Warmist crooks above: Keith "One tree" Briffa; Michael "Bristlecone" Mann; James "data distorter" Hansen; Phil "data destroyer" Jones -- Leading members in the cabal of climate quacks

The CO2 that is supposed to warm the earth is mostly in the upper atmosphere, where it is very cold. Yet that CO2 is said to warm the earth. How can heat flow from a cold body to a hot one? Strange thermodynamics!

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported for the entire 20th century by the United Nations (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows in fact that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

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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29 February, 2012

A call for action

Thanks to the MANY US citizens who called congressional legislators to object to the 1603 tax credit and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) wind subsidies being included in the Unemployment Tax bill. Thanks to YOU, the citizens WON that skirmish!

This has not ended yet as these rent-seeking parasites are still continuing to try to latch onto our tax dollars — now with the Transportation bill. Senator Bennett proposed a "non-germaine" amendment (#1709) to the Transportation Bill, that would extend the wind energy PTC.

As far as we know, negotiations are on-going to determine which amendments will be included, and this will be decided between Senators Reed and McConnell.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be the most receptive, so please focus your calls on him: 202-224-2541 (or through the general congressional switchboard number: 202-224-3121).

US citizens need to call Senator McConnell and urge him to oppose the Bennett Amendment #1709 to the Transportation Bill (and ANY extension of the wind energy PTC). Encourage Senator McConnell to make decisions based on sound science (which includes fiscal responsibility).


FYI, Senator Lamar Alexander made a very good speech on the topic. See here

Here is a good example of how AWEA is spinning this situation in a dishonest way

In President Obama’ proposed budget, is a new permanent tax credit for renewables. Although it isn’t likely to see the light of day, we need to make sure of that, so mentioning your opposition to that in your call would be good. See here.

Received via email

If the icecaps are melting, how come the sea-level is FALLING?

Sea level has been plummeting for four years, and is lower than it was in 2003 when EU’s Envisat satellite was launched. This is solid proof that Greenland and Antarctica are melting down at unprecedented rates and flooding the oceans with negative water [/sarcasm]

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Gleick's deceptive use of documents is not the first by Warmists

By Russell Cook

Most of the news about the Heartland Institute "Fakegate" controversy centers around stolen documents and the warmist scientist who confessed to his role in the matter. But the scandal also opens a door to the curious history of the charge that skeptics are merely in the pay of fossil fuel interests, a recurring theme once again picked up in the Fakegate affair.

It is worthwhile remembering that the usage of "-gate" in such scandals is derived from the initial 1972 story of a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. The story started out small, but it widened when questions about the burglary and its apparent motives were more thoroughly investigated.

Fakegate may offer a similar doorway into an elaborate scheme, more complex and nefarious than mere identity theft and fabrication of false documents.

In this case, the Wall Street Journal's 2/21/12 "Not-So-Vast Conspiracy" editorial opened the door ever so slightly about an otherwise unexplored older and bigger problem surrounding the entire global warming issue. Facts not mentioned in the editorial open it further.

The name of Ross Gelbspan indirectly figures in the WSJ editorial. A 1995 Harper's article cited in the editorial was written by Ross Gelbspan. The stolen Heartland Institute documents first appeared on the internet at the enviro-activist blog site Desmogblog. Its star blogger is Ross Gelbspan.

The door opens wider with the revelation that Pacific Institute scientist Peter Gleick confessed to inappropriately acquiring the documents. A little digging reveals a still-current Pacific Institute web page dating to April 2004 titled "Science, Climate Change, and Censorship" (backup link here), where Gleick says this about skeptic climate scientist Pat Michaels: "He is one of a very small minority of nay-sayers who continue to dispute the facts and science about climate change in the face of compelling, overwhelming, and growing evidence." Farther down that page is a prominent reference to Ross Gelbspan.

Compare Gleick's quote to a 10/29/99 Yes magazine article by Gelbspan, titled "The Global Warming Crisis," where Gelbspan describes fossil fuel industry education efforts:

That propaganda campaign -- especially as it was articulated by a tiny handful of scientists called "greenhouse skeptics" (many of whom received large amounts of undisclosed funding from fossil fuel interests) -- centered on the claim that climate change was not scientifically proven. More recently, as the science has become too robust to deny[.]

Al Gore's 2006 movie prominently attempted to illustrate a parallel with old tobacco industry efforts to confuse the public about smoking hazards. In the movie's companion book, Gore cited Ross Gelbspan for proof about a "leaked coal industry memo," saying Gelbspan discovered it.

Such citations only compound the problem here. Despite numerous books and magazine and newspaper articles repeating this allegation of "coal industry memo smoking gun evidence," all trace back to a 1997 book The Heat is On, by Ross Gelbspan. Curiously, author Gelbspan never says how he obtained the memo, and neither he nor any other accuser ever shows this memo in its full context. As I explained in a prior article, a particular phrase quoted in the memos has every appearance of being taken out-of-context in order to portray it as the primary goal of a sinister industry directive. However, these specific memos were actually a rejected proposal for a small pilot project PR campaign, and Gelbspan offers no proof of them being seen by fossil fuel industry executives outside the campaign.

More questions arise when astute readers see the same "memo words" on page 34 of Gelbspan's 1997 book that are seen on page 360 of Gore's 1992 Earth in the Balance, a problem I described at length in my article at ClimateDepot last year. Even more questions arise from the revelation that a now-defunct website promoting mostly anti-skeptic material was transferred from the University of Maryland's Center for Global Change to Gleick's Pacific Institute in 1996. Alan Miller was the director of the Center for Global Change, the same individual I described in my AT article last summer. Miller wrote about the leaked coal industry memo before Gelbspan did, in a 1994 book where he also directly thanked Al Gore's then-current White House "assistant" Rosina Bierbaum. I use the word "assistant" there, as Gore is seen relying on her in this White House 1997 Q&A press session.

If the current situation involving Peter Gleick looks eerily similar to the Watergate burglar story, is it not a good idea to start peeling back more layers of this mess, since there are indications that there has never been any validity to the portrayal of skeptic climate scientists as untrustworthy shills of the fossil fuel industry? Do this current controversy and all the problems surrounding it not reveal that we have potentially just the opposite problem -- the appearance of a White House-driven enviro-activist collaborative effort to confuse the public into believing there is no legitimate criticism of the idea of man-caused global warming?


EPA has lost it's way on warming

EPA’s carbon dioxide rules endanger human health and welfare

Legal challenges by states and industry groups over the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could and should be decided in the challengers’ favor. Whether that will happen in this highly politicized, semi-scientific matter of “dangerous manmade global warming and climate change” remains to be seen. Regardless of what the DC Court of Appeals decides, the case will almost assuredly return to the Supreme Court, where the outcome is equally uncertain.

In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court said EPA had the authority (but not the obligation) to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act’s “capacious definition of air pollutant.” EPA could do so, the court ruled, if its administrator concluded that GHG emissions “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” In other words, the administrator’s opinion was not sufficient. The agency must conduct a scientific study and make a convincing scientific case for taking action.

Not surprisingly, Administrator Lisa Jackson decided that CO2 does endanger public health and welfare, and signaled her intention to regulate these emissions. However, there are serious problems with this.

First, EPA conducted no original research of its own. Relying on work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other agencies, it merely selected existing studies and reports that supported its predetermined outcome – and ignored numerous studies that contradicted its decision.

Second, scientific opinion is sharply divided on the extent to which these gases might contribute to climate change. EPA chose to disregard this inconvenient truth – and continue the shoddy practice begun by the IPCC and alarmist climate scientists of refusing to discuss or debate the validity of computer models, assertions of imminent disaster, and evidence for and against the catastrophic AGW hypothesis.

Third, carbon dioxide simply is not a “pollutant” within the meaning of the Clean Air act. It is not an agent that fouls or contaminates the air, making it harmful to human health. In fact, CO2 is a natural component of Earth’s atmosphere and a key ingredient in photosynthesis. Without carbon dioxide all life on Earth would cease to exist.

Fourth, both the 2007 Supreme Court decision and the IPCC studies relied on by EPA predate the Climategate emails and other scandals that have revealed how contrived, questionable and perhaps even fraudulent global warming disaster “science” actually is. Had those documents surfaced prior to its 2007 deliberations, the Court’s decision might well have been very different.

Fifth, allowing EPA to impose its CO2/GHG regulatory regime would effectively put the agency in charge of every aspect of Americans’ energy use, economic activities and lives. EPA’s unprecedented and exorbitantly expensive rules will severely and adversely affect hydrocarbon use, energy prices, food production, manufacturing, transportation, jobs, home and office heating and cooling, hospital and school operations – and thus human health and welfare.

Finally, and most absurd of all, even eliminating every source of carbon dioxide in the USA – electricity generation, vehicles, industries, humans and animals – would do nothing to reduce other emission sources worldwide. While US carbon dioxide emissions are declining, those sources continue to raise atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Thus, despite their devastating impacts on America’s economy and living standards, EPA’s rules would do virtually nothing to forestall the harms that its pseudo-science predicts.

Into this legal, scientific and regulatory cesspool now comes yet another element, which may yet go down as a key turning point in the debate – more important even than Climategate: Peter Gleick’s February 14 transmission of several stolen documents and a forged memorandum to 15 environmental activists in the United States and possibly abroad.

The stolen documents were taken from The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank that has received increasing attention for challenging IPCC and EPA global warming doom and gloom dogma, misinformation and propaganda. (Among the documents stolen were lists of HI donors and its entire 2012 budget.) The left and its mainstream media lapdogs had a field day with the information, but focused almost exclusively on the forged memo, which purported to reveal Heartland’s secret “climate strategy” – to make school children, citizens and legislators better informed about actual climate science.

Six days later Gleick, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute, confessed to the crime. Virtually everyone now agrees the memo is a poor forgery, probably written by Gleick, although he still denies having done so.

Gleick is a prominent member of the global warming clique. His take-down is big news, and one reason this scandal could overshadow Climategate in its impact on global warming debates. Despite all the Sturm und Drang caused by Climategate, no one really paid a price for the gross misbehavior revealed by the leaked emails – even though the actions were funded with taxpayer money and used to promote bogus science, harmful public policies, and massive changes in energy use and living standards.

Gleick has been forced to step down from several positions, including as president of the Pacific Institute, and will likely face civil and criminal charges. His is likely to be only the first scalp that global warming “realists” collect from this incident. Heartland has indicated it will also go after Gleick’s accomplices in major environmental organizations and even in the drive-by media.

The criminal and civil cases will drag out for years, and discovery could uncover even more misbehavior in the alarmist camp than did Climategate. Heartland may also face discovery, but the stolen documents suggest that it has little or nothing to hide.

Why did Gleick target Heartland? As HI president Joseph Bast wrote to climate scientist Judith Curry in a message posted on her blog, Climate Etc: “I suspect he targeted us because we have done so much to document and rebut the assumptions and exaggerations of the global warming alarmists.” He then mentioned Heartland’s monthly publication, Environment & Climate News, its persuasive multi-volume response to the IPCC, Climate Change Reconsidered, and its six international climate conferences. (See here)

Climategate caught the global warming establishment off-guard, but it soon regained its footing, aided immensely by the billions of dollars that governments are pouring into the “climate crisis” industry. Fakegate is rocking their world again, revealing the alarmists’ increasing desperation that the debate they don’t want to have will cost them their credibility, prestige, power and funding. This time, Fakegate may sweep some of them off their feet.

Who knew what Gleick was up to, and when did they know it? Who was Gleick trying to impress by this theft and forgery, and what did he and his accomplices seek to gain?

In the digital era, every email and every PDF document leaves a digital trail. There will be no cover up this time, no white-wash investigations by friendly IPCC and university colleagues. The perpetrator can’t take the Fifth Amendment in a civil suit, and the prospect of time in jail has been known to loosen lips. The whole global warming cabal is wondering when the next shoe will drop, and drop it shall.

The truth will finally come out, and the world will be better for it.


Wind Spin: Misdirection and Fluff by a Taxpayer-enabled Industry

by John Droz, Jr. (A physicist & environmental advocate)

“When a major turbine manufacturer calls a catastrophic failure like a blade falling off ‘structural liberation,’ we know we are in for an adventurous ride in a theme park divorced from reality.”

Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it morphs into a different shape and escapes your grasp. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved with wind merchandising.

1 – Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as even in the late 1800s it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning, more modern needs for power. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on – 100% of the time. It’s not possible for wind energy, by itself, to ever do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate sources as horse and oxen power).

2 – Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent catastrophic threat, lobbyists launched campaigns to favor all things that would purportedly reduce carbon dioxide. Wind energy was thus resurrected, as its marketers pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 while generating electricity.

3 – Of course, just that by itself is not significant, so the original wind development lobbyists then made the case for a quantum leap: that by adding wind turbines to the grid we could significantly reduce CO2 from fossil fuel electrical sources (especially coal). This argument became the basis for many states implementing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) or Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)– which mandated that their utilities use (or purchase) a prescribed amount of wind energy.

4 – Why was a mandate necessary? Simply because the real world reality of integrating wind energy made it a very expensive option. As such, no utility companies would likely do this on their own. They had to be forced to.

5 – Interestingly, although the stated main goal of these RES/RPS programs was to reduce CO2, not a single state’s RES/RPS requires verification of CO2 reduction from any wind project, either beforehand or after the fact. The politicians simply took the lobbyists’ word that consequential CO2 savings would be realized!

6 - It wasn’t too long before utility companies and independent energy experts calculated that the actual CO2 savings were miniscule (if any). This was due to the inherent nature of wind energy, and the realities of continuously balancing the grid, on a second-by-second basis, with fossil-fuel-generated electricity. The frequently cited Bentek study (How Less Became More) is a sample independent assessment of this aspect. More importantly, there has been zero scientific proof provided by the wind industry to support their claims of CO2 reduction.

7 – The wind lobbyists soon added another rationale to prop up their case: energy diversity. However, since our electricity system already had considerable diversity, and many asked “more diversity at what cost?” this hype never gained much traction. Back to the drawing board….

8 - The next justification put forward by the wind marketers was energy independence. This cleverly played on the concern most people have about oil and Middle East instability. Many ads were run promoting wind energy as a good way to reduce our “dependence on Middle Eastern oil.”

None of these ads mentioned that only about 1% of our electricity is generated from oil. Or that the US exports more oil than we use for electricity. Or that our main import source for oil is Canada (not the Middle East). Despite the significant omissions and misrepresentations, this claim still resonates with many people, so it continues to be pushed. Whatever works.

9 – Knowing full well that the assertions used to date were specious, wind proponents manufactured still another claim: green jobs. This was carefully selected to coincide with widespread employment concerns. Unfortunately, when independent qualified parties examined the situation more closely, they found that the claims were wildly exaggerated. Big surprise!

Further, as attorney and energy expert Chris Horner has so eloquently stated:

"There is nothing – no program, no hobby, no vice, no crime – that does not ‘create jobs.’ Tsunamis, computer viruses and shooting convenience store clerks all ‘create jobs.’ So that claim misses the plot. It applies to all, and so is an argument in favor of none. Instead of making a case on the merits, it is an admission that one has no such arguments."

Also see the recent post at MasterResource, The Collapsing Case for ‘Green’ Energy, where California Berkeley professor Severin Borenstein warns his beloved green community that fossil fuels beat wind and solar at the jobs game.......

17 – A related pitch is that our adoption of wind energy will help us break “our fossil fuel dependence.” Guess what? The reality is that wind actually guarantees our perpetual dependence on fossil fuels! In addition to wind turbines’ dependence on fossil fuels for manufacture, delivery and maintenance, the only way wind energy can quasi-function on the grid is to have it continuously augmented by a fast responding power source – which for a variety of technical and economic reasons is usually gas. It’s rather amusing that the same environmental organizations that support wind energy are also against shale gas. That’s like saying that you love Italian food but hate tomato sauce. The two are paired together like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

18 – The claim that wind energy is “green” or “environmentally friendly” is laugh-out-loud hilarious – except for the fact that the reality is not funny at all. Consider just one part of a turbine, the generator, which uses considerable rare earth elements (2000± pounds per MW).

The mining and processing of these metals has horrific environmental consequences that are unacknowledged and ignored by the wind industry and its environmental surrogates. For instance, a typical 100 MW wind project would generate approximately: a) 20,000 square meters of destroyed vegetation, b) 6 million cubic meters of toxic air pollution, c) 33 million gallons of poisoned water, d) 600 million pounds of highly contaminated tailing sands, and e) 250,000 pounds of radioactive waste. (See this, and this, and this.)

Much more HERE. (See the original for links)

Green Energy Transition Endangers German Industry

Last spring, Chancellor Angela Merkel set Germany on course to eliminate nuclear power in favor of renewable energy sources. Now, though, several industries are suffering as electricity prices rapidly rise. Many companies are having to close factories or move abroad.

The red signs are still hanging in front of the gate to the steel mill on Oberschlesienstrasse. "Hands off!" they read, or "The Krefeld steel mill must stay!"

But now it's all over. Despite the signs, protests and pickets, ThyssenKrupp, Germany's largest steelmaker, sold its Krefeld stainless steel mill to Finnish competitor Outukumpu two weeks ago. The new owner plans to shut down production by the end of next year, leaving more than 400 workers without a job. The economic loss to this stricken city on the lower Rhine will be significant.

The closing of the Krefeld mill cannot be blamed on low-wage competition from the Far East or mismanagement at ThyssenKrupp's Essen headquarters, but rather on the misguided policies of the German government. That, at least, is the view held by those affected by the closing. Since Chancellor Angela Merkel's government abruptly decided to phase out nuclear energy last spring in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, the situation for industries that consume a lot of electricity has become much more tenuous.

Energy prices are rising and the risk of power outages is growing. But the urgently needed expansion of the grid, as well as the development of replacement power plants and renewable energy sources is progressing very slowly. A growing number of economic experts, business executives and union leaders are putting the blame squarely on the shoulders of Merkel's coalition, which pairs her conservatives with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP). The government, they say, has expedited de-industrialization.

The energy supply is now "the top risk for Germany as a location for business," says Hans Heinrich Driftmann, president of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). "One has to be concerned in Germany about the cost of electricity," warns European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. And Bernd Kalwa, a member of the general works council at ThyssenKrupp, says heatedly: "Some 5,000 jobs are in jeopardy within our company alone, because an irresponsible energy policy is being pursued in Düsseldorf and Berlin."

In macroeconomic terms, the impending demise of heavy industry is all the more worrying, because the job losses will not be offset elsewhere. There is no sign yet of the green economic miracle that the federal government promised would accompany Germany's new energy strategy. On the contrary, many manufacturers of wind turbines and solar panels complain that business is bad and are cutting jobs. Some solar companies have already gone out of business. The environmental sector faces a number of problems, especially -- and ironically -- those stemming from high energy prices.

And now, the immediate shutdown of seven nuclear power plants last March is affecting supply, as the Krefeld example shows. The steel mill requires massive amounts of electricity to produce stainless steel, used in such products as sinks and auto bodies. The metal is heated to more than 1,600 degrees Celsius (2,912 degrees Fahrenheit) in giant furnaces. A single smelter consumes about as much energy in an hour as 10 single-family homes in an entire year. Electricity makes up a fifth of the mill's total costs, says Harald Behmenburg, the plant manager.

The price of electricity is moving in only one direction: steeply up. For the Krefeld plant, the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity has tripled since 2000....

Other companies could suffer a similar fate. Berlin's energy policy affects all classic industrial sectors, from the steel and aluminum industry to paper and cement manufacturers, as well as the chemical industry. The metal industry, long an important sector in Germany, is already migrating to countries with cheaper electricity.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


28 February, 2012

Melting Arctic causes snowier winters

This is all just Warmist boilerplate by now but I am putting it up to draw attention to just one thing: History began in 1979 and stopped in 2007 for Warmists: "The level of Arctic sea ice has reached a new record low in 2007". No mention of the bounceback since then and that the "record low" was in a time series that went back only as far as 1979. Talk about clutching at straws!

No-one can regard these "scientists" as honest men. To rephrase Lord Acton: "Money corrupts and your salary corrupts absolutely"

MELTING sea ice in the Arctic may be causing the snowier winters the northern hemisphere has experienced in the last two seasons.

The level of Arctic sea ice has reached a new record low in 2007, said the study led by the Georgia Institute of Technology and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Meanwhile, above-average snowfall has blanketed large parts of the northern United States, northwestern and central Europe, and northern and central China.

The northern hemisphere has recorded its second and third largest snow covers in documented history in the last two seasons, spanning the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.

Researchers believe the disappearing Arctic ice is sending more water vapour into the air, and is interfering with atmospheric currents and westerly winds that would typically have swept snowy weather northward.

Instead, more cold air is descending into the middle and lower latitudes, "leading to increased heavy snowfall in Europe and the northeast and midwest regions of the United States", said Jiping Liu, a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech.

The research included scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and New York's Columbia University, and was supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation.


Greenies against the Jews

Followers of Hitler in that respect too

“The desert is groaning”, declares Cornerstone magazine, the Palestinian Sabeel Theology Center’s publication. “The Israeli army and settlers have polluted the Palestinian areas,” writes Reverend Naim Ateek, who heads the notorious anti-Jewish Christian center.

Despite the fact that Israel is the only country to enter the 21st century with a net gain in forest growth, Green activists today are among the most virulently anti-Jewish. The Green Party mayor of Aachen, Hilde Scheidt, has just waged a media campaign against Israel. Prominent German author Henryk Broder called her a “Green anti-Semite,” after she defended a cartoon depicting a man sporting a Star of David on his bib as he devours a young Palestinian boy with a fork draped in an American flag and a knife with the word “Gaza” written on it.

Back in 1991, German Green Party’s spokesman Hans Christian Stroebele defended Saddam Hussein’s rockets on Tel Aviv because “Iraq’s attacks are the logical, almost compelling, consequence of Israel’s politics vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the Arab states,”

The Green lies about “the ecology of occupation” are now spreading at the highest European levels. The French parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee recently published an unprecedented report accusing Israel of implementing “apartheid” in its allocation of water in Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile, environmentalists accuse Israel’s army of being a major cause of cancer in Palestinian children. This blood libel began in 1999, when Suha Arafat declared that Israeli gas is poisoning Arab children: “Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.” She also said that Israel has “chemically contaminated about 80% of water sources used by Palestinians.”

Nazi-style rhetoric

The pollution myth spread through the literary milieu as well. British dramatist David Hare wrote that the Jews have “polluted” the Promised Land and “do not belong here.” According to this racist belief, “native species” originate in a certain place and that is where they “belong.” Hence, Israel’s "colonization" threatens the “original” Arab environment.

Green NGOs accuse Israel of “warfare ecology,” “deforestation,” “erosion of agricultural lands,” and “expropriation” of Arab land for Israel’s national park. European geographers denounce settler “cementification” and the “architecture of occupation" in a growing topography of hatred.

Elsewhere, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine,” led by the British Richard Rogers, has called for a boycott of architects, planners and companies involved in building the security fence, which stopped the suicide bombers. Eyal Weizman, an Israeli architect living in London, calls it a “war crime.”

Elements within the Green movement have adopted Nazi-style rhetoric to blast Israeli businesses. Literature distributed by the boycotters outrageously describes Judea and Samaria citizens as “parasites.” Products from the Golan Heights, such as wines, mineral water and milk are targeted. Flowers are targeted by the BDS movement, because since Israel entered the flower export market in the 1970s this business has been blooming.

The Ahava cosmetics company is also targeted by Green activists. In the last three years, thousands of Western women in bikinis, belonging to the feminist association Code Pink, protested outside Ahava shops in the US and in European capitals. They are usually streaked with mud, some featuring the words “Ahava is a dirty business.” The slogan of the campaign is fashionable and catchy: “Stolen Beauty.”

Dutch government promoted an investigation to determine whether Ahava should enjoy tax privileges granted to foreign goods. Elsewhere, Sex and the City actress Kristin Davis was suspended by humanitarian group Oxfam International after joining an Ahava advertisement campaign.

In the final analysis, environmentalists have launched a primitive diatribe against Israel that smacks of classic, medieval-style anti-Semitic blood libels. It demonizes the Jews for “dispossessing” and “polluting” a fabricated, “archetypical Palestine.” Yet this campaign has proven, again, that anti-Semitism is the most dangerous pollutant.


Filthy Lying Scumbag Alarmists

Check out this web page purporting to show an increase in earthquakes due to melting glaciers, and attributing their data to the USGS. Their claims (like those of Peter Gleick) are completely fraudulent.
Worldwide earthquake data was acquired and shown graphically as a function of time. These trends show an increase in the magnitude and a significant increase in the frequency (magnitude > 5.5) of earthquakes worldwide.

These results would also indicate that the Earth‘s crust is not static and robust. Finally, areas that have low earthquke activity may become much more active due to melting glaciers.

Here is what the USGS link pointed to from their web site actually says.
Are Earthquakes Really on the Increase?

We continue to be asked by many people throughout the world if earthquakes are on the increase. Although it may seem that we are having more earthquakes, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant.

A partial explanation may lie in the fact that in the last twenty years, we have definitely had an increase in the number of earthquakes we have been able to locate each year. This is because of the tremendous increase in the number of seismograph stations in the world and the many improvements in global communications. In 1931, there were about 350 stations operating in the world; today, there are more than 8,000 stations and the data now comes in rapidly from these stations by electronic mail, internet and satellite. This increase in the number of stations and the more timely receipt of data has allowed us and other seismological centers to locate earthquakes more rapidly and to locate many small earthquakes which were undetected in earlier years. The NEIC now locates about 20,000 earthquakes each year or approximately 50 per day. Also, because of the improvements in communications and the increased interest in the environment and natural disasters, the public now learns about more earthquakes.

You can’t trust anything alarmists say. The standard MO is to lie about everything.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Is global warming hysteria finally dying?

Global warming has been very quiet in the news lately. As every parent knows, when the children get very quiet in the other room it's time to go check on them. They're either into Mom's makeup or Dad's toolbox or…

Sure enough, on February 22 this New American article reported that "activist climate scientist" Peter Gleick, who "often touted himself as a defender of scientific integrity," posed as someone else to obtain confidential materials from the libertarian/free market Heartland Institute because the Institute "challenges the accuracy of the theory of manmade global warming."

Just a few days before that another Instituter, Matt Patterson of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote "Global warming – the great delusion."

After noting such historical popular pathologies as "financial panics, medical quackery, alchemy, and witch crazes" he asserts, "In fact, global warming is the most widespread mass hysteria in our species’ history."

But that's ancient history. Before we accept or deny today's theories of dying glaciers, dying animals, dying people, dying coastal cities and dying civilizations we might want to look at these more recent scientifically calculated doomsday predictions and see how they're coming along today.

The Population Bomb will kill millions worldwide. "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." – First published in 1968.

The looming ice age will kill millions worldwide. "If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age." - Ecologist Kenneth Watt, 1970.

The Millennium Bug, or Y2K, will cause havoc worldwide. At midnight, the nation's air-traffic-control systems go dead. Security systems leave workers locked outside the front gate. The entire financial infrastructure, including the stock market, goes haywire. As the ball drops in Times Square, hospital machinery, like IV units and cardiac monitors, suddenly shuts down. Global positioning satellites get lost, leaving the nation vulnerable. – Selected predictions from "The Day The World Shuts Down," Newsweek, 1997.

So maybe it's time for people to stop worshipping "scientists" and technocrats. Instead of the global warming fanatics calling us Global Warming Deniers maybe it's time for us to start calling them Reality Deniers.


British wood-burning power station goes up in flames

What an odd thing for wood to do!

A severe fire that broke out at one of Europe's largest green power stations is now under control but there are fears that the blaze could continue to burn for days.

Around 120 firefighters have been tackling the fire at Tilbury Power Station, which erupted in a fuel storage area at 7.45am. Nobody was injured and all employees have been accounted for, but Chief Fire Officer David Johnson, from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS), said it was one of the most challenging fires he had dealt with in his 20-year career.

Earlier today, he said it involved 4-6,000 tonnes of biomass in a wood pellet hopper high up in the power station building.

Opened in 1969, Tilbury previously operated as a coal-fired power station but has been converted to generate power from 100% sustainable biomass until its scheduled closure at the end of 2015.

Biomass plants burn wood pellets, generally made from compacted sawdust or other wastes from sawmilling and other manufactured wood products.

Mr Johnson said: 'The fire involves 4-6,000 tonnes of bio mass high up in the power station building. The fuel goes into vats and is taken into the plant on a conveyor belt.

'The fuel cells are designed to carry dry fuel so pouring water on to them and making them significantly heavier could potentially damage the structure of the building.

'There is an added complication that when the cells get wet, then dried by the fire, a crust will develop making it impossible for more water to penetrate the fire underneath.'

Fire crews were sent into the building to tackle the blaze using specialist high expansion foam on the burning hoppers to starve the fire of oxygen and create a safety blanket.

This afternoon the fire was said to be under control, with steady progress being made, but a spokesman said it was likely to remain a 'protracted incident'.

A statement said: 'The fire is under control and steady progress is being made. Crews continue to work in arduous conditions inside the power station building - three aerial ladder platforms are in use and internal firefighting operations continue...


Warmist professor of international law tries to make AGW a human rights issue

Warmists are getting more and more desperate as the UN promoted climate cult is fastly losing support among both decision makers and the general public worldwide. Dinah Shelton, professor of international law at the George Washington University Law School, is now trying to make global warming a human rights issue, "because nothing else is working":
Dinah Shelton, who chairs the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said various regional treaties – to which over 100 countries are signatories – enshrine the “right to a safe and healthy environment”.

“Why take a human rights approach to climate change? First, in a rather cynical way because nothing else is working,” said Shelton, of the George Washington University Law School.

“We have seen efforts through the environmental law regime, we’ve seen 25 years of sustainable development since the Brundtland Commission, and the emphasis has been much more on ‘development’ than ‘sustainable’; the climate change situation does not seem to have improved.

“Can human rights address some of these issues in a more effective manner? I think the answer is yes, partly because of the very high place that human rights law plays in the global community.” .... Etc.

Professor Shelton is right about the cynicism (in her own approach) and the fact that human rights still has a high place in the (western part) of the global community. But her suggestion that the AGW religion should have some direct link to human rights is preposterous. By openly promoting the global warming scam, professor Shelton is seriously weakening the "high place that human rights law plays in the global community". But that does not seem to bother this climate cultist, who apparently is intent on destroying the credibility of her own field of research.

What is fortunate, however, is that professor Shelton´s approach to global warming is most certainly going to end up in the same heap of rubbish where we find the rest of the fake AGW science propaganda



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


27 February, 2012

Nitwit thinks a few degrees of temperature rise will melt the polar ice

He is trying to add a scare about increasing volcanoes and earthquakes to the usual scares about warming. But polar regions are VERY cold, far below the melting point of ice, so even if all the Warmist prophecies came true, there would be minor melting at the margins only. Excerpt:

So what – geologically speaking – can we look forward to if we continue to pump out greenhouse gases at the current hell-for-leather rate? With resulting global average temperatures likely to be several degrees higher by this century's end, we could almost certainly say an eventual goodbye to the Greenland ice sheet, and probably that covering West Antarctica too, committing us – ultimately – to a 10-metre or more hike in sea levels.

GPS measurements reveal that the crust beneath the Greenland ice sheet is already rebounding in response to rapid melting, providing the potential – according to researchers – for future earthquakes, as faults beneath the ice are relieved of their confining load. The possibility exists that these could trigger submarine landslides spawning tsunamis capable of threatening North Atlantic coastlines. Eastern Iceland is bouncing back too as its Vatnajökull ice cap fades away. When and if it vanishes entirely, new research predicts a lively response from the volcanoes currently residing beneath. A dramatic elevation in landslide activity would be inevitable in the Andes, Himalayas, European Alps and elsewhere, as the ice and permafrost that sustains many mountain faces melts and thaws.

Across the world, as sea levels climb remorselessly, the load-related bending of the crust around the margins of the ocean basins might – in time – act to sufficiently "unclamp" coastal faults such as California's San Andreas, allowing them to move more easily; at the same time acting to squeeze magma out of susceptible volcanoes that are primed and ready to blow.


Our wise leaders send messages from Antarctica trip

Former Vice President Al Gore has taken his fight against climate change to the South Pole, as his Climate Reality Project expedition ship arrived in Antarctica.

Joined by more than 100 other travellers including scientists, ministers and celebrities, the team set off from Argentina last week, crossing the legendary Drake Passage en-route to the Antarctic.

