Ancel Keys, were for decades demonized as bad for your heart.  But a couple of years ago there was one of those big backflips that occur far too often in medical "wisdom". Saturated fats are now good for you!  So did the ban on transfats cause a mass reversion to saturated fats?    It is certainly possible but a more likely outcome is that transfats were replaced by some combination of [good] saturated fats and palm oil.  So it's perfectly possible that the decline heart attacks described below was not due to transfats being bad for you but rather because what replaced them is good for you.  The authors of the article have not pinpointed the cause of what they observed at all.

Hospital Admissions for Myocardial Infarction and Stroke Before and After the Trans-Fatty Acid Restrictions in New York


Importance:  Trans-fatty acids (TFAs) have deleterious cardiovascular effects. Restrictions on their use were initiated in 11 New York State (NYS) counties between 2007 and 2011. The US Food and Drug Administration plans a nationwide restriction in 2018. Public health implications of TFA restrictions are not well understood.

Objective:  To determine whether TFA restrictions in NYS counties were associated with fewer hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke compared with NYS counties without restrictions.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  We conducted a retrospective observational pre-post study of residents in counties with TFA restrictions vs counties without restrictions from 2002 to 2013 using NYS Department of Health’s Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System and census population estimates. In this natural experiment, we included those residents who were hospitalized for MI or stroke. The data analysis was conducted from December 2014 through July 2016.

Exposure:  Residing in a county where TFAs were restricted.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The primary outcome was a composite of MI and stroke events based on primary discharge diagnostic codes from hospital admissions in NYS. Admission rates were calculated by year, age, sex, and county of residence. A difference-in-differences regression design was used to compare admission rates in populations with and without TFA restrictions. Restrictions were only implemented in highly urban counties, based on US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Urban Influence Codes. Nonrestriction counties of similar urbanicity were chosen to make a comparison population. Temporal trends and county characteristics were accounted for using fixed effects by county and year, as well as linear time trends by county. We adjusted for age, sex, and commuting between restriction and nonrestriction counties.

Results:  In 2006, the year before the first restrictions were implemented, there were 8.4 million adults (53.6% female) in highly urban counties with TFA restrictions and 3.3 million adults (52.3% female) in highly urban counties without restrictions. Twenty-five counties were included in the nonrestriction population and 11 in the restriction population.

Three or more years after restriction implementation, the population with TFA restrictions experienced significant additional decline beyond temporal trends in MI and stroke events combined (?6.2%; 95% CI, ?9.2% to ?3.2%; P?<?.001) and MI (?7.8%; 95% CI, ?12.7% to ?2.8%; P?=?.002) and a nonsignificant decline in stroke (?3.6%; 95% CI, ?7.6% to 0.4%; P?=?.08) compared with the nonrestriction populations.

Conclusions and Relevance:  The NYS populations with TFA restrictions experienced fewer cardiovascular events, beyond temporal trends, compared with those without restrictions.

JAMA Cardiol. 2017;2(6):627-634. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.0491

UK: 1,000 jobs at risk as Swansea Bay tidal power project is stranded

A thousand high-value manufacturing jobs are set to be lost in the Midlands because of the government’s continuing failure to decide whether to support tidal lagoon marine power.

Two of GE’s British plants, at Rugby and at Stafford, had been designated to construct the underwater turbines and to provide the complex electrical power systems needed for the pioneering Swansea Bay tidal lagoon and similar marine energy projects around the coast of Britain.

However, with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy showing no sign of making a decision on whether to go ahead with the £1.3 billion project in south Wales, it has emerged that the American industrial giant is likely to decide that the plants have little future


How the Ethanol Mandate Is Killing the American Prairie

America's long war on fossil fuels is destroying the famed American prairie.

According to a report by the Organic Consumers Association, 95% of the 240 million acres of prairie land that once blanketed the middle of our country, from Texas to North Dakota, already is gone. Only isolated pockets of prairie tall grass, some 35 million acres set aside for soil and wildlife conservation, remain. And that — largely in the Great Plains — is at risk of being destroyed.

Among the factors most responsible for this tragic loss of our prairie heritage is the federal renewable fuel standard, a congressional mandate requiring refiners to mix renewable fuel (mostly corn-based ethanol) with U.S. gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil products.

The renewable fuel standard has generated a huge surge in ethanol production, increasing from 9 billion gallons in 2009 to 15.9 billion gallons per year today, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2022 the total is projected to reach 36 billion gallons.

Ethanol per se is not the problem, however; Washington’s lack of common sense is the problem.

For decades now, ever since the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, U.S. policymakers have been preoccupied with oil scarcity. That, along with environmental concerns, is what led to the renewable fuels mandate, which triggered huge increases in corn production at the expense of other crops and prairie grasslands.

Currently, roughly half of the entire U.S. corn crop—which topped more than 15 billion bushels last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture—winds up in biofuels.

The trouble is this: When prairie is plowed under to grow corn it becomes a barren landscape. Without the grasses, the environment supports little wildlife. With the grasses, it is home to ducks, pheasants and some 800 other varieties of birds, as well as monarch butterflies and honey bees.

Instead of damning oil as evil, politicians and pundits should start questioning their blind faith in ethanol. In 2005, when the Energy Policy Act introduced the renewable fuel standard, requiring oil companies to blend ethanol with gasoline and diesel may have seemed like the right thing to do for energy security.

Today, thanks to the shale revolution, it makes little sense.

As a result of technological innovations enabling producers to extract hard-to-reach oil from shale formations, domestic crude-oil production has increased to more than 7 million barrels a day, compared with 5 million barrels a decade ago.

Meanwhile, oil imports, especially from OPEC countries, have plunged. The domestic economy is no longer hostage to OPEC and others, such as Russia and Venezuela, which use exports to achieve geopolitical goals.

Remarkably, the amount of technically recoverable oil in the United States available for long-term development now exceeds 100 billion barrels—more than 20 times the current level of annual production, according to IHS, a global research company.

It’s not too late to do something about the renewable fuel standard’s negative impact on wildlife habitat and the prairie ecosystem. A good place to begin is by taking a critical look at government support for corn production.

Nationally, corn growers received some $94.3 billion in subsidies from federal commodity, crop insurance, disaster relief and conservation programs between 1995 and 2014. Corn subsidies in Ohio alone totaled $4.2 billion, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Such subsidies—along with the ethanol mandate itself—provide a powerful incentive for growers to continue clearing prairie to produce corn for ethanol, even as it destroys the prairie ecosystem.

It’s time for common sense. The ethanol mandate has triggered an environmental disaster. Kicking the ethanol habit should be as much of a no-brainer as buckling up before starting a car.


Report: Renewable Energy Is Bigger ‘Scam’ than Bernie Madoff and Enron

The greatest scam being perpetrated against taxpayers and consumers is renewable energy, according to a new analysis published by the Australian, greater even than Ponzi, Madoff and Enron.

While sinking enormous financial resources into propping up renewable energy prospectors, national governments are providing no perceptible benefits to their citizens, writes Judith Sloan, a renowned Australian economist who has served on the Australian government’s Productivity Commission.

“With very few exceptions, governments all over the world have fallen into the trap of paying renewable energy scammers on the basis that it is necessary, at least politically, to be seen to be doing something about climate change,” Sloan writes, before providing readers with an avalanche of economic data to back up her assertion.

In Australia, more than 2 billion taxpayer dollars a year are funneled to renewable energy handlers by virtue of the operation of the renewable energy target and the associated renewable energy certificates, Sloan observes.

At the same time, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency “shovels out hundreds of millions of dollars annually to subsidise renewable energy companies, many of which are overseas-owned,” she states, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation was given $10 billion in equity by the Gillard Labor government “to lend or grant money to renewable energy companies.”

Despite this enormous taxpayer “investment,” so-called renewable energy has yet to pay any dividends or to suggest it will be economically viable for the foreseeable future.

Sloan’s grim analysis of the state of renewable energy as a financial sinkhole in Australia is mirrored by other countries such as the United States.

According to Forbes, on a total dollar basis, wind and solar together get more from the federal government than all other energy sources combined, despite the fact that neither is anywhere close to self-supporting. Wind has received the greatest amount of federal subsidies. Solar is second.

Based on production (subsidies per kWh of electricity produced), however, solar energy “has gotten over ten times the subsidies of all other forms of energy sources combined, including wind,” writes energy expert and planetary geologist Dr. James Conca.

During the Obama years from 2010 through 2013, federal renewable energy subsidies increased by 54 percent—from $8.6 billion to $13.2 billion—despite the fact that total federal energy subsidies declined by 23 percent during the same period, from $38 billion to $29 billion.

In absolute terms, between 2010 and 2013 solar energy alone saw a 500 percent increase in federal subsidies from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion.

In this same period, subsidies for fossil fuels decreased by 15 percent. from $4.0 billion to $3.4 billion, and subsidies for nuclear energy fell by 12 percent, from $1.9 billion to $1.7 billion.

One of the more pernicious side-effects of the enormous government subsidies for renewable energy, Conca found, is that they actually increase the cost of energy. This cost, however, is transferred from the energy consumer to the taxpayer, “and so goes unnoticed by most Americans,” he stated.

While during the period between 2010 and 2014 nuclear energy cost about 4¢ and 5¢ per kWh to produce, solar energy cost between 80¢ and 100¢ per kWh, or 20 times as much to produce. This despite the fact that nuclear energy is “as renewable as wind” but doesn’t enjoy the same star status among environmental activists.

Returning to the case of Australia, Sloan argues that if one were to sum up all the taxpayer-funded subsidies, grants, concessional loans, guarantees and the like the aggregate amount “dwarfs any other government industry assistance aid.”

Something similar has happened in Germany, Sloan states, where Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to shut down all the country’s nuclear power plants, to be replaced with “renewable energy.” The target for 2030 is for 50 percent of the nation’s power to come from renewables.

The ill-fated Energie­wende, the country’s program for energy transition, has hit serious hurdles, Sloan notes, not least the extraordinary cost that now totals some €650 billion.

In an odd twist of fate, late last year the wind simply didn’t blow for several days and a thick fog surrounded many parts of Germany, and thus the output from renewables fell to just 4 percent of total demand. It was Poland, “with its black coal-fired electricity plants,” that came to rescue Germany from its self-induced energy crisis.

The best approach for the future, Sloan concludes, entails “acknowledging that enough is enough when it comes to subsidising renewable energy.”

The sector has been showered with favors with little to show for it, she observes, and it is high time “it stood on its own two feet without any preferential treatment or financial assistance.”


Brrrrr…. It’s Cold! Where’s My Global Warming?

On Christmas morning, as I scraped ice from the sidewalk and shivered, with the outside temperature hovering close to zero, I just had to ask myself: Where’s all this global warming we’ve been promised?

Climate alarmists tell us that anecdotal evidence is useless when talking about climate change. “You can’t simply look out the window and see the long-term trends of the climate” is a typical argument. And it would be a decent argument if they didn’t use such anecdotal evidence all the time themselves.   

Earlier this year, the intensity of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria were all quickly blamed on climate change by sources such as Scientific American, Climate Central, and even noted climate scientist (sarcasm alert), Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who said during Irma’s landfall in Florida, “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is.” It made no difference that prior to 2017 there had just been a decade-long dearth of such mega-storms in the Atlantic Ocean. Global warming, they told us, could be the only culprit for the ferocity of these storms.

More recently, the catastrophic wildfire season in California was blamed on anthropogenic global warming , most notably by California Governor Jerry Brown.  In a December 9 statement, Brown called the recent fires “a new normal,” and went on to say of his state, “We dwell in this very wonderful place — but a place that’s getting hotter.” 

Everything from Brexit to brain-eating amoeba has been blamed on global warming.                                                                                                          

So, being what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, here is some anecdotal evidence to the contrary:

Between Christmas Day and dawn on December 26, Erie, Pennsylvania, received an amazing snowfall total of 53 inches, a two-day record for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. By way of reference, the previous snowfall record in Erie for seven days was a mere 39.8”. As of Tuesday, snow was still falling intermittently with snow expected through Wednesday, Dec. 27.     

Bitter cold conditions swept across the northern tier of states from Montana all the way to Wisconsin on Christmas Day. Wind chills were -40 degrees in many places. In Minneapolis, wind chill temperatures were reported to be -35 degrees, one of the coldest Christmas Days on record.

The same weather system that caused the incredible snow fall in Erie made for a snowy Christmas for New York State and New England as thundersnow, high winds. and white-out conditions were reported all the way up to Maine.

For only the sixth time since 1884, Portland, Oregon received measurable snowfall on Christmas Day this year.

On December 8, a giant snowstorm raged through the American South with measurable snowfall recorded from the southern border of Texas all the way to Georgia in the east. Georgia was especially hard hit with six inches falling in the Atlanta area and up to 12 inches in other parts of the state. Even Northern Mexico saw measurable snow from this storm.

Isn’t it obvious that we’re entering a dangerous global cooling period?

Of course, the previous sentence was tongue-in-cheek. People with common sense understand that unusual weather happens because weather itself happens. Anomaly is in the very nature of weather and climate.

One such climate anomaly was the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), which lasted approximately 300 years around the turn of the first millennium A.D. The Northern Hemisphere, at least, was significantly warmer during this period, much of which was considered a time-of-plenty historically speaking. Grape vineyards abounded in England. Vikings settled in Greenland and Iceland during the period. Humanity was able to extend to more northern climes due to the milder climate.

Looking at my thermometer struggling to reach zero today, that sounds pretty good.

Recently, climate alarmists have even begun a smear campaign against the MWP. When climate alarmists start coming out of the woodwork to say that something isn’t true, you know that it’s scoring rhetorical and, more importantly, scientific points. Alarmists have claimed that the MWP wasn’t global, and to their credit, the best evidence of the MWP is in the Northern Hemisphere (so only half the Earth may have been warmer). They also claim that the “time-of-plenty” aspects of the MWP have been “mythologized” by climate change “deniers” in order to make rhetorical points.

Perhaps, but don’t climate alarmists routinely mythologize events to suit their own purposes? Don’t they routinely show polar bears stranded on ice floes even though a 2016 study by the Scientific Working Group, as well as eyewitness accounts of the Inuit population, claim that the polar bear population is growing or, at worst, stable? Don’t they show dramatic footage of large pieces of ice breaking off from glaciers and imply that this is evidence of global warming, even though they know that such ice breakage is a yearly and completely natural event? Haven’t they produced the truly awful film Day After Tomorrow and Al Gore’s two error-filled documentaries?

None of this proves or even suggests that global warming is not occurring. But it is relevant to talk about with all of the recent climate alarmist rhetoric over the Paris Accord. It is also important to remember exactly what is being discussed in the climate change debate. Over the last 100 years, the overall global mean temperature has risen by approximately 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. It is hypothesized that mankind may have a small role in that increase.

So, when climate alarmists tell you that we must act now or face dire consequences in the coming years, what they’re really telling you is that we must capitulate, use less fossil fuels, curtail our lifestyles. and accept their socialist agenda, all because of a hypothetical tiny fraction of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.




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, 2017

Pollution hysteria in a medical journal

Authors of articles in medical journals are just as excitable about tiny differences as are Warmists.  Warmists get excited about temperature differences of as little as a few hundredths of one degree Celsius and effects roughly as weak as that are often presented with great excitement in medical journals too.  We read below, for instance, that an influence affecting around one person in a million is of importance.

There are circumstances when a tiny difference might mean something but that would be where the measurements concerned are exceedingly precise, free from confounding and well-attested.  But that circumstance never prevails in medical or climate studies.

Just look at the dataset below.  They did NOT in fact measure anybody's exposure to pollution of any sort.  What they did was assess the pollution in an AREA and check who died in that area. That different people in the same area might for various reasons have different levels of exposure to pollution, they blissfully ignored. People who commute from the exurbs to a major city would, for instance, have different pollution exposure to people who worked locally.  So their data has some meaning but is nowhere near precise.

And even the pollution level in each area was not precisely measured. In many cases it was estimated.  So we are looking at imprecise estimates taken in an imprecisely described area.  You would have to find very strong effects indeed to take findings as imprecise as that seriously.  But the effects in the study below are in fact vanishingly small. At best, the findings could support a conclusion that "more research is needed".  They tell us nothing that is even remotely certain. That the pollution studied has no affect at all on anything would be the only cautious conclusion.  So what we actually have is an ideological conclusion: ALL pollution is BAD!

The editor of the journal might reasonably have been expected to inject a note of caution into an evaluation of the findings but he is in fact even more enthusiastic about them.  He sees major public policy implications for the findings.  Sigh!  JAMA could sometimes pass as a book of fairy stories

Association of Short-term Exposure to Air Pollution With Mortality in Older Adults

Qian Di et al.


Importance:  The US Environmental Protection Agency is required to reexamine its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) every 5 years, but evidence of mortality risk is lacking at air pollution levels below the current daily NAAQS in unmonitored areas and for sensitive subgroups.

Objective:  To estimate the association between short-term exposures to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone, and at levels below the current daily NAAQS, and mortality in the continental United States.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Case-crossover design and conditional logistic regression to estimate the association between short-term exposures to PM2.5 and ozone (mean of daily exposure on the same day of death and 1 day prior) and mortality in 2-pollutant models. The study included the entire Medicare population from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2012, residing in 39?182 zip codes.

Exposures:  Daily PM2.5 and ozone levels in a 1-km × 1-km grid were estimated using published and validated air pollution prediction models based on land use, chemical transport modeling, and satellite remote sensing data. From these gridded exposures, daily exposures were calculated for every zip code in the United States. Warm-season ozone was defined as ozone levels for the months April to September of each year.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  All-cause mortality in the entire Medicare population from 2000 to 2012.

Results:  During the study period, there were 22?433?862 million case days and 76?143?209 control days. Of all case and control days, 93.6% had PM2.5 levels below 25 ?g/m3, during which 95.2% of deaths occurred (21?353?817 of 22?433?862), and 91.1% of days had ozone levels below 60 parts per billion, during which 93.4% of deaths occurred (20?955?387 of 22?433?862). The baseline daily mortality rates were 137.33 and 129.44 (per 1 million persons at risk per day) for the entire year and for the warm season, respectively. Each short-term increase of 10 ?g/m3 in PM2.5 (adjusted by ozone) and 10 parts per billion (10?9) in warm-season ozone (adjusted by PM2.5) were statistically significantly associated with a relative increase of 1.05% (95% CI, 0.95%-1.15%) and 0.51% (95% CI, 0.41%-0.61%) in daily mortality rate, respectively. Absolute risk differences in daily mortality rate were 1.42 (95% CI, 1.29-1.56) and 0.66 (95% CI, 0.53-0.78) per 1 million persons at risk per day. There was no evidence of a threshold in the exposure-response relationship.

Conclusions and Relevance:  In the US Medicare population from 2000 to 2012, short-term exposures to PM2.5 and warm-season ozone were significantly associated with increased risk of mortality. This risk occurred at levels below current national air quality standards, suggesting that these standards may need to be reevaluated.

JAMA. 2017;318(24):2446-2456. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17923

The very real climate crisis at the North Pole(?)

Leftists never learn.  The editorial from the Boston globe below draws on a NOAA "report" of a few weeks back.  Since then there have been various critiques of that report, including one by me.  But the editor acts as if no criticisms of the report had ever been made -- including the obvious point that the climate changes discussed were more likely to be caused by ElNino than by anthropogenic global warming.  No attempt at all was in fact made to demonstrate any  attribution for the changes.

But it is always fun to look at what the Green/Left DON'T say.  The vast sea level rise that we were once threatened with is now nowhere mentioned. And you can see why.  The Arctic is mostly floating ice so no matter how much of that that melted it would not affect the sea level by one iota.  And the only large land-based chunk of the Arctic is Greenland and Greenland is not melting -- as you can see in the excerpt from the report below:

So if we are no longer at risk of flooding, what is the problem?  None apparently.  The only problems mentioned are dangers to fisheries and crops if warming continues.  But fisheries and crops are more likely to thrive with more warming so the whole thing is a storm in a teacup

Arctic ice is melting, a radical disruption that is already wreaking havoc with tourism, fisheries, and the frozen ecosystem needed to sustain wildlife like the polar bear. The damage is well documented in the latest report card on Arctic health, issued annually by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At first, it might be easy to mistake the data for good news: After an unduly warm fall in 2016, air temperatures in the Arctic were near average in spring and summer of this year. Unfortunately, over the long term, that amounts to a blip in an unprecedented warming streak.

And climate change, unlike weather, is most appropriately measured over the long term. What researchers at NOAA see is nothing short of alarming. As the NOAA report card puts it, the Arctic “shows no sign of returning to [the] reliably frozen region” of the recent past. In fact, the rate of Arctic sea ice decline and warming temperatures is higher than at any other time in 1,500 years — since around the time of the fall of Rome. Water in the Barents and Chukchi seas was 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than just a few decades ago, according to the report.

That’s a sign that the chilly ice cap at the North Pole, which helps cool the entire planet, is inexorably eroding, scientists say. That, in turn, could alter weather patterns in distant places. An atmospheric researcher told NPR that air circulation over the eastern Pacific could easily be affected, causing a drier climate by the end of this century in California. That should concern the Trump administration, which recently authorized federal disaster funds to fight at least four voracious fires raging near Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.

There’s another previously unforeseen consequence of a warmer North Pole: An international team of scientists writing in the journal Nature Geoscience found that unusually warm spring temperatures in the Arctic Ocean can lead to colder temperatures across North America, hurting the growth of vegetation that absorbs carbon and cutting into farmers’ crop yields.

It’s clear that the planet’s climate is like a complex operating system, a networked web that is influenced by a variety of factors — including humankind’s activity

SOURCE. "Report" here

Lincoln Electric: Climate change is real, caused by humans

We read below: "LES acknowledges that the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-fired power generating plants contribute to increased concentration levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide"

On what basis? We read here of a scientific test of that assertion.  The assertion was not upheld.

Climate change is real, and is caused at least in part by humans, says the Lincoln Electric System in its legislative guidelines.

This isn't a new policy. It's been part of LES guidelines for several years, even before climate change became so politically divisive and controversial, and some federal government agencies removed climate change references from their websites.

"LES acknowledges that the emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-fired power generating plants contribute to increased concentration levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which in turn contribute to climate change," read the guidelines, approved by the LES board this month. 

The climate change guidelines are patterned after principles developed by the American Public Power Association, the national trade association, said Shelley Sahling-Zart, LES vice president and general counsel.

LES has also increased its draw from renewable energy sources in recent years. In 2017, energy production from renewable resources (primarily wind) is expected to be the equivalent of 49 percent of LES retail sales.

LES' approach to climate change is not going to change based on the current national controversy, says Sahling-Zart. 

LES' decisions are driven by people in the local community. "And in Lincoln, many people are still very interested in climate change and still concerned with where our resources come from," she said.

"While it may not be a focus of the current administration, it continues to be a topic of serious debate and discussion," she said.


'Junk science'? Studies behind Obama regulations under fire

Scientific studies used by the Obama administration to help justify tough environmental regulations are coming under intensifying scrutiny, with critics questioning their merit as the Trump EPA reverses or delays some of those rules.

In one case, agencies determined the research used to prop up a ban on a pesticide was questionable. On another front, the Environmental Protection Agency never complied with a congressional subpoena for the data used to justify most Obama administration air quality rules.

“EPA regulations are based on secret data developed in the 1990s,” Steve Milloy, who served on President Trump’s EPA transition team, told Fox News. “For the EPA, coming up with cherry-picked data is standard operating procedure.”

Milloy, author of “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA,” was previously a lawyer for the Securities and Exchange Commission and is among critics who accuse federal agencies of carefully selecting scientific research to fit a political agenda.

In October, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a directive to ensure that individuals serving on EPA advisory committees don’t get EPA grants and are free from potential conflicts of interest.

“Whatever science comes out of EPA, shouldn’t be political science,” Pruitt said in a statement. “From this day forward, EPA advisory committee members will be financially independent from the agency.”

Environmental groups blasted the decision. “For Pruitt, anything that helps corporate polluters make money is good and science and facts are just roadblocks he wants to tear down,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

Pruitt has become one of the most controversial members of the Trump administration in its first year, cast by his detractors as battling the kinds of regulations his agency is supposed to be upholding. But his office suggests many of those rules were flawed from the start.

Here’s a look at some of the most controversial studies behind those regulations:

Pesticide Ban

Pruitt recently reversed the 2015 ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos for agricultural use, amid questions over the process.

The Obama administration’s EPA had originally justified the ban based on a study by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, which said the insecticide was linked to childhood developmental delays. While it was already banned for home use since 2000, the decision put the U.S. at odds with over 100 countries that allow the chemical for agricultural purposes.

Government agencies later questioned the findings.

The EPA Scientific Advisory Panel’s meeting report said: “[T]he majority of the Panel considers the Agency’s use of the results from a single longitudinal study to make a decision with immense ramifications based on the use of cord blood measures of chlorpyrifos as a PoD for risk assessment as premature and possibly inappropriate.”

The USDA stated it had “grave concerns about the EPA process...and severe doubts about the validity of the scientific conclusions underpinning EPA’s latest chlorpyrifos risk assessment.”

The center also gets EPA funding, noted Angela Logomasini, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank.

“Agencies shouldn’t be able to cherry-pick. It’s a problem with administrative procedures across the board,” Logomasini told Fox News. “When money goes to politically active research groups, it’s government funding of the science.”

Harvard Study

The Obama administration’s EPA used the 1993 Harvard Six Cities Study to justify air quality regulations on particulate matter, or particles of pollution in the air. The regulations—linked to devastating the coal industry—also affect automobiles, power plants and factories.

In 2013 the House Science, Space and Technology Committee subpoenaed the EPA for data from the study, which links particulate air pollution to infant mortality.

But in 2014, then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the committee the agency couldn’t produce either the Harvard study or information from a 1994 American Cancer Society study—claiming the EPA didn’t own the information.

“We did a very large analysis for California, which has arguably the most detailed database in the U.S. of mortality, and couldn't find any acute deaths due to PM2.5, even during the raging wildfires of 2007, when levels went through the roof,” Hank Campbell, president of the American Council on Science and Health, told Fox News.

For its part, Harvard argues regulations that stemmed from the report’s recommendations saved lives and were cost-effective. 

Global Warming Hiatus?

The House science committee also is investigating the process behind a 2015 report from a team of scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, led by Thomas Karl, director of the agency’s National Climate Data Center.

Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas., said the timing of the global warming report was curious because it lined up with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and the Paris Climate Conference (both of which the Trump administration now plans to abandon).

Karl denied the paper was released for political reasons, but critics linked it to a period between 1998 and 2013 known as the climate change “hiatus” -- when the rate of global temperature growth slowed.

John Bates, former principal scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said the study was issued with the purpose of discrediting any hiatus. Another scientist, Judith Curry, formerly of Georgia Tech, asserted that NOAA, a division of the Commerce Department, excluded certain data from their study in order to reach their preferred conclusion.

Commerce Department spokesman James Rockas said the matter is under review. In response to lawmakers’ concerns, “and in the interest of assuring the highest scientific standards, Commerce engaged outside experts to evaluate Department processes with regard to the production of scientific studies,” Rockas told Fox News.

Congressional Action

Some members of Congress back legislation to require agencies to rely on the “best available science” and consider a body of research, rather than a single study backing up a pre-existing decision. The bill also requires agencies to make the data available to Congress and the public.

The Better Evaluation of Science and Technology Act, or “BEST Act,” is sponsored in the House by Republican Reps. Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Paul Gosar of Arizona and in the Senate by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

A coalition of 10 conservative organizations signed a letter to Congress backing the bill. “The American people should be confident that when agencies regulate, they rely on up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased information,” Lankford told Fox News.

However, such oversight could “cripple the ability of agencies … to rely on scientific evidence to issue public health and safety safeguards,” Yogin Kothari, Washington representative for the Center for Science and Democracy, said in a statement earlier this year.

More HERE 

Trump Delivers Energy Policy Wins

After nearly a year in office, President Donald Trump has established an enviable record of restoring opportunity and unlocking the nation’s potential. One of his most obvious areas of success has been in the energy sector. For years, US leaders have talked about energy independence or energy security, but Trump thinks much bigger and advocates for “energy dominance.”

Earlier this year, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wrote an op-ed explaining what energy dominance means.

“An energy-dominant America means a self-reliant and secure nation, free from the geopolitical turmoil of other nations that seek to use energy as an economic weapon. An energy-dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and influence. Becoming energy dominant means that we are getting government out of the way so that we can share our energy wealth with developing nations.”

Interior Secretary Zinke has a key role to play in Trump’s efforts to increase US energy production. As Interior Secretary, he is responsible for managing hundreds of millions of acres of public lands and well over a billion acres offshore. According to the Department, 30% of the nation’s energy is produced in areas under its management. Fortunately, for consumers, the unemployed, and the underemployed, Zinke is intent upon implementing Trump’s energy and jobs agenda.

Shortly after his confirmation, Zinke lifted a moratorium on new coal-mining leases on federal lands, which had been put in place by the Obama Administration. This past summer, Zinke rescinded a rule that would have increased costs for companies that mine coal in federal lands. In October, the Interior Department announced the largest oil and gas lease sale in US history will take place next spring.

In addition to the work of his subordinates, Trump is personally taking action to move our country toward energy dominance. Responding to the wishes of Utah’s leaders, Trump slashed the size of two national monuments designated by two of his Democrat predecessors reducing the size of Bears Ears National Monument by over 80% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half. Both monuments contain vast quantities of natural resources.

Bill Clinton’s sudden designation of the 1.88 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 enraged many Utahns. One of the reasons for this anger was that a company had been planning to create hundreds of coal-mining jobs there, which were, unsurprisingly, killed by the designation.

Barack Obama designated the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in the waning days of his Administration. As was the case with Grand Staircase-Escalante, elected officials in Utah disapproved of the establishment of Bears Ears.

Under Obama, leftists descended on North Dakota to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Administration delayed its construction. Shortly after Trump was sworn in, he signed a memorandum expediting the approval process for the pipeline. Within days, the US Army Corps of Engineers granted the necessary easement for the completion of the pipeline. Several months later, the pipeline was completed, tested, and opened for commercial operation.

Furthermore, Trump’s signature on the recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill will finally deliver another energy policy victory. For two decades, Republicans have fought to develop some of the energy resources in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and one of the provisions of the tax cut bill paves the way for that to occur.

Whether it can be tied directly to Trump’s policies or not, the energy sector is certainly seeing growth. For example, coal production is up 8%, and coal exports are up 68%. Domestic oil production is also up over last year, the International Energy Agency expects that US production will increase further next year, and oil exports are up by more than 56% over last year.

The past year has been filled with energy policy wins as Trump and his Administration have worked to deliver on his promises; and the best part is that the Administration is just getting started.




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, 2017

"Nature", the international journal of non-science: Extreme weather explicitly blamed on humans for the first time. Scientists take the bold step of saying phenomena wouldn’t have happened without global warming (?)

The editorial from "Nature" below is undoubtedly correct. Many scientists DO say those things.  They may be wrong, however.  And if you look at the three studies they quote in support it is just more modelling crap.  Until the models generate accurate predictions -- a necessary criterion for the truth of any  scientific theory -- we can safely ignore such model runs.

See here for some recent details of how unpredictive Warmist models are.  They are built on the absurd theory that the tiny percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere has a substantial climate effect, so they have no chance of being right.  Their repeated failure proves the theory to be wrong.

Steve Milloy has an accurate graphic about climate science versus science:

The unscientific orientation of the journal can also be gleaned from the language used below.  It reads like a novel rather than a scientific report. For instance, in what way is the weather "weird"?  Any statistics?  It doesn't seem weird to me. Show me where I am wrong; A heatwave is "oppressive".  How do we measure that?  Any numbers?  Hurricanes "hammered" America.  How hard?  Damage statistics? I could go on but the language is as emotive as any novel and just about as divorced from reality

The editor of "Nature" clearly has literary pretensions but publishing literary output in a journal which claims to be an "international journal of science" does no credit to either the journal or himself

The weird weather just keeps on coming. An oppressive heatwave dubbed Lucifer stifled Europe in August, then a series of powerful Atlantic hurricanes hammered the Americas. Now, unseasonably hot and dry conditions are driving wildfires in California. During and after such events, the same question always arises: is global warming to blame?

Basic theory suggests that climate change will lead to more extreme weather, but making the link to individual events is difficult. There was a time when the typical answer was something along the lines of, ‘Perhaps, but it’s hard to say.’ The science has advanced over the past several years, and scientists have identified global warming’s relative contribution to many extreme weather events. Now, for the first time, climate researchers are reporting that some weather events would have been outright impossible without the warming influence of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

This kind of confident assertion rarely makes its way into the scientific literature. Yet it appeared in three studies included in a special annual edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) dedicated to attributing the causes of extreme weather events. If these results hold up, the implications would be profound and unsettling: humanity has already pushed the global climate into a new regime. To be clear, natural variability will always have a major role, but the blame for some of the most extreme weather phenomena — as well as some of the resulting impacts — would rest squarely on our own shoulders.

Released on 13 December, the research in question focused on 2016, the hottest year on record. One modelling study, led by scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, compared the temperature record to a simulated baseline climate without human greenhouse-gas emissions (T. R. Knutson et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 99, S11–S15; 2018). In baseline simulations of some 24,000 years of weather from seven climate models, nothing like the record warmth of 2016 ever occurred. Greenhouse-gas emissions, chiefly those from fossil-fuel use, are a prerequisite for this kind of heat. What’s more, the paper indicates that greenhouse gases began to push the climate outside the realm of natural variability around 1980.

These conclusions necessarily assume that today’s climate models are sufficiently robust to capture the full range of natural variability. Others will certainly weigh in on the question, but the results suggest that we may need to reframe how we think about extreme events. The epic El Niño warming event in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean in 2015–16, for example, might have pushed global temperatures to record levels, but only because it was amplified by more than a century of greenhouse-gas emissions. From this perspective, global warming might also be to blame for many of the impacts that we normally attribute to El Niño itself, which roils weather patterns across the globe.

Indeed, a second study in the special issue identified global warming as the culprit behind heatwaves that gripped much of southeast Asia in 2016 (Y. Imada et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 99, S97–S101; 2018). In India, the heat killed at least 580 people from March to May. Thailand recorded its highest temperature ever — 44.6 °C — on 28 April, and energy consumption across the region hit record levels as people turned on air conditioners for relief. El Niño might have exacerbated the situation, says the study, but the temperatures “would never have happened without the anthropogenic warming”.

Researchers came to the same conclusion in a third study, focused on marine warming in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea that began in 2014 and climaxed last year (J. E. Walsh et al. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 99, S39–S43; 2018). El Niño might have been involved, but global warming set the stage, with far-reaching consequences. Ice on Alaskan rivers broke up earlier than ever; a lack of sea ice affected fishing; and toxic plankton blooms reduced shellfish harvests. Tens of thousands of seabirds were found dead, probably starved.

Extreme weather would be expected from time to time, regardless of global warming. In fact, of the 131 papers investigating extreme events that BAMS has published over the past 6 years, 35% found that global warming played no appreciable part. Nevertheless, the latest results suggest that the climate is entering uncharted territory, and that would mean that weather will increasingly fall outside the historical norm. From this perspective, humanity hasn’t just loaded the dice. We have replaced them with a whole new type that behave in ways we don’t fully understand.

The solution has been clear for more than two decades: governments need to take aggressive action to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. By attributing real-world impacts to global warming, scientists are providing citizens and political leaders with further evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger, not a distant threat to future generations. Perhaps in 2018, policymakers will finally realize which way the wind is blowing. 


Newsweak is still struggling on but it seems that they can't afford any fact-checkers these days

With the advent of this cheery holiday comes a somber warning from Newsweek, purveyor of climate doom.

“[A]s global temperatures rise due to climate change, snow on Christmas Day could increasingly become a rarity—even a distant memory.”

Contrary to Newsweek‘s claims, however, snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere (NH) has been increasing in recent decades.

Image Source: NOAA

In the Southern Hemisphere, snow and ice have been expanding in the Antarctic region for centuries (Thomas et al., 2017), and Antarctica is projected to continue gaining ice mass in the decades to come (Lenaerts et al., 2016).

Apparently the journalists penning climate alarm scenarios that warn readers white Christmases are on the way out in the NH haven’t been keeping up with the latest scientific publications.

More HERE 

A new Ezekiel with a message from on high

Dedicated Warmist Zeke Hausfather explains below why scientists think 100% of global warming is due to humans.  And he is probably right that many of them do think that.  But are they right? What is their evidence?  Zeke gives none.  Everything that Zeke says below is just an appeal to authority so that is poor evidence for anything. And the conclusions of the authorities are based on models with no predictive skill -- so Zeke has proved nothing.  There is NO observable or measurable causal chain that  links human activity to temperature.  All that the Warmists have are hypotheses, and readily falsifiable hypotheses at at that.

The extent of the human contribution to modern global warming is a hotly debated topic in political circles, particularly in the US.

During a recent congressional hearing, Rick Perry, the US energy secretary, remarked that “to stand up and say that 100% of global warming is because of human activity, I think on its face, is just indefensible”.

However, the science on the human contribution to modern warming is quite clear. Humans emissions and activities have caused around 100% of the warming observed since 1950, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment report.

Here Carbon Brief examines how each of the major factors affecting the Earth’s climate would influence temperatures in isolation – and how their combined effects almost perfectly predict long-term changes in the global temperature.

Carbon Brief’s analysis finds that:

Since 1850, almost all the long-term warming can be explained by greenhouse gas emissions and other human activities.

If greenhouse gas emissions alone were warming the planet, we would expect to see about a third more warming than has actually occurred. They are offset by cooling from human-produced atmospheric aerosols.

Aerosols are projected to decline significantly by 2100, bringing total warming from all factors closer to warming from greenhouse gases alone.

Natural variability in the Earth’s climate is unlikely to play a major role in long-term warming.

In its 2013 fifth assessment report, the IPCC stated in its summary for policymakers that it is “extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature” from 1951 to 2010 was caused by human activity. By “extremely likely”, it meant that there was between a 95% and 100% probability that more than half of modern warming was due to humans.

This somewhat convoluted statement has been often misinterpreted as implying that the human responsibility for modern warming lies somewhere between 50% and 100%. In fact, as NASA’s Dr Gavin Schmidt has pointed out, the IPCC’s implied best guess was that humans were responsible for around 110% of observed warming (ranging from 72% to 146%), with natural factors in isolation leading to a slight cooling over the past 50 years.

Similarly, the recent US fourth national climate assessment found that between 93% to 123% of observed 1951-2010 warming was due to human activities.

These conclusions have led to some confusion as to how more than 100% of observed warming could be attributable to human activity. A human contribution of greater than 100% is possible because natural climate change associated with volcanoes and solar activity would most likely have resulted in a slight cooling over the past 50 years, offsetting some of the warming associated with human activities.

Scientists measure the various factors that affect the amount of energy that reaches and remains in the Earth’s climate. They are known as “radiative forcings”.

These forcings include greenhouse gases, which trap outgoing heat, aerosols – both from human activities and volcanic eruptions – that reflect incoming sunlight and influence cloud formation, changes in solar output, changes in the reflectivity of the Earth’s surface associated with land use, and many other factors.

To assess the role of each different forcing in observed temperature changes, Carbon Brief adapted a simple statistical climate model developed by Dr Karsten Haustein and his colleagues at the University of Oxford and University of Leeds. This model finds the relationship between both human and natural climate forcings and temperature that best matches observed temperatures, both globally and over land areas only.


ICE AGE EARTH: Global FREEZE lasting 120 YEARS threatens ‘more intense’ winters from 2019

A GLOBAL cool down lasting 120 years will trigger “more intense” winters that threaten months of freezing temperatures and snow “within a few years”, climate scientists have warned.

The coldest winter in five years has been forecast for Britain, with “widespread snow” and brutal lows of -17C across Christmas expected to be a “shock to the system”.

During the first two weeks of winter, the UK was crippled by an onslaught of cold snaps that brought heavy snow, hazardous ice and sub-zero temperatures virtually everywhere.

Speaking to Daily Star Online, climate and weather experts predict one cold spell a week until the end of winter in the UK, warning “you have been cool and it will get colder”.

In the coming years, David Dilley, CEO of Global Weather Oscillations, believes winters will only become “more intense” in the UK due to a combination of “dangerous” climate factors.

His research shows that by 2019, Earth will enter a natural 120-year cooling cycle that happens roughly every 230 years, bucking the warming trend.

Predictions of low solar activity for 33 years between 2020 and 2053 are also predicted to send thermometers plummeting, according to his research.

The vast majority of scientists are of the view that global average temperatures have been rising steeply in the past century, with evidence showing human influence is the dominant cause.

But Dilley, a former NOAA meteorologist, argues that Earth is “coming off” a 230-year global warming cycle and moving on to a 120-year cooling period.

These global warming and cooling cycles are determined by the gravitational forces of the Earth, moon and sun, he said, citing evidence “well documented in science”.

In other words, as Earth swings closer to the sun global warming is observed, while cooling is observed as Earth swings away.

“Earth is currently coming off a 230-year global warming cycle and dipping into a 120-year global cooling cycle,” he said.

“They come approximately every 230-years and we have had five during the past 1,000 years.

“The last one ended in the year 1800 and was followed by dramatic cooling and a year of no summer in 1816.”

If his research proves to be true, the effects of cold weather during winters could have devastating consequences for the global economy, human life and society as we know it.

Dilley has warned that “worldwide crop failures, famine and disease” could strike “during early stages of each global cooling cycle”.

John Hammond, founder of the digital weather service weathertrending, said there is a scientific consensus that global warming will carry on for the foreseeable future.

But speaking to Daily Star Online, the former Met Office and BBC weatherman said “natural cycles” will have an effect on temperatures in some regions.

“There is no doubt that the long-term trend of global warming is set to continue, due to manmade influences,” he said.

“However, there are natural cycles, both in the oceans and the atmosphere that will have some influence on the degree of warming in various parts of the world, over the next few decades.

“There is a huge amount of research going into this, and the honest truth is that we don’t yet have all the answers.”


For a huge ‘peace dividend,’ end the war on fossil fuels

From making our morning coffee to riding the D.C. Metro, and whether for powering the computer screen or printing the paper which you are reading right now, energy is an essential part of our lives and ubiquitous in today’s economy.

Fortunately, Americans have a tremendous amount of accessible energy here at home, in good ol’ American soil. The Institute for Energy Research estimates that we Americans sit atop 1.3 trillion barrels of recoverable shale oil and more than 2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas.

President Trump has indicated the desire to let U.S. energy producers (and consumers) more readily tap into this vast supply. He will meet resistance from those who insist on curbing the use of these so-called “fossil fuels,” claiming they contribute significantly to the threat of global warming.

The anti-fossil fuel warriors were ascendant during the Obama years. Policymakers introduced a number of domestic proposals — such as the Waxman-Markey bill and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan — to reduce consumption of these fuels. His administration also signed on to international pacts, such as the Paris agreement, with the same goal.

What these warriors continually overlooked was the collateral damage their policies would inflict on the U.S. economy. It is staggering.

At The Heritage Foundation, our analysis found that, by 2035, participation in the Paris agreement would produce an aggregate loss of $2.5 trillion in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). That change works out to $20,000 of lost income for a typical family of four. Moreover, the changes in energy production necessitated by the pact would significantly boost household electricity expenditures.

What benefits would we gain in return for these costs? Virtually none. Our analyses showed temperature mitigation of less than 0.2 degrees Celsius and a reduction of less than 2 centimeters in sea level rise by the end of the century.

Why would so little climate progress be so expensive? Because the goal of the war on fossil fuels has always been to make them more expensive. Fossil fuels are, after all, the least expensive and most efficient form of energy currently available. The only way to keep people from using them is to artificially increase their price.

What would happen if Mr. Trump were to enable us to take advantage of the vast resources here at home? Energy prices would fall, and economic growth would accelerate.

Tapping into new pockets of shale oil and gas would create new jobs for the geologists, mathematicians, data scientists, engineers and field workers directly associated with the fracking process. Local business near the production fields would also benefit directly from the increased employment and paychecks of frackers.

The indirect benefits are as widespread as they are massive. As business energy costs decline, employers have more money to invest in workers — yielding bigger paychecks, better benefits and more jobs. Our most recent analysis estimates that if America were to stop the war on fossil fuels, it would increase GDP as much as $2.4 trillion by 2035 — pretty much the exact opposite of the results produced under the Paris pact.

Wage improvements and cost savings of this magnitude would be a godsend for families struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the effect on global temperatures would be negligible.

Mr. Trump has already taken some steps in the right direction. His Energy Independence Executive Order deemed federal lands to be viable for fracking. Although there have been questions about the safety of fracking, a recent study by the EPA found that hydraulic fracturing poses no major health risks.

Because the American system of justice is so strong, proper enforcement of contract rights and the rule of law are the norm. Those who cause damage are held accountable, ensuring that the best and safest drilling techniques will prevail in extracting these resources.

Policymakers have a moral obligation to end the war on fossil fuels. Doing so will unleash American talent and ingenuity and grow the economy for years to come.




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


24 December, 2017

PM2.5: The Latest Air Pollution Scam

Steve Milloy

C.Arden Pope, III’s latest exercise in secret epidemiologic junk science is a study claiming that PM2.5 causes heart attacks in people with blood types A, B, and AB but not type O (45% of the population). Pope didn’t even bother to publish the study, he just made a presentation at an American Heart Association meeting on November 14.

This is Pope’s usual statistical crap — minuscule and meaningless data dredged correlations built off imaginary exposure data, ignored confounding factors, zero biological explanation, and in defiance of reality.

As a checkpoint, where are all the heart attacks in India during the ongoing air pollution crisis where PM2.5 levels have been as high as 150 time average US air? There aren’t any.

The media release is below.

People with certain blood types are at increased risk of heart attack during periods of pollution

Individuals who have A, B, or AB blood types have an elevated risk of having a heart attack during periods of significant air pollution, compared to those with the O blood type, according to new research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and Brigham Young University.

The new study is unique in that it links increased risk of heart attack associated with small particulate pollution to increased risk of heart attack for people with certain blood types who have coronary artery disease.

The ABO gene — which is present in people who have A, B, and AB blood types — is the only gene that’s been validated in large international studies to predict heart attacks among people with coronary disease.

Previous studies have also shown links between small-particulate PM2.5 pollution and heart attacks, admission to the hospital with unstable chest pain, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. This new study was designed to build on and tie together those findings and test the influence of one variation: the impact of an individual’s blood type.

“We wondered, if someone has a specific variation in this ABO gene, are they more or less likely to experience a heart attack in times of higher pollution?” said Benjamin Horne, PhD, a clinical epidemiologist and lead investigator of the study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City. “The primary mutation we studied differentiates between O blood types and non-O, which includes positive and negative A, B, and AB blood types. The one that’s been found in genetic studies to be lower risk is O. The other three were higher risk.”

Results of the study will be reported at the 2017 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, CA, on November 14, at noon, PST.

Dozens of genes have been shown in large international studies to predict the onset of coronary artery disease in people who are free of the disease. But the vast majority of people won’t have a heart attack unless they already have coronary artery disease. Nor is a heart attack a certainty even with heart disease.

“You have to have other characteristics for coronary disease to progress to a heart attack,” Dr. Horne said. “The association between heart attacks and pollution in patients with non-O blood isn’t something to panic over, but it is something to be aware of.”

Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute researchers had already identified a level of pollution at which the increased risk occurred for people with non-O blood types, he said, and that threshold is 25 micrograms of pollution per cubic meter.

“Two years ago we published findings that showed once you go above that, each additional 10 micrograms of pollution per cubic meter of air provided substantially higher risks,” he said. “At levels higher than 25 micrograms per cubic meter of pollution, the increase in risk is linear, while below that level there’s little if any difference in risk.”

The clinical data used for the study came from Intermountain Healthcare patients seen between 1993 and 2007. C. Arden Pope, PhD, from BYU, and one of the study authors, provided the air pollution data. The analysis of air quality was done at BYU.

During a winter inversion, the PM2.5 pollution level can occasionally reach as high as 100 micrograms per cubic meter, but 50-60 is more typical.

Researchers found that people with type O blood also have higher risk of heart attack or unstable chest pain in times of high air pollution. But their level of risk is much smaller, at 10 percent instead of the non-O blood type’s 25 percent per 10 additional micrograms per cubic meter, Dr. Horne said. So at the 65 micrograms per cubic meter pollution level, a person with type O blood faces risk that’s 40 percent higher than if the air wasn’t polluted.

“In the information we provide to our patients about pollution, we try to stress that they can do something about it to reduce their risks: Stay indoors out of pollution. Exercise indoors. And make sure they’re compliant with taking their heart medication to reduce their risk,” Dr. Horne said.


Global warming: Fake news from the start

President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change because it is a bad deal for America.

He could have made the decision simply because the science is false. However, most of the American and global public have been brainwashed into believing the science is correct (and supported by the faux 97% consensus), so they would not have believed that explanation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and indeed the leaders of many western democracies, support the Agreement and are completely unaware of the gross deficiencies in the science. If they understood those deficiencies, they wouldn’t be forcing a carbon dioxide (CO2) tax on their citizens.

Trudeau and other leaders show how little they know, and how little they assume the public knows, by calling it a “carbon tax” on “carbon emissions.” But CO2 is a gas, the trace atmospheric gas that makes life on Earth possible. Carbon is a solid, and carbon-based fuels are solid (coal), liquid (oil) or gaseous (natural gas).

By constantly railing about “carbon emissions,” Trudeau, Obama and others encourage people to think of carbon dioxide as something “dirty,” like soot, which really is carbon. Calling CO2 by its proper name would help the public remember that it is actually an invisible, odorless gas essential to plant photosynthesis.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is arguably the most misinformed of the lot, saying in a recent interview that “polluters should pay.” She too either does not know that CO2 is not a pollutant, or she is deliberately misleading people.

Like many of her political peers, McKenna dismisses credentialed PhD scientists who disagree with her approach, labelling them “deniers.” She does not seem to understand that questioning scientific hypotheses, even scientific theories, is what all scientists should do, if true science is to advance.

That is why the Royal Society’s official motto is “Nullius in verba,” Latin for “Take nobody's word for it.” Ironically, the Society rarely practices this approach when it comes to climate change.

Mistakes such as those made by McKenna are not surprising, considering that from the outset the entire claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was built on falsehoods and spread with fake news.

The plot to deceive the world about human-caused global warming gathered momentum right after the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) created the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988.

After spending five days at the U.N. with Maurice Strong, the first executive director of UNEP, Hamilton Spectator investigative reporter Elaine Dewar concluded that the overarching objective of the IPCC was political, not scientific. “Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the global governance agenda,” she wrote.

The political agenda required “credibility” to accomplish the deception. It also required some fake news for momentum. Ideally, this would involve testimony from a scientist before a legislative committee.

U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO) was fully committed to the political agenda and the deception. As he explained in a 1993 comment, “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing.…”

In 1988 Wirth was in a position to jump-start the climate alarm. He worked with colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to organize and orchestrate a June 23, 1988 hearing where the lead witness would be Dr. James Hansen, then the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Wirth explained in a 2007 interview with PBS Frontline:

“We knew there was this scientist at NASA, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So, we called him up and asked him if he would testify.”

Hansen did not disappoint. The New York Times reported on June 23, 1988: “Today Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation, but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere.”

Specifically, Hansen told the committee, “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming…. It is already happening now.”

Hansen also testified: “The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now…. We have already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important.”

Wirth, who presided at the hearing, was pre-disposed to believe Hansen and told the committee. “As I read it, the scientific evidence is compelling: the global climate is changing as the earth's atmosphere gets warmer,” Wirth said. “Now the Congress must begin to consider how we are going to slow or halt that warming trend, and how we are going to cope with the changes that may already be inevitable.”

More than any other event, that single hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee publicly initiated the climate scare, the biggest deception in history. It created an unholy alliance between a bureaucrat and a politician, which was bolstered by the U.N. and the popular press – leading to the hoax being accepted in governments, industry boardrooms, schools and churches all across the world.

Dr. John S. Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor at NASA, wrote to the Senate Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “Hansen was never muzzled, even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Hansen never abandoned his single-minded, unsubstantiated claim that CO2 from human activities caused dangerous global warming. He defied Hatch Act limits on bureaucratic political actions, and in 2011 even got arrested at a White House protest against the Keystone XL pipeline. It was at least his third such arrest to that point.

Like Trudeau and other leaders duped by the climate scare, Senator Wirth either had not read or did not understand the science. In fact, an increasing number of climate scientists (including Dr. Ball) now conclude that there is no empirical evidence of human-caused global warming. There are only computer model speculations that humans are causing it, and every forecast made using these models since 1990 has been wrong – with actual temperatures getting further from predictions with every passing year.

President Trump must now end America’s participation in the fake science and fake news of manmade global warming. To do this, he must withdraw the U.S. from further involvement with all U.N. global warming programs, especially the IPCC, as well as the agency that now directs it – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He should also launch a “Red Team” exercise that lets non-alarmist scientists examine climate cataclysm claims and the purported evidence for them.

Only then will the U.S. have a chance to fully develop its hydrocarbon resources to achieve the president’s goal of global energy dominance and long-term prosperity for America and the world.

Via email

New nuclear power plant gets thumbs up from Georgia regulators

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to continue construction of the nation's only new nuclear power plant.

The approved construction of Plant Vogtle reactors 3 and 4 saves the plant from being scrapped, with a planned completion date of 2022.

The fate of the plant had been in limbo after the bankruptcy of one of the plant’s main developers, Westinghouse.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry top trade group, welcomed the Georgia commission's decision as important for national security.

"Demonstrating we can build and complete new nuclear plants here in America will help us regain our leadership in a technology we invented," said Maria Korsnick, the group's president. "America's pre-eminence in nuclear energy makes our country safer because it allows us to influence and control how this technology is used around the world."

The plant is seen as the harbinger of the future of the U.S. nuclear power industry as it faces stifling economic pressure from the electric market’s switch to low-cost natural gas-fired electricity. Only a handful of nuclear plants are planned in the country, mainly in the Southeast.

At the same time, a number of older nuclear power plants have announced, or are contemplating, closing down prematurely as financial losses mount.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is considering approving a plan proposed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry to shore up the aging nuclear plant fleet by providing the plants with market-based incentives.

FERC is expected to approve the plan next month.



New Study Linking Global Warming To Refugees Is ‘Most Idiotic Use Of Statistics’ This Expert Has Seen In A Long Time

Global warming activists have seized upon a study purporting to link temperature changes to mass migration from the third world to Europe, in an apparent attempt to attack the Trump administration.

The study, published Friday in the journal Science, found that “temperatures that deviated from the moderate optimum (~20°C) increased asylum applications in a nonlinear fashion” from 2000 to 2014.

“This is the perfect example of why the [Trump] administration shouldn’t be ignoring climate change,” Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton University and global warming activist, told Axios.

Oppenheimer, a frequent critic of the Trump administration, wasn’t alone. The new study was widely reported in media circles, with many putting it in the context of President Donald Trump no longer considering global warming a national security threat.

“It’s short sighted,” study co-author Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University, told Time. “Incidents that occur abroad come back to hurt you in your own country.”

Schlenker’s study found that temperature changes from the “climatic optimum” of 68 degrees Fahrenheit led to an increase in asylum seekers from 103 poor countries to Europe. The study suggests future warming could increase asylum seekers 188 percent by 2100 if global warming goes unchecked.

“A majority of [climate change] damages occur in developing countries, and you might think that we in Europe or we in the U.S. are isolated from this,” Schlenker told Time. “But that overlooks spillovers and how we’re interconnected.”

The study provides more confirmation for a favorite argument of activists — global warming will create more refugees do to a rise in violent conflict and extreme weather events. The link is hotly debated, but that hasn’t stopped some scholars and activists from blaming the Syrian civil war and rise of ISIS on global warming.

But Schlenker’s study is flawed, critics say. The study not only uses a very short time period — only 14 years — it also does nothing to establish causation of why asylum seekers actually leave their homes.

Correlation is not causation, especially when only dealing with a short time frame on a complicated subject.

“It is the dumbest, most idiotic use of statistics I have seen in over a decade,” statistician and manmade global warming skeptic William Briggs wrote on his blog.

“So in 15 years of data, they hope to discover a non-linear response in asylum applications caused by tenth-of-a-degree changes in temperature, where they can ‘hold everything else,’ like the politics, ‘constant,'” Briggs wrote.

“There appears in this paper to be no recognition that politics inside the EU plays any role,” Briggs wrote.

Millions of refugees have made their way to Europe, some fleeing war in Syria, and others looking for new opportunities in rich countries. Politically, Europe has for the most part embraced refugee flows and offered generous benefits to those coming in.

Briggs noted that Schlenker’s study found asylum applications also increased when temperatures in home countries decreased from the “climatic optimum.”

The vast majority of asylum seekers come from Syria and the Middle East. This begs the question, why would refugees from poor countries, when temperatures drop, flee to Europe where the average temperature is cooler?

“People are also far too excited to see predictions which confirm their worst ‘fears,’ so they never bother to check the predictions against reality,” Briggs wrote.


Australian PM defends high price of hydro scheme

Another burden imposed on Australians by the Warmist hoax

Malcolm Turnbull has defended the ballooning cost of upgrading the Snowy Hydro scheme, arguing the "vitally important" project is financially viable.

The plan to increase capacity of the iconic scheme by 50 per cent will make up to 2000 megawatts available to the national electricity market.

A feasibility study has found the project, while financially and technically viable, is likely to cost between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, far outweighing the initial estimate of $2 billion.

"Of course it is an expensive project, but any big infrastructure project has a price tag," the prime minister told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Mr Turnbull said the total cost would only soar to $12 billion if the Commonwealth bought out Victoria and NSW's ownership of the scheme.

"We certainly would welcome that, but that's really two different transactions," Mr Turnbull said.

The study uncovered more complex geology than expected, pushing the cost estimate higher.

Mr Turnbull said the project would ensure reliable and affordable energy while helping Australia to meet emissions reduction obligations.  "The project is vitally important," he said.

"As we move to energy mix in which we have more and more intermittent sources of energy, you've got to have something to back it up when the sun isn't shining."

Labor have pounced on the higher price estimate, with energy spokesman Mark Butler saying the prime minister had painted an unrealistic picture of the project earlier in the year.

"This project only stacks up if it is put alongside an ambitious renewable energy program, like Labor's 50 per cent renewable energy target," Mr Butler told ABC radio.

While the opposition is supportive of the overall concept, it wants to see the modelling behind the feasibility study.

The project will link two major dams in the Snowy Mountains with 27kms of tunnels. If it goes ahead, it won't produce power until 2024.




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, 2017

UK: When US top brass links climate change to political instability, the world needs to listen

By NICHOLAS SOAMES.  Soames is old, a Tory Grandee, a demon driver and a friend of both The Prince of Wales and Robert Mugabe. He barks at women. So the fact that he believes Warmist generals about global warming is no surprise.

The allegations he refers to are just that: Unproven allegations. There is no demonstrable link between recent African droughts and global warming. The droughts did however occur during an El Nino, which shifts rains from one place to another so that is by far the most probable cause of the droughts

Saying that "drought causes" something is in any case dumb and ignores the complexity of a causal chain.  Australia has severe droughts more often than not but no Australian farmers have so far become Muslim terrorists.

As the wells ran dry around Lake Chad, Boko Haram tightened their grip. An extreme drought, made worse by record temperatures, helped push farmers with nothing left to lose into the arms of Islamic extremists.

These new recruits would go on to help terrorise the region with bombings, abductions and assassinations.

This was just one of the chilling examples I heard last week from a visiting delegation of three and four-star US military men who came to London to deliver a stark warning to MPs and Peers on the growing security risks posed by climate change.

Climate change does not cause conflict. Yet in areas of political instability it is the equivalent, to quote Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, formerly of the Royal Navy, “of pouring a bucket of petrol on a smouldering fire.”

Extreme weather events like severe droughts are increasingly linked to climate change, and the subsequent crop failures...


Pruitt 'guaranteeing' debate on climate science soon

The conservative Heritage Foundation might have just previewed the Trump administration's arguments against climate science.

U.S. EPA appears to be close to unveiling its program to question mainstream research on global warming, referred to as a "red team" exercise, and several candidates for that role cast doubt on the extent of climate change at the Heritage Foundation yesterday.

One theme they expressed is that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels should no longer be considered a pollutant but instead an essential ingredient in maintaining a global population boom. They described potentially catastrophic impacts of human-caused warming as "alarmism."

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt could announce the red team within weeks, according to Bob Murray, a key ally of the administration and the CEO of Murray Energy Corp. The coal boss said in an interview at yesterday's event that he has been personally pushing Pruitt to challenge the endangerment finding, the scientific underpinning for past and future regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Murray, who met with Pruitt last week, said the administrator told him the red-team debate is imminent. Pruitt also said the exercise is the first step toward a possible challenge to the endangerment finding, Murray told E&E News.

"They're laying groundwork for it, they want to do this red, blue study, debate on science before we get there," Murray said of the endangerment finding. "I said, 'You need to get it done; if you don't get it repealed, you're going to have this climate agenda forever. It needs to be repealed.'"

Murray added of Pruitt: "He's not guaranteeing me. He's guaranteeing to do the red-blue climate debate and then go from there."

The Trump administration has been aggressive in its efforts to rescind policies restricting greenhouse gases. It's working to reverse the Clean Power Plan, which sought to cut power-sector emissions 32 percent by 2030, and President Trump has announced a withdrawal from the global Paris climate accord.

But the administration has stopped short of promising to challenge the endangerment finding. That stands to be a major fight in the courts, and many administration officials anticipate defeat. Yet if President Trump skips that fight, he would anger staunch conservatives who see the endangerment finding as the cornerstone of future climate regulation.

"We're going to have a mess until that endangerment finding is overturned," Murray said.

The red-team, blue-team exercise is coming early next year, Pruitt said recently. It will pit a team of skeptical researchers against the findings of mainstream scientists. Critics have said the exercise could cherry-pick data in an effort to elevate doubt and give unequal weight to skeptics.

An EPA spokesman said there are "no updates" when asked about the timing of the exercise.

One panel at the Heritage Foundation event yesterday could offer a prelude to the scientific arguments that would be pursued by the red team. Several skeptical scientists picked apart the general consensus of their peers, who say humans are warming the Earth at an unprecedented pace. The panelists claimed that the attention given to rising global temperatures is overwrought. Craig Idso, who founded the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, said the world food supply will fall short of demand by 2050 unless more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere.

Roy Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said researchers who could be selected for the red team have met a few times in recent weeks in different cities. He said more government research needs to be conducted on the natural causes of climate change. That could be done if congressional budget appropriators divert a portion of the research funding for human-caused climate change toward research on natural causes.

"There are chaotic variations internal to the climate system, and that is something that has been totally swept under the rug," Spencer said. "The red team could look at all kinds of things, but if I'm part of the red team, that would probably be the top thing I would emphasize."

The researchers, all of whom are possible candidates for the red team, attacked the findings of mainstream science that humans are the primary cause of climate change. They criticized climate models, laughed at former Vice President Al Gore's advocacy and portrayed the vast majority of colleagues in their field who disagree with them as "alarmists."

The "smoking gun" that could undo the endangerment finding is to find flaws in the climate models, said Pat Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. He said yesterday's panel is a prelude to the red team and an attack against the endangerment determination. He cautioned EPA against using researchers with extreme positions.

"The red team members are going to have to be very carefully selected," Michaels said. "My fear is that red team will have this tinge of 'Oh, there is no such thing as global warming; there is no such thing as carbon dioxide greenhouse gas effect.' If the red team goes there, it might as well be considered that they are working for the blue team."

Scientific consensuses are often wrong, said William Happer, an emeritus physics professor at Princeton University and a contender to become Trump's science adviser. He criticized the "preening virtue signaling" of environmental groups and compared the attitude of those who craft climate policy to lawmakers who were swept up in the temperance movement before Prohibition was enacted.

"Climate models don't work; they're predicting much more warming than has been observed," Happer said.

Richard Lindzen, a retired meteorology professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, blamed "climate alarmism" on educated elites who don't want to admit their limited understanding of science. He said fossil fuels will benefit humans and that reduced Arctic sea ice will open the Northwest Passage.

After a lunch from Chick-fil-A, Murray shared the Heritage stage with Bud Brigham, who founded several successful hydraulic fracturing companies.

As Brigham sat silently, Murray largely blamed policies by the Obama administration for the decline of coal, rather than the natural gas boom associated with fracking. Murray said that despite the Trump administration's efforts, financing for coal projects is extremely hard to obtain. He said he abandoned a project last week because he failed to find funding. He blamed it on climate science, socialists and liberal policies.

"The global alarmists, the politics is still shutting us down in spite of the Trump administration's efforts. It is still getting worse; they are winning," Murray said.


Are Big Wind firms actually “Subsidy Miners”?

Eco-activists enamored by alternative energy technology have long touted the potential for wind farms as a source of power.

However, it appears that the industry’s promises may be full of hot air.

Take, for example, the funding for many projects. Many Americans are now coining the term “Big Wind” for wind farm installation firms who collude with government employees to obtain subsidies and funding for large-scale projects.

Instead of being “clean energy providers,” the companies behave like “subsidy miners.”

With good reason, numerous upstate towns are actively fighting the encroachment of Big Wind. To cite just one recent example: Last month, the Watertown City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the development of eight industrial wind-turbine projects totaling 1,000 megawatts of capacity, because the projects could impair military training capabilities near Fort Drum.

Over the past decade or so, members of [Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACENY)] — some of America’s biggest subsidy miners — have collected $18.7 billion in federal and state subsidies. The burgeoning backlash against Big Wind means a growing group of rebellious New York towns stand between [ACENY Executive Director Ann] Reynolds’ members and even more taxpayer gravy.

The $18.7 billion sum was obtained by matching ACENY’s membership roster with data from Subsidy Tracker, a program run by Good Jobs First, a Washington-based government-accountability organization. That $18.7 billion includes all federal grants, tax credits, loans, loan guarantees and state subsidies.

The subsidies are corrosive. They encourage wind-energy companies to use legal action to bully rural landowners and small towns.

New Yorkers aren’t the only one challenging the eco-activist blessed energy source. In Indiana, Cass County property owners are asking the county for a chance to speak out on a proposed wind farm.

…”There’s just too many unanswered questions on this,” said Cass County property owner Brenda Rusk.

She is one of several people worried about the impact of a proposed wind farm.

“Just possibilities of things that could go wrong,” Rusk said.

Rusk said she’s been contacted multiple times about contracting her property. She said British based company RES is working to put turbines between 600 and 840 feet tall near Royal Center.

To give some perspective, White County turbines are only about 300 feet tall.

“I don’t feel like signing a contract with this kind of a close proximity to us,” said Rusk. “I just think it’s too much for that much height.”

Citizens in the deep blue state of Minnesota have forced a new project to locate half of the new units to Iowa, based on complaints related to sound.

[Dorenne] Hansen and other residents are fighting to stop the Freeborn Wind Farm project in Freeborn County southeast of Albert Lea.

“I want quiet and dark nights, not the noise and red flashing lights on top of wind towers,” she said. “We did not choose to live out here to be next to an industrial park.”

…Poor perception of an existing wind farm in Freeborn County, the Bent Tree project north of Albert Lea, has helped feed opposition to Freeborn Wind.

Complaints against Bent Tree by some local residents prompted the PUC to take the uncommon move of ordering a noise study. The results in late August showed that Bent Tree exceeded noise levels at certain times.

Green energy advocates seem very dismissive of the prevalent complaints about sound levels made by residents around wind farms.

Sleeplessness and headaches are the most common complaints about wind farms from nearby residents, according to a 2009 study by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Wind farms have also drawn complaints about inaudible infrasound, or low-frequency sound, which can pass through walls easier than higher-frequency noise and can also be accompanied by vibration, the health department study said.

The health department has not updated its report. But James Kelly, an environmental-surveillance manager at the department, said he’s “unaware of any significant studies that would cause us to rethink the statements we made in 2009.”

Who are the locals going to believe, Big Wind and their climate justice advocates or their own lying ears?


Cosmic Rays, Solar Activity Have Much Greater Impact On Earth’s Climate Than Models Suggest

The impact of changes in solar activity on Earth’s climate was up to seven times greater than climate models suggested according to new research published today in Nature Communications.

Researchers have claimed a breakthrough in understanding how cosmic rays from supernovas react with the sun to form clouds, which impact the climate on Earth.

The findings have been described as the “missing link” to help resolve a decades long controversy that has big implications for climate science.

Lead author, Henrik Svensmark, from The Technical University of Denmark has long held that climate models had greatly underestimated the impact of solar activity.

He says the new research identified the feedback mechanism through which the sun’s impact on climate was varied.

Professor Svensmark’s theories on solar impact have caused a great deal of controversy within the climate science community and the latest findings are sure to provoke new outrage.

He does not dispute that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have a warming impact on the climate.

But his findings present a challenge to estimates of how sensitive the climate is to changes in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Professor Svensmark says his latest findings were consistent both with the strong rise in the rate of global temperature change late last century and a slowdown in the rate of increase over the past 20 years.

‘’It gives a physical foundation to the large body of empirical evidence showing that solar activity is reflected in variations in Earth’s climate,” a media statement accompanying the scientific report said.

“For example, the Medieval Warm Period around year 1000AD and the cold period in the Little Ice Age 1300-1900 AD both fits changes in solar activity,” it said.

“Finally we have the last piece of the puzzle of why the particles from space are important for climate on Earth,” it said.

The study reveals how atmospheric ions, produced by the energetic cosmic rays raining down through the atmosphere, helps the growth and formation of cloud condensation nuclei — the seeds necessary for forming clouds in the atmosphere.

More cloud condensation nuclei mean more clouds and a colder climate, and vice versa.

“Since clouds are essential for the solar energy reaching the surface of the Earth the implications are huge for our understanding of why climate has varied in the past and also for a future climate changes,” the statement said.

Professor Svensmark said it had until now wrongly been assumed that small additional nucleated aerosols would not grow and become cloud condensation nuclei, since no mechanism was known to achieve this.

The research team tested its ideas experimentally in a large cloud chamber.

Data was taken over a period of two years with total 3100 hours of data sampling.

Professor Svensmark said the new results gave a physical foundation to the large body of empirical evidence showing that Solar activity is reflected in variations in Earth’s climate.

“This new work gives credit to a mechanism that is much stronger than changes in solar irradiance alone,” Svensmark told The Australian.

“Solar irradiance has been the only solar forcing that has been included in climate models and such results show that the effect on climate is too small to be of importance,” he said.

“The new thing is that there exists an amplification mechanism that is operating on clouds in the atmosphere,” Svensmark said.

“Quantifying the impact of solar activity on climate from observations is found to be 5-7 times larger than from solar irradiance, and agrees with empirical variations in cosmic rays and clouds,” he said.

“This can therefore also explain why climate over the last 10,000 years correlates with solar activity, “Svensmark said.

“On time scales of millions of years there are much larger changes in the cosmic rays that has nothing to do with solar activity,” he said.

“So, this is an independent test of the mechanism and even here beautiful correlations are found,” he said.

But the Nature Communications paper says “the theory of ion-induced condensation should be incorporated into global aerosol models, to fully test the atmospheric implications.”

Professor Svensmark said since solar activity increased in the 20th century, part of the observed warming is caused by the sun.

“The logical consequence is that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is smaller than what climate models suggest which is 2-4 deg C for each doubling of CO2, since both CO2 and solar activity has had an impact”, he said.


You can't win:  EVERYTHING supports global warming

Snowfall on an Alaskan mountain range has more than doubled since the start of the industrial age, a new study has revealed.

The Alaska Range now has an average of 5.4 metres (18 feet) of snow per year - up from an average of 2.4 metres (eight feet) per year from 1600-1840.

According to the researchers, this increase in snowfall is evidence that climate change can trigger major increases in regional precipitation.


Researchers analysed two ice core samples collected at 13,000 feet from Mount Hunter in Alaska's Denali National Park.

Their analysis revealed that the Alaska Range now has an average of 5.4 metres (18 feet) of snow per year - up from an average of 2.4 metres (eight feet) per year from 1600-1840.

The study suggests that warming tropical oceans have driven the increased snowfall by strengthening the northward flow of warm, moist air.

The study by researchers from Dartmouth College, the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, shows modern snowfall levels in the Alaska Range at the highest in at least 1,200 years.

Dr Erich Osterberg, lead author of the study, said: 'We were shocked when we first saw how much snowfall has increased.

'We had to check and double-check our results to make sure of the findings.'

The research was based on an analysis of two ice core samples collected at 13,000 feet from Mount Hunter in Alaska's Denali National Park.




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


20 December, 2017

Global warming is not the only area where there is a crooked scientific consensus: Cholesterol and statins

The cholesterol/statins hoax is by now just about unwound.  Skeptics will see many parallels to what happens among warmists.  The video below is very thorough so takes over an hour to watch but it is a fascinating tale in human venality

I have been blowing the whistle on the cholesterol nonsense for years See e.g. here

‘Solar monster’ sparks suburban scrap in Boston

A retired couple might echo that lament after installing a ground-mounted grid of energy-soaking panels — dubbed “the solar monster” by one city councilor — that has pitted neighbor against neighbor and sparked a vitriolic war of words.

“It’s a foreign body, basically,” said Mary Downing, scowling as she looked at her neighbors’ carbon-friendly tower. “We don’t want to be out on the deck in the summer, by the pool, and see that thing.”

“That thing” is a stack of 20 solar panels that turns with the sun each day and powers the four-bedroom home where Lola and Richard Eanes live.

It hums rather than rumbles, moves a foot or two several times a day, and shuts down for the night.

“We have grandchildren, and we’ve been thinking about climate change and what has to be done to reduce energy,” said Lola Eanes, a former private investigator who unveiled the unit last December. “It’s a plus for the environment.”

But on Putnam Street, a thickly settled stretch of older homes 20 miles north of Boston, neighbors have railed against the eco-friendly structure as if it were a landfill, saying its unsightly appearance offsets any environmental gains.

“It’s a gross injustice. I couldn’t be more upset about it,” said Ted Downing, echoing his wife’s objections. “It’s so unresidential.”

Neighbors have complained to Beverly officials, who say the tower does not violate any city regulations. And they have brought their complaints to the Eaneses, who have been taken aback by the angry reaction.

“They ganged up on me,” Lola Eanes said. “It’s a new thing, and maybe they don’t like change.”

Eanes said the complaints have ranged from the expected to the outrageous, including fears that the panels might emit cancer-causing radiation, cause massive erosion, interfere with Beverly Regional Airport, and emit a blinding glare.

Nonsense, Eanes said.

“What right do they have to call this an eyesore? Even the state wants everybody to go solar,” she said. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

And it’s a boon for the budget. The couple paid for electricity only from June through September, four months when they turned on the air conditioning and circulated the water in their pool, Eanes said. Even then, the bill was far lower than the $350 to $500 a month they had paid before.

But neighbors condemn the tower as an out-of-place blemish that will depress property values and tarnish the neighborhood’s character. Going green is great, they say. Just find another way to do it.

“It’s not that we’re against solar, but it belongs on the roof,” Mary Downing said.

Neighbors also complained that they weren’t warned about the plan.

The Eaneses “didn’t say one word about what they were doing and how they were doing it,” said Bill Soares, whose bedrooms face the panels. “One day I came home, and there were surveyors poking around, and I asked them, ‘What are you doing?’ ”

He didn’t like their answer. They were laying the groundwork for a 21-by-16-foot gray, metallic grid supported by an 11-foot tower wrapped in faux-greenery. It’s only the second residential solar tower in Beverly, but its placement is what irks neighbors most.

“It is located physically closer to four other homes than the owner’s home,” Soares said. “I hold both the city and the Eaneses accountable for that callousness, lack of concern, and unsympathetic attitude toward the neighbors.”

City officials said no notification or public hearings were required, but neighbors argued that common courtesy should count for something.

The dispute is linked to the odd layout of the Eanes property, a “pork-chop” lot with a narrow strip of land that runs hundreds of feet from the street to the couple’s home. The tower stands on that strip.

Some of the neighbors, once friendly, no longer speak with the couple. The rift might be permanent.

“We have a place in New Hampshire and get up there on weekends, so we really don’t have much to do with them,” said Richard Eanes, a former plaster contractor.

Compared with his exasperated neighbors, Eanes was diplomatic.

“I’m stuck with the property value diminished. I’m stuck with looking at the thing. And I’m stuck with a neighbor who paints the other neighbors as obstructionists,” Soares said. “It’s infuriating.”

For her part, Lola Eanes said the real eyesore is the drooping telephone poles that line the streets.

“None of them stand completely straight. Some of them have large transformers on them. Some of them have coils of tangled wires attached, and they are all sagging,” Eanes said. “Can these opposing neighbors really say that my sleek solar array with underground wiring to my home is less attractive?”

Sleek solar array or solar monster, the tower may be the last of its kind in Beverly, said city planner Aaron Clausen. The City Council is expected to review draft regulations early next year that could prohibit large, ground-mounted panels from front yards.

Whatever the outcome at City Hall, the “solar monster” of Putnam Street is here to stay, Lola Eanes said.

“We’re not fighting anymore. It’s there, it’s done,” she said, waving away the criticism with a flick of her hand. “It's really been quite a ride.”


Reducing Antiquities Act land grabs

Special interests blatantly misrepresent President Trump and Interior Secretary’s actions

Paul Driessen

Acting on recommendations by Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, on December 4 President Trump significantly reduced the size of two enormous areas in Utah that Presidents Clinton and Obama had set aside as limited-access, no-development zones under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Mr. Trump’s action reduced the Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments from a combined 3.2 million acres (the size of Connecticut) to 1.2 million acres (slightly smaller than Delaware).

Utah residents and elected officials applauded the move as long overdue. The Patagonia and North Face outdoor apparel companies, environmentalist groups, and various liberal politicians and news outlets branded the action a desecration, claimed President Trump “stole” the lands from the American people, and launched coordinated and hyperventilated disinformation campaigns.

In reality, the actual thefts were masterminded and conducted by previous White House officials, in cahoots with radical environmentalists. Employing the immense power of the federal government, they took valuable state lands, multiple private lands and property rights, and a private company’s most valuable asset (America’s largest clean coal deposit) without any compensation whatsoever.

The Antiquities Act was intended to protect areas of historic, prehistoric or scientific value, and lands designated as monuments were to be “the smallest size compatible with the proper care and management” of objects or sites to be protected. Its goal is to safeguard fossils, unique plants and habitats, Native artifacts and sites, geologic structures and special scenic areas from damage, desecration and looting.

The first national monument ever designated (the 1,347-acre Devils Tower) respected the law’s language and intent, as have most designations since then. However, in recent decades presidents have increasingly used the act to circumvent Congress and replace proper legislative processes with executive decrees. They established enormous de facto wilderness areas with the stroke of a pen – usually with little or no consultation with people and elected officials in communities that would be most severely impacted.

It is these abuses that Messrs. Zinke and Trump sought to correct. In so doing, they followed decisions by Presidents Coolidge, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Taft and Wilson, who also reduced the size of previous monument designations. The Utah changes address arguably the greatest onshore Antiquities Act abuses.

President Clinton designated the 1,880,461-acre Grand Staircase Escalante Monument in large part to make a billion-dollar coal deposit off limits, by preventing any roads from reaching it. The action was quietly engineered by Katie McGinty, his White House Environmental Policy Office director, in collaboration with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Even Mr. Clinton was not fully aware of what he was signing, and Ms. McGinty totally blindsided Utah Governor Michael Levitt, who (like every other citizen and official in Utah) knew nothing about the massive land lockup until it was a done deal.

(For all the sordid details, read chapter 12 in Cracking Big Green or chapter 4 in Undue Influence.)

President Obama designated the 1,351,849-acre Bears Ears NM three weeks before leaving office, largely to make still more energy, mineral and other resources off limits to exploration and development. He too did so without prior consultation with Utah’s governor, congressional delegation or residents. Offshore marine national monuments now total 760 million acres – 7-1/2 times the size of California!

Monument designation means exploration, drilling, mining, timber harvesting, motorized vehicles, and even grazing and gathering firewood are prohibited. People’s property rights, lives, livelihoods, living standards and life savings are grievously affected. The entire tax, job and revenue base of communities, counties and states is impacted. Thousands of acres of state “school sections” – which states are granted at the time of statehood to finance schools – are made off limits, with no compensation.

That’s real thievery. At the very least, this demands careful consultation with the people who live there, and negotiations with their representatives to ensure that all these interests are considered and addressed. Stroke-of-the-pen monument decrees callously circumvented all these constitutional, legal and ethical safeguards. They ensured that valuable property was taken without due process or just compensation.

Taken together, the original Grand Staircase and Bears Ears Monuments were far larger than the combined acreage of Utah’s Bryce and Zion National Parks. They are in addition to Utah’s three other national parks, six other national monuments, four national recreation and conservation areas, hundreds of miles of national trails, 31 national wilderness areas, and millions of acres in other restrictive land use categories – in a state where the federal government still owns 61% of all the land.

Compare that to states east of the Mississippi, where federal agencies own, manage or control just 0.3% of Connecticut and Iowa, and 0.6% of New York, for example. People and officials in these states have no inkling of what it is like to live in Western states where 30% to 80% of all lands are federally owned.

Even more important, the remaining Utah monument areas are still huge. From Bears Ears, the new Shash Jáa monument is 130,000 acres (three times the size of Washington, DC) and Indian Creek is 72,000 acres (almost twice DC). From Grand Staircase Escalante, the new Grand Staircase is 210,000 acres (one-third of Rhode Island); Kaiparowits is 551,000 acres (81% of RI); and Escalante Canyons is 243,000 acres (36% of RI). To suggest that these monuments are now too small to safeguard their unique habitats, scenic areas, fossil sites, antiquities and Pueblo ruins is simply absurd – and disingenuous.

Imagine the Fish & Wildlife Service or other federal agency “protecting” one-half of Rhode Island or Delaware as a monument or endangered species habitat, to safeguard a Native American village site, small meteorite crater, scenic river valley, or rare fish, frog or bird habitat – on the bogus ground that making a smaller area off limits to human activity would leave it open to depredation.

That’s what Utah was dealing with – along with claims that a single mine, oil well, road, ranch, town or other sign of humanity’s presence … in areas the size of Rhode Island, Delaware or even Connecticut … would forever destroy the “wilderness character” of the entire area. This is what drives environmentalist activism and decades of pre-Trump federal land management policy. It’s deplorable and intolerable.

In reality, all areas removed from highly restrictive “national monument” status remain under the management and protection of multiple federal agencies and regulations. They are not being “stolen,” given to Utah or private interests, opened to rapacious looting and development, or left defenseless.

In stark contrast to the way Presidents Clinton and Obama designated the two original monuments, these decisions to reduce their size were made only after numerous extensive meetings and consultations, over a six-month period, with local residents and leaders, tribal and inter-tribal members and delegates, local, county and congressional representatives, environmental groups and many other parties.

If any of these or other people and organizations want official wilderness or park status for any of these areas that have been returned to traditional “multiple use” management and protection – they can and should utilize the legislative processes required by the Constitution, Wilderness Act and other laws. Any other approach would be improper, unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and dismissive of local interests.

On a related front, federal arrogance and heavy-handedness took the Obama era war on coal to the Navajo Nation. Citing specious climate change, health and “viewshed” justifications, regulators issued what were effectively execution orders for the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station and its associated coal mine –destroying two pillars of the precarious Navajo economy and living standards. In league with radical greens, they also scuttled plans to build the proposed state-of-the-art Desert Rock coal-fired power plant.

As in the case of huge Utah national monument designations, Navajo families and tribal leaders were deliberately and systematically excluded from the decision-making and property confiscation process.

This is the regulatory culture and mindset that President Trump and Secretary Zinke are trying to change. For doing so, they are meeting fierce resistance and disinformation from Patagonia, North Face and their allies. Shoppers might want to keep this in mind when thinking about what to buy for holiday gifts.

Via email

UK: The criminals, crackpots and extremists who have poisoned anti-fracking camp protests

Protesters claim that they represent communities near the fracking drilling sites But analysis shows that only around a quarter ever lived nearby before joining And convicted criminals and extremists are also involved

Anti-fracking protest camps in two areas of the country have been infiltrated by violent criminals, drug users, wild conspiracy theorists and ‘professional’ political activists, a Mail on Sunday investigation reveals today.

Policing the protesters, who frequently resort to ‘direct action’ such as blocking roads to hold up shale gas drilling, has cost local taxpayers almost £4 million this year and led to more than 400 arrests.

The protesters claim on their websites that they represent communities near the drilling sites and are protecting them from the dangers posed by fracking.

But analysis of those arrested shows only about a quarter had ever lived nearby until they joined the camps.

Many genuine locals – including those opposed to fracking – have vehemently condemned the protesters and the disruption their tactics cause.

At Kirby Misperton, near Malton in North Yorkshire, they have formed an anti-protester protest group, which already boasts more than 800 members.

And last week it emerged that on seven separate occasions, protesters in Lancashire made bogus 999 calls to the ambulance service, claiming they had been injured by police – but then refused to go to hospital, saying they were unhurt. Meanwhile, traffic chaos caused by protesters has delayed the response to genuine emergencies at least twice.

However, the protest camp residents have been applauded by visiting celebrities and Left-wing politicians, including Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Ms Lucas told demonstrators at the fracking site at Preston New Road near Blackpool that they were on the ‘right side of history’.

She claimed that ‘direct action’ was necessary because they had ‘tried the democratic process and it hasn’t worked’.

When he visited, Mr McDonnell said he would ‘take back a message to Parliament and my colleagues that we need to give you all the support we can’. Throughout his career, Mr McDonnell has frequently called for direct action to achieve political change: after this year’s Election, he claimed it was needed to ‘bring down the Government’.

Inquiries by this newspaper have revealed:

At the Lancashire camp, protest leaders include individuals convicted of both violent and sexual assault, and a man with robbery and battery convictions who has used social media to incite vigilante attacks against a paedophile;

At Kirby Misperton, the camp was co-founded by Stephen Peers, who was given a three-month jail sentence in 2014 for an assault on his wife and later jailed again for illegally filming court proceedings;

His co-founder Ian Crane is a conspiracy theorist who hosts weekly internet TV shows in which he proclaims terrorist outrages such as 9/11 and recent attacks in London were the work of the British and American governments;

Mr McDonnell and Ms Lucas were briefed about allegedly ‘oppressive’ policing in Lancashire by a man who insists he is a ‘Jedi Knight’. Although his real name is Daniel Nye, he will only answer to the name ‘Master Lion’;

Posts on a Facebook page by protesters in Lancashire say a woman there was taken to hospital after taking a Class A drug ‘cooked up’ on site by another resident, while in Yorkshire, posts contain references to an alleged sexual assault.

Fracking – a method of producing natural gas by fracturing rocks deep underground using water pumped under pressure – has not taken place in Britain since 2011, when a test at another site in Lancashire by gas exploration firm Cuadrilla caused two minor tremors.

It was not until this year, following years of planning inquiries and legal battles, that Cuadrilla began to drill again at Preston New Road, where it has permission to conduct limited test fracks. Only then will it be known whether the area contains gas in viable quantities.

Rival firm Third Energy will conduct similar tests at Kirby Misperton. At both sites, the planning process will have to start again before the drillers can move to commercial production.

By the summer of 2017, there were three separate camps at Preston New Road and two camps at Kirby Misperton. Some residents have been arrested up to nine times for taking part in direct action protests.

A favourite tactic is ‘locking on’ – two protesters lie on the tarmac outside a site entrance with an arm inside a plastic pipe, their wrists locked to a metal rod driven through it. The pipe is wrapped in layers of concrete, so cutting them free is extremely difficult.

Another method is ‘slow walking’ – creeping very slowly in front of a lorry headed for the site. Yet another is ‘lorry surfing’ – climbing on top of a truck and refusing to come down, rendering it immobile.

At Kirby Misperton in October, protesters managed to break into the drilling site, where they climbed the rig and let off flares.

More than 100 police officers have been needed on some days at both sites – requiring some to be drafted in from other parts of the country.

 Superintendent Richard Robertshaw, who is heading the police operation in Lancashire, said: ‘Lock-ons cause maximum disruption. They require teams of specially equipped and trained officers to cut the protesters out without injuring them and it can take hours.’

He said the protesters know that they will be arrested and convicted. But invariably they are charged with a minor offence for which they will usually be given a conditional discharge.

He added: ‘The level of crime is low, but the level of disruption is very high. The protesters will say their intention is to make the development of fracking so painful and expensive that Cuadrilla won’t want to stay in this market.’

The cost for local taxpayers is also high. In August, the Lancashire operation alone cost more than £1 million and the total for the year will top £3 million. In Yorkshire, where the protests started later, the cost will be a further £800,000.

Sometimes protesters post live video feeds on social media which make it clear some have behaved aggressively to police. Supt Robertshaw said: ‘Officers have been briefed to expect a high level of verbal abuse. We have tried to be as understanding as possible to them exercising their right to protest.’

Fracking opponents from the political mainstream – such as Mr McDonnell and Ms Lucas – have claimed police tactics are oppressive. But when Lancashire engineer Brent Crossley asked friends to sign a letter to the chief constable expressing support for police, he quickly gathered 350 signatures.

He said yesterday: ‘The protesters are incredibly antagonistic. If you criticise them on social media, you will be bombarded with threats and abuse. They cause chaos on the roads. They say fracking will affect local house prices but they’re affecting them far more. The camps have become a permanent feature. I don’t see how they get away with it.’

Around Kirby Misperton, Ryedale Against Antisocial Protesters started only a month ago but now has more than 800 members – including some who oppose fracking.

Resident Ruth Hardie said: ‘I’m not in favour of fracking but we’re surrounded by protesters. ‘It’s a beautiful village, with three roads in and out – and they control two of them.’

She revealed that last month, her daughter, 11, contracted appendicitis. She only just managed to get her to the GP for an emergency appointment where the doctor diagnosed her condition and sent her to hospital, because the protesters began a lock-on in the middle of the village. After the operation, they narrowly missed another lock-on, which would have forced the sick child to walk home. She said: ‘We’re moving because of the protesters. I don’t feel safe here any more.’

Last Thursday, Kirby Misperton protesters disrupted a Ryedale district council meeting, forcing it to be adjourned – the third time they have disrupted a local or county council meeting in the past month.

Janet Sanderson, a Conservative member of both bodies, said they were ‘interfering with the democratic process – and whether you’re for or against fracking, that is unacceptable’. She said she had been jostled by protesters when she tried to take her seat, and when one councillor had tried to restore order, they had ‘yelled abuse’.

Most of those convicted of offences arising from the protests do not have convictions for other types of crime. But this newspaper has established from official court records that some do. For example, Preston New Road regular Adam Loughlin, alias ‘Bibbs Bloc’, was convicted of a sexual assault and placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years in 2013. And last week, he boasted on Facebook of his ‘special’ advent calendar containing several varieties of super-strong cannabis.

Meanwhile, fellow protester Ben Deevoy – who has convictions for robbery and battery – was jailed last year by magistrates for incitement after posting a video on social media urging viewers to help him attack a man convicted of possessing indecent images of children.

Deevoy said on the video: ‘He’s a paedo and he’s walking the streets. These f****** mugs must be taken off our streets… let’s find him, because I’m going to put my nut on his head and my steel toe-capped boots in his b****. Get me his address please guys.’

After a month in prison, Deevoy won his appeal – a judge ruled she did not believe anyone would have helped him conduct the attack.

Later, Deevoy posted a video of himself intimidating staff at a Blackpool hardware store he claimed was linked to Cuadrilla.

Another person arrested at Preston New Road is Sarah Boyle. In 2016, she was given a suspended jail sentence for causing actual bodily harm. She lured another woman to a Fleetwood flat and, according to prosecutors, ‘tortured’ her, burning her face with a lit cigarette and causing further burns to her legs with a stun-gun.

Lancashire Labour MP Graham Jones told The Mail on Sunday it was time to crack down on unlawful protests: ‘I’m neither for nor against fracking. But it seems evident these protests have been hijacked by some unsavoury characters from outside Lancashire. They disrupt the lives of local people and, it would appear, are intent on provoking the police and wasting taxpayers’ money.’

A Third Energy spokesman said: ‘In recent weeks, we have seen a period of sustained illegal protest by a small group, many of whom do not live locally. The cost of policing has sky-rocketed, and the wellsite operators have also incurred significant security costs.’

Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan added: ‘People have a right to protest lawfully. But what we have seen over many months are disruptive, dangerous and unlawful direct actions that have, for the most part, been organised and conducted by a hardcore of professional out-of-town protesters.

‘Several of these individuals have criminal records for offences that have nothing to do with fracking or legitimate political dissent.’


Advanced Nuclear Finds a More Welcome Home in Canada

Canadian regulators announced that Terrestrial Energy has completed the initial phase of a design review for its molten-salt nuclear power plant, giving the Ontario-based company a small early lead in the race to commission the first commercial fourth-generation reactor in North America.

To be sure, it’s a very early step in what will be a long regulatory process, the first of three phases in just the “pre-licensing” review. All the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has really said is that the company has demonstrated it intends to comply with regulatory requirements, while noting that the company has a lot more to do to prove that its conceptual designs will operate safely in the real world.

It will be at least the later part of the next decade before any Terrestrial reactor will be up and running. But industry observers say the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s nod represents an important step toward building a next generation of safer nuclear plants that could be cheaper to build and operate, and would meet a broader range of market needs.

“It’s the biggest milestone since we formed the company, and an industry milestone as well,” says Simon Irish, chief executive of Terrestrial, which has selected the Canadian National Labs in Chalk River, Ontario, as the site of the first plant.

The news is also notable as one more example of another nation forging ahead on the molten-salt technologies first developed decades ago in the United States. China is pursuing an ambitious and accelerated thorium-fueled molten-salt reactor, as MIT Technology Review previously reported, and so is the Netherlands nuclear research center NRG (see “Fail-Safe Nuclear Power”).