Gore has been joined by James Hansen from NASA, Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, along with Bangledesh’s minister of environment Hasan Mahmud, the President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, British billionaire Richard Branson and UNFCCC Chief Christiana Figueres.

Tweeting from the trip Figueres wrote: “Antarctica: highest coldest, windiest and driest continent of the planet. Most importantly: global bellwether of #climatechange.”

And amongst pictures of penguins, icebergs and seals she lamented their future prospects: “Greetings from a chinstrap penguin colony. Populations decreasing due to decreasing sea ice.”


Our wise leaders and expert guides seem unaware that Antarctic sea ice has been increasing over the last 30 years:

All men are equal -- except if you are "Green"

The ethics of parking eco-friendly cars: Why are universities privileging those who already have power, wealth and status if they drive a Prius?

Hourly wage workers at universities are daily reminded of the many ways their employers indicate their relative inferiority to its teachers and administrators who boast advanced degrees and certifications. One recent trend, the adoption of LEED parking standards, serves as testimony to how the knowledge class perpetuates privileges for those at the top of the university system.

LEED- -- which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design -- is an internationally recognized green building certification system, equivalent to a Good Housekeeping seal of approval for buildings that meet specific standards for being environmentally friendly. For example, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago proudly reports that it reserves 25 parking stalls at the entranceway of its parking garage for hybrid cars.

At issue is what these standards say about status relationships within the Academy. To frame this issue from a "critical perspective" so favored by many in the professoriate, we need to answer this question: Who is privileged and who disadvantaged by LEED parking standards?

Data indicate LEED parking standards favor university professionals who already have power, wealth, and status: mature, well-to-do, highly degreed members of the leisure class. Those most likely to earn reserved parking are:

Affluent. The Volt, a GM car for which purchasers, whose annual income averages US$175,000, receive a $7,500 taxpayer subsidy, "appeals to an affluent, progressive demographic," says Bill Visnic, senior editor for "It's rare. It's hard to get one. ... It's the same reason that people buy the really rare exotic cars: Because other people can't have one."

Similarly, 71 percent of Prius owners were found to earn more than $100,000 per year. A Topline Strategy Group study found a significant number of hybrid buyers trade down from foreign-made luxury vehicles, such as the Audi A6, BMW X3 or Acura TL, a means of exchanging a status symbol of the 90s for the new moniker of sophistication, one that earns its owner a highly visible and privileged parking space.

Urbane. The 2007 Scarborough Research lifestyle survey of 110,000 adults revealed hybrid owners are much more likely to go skiing, hiking, practice yoga and to consume organic food, yogurt, and decaffeinated coffee than the general population.

Highly educated. Walter McManus, of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute reports "Hybrid car drivers have a level of education higher than any group of car drivers that I've ever seen."

Middle aged: J. D. Powers' research reveals hybrid drivers average close to 50 years of age.

By contrast, what populations are disadvantaged by LEED parking standards?

The working poor: those campus employees in such fields as landscaping, janitorial, secretarial, law enforcement, and food services, often disproportionately female, African-American and Hispanic, whose educations, incomes, and lack of social capital distinguish them from those who are privileged with reserved university parking. As approved cars are primarily three or fewer years old, LEED standards favor white-collar over blue-collar workers as well as married couples over the single-parent, populations who typically can only afford to purchase older, used cars rather than the new cars that qualify for reserved parking spaces.

Large families. LEED standards disadvantage large families as well. Van, pickup and SUV buyers all tend to have more children than other car buyers; in fact, research shows 45 percent of SUV buyers have two or more children.

Younger car owners. Other data show SUV purchasers to be young married couples, aged 30-35, with a median income of $60,000, substantially less than those who buy hybrid cars. Only two per cent of hybrid owners are 24 or younger.

Academics often tell students that citizens with the advantages of wealth, education, and breeding have an obligation to show empathy with and respect for the lives of those who do not possess the social, intellectual or economic capital of society's privileged classes.

If their motives were sincere, academic decision makers might develop alternative standards for privileged parking such special spaces for hourly wage “employee of the week” workers, as well as close-in parking for pregnant employees or for staff who have to pick up children after school, thus serving the interests of those caring for the most dependent members of society.

Alternatively, to produce provable reductions in gas use and emissions without privileging the well-to-do, schools could advocate carpooling, giving the best spaces to those cars with the most occupants. Or they could assign privileged spaces to those who live closest to the school and more distant spaces to those who drive longer distances and thus use more gas and emit more pollutants.

Unsurprisingly, many hourly wage employees at universities view sceptically those inside the Academy who profess to feel compassion for the young and for the working classes struggling to make a living in a harshly competitive world.


Obama's Federal Green-Car Fleet Promises Fall Flat

Well, color me surprised: yet another of the Obama administration's renewable-energy promises, borne of wishful green thinking and populist political appeal, meeting with resistance from that darn inconvenience that some might call reality. Bloomberg reports:
Obama gave speeches across the U.S. last year touting his twin goals of buying only alternative-fuel vehicles for the U.S. fleet by 2015 and getting 1 million electric vehicles on the country’s roads by that year.

That’s looking more difficult as the federal government learns the same lesson that U.S. car consumers have already figured out: it is tough being green. Rather than leading the way, the government has discovered that the high cost of hybrids and electric cars and their lack of availability often mean it makes more sense to buy cars with fuel-efficient conventional engines. ...

U.S. General Services Administration purchases of hybrid and electric models fell 59 percent in fiscal 2011 to about 2,645 as the federal fleet added 32,000 cars and trucks that can burn a fuel that’s 85 percent ethanol, or E85 vehicles, when it’s available. ...

So, they're scaling back on the hybrid and electric cars, because -- gasp -- they're just not that practical. But, the Obama administration does include vehicles that can use both E85 ethanol-based fuels and gasoline in it's definition of alternative-fuel vehicles... except, the special ethanol fuel isn't really practical, either:
The problem is that buying and driving ethanol fueled cars solves very little. The GSA, which owns about a third of the federal fleet, said last year that 88 percent of its alternative-fuel vehicles are capable of using ethanol. Still, ethanol fuel pumps are not very common and car owners, including the federal government, often have to use gasoline instead, said Lindland.

There are only about 2,512 ethanol fuel pumps available among the estimated 162,000 fueling stations that sell gasoline. There are about 6,033 electric charging stations, according to U.S. Department of Energy data.

The U.S. government, which has given automakers and suppliers money to develop electric-vehicle technologies, last year bought 2,645 hybrid, electric and fuel-cell vehicles, less than 5 percent of the 54,843 vehicles it bought, according to the data.

That’s a decrease from the 9.5 percent average of all purchases for those models in fiscal years 2010 and 2009, when economic stimulus spending fueled $300 million of fuel-efficient vehicle purchases for the federal fleet of about 600,000 cars and trucks.

The way this administration is experimenting on green energy projects with taxpayer dollars, you'd think we had money to burn instead of a more than one hundred percent debt-to-GDP ratio. And you know something -- I bet they would, literally, burn taxpayer dollars, if they thought they'd release less carbon than traditional gasoline.


Why fossil fuels are good

Marita Noon

"I'm trying to write a paper on why fossil fuels are good. I was wondering if you could help me out with some information? I couldn't find much information on the Internet because most people seem to think that fossil fuels are evil.”

The aforementioned is from an e-mail a young man named Cooper sent me the day before his paper was due. His father had heard me on the radio and suggested that Cooper contact me. I spent 45 minutes talking with him. Everything I said was a fresh new idea to Cooper. Obviously he was not being taught the complete picture. If Cooper had questions, others probably do, too. Here are the three things I told him that, like Cooper, you may not know, may have forgotten, or just haven’t thought about in a while.

With rising gas prices bringing energy into the debate, and President Obama setting his energy priorities out in his budget, it is important to be aware of some energy realities. Otherwise you may think fossil fuels are “evil,” when, in fact, they provide us with the freedom to come and go, to be and do.


With gas prices in the news, reporters are interviewing people in gas stations and getting their thoughts on the situation. One had a man proclaiming that oil is a precious resource. He stated that we needed the price to go up so people used less of it. I agree that oil is precious—as in valuable and important, but not as in scarce or rare.

Decades ago, it was thought that we were about to run out of oil. True, production in America did decline. But new privately developed technologies have both found more oil and natural gas and allowed us to use it more efficiently.

In America, a high-pressure extraction method known as “fracking” has brought forth vast new resources of both oil and natural gas. Areas not previously thought to be “oil country” are now buzzing with activity and economic growth. Best known is North Dakota’s Bakken Field, which is now producing more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day—more than the current infrastructure can transport.

Other new resource-rich regions include Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York (though New York is not maximizing its bounty), with fields known as the Utica Shale and the Marcellus Shale—which are rich in natural gas. These new areas have so much natural gas that the price has dropped to the lowest rate in a decade, and some companies are cutting back on drilling because the cost of extracting the resource versus the price they can sell it for makes it uneconomic at this time. Knowing that this gas is in the ground just waiting for us to need it is like a “Strategic Petroleum Reserve.” Similar fields have been found in other parts of the world, as well.

Technology has opened up vast new “deepwater” fields. The Julia Field was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in 2007 and is believed to have one billion barrels of oil. Recent new discoveries have been found off the coast of Mozambique, Argentina, Israel, and in the North Sea.

Additionally, the resources that we have are now are used more efficiently—which makes them go farther than ever before. This is what is known as “resource expansion.” When I was a child, my father’s car got eight miles per gallon of gas (mpg). Today, most cars get more like 32 mpg—and if gas mileage is important, gasoline or diesel-fueled vehicles can be found, which get more than 50 mpg. Similar improvements have been made in the use of electricity as well.


One of the wonderful things about oil is that it can be easily transported—shipped, trucked, trained, or piped to the end user. While not as easily done, natural gas can be compressed or liquefied and use similar methods of transportation. Likewise, if needed, coal can be converted into a liquid fuel—though coal is more frequently used for electricity, rather than as a transportation fuel.

Because most of America’s infrastructure was built before there was opposition to anyone attempting to build anything near anyone, oil, natural gas, and coal are readily available. Nearly every major intersection and freeway exit has a gas station. Coal-fueled power plants are often built near where coal is available. In other locations, natural gas is the fuel of choice for electric power—because it is available.

Besides location and transportation, the other important thing about the availability of fossil fuels is that they are “available” when we want them—and this is, perhaps, their most valuable asset. This is true for both liquid/transportation fuels and electricity.

With transportation fuels, fossil fuels allow us instant fill-ups at the myriad gas stations we drive by every day. We stop, we fill up, and we go. With electric vehicles—the only kind that could be theoretically be powered by renewables—a fill-up takes 4-20 hours and is needed much more frequently than with fossil fuels.

With electricity powered by fossil fuels, rain or shine, wind or calm, we can expect the lights to turn on—unlike the highly touted renewables that need specific conditions to work. Because wind and solar (the most common “renewables”) are not 24/7, they require “back up”—usually in the form of natural gas or coal. Natural gas is the better back up, as like a natural gas kitchen stove, it can be turned on and off quickly.

Boiling a pot of water on your stove may take five minutes, while boiling that same pot of water over a charcoal fire would take an hour—with the bulk of the time being getting the coals hot enough to actually boil the water. While boiling a pot of water is an over-simplified example, it helped Cooper understand why natural gas was the preferred back up to intermittent wind or solar power. Which bring us to Affordable.


With the prices of gasoline rising as rapidly as they are—and electricity rates increasing, some might dispute the “affordable” argument. However, comparatively, fossil fuels are still affordable—and could be more so with favorable government policies (though, international unrest does play into the price of oil). Coal is the dominant source of electricity in America—providing nearly 50%. While natural gas’ abundance has dropped the price, making the price of natural gas-fueled electricity to be close to coal, the fact that we have existing coal-fueled power plants makes electricity from coal cheaper overall as converting power plants or building new ones significantly increases the costs. In some locations, such as Rhode Island, who use natural gas for their electricity, the lower prices for natural gas have actually caused the public utility commission to lower the rates.

With renewables, the cost of electricity is higher and the need for double power plants—wind or solar and natural gas or coal—means double costs.

Back in 2008, when gasoline prices spiked, President Bush announced a reversal on his father’s ban on offshore drilling. Nearly overnight the price of crude oil dropped and gasoline followed suit. It wasn’t that there was any more oil being produced, but on an international market, investors knew that more oil would be coming online—not less. The price dropped.

With the current policies—such as killing Keystone, blocking offshore drilling, and minimizing drilling on federal lands—the forecasts show less availability, not more. The price goes up. President Obama can give a speech saying he’s going to open up more of America’s resources, but the markets do not believe him, as every policy he sets in place says the opposite. Prices have continued to climb.

These policies are why the 2012 election is so important. Will we elect someone who believes that fossil fuels are “evil” or someone who understands that they deserve a triple “A” rating: abundant, available, affordable?

Cooper closed his paper with these words: “We must protect the future of our energy from politicians who have interests only in their own agendas and a misinformed public that believes fossil fuels are destroying the world, when they are actually fueling it. We will be dependent upon fossil fuels for a while, and that is fine. We have hundreds and hundreds of years to figure it out. Our fossil fuels should be utilized as long as possible. There is no other sensible option.”


Inhofe debuts 'Greatest Hoax' on Hannity tonight

Global-warming exposé to put final nail in coffin of scam

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., will launch his new book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel TV show tonight at 9:30 p.m. Eastern.

Inhofe has been a leader in Washington exposing the hoax of global warming – recently declaring victory over what he calls “the greatest hoax.”

Still, the Oklahoma Republican believes his work is not done.

“The Greatest Hoax” is published by WND Books, which has produced a higher percentage of New York Times bestsellers than any other publisher in the world since it was founded nine years ago.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


26 February, 2012

An outraged philosopher

An excerpt below from a very self-righteous person. As a philosopher he should both be wary of appeals to authority and know that false premises can lead to absurd conclusions. But he dives headfast into both of those bogs.

There is no reason why a philospher should abjure pronouncing on climate but he should certainly gain some familiarity with the science first. I myself have had papers on analytical philosphy (including moral philophy) published in the academic journals and I reject his conclusions utterly. So where does that get us? It should lead us to the science and there is a token of my familiarity with that in the header to this blog. It would have been nice if our puffed-up philospher had also first gone to the science. I am perfectly capable of reading and understanding academic journal articles in fields other than my own. Surely our profound thinker below could do likewise?

Those who deny the reality, importance, or magnitude of climate change warrant our collective outrage. Whether by action or inaction, their denial blinds us to the risks, vulnerabilities, and threats to our well-being posed by climate change. Insofar as claims of ignorance are becoming increasingly implausible, those who support or propagate the disinformation campaign about climate change are guilty of more than deception. They are guilty of exacerbating risks to our collective well-being and of undermining society.

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the current misinformation campaign waged against climate science. I will, therefore, take it on assumption for our purposes here that both (1) there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is taking place and (2) there is a concerted effort, through activity or negligence, to convince the public that there is no need for action. I take (2) to constitute the essence of what I will call the disinformation campaign about climate change. I take (1) to provide the focus of such a campaign, a campaign focused on convincing any and all that the science of climate change is not worth taking seriously or that the consequences of climate change are too uncertain to justify action.


Greenies are the intellectual descendants of the Nazis

Their eugenics, their false science, their nature worship, their belief in big government and their panic about running out of resources are identical. They would bump lots of us off too if they had the power. See below:

John P. Holdren, the top science adviser to President Barack Obama, wrote in a book he co-authored with population control advocates Paul and Anne Ehrlich that children from larger families have lower IQs.

The book—"Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions"—argued that the United States government had a “responsibility to halt the growth of the American population.”

“It surely is no accident that so many of the most successful individuals are first or only children,” wrote Holdren and the Ehrlichs, “nor that children of large families (particularly with more than four children), whatever their economic status, on the average perform less well in school and show lower I.Q. scores than their peers from small families.”

Holdren and the Ehrlichs published "Human Ecology" with W.H. Freeman and Company in 1973. In June 2000, a study published in American Pyschologist debunked the notion that children in larger families have lower I.Q.s. But when Holdren appeared in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in 2009 for a confirmation hearing on his appointment to run the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, he continued to argue for the benefits of “smaller families” on other bases.

In "Human Ecology," Holdren and the Ehrlichs concluded: “Population control is absolutely essential if the problems now facing mankind are to be solved.”

“Political pressure must be applied immediately to induce the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population,” they wrote.

Holdren and the Ehrlichs also called in "Human Ecology" for redistributing wealth on a global basis. “Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being,” they wrote in their conclusions.

In a section of the book entitled, “Solutions,” in a chapter entitled, “Population Limitation,” the future Obama White House science adviser joined with the Ehrlichs in writing: “Any set of programs that is to be successful in alleviating the set of problems described in the foregoing chapters must include measures to control the growth of the human population.”

The authors then questioned the values of parents who have large families.

“Certain values conflict directly with numbers, although numbers may also be considered a value by some people, such as businessmen (who see bigger markets), politicians (who see more political power), and parents of large families,” Holdren and the Ehrlichs wrote.

“Those who promote numbers of people as a value in itself, however, may be overlooking the cheapness such abundance often brings,” they said.

“One form of conflict between values and numbers arises in the choice between having many deprived children or having fewer who can be raised with the best care, education, and opportunity for successful adulthood,” they said on pages 228-229. “This dilemma is equally acute whether it is posed to a family or a society. It surely is no accident that so many of the most successful individuals are first or only children; nor that children of large families (particularly with more than four children), whatever their economic status, on the average perform less well in school and show lower I.Q. scores than their peers from small families.”

In a footnote to this passage, Holdren and the Ehrlichs cite a “[r]eport of a National Academy of Sciences Study Panel” that “includes several articles on the advantages to children of being first-born or in small families.”

In the June 2000 issue of American Pyschologist, a team of authors joined to debunk the notion that smaller families somehow produced higher “quality” or more intelligent children. The team included Joseph Lee Rodgers of the Department of Psychology at the University of Oklahoma, Harrington Cleveland of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, David C. Rowe from the Division of Family Studies at the University of Arizona, and Edwin van den Oord of the Department of Psychology at the University of Utrecht.

The study these scholars did was based on an analysis of data from actual siblings collected by the federally sponsored National Longitudinal Study of Youth.

“A large amount of publicity has circulated over the past two decades suggesting to parents that they should limit their family size in the interest of, in Blake's (1981) words, ‘child quality,’” Rodgers and his co-authors wrote. “Zajonc (1975) published a popular article entitled ‘Dumber by the Dozen’ that certainly must have led some parents to believe they should limit their childbearing lest they place their children into the diluted intellectual environment predicted for later birth orders, close spacing, and larger families.

“The columnist Dr. Joyce Brothers answered a question sent into Good Housekeeping (February, 1981) by a mother of four asking if she should consider having another baby as follows: ‘Studies have shown that children reared in small families are brighter, more creative, and more vigorous than those from large families,’” the authors noted.

“However,” they said, “the belief that, for a particular set of parents in a modem country like the United States, a larger family will lead to children with lower IQs appears to be, simply, wrong. The belief that birth order effects on intelligence act directly to decrease the intelligence of children born later in a given family also appears to be, simply, wrong.”

“Do large U.S. families make low-IQ children? No,” said the authors. “Are birth order and intelligence related to one another within U.S. families? No.”

In a chapter of a book ("U.S Policy and the Global Environment") published in November 2000, Holdren called for national and international policies aimed at reducing family size as a means of forestalling “global climate disruption.”

“That the impacts of global climate disruption may not become the dominant sources of environmental harm to humans for yet a few more decades cannot be a great consolation, given that the time needed to change the energy system enough to avoid this outcome is also on the order of a few decades,” wrote Holdren. “It is going to be a very tight race. The challenge can be met, but only by employing a strategy that embodies all six of the following components: … increased national and international support for measures that address the motivations and the means for reducing family size.”

At his Senate confirmation hearing in 2009, Holdren said he no longer believed determining optimal population was the proper role of government. However, he did say that appropriate government policies would have the result of decreasing family sizes.

“I think the proper role of government is to develop and deploy the policies with respect to economy, environment, security that will ensure the well-being of the citizens we have,” Holdren testified. “I also believe that many of those policies will have the effect, and have had the effect in the past, of lowering birth rates because when you provide health care for women, opportunities for women, education, people tend to have smaller families on average and it ends up being easier to solve some of our other problems when that occurs.”

The Obama administration has issued a regulation, set to take effect on Aug. 1, that will require all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations, artificial contraceptives and abortifacients without any fees or co-pay. Many American religious leaders, including all of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops, have denounced the regulation as an attack on religious liberty because it will force many Americans to act against their consciences and the teachings of their faith.


German Warmists say that the Arctic ice is melting faster

More prophecy. For those interested in reality, however, see the graph below. that short red line top left is where we are now -- in 2012. The current ice extent is actually quite high compared to recent years. In the most recent reading it was in fact higher than any other year on the graph

Climatologist Jochem Marotzke expects the disappearance of Arctic ice unless we slow greenhouse gas emissions.

The sea ice in the Arctic is disappearing faster than previous climate simulations have assumed. That's the bad news that scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI) and the German Climate Computing Centre in Hamburg brought with them on Thursday.

New simulations of the development of the Earth's climate, however, have shown conflicting results - that means that there is still hope for the salvation of the Arctic ice, but only if the international community subscribes to the aim of holding warming to no more than two degrees Celsius.


Electric car maker goes to court over their vehicle's limited range -- and loses

Tesla and the company's lawyers are nothing if not determined. After a judge smacked down the electric vehicle manufacturer's libel suit against the BBC and Top Gear for comments made about the range of the Tesla Roadster, the automaker rallied with a second, amended lawsuit. It didn't take long for the the same judge to nix the new case, too, saying the amendment was "not capable of being defamatory at all, or, if it is, it is not capable of being a sufficiently serious defamatory meaning to constitute a real and substantial tort."

That sound? It's the smack of the judicial backhand.

The judge went on to say drivers know a manufacturer's claim about range is dependent on driving conditions and habits.

The dustup, as you may recall, began when Top Gear put the Tesla Roadster through its paces on the show's test track. While Jeremy Clarkson lauded the car's acceleration, the segment claimed the vehicle ran out of juice after just 55 miles of abuse. That figure is far south of the 200 mile range Tesla claims for the vehicle. CEO Elon Musk called the show "completely phony" not long after the segment aired and brought out the legal guns. The rest, as they say, is history.


The government-imposed California dust bowl

Of all the problems within California — pension and budget deficits, high unemployment, an over-eager environmentalist agenda and a failed taxpayer-funded green energy firm — add a government-made dust bowl to the list.

Yes, California farmers who produce much of the produce that our nation depends upon are being strangled by a government imposed water shortage. To understand this situation, you first need to know that two-thirds of the state’s water comes from Northern California while two-thirds of California’s population is in the southern part of the state. But the most disconcerting part of the water problems in California involves the very middle of the state — the Central Valley.

The Central Valley can also go by another name: the salad bowl of the nation and quite possibly the world.

Agricultural production in the Central Valley of California accounts for $26 billion in total sales and 38 percent of the Valley’s labor force. Farmers in this area grow more than half the nation’s vegetables, fruits and nuts. In fact, if you buy domestic artichokes, pistachios, walnuts or almonds, there is about a 99 percent chance that they were all grown in California.

But in order for these products to grow, the Central Valley needs water — and the past few years the government has been withholding that vital resource.

Much of California’s water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the federally owned Central Valley Project (CVP) and the California State Water Project (SWP). To understand the size, scope and capacity of these water systems, with California boasting a population of roughly 37 million people, these two projects deliver water to more than 27 million people. The CVP alone provides water to more than 600 family-owned farms, which produce more than 60 high-quality commercial food and fiber crops sold for the fresh, dry, canned and frozen food markets.

However, since both projects are under government control, something of a water war has ensued in California between Central Valley farmers and an environmentalist-driven agenda. The federal government is retaining water in the Delta to protect a three-inch fish called the delta smelt and other salmon species in the name of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Therefore those who depend on California’s unique water systems are faced with an ever-diminishing supply and are forced to make some tough choices.

Due to the limited supply of water going into the Central Valley, farmers don’t know one year to the next how much water they will receive, so they must decide what to plant and what once-productive farmlands to leave fallow. For perspective, farmers have been losing more than one million acre-feet of water annually — enough to irrigate 300,000 acres or a land area roughly half the size of Rhode Island.

This not only affects the prosperity and livelihood of these farmers, their families and entire communities, but the world’s food supply as well. Some farm communities in the Central Valley struggle with unemployment rates as high as 40 percent, which should come as no surprise since more than 50,000 people live and work in these communities dependent on the agricultural economy.

U.S. Congressmen who represent much of the Central Valley have had enough of the government control over the state’s water and introduced The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, H.R. 1837. If passed, this legislation would restore water supplies to the Valley and therefore provide job certainty to farmers and communities and decrease reliance on foreign food sources.

Original co-authors of the bill are California Republican Representatives Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy and Jeff Denham. The bill is slated to be debated on the House floor the last week of February.

Along with ensuring water flow back to the Central Valley, this bill also gives CVP water users incentive to pay back the federal government for constructing the project in the 1930s. California needed the help of the federal government to build the project at that time; however, many would now like to see the project belong to those who actually use and pay for the water. This should do nothing but please the government as it is projected to raise federal revenue by $300 million.

This bill also prevents a billion-dollar salmon fishery from being built with taxpayer dollars.

Lastly, a very critical part of the bill provides necessary protection to water users.

“This important legislation is rooted in the 5th Amendment, which protects all Americans against the seizure of private property without just compensation,” says Rep. Nunes. “Today, contracted water that is desperately needed in an economically depressed region, and which has already been paid for, is being taken by the government and dumped into the Pacific Ocean. Congress has a 14th Amendment duty to right this wrong.”

You see, some water users in California had access to the resource before California was even a state and therefore hold senior water rights over federal and state laws. Others had water rights before the state built its project, the SWP, and therefore have senior rights over state laws. But because the state and federal governments work collectively on water standards, and since they each own a different water project, dubious government projects — including the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — are taking over the rights of those who have senior water and private property rights. This bill ends that trend and protects citizens’ rights.

This bill would bring relief to farmers in the Central Valley and those to the north in the Sacramento Valley. Going back to the many issues that plague California, this bill is a welcomed change. It costs nothing, yet restores the rights of citizens, raises federal revenues and puts thousands of people back to work.

To put it in perspective, despite a near-record precipitation level of 198 percent in California last year farmers only received 80 percent allotment of their water supply. This year the situation looks bleak, with farmers expected to only receive 30 percent of their once-promised allotment.

“It’s hard to believe that a government would be willing to withhold water from its citizens in an attempt to protect a fish,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “You might see this behavior from a corrupt dictator in another country, but it should never happen in America.”

In a state like California, water equals opportunity. If that opportunity continues to diminish the state will lose its most productive industry and be left with nothing except a government-imposed dust bowl.


Australian weather watchers confess long-distance vision dodgy

But they can tell us what the temperature will be in the year 2100!

THE weather bureau has revealed Day Seven of its long-range forecasts is wrong most of the time.

The bloopers include a "mostly sunny" outlook one week out from the disastrous Christmas Day hail storms.

"Isolated showers" were the long-range forecast for February 4 last year - the day Melbourne was swamped by flash flooding.

The 40 per cent accuracy rate for Day Seven temperatures is less than what the Day One forecast was 50 years ago, according to data compiled for the Herald Sun.

Weather bureau spokeswoman Andrea Peace has defended the use of seven-day forecasting, but admitted the uncertainty increased dramatically from the four-day mark.

"We use the main global models that are considered to be the best, and there can still be days where even for tomorrow they can all give conflicting results," Ms Peace said.

"The need is still there but people have to understand that it's a guide, it's an outlook and there's a strong possibility that it will change as you get closer to the day."

"Severe weather" was forecast closer to Christmas Day, but thousands of Melburnians were caught out by the storms, with hailstones and flash flooding causing tens of millions of dollars in damage.

Ms Peace said it was difficult to determine the severity of thunderstorms 24 hours out.

The figures show Day One forecasts are more accurate than ever with an 85 per cent strike rate in 2011. And the number of forecast failures - an error margin of 5C or more - was just three last year, 10 times fewer than in 1962. The Day One error margin has halved in 50 years to just over 1C, while the Day Seven forecast averaged a 2.5C error last year.

Ms Peace said technological advances had combined to hone forecasts over the years.

"As we get better computing power, the size of the grids is going to get smaller and smaller, so the computer models will be able to resolve smaller, more localised weather phenomena," she said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


25 February, 2012

Lindzen totally squashes the alarmists

By James Delingpole

Professor Richard Lindzen is one of the world's greatest atmospheric physicists: perhaps the greatest. What he doesn't know about the science behind climate change probably isn't worth knowing. But even if you weren't aware of all this, even if you'd come to the talk he gave in the House of Commons this week without prejudice or expectation, I can pretty much guarantee you would have been blown away by his elegant dismissal of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory.

Dick Lindzen does not need to raise his voice. He does not use hyperbole. In a tone somewhere between weariness and withering disdain, he lets the facts speak for themselves. And the facts, as he understands them, are devastating.

Here is how he began his speech, which was organised on behalf of the Campaign To Repeal the Climate Change Act:
Stated briefly, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing: it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes. The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest.

You can read a full version of his speech here. The Bishop has it up here.

But don't take my word for it. Simon Carr of the Independent (not a publication hitherto noted for its rampant AGW scepticism) was sufficiently impressed to write a blog on the subject headlined Is catastrophic global warming, like Millennium Bug, a mistake?

I think we know the answer to that one, eh?


Global Warming Is about Social Science Too

Who's in denial?

Both sides in the debate over global warming are known for calling their opposition all kinds of derisive names. Perhaps the worst is “denier” to describe those who allegedly deny that global warming is “real.” The echoes of Holocaust denial are indeed offensive, particularly because the debate over global warming often conflates science with social science. This matters because one could accept that science has established global warming but still reject for social scientific reasons the claim that the policies normally associated with environmentalism are the proper way to address its effects. Does that make one a “denier?” It is that question I hope to answer indirectly below.

To help clarify what’s at stake, I offer a list of questions that are (or should be) at the center of the debate over anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. I will provide some quick commentary on some to note their importance and then conclude with what I see as the importance of this list.

1. Is the planet getting warmer?

2. If it’s getting warmer, is that warming caused by humans? Obviously this is a big question because if warming is not human-caused, then it’s not clear how much we can do to reduce it. What we might do about the consequences, however, remains an open question.

3. If it’s getting warmer, by what magnitude? If the magnitude is large, then there’s one set of implications. But if it’s small, then, as we’ll see, it might not be worth responding to. This is a good example of a scientific question with large implications for policy.

Matters of Science

All these questions are presumably matters of science. In principle we ought to be able to answer them using the tools of science, even if they are complex issues that involve competing interpretations and methods. Let’s assume the planet is in fact warming and that humans are the reason.

4. What are the costs of global warming? This question is frequently asked and answered.

5. What are the benefits of global warming? This question needs to be asked as well, as global warming might bring currently arctic areas into a more temperate climate that would enable them to become sources of food. Plus, a warmer planet might decrease the demand for fossil fuels for heating homes and businesses in those formerly colder places.

6. Do the benefits outweigh the costs or do the costs outweigh the benefits? This is also not frequently asked. Obviously, if the benefits outweigh the costs, then we shouldn’t be worrying about global warming. Two other points are worth considering. First, the benefits and costs are not questions of scientific fact because how we do the accounting depends on all kinds of value-laden questions. But that doesn’t mean the cost-benefit comparison isn’t important. Second, this question might depend greatly on the answers to the scientific questions above. In other words: All questions of public policy are ones that require both facts and values to answer. One cannot go directly from science to policy without asking the kinds of questions I’ve raised here.

7. If the costs outweigh the benefits, what sorts of policies are appropriate? There are many too many questions here to deal with in detail, but it should be noted that disagreements over what sorts of policies would best deal with the net costs of global warming are, again, matters of both fact and value, or science and social science.

8. What are the costs of the policies designed to reduce the costs of global warming? This question is not asked nearly enough. Even if we design policies on the blackboard that seem to mitigate the effects of global warming, we have to consider, first, whether those policies are even likely to be passed by politicians as we know them, and second, whether the policies might have associated costs that outweigh their benefits with respect to global warming. So if in our attempt to reduce the effects of global warming we slow economic growth so far as to impoverish more people, or we give powers to governments that are likely to be used in ways having little to do with global warming, we have to consider those results in the total costs and benefits of using policy to combat global warming. This is a question of social science that is no less important than the scientific questions I began with.

I could add more, but this is sufficient to make my key points. First, it is perfectly possible to accept the science of global warming but reject the policies most often put forward to combat it. One can think humans are causing the planet to warm but logically and humanely conclude that we should do nothing about it.