Meanwhile, fourth-generation-reactor companies such as London-based Moltex Energy and Advanced Reactor Concepts of Delaware have also opted to pursue early regulatory approval in Canada.

There are certainly efforts under way in the United States to pursue molten salt and other advanced nuclear technologies, including projects at the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory and the university’s spinout Transatomic (see “Nuclear Energy Startup Transatomic Backtracks on Key Promises”). But so far, no known molten-salt projects have submitted a design certification application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (although NuScale is pursuing approval for a small modular reactor).

So why are things moving faster overseas?

While the U.S. nuclear review process is considered the “gold standard” on safety, some startups and researchers believe it’s not adequately accommodating of advanced technologies. A specific critique is that the commission doesn’t offer the early feedback that would let companies properly assess regulatory risk before investing hundreds of millions of dollars in further design and development.

The Canadian process is better defined and offers a series of earlier official reviews, says Ryan Fitzpatrick, deputy director of the clean-energy program at the think tank Third Way. The commission evaluates designs on the basis of broader safety principles rather than specific technological requirements, which offers greater flexibility for the varied set of emerging technologies, he says.

There have been some efforts to improve the U.S. review process. In March, the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee passed the bipartisan Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act, which would require the NRC to establish a regulatory framework for licensing advanced nuclear reactors. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, in recent public appearances, has also highlighted the importance of pushing forward nuclear technologies, particularly small modular reactors—marking a rare area where the Trump administration is actively promoting a source of carbon-free energy.

Terrestrial’s 190-megawatt integrated molten-salt reactor combines several promising advanced nuclear approaches. Using molten salts rather than water to dissipate heat from the fission process is considered inherently safer, because it allows the reactor to operate at ambient atmospheric pressure. This lowers containment costs and enables cooling even when the system loses power (see “MIT’s Nuclear Lab has an Unusual Plan to Jump-Start Advanced-Reactor Research”).

The IMSR is also a small modular reactor. That means the components can be mass-produced in factories and shipped to their final site, promising to lower construction costs and risks (see “Small Reactors Could Kick-Start the Stalled Nuclear Sector”).

Terrestrial is a technology developer and design vendor. It hopes to get its plans preapproved through regulatory agencies and license its technology to other companies that will construct and operate the plants.

CEO Irish says he’s confident the company will be able to address the areas of work highlighted in the review, improving predictions about the behavior of the reactor core and collecting additional data on safety margins and operating performance.

The company’s U.S. affiliate has also begun early regulatory discussions concerning an advanced small modular reactor at Idaho National Laboratory, but it doesn’t plan to submit a licensing application until late 2019.

Many energy experts say the world is going to need far more nuclear power to address the escalating threat of climate change, simply because it’s a carbon-free energy source that doesn’t face the intermittency limitations of renewables like solar and wind.

But the industry has languished amid widespread public safety concerns, massive project costs and risks, high-profile boondoggles, and challenging regulatory requirements (see “Meltdown of Toshiba’s Nuclear Business Dooms New Construction in the U.S.”). Nevertheless, hopes are growing that advanced reactors can overcome some of these issues, helping to restore momentum in the sector.

“Advanced reactors are definitely a big part of getting nuclear to meet its full potential and pull its weight in the climate fight,” Fitzpatrick says.




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


19 December, 2017

Unrestrained romanticism is not dead

The guff below could have been written by a Nazi writer.  Nazism also had a romanticized vision of a marvellous small-farmer past. Some people will never learn.

Their key paragraph below is this one:

"The industrial food chain is using at least 75 per cent of the world’s agricultural land and most of agriculture’s fossil fuel and freshwater resources to feed barely 30 per cent of the world’s population. Conversely, more than 500 million peasant farms around the world are using less than 25 per cent of the land – and almost no fossil fuels or chemicals – to feed 70 per cent of humanity."

It is one of the sillier attempts to lie with statistics. It makes no mention of HOW MUCH food different farming systems produce or how much effort goes into producing it.  It may be true that 25% of the land feeds 70% of the people but it does so only via back-breaking labor that leaves little time for anything else and in the end provides on a bare minimum of food most of the time. For the rest of the time it produces famine.  It is no model for any sane person.
I think that tells you how good the rest of their statistics below are.  It's just a prolonged fantasy

Industrial agriculture isn’t the efficient beast it’s made out to be. Peasant farming, not industrial food production, is the way to feed the world, argue Pat Mooney and Nnimmo Bassey

The solution for both climate and food sovereignty is to dismantle the global industrial agri-food system (which we call the ‘industrial food chain’) and for governments to give more space to the already growing and resilient ‘peasant food web’ – the interlinked network of small-scale farmers, livestock-keepers, pastoralists, hunters and gatherers, fishers and urban producers who, our research shows, already feed most of the world.

The industrial food chain is using at least 75 per cent of the world’s agricultural land and most of agriculture’s fossil fuel and freshwater resources to feed barely 30 per cent of the world’s population. Conversely, more than 500 million peasant farms around the world are using less than 25 per cent of the land – and almost no fossil fuels or chemicals – to feed 70 per cent of humanity.

Aside from burning vast quantities of fossil carbon, industry is also wasting money that could be directed to supporting equitable agroecological production while still lowering food prices for the world’s marginalized consumers.

The statistics are staggering. Consumers pay $7.5 trillion each year for industrially produced food. But between a third and half of this production is wasted along the way to the consumer or at the table: spoiled in the field or in transport, rejected from grocers because of blemishes, or left on the plate because of over-serving.

The total food overproduced each year is worth $3.8 trillion – a combination of $2.49 trillion worth of food waste and $1.26 trillion of over-consumption (see footnote 191 of the report). Burgeoning waists worldwide also have both human and economic costs.

When the wider environmental damages – including contaminated soils and water, greenhouse gas emissions – are added to the health and social impacts, the harm done by the industrial food chain is almost $5 trillion (see footnote 193). For every dollar consumers spent in supermarkets, health and environmental damages cost two dollars more.

Added to the amount spent by consumers, this makes the real cost of industrial food $12.4 trillion annually.

Policymakers negotiating the future of food and climate may wonder if it is possible to make such a dramatic change in our food production. Peasants may feed 70 per cent of the world’s population now but can they adapt quickly enough to climate change to feed us in 2100? Which system, the industrial food chain or the peasant food web, has the track record, innovative capacity, speed and flexibility needed to get us through the unparalleled threat of an unpredictable climate?

The answer is clear. Take experience: over the last century, the industrial food chain has not introduced a single new crop or livestock species to production but has cut the genetic diversity of our crops by 75 per cent, reduced the number of species by about one third, and reduced the nutritional value of our crops by up to 40 per cent. The peasant web has introduced 2.1 million new plant varieties where industrial agriculture has only introduced 100,000 over the same time frame.

The industrial food chain works with only 137 crop species and five main livestock species. Stunningly, 45 per cent of the industry’s research and development targets just one crop: maize. By contrast, the peasant web is breeding and growing 7,000 different crop species and 34 livestock species – like the alpaca, ñandu, and guinea pig.

Peasants also have the track record of dealing with new conditions quickly and effectively. Recent history is replete with evidence that peasant producers – before there were telegraphs or telephones or railways – have adapted new food species (through selective breeding) to an extraordinary range of different climatic conditions within the span of only a few human generations

The peasant web is breeding and growing 7,000 different crop species and 34 livestock species – like the alpaca, ñandu, and guinea pig

This process of seed and knowledge sharing from farmer to farmer is how maize spread across most of the regions of Africa and how sweet potatoes were planted everywhere in Papua New Guinea from mangrove swamps to mountain tops – all in less than a century – and how immigrants brought seeds from Europe that were growing across the Western Hemisphere within a generation.

When we compare the track record of the industrial food chain to the peasant food web we must conclude that our century-long experience with the chain shows that it is just too expensive, and it can’t scale up. Meanwhile, with almost no support from governments, the peasant food web is already feeding 70 per cent of us (see page 12) – and could do much more, while producing drastically less greenhouse gas emissions than industrial methods.

To be clear, ‘peasant farming as usual’ is not an option. Climate change will mean our over 10,000 years of agriculture has to deal with growing conditions that the world hasn’t seen for three million years.

There is no reason to be sanguine about the problems ahead.

Peasants can scale up if the industrial chain gets off their backs. Governments must recognize peasants’ rights to their land and seeds and support fair, peasant-led rural development and trade policies. We need to cut waste and shift our financial resources to strengthening the peasant food web and both tackling climate change and ensuring food sovereignty.


How One City Plans to Fight Climate Change on Its Own. With help from Nordic experts, a city in Northern England is moving toward creating the most energy-efficient homes on the planet

How amusing.  Past attempts at putting up highly "sustainable" buildings have all been disastrous -- with big cost overruns, leaking roofs, utilities that don't work etc.  I look forward to hearing the outcome of this project

The Scandinavian firm, White Arkitekter, is working in tandem with urban developers Citu to design a plan Leeds where the apartments and homes become among the most sustainable in the world.

The Scandinavian firm, White Arkitekter, is working in tandem with urban developers Citu to design a plan Leeds where the apartments and homes become among the most sustainable in the world.

While there’s a (mostly) global consensus on the need to address climate change at the state level, municipal solutions to improving energy efficiency seem to be governed not by orthodoxy but by experimentation.

To that end, one neighborhood in the northern English city of Leeds is moving toward a sustainable future with a little help from Nordic experts. Envisioned as a collaborative project between Sweden’s White Arkitekter and environmentally conscious U.K. development firm Citu, Leeds’s dedicated “Climate Innovation District” will repurpose an old industrial brownfield to create a green, open community centered around 500 of the most energy-efficient apartments and homes you’ll find anywhere on the planet.

White Arkitekter designed the mixed-use neighborhood with a Scandinavian love of efficiency in mind. All necessary services like schools, offices, and healthcare facilities will be located within easy walking or cycling distance from the more than 500 apartments and homes that will eventually be built on the site.

Their plan also calls for ample green and social spaces, making it easier for residents to interact and play, all while mitigating the air quality and urban heat island issues that plague stodgier city neighborhoods.

Built on the bones of apartment complexes created by White Arkitekter and local firm Ollier Smurthwaite Architects, the district’s one- to four-bedroom bedroom units will be outfitted by Citu with some of the most sustainable, carbon-neutral design elements in the world. Featuring rainwater collection, solar paneling, and green roofs on the outside as well as smart-home technology and heat recovery systems on the interior, it all “represent[s] a pioneering new approach to house building in this country, which is one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions,” according to a statement by Citu founder and managing director Chris Thompson.


How to Talk to a Science Denier without Arguing

In summary:  Don't mention any scientific facts.  That at least is what he describes himself below as doing.  That's quite a confession in its way

It’s the holiday season, which means plenty of opportunities for uncomfortable interactions with friends and family who are science deniers, from people who believe the moon landing was faked to those who believe vaccines cause autism or who think that humans did not cause significant global climate change. How can you deal with such science deniers effectively?

My close friend invited me to her house for Thanksgiving, where I sat across the table from her cousin Sam. Learning about my research on promoting truthfulness in our society, he proceeded to denounce what he called the “climate change hoax” as a vast attack by liberals on businesses. He told me how his dad lost his job at a factory that moved to Mexico, placing blame on government regulations—including pollution control—that made it too expensive for the plant to operate in the Columbus, Ohio, where Sam lives.

By the end of our conversation over that meal, he accepted the validity of the science on climate change. Sam is one of many people who updated their beliefs during conversations with me, including prominent ideologically-oriented talk show hosts. Recently, I published a book on this topic, The Truth-Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide. One of the strategies described there can be summarized under the acronym EGRIP (Emotions, Goals, Rapport, Information, Positive Reinforcement), which provides clear guidelines on how to deal with Sam and other people who deny the facts, in science and other life areas.

What Not To Do

Our typical response is to respond by presenting the facts and arguing about the quality of the evidence. However, studies suggest that doing so is generally not effective in changing people’s minds on charged issues. Research on the confirmation bias shows that we tend to look for and interpret information in ways that conforms to our beliefs. Our emotions are much more powerful than our reason, and we tend to go with our guts when perceiving new information.

Moreover, research on a phenomenon called the backfire effect shows when we are presented with facts that cause us to feel bad about our identity and worldview, we tend to dig in our heels and refuse to accept the facts. In some cases, presenting the facts actually backfires, causing people to develop a stronger attachment to their incorrect belief.

Don’t Argue, EGRIP Instead

If someone denies clear facts, you can safely assume that it’s their emotions that are leading them away from reality. While gut reactions can be helpful, they can also lead us astray in systematic and predictable ways. We need to deploy the skill of empathy, meaning understanding other people’s emotions, to determine what emotional blocks might cause them to stick their heads into the sand of reality.

In Sam’s case, it was relatively easy to figure out the emotions at play through active listening: anxiety about job security, compounded by his dad’s experience. I confirmed my suspicions by using curiosity to question Sam—who was in his junior year in college—about whether he was concerned that government protections would inhibit his ability to find a job, and he answered “you’re damn right I’m worried about that.” You will have to figure out based on the context of each individual situation the relevant emotions at play.

Next, establish shared goals for both of you, crucial for effective knowledge sharing. With Sam, I talked about how we both want people to secure jobs in the current uncertain economic environment, and he strongly agreed. I also said how we both want him and his friends and family—who were all around us at the Thanksgiving dinner table—to stay healthy, and he agreed as well.

Third, build rapport. Using the empathetic listening you did previously (a vital skill in promoting trusting relationships), echo their emotions and show you understand how they feel. In the case of Sam, I told him I understood his feelings of worry and anger. I also told him I was worried about his health and the health of other students, due to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by pollution.

Finally, I added that we should always orient toward the facts, wherever they may lead, and added that I—along with thousands of other citizens—took the Pro-Truth Pledge as a public signal of commitment to sharing accurate information, and welcomed him to hold me accountable. He appreciated that opportunity, and it built my credibility in his eyes.

Fourth, move on to sharing information. Here is where you can give the facts that you held back in the beginning. Since Sam’s concerns had to do with economic issues, I focused on the money rather than the science. I talked to him about how while I did not know the specifics of his dad’s situation, I could truthfully state that the government sometimes makes unwise policies that result in harmful outcomes.

Next, I pointed out to him how the number of clean energy jobs in Ohio is growing, and much quicker than overall job growth; given bipartisan support, this trend will likely continue. Then, I highlighted how since manufacturing jobs like the one his dad had aren’t coming back, he could secure a good financial future for himself in the green energy field after college.

Likewise, he would also help protect his health and the health of his friends and family around the dinner table. As a bonus, he wouldn’t have to deny scientific studies. After all, as I told him, the scientists are simply finding data, and it’s government officials and business leaders who decide what to do with it.

The key here is to show your conversation partner, without arousing a defensive or aggressive response, how their current truth denialism will lead to them undermining in the long term the shared goals we established earlier, a research-driven approach to addressing thinking errors.

Sam was surprised and moved by this information. He agreed that green energy might well be a good future for him. He confessed he was feeling mental strain due to denying scientific findings, and was relieved to see that believing in science did not have to mean he would not find a job.

I offered positive reinforcement for his orientation toward the facts, praising his ability to update his beliefs. Positive reinforcement is very valuable as a research-based tactic of encouraging people to change their identity and sense of self-worth to align with truthfulness through associating positive emotions with doing so.

Think of how much better your holiday dinner could go if you use EGRIP instead of arguing!


Global Warming: Fake News from the Start

President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change because it is a bad deal for America. He could have made the decision simply because the science is false, but most of the public have been brainwashed into believing it is correct and wouldn’t understand the reason.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and indeed the leaders of many western democracies, though thankfully not the U.S., support the Agreement and are completely unaware of the gross deficiencies in the science. If they did, they wouldn’t be forcing a carbon dioxide (CO2) tax, on their citizens.

Trudeau and other leaders show how little they know, or how little they assume the public know, by calling it a ‘carbon tax.’ But CO2 is a gas, while carbon is a solid. By calling the gas carbon, Trudeau and others encourage people to think of it as something ‘dirty’, like graphite or soot, which really are carbon. Calling CO2 by its proper name would help the public remember that it is actually an invisible, odorless gas essential to plant photosynthesis.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is arguably the most misinformed of the lot, saying in a recent interview, for example, that “Polluters should pay.” She apparently does not know that CO2 is not a pollutant.

And, like many of her political peers, McKenna dismisses credentialed PhD scientists who disagree with her government’s approach, labelling them “deniers.” She does not seem to understand that questioning scientific hypotheses, even scientific theories, is what all scientists should do. That is why the official motto of the Royal Society is “Nullius in verba,” Latin for “Take nobody's word for it.” Ironically, the Society rarely practices this approach when it comes to climate change.

Mistakes such as those made by McKenna are not surprising considering that the entire claim of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) was built on falsehoods and spread with fake news.

The plot to deceive the world about human-caused global warming gathered momentum following creation of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). After spending five days at the U.N. with Maurice Strong, the first executive director of UNEP, Hamilton Spectator investigative reporter Elaine Dewar concluded the overarching objective of the IPCC was political. “Strong was using the U.N. as a platform to sell a global environment crisis and the global governance agenda,” wrote Dewar.

The political agenda required ‘credibility’ to achieve the deception. It also required some fake news for momentum. Ideally, this would involve testimony from a scientist before a legislative committee.

U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO) was fully committed to the political agenda and the deception as he explained in a 1993 comment, “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing…”

In 1988 Wirth was in a position to jump start the climate alarm. He worked with colleagues on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to organize a June 23, 1988 hearing where Dr. James Hansen, then the head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), was to testify. Wirth explained in a 2007 interview with PBS Frontline:

“We knew there was this scientist at NASA, you know, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So, we called him up and asked him if he would testify.”

Hansen did not disappoint. The New York Times reported on June 23, 1988:

“Today Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere.”

Specifically, Hansen told the committee,

"Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming...It is already happening now"

Hansen also testified:

"The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now...We already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important."

Dr. John S. Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor at NASA, wrote to the Senate Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA’s official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen thus embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claims of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Hansen never abandoned his single-minded, unsubstantiated claim that CO2 from human activities caused dangerous global warming. He defied the Hatch Act that limits bureaucratic political actions, and, in 2011, was even arrested in a protest at the White House against the Keystone XL pipeline, at least his third such arrest to that point. 

Wirth, who presided at the hearing, was pre-disposed to believe Hansen and told the committee:

''As I read it, the scientific evidence is compelling: the global climate is changing as the earth's atmosphere gets warmer. Now, the Congress must begin to consider how we are going to slow or halt that warming trend and how we are going to cope with the changes that may already be inevitable.”

So, like Trudeau and other leaders duped by the climate scare, Wirth has either not read or not understood the science. In fact, an increasing number of climate scientists (including Dr. Ball) now conclude that there is no empirical evidence of human-caused global warming; there are only computer model speculations that humans are causing it and every forecast made using these models since 1990 has been wrong.

More than any other event, that single hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee publicly initiated the climate scare, the biggest deception in history. It created an unholy alliance between a bureaucrat and a politician, that was bolstered by the U.N. and the popular press leading to the hoax being accepted in governments, industry boardrooms, schools, and churches across the world.

Trump must now end America’s participation in the fake science and the fake news of man-made global warming. To do this, he must withdraw the U.S. from further involvement with all U.N. global warming programs, especially the IPCC as well as the agency that now directs it—the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Only then will the U.S. have a chance to fully develop its hydrocarbon resources to achieve the president’s goal of global energy dominance.


Here's How Many People Have Left the EPA Since Scott Pruitt Took Over

The Environmental Protection Agency has shrunk considerably since Scott Pruitt took over as administrator. In fact, the agency is back to President Reagan-era staff levels.

Over 700 EPA personnel have either retired, quit, or taken voluntary buyouts since Pruitt took over, Think Progress found after combing through federal employment statistics. Some are quitting in "disgust."

“There has been a drop of employees of 770 between April and December. While several hundred of those are buyouts, the rest of those are either people that are retiring or quitting in disgust,” Kyla Bennett, director of New England Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), told ThinkProgress. “Is that number higher than it would normally be? I think it is.”

Liberals were outraged over Pruitt's nomination last year, labeling him a "climate skeptic" and criticizing his ties to the fossil fuel industry.




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


18 December, 2017

A mechanical engineer tries to use commonsense to discredit  climate skepticism

His name is Rich Brager.  His effort is below and shows how shallow his understanding of the issues is.

My first smile was his credulous belief that scientific fraud is "pretty rare".  I wonder how he explains that in both psychology and medicine up to two thirds of all findings have recently been found to be unreplicable?  The level of fraud may vary but its frequency shows that treating scientists as an authority is naive.  The only authority is the facts.

And his idea of how scientists work is also idealized.  He says:

"They learn by failure. They formulate new ideas based on their previous test results. They hone and fine tune their ideas until they can achieve success"

But Warmists don't do that. They have a theory they stick to come hell or high water.  Take their basic theory that increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 lead to increasing global temperatures.  So from 1945 t0 1975 when CO2 levels rose strongly, global temperatures rose strongly too.  Right?  But they didn't.  They were effectively static for all of those 30 years.  Some people call it the "long hiatus".  So how do warmists explain that stark contradiction of their theory?  They don't.  They just mumble "special factors" and go on as if nothing to disturb their theory had happened.

Mr Brager goes on to compare the science that goes into his beloved motor cars with climate science and says that because motor cars work well, climate science must be right too.  That is a rather large non-sequitur for starters but its basic error is to assume that climate scientists proceed the way other scientists do.  They don't.  I have just pointed out an example of that but let me give another one:

It is a normal scientific courtesy for scientists to make their raw data available to other scientists so other scientists can re-analyse it and (hopefully) show that the analyses done by the original author were correct and adequate.  New analyses could even reveal new insights not picked up by the original author.

But Warmists NEVER do that. They refuse point blank to make their data available to others.  That immediately evokes supicion that their data may not show what they say it shows. And on one occasion when some very important data was left lying around where skeptics could access and analyse it, the whole "hockeystick" edifice built on it collapsed.  They have good reasons to hide their data.

Mr Brager clearly needs to do some reading.  He could start by googling "unreplicable findings"

Science deniers seem to be everywhere. You can read about them in the papers virtually every day. They are in the news all the time. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has assigned a disproportionate number of jobs requiring scientific knowledge to science deniers. Very sad, very dangerous.

What are they denying? The topics include climate change, evolution, vaccination as well as a number of other topics. So why are the deniers deniers? Of course, there is no single reason. They often cite instances where scientists were fraudulent with their scientific information. Since scientists are also human, this does happen sometimes but fortunately, it is pretty rare.

Sometimes they say that the scientists have just made errors in their scientific analysis. This can also happen, but many non-scientists just don’t really understand how science works. Scientists learn by pushing the envelope of knowledge and by testing their ideas. They learn by failure. They formulate new ideas based on their previous test results. They hone and fine tune their ideas until they can achieve success.

I think many science deniers are very selective in their denials, almost hypocritical. They agree with and love science every time they go to their garage and start their modern car. The science that goes into designing and manufacturing a modern car is borderline unbelievable. You name it, it is there: material science, chemistry, thermodynamics, electronics, robotics, anatomy (think driving position, location of controls), physics, etc., etc. And they all work together so seamlessly that you don’t give it another thought while you commute to work.

And you science deniers could care less about the science that goes into your cell phones, GPS’s and microwave ovens. They all work “like magic”, but they are not magic. They are science at work. And work they do.

So do scientists of different stripes (physicists, chemists, weather scientists, biologists, etc.) go about their work in completely different ways?

Although their fields of study may differ wildly, their scientific methods are remarkably the same. They design their tests, gather their data, review their data, rerun tests as necessary, use statistical methods in analyzing their data, search for similar research by others, present their finding to other experts. Final reports are peer reviewed and critiqued. New and amazing findings are made.

So let’s pick on climate change deniers for a second. Do you think climate scientists are dumber than automotive scientists? Do you think their techniques are inferior to cell phone scientists? Or is your own understanding of climate science just not as good as your understanding of how your cell phone works? Or just because your political party needs to support big energy, climate change shouldn’t be real? Or what? Please help me understand.

So you deniers, make sure you have some real good scientific knowledge before you deny. Think about what Isaac Asimov (scientist and science fiction writer) said about anti-intellectualism. He stated that anti-intellectualism is “nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

It is not.


Comment from a reader: This has got to be one of the screwiest posts that I have every read ....and to think it was published by a Mechanical Engineer.

He truly misses a single most important point....the people promoting man-made Global warming have not performed a single scientific experiment that demonstrates that CO2 will cause the temperature of the atmosphere to rise and if one should take a look at the last 50 years a true scientist would conclude that CO2 either has little or no effect. 

All that I have seen is the pointing at all kinds of false findings and claiming these to be evidence of global warming.....rising sea levels, glaciers melting, loss of polar ice, polar bear demise, more violent storms, droughts, crop failure, insect migration, disease, correlation of temperature to CO2 concentrations, and on and on. 

Any scientist would take a step back at the failure of any of these prediction to come true.

Germany To Open Another New Coal Power Plant

German utility Uniper will start up its Datteln IV hard-coal fired power station in the fourth quarter of 2018, it said in slides for an analyst and investor call on Thursday, having previously planned to start it in the first half 2018.

The 1,050 megawatts plant in western Germany has been held up for years by intense legal battles with environmentalists as Germany seeks to move away from coal-fired electricity long-term.


Revisiting the EPA Endangerment finding

Obama’s EPA used semantic tricks to avoid rigorous scientific evaluation. Is Trump’s EPA more honest?   
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is mulling over how, or whether, to respond to demands from climate skeptics that he reexamine the science that obligates the EPA to issue costly carbon-emission regulations. While he has recently acknowledged that agency staff short-circuited the science review early in the regulatory process, he may not realize that the EPA inspector general’s office flagged this problem years ago, and the agency staff blew him off by means of a preposterous legal fiction that has long been in need of correction

    In 2009 the EPA issued the Endangerment Finding, which created a statutory obligation to regulate carbon emissions. In the lead-up to this decision the EPA had published its Technical Support Document. Numerous petitions for reconsideration were subsequently filed with the administrator citing evidence of bias and cherry-picking in this report, but all of them fell on deaf ears

    In April 2010, Senator James Inhofe (R., Okla.) asked the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General to review the adequacy of the peer-review process behind the Technical Support Document. The EPA was not happy with what he unearthed

    It turns out that the federal government has rules in place governing how the scientific basis for regulations should be reviewed. Guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget issued under the Information Quality Act impose varying requirements depending on the uses to which a scientific assessment will be put. The most rigorous process is for so-called Highly Influential Scientific Assessments (HISA). These are scientific assessments that will, among other things, lead to rules that have an annual economic impact exceeding $500 million.

    The inspector general issued a lengthy report in 2011 concluding (pp. 15–22) that the EPA’s science assessment for the Endangerment Finding was highly influential, but the peer-review process fell short of the required standard. It even violated internal EPA guidelines, by failing to publicly report the review results and cutting corners in ways that potentially hindered the work of reviewers.

    The EPA argued back, rather brazenly, that their report was not an assessment at all, merely a summary of previous findings by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Climate Assessment, and other reports, and these documents — not any original research by the EPA — underpinned the Endangerment Finding.

    The inspector general rejected this argument for several reasons. First, the EPA study clearly was an assessment, since it selected certain lines of evidence for emphasis or exclusion and used data not found in the underlying reports. Second, the guidelines do not allow an agency such as the EPA to rely on peer reviews conducted by outside groups such as the IPCC or the National Climate Assessment team. Third, the inspector general noted (p. 53) numerous occasions when the EPA cited the Technical Support Document as the basis of its Endangerment Finding

    The EPA then argued that even if it was an assessment, it was not “highly influential.” Since the Endangerment Finding was being issued on a “stand-alone” basis with no specific regulations attached, the investigation ended without resolution.

    Thereafter the EPA proceeded to issue rules like the Clean Power Plan with impacts far exceeding $500 million annually. By declining to designate its science assessment as highly influential, the EPA skirted the need to conduct the required peer review, but in so doing it thwarted the intent of the statutory guidelines and undermined the ethical basis of its actions.

    While the courts may not demand that this situation be rectified, Pruitt himself should. Administrative honesty demands it, especially since the determination has large potential economic ramifications. Specifically Pruitt needs to declare that the Technical Support Document was a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment that should have been reviewed as such in the first place, and he should see to it that such a review now takes place

    While climate activists may object, they have also spent years insisting that the science is settled, so if they are right, they have no reason to worry about the outcome. And if they are unhappy that this might delay the next round of rule-making, they should direct their ire at Pruitt’s predecessor, who ought to have undertaken the review back in 2011 rather than playing semantic games to justify evading statutory peer-review requirements

    Regardless of Pruitt’s views on climate science, he should agree that the regulatory process needs to be honest and procedurally sound. This alone gives him sufficient grounds to initiate the review that was supposed to have been done years ago.


The Renewable Fuel Standard is broken beyond repair

The EPA recently served up its annual reminder of an energy policy we would be thankful to see chucked out with the spoiled leftovers.

The Nov. 30 release of the 2018 biofuels quotas under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) provides an opportunity to examine the mandate’s failures.

The RFS entered our political discourse during the George W. Bush presidency. American petroleum production was in decline, gas prices were climbing and Al Gore was clogging the airwaves to promote his film, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

First introduced by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and later entrenched by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the RFS mandated that by 2022 36 billion gallons of biofuel be produced nationwide and imposed upon fuel refiners a minimum required volume of biofuel — mostly corn ethanol — to be blended into their products. This maze of regulations and directives was crafted with the nominal purposes of disentangling our economy from the volatile Middle East petrostates and weaning us off of greenhouse gas-emitting fuels.

Now, 10 years later our dependence on foreign oil has been thoroughly mitigated — but the RFS doesn’t deserve the credit. Compelled by the high gas prices of the 2000s, American energy producers deployed techniques like hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling to tap enormous stores of oil and natural gas in states as diverse as Pennsylvania, Texas and North Dakota. Prices plummeted and the global market has been so upended that the Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects America will soon be a net energy exporter.

Advocacy for biofuel mandates has persisted despite the sea change in global energy production. The fallback argument is that biofuel is a smarter environmental choice than traditional gasoline because upon burning it emits a lesser volume of greenhouse gases. But even if we grant that an emissions reduction is a laudable goal, this argument doesn’t pass muster. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “available evidence suggests that replacing gasoline with corn ethanol has only limited potential for reducing emissions (and some studies indicate that it could increase emissions).”

Though greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol itself are indeed lower than those from gasoline, that doesn’t tell the whole story. What’s missing is an account of the environmental costs of ethanol’s production.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “(S)ince for some biofuels, indirect emissions — including from land use change — can lead to greater total emissions than when using petroleum products, policy support needs to be considered on a case by case basis.” As the IPCC suggests, ethanol isn’t an obvious emissions winner. Even the Sierra Club has called the biofuel mandate “unsustainable,” describing it as “unconscionable that the EPA continues to turn a blind eye to this burgeoning environmental crisis.”

With both the energy independence and emissions arguments proven untenable, what motivation remains for RFS advocates?

By pulling back the husk, we see that the RFS’s staunchest supporters tend to hail from corn-producing states like Nebraska and Iowa. Corn growers in America’s heartland have much to gain from the increased demand that the RFS creates. The rest of us, on the other hand, hardly give it a second thought. Ethanol’s enduring presence on our energy landscape is a classic example of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. But across the country the RFS burdens each of us in subtle ways.

One example is through taxpayer-funded grants for ethanol infrastructure. Ethanol’s corrosiveness whittles away at gasoline holding tanks and, to cushion the fuel suppliers who would otherwise bear the cost, the Department of Energy doles out cash to upgrade their equipment.

Another unseen burden is that ethanol is a less efficient fuel than traditional gasoline, meaning we can’t make it as far per gallon. According to the EIA, “In general, vehicle fuel economy may decrease by about 3 percent when using E10 relative to gasoline that does not contain fuel ethanol.” This inefficiency means we have to fill up more often and, ultimately, spend more at the pump.

Despite the clear drawbacks of the RFS, the deep-pocketed corn ethanol lobby continues to influence policy in Washington, as the recent EPA announcement shows. Government incursions into energy markets often yield nonsensical results, and the RFS is a prime example. This mandate is costly, unnecessary and corrupt. After more than a decade of RFS distortion, it’s time for us to finally say “no thanks.”


Trump Environmental Nominee Fires Back At Dems Accusing Her Of Plagiarism

Kathleen Hartnett White, nominee to head the White House’s environmental office, has fired back at Democratic lawmakers accusing her of plagiarizing written responses to confirmation questions.

“[I]t should not be a surprise that I share the views of my fellow nominees on a number of issues. In preparing my responses, I sought to reiterate positions already stated that are reflective of my own,” White wrote in response to Senate Democrats.

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works accused White of plagiarizing answers in written responses from “received from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum,” they wrote on Tuesday.

Democrats claim to have found 18 instances White “cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees,” and asked her to respond. President Donald Trump nominated White to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

She fired back, saying two Obama administration officials also used the same verbatim answers to written questions during the confirmation process.

“My understanding is that this is not unusual and was the case for CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in responses provided to you and other senators in their confirmation proceedings,” White wrote in her response letter, a copy of which was obtained by Axios.

Lisa Jackson headed EPA from 2009 to 2013, when she resigned amid uproar over her use of a secret email account. Nancy Sutley headed CEQ from 2009 to 2014. After stepping down, she became chief sustainability office at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Nominees often work with the White House and other federal officials to answer questions in a way that reflects the administration’s policies. It’s not surprising parts of answers are shared between nominees.

Democrats oppose White’s nomination on the grounds she’s a global warming skeptic who worked at a conservative think tank that’s taken money from the fossil fuels industry. Lawmakers grilled White during a November confirmation hearing.

White is an unabashed proponent of fossil fuels, and has contested the notion that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” which the Obama EPA determined in 2009. Carbon dioxide is essential to plant life and has actually greened much of the world, she’s argued.




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


17 December, 2017

France’s Macron leads the climate charge, with the US absent

The United States may have withdrawn from the Paris climate change accord, but on Tuesday dozens of world leaders and philanthropists met to find solutions to the swiftly warming planet — and send a message of resolve to the White House.

More symbolic than policy-driven, Tuesday’s summit comes two years after the landmark ‘‘COP21’’ conference in Paris, where 196 participating countries — including the United States — vowed to keep this century’s global temperature increase below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In one of the most controversial moments of his young presidency, President Trump announced in June that the United States would leave the Paris accord.

The United States is now the only nation on Earth to have rejected the global pact.

Although the rest of the world — and much of the United States — has continued working to meet the Paris commitments, French President Emmanuel Macron called Trump’s decision ‘‘very bad news’’ and warned against complacency. In opening remarks Tuesday, he minced no words. ‘‘We’re losing the battle,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re not moving quickly enough. We all need to act.’’

The One Planet Summit focused on practical ways to continue meeting climate goals without the participation of the US government. The main emphasis was private financing for climate initiatives in the United States and elsewhere. A major goal of the summit was to encourage private investors to fill the annual gap of $210 billion needed to meet the requirements of the Paris agreement.

Toward that end, the summit did secure some major commitments. The Gates Foundation, for instance, said Tuesday that it would pledge $300 million over the next three years to support farmers in Africa and Asia struggling with the effects of climate change: diminished soil fertility, extreme weather, and crop pests, among others. Earlier this year, the foundation had pledged a separate $300 million to benefit public health and poverty reduction programs in Tanzania.

AXA, the world’s third-largest insurance company, announced further reductions of coal investments by an additional $2.8 billion. And the World Bank — to meet its Paris commitments faster — said it would stop financing projects involving upstream oil and gas beginning in 2019. Other US philanthropic organizations also supported the cause. On Monday, the Hewlett Foundation pledged $600 million over five years to nonprofits working on climate change issues.

On the US front, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire and leading climate change advocate, vowed to persuade more companies to change their practices. Bloomberg emphasized the business incentives behind addressing climate change. ‘‘Clean energy is now cheaper than coal, energy efficiency saves money and improves your bottom line, and talented people want to work for companies that care about the planet,’’ he said.

The biggest challenge to persuading more companies to go green, Bloomberg added, is that ‘‘reliable data doesn’t exist.’’ To solve that problem, he has chaired the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, an organization that seeks to communicate financial risk related to climate change.

Since his election, climate change has been among Macron’s signature issues. When Trump said the United States would drop out of the Paris accord, Macron immediately launched a campaign called ‘‘Make Our Planet Great Again,’’ a riff on Trump’s campaign slogan. As part of that campaign, Macron offered research grants for 18 foreign scientists studying climate change to pursue their work in France. On Monday, he revealed the winners, including 13 Americans.

For political analysts, Tuesday’s summit provided further evidence of Macron’s desire to assert France as a principal mediator in virtually every important global deliberation, especially on climate change.

‘‘There is an element of prestige here, because France and President Macron want to play a leading role in the global climate governance, and I think there are just two leaders who are credible there: Macron and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping,’’ said Marc Antoine Eyl-Mazzega, director of the Center for Energy at the French Institute for International Relations, a Paris think tank.

Xi — who was not in attendance at Macron’s second Paris summit, although Chinese representatives were — also has been a supporter of the Paris agreement, even if China remains the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on Earth.

‘‘Some countries have become more inward-looking and less willing to take part in international cooperation, and the spillovers of their policy adjustments are deepening,’’ Xi said in September, stopping short of mentioning the United States by name.

But some see Chinese emissions as the potential thorn in Macron’s plans. ‘‘The exit of the US from climate credibility leaves a gap. The US has traditionally played the role of bad cop with China, forcing them to reduce their emissions. Now that role may fall to Macron,’’ said Paul Bledsoe, a former Clinton White House climate adviser, now with the Progressive Policy Institute.

‘‘I think Macron recognizes the urgency of climate action in a way that maybe older generations don’t, but he’s got to realize that global emissions can’t peak until Chinese emissions do. And Chinese emissions are still growing.’’


GOP Tax Bills Aim to Derail the Green-Power Gravy Train

Commentators, as well as congressional Democrats, have criticized the Republican tax bill for being rushed through the House and Senate without significant debate.

While that complaint — plus the fact that, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent analysis, the bill could increase the federal deficit by $1 trillion or more — has merit, the new tax bill should bring some much-needed sanity to federal energy policy, and in particular to the lavish subsidies being given to wind and solar energy combined.

Both the House and Senate bills aim to slash the subsidies being given to wind and solar.

While the final details of the tax overhaul must be hammered out in conference committee, both the House and Senate bills aim to slash the subsidies being given to wind and solar. Those tax giveaways are distorting wholesale electricity markets and costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

In January, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that federal subsidies for wind energy will cost the federal treasury $23.7 billion between 2016 and 2020. Solar subsidies will cost $12.3 billion over that same time period.

Not only is that a lot of money, it’s also far more generous, on an energy-equivalent basis, than what the federal government provides to the hydrocarbon and nuclear sectors. In May, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service issued a report on energy-related tax rules. It found that in 2016, solar and wind energy got more federal taxpayer cash ($6 billion) than the oil, coal and natural-gas sectors combined ($5.2 billion). Solar and wind got more cash despite the fact that coal, oil and gas produced 24 times as much energy last year as wind and solar.

The story is even more appalling when it comes to nuclear energy. Again, according to the Congressional Research Service, on an energy-equivalent basis, solar energy got 182 times as much in federal subsidies last year as the nuclear sector — and wind energy got 68 times more.

Those are staggering figures, particularly given the fact that the domestic nuclear sector — which helps reduce carbon-dioxide emissions — is in a full-blown crisis, with numerous reactors being forced to shut down in recent years and with many more, including the Indian Point reactors in Westchester County, likely to be prematurely shuttered.

The caterwauling from the rent seekers can be heard from Montauk to Jerry Brown’s kitchen in Sacramento.

A spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association told The New York Times that “even the threat of this bill is having a chilling effect” on new wind installations. The lobby group for Big Wind claims that “50,000 US jobs” are at stake.

But recall that wind subsidies will cost the federal treasury $23.7 billion between 2016 and 2020. Thus, each wind-related job costs taxpayers about $474,000. That’s an expensive gig, especially when you consider that the median household income in the United States last year was about $57,600.

Another good thing about the looming tax changes: The House version of the bill scraps the federal credit for electric vehicles. Current federal policy provides a subsidy of up to $7,500 to EV buyers. Who buys those cars? Rich people. A 2013 analysis found that Tesla buyers have an average household income of $293,000.

For years, renewable-energy advocates have been telling us that wind and solar are getting cheaper. We’re hearing the same about electric vehicles. But as those industries see their gravy train derailed, we’ll soon find out just how competitive they really are.


Congress still needed to bolster Trump effort to end Obama’s war on coal

“Congress has abandoned much of its responsibility to legislate and has instead given unelected regulators extraordinary power to control the lives of others.”

That was President Donald Trump on Dec. 14 letting the American people know specifically why his administration has had to spend much of its first year in office taking apart the administrative state in Washington, D.C., where it is bureaucrats who make law, not Congress. “This excessive regulation does not just threaten our economy, it threatens our entire constitutional system,” Trump added. He’s right.

And so far, in 2017, the Trump administration has made more than good on its promise to begin rolling back onerous regulations.

For example, on October 10, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its filing of a proposed rulemaking to rescind the Clean Power Plan (CPP), including the existing power plant regulations that were implemented during the Obama administration. Specifically, the EPA stated, “After reviewing the CPP, EPA has proposed to determine that the Obama-era regulation exceeds the Agency’s statutory authority.” The rulemaking appeared in the Federal Register on October 16.

So far, in February 2016 the Supreme Court has granted a stay on the execution of the Clean Power Plan pending hearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia of State of West Virginia, et al. v. EPA. The case remains up in the air, but an adverse outcome could undermine the key underpinning of the agency’s regulatory action. Americans for Limited Government supports this litigation and the EPA’s action and believes that the carbon endangerment finding and the Clean Power Plan both exceeded the statutory limits of the Clean Air Act.  The greatest danger to the agency proposal, however, remains legal challenges that will ultimately test this contention.

To bolster these regulatory and legal efforts, the EPA and President Donald Trump should support additional legislation by Congress to either defund or amend the Clean Air Act to prohibit implementation of the Clean Power Plan. Appropriate vehicles for such a rider would be the upcoming omnibus spending bill, the debt ceiling, the 2019 budget or the September continuing resolution. With narrow majorities in the House and Senate by Republicans, 2018 might be the last chance for legislative action on this front.

Permanent prohibition and rescission of the Clean Power Plan — and any similar rulemaking that would seek to restrict carbon emissions — will give the electric industry the certainty it needs to build new coal-powered plants and to reopen recent closures. It will guarantee that when the EPA completes its action, it is not overturned. This in turn will help bolster capacity on the U.S. electric grid so that when the U.S. economy starts booming under the Trump administration, we have enough power to sustain it.

Regulations are forever?

The crux of the problem for the EPA or any other agency that wishes to end a regulation is that in 1983, the Supreme Court unanimously decided in Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association v. State Farm Mutual an agency must supply a reasoned analysis. Thus, it is more difficult to eliminate an existing regulation than it is to change it.

Thus, every regulatory rescission is subject to judicial review to determine not only whether it was rational based on the statutory scheme, but to prove that the original regulation exceeded the statute.

Even when there is no basis in law, as in Massachusetts v. EPA, in 2007 the Supreme Court ruled carbon dioxide could be regulated under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

When the challenges come, as surely they will, the assumption courts will make is that the Clean Power Plan was properly enacted and based on the statutory scheme, leaving it to the Trump administration to prove otherwise. That could be a losing battle. But it need not be.

The Trump administration might be better served if Congress were to act to prohibit the use of funds to implement the Clean Power Plan and the carbon endangerment finding as well. Then when the regulatory rescissions come, the EPA could simply say it lacks funds to enforce the regulations.

Executive action alone is no silver bullet. Much depends presently on whether Justice Anthony Kennedy wishes to affirm his ruling Massachusetts v. EPA — which led directly to the carbon endangerment finding by the EPA in 2009 — by upholding the Clean Power Plan.

President Trump and Congress need to be smarter this time — and defund regulations via Congressional action. Then there will be no question that the Clean Power Plan exceeds statutory authority.

Permanently ending the Clean Power Plan will bolster the U.S. electric grid

If electricity consumption is supposed to be a reliable proxy for economic growth, the only conclusion one can come to is that the U.S. economy has not grown in any meaningful sense since 2007. That year, the U.S. consumed about 3.89 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity. It dipped to a low of 3.72 trillion kilowatt hours in 2009 after the financial crisis and now stands at 3.85 trillion kilowatt hours in 2016, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The U.S. is using no more electricity now than in 2007, even though the working age population has expanded by more than 16 million during that time.

After 2000 and China’s introduction to World Trade Organization, permanent normal trade relations, offshoring and Kyoto, and then the financial crisis and Obama administration’s war on coal, U.S. industrial use of the grid was flat and then dropping. 2016 actually marked a 25-year low, with industrial usage collapsing, from 1.03 trillion kWh in 2007 to 936 billion kWh in 2016, a drop of 91 billion kWh. Residential and commercial use of the grid kept rising.

Overall, had industrial, residential and commercial electrical use continued growing at the same rate as in the 1990s, national usage as measured as the percent of summer capacity megawatts used at peak demand would be nearing 100 percent of grid production now, according to an Americans for Limited Government study of data from the North American Electric Reliability Council and the Energy Information Agency. Today it stands at about 75 percent.

Grid capacity has been further harmed by former President Barack Obama’s war on coal. Coal as a percentage of net electricity generation has declined from 49 percent in 2007 to 30 percent in 2016, behind natural gas at 34 percent, according to the Energy Information Agency (EIA). Although nuclear and coal are by far the most efficient sources of electricity, they are making up a smaller part of the pie.

The fact the grid has not been maxed out is a testament to the offshoring of industrial capacity and the lack of robust economic growth since 2005. While undoubtedly the electric industry would move to meet additional demand as it has in the past, without new access to coal and nuclear power, that could become more difficult. It should not be left to chance.

That is why to help bolster capacity on the U.S. electric grid so that it is prepared when the U.S. economy starts booming under the Trump administration, the Clean Power Plan must be permanently repealed by Congress.

Had the economy been growing robustly during the Obama administration, grid capacity would have been tested.

To the extent that Republicans might not be in possession of Congressional majorities after 2018, and that otherwise the EPA’s action depends on uncertain affirmation by the Supreme Court and specifically Justice Anthony Kennedy, now is the time to pursue a legislative option while it remains open. There may not be a better chance to do this.

The Congress has numerous vehicles at its disposal to attempt to put a rider on legislation: the upcoming omnibus spending bill, the debt ceiling, the 2019 budget or the September continuing resolution. The risk is not by attempting to use a legislative vehicle, it is in waiting to see what happens without one.


Trump Admin To Remove Climate Change From List Of National Security Threats

The Trump administration will reverse course from previous Obama administration policy, eliminating climate change from a list of national security threats. The National Security Strategy to be released on Monday will emphasize the importance of balancing energy security with economic development and environmental protection, according to a source who has seen the document and shared excerpts of a late draft.

“Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system,” a draft of the National Security Strategy slated to be released on Monday said. “U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth, energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests. Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”

This matches President Trump’s vision, sometimes shared using his trademark hyperbole, that the United States needs to emphasize national security and economic growth over climate change.

During his successful campaign, Trump mocked Obama’s placement of climate change in the context of national security. Here’s a sample of his approach from a campaign speech in Hilton Head, South Carolina, in late 2015:

"So Obama’s always talking about the global warming, that global warming is our biggest and most dangerous problem, OK? No, no, think of it. I mean, even if you’re a believer in global warming, ISIS is a big problem, Russia’s a problem, China’s a problem. We’ve got a lot of problems. By the way, the maniac in North Korea is a problem. He actually has nuclear weapons, right? That’s a problem.

We’ve got a lot of problems. We’ve got a lot of problems. That’s right, we don’t win anymore. He said we want to win. We don’t win anymore. We’re going to win a lot — if I get elected, we’re going to win a lot.


We’re going to win so much — we’re going to win a lot. We’re going to win a lot. We’re going to win so much you’re all going to get sick and tired of winning. You’re going to say oh no, not again. I’m only kidding. You never get tired of winning, right? Never.


But think of it. So Obama’s talking about all of this with the global warming and the — a lot of it’s a hoax, it’s a hoax. I mean, it’s a money-making industry, OK? It’s a hoax, a lot of it. And look, I want clean air and I want clean water. That’s my global — I want clean, clean crystal water and I want clean air. And we can do that, but we don’t have to destroy our businesses, we don’t have to destroy our —

And by the way, China isn’t abiding by anything. They’re buying all of our coal; we can’t use coal anymore essentially. They’re buying our coal and they’re using it. Now when you talk about the planet, it’s so big out there — we’re here, they’re there, it’s like they’re our next door neighbor, right, in terms of the universe."

The draft of the National Security Strategy makes this approach policy, emphasizing national security and economic growth over climate change.

President Obama made climate change, and the burdensome regulations that accompany its focus, a primary focus of his administration, including in his National Security Strategy released in 2015. “[W]e are working toward an ambitious new global climate change agreement to shape standards for prevention, preparedness, and response over the next decade,” that report said.

“In some ways, [climate change] is akin to the problem of terrorism and ISIL,” Obama said at climate talks in Paris in 2015. During a weekly address, Obama said “Today, there is no greater threat to our planet than climate change.”

In September 2016, President Obama released a memorandum requiring federal agencies to consider the effects of climate change in the development of national security-related doctrine, policies, and plans. All of this alarmed critics concerned with more pressing security risks.

By contrast, President Trump’s National Security Strategy will focus on conventional and immediate national security risks. The draft says, in part:

"North Korea seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons. Iran supports terrorist groups and openly calls for our destruction. Jihadist terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al Qaeda are determined to attack the United States and radicalize Americans with their hateful ideology. States and non-state actors undermine social order with drug and human trafficking networks, which drive violent crimes and cause thousands of American deaths each year…. Strengthening control over our borders and immigration system is central to national security, economic prosperity, and the rule of law. Terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal cartels exploit porous borders and threaten U.S. security and public safety. These actors adapt quickly to outpace our defenses."

As for climate change, the draft report says “The United States will remain a global leader in reducing traditional pollution, as well as greenhouse gases, while growing its economy. This achievement, which can serve as model to other countries, flows from innovation, technology breakthroughs, and energy efficiency gains –not from onerous regulation.”


Slimy attack on Polar bear truth-teller   

At this time of year, we’re accustomed to seeing polar bears as a holiday mascot for a certain soft drink. But you can rest assured that thousands of real live polar bears are anything but cute and cuddly as they hunt down and devour Arctic seals and assorted other prey.

Sadly, there’s one unnamed polar bear that most likely didn’t live to enjoy this time of plenty. In late August, the photography team of Paul Nicklen and Christina Mittermeier happened upon an emaciated member of the species that was down to its last brief bursts of energy, desperately rummaging through garbage heaps in a vain search for nourishment. “This is what a starving polar bear looks like,” wrote Mittermeier. “Weak muscles, atrophied by extended starvation could barely hold him up.”

Laying it on even thicker, Nicklen added, “We stood there crying — filming with tears rolling down our cheeks.” They added that there was nothing they could do to help, because feeding wild animals is illegal and “it’s not like we travel around with 200-300 pounds of seal meat.” And while they conceded that they couldn’t completely pin down the cause of the bear’s imminent demise, they presumed global warming was the culprit. “This is the face of climate change,” Mittermeier asserted. Paul Amstrup of Polar Bears International added, “Despite uncertainties about how this bear got into this starving condition, we can be absolutely certain if we allow the world to continue to warm, there will be ever greater numbers of such events as survival rates decline over more and more of the polar bear range.”

But not so fast, say the skeptics. First off, they counter, it’s not unusual to see starving polar bears in late August as that’s near the end of their dormant period. “That bear is starving, but it’s not starving because the ice suddenly disappeared and it could no longer hunt seals,” wrote Arctic wildlife biologist Jeff Higdon. Population-wise, polar bears are certainly not in immediate danger of extinction. In fact, some regions of the polar north have a significant polar bear presence.

Research — based on years’ worth of observations — tells us that, if anything, Arctic sea ice arrived on time, or even a bit early this winter — so healthy bears were easily able to swim out to their hunting grounds and floes of ice. Polar bear scientist Susan Crockford made the case that things were just fine. For her trouble, Crockford had her reputation sullied in the worst way. Terence Corcoran recounts:

As a starting point, we look to a story published December 1st on Vice News’s tech site. Motherboard, that included an interview with U.S. polar bear scientist/activist Stephen Amstrup. In the article, Amstrup accuses Canadian polar bear scientist Susan Crockford of filling her bear research with extreme allegations. Climate activists have targeted Crockford, a zoologist and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria, because her research inconveniently finds that, despite their claims, polar bears are not at risk. ‘You don’t have to read far in her material to see that it is full of unsubstantiated statements and personal attacks on scientists, using names like eco-terrorists, fraudsters, green terrorists and scammers,’ Amstrup claimed.

A few days later, Motherboard published a slithery retraction. After Crockford complained that Amstrup’s comments about her were “a lie” and that she has never used such terms, Amstrup “clarified” his comments. He said that when he accused Crockford of calling scientists fraudsters, he really meant to accuse “climate deniers as a whole, rather than Crockford in particular.”

Life is often made more difficult for those who don’t worship at the altar of climate change, and Crockford’s sin is that of being an oft-cited skeptic to the “polar bears are going extinct” narrative. Polar bears do indeed make for cute and cuddly symbols of the far north, and for now they aren’t going anywhere fast — despite what some with an agenda would lead us to believe.




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, 2017

New paper questions Paris Agreement’s dubious temperature limits

It turns out that the temperature target of the agreement was never properly defined

The Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 during the COP21 climate conference stipulates that the increase in the global average temperature is to be kept well below 2°C above “pre-industrial levels” and that efforts are pursued to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above “pre-industrial levels.”

Closer inspection of the treaty text, however, reveals that the term “pre-industrial levels” is nowhere defined in this epochal UN-document, that has meanwhile been ratified by 170 Parties.

This is particularly odd because the “pre-industrial” temperatures of the past 10,000 years have varied quite significantly, as meticuloulsy documented by hundreds of paleoclimate studies.

Puzzled by this apparent gap in the Agreement, Fritz Vahrenholt went out and researched the history of the temperature limit definition.

The former renewable energy manager and current head of the German Wildlife Foundation was surprised to find that the initial description of this important climate goal dates back to the mid 1970s, proposed by an economist, by the name of William Nordhaus.

Nordhaus’ idea was as simple as effective: He looked at the maximum temperatures recorded during the past several hundred thousand years and warned that this natural range should not be exceeded in the future. Two decades later, in 1995, the German Advisory Council for Global Change further refined this concept, but kept Nordhaus’ original idea of a tolerable ‘temperature window’.

Vahrenholt: “Unfortunately this important palaeoclimatological perspective was lost in subsequent key papers on the subject that paved the way to the Paris Agreement. Reports by the World Bank and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2014 and 2015 narrowed their view to the last 200 years which does not do justice to the enormous natural temperature fluctuations on a multi-millennial perspective.”

In order to better understand the complex pre-industrial temperature history of the past, Vahrenholt teamed up with Sebastian Lüning, a professional resources geologist who in his spare time works on paleoclimatological studies with the Switzerland-based Institute for Hydrography, Geoecology and Climate Sciences.

Lüning researched the literature and integrated the Paris Agreement 2.0°C and 1.5°C temperature limits into the climate development of the past 2000, 10,000 and 120,000 years.

Lüning: “Comparing the modern warming to reference levels at the end of the Little Ice Age about 150 years ago does not really make much sense because this period represents one of the coldest times of the past 10,000 years. The choice of a baseline near the lower extreme of a variable parameter is uncommon in science. The temperature level that was reached during the interval 1940-1970 may serve as a better reference level because it appears to roughly correspond to the average pre-industrial temperature of the past two millennia.”

On an even longer time scale, it is found that current temperatures have not yet even exceeded the warmest temperatures of a natural warm phase that globally occurred some 7000 years ago, the so-called ‘Holocene Thermal Maximum’.


Green-Russian Anti-Fracking Campaign Paying Off As Britain Turns To Russian Gas

With gas supplies crippled amid a freezing winter by the shutdown of a major pipeline, the UK has apparently turned to a Russian project targeted by US sanctions, with reports indicating that a deal was struck for a shipment of gas by the end of December.

Some 170,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carried by the Christophe de Margerie ice-class tanker, the first vessel of the Novatek-operated Yamal project in the Arctic, has been bought by a British energy company. It is now heading to the Isle of Grain terminal in the UK, the Telegraph reported.

One of the largest Russian natural gas producers, Novatek, revealed Monday that the cargo was sold to Petronas LNG UK Limited (PLUK), the UK branch of Malaysia’s Petronas.

PLUK has a 50 percent stake in the Dragon LNG Terminal at Milford Haven, so that’s where the tanker could also be heading, S&P Global Platts reports.

Novatek has so far issued no comment on the vessel’s ultimate destination.

As a deep freeze settles over Britain, the shutdown of the North Sea’s most important fuel transport route has left authorities in a precarious position. Ineos, a private company which owns a key refinery near Aberdeen, said it discovered a crack in a vital 42-year-old oil and gas pipeline, which will require at least two weeks’ maintenance work.

The disruption was compounded by an explosion at a major processing facility in Austria, the combination of which has caused wholesale gas prices to hit their highest level for six years, increasing by more than 50percent in the space of 24 hours.

To add to the problems, the Morecambe gas field in the Irish Sea is processing half its usual supply and there have also been stoppages in the Dutch and Norwegian operations that supply the UK’s energy needs.

And all this comes as temperatures in central England have plummeted to minus 13 degrees Celsius: almost 15 degrees chillier than the usual average December low.

All this come as British Prime Minister Theresa May has escalated her anti-Russian rhetoric in recent weeks, accusing Moscow of interfering in elections and looking to “weaponise information to challenge the West.” And the Conservative-led British government has been among the loudest voices calling for penalties and embargoes against Russia.

Ironically, the Christophe de Margerie which might now be carrying gas to the UK was loaded at the personal command of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Daily Telegraph Falls For Lord Deben’s Extreme Weather Scare

To the long list of naive young Telegraph journalists, we can add the name of Ashley Kirk.

Last week he penned an article called “What is Britain doing to tackle flooding in the face of extreme weather? “ (Unfortunately behind the paywall).

Apparently primed by Lord Deben, he goes on to make apocalyptic predictions that the UK will be hit by a vicious combination of extreme storms, intense downpours and rising sea levels as it faces the next century. This is all apparently predicated on a couple of wet winters in recent years.

Because of climate change he claims that our flood defences simply won’t be able to cope with the extreme flooding coming our way.

He quotes Deben as saying that periods of intense rainfall could increase in frequency by a factor of five this century as global temperatures rise, and then goes on to describe all of the problems this could cause in England, with winters being wetter.

There’s one slight problem though, which young Mr Kirk might have spotted if he had bothered to check the facts. Winters in England are not becoming wetter. And even the extremely wet winter of 2013/14 had just 8mm more rain than 1914/15.

Worse still for Deben’s little bit of disinformation, there have been several winter months which were much wetter than anything seen recently. The wettest of the lot was in December 1914.

And when we look at all months of the year, we find a similar pattern. Again, the 1910s and 20s stand out as much more extreme.

Kirk also reminds us that the Met Office concluded last year that there is around a 10% chance in any given year of existing monthly rainfall records, over any of the large regions, being matched and/or broken.

Unfortunately it did not occur to him that there are 10 UK regions, as classified by the Met Office, and 3 winter months. In other words, there are 30 possible combinations of regions/months, for which records could be set.

Given that the Met Office data only dates back to 1910, there is statistically about a 1 in 3 chance of such a record being set every year.

If Kirk had bothered to read the Met Office report which he links to, “Met Office science behind the National Flood Resilience Review”, he would have discovered this statement near the start:

"The flooding in 2013/14 and again in late 2015 was driven by large-scale frontal rainfall, a weather pattern that is often associated with river flooding and typically seen in the UK during winter months. The focus of our work was therefore on looking for synoptic weather patterns that give rise to large accumulations of rainfall that are likely to drive high river flows and flooding."

We also assessed whether climate change has played a clear role in recent rainfall and flooding events and concluded that natural variability is by far the dominant cause and will continue to be so for the next 10 years

The floods of 2013/14 and 2015 were natural variability was the dominant cause, and not climate change.

As for the rising sea levels he is panicking about, he might like to know that they have been rising at a pretty steady 7 to 8 inches a century since 1900, with no sign of acceleration.

The rate of rise was highest prior between 1920 and 1970. In the last fifty years, the rate of rise has fallen to 1.57mm/year. Indeed, at North Shields there has been no rise at all for more than a decade.


Virtue signalling by Bill Gates and Richard Branson

A cheap way for businessmen to gain praise

Famous faces turned up to show their support to world leaders at a major environmental summit in the fight against global warming.

More than 50 world leaders will be joined by big names including Leonardo Di Caprio, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sean Penn as part of the One Planet summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Man filmed himself killing 13 cats with blowtorch

The global meeting comes two years to the day that the historic Paris Climate Accord was signed – and there was one very noticeable absence.

US President Donald Trump – who has rejected the Paris agreement – was not invited to the summit, where participants are expected to announce billions of dollars’ worth of projects to help poor countries reduce emissions.

Trump – who is sceptical of global warming – said the Paris Accord would hurt US business.

In June, hours after Trump announced he would withdraw from it, Macron announced a contest for multi million-euro grants.

On Monday, he awarded 18 climate scientists – most of them based in the US – the grants to relocate to France for the rest of Trump’s term.

The French leader said Trump’s decision to withdraw was a ‘deep wake-up call for the private sector’ to take action.

‘If we decide not to move and not change our way to produce, to invest, to behave, we will be responsible for billions of victims,’ he told CBS News.

Developing nations say the rich are not on track to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 – from public and private sources – to help them switch from fossil fuels to greener energy sources and adapt to the effects of climate change.

The summit is expected to focus on how public and private financial institutions can invest more money and put pressure on corporate giants to shift towards ecologically friendly strategies.

‘The missing piece of the jigsaw is the funding to help the world’s poorer countries access clean energy so they don’?t follow the fossil fuel-powered path of the rich world,’ said Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid’s lead on climate change.

‘Without adequate finance, there is no way developing countries can deal with climate change or decarbonise fast enough to deliver the Paris goals.’


Fracking Protesters ‘Fake Police Injuries For The TV Cameras’

There is no morality in the Green/Left

Ambulance staff have accused anti-fracking protesters of faking injuries and making false allegations of police brutality in publicity stunts aimed at preventing drilling for shale gas.

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) was called out ten times in July to attend to protesters outside a site near Blackpool where Cuadrilla intends to carry out hydraulic fracturing of wells.

Graham Curry, the ambulance service’s area manager, said that seven of the protesters refused to go to hospital and were found to have no injuries or illnesses.

In an email seen by The Times he wrote: “I can say that the seven cases who refused seemed to be more for effect and the cameras rather than for any clinical need.”

He added that in another incident, on August 1, a protester claimed that his neck had been broken by the police. When crews arrived he became “very aggressive” towards them, prompting Mr Curry to attend.

“I found the patient was walking around and swearing at my paramedics and me. He refused to go to hospital,” he added in the email, sent to the office of Clive Grunshaw, police and crime commissioner for Lancashire.

He said protests that blocked the main road beside the fracking site had delayed ambulances responding to genuine emergencies in a nearby village on at least two occasions.




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, 2017

Ho Hum!  Another  Melting Arctic report

When Arctic temperatures rise well above baseline, Warmists seem to get erections.  The fact that the earth as a whole at the same time changes only minutely should tell them that they are looking at a local phenomenon, not a global one.  But it never does.  The reason Arctic temperatures sometimes rise dramatically simply reflects the varying activity of the many underwater volcanoes around the North Pole. Because most of the Arctic is sea ice (floating ice), those volcanoes can have a big effect on the ice above them and on Arctic waters generally.  The changes have nothing to do with CO2 or human activity

In 2017, winter sea ice around the Earth's northern pole cover fell to the smallest extent on record, said the Arctic Report Card, released annually by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The year was the second warmest in modern times for the fragile Arctic, said the peer-reviewed report compiled by 85 scientists from 12 nations.

And while Arctic temperatures this year weren't record-breaking hot, scientists are still concerned.

Jeremy Mathis, head of NOAA's Arctic research program, says the region is a different place than just a decade ago.

He says a warming Arctic can cause problems like extreme weather that affects the rest of the world.

In 2017, winter sea ice around the Earth's northern pole cover fell to the smallest extent on record, said the Arctic Report Card, released annually by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The year was the second warmest in modern times for the fragile Arctic, said the peer-reviewed report compiled by 85 scientists from 12 nations.

'The magnitude and pace of the 21st century sea ice and surface ocean warming decline is unprecedented in at least the last 1,500 years and likely much longer,' said the report.

'There are many strong signals that continue to indicate the Arctic environmental system has reached a 'new normal.''

The consequences of this continued warming are dire -- harming valuable fisheries in the eastern Bering Sea, compromising roads, homes and infrastructure due to permafrost thaw and risking increasing wildfires at high altitudes, said the report.

Warmer air temperature. Average annual air temperature over land was the second highest after 2016 in the observational record, with a temperature 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 Celsius) above the average for 1981 to 2010.

Declining sea ice. This year's maximum winter sea ice area, measured each March, was the lowest ever observed, while this year's minimum area, measured each September, was eighth-lowest on record. Sea ice is also getting thinner each year, with year-old ice comprising 79 percent of coverage, and multi-year ice just 21 percent. In 1985, multi-year ice accounted for 45 percent of sea ice.

Above average ocean temperature. Sea surface temperatures in August 2017 were 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) above the average in the Barents and Chukchi seas. Surface waters of the Chukchi Sea have warmed 1.26 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 Celsius) per decade since 1982.

Arctic ocean plankton blooms increasing. Springtime melting and retreating sea ice which allows sunlight to reach the upper layers of the ocean, continues to stimulate increased chlorophyll as measured by satellite, which indicates more marine plant growth across the Arctic. This increase has occurred since measurements began in 2003.

Greener tundra. Overall vegetation, including plants getting bigger and leafier, and shrubs and trees taking over grassland or tundra, increased across the Arctic in 2015 and 2016, as measured by satellite. The greatest increases over the last three decades are occurring on the North Slope of Alaska, Canada's tundra and Taimyr Peninsula of Siberia. The annual report on vegetation is based largely on data from sensors aboard NOAA weather satellites.

Snow cover up in Asia, down in North America. For the 11th year in the past 12, snow cover in the North American Arctic was below average, with communities experiencing earlier snow melt. The Eurasian part of the Arctic saw above average snow cover extent in 2017, the first time that's happened since 2005.

Less melt on Greenland Ice Sheet. Melting began early on the Greenland Ice Sheet in 2017, but slowed during a cooler summer, resulting in below-average melting when compared to the previous nine years. Overall, the Greenland Ice Sheet, a major contributor to sea level rise, continued to lose mass this past year, as it has since 2002 when measurements began.

Even though fewer heat records were shattered than in 2016, the 'Arctic shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago,' it said. 'Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the rate of the global temperature increase.'

Scientists released the Arctic Report Card, now in its 12 year, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

'The rapid and dramatic changes we continue to see in the Arctic present major challenges and opportunities,' said retired Navy Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator, who led the press conference to release the report card.

'This year's Arctic Report Card is a powerful argument for why we need long-term sustained Arctic observations to support the decisions that we will need to make to improve the economic well-being for Arctic communities, national security, environmental health and food security.'


Global Agricultural Boom: A Million Thanks to Climate Change!

Global cereal (grain) production has reached record levels in 2017. Credit for the increase usually goes to agrochemicals and other advanced agricultural technology. However, there are two other key contributors — carbon dioxide and climate change.

World cereal production for 2017 is projected to reach 2,613.3 million tons, 5.8 million tons above 2016’s level and nearly one-fourth higher than 2008’s. Despite population growth, production per capita rose 13 percent over the last decade, from 0.31 to 0.35 tons per person.

Production of all the world’s staple food crops — such as rice, wheat, and other coarse grains like millet — has risen in the past decade.

Comparison with the period before 2008 is even more startling.

The global food production index — an index of crops considered edible and nutritious — has risen steadily in the past six decades. Doubling from 1983 to 2008, it grew more than twice as fast as population and has continued to rise.

Rice production, for example, rose almost 30 percent from 361.33 million tons in 1990 to around 506.5 million in 2017.

Yet climate alarmist scientists, politicians, and mainstream media claim that climate change would hinder global agricultural production.

There are two key reasons their claims are false — exaggeration of climate change and misconceptions regarding the biological impact of carbon dioxide.

The change in global average temperature has in fact been beneficial to life during the past 2,000 years. Global temperatures during the Roman Warm Period (around 0 A.D.) and the Medieval Warm Period (around 1000 A.D.) greatly aided human life by enhancing crop growth. The Modern Warm Period we are experiencing is in fact very similar to these earlier warm periods.

Global agricultural production suffered only during cold periods, including the Little Ice Age, which ended around the late 18th or early 19th century.

Since the 1800s, the earth has been warming — returning to levels ideal for crop production. It is remarkable that the mainstream media can claim that temperatures are killing crops when they have actually contributed to exponential growth of crop yields.

A second major reason for unprecedented growth in global vegetation, including crop yields, has been the increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere during the past few centuries.

Increasing carbon dioxide has been a major driver of plant growth since the Little Ice Age. It contributed roughly $3.2 trillion worth of crop yield in 1960–2011 and can be expected to contribute another $9.8 trillion by 2050.

In other words, carbon dioxide is the elixir of life. But climate alarmists wrongly brand it a pollutant.

Studies in the fields of chemistry, physics, agro-science, and climatology all indicate that increased carbon dioxide is the major reason for the greening of the earth in the past two centuries, including substantially high growth in the past few decades.

The historic growth patterns of global vegetation, their real-time impact on agricultural output, and crop-specific studies all prove that the current climate patterns have aided in the progress of human civilization.

Claims of the adverse impact of global warming are myths propagated by global warming elites and radical environmentalists. They cannot be defended scientifically.

Both global warming and carbon dioxide have benefitted plant growth, and both are important contributors to the success of modern civilization.

If anything, the Modern Warm Period, with its high carbon dioxide concentration, has given us reason to celebrate this winter, not to fear.


Litigation — Ecofascists' New Weapon Against Dissent

Believe it or not, there are a large number of climate researchers who refuse to become ecofascist henchmen. Unfortunately, their nonconformity on man-made global warming means there’s a significant price to pay, which is inflicted upon them with the help of the Leftmedia. Over the last several years, leftists have resorted to an increasingly radical approach to shutting down climate skepticism — for example, by dragging dissenters to court. The latest victims are the National Academy of Sciences and Christopher Clark.

The duo are the current targets of Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, who has initiated a $10 million defamation lawsuit because Clark and 20 fellow researchers recently presented an alternative view on renewable energy’s less-rosy potential via literature that appears at the National Academy of Sciences. According to Investor’s Business Daily, “The paper … was a robust critique of work done by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, whose widely cited research claimed that the U.S. could easily switch to 100% renewable energy in as few as 35 years.” Sadly, we live in the age of litigiousness. So why rebut when you can simply sue? And that’s exactly what Jacobson did.

Such dragging through the mud is the Left’s new modus operandi. Prominent climatologist Michael Mann claimed defamation too when he sued Tim Ball, a fellow climatologist with whom he disagreed. Moreover, according to IBD, “Now another scientist finds himself being sued by environmentalists because his results failed to conform to what they wanted. In this case, the highly respected geoscientist Ricardo Villalba conducted a scientific survey of Argentina’s glaciers. Green groups said that his survey favored mining interests, and so filed suit against him. Villalba now faces criminal charges for violating a 2010 law meant to protect Argentina’s glaciers.” And lest we forget, AGs United for Clean Power wants to see climate skeptics prosecuted. Yet a new study by two Australian scientists points to evidence of sea level measurement malpractice. This is but a small sample of what the litigious Left doesn’t want the public to see.

The esteemed author Michael Crichton once said, “The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.” Unfortunately, ecofascists want to ensure consensus-breakers aren’t able to do so without suffering severe consequences.



Matt Ridley

The BBC's Blue Planet II is superb, but got a few things wrong
My Times column on the BBC's Blue Planet II:

Nothing that Hollywood sci-fi screenwriters dream up for outer space begins to rival the beauty and ingenuity of life under water right here. Blue Planet II captured behaviour that was new to science as well as surprising: giant trevally fish eating sooty terns on the wing; Galapagos sea lions herding yellowfin tuna ashore; an octopus wrapping itself in shells to confuse sharks.

The series also preached. Every episode had a dose of bad news about the ocean and a rebuke to humanity, while the entire last episode was devoted to the environmental cause, featuring overfishing, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification. The team behind the incomparable Sir David Attenborough has acceded to demands that it should push more environmentalism.

Bottlenose dolphins in South Africa on the BBC’s Blue Planet II
Bottlenose dolphins in South Africa on the BBC’s Blue Planet IIPA

Mostly, these sermons were spot on. It is a scandal that eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, though 95 per cent of it comes from just ten rivers, all in Asia and Africa, so that’s where the main effort is needed. Plastic kills albatross chicks and even whales.

The series has been accused of cheating in the sequence in which a pilot whale is shown carrying its decomposing calf. The commentary implied, without actually saying, that the calf might have died from ingesting plastic, or from pollutants in its mother’s milk. Yet there was no evidence of how it died. I think that’s unfair on the BBC. The commentary was careful and raised a valid worry.

Why are there still so few killer whales, bottlenose dolphins and great white sharks in European waters, now that seal numbers have hugely increased? There is only one resident pod of killer whales in British waters, and it is dwindling, with no calves born for years.

In conclusion, this pan-European meta-analysis of stranded or biopsied cetaceans demonstrates that several European cetacean species, specifically BNDs, SDs, and KWs, currently have markedly elevated blubber PCB concentrations. Particular “PCB hotspots” included the western (SDs and BNDs) and central (BNDs) Mediterranean Sea and SW Iberia, the Gulf of Cadiz (BNDs) and the Strait of Gibraltar (BNDs and KWs). Despite an EU ban on the use and manufacture of PCBs in the mid-1980s, blubber PCB concentrations are still very high, possibly having reached a “steady state” between environmental input and degradation, meaning that high PCB exposures are set to continue for the long-term in cetacean top predators in Europe.

These high and stable PCB exposures are associated with small populations, long-term population declines or contraction of range in several dolphin species in Europe (NE Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas) that were not adequately explained by other factors (e.g. bycatch or other anthropogenic causes of mortality).

Bycatch is common in the most abundant cetacean species in Europe, but is comparatively rare in BNDs and virtually unrecorded in recent years for KWs, suggesting that the ongoing population declines in these two species are predominantly driven by other processes, with bioaccumulation of PCBs through marine food chains being the predominant factor.

A lack of recruitment in monitored KW and BND populations is also consistent with PCB toxicity as the likeliest cause of their declines. In the Mediterranean Sea, the SD has suffered recurrent CeMV mortalities, which may have been exacerbated by the high and immunotoxic level of PCB exposure. Without significant mitigation, PCBs will continue to drive population declines or suppress population recovery in Europe for many decades to come.

Measures to significantly reduce inputs of PCBs into the marine environment from terrestrial and other sources are urgently needed. Further studies are also needed to better assess PCB exposure and quantify toxic effects in marine apex predator populations in Europe. Finally, the potential impact of PCB bioaccumulation in marine ecosystems may extend beyond European waters, particularly in globally distributed marine apex predators such as KWs, false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias).

Being at the top of the food chain, these mammals concentrate PCBs in their fat and it renders them sterile (killer whales that eat fish, rather than seals, are doing better).

PCBs were used mainly in electrical equipment until they were banned in the 1980s. Off America, this problem is fading: PCB levels have fallen and animals have “offloaded” the pollutants in milk, such that after several births they can bear and feed healthy calves. PCB levels in European waters fell but have now stabilised, implying that they are still getting into the sea somehow.

I was glad to see these issues given more attention, at last, than global warming, having long argued that the obsession with climate change (increasingly recognised as gradual) is diverting attention and money from more urgent environmental issues such as overfishing, pollution and invasive species.

It was good, too, to hear Attenborough’s recognition, rare on the BBC, that we are living through an unexpectedly bountiful renaissance in some marine ecosystems. Too often we are told only the bad news. The last episode featured the recovery of turtles, as well as the resurgent herring, killer whales and humpback whales of Norway, and the vast concentrations of sperm whales now being seen for the first time since the era of Moby Dick. Many populations of sperm, right, grey, bowhead, fin, blue and humpback whales are now high again, and rising at 5 to 10 per cent a year, something I never dreamt would happen in my lifetime.

The series could have made the same point about the penguins, fur seals and elephant seals of South Georgia, an island denuded of almost all wildlife about 75 years ago, but now once again teeming. Or about walruses, an Arctic species that has rebounded after centuries of exploitation. When I first visited Spitsbergen in the 1970s there were about 100 walruses there. Today there are about 4,000 and the population is still increasing rapidly.

Walruses were brought to the brink of extinction in Svalbard (Norway) during 350 years of unregulated harvesting. They became protected in 1952, when few remained. During the first 30 years of protection, approximately 100 animals became established within the archipelago, most of which likely came from Franz Josef Land, to the east. A marked recovery has taken place since then. This study reports the results of a photographic aerial survey flown in summer 2012, covering all current and historical haul-out sites for walruses in Svalbard. It provides updates regarding the increasing numbers of: (1) landbased haul-out sites (from 78 in 2006 to 91 in 2012); (2) occupied sites (from 17 in 2006 to 24 in the 2012 survey); (3) sites with mother-calf pairs (which increased from a single site with a single small calf in 2006 to 10 sites with a total of 57 small calves in 2012) and (4) a 48% increase in abundance in the six-year period between the two surveys to 3886 (confidence interval 3553-4262) animals, including animals in the water at the time of the survey.

Future environmental change might reduce benthic production in the Arctic, reducing the prey-base for walruses, and also impact walruses directly via declines in their sea-ice breeding habitat. But, currently the Svalbard walrus population is growing at a rate that matches the theoretical maximum rate of growth that has been calculated for recovering walrus populations under favourable environmental conditions with no food limitations.
Walruses recovering after 60+ years of protection in Svalbard, Norway

So it was naughty of Blue Planet II, in showing a sequence in which a mother and calf walrus desperately try to find a bit of ice big enough to bear their weight but not already occupied by other walruses, to imply that this was evidence of climate change threatening a species with extinction. Most of the ice in the Arctic Ocean disappears each summer and reappears each winter. Walruses have hauled out on shore, or on what’s left of the ice at that season, forever. The main thing that has changed is that there are now more walruses, and more polar bears feasting on them, throughout the Arctic.

So the climate change obsession is still sometimes getting in the way of telling the truth. The most dishonest sequence in the series was when Attenborough watched shells dissolving in a tank of acid, to a soundtrack of fizzing noises, and was told by Professor Chris Langdon that although this was “more dramatic than what’s happening in the oceans”, nonetheless “the shells and the reefs are really truly dissolving”.

This is highly misleading in several different ways. Was it carbonic acid, or another acid? The reduction in alkalinity will get nowhere near neutral, let alone actual acidity, even by the end of the 22nd century, so “dissolving” is false, let alone happening now. The changes in ocean pH expected even by the end of this century are minuscule compared with what was shown in that tank, and by comparison with the daily and seasonal changes that an average reef experiences. (Coral bleaching, a different issue, is more serious, but more temporary.)

A 2010 analysis of 372 studies of 44 different marine species found that the world’s marine fauna is “more resistant to ocean acidification than suggested by pessimistic predictions” and that it “may not be the widespread problem conjured into the 21st century”:

"Ocean acidification has been proposed to pose a major threat for marine organisms, particularly shell-forming and calcifying organisms. Here we show, on the basis of meta-analysis of available experimental assessments, differences in organism responses to elevated pCO2 and propose that marine biota may be more resistant to ocean acidification than expected.

Calcification is most sensitive to ocean acidification while it is questionable if marine functional diversity is impacted significantly along the ranges of acidification predicted for the 21st century. Active biological processes and small-scale temporal and spatial variability in ocean pH may render marine biota far more resistant to ocean acidification than hitherto believed."

And recent work has established that corals’ ability to make skeletons is “largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification...the relevance of their commonly reported finding of reduced coral calcification with reduced seawater pH must now be questioned”. Indeed, one study found that calcifying plankton “respond positively to acidification with CO2enrichment”,

"As a result, cell growth and cellular calcification of E. huxleyi were strongly damaged by acidification by HCl, but not by acidification by CO2 enrichment...The present study clearly showed that the coccolithophore, E. huxleyi, has an ability to respond positively to acidification with CO2 enrichment, but not just acidification."

another that the growth rate of corals also increases with higher carbon dioxide up to 600 parts per mllion and concluded:

"Furthermore, the warming projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the end of the twenty-first century caused a fivefold decrease in the rate of coral calcification, while the acidification projected for the same interval had no statistically significant impact on the calcification rate—suggesting that ocean warming poses a more immediate threat than acidification for this important coral species."

The producers of Blue Planet II claim every word of the commentary was based on solid scientific evidence. Not in this case. In a magnificent series, they got that one wrong.


Australia: NSW govt won't back down on shark nets

Once again the Green/Left want to toy with people's lives by introducing unproven safety measures.  The whole point behind their activism is to save the lives of other creatures that get caught in the nets.  Who cares if a few people get attacked?  Greenies think people are pollution

The NSW government won't stop its shark net meshing program despite a Senate inquiry report finding nets provide a false sense of safety.

A shark expert has called on the NSW government to change its approach to shark prevention, insisting shark nets can't be relied upon to provide safety to beachgoers.

The criticism follows the release of a Senate inquiry report on Tuesday, which had been charged with examining shark mitigation and deterrent measures.

The report recommended shark nets across NSW beaches be phased out as their effectiveness was difficult to evaluate, but the significant damage caused to other marine wildlife was clear.

The NSW government has refused to put an end to its controversial netting program, noting on Wednesday there had only been one shark attack fatality at a meshed beach in NSW since the 1930s.

University of Sydney shark bite researcher Christopher Neff has slammed the government's decision, insisting the nets are not a "reputable approach" to beach safety. "If the government ignores the most comprehensive study on shark prevention in Australia, they need to rethink their approach," Dr Neff told AAP on Wednesday. "There is absolutely no evidence to support that shark nets are the leading beach safety option."

He urged the government to consider drones as an inexpensive early warning direction system that would work "phenomenally" with shark shields on surfboards.

The Greens-dominated Senate committee found the measures implemented by some governments, including mesh nets in NSW, provided beachgoers with a false sense of security.

But NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has remained firm in the government's decision to keep the meshed nets in place.

"I find it insulting to the staff that have been researching this area, insulting to the investment we've put in and more importantly it's insulting to the communities that have been affected by shark attacks," Mr Blair told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

Following concerns about the amounts of by-catch caught up in the nets, the government made modifications to reduce the effects on marine wildlife and continues to investment in SMART drumlines and drone technology as part of a suite of measures to make beachgoers safe, Mr Blair said.

Marine conservationist and drone operator Dean Jefferys also championed the use of drones as a "ridiculously cheap" option but said it was about time the government came on board and phased out the nets.

"If the government refuses to implement the recommendation of the Senate inquiry, we will launch an international social media campaign urging tourists and locals to not swim at beaches with shark nets," Mr Jefferys told AAP on Wednesday.




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


13 December, 2017

Investigation finds Swedish scientists committed scientific misconduct

Probe centered on controversial paper that claimed microplastic pollution harms fish

Two Swedish scientists have been found guilty of "misconduct in research" in a paper that they published in Science1 and later retracted. Their highly publicized work had suggested that tiny particles of plastic in the ocean harm fish.

The misconduct ruling was made by an investigative board from Uppsala University in Sweden, where the researchers work.

Marine biologist Oona Lönnstedt and limnologist Peter Eklöv originally reported in their 2016 paper that microplastic particles had negative effects on young fish, including reducing their efforts to avoid predators. The duo's report described a series of experiments on an island in the Baltic Sea. After other researchers raised questions about data availability and details of the experiments, Uppsala conducted an initial investigation and found no evidence of misconduct.

However, an expert group of Sweden’s Central Ethical Review Board, which was also tasked with vetting the study, concluded in April 2017 that Lönnstedt and Eklöv “have been guilty of scientific misconduct”. The researchers defended the paper but requested that Science retract it in light of questions about their findings.?

To settle the controversy, the university’s vice-chancellor, Eva Åkesson, subsequently handed over the case to the newly established Board for Investigation of Misconduct in Research at Uppsala University for further scrutiny.

Charges made

In its decision, announced on 7 December, the board finds Lönnstedt guilty of having intentionally fabricated data; it alleges that Lönnstedt did not conduct the experiments during the period — and to the extent — described in the Science paper.

Eklöv, who was Lönnstedt's supervisor and co-author, failed to check that the research was carried out as described, the board says. However, by the rules in force at Uppsala at the time of the work, which required that misconduct findings apply only to intentional acts, the board said that Eklöv's failure to check the research "cannot entail liability for misconduct in research" .

Both researchers, the board concluded, "are guilty of misconduct in research by violating the regulations on ethical approval for animal experimentation".

On the basis of the board's report, Åkesson rendered a decision that “Oona Lönnstedt and Peter Eklöv are guilty of misconduct in research.”

It was only when the new board looked into the matter again that the university fully realized the seriousness of the allegations, says Erik Lempert, chair of the board.

“That long and arduous battle has finally concluded with a reasonable outcome,” says Timothy Clark, an ecologist at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, who was one of the researchers to initially raise concerns about the paper

Eklöv wrote in an e-mail to Nature that he takes full responsibility for the errors in the animal ethical permit. “But most of all I am very disappointed on my colleague to find out that she actually had fabricated data,” he says. “At the same time, it is very good that the committee was able to clarify these circumstances to whether she actually was guilty.”


Feds Urge Court To Dismiss ‘Children’s’ Lawsuit Backed By Deep-Pocketed Foundations

A test case for a national effort to bring so-called “children’s” lawsuits backed by deep-pocketed philanthropic foundations in more than a half dozen states reached federal court Monday.

Underwritten by several foundations, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and with most of the 21 young people who filed the lawsuit in attendance, the plaintiffs argued for the case to move forward to trial.

“Children are disproportionately experiencing the impacts of climate change, and will going forward,” said Julia Olson, Executive Director of Our Children’s Trust. Allowing the case to continue, Olson argued, would allow “these young people [to] present their historic and scientific evidence and make their case.”

Federal lawyers asked the court to halt the suit, calling all aspects of the case “unprecedented.”

“It is really extraordinary. Plaintiffs seek unprecedented standing to pursue unprecedented claims in pursuit of an unprecedented remedy,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Eric Grant told the three-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The three-member panel includes two Clinton appointees and a Reagan appointee.

All three judges expressed skepticism of the lawsuit’s potential for success to varying degrees, though the Clinton-appointed judges—Judge Marsha Berzon and Chief Judge Sidney Thomas—appeared hesitant to grant the administration’s lawyers’ request to halt the lawsuit before reaching trial.

Dr. James Hansen, former director of the U.S. NASA Goddard Space Institute, also attended the proceeding. Hansen helped connect Olson with another child plaintiff previously, when Olson was looking to find children who would act as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against government agencies. Hansen, inspired by his own grandchildren, believed that a turn to the courts would provide relief.

“The judicial branch is much less influenced by special interests such as the fossil fuel industry,” Hansen told The Atlantic in 2012.

Olson’s inspiration for inviting children to bring lawsuits stems from her colleague Mary Christina Wood, law professor at the University of Oregon, who first introduced “Atmospheric Trust Litigation” as a brand of the public trust doctrine in law.

In a 2012 report, “Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control” issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Climate Accountability Institute, Wood outlined “her involvement with so-called atmospheric trust litigation, a legal strategy she pioneered that is now unfolding in all 50 states. The goal of the litigation—to force massive reforestation and soil carbon sequestration that would return the planet to a sustainable level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (350 parts per million)—is grounded in the internationally recognized principle known as the Public Trust Doctrine, first enunciated by the Roman Emperor Justinian.”

“Under this doctrine, a state or third-party corporation can be held liable for stealing from or damaging a resource—in this case, the atmosphere—that is held as a public trust. The beneficiaries in the case are citizens—both current and future—who claim that the defendants (the state or federal government or third-party corporations) have a duty to protect and not damage that resource, which they oversee or for which they bear some responsibility,” the report’s authors wrote.

“Wood noted that this legal action has several promising features: it is being brought by children, can highlight local impacts of climate change because it is being brought in every state, and is flexible enough to be brought against states, tribes, the federal government, or corporations,” the report continued.

A landmark 2009 lawsuit brought against utilities by six states was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous decision in 2011. The nation’s highest court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency held the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, not federal judges. This reversed a lower court decision that would have allowed the lawsuit to proceed to trial.

“In a world filled with silly, frivolous, and undeserving lawsuits, these plaintiffs take the cake.  It is difficult to imagine one that—to even the lay person on the street—is more ridiculous,” said William Perry Pendley, President of Mountain States Legal Foundation. “We have confronted and defeated similar claims in Colorado where one plaintiff said she had standing because her grandchildren would no longer be able to ski in Colorado.  There are much better things for federal courts to do than hear foolish lawsuits like this.  Let us hope the Ninth Circuit does the right thing,” Pendley told Western Wire.

Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot and author of upcoming book, “Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” told Western Wire, “Climate activists have shamelessly stooped to using children for their PR efforts. Shame on these parents for allowing their kids to be used as cheap publicity pawns in the climate debate.”

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund lists $180,000 in grants to Our Children’s Trust since 2014 to “Advance Solutions to Climate Change: Public and Policymaker Awareness of Climate Change.”

The Leonardio DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) sent $1.3 million to a host of recipients, including Our Children’s Trust, as part of $15.6 million effort.

“LDF believes in supporting innovative approaches to galvanize action on climate change. Our Children’s Trust (OCT), is taking a novel litigation approach by representing the voice of youth in a groundbreaking climate change lawsuit against the U.S. federal government. The case has achieved notable success thus far and will be heading to trial shortly. OCT hopes to secure a legally binding ruling wherein the federal government would be required to act on climate change,” LDF wrote in a recent marketing brochure.

The foundation has also established a $1 million rotating litigation fund.

“This important grant will help Our Children’s Trust advance the global climate campaign in which more and more young people around the globe are exercising their fundamental constitutional and public trust rights to demand urgent reductions in carbon and methane pollution to stabilize our climate system and protect our oceans,” Olson wrote to LDF. “Where political branches of governments have failed us, these youth are bringing landmark actions in their state and federal courts to secure the legally binding right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate, in accordance with current science, for the benefit of all present and future generations.”


Under Trump, EPA slows actions against polluters
Which most likely reflects a less hysterical definition of pollution

Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, has said the Trump administration’s high-profile regulatory rollback does not mean a free pass for violators of environmental laws. But the Trump administration has taken a turn in the enforcement of federal pollution laws.

An analysis of enforcement data by The New York Times shows that the administration has adopted a more lenient approach than the previous two administrations — Democratic and Republican — toward polluters like those in East Liverpool.

The Times built a database of civil cases filed at the EPA during the Trump, Obama, and Bush administrations.

During the first nine months under Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA started about 1,900 cases, about one-third fewer than the number under president Barack Obama’s first EPA director and about one-quarter fewer than under president George W. Bush’s during the same time period.

In addition, the agency sought civil penalties of about $50.4 million from polluters for cases initiated under Trump. Adjusted for inflation, that is about 39 percent of what the Obama administration sought and about 70 percent of what the Bush administration sought over the same time period.

The EPA, turning to one of its most powerful enforcement tools, also can force companies to retrofit their factories to cut pollution. Under Trump, those demands have dropped sharply.

The agency has demanded about $1.2 billion worth of such fixes, known as injunctive relief, in cases initiated during the nine-month period, which, adjusted for inflation, is about 12 percent of what was sought under Obama and 48 percent under Bush.

Resolving complicated pollution cases can take time, and the EPA said it remained committed to ensuring companies obeyed environmental laws.

“EPA and states work together to find violators and bring them back into compliance, and to punish intentional polluters,” the agency said in a statement. Officials said Pruitt was less fixated on seeking large penalties than some of his predecessors were.

“We focus more on bringing people back into compliance than bean counting,” the statement said.

Confidential internal EPA documents show that the enforcement slowdown coincides with major policy changes ordered by Pruitt’s team after pleas from oil and gas industry executives.

The documents, which were reviewed by The Times, indicate that EPA enforcement officers across the country no longer have the authority to order certain air and water pollution tests, known as requests for information, without receiving permission from Washington. The tests are essential to building a case against polluters.

At at least two of the agency’s most aggressive regional offices, requests for information involving companies suspected of polluting have fallen significantly under Trump, according to internal EPA data.

In the last two complete fiscal years of the Obama administration, the EPA’s office in Chicago sent requests for testing that covered an average of 50 facilities per year, or about 4.2 each month. By comparison, after the policy changes, one such request for a single facility was made in the subsequent four-month period.

The enforcement slowdown has been compounded by the departure of more than 700 employees at the EPA since Trump’s election, many of them via buyouts intended to reduce the agency’s size.

Separately, Pruitt’s team has told officials and industry representatives in Missouri, North Dakota, and other states that EPA enforcement officers will stand down on some pollution cases, according to agency documents.

The retrenchment is said to be part of a nationwide handoff of many enforcement duties to state authorities, an effort Pruitt calls cooperative federalism but critics say is an industry-friendly way to ease up on polluters.

The Times asked top EPA enforcement officials from the Obama and Bush administrations to review The Times’ data, analysis, and methodology. They said the slowdown signaled a sea change in enforcement under Trump.

“Those kinds of numbers are stark,” said Granta Nakayama, a lawyer who served in the Bush administration as assistant administrator for the EPA’s enforcement office and who now represents companies facing EPA enforcement actions for the law firm King & Spalding.

“If you’re not filing cases, the cop’s not on the beat,” he said. “Or has the cop been taken off the beat?”

Some enforcement experts suggested that the EPA under Pruitt might have filed fewer cases because it was going after larger penalties. But according to the Times analysis, most of the top penalties were smaller than those in the previous two administrations.


U.S. transit agencies cautious on electric buses despite bold forecasts

Communities across the United States are looking to replace their dirty diesel buses, ushering in what some analysts predict will be a boom in electric fleets.

But transit agencies doing the buying are moving cautiously, an analysis by Reuters shows. Out of more than 65,000 public buses plying U.S. roads today, just 300 are electric. Among the challenges: EVs are expensive, have limited range and are unproven on a mass scale.

A typical 40-foot electric bus costs around $750,000, compared with about $435,000 for a diesel bus. Cheaper fuel and maintenance expenses can lower the overall costs over the 12-year life of the vehicles. But those costs can widely depending on utility rates, terrain and weather.

The technology is still a gamble for many cities at a time when bus ridership is falling nationwide and officials are trying to keep a lid on fares, says Chris Stoddart, an executive at Canadian bus maker New Flyer Industries Inc. A top supplier of conventional buses to the U.S. market, the company has just a handful of pure battery electrics in service.

“People worry about being an early adopter. Remember 20 years ago someone paid $20,000 for a plasma TV and then 10 years later it was $900 at Best Buy,” said Stoddart, senior vice president of engineering and customer service for New Flyer. “People just don’t want a science project.”

Rival electric bus manufacturers expect dramatic growth; the most ambitious forecasts call for all bus purchases to be electric by 2030.

But even green-energy advocates are skeptical of such rosy predictions. CALSTART, a California-based nonprofit that promotes clean transportation, figures 50 percent to 60 percent of new buses will be zero emissions by 2030. Market research firm Navigant Research expects electric buses to make up 27 percent of new U.S. bus sales by 2027.

Transit agencies have found EV performance lags in extreme conditions. In environmentally friendly San Francisco, officials have resisted electrics over concerns about the city’s famously steep hills. “The technology isn’t quite there yet,” Erica Kato, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said in a statement.

Weather is also a major challenge.

An electric bus tested last year near Phoenix wilted in the summer heat due to the strains of running the air conditioning. The vehicle never achieved more than 89.9 miles on a charge, less than two-thirds of its advertised range, according to a report by the Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority.

In Massachusetts, two agencies running small numbers of electric buses - the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority in Springfield and Worcester’s Regional Transit Authority - say the vehicles weaken in extreme cold and snow. They have no plans to acquire additional EVs, officials at those agencies said.

Even places with successful pilots have downplayed expectations. Seattle’s King County Metro transit agency soon will be operating more than a dozen vehicles by three manufacturers, according to Pete Melin, director of zero emission fleet technologies. The agency likes what it has seen so far.

Still, Melin said, high electricity rates from the local utility at peak demand periods are a concern. And the lack of a uniform charging system among bus makers has complicated Seattle’s goal of running an all-electric fleet by 2034.

“We have caveats to becoming zero emissions,” Melin said in an interview.

Another worry is government funding. Federal money for bus purchases is about 25 percent lower than it was five years ago, according to Rob Healy, vice president of government affairs for the American Public Transportation Association......

Winnipeg-based New Flyer, meanwhile, has won some big orders, including a deal to supply up to 100 electric buses to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Still, company executives view electrification as a gradual transformation.

“It’s going to be a slow, methodical rather than an absolute disruption type environment,” CEO Paul Soubry said on a conference call with analysts last month.


Australia: Electricity and gas bills take up to 12 per cent of household budgets

Large low-income families, pensioners and indigenous Australians have been hardest hit by the rise in energy costs and face increasing difficulty paying electricity and gas bills that could consume 12 per cent of their household budgets.

Research to be released today by KPMG, using census data and the Household Expenditure Survey published this year, pinpoints the impacts of “energy poverty’’, suggesting about 42,000 families are struggling to deal with rising power costs.

The paper, authored by demographer Bernard Salt, who acted as special adviser on the research, and Cassandra Hogan, KPMG’s national sector leader for power and utilities, suggests that spending on energy rises only modestly as income rises.

Per-person spending in the lowest income bracket averaged $15.57 a week compared with $18.91 in the highest income bracket. This meant low-income families had limited ways of reducing energy costs and large families and pensioners were most vulnerable to rising bills.

A low-income family of five with an estimated weekly energy cost of $77.85 would be spending about 12 per cent of their weekly income of about $650 on energy. A pensioner couple’s weekly energy costs of about $31 would be 5 per cent of a weekly income of $650.

Ms Hogan said the rising cost of energy could affect a household’s quality of life “in a very real way since energy is a fixed, as opposed to a discretionary, cost’’. “And the reason why it is devastating is because it exposes no less than 1 per cent of the Australian nation, including no less than 200,000 kids, to the bruising effects of energy poverty,” Ms Hogan said. “Poor households with big families in the public housing estates of our biggest cities are most exposed. For these Australians there is no defence.’’

The impact of energy poverty includes about 10,000 low-income families in the western Sydney suburbs of Fairfield and Liverpool. Energy poverty hot spots in Melbourne include about 9700 families in the city’s north at Hume and the southeast at Dandenong. In Brisbane, the impact is clustered around Logan to the south of the city, affecting 3700 families. In Perth about 3000 families, centred on Gosnells, are affected. And in Adelaide, the impact is on about 2400 families around Salisbury.

The research found that weekly average household spending on domestic energy had risen 26 per cent over six years to $40.92 from $32.52 in 2010.

Ms Hogan said better targeting of relief payments and hardship schemes was required from government and retailers. She said customers facing hardship could be automatically placed on the best available energy offers. She also called for improved efforts to offer early assistance to customers struggling to pay.

“The federal and state governments need to develop a national concessions framework to ensure a consistent and transparent approach to customer assistance that minimises costs for retailers and hence consumers,’’ she said.

Smarter technology enabling customers to understand where costs were escalating quickest would help them manage. They would also benefit if retail plans were made easier to understand and to compare like-for- like.

While new technology such as gas and battery storage and more energy-efficient appliances could help, gas remained a potential problem. There were insufficient options to alleviate gas consumption, which represented a large proportion of household energy usage.




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, 2017

George Monbiot as a neo-Nazi

The continuity between Hitler's Nazism and modern-day eco-Fascism is amazing and disconcerting.  The whole point of Hitler's "Drang nach Osten" was to secure "Lebensraum" for Germany.  Hitler felt that Germans were in danger of starving unless he seized Russian farmlands to feed them.

And the Greenies today continue over and over to predict food shortages unless we return to a primitive past in which lots of inferior people are killed off.  It's a recurrent theme but the latest exponent of the theory is George Monbiot, a "Guardian" columnist.  Maybe George could think of nothing else to write so fell back on something out of the Warmist catechism.

To make his argument, he lists a whole lot of things that SHOULD be reducing food production. ACTUAL trends in food production he does not consider.  And the actual trends are very clear and consistent: Food production keeps rising -- to the point  where many basic crops are in glut.  There is so much food that prices have been pushed down to historic lows.  Once upon a time poor families had to struggle to put food on the table.  Now food is so cheap that the only worry is whether your income can support your drug habit.

So, by using normal extrapolation, food will tend to become more plentiful, not less.  Farmers do face challenges but with the aid of modern science and technology, they mostly rise well above those challenges.

And final proof that George is as unrealistic as Hitler is the fact that a warmer world would open up vast lands in Siberia and Northern Canada for food production. Canadian farmers already push their farms right up to the climate limit so another hundred miles of newly arable land would be a bonanza to them.  They already export huge volumes of grains.  Give them more land to cultivate and they would really show you what they can do

Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is not because I don’t care – I care very much. It’s only because I have a bigger question on my mind. Where is all the food going to come from?

By the middle of this century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

The trouble begins where everything begins: with soil. The UN’s famous projection that, at current rates of soil loss, the world has 60 years of harvests left, appears to be supported by a new set of figures. Partly as a result of soil degradation, yields are already declining on 20% of the world’s croplands.

Now consider water loss. In places such as the North China Plain, the central United States, California and north-western India – among the world’s critical growing regions – levels of the groundwater used to irrigate crops are already reaching crisis point. Water in the Upper Ganges aquifer, for example, is being withdrawn at 50 times its recharge rate. But, to keep pace with food demand, farmers in south Asia expect to use between 80 and 200% more water by the year 2050. Where will it come from?

The next constraint is temperature. One study suggests that, all else being equal, with each degree celsius of warming the global yield of rice drops by 3%, wheat by 6% and maize by 7%. These predictions could be optimistic. Research published in the journal Agricultural & Environmental Letters finds that 4C of warming in the US corn belt could reduce maize yields by between 84 and 100%.

I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape from grey wastes

The reason is that high temperatures at night disrupt the pollination process. But this describes just one component of the likely pollination crisis. Insectageddon, caused by the global deployment of scarcely tested pesticides, will account for the rest. Already, in some parts of the world, workers are now pollinating plants by hand. But that’s viable only for the most expensive crops.

Then there are the structural factors. Because they tend to use more labour, grow a wider range of crops and work the land more carefully, small farmers, as a rule, grow more food per hectare than large ones. In the poorer regions of the world, people with fewer than five hectares own 30% of the farmland but produce 70% of the food. Since 2000, an area of fertile ground roughly twice the size of the UK has been seized by land grabbers and consolidated into large farms, generally growing crops for export rather than the food needed by the poor.

While these multiple disasters unfold on land, the seas are being sieved of everything but plastic. Despite a massive increase in effort (bigger boats, bigger engines, more gear), the worldwide fish catch is declining by roughly 1% a year, as populations collapse. The global land grab is mirrored by a global sea grab: small fishers are displaced by big corporations, exporting fish to those who need it less but pay more. About 3 billion people depend to a large extent on fish and shellfish protein. Where will it come from?

All this would be hard enough. But as people’s incomes increase, their diet tends to shift from plant protein to animal protein. World meat production has quadrupled in 50 years, but global average consumption is still only half that of the UK – where we eat roughly our bodyweight in meat every year – and just over a third of the US level. Because of the way we eat, the UK’s farmland footprint (the land required to meet our demand) is 2.4 times the size of its agricultural area. If everyone aspires to this diet, how exactly do we accommodate it?

The profligacy of livestock farming is astonishing. Already, 36% of the calories grown in the form of grain and pulses – and 53% of the protein – are used to feed farm animals. Two-thirds of this food is lost in conversion from plant to animal. A graph produced last week by Our World in Data suggests that, on average, you need 0.01m2 of land to produce a gram of protein from beans or peas, but 1m2 to produce it from beef cattle or sheep: a 100-fold difference.

It’s true that much of the grazing land occupied by cattle and sheep cannot be used to grow crops. But it would otherwise have sustained wildlife and ecosystems. Instead, marshes are drained, trees are felled and their seedlings grazed out, predators are exterminated, wild herbivores fenced out and other life forms gradually erased as grazing systems intensify. Astonishing places – such as the rainforests of Madagascar and Brazil – are laid waste to make room for yet more cattle.

Because there is not enough land to meet both need and greed, a global transition to eating animals means snatching food from the mouths of the poor. It also means the ecological cleansing of almost every corner of the planet.

The shift in diets would be impossible to sustain even if there were no growth in the human population. But the greater the number of people, the greater the hunger meat eating will cause. From a baseline of 2010, the UN expects meat consumption to rise by 70% by 2030 (this is three times the rate of human population growth). Partly as a result, the global demand for crops could double (from the 2005 baseline) by 2050. The land required to grow them does not exist.

When I say this keeps me up at night, I mean it. I am plagued by visions of starving people seeking to escape from grey wastes, being beaten back by armed police. I see the last rich ecosystems snuffed out, the last of the global megafauna – lions, elephants, whales and tuna – vanishing. And when I wake, I cannot assure myself that it was just a nightmare.

Other people have different dreams: the fantasy of a feeding frenzy that need never end, the fairytale of reconciling continued economic growth with a living world. If humankind spirals into societal collapse, these dreams will be the cause.

There are no easy answers, but the crucial change is a shift from an animal- to a plant-based diet. All else being equal, stopping both meat production and the use of farmland to grow biofuels could provide enough calories for another 4 billion people and double the protein available for human consumption. Artificial meat will help: one paper suggests it reduces water use by at least 82% and land use by 99%.

The next green revolution will not be like the last one. It will rely not on flogging the land to death, but on reconsidering how we use it and why. Can we do this, or do we – the richer people now consuming the living planet – find mass death easier to contemplate than changing our diet?


Why did climate scientists emit 30,000 tonnes of C02 this weekend?

Peter Kalmus appears to be a sincere Warmist.  He says there are not many like him

This weekend, 25,000 Earth, Sun, and planetary scientists from across the US and abroad flew to New Orleans for the annual American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. These scientists study the impact global warming is having on Earth. Unfortunately, their air travel to and from the meeting will contribute to that warming by emitting around 30,000 tonnes of CO2.

As an Earth scientist and AGU member myself, I know the importance of their work. Still, there’s something wrong with this picture. As scientists, our work informs us – with dreadful clarity and urgency – that burning fossil fuel is destroying the life support systems on our planet. There’s already more than enough science to know we need to stop. Yet most scientists burn more than the average American, simply because they fly more.

I haven’t flown since 2012, nor have I wanted to

Few people know how harmful it is to fly in planes, including scientists. In 2010, I sat down and estimated my climate emissions. It turns out that, hour for hour, there’s no better way to warm the planet than to fly. I’d flown 50,000 miles during the year, mostly to scientific meetings. Those flights accounted for 3/4 of my annual emissions. Over the next two years, I gradually decreased my flying.

Eventually, there came a day when I was on the runway about to take off and felt an overwhelming desire not to be on the plane. I saw too clearly the harm it was doing to the world’s children, to all the beings on our planet. I haven’t flown since 2012, nor have I wanted to.

Climate activists tend to fly a lot. This sends its own contradictory message

Today, while I know that my career could progress slightly faster if I flew, I find it hard to imagine a scenario that would make flying seem worthwhile to me. (If I really want to attend a conference in person, I take the train.) And I’ve realized that the main impact of reducing our emissions isn’t the emissions reduction itself: by modeling change, we tell a new story of what’s possible, shifting the culture and opening space for large-scale change.

In becoming scientists, we didn’t sign up to burn less fossil fuel or to be activists. But in the case of Earth science, we have front row seats to an unfolding catastrophe. Because of this, the public takes our temperature: if the experts don’t seem worried, how bad can it be?

When we make a conscious effort to contribute less to global warming, we can better communicate the urgency of the Earth system changes we’re seeing. As a citizen and a father, I know I feel a responsibility to sound the alarm. Not to do so, for me, would be a kind of denial.

I’m not alone. Over 400 academics have signed a petition at, and a few Earth scientists have joined me in telling their stories at Together, we’re pushing for increased use of web-based and regional meetings, more remote support from the AGU, and more support from our academic institutions, which ostensibly exist to make the world a better place.

Like academics, climate activists also tend to fly a lot. This sends its own contradictory message: if the people urging us to burn less can’t even do it, then it must be impossible. But in reality, many of us could cut our emissions in half with little effort.

People who’ve gone even further than this report that their lives become more abundant and satisfying as a result, not less.

I’d love to see what would happen if prominent climate activists and outspoken celebrities would consciously, publicly, and radically reduce their own fossil fuel use. They could begin by flying less.

Burning fossil fuel causes real harm, and will become socially unacceptable sooner or later. Those of us who know the seriousness of global warming must do everything we can to stop it, and like it or not, AGU scientists play a key role. Once this shift gains momentum, policy and systems-level change will follow more quickly than we can imagine.


California Governor Jerry Brown said the wildfires ravaging the greater Los Angeles area are part of a “new normal” residents can expect due to man-made global warming

“This is kind of the new normal,” said Brown, a Democrat, on Saturday while touring Ventura County neighborhoods wrecked by the Thomas Fire, that is already one of the largest in state history.

“With climate change, some scientists are saying that Southern California is literally burning up,” Brown said, according to CNN. “So we have to have the resources to combat the fires and we also have to invest in managing the vegetation and forests … in a place that’s getting hotter.”

Brown’s statements, though ominous, aren’t in line with the scientific consensus. The latest National Climate Assessment report put a “low” to “medium” confidence on claims global warming was making wildfires worse across the western U.S.

Wildfires could increase in severity in the coming decades, but parsing out the driving factors behind fire trends is complicated, since so much of it depends on land management policies and year-to-year variations in temperature and rainfall.

Despite this, environmental activists and news outlets have eagerly linked the wildfires to man-made warming. For example, Rolling Stone published a lengthy piece titled “California’s Climate Emergency,” referring to the fires.

Several fires are ripping across the southland, engulfing thousands of acres and forcing residents to flee. So far, one death has been blamed on the Thomas Fire in Ventura County and hundreds of structures have been damaged or destroyed.

The Thomas fire had only been 15 percent contained, burning 155,000 acres, state officials reported  as of Saturday. Officials ordered evacuations for parts of Santa Barbara County on Sunday morning.

On the other hand, the Rye fire west of Valencia is about 90 percent contained, according to CAL FIRE, and the Creek fire north of the city of Los Angeles is 90 percent contained. Both fires combined now cover more than 21,000 acres.

The Lilac fire near San Diego is 60 percent contained, CAL FIRE reported on Sunday. The fire is now 4,100 acres, and crews are working to keep it from spreading.

Despite the progress, fire conditions are expected to continue. The warm, dry Santa Ana winds will continue to blow on Sunday. Gusts could reach 55 miles per hour, allowing fires to spread quickly among the dried out vegetation.

The National Weather Service reported two new record temperatures set at the Long Beach airport and the Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, with temperatures at or above 86 degrees Fahrenheit.


Meat tax ‘inevitable’ to beat climate and health crises, says report

Just another Greenie prophecy, based on demonstrably wrong assumptions about atmospheric gases.  It will go the way of all past Greenie prophecies

“Sin taxes” on meat to reduce its huge impact on climate change and human health look inevitable, according to analysts for investors managing over $4tn of assets.

The global livestock industry causes 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions and meat consumption is rising around the world, but dangerous climate change cannot be avoided unless this is radically curbed. Furthermore, many people already eat far too much meat, seriously damaging their health and incurring huge costs. Livestock also drive other problems, such as water pollution and antibiotic resistance.

A new analysis from investor network Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (Fairr) Initiative argues that meat is therefore now following the same path as tobacco, carbon emissions and sugar towards a sin tax, a levy on harmful products to cut consumption. Meat taxes have already been discussed in parliaments in Germany, Denmark and Sweden, the analysis points out, and China’s government cut its recommended maximum meat consumption by 45% in 2016.

“If policymakers are to cover the true cost of human epidemics like obesity, diabetes and cancer, and livestock epidemics like avian flu, while also tackling the twin challenges of climate change and antibiotic resistance, then a shift from subsidisation to taxation of the meat industry looks inevitable,” said Jeremy Coller, found of Fairr and chief investment officer at private equity firm Coller Capital. “Far-sighted investors should plan ahead for this day.”

Maria Lettini, director of Fairr, said: “As implementation of the Paris climate agreement progresses we’re highly likely to see government action to reduce the environmental impact of the global livestock sector. On the current pathway we may well see some form of meat tax emerge within 5-10 years.”

Nations begin to implement sin taxes as consensus forms over the harm caused by the product, the analysis notes, and today more than 180 jurisdictions tax tobacco, more than 60 tax carbon emissions and at least 25 tax sugar.

The first global analysis of meat taxes done in 2016 found levies of 40% on beef, 20% on dairy products and 8.5% on chicken would save half a million lives a year and slash climate warming emissions. Proposals in Denmark suggested a tax of $2.70 per kilogram of meat.

Meat taxes are often seen as politically impossible but research by Chatham House in 2015 found they are far less unpalatable to consumers than governments think. It showed people expect governments to lead action on issues that are for the global good, but that awareness of the damage caused by the livestock industry is low. Using meat tax revenues to subsidise healthy foods is one idea touted to reduce opposition.

“It’s only a matter of time before agriculture becomes the focus of serious climate policy,” said Rob Bailey at Chatham House. “The public health case will likely strengthen government resolve, as we have seen with coal and diesel. It’s hard to imagine concerted action to tax meat today, but over the course of the next 10 to 20 years, I would expect to see meat taxes accumulate.”

Marco Springmann, at the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford, said: “Current levels of meat consumption are not healthy or sustainable. The costs associated with each of those impacts could approach the trillions in the future. Taxing meat could be a first and important step.”

The need for a high meat tax could be reduced if breakthrough technologies emerge to drastically cut the emissions from livestock, said Lettini, but none exist today. Another, more promising option is the nascent but fast-growing industry in plant-based meat alternatives, such as the meat-free Impossible burger. Bill Gates has invested, and major meat and dairy companies are now piling in with investments and acquisitions.

“There are huge opportunities in the market,” said Lettini. “If we can start replacing meat protein with plant-based protein that has the same look, taste and feel as meat, where real red-blooded meat eaters are happy to dig into a burger that is plant-based, we are changing the world.”


UA ordered to surrender emails to skeptics of human-caused climate change

Greenie crookedness being forced ever so slowly into the light of day

The University of Arizona has been ordered to surrender emails by two UA scientists that a group claims will help prove that theories about human-caused climate change are false and part of a conspiracy.

Pima County Superior Court Judge James Marner rejected arguments by the Board of Regents that disclosure of the documents would be “contrary to the best interests of the state.”

Marner said it may be true that some of the documents sought by Energy & Environment Legal Institute might be classified as unpublished research, manuscripts, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers and plans for future research.

But the judge said the subject matter of the documents has become available to the general public. And that, Marner said, does not allow the university to withhold disclosure under a separate section of the law governing university records.

There was no immediate response from the university.

The ruling is a turnabout for Marner, who had previously ruled that some emails were properly withheld because they contained things like confidential information or attorney work product. He said at the time that the university did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in withholding other documents, including unpublished data, research, drafts and commentary.

But last year the state Court of Appeals told Marner to take another look.

Appellate Judge Joseph Howard, writing for the unanimous court, said it’s legally irrelevant what university officials thought was appropriate to disclose.

He said everyone involved in the case acknowledges that the emails from Malcolm Hughes, who is still with the UA, and Jonathan Overpeck, who left earlier this year, are public records. Howard said state law carries a presumption that all public records are subject to disclosure, with certain exceptions.

That, Howard said, required Marner to examine the records to determine whether making them public would harm “the best interests of the state,” as the university has claimed.

Craig Richardson, president of E & E, said the request relates to so-called “hockey stick” research. It drew its name from graphs that climate scientists say show a long-term decline in global temperatures over most of the last 150 years followed by a sharp rise.

“It’s the foundational argument for really this whole climate change industry and their focus,” he said.

In 2009, some computer servers at the University of East Anglia in Britain were hacked and emails stolen, with the names of the two UA scientists found in the mix. Some of what was found was labeled “climategate” and is being used by groups to show that global warming is a conspiracy.

“They showed there were a lot of games being played with the data,” Richardson said.

He said that getting all the emails, including from the two scientists, will reveal “an unvarnished view of how the process works ... and how climate scientists on the other side of this have been shut out.”




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, 2017

Worst global warming predictions likely the most accurate, study finds

Just another prophecy, and an act of faith.  They think that models which provide the best fit to the past will predict the future.  Yet that is exactly what does NOT happen.  Fitting a model to the past does NOT predict the future.  All the Warmists' troubles would be over if it did

The worst-case predictions regarding the effects of global warming are the most likely to be true, a new study published this week has warned.

"Our study indicates that if emissions follow a commonly used business-as-usual scenario, there is a 93 per cent chance that global warming will exceed 4°C by the end of this century," Dr. Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, who co-authored the study told The Independent.

This research shows a dramatic increase over previous estimates, which placed the likelihood of such a drastic increase at just 62 percent.

Since the Earth's climate system is incredibly complex, different scientists have put forward different models to determine how fast the planet is warming. This has resulted in a range of predictions, some more dire than others.

The new study, published in the academic journal "Nature", aimed to determine whether the upper or lower-end estimates are more reliable.

Caldeira and co-author Dr. Patrick Brown looked at models that proved to be the best at simulating climate patterns in the recent past. They reasoned that these models would present the most accurate estimates.

"It makes sense that the models that do the best job at simulating today's observations might be the models with the most reliable predictions," Caldeira explained.

According to the researchers' conclusions, models with higher estimates are more likely to be accurate, meaning the degree of warming is likely 0.5°C higher than previously accepted.

Scientist that weren't involved with the research have come out in support of the findings as well.

"There have been many previous studies trying to compare climate models with measurements of past surface-temperature, but these have not proved very conclusive in reducing the uncertainty in the range of future temperature projections," Professor William Collins, a meteorologist at the University of Reading, said.

Professor Collins explained that the new study "breaks the issue down into the fundamental building blocks of climate change."

While the overwhelming majority of climatologists and environmental scientists agree that climate change is a problem accelerated by human activity, representatives from the fossil fuel industry and the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump have dismissed such claims.

However, with more and more research backing worst-case predictions, complete dismissal of such findings becomes increasingly difficult. This study in particular addresses one key point climate change deniers often seize upon: the uncertainty that comes with so many different climate models.

"This study undermines that logic," Dr. Brown told MIT Technology Review. "There are problems with climate models, but the ones that are most accurate are the ones that produce the most warming in the future."


Susan Crockford on the starving polar bear story

I saw this story when it first came out and thought it was too shallow to be worth comment.  Bears die.  How do we know what this one was dying of?  Nobody made any attempt to find out.  It was just asserted that global warming was the culprit.  Anyway, it may be useful to present some comments from a bear expert -- JR

In August, this bear would have been only recently off the sea ice: since most bears are at their fattest at this time of year, something unusual had to have affected his ability to hunt or feed on the kills he made when other bears around him did not starve and die. It could have been something as simple as being out-competed for food in the spring by older animals.

But if sea ice loss due to man-made global warming had been the culprit, this bear would not have been the only one starving: the landscape would have been littered with carcasses. This was one bear dying a gruesome death as happens in the wild all the time (there is no suggestion that a necropsy was done to determine cause of death, just like Stirling’s bear that supposedly died of climate change.)

In fact, research done by polar bear specialsts that work in the field shows that the most common natural cause of death for polar bears is starvation, resulting from one cause or another (too young, too old, injured, sick) (Amstrup 2003):

“Starvation of independent young as well as very old animals must account for much of the natural mortality among polar bears… Also, age structure data show that subadults aged 2-5years survive at lower rates than adults (Amstrup 1995), probably because they are still learning hunting and survival skills.”

“I once observed a 3-year-old subadult that weighed only 70 kg in November. This was near the end of the autumn period in which Beaufort Sea bears reach their peak weights (Durner and Amstrup 1996), and his cohorts at that time weighed in excess of 200 kg. This young animal apparently had not learned the skills needed to survive and was starving to death.” [my bold]

But as Mittermeier has made clear, facts don’t matter in cases like this Somerset Island bear’s death: it’s all about the message.

I’ve asked this question before because it speaks to the present political climate: where were the appeals to help the many starving polar bears back in the spring of 1974 when females with newborn cubs were starving in the Eastern Beaufort Sea because the thick spring ice drove ringed seals away before they gave birth (Stirling 2002)?

Here is what Stirling and Lunn (1997:177) had to say about the mortality event of 1974 that they witnessed:

“…in the spring of 1974, when ringed seal pups first became scarce, we capture two very thin lone adult female polar bears that had nursed recently, from which we deduced they had already lost their litters. A third emaciated female was accompanied by two cubs which were so thin that one could barely walk. We have not seen females with cubs in this condition in the Beaufort Sea, or elsewhere in the Arctic, before or since.”

What Stirling and Lunn witnessed and documented is scientific evidence that natural variation in spring sea ice can have devastating effects on polar bears, including mass mortality events (Crockford 2017). However, we have not seen any similar mass starvation events that have been conclusively shown to be caused by low summer sea ice.

One starving bear is not scientific evidence that man-made global warming has already negatively affected polar bears but it is evidence that some activists will use any ploy to advance their agenda and increase donations.

UPDATE: In an interview yesterday published in the Victoria Times-Colonist (my home town) with photographer Nicklen stated:

“Nicklen is careful about drawing conclusions from his pictures, noting that many people look to poke holes in what’s being said about things like the disappearance of sea ice from the North.... “Ice is melting earlier every spring and freezing later every fall,” Nicklen said. “Bears are designed to go as much as two months without ice, but they are not designed to go four or five months without ice.  “Well, this [the video] is what it actually looks like when polar bears are stranded on land.”

Nicklen should do a bit more reading: polar bears in Western Hudson Bay routinely go four to five months without ice. Four months was normal in the good old days (ca. 1980) and almost five months in some recent years (Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017; Cherry et al. 2013; Ramsay and Stirling 1988; Stirling and Lunn 1997). WHB pregnant females spend 8 months or more on land with no ill effects that can conclusively be blamed on a slightly longer time without ice (Crockford 2017). Southern Hudson Bay polar bears spend a similar amount of time without ice (Obbard et al. 2016), see this post (with references).


Amstrup, S.C. 2003. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus). In Wild Mammals of North America, G.A. Feldhamer, B.C. Thompson and J.A. Chapman (eds), pg. 587-610. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Castro de la Guardia, L., Myers, P.G., Derocher, A.E., Lunn, N.J., Terwisscha van Scheltinga, A.D. 2017. Sea ice cycle in western Hudson Bay, Canada, from a polar bear perspective. Marine Ecology Progress Series 564: 225–233.

Cherry, S.G., Derocher, A.E., Thiemann, G.W., Lunn, N.J. 2013. Migration phenology and seasonal fidelity of an Arctic marine predator in relation to sea ice dynamics. Journal of Animal Ecology 82:912-921.

Crockford, S.J. 2017. Testing the hypothesis that routine sea ice coverage of 3-5 mkm2 results in a greater than 30% decline in population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 2 March 2017. Doi: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v3 Open access.

Obbard, M.E., Cattet, M.R.I., Howe, E.J., Middel, K.R., Newton, E.J., Kolenosky, G.B., Abraham, K.F. and Greenwood, C.J. 2016. Trends in body condition in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Southern Hudson Bay subpopulation in relation to changes in sea ice. Arctic Science, in press. 10.1139/AS-2015-0027

Ramsay, M.A. and Stirling, I. 1988. Reproductive biology and ecology of female polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Journal of Zoology London 214:601-624.

Stirling, I. 2002. Polar bears and seals in the eastern Beaufort Sea and Amundsen Gulf: a synthesis of population trends and ecological relationships over three decades. Arctic 55 (Suppl. 1):59-76.

Stirling, I. and Lunn, N.J. 1997. Environmental fluctuations in arctic marine ecosystems as reflected by variability in reproduction of polar bears and ringed seals. In Ecology of Arctic Environments, Woodin, S.J. and Marquiss, M. (eds), pg. 167-181. Blackwell Science, UK.


Does Bitcoin Really Cause Global Warming?

The green movement has found many things in modern life that cause global warming, but the latest really left us scratching our heads: Trading Bitcoins.

At this point it might be easier to ask, is there anything that doesn’t cause global warming?

No, it’s not a joke. Just about anything these days (Hat tip: The Daily Caller) even remotely connected to civilization, human flourishing, and comfort is, we’re told, a “cause” of global warming. It’s a crucial element of the Global Warming religion, which has only waxed even as real religion has waned.

Both Vox and The New Republic pointed out that in order to “mine” Bitcoins on the computer, it takes a lot of energy. The argument goes that, since most Bitcoins now are mined by Chinese citizens and since China derives a growing amount of its energy from cheap-but-dirty coal, Bitcoins are increasing the amount of CO2 in the air.

And more CO2 equals more warming, QED.

“Bitcoins are contributing to the warming of the atmosphere without providing a significant public benefit in return,” writes The New Republic’s Emily Atkin.

Of course, Atkin must possess special, recondite knowledge about exactly how warm the Earth should be at all times, and also about what precisely constitutes a “significant public benefit” from Bitcoins.

Meanwhile, over at Vox, warming worrier Umair Irfan frets that Bitcoin mining on the web uses huge amounts of energy, “on par with the energy use of the entire country of Morocco, more than 19 European countries, and roughly 0.7% of total energy demand in the United States, equal to 2.8 million U.S. households.”

Sounds like a lot. But the energy estimates he uses are in dispute, as Irfan, to his credit, points out.

The important point is that people find Bitcoins useful, or they wouldn’t exist. That’s one of the reasons why a single Bitcoin is today priced at over $16,000 — up from $1 in April of 2011.

With a global value now estimated a $167 billion, Bitcoins are clearly viewed as a worthwhile expenditure of time, money and energy.

Moreover, the total number of Bitcoins is, by rule, capped. So the amount of “mining” of Bitcoins on the internet — Bitcoins are “mined” when market participants use their own computer and a special algorithm to validate certain highly secure transactions, thereby earning Bitcoins for doing it — will at some point inevitably begin to decline. It will just take too much effort and cost too much.

Even so, these writers’ views really go to the heart of the global-warming belief system: Since human civilization requires lots of energy, and it does, everything associated with human civilization must cause global warming. Everything.

You can take this to its absurd ends, and that’s exactly what they do. Nothing humans do, no matter how valuable or life-enhancing it is, is immune from criticism.

Some global warmists would even forcibly limit population in order to prevent warming. Some have even wistfully hoped for a mass human extinction.

Of course, those who now issue jeremiads about the climate change threat posed by Bitcoins likely won’t give up their electric cars soon, which are only as clean as the power plants that charge them.

Nor will they stop flying on fuel-guzzling commercial jets to attend the next global-warming conference, wherever it is.

Nor will they stop swiping their ATM card at the local Starbucks to buy their daily triple-soy-latte, which, by requiring energy, also contributes to global warming.

No, the fact is, human civilization and all the wonderful things it entails requires massive amounts of energy to work. And that’s not bad: Next time you’re in a hospital or in an elevator in a super-tall building, give silent thanks for the steady, reliable supply of energy that helps make it all possible.

As for concerns about global warming, the science behind them is rather dubious. Even so, those concerns would pretty much disappear if the greenies would embrace the latest, and extremely safe, technology for nuclear energy.

It’s a nearly endless supply of clean electricity that produces no CO2. So the supposed “threat” of global warming could end, while the rest of us could keep our civilization. Win-win!

Meanwhile, for those of you in the Bitcoin world, don’t be green-shamed into stopping your activities. You’re not the real enemy of these warming fanatics; civilization is.


Keystone is anti-hydrocarbon zealotry in microcosm

Radical environmentalists prefer dangerous, inhumane, ecologically destructive alternatives

Paul Driessen

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) recently voted to approve the state’s segment of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL Pipeline. While that would appear to allow construction to move forward, more obstacles loom before KXL can finally bring North Dakota and Canadian crude oil to Texas refineries.

Commissioners who voted against approval have raised objections, some landowners still object to the pipeline crossing their lands, other landowners were not aware that the new route will cross their properties, and environmentalists plan more lawsuits to stop TransCanada’s plans to finish Keystone.

Further complicating matters, the NSPC-approved route is not the company’s preferred path through the Cornhusker State. A spokesman said project engineers will have to assess how much the newly revised route will affect construction schedules and costs, on top of the $3 billion it already spent on KXL.

The imbroglio is a tiny facet of the ideological green movement’s implacable opposition to carbon-based energy. Rooted in climate change dogma, its “keep it in the ground” mantra has become a rallying cry for nasty campaigns against pipeline construction, existing pipelines, drilling and even sand destined for fracking operations. Police increasingly have to deal with masked thugs, mountains of toxic trash, murder threats and even the possibility of improvised bombs hidden in “peaceful protesters” encampments.

The attitudes and actions underscore the increasing power and recalcitrance of $13-billion-per-year Big Green industry, and how little fundamental facts affect its thinking. If the radicals believe there is an ecological or climate risk, they feel justified in using intimidation, criminal sanctions, and even force, violence and eco-terror to impose their will. Whatever they cannot make off limits via Antiquities Act, wilderness or other land use designations, they intend to lock up or shut down by other means.

The most delayed and litigated pipeline in U.S. history, KXL has stirred controversy for over a decade. Proponents say it is a necessary, safe, effective way to transport crude oil to refineries that produce fuel for vehicles and raw materials for countless petrochemical products. In fact, segments of Keystone have already been in operation for several years, delivering crude oil to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

A new, shorter, more direct route – Keystone XL, running diagonally through Wyoming, the Dakotas and Nebraska – would be less expensive and safer. The northern portions were approved years ago, but the Nebraska section encountered prolonged opposition from climate alarmists and President Obama.

TransCanada had already agreed to move the route away from environmentally sensitive wetlands known as the Nebraska Sandhills. The NPSC decision shifted the pipeline further away from Sandhills. Diehard opponents say all pipelines are inherently unsafe, prolong the use of “climate-damaging” fossil fuels, and will become obsolete relics as America shifts entirely to renewable energy in a utopian decade or so.

The United States already has 160,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, 300,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, and 2,200,000 miles of local gas distribution pipelines. Skilled builders will use the latest steel, valve, monitoring and other technologies to build the KXL segment and prevent spills.

No one can guarantee that spills will never occur. A recent older Keystone pipeline break in South Dakota caused a 5,000-barrel leak. However, the Keystone and KXL lines traverse mostly rural areas, whereas truck and rail alternatives go along busy, congested highways and through towns and urban areas – with far greater potential for loss of human life and property.

A fiery 2013 derailment in Quebec killed 47 people and left many more badly burned; rail accidents in Colorado and Virginia resulted in significant oil spills but fortunately no deaths. By carrying 830,000 barrels of light and heavy crude every day, Keystone XL would eliminate the need for 1,225 railroad tanker cars per day (450,000 per year) or 3,500 semi-trailer tanker trucks daily (1,275,000 annually)!

More than 99.9% of oil moved by pipeline arrives safely at its destination, the Wall Street Journal notes. Rail transit is 2.5 times more likely to have an accident resulting in an oil spill, and trucks are six times more likely to do so – with both far more likely to injure, burn or kill many people. Indeed, the 5,000-barrel spill happened after the Keystone pipeline had safely delivered more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil, and TransCanada isolated the affected pipeline section within 15 minutes. No serious damage occurred.

Equally important, wind and solar substitutes for fossil fuels have their own major ecological impacts – which few environmentalists ever acknowledge. Using wind power to replace current US electricity generation and charge batteries for just seven windless days of backup power would require some 14 million towering 1.8-MW bird-and-bat-killing turbines, across acreage twice the size of California. The backup power would require over 650 million 100-kWh Tesla battery packs on still more acreage.

This does not consider what it would take to replace vehicles with electric versions – or coal and gas fuel in foundries, refineries and factories. The steel, copper, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, fiberglass and other raw materials to build all those turbines, batteries and transmission lines would require massive quantities of earth removal, mining, processing, smelting and manufacturing – much of it in developing countries under dangerous, inhuman conditions. Renewable energy is not ecological or sustainable.

Activists who cry Climate Armageddon attempt to tie every temperature rise, hurricane and other extreme weather event to human greenhouse gas emissions. They ignore the record 12-year drought in Category 3-5 hurricanes striking the U.S. mainland, prior to Harvey – and the “warming hiatus” that has prevailed since 1998, except during the 2015-16 El Niño temperature spike.

Climate computer models falsely assume that plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide drives climate change … and predict average global temperatures a full 1 degree F higher than have actually been observed by satellites and weather balloons, a gap that is widening every year. It now appears that Western Antarctic ice shelf instability is due to volcanic and magmatic activity beneath it – not climate change.

Heavily subsidized, sporadic, unreliable wind and solar combined provide less than 3% of all U.S. energy. One day, they (or some other as yet unimaginable energy source) may replace the fossil fuels that still account for 81% of the energy that makes US livelihoods, living standards and life spans possible – and is lifting billions out of abject poverty, malnutrition and disease. But that day has not yet arrived.

Fossil fuels provide feed stocks for paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals and other products that enrich and safeguard our lives. They keep our lights, heat and air conditioning on, and power the manufacturing centers that create computers, smart phones, healthcare technologies, vehicles and batteries. They take patients to hospitals, people to work and events, products to retailers and homes.

They are the most efficient, most affordable power source for the modern civilization which we Americans enjoy and take for granted – and to which all humans aspire. Pipelines are the fastest, safest, most direct, most economical way to get oil and natural gas supplies where they are needed.

Keystone XL is a vital addition to America’s pipeline system. It’s not perfect. But it is essential for a healthier, safer, more prosperous United States. Building it will create tens of thousands of jobs.

As to handling anarchists who think they are above the law, these suggestions may help. Ensure that there are sufficient police and National Guardsmen to maintain control. Require permits and multi-million-dollar surety bonds for every encampment, to ensure safety, lawful activities, and cleanup of human and other wastes. Prohibit wearing of ski masks and collect IDs, fingerprints and photos of every activist.

To prevent hypocrisy in anti-fossil fuel anarchist camps, prohibit all petroleum-based synthetic fibers (clothing, tents, sleeping bags); clothing derived from fibers grown, harvested and/or manufactured using fossil fuels; computers and cell phones with plastic housings; and transportation from protest sites in vehicles fueled or manufactured with hydrocarbons, in aircraft, or on asphalt roadways.

Allow only growing, harvesting, garment manufacturing, food, cooking and travel using all-natural pre-1900 technologies – so that campers can learn how wonderful life was back in the “good old days.”

Via email

It is time to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard

Can King Corn be defeated?

By Printus LeBlanc

Two political powerhouses are getting ready to do battle. Texas and Louisiana are the hub of U.S. energy production, and Iowa and Nebraska are the hub of U.S. ethanol production. The two groups are battling over a law passed over a decade ago that made one region of the country the king of subsidies. Those subsidies are now putting pressure on large swaths of the economy and must be addressed.

On Dec. 1, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandate for Texas.

First, a quick primer on the RFS. In 2005, the RFS was established under the guise of helping the environment with the passage of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. The program requires fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimal amount of renewable fuels, the majority being corn ethanol. To track the renewable fuel, a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) is assigned to each batch of biofuel. The RINs count towards the Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO), an amount designated to each refinery by the EPA.

Seems somewhat simple, but there is a problem for exporters and refiners that do not have the ability to blend. The rule for a gallon of ethanol consumed in the U.S. is different for a gallon consumed outside the country. The rule states, “if a gallon of ethanol is produced in the U.S. but consumed outside of the U.S., the RIN associated with that gallon is not valid for RFS compliance purposes since the RFS program is intended to require a specific volume of renewable fuel to be consumed in the U.S.”

The rule forces exporters of ethanol and fuel blended with ethanol to lose the RIN credit. The refiner had to purchase the credit to make the fuel, now has to buy another credit to go towards the RVO. This is the point of Governor Abbott’s letter.

The RINs have now become Wall Street speculators’ weapon. Big banks are buying the credits from producers and hoarding them in dark markets, driving up the price. The increase in cost is being passed up the supply chain.

RINs are having a detrimental effect on refiners across the nation. Many are spending more on RINs than labor. The cost has already caused one refinery to close in Delaware and is threatening a closure in Pennsylvania.

The cost is also being passed up the supply chain. Alex Holcomb, professor of finance at The University of Texas-El Paso, studied the impact of high RINs prices on employment nationwide, finding that: “The RIN mandate, as its currently structured, puts refiners at higher risk of bankruptcy, placing at risk a significant number of jobs that are tied to the refinery sector both directly and indirectly. As is usually the case in bankruptcy, workers end up suffering the most acute economic hardship, especially if they are unable to quickly find comparable re-employment. From steelworkers to truckers, to the men and women earning minimum wage at their local gas station, an estimated 75,000 to 150,000 American jobs are potentially at risk if U.S. independent refiners go out of business.”

However, there is a middle ground everyone can agree on. Allowing RINs attached to exported biofuels to be counted towards the RVO benefits almost everyone:

The refiners no longer must pay twice for RINs;

The corn producers still produce the same amount of corn, and will have greater access to overseas markets;

Increases American exports;

There is one group the compromise does not benefit, Wall Street speculators. Since they did such a bang-up job with the housing market, no one is worried about them not profiting from a compromise.

It would behoove King Corn to pay attention. Yes, they are a potent political force, but several influential groups are drifting together to oppose them. More and more studies being done show the RFS does more harm than good to the environment. Environmentalists are starting to turn on the mandate. King Corn could soon be facing a united front of environmentalists (California, Oregon and Washington) and refiners (Texas, Pennsylvania and Louisiana), a lot more than the four Senators and seven House members in Iowa and Nebraska.

For over a decade the corn lobby has been getting billions in subsidies. It is time for them to allow the EPA to level the playing field for all in the fuel business. No one is trying to remove the mandate, yet. Iowa and Nebraska should get on board with reforming the RFS for the good of every American.




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


10 December, 2017

Vicious Greenies get respected IPCC scientist charged because he mapped glaciers as is standard, not as they wanted

A prominent geoscientist in Argentina is facing criminal charges over accusations that he manipulated a government survey of glaciers at the behest of mining interests.

On 27 November, a federal judge in Buenos Aires charged Ricardo Villalba, the former director of the Argentinian Institute of Snow, Ice and Environmental Research (IANIGLA) in Mendoza, with abusing his authority and violating his duty as a civil servant. Villalba appealed against his indictment on 4 December — but if he loses, the case will go to trial. In the meantime, the court has ordered Villalba to stay in the country, and has authorized the seizure of his assets up to 5 million pesos (US$289,000).

The case hinges on the definition of a glacier as viewed from space. When Villalba began the government survey in 2011, he determined that it would include glaciers of 1 hectare or larger — following international norms for satellite analyses. But environmental activists in Argentina’s San Juan province argue that he excluded some smaller glaciers to prevent tougher regulation of adjacent mines operated by the Barrick Gold Corporation of Toronto, Canada. Villalba’s scientific colleagues in Argentina and abroad say the charges against him are baseless and political.

International support

“It’s surreal and kind of ridiculous,” says Bruce Raup, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, who co-authored a letter of support for Villalba. Raup maintains an international glacier database that includes information from the ongoing Argentinian survey. He says that many scientists set a minimum glacier size of 1 hectare to reduce the risk of incorrectly counting ephemeral snow and ice.

Villalba rejects the idea that he or his colleagues at IANIGLA failed to carry out their duties properly. “There is no other institution in Argentina that has done more for the knowledge, care and protection of glaciers than IANIGLA,” he says. The allegation that the glacier surveys were designed to promote mining interests "is totally wrong", he says, and a blow to science in Argentina generally.

Fellow scientists have rushed to his defence. Villalba's co-workers at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Mendoz protested on his behalf as he entered his appeal on 4 December. And scientists in other countries who have worked with Villalba are collecting signatures on a letter defending him and his glacier survey. Many of these researchers see parallels between Villalba's case and that of six seismologists who were found guilty of manslaughter for misleading the public about the dangers of an earthquake, although their convictions were later overturned.