Second, people who take that position and back it up with good arguments should not be called “deniers.” They are not denying the science; they are questioning its implications. In fact, those who think they can go directly from science to policy are, as it turns out, engaged in denial – denial of the relevance of social science.


Another climatologist says global warming is bunk

The former Oregon State Climatologist says he's a denier when it comes to thinking humans can make a big impact on Global Warming. He also says he disputes many of the views of Al Gore and others who support the Global Warning theory.

George Taylor, who was the State Climatologist under Governor Kulongoski, said his opinion is that the biggest human effect on climate is land use.

Taylor spoke to the Douglas Timber Operators Thursday morning, and says the alarmists who claim the statistics show the earth is warming are using only the part of the data that supports their decision.

He says if you look at the bigger picture, the climate goes in cycles and there is virtually no trend at all. "When you start a trend on the snowiest year on record, and when we're en route through a dry period that was really a drought, but you know if you show the whole data set you don't see any trend."

Taylor says the data also shows that there is also no obvious trend in severe weather patterns increasing. "There's busy years, there are quiet years, is there any trend over time? Wow, if there is, I'm sure not seeing it," he said.

Taylor is a professor at Oregon State University and was the State Climatologist before a disagreement with Governor Kulongoski. He now owns his own consulting firm in Corvallis.


Why Doesn’t Greenpeace Demand a Congressional Probe of James Hansen’s Outside Income?

The Heartland Institute plans to pay Indur Goklany, an expert on climate economics and policy, a monthly stipend to write a chapter on those topics for the Institute’s forthcoming mega-report, Climate Change Reconsidered 2012. Earlier this week, Greenpeace and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) called for a congressional investigation of Goklany. In addition to being an independent scholar, Goklany is a Department of Interior employee. Federal employees may not receive outside income for teaching, writing, or speaking related to their “official duties.”

But as I pointed out yesterday on this site, climate economics and policy are (to the best of my knowledge) not part of Goklany’s “official duties.” It would be shocking if they were. Goklany is a leading debunker of climate alarm and opposes coercive decarbonization schemes. Why on earth would the Obama Interior Department assign someone like that to work on climate policy?

Greenpeace and Grijalva have got the wrong target in their sites. The inquisition they propose might actually have some merit if directed at one of their heroes: Dr. James Hansen of NASA. Hansen has received upwards of $1.6 million in outside income. And it’s not unreasonable to assume that most or all of that income was for teaching, writing, and speaking on matters “related to” his “official duties.”

My colleague Chris Horner laid out the juicy details last November in a column posted on Watts Up With That. In “Dr. James Hansen’s growing financial scandal, now over a million dollars of outside income,” Chris argued that Hansen gets substantial outside income for activities related to his official duties and does not always comply with federal financial disclosure regulations:
NASA records released to resolve litigation filed by the American Tradition Institute reveal that Dr. James E. Hansen, an astronomer, received approximately $1.6 million in outside, direct cash income in the past five years for work related to — and, according to his benefactors, often expressly for — his public service as a global warming activist within NASA.

This does not include six-figure income over that period in travel expenses to fly around the world to receive money from outside interests. As specifically detailed below, Hansen failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in global travel provided to him by outside parties — including to London, Paris, Rome, Oslo, Tokyo, the Austrian Alps, Bilbao, California, Australia and elsewhere, often business or first-class and also often paying for his wife as well — to receive honoraria to speak about the topic of his taxpayer-funded employment, or get cash awards for his activism and even for his past testimony and other work for NASA.

Ethics laws require that such payments or gifts be reported on an SF278 public financial disclosure form. As detailed, below, Hansen nonetheless regularly refused to report this income.

Also, he seems to have inappropriately taken between $10,000 and $26,000 for speeches unlawfully promoting him as a NASA employee.

There’s more in Chris’s post, but you get the drift.

Now, I wondered whether Hansen, an employee of NASA, an independent agency, is subject to the same outside compensation rules as Goklany, an employee of an Executive Agency. The answer is yes. NASA’s guidelines on “outside employment” state that ”Employees should refer generally to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 CFR Part 2635,” and must comply with Subpart H.

CFR Part 2365, Subpart H bars an employee from receiving compensation for speaking, teaching, or writing “that relates to the employee’s official duties.” Quite sensibly, though, the employee may receive compensation for speaking, teaching, or writing not related to his official duties:
Note: Section 2635.807(a)(2)(i)(E) does not preclude an employee, other than a covered noncareer employee, from receiving compensation for teaching, speaking or writing on a subject within the employee’s discipline or inherent area of expertise based on his educational background or experience even though the teaching, speaking or writing deals generally with a subject within the agency’s areas of responsibility.

This language seems to fit Goklany to a tee. The proposed chapter for Heartland on climate economics and policy is within Goklany’s discipline and area of expertise but it is not related to his official duties.

Can anyone with a straight face say the same about Hansen? How could Hansen’s teaching, speaking, and writing about climate change not be related to his official duties? How then could the outside income he has received for those activities not be unlawful?

Rep. Grijalva’s demand for a House Resources Committee “hearing” on Goklany is preposterous. A letter of inquiry would suffice even if there were evidence of improper conduct, which there is not.

My unsolicited advice to Committee Chair Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) is to politely reject Grijalva’s request but also to ask Grijalva, just for the record, whether he and Greenpeace think the Committee should investigate James Hansen’s million dollar-plus outside income.


Rio+20 Alert

The UN’s Rio+20 meeting will take place in June of this year, and already the propaganda machine is at work. The UN’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, has just issued its report on sustainability. A single line in the report establishes its intent: “Achieving sustainability requires us to transform the global economy.”

The word government(s) was repeated 193 times in the 99-page report.

While issues such as social justice and inequality are continuously mentioned in the report, energy is central to what the report requires governments to do. Two of the goals in the report are:

* Incorporating social and environmental costs in regulating and pricing of goods and services.

* Expanding how we measure progress in sustainable development by creating a sustainable development index.

Both of these goals are to allow governments to manipulate the free market economy by establishing costs and indexes relying on people’s opinions. GDP is no longer an appropriate measure. Both goals have their greatest effect on energy development and use.

For example, the report says, in two locations, “A tax on the most important energy-related greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, would be another economically efficient means of addressing externalities." The report says:

* “Integrating environmental and social issues into economic decisions is vital to success.” And

* “[It’s time] to bring the sustainable development paradigm into mainstream economics.” And for “a new political economy”

Incorporating the concept of externalities into cost structures has been the dream of environmentalists for decades.

Externalities are theoretical costs that aren’t included in a financially based, cost structure. CO2 emissions are one such fabricated cost, as is damage to the landscape from mining. But, one wonders whether eye-sores created by wind turbines will be included as an externality cost? Obviously, attempting to include externalities in a cost structure is speculative, largely based on opinions and prone to abuse.

Stopping CO2 emissions and preventing climate change is a major part of the sustainability report.

The old idea of resource scarcity is also a central part of the report … in spite of the fact that we have always found more resources, or developed alternatives when needed. The Malthusian doctrine is alive and well in the eyes of the United Nations, though now it is referred to as the framework of “planetary boundaries” designed to define a “safe operating space for humanity”.

The report seems to cast a very wide net in so far as to what issues are included in sustainability. They include:

Universal health care
Social assistance
Fighting corruption
Employment guarantees
Equal rights

The report also raises the old canard that increased extreme weather has caused increased financial losses, even mentioning Katrina. It’s well documented that increased financial losses are due, not to increased extreme weather events, but, rather, to growing populations, building in areas subject to threats, such as next to the ocean, and the increased cost of construction.

It also repeats the need for developed countries to contribute $100 billion annually to a development fund.

Prerequisites for sustainable growth are identified in the report as: “Democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and equality for women and men, as well as access to information, justice and political participation.”

But the UN report omits a key prerequisite for economic development: Property rights. Without property rights, people cannot benefit from their efforts. Why does the report omit Property Rights, an essential prerequisite for economic growth?

It’s interesting to look at the authors of the report. Out of 20 members of the UN Panel that prepared the report, only one was from the United States … and she was Susan Rice, a member of the current president’s cabinet. Seven of the 20 were at some time, environmental ministers or proponents of green growth.

Only one, James Laurence Balsillie, former Co-Chief Executive Officer of Research in Motion, had any connection to business.

The report says that a “new global sustainable development council” should be established under the UN General Assembly.” Its duties will include having the United States explain its Policies.
br />The United States has only one vote in the General Assembly, and is repeatedly outvoted there.

Rio+20 could result in actions that severely restrict the ability of the United States to develop and use its energy resources.

The 1992 Rio conference created the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a treaty that WAS ratified by the United States, and where the UN holds UNFCCC meetings every year at which the United States is consistently outvoted.

It’s not certain what will evolve from Rio+20.


British government's energy plans could cost UK billions if gas price falls, warns Policy Exchange

The Government's energy plans could cost the UK billions of pounds if a shale gas boom brings down the price of gas because current policy is predicated on high prices, a think tank has warned.

Policy Exchange argued that the government's "flawed strategy towards the electricity generation market" is "unnecessarily gambling with bill-payers' money".

"The view that future gas prices are likely to be high was a key driver of the government's Electricity Market Reform (EMR) proposals," it said. "No one can predict future gas prices but shale gas developments suggest prices may be lower than previously assumed."

The think tank argues that EMR directs money to technologies such as wind power in preference to gas, and that if the price of gas comes down the UK would therefore no longer have the gas-fired generation flexibility to fully benefit, potentially meaning it would lose out on billions of pounds.

It said: "The Department for Climate Change's own figures show that the costs of its electricity market plans will be £22bn higher if future gas prices are low, than if they are high."

The think tank did not estimate future gas prices and said shale gas potential was uncertain, but there was a real prospect of gas being cheaper than previously expected. In a new report, it urges the government "to recast EMR to allow the market to discover and invest in the cheapest emissions reductions, whether gas or other technologies".

The warning came as manufacturers' organisation EEF claimed that Government plans to double the Carbon Price Floor could push up industrial electricity prices by more than 6pc and cost the UK economy £300m.

The government had previously indicated the Carbon Price Support levied on fossil fuels used for power generation would increase from £4.94 per tonne of CO2 in 2013/14 to about £7.24 per tonne in 2014/15.

However, the manufacturers' organisation understands that the Government is planning to increase that to £10 per tonne in the Budget next month.

Steve Radley, EEF Director of Policy, said: "Yet another unilateral increase on this scale, coming at a time when the economy is still in recovery, would only serve to widen further the gap between electricity prices in the UK and those in our competitors in Europe.

"The more government policies push up the cost of operating in the UK, the harder it will be for manufacturers to invest, create jobs and compete in global markets."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


24 February, 2012

Is the Earth cooling itself? Cloud level has fallen by 1% a year over last decade

Amusing that Warmists say it might be a feedback that reduces a warming effect. They are postulating a lot of such feedbacks now that all their prophecies of warming have failed. Their whole theory, however, relies on feedbacks that INCREASE global warming. How odd that all the feedbacks seem to be going the other way!

Ever feel the sky is closing in on you - well, you're right, it is. Earth's clouds got a little lower by around one per cent a year on average during the first decade of this century. That's the finding by a new NASA-funded university study based on satellite data. The results have potential implications for future global climate.

Scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand analysed the first 10 years of global cloud-top height measurements (from March 2000 to February 2010) from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft.

The study, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, revealed an overall trend of decreasing cloud height. Global average cloud height declined by around one percent over the decade, or by around 100 to 130 feet.

Lead researcher Roger Davies said that while the record is too short to be definitive, it provides a hint that something quite important might be going on. Longer-term monitoring will be required to determine the significance of the observation for global temperatures.

A consistent reduction in cloud height would allow Earth to cool more efficiently, reducing the surface temperature of the planet and potentially slowing the effects of global warming.

This may represent a ‘negative feedback’ mechanism - a change caused by global warming that works to counteract it.

‘We don't know exactly what causes the cloud heights to lower,’ says Davies. ‘But it must be due to a change in the circulation patterns that give rise to cloud formation at high altitude.’

NASA's Terra spacecraft is scheduled to continue gathering data through the remainder of this decade. Scientists will continue to monitor the MISR data closely to see if this trend continues.


'Most Dangerous Man' reveals 'Greatest Hoax'

Just who is pulling the strings and who is pocketing the cash? Jim Inhofe tells

The fight against climate-change alarmism is just one part of Sen. James Inhofe’s lifelong struggle for liberty. But what a fight there is over dire predictions of global calamities because people drive SUVs and are allowed unharnessed access to home heating and the like.

Now the Oklahoma Republican, in his new book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” reveals the ever-shifting rationalizations, fabricated evidence and corrupt profiteering of so-called climate change activists.

Inhofe confides that the battle is just the latest chapter of a saga that began when he first ran for office in Oklahoma against anti-business policies that were destroying the lives of hardworking Americans.

His “mentor,” he documents, a small oilman in Oklahoma, was broken by his own government and abandoned his livelihood in despair. Inhofe ran for office in order to change an environment where productive Americans are seemingly warred upon by those in power.

However, in Washington, he discovered that it was even worse. Many congressmen and senators were conspiring against their own constituents with the slogan “vote liberal and press release conservative.” “Never once did I hear vote conservative and press release liberal,” he says.

Even more shocking, the Speaker of the House from Texas, Democrat John Nance Garter, deliberately set up a system to allow liberal representatives in conservative districts to secretly vote for left-wing legislation and then deny it. Anyone who exposed liberals taking advantage of this system was threatened with expulsion from the House.

But Inhofe defied this left-wing intimidation and won his first victory in holding those in power accountable to the people by destroying this system. He fundamentally reshaped how the House does business and forced congressmen to answer to the people who elected them.

When climate change alarmism arose, he saw the stakes were higher.

Inhofe realized early on that the hysteria about “global warming” was not about the environment, but about power. Regulating carbon emissions and imposing draconian standards on businesses and personal behavior gives the federal government and global elites almost unlimited power.

In the words of MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen, “Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat’s dream. If you control carbon, you control life.”

For that reason, Inhofe, almost single-handedly, spoke out against the push by the United Nations and left-wing extremists for a regulatory regime that would have almost unlimited power to radically change the American way of life.

In 2003, he labeled global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

The response from those who may have had their hands out, expecting to benefit from global warming, was to greet him at a United Nations conference with “Wanted” posters calling him, “The most dangerous man on the planet.”

The driving force internationally was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which claimed a “consensus” on global warming.

But Inhofe systematically dismantles the scientifically flawed and deliberately deceptive studies that the IPCC used to push its plan. From dismissing global cooling between 1940 to 1975, burying admissions that even the IPCC couldn’t link climate change to man-made activity, and inserting incendiary language demanding action, the IPCC was a political, rather than a scientific, body from the beginning, he explains.

Providing the publicity for the so-called “science” was a team of elites and Hollywood celebrities, he writes.

Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” featured the so-called “hockey stick” graph showing a dramatic surge in global temperature in recent years. Gore was hailed by the likes of Howard Fineman, Katie Couric and Oprah Winfrey, as a “climate prophet,” a “secular saint” and the “Noah” of our time.

Left out of such praise was the fact that Gore stood to benefit personally from environmental policies that would push funds to the businesses in which his money was invested, the book reveals.

Meanwhile, celebrity activists such as Laurie David, Will Ferrell and Leonardo DiCaprio tried to brainwash children with propaganda telling them that Earth would become like Venus and inhabitable. This was coupled with a campaign to silence and destroy the careers of climate skeptics by boycotting publications that published their work.

All of this collapsed following the “Climategate” revelations of 2009, which are republished in this book. From so-called scientists trying to “hide the decline” of global temperatures, praising “tricks” to reach conclusions determined in advance, and trying to “balance the needs of the science and the IPCC, which were not always the same,” Climategate showed left-wing activists masquerading as experts.

Incredibly, even though the IPCC, Al Gore, and their “hockey sticks” all have been utterly discredited, the push for global regulation continues under different names. Democrats, occasionally joined by Republicans such as Lindsey Graham, continue to push cap-and-trade legislation.

Dire warnings about the end of human existence have been replaced with arguments about “green jobs” supposedly needed to help the economy.

Frank admissions that the price of energy needs to be raised and Americans need to radically change their way of life have been transformed into claims that cap-and-trade really is about, as John Kerry said, “the creation of jobs and the security of the country.”

Barack Obama even has tried to reframe the debate as “our generation’s Sputnik moment.”

But Inhofe provides an insider’s view of the shifting alliances and collapsing rationalizations of the regulators as they scramble to impose the ruinous regime on the American economy. Like the Walking Dead, cap-and-trade and the attempt to set up a global regulatory apparatus continue to march on, even though the arguments have been discredited, he writes.

As Inhofe reveals, the arguments may change but the rationale is always the same. It is about global control over the United States, government control over business, and ultimately, state power over how people live their lives. From the zoning struggles in Tulsa, Okla., to fraud at the United Nations, Inhofe reveals what is really at stake and how alarmists operate.

Beyond just environmental policy, Inhofe’s personal testament, a global warming exposé and dire warning for the future of liberty, is something that no friend of freedom can afford to ignore.


Electric cars die without careful attention

DON'T leave your electric car parked for too long - by the time you get back it could have turned into a $200,000 brick.

Electric car maker Tesla is defending claims its cars become immobilised if the battery ever becomes completely discharged. This results in a battery replacement cost of about one-fifth the car's $206,000 sticker price.

Tesla owners in the US who have parked their vehicles with low battery power remaining - for as little as a week - have found their cars had become "bricks" that could not be re-charged.

Tesla Australia national sales and marketing manager Jay McCormack said the battery maintenance was explained as part of the company's customer handover and the car emitted a number of warnings about requiring recharging.

"We explain through our customer ownership experience the recommendations for maintaining the battery," he said.

"Like all cars, they require some level of care - for us, electric vehicles should be plugged in and charging when not in use, that's for maximum performance and all batteries are subject damage when at low levels for a long period of time, anything longer than a week for a charge to be kept at zero."

Nissan's Leaf electric vehicle has a clause within its US warranty that details what is not covered - damage or failures resulting from "leaving your vehicle for over 14 days where the lithium-ion battery reaches a zero or near-zero state of charge."

In the US Tesla has countered that "all automobiles require some level of owner care."

The all-electric car company also said its cars had low-charge (below five per cent) warnings but that electric vehicles should be plugged in and charging when not in use for maximum performance. "Tesla batteries can remain unplugged for weeks (even months), without reaching zero state of charge," the company said in a statement.


Lent for climate change?

Peter Kurti comments from Australia

The season of Lent began this week. Some Christians will mark the six-week period of preparation for Easter with prayer and fasting. Others will take this opportunity to renew their commitment to what they consider important moral causes.

One moral cause spruiked this year has been the call by leaders of Christian churches in the United Kingdom for repentance and a ‘change of direction’ to fight the dangers of climate change.

The campaign has been organised by the Christian environmental lobby group Operation Noah, which was founded in 2001 to promote ‘the urgent need to address climate change.’

The group recently launched a declaration called ‘Climate Change and the purposes of God – a call to the Church.’ Predictably, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is one of the signatories.

Operation Noah’s convenor, Anglican bishop David Atkinson, has even gone so far as to describe climate change as ‘the most significant moral question facing us today.’

Australians absorbed by the implosion of the federal government will remember a similarly extravagant claim made by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who said climate change was ‘the greatest moral challenge of our time.’

Rudd blinked when the political cost of attempting to meet that ‘moral challenge’ became apparent. It eventually cost him his job.

Now Bishop Atkinson has out-Rudded Rudd by declaring that the theory of man-made carbon dioxide-induced climate change ‘is not mostly about science. It is about something deeper – how we see ourselves in relation to God, to others, to the whole of creation.’

He may well be right. But by moving the terms of the debate from the realm of science to the apparently higher ground of moral theology, Atkinson has displayed a disordered sense of priority.

Those looking for great and greater moral challenges in the contemporary world don’t need to look too hard. The Syrian government is slaughtering dissidents and foreign journalists. Iranians are threatening to immolate the ‘Zionist entity’ in the Middle East. And criminally corrupt governments in Africa are starving their people.

Faced with moral challenges such as these, Atkinson’s claim may be audacious. But, then again, it might just be plain ludicrous.


USGS releases report on Fukushima fallout

Fallout from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan was detected in minimal amounts in precipitation in the United States, a study released Wednesday said.

The study by the U.S. Geological Survey found levels similar to those measured made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the days and weeks immediately following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, and determined to be well below any level of public health concern, a USGS release said.

The study was conducted as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, with many NADP sites located away from major urban areas so that they are more representative of the U.S. landscape as a whole, the USGS said.

"Japan's unfortunate nuclear nightmare provides a rare opportunity for U.S. scientists to test an infrequently needed national capability for detecting and monitoring nuclear fallout over a wide network," USGS Director Marcia McNutt said. "Had this been a national incident, NADP would have revealed the spatial and temporal patterns of radioactive contamination in order to help protect people and the environment."

Precipitation was collected at monitoring sites within the extensive NADP network and USGS scientists detected Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137, the primary radioactive products released during an incident such as the Fukushima incident, but at levels far below any threat to human health, officials said.

This is the second time samples from the NADP network have been used to measure radioactive fallout, the USGS said. The first time was after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.


BOOK REVIEW: The Climate Caper by Garth W Paltridge, Published by Connor Court, Australia, 2009

Below is part of a very large and informative review. Reading the whole thing definitely recommended

The Climate Caper is a “must read” for the insights it provides into the way the prospect of mild global warming has been beaten up to become “the greatest moral challenge of our times” by a recent Prime Minister of Australia. It provides some extra dots to add to the pattern explained by John Grover’s book The Struggle for Power on the worldwide political campaign against the peaceful use of nuclear power.

Grover’s book could have been called “the anti-nuclear caper”. It describes the worldwide campaign by a network of radical leftwing groups, operating initially under cover of the peace movement and then in the environmental movement. Their greatest institutional achievement came under administration of President Carter when representatives of the movement occupied many senior positions and embarked on the program of massive regulation which now prejudices the economic recovery of the US. In Australia the movement delayed the mining of uranium and prohibits the lucrative industry of storing the nuclear waste of the world and also the prospect of nuclear power.

There is a very major difference between the two campaigns and Paltridge’s book is especially helpful on that topic (though he does not refer to the previous caper at all). The anti-nuclear caper drew no support from reputable scientists, unless you count a handful of outright cranks and some ideologues from non-relevant disciplines. The incredible triumph of that no-growth campaign was to marginalise the entire scientific community. This time around the scientific community is on board and the scientists on the more realistic side of the debate have been marginalised. Paltridge provides a great start on answering the $64K question “how did this happen?”

The book has many striking features, starting with the qualifications of the author.

Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge is an atmospheric physicist and was a Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research before taking up positions in Tasmania as Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies and CEO of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre. He retired in 2002 and remains an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania, a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

He provides historical perspective because he was involved in climate science from the beginning of interest in warming, up to and beyond the point where it became inflated and politicised.

He was close to the epicentre of the explosion in the IPCC and he explains how the scientific committees of that body became subservient to the political committee.

On the science of warming he provides a luminously clear explanation of the problems with the models that provide the core of the case for drastic action.

In the Australian policy-making process he was very close to the action when the chief advisor to the Government encouraged a committee from the Academy of Science to water down some potentially damning criticisms of the model he was using as the basis of the proposals that have been taken up by the Administration.

He understands enough of the sociology of science to understand the significance of the rise of Big Science, almost entirely government-funded, and the parallel proliferation of Kuhnian “normal scientists”.

In the same way that John Stone can document the decline of professionalism and quality in the Commonwealth public service because he was there as it happened, Paltridge saw the decline of independence and the spirit of criticism in the scientific community during his career (much due to the same influences described by Stone).

All of this adds up to a compelling case to stop the rush to drastic action to address a so-called problem, namely the prospect of a degree or two of warming over the next century, which will have positives as well as negatives (if it makes any noticeable difference at all).

As a bonus the book is short and very clearly written with a light and humorous touch.

Much more HERE


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


23 February, 2012

Dammed if you do and dammed if you don't‏

Renewables, Natural Gas Won’t Halt Warming until End-Century -- Says Stanford

A dramatic switch away from coal-fired power to lower-car­bon-emitting technologies such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and natural gas “may not yield a reduction in global warming until the latter part of this century,” according to a new study by Stanford University researchers.

What’s more, “technologies that offer only modest re­ductions in greenhouse gases, such as the use of natural gas and perhaps carbon capture and storage, cannot substantially reduce climate risk in the next 100 years,” according to an Institute of Physics summary of the study.

Ironically, “the rapid deployment of low-greenhouse-gas-emitting technologies (LGEs) will initially increase emissions as they will require a large amount of energy to construct and install,” according to the study summary.

“These cumulative emissions will remain in the atmo­sphere for extended periods due to the long lifetime of CO2 (carbon dioxide), meaning that global mean surface tempera­tures will increase to a level greater than if we continued to use conventional coal-fired plants.

“Delaying the rollout of the technologies is not an op­tion however; the risks of environmental harm will be much greater in the second half of the century and beyond if we continue to rely on coal-based technologies,” according to the study.

The Stanford researchers, joined by researchers at In­tellectual Ventures, “arrived at their conclusions through a set of simple mathematical models that calculated the ef­fect of switching energy technologies on the concentration of greenhouse gases, radiative forcing (the balance between absorbed and radiated energy from the sun) and global mean temperature.

“Coal-based power plants were used as the basis for comparison because they generate the most greenhouse gases per unit of electricity produced,” and so “replacing plants of this kind will have the greatest benefits on the climate,” ac­cording to the summary.

“These power plants were compared to wind power, nu­clear power, hydroelectric power, carbon capture and stor­age, and natural gas. Solar photovoltaics (harnessing the sun for electricity) and solar thermal (harnessing the sun for heat) were also compared.

“Achieving substantial reductions in temperatures rela­tive to the coal-based system will take the better part of a century, and will depend on rapid and massive deployment of some mix of conservation, wind, solar, and nuclear, and pos­sibly carbon capture and storage,” the researchers conclude.


Fakegate Illustrates Global Warming Alarmists' Deceit and Desperation

"People with sound science on their side do not need to forge documents to validate their arguments or make the other side look bad"

James Taylor

There never was a “leaker” in the shameful Fakegate scandal. In the end, there was only a forger, a fraudster and a thief. Alarmist scientist Peter Gleick has admitted that the latter two were one and the same person – himself. I suspect we will soon learn the identity of the forger, as well.

With the weight of damning evidence closing in on him, Gleick has admitted in his Huffington Post blog that he was the alleged “Heartland Insider” who committed fraud and identity theft, lying and stealing his way into possession of Heartland Institute internal personnel documents and then sending those private documents to global warming activist groups and left-leaning media. Gleick sent to the press an additional document, a fake “2012 Climate Strategy,” that he claims he did not write.

In short, Gleick set up an email account designed to mimic the email account of a Heartland Institute board member. Gleick then sent an email from that account to a Heartland Institute staffer, in which Gleick explicitly claimed to be the Heartland Institute board member. Gleick asked the staffer to email him internal documents relating to a recent board meeting. Soon thereafter, Gleick, while claiming to be a “Heartland Insider,” sent those Heartland Institute documents plus the forged “2012 Climate Strategy” document to sympathetic media and global warming activists.

While the legitimate Heartland Institute documents revealed personal, confidential and private information about Heartland Institute personnel, donors and programs, there was nothing scandalous in the documents. The documents merely showed the inner workings of an influential public policy organization operating on a budget that was quite small compared to environmental activist groups such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense. Indeed, the internal documents refuted the false, yet often repeated assertions that the Heartland Institute’s powerful climate realism message is largely funded by Big Oil, Big Coal or Big Whatever.

The only thing that would seem to undermine the Heartland Institute’s credibility was the wording of the fake “2012 Climate Strategy” document. Computer forensics experts quickly discovered the climate strategy document was created by a different computer program and at a different time than the legitimate documents. The climate strategy document was also written in much different language, style, format and font than the legitimate documents. And long before Gleick confessed to being the fraudster and thief at the heart of the stolen documents, analysts noted a striking similarity between the language and style of the forged document and the language and style of Gleick’s public writings.

The real story in this Fakegate scandal is how the global warming movement is desperate, delusional and collapsing as global warming fails to live up to alarmist predictions. People with sound science on their side do not need to forge documents to validate their arguments or make the other side look bad. Also, people who are so desperate as to forge documents in an attempt to frame their rivals are clearly not above forging scientific data, studies and facts to similarly further their cause.

It is both striking and telling how global warming activists have failed to condemn the acts of forgery in the Fakegate scandal. For global warming activists, the ends justify the means – any means necessary to sell their alarmist message, even if they must sink to forgery and fakery.

It is also worth noting that Gleick repeatedly claims in his confession that his misconduct was motivated by a desire to create a rational public debate on global warming and that he was trying to fight back against the people he claims are seeking to prevent such a debate. Yet in January 2012 the Heartland Institute cordially invited Gleick to publicly debate me at our 2012 annual benefit dinner. All Gleick would had to have done is defeat me in that debate and he could have accomplished his twin goals of promoting public debate and embarrassing the Heartland Institute. Yet Gleick declined to participate in such a fair and open debate, and then on the very next day committed his acts of fraud and theft against the Heartland Institute.

Beyond our invitation to Gleick, the Heartland Institute has cordially invited dozens of scientists who believe humans are creating a global warming crisis to give presentations and to debate skeptics at our annual global warming conferences. Only one such scientist has ever accepted our offer.

If Gleick is indeed concerned about people preventing a public debate on global warming, he perhaps should have targeted his global warming activist colleagues rather than the Heartland Institute.


The High Priests of Eco-Destruction

Michelle Malkin

Rick Santorum is right. Pushing back against Democrats' attempts to frame him as a religious menace, the GOP presidential candidate forcefully turned the tables on the White House: "When it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones."

Scrutiny of the White House anti-science brigade couldn't come at a better time (which is why Santorum's detractors prefer to froth at the mouth about comments he made four years ago on the existence of Satan). It's not just big-ticket scandals like the stimulus-subsidized Solyndra bankruptcy or the Keystone pipeline debacle bedeviling America. In every corner of the Obama administration, the radical green machinery is hard at work -- destroying jobs, shredding truth and sacrificing our economic well-being at the altar of environmentalism.

--Take Obama's head of the National Park Service, please. While serving as the Pacific West regional director of the NPS, Jon Jarvis was accused of at least 21 instances of scientific misconduct by Dr. Corey Goodman, a high-ranking member of the National Academy of Sciences. Extensive information about Jarvis' alleged role in cooking data about a California oyster farm's impact on harbor seals at Point Reyes was withheld during the 2009 nomination process. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has ignored complaints and follow-up from both Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sens. James Inhofe and David Vitter.

The National Research Council determined that the NPS had "selectively" slanted its report on the oyster farm. The federal Marine Mammal Commission found that "the data and analyses are not sufficient to demonstrate a causal relationship" between the farm's operations and harbor seal health. In a letter blasting the NPS for bullying the small oyster farm, Feinstein -- normally a reliable eco-ally -- concluded earlier this month that the "crux of the problem is that the Park Service manipulated science while building a case that the business should be shuttered."

Given Salazar's own role in manipulating science while building his case for the White House offshore drilling moratorium -- actions for which several federal judges spanked Salazar in the past two years -- it's no wonder he's looking the other way. Remember: Two years ago, Salazar and former Obama eco-czar Carol Browner falsely rewrote the White House drilling ban report to wholly manipulate the Obama-appointed panel's own overwhelming scientific objections to the job-killing edict. Despite repeated judicial slaps for their "determined disregard" for the law, the Obama administration continues to suppress documents related to that junk science scandal. Last month, House Republicans threatened to subpoena the Interior Department for information. Call it a greenwash.

--Water wars and the Delta smelt. The infamous, endangered three-inch fish and its environmental protectors continue to jeopardize the water supply of more than 25 million Californians. Federal restrictions have cut off some 81 billion gallons of water to farmers and consumers in Central and Southern California. Previous courts have ruled that the federal biological opinions used to justify the water cutoff were invalid and illegal. Last September, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California admonished two federal scientists for acting in "bad faith." The judge's blistering rebuke of the Obama administration scientists concluded that their slanted testimony about the delta smelt was "an attempt to mislead and to deceive the Court into accepting what is not only not the best science, it's not science."

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, who represents the hard-hit San Joaquin Valley area, noted that Salazar recently "doubled down on the illegal policies of the Department of Interior and attacked critics as narrow minded and politically motivated. Ironically, these were the same basic criticisms levied against his department by the federal court."