The charges against Villalba stem from a lawsuit by environmental activists in San José de Jáchal, a community in the northwestern part of the country. They argue that the glacier survey conducted by Villalba and his colleagues at IANIGLA did not comply with a law enacted in 2010 that was designed to give extra protections to Argentina's glaciers, which provide the bulk of the country's water. The law also directed the government to conduct a survey of Argentina's land ice — the work that Villalba, who had advocated for the law's passage, later coordinated.

Environmental impact

The environmental activists argue that Villalba and his colleagues should have documented all glaciers, no matter the size — including ice in the vicinity of Barrick Gold’s Veladero gold mine, near San José de Jáchal. "The law did not distinguish glaciers by surface or size," says Diego Seguí, a lawyer who is representing the activist group, the Asamblea Jachál No Se Toca.

Once the ice near the mine had been mapped, the activists say, the law would have required the scientists to audit the Barrick facility's impact on glacial resources. They claim that this would have halted activities there, thus preventing the three cyanide spills that have taken place at the mine over the past two years.

Villalba and his allies reject that idea. They say that as a science agency, IANIGLA is not responsible for enforcing environmental rules. Instead, they argue that the responsibility of maintaining environmental safety at the Veladero mine is the duty of Barrick and of? Argentina’s environmental regulators.

“Clearly there is no relationship between the actual mapping and the spill of cyanide,” says Tom Veblen, a geographer at the University of Colorado Boulder who was Villalba’s graduate adviser. “Ricardo is being used as a scapegoat, without a doubt."


Moody's Climate Change Delusion

Moody's might downgrade themselves if they push too hard on this

Coastal cities and towns across the United States are now facing significant pressure from Moody's Investors Service, one of the world's most important credit agencies, to battle climate change. Failing to do so, Moody's warns, could result in downgraded credit ratings.

In a recent report to clients, Moody's outlined several indicators its analysts use to assess "the exposure and overall susceptibility of U.S. states to the physical effects of climate change" while crafting credit ratings for state, city, and regional government bonds. Among the indicators Moody's listed is the share of a community's economy that's linked to the coast.

No Hidden Agenda: Get News From A Pro-Free Market, Pro-Growth Perspective
Moody's says cities with large ports or an extensive fishing industry, for instance, are at a greater risk of climate change-related disasters.

"Extreme weather patterns exacerbated by changing climate trends include higher rates of coastal storm damage, more frequent droughts, and severe heat waves," Moody's wrote in a press release accompanying the report. "These events can also cause economic challenges like smaller crop yields, infrastructure damage, higher energy demands, and escalated recovery costs."

Moody's claims state and local governments that don't adequately prepare for these increased risks will likely face credit downgrades in the future. Moody's identified Texas, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi as the states with greatest risks, and thus as the states that must urgently spend more money preparing for what Moody's seems to think is inevitable climate change disaster.

If the evidence were to clearly show that future climate change is inevitably going to create additional extreme weather events and damage to coastal areas, then Moody's analysis would make perfect sense. Increased risks should be met with more preparedness.

However, the climate change assumptions Moody's has built into its forecasts aren't based on the existing evidence, which shows dire extreme weather events have not substantially increased in recent years.

Prior to Hurricane Harvey making landfall in Texas in August as a Category 4 hurricane, the United States experienced an historic major-hurricane drought. From November 2005 to August 2017, not a single hurricane that measured as Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale made landfall along an American coast — the longest such drought since modern hurricane records were first created in 1851.

Evidence of a substantial growing danger posed by other kinds of extreme weather events is also virtually nonexistent.

In testimony given before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in March 2017, Roger Pielke, Jr., Ph.D., a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and formerly a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, noted, "There is little scientific basis in support of claims that extreme weather events — specifically hurricanes, floods, drought, tornadoes — and their economic damage have increased in recent decades due to the emission of greenhouse gases. In fact, since 2013 the world and the United States have had a remarkable stretch of good fortune with respect to extreme weather, as compared to the past."

Moody's is basing its analysis of future climate change risks on the credit agency's commitment to climate change alarmist dogma, not on scientific data, and this isn't the first time it's happened. In June 2016, Moody's urged countries around the world to ratify the Paris climate agreement and said it planned to use the Paris agreement commitments to guide future credit analyses.

Moody's embrace of the extremely costly Paris agreement is telling, especially since even those supportive of the accords have said they would have a relatively minimal impact on global temperature.

Researchers at MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change estimated that compared to the 2009 Copenhagen agreement, the Paris agreement would likely only prevent an additional 0.2 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100. Even without the Copenhagen agreement, the MIT researchers estimated it would prevent only 1 degree C of warming by 2100.

These figures are truly remarkable considering fulfilling all the obligations of the Paris agreement would cost the U.S. economy about $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial jobs by 2040, according to an analysis by NERA Economic Consulting.

By coercing communities to spend billions more to prepare for natural disasters that may never come, Moody's is attempting to impose its climate change fantasies on the millions of American families who would have to shoulder the burden of added government costs made to prevent a downgraded credit rating.

Rather than indulge in climate alarmist fiction, Moody's should instead stick to what the available data actually reveals when creating its credit assessments.


End the ‘war on coal’

Far from being a threat, coal continues to bring health, welfare and prosperity to billions

Bryan Leyland and Tom Harris

At the recent Environmental Protection Agency public hearing in Charleston, West Virginia, on withdrawing the “Clean Power Plan,” anti-coal activists were out in force: the Climate Justice Alliance, Sierra Club, Citizens Climate Lobby, Natural Resource Defense Council and many others.

The New York Times reported that several groups also met at the University of Charleston, to discuss the purported “environmental, health and climate benefits of reducing coal consumption.”

They apparently do not understand that the abundant, low-cost energy provided by coal laid the foundations of the industrial revolution and modern society. It provided power for trains that transported raw materials and factories that turned them into vital products.

In the twentieth century coal-fired power stations provided the reliable, inexpensive electricity that is the lifeblood of modern economies. It still does today.

The world has vast coal reserves. The USA alone still has a 380-year supply at current usage rates. It could be burned in modern clean power plants.

Sadly, in the Western world, radical environmentalists are working to shut down existing coal-fired stations, and prevent new ones from being built. Meanwhile, hundreds of new coal-fired stations are being built annually in the rest of the world, to power expanding economies and bring improved health, welfare and prosperity to billions of people who until recently had no access to electricity.

Developing countries must build new coal-fired stations to provide their poverty-stricken populations with reliable low-cost electricity. But environmentalists have convinced international development banks that coal is evil and persuaded the banks to squander vast sums on expensive wind and solar power that keeps a few lights burning a few hours a day.

For commercial and industrial development, hospitals, schools and families, developing nations need abundant, continuous, low-cost electricity. In many cases, coal is by far the best option.

So why is coal vilified? It is because of the mistaken belief that man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) is causing dangerous global warming. Indeed, coal stations are a major source of CO2 emissions. However, this climate change connection rests entirely on the output of computer models that are programmed to predict warming if CO2 increases. The models assume what they are supposed to prove!

Speaking at the recent America First Energy Conference in Houston, Texas, University of Delaware climatology professor Dr. David Legates showed that climate models consistently predict far greater temperature rises than are actually observed: a full degree Fahrenheit difference by 2017.

Models are “tuned” to give the results desired for political purposes, he explained. “This is not science!”

Yet, the benefits of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide – the only gas controlled by the Clean Power Plan – are clear. CO2 is essential for plant growth. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change expert Dr. Craig Idso told the Houston audience, “The entire terrestrial biosphere is reaping incredible benefits from an approximately 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.”

If it were true that man-made CO2 caused dangerous global warming, the best option would be nuclear power that is proven, safe and environmentally friendly. But environmental extremists claim that nuclear power is too dangerous, even though the only recorded deaths from nuclear power generation occurred at the obsolete and mal-operated Chernobyl station in Ukraine.

The next best option is natural gas. This has been spectacularly successful in the United States, and hydraulic fracturing is producing abundant supplies of this vital fuel. Yet, despite its excellent safety record, activists violently oppose fracking.

Instead, they push wind and solar power that exist only because they are heavily subsidized, and their health and environmental impacts are ignored. The huge expansion of wind and solar power has massively increased electricity costs because of subsidies, mandated purchases and the high cost of providing backup power whenever the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine.

Reliability is also a problem, especially with wind power. For example, extensive blackouts occurred recently in South Australia when their wind power went offline in a gale and so overloaded the backup supply that it also shut down.

Few people understand that the war against coal is actually a war against people and a cleaner environment.

Modern highly efficient coal-fired power plants with stack gas cleanup – the kind that can be built all over the world – are as clean as they can be. Their emissions consist of water, CO2 and nitrogen. The stack gas cleanup removes virtually all the real pollutants, especially sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides.

The only pollution left behind is coal ash, which freezes pollutants in its glassy matrix and can be stored safely in disposal facilities.

The USA is not building modern coal-fired power plants because EPA regulations set allowable CO2 emissions per megawatt of electricity far below what can be achieved using the best technology. If it had been set slightly higher – or better still, if no limit had been imposed on CO2 emissions – the United States would be still leading the world in building modern, clean, efficient, economical coal-fired stations. That’s exactly what Europe, China, India and dozens of other countries are doing.

It’s clearly high time to end the war on coal!

Via email

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is reining in the out of control radical environmentalists

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been Republicans least favorite agency for quite some time. The Obama administration allowed the EPA to expand their influence far past nearly any other executive agency, imposing unprecedented regulatory burdens on the American people. Under the leadership of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, President Donald Trump’s EPA has taken a dramatic turn to foster innovation within the private sector and remove stifling regulations from state and corporation.

The EPA made waves in October when it followed up the U.S. departure from the Paris climate accord and announced the Trump administration would be rescinding the Clean Power Plan, which placed strict regulations on carbon emissions. The removal of this rule removes significant economic burdens from U.S. industries and will allow coal to remain a resilient energy source for millions of Americans, but this is just one example of the EPA’s success during the Trump Administration.

Congress has worked with the EPA through the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to remove elements of executive overreach the Obama Administration pushed into place.

Under the CRA law, Congress has 60 legislative days to offer joint resolutions of disapproval for any executive regulation; once passed through both legislative branches and the presidency, the statute is nullified and cannot be reinstated without a vote of Congress. Congress has used the CRA to rescind 13 regulations under the Trump Administration, many dealing with overreach from the EPA and Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS).

Congress used H.J. Res. 69 to rescind the FWS Wildlife Management Rule. Under this rule Alaskan citizens faced increase hunting restrictions, costing communities $5.9 million annually.

Congress used H.J. Res. 38 to rescind the Stream Protection Rule. This rule targeted coal companies in order to “minimize disturbances and adverse impacts on fish, wildlife, and related environmental values” as deemed necessary by the EPA. This devastated industry across the country, the final rule of the regulation explains, “Of the $81 million in increased annual costs to industry, surface mining operations will bear an estimated $71 million, while underground mining operations will absorb $10 million.”

The House reaffirmed this interest in reining in burdensome EPA guidelines with the inclusion of section 113 of the omnibus bill. The bill passed the House on a 211-198 vote, including a provision targeting the Endangered Species Act due to their protections of the greater Sage Grouse. Despite not listing this bird as an endangered species, the EPA and the FWS have classified 5.5 million acres of privately owned land across 11 states as conservation areas.

Within the EPA, Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken steps to remove regulations that harm industry without producing significant benefit to the United States.

The Water of the United States Rule was imposed by President Obama to require a federal permit for any activity resulting in a distarch of water into small streams and wetlands, placing a new barrier to expansion for farmers across America’s heartland. President Trump ordered an executive order to review the rule in February 2017, and in July the EPA began with a proposed withdrawal.

Glider vehicles, old, heavy-duty trucks, were regulated out of existence in the Obama administration for causing too much carbon emissions. Pruitt has defended the trucks, “Gliders not only provide a more affordable option for smaller owners and operators, but also serve as a key economic driver to numerous rural communities.” Under his leadership, the EPA has taken steps to repeal these restrictions.

The Obama Administration also wanted the EPA to place additional restrictions on the hard rock mining industry. Pruitt concluded the environmental risks were not worth further federal requirements and refused to “impose an undue burden on this important sector of the American economy and rural America, where most of these mining jobs are based.”

Scott Pruitt has taken significant steps to return the EPA to its true purpose, to enforce the rules of Congress in order to protect the interests of the American people best. While the Obama Administration transformed the agency into one with overarching power, Pruitt is empowering the American people without the restrictions of the federal government.


Britain Starts Dismantling Wind Farms After Successful Lake District Campaign

A dozen 140ft wind turbines on the edge of the Lake District are due to be dismantled next summer after a decision which could result in many more being removed to restore views.

The wind farm on Kirkby Moor on the Furness peninsula in Cumbria would be the first large one to be taken down since they began appearing around Britain in 1991

The wind farm on Kirkby Moor on the Furness peninsula in Cumbria would be the first large one to be taken down since they began appearing around Britain in 1991.

South Lakeland district council refused an application by the wind farm operator to keep the turbines operating for another ten years until 2027.

Under the original planning permission, granted in 1992, the turbines have to be removed by August 26 next year.

The council’s decision follows a campaign by the Friends of the Lake District (FLD) and the Open Spaces Society (OSS), which argued that the turbines blighted views from within the Lake District National Park.

The distance to the park boundary from the nearest turbine is 800 metres. Laura Fiske, FLD planning officer, said the decision set a precedent which would make it easier to resist applications from other wind farm operators to extend the life of visually intrusive turbines for which planning permission will soon expire.

She said: “This decision is a victory for the local communities who live in the shadow of this development imposed on them by the government in the early 1990s. This decision reflects the tireless effort they have put in to make their voices heard.”

Kate Ashbrook, OSS general secretary, said: “We objected because the turbines are a severe intrusion in a wild landscape, highly visible from many directions and in particular from the Lake District national park.

“Furthermore, the turbines occupy a significant area of registered common land, where the public has the right to walk and commoners have the right to graze stock. The moor is also criss-crossed with public rights of way.

“Now we need to make sure that every trace of the turbines is removed when the current consent expires next year, so that this magnificent common is restored to its former glory.”




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, 2017

Tidalgate: Climate Alarmists Caught Faking Sea Level Rise

Alarmist scientists have been caught red-handed tampering with raw data in order to exaggerate sea level rise.

The raw (unadjusted) data from three Indian Ocean gauges – Aden, Karachi and Mumbai – showed that local sea level trends in the last 140 years had been very gently rising, neutral or negative (ie sea levels had fallen).

But after the evidence had been adjusted by tidal records gatekeepers at the global databank Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) it suddenly showed a sharp and dramatic rise.

The whistle was blown by two Australian scientists Dr. Albert Parker and Dr. Clifford Ollier in a paper for Earth Systems and Environment.

The paper – Is the Sea Level Stable at Aden, Yemen? – examines the discrepancies between raw and adjusted sea level data in Aden, Karachi and Mumbai.

Kenneth Richard at No Tricks Zone reports:

    "The authors expose how PSMSL  data-adjusters make it appear that stable sea levels can be rendered to look like they are nonetheless rising at an accelerated pace.

    The data-adjusters take misaligned and incomplete sea level data from tide gauges that show no sea level rise (or even a falling trend).  Then, they subjectively and arbitrarily cobble them together, or realign them.   In each case assessed, PSMSL data-adjusters lower the earlier misaligned rates and raise the more recent measurements.  By doing so, they concoct a new linearly-rising trend."

The authors do not mince their words. They refer to these adjustments as “highly questionable” and “suspicious.”  That’s because they can find no plausible scientific explanation for the adjustments.

As they explain at the beginning of their paper, it is hard to put together consistent sea level records covering a long time period. This is because tide gauges are often the result of multiple sets of data, taken over different time periods using different instruments, which are then spliced together.

    "What is proposed as a single record in databases such as the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) (PSMSL 2017a) is often the composition of data collected by different instruments, sometimes in different locations or over different time windows, with significant gaps in between one measurement and the others. This is the case of the Aden, Yemen tide gauge that is the only tidal location of the Arabian Peninsula spanning a time window long enough to infer a trend and acceleration of the relative sea level (assuming there was continuous measurement and no quality issue).

    In Aden, similar to Karachi and Mumbai and other tide gauges of the area, a single-tide gauge record is the result of multiple sets of data subjectively coupled together. While a new tide gauge is recording since about 2007, the alignment of the previous data is continuously changing."

So there is nothing per se wrong with PSMSL making adjustments in order to make the different datasets align.  What is wrong is the way that the scientists at PSMSL have adjusted them. In every case, they have revised them in order to make them produce a sharp upward trend in sea level rise – despite the fact that global records do not support this.

The truth, Parker and Ollier conclude in their paper, is that sea level has changed very little in the three sites examined:

    "The reconstructed tide gauge records of Aden, Mumbai and Karachi are perfectly consistent with multiple lines of evidence from other key sites of the Indian Ocean including Qatar, Maldives, Bangladesh and Visakhapatnam. The sea levels have been stable since the start of the twentieth century in Aden similar to Karachi and Mumbai."

But the official PSMSL data – as used by other global data-keeping bodies such as NOAA – claims that there has been a sharp increase.

In Aden, for example, the alarmists have turned a modest 1.21 mm/year rise into a 3.02 mm/year rise.   In Aden, with data 1880–1969, the trend was + 1.21 mm/year.

    "Per the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Centre for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (NOAA 2017a), with data from an intermediate version of a single-tide gauge record by PSMSL we may call (n-1), the sea-level trend in Aden is + 3.02 mm/year based on the monthly average mean sea-level (MSL) results 1879–2011, Fig. 6a (image from NOAA(2017b) downloaded on September 13, 2017).

    Using the online analysis tool of Burton’s ( 2017a), with data from the latest update of the PSMSL database that we may call version n, with 2 more years of data, but also with some other corrections, see the data before the year 1900 shifted up, the sea-level trend in Aden is + 1.35 mm/year based on the MSL results 1879–2013, Fig. 6b (image from (2017b) downloaded on September 13, 2017). Worthy of note, the acceleration is now large and positive."

 Again, there is no plausible scientific explanation for these adjustments. As the authors put it:

    “It is always highly questionable to shift data collected in the far past without any proven new supporting material.”

Indeed, but it is perfectly consistent with the behavior of alarmist scientists in other fields, notably those concerning surface temperature data records. As we have reported here before, there is copious evidence to suggest that the gatekeepers of global warming have consistently and shamelessly cooked the books and rigged the data in order to give the impression that “climate change” is a major and unprecedented phenomenon.

A major part of the global warming scare narrative is that melting ice caps will cause sea levels to rise at a dangerous and unprecedented rate, enveloping low-lying Pacific islands, flooding vulnerable countries like Bangladesh and perhaps one day drowning even places like Manhattan.

There is little if any scientific evidence that this is actually happening.

What’s extraordinary is the desperation of scientists at what ought to be impeccably neutral and trustworthy institutions such as NASA, NOAA and PSMSL to pretend that it is.

When alarmists in charge of surface temperature datasets make dishonest adjustments to exaggerate the appearance of global warming, it looks like corruption.

When alarmists in the entirely separate field of sea level measurement make precisely the same sort of dishonest adjustments in order to accord with the same global warming narrative, it starts to look like a conspiracy.


EU Member States Abandon Legally Binding Targets For Renewable Energy

For the past ten years, EU member states have been obliged to meet national targets for renewable energy. From 2020, they will be free of these constraints.

The 2020 targets were adopted in 2008, when EU lawmakers were in a very different mood. It was before the economic crisis, and the EU’s crisis of confidence.

By 2014, in the second commission of President José Manuel Barroso, the zeitgeist had changed. Under Secretary-General Catherine Day, a new focus was placed on being less intrusive, and allowing more flexibility for national governments. And so new post-2020 targets were proposed that were far less proscriptive.

For renewables, the Commission has proposed a 27% share target for 2030, up from 20% in 2020. But it will only be binding at EU level. Individual EU countries will not be punished if they fail to meet the goal, because there are no binding national targets in the proposal.

Environmental groups have pointed out that without the national targets, there is no legally enforceable way to ensure the EU meets its goal. The Commission can take an EU member state to court if it misses a target. But it cannot take itself to court.

To allay concerns about the less-proscriptive approach, the Commission introduced the concept of ‘energy governance’ – a framework that will set milestones and rules that are meant to keep everyone on track and make the various pieces of energy legislation work together. It is an umbrella legislation, setting the rules for a bundle of laws.

This energy governance regulation, put forward by the Juncker commission last year, will be voted on by MEPs on Thursday, and by member states on 18 December. It is one part of a broader Clean Energy Package.

Negotiations for the third version of the Clean Energy for all Europeans package have officially begun.

A new regime

Green MEPs Michèle Rivasi and Claude Turmes are serving as co-rapporteurs leading the file, which will be voted on in a joint session of the Parliament’s environment and energy committees on Thursday. The importance of the legislation is reflected in the 1,700 amendments which have been tabled.

“Because we lost the national binding targets, this part of the governance is now getting really essential,” Turmes says. “If it isn’t watertight, you may have a high renewable target, but you have no instruments to get you there.”

Turmes says the governance legislation needs to solve three problems that have arisen because of the lack of binding national targets.

It needs to close the “ambition gap” between the existing targets and the EU’s commitment under the Paris agreement.
It needs to close the “delivery gap” – the ability for new governments to reneg on the commitments of the previous government.

And it needs to close the “trajectory gap” – the ability for countries to delay action in the early part of the decade, coasting on their 2020 targets until 2030 starts drawing near.
“We don’t want a hockey stick trajectory, we want a linear trajectory,” The Luxembourgish MEP explained.

Several member states who are advanced in renewables have also identified this as a concern, because they fear that they will have to do all the work and make up for the laggards. These countries, which include Germany, France, Portugal and Sweden, have convinced the Estonian presidency to table a proposal which would add interim targets in 2023 and 2025. 

The European Parliament says the EU’s proposed 2030 target for renewable energy needs to be raised in order to speed up deployment early in the next decade. But EU member states have a different idea.

Contentious issues

The biggest areas of disagreement ahead of Thursday’s vote have emerged around long-term goals for 2050, interim targets and multi-level governance.

The parliament is expected to pass amendments giving cities and regions a greater role in energy governance. But this is expected to be resisted by member states who worry about diluting national authority.

There is also disagreement both within the Parliament and within the Council on whether governments should be able to keep regulated energy prices, and whether they should be able to continue subsidising coal plants in order to guarantee stand-by power capacity. This is part of related legislation on electricity market design.

The Commission has proposed to forbid capacity mechanism subsidies to go to any new plant that has a carbon intensity threshold of more than 550gCO2 per KWh of electricity, which would effectively ban subsidies to coal plants. It also wants a ban on giving such subsidies to existing plants from five years after the legislation comes into force.

A European Commission proposal to put an emissions limit on what power plants can be subsidised continues to divide the member states but the EU executive and the European Parliament stand united in supporting the CO2 cap.

But after fierce opposition by Poland and other countries heavily reliant on coal, the Estonian presidency has drafted a compromise which would allow such subsidies for existing plants indefinitely, and start the ban for new plants only five years after entry into force. Member state representatives will discuss the issue on Wednesday.

In the Parliament, a different compromise has been tabled as an amendment by Polish center-right MEP Jerzy Buzek, who chairs the energy and industry committee. Under the amendment, countries that produce more than 20% of their electricity from solid fuels would be exempt from the cap. These would be Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Romania.


Time to Ditch the Renewable Fuel Standard, Save Americans Money

Politicians don’t have a crystal ball that can predict the future of energy prices, energy supplies, or demand for electricity and gasoline.

But they pretend to, and that’s a problem. It leads to market-distorting policies that harm Americans as consumers and taxpayers.

Take the Renewable Fuel Standard. Congress and the George W. Bush administration established the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 and expanded the program in 2007. The standard sets volumetric requirements (peaking at 36 billion gallons in 2022) to mix biofuels into the country’s fuel supply.

Ethanol, the most common biofuel, is made from corn, sugarcane, potatoes, soybeans, and other biomass. The Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to set yearly obligations to be met, which the agency recently did for 2018.

One of the main reasons the federal government enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard was to lessen U.S. dependence on oil and foreign sources of energy. In January 2007, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, “We can’t produce our way out of the problems we have with oil. The only alternative we have is to look to alternative fuels: the sun, the wind, geothermal, biomass.”

In other words, let’s replace oil with homegrown corn-based ethanol and soy bean-based biodiesel.

As dubious as the goal of energy independence is, the Renewable Fuel Standard is failing to achieve it. The large majority of transportation fuel is petroleum, and biofuels’ impact on the overall transportation fuel market is minimal.

In 2016, ethanol contributed a paltry 5 percent of the overall transportation fuel market. Natural gas provided 4 percent of the nation’s transportation fuel with no mandate in place. Instead, the market is at work and the abundance of cheap natural gas is spurring the growth of natural gas vehicles.

The growth of biofuels as a result of the mandate is minuscule compared to the country’s overall demand for fuel. Yet ethanol consumes a large share of the corn crop and an increasing amount of the soybean crop. The ethanol quota diverts valuable cropland away from other agricultural uses and increases feed prices for cattle and poultry farmers.

Even within the mandate, we’re relying on cheaper biofuels from foreign sources to meet the requirements. The U.S. consumed 2.85 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2016 while producing only 1.568 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2016. Over 708 million gallons were imported in 2016, with 448 million gallons imported exclusively from Argentina.

Practically one-quarter of all biodiesel consumed in the U.S. in 2016 was imported from other countries. An overall net exporter of ethanol last year, the U.S. was a net importer of biodiesel.

What’s the government’s solution? Just like it did for cheaper Brazilian ethanol years ago, the Commerce Department is imposing a 71.45 percent to 72.28 percent tariff on Argentinian biodiesel.

If the federal government is going to force a biofuel mandate on Americans, at the very least it should be able to buy the cheapest biofuels on the market.

The problem is not the importation and exportation of ethanol. Freely traded energy, no matter the source, will benefit households and businesses with competitive prices and more choices.

The issue is that the mandate was sold on the false promise of ethanol being the silver bullet to end our dependence on foreign oil, as well as claims of imminent resource exhaustion to justify the program.

For instance, Ken Salazar, then Colorado senator and later secretary of the interior for President Barack Obama, stated in November of 2005 that “by 20 to 25 years from now, we will be importing 70 percent of our oil from foreign countries. … The problem that we face for sure is due in part to dwindling resources here in America. Domestic reserves of oil and natural gas are declining while our demand continues to grow.”

While there’s still time for Salazar’s prediction to come true, the evidence and trends certainly aren’t pointing that way.

We’re not running out of natural resources. In fact, from the time Salazar made that prediction to now, America has reduced imports from over 307 million barrels of crude oil a month to 244 million barrels. The higher production of domestic oil as a result of the tracking boom has reduced net imports far more than ethanol has in the past decade.

Government programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard are ineffective because they cannot account for human ingenuity that can unlock new reserves of energy and innovations that breed new technologies.

The market will take care of America’s energy needs. Catering to rent seekers and special interests incentivizes more lobbying and government dependence, and stifles innovation.

Politicians like to make promises they can’t keep and make predictions that sound like an impressive feat of prognostication. But politicians feel no repercussions when the market proves them wrong.

It’s long past time to recognize the Renewable Fuel Standard has failed to deliver on its promises, and that the market predictions upon which it was based are not today’s energy reality.


The blessings of climate change

by Jeff Jacoby

POINT HOPE, ALASKA, is tiny and ill-provisioned, an Arctic backwater so inaccessible that basic groceries have to be flown in and gasoline can only be brought in by barge during the summer. The town is remote not only geographically, but also digitally: Its internet connection is so slow that teachers must spend hours downloading course material that most of us could pull off the internet in minutes.

But Point Hope's luck is changing. High-speed internet is coming, and with it the benefits of ties to the world: Improved education and health care, more options for consumers, new customers for local artists, and a chance to attract tourists.

All thanks to global warming.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Quintillion, a global communications company, is taking advantage of melting sea ice to build a faster digital link between Europe and Asia by positioning high-speed internet cables beneath the Arctic Ocean. Until recently, cable-laying ships couldn't get too far north, but climate change has meant less ice north of the Bering Strait. Consequently, Point Hope is now a stop on Quintillion's shipping route, and the company is supplying the town with broadband service. That means a better life for residents of one of the nation's most isolated communities.

In the church of climate alarmism, there may be no heresy more dangerous than the idea that the world will benefit from warming. Zealous preachers seek to scare their flock with forecasts of catastrophe, horror, and threats to civilization. Anyone who demurs is denounced as an apostate: an anti-science "denier."

But the truth — the inconvenient truth, to coin a phrase — is that while climate change brings negatives, it brings positives too. Polar melting may cause dislocation for those who live in low-lying coastal areas, but it will also lead to safe commercial shipping in formerly inhospitable northern seas, and to economic opportunity for high-latitude residents in places like Point Hope.

Shifts in climate are like shifts in the economy: They invariably spell good news for some and bad news for others. Falling interest rates are a blessing to homebuyers but a curse to savers; a strong dollar helps consumers buying imports but hinders exporters selling abroad. In the same way, changes in climate generate winners and losers. Some of global warming's effects will be disagreeable; others will be very welcome.

Worldwide, cold kills 20 times as many people as heat, so a warming planet will save lives. A plethora of data confirms the greater deadliness of cold weather, even in countries with very different climate patterns. One study of mortality rates, for example, found that deaths from cold outnumbered those from heat by a ratio of 33-to-2 in Australia, and 61-to-3 in Britain. Of 2,000 weather-related deaths in America tallied by the Centers for Disease Control, 63 percent were caused by excessive cold vs. 31 percent caused by excessive heat.

A warming planet will also be a greener planet. Is a greener planet. Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have already led to "persistent and widespread increase" in leaf cover — i.e., greening — across as much as half of the world's vegetated regions, according to a study published in Nature last year.

Alarmists mindlessly condemn atmospheric CO2 as "carbon pollution," but carbon dioxide is essential to the health and grown of plant life.

NASA satellites show that over the past 35 years, there has been an increase in world greenery equal in area to twice the continental United States. Climate change has been a particular blessing in Africa, where the "Sahel greening" has significantly reduced famine.

The effects of climate change range from the obvious (lower heating bills) to the subtle (more habitat for moose and endangered sharks). Territory formerly deemed too forbiddingly cold will grow more temperate — and valuable. Delicacies from lobster to blueberries may become more plentiful.

Bottom line? Global warming will bring gains as well as losses, upsides no less than downsides. Climate science isn't a black-and-white morality tale. Our climate discourse shouldn't be either.


Greenies wrong: Benefit to plants of CO2 rise not limited by nitrogen availability

The Relationship Between CO2-induced Plant Growth Stimulation and Nitrogen Acquisition
Paper Reviewed: Feng, Z., Rütting, T., Pleijel, H., Wallin, G., Reich, P.B., Kammann, C.I., Newton, P.C.D., Kobayashi, K., Luo, Y. and Uddling, J. 2015. Constraints to nitrogen acquisition of terrestrial plants under elevated CO2. Global Change Biology 21: 3152-3168.

In a paper published in the journal Global Change Biology, the ten-member research team of Feng et al. (2015) set out to investigate the relationship between CO2-induced plant growth stimulation and nitrogen acquisition by conducting a meta-analysis of the subject using data from 35 peer-reviewed journal articles. All of the data they utilized were derived from studies using Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) technology and represented observations obtained from grassland, forest and cropland ecosystems.

Results of their analysis revealed that "across all data, elevated CO2 increased aboveground net primary production by 16% and nitrogen acquisition by 8%." Similar findings were observed when narrowing the data down into a smaller subset of grasslands and forests that had been subjected to CO2 enrichment for a minimum of seven -- and maximum of eleven -- years. As shown in the figure below, aboveground net primary production remained relatively stable at around 15 percent as the length of experiment years increased. Nitrogen acquisition, on the other hand, increased with time, as did the nitrogen concentration of aboveground annual biomass, which became less negative. And in projecting the slope of the line fit to the nitrogen concentration data forward in time, it can be estimated that within 9 years of additional CO2 enrichment, this parameter will no longer be negative, as it will cross into positive territory at that time. Similarly, if the trend in nitrogen acquisition continues its advancement upward (dashed blue line), it would not be unrealistic to project a future increase in aboveground net primary production, as illustrated in the dashed green line.

The significance of the above findings was not lost on the authors of this study, who remark in the discussion section of their paper that "the expectation that the magnitude of positive ecosystem productivity responses to elevated CO2 will decline over time due to [the progressive nitrogen limitation (PNL) hypothesis] was not supported by our analysis of long-term (7-11 years) responses of plant productivity, nitrogen acquisition and nitrogen concentration in FACE experiments." The PNL hypothesis has long been championed by climate alarmists, who claim that low concentrations of soil nitrogen will curtail the ability of the productivity-enhancing effect of rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations to maintain increased plant growth and ecosystem carbon sequestration rates over the long term. Clearly, however, as illustrated by the data in this study, such limitation is not taking place.




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, 2017

Blue Planet 2: David Attenborough grieved by plastic pollution in the oceans

He obviously knows a lot about wildlife but knows little about people.  It is not "us" who are to blame for plastic in the oceans.  Developed countries go to great lengths to dispose of their rubbish properly.  The source of nearly 100% of that plastic in the ocean is poor countries where people simply throw their rubbish into their rivers -- which flow into the oceans

If Attenborough and his Greenie friends were  really concerned about marine pollution, they would be agitating to set up booms across the mouths of major Asian and African rivers to trap and remove the pollution before it reaches the sea.  But since when did Greenies ever do anything practical?

Over the last few weeks, Blue Planet II has been impressing viewers around the country, quickly becoming the most-watched television show of 2017.

Of course, the show wouldn’t exist without fascinating wildlife populating the ocean. Yet, mankind has put the inhabitants of the Big Blue under threat.

During the last episode of the series, David Attenborough issues a warning to viewers, detailing how overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change are all damaging ocean habitats.

“For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong,” Attenborough says.

“It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. [They] are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point.

“Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of humanity, and indeed all life on Earth, now depends on us.”

The BBC were reportedly nervous certain viewers would see the series as too politicised by taking a stand, ordering a fact check. “We just couldn’t ignore it – it wouldn’t be a truthful portrayal of the world’s oceans,” producer Mark Brownlow told The Guardian. “We are not out there to campaign. We are just showing it as it is and it is quite shocking.”

Brownlow also revealed that the team saw albatross chicks being killed after eating plastic they mistook for food — they decided the scenes were too upsetting to broadcast.


Global Temperature Increases Are Lower and Slower, Says New Study

"We calculated that value as 1.1 C (almost 2° Fahrenheit), while climate models estimate that value as 2.3 C (about 4.1° F)"

A new study using more than 38 years satellite and weather balloon temperature data hypothesizes that global temperatures are going up more slowly than projected by most climate models.

And right on time, these results were challenged by other researchers who defend the scientific climate consensus as embodied in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

The new study done by University of Alabama in Huntsville climatologists John Christy and Richard McNider published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science argues consensus models may not have accurately captured how storms in the tropics expel excess heat back into space and/or that they have failed to account for how heat is absorbed by the world's oceans.

Christy and McNider took into account the effects of volcanic eruptions (cooling) and El Nino (heating) and La Nina (cooling) perturbations on global temperatures during the past 38 years.

What they found was warming in the lower troposphere where the bulk of our planet's atmosphere is located at a rate of about 0.096 degrees Celsius per decade. This trend implies that global temperatures will be about 1.1 (± 0.26) degrees Celsius warmer at the time carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels and land use changes doubles in the atmosphere. This is about half of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) estimate of 2.31 (± 0.20) degrees Celsius warmer for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

"From our observations we calculated that value as 1.1 C (almost 2° Fahrenheit), while climate models estimate that value as 2.3 C (about 4.1° F)," Christy said in a press release. "Again, this indicates the real atmosphere is less sensitive to CO2 than what has been forecast by climate models. This suggests the climate models need to be retooled to better reflect conditions in the actual climate, while policies based on previous climate model output and predictions might need to be reconsidered."

John Abraham, a professor of thermal and fluid sciences at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering in Minnesota, asserted in The Daily Mail that Christy and McNider have "manipulated the raw measurements to decrease warming by about 38 percent."

If by manipulate, Abraham means that Christy and McNider have tried to take into account the effects of volcanic eruptions sending cooling sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere and the large swings in global average temperatures caused by the natural El Nino and La Nina phenomenon, then yes. They have done nothing underhanded or wrong.

It is hard not conclude that Abraham is being disingenous when he accuses Christy and McNider of data manipulation. Abraham must know the surface temperature datasets relied upon by IPCC are also "manipulated," using homogenization procedures to take into account weather station moves, instrument changes, time of observation changes, and urban heat island biases.

If the amount of warming expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide is much lower than most climate models project that implies that catastrophic climate outcomes are less likely and that humanity will have extra time to adjust to whatever warming eventually results from the increase in the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


Vatican Issues Far-Left Declaration on Climate Change, ‘Very Fabric of Life on Earth at Grave Risk’

Popey should stick to religion.  He probably knows something about that.  But prohecies of doom do go back a long way in religious circles.  See Matthew 24, as one instance

In a dramatic declaration punctuated by dire threats and warnings, the Vatican is urging the world to “decarbonize the energy system as early as possible and no later than mid-century” to avoid irreversible damage to humans and ecosystems.

In its newly released “Final Declaration: Our Planet, Our Health, Our Responsibility” from a November workshop on climate change, air pollution and health, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences warns that “there is less than a decade” to put in place a series of sweeping measures to counteract the effects of human-induced climate change. “The time to act is now,” it reads.

Surprisingly for a statement coming from an academy of “science,” the document is riddled with unscientific assertions in a bizarre mix of political ideology and apocalyptic hyperbole.

“With unchecked climate change and air pollution, the very fabric of life on Earth, including that of humans, is at grave risk,” the text begins. “We propose scalable solutions to avoid such catastrophic changes. There is less than a decade to put these solutions in place to preserve our quality of life for generations to come.”

In what can only be termed an attempt to generate mass hysteria, the statement envisions a dark scenario not unlike those depicted by past doomsday fads such as the supposed population explosion and catastrophic oil shortages of the 1970s.

“With accelerating climate change, we put ourselves at grave risk of massive crop failures, new and re-emerging infectious diseases, heat extremes, droughts, mega-storms, floods and sharply rising sea levels,” the text reads.

Of course, no declaration of this kind would be complete without an indictment of capitalism and an assertion of the profound guilt of the wealthier nations for causing such a deplorable state of affairs.

“The poorest of the planet, who are still relying on 19th century technologies to meet basic needs such as cooking and heating, are bearing a heavy brunt of the damages caused by the economic activities of the rich,” the document alleges.

There is of course no mention of the fact that access to cheap abundant fossil fuels is exactly what allowed modern nations to emerge from the deep poverty in which the vast majority of the world lived for centuries. Nor is there any mention of the fact that with economic development comes a cleaner environment, as history attests.

In an Orwellian exercise in doublespeak, the authors of the text, including well-known proponents of abortion and population control like the UN’s Jeffrey Sachs, make an attempt to conflate the bogeyman of extreme anthropogenic global warming with the very real problem of environmental pollution.

As Breitbart News reported in October, environmental pollution—particularly air pollution—is responsible for millions of deaths each year, while “climate change” is responsible for none. For all intents and purposes, the two phenomena are unrelated, since the scourge of air pollution relates to the presence of dangerous fine particulate matter in the air while global warming propaganda focuses on carbon dioxide emissions.

Human exposure to fine particulate matter increases the risk of acute lower respiratory infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, while exposure to carbon dioxide—a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas—produces none of these effects and is in fact essential for life on earth.

“Climate change caused by fossil fuels and other human activities poses an existential threat to Homo sapiens and contributes to mass extinction of species,” the Vatican text states. “In addition, air pollution caused by the same activities is a major cause of premature death globally.”

While the second part of this statement is true, the first part is not.

First-world nations like the United States have learned to control pollution through ever cleaner and more efficient energy production using fossil fuels and alternative energy sources. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the air in the U.S. is among the cleanest of any nation on the planet.

In the most recent WHO report on air pollution, the United States was listed as one of the countries with the cleanest air in the world, significantly cleaner in fact than the air in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Japan, Austria and France.

Countries like China and the Central African Republic, on the other hand, have a level of air pollution seven times worse than that of the United States, while India’s is eight times as bad and Egypt’s is more than twelve times as bad.

Undaunted by these facts, the authors of the Vatican text propose “moving rapidly to a zero-carbon energy system – replacing coal, oil and gas with wind, solar, geothermal and other zero-carbon energy sources, drastically reducing emissions of all other climate altering pollutants and by adopting sustainable land use practices.”

By doing so, “humanity can prevent catastrophic climate change, while cutting the huge disease burden caused by air pollution and climate change,” they insist.

Yet in point of fact, most first-world nations have already achieved remarkably low levels of pollution without switching to inefficient alternative energy sources.

As researcher Mario Loyola pointed out in his groundbreaking 2016 essay titled “The Twilight of the Climate Change Movement,” little international attention is being paid to the real health risks faced by many nations, “for the simple reason that they don’t fit snugly into the environmentalists’ essentially anti-industrial agenda.”

“Man-made climate change, on the other hand, is the perfect vehicle for advancing that agenda,” he noted. “Dealing with it requires choking off fossil fuels, a top-down reorganization of economic activity, and income redistribution.”

In other words, there are ideological and political interests that make CO2 reduction extremely attractive, while real dangers are ignored.

If alarmists were really interested in protecting humans against climate change, he added, “they would be helping Bangladesh adapt to monsoon floods and thereby avoid thousands of deaths every few years, instead of insisting on green energy boondoggles that will never save a soul there or anywhere else.”

The real shame is that the Vatican is lending itself to advance such a base and ideologically driven agenda.


Obama warns the "climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it"

But offers no evidence to support that assertion

Former President Obama on Tuesday warned that the climate is "changing faster than our efforts to address it," and while he derided the Trump administration for pulling out of the Paris climate accords, he said it's ultimately up to every individual to tackle the issue.

Speaking in Chicago to mayors at a climate summit, the former president noted the "conveyor belt" of hurricanes this year and western cities dealing with "longer and harsher" wildfire seasons.

"Climate is changing faster than our efforts to address it," said Obama, who noted that his administration's effort to deal with the issue "wasn't because of some ideological notions about the environment." "It was a very practical understanding, based on the science, that if we did not get this issue right, then just about every other issue would be adversely affected."

Obama ratified the Paris agreement in 2015, and President Trump said in June that the U.S. would pull out of it. Syria recently said that it planned to join the accord, making the U.S. the only nation in the world that doesn't belong to it, which Obama said is a "difficult position to defend."

"[The] good news is the Paris agreement -- it was never going to solve the climate crisis on its own," he said, adding it was going to be "up to all of us."

The former president said that climate change should be an "obsession" for Americans and having a plan to address it, he said, should be a "prerequisite" for anyone running for office. He also warned about people listening to news that doesn't come from a neutral source.

"We live in a time when everything is contested -- and so often because of the splintering of our media, it is possible to only occupy a world in which the facts that come in conform to your pre-existing conceptions," he said. "And that's a challenge particularly for democracies."

Obama said that as people get older, you become more aware of your mortality and want to make sure that "your kids and their kids are going to be OK."

While he said that people can't protect their children and grandchildren from heartbreak or mistakes in life, "this is something we can do something about."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a number of other mayors have signed onto the Chicago Climate Charter, committing to reduce emissions.


Trump casts a long shadow on the solar industry
In Costa Nicolaou’s 10 years running a North Andover-based solar company, he never chose to invest his time and money on Washington lobbying.

But now that President Trump is weighing tariffs that could deal a blow to his business, Nicolaou, whose PanelClaw company makes mountings for solar panels, now spends hours each day navigating the politics of his industry.

If the president chooses to slap new tariffs on imported solar panels, as the US International Trade Commission has recommended, many executives predict their businesses will take a hit as the price of solar panels rises and demand for the renewable energy source drops.

“Our message to the president and the president’s advisers is: Don’t walk the president into a trap,” Nicolaou said. “Don’t give him a false victory that comes back to cost him jobs.”

The president’s ruling on this case could become his first major trade policy decision in office. But the battle over the future of the US solar industry shows that intervening in complex global trade issues defies the simplicity of Trump’s hard-nosed, protectionist rhetoric.

In deciding the fate of this case, Trump must consider the divided interests of the nation’s solar industry: the dwindling manufacturers who make solar panels on US soil and a broader universe of companies who sell or install the systems and make accessory products like PanelClaw equipment.

Trump’s upcoming decision to tariff or not to tariff concerns a case filed earlier this year with the ITC, an independent federal agency that recommends trade policy to the president. In the case, two US manufacturers of solar panels — Suniva and SolarWorld Americas— asked for relief from the damage they say low-cost “dumping” of Chinese panels has inflicted on their business.

In October, the ITC issued recommendations that included up to a 35 percent tariff on imported solar panels for a period of four years, as well as limits on imports, and the president has until January to decide the companies’ fate. Trump, who once threatened to impose a 45 percent tariff on imports from China, could choose to enforce an even higher rate than advised.

In his testimony to the ITC, Suniva lawyer Matthew McConkey argued that tariffs would revive American solar panel manufacturing, breathing life into depleted companies like the one he represents by attracting business to the United States.

“This is about bringing investment back to the American solar manufacturing sector and creating a healthy solar industry overall,” said Suniva spokesman Mark Paustenbach, in a prepared statement.

The case has already roiled the rest of the domestic solar industry, with the main trade association warning that approval of the petitioners’ initial request for a 40 cents-per-watt duty on imported solar cells and a floor price for modules could eliminate 88,000 solar jobs in the country.

The $154 billion US solar industry claimed about 260,000 jobs in 2016, according to the non-profit Solar Foundation.

Massachusetts, which has the second highest number of solar industry jobs in the country after California, stands to lose from tariffs. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that, if Trump fulfills the petitioners’ demand, Massachusetts could lose up to 2,000 solar industry jobs in two years.

In response, solar business owners in the state say they’re planning for the worst.

“The man does not act rationally or consistently, and so we’re hoping that he feels good the morning he wakes up when he has this decision to make,” said Bill Stillinger, owner of a small-scale solar panel installer based in Western Massachusetts. Stillinger expects new tariffs would harm his business.

McConkey, the Suniva lawyer, called the solar trade group’s predictions “doomsday outcomes.” These dueling narratives mean Trump will have to decide which part of the industry he wants to support, said Joseph Aldy, an associate professor of public policy at Harvard.

If Trump decides in favor of the tariff, he’ll also be pitting himself up against some prominent conservative voices, including The Heritage Foundation think tank and the Koch brothers-backed American Legislative Exchange Council. These right-leaning opponents of the tariff argue it is a protectionist measure that would invite retaliation from trading partners and destroy American jobs in a growing sector.

On the whole, solar industry jobs are on the rise in the United States, with a 25 percent increase in the workforce in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But fewer than 20 percent of those jobs are in manufacturing. The bulk of them are in construction, installation, and professional services.

Even fewer are in manufacturing of solar panels, considering the United States claims only a sliver of solar panels production worldwide. In 2015, the US produced just 2 percent of the world’s solar panels, while China made nearly 70 percent.

It’s just the type of imbalance that Trump could be expected to lament. During his campaign, Trump said China was “raping” the United States on trade, and harped on a pattern of US manufacturing jobs moving overseas.

Trump’s tone changed dramatically on his recent trip to Asia. After meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Trump told reporters he does not blame China for the multibillion-dollar trade imbalance with his country. “Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of their citizens?” Trump asked.

Still, analysts say Trump could view slapping tariffs on Chinese solar imports as a fulfillment of a campaign promise that would please his base. Trump may see little consequence in disadvantaging the bulk of the solar industry, said Jonas Nahm, an assistant professor of energy, resources, and environment at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He already took a step down that path in October, when the Trump administration announced a rollback of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would have given a boost to renewable energies like solar.

“The one thing where Trump has been very consistent is reversing any policy progress Obama has had,” Nahm said. “This is a way to get back at China, which would be politically popular, and to sort of harm an industry that is not supported by the administration.”

Tom Werner, chief executive of SunPower, a California-based company that manufacturers high-efficiency solar cells overseas, knew a Trump presidency wouldn’t bode well for his industry.

But Werner, who opposes the tariff because it would raise the price of his product, said he did not see anything like this coming. Because of the case filed with the International Trade Commission, Werner said the company lost a roughly $100 million deal with a utility company in Florida because he could not guarantee the stability of their prices.

Unlike with past presidential administrations, Werner said he isn’t sure which advisers Trump will listen to. His solution: Cast a wide net. Meeting with officials in the Department of Commerce, the National Economic Council, and the Office of the United State Trade Representative are just the start.

Despite his efforts, Werner’s confidence about which way Trump will lean on the tariff remains muddy. “Very uncertain would be an understatement,” he said.




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


6 December, 2017

Global warming is bad for your health:  Scare 902176

It may well be in some instances but it is a lot healthier than cold overall.  Winter is when hospitals are run ragged.  Warming would be GOOD for people's health on balance.  But the Green/Left never give the whole picture on anything.

And in the great Warmist tradition of calling the tiniest effects significant, we see much attention given below to an effect that "explains" one tenth of one percent of some type of event. Ludicrous.  "No effect" would be a more reasonable conclusion from their data

I am particularly amused that temperatures over 32 degrees are regarded as dangerous heatwaves. 34 degrees is a normal summer daytime temperature where I live -- in sub-tropical Brisbane. And I was born and bred in tropical far North Queensland, where temperatures often reach 100F (38C). Definite proof that I am a moron, I suppose

A growing body of research concludes that rising global temperatures increase the risk of heat stress and stroke, decrease productivity and economic output, widen global wealth disparities, and can trigger greater violence (see “Hot and Violent”).

Now a new study by researchers at Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury suggests that even short periods of extreme heat can carry long-term consequences for children and their financial future.

Specifically, heat waves during an individual’s early childhood, including the period before birth, can affect his or her earnings three decades later, according to the paper, published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Every day that temperatures rise above 32 ?C, or just shy of 90 ?F, from conception to the age of one is associated with a 0.1 percent decrease in average income at the age of 30.

The researchers don’t directly tackle the tricky question of how higher temperatures translate to lower income, noting only that fetuses and infants are “especially sensitive to hot temperatures because their thermoregulatory and sympathetic nervous systems are not fully developed.” Earlier studies have linked extreme temperatures during this early life period with lower birth rate and higher infant mortality, and a whole field of research has developed around what’s known as the “developmental origins of health and disease paradigm,” which traces the impacts of early health shocks into adulthood.

There are several pathways through which higher temperatures could potentially lead to lower adult earnings, including reduced cognition, ongoing health issues that increase days missed from school or work, and effects on non-cognitive traits such as ambition, assertiveness, or self-control, says Maya Rossin-Slater, a coauthor of the study and assistant professor in Stanford’s department of health research and policy.

The bigger danger here is that global warming will mean many more days with a mean temperature above 32 ?C—specifically, an increase from one per year in the average U.S. county today to around 43 annually by around 2070, according to an earlier UN report cited in the study.



The Biggest Myth About the 'Bee Apocalypse'

In 2006, an ominous term entered the public lexicon: colony collapse disorder. The mysterious, somewhat vague word describes instances where entire colonies of honeybees abruptly disappear, leaving behind their queens. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has since fueled claims of an ongoing "bee apocalypse," which summarizes the perilous plight of our pollinator pals.

But despite panicked claims of an apocalypse, managed honeybee colonies in the United States have actually been rising since 2008. In fact, as of April 2017, U.S. honeybee colonies are at their highest levels in more than 23 years! According toUniversity of Sussex Professor Dave Goulson, perhaps the foremost expert on bees, the trend is the same globally.

Herein lies the biggest myth of the "bee apocalypse": that there actually is one. Fret not, bees aren't going extinct anytime soon. Our food supply is not imminently imperiled.

Now, this doesn't mean that bees aren't facing tough times right now. Just because domesticated honeybees, which are raised like livestock, are in greater abundance, that doesn't mean that their wild counterparts – around 20,000 species of them – aren't threatened.

But what's threatening them isn't necessarily CCD. According to the latest USDA information, just 84,430 commercial hives were lost to the malady in the first quarter of 2017, down 27 percent from a year ago. When beekeepers were queried about the biggest threats to their hives, by far an away, they cited a combination of parasites and disease.

Data is hard to come by for wild honeybee populations, but it's likely they face the same pressures. The Varroa destructor mite (yes, that's the actual scientific name) is the biggest parasitic threat, and because honeybees are now a global commodity, moved and traded all over the world like any other good, the parasites that infest them can also spread globally. Native bee populations facing novel parasites and diseases often don't stand a chance.

Pesticides could be another contributor to the decline of wild bees. Insecticides called neonicotinoids are regularly vilified here. Many lab studies reveal detrimental effects on bees, but these damages do not always show up in real-world field studies.

Habitat destruction is also harming wild bee species. Acres of cropland may seem verdant to us, but to bees, they aren't nearly as nourishing as expansive tracts of meadows rife with wildflowers.

Like many animals, wild bees face a shifting world altered not to fit their needs, but to fit ours. This does not constitute an apocalypse but it does warrant concern. Making the world a little more hospitable for bees will require us to heed science and avoid catastrophising a complex issue.


Obama has learnt nothing

Former President Barack Obama said he can’t have a debate with someone who thinks man-made global warming is a hoax while speaking at a summit in India on Friday.

Obama is in India as part of a three-country tour to promote the Obama Foundation. It’s the first speech Obama has made in India since leaving office earlier this year.

“I can sit down with someone and have an argument about about climate change, and in fact, when we were working on the Paris accords … there were some folks within the Indian government who would say to me, ‘Look, we’re a poor country. Our priority has to be getting power and electricity to poor people, and so we should not have to do X, Y, Z.’ And I said, ‘Well, I understand that,’” Obama said at a summit in New Delhi.

Obama added that “it’s hard to have a conversation if somebody says, ‘Well, climate change is a hoax.’”

“I don’t know what to do with that,” Obama said, adding, “If you’re saying it’s a hoax, then there’s no way for us to bridge our differences in a constructive way.”

Obama referenced his unwillingness to speak with man-made global warming disbelievers in a town hall session with young Indians later that same day.

“I could have a discussion with somebody who says, ‘OK, yeah, there is climate change, but it is more important to alleviate poverty and get electricity to people so we should use coal, it is cheaper,’” Obama said.

“I have trouble with a conversation with somebody that says the climate is not changing,” Obama continued. “You know, that becomes almost like a theological argument. It just has to do with somebody has decided this is what I believe as opposed to looking at evidence and facts and the process of reasoning that signifies things like the scientific revolution.”

Obama also made veiled jabs at President Donald Trump, including noting how many more Twitter followers he had than the current White House occupant despite using the social media platform less.

Obama also said there was a “pause in American leadership” related to fighting global warming, without actually coming out and saying he was talking about Trump’s plans to withdraw from the Paris accord.

“It’s an agreement, even though we have a little bit of a pause in American leadership, that is giving our children a fighting chance,” Obama said.


What Was Once Hailed as First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Is No More

Cape Wind, the offshore wind project off the coast of Massachusetts that drew the ire of the Kennedy and Koch families, is officially dead.

Energy Management Inc. has ceased efforts to build what was once expected to become the first offshore wind farm in the U.S., according to an emailed statement from Chief Executive Officer Jim Gordon. The project’s Boston-based developer has already notified the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that it has terminatsed the offshore wind development lease it received in 2010.

Cape Wind suffered a slow death. Efforts to develop the 468-megawatt offshore farm, proposed to supply power to Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, began in 2001 but came up against relentless opposition from a mix of strange bedfellows including the Kennedy family and billionaire industrialist William Koch.

While Energy Management won several court battles, the project couldn’t survive the 2015 cancellation of contracts to sell its power to local utilities.

“Jim Gordon really was a visionary,” Amy Grace, a New York-based analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in an interview Friday. “He brought the project to the goal-post. He just faced a very vicious and very well-funded lobbying organization to protect Nantucket Sound.”

Insurmountable Opposition

Cape Wind, which called for as many as 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound, once appeared to be on the vanguard of clean energy in the U.S. The project had a federal lease to develop an area 5 miles (8 kilometers) off Cape Cod. Spread over 25 square miles known as Horseshoe Shoal, it could have generated enough electricity to power 200,000 homes, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

The $2.6 billion project also had backing from powerful players. Cape Wind had a conditional $150 million loan guarantee from the Energy Department. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Rabobank Group and Natixis SA agreed to lead a $400 million debt package. And Siemens AG was considering a $100 million equity investment.

In the end, however, opposition proved insurmountable. While environmental groups argued that it would reduce the region’s reliance on fossil fuel, critics -- including owners of local shore-front estates -- countered it would spoil views from Cape Cod and disrupt fishing areas.

Lawsuits piled up, delaying the project. Cape Wind missed a series of contractual milestones, prompting National Grid Plc and Northeast Utilities’ NSTAR unit to cancel power-purchase agreements in early 2015. At the time, analysts declared the project all but dead.

In the meantime, the offshore wind industry slowly began to take off in the U.S. Deepwater Wind LLC completed the first project in 2016, a 30-megawatt wind farm south of Block Island in Rhode Island waters. Norway’s Statoil ASA is planning one in New York, off the Long Island coast, and developers have proposed several other projects up and down the East Coast.

Several of the developers have said they learned a key lesson from Cape Wind: don’t try to build within sight of shore.


U.S. an Energy Leader—for Now, at Least

A quiet boom is underway. If that sounds like an oxymoron, then ponder this paradox: the boom entails a fossil fuel that is making air cleaner. That’s because the surge is in shale-gas, used to make liquefied natural gas (LNG), which in some major markets—China especially—is stealing market share from coal. U.S. production of shale-gas rose 12 percent in September, making the United States its largest producer. Unfortunately, American supplies can’t keep up with international demand.

Regulatory hurdles are impeding the construction of LNG export terminals, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow William F. Shughart II, in an op-ed for The Hill. By 2019, he explains, four terminals are expected to be in operation, up from only one today (in Louisiana), but this increase in exporting capacity may be too little, too late for the United States to remain a top energy exporter.

“Unless and until Congress passes legislation to expedite the [construction-permitting] process, the United States will find itself at a competitive disadvantage with other LNG exporters, such as Australia, Malaysia, Qatar, and Russia,” Shughart writes. “The window of opportunity for ramping up U.S. LNG exports is narrow.”




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, 2017

Ten Practices Linking Environmentalism with Fascism

Recent news that the German Green Party is willing to work with the extreme right “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) in order to secure a vote to ban glyphosate has shocked many political actors seeking a cordon sanitaire around the German fascist party. The Risk-Monger though is not surprised. He has often used words like “undemocratic”, “Machiavellian” and “fascist” to describe the self-righteous environmental activist campaign strategies.

Contradictions for the Cause

The Greens are a party of inherent contradictions. They talk of democracy and the voice of the common person yet the consequences of their food and energy policies favour the elite and the privileged (at the expense of the poor). Greens will lead transparency campaigns and moves to expose corporate lobbying, and yet they themselves, as transparocrites, often do not disclose from whom and how they use their (public) funds.

They seek development and increased aid for emerging economies and yet they legislate to harm African agricultural and technological development. Environmentalists are quick to be righteous but unlike industry and government, do not adhere to ethical codes of conduct and even condone lying and breaking the law.

These contradictions are tolerated by the passion of the environmentalist ideology. Driven to change the world, the Greens have shown their Machiavellian stripes. The ends not only justify the means, it also allows these princes of purity to justify a whole heap of deception, intolerance and injustice (as the recent Portier Papers demonstrated).

So if activists like Corporate Europe Observatory’s Martin Pigeon will knowingly get in bed with slime-ball American predatory lawyers; USRTK’s Carey Gillam will happily take money from anti-vaccine nut-jobs; NGOs like Greenpeace openly justify lying; should we be surprised that the German Green Party has stripped themselves naked for the puerile pleasure a rag-tag band of neo-Nazis (I hope they used a condom!)?

I can understand how some nature-loving kittens may be offended with my comparing them to a political ideology responsible for millions of deaths, so perhaps some qualifications are in order. Fascism arises when someone is willing to do anything to achieve a set of goals – principles of decency, tolerance and propriety are secondary and expendable. Motivated by higher goals (nationalism, racial supremacy, purity), fascists execute this strategy with righteous, Machiavellian precision.

For environmentalists, if there is a means to succeed in saving the planet, that strategy is elevated above and beyond widely shared codes of conduct (sometimes crudely and condescendingly referred to as the values of the “sheeple”).

I have referred to this as zealot ethics but it is also a core fascist mindset: obsessive, blind righteousness! Green activists are essentially fascists who tolerate minorities! So for the German Green Party to work directly with a band of neo-Nazis is a no-brainer – they have so much in common. To achieve their goal, the German Greens merely will hold their nose and look the other way when their sister party, the AfD, starts attacking immigrants.

Ten Practices linking Environmentalism with Fascism

Not only do environmental activists, Green Party politicians and organic industry lobbyists engage in fascist practices, they also agree with many of the fascist ideologies. Here are ten practices that link environmentalism with fascism.
green fascists

1. Denying Dialogue

I have often criticised how environmental activists in Brussels have worked to block dialogue. Not just how they have organised events in the European Parliament or the Hague where they deny others the right to participate and engage, but how they actively work to exclude others, like industry representatives, from participating in public debates. Denying the process of open dialogue is something only fascist-minded individuals would support. Pro-organic activists have even shut down Facebook pages and blog-sites.

2. Argumentum ad hominem

Whenever people who do not know me accuse me of being all sorts of evil (because they disagree with me), I get an image in my head of an angry, clean-cut Hitler’s Youth child chanting verbiage at me. Environmentalists do not argue on the basis of facts, science or evidence; rather they attack individuals personally, often quite viciously, via ad hominem attacks. These bully tactics are aimed to intimidate individuals in a ruthless ostracism resembling how opponents were treated in 1930s Germany.

3. Green Goebbelesque Gurus

Rhetorical jingoism repeatedly communicated works well when ubiquitous. In the 1930s, Joseph Goebbels utilised an emerging communications technology, cinema, to manipulate perception and enhance public fears and prejudices against certain races and ideologies. As the technology was new, few were able to discern reality from propaganda.

Today we have the emerging social media communications technology, and there are dozens of Green Goebbelesque Gurus running around weaving green lies, repeated millions of times until their credibility is uncontested. I know it is a misquote, but “the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed” works perfectly on social media. If you share the views of Stephanie Seneff or Vandana Shiva five million times, they might just start to sound less ridiculous.

Just imagine if Goebbels had opened a Facebook page for Herr Hitler …

4. Victim Opportunism

Never waste a good crisis. When Herschel Grynszpan allegedly assassinated German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath, the Nazi pogrom strategy went into motion. If you can use a victim for your own gain, and exploit the reality to hype up fear, chances are, you would make a very good fascist! The greens have taken this victim abuse strategy to the next level – we are all victims of the evil chemical industry. When Carey Gillam scares you about trace levels of glyphosate in your blood, in your daughter’s blood, in everyone’s blood, she is strategically creating mobs of walking wounded to exploit. That twinkle in Carey’s eye is historically haunting.

5. Greenshirt Mob Mentality

It is no surprise to the Risk-Monger that discussions with activists usually turn quickly into verbally aggressive mob attacks that can become quite threatening. Scientists like Kevin Folta have received death threats by this band of organic storm-troopers. Now the German Agricultural Minister, Christian Schmidt, who voted in favour of glyphosate, is facing death threats, is under protection and has had to take down his social media pages. The mob wants his blood and it is likely Angela will comply.

Vulnerable, frightened people can easily be made to act irrationally when their passions have been stoked by merciless opportunists. We are now in Donation December – there is no telling how far the NGOs will go to whip up some outrage.

6. A Relentless Desire to Win at any Cost

In their relentless drive to change the world, activists don’t lose campaigns, but merely suffer temporary setbacks from which they regroup and fight even more ruthlessly. The loss of the glyphosate vote is the equivalent of a Beer Hall Putsch. Seeing the rhetoric and venom coming out of Green Party corridors, the desire to drive forward and ban glyphosate has grown stronger with their saucy outrage. Only a fascist would not accept the decision of a legal, regulatory process. Will they set fire to the Berlaymont?

7. The Charade of Democracy

Branding themselves as representatives of the people, greens are very good at pretending to be democratic. Whenever an activist presents a policy statement, it is always cleverly voiced in the “we”, pretending their 5-7% of the electorate is actually representing the interests of the 99%. A small part of the population actually eats organic food, but they want all of us to (even if it means creating global food insecurity and environmental destruction).

Or is it: Fascists vs Science?

When the glyphosate reauthorisation was passed, the activists screamed that it was undemocratic. First of all, facts and evidence don’t need to be democratic! If 95% of the population denies evolution, it does not mean creationism is correct. In any case, the 1.3 million signatories of the activists’ silly citizen’s initiative suggests they think their narrow-minded views take priority over the livelihoods of 12 million European farmers or hundreds of millions of European consumers. Why? Because they are the Übermensch. The Greens will fight on to ban glyphosate through other, non-democratic measures, accepting no compromise – this is “total war”.

8. Blut und Boden

The most frightening illustration of Green fascism has been this “blood and soil” approach to mobilise a form of puritan, organic Aryanism. Our food has been contaminated by the modern technologies of an externalised industrial exploiter and manipulator – the pesticides industry. The German Food and Agriculture minister from 1933, Walter Darré, proposed a back to basics, back to the land ideology, with a more traditionalist and conservationist (green) approach.

This “new nobility” conserving soil has been seamlessly adopted by today’s agroecologists. When organic industry spokespeople start salivating about peasant farmers and smallholders in Cuba or Africa feeding hungry western elitist consumers, my mind wanders to Darré’s colonisation for his new nobility.

9. Back to Green Righteous Roots

There have been many academics who have linked today’s Greens to 1930s Nazi Party ideology: Anna Bramwell’s autobiography on Darré or Rupert Darwall’s recent book, Green Tyranny, come to mind, showing how green Nazi policies have endured until today. Not only were Darré’s dabbling in organic food and free-range livestock rearing celebrated in 1930s Germany, but Nazi’s also were known to promote homeopathy and other alternative medicines. As today, being righteous and being fascist were synonymous. Hitler wanted to ban smoking but apparently relented, needing his soldiers to be “battle ready”.

There is even research linking the founding of the German Green Party directly to former Nazis. I have to admit I felt uncomfortable reading an NGO’s criticism of the Risk-Monger suggesting there was something prima facie wrong with my being involved as a speaker at an event partly organised by an Israeli group. It suggests that the Green’s attitudes here are more than simply pro-Palestinian sentiments.

10. Monsanto: The Final Solution?

To mobilise the masses and keep the mob enraged, any good fascist knows the value of a scapegoat. Years of propaganda and lies, repeated with Goebbelian precision, has built up an irrational rage against Monsanto: the “New Jew” – that filthy, vilified parasite that must be exterminated. When I tried to attend the Monsanto Tribunal show trial last year, I was alarmed at the blood-thirstiness of the angry strategists (definitely not the warm tree-huggers from the hippie commune I had expected). The green final solution entails destroying all industry so that the masses may prosper.

An Extreme on all your Houses

The last year has seen the disconcerting rise of the extreme right in election battles across Europe from France to the Netherlands, from Germany to Austria. After almost a decade of economic austerity and recessions, it should not be a surprise that the European electorate has radicalised to the extremes.

But it is not just the far right that should concern us. As in the 1930s, the far left has also gained important ground, including being involved in governments in Austria, the Netherlands and perhaps Germany. With the ideological failure of Communism, the values of the extreme left today is more and more occupied by the Greens.

The distance on the political spectrum between the extreme left and the extreme right is not that far. Both sides are not very good democrats, deny open dialogue, are quite righteous and passionate in their ideologies, are Machiavellian in their political strategies and know how to mobilise their mobs via emerging communications tools. So it should surprise no one that the German Green Party is ready to get in bed with the neo-Nazis if it means allowing them to ban an efficient herbicide.

What surprises me is how so few people are outraged by the antics of these fascist environmentalists.


Climate Scientists Harassing Women

Consensus climate scientists have long been personal and damning in their criticism of those who don’t agree with them. They’ve threatened physical violence (Ben Santer: “Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”). They of course use the epithet ‘denier’ specifically to associate opponents with those who deny the Holocaust occurred.

But when they talk about male scientists they are somewhat restrained. Here’s Michael Mann on Richard Lindzen, former Alfred P. Sloan professor at MIT, and one of the most famous skeptics: “So Richard Lindzen is a scientist from MIT who has expressed contrarian views about climate change.” When astrophysicist Ken Rice, a consensus defender writes of Roger Pielke Jr., who disputes some elements of the consenssus, he writes “Okay, I do think that trying to improve the climate debate is commendable, so kudos to Roger for at least trying. ”

But when Mann speaks of Judith Curry, another climate scientist who disagrees with some consensus positions, he says ‘she is a carnival barker in the circus of climate denial.’ This is somewhat odd, as Judith Curry has 224 scientific publications credited to her–Mann is calling her a denier of a science she is helping create. She is also dismissively referred to on blogs published by climate scientists as ‘Aunt Judy’ and much worse.

The same is true for scientists like Sally Baliunas, Jennifer Marohasy, even consensus female scientists like Tamsin Edwards (called a ‘careerist’ by Josh Halpern for not being critical enough of lukewarmers). While male scientists definitely get their share of criticism–even abuse–with females, the invective seems more personal.

Now it is the turn of Dr. Susan Crockford, who has been a zoologist for 35 years. Despite that, despite her PhD from the University of Victoria in Canada, despite over 30 scientific publications, she is now classed as a ‘denier.’

A paper published Nov. 29 in the American Institute of Biological Sciences journal ‘Bioscience’ bears the title ‘Internet Blogs, Polar Bears and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy’ calls Susan Crockford a denier. Their evidence is that other unidentified blogs that the paper’s authors call ‘denier’ blogs (without citing them, without showing what it is about those blogs that render them anathema) link to Dr. Crockford’s weblog.

Let’s be clear about this. Dr. Crockford does not deny climate change. She writes about polar bears and clears up some misconceptions being published about them. But because weblogs this paper’s authors don’t like link to Crockford, she is now labeled a ‘denialist.’ But again, the casual dismissal of her life’s work is more personal than professional. She is derided as someone who focused on dogs,with an inferred snigger.

This is actually a common Consensus tactic–when they cannot criticize the science, they go after the scientist. Or even the scientists’s fans… The truth about polar bears is that they have survived warmer periods than those predicted for us by the IPCC. Their numbers are increasing, not decreasing. And the biggest threat to polar bears are hunters–as many as 1,000 per year (out of a total population of about 30,000) are shot.

The paper flat out lies about Crockford’s publication record, saying “Notably, as of this writing, Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on polar bears.” Crockford’s publications are listed here and include papers published in Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, Canadian Journal of Zoology and International Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, among many others.

It is another attempt to delegitimize a respected and credentialed scientist, based not on what she writes, but on what others write about her.

The Consensus team is not shy about labeling, defaming and insulting those in opposition. But here we see once again that it is easier for them to do this with female opponents.

The paper’s authors are Jeffrey A. Harvey, Daphne van den Berg, Jacintha Ellers, Remko Kampen, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter Roessingh, Bart Verheggen, Rascha J. M. Nuijten, Eric Post, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ian Stirling, Meena Balgopal, Steven C. Amstrup, Michael E. Mann.

Michael Mann is famous–or infamous–as author of the Hockey Stick chart. But Jeffrey Harvey is not. Harvey is willing to defend Paul Ehrlich, who to my knowledge has never been right about anything, but is willing to throw fellow scientist Susan Crockford under the bus. Here’s Harvey defending Paul Ehrlich:

“Effectively, these scientists – experts with many hundreds of peer-reviewed articles amongst them and with many awards (e.g. Paul Ehrlich has been a past winner of the Crafoord Prize, an equivalent to the Nobel Prize in fields outside of that award) – have drawn conclusions that an ‘expert’ like Fuller disagrees with.”

Stefan Lewandowsky, famed for having retracted his flagship paper and moving out of the country to live down the shame of it, deserves little mention.

The central point emerging from their paper is unintentional on their part. Their opponents are eager to cite scientists in their arguments. Rather than denying science, they are eager consumers of it.

The central point of this post–that climate scientists are dismissive, personal and insulting, and more so when the subject of their disdain are female, is clear just from their quoted remarks.

On Judith Curry:

Bart Verheggen: “Her unfounded allegations are insulting for the whole profession. It increases the polarisation and doesn’t add to the building of bridges (perhaps a one-way bridge).”

Michael Tobis: “Anyone who thinks all is roses in the garden of science has to account for the rise of Dr Curry to a position of responsibility in academia. (Here I am on the sidelines and there sits Judith Curry on top of the heap.”

Michael Mann: “Pathetic #RichardHarris @NPR puffpiece glorifies #JudyCurry for purveying #climatechange distraction & confusion ”

Michael Tobis: “So has she lost touch, or has she never had much scientific insight to begin with? That’s the only question any of this burbling raises. … On the other hand, to be honest no paper of hers has ever come across my radar in anything I’ve investigated.”

“It’s as if she had heard of science but never seen it done.”

On Susan Crockford:

Richard Littlemore: “Has beens, also-rans, deniers-for-hire on retainer at “think tank”. The scientists, ranging from …a sessional lecturer on the evolution and history of the domestic dog (Susan Crockford), include no top climate scientists currently publishing in the peer-reviewed literature.”

At the end of the day, members of the Consensus will dismiss this blog post in the same way they dismiss Susan Crockford–not because of the accuracy of the quotes listed here, not because of the truth or falsity of its central point, but because of provenance. It is posted on a blog called Climate Scepticism and hence is beyond the Pale.


Cobalt, the heart of darkness in the shiny electric car story

The electric car story continues to gather momentum, with even major oil companies scrambling to join the coming green energy revolution.

Royal Dutch Shell has just announced a partnership with leading automotive companies to install super-fast chargers on European highways.

But as ever more companies sign up to the bright, shiny electric vehicle (EV) future, there is rising concern about the heart of darkness in this new technology: You can't power an EV without a lithium-ion battery and, for now at least, you can't make a battery without using cobalt.

And most of the world's cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country racked by political instability, legal opacity and, at its darkest, child labour in its mines.

This concentration of supply risk, both in terms of physical units and ethical sourcing, isn't going away any time soon and could even worsen.

The dark side

The DRC accounted for 66,000 tonnes of global mined cobalt production of 123,000 tonnes last year, according to the US Geological Survey.

That's the official sector. There is also an artisanal stream of production, some of it using child labour and some of it controlled by insurgent militias.

Quite how much cobalt this grey sector generates is the main "known unknown" in any analysis of world production.

But it is an undisputed fact that it has been seeping into the official supply chain for years.

Speaking at a London Metal Exchange (LME) seminar in October, Tony Southgate, head of cobalt marketing at Eurasian Resources Group, warned that "it's almost inevitable (...) there are mobile phones in this room" containing cobalt from child labour in the DRC.

The issue has moved to the top of the LME's own agenda after complaints that one of its registered brands, produced by China's Yantai Cash Industrial, could include metal sourced from the dark side of the DRC cobalt sector.

The LME has written to producers asking for assurances on ethical and socially responsible minerals sourcing, while Yantai told the Financial Times that it is conducting its own due diligence exercise.

Legal opacity

Child labour is only one of multiple problems posed by the DRC to the emergence of an efficient raw materials chain for commodities used in batteries.

The legal and financial framework around the country's mining sector is both opaque and tinged with political interference.

A recent study by US advocacy group The Carter Center described state mining company Gecamines as operating a "parallel state" and concluded that $US750 million ($943 million) from DRC's copper mine privatisation process cannot be tracked reliably.

Such allegations are vehemently denied by the DRC government, but legal controversy is never too far away in the DRC mining sector.

Glencore, one of the leading operators in the country, has been sucked into a controversy surrounding the role of Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler in the acquisition of assets now operated by its Katanga Mining subsidiary.

Another operator, Groupe Forrest, is in legal dispute with Gecamines after the latter blocked access to its production site this year and awarded mining rights to another entity, Bloomberg reported.

This particular three-way court tussle is having a direct market impact because production at the site has been halted, taking about 5,000 tonnes of cobalt out of the supply equation this year.

Frankly, if the rest of the world could, it would happily not source any cobalt from the DRC.

And the likes of Tesla and Apple are trying to do just that, working with potential future producers in Canada and the United States to create their own cobalt supply chains.

There is no shortage of junior miner contestants in this ethical cobalt beauty contest, but right now the DRC is the dominant producer. And it's going to remain so for the foreseeable future.

Six of the top 10 cobalt-producing assets last year were located in the DRC, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In 2022 the number will rise to nine out of the top 10, it forecasts. ("Cobalt - Supercharged as supply chain risk increases")

Quite simply, unless someone works out how to engineer cobalt out of the lithium-ion battery, the world is going to need a lot more cobalt and it's still going to get most of it from the DRC.

Dangerous dependency

This is a dangerously concentrated dependency, leaving a whole supply chain beholden to the political, legal and ethical uncertainties surrounding the DRC's mining sector.

The only comparison, S&P Global suggests, is a similar concentration of platinum production in South Africa.

When that country was roiled by a wave of industrial action in 2014, it translated into a 20 per cent dent in global supply that year. At least there were above-ground platinum stocks to fill the supply gap.

Whether there would be sufficient inventory of cobalt to buffer the market against serious disruption in the DRC is a very moot point.

The arrival of automotive companies to this dysfunctional market could in theory be a game-changer if they stimulate more supply and force a collective industry move to responsible sourcing.

A template already exists in a programme aimed at improving transparency in the tin-tantalum-tungsten mining sector of central Africa, including particularly challenging operating environments such as Kivu Province in the DRC.

Right now, however, a company such as Volkswagen is still at the early stage of simply trying to secure enough units to deliver on its electrification promise.

Attempts to lock in future supply at prices below current levels have not yet yielded any tangible results.

VW and other automakers are learning, to quote Rebecca Gordon, head of technology metals at CRU, "the value of cobalt in the ground".

Investing at the mine site would be one way of simultaneously ensuring supply in outright tonnage terms and in socially acceptable terms.

Most car companies are still understandably wary of getting involved at such an upstream part of a supply chain.

But if they don't, they will remain exposed to whatever happens in the heart of darkness that is the DRC.


Twilight of the Climate Change Movement

Don’t be fooled by the post-Paris fanfare: The climate change movement faces big trouble ahead.

The UN’s climate summit in Paris at the end of 2015 concluded with a bang. The world’s governments promised sweeping cuts in carbon emissions. Rich countries promised to help poor ones with $100 billion per year in climate assistance. President Obama quickly declared the agreement “the best chance we have to save the one planet we’ve got.” The consensus quickly jelled that this was a major, historic achievement.

Then came the fizzle: The agreement is non-binding. Secretary of State John Kerry asserted on NBC’s Meet the Press that compliance would be enforced through the “powerful weapon” of public shaming, apparently implying a policy of verbal confrontation toward states that fall short. The Danish scientist Bjørn Lomborg, a prominent critic of the top-down international conference approach to climate change, called the Paris agreement the “costliest in history” if implemented. According to Lomborg, the agreement would “reduce temperatures by 2100 by just 0.05 degrees Celsius (0.09 degrees Fahrenheit)…. This is simply cynical political theater, meant to convince us that our leaders are taking serious action…a phenomenally expensive but almost empty gesture.” NASA scientist Jim Hansen, one of the earliest proponents of the idea that global warming is manmade, slammed the deal as “half-assed and half-baked,” a “fake,” and a “fraud.”

Hansen’s assessment is probably close to the mark—and he and his fellow alarmists have only themselves to blame. While those who flatly deny the possibility of any global warming can be readily brushed aside, the alarmists have been much too quick to dismiss legitimate questions about precisely what the evidence shows. Indeed, they have frequently treated such questions as heresies to be persecuted, adopting an even more virulently anti-scientific mindset than the one they accuse others of.

Meanwhile, on the policy side, the alarmists’ call for worldwide economic controls, including caps on fossil fuels, are largely recycled from previous scientific doomsday fads, such as the oil scarcity scare of the late 1970s. Despite the enormous costs these policies would impose, especially on poor countries, they would do virtually nothing to stop anthropogenic climate change, let alone protect anyone from relentless natural climate change that is one of our planet’s most prominent and inescapable features. They are also distracting attention both from investments that would make society less vulnerable to climate change, and from a more pressing crisis, namely the extinction of a large fraction of the world’s plant and animal species due to widespread modification of natural habitat.

Don’t be fooled by the fanfare in Paris: The climate change movement faces big trouble ahead. Its principal propositions contain two major fallacies that can only become more glaring with time. First, in stark contrast to popular belief and to the public statements of government officials and many scientists, the science on which the dire predictions of manmade climate change is based is nowhere near the level of understanding or certainty that popular discourse commonly ascribes to it. Second, and relatedly, the movement’s embrace of an absolute form of the precautionary principle distorts rational cost-benefit analysis, or throws it out the window altogether.

As the costs of decarbonization start to hit home, and the public demands greater certainty about the benefits to be gained, the public—and particularly those industries that are hardest hit—will invest in scientific research, in the hopes of achieving a more granular cost-benefit analysis. Something similar is happening to proposed listings under the Endangered Species Act—where major economic interests are threatened, they have responded with enormous investments in scientific research in order to show either that the species in question is not in danger, or that it can be protected by measures far short of the often draconian prohibitions imposed pursuant to the Act.

These factors will almost certainly produce a more nuanced and less messianic view of the climate problem, with solutions aimed to maximize “bang for the buck” at the margins, where climate threats are most grave, rather than reordering human society in order to “save” a planet that, in the grand scheme of things, is quite indifferent to the state of the climate at any given time.

All sides of the climate change debate have a huge incentive to generate more and better climate science: the alarmists and their more skeptical colleagues all want to prove their points. As our scientific understanding improves, many of the propositions we hear today will have to be modified, and many will be refuted, as has always happened in the history of science. The scientific community may at times be powerfully resistant to revision of its received wisdoms; it took an entire generation for medical professionals to accept the germ theory of disease, despite the fact that the evidence in its favor generated by Pasteur and Koch was clear from the start. But better science wins out in the end.

The greater clarity that better science will bring will open up new opportunities to solve environmental problems both known and unknown, and not a moment too soon. The human race faces challenges that cannot effectively be met at a local or even a national level. These challenges will not be met by a wholesale reordering of human society from the top down, as many of the more authoritarian-minded environmentalists wish. Any attempt to impose command-economy solutions on a global scale will fall far short or outright fail, as the Paris agreement and its precursors show. The right strategy for confronting environmental challenges will have to be based on rational market incentives, rational cost-benefit analysis, and a broad-based consensus about the vital importance of efficient markets. Strategies that distort rational cost-benefit analysis (or the science on which it is based) to suit an anti-market agenda will not work and can only maintain the illusion of legitimacy for so long before they are discredited.


West Australian rivers losing climate change battle

This is utter rubbish.  Rainfall in WA is notoriously variable, with many long dryish periods and some periods of flooding.  Rainfall has in fact been quite good in recent years, thus raising the average for recent years.  To compare that recent average with current falls tells us nothing.  Note below no comparison with the long term average

Rivers in the southwest region of WA are struggling to cope with the impact of climate change despite average winter rainfalls returning to the area.

A good dose of winter rainfall has failed to save rivers in WA's South West region from the impact of climate change, the state's water minister says.

Despite improvements in overall rainfall, most rivers recorded below average flows compared to the period from 1975 to 2016, according to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

It comes as winter this year was WA's hottest on record, with average winter rainfall the 11th-lowest since 1900 when records began.

Gingin Brook in Perth's north continues to be one of the areas most affected by climate change, Water Minister Dave Kelly said on Monday.

Unusually heavy rainfall in February, combined with last year's winter rains, has given a short-term boost to Perth's main groundwater supply, which is currently at levels not seen since 2009.

Known as the Gnangara groundwater system, it supplies around 40 per cent of Perth's drinking water each year.

Mr Kelly said the February rainfall was another example of climate change where more extreme and unusual weather is predicted.

"River flows are one of the best indicators for measuring the effects of reduced rainfall," he said.

"What this year shows is there is no escaping the impact of climate change, which is not only reducing flow to our water supply dams but to our rivers as well."




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 November, 2017

The catastrophe continues

Or it would if CO2 had any significant effect on temperature.  Until someone can show that it does, all the theorizing below can be ignored.  It is just Warmist theology

Scientists increasingly agree that it might be impossible to cap global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels—without first overshooting it and then using technology to siphon carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, causing temperatures to fall again.

In other words, global temperatures could continue to rise without any clear stopping point, and policymakers could still claim that they will be brought back within acceptable limits eventually. Without clearly outlined rules and action plans for overshoot scenarios, there's no exact definition of what constitutes a failure to meet global climate goals—which makes it harder to plan for the type of action needed for success, they argue.

Although rarely mentioned by policymakers, "negative emissions" technology—the idea of sucking carbon dioxide out of the air to bring global temperatures down—is essentially built into the models that scientists use to explore different climate scenarios. Meeting a 1.5-degree temperature target almost certainly relies on it, even with aggressive emissions reduction efforts starting now. And many modeling scenarios assume that a 2-degree threshold may require negative emissions, although it might be possible to reach that goal with heavy-handed mitigation efforts.

A major problem is that the technology isn't developed enough to be useful on a global scale. In fact, scientists disagree on exactly what methods could be used. Some have suggested a future in which machines are used to chemically scrub carbon dioxide out of the sky. But while some projects have demonstrated this type of technology on a small scale, it's nowhere near ready to be deployed at the levels required.

Other experts have proposed combining bioenergy with carbon capture and storage technology, an approach nicknamed "BECCS." Under this strategy, trees would soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow and then be harvested for fuel. The bioenergy power plants they feed would be equipped with carbon-capturing technology to trap the emissions.

Even this approach may have its shortcomings. Multiple studies in the last year or two have indicated that it's not feasible to grow enough trees, even on plantations. In one such paper, published earlier this year in Science, the authors recommend that scientists and policymakers seriously manage their expectations about negative emissions and avoid "cavalier assumptions of future technological breakthroughs."

Developing negative emissions technology to the point that it's actually capable of meeting global climate goals is essential for temperature overshoot scenarios to be considered viable. But in their new paper, Geden and L?schel say policymakers generally "refrain from any political commitment to developing and deploying negative emissions technologies" at the scale needed for success.

And the lack of urgency may be tied to the fact that there are no clearly defined goals for when or how the technology should be deployed. What is the last year by which global temperatures should be back below a 1.5- or 2-degree threshold? How acceptable is it to overshoot either goal?

Setting these limits is essential, not just for developing negative emission technologies, but for motivating political action in the first place, Geden and L?schel say. "Otherwise, climate policymakers, and even more so other branches of governments, could easily miss the urgent need for drastic mitigation, because they are under the impression that even inadequate action will never result in political failure," they write.

Geden and L?schel point to several clear parameters for overshoot scenarios, including setting a date for temperature stabilization at the end of the century: "If targets agreed upon in 2015 cannot be met by 2100 then it should be called failure," they write. And they also say that future reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should exclude any overshoot scenarios associated with the 2-degree threshold, another effort at keeping global climate goals strict and their required action clearly defined.

Still, there are plenty of other concerns about overshoot scenarios, even with their limits clearly outlined. Both the 1.5- and 2-degree goals were established to avoid triggering catastrophic climate effects in the future. But Geden and L?schel point out that it's "unclear what the overshoot effects would be on issues such as sea-level rise, ice-sheet loss or thawing permafrost, and whether such impacts might be reversible when global mean surface temperature falls below the threshold again."

And they're not the only ones to caution against potential unintended consequences of overshoot scenarios. Other scientists have warned about the dangers of assuming that negative emissions will solve the climate problem.

In a paper published last year in Science, climate experts Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research and Kevin Anderson of the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom warn, "If we rely on these [technologies] and they are not deployed or are unsuccessful at removing CO2 from the atmosphere at the levels assumed, society will be locked into a high-temperature pathway."

Instead, they say, policymakers should proceed with their climate mitigation efforts as though negative emissions technology will fail. Then, if it proves useful in the future, it will only add to an already aggressive global climate action plan.
The same spirit of caution is presented in this week's comment. Overshoot scenarios may be a useful way of looking at the global climate problem if their limitations are understood, the authors suggest. That could prevent global climate targets from becoming "mere benchmarks that can be crossed for extended periods of time."


14 Climate Bullies Attack Susan Crockford For Telling The Truth About Polar Bears

Consensus climate scientists have long been personal and damning in their criticism of those who don’t agree with them. They’ve threatened physical violence (Ben Santer: “Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”). They of course use the epithet ‘denier’ specifically to associate opponents with those who deny the Holocaust occurred.

But when they talk about male scientists they are somewhat restrained. Here’s Michael Mann on Richard Lindzen, former Alfred P. Sloan professor at MIT, and one of the most famous skeptics: “So Richard Lindzen is a scientist from MIT who has expressed contrarian views about climate change.” When astrophysicist Ken Rice, a consensus defender writes of Roger Pielke Jr., who disputes some elements of the consenssus, he writes “Okay, I do think that trying to improve the climate debate is commendable, so kudos to Roger for at least trying. ”

But when Mann speaks of Judith Curry, another climate scientist who disagrees with some consensus positions, he says ‘she is a carnival barker in the circus of climate denial.’ This is somewhat odd, as Judith Curry has 224 scientific publications credited to her – Mann is calling her a denier of a science she is helping create. She is also dismissively referred to on blogs published by climate scientists as ‘Aunt Judy’ and much worse.

The same is true for scientists like Sally Baliunas, Jennifer Marohasy, even consensus female scientists like Tamsin Edwards (called a ‘careerist’ by Josh Halpern for not being critical enough of lukewarmers). While male scientists definitely get their share of criticism–even abuse–with females, the invective seems more personal.

Now it is the turn of Dr. Susan Crockford, who has been a zoologist for 35 years. Despite that, despite her PhD from the University of Victoria in Canada, despite over 30 scientific publications, she is now classed as a ‘denier.’

A paper published Nov. 29 in the American Institute of Biological Sciences journal ‘Bioscience’ bears the title ‘Internet Blogs, Polar Bears and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy’ calls Susan Crockford a denier. Their evidence is that other unidentified blogs that the paper’s authors call ‘denier’ blogs (without citing them, without showing what it is about those blogs that render them anathema) link to Dr. Crockford’s weblog.

Let’s be clear about this. Dr. Crockford does not deny climate change. She writes about polar bears and clears up some misconceptions being published about them. But because weblogs this paper’s authors don’t like link to Crockford, she is now labeled a ‘denialist.’ But again, the casual dismissal of her life’s work is more personal than professional. She is derided as someone who focused on dogs,with an inferred snigger.

This is actually a common Consensus tactic–when they cannot criticize the science, they go after the scientist. Or even the scientists’s fans… The truth about polar bears is that they have survived warmer periods than those predicted for us by the IPCC. Their numbers are increasing, not decreasing. And the biggest threat to polar bears are hunters–as many as 1,000 per year (out of a total population of about 30,000) are shot.

The paper flat out lies about Crockford’s publication record, saying “Notably, as of this writing, Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on polar bears.” Crockford’s publications are listed here and include papers published in Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, Canadian Journal of Zoology and International Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, among many others.

It is another attempt to delegitimize a respected and credentialed scientist, based not on what she writes, but on what others write about her.

The Consensus team is not shy about labeling, defaming and insulting those in opposition. But here we see once again that it is easier for them to do this with female opponents.

The paper’s authors are Jeffrey A. Harvey, Daphne van den Berg, Jacintha Ellers, Remko Kampen, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter Roessingh, Bart Verheggen, Rascha J. M. Nuijten, Eric Post, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ian Stirling, Meena Balgopal, Steven C. Amstrup, Michael E. Mann.

Michael Mann is famous–or infamous–as author of the Hockey Stick chart. But Jeffrey Harvey is not. Harvey is willing to defend Paul Ehrlich, who to my knowledge has never been right about anything, but is willing to throw fellow scientist Susan Crockford under the bus. Here’s Harvey defending Paul Ehrlich:

“Effectively, these scientists – experts with many hundreds of peer-reviewed articles amongst them and with many awards (e.g. Paul Ehrlich has been a past winner of the Crafoord Prize, an equivalent to the Nobel Prize in fields outside of that award) – have drawn conclusions that an ‘expert’ like Fuller disagrees with.”

Stefan Lewandowsky, famed for having retracted his flagship paper and moving out of the country to live down the shame of it, deserves little mention.

The central point emerging from their paper is unintentional on their part. Their opponents are eager to cite scientists in their arguments. Rather than denying science, they are eager consumers of it. […]

On Susan Crockford:

Richard Littlemore: “Has beens, also-rans, deniers-for-hire on retainer at “think tank”. The scientists, ranging from …a sessional lecturer on the evolution and history of the domestic dog (Susan Crockford), include no top climate scientists currently publishing in the peer-reviewed literature.”

At the end of the day, members of the Consensus will dismiss this blog post in the same way they dismiss Susan Crockford–not because of the accuracy of the quotes listed here, not because of the truth or falsity of its central point, but because of provenance. It is posted on a blog called Climate Scepticism and hence is beyond the Pale.

The paper I am criticizing reminds me of several other junk science publications–‘Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature’ (Cook, Nuccitelli et al), ‘Expert Credibility in Climate Change,’Anderegg, Prall et al and literally anything written by the biggest charlatan in climate science, Stefan Lewandowsky (one of the authors of this paper as well).

The purpose of these papers is not to communicate. It is to excommunicate.


UN agency to Congress: Drop dead

IARC takes US money, manipulates studies, colludes with activists – and snubs Congress

Paul Driessen

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France has received over $48 million from America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), to determine whether various chemicals cause cancer in humans. Of more than 900 chemicals it has reviewed, only one was ever found non-carcinogenic. The latest substance to face IARC scrutiny is glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp.

Not surprisingly, the agency branded glyphosate carcinogenic. But this time evidence is surfacing of collusion with anti-chemical activist groups and class action lawyers, serious conflicts of interest involving a key IARC glyphosate reviewer, and IARC manipulation of scientific reports along with deliberate withholding of studies that concluded the chemical is safe, so that the agency could get a guilty verdict.