While Salazar manufactures a new biological opinion on the matter to get the courts off his back, unemployment and drought plague the Central Valley. And the White House stands by its "scientists."

--Dams in distress. In Siskiyou County, Ore., local officials and residents announced last week that it intends to sue Salazar and Team Obama over their potential removal of dams on the Klamath River. Once again, the administration's systematic disregard for sound science and the rule of law is in the spotlight.

Salazar is expected to make a decision by the end of March on environmentalists' demands that four private hydroelectric dams be demolished to protect salmon habitats and "create" demolition and habitat restoration jobs. Opponents say Salazar has already predetermined the outcome. Green activists blithely ignore the massive taxpayer costs (an estimated half-billion dollars) and downplay the environmental destruction the dam removals would impose. GOP Rep. Tom McClintock put it most charitably: "To tear down four perfectly good hydroelectric dams at enormous cost is insane."

People of faith aren't what's bedeviling America. Blame the high voodoo priests of eco-destruction in Washington who have imposed a green theocracy on us all. Science be damned.


Aren't High Gas Prices What Democrats Want?

David Harsanyi

Gas prices are spiking. That's great news, right? We have to wean ourselves off the stuff. At least that's what we've been hearing for years. Oil is dirty. We import it from nations that hate our guts (like Canada!). And moreover, we're running out. Oil is "finite." Finite much in the way water is finite.

So why aren't Democrats making the case that the spike in prices is a good thing? Isn't this basically our energy policy these days? How we "win the future"? If high energy prices were to damage President Barack Obama's re-election prospects, it would be ironic, considering the left has been telling us to set aside our "dependency" -- or, as our most recent Republican president put it, "addiction" -- for a long time.

If Democrats had their way, after all, we would be enjoying the economic results of cap-and-trade policy these days -- a program designed to increase the cost of energy by creating false demand in a fabricated market. As the theory goes, if you inflate the price of fossil fuels, the barbarians might finally start putting thought into how peat moss might be able to power a toaster.

In 2008, Steven Chu, Obama's (and, sadly, our own) future secretary of energy (sic) lamented, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." The president, when asked whether he thought $4-a-gallon gas prices were good for the American economy, said, "I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment."

How gradual? Like, what, four years? Or is it eight?

Part of "figuring it out" surely had something to do with the recent decision by Obama to nix the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline project that would have pumped 700,000 barrels of oil per day into the United States. More oil just means more excessive, immoral, ugly energy use.

Well, get used to it. You can't take three steps without stepping over some potential 10-billion barrel reserve of dead organisms.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, there is enough natural gas in the U.S. to meet electricity demand for 575 years at current fuel demand, enough to fuel homes heated by natural gas for 857 years and more gas in the U.S. than there is in Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and some place called Turkmenistan combined. Oil? The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's top oil producer. There are tens of billions of easily accessible barrels of offshore oil here at home -- and much more oil around the world.

Yes, gas prices have spiked an average of 14 cents a gallon in the past month and about 30 cents a gallon since last November, according to AAA. Oil prices jumped to a nine-month high -- more than $105 a barrel -- after the Iranians shut down their own energy exports to Britain and France so they could start a much-needed nuclear program, which is, no doubt, for wholly peaceful purposes.

Given the fundability of commodities and the track record of civilization in the Middle East, we'll likely always have to deal with occasionally painful fluctuations in the price of energy, regardless of what we do at home -- drilling and new pipelines included. Still, fluctuations have a lot better track record than price controls.

Subsidizing quixotic green companies or creating carbon credits won't stop the rules of basic economics. If the gas crunch starts hitting the economy, it's doubtless that we will get an earful of populist hand-wringing and that we'll hear the administration once again blame wealthy speculators and nasty oil companies.

Yet in the end, high gas prices are part of the plan. This is what the administration wants.


British Public to get new rights to block 'eyesore' windfarm plans

A subtle way of stopping most of them. A classic British "fudge", backing down without appearing to back down

Resident's will win new powers to block the eyesore of onshore windfarms in an overhaul of planning laws, David Cameron announced last night.

The Prime Minister said the Government would act to ensure that only those windfarms which win local approval are given the go-ahead.

He hinted that the Coalition is preparing to beef up its National Planning Policy Strategy – due to be published next month – in order to let those living nearby have power of veto over the location of the turbines, which are widely regarded as unsightly.

Mr Cameron insisted that some onshore wind energy will form part of the mix of energy supply in future but, he added, ‘if, and only if, local people have a proper say in planning decisions’.

The Prime Minister made the declaration in a letter to 101 Tory MPs who called for the Government to ditch generous subsidies to build windfarms.

His intervention is a hint that the Government is looking favourably at a series of amendments to the planning strategy that were tabled by Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris. He wrote to Downing Street calling for a cut in the subsidy for windfarms and a rethink on planning laws.

Mr Cameron responded: ‘Planning works best when communities themselves have the opportunity to influence the decisions that make a difference in their lives.

That must include local communities having their full say on onshore wind farm planning decisions.

Our planning reforms will put local communities in the driving seat by giving new powers to neighbourhoods to write their own plans. ‘Top-down regional targets will not trump local concerns and aspirations of local residents when local plans are made.’

The Prime Minister also said local communities would collectively win financial benefits from new wind turbines. At present only landowners see a profit. ‘We are committed to ensuring local communities capture the full economic benefit from hosting renewable energy projects, including retention of all the business rates they pay,’ he added.

At least 4,500 more turbines are expected to be constructed as the Government attempts to meet legally binding targets for cutting carbon emissions.

Critics say wind farms are inefficient because the wind cannot be guaranteed to blow when there is the greatest need for energy.

Equally, several wind farm operators were paid to actually shut down last year when it was too windy – because they produced more energy than the National Grid could handle.

The Prime Minister did not back down entirely. He refused to budge on the MPs’ concern that the Government should slash the subsidy for windfarms by more than the 10 per cent already announced. The subsidy is blamed for driving up energy bills.

He said: ‘Onshore wind plays a role in a balanced UK electricity mix, alongside gas, nuclear, cleaner coal and other forms of renewable energy.

‘A portfolio of different supplies enhances energy security and prevents the UK from becoming over-reliant on gas imports.’
He also said the Government should promote green jobs.

Mr Heaton-Harris said he would lead a delegation to Downing Street to discuss the issue further. He told the Daily Mail: ‘I’m hopeful given what he says about planning and how that is being addressed. This is the opening of a conversation.’

Bernard Jenkin, MP for Harwich and North Essex, said: ‘I’m quite encouraged by this. I’ve got one of these windfarms in my constituency. 'Everyone objected locally but it was imposed by a government official anyway.

'Apart from the farmer whose land it is on, no one sees any benefit from it at all. Everyone else suffers because their houses fall in value.’


No good deed goes unpunished: The high cost of solar

Residents of Hawaii were dismayed to see this recent front-page headline: “Hawaii Solar Savings Spark Higher Electric Bills.”

Since so many consumers have sought electrical savings from installing solar panels, the state-monopoly electric utility is losing revenue and now needs to make it up in higher rates.

At least Hawaii’s perennially sunny weather will likely mean that the return on investing in solar panels will still pay off for residents, as they mostly only need to buy electricity at night.

The calculus is far different in the cold and dark northern climes of Germany. A recent article in Der Spiegel, “Solar Subsidy Sinkhole: Re-Evaluating Germany’s Blind Faith in the Sun,” points out that the German government has invested more than €100 billion ($132 billion) in solar subsidies over the past 11 years, yet,
For weeks now, the 1.1 million solar power systems in Germany have generated almost no electricity. The days are short, the weather is bad and the sky is overcast.

German citizens get dinged a “green energy surcharge”—an additional €200 ($265) a year for the average family—over and above the cost of their actual electricity use, for which they already pay the second-highest rates in all of Europe. Because German policy is so solar-dependent, when the sun doesn’t shine (a/k/a “winter”), Germany has to import its power from nuclear-power generators in France and the Czech Republic, and even resorted to powering-up an old oil-fired plant in Austria. Not exactly “green.”

As Der Spiegel concludes: "Solar energy has the potential to become the most expensive mistake in German environmental policy."

Not surprisingly, the decision to pursue this policy was based on calculations assuming “conditions that hardly ever exist outside a laboratory.”

A not-unusual situation when it comes to projections for proposed government “investments.”

Ignoring such experience, and apparently neither learning from the fed’s big losses in “renewable” energy, New York State passed the “Power New York Act of 2011,” calling for increased reliance on solar energy. As most of us are aware, New York also habitually suffers from “winter”. Also bad and overcast weather. Yet the cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the very legislators who set these solar energy goals concluded that solar energy is a great option for New York State.

This despite the study’s actual findings. As distilled by the New York Times:
The financial scenarios vary widely. It could cost New York State ratepayers anywhere from $300 million to $9 billion to install solar power between 2013 and 2049. The report said that under the most likely conditions, the cost would be about $3 billion and the installations would increase electric bills by up to 3 percent in any given year. In other words, the costs exceed the benefits.

Needless to say, cost-benefit calculations and investments in solar can and should be made only at the individual level, divorced from subsidies, “rebates,” and other schemes passing costs along to others. Solar can certainly make good economic sense, especially for those of us in sunny locations. If combined with the repeal of state utility monopolies, solar holds even more promise, with the benefits of competition and innovation, such as customers being able to connect to two-way grids allowing them to sell excess energy generated back to their utility provider.

Indeed, if one thinks only of the incredible innovations in telecommunications since the repeal of Ma Bell’s government-protected monopoly, the possibilities may be virtually endless.

But if continued along the line of current centrally-planned “renewable energy” schemes, no one should be surprised to see shortages and higher costs in yet another realm of government’s expanded heavy hand.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


22 February, 2012

AGU has a bet each way on the Russian heatwave of 2010

It was within the range of natural variation but still caused by global warming, apparently. I guess it is a sign of the times that they admit to ANY natural causation. The CO2 "contribution" was detectable only in their "models", of course, models that have never been shown to model anything real

The heat wave that struck western Russia in summer 2010, killing 55,000 people, broke July temperatures records and caused $15 billion in damage. Searching for a culprit for the soaring temperatures, research teams have identified either natural or manmade causes. But a new study concludes the devastating heat wave had both. Soaring temperatures were within the natural range for a Russian summer, the researchers found, but due to human-induced climate change, the chance of such an extreme heat wave has tripled over the past several decades.

“Natural variability could lead to such a heat wave,” said Friederike Otto of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University, lead author of the paper. “However due to the global warming trend, the frequency of occurrence of such a heat wave has increased.”

Otto and her colleagues used a climate model that was able to run thousands of simulations. The model was part of the project, which uses volunteers’ idle computers in order to increase the computing power and answer complex questions – like the role of climate change in a particular extreme event.

The researchers ran two sets of simulations. One set looked at heat waves that would be expected using 1960s climate conditions including temperature, sea ice thickness and extent, and greenhouse gas forcing. The second set examined heat waves under those conditions for the 2000s. Under the earlier set of conditions, the simulated July temperatures for western Russia did reach the recent heat wave’s actual maximum, which topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and had a comparable pattern of daily above-average temperatures that peaked at about 12 degrees Celsius (22 degrees Fahrenheit) beyond the mean. So the magnitude of the heat wave could be due to natural factors, the researchers concluded.

However when the researchers ran their computer simulations, 2010 temperatures were only reached every 99 years or so under the pre-global warming conditions. Under the current, warmer, climate of the 2000s, those extreme temperatures popped up in the model every 33 years – a three-fold increase over just four decades.

'These results show that the same weather event can be both "mostly natural" in terms of magnitude and "mostly human-induced" in terms of probability,' explained Neil Massey of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University, who was also an author of the study. 'Thinking in these terms makes it possible to calculate, for instance, how much human-induced climate change cost the Russian economy in the summer of 2010.'

The research will be published in an upcoming Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

This new way of approaching the problem reconciles apparently contradictory results from two separate 2011 studies, Otto said. In the first of those studies, by Randall Dole of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) in Boulder, Colo, and his colleagues, researchers focused on why the heat wave was as large as it was – coming up with a natural explanation. The second, by Stefan Rahmstorf and Dim Coumou with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany, asked the question of how frequently such heat waves will occur, finding a manmade acceleration.

The new study stresses the need to examine both the magnitude and frequency of extreme events, Otto said. “It’s necessary to analyse both, to really judge the role of global warming,” she said.

And the results will vary with respect to the event. In a separate study, when the researchers looked at flood risk in the United Kingdom, they found that the risk for fall floods increased under warmer climate conditions, but decreased for spring floods.

Given the cost of extreme weather events, determining how the risks are changing allows scientists to better quantify the events and possibly to help build resilience in society’s responses to them, said Myles Allen, a professor in the School of Geography and Environment, Oxford University, co-author of the GRL paper and the principal investigator of the and projects.

“People deserve to know how much climate change is affecting them,” Allen said, “and we have the methods to answer the question: How is human influence loading the weather dice?”


Warmist Megan McArdle comments on the Gleick/Heartland affair

Among other things, she gently accuses him of forging the most notorious of the documents, something he has not so far admitted

This is . . . just . . . words fail me . . . I mean, seriously . . . um . . . well, what the hey?!?!

The very, very best thing that one can say about this is that this would be an absolutely astonishing lapse of judgement for someone in their mid-twenties, and is truly flabbergasting coming from a research institute head in his mid-fifties. Let's walk through the thought process:

You receive an anonymous memo in the mail purporting to be the secret climate strategy of the Heartland Institute. It is not printed on Heartland Institute letterhead, has no information identifying the supposed author or audience, contains weird locutions more typical of Heartland's opponents than of climate skeptics, and appears to have been written in a somewhat slapdash fashion. Do you:

A. Throw it in the trash

B. Reach out to like-minded friends to see how you might go about confirming its provenance

C. Tell no one, but risk a wire-fraud conviction, the destruction of your career, and a serious PR blow to your movement by impersonating a Heartland board member in order to obtain confidential documents.

As a journalist, I am in fact the semi-frequent recipient of documents promising amazing scoops, and depending on the circumstances, my answer is always "A" or "B", never "C".

It's a gross violation of journalistic ethics, though perhaps Gleick would argue that he's not a journalist--and in truth, it's hard to feel too sorry for Heartland, given how gleefully they embraced the ClimateGate leaks. So leave ethics aside: wasn't he worried that impersonating board members in order to obtain confidential material might be, I don't know, illegal? Forget about the morality of it: the risk is all out of proportion to the possible reward.

Some of the climate bloggers are praising Gleick for coming forward, and complaining that this is distracting from the real story. And I agree that it's a pity that this is distracting from the important question about how fast the climate is warming, and what we should do about it.

But that is not the fault of Heartland, or the people who are writing about it. When a respected public figure says that a couple of intriguing pieces of paper mailed to him by a stranger somehow induced him to assume someone else's identity and flirt with wire fraud . . . well, that's a little distracting.

Gleick has done enormous damage to his cause and his own reputation, and it's no good to say that people shouldn't be focusing on it. If his judgement is this bad, how is his judgement on matters of science? For that matter, what about the judgement of all the others in the movement who apparently see nothing worth dwelling on in his actions?

When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths--including lying--to advance their worldview, I'd say one of the movement's top priorities should be not proving them right. And if one rogue member of the community does something crazy that provides such proof, I'd say it is crucial that the other members of the community say "Oh, how horrible, this is so far beyond the pale that I cannot imagine how this ever could have happened!" and not, "Well, he's apologized and I really think it's pretty crude and opportunistic to make a fuss about something that's so unimportant in the grand scheme of things."

After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you've lost the power to convince them of anything else.

The other thing one must note is that his story is a little puzzling. We know two things about the memo:

1. It must have been written by someone who had access to the information in the leaked documents, because it uses precise figures and frequent paraphrases.

2. It was probably not written by anyone who had intimate familiarity with Heartland's operations, because it made clear errors about the Koch donations--the amount, and the implied purpose. It also hashed the figures for a sizable program, and may have made other errors that I haven't identified.

Did someone else gain access to the documents, write up a fake memo, and then snail mail that memo to Dr. Gleick? Why didn't they just send him everything?

If an insider was the source of the memo, as some have speculated, why did it get basic facts wrong? (I have heard a few suggestions that this was an incredibly elaborate sting by Heartland. If so, they deserve a prominent place in the supervillain Hall of Fame.)

Why did the initial email to the climate bloggers claim that Heartland was the source of all the documents, when he couldn't possibly have known for sure that this was where the climate strategy memo came from?

Why was this mailed only to Gleick? Others were mentioned in the memo, but none of them seem to have been contacted--I assume that after a week of feeding frenzy, anyone else who was mailed a copy would have said something by now.

How did his anonymous correspondent know that Gleick would go to heroic lengths to obtain confidential material which confirmed the contents, and then distribute the entire package to the climate blogs?

How did the anonymous correspondent get hold of the information in the memo?

I'm sure crazier things have happened, and as someone who has had an unbelievable encounter or two in her life, I always err on the side of believing people. But I would like more details on this story. When did Gleick receive the memo? Was there a cover letter? From where was it postmarked? Presumably he has saved the envelope and the original letter, so will he turn them over to a neutral party for investigation? I'm sure Heartland can come up donors for some forensics.


Dutch Scientist Says IPCC Draft Report Exemplifies “Worst Features of Science” – Calls For A Critical Review!

Dutch scientist and chemical engineer Dr. Arthur Rörsch has distributed a working paper to Dutch officials in his country to request a comprehensive review of the results and recommendations of the IPCC, especially its upcoming 5th assessment report.

In his paper Rörsch, former vice-president of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Research, writes that the IPCC has “deviated from the traditional scientific principles”. On man-made warming from CO2, he writes “that no indisputable scientific proof, or even strong empirical evidence, has been provided for such an effect, which therefore remains a matter of speculation.”

He adds: "These reviews would best be undertaken by senior and established scientists whose reputation rests in the traditional enabling disciplines that underpin climate science, specifically physics, chemistry, geology and meteorology.”

The draft volume for WG1 AR5 is a summary and compilation of papers published in scientific journals up to 2011. Rörsch makes two observations:

- The prevailing hypothesis of the assessment report is that Dangerous Anthropogenic Global Warming (DAGW) is occurring; this hypothesis has been under challenge for many years by numerous independent scientists. These scientists were not invited to participate in the preparation of the AR5 report.

- The scientific literature cited in the draft AR5 is selective towards papers that support the DAGW hypothesis, and even the papers that are included are then selectively analysed towards the same ends. These two underlying biases set the tone of the message that the authors of the AR5 report want to transmit.

Rörsch particularly criticizes the following points:

1. The IPCC assumes that atmospheric CO2 is a dominant forcing agent for global temperature without providing evidence.

2. The report authors are instructed to express their conclusions in terms of a qualitative (i.e. opinion-based) probability scale.

3. The IPCC’s use of “self-appointed experts”.

4. There’s arrogance and intolerance for alternative views displayed by the self-appointed climate experts. These experts should be treated with extreme suspicion.

5. The style of the draft AR5 report marks it as a political rather than a scientific document, for it has been fashioned within the framework of a particular cultural paradigm.

Here’s what Dr. Rörsch concludes: "The IPCC’s draft AR5 report shows insufficient objectivity, and lacks the ‘traditional’ scientific balance necessary for it to be used as the basis for policy making. Regrettably, the report exemplifies some of the worst features of the ‘post-modern’ approach to science…”


Reply to a reply

The authors of the Jan. 27 Wall Street Journal op-ed, 'No Need to Panic about Global Warming,' respond to their critics

This letter responds to criticisms of the op-ed made by Kevin Trenberth and 37 others in a letter published Feb. 1, and by Robert Byer of the American Physical Society in a letter published Feb. 6.

The interest generated by our Wall Street Journal op-ed of Jan. 27, "No Need to Panic about Global Warming," is gratifying but so extensive that we will limit our response to the letter to the editor the Journal published on Feb. 1, 2012 by Kevin Trenberth and 37 other signatories, and to the Feb. 6 letter by Robert Byer, President of the American Physical Society. (We, of course, thank the writers of supportive letters.)

We agree with Mr. Trenberth et al. that expertise is important in medical care, as it is in any matter of importance to humans or our environment. Consider then that by eliminating fossil fuels, the recipient of medical care (all of us) is being asked to submit to what amounts to an economic heart transplant. According to most patient bills of rights, the patient has a strong say in the treatment decision. Natural questions from the patient are whether a heart transplant is really needed, and how successful the diagnostic team has been in the past.

In this respect, an important gauge of scientific expertise is the ability to make successful predictions. When predictions fail, we say the theory is "falsified" and we should look for the reasons for the failure. Shown in the nearby graph is the measured annual temperature of the earth since 1989, just before the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Also shown are the projections of the likely increase of temperature, as published in the Summaries of each of the four IPCC reports, the first in the year 1990 and the last in the year 2007.

These projections were based on IPCC computer models of how increased atmospheric CO2 should warm the earth. Some of the models predict higher or lower rates of warming, but the projections shown in the graph and their extensions into the distant future are the basis of most studies of environmental effects and mitigation policy options. Year-to-year fluctuations and discrepancies are unimportant; longer-term trends are significant.

From the graph it appears that the projections exaggerate, substantially, the response of the earth's temperature to CO2 which increased by about 11% from 1989 through 2011. Furthermore, when one examines the historical temperature record throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, the data strongly suggest a much lower CO2 effect than almost all models calculate.

The Trenberth letter tells us that "computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean."

The ARGO system of diving buoys is providing increasingly reliable data on the temperature of the upper layers of the ocean, where much of any heat from global warming must reside. But much like the surface temperature shown in the graph, the heat content of the upper layers of the world's oceans is not increasing nearly as fast as IPCC models predict, perhaps not increasing at all. Why should we now believe exaggerating IPCC models that tell us of "missing heat" hiding in the one place where it cannot yet be reliably measured—the deep ocean?

Given this dubious track record of prediction, it is entirely reasonable to ask for a second opinion. We have offered ours. With apologies for any immodesty, we all have enjoyed distinguished careers in climate science or in key science and engineering disciplines (such as physics, aeronautics, geology, biology, forecasting) on which climate science is based.

Trenberth et al. tell us that the managements of major national academies of science have said that "the science is clear, the world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible." Apparently every generation of humanity needs to relearn that Mother Nature tells us what the science is, not authoritarian academy bureaucrats or computer models.

One reason to be on guard, as we explained in our original op-ed, is that motives other than objective science are at work in much of the scientific establishment. All of us are members of major academies and scientific societies, but we urge Journal readers not to depend on pompous academy pronouncements—on what we say—but to follow the motto of the Royal Society of Great Britain, one of the oldest learned societies in the world: nullius in verba—take nobody's word for it. As we said in our op-ed, everyone should look at certain stubborn facts that don't fit the theory espoused in the Trenberth letter, for example—the graph of surface temperature above, and similar data for the temperature of the lower atmosphere and the upper oceans.

What are we to make of the letter's claim: "Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record." We don't see any warming trend after the year 2000 in the graph. It is true that the years 2000-2010 were perhaps 0.2 C warmer than the preceding 10 years. But the record indicates that long before CO2 concentrations of the atmosphere began to increase, the earth began to warm in fits and starts at the end of the Little Ice Age—hundreds of years ago. This long term-trend is quite likely to produce several warm years in a row. The question is how much of the warming comes from CO2 and how much is due to other, both natural and anthropogenic, factors?

There have been many times in the past when there were warmer decades. It may have been warmer in medieval times, when the Vikings settled Greenland, and when wine was exported from England. Many proxy indicators show that the Medieval Warming was global in extent. And there were even warmer periods a few thousand years ago during the Holocene Climate Optimum. The fact is that there are very powerful influences on the earth's climate that have nothing to do with human-generated CO2. The graph strongly suggests that the IPCC has greatly underestimated the natural sources of warming (and cooling) and has greatly exaggerated the warming from CO2.

The Trenberth letter states: "Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused." However, the claim of 97% support is deceptive. The surveys contained trivial polling questions that even we would agree with. Thus, these surveys find that large majorities agree that temperatures have increased since 1800 and that human activities have some impact.

But what is being disputed is the size and nature of the human contribution to global warming. To claim, as the Trenberth letter apparently does, that disputing this constitutes "extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert" is peculiar indeed.

One might infer from the Trenberth letter that scientific facts are determined by majority vote. Some postmodern philosophers have made such claims. But scientific facts come from observations, experiments and careful analysis, not from the near-unanimous vote of some group of people.

The continued efforts of the climate establishment to eliminate "extreme views" can acquire a seriously threatening nature when efforts are directed at silencing scientific opposition. In our op-ed we mentioned the campaign circa 2003 to have Dr. Chris de Freitas removed not only from his position as editor of the journal Climate Research, but from his university job as well. Much of that campaign is documented in Climategate emails, where one of the signatories of the Trenberth et al. letter writes: "I believe that a boycott against publishing, reviewing for, or even citing articles from Climate Research [then edited by Dr. de Freitas] is certainly warranted, but perhaps the minimum action that should be taken."

Or consider the resignation last year of Wolfgang Wagner, editor-in-chief of the journal Remote Sensing. In a fulsome resignation editorial eerily reminiscent of past recantations by political and religious heretics, Mr. Wagner confessed to his "sin" of publishing a properly peer-reviewed paper by University of Alabama scientists Roy Spencer and William Braswell containing the finding that IPCC models exaggerate the warming caused by increasing CO2.

The Trenberth letter tells us that decarbonization of the world's economy would "drive decades of economic growth." This is not a scientific statement nor is there evidence it is true. A premature global-scale transition from hydrocarbon fuels would require massive government intervention to support the deployment of more expensive energy technology. If there were economic advantages to investing in technology that depends on taxpayer support, companies like Beacon Power, Evergreen Solar, Solar Millenium, SpectraWatt, Solyndra, Ener1 and the Renewable Energy Development Corporation would be prospering instead of filing for bankruptcy in only the past few months.

The European experience with green technologies has also been discouraging. A study found that every new "green job" in Spain destroyed more than two existing jobs and diverted capital that would have created new jobs elsewhere in the economy. More recently, European governments have been cutting subsidies for expensive CO2-emissionless energy technologies, not what one would expect if such subsidies were stimulating otherwise languid economies. And as we pointed out in our op-ed, it is unlikely that there will be any environmental benefit from the reduced CO2 emissions associated with green technologies, which are based on the demonization of CO2.

Turning to the letter of the president of the American Physical Society (APS), Robert Byer, we read, "The statement [on climate] does not declare, as the signatories of the letter [our op-ed] suggest, that the human contribution to climate change is incontrovertible." This seems to suggest that APS does not in fact consider the science on this key question to be settled.

Yet here is the critical paragraph from the statement that caused the resignation of Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever and many other long-time members of the APS: "The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now." No reasonable person can read this and avoid the conclusion that APS is declaring the human impact "incontrovertible." Otherwise there would be no logical link from "global warming" to the shrill call for mitigation.

The APS response to the concerns of its membership was better than that of any other scientific society, but it was not democratic. The management of APS took months to review the statement quoted above, and it eventually declared that not a word needed to be changed, though some 750 words were added to try to explain what the original 157 words really meant. APS members were permitted to send in comments but the comments were never made public.

In spite of the obstinacy of some in APS management, APS members of good will are supporting the establishment of a politics-free, climate physics study group within the Society. If successful, it will facilitate much needed discussion, debate, and independent research in the physics of climate.

In summary, science progresses by testing predictions against real world data obtained from direct observations and rigorous experiments. The stakes in the global-warming debate are much too high to ignore this observational evidence and declare the science settled. Though there are many more scientists who are extremely well qualified and have reached the same conclusions we have, we stress again that science is not a democratic exercise and our conclusions must be based on observational evidence.

The computer-model predictions of alarming global warming have seriously exaggerated the warming by CO2 and have underestimated other causes. Since CO2 is not a pollutant but a substantial benefit to agriculture, and since its warming potential has been greatly exaggerated, it is time for the world to rethink its frenzied pursuit of decarbonization at any cost.


Citigroup Says Peak Oil Is Dead

Citigroup announced to the world Thursday that peak oil is dead. The controversial idea that world crude oil production is almost at its peak and will soon begin an irrevocable long-term decline has been laid to rest in the highly productive shale oil formations of North Dakota, with potentially big consequences for oil prices, the bank said.

However, despite this reading of last rites, the data suggest it would be premature to pronounce this patient dead.

Changes in oil markets in the past decade have given significant traction to the argument that world oil production is close to peaking. Despite the huge incentive of a near-threefold increase in the price of benchmark Brent crude from 2000 to 2010, the world barely managed to eke out a 10% increase in crude oil production, according to BP data.

Many have argued that this proves the physical limit on global crude oil production is near, or may already have been passed.

“The belief that global oil production has peaked, or is on the cusp of doing so, has helped to fuel oil’s more than decade-long rally,” Citigroup said in a note to clients. “This is now all changing because of what is happening in North Dakota,” where new technology has led to a large and unexpected surge in oil production from shale rock.

After decades of decline, “U.S. oil production is now on the rise, entirely because of shale oil production,” said Citigroup. Shale oil could add almost 3.5 million barrels a day to US oil production between 2010 and 2022 and has already slashed 1 million barrels a day from U.S. oil imports. One day it may allow the U.S. and Canada to be self-sufficient in oil, it said.

There are other parts of the world with similar promise, the bank said. Argentina has already discovered significant shale oil deposits. Australia may have shale reserves. The prospects for Europe may not be so good, given that one of the more prospective areas is in the Paris basin of France, where shale gas drilling has already been banned.

“The surge in U.S. production clearly indicates that human ingenuity is rising to the challenge issued by long-time oil bulls,” and peak oilers, said Citigroup.


Facts don't bother Warmists

The Himalayan glaciers aren’t melting, at least for the moment, says a recently study published in Nature. Between 2003 and 2010 the effective change in the size of glaciers in the high mountains of Asia was “not significantly different from zero,” said a British scientist not involved with the study, who added, “I believe this data is the most reliable estimate of global glacier mass balance that has been produced to date.” Low-lying glaciers were indeed melting, but ice added at higher altitudes made up the difference.

Astoundingly, the scientists don’t seem to have realized the significance of their own findings. “People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before,” said one of the researchers. In other words, we should be just as worried as we were when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was scaring us with the news that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 (or was it 2350?). It turns out, too, that the polar bear population in the Arctic is much more stable than previous estimates suggested.

The science is never settled.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


21 February, 2012

Peter Gleick Admits to Deception in Obtaining Heartland Climate Files

Even Revkin, below, does not like Warmists to be OBVIOUS crooks

Peter H. Gleick, a water and climate analyst who has been studying aspects of global warming for more than two decades, in recent years became an aggressive critic of organizations and individuals casting doubt on the seriousness of greenhouse-driven climate change. He used blogs, congressional testimony, group letters and other means to make his case.

Now, Gleick has admitted to an act that leaves his reputation in ruins and threatens to undercut the cause he spent so much time pursuing. His summary, just published on his blog at Huffington Post, speaks for itself. You can read his short statement below with a couple of thoughts from me:
The Origin of the Heartland Documents

Peter Gleick

Since the release in mid-February of a series of documents related to the internal strategy of the Heartland Institute to cast doubt on climate science, there has been extensive speculation about the origin of the documents and intense discussion about what they reveal. Given the need for reliance on facts in the public climate debate, I am issuing the following statement.

At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute’s apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.

Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues. I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.

I will not comment on the substance or implications of the materials; others have and are doing so. I only note that the scientific understanding of the reality and risks of climate change is strong, compelling, and increasingly disturbing, and a rational public debate is desperately needed. My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.

The Heartland Institute had already signaled that it plans to seek charges and civil action against the person who extracted its documents under a false identity. Foreshadowing today’s events, on Friday, Ross Kaminsky, a senior fellow and former board member at Heartland, posted a piece on the American Spectator site naming Gleick as an “obvious suspect.” Now they have their man.

I won’t speculate on how the legal aspects of this story might play out.

Another question, of course, is who wrote the climate strategy document that Gleick now says was mailed to him. His admitted acts of deception in acquiring the cache of authentic Heartland documents surely will sustain suspicion that he created the summary, which Heartland’s leadership insists is fake.

One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others. (Some of the released documents contain information about Heartland employees that has no bearing on the climate fight.) That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family).

The broader tragedy is that his decision to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland has greatly set back any prospects of the country having the “rational public debate” that he wrote — correctly — is so desperately needed.


Warmist desperation ratchets up a notch further

Rather amusing, actually. In their desperation to attack Heartland (a libertarian organization to whom Nazism is anathema), the LA Times cites ‘Mein Kampf’ as an authority! Will they next be saying: "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht"? Given their obvious interest in Hitler's thoughts, I would not be surprised

The Los Angeles Times editorializes:
Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, one of many nonprofits that spread disinformation about climate science in hopes of stalling government action to combat global warming, reveal that the organization is working on a curriculum for public schools that casts doubt on the work of climatologists worldwide.

Heartland officials say one of the documents was a fake, but the curriculum plans were reportedly discussed in more than one. According to the New York Times, the curriculum would claim, among other things, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”

That is a lie so big that, to quote from “Mein Kampf,” it would be hard for most people to believe that anyone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”…

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate change science is junk science

Martin Hertzberg, Ph.D, wrote the following in response to an article by an alleged physicist who was taken in by "ad hominem" arguments :

The following commentary is submitted for your consideration in response to today’s guest commentary in the SDN by Dave Yost.

It is tragic that what should have been a respectful and objective evaluation of the available data on weather and climate by qualified, independent scientists, has instead degenerated into a partisan diatribe among journalists, environmentalists, historians and politicians: none of whom is qualified in either meteorology or climatology. Weather and climate are controlled by natural laws on a scale that is enormous compared to the scale of human activity. Those natural laws engender forces and motions in the Earth's atmosphere, its oceans, and its surface that are beyond human control. Weather and climate existed long before humans appeared on Earth, and they will continue to exist in the same way long after we are gone, either individually or collectively as the human race.

Those forces and motions are driven by the following phenomena. First, there is the motion of the Earth relative to the Sun: the periodic changes in its elliptical orbit, the rotation of the Earth about its axis, the periodic changes in the tilt of that axis, and the periodic precession of that axis. Second, there is the variation in solar activity, which causes changes in the amount of radiant energy that reaches the Earth and also causes variations in the cosmic ray input into its atmosphere, which affects the Earth's cloudiness. Third, there is the distribution of land and water on the Earth's surface, which controls the temperature distribution of the atmosphere, the availability of moisture, monsoon effects and the paths and intensities of hurricanes, typhoons and other storms. Fourth, there is the topography of the Earth's land mass, which causes copious precipitation on the windward side of mountains and aridity on the leeward side. Fifth, there are the motions within the Earth's oceans that determine moisture availability and its surface temperature distribution (El Nino and La Nina cycles).

The determinant of weather is mainly water in all of its forms: as vapor in the atmosphere; in its heat transport by evaporation and condensation, as the enormous circulating mass of liquid ocean whose heat capacity and mass/energy transport dominate the motions of our atmosphere and the precipitation from it, and finally as cloud, snow, and ice cover which influence the radiative balance between the Sun, the Earth, and free space. In comparison, the human emission of CO2 is totally insignificant for the Earth's weather and climate and there is not one iota of reliable evidence that proves otherwise.

Most of this was learned by me when I served as a research and forecasting meteorologist while on active duty in the U. S. Navy. That was long before the ersatz field now called “Climate Science” was fabricated out of thin air for the main purpose of promoting the theory that human emission of CO2 was causing “global warming/climate change/extreme weather phenomena.” Note that since it stopped warming about a decade ago, “global warming” morphed into “climate change,” but since climate has always changed, it morphed into “extreme weather phenomena.” Although the theory has become a moving target over the last decade, it is still relatively easy to track it and to shoot it down on the basis of the real data that is available.

Dave Yost's column claims that “it is now warmer than it has ever been.” That claim is false. Climatologists have long known that the Medieval Warm Period and dozens of other periods in the Earth's history were much warmer than today because of the factors enumerated above and long before any significant human emission of CO2. The data (see show significant cooling in the Earth's average temperature over the last decade, no significant change in Arctic ice area coverage, and a significant decline in sea level over the last two years.

While I disagree strongly with most of the political positions of the Heartland Institute, they deserve considerable credit for sponsoring a series of conferences of the world's leading meteorologists and climatologists whose papers show clearly that the theory that human emission is causing “global warming/climate change/extreme weather phenomena” is without merit. The attempt in Orestes and Conway's “Merchants of Doubt” to defame and to cast doubt on the integrity of those distinguished scientists, is a disservice to both science and history. For the record, I have not received one cent of financial support from either the CATO or the Heartland Institutes, and I think they are wrong in most of their other political positions.


Greener Than Thou

By Alan Caruba

The most obnoxious and hypocritical people are those who are always preaching a “greener” way of life, insisting that anything that constitutes our modern lifestyles are destroying the Earth and depleting its natural resources. Never mind that we depend upon oil, natural gas, coal, and a host of minerals and chemicals for that lifestyle, the absence of which caused people in earlier eras to live shorter, far more unpleasant lives.

Oil, other than ust an energy source is also a component in countless products, starting with plastic, and is so vital to modern life that its value goes far beyond just being able to drive our cars to visit grandma.

Greener than thou has replaced holier than thou ever since Rachel Carson penned her pernicious and seriously flawed attack on DDT and other chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides in 1962. The result has been the needless deaths of millions from malaria in Africa and subtropical nations after the U.S. banned DDT and other nations followed suit. If there was a comparable pesticide available today, the U.S. would not be suffering a biblical plague of bed bugs.

A bone fide environmentalist, David Owen, has written a book that quite literally filets environmentalism, “The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse.” ($14.00, Riverhead Press, softcover).

Owen, who has authored 14 previous books, examines the way environmentalism frequently makes no sense at all. This is not to be confused with conservation, the earlier movement that led to the preservation of some of the nation’s natural wonders.

To live an environmentally acceptable way of life is the same as striving to be a saint, avoiding “sin” in order to secure a place in heaven. It is not only virtually impossible, but to be human is to consume what Nature provides. If you think about, all of Earth's creatures are consumers, depending on where they are on the food chain.

For example, when environmentalists convinced Congress to reduce the amount of water in toilet tanks, the only thing they accomplished was to require that the newer, smaller tanks had be flushed twice to rid he toilet of feces and urine, i.e., more use of water, not less. The EPA has just issued a ruling they claim is necessary to reduce mercury emissions despite the fact that your average volcanic eruption puts more into the atmosphere than any human imposed restrictions could ever achieve. Congress, however, passed a law banning 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, thus requiring people to purchase mercury-filled ones that, if broken, require a hazmat team to clean up after.

Environmentalism is essentially irrational.

It believes that humans actually have anything to do with “saving the Earth” when the natural forces of the Earth are so far beyond any “control” that it routinely reminds us of this fact. We have zero impact on the climate and, as for carbon dioxide, the villain of all “global warming” claims, humans exhale about six pounds of it every day. And there are seven billion of us. Even so, it constitutes barely 0.033 percent of the atmosphere.

Owen begins by posing the question, “How do we truly begin to think about less—less fossil fuel, less carbon, less water, less waste, less habitat destruction, less population stress—when our sense of economic, cultural, and personal well-being is based on more?”

The real question at the heart of all environmentalism is what do we do when there are seven billion humans using the resources of the Earth and the real answer for environmentalists is how do we reduce the Earth’s population and how do they grow rich in the process? That is what lies at the heart of all the “solutions” put forth by the United Nations environmental program; an enemy of the human race if there ever was one.

What environmentalists want is “a vast, unprecedented transformation of human behavior in our relationship with energy and consumption.” The next time you hear anyone call for a “transformation” know also that they are a charlatan seeking control over your life.

The environmental assumption is that the Earth is running out of the sources of energy and that consumption is bad. Both are equally wrong because the Earth is not running out of the sources of energy and consumption is what humans and all other species on Earth do every day.

Owen believes that humans are “the world’s main emitter of manmade greenhouse gases” and this is utterly false. The so-called greenhouse gases are the ones in the atmosphere that not only keep the Sun from turning the Earth into a desiccated version of Mars or the Moon, but in the case of carbon dioxide, it is responsible for every single element of vegetation upon which all life depends.

Owen and many environmentalists would prefer that all of humanity live packed side-by-side in crowded cities, using mass transit or bicycling to work to save the Earth, but anyone who gives two thoughts to the amount of energy consumed to maintain a city knows this too is yet another idiotic environmental conceit.

Indeed, Owen notes that “There are many downsides to density, including the fact that squeezing people and their destinations close together makes diseases, wars, and natural disasters more efficient, too.”

That, says Owen, is a conundrum. Indeed, his book is filled with environmental conundrums that he tries to resolve while overtly and inadvertently exposing the idiocy of environmentalism.

Simply put, farmers are the world’s natural environmentalists, relying on the weather—which they cannot control—and the stewardship of their land to feed themselves and others. They must, however, have a means to move their crops to places where other humans can acquire them and that requires a massive system of transportation which, in turn, requires the affordable use of energy.

Environmentalism’s goals, clean air and water, are laudable, but a massive governmental bureaucracy to require that people use less energy and consume less is not.

Time and time again we see examples of environmentalism that only manage to kill people, whether it is the banning of beneficial chemicals or the use of the least efficient forms of electrical power, wind and solar energy.

The least reported story out of Europe these days is the extreme cold that is literally killing people because it puts the lie to all the environmental “solutions” advanced since the 1960s. Environmentalism has been decried as a religion and, for those who want to deny a greater power, Nature or God, it remains their holy grail.


Fatal Error: Believing the Vacuum of Space has a Temperature

by John O'Sullivan

Astrophysicists will tell you that the vast emptiness of outer space has no temperature. Space is empty, thus it is temperature-less. But ask a climatologist and you’ll be told space is 'cold.' Such fallacy spawned the fatal error in the junk science known as 'greenhouse gas theory,' also called the 'greenhouse effect' (GHE).

Alberto Miatello has now published his own stunning debunk of Dr. Roy Spencer’s‘Yes, Virginia, Cooler Objects Can Make Warmer Objects Even Warmer Still’ (July 23, 2010) dissecting how the fallacy of 'cold' outer space allowed climatologists to believe Earths’ atmosphere acted like a ‘blanket’ to help keep our planet ‘warmer than it otherwise would be.’

Miatello’s paper adroitly affirms a prior compelling evisceration of Spencer’s errors by Dr. Pierre R. Latour in Latour’s masterful, 'No, Virginia, Cooler Objects Cannot Make Warmer Objects Even Warmer Still.'

The Miatello and Latour papers utterly vindicate the groundbreaking analysis of the ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon’ book - the world’s first full-volume refutation of the greenhouse gas hypothesis - a publication that some critics have tried and failed to discredit. Miatello’s exposure of the 'cold' space fallacy is further compelling affirmation that fudged numbers were fed into the bogus ‘greenhouse gas theory’ equations.

Miatello’s new paper, ‘Roy Spencer and the Vacuum Bottle Flask’ (February, 2012), not only refutes Spencer’s errors but also once again affirms the damning analysis of savvy climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball who points out, “Climatology is a generalist discipline in a world of specialization.”

Generalists, we find, often need specialist help. We can forgive principled experts such as doctors Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen because they are not specialists. As Miatello points out,

“The vacuum space is neither cold nor hot, being void of all molecules/atoms (or almost void) and as such has no temperature. Then, you can clearly see the aftermath of Spencer's wrong idea of ‘cold’ vacuum outer space.”

What did the 'Cold Space' Fallacy do for Greenhouse Gas Believers?

Anyone who reads Roy Spencer’s ‘Yes, Virginia...’ can adduce that Spencer truly believes that vacuum space is cold, because unlike Pierre Latour’s ‘No, Virginia…’ debunk, Spencer did not feel the need to add quotation marks on the word ‘cold.’

Miatello observes, “I saw that Pierre understood that the cosmic vacuum is not cold, and so did not devote much attention to the point. However, I saw that it was important to identify Spencer’s error that vacuum space is NOT cold.”

But how significant is this?

“IF the vacuum of space were cold - then it would be true what Spencer (and many GHE supporters) maintain, namely: the colder body reduces the rate of the heat loss by the hotter body, etc.”

But because we know that vacuum space is neither cold nor hot (being almost void of matter and thus having no temperature) we can clearly see the aftermath of Spencer's wrong idea of a 'cold' vacuum of outer space.

No ‘Heat Loss Blanket Effect’ because Vacuum Space is ‘Neutral’ not ‘Cold’

This then has a fatal knock on effect for GHE calculations. We can better understand the root of the big mistake by GHE promoters because they actually believe that our 'colder' atmosphere is reducing the rate of heat loss, as a blanket with our body, just because (in my opinion) they believe that vacuum space is ‘cold.’

Of course, they would be right if the vacuum of outer space were truly ‘cold.’

But unfortunately for them, vacuum space is neutral (neither cold nor hot), and so the rate of heat loss by our 'hotter body' (earth's surface at +15° C), surrounded by a colder body (atmosphere at - 18°C) is much larger than what they believe!

There is no greenhouse effect, our atmosphere is not surrounded by a ‘colder’ vacuum space and thus our atmosphere is not a blanket reducing the rate of heat loss. On the contrary, our gaseous and 'wet' atmosphere is acting to cool our planet's surface by convection and conduction while constrained within the energy neutral zone of the 'thermos flask' of vacuum space.

Such reasoning is faultless and demands the immediate cessation of all further reliance on spurious GHE numbers. It’s now all exposed as pure GIGO: ‘garbage in - garbage out.’

Paging James Hansen: NASA’s Errant Evangelist of Climate Fraud

The crass notion of ‘cold’ outer space is but one of several gross misunderstandings built into the calculations of the increasingly discredited ‘theory’ that is the cornerstone of the $100 billion man-made global warming industry.

Although we can justly forgive Spencer for his errors, we cannot forgive the ultimate instigator of the GHE fraud: NASA’s Dr. James Hansen. Hansen has stubbornly refused to listen to fellow NASA veterans like Dr. Pierre Latour and others - experts who actually put Neil Armstrong on the moon.

And Hansen is not alone within NASA for sustaining this fraud. Since the glory days of the Apollo Mission, the once great U.S. space agency has lost its way. It abandoned its place at the cutting-edge of space science to descend into political advocacy; recently being caught out faking sea level rises and surface temperature records.

In 1969 when Armstrong took his ‘giant leap’ to walk on the moon no one at Mission Control was confused about whether space was 'cold’ or not. Everyone understood that in the airless void outside Earth there was neither ‘hot’ nor ‘cold’ - just emptiness. The reason: Back then, NASA applied the traditional scientific method rather than post-normal science.

One of the greatest dangers to the astronauts was not freezing in their suits but getting the excess body heat away from their skin. This is because in a vacuum, with the absence of any molecules, the free exchange of temperature is virtually impossible.

NASA Literature Contradictory and Confused on “Cold” Outer Space

After pulling out of the ‘space race’ a politicized NASA applied a self-contradictory double-speak to maintain the illusion that space is ‘cold’ when describing the need for huge radiators on the International Space Station (ISS). NASA spin doctors now crassly state: "MLI insulation does a double-duty job: keeping solar radiation out, and keeping the bitter cold of space from penetrating the Station's metal skin."

NASA then admits, in its ‘Staying Cool in Space’ web page that the "ISS needs huge radiators to get rid of its excess heat." So much for the ‘cold’ of space!

So deadly is the risk of astronauts being cooked alive in the ‘cold’ tin can of the ISS that the vehicle requires 14 honeycombed aluminum panels each measuring 6 by 10 feet (1.8 by 3 meters), for a total of 1680 square feet (156 square meters) of ammonia-tubing-filled heat exchange area just to stay cool.

Our Planet: the Air Conditioning Chiller

Firmly shoulder-to-shoulder with the ‘Slayers’ is yet another compelling voice in a growing cacophony of specialist voices demonstrating that the time has come for a full re-examination, then abandonment of the false GHE paradigm.

For too long highly educated scientists have imagined our atmosphere as a ‘blanket,’ instead of a ‘refrigerator,’ or at least an ‘air conditioning chiller’ surrounding our planet, as it is in reality.

With the myth that space is ‘cold’ now firmly debunked Miatello calls on Spencer and other principled climatologists to work with us to promote a new ‘Copernican revolution’ throughout the blogosphere.

Once climate scientists understand that the concept of a ‘blanket’ trapping effect is false then they will grasp the fact that the very foundation of the greenhouse gas effect itself is also proven to be false. As such, the necessary scientific proof is now in hand to bring a swift end to the needless and grossly expensive restriction on human emissions of the benign trace gas, carbon dioxide.


What if They are Wrong?

by Mike Stopa

Because the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) depends on a feedback mechanism between an increase in CO2 and an increase in atmospheric water – a mechanism about which there is considerable, scientifically justified doubt – it is possible that CO2 has effectively no influence on global climate.

There is now considerable data collected, and being collected, that gives a fairly accurate view of the global temperature, insofar as such a thing can be defined. And the temperature record shows reasonably clearly that a heating took place from around the beginning of the industrial age in the early 20th century until around 1940, followed by 30-40 years of cooling, followed again by 20 years of warming until ~1998. In an interesting admission the (British) Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit have now admitted that the global temperature has ceased rising for the last 15 years. Don Surber has done a nice little riff on this report here.

The main point is that there are other potential mechanism to account for the warming trend of 1980-1998 than CO2. Notably, ocean climates and interactions between solar wind and cosmic rays relating to earth’s cloud formation are scientifically established mechanisms for the change.

Here I ask this. Suppose it turns out that CO2 has essentially nothing to do with the earth’s climate. How will the history of this colossal mistake be written?

They will say that a mechanism called the “greenhouse effect,” was postulated long ago (~1824 by Joseph Fourier) and gained adherents in the late 20th century. They will say that the theory was seemingly invalidated by the decrease in global temperatures from 1940-1975, but that the adherents patched this up by explaining the cooling with pollution, specifically sulfur, from industry

They will say that the theory was challenged by the noted vast gap between the amount of CO2 produced by civilization and the substantially smaller increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, but that the theory was patched up by examining the increased CO2 uptake by the hydrosphere and the biosphere.

They will say the theory was seemingly invalidated by the evidence that the atmosphere was already nearly opaque in the wavelengths that are absorbed by CO2 and so the additional CO2 could have, on its own, little effect, but that the theory was patched up by positing a feedback mechanism between the small temperature increases directly due to CO2 and the production of water vapor which is the main greenhouse gas.

They will note that the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) proceeded much like any scientific theory (cf. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) in that it was modified and patched up and adjusted to fit empirical challenges until it finally collapsed altogether under the weight of incontrovertible evidence. But, the scientific historians will have a new phenomenon to consider, and that is the social and political context of this particular scientific theory.

Kuhn describes very well the build-up of evidence that ultimately leads to the over-turning of accepted orthodoxy within the scientific community, of some particular theory. But AGW is intrinsically wrapped up with political ideology and, increasingly, with economics and government (cf. “Solyndra”). The only apt comparison I can think of is Lysenkoism, the anti-genetics theory of Trofim Lysenko that was bought wholesale by Stalin and ultimately hobbled the entire Soviet biological establishment for generations (to say nothing of its role in leading to the starvation of people who followed its tenets in regard to things like agriculture).

Scientific revolutions are difficult and traumatic enough without the added inertia of government sponsorship. To put it more bluntly, scientists have difficulty enough admitting that they have egg on their faces. Throw in the Solyndras of the world and the United Nations and the entire anti-capitalist Global Left and the backing out of this theory will be nothing short of a fiasco.

If someone were, for instance, to come up with indisputable evidence tomorrow that CO2 has essentially no impact on earth’s climate, could the world accept it? With the development of frakking and the concomitant extension of carbon based energy resources hundreds of years into the future, what would they do with all the windmills?

Well, the truth of this issue should be apparent within about 15 years…at which point we may be allowed to buy incandescent light bulbs again.


My recent post, “What if They Are Wrong,” explored the possibility that human-generated CO2 will be determined, after all is said and done, to have no appreciable affect on climate. The post generated a lot of discussion. I want to follow up on some of that discussion with this brief post.

CO2 is, after all, a trace gas and humanity has added to it a trace amount. An essential requirement that it have a major influence on our climate is a set of feedback mechanisms that magnify its effect. Most notably, for CO2 increase to have any seriously dangerous ramifications for human life it is necessary that a positive and significant feedback exist between the CO2 abundance in the atmosphere and the water abundance. This feedback loop, its sign and its magnitude, are seriously in question.

To take one example, it is well-established that water vapor in the upper troposhpere and lower stratosphere (the region known as the “tropopause”) has been decreasing for the last ten years. This was not only not predicted by climatological computer models, it has not yet been explained by those models. Speculations as to the origin of this drying out include an unexpectedly large rise from the 1998 El Nino (which is only now drying out) to a decrease in the atmospheric content of methane, another greenhouse gas, over the past decade or more. Alas, the decrease of the methane is also not explained.

A short but well-presented description of this discrepancy was given almost exactly two years ago in Scientific American (hardly a global warming skeptic publication!). Sci. Am. quotes one of the authors of the original (Science Magazine) study thusly:
“We found that there was a surface temperature impact due to changes in water vapor in a fairly narrow region of the stratosphere,” explains research meteorologist Karen Rosenlof of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Aeronomy Laboratory, one of the authors of the study. “The reason for the water vapor change is the temperature drop at the interface between the troposphere and the stratosphere over the tropics. What we don’t know is why the temperature dropped.”

Note that the researchers in this publication are by no means heretics in the scientific establishment. They make genuine efforts to explain these findings. But the results are still a mystery.
All told, stratospheric water vapor declined by 10 percent since 2000, based on satellite and balloon measurements, yet that was enough to appreciably affect temperatures at ground level according to climate models. “Reduce the water vapor and you have less long-wave radiation coming back down to warm the troposphere,” Rosenlof says. Conversely, an apparent increase in water vapor in this region in the 1980s and 1990s exacerbated global warming.

And, as noted above, the authors considered the influence of methane on the atmospheric water:
Of course, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is also affected by another potent greenhouse gas—methane—which has unexpectedly failed to increase in recent years. “The other influence is methane, which breaks down into two water molecules and CO2 in the stratosphere,” explains climate scientist Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). “Methane’s growth rate has dropped, so it’ll have become a weaker source of stratospheric water, but we don’t fully understand why its concentrations have not increased as rapidly in recent years as they did for the previous several decades.”

As a producer of greenhouse heating, methane is typically considered to be about twenty times as effective, molecule-for-molecule, as CO2.

The main issue I am raising is not that the scientists who are at the front line of this research are blind or bellicose – not that they are unscrupulous or fraudulent. Most of the scientists working in the field are not trying to push an ideological position but are genuinely trying to get at the truth. If they can be accused of any moral failing, it is simply the tendencey to go with the flow when it comes to writing grant proposals and alluding to the possibility of global warming as a justification for supporting their research. Nothing horrible about that.

That does not say that there are not a few at the top and at the edges who are true believers – who think that behaving as deceivers is ethically the right thing to do given the gravity of the threat (that they perceive) and the ignorance of the masses to that threat (as they perceive).

Sound science will, unimpeded by the hysterics, lead to sensible public policy. It is my belief that the final conclusion will be that CO2 produced by humanity will be found to be of only minor importance for global climate and that it will be heavily outweighed by exchange of heat with oceans of evolving temperature and other factors such as solar-determined cloud formation. But I am open to evidence and, alas, a lot of global warming hysterics in the scientific community (and especially in the non-scientific, political community) have their ears stopped with gobs of wax.

I want to finish this post with a reference to a significant letter that appeared in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. Signed by sixteen (sober) scientists, this letter lays out the case against hysteria better than I can and I urge the worshipers in the Church of the Green to read it and ponder it deeply. They make reference to Yale economist William Nordhaus who, while simply accepting the scientific conclusions of the IPCC uncritically, nevertheless concludes that the radical policies of the Kyoto accord, which calls for dramatic limitations on CO2 emissions in the west, are counter-productive to the extent that they undermine the health of our economy and its capacity to deal with climate problems in the future. The WSJ article states:
A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls.

In conclusion, global warming is an unchallengeable “consensus” only among those who deeply yearn to save the planet. The conviction of those politicians and activists and (few) scientists that debate is destructive is itself destructive. It arises from the dungeons and dragons psychodrama going on in the minds of those deluded saints – where they embody themselves as the White Wizards and the skeptics as the Morlocks.

The appropriate role for conservatives is to oppose the bias of hysteria and the “cautionary principle;” to demand every essential cost-benefit analysis and, understanding the daydreams of the holy, to insist that progress comes by first placing our feet upon the ground.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


20 February, 2012

The dreaming goes on, untroubled by reality

Computer-modeled tropical fish to boom in Canada, while actual tropical fish freeze to death in Florida

Playing with computer models is such fun:
A new UBC study suggests climate change could create a boom in tropical fish species in BC, but overall result in a drop of up to 35 per cent in catches in some places due to increasing acid and decreasing oxygen in the world's oceans.

Professor William Cheung with UBC’s Fisheries Centre presented his findings Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The predictions were generated by a computer simulator

2012: Florida Fish Farms Struggle With Recent Cold Snap
"The last three winters in a row it seems like we have been just clobbered," said David Boozer, executive director of the Florida Tropical Fish Farms Association, a group that counts 231 farmers as members.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

British Met Office: “The Case for Global Warming Stronger Than Ever”

But they do actually come out and admit that they may have overstated the role of CO2 in their precious "models"

Met Office study concludes that the fingerprint of human influence on climate is stronger than ever. So what convinced them? Was it declining temperatures, or declining sea level, which put the final nail in the coffin?
According to the models, none of those combinations can produce the climate patterns currently being observed in the real world. Add the greenhouse gases that we know humans are generating (and which we’ve known since the 1800s tend to warm the Earth, all other things being equal), and the simulations finally come close to matching the real world.

What a load of complete crap. Most climate scientists know very little about past climate, much less can explain it, much less can rule out common causes with the present.
Its possible, albeit far-fetched, that the simulations are defective. It is even less possible that all of them (and there are many) are defective in the direction of overstating humanity’s contribution to warming.

Far fetched that climate models are wrong? ROFLMAO …..

Graph of projections versus where we are now (red dot)

And the contraction for “it is” is spelled “it’s.”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Behind the “Environmentalist” Curtain Lurks … nothing

Late last month Chesapeake Energy Corp. quietly tested a new method of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” on two well sites in Ohio. The new process uses about 10 percent of the water of typical fracking, relying, instead, primarily on carbon-dioxide foam to crack natural-gas-rich shale rock deep below the earth’s surface.

Given that one of the usual environmentalist refrains on hydraulic fracturing is that the process uses too much water, one might imagine Chesapeake’s move would have garnered some praise from the “green” contingent. But if one thought as much, one doesn’t know environmentalist groups. The response from the Natural Resources Defense Council last week, for example, via Senior Policy Analyst Amy Mall, was to ignore the matter of water entirely. “It could be safer. It could be better. But it doesn’t reduce all the risk,” Mall said.

Environmentalists have long slammed domestic energy’s supposed wanton waste of natural resources, depicting oil and gas companies as insatiable behemoths spitting out the bones of the landscape once they ravage it. Though Chesapeake is remaining largely mum on the pilot testing of the new fracking method, a 90-percent reduction in water use is nothing to sneeze at - least of all from an environmentalist viewpoint. So why the silence from “greenies”?

Simply put, now that there may be a “fracking” method out there that uses so much less water, it is likely becoming clear to such organizations and their constituents that politically, the water issue may soon become a non-starter. So environmental groups are regrouping - and, to give credit where credit is due, the Natural Resources Defense Council regrouped fairly quickly, shifting the focus of their anti-fracking campaign entirely to human safety.

But there’s no denying these groups have essentially demanded a reduction in hydraulic-fracturing water, and noisily. Last November, in a statement about protecting “Colorado from [f]racking” by calling on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to disclose the amount of water it used in natural-gas extraction, Clean Water Action Program Director Gary Wockner said, “Let’s go right to the source and have the drillers and frackers report their water use so that Colorado knows how much additional stress this will place on our rivers and farms which are already being drained and dried up.” An April 2011 Pennsylvania Green Party statement on hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale reads, in part, “[H]ydraulic fracturing squanders our precious water resource.” In November, former Sierra Club lobbyist John Smithson wrote in a Charleston Gazette op-ed: “[I]n West Virginia, we are letting gas drillers waste trillions of gallons of fresh water, to harvest what will be only a few decades worth of natural gas. Not only are we wasting trillions of gallons of potable water, we're also depositing millions of gallons of toxic chemicals in underground storage sites. This wastewater is lost forever. It can never again be used for anything.”

Conventional energy can make all the strides it dares undertake – at significant cost and allegedly at environmental groups’ behest - but it will never satisfy its environmentalist critics. The great irony of these mammoth organizations is they apparently exist only to oppose: When their demands are met, their focus shifts to the next perceived calamity. How many great ideas or groundbreaking plans of action has even one of the numerous international environmental organizations envisioned, much less put into action? None. The truth is these organizations lack any real message other than “No.” Ironically they depend for continued existence, media coverage and funding on the very people and industries they rail against. Behind the curtain lurks … nothing.


British foreign aid cash spent tackling climate change

Nearly £1.5 billion has been spent tackling man-made climate change by Government department responsible for fighting poverty abroad, it can be revealed.

The Department for International Development (Dfid) has spent the total on projects which they say will either reduce carbon emissions abroad or attempt to deal with the effects of predicted changes in the earth's climate.

In the past four years Dfid has spent £900 million on climate change projects with nearly two thirds of that being spent in the past financial year under the Coalition. A further £533 million has already been committed up to 2013.

The biggest recipients of the climate change aid are India and Indonesia, two countries considered to be rapidly emerging economies.

The disclosures – made under the Freedom of Information Act – will raise fresh questions over how foreign aid is spent, and comes after an Indian minister described British aid to the country as "peanuts", which ministers in London had begged Delhi to continue accepting. Dfid is one of only two departments not affected by the Government's austerity drive, with a budget last year of £8.4 billion.

The figures released by the government reveal that total spending on tackling climate change overseas has increased from £61 million in 2007-08 to more than £883 million in 2010-11. During that time, Dfid saw the biggest increase in spending on climate change with funding available for projects now 45 times higher than four years ago. The department now also employs 66 specialist climate and environmental advisers.

Among the aid provided by Dfid was a £4.7 million project in Indonesia aimed at helping the government there provide "more effective leadership and management of climate change programming".

Another project aimed at encouraging Indian farmers to use manual foot pumps to draw water from underground for their fields rather than using diesel powered pumps – a technology that could be considered a step backwards in terms of the labour required.

In Africa, six businessmen were given financial support to help them produce and sell solar powered lights.

A project in western Kenya to help indigenous Nganyi rainmakers, who were being undermined by extreme weather conditions caused by changes in the climate, was launched in 2008 as part of a £25 million climate change adaptation programme funded by Dfid. The project aimed to bring the rainmakers together with Government meteorologists to produce a "consensus forecast" before relaying it back to village farmers, who were said to be losing trust in traditional methods which could not cope with the apparent changes in climate.

It allowed forecasts to be made using a combination of satellite data and computer models and traditional techniques such as observing insects, flowers and pot blowing, where herbs are placed into a pot buried in the ground which the rainmaker blows into through a pipe, listening for coming winds.

In total £3.5 billion of public money has been paid out or allocated to projects addressing climate change abroad since 2007-08.

Although Dfid accounts for the bulk of the spending, other departments have also spent significant amounts abroad. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also spent more than £71 million on tackling climate change and energy programmes overseas in the past two years.

This included a "Low Carbon High Growth Strategic Fund" operating in developed and developing countries including Poland, China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Indonesia and Mexico to promote low carbon technologies and "creating the political conditions to avoid dangerous climate change".

The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs has spent more than £233,000 attending climate change negotiations and has also allocated £10 million for a project to tackle deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado.

As revealed by The Sunday Telegraph last year, the Department for Energy and Climate Change also spent £537 million on "developing an international agreement on climate change" and promoting low carbon technologies in developing countries since 2007/08. The department also plans to spend a further £1 billion between 2012 and 2015.

Conservative MPs said the expenditure had be closely examined. Philip Davies, a Conservative MP who has been an outspoken critic of attempts by the Coalition to increase foreign aid spending at a time when there are deep financial cuts happening in Britain, said: "Much of this will be about alleviating problems in many, many years to come. "A lot of people consider international aid to be about addressing more pressing needs around the world that are more deserving of immediate investment.

"It has to be asked if spend fortunes on trying to tackle something which may or may not be a problem in a 100 years time or more is the best use of the international development budget."

Douglas Carswell, Tory MP for Clacton, said: "It is not a priority for us to be spending these large amounts of public money on climate change when there is hardship at home. "We are having to borrow billions of pounds every month to keep Government spending where it is and we are having to make cut backs to public services in the UK.