Despite this disturbing evidence, and demonstrable proof of the chemical’s safety, the European Union barely extended its authorization for glyphosate use, and then by just five years, instead of the usual 15.

The House of Representatives Science Committee is deeply concerned about this corruption of science, its potential impacts on US regulatory decisions, and the use of IARC rulings by predatory lawyers who are suing glyphosate manufacturers. It sent letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan (who oversees the NIH and its agencies) and IARC director Chris Wild. The letters “request” all relevant documents and the names of IARC-affiliated people who could testify at Committee oversight hearings.

Dr. Wild’s artful and legalistic response emphasized “scientific consensus” among all review panel members; said “deliberative” documents would not be made available; claimed there were no conflicts of interest among any IARC reviewers; said he and his staff would not be “pressured” by “vested interests,” the media or Congress; and said congressmen can come to France if they want answers to their questions.

In other words: Drop dead. Members of Congress who authorize taxpayer funding for IARC have no right to scrutinize its deliberations and decisions, to ensure sound science, transparency and accountability.

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. It is vital to modern agriculture – and one of the most extensively tested chemicals in history: some 3,300 studies over four decades attest to its safety. Indeed, virtually every reputable regulatory agency and scientific body in the world has determined that it does not cause cancer – including the European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, German Institute for Risk Assessment and US Environmental Protection Agency.

Only IARC says glyphosate causes cancer. To help it reach that conclusion, the agency employed the services of Italy’s Ramazzini Institute, which also concocted studies claiming cell phones and artificial sweeteners cause cancer. It relies on Ramazzini even though regulatory bodies in Europe, the United States and New Zealand have investigated and criticized Ramazzini’s sloppy, suspect pseudo-science.

Dr. Wild’s agency has also worked closely with Dr. Linda Birnbaum, director of the $690-million-a-year National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences or NIEHS (an NIH agency in the HHS). Birnbaum is also a member of the Collegium Ramazzini and has directed over $90 million of US taxpayer funds to her Ramazzini colleagues, many of whom serve on numerous IARC “expert panels.”

Evidence is accumulating that Brinbaum has worked closely with anti-chemical pressure groups and even trial lawyers, thereby undermining the US regulatory and chemical review process and perhaps ultimately forcing glyphosate off the market. She has helped to coordinate and direct these activities, and has turned the United States into IARC’s biggest donor, earmarking $4.2 million to support IARC’s current effort to list more agricultural and industrial chemicals as carcinogens – including artificial sweeteners. Even GMO foods are on the agency’s hit list.

The well-funded, carefully coordinated effort to eradicate weed-eradicating glyphosate has also involved a number of devious, secretive, deceptive actions.

The 2014 advisory group that decided IARC would review glyphosate was led by activist statistician Dr. Christopher Portier, who worked for years for NIEHS and Birnbaum. In fact, investigative journalists David Zaruk (Risk-Monger) and Kate Kelland (Reuters) discovered, Portier drove the glyphosate review, while also working for the anti-pesticide Environmental Defense Fund and serving as the only “invited specialist” on the working group that labeled glyphosate carcinogenic.

At the same time, Portier was also advising trial lawyers suing over other chemicals that IARC had found carcinogenic – and shortly after serving on the advisory group signed with the same lawyers to work on their glyphsate suits, a gig for which he has so far been paid $160,000. No conflicts of interest?

Even more outrageous, as Ms. Kelland explained in another article, IARC repeatedly ignored or altered studies that exonerated glyphosate. One report clearly said the researchers “unanimously” agreed that glyphosate had not caused abnormal growths in mice they had studied. IARC deleted the sentence.

In other cases IARC panelists inserted new statistical analyses that reversed a study’s original finding; quietly changed critical language exonerating the chemical; and claimed they were “not able to evaluate” a study because it included insufficient experimental data, while excluding another study because “the amount of data in the tables was overwhelming.” These machinations helped to ensure a “consensus.”

Equally questionable, NIH Cancer Research Institute scientist Aaron Blair conducted a years-long study that also found glyphosate was not carcinogenic. But he held off on publishing his results, and did not divulge his findings, knowing IARC would leave “unpublished” work out of its analysis.

This is not science. It is manipulation and deception – supported by our tax dollars, and used to drive safe, widely used chemicals off the market.

Other activists repeatedly claim “endocrine disrupting” chemicals which don’t cause cancer or other harm in high doses somehow do so at barely detectable levels. Another clever ploy claims no actual exposure is needed; kids get cancer because their parents or grandparents were exposed to something, perhaps years ago. It’s ridiculous. But convincing a jury there’s no cause-effect relationship is a Sisyphean task.

The end result, if not the goal, is to undermine public confidence in science-based risk assessments, lend credibility to agitator claims that countless chemicals contaminate our foods and imperil our health, endlessly frighten consumers, and set the stage for billion-dollar lawsuits to enrich class-action lawyers and organic food interests.

More than 1,000 US lawsuits already claim glyphosate causes cancer, and law firms are running ads saying anyone who has cancer and was ever exposed to glyphosate in any form or amount may be entitled to millions in compensation. Other lawyers are playing the same games with “manmade climate change.”

Ending legal predation will require major state and federal reforms. However, the American people elected this President and Congress to bring transparency and accountability back to Washington and international regulatory agencies. They need to use their oversight and funding powers to do so.

Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith told me he is reviewing Mr. Wild’s response. “Given the serious nature of our concerns related to IARC’s expenditures of taxpayer dollars, IARC should exercise due diligence and provide a complete response to my November 1 letter. The Science Committee will use all tools at our disposal to ensure the stewards of our taxpayers’ dollars are held accountable,” Smith said.

That is good news. Too many regulators and “scientific” panels have the attitude, “We are accountable only to ourselves. We will not have any member of Congress or the Trump Administration presume to tell us how to run our business, do science or be transparent.” That arrogance is intolerable.

Even if Dr. Wild is beyond the reach of US law, Drs. Birnbaum, Portier, Blair, et al. are not. They should be compelled to testify under oath, and funding for their agencies and work should be made contingent on their cooperation in rooting out the apparent secrecy, corruption, conflicts of interest and junk science.

Via email

Why Democrats Lose on Global Warming

Democratic voters don’t care about climate change very much

Robinson Meyer’s November 15 article for The Atlantic, titled “Democrats Are Shockingly Unprepared to Fight Climate Change,” is an important article because it accurately reports some of the history of the debate over global warming in the United States. For example, Meyer writes:

"In June 2009, Waxman-Markey passed the House. But as that summer wore on, the bill’s prospects floundered. By August, the Tea Party rose to command more media attention, and public opinion turned against Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid—focused on passing what would become the Affordable Care Act—declined to take the climate bill to the Senate floor. By the middle of the next summer, Waxman-Markey was effectively dead. Only a few years after it opened, the window to pass climate legislation had already shut"

Meyer’s account doesn’t explain why the Tea Party adopted global warming skepticism, why “public opinion turned against Democrats,” and why members of the Senate convinced Reid to call off a vote on Waxman-Markey. The Heartland Institute and one man, Arthur Robinson, played major roles in all three developments.

Starting in 2007, Heartland began distributing what would eventually be millions of copies of books, brochures, and videos explaining why man-made climate change was not a crisis. It ran over $1 million in ads challenging Al Gore to debate his critics. (Gore never did.) Heartland focused much of its efforts on the nascent Tea Party movement, providing its leaders with free publications, speakers, and other types of support.

In 2009, Art Robinson was going from office to office in the Russell Senate Office Building handing out and discussing a hefty directory of signers of the Petition Project, some 31,000 scientists opposed to legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. He met with senators and their senior staff and patiently explained how the left had hijacked the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and EPA. A brilliant scientist and disarming communicator, Robinson converted scores of people.

Meanwhile, Heartland’s Sandy Liddy Bourne, often accompanied by others from Heartland or allies from Americans for Tax Reform, was going door to door in the Senate with copies of the first volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series. Senate staff have told us repeatedly that this publication plus Robinson’s directory of scientists, delivered at exactly the right moment, made a big difference in Senate deliberations. No other nonprofit group or individual was so successful in opposing Waxman-Markey.

Meyer also reports,

"Even in defeat, Waxman-Markey cost the party dearly. More than two dozen congressional Democrats who had supported the cap-and-trade bill lost in the 2010 midterm election. The casualties included Rick Boucher, a 14-term veteran of Congress whose district included much of southwest Virginia’s coal country. Boucher had negotiated concessions for local coal companies into Waxman-Markey, but this could not save his seat. Ten House Democrats, including Boucher, voted for Waxman-Markey and against the Affordable Care Act. Six of them lost their seats in 2010"

This is the history many members of Congress remember and newcomers need to be reminded of: The last time global warming came up in Congress, in 2010, most of the members who voted for it lost their next elections.

Later in the article, writing about Democrats’ current climate change efforts in Congress, Meyer writes,

"There are only two bills that come close to serving as a flagship bill. The first is the 100 by ’50 Act, released in April by Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. “100 by ’50” is an ambitious economic-planning package that would require 100 percent of American electricity to come from clean or renewable energy by 2050.

The bill’s release was timed to the People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., and McKibben attended its unveiling. It represents the triumph of the wing of the environmental movement, blocking future fossil-fuel investment and directing plenty of funding to help historically at-risk and marginalized communities. But the 100 by ’50 Act debuted to a fizzle and Sanders, its more prominent cosponsor, spends little time discussing it publicly"

Yup, that’s what happened. They thought by tying this legislation to the People’s Climate March, it would get a big media bump and political momentum. But the march was quickly identified with the emerging “resistance” movement, with meaningless and sometimes violent protests, and with identity politics gone wild. It mobilized the 20 percent hard-left anti-Trump base but turned off the other 80 percent of Americans. The bill got little attention and was quickly forgotten.

Meyer makes a rare admission by a MSM liberal writer:

"… Democratic voters still don’t care about climate change very much. Like other Americans, most of the party’s electorate experience it as a “low-intensity” issue. Though a majority of Americans in every state believe in climate change, very few people use climate policy to decide whom to vote for. Even Democrats say that a candidate’s proposed climate policy matters less when making a voting decision than his or her proposed policies about jobs, health care, the economy, education, income inequality, and terrorism"

This is true about Democrats, but not about Republicans. Climate change is not a “low-intensity” issue for Republican voters because they rank it low on lists of “major problems facing the country.” Just listen to the crowd reactions whenever Trump talks about “energy abundance” and his pro-energy, pro-environment, and pro-jobs agenda.

By ranking climate change low on their list of problems facing the country, Republican voters are telling pollsters they want less – dramatically less – action on global warming than what politicians have given them in the past. They are practically shouting “Stop doing this!!” And the MSM’s take on this is to say it’s a “low intensity issue.” Who’s the “denier” now?

This is another rare and honest admission:

"If Democrats win unified control of Congress and the White House in, say, 2020, history suggests they will get a sliver of time to commit any kind of new policy to statute before public opinion turns against them. During that window, dozens of issues will compete for law makers’ attention."

Democrats, Meyer is saying, can win if they exaggerate and pander to public ignorance on issues like health care and global warming, but once elected and their “solutions” to the fake problems are put on the table, they immediately start to lose public support. Maybe if they were honest during their campaigns, and then did what they promised they would do, their “window” would be more than a “sliver of time.” Trump’s window, for example, is four years wide, maybe eight. Just sayin’.

Near the end of his article, Meyer writes,

"There is, as far as I could find, no think tank putting a bill [on climate change] together or thinking through legislative language. I could barely find professional Democrats planning how a future offensive on the issue would look."

Of course! This is what you would expect if Democrats were merely using fear of catastrophic climate change to get the support of low-information voters, and had no interest in genuinely addressing what they knew to be a fake problem. This is Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark. It’s a damning admission of insincerity on the part of liberals. Pity that more people aren’t paying attention.

This last admission by Meyer reminds me as well of a scene near the end of Michael Crichton’s terrific novel State of Fear where environmental activists are shutting down their offices and moving on to some other issue they can exploit, even before the public realizes it was all just a scam. For the environmentalists in State of Fear, It was never about science or truth or even protecting the environment, only power and keeping a job. And so it is today with the Democratic Party and its many front groups and stenographers in the legacy media.


Gas miners progressing in Australia

TWO Queensland natural gas companies have stitched together a $30 billion gas deal that will generate more than 1000 jobs in the Surat Basin.

The deal between Shell and Arrow Energy will mean the untapped gas reserves in the Surat Basin owned by Arrow will flow through Shell’s QGC LNG project, and will be sold into the export and domestic market from 2020.

It means the end of any ­ambition for Arrow to build its own LNG project and will allow QGC to sell some of the gas to the two other LNG companies, GLNG and APLNG. But it will reignite tensions with farmers in the Cecil Plains area, near Dalby, who have been fighting off CSG companies for years.

Basin Sustainability Alliance chairman Lee McNicholl said there were concerns the project would not mean cheaper gas for Queenslanders, but would further threaten agriculture’s priceless Great Artesian Basin water source.

“Most of the gas will be exported to the highest bidder, while landholders relying on the Hutton’s aquifer, which underlies the Taroom CSG zone, could see this vital resource permanently damaged,” he said.

He said Shell and Arrow had to disclose how much fracking would be done, and Origin’s APLNG had advised BSA members that it could frack up to 40 per cent of wells in its Taroom CSG zones.

The development will take place over 27 years and is likely to be done in a series of staged developments, each one creating about 800 construction jobs. About 200 operational jobs will be created.

It comes just days after QGC turned on its $1.7 billion Charlie gas project in the Surat. The deal will be a significant benefit to Queensland, but is unlikely to resolve the immediate gas shortage.

EnergyQuest’s Graeme Bethune said the deal represented about 12 per cent of Queensland’s known gas reserves. He said the collaboration was a good way forward. Shell owns 50 per cent of Arrow and is the parent company of QGC.

Shell chairwoman Zoe Yujnovich said gas from Arrow would provide more gas to Australian customers. “When more gas is developed, everyone wins. Australians win again because there is more gas to heat our homes and provide energy to our factories, and exporters win because they have more gas to feed their job-creating export projects.”




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


3 December, 2017

Surprise, surprise!  Climate skeptics don't think polar bears are doomed!

That is the conclusion below in a new paper by the usual suspects. They write as if that identifies skeptics as fools or crooks.  But to support that allegation, they would have to show that skeptics are wrong.  So what are their grounds for believing that skeptics are wrong about the bears?  It is just the usual feeble reliance on "consensus".  I quote from the body of their paper:

"Science-based blogs overwhelmingly used the frame of established scientific certainties and supported arguments with the published literature affirming that warming is rapidly reducing seasonal Arctic sea-ice extent and threatening the mid- to longer-term survival of polar bears"

But the consensus has come under serious challenge, most notably from the writings of specialist Arctic biologist Susan Crockford.  So they do their best to discredit her.  In a carefully-worded statement they say: 

"Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on polar bears"

The part about publication is actually true but she has published extensively in the academic journals on Arctic biology generally.  And there is no doubt that any attempt by her to get anything into the academic journals that questioned the Greenie consensus would fail.  She has however published her observations extensively elsewhere -- in sources not influenced by Greenie censorship.

There are two problems with their attack on Crockford.  The most amusing is that they offer NO detailed refutation of her claims.  They attack her as a person, not her facts.  That is of course the old informal fallacy known in logic as the "ad hominem" fallacy.  And as such it has no scholarly standing whatsoever.

The second problem is that they give the impression that she is a lone dissenting voice.  She is not.  Almost everybody who visits polar bear territory remarks on the frequency of the bears in the places concerned.  And it's not only tourists who see lots of bears.   The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimated in 1966 that there were 10,000 polar bears in the world; in 2006, the same source estimated that the population had risen to 20,000-25,000 bears.

And how about an excerpt from the Scientific Working Group to the Canada-Greenland Joint Commission on Polar Bear of 2016:

"The genetic mark-recapture assessment of the BB subpopulation resulted in a mean estimate (2012-2013) of total abundance of 2,826 polar bears (95% CI = 2,059-3,593). Due to several limitations of the available data, discussed in detail in this report, the estimates of abundance for the 1990s and 2000s are not directly comparable. Therefore, it is not possible to draw firm conclusions about trends in the abundance of the BB subpopulation. Nevertheless, the study has demonstrated the presence of a subpopulation in Baffin Bay considerably larger than that inferred from previous modeling (1,546 bears cf. PBSG 2015); the results of which formed part of the basis for the PBSG’s (2015) designation of BB as a declining subpopulation."

In plain words that official report says that there are many more bears in that area than thought previously.

And the paper also seems to forget the work of Mitch Taylor:  "Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching the status and management of polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago"

So the paper below places itself in the warm embrace of conventional thinking -- without addressing the fact that it is the conventional thinking which gives every impression of being wrong. They have built a two-legged stool.  They have failed to undermine the extensive evidence that bear numbers are increasing, not declining

Internet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy


Increasing surface temperatures, Arctic sea-ice loss, and other evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are acknowledged by every major scientific organization in the world. However, there is a wide gap between this broad scientific consensus and public opinion. Internet blogs have strongly contributed to this consensus gap by fomenting misunderstandings of AGW causes and consequences. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have become a “poster species” for AGW, making them a target of those denying AGW evidence. Here, focusing on Arctic sea ice and polar bears, we show that blogs that deny or downplay AGW disregard the overwhelming scientific evidence of Arctic sea-ice loss and polar bear vulnerability. By denying the impacts of AGW on polar bears, bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap. To counter misinformation and reduce this gap, scientists should directly engage the public in the media and blogosphere.

SOURCE.  There is a report of the above paper in the popular press here and a very detailed dissection of it here

It’s time to modernize the Endangered Species Act; people are more important than bait fish

By Printus LeBlanc

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the most weaponized law in America. Radical environmentalists use the law as a blunt object to push the zero-growth agenda on the rest of the country, even invading private property. The law prioritizes bait fish over children, kills thousands of jobs, puts people into poverty, and violates the constitution. It is time for Congress to modernize the law and recognize some things are more important than a two-inch fish.

As with most laws passed by Congress, the ESA had good intentions when it was signed into law in 1973. However, that quickly changed when radical environmentalists realized Congress handed them a weapon. One of the first cases after the law’s passage set a precedent for how the ESA could be used as a blunt force object by the federal government and environmental groups.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was building the Tellico Dam in the mid-70s. It was the last of 68 dams constructed in the Tennessee River Valley. A second-year law student at the University of Tennessee, Hiram Hill, submitted a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to list the snail darter, a small fish the size of a paper clip, as endangered. FWS agreed with the petition and ruled the species was endangered. In 1976, Hill filed suit, using the power of the ESA, to seek an injunction and stop construction of the dam.

After several court decisions going back and forth, the case made its way to the Supreme Court in 1978 and became known as TVA v. Hill. The Supreme Court would rule in favor of Hill with Chief Justice Burger delivering the opinion of the court stating, “One would be hard-pressed to find a statutory provision whose terms were any plainer than those in Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Its very words affirmatively command all federal agencies ‘to ensure that actions authorized, funded, or carried out by them do not jeopardize the continued existence’ of an endangered species or ‘result in the destruction or modification of habitat of such species . . . .’ 16 U.S.C. 1536 (1976 ed.). This language admits of no exception.”

The federal government and environmental radicals now knew their weapon worked. The Supreme Court ruling gave opponents a blueprint to stop whatever construction project they disagreed with, meaning all.

The Delta Smelt is another small fish causing significant problems. Its habitat is in the Sacramento — San Joaquin River Delta, hence the name Delta Smelt. Never in history has a two-inch fish created so many problems. The small fish was put on the endangered species list in 1993. Since then, biologists and environmental officials have been doing whatever it takes to save the fish, including the not diverting fresh river runoff.

This is a problem because the delta is a giant intersection of snow-melt and ocean. When the snow melts, or it rains in northern California, the runoff is carried to the delta and pumped to 25 million Californians and hundreds of farms. However, the pumps can suck up the fish and are being turned off with the fresh water instead flowing out to sea, despite a 2015 survey only finding one Delta Smelt.

The region around the delta is some of the most fertile farmland in the world. The inability to pump water to the crops is putting hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland at risk. Over a third of the nation’s vegetables and nearly two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts come from California, according to the Department of Agriculture. Central Valley farmers say the bait fish has cost them $1.5 billion in lost income and 40,000 jobs.

Forgetting what the Delta Smelt cost the farmers, workers, and consumers, the California State government is looking at plans to save the bait fish that could cost billions more. They are now discussing plans to build tunnels from northern California that bypass the delta region altogether, thereby negating the need for the pumps. Early estimates have the project costing at least $17 billion, sure to blow up California’s budget deficit.

The ESA doesn’t stop at public projects; it goes onto private property. Developers in Utah are finding this out the hard way. The state has 80,000 prairie dogs with a distinctive black eyebrow marking over each eye, making them “different” from the millions of other prairie dogs in the country. Because the Utah prairie dogs are on the ESA, the owners of the private property are not allowed to develop their private property the way they want, despite there being over 80,000 of them in the state. The developers are now depending on the Supreme Court to take up the case.

Radical environmentalists have succeeded in stopping local and state governments from completing infrastructure projects; now they are intent on preventing private citizens from developing their private property. If the ruling is upheld, how long before property rights become nonexistent?

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning is in favor of an update to the law stating, “The Endangered Species Act is one of the most abused laws in American history. Congress must act to restore the balance and ensure private property rights are restored.”

The ESA must be modernized. Radical environmentalists have used the law as a weapon to kill industries it disagrees with. The private property of citizens and the welfare of families should not be discounted because of a two-inch fish or prairie dogs. It is time for Congress to put people first.


Waters of the US Rule and Clean Water Act Fail to Provide Cost-Effective Improvements in Water Quality

 Executive Summary

To protect navigable waters, the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction extends to waters linked to navigable ones. But because essentially all waters are connected, under the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, agencies will assess the degree of connectivity on a case-by-case basis. A recent executive order from President Donald Trump asks the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite the WOTUS rule using Justice Antonin Scalia’s “continuous surface connection” definition.

All this confusion threatens property rights. Farmers often will not know if their land is under Clean Water Act jurisdiction, yet they can face fines of $25,000 per day of violation for certain activities. If farmers are aware that their land is under Clean Water Act jurisdiction, then they must apply for costly permits: up to $28,915. Moreover, the WOTUS rule fails to address pollution from nonpoint sources and ongoing farming activity. It does not estimate the cost and benefit trade-offs well. In the past 25 years, water quality has seldom improved.

This paper proposes a new, market-based approach to reduce pollution and reach the optimal cost and benefit trade-off. As theorized by Ronald Coase in 1960, property rights would be assigned, to either farmers (right to pollute) or environmentalists (right to clean water). They would then make contracts in which one would accept not to use his or her right fully in exchange of compensation. The initial allocation of property rights is to be established by states. State governments must ensure that parties comply with their contracts. State governments should also support the development of organizations that represent individuals and may use tax dollars to finance them, as these organizations would otherwise suffer from a free-riding problem


Joe Romm is having orgasms about Greenland

Leading to a collapse in logic.  See below. He says that recent temperatures in Greenland have risen by 56 degrees.  But global temperatures have if anything fallen recently.  So if that is not evidence that Greenland changes are the product of non-global influences, what would be? So Greenland changes tell us nothing about global warming

It’s been unusually warm in the United States in recent days, with records being set across the country. But it’s been scorching in Greenland, with temperatures as much as 54° above normal, which means above freezing in many places.

And this comes on the heels of new research from NASA’s aptly-named Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission, which finds that the enormous ice sheet is far more unstable than we realized. That’s bad news because the Greenland ice sheet contains enough land-locked ice to raise sea levels by over 20 feet.

The heat wave began out west last week, with large parts of California sweltering in the 90s. As but one example, the National Weather Service Los Angeles tweeted on Nov. 22 that the 99°F reading at Camarillo Airport in Ventura County not only broke the record for that day (by 9°F), but broke the record for any day that month.

The heat wave moved east after Thanksgiving, and by Tuesday it was blanketing most of the country

In late November, a major heat wave is a welcome event in large parts of the country, with temperatures in the 60s in large swaths of the south and with Minneapolis hitting the upper 40s.

But in a place like Greenland, a monster heat wave this time of year pushes temperatures above freezing. It hit the upper 30s in many coastal towns — with rain forecast in some — which means actual melting over parts of the great ice sheet that should be adding ice right now, not losing it.

As Robert Fanney, a former threat analyst and author of Robert Scribbler’s Blog, explained Monday, this heat wave “will generate brief surface melt conditions for parts of Greenland during late November.”

Significantly, a study earlier this month by NASA’s OMG mission looked at the threat from underneath the ice sheet, specifically “how marine glaciers react to the presence of warm, salty Atlantic Water” (see figure below).

The Geophysical Research Letters study found “new pathways by which AW [Atlantic Waters] can access glaciers with marine-based basins, thereby highlighting sectors of Greenland that are most vulnerable to future oceanic forcing,” which is worsened by global warming. They found that “between 30 and 100% more glaciers are potentially exposed” to Atlantic waters than had been previously thought.

The bottom line is that over half of the entire ice sheet may be at risk from this underwater melting. We knew that global warming is leading to more of the kind of monster heatwaves that intensify and extend the surface melt season on Greenland — the kind it is now experiencing. But we are learning that global warming poses a potentially larger risk to underwater melt from warming ocean waters.


Mining To Build Renewables

Renewables require mined resources over and over again. Yes, they do not last forever once manufactured. It really amazes me when people say, leave coal in the ground. It is toxic, it is killing the planet blah blah blah.

Have any of those people ever bothered to look into how toxic renewables are to the planet?? Probably not… too brainwashed to use their brains!!

They say Coal is putting CO2 emissions into the atmosphere!! Really, that’s a no-brainer. What about Renewables??

Here is a little gem that the Greens and renewable lobbyists do not share with anyone. They support renewables, supposedly because of the fact that they do not emit CO2 into the atmosphere. Correct, but….Lithium ion batteries are also, together with nickel-metal-hydride batteries, the most energy consuming technologies using the equivalent of 1.6kg of oil per kg of battery produced. They are also ranked the worst in greenhouse gas emissions with up to 12.5kg of CO2 equivalent emitted per kg of battery. Now, we are going to need a lot of batteries when Coal is finished!! Oh, and, batteries need to be replaced over and over again too!!

Interesting Facts

Solar panel production is now among the leading sources of , nitrogen triflouride, and sulfur hexaflouride, three extremely potent greenhouse gases which are used for cleaning plasma production equipment.

As a greenhouse gas, hexaflouroethane is 12,000 times more potent than CO2, is 100% manufactured by humans, and survives 10,000 years once released into the atmosphere.

Nitrogen Triflouride is 17,000 times more virulent than CO2, and Sulfur Hexaflouride is 25,000 times more powerful than CO2. Concentrations of nitrogen triflouride in the atmosphere are rising 11% per year.

‘Clean’, ‘green’ solar & wind components rely on Rare Earth minerals from China who supply 96% of supply?

Here is the Green future!

Such an intensive mining operation has a definite impact on the surrounding environment. According to the Chinese Society of Rare Earths, 9,600 to 12,000 cubic meters (340,000 to 420,000 cubic feet) of waste gas—containing dust concentrate, hydrofluoric acid, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid—are released with every ton of rare metals that are mined. Approximately 75 cubic meters (2,600 cubic feet) of acidic wastewater, plus about a ton of radioactive waste residue are also produced.

“There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment.” That the destruction is mostly unseen and far-flung does not make it any less damaging.

All resources for our clean green future, need to be mined, big holes in the ground, yep, just like a coal mine!! Let’s mine some more!!


Policy Shock – Greens are forcing Australia back to Mining and Farming

Once upon a time Australia was attractive to processing, refining and manufacturing industries using our abundant mineral and food resources, our reliable low-cost coal-fired electricity and a workforce trained in technical skills.

No longer.

Australia used to have 11 oil refineries, spread around the country. There are just 4 left, all over fifty years old, and all in danger of closing down. Green barriers to oil exploration have forced most of them to rely on costly imported crude oil.

We buy our jet fuel from North Asia and have just 19 days supply of aviation fuel in the country. Australia’s diesel supplies sometimes fall to just 13 days of consumption.

Now, for the first time in at least 60 years Australia no longer produces motor vehicles.

China and India have about 430 coal power plants under construction but Australia has not built a single coal-fired power station for seven years - some politicians even rejoice when they manage to close and demolish one.

Brisbane’s new trains are being made in India, Victa mowers are made in China and most coastal shipping died decades ago. Steel works and refineries producing aluminium, copper and zinc are under stress. All these industries are being pushed overseas by costly unreliable electricity and other government barriers and burdens.

Red-green policies being pushed by all major parties are making Australia more dependent on bolted-down industries such as mining and farming that can’t be sent overseas because their basic resources are here. And green opposition to nuclear power increases Aussie reliance on coal.

A century ago Australians relied on wool, wheat, gold, silver, copper, lead-zinc, butter, beef and timber – all products of bolted-down industries.

Red-green policies are pushing us back to those days. Politicians need to remember Newton’s Law of Bureaucracy – whenever the government tries to use the force of law to achieve economic goals the long term results will be equal and opposite to those intended.

So in the long run, red-green energy and environmental policies will make us more dependent on the bolted-down industries they now attack – mining, farming, forestry and fishing.




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, 2017

Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast?

UN climate forecasts are consistently high … consistently wrong … and used to drive policy

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

Dr. Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, summarized the problem the world faces with climate change policy:  “Would you bet your paycheck on the weather forecast for tomorrow? If not, then why should this country bet billions on global warming predictions that have even less foundation?”

Sowell is right to be skeptical. Meteorologists can’t forecast the weather much beyond 48 hours, as the degree of accuracy diminishes rapidly with every additional day. Yet the same weather agencies, often using the same computer models, since 1990 have said with almost absolute certainty that their 50- and 100-year forecasts are correct. They maintain this illusion today, even though all their long-term forecasts have been wrong.

Moreover, it’s not just your paycheck that you would be putting at risk. It’s reliable, affordable energy for everything you do, and for those you rely on for goods and services. It’s your living standards and future – and your children’s future.

It’s the health and wellbeing of every person in every modern, industrialized nation on earth – and of every person in poor developing countries who dreams of having living standards and opportunities approaching those we are blessed with.

The global warming deception worked because most people don’t know the difference between weather, climate and meteorology. This confusion arose partly because of the historical development of each.

Climate came first, with the word originating from the Greek word for inclination. The ancient Greeks realized that the climate of a region, and how it changed through the year, was primarily determined by the angle of the Sun’s rays. Beyond that, they used evidence from experience and historical patterns.

Aristotle’s student and philosophical successor Theophrastus (371–287 BC) wrote the book Meteorological Phenomena, sometimes called the Book of Signs. Theophrastus was not referring to astrological signs, but weather signs such as the red sky observation that is neatly summed up by the old, and generally correct, adage: “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.”

The Greeks developed short-term forecasts based on observations made over hundreds of years. This use of long-term signs to try and determine short-term weather pervades and guides all communities because of its impact on their food supply. This became more important when humans switched from hunter-gatherer to sedentary agricultural subsistence.

Some simple definitions are important for the public to understand.

Weather is the total of the atmospheric conditions at any given moment. It includes thousands of inputs from cosmic radiation from deep space, heating energy from the bottom of the oceans and everything in between.

Climate is the average weather conditions, and how they change, at a given location, over an extended period of time. While one can describe “daily climate,” obtained by averaging the 24-hourly readings or averaging the minimum and maximum readings in a 24-hour period, much longer periods are normally studied by climatologists. The choice of the beginning and end point of climate studies determines the overall trend. By “cherry picking” this time interval, you can demonstrate virtually any trend you want.

For example, the general temperature trend of the last 140 years was warming, but the trend of the last 1,000 years was cooling. That is why the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tried to rewrite the historical temperature record over the past millennium to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period. It finally had to restore the Warm Period, which existed across Europe and Asia, and is recorded in multiple Chinese texts from that era.

Similarly, you can study climates of various regions, although forecasting regional climate is fraught with uncertainties. Dr. Tim Palmer, leading climate modeler at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, summed the situation up well in a 2008 New Scientist magazine article:

“I don’t want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.”

Meteorology is the study of the physics of the atmosphere and is the term people associate most with weather forecasting. Meteorologists maintain that their physics is correct. Then why are their forecasts so often wrong? The answer is inferred in mathematician and philosopher A.N. Whitehead’s comment that,

“There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain.”

The IPCC defends its long-term climate forecasts by maintaining that a weather forecast is different from a climate forecast. But climate is an average of the weather, and one cannot generate accurate results by averaging inaccurate ones.

Thus, starting in 1990, the IPCC stopped making forecasts – because they were never right. Instead they began publishing a range of “projections.” Yet, they too were hopelessly at odds with what actually happened in the real world. Worse, the news media, climate activists, politicians and regulators treat the “projections” as predictions, or forecasts, for purposes of stirring up public anxiety and trying to justify draconian anti-fossil fuel policies.

Indeed, these failed projections underlay the extreme, economically damaging, and completely unnecessary policy prescriptions that were presented earlier this month at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

So, the answer to Sowell’s question is clear. No country – certainly not successful, developed nations like the United States or Canada – should bet a nickel of taxpayers’ money on the UN’s failed global warming predictions.

Poor, struggling, developing countries are even more strongly advised to ignore UN predictions and energy policy prescriptions – unless they want to be mired in poverty and misery for another century.

Via email

The Real Story Behind The Heartland Institute’s Role In The Trump Admin

Have you read The Washington Post lately? If so, you probably read about a “fringe” group of global warming deniers working behind the scenes to push President Donald Trump’s administration ever farther to the right.

WaPo depicted the conservative Heartland Institute’s November meeting in Houston, Texas, as full of activists unhappy with the Trump administration’s progress on undoing liberal climate policies.

Heartland held similar meetings in June and September. Details from those meetings were also leaked to the press, cultivating a media narrative of a fringe conservative group pulling the strings behind Trump’s policies from the Paris accord withdrawal, to opening lands to drilling and eliminating climate programs.

Jim Lakely, Heartland’s communications director, isn’t surprised with the media’s take, he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. This is part of an effort to delegitimize Heartland’s work and drive a wedge between them and the Trump administration, he said.

“The tone of it is that the climate realist right isn’t happy with Trump’s progress,” Lakely told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Every meeting participant — except one cited many times by WaPo — was ecstatic with Trump’s progress.

“It’s a complete 180 from what Hillary Clinton would have done,” Lakely said. “I think it’s remarkable what Trump has been able to get done.”

That’s not the impression you’re left with after reading WaPo’s recent expose. In fact, Lakely has taken issue with the media’s portrayal of Heartland’s activities, portraying the Chicago-based think tank as a fringe group that pushes secretive policy memos at closed-door meetings.

On the contrary, Heartland has always been public about its ultimate goals — to keep global warming alarmists from winning the public debate. The group has certainly not been coy about its public policy goals of rolling back former President Barack Obama’s administration’s global warming regulatory regime.

Heartland even published online an energy and climate policy checklist for Trump shortly after Trump’s 2016 election win.

Always A Target

Heartland CEO Joe Bast isn’t surprised with the media’s portrayal of Heartland. Environmental activists have been attacking the Heartland Institute for years over their skeptical stance on man-made global warming.

“The left demonizes us,” Bast told TheDCNF, referring to environmentalist campaigns to smear them in the media. The Illinois-based think tank began seriously critiquing climate science in 2007, and since then, they’ve only attracted more vitriol from liberal groups.

Heartland is now in the spotlight for its influence with the Trump administration.

WaPo claimed audio recordings and a three-page document obtained from Heartland’s Houston meeting “highlight the extent to which those on the right are pushing Cabinet members … to enact even more sweeping changes,” according to an article published Nov. 15.

The meeting showed “how conservatives are working to place key allies in top policy posts in the White House and elsewhere, including on boards that help guide federal policy,” the paper argued.

However, Bast said that’s not how the group operates. The meetings convened to prepare scientists and economists who could do a good job in federal agencies or on advisory boards.


The Paris Agreement: A Fairytale’s Failure

The Paris Agreement is all set to become a massive failure. Major member states of the Paris agreement are set to miss the deadlines to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

Why is it a debacle?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) states that the Paris Agreement’s aim is to limit the global temperature rise to below 1.5–2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, by the end of this century.

To accomplish this target, it required member states to commit to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, believing that this would offset the supposed rise in global temperature levels.

This proposal hinged on scientifically inaccurate conclusions regarding the role of carbon dioxide in increasing the global temperature levels.

There is no scientific proof that carbon dioxide is the primary source for the increase in global temperature levels. Moreover, the global temperature has not displayed any dangerous increase in the past 100 years.

The only probable support for the theory of dangerous increase in temperature levels comes from the UN sponsored computer climate models that use false assumptions.

Climatologists unanimously acknowledged the flaw, when these computer models failed to reflect the temperature fluctuations during the past 17 years, despite a consistent increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

The models were designed to portray an alarming increase in temperature that is nowhere to be seen in the real world. Besides, the models used carbon dioxide as the major forcing factor for temperature increase, thereby providing a means to justify the unholy war on carbon dioxide emissions from human activity.

These faulty temperature projections from the models were the very basis for the Paris Agreement. The UNFCC has completely ignored the failure of these models and continues use their projections as a scare-tactic.

With the help of mainstream media and using political advantage, the proponents of climate alarmism tried to shield the agreement from critique and kept the juggernaut rolling.

But, not anymore!

The UNFCCC required each signatory country to make a commitment and submit a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The NDC’s of each signatory contained the agreed targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in phased manner.

The Paris Agreement’s webpage boasts that 168 countries have ratified the agreement.

This number indicates neither the success of ratification nor the proportionate contribution of the key signatories. It also conveniently ignores the non-ratification by the U.S., which is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

The regime shift saw the U.S. withdrawing its support for the Paris Agreement. The Trump administration scrapped the clean power plan and indicated that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), if any, is not an immediate concern for the country.

With the second largest signatory pulling out, the eyes of the alarmists turned east.

China is the largest emitter and India is one of the top five emitters of carbon dioxide. Between them they also have roughly three-tenths of the world’s population, and large percentages of their populations desperately need energy from fossil fuels to rise out of poverty—fuels they wouldn’t be able to use while simultaneously making significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Not surprisingly, therefore, both countries have refused to make substantial reductions in their carbon dioxide emissions.

Their NDC’s are ambiguous regarding future commitments and projections indicate that they will miss the targets of whatever little commitments they have made.

Both countries have announced a continued increase in new coal power plant installations and have increased their targets for production and import of coal.

In fact, India’s chief economic adviser slammed what he called ‘carbon imperialism’ by the global warming alarmists and called for a coal coalition to encourage the empowerment of coal power plants globally.

Europe too is falling apart. Europe’s largest emitter, Germany, will miss its reduction targets. Germany is also facing serious energy challenges because of its efforts to promote renewables. It has the largest number of coal power plants in Western Europe and the demand for coal has increased.

Germany is not alone. The UK, France, Netherlands, and Australia—all will miss their individual emission reduction targets.

More member states will benefit from withdrawing from the agreement, as it will reduce the economic cost of depending on heavily subsidized and unreliable solar and wind energy systems. It will also accelerate and expedite their journey towards meeting the energy demands in their respective countries.

Even before a year, forecasts suggested a failure of Paris agreement. With the tectonic shift in global climate change politics, 2017 has further rendered the Paris agreement ineffective and futile.

Prophets of climate doom continue proclaiming “The end is near!” But the end that’s near is not that of the planet or the climate or human or natural wellbeing but that of the Paris agreement. The world will soon be free from the fairytale of climate alarmism that it had espoused during the past two decades.


The Climate Alarmists Definitely Don't Believe Their Own Propaganda

Is man-caused climate change a crisis that requires immediate action to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions to save the planet?  Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a frequently-repeated phrase that he uses on this subject, which is "I'll believe that it's a crisis when the people who claim it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis."

Plenty of people have pointed to extreme examples of the "do as I say, not as I do" syndrome in the climate wars.  Twenty-three thousand people (23,000!!!!) jet off to Bonn to cook up schemes to force others to fly less.  Al Gore has a 10,000+ square foot house that uses more than 20 times the amount of energy as the average American home -- and that's just one of his multiple houses!  And so forth.  But just because these people behave this way does not necessarily mean that they don't believe their own propaganda; it may just mean that they believe that the burden of sacrifice needs to be on you rather than on themselves.  But are there some of their actions that go further and prove that they really know that it's all bullshit?

Because it's hard to get people too worked up over the idea that the temperature might rise a couple of degrees -- or even three! -- the big scare story always tends to revert to sea level rise.  Antarctica is going to melt and we're all going to drown!!  Or something like that.  An article from the Guardian a few days ago (November 3) is typical of the genre:

Hundreds of millions of urban dwellers around the world face their cities being inundated by rising seawaters if latest UN warnings that the world is on course for 3C of global warming come true, according to a Guardian data analysis.

OK then, undoubtedly the progressive climate-alarm-believing elite would situate themselves well away from the dangerous coastlines at some respectable higher elevation.  Actually, not at all.  The progressive and supposedly climate-alarm-believing elite clusters itself just as close along the coastlines as it can get:  New York, LA, San Francisco, Seattle.  In New York and San Francisco particularly, favored perches of the alarmists line up right along the waterfront.  Tenants of my own office building -- no more than about 30 feet above mean high tide in downtown Manhattan -- include Vox Media.  Or consider the Goldman Sachs headquarters, just a couple of hundred feet inland, and barely elevated abov the sea:

I guess that tells you what the smart money thinks.  Would they really have put a billion dollar building there if they thought there was anything to this sea level rise thing?

Or consider the case of nuclear power.  If carbon emissions really were a huge existential crisis, there is exactly one way to replace the energy we currently get from fossil fuels with energy that is sufficiently abundant and reliable, and reasonable enough in cost, to be a real way to power a modern economy for the entire world.  That is nuclear.  (By the way, I'm not saying that I am a fan of nuclear power.  As far as I'm concerned, we should take what the market provides without government meddling and subsidies, and likely that is almost entirely fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.  But what I am saying is that if climate alarmists think that it is absolutely essential to de-carbonize the world economy, then there is only one way to do that without destroying it, and that is widespread adoption of nuclear power.)

Undoubtedly then, the people who are really concerned with climate crisis should be advocating loudly for expansion of nuclear power to replace fossil fuels.  Funny, but you literally can't find that.  Yes, there are a few examples of lonely individuals out there making this point, but literally no example from any major environmental organization.  For instance: 

Natural Resources Defense Council?  "Expanding nuclear power is not a sound strategy for diversifying America’s energy portfolio and reducing global warming pollution."

Sierra Club?  "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.  The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy."

Greenpeace?  "Greenpeace got its start protesting nuclear weapons testing back in 1971. We’ve been fighting against nuclear weapons and nuclear power ever since."

Union of Concerned Scientists?  "Current security standards are inadequate to defend nuclear plants against terrorist attacks."

You could go on with this as long as you want.

So what's going on here?  There is no way to avoid the conclusion that the biggest promoters of the climate scare don't actually believe their own propaganda.  But there are several other reasonable hypotheses for why they continue.  For the environmental groups, the reasonable hypothesis is that scaremongering and alarmism are the sine qua non of fundraising.  The leaders of the environmental groups themselves know, because they have to, that intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar cannot meaningfully de-carbonize the world economy.  But the halting advance of those non-workable energy sources means no imminent solutions and therefore a never-ending crisis that can keep career-long sinecures going.


Want a nuclear reactor in your backyard? Step this way

Volunteer communities are being sought for Australia’s first small nuclear reactors, which developers hope could be in operation by 2030.

SMR Nuclear Technology has set a timeline for the development of Australia’s nuclear power ­industry, which would require a site to be identified within three years. Building nuclear power stations in Australia would require changes to state and federal laws and overcoming deep community objections. SMR director Robert Pritchard said the company had adopted an aggressive approach to nuclear development in ­Australia based on small reactors.

“We now realise that politicians will follow the community view,” Mr Pritchard said. “We have to get out and spend a year getting the community on side.” He said interest had been widespread.

In a submission to the Energy Security Board, Sydney-based SMR said small modular reactors had become a game-changer. “It would be imprudent not to factor SMR nuclear generation into Australia’s energy security plan at this time,” SMR said.

The company claims nuclear offers the prospect of safe, affordable energy free of greenhouse gas emissions. “Nuclear may be the only reliable, low-emissions source of electricity generation technology that is suitable for you, unless your area has an unlimited supply of water for hydro electric,” the SMR pitch says.

“The construction of any ­nuclear power plant is currently prohibited by Australian law but there is a growing realisation that maintaining the reliability and ­affordability of our electricity ­supply whilst lowering emissions will require all low-emissions technologies to be considered.”

SMR said small modular reactors were compatible with renewables, factory built and affordable.

It said despite the billions of dollars spent on renewables, Australia had not yet been successful in significantly reducing emissions from electricity generation.

The company said the most ­recent cost analysis by the UK ­Energy Options Network showed the levelled cost of electricity for nuclear was an average of $US60/MWh and as low as $US36/MWh. It said at the lowest level, new nuclear plants could be the lowest-cost generation available.

The construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in Australia is prohibited by two commonwealth acts: similar prohibitions exist in state law. SMR said these prohibitions were put in place at a time when there was no real appreciation of the contribution that modern, safe nuclear power plants could make to ­energy security, affordability and emissions reduction.




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



Home (Index page)

There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be challenged, no sacred truths.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

"Thinking" molecules?? Terrestrial temperatures have gone up by less than one degree over the last 150 years and CO2 has gone up long term too. But that proves nothing. It is not a proven causal relationship. One of the first things you learn in statistics is that correlation is not causation. And there is none of the smooth relationship that you would expect of a causal relationship. Both temperatures and CO2 went up in fits and starts but they were not the same fits and starts. The precise effects on temperature that CO2 levels are supposed to produce were not produced. CO2 molecules don't have a little brain in them that says "I will stop reflecting heat down for a few years and then start up again". Their action (if any) is entirely passive. Yet temperature can stay plateaued for many years (e.g. 1945 to 1975) while CO2 levels climb. So there is clearly no causal link between the two. One could argue that there are one or two things -- mainly volcanoes and the Ninos -- that upset the relationship but there are not exceptions ALL the time. Most of the time a precise 1 to 1 connection should be visible. It isn't, far from it. You should be able to read one from the other. You can't.

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."

Warmists claim that the "hiatus" in global warming that began around 1998 was caused by the oceans suddenly gobbling up all the heat coming from above. Changes in the heat content of the oceans are barely measurable but the ARGO bathythermographs seem to show the oceans warming not from above but from below


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman.

Consensus: As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.'

Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"I always think it's a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem -- Christopher Hitchens

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

The frequency of hurricanes has markedly DECLINED in recent years

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Another 97%: Following the death of an older brother in a car crash in 1994, Bashar Al Assad became heir apparent; and after his father died in June 2000, he took office as President of Syria with a startling 97 per cent of the vote.

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

How 'GREEN' is the FOOTPRINT of a WIND TURBINE? 45 tons of rebar and 630 cubic yards of concrete

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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