"People who live in developing countries have an absolute right to get wealthier but there are some serious questions about the extent to which the changes in the climate that are going on now are man-made. "This seems like permanent public officials are inflating their budgets to justify their existence."

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is sceptical about man-made global warming, also questioned the effectiveness of the money going abroad to tackle climate change. He said: "A lot of money is wasted on schemes that don't actually help country's develop more resilience that would be good regardless of climate change. "These handouts often come with conditions that appear to be pressure foreign governments into sighing up to global emissions policies."

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said it was in Britain's best interests to help other countries tackle climate change because it is a global problem.

He said: "The Coalition Government is committed to being the greenest government ever. "Climate change will hit the poorest hardest and leave many more people susceptible to flooding, failing crops and food shortages. We can only help these people if all countries – rich and poor – work together.

"This is why Britain works with emerging economies whose carbon emissions are predicted to grow fastest – to pool our knowledge and tackle global problems like deforestation and carbon emissions."


Uncertain future for electric cars in Britain

Where next for the all-electric family car? The honest answer is that nobody – not even the companies which make them – knows for sure.

Our ruling politicians don’t have a clue either. This despite the fact that they’re endorsing the idea of battery-powered vehicles for the general public by giving £5,000 taxpayer-funded handouts to buyers. But it appears a classic case of do as we say, not do as we do. I say this because I’m not aware of any of our “leaders” using all-electrics as their personal or ministerial cars. I’ll admit I’m wrong if there is a leading politician who has done so, but I’m not expecting to hear from anyone.

Are the young Cameron and Miliband families, for example, running electric vehicles (EVs) as family wheels, or even buying them as second cars for shopping trips and school runs? What happened to leading by example?

What’s beyond doubt is that for the private motorist who has to meet his own running costs, the EV, with a rechargeable battery pack as its sole source of power, has severe limitations. First, price: the all-electric family-sized car has typically a list price two or three times higher than that of a petrol model of similar size. Second, range: most electric cars can travel about 100 miles (without “refuelling”), while petrol-engined models do several hundred, with some diesels achieving closer to 1,000.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that about 99 per cent of all cars sold/registered in Britain in 2011 were conventional petrol or diesel models and just over one per cent could be classed as an alternate fuel vehicle (AFV). This year, the story’s much the same – only about one car in every 100 is an AFV. I wonder if any real-world private motorists have bought one last year or this. It may well be that manufacturers and their dealers have registered or “sold” most of the EVs on Britain’s roads to themselves, to serve as company cars, press vehicles or demonstrators. Look out for them as very low-mileage used (and therefore considerably less expensive) cars.

Admittedly, firms such as the big energy suppliers have a few, too. But that’s not because they particularly like them. They love EVs because they see the potential for huge profit in selling the increasingly expensive electricity needed to power them. Drivers doing a maximum of 50-60 miles a day in mild weather and undemanding traffic conditions should be able to get away with recharging from the mains once a day. But for others, plugging in several times per day at home or the workplace is essential.

In a new report, the London Assembly has more bad news for the EV industry. Its Environment Committee claims: “With 2,313 electric vehicles [including cars, vans and trucks] currently in London, the Mayor is only two per cent towards his goal of 100,000 on the streets.”

In 2009, Mayor Boris Johnson announced that he intended to make London the electric car capital of Europe. But the committee doesn’t seem convinced. “There are fewer than 50 electric vehicles in the Greater London Authority (GLA) fleet compared with the Mayor’s aim of 1,000 by 2015,” it says.

“Also, there are about 400 charge points across London compared with the Mayor’s recent target of 1,300 by next year and original target of 25,000 by 2015,” the healthily sceptical committee adds, before concluding that the Mayor should “commission research on the full carbon footprint of electric vehicles”.

Petrol-electric cars such as the Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt plus diesel-electrics like the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 and Citroën DS5 make far greater environmental and economic sense because they can run on pump fuels if there’s no convenient electricity supply.

If, however, you can live with the limitations of an EV, Renault will revolutionise the UK marketplace this spring when it puts a full line-up of competitively priced, 100 per cent electric cars on sale. Worth considering, but think very carefully before committing yourself.


Reformed Warmist gets good coverage in major Austrian newspaper

The truth will out even in the "Ostmark des Deutschen Reichs"

Fritz Vahrenholt gives a comprehensive interview with leading Austrian daily KURIER here.

The interview covers a number of areas. But a few points I found particularly interesting. On the lack of warming since 2000, the KURIER asks if it’s too short of a time period: "Of course it is. But we still need an explanation on why CO2 emissions, which the IPCC says is responsible for global warming, and which rose continuously since 2000, has not caused any warming. There has to be natural causes: the sun and the 60-year ocean cycles – they were the reasons why we wrote the book.”

Vahrenholt also has words on Germany’s current attempt to move to renewable energy: "We’ve gone into a hectic rush and today in Germany we are converting wheat into bioethanol, and installing 50% of all the world’s photovoltaic systems in a country that gets as much sunshine as Alaska – namely Germany. This uncoordinated mad rush is rooted in fear: It’s our fault, we could trigger a climate catastrophe.”

On the IPCC filtering out the sun and other factors: "It is indeed interesting that of the 34 members of the IPCC editorial team that wrote the summary report, one third are connected to the WWF and Greenpeace. That is legitimate, but that has to be made transparent. Imagine just the opposite and the editorial team were one third Exxon supporters. Wouldn’t people say: ’Hello! Is that really necessary?’”

Vahrenholt on why the climate debate has inquisitorial undercurrents: "Because it has long since not been about a purely scientific issue, rather it is about how to run society. Some are saying that we are entering an uncontrollable situation, and so claim any means against it is justified.”

Like throwing democracy overboard, as some are advocating. Here Vahrenholt specifically singles out Schellnhuber’s WBGU and his Great Transformation of society masterplan, which calls for: "…changes in consumption behavior, changed trade behavior and that non-sustainable living styles be stigmatized by society.”

On the success of the book? "It’s no. 14 on the Spiegel bestseller list. Of course I hope the book will be read. The worst thing that could happen would be a spiral of silence, a discussion that never gets held. In five or ten years, we’ll know who is right.”

Overall, a solid and convincing interview by the KURIER. This will push book sales in Austria, Switzerland and Bavaria. Readers can visit the “” site, which has an English translation button.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


19 February, 2012

Wind Energy Versus Keystone

How much power does America's wind industry produce every day? To find out, we started with the U.S. Department of Energy's current estimate of the total installed wind capacity in the United States, as of 30 September 2011. Here, we find a total of 43,635 MW of installed wind power capacity across the U.S.

Next, we borrowed the Coyote's back-of-the-envelope math to estimate how much power that installed capacity is generating from the wind, coming up with an estimate of 314,172,000 kiloWatt-hours per day.

Then, we compared the amount of energy that would have been pipelined through the U.S. if President Obama not arbitrarily rejected the Keystone XL pipeline project: 1,530,000,000 kiloWatt-hours per day. U.S. Current Installed Wind Power Generation Capacity, 30 September 2011

So we see that just this one pipeline project, which would add to the estimated total of 55,000 miles of crude oil trunk lines in the U.S., would outproduce the entire U.S. wind power industry in terms of actual energy production by a factor of nearly 5 to 1. And it's not like major crude oil pipelines don't already criss-cross the entire continent:


Scientific fraud has happened often before

The review below of the book FALSE PROPHETS By Alexander Kohn has obvious appicability to the current global warming mania but the author wisely leaves that subject for future commentators

AMONG the many scientists and doctors whose names adorn the pages of "False Prophets," I have found myself haunted by three in particular: Johnson S. Caulder, Ph.D., Lawrence D. Bergmann, M.D., and Myron C. Filstein, M.D. All three are thanked at the end of a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1981 - Caulder "for performing the amino acid analyses," Bergmann "for obtaining the heart tissue during pacemaker placement," Filstein "for referring several family members" - and they sound a solid enough trio. The only trouble is that none of them actually exist; they were being invoked to prop up a series of findings which were themselves in all probability fictitious.

Deceptions as blatant as this are -as far as anyone can tell - rare in the annals of science, but they represent only one end of a broad spectrum of possible scientific cheating. At the other extreme are errors that are at least partly the product of wishful thinking or a failure to guard against bias; in between come numerous gradations of what the Victorian scientist Charles Babbage classified as "trimming" and "cooking" (manipulating the data, suppressing inconvenient facts), along with plagiarism, making bogus claims about the probable course of research and the more subtle varieties of Babbage's third category of misconduct, outright "forging."

In "False Prophets" Alexander Kohn surveys the entire field of dishonesty in the natural sciences and medicine, with a side glance at archeology, paleontology and one or two other branches of scholarship. Mr. Kohn tells his story well, and has plainly given it a great deal of thought; in addition to being professor of virology at the Tel Aviv Medical School, he is editor of the intriguingly entitled Journal of Irreproducible Results. (I wish he had said a little about what his editorial duties entail, but he does at least make it clear that the fact that an experiment is irreproducible does not necessarily mean that error or deception is involved.) There are errors, as Mr. Kohn says, that "are nothing to be ashamed of," and he begins by considering some examples - in particular, those cases of collective error where a scientist's initial mistake has been taken up and repeated by other scientists until it assumes the proportions of a mass delusion.

During the 1920's and 1930's, for instance, some 500 publications in reputable quarters were devoted to the phenomenon of "mitogenetic rays" - ultraviolet rays that were erroneously thought to be emitted by plant or animal cells while they were dividing. Mr. Kohn observes that "mythogenetic rays" might have been a better name; but he also tries to account for what it was that predisposed so many scientists to believe in them, and in subsequent mirages such as "polywater" (a supposedly anomalous form of water - one eminent authority, J. D. Bernal, referred to it as "the most important physical chemical discovery of the century") and "scotophobin" (a substance said to induce fear of darkness in rats).

Accusations of cutting corners have been leveled at several celebrated figures in the history of science, including Newton, and Mr. Kohn finds at least some of the charges well-founded. He also discusses a number of instances of charlatanism or controversial conduct in high places, ranging from the fabrications of the psychologist Cyril Burt to the dubious tactics resorted to by the physicist Robert A. Millikan in his successful pursuit of a Nobel Prize.

The case of Trofim D. Lysenko, to whom Mr. Kohn devotes a separate chapter, remains in a class by itself. Mr. Lysenko, it will be recalled, was the Soviet agronomist who led an onslaught against the science of genetics during the era of Stalin and Khrushchev; but if he is now an utterly discredited figure, it is still chilling to be reminded of how much damage he was responsible for - including the imprisonment and in some instances the death of a number of leading Soviet geneticists.

Mr. Kohn gives a fascinating account of some of the cases of indubitable, clearly documented cheating that have come to light in recent years. A few have received a great deal of publicity, like the Summerlin affair, in which skin grafts on mice were simulated by means of a felt-tip pen. Others, no less interesting, are unlikely to be widely known outside professional circles.

The expedient of the felt-tipped pen may seem childish - but then what about the psychiatrist who failed to carry out the pharmaceutical tests he reported, and who first aroused the suspicions of a Food and Drug Administration official who came to audit his data because there was nothing in his consulting room except an executive chair? (The official was forced to sit on a kindergarten chair throughout his visit.) This in turn, Mr. Kohn suggests, raises an unwelcome question - it may be that in the field of drug testing it is only the relatively inept defaulters who tend to be caught, while more skillful ones escape detection. And indeed, how widespread is scientific fraud in general? Some of the evidence Mr. Kohn cites is contradictory, but in the end he is inclined to see the problem as a fairly restricted one. He has confidence in the self-policing system of science, and he argues that if deceptions are more frequently reported than they were in the past, it is not because they occur more often but because there is more open communication between scientists and the public.


Tragedy Unfolding in Europe - Is U.S. Media Trying to Ignore It?

The cold snap in Europe, which began in late January, has killed hundreds and brought deep snow where it hasn’t been seen in decades,” says this article in the Seattle Times.

This should be front page news. Instead, the article doesn’t appear until page eight. And the title, “At least 3 killed in avalanche in Kosovo,” belies the seriousness of the situation.

How about a headline that tells it like it is? "140,000 trapped by snow – Death toll rises past 550"

That headline would give readers a glimpse of what’s really happening in Europe, where snow drifts reaching above the rooftops have kept tens of thousands of villagers prisoners in their own homes.

Now, I’ll admit that once you get past the ho-hum headline and down to the third paragraph, the Seattle Times article gets to the harsh truth.

You learn that in Montenegro, “the heaviest snow in 63 years sealed off hundreds of villages, shut down roads and railways and closed the main airport.” And you learn that “It was the biggest snowfall in the capital since 1949.”

You also learn that “boat traffic on the frozen Danube river — one of Europe’s key waterways — has been unable to move for the longest time in recent memory.” (Italics added.)

The rest of the article is quite informative, and I appreciate that.

But it’s that “cold snap” thing that bugs me. Did all of the world’s journalists go to “cold snap” school?

If temperatures go up by a hundredth of a degree they scream “global warming.” But if, heaven forbid, it’s record cold and record snow? “Well, let’s just call it a cold snap.”

Would you call it a “cold snap” when more than 100 vessels become trapped in icy waters of the Sea of Azov? That’s what Reuters called it. “A fierce cold snap with temperatures of about -25C (-13 F) caused large parts of the Azov Sea to freeze,” said Reuters.

Would you call it a “cold snap” when more than 2,000 roads in Turkey are blocked by heavy snows? That’s what the Google News headline announced. The article itself was very good, speaking of brutal cold and record low temperatures, but – “cold snap”?

Would you call it a “cold snap” when people have to cut tunnels through 15 feet of snow to get out of their homes? “Eastern Europe has been pummeled by a record-breaking cold snap,” says this otherwise great AP article.

Look at these headlines. Are these the result of a “cold snap”?

Serbia cuts power in desperate bid to prevent collapse of national grid. The country’s entire electric distribution system could collapse…

Hundreds of barns collapse in Italy. At least one million farm animals in danger of running out of food.

Villages buried under 4-5 meters of snow – Video

“23.000 people are isolated, how many people and animals have died we don’t know since nobody can reach there.”

Italian villages trapped in more than 9 feet of snow

With the death toll already at 43, another blast of freezing weather…

Danube freezes over – One of the greatest rivers in Europe

Danube wholly or partially blocked in six countries.

Most winter grain destroyed in southern and eastern Ukraine

With temperatures 12 to 17C below average, the situation in Ukraine has became serious.

European death toll rises to 480 – and counting

150 cattle killed when roofs collapse. “It seems more like a war in Europe.”

Code red for agriculture in Tuscany

“Blizzard comes and farmers tremble” – Loss rates up to 50%.

Turkey quake survivors fighting the snow

Walking 300 feet through the snow to reach the nearest toilets.

No, this is no mere cold snap. There’s a tragedy unfolding in Europe, and the world needs to know.


German Public Television Sends Message To Vahrenholt And Skeptics: “You Belong In The Sewer!”

Germans have been "Green" at least since the 19th century, perhaps because they are still not far removed from their forest-dwelling ancestors. When Rome was civilized, they were still primitive war-loving tribesmen. Be that as it may, the Nazis were Green romantics and so are large numbers of Germans today. So they have taken to Warmism like ducks to water. So when their dream is threatened in any way, German Warmists spit incoherent fury

Germany’s media is sick and intolerant at times, seemingly continuing a once infamous tradition [Nazism].

Yesterday NDR German public television had an interview with Fritz Vahrenholt, co-author with Sebastian Lüning of the bestselling book Die kalte Sonne now sweeping through Germany. The NDR piece is dubbed: “Vahrenholt and the ‘CO2 lies’”. The clip first introduces the climate topic and reminds viewers that “that man is causing global warming and storms.”

NDR first questions Hartmut Grassl and Jochem Marotzke, both of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. Grassl, obviously agitated by Vahrenholt’s skeptical book, crossly replies: " Ach, actually I have no desire to comment on such nonsense.”

If you listen closely, you’ll hear a burst of laughter from some hyena in the background. Jochem Marotzke also takes the same snobby attitude: No one should question AGW. Why the indignant reaction from Marotzke and Grassl? One can only speculate.

Suppressing open debate

Perhaps they feel that a chemistry professor (Vahrenholt) and a geologist (Lüning) have no business doubting their science. But my guess is that they are completely embarrassed, and thus terrified, about having been duped by what is turning out today to be a really dumb and simplistic hypothesis: climate trace gas CO2 rules the climate and other factors play no role. These two scientific men bought into the global warming end-of-the-world catastrophe hook, line and sinker. They have absolutely no desire to have all this exposed by an open debate.

And as Lüning writes at the Die kalte Sonne site here: "One gets the sense they are now trying harder than ever to suppress debate.”

NDR could not resist delivering a low blow to Vahrenholt. The used old footage of him when he was Environment Senator for Hamburg over 20 years ago. The footage shows the young Vahrenholt climbing down through a manhole while the reporter says: “He has opted to descend into another world.” NDR’s message to the viewers is clear: “Skeptics belong in the sewers". Now you know how nasty things can get in Germany.

The NDR interview with Vahrenholt was otherwise well handled.

During the interview, Vahrenholt’s calls out the major error made by the IPCC, not properly taking the sun and ocean currents into account, and falsely assigning all the warming to CO2 from 1980 to 2000. ARD asked Vahrenholt to respond to Mojib Latif’s recent criticism, also indignant. Vahrenholt replied. “He really ought to first read the book.”

They all should read the book. From their comments, it’s clear that they haven’t, and they seem stunningly ignorant of the latest science – or they simply just don’t want to talk about it.

Good news! The book is selling like hot cakes – no. 14 on bestseller list

Here’s a little anecdote. I live in a small town and four weeks ago I ordered two copies of “Die kalte Sonne” from our local bookshop here in town – one for myself and one for the bookshop display window, which the owner kindly allowed. I told the owner that the book was highly controversial and politically incorrect. “What do you mean?” he asked. I told him “the book doesn’t believe in the climate catastrophe!” He just laughed.

Today the bookshop owner sent me a message to let me know that “Die kalte Sonne” is now on the Spiegel bestseller list and that customers have been snapping them up, and that he’s been ordering more copies. Then he told me on the phone that once a book is on the Spiegel bestseller list, then sales pick up. So expect tens of thousands of copies to be sold nationwide!


Green taxes add 15% to Britain's energy bills: Government finally admits how much more families pay to meet emissions targets

Electricity prices are 15 per cent more expensive than they should be because of green policies, Whitehall officials have admitted. Energy costs for hard-pressed consumers have been pushed up by extra charges imposed to help the Government meet pledges to cut carbon emissions.

Projections in Whitehall show that by 2020, the burden for electricity will be an astonishing 27 per cent more than it would otherwise have been. The figure for gas will be 7 per cent higher. The added expense could add up to £200 to the average energy bill by 2020 – unless householders dramatically cut the amount of power they use.

The green taxes will boost energy made from renewable sources by building vast wind farms, nuclear power stations, more solar panels and a new pylon network.

The Coalition claims the taxes will not necessarily push up bills as consumers will cut heating costs thanks to better insulation. But consumer groups insist it is very unlikely that people will be able to cut their energy use enough to keep bills stable.

The paper from the Department for Energy and Climate Change also raises the threat of a ‘high price’ scenario under which wholesale energy prices soar by more than expected. They have calculated that in eight years, the combination of green taxes and wholesale price rises could push electricity prices up by as much as 36 per cent from 2010 levels. Gas costs could rocket by 44 per cent.

If people do not slash their energy use, this ‘high-price scenario’ would see the average gas bill hit £997 and that for electricity soar to £812.

This leaves consumers needing to find more than £500 more than last year when average household bills were around £600 for electricity and £660 for gas.

Emma Boon, for the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said last night: ‘Plans for draconian climate regulations and expensive renewable energy subsidies are going to drive gigantic increases in energy bills in the next decade. ‘Politicians have tried to play down the cost of these green policies but independent estimates have made it clear that there is going to be an affordability crisis. ‘The Government needs to reform climate policy to make it more affordable and not ignore the plight of families facing huge pressure on living standards.’

Clare Francis, site editor at, said: ‘There is no doubt the trend for energy prices is up. ‘The only way people can make savings is to switch to a more competitive pricing plan, which will save them around £200 a year, and reduce energy use and make their homes more energy efficient. ‘Those who do nothing will just see their energy bills climb year after year. Now is the time to fight back as there are simple things people can do to offset rising prices.’

The DECC paper compares the price of a kilowatt hour of electricity in 2011 with what it would have been without climate change policies. Without the green measures, it was 13p but with them in place, it was 14.9p per kWhr, 15 per cent higher. Projections show that by 2020, the differential rises to 27 per cent: 14.4p without green policies and 18.3p with.

If people continue to use the current average of 4 megawatt hours per year, this means green policies will add £156 to the typical electricity bill.

The paper also includes a nightmare ‘high-price’ scenario, where wholesale prices are higher than expected. This could push electricity prices to 20.3p per kWhr in 2020.

The situation is similar for gas, according to DECC’s document which was published late last year. In 2011, gas prices were 4.1p per kWhr, 5 per cent more than they would have been without the green policies. By 2020, the differential rises to 7 per cent: 4.4p without green policies and 4.7p with. If people continue to use the current 16.9 MWhr average, this green differential will increase gas bills by £50 a year.

The projection says gas prices will rise by 15 per cent from 2011 to 2020. But under the ‘high wholesale price’ scenario, gas could cost 5.9p per kWhr in 2020, up 44 per cent.

Other projections on the DECC website show that premium unleaded petrol could breach the 140p per litre barrier as early as 2016. Under the ‘high-price’ scenario, petrol will cost 140.9p a litre in 2016 and 160p by 2028.

A department spokesman said retail energy prices would increase until 2030 ‘driven largely by rising wholesale and network costs and, to a lesser extent, energy and climate change policies’. He added: ‘Our policies will help us become less vulnerable to rises in fossil fuel prices and help people to use energy more efficiently in their homes and businesses.

‘If we don’t invest now to reduce our energy use and our dependence on fossil fuels in the long term, if we have to rely on ever-more expensive imports and leave ourselves at the mercy of international oil and gas prices, the impact on bills will be worse.’


A-fracking we will go, says China

China inching closer to shale gas production. The use of controversial hydraulic fracking is required to tap the gas hidden in shale stone underground. A look at the world's largest shale gas deposits. Infographic from Reuters.

The Chinese government will step into fifth gear this year when it comes exploring for natural gas hidden under thick shale rock beneath the earth’s surface, an official said over the weekend. China’s been promising to move forward on shale gas production for the past two years.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said Sunday that China will strengthen the survey and appraisal of shale gas in 2012 to expedite discovery and development of China shale deposits. The move comes after the recent approval of the State Council in the capital to list shale gas as an independent mineral resource. China is slowly moving towards producing shale gas.

Currently, the country does not have any shale natural gas production, adding to the country’s overall lack of natural gas in its energy matrix. China’s rough terrain and lack of technological know-how has kept it out of the shale gas biz. The country is largely beholden to coal to keep the lights on.

China’s Ministry of Land estimates the country holds around 31 trillion cubic meters of natural gas hidden under shale, equivalent to the total amount of conventional natural gas. If developed, the country’s shale gas output could exceed 100 billion cubic meters by 2020, Land Ministry’s second in command, Wang Min, told reporters during a national geological survey conference in Beijing this weekend.

China’s reserves are almost 50% greater than those of the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Shale gas is natural gas trapped within shale rock formations deeper under ground. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum and natural gas.

At the end of of 2011, China energy majors Sinopec (SNP) and Cnooc (CEO) have expressed interest in acquiring a 30% stake in privately held Texas-based fracking company Frac Tech International to operate in the U.S. If that deal ever closed, China would gain the necessarily expertise to pursue shale gas exploration at home.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


18 February, 2012

The half-eyed Andrew Revkin -- writer for the similarly encumbered NYT

(It would be too much praise to call him one eyed)

Andy Revkin, on his Dot Earth blog, attempts to draw comparisons between Climategate and the Heartland release of documents, and chastises Heartland for not reacting to the Climategate release in the same way as to that of their own documents:
[Quoting from Heartland press release] “But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.”

Wouldn’t it have been great if a similar message had some from the group and its allies after the mass release of e-mails and files from the University of East Anglia climatic research center in 2009 and last year — documents that skeptics quickly and repeatedly over-interpreted as a damning “Climategate”? That hasn’t been Heartland’s approach.

Whilst there are aspects we should frown upon in both cases (release of confidential documents without authority – although I note that the Liberal media, to which the NYT makes a substantial contribution, rarely get so steamed up about Wikileaks, but that’s another issue), there are huge differences.

Let me make a few obvious points:

* Whereas the Heartland documents relate to a relatively small amount of funding for a handful of sceptics, the Climategate documents cast doubt on the integrity of “consensus” climate science as an entire discipline;

* Funding for sceptics is literally microscopic compared to the massive swill trough available for the consensus, but more importantly, and irrespective of that, the suggestion that any reputable scientist can be bought for a few bucks is offensive (on both sides of the debate);

* Whereas sceptics have minimal influence on policy (at present at least), the consensus influence is significant, since the majority of national governments have subscribed to the politicised, and alarmist, UN/IPCC process;

* Whereas the Heartland documents reveal little of substance regarding the discipline of climate science, the Climategate emails reveal: a concerted effort to manipulate and/or suppress inconvenient data; a desire to minimise uncertainty in order to maintain a consistent political “message”; attempts to subvert and corrupt the peer-review process; and, evidence of destruction of documents and correspondence in contravention of FOI requirements.

* UEA is a publicly funded institution, which, as a result, should be thoroughly transparent in its operations, whereas Heartland is a purely private organisation which does not draw upon the public purse.

Wow, they really are almost in the same league, aren’t they, Andy?

The eagerness with which these documents were seized upon by the smear blogs [by the way, from where does the funding for those come? - Ed] reveals the desperation at work behind the scenes.


Forget about SUVs. Now its shimp that are the big villains!

MEASURED by environmental impact, a humble shrimp cocktail could be the most costly part of a typical restaurant meal, scientists said.

If the seafood is produced on a typical Asian fish farm, a 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving "has an ecosystem carbon footprint of an astounding 198 kilograms (436 pounds) of CO2," biologist J. Boone Kauffman said. A one-pound (454-gram) bag of frozen shrimp produces one ton of carbon dioxide, said Kauffman, who is based at Oregon State University and conducts research in Indonesia.

He told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that he developed the comparison to help the public understand the environmental impact of land use decisions.

Kauffman said 50 to 60 percent of shrimp farms are located in tidal zones in Asian countries, mostly on cleared mangrove forests.

"The carbon footprint of the shrimp from this land use is about 10-fold greater than the land use carbon footprint of an equivalent amount of beef produced from a pasture formed from a tropical rainforest," wrote Kauffman in a paper released to AFP, not including emissions from farm development, feeds, supplements, processing, storing and shipping.

The farms are inefficient, producing just one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of shrimp for 13.4 square meters (five square miles) of mangrove, while the ponds created are abandoned in just three to nine years because disease, soil acidification and contamination destroy them, he wrote. After abandonment, the soil takes 35 to 40 years to recover, he said. [Nothing that some superphosphate fertilizer could not fix! But that is probably evil too]

Emily Pidgeon of Conservation International said intact mangrove forests are of value in protecting the coastal ecosystems and communities against storms and tsunamis, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 that killed some 230,000 people.

The problem, she said, is the value of intact mangroves is hard to measure, and most of the shrimp farms are in impoverished areas that cannot easily afford conservation. "It's difficult to find the financing to do it, or the political will," she said, adding Kauffman's carbon measurements provide another argument in favor of protection.

The catchy shrimp cocktail estimate is part of the relatively new field in science and economics called ecosystem services, which uses models to measure the value to human communities, in economic terms, of forests, grassland, waterways and even the air.

"To present how deforestation and land cover change contribute to global climate change in a comprehensible manner, we change the scale of greenhouse gas emissions from global to personal scales," wrote Kauffman.


Still crazy after all these years: New York Times editorial claims that CO2 is "the most dangerous greenhouse gas"

From: A Second Front in the Climate War -

"Governments everywhere should obviously be pushing to reduce carbon dioxide, the most dangerous greenhouse gas. In the meantime, opening an important second front in the climate war will demonstrate that progress is possible."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

No evidence that controversial 'fracking' technique pollutes drinking water, say scientists

There is no evidence that the controversial ‘fracking’ technique used to extract natural gas trapped in rocks deep beneath the ground pollutes drinking water, scientists said last night.

Supports of hydraulic fracturing say that the exploiting natural resources would cut energy costs and create new jobs.

Shale gas accounts for almost a quarter of the natural gas supply in the U.S.

In Britain, Lancashire is sitting one of Europe’s biggest reserves, with enough fuel to last 50 years, plug the looming energy shortfall caused by reduced North Sea gas supplies and create more than 5,000 jobs.

But opponents of fracking claim it pollutes water supplies, harms health and even causes earthquakes.

Their concerns relate to the technique used to remove the gas, which is much harder to extract than its North Sea counterpart.

During the fracking process, the shale is drilled into horizontally, and water, gas and chemicals pumped in at high pressure, causing the rock to shatter and allowing the gas to escape.

To separate fact from fiction, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin sifted through scientific and other literature on the safety of three large shale gas sites in the US.

They concluded that there is no evidence that fracking directly contaminates groundwater and any pollution is more likely to be due to above-ground spills of water produced by the drilling process.

Reports that the chemicals used in fracking cause leukaemia and other health problems are largely anecdotal, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in Vancouver heard.

The scientists not address the potential to cause earthquakes but a recent British report blamed the technique for two tremors that hit the Blackpool area last year.

That probe added the mini-quakes were caused by an ‘unusual combination of factors’ and would be unlikely to recur elsewhere.


Native Alaskans Snubbed: Will Obama’s EPA ‘Keystone’ the Pebble Mine Project?

Native Alaskans are being snubbed by the Obama Administration’s EPA. All an Alaska Native consortium wanted was a chance to ask Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director Lisa Jackson for assurance their villages and native culture will be preserved. They were denied the opportunity which in turn denies the opportunity for jobs in an area in the midst of devastating economic depression.

Abe Williams and Lisa Reimers of Nuna Resources (an Alaska Native consortium) went to Washington last week with a very reasonable request. They had written and asked for a meeting with EPA Director Lisa Jackson to talk with her about the Pebble Mine Project in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska.

You see, they represent the area of Alaska that is most affected by whether or not the enormous copper deposit is harvested. The situation for the tribes of that area is dire. The Native Alaskans of the area have little opportunity, and so many are leaving behind their homes and community to seek opportunity elsewhere. The migration away from the area is decimating the Native Alaskan culture, traditions and community. Without opportunity, few will be left to pass the traditions along to subsequent generations.

Williams and Reimers went to Washington to ask for the opportunity to save their community and culture. They didn’t ask for an bail-out. All they asked for was fair hearings for the Pebble Limited Partnership.
Nuna Resources and its native village constituency want to allow impartial scientific studies to build the Pebble Mine near their homes and villages. The natives do not specifically endorse the mine, which would exploit the largest known ore body of copper on the planet. But they want its proposed developer, the Pebble Limited Partnership, to be given a fair hearing for its claims of environmental and cultural protection on Native traditional lands.

Jackson would not even give Williams and Reimers a meeting. The EPA’s emailed reply their request for one — on Feb. 6, 7 or 8 — came just two days before their already-scheduled flights: “While the Administrator greatly appreciates this request, she will unfortunately be unavailable.”

If the Pebble Mine Project is safe, then they can have jobs and a chance to save their community. It would seem that fair hearings would be a very reasonable and rational request. Unfortunately for Williams, Reimers and the Native Alaskan community they represent, that doesn’t fit the party line. Their request was denied.

You have to HAVE ‘green’ to BE ‘green’ and no one is giving Nuna Resources millions of dollars like is being filtered through to the radical environmentalists. The monied left and well-heeled environmentalists don’t have a problem having their voices heard. They are backed by big money to fund AstroTurf faux outrage through groups like ‘Stop Pebble Mine’ and ‘Save Bristol Bay’. They have almost unlimited funding for advertising and public relations (propaganda?) from the millions donated by the likes of Gordon Moore of Intel, Tiffany Company Foundation and Brainerd Foundation who funnel money through anti-development Big Green groups like Natural Resources Defense Council, Trout Unlimited and EarthWorks.

While the Native Alaskans of the area are facing devastating economic hardships (paying $9 for a gallon of milk and $8 for a gallon of gas!) environmentalists are loudly declaring that harvesting the ample supplies of copper in the area will endanger the native salmon. The radical left ignores the reality of the situation. The area can have their fish and their jobs as well. The Pebble Mine study has just been released. The exhaustive scientific study conducted over 7-years at a cost of $150 million using more than 40 respected independent research firms represents the company’s commitment to protecting the fish and the environment as an integral part of the project.

Is it really better to get our copper from China than from Alaska? Will China be more concerned with protecting the environment than Americans? I think not. It seems to be more of a ‘not in my backyard’ kind of argument. We have to have copper so it will come from somewhere. Why insist it come from somewhere without the regulations and restrictions that will undoubtedly be MORE damaging to the environment? That’s irrational and counterproductive to the very cause they claim to embrace. But when has reason ever stopped a good money-making ’cause’. Buckets of money, in fact.

The problem is that while it’s a ‘feel good’ issue for many of the environmentalist – you know, stand up and make a big stand about something that you only know anything about at a very shallow level – its being done standing on the necks of the people who live in the area. The native people are suffering so some environmentalists can feel like their lives have meaning or some of the major financial backers can have even more money in their own portfolios.

In reality, mining copper and gold from the Pebble Mine Project in Alaska is a win-win situation for everyone involved (other than those who have a financial interest in stopping it). It is better for the environment (as opposed to getting the copper from somewhere else), it already is providing jobs in Alaska and will provide tens of thousands of jobs in the long run in a depressed area of the country and it will provide American’s copper at a better price than if it were bought from other countries.

Seriously, what is the downside?

The problem is that it flies in the face of the monied environmentalists that Obama is courting for his re-election campaign. He’s playing nice with the environmentalists while America jobs are being lost and the environment damaged by having us obtain copper from countries where how it is extracted from the Earth is not so well monitored.

Unless something is done, Obama and his environmentally radical EPA will ‘Keystone’ the Pebble mine project.


Australia's Green rules deterring new home builders

FAR Northern home buyers are avoiding building new houses because of the cost of government sustainability requirements. That's the findings of the latest Master Builders Regional Survey of Industry Conditions report for the December quarter.

Nearly half the builders surveyed found the increased cost of new housing over existing homes was deterring people from buying or building. "The raft of new requirements (six star, water tanks, etc) imposed on new housing in recent years has added substantially to the cost of building a new home," the report said.

"There are real concerns that the introduction of the carbon tax will further aggravate the differential and encourage people to choose established homes over new homes, despite the fact that the environmental performance of new homes is frequently superior to many older homes."

Master Builders Cairns regional manager Ron Bannah said the extra costs imposed by government requirements were becoming "a real issue". He said water tanks were a waste of money in the Far North. A $7000 3000 litre water tank took less than an hour to fill in a monsoonal downpour and then overflowed, Mr Bannah said.

He said the lack of ventilation in new homes, such as fewer windows and airflow in the roof, because of insulation and other sustainability demands, was causing mould.

Mr Bannah said a carbon tax would add up to $9000 to the cost of a $450,000-$500,000 home.

The waste levy for dumping material from blocks of land was another cost of $30 a metre. "It used to be a $500 exercise, now it's at least three times that," he said.

Dixon Homes managing director Andrew Thomas said most new home buyers accepted the increases as part of the overall price of homes.

He said it was causing people to consider an established home but many still preferred a new home because of lower maintenance costs and they were more energy efficient and modern.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


17 February, 2012

Donations to Heartland

The most shocking revelation to me from the "leaked" Heartland documents is how little money they receive to do the massive tasks they undertake. I therefore urge readers to donate something to help them. The donation page is here. As I am always one to put my money where my mouth is, I have just sent them $2,500, although I am nowhere near being "rich" as defined by Obama.

Heartland fisks the NYT

The hate-oozing NYT story here. Heartland comments in square brackets

Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science

[Actually, we’ve produced more sound research on climate change than all but a very small number of very elite government and university-based organizations. Climate Change Reconsidered alone is 2 volumes totaling more than 1,200 pages of pure science and economic analysis.]

is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools,

[Actually, we’re trying to make the “teaching of global warming” much more rigorous by replacing propaganda and agenda-driven rhetoric with real science]

the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars.

[“Culture wars”? we aren’t part of the religious right!! I suspect the reporter has a key programmed to spit out this line whenever writing about a “conservative” group!]

The documents, from a nonprofit organization in Chicago called the Heartland Institute, outline plans to promote a curriculum that would cast doubt on the scientific finding that fossil fuel emissions endanger the long-term welfare of the planet. “Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective,” one document said.

[Actually, we’re sharing the real opinions of real scientists on the causes, consequences, and likely future trajectory of climate change, and of economists and other policy experts on what should be done about it, if anything. And of course principals and teachers are biased… most are liberal Democrats, and large majorities of liberal Democrats believe in man-made global warming.]

While the documents offer a rare glimpse of the internal thinking motivating the campaign against climate science, defenders of science education were preparing for battle even before the leak. Efforts to undermine climate-science instruction are beginning to spread across the country, they said, and they fear a long fight similar to that over the teaching of evolution in public schools.

[“A rare glimpse”? We’ve been completely open about our efforts to oppose global warming alarmism, writing repeatedly about it in our newsletter the Heartlander, in our monthly public policy newspaper Environment & Climate News, in the prefaces of the two volumes of Climate Change Reconsidered, and many other places. The lamestream media have censored us, completely refused to report on our activities, and now they report a “rare glimpse” of what we’re up to? Please! We’ve hosted 6 international conferences attended by over 3,000 people. I’ve given opening remarks at every one. What we are doing is no secret, in fact has been highly effective.]

In a statement, the Heartland Institute acknowledged that some of its internal documents had been stolen. But it said its president had not had time to read the versions being circulated on the Internet on Tuesday and Wednesday and was therefore not in a position to say whether they had been altered.

Heartland did declare one two-page document to be a forgery, although its tone and content closely matched that of other documents that the group did not dispute.

[This is a false statement that we will demand be retracted. There is no “match.” The forged memo attributes motives and describes projects that are purely mythical and totally false.]

In an apparent confirmation that much of the material, more than 100 pages, was authentic, the group apologized to donors whose names became public as a result of the leak.

[We are apologizing because some donors were named, not because the document is authentic. We do not yet know if this document, and others that were stolen, have been modified before they were posted.]

The documents included many details of the group’s operations, including salaries, recent personnel actions and fund-raising plans and setbacks. They were sent by e-mail to leading climate activists this week by someone using the name “Heartland insider” and were quickly reposted to many climate-related Web sites.

[The stolen and forged documents were immediately posted, apparently by DeSmogBlog within HOURS of the forged document being written, with no effort made to contact us to assess their authenticity. Some were plainly marked “confidential,” and they were obviously stolen documents. It was an extreme lapse of journalistic ethics, and in some cases probably a criminal act, for many bloggers and “journalists” to do this. DeSmogBlog continues to keep the documents on its Web site.]

Heartland said the documents were not from an insider but were obtained by a caller pretending to be a board member of the group who was switching to a new e-mail address. “We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes,” the organization said.

Although best-known nationally for its attacks on climate science, Heartland styles itself as a libertarian organization with interests in a wide range of public-policy issues. The documents say that it expects to raise $7.7 million this year.

[“Styles itself”? We in fact address a wide range of topics, and always have. Our work on climate change is less than a quarter of our annual budget. We are major players on school reform, health care reform, and telecom issues. Geeze!]

The documents raise questions about whether the group has undertaken partisan political activities, a potential violation of federal tax law governing nonprofit groups. For instance, the documents outline “Operation Angry Badger,” a plan to spend $612,000 to influence the outcome of recall elections and related fights this year in Wisconsin over the role of public-sector unions.

[We are doing educational programs on Wisconsin’s collective bargaining reform, which is obviously within our 501(c)3 designation.]

Tax lawyers said Wednesday that tax-exempt groups were allowed to undertake some types of lobbying and political education, but that because they are subsidized by taxpayers, they are prohibited from direct involvement in political campaigns.

[Absolutely nothing in the memo suggested or implied “direct involvement in political campaigns.” This is a red herring, a slur masquerading as an “observation.”]

The documents also show that the group has received money from some of the nation’s largest corporations, including several that have long favored action to combat climate change.

The documents typically say that those donations were earmarked for projects unrelated to climate change, like publishing right-leaning newsletters on drug and technology policy. Nonetheless, several of the companies hastened on Wednesday to disassociate themselves from the organization’s climate stance.

“We absolutely do not endorse or support their views on the environment or climate change,” said Sarah Alspach, a spokeswoman for GlaxoSmithKline, a multinational drug company shown in the documents as contributing $50,000 in the past two years to support a medical newsletter.

A spokesman for Microsoft, another listed donor, said that the company believes that “climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate worldwide action.” The company is shown in the documents as having contributed $59,908 last year to a Heartland technology newsletter. But the Microsoft spokesman, Mark Murray, said the gift was not a cash contribution but rather the value of free software, which Microsoft gives to thousands of nonprofit groups.

[Gosh, maybe Heartland really does devote three-quarters of its efforts to issues other than global warming, which is why three-quarters of its donors have no interest in global warming. But no, that possibility was rejected earlier.]

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Heartland documents was what they did not contain: evidence of contributions from the major publicly traded oil companies, long suspected by environmentalists of secretly financing efforts to undermine climate science.

[The one and only completely truthful line in this article.]

But oil interests were nonetheless represented. The documents say that the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation contributed $25,000 last year and was expected to contribute $200,000 this year. Mr. Koch is one of two brothers who have been prominent supporters of libertarian causes as well as other charitable endeavors. They control Koch Industries, one of the country’s largest private companies and a major oil refiner.

[Why not report, as others have, that the $25,000 gift was earmarked for our work on health care, not climate change? Or that the increase is similarly expected to be earmarked for health care reform?]

The documents suggest that Heartland has spent several million dollars in the past five years in its efforts to undermine climate science, much of that coming from a person referred to repeatedly in the documents as “the Anonymous Donor.” A guessing game erupted Wednesday about who that might be.

[Our mission is not to “undermine climate science,” and even a superficial examination of our corpus of work should persuade anyone with half a brain that we are sincere. Our mission is to report climate science (and economics) more objectively than the environmentalists and left-wing nuts who are using the issue to support their legislative agendas.]

The documents say that over four years ending in 2013, the group expects to have spent some $1.6 million on financing the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, an entity that publishes periodic reports attacking climate science and holds lavish annual conferences. (Environmental groups refer to the conferences as “Denialpalooza.”)

[It’s astounding that this would appear in a “news” story. We are not “attacking climate science,” we are defending it from advocates of an unrelated social and economic agenda. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate change (NIPCC) does not “host lavish annual conferences.” I’m not sure it has ever held a conference. Heartland, though, has hosted 6 international conferences. And the only organization that calls these conferences “Denialpalooza” is DeSmogBlog, which is not an environmental group but a for-profit PR firm created to attack conservatives and libertarians.]

Heartland’s latest idea, the documents say, is a plan to create a curriculum for public schools intended to cast doubt on mainstream climate science and budgeted at $200,000 this year. The curriculum would claim, for instance, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”

It is in fact not a scientific controversy. The vast majority of climate scientists say that emissions generated by humans are changing the climate and putting the planet at long-term risk, although they are uncertain about the exact magnitude of that risk. Whether and how to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases has become a major political controversy in the United States, however.

[The first clause is simply false. No survey of climate scientists exists that supports this claim. The second part is honest – there is extensive uncertainty about how much risk and whether it merits action. This is a rare admission by the New York Times.]

The National Center for Science Education, a group that has had notable success in fighting for accurate teaching of evolution in the public schools, has recently added climate change to its agenda in response to pleas from teachers who say they feel pressure to water down the science.

[Great, another left-wing organization wants to politicize curriculum. Heartland has never commented on the teaching of evolution, and we want to upgrade, not “water down,” how climate is taught in schools.]

Received via email

The leaked "Heartland" documents have certainly showed us SOME things -- about the dimness, dishonesty and inconsistency of Warmists

It looks increasingly like the Heartland Institute strategy document that is making gleeful rounds of climate alarm blogs is a fake — Heartland claims it is such, and details about the document and its metadata seem to confirm this. But just because a document is fake does not mean there is not a lot to learn from it, both about its authors and the reaction of those who received it. I want to offer two bits of learning from this episode.

One reason I am fairly certain the document is fake is this line from the supposed skeptic strategy document: "His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science."

For those of us at least somewhat inside the tent of the skeptic community, particularly the science-based ones Heartland has supported in the past, the goal of “dissuading teachers from teaching science” is a total disconnect. I have never had any skeptic in even the most private of conversations even hint at such a goal. The skeptic view is that science education vis a vis climate and other environmental matters tends to be shallow, or one-sided, or politicized — in other words broken in some way and needing repair. In this way, most every prominent skeptic that works even a bit in the science/data end of things believes him or herself to be supporting, helping, and fixing science. In fact, many skeptics believe that the continued positive reception of catastrophic global warming theory is a function of the general scientific illiteracy of Americans and points to a need for more and better science education

The only people who believe skeptics are anti-science per se, and therefore might believe skeptics would scheme to dissuade teachers from teaching science, are the more political alarmists (a good example was posted today right here at Forbes, which you might want to contrast with this). For years, I presume partially in an effort to avoid debate, certain alarmists have taken the ad hominem position that skeptics are anti-science. And many probably well-meaning alarmists believe this about skeptics (since they may have not actually met any skeptics to know differently). The person who wrote this fake memo almost had to be an alarmist, and probably was of the middling, more junior sort, the type of person who does not craft the talking points but is a recipient of them and true believer.

Coming back to the the Heartland papers, let’s consider in this context of media mono-culture the example of Andy Revkin. Revkin is a journalist at the New York Times and proprietor of the Dot Earth blog, which frequently discusses climate issues. A couple of years ago Mr. Revkin refused to publish anything from the infamous “Climategate” emails (consisting of communications mainly between a number of scientists at and associated with East Anglia University on their climate work). He argued that these were stolen documents and he was not going to post any of them. Fair enough. But just this week, after having the documents in his hands for just a few minutes, Revkin immediately began tweeting out and publishing details of the stolen Heartland documents.

What’s the difference? Perhaps there is some reason I have not yet heard that made one fair game and one off-limits. But it certainly appears that Revkin, who is undeniably sympathetic to the alarmist side, made this decision based on his “biases” rather than any real news difference.

Don’t misunderstand me — I don’t have a problem with the New York Times employing an opinion blogger with an opinion, or that this opinion is different than mine. But it appears that the New York Times missed a big story (Climategate) and got suckered by a fake story (Heartland) because no one in the Times has a worldview on climate much different from Revkin’s.

Postscript #2: If the strategy memo turns out to be fake as I believe it to be, I am starting the countdown now for the Dan-Rather-esque “fake but accurate” defense of the memo — ie, “Well, sure, the actual document was faked but we all know it represents what these deniers are really thinking.” This has become a mainstay of post-modern debate, where facts matter less than having the politically correct position.

Update #1: Is Revkin himself seeking to win my fake-but-accurate race? When presented with the fact that he may have published a fake memo, Revkin wrote: "looking back, it could well be something that was created as a way to assemble the core points in the batch of related docs".

It sounds like he is saying that while the memo is faked, it may have been someones attempt to summarize real Heartland documents. Fake but accurate! By the way, I don’t think he has any basis for this supposition, as no other documents have come to light with stuff like “we need to stop teachers from teaching science.”

Update #2: Megan McArdle has this observation about the style of the strategy memo in question

"The memo, by contrast, uses more negative language about the efforts it’s describing, while trying to sound like they think it’s positive. It’s like the opposition political manifestos found in novels written by stolid ideologues; they can never quite bear (or lack the imagination) to let the villains have a good argument. Switch the names, and the memo could have been a page ripped out of State of Fear or Atlas Shrugged. Basically, it reads like it was written from the secret villain lair in a Batman comic. By an intern."

Like I said, useful, though not to understand Heartland’s world view, but to understand that of certain alarmists.


Hey Media – Skeptics are Scientists Too

Jeff Condon

I suppose I’m old enough not to be surprised by the behavior of the media anymore, but this garbage coverage of the Heartland scandal has done it again. The media has flatly ignored that the point of the funding for SKEPTICS was to put the temperature data on line. That’s it!! Put it up where people without a computer background can plot it, see it and understand it. How is that nefarious or anti-science in any way? I’ll answer – it isn’t!

You don’t have to wonder why blogs exist and why Fox News is taking over the news market. People want information, not distortions. Every article I run across has the same tone, the same ‘gotcha’ punch lines about skeptics and the poor naive scientists who were misrepresented in Climategate. They feed this garbage to the public in droves and wonder why their ad revenues drop like stones. It isn’t the paper or internet which is killing the media, it is what they put on it.

So when it is shown that the ‘primary’ leaked Heartland document with the main message is a complete forgery, where are the media reporters now? Where are the retractions? How about a simple investigation of the headers?

In the same place that the nefarious act of publishing the NOAA temperature data is. In the circular bin or the janitorial closet of the New York Times where it won’t see the light of day. There is no need to apologize to conservative groups after all, only to groups that push the correct politics like Media Matters or GreenPeace.

Even though I am regularly disappointed with the biased media coverage of things like Climategate, this time the unprofessional behavior is pretty special. They are only attacking the report because a small amount of money is being donated to a climate skeptic blogger who just happens to be a weather professional!! There is no attempt by the media to recognize that the money was to be put to use to place the primary data, the temperature data so central to the AGW message, on line. Any motivation on the part of the individual after that should be moot. The media and propaganda blogs like DeSmog should be proud to have the dataset on line and pleased that Heartland would invest that money for the common good.

We all should recognize that putting the information on line in a usable fashion, is a strongly pro-science endeavor.

When we read media articles about skeptics, they typically paint us as though we are non-technical, uninformed and motivated by our politics over our minds. “Skeptics need to get real, and do something about climate”, they say. This is despite the in-your-face reality that the IPCC represents exactly those political qualities. The truth is that most of us are technical people from other fields who like to discuss the details of the data and many have realized that there just isn’t much to be alarmed about! Climate Science has failed to alarm us. We are chemists, engineers, programmers, physicists, astronomers, medical professionals, meteorologists, statisticians and even climate scientists. We are not the ones who are uninformed in the debate, we are the ones who are qualified to read the science and where appropriate – disagree. Since we are unfunded by the government for climate and often better statisticians, I would even say we are more qualified to judge the science than those embroiled in the highly funded political morass of “getting the world to do something”. See Real Climate blog for a perfect example of the politics behind climate science.

We read articles from advocate media every day. They are very consistent, and very wrong about people like Anthony Watts. Not much exposes the bias of Climate Science more than the media-wide unabashed smear campaign against him for doing the right thing with data.

I guess I’m still not so jaded that I cannot be surprised. They keep working on it though.


I Heart Heartland

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The unauthorized release of supposedly scandalous Heartland Institute documents has been pretty thoroughly addressed on many blogs over the last day or so. The documents are being used in an attempt to “expose” a “well-funded” “climate denial machine”, which is laughable on several levels.

The only document involved that could be viewed as damning in any way is almost certainly a fake. The others are fairly boring, unless you really are surprised that any organization would take (very modest) donations to explore alternative hypotheses on the subject of global warming and climate change.

Supporting alternative hypotheses in science…what a scandal!

Only fringe lunatic save-the-Earth-by-killing-everyone-but-me types could really believe that any organization would actually promote “dissuading teachers from teaching science”. The person who wrote this obviously fraudulent Heartland goal clearly knows little about science or what kind of organization Heartland is.

That so many media outlets (especially the Guardian) ran with the story without checking its veracity is another black eye for what passes as journalism these days.

I know Joe Bast, the president and CEO of Heartland. He is of the highest character and intelligence, and I would consider his motives on the climate subject to be at or above anyone I have met in this business, on either side of the issue. This is why I agree to take part in the Heartland climate conferences, for less than half of my normal speaking fee. I don’t necessarily agree with all the science and ideas presented there, but I would rather it be presented and discussed than be censored, which is the U.N. IPCC’s modus operandi.

The last conference even showcased a debate between me (a “luke-warmer”, I’m told) and a scientist-supporter of the IPCC position. That’s a level of openness you will not find on the IPCC’s side of the issue.

The real scandal is that it took a private organization like Heartland to compile the hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific publications which suggest that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might not be a problem for humanity or the biosphere. This is what the IPCC should have done, if it had any scientific objectivity.

I hope that this hoax backfires on the person who started it. I hope it leads to even more donations to Heartland, which has played the role of David in its battle against the Goliath multi-billion dollar climate alarmist machine.


International Scientists & Economists Expose Biofuels Boondoggle

John O'Sullivan

The insanity of the biofuel boondoggle is devastatingly exposed in coordinated new action by international scientists and economists. Over 200 experts with Phd's in climate, energy and economics have put their names to a damning statement issued to European policymakers to abandon biofuels and avert a spiraling worldwide food crisis (H/T: Dr. Matthias Kleespies).

The backdrop to the latest plea for sanity is a 21st Century world of cooling temperatures and extraordinarily vast new oil and gas finds that confound last century 'peak oil' and man-made global warming fears. The experts' letter to the European Commission entitled, 'International Scientists and Economists Statement on Biofuels and Land Use' urges the EC to "recognize and account for indirect land use change impacts as a part of the lifecycle analyses of heat-trapping emissions from biofuels."

Planet Suffers Seven Percent Loss of Arable Land Due to Biofuels

Scientists are concerned that the unintended consequence of the mad rush to biofuels has inflicted a crippling loss of 7 percent of arable land to food production causing the price of basic foodstuffs to rocket in third world nations. They are issuing this heartfelt public plea for other concerned scientists to come forward and be counted by adding their names to their EC letter.

As land used for food or feed production is turned over to growing biofuel crops, agriculture has had to expand elsewhere. This has caused a totally avoidable new rush towards deforestation and destruction of other ecosystems, particularly in tropical regions in the developing world, according to the statement published by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Last year, after an alert from Canadian geophysicist, Norm Kalmanovitch, my report that a whopping 6.5 percent of the world’s grain is now permanently stripped from the global food supply went viral ( see: Global Warming Fraud Creates Third World Food Crisis').

Such a catastrophic cut in food supply can trigger a tipping point so that Third World hunger explodes into mass starvation. But what caused this?

The answer lies enshrined in the now discredited Kyoto Protocol, the global warming treaty that required world governments to reduce their reliance on hydrocarbon fuels and to cut emissions of carbon dioxide. However, 50 leading climate experts insist that our planet is in the midst of a stubborn cooling trend.

Global Cooling & Huge New Hydrocarbon Finds Invalidate Biofuels

So with global temperatures falling naturally this century there is no longer any compelling reason to impose starvation on the world's poor by creating an unnecessary 85 billion liters of ethanol fuel per annum to appease the dictates of the discredited UN Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

Add to this the fact that the world has suddenly discovered huge new reservoirs of extractable cheap oil and gas and any non-expert can readily join the dots to see that peak oil is as bogus a Chicken Little scare story as catastrophic man-made global warming.

This scandalous sham is still being propped up by the beneficiaries of these scare stories: the mega corporatists (that insidious 'one percent' ) and ecological extremist hell bent on human depopulation.

In essence, basic food staples are being remorselessly removed from the global food supply for no other reason other than to serve the misguided selfish interests of a global elite. Canadian Kalmanovitch laments, " the wealthier portion of the world’s 6.6 billion people end up paying substantially more for their food but the poor simply starve, making this Kyoto Accord a true “crime against humanity” and those who have fabricated the false science on which this crime is based are therefore guilty of being complicit in this “crime against humanity."

The UCS is thus appealing to all scientists working in related specialisms who possess key insight on this matter to add their signatures to their letter to signify a powerful message to policymakers to bring to an end the insanity of biofuels and the devastating plunder of agricultural land.

If you are a concerned scientist and wish to make your opinion known then please sign here.


Greenland Glacier Cycle Found -- a natural fluctuation

Many of the more strident reports regarding runaway global warming center on rapid ice loss from the glaciers of Greenland. During the early 2000s the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced the largest ice-mass loss since accurate instrument readings have been kept. This was largely caused by the acceleration, thinning and retreat of large outlet glaciers in West and southeast Greenland. Now a new study in Nature Geoscience confirms that ice loss from the Helheim Glacier between 2003 and 2005 was the worst recorded—at least since the last period of rapid ice loss during the late 1930s.

We have all heard the reports by climate change alarmists, claiming that the glaciers of Greenland are losing ice at an accelerating rate—a sure indication of our impending doom as a result of anthropogenic global warming. A report in the journal Nature Geoscience by Camilla S. Andresen, et al., entitled “Rapid response of Helheim Glacier in Greenland to climate variability over the past century,” has confirmed that ice lost from some glaciers did, indeed, hit a peak during the last decade, even if the causes of this change in iceflow are not known. Quoting from the report:

The forcings behind the rapid increase in mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet in the early 2000s are still debated. It is unclear whether the mass loss will continue in the near future and, if so, at what rate. These uncertainties are a consequence of our limited understanding of mechanisms regulating ice-sheet variability and the response of fast-flowing outlet glaciers to climate variability. In southeast Greenland, Helheim Glacier, one of the regions largest glaciers, thinned, accelerated and retreated during the period 2003–2005 and although it has since slowed down and re-advanced, it has still not returned to its pre-acceleration flow rates.

The authors' work is based on sediments that have collected over time in the fjord below the glacier. From three core samples (see the illustration below), the researchers were able to construct a continuous history going back 120 years. By studying the debris and silt deposited in the fjord, estimations can be made about the rate of iceberg calving, and hence ice loss from the flowing ice of the glacier. As the authors' put it: “The massive diamicton facies in the cores is produced by delivery of heterogeneous debris from drifting icebergs, commonly referred to as ice-rafted debris (IRD; clay, silt, sand and pebbles), and the down-fjord diminishing input of fine mud (clay and silt) suspended in the turbid meltwater plume extending from the base of Helheim Glacier. This lithofacies interpretation is in accordance with the findings from other East Greenland fjords with marine-terminating glaciers”

The annual calving rate dominates the IRD deposition rates, but the report mostly concentrated on sand. “we propose that increased sand deposition reflects increased iceberg calving from Helheim Glacier and to a far lesser extent also from the Midgaard and Fenris glaciers,” the authors' state. The sand deposition rates from the three cores vary both in magnitude and variability, as can be seen in the figure below, taken from the paper.

After interpreting the data from all three sites, the researchers were able to create a history of ice loss for Helheim. As can be seen from the plot above, there loss of ice has varied quite a bit over the last 120 years, with a notable spike around 1939.

The reconstructed 120-year-long calving record from Helheim Glacier shows calving maxima and minima lasting 2–5 years and often bundled into longer episodes of 5–10 years. Two pronounced calving maxima are observed: one during the past 10 years, the other in the late 1930s/early 1940s. The long-term calving increase is probably due to a shift from the Little Ice Age conditions, which were characterized by low air temperatures and strong polar-water influence in the Denmark Strait region and ended after AD 1900 here.

The uncomfortable question for the climate alarmists is why was there a peak of ice loss matching today's rate before the great rise in atmospheric CO2? The answer of course is that it isn't global warming that is driving the ever changing ice loss from Greenland's glaciers. Here is how the authors' put it:

Our analysis indicates that the recent increase in calving activity observed at Helheim Glacier is not unique but that a similarly large event occurred in the late 1930s/early 1940s. These two episodes occurred at times when the temperature of the Atlantic-water source was high (positive/warm Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation phase) and the polar-water export was at a record low (even if fluctuating). The NAO index was also frequently negative, but not markedly more than during many of the other calving episodes. Interestingly, both episodes are characterized by record high summer temperatures since 1895 (1939, 1941 and 2003). These conditions probably resulted in increased surface and submarine melt that may have contributed to the marked mass loss from Helheim Glacier.

Here NAO is short for North Atlantic Oscillation, a climatic phenomenon in the North Atlantic Ocean characterized by fluctuations in the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. Through east-west oscillation motions of the Icelandic low and the Azores high, it controls the strength and direction of westerly winds and storm tracks across the North Atlantic and is closely related to the Arctic Oscillation (AO). The authors' conclude, “Our study provides evidence that Helheim Glacier responds to changes in atmosphere–ocean variability on timescales as short as a few years.”

Like many other natural climate patterns—the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, etc—the NAO is not reliably periodic like the changing of the seasons, but oscillate it does. Indeed, they all do. This means that most any set of conditions caused by these large patterns has happened before and will happen again, and again. And that is the trap that the climate change cheerleaders have fallen into here: the rapid loss of ice from Greenland's glaciers was not a sign of something “unprecedented,” as is so often claimed. No, it was just another episode in our ever changing climate.

Even more troubling than the over-hyping of natural variation by lay-idiots like Al Gore is the seeming blindness that many mainstream climate scientists have for long-term climate variation. It is almost as if any change that has not happened before in a researcher's lifetime is automatically “unprecedented.” Climate science could certainly benefit from a longer term perspective.

The fact of the matter is that there are many interacting and related oscillating patterns that drive the world's climate, and science is far from being able to make accurate long-term predictions based on our current knowledge. Currently the AO has handed most of the US an amazingly mild winter, attributed to global warming by the ignorant. At the same time, parts of Europe are about to experience the coldest winter conditions in memory. There is nothing abnormal about any of this. So the next time some know-nothing blatherskite tries to tell you melting glaciers in Greenland prove global warming tell them to check out the records from 1939.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


16 February, 2012

Heartland Institute responds to stolen and fake documents

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.

Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

How did this happen? The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.

Apologies: The Heartland Institute apologizes to the donors whose identities were revealed by this theft. We promise anonymity to many of our donors, and we realize that the major reason these documents were stolen and faked was to make it more difficult for donors to support our work. We also apologize to Heartland staff, directors, and our allies in the fight to bring sound science to the global warming debate, who have had their privacy violated and their integrity impugned.

Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.

But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.

Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.

Received via email

With tiny budgets like $310 million, $100 million, and $95 million respectively, how can lovable underdogs like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and NRDC *ever* hope to compete with mighty Heartland's $6.5 million?

Warmist allegation:

"Heartland is projecting a boost in revenues from $4.6 million in 2011, to $7.7 million in 2012. That will enable an operating budget of $6.5 million, as well as topping up the fund balance a further $1.2 million."

[Sept 2011]: Greenpeace Environmental Group Turns 40

"Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, now has offices in more than 40 countries and claims some 2.8 million supporters. Its 1,200-strong staff ranges from "direct action" activists to scientific researchers. Last year, its budget reached $310 million."

[Nov 2011]: Sierra Club Leader Will Step Down -

"He said the Sierra Club had just approved the organization’s largest annual budget ever, about $100 million for 2012, up from $88 million this year."

[Oct 2011]: Do green groups need to get religion?

"That’s Peter Lehner talking. Peter, a 52-year-old environmental lawyer, is executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most important environmental groups. The NRDC has a $95 million budget, about 400 employees and about 1.3 million members. They’re big and they represent a lot of people."

SOURCE (See the original for links)

I'm confused: If scientists are completely uninterested in money, how did Heartland allegedly win the climate debate by buying scientists for $300k, while warmists lost it while splitting up $79 billion in US government money?

Warmist allegation: Heartland buys anti-climate change "scientists" for $300K

The US government has spent over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. Despite the billions: “audits” of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of the theory and compete with a well funded highly organized climate monopoly. They have exposed major errors.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Torrent of Greenie money gets results in Minnesota

It might be the most effective advocacy group you never heard of. Regardless, you have likely paid for enactment of their aggressive green agenda through higher taxes, higher utility bills and a slower commute to work.

Organized under the banner of the RE-AMP Energy Network, a group of well-endowed national foundations has lavished unheard of sums of special interest money on Minnesota green-oriented nonprofits as they relentlessly pursue their agenda. An investigation by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) has revealed a coordinated campaign to influence policy makers, media coverage and public opinion.

“We were sick of losing on this issue. We thought that if we had a better game plan, then we might win more,” said Michael Noble, a key RE-AMP strategist with Fresh Energy, in a Monitor Institute report.

The influx of some $48 million of special interest “engaged philanthropy” funding to Minnesota advocacy groups since 2003 has helped pay the way for implementation of a sweeping green agenda at the state and local level. RE-AMP funding went to groups that had 69 registered lobbyists in St. Paul in 2010, according to records at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. This army of advocates makes RE-AMP allies one of the biggest lobbying forces at the capitol on paper.

“The Garfield Foundation wants its grants to contribute to a cleaner environment, a stable climate and a sustainable future but, we know that going it alone won’t get us very far down that path. Our philanthropic dollars are leveraged at least ten-fold by investing in RE-AMP and aligning our dollars with the intelligence emerging from the RE-AMP Network,” said Jennie Curtis, executive director of the Massachusetts Garfield Foundation in the Monitor Institute report.

What has this unprecedented injection of outside special interest money wrought in the North Star state? RE-AMP’s website touts a checklist of ground-breaking legislative victories achieved over the period national foundations have contributed millions of dollars to Minnesota nonprofits.

* The Next Generation Energy Act (2007)that outlawed new coal plants, moved toward a cap and trade system and imposed drastic energy mandates

* Killed the proposed Big Stone II coal power plant on the South Dakota border

* A “Complete Streets Law” that gives bikes and pedestrians priority status on roads while driving up construction and assessment costs to homeowners

* Politically correct natural gas rates that penalize ratepayers who use more than the government’s suggested allotment of energy

* Measures to reduce the need for cars while increasing dependence and taxpayer spending on rail transit

* Burdensome new building codes and costly energy efficiency requirements

* Laid the groundwork for a labyrinth of controversial new power lines for wind energy

"Fresh Energy is proud of its cooperation with other groups and foundations who are also working for an energy system less dependent on fossil fuels, one that's good for our economy and our environment," Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, told FFM in a statement.

FFM has tracked 285 grants totaling $48 million in funding to more than 40 non-profits and local governments since 2003 in an all-out effort to radically rewrite Minnesota environmental policy. Some of the top five non-profit recipients of this investment may be unfamiliar to many Minnesotans, but not to policy makers and state capitol insiders.

Fresh Energy $9,433,500

Minnesota Public Radio $5,100,000

Izaak Walton League of America Midwest Office $4,498,202

Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy $3,794,235

Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development $3,400,084

The fat checks, however, come with strings attached. A review of grants listed online by the Energy Foundation of San Francisco provides a window into how RE-AMP works. The synopsis for each grant clearly illustrates how RE-AMP directs non-profits to comprehensively target legislators, utilities, labor, public opinion, even religious institutions. Examples include:

* “Educate opinion leaders and policy makers in Minnesota on the elements of a carbon cap and trade system” (Fresh Energy/$75,000/2009 )

* “To accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in Minnesota” (Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy/$150,000/2010)

* “To hire labor organizers in the Midwest to educate labor leaders on climate” (Blue Green Alliance Foundation/$350,000/2008)

* “To support “Congregations Caring for Creation” to develop a strategic plan for its global warming work with faith communities in Minnesota” (International Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture/$15,000/2007)

RE-AMP’s network and influence extend well inside Minnesota government. Behind the scenes, RE-AMP affiliates have collaborated with state officials to draft regulations and implement new environmental mandates. For example, two key RE-AMP groups were included in a 2009 Minnesota Public Utilities Commission news release and credited with helping construct a controversial “decoupling” natural gas pilot pricing system.

In addition, several former RE-AMP strategists are well-positioned to institutionalize many key goals of the coalition. Paul Aasen, a former executive with the Center for Environmental Advocacy, now runs the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the state’s equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency. The state’s top energy official, Bill Grant, served as Associate Executive Director of the Izaak Walton League in Minnesota. Grant is responsible for implementing the agenda championed by his former colleagues for the Dayton administration. Most recently Grant’s name has surfaced in the search for a chair for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

“Nobody knows Minnesota’s energy policy like Bill Grant,” commented Mike Noble of Fresh Energy, a RE-AMP mainstay.

Besides high profile cabinet level positions, RE-AMP advocates populate influential policy making advisory boards and commissions. Jennifer Munt, president of Transit for Livable Communities, represents District 3 on the Metropolitan Council. David Van Hattum, a program manager with Transit for Livable Communities, and Ethan Fawley, a transportation expert with Fresh Energy, were appointed to the Met Council’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB).

Several RE-AMP members receive prominent treatment on two Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) web pages for RE-AMP supported initiatives. On the GreenStep Cities website, three RE-AMP members are listed as MPCA partners—the Center for Energy and Environment, Envision Minnesota and Transit for Livable Communities. The expert featured on the MPCA’s “Next Step” energy page is Michael Noble, executive director of Fresh Energy, a group that receives sizable RE-AMP funding in Minnesota. The expert featured on the MPCA’s “Next Step” transportation page is Dave Van Hattum with Transit for Livable Communities, another RE-AMP nonprofit. Among other RE-AMP grant recipients listed on the same website are the Center for Energy and Environment, Envision Minnesota, Green Institute, Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Environmental Partnership and Windustry.

Yet another RE-AMP foundation donor has deep ties to the Dayton administration. Eric Dayton, Governor Dayton’s son, serves on the board of the Rockefeller Family Fund. The New York foundation has provided more than $1.8 million in funding for RE-AMP causes in Minnesota. Alida Messinger, Governor Dayton’s ex-wife and mother of Eric, previously served on the same foundation’s board.

Tarryl Clark, former Assistant Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate, was named co-chair last year of the BlueGreen Alliance, a Sierra Club affiliated recipient of RE-AMP funding. Clark was assigned to coordinate a nine-state campaign that included Minnesota and their mission was to promote green jobs with labor and environmentalists.

DFL-friendly political action funds have also benefited from still another RE-AMP philanthropist. Over the last two election cycles, the Tides Foundation has contributed $80,000 to WIN Minnesota and $60,000 to The Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Participating RE-AMP foundations have also invested millions in media training, media relations, blogs and social media. St. Paul-based Fresh Energy coordinates the network’s media center for all eight Midwestern states, leveraging a RE-AMP website called Midwest Energy News to garner positive news stories.

In the past year, the Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest newspaper, has published nine articles submitted by Midwest Energy News on energy and environmental issues in the paper’s business news section and three blog posts. The articles were presented as mainstream news stories with no explanation of Midwest Energy News’ connection to RE-AMP or Fresh Energy in the first eight articles. The last Midwest Energy News story published in the Star Tribuneincluded a disclaimer.

While proclaiming editorial independence from both Fresh Energy and RE-AMP, Midwest Energy News reliably focuses on the same agenda. For example, Midwest Energy Newspicked up reports that the Midwestern Governor’s Association had scuttled a regional cap-and-trade pact last year, a pet project that RE-AMP foundations spent $2.8 million to support and promote. The editor of Midwest Energy News, however, soon replaced his original post with an article headlined “Midwest cap and trade: Not dead, just sleeping.” While acknowledging the first post was mostly correct, the author, Ken Paulman, wrote that it was removed due to “a critical error.” Paulman included an apology for adding “to the confusion without thoroughly vetting the previously published information.”

Another prominent Minnesota media outlet, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), accepted a $3 million grant in 2008 for its American Public Media unit to cover “sustainability issues.” The grant was issued by the Kendeda Fund, a RE-AMP participating foundation. MPR also received $2.1 million from Kendeda in 2005 for coverage of sustainability issues. The American Public Media programs supported by the Kendeda funding are heard statewide on Minnesota Public Radio stations.

“Kendeda Fund supports “Global Sustainability News Coverage and Programming” at American Public Media’s Marketplace, a suite of public radio business programs produced in Los Angeles,” said Bill Gray, MPR corporate spokesman. “Specific to your interest, this support to Marketplace has no impact on Minnesota environmental and energy policy, nor does it have any impact on Minnesota Public Radio or its programming.”

A glowing MPR feature revealed the impact of RE-AMP funding in generating positive news coverage. "Nothing is more important to the future of the economy and, ultimately, to our survival than awareness of how our actions affect global sustainability," says JJ Yore, executive producer of American Public Media's Marketplace. It's a sentiment echoed across several other programs from American Public Media--the production and distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio.”

The MPR story went on to state the grant “is allowing Marketplace®, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett, Weekend America and American RadioWorks to expand their coverage in this area and reframe the topic in interesting and highly relevant ways. So sustainability becomes as much a story about lifestyle, economics, society and religion as one about the environment.”

There appears to be no need for RE-AMP’s nonprofit network to be concerned about another critical sustainability issue—sustainable funding for their recipient network of nonprofit organizations. After investing $48 million, the wealthy RE-AMP foundations that have targeted Minnesota lawmakers, media and public for nearly a decade show no signs of cutting back now.


The shale revolution and Britain

The weather conditions of the past week could not have been better conceived to show up the inadequacies of Britain’s — and the rest of Europe’s — energy policy. A vast anticyclone extending from Siberia to eastern England has brought snow as far south as Rome and temperatures of minus 40˚C to Eastern Europe. With North Sea gas production in sharp decline, never has Europe’s position on the end of a long gas pipeline originating in Russia been so exposed.

As that country’s demand for energy has spiked, so the quantity of gas which it is prepared to export to the rest of Europe — also gagging for extra energy — has slumped. The wholesale price of gas has soared by more than a third in a week. Were electricity companies not still able to substitute some gas-generating capacity with coal-fired power — from plants due to be closed in 2016 to meet carbon-reduction targets — we could well find ourselves struggling to keep the lights on. Try as we might, we are not going to achieve national energy security with any presently known renewable technologies, as they are too expensive and unreliable. It is conceivable that we could achieve it, however, by means of a vast but hitherto unexploited resource: shale gas.

The vast reserves of gas concealed in shale have long been known about, but until recently there was no economic means to extract them. Over the past five years, however, the situation has changed dramatically, thanks to a method of hydraulically fracturing rock along its seams — or ‘fracking’ for short. While Britain and Europe have been throwing hundreds of billions in subsidies at renewable energy, the US shale gas industry has expanded to account for one quarter of all the country’s gas production — all without subsidies. In doing so it has caught many environmentalists completely unawares. The energy-scarce world of their dreams has been put off for a couple of centuries at least; instead we are staring at a future of potential energy abundance.

Moreover, exploitation of shale gas is not at odds with carbon reduction policies: kilo­watt for kilowatt, energy generated from shale gas emits only half as much carbon as coal — the energy source which it is already beginning to replace in many American states. It is estimated that $4 spent on shale delivers the same energy as $25 spent on oil Even Barack Obama has belatedly started to extol the virtues of shale: little wonder, given that a shale-driven glut of natural gas has halved US electricity prices. Over the last three years, more than 4,000 wells have been drilled in the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania.

Early indications are that Europe may be no less fortunate in its reserves than the US. Current estimates are that the continent has 630 trillion cubic feet of shale; not far behind the US’s potential of 862 trillion cubic feet. Britain’s recoverable reserves are estimated at 20 trillion cubic feet, which will produce perhaps enough energy for the next 100 years. This is, to put it mildly, a claim that cannot be made about Britain’s wind farms. And this is what infuriates the environmental lobby: the discovery of shale threatens to make redundant their carefully planned, heavily subsidised plans for renewable energy. There may be no energy crisis after all.

Fracking is not a pretty process: it involves drilling a large well and then pumping large quantities of water and sand down it in order to fracture the appropriate strata of rock. Once the rock is fractured, gas can seep into the well and be forced to the surface. But it isn’t anything like as hazardous as environmentalists — in a repeat of the fantasy and exaggeration which characterised the campaign against GM foods a decade ago — like to claim.

Another fear is that fracking causes earth tremors. True, a couple of very minor tremors — of the sort that occur in Britain hundreds of times a year — do appear to have been caused by test-drilling near Blackpool, the epicentre of an embryonic British fracking industry which is now temporarily stalled as a result. But then coal-mining also causes minor earth tremors. It is a problem to be managed, not to be used as a reason to close down an entire industry. Mike Stephenson, head of energy science at the British Geological Survey, said that ‘most geologists think this is a pretty safe activity’ because ‘the risk is pretty low and we have the scientific tools to tell if there is a problem’.

In the 1990s, Britain allowed environmentalist propaganda to obliterate Britain’s foothold in the GM food industry. Far from keeping Britain GM-free, as the environmental lobby fantasised, we ended up eating GM soya imported from the US — and nobody has suffered as a result. All that the campaign achieved was to ensure that Britain will not profit from the technology.

The same must not be allowed to happen with shale gas. At present, more people die from the cold in Britain — because they are unable to afford to heat their houses — than are killed on the roads. This is an appalling state of affairs for a supposedly rich country. Britain could be on the cusp of a new era of clean, cheap shale energy — but only if we seize the opportunity, as the Americans have.


Australia: Shark nets sabotaged by Greenies, putting lives at risk

Those responsible for this should be fed to sharks themselves

RADICAL conservationists are cutting down or slicing holes in shark nets, putting the lives of swimmers and surfers at risk.

Nets are believed to have been damaged with knives on four separate occasions and at least once, at Bondi, the vandals cut the net from its anchors, leaving it washed up at nearby Ben Buckler.

Primary Industries Department spokesman Brett Fifield said the department had investigated vandalism at Bondi, Maroubra, MacMasters Beach on the Central Coast and most recently Warriewood on the northern beaches.

"These acts of sabotage are senseless. The success of these nets speaks for itself. Slashing a hole in a net reduces their effectiveness," Mr Fifield said.

"At the end of the day it's about protecting humans with minimal impact on marine life."

Some conservationists have been waging a bitter campaign against the nets for years, claiming they are also killing large amounts of other marine life, including dolphins, whales and sea turtles.

The NSW Greens refused to condemn the attacks yesterday, with MP Cate Faehrmann saying: "Shark nets are indiscriminate killers of harmless marine life and are next to useless in preventing attacks anyway.

"The government should remove them. Given how much harmless marine life are killed in shark nets it's not surprising they have become targets in this way."

Glen "Lenny" Folkard, who survived an attack by a 3.1m bull shark while surfing at Redhead Beach four weeks ago, condemned the damaging of the nets. Mr Folkard said he wondered how the vandals would feel if there was an attack at a beach where they had damaged nets. "You can be against the nets but keep the debate on land," he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


15 February, 2012

Frozen to death as fuel bills soar: Hypothermia cases among the British elderly double in five years

Energy is cheap -- but not when throttled by Greenie laws and regulations

The number of pensioners dying from hypothermia has nearly doubled in five years, a period when a succession of cold winters has been coupled with drastic rises in energy bills.

The official figures emerged after several days of Arctic conditions which drove temperatures across the whole country as low as minus 10C (14F). They showed that 1,876 patients were treated in hospital for hypothermia in 2010/11, up from 950 in 2006/07.

The number of sufferers who died within 30 days of admission shot up from 135 to 260. Three-quarters of victims were pensioners, with cases soaring among the over-60s more than any other age group.

The increasing toll of hypothermia over the past five years coincides with a surge in energy costs, especially gas prices which have gone up by 40 per cent.

Soaring energy bills are pushing more and more pensioners into fuel poverty, forcing them to choose between heating and eating. One industry analyst, uSwitch, estimates that eight in ten households are already rationing their energy use and have called for a cut in VAT on power bills.

The row over energy prices is poised to be reignited later this month when the 'big six' energy companies reveal their latest profit figures.

Campaign groups said yesterday it was 'scandalous' that pensioners in modern Britain could be suffering from hypothermia.

Michelle Mitchell of Age UK urged the Government to take more action to protect those at risk of freezing to death. 'We like to think of ourselves as a civilised society which protects the most vulnerable,' she said. 'The fact that there are still older people who are suffering and dying of hypothermia is deeply shocking.'

A survey carried out by Age UK last month found that half of pensioners have turned their heating down to save money even when they are not warm enough. Many more are so cold they go to bed when they are not tired or move into one room to keep energy bills down.

Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops below 35C (95F) from its normal 37C (98.6F). Symptoms can include violent shivering, confusion, delirium and unconsciousness.

The statistics from the NHS Information Centre show that three-quarters of hypothermia cases are among the over-60s, and the increase in admissions has been the highest among this age group.

In 2006/07, there were 633 hypothermia admissions among the over-60s, rising to 1,396 in 2010/11. This is a rise of 120 per cent. There have, however, been increases across all age groups. Among adults aged 15 to 59, cases have risen by 54 per cent to 276. There were 50 hypothermia cases among children aged 14 and under, a 22 per cent increase. The figures on deaths are not broken down by age, but show that almost 20 per cent of those admitted die within 30 days. A further 6 per cent die between 30 and 90 days from admission.

Meanwhile, taking inflation into account, the price of gas has increased by 40 per cent in the last five years to 3.4p per kilowatt hour. Electricity prices have risen by 21 per cent to 11.8p per kilowatt hour. This has led to a surge in the number of pensioners in 'fuel poverty', which means the costs of energy bills make up more than 10 per cent of the household budget.

Age UK says that more than three million older people in England – nearly 1.2million of whom live alone – are in fuel poverty. This total is a quarter of all pensioners and has trebled since 2003.

The elderly receive cold weather payments if the temperature falls below a certain level, but campaigners argue that the money is clearly not enough to stave off hypothermia in many cases.

The parent companies of Britain's big six energy firms are expected to announce total profits of £15billion in the next few weeks, although UK consumers only contribute a small part of these profits as far as at least four of these firms are concerned – RWE nPower, E.ON, Iberdrola (Scottish Power) and EDF (France).

Ofgem, the energy regulator, says the average profit per customer in Britain was £100 last month but could fall in the summer months to £70.

Neil Duncan Jordan of the National Pensioners Convention described the expected profits figure as 'scandalous'. He said: 'It is a graphic example of the failure to protect some of our most vulnerable individuals.'

Last night public health minister Anne Milton said: 'We have introduced a Cold Weather Plan to reduce the number of deaths. We have also set up a Warm Homes and Healthy People Fund of £30 million to pay for local authority projects to reduce effects of cold weather. 'Winterwatch is also providing professionals and the public with updates and practical advice from the Chief Medical Officer.'

The Department of Health said the main cause of excess winter deaths was not hypothermia but heart and respiratory disease.


Bottled Water Industry Responds to College Student Activists Seeking Ban

I think bottled water is absurd but it may save a lot of tooth decay etc if the alternative is fizzy drinks

With places like the Grand Canyon National Park banning sale of plastic water bottles, environmental activists on college campuses are seeking to do the same. But the bottled water industry isn’t taking this affront lightly. It has a message for activists turning their own arguments against them.

NPR reports that the International Bottled Water Association launched a video against the “misinformation” presented by the activists. Some of the messages include that bottled water has “less of a carbon footprint”, the lowest “water footprint” and less plastic compared to other packaged drinks.

Taking the stance of promoting freedom of choice, the IBWA president Joe Doss says that it’s not an issue of whether bottled or tap is better but that both options should be available, NPR reports:

[...] the IBWA video suggests the cause is unworthy of students’ energy – instead, perhaps they could focus on genocide in Darfur.

It claims bottled water is a good alternative to sugary beverages and easier to recycle than other packaged drinks. The IBWA also argues bottled water is safer than tap water.

Still activists argue that the choice for bottled water would still be available: off campus.

According to NPR, through the “Think Outside the Bottle” campaign, more than 20 schools nationwide have instituted either a whole or partial ban on water bottle sales.


First, They Came For My Toilet Paper

Greenies hate civilization. Ergo, the Green War on our W.C.s.

Think about it: There is no greater symbol of civilization than the toilet and its various accoutrements. From Mohenjo-Daro to the Roman Empire, civilized life has gone hand in hand with running water and underground infrastructure to wash the refuse of humanity away from our homes and cities. Fire may be the most widespread symbol of Man’s rise from the Serengeti to Starbucks, but the most important is the plunger.

Thus, the Greenies desire to become the commodores of our commodes, from trying to tell us to use one square of toilet paper (which may be enough if all you eat is granola, but is wholly inadequate if your diet consists of, you know, human food), to the so-called “low flush” toilets that are designed to save water but end up wasting water because you have to flush the things a million times to properly exorcise your tank.

Now, those tiger-apologists at the World Wildlife Fund have targeted toilet paper itself. A new WWF report titled “Don’t Flush Tiger Forests: Toilet Paper, U.S. Supermarkets, and the Destruction of Indonesia’s Last Tiger Habitats” claims that, “Americans who use Paseo or Livi brands of toilet tissue are contributing to the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest and tiger habitat,” according to the Environment News Service.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to choose between tigers and toilet paper,” proclaims the WWF’s Linda Kramme. “We’re asking retailers, wholesalers and consumers not to buy Paseo or Livi products until APP stops clearing rainforests in Sumatra.”

Two things. First, tigers kill people. Regularly. Last year in one region in Bangladesh, 53 people were attacked by tigers, with 34 killed and 19 severely injured. In one week the tigers of this forest killed seven people. Shame on the WWF for defending these murderous beasts.

Now, the Greenies will undoubtedly say that the tiger—when it attacks a human—is just behaving naturally. Well, that pretty much sums up my relationship with toilet paper—just doing what comes naturally. Using technology to improve my health and well-being—that’s how humans roll, baby.

Second, the wealthy folk at the WWF have jobs. The poor peoples of the Third World would like jobs, too. I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I bet the logging industry in Indonesia which supplies the West with TP also supplies a lot of very poor people with a lot of much needed employment opportunities in that part of the world. But good Greenies care more about animals than people—the honest ones don’t even bother to deny it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, nature calls….


The Noble Savage myth

by David Deming

Bacon was the first person to unambiguously and explicitly advocate the practical application of scientific knowledge to human needs. "The true and lawful goal of the sciences," he explained, "is that human life be endowed with new discoveries and powers." Writing in the early seventeenth century, Francis Bacon predicted lasers, genetic engineering, airplanes, and submarines.

Competing with Bacon's vision of a society based on science is the older and more persistent fable of the Noble Savage. The Noble Savage is not a person, but an idea. It is cultural primitivism, the belief of people living in complex and evolved societies that the simple and primitive life is better. The Noble Savage is the myth that man can live in harmony with nature, that technology is destructive, and that we would all be happier in a more primitive state.

Before Jesus Christ lived, the Noble Savage was known to the Hebrews as the Garden of Eden. The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BC) called it the Golden Age. In the lost Golden Age, people lived in harmony with nature. There was no disease, pain, work, or conflict. Everyone lived in perfect peace. Insects didn't bite you. There were no extremes of temperature, and you could wander naked through the fields. If you happened to be hungry, all you had to do to satisfy your craving was reach up and pick a sumptuous ripe fruit off a nearby tree.

In all the ages of the world, otherwise intelligent and learned persons have swooned to cultural primitivism. In the sixteenth century, French writer Michel de Montaigne described native Americans as so morally pure they had no words in their languages for lying, treachery, avarice, and envy. Montaigne portrayed the primitive life as so idyllic that American Indians did not have to work but could spend the whole day dancing.

When captain James Cook and other European explorers first encountered the native people of Polynesia in the late eighteenth century, they romanticized the primitive and ignorant state as a happier one, free of cares and anxieties. It was better, one European wrote, to be simple-minded and ignorant. "We must admit," he explained, "that the child is happier than the man, and that we are losers by the perfection of our nature, the increase of our knowledge, and the enlargement of our views."

The quintessential exposition of the Noble Savage myth is found in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's book Discourse on Inequality (1755). Rousseau argued that what appeared to be human progress was in fact decay. The best condition for human beings to live in was the "pure state of nature" in which savages existed. When men lived as hunters and gatherers, they were "free, healthy, honest and happy." The downfall of man occurred when people started to live in cities, acquire private property, and practice agriculture and metallurgy. The acquisition of private property resulted in inequality, aroused the vice of envy, and led to perpetual conflict and unceasing warfare. According to Rousseau, civilization itself was the scourge of humanity. Rousseau went so far as to make the astonishing claim that the source of all human misery was what he termed our "faculty of improvement," or the use of our minds to improve the human condition.

Rousseau sent a copy of his book to Voltaire. In a letter acknowledging receipt of the work, Voltaire made a pithy and devastating criticism. "I have received, monsieur, your new book against the human race. I thank you for one has ever employed so much intellect in the attempt to prove us beasts. A desire seizes us to walk on four paws when we read your work. Nevertheless, as it is more than sixty years since I lost the habit, I feel, unfortunately, that it is impossible for me to resume it."

Voltaire's insight was immediate and inerrant: opposition to technology is opposition to the human race itself. Man lives by technology. The human race has never existed in a state of harmony with nature. Since Rousseau wrote, more than two hundred and fifty years of archeological and ethnographic research have shown that the imaginative conceptions associated with the Noble Savage are completely wrong. Before the advent of civilization people endured disease, violence, hunger, and profound poverty.

When I was growing up in the 1960s, the common notion was that humans are the only animal that conducts warfare. But research over the past few decades has shown that this is false. In Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson documented observations of chimpanzees in their natural habitat engaging in systematic planned violence. Humans and chimpanzees diverged from a common ancestor about four to six million years ago. The fact that chimpanzees make war suggests that our human ancestors also did. The roots of human violence thus lay deep in time.

Male chimps conduct raids with the intent of catching a lone male from another group. If the odds in their favor are greater than three-to-one, they will attack and kill or maim him. The attacks are vicious and merciless, "marked by a gratuitous cruelty." The preferred procedure is for two chimps to hold a victim on the ground while a third pummels and bites the prey until he is dead or mortally wounded. The aggressors enjoy the violence. After the attack has concluded they exhibit their exuberance by branch-waving, screaming, hooting, and drumming.

Eliminating male rivals bestows a reproductive advantage on the members of the attacking group. Chimpanzee behavior is calculated and organized, not incidental, and reveals a high degree of intelligence. Chimpanzees have been known to rape their own sisters. Other human relatives also share a disposition to violence. Rape is commonplace among orangutans, and about one-seventh of gorilla babies perish from infanticide.

Before the advent of human civilization, conflict between bands of hunter-gatherers was universal and intense. In his book Constant Battles, Harvard archeologist Steven A. Leblanc documented that "warfare in the past was pervasive and deadly." Cannibalism and infanticide were also common. Ethnographic studies of hunter-gatherer groups surviving in remote areas of the world during the twentieth century have found that about twenty-five percent of adult males perish in war. LeBlanc concluded "the common notion of humankind's blissful past, populated with noble savages living in a pristine and peaceful world, is held by those who do not understand our past and who have failed to see the course of human history for what it is."

Before the Industrial Revolution, disease and poverty were endemic, even in the most advanced societies. Infectious diseases, including typhus, smallpox, and malaria, were rampant. Intestinal worms and dysentery were common among all classes of people. In eighteenth century Europe, half of all children died before their tenth birthday. Life expectancy at birth was only about twenty-five years, virtually unchanged from the days of the Roman Empire. Filth and dirt were everywhere. In 1741, Samuel Johnson gave a speech in Parliament where he complained that the streets of London were "obstructed by mountains of filth."

Neither did pre-industrial civilizations live in a state of ecological harmony with their environment. Their exploitation of nature was often destructive. The Mediterranean islands colonized by the ancient Greeks were transformed into barren rock by overgrazing and deforestation. The Bay of Troy, described in Homer's Iliad, has been filled in by sediment eroded from hillsides destabilized by unsustainable agricultural practices.

Before Europeans arrive, American Indians managed the land aggressively by burning it. And they likely hunted several animals to extinction. The disappearance of the Pleistocene Megafauna in the Americas coincides with the expansion of human settlement about 10,000 years before present. The long list of animals hunted to extinction by American Indians include dire wolves, giant sloths, saber-toothed cats, giant beavers, mastodons, and mammoths.

Even the conception of primitive societies as egalitarian is flawed. In Sick Societies, anthropologist Robert Edgerton documented that all human societies make distinctions based on "sex, age, and ability." Groups also tend to treat people differently based on distinctions of "wealth, power, or kinship." It should not be surprising, for example, to find that the chief of a tribe will advance his own interests "at the expense of lower-status people."

All of this would be of academic interest only, were it not the case that the modern environmental movement and many of our public policies are based implicitly on the myth of the Noble Savage. The fountainhead of modern environmentalism is Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. The first sentence in Silent Spring invoked the Noble Savage by claiming "there was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings." But the town Carson described did not exist, and her polemic, Silent Spring, introduced us to environmental alarmism based on junk science. As the years passed, Rachel Carson was elevated to sainthood and the template laid for endless spasms of hysterical fear-mongering, from the population bomb, to nuclear winter, the Alar scare, and global warming.

Human beings have not, can not, and never will live in harmony with nature. Our prosperity and health depend on technology driven by energy. We exercise our intelligence to command nature, and were admonished by Francis Bacon to exercise our dominion with "sound reason and true religion." When we are told that our primary energy source, oil, is "making us sick," or that we are "addicted" to oil, these are only the latest examples of otherwise rational persons descending into gibberish after swooning to the lure of the Noble Savage. This ignorant exultation of the primitive can only lead us back to the Stone Age.


Australia: Conservatives hit carbon tax again

The opposition has accused the government of crying false tears over the struggling aluminium sector by pointing out that economic modelling by the Treasury forecasts a price on carbon will erode the industry by more than 60 per cent by 2050.

With the fate of 600 aluminium workers at the Alcoa plant in Victoria at the centre of the debate over the economy and manufacturing, the Prime Minster, Julia Gillard, met workers and union representatives yesterday to assure them her government was following the situation closely.

Amid a now frequent stream of job loss announcements, Alcoa has said it is reviewing the future of the plant, citing the high dollar and low international metal prices as factors. It is not blaming the carbon tax, which begins on July 1 and for which the aluminium industry will be generously compensated.

In Parliament yesterday, the opposition attempted to link the present decline in manufacturing to the impending carbon impost, saying it would make a bad situation worse.

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, noted that Treasury's modelling showed aluminium production in Australia risked falling by 61.7 per cent by 2050.

Ms Gillard accused the opposition of misrepresenting the modelling and criticised Mr Abbott for exploiting potential job losses as part of his campaign against the carbon price.

The Victorian Labor Opposition Leader, Daniel Andrews, conceded there was not much the federal government could do to help Alcoa. Its problems were largely the realm of the state Liberal government and included such assistance as power price subsidy, payroll tax deductions and co-investing in a new plant to increase efficiency.

The fight came as the latest Newspoll showed the Coalition ahead as preferred economic leaders. This was despite the government feeling the economy is its greatest strength and Ms Gillard's declaration the economy would be at the core of political debate for this year.

Last week, the Coalition floundered when trying to explain when it would return the budget to surplus if elected. The national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, hit back at critics who argued taxpayers should not subsidise struggling industries. He said they would recover once the dollar dropped to parity or below.


One-sided climate lessons in Australian schools

LIBERAL senator Cory Bernardi has questioned why a national scientific program for children appears to be teaching only one side of the climate change debate.

During a Senate estimates hearing today, the South Australian senator quizzed the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) about the content of its Carbon Kids program.

Senator Bernardi said the program contained a note for teachers which said climate change was a complicated topic many found "daunting and confusing" and could be controversial, leading to many different opinions. "Yet the information that is produced and distributed to schoolchildren appears only to present a single opinion about what is driving climate change," he said.

"How can you explain that given that the explanatory note for teachers says it leads to many different opinions?"

He said the material contained a number of statements which lead to a single conclusion, that carbon dioxide was virtually solely responsible for driving climate change and presented a range of "apocalyptic scenarios".

The CSIRO's deputy chief executive for operations Mike Whelan said he had not personally seen the material, but envisaged that the program would be consistent with comments made to teachers. He told the senate committee the program had only become his responsibility three weeks ago, but he would examine the material.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


14 February, 2012

Will the Warmists ever give up their deluded beliefs?

You would be forgiven for thinking these stunning vistas lay deep in the heart of Antarctica. But they are, in fact, what has become of the European landscape as temperatures plummet to nearly -40C - the coldest snap in decades. Rivers, lakes, beaches and even seas have been iced over by a Siberian freeze, creating some incredible sights, but also more tales of tragedy.

Frozen river Neckar in Southern Germany -- more pix at link

Thousands enjoyed a day out on the frozen Lake Pfaeffikersee, near Zurich, Switzerland, today, while ice anglers looked more like Eskimos as they braved the conditions on a Polish reservoir.

But in southern Kosovo, nine people were killed when an avalanche hit the village of Restelica, officials said on Sunday, adding to more than 500 killed in snow and bitter cold across the Continent in the past two weeks.

In Poland, the interior ministry said 20 people had died in the past 24 hours because of the freezing weather, bringing the toll there so far this year to at least 100.

Temperatures have plummeted in parts of Europe close to minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit) in the coldest February snap the region has seen in decades. Meteorologists say it could last till the end of the month.

Kosovo's government ordered schools to remain closed for another week with more snow expected. Police said many inhabited areas were completely cut off.

In neighbouring Montenegro the government imposed a state of emergency late on Saturday after snow blocked roads and railways across most of the country. Three people have died so far. More than 50 people have been stranded on a train in Montenegro's north for more than two days as emergency crews struggle to rescue them.

In the mountain town of Zabljak in Montenegro's north, snow was 2.3 metres deep, while authorities have banned all private traffic in the capital Podgorica, where snow is almost a metre (three feet) deep and more is forecast on Sunday.

More than 2,000 industrial businesses have been idled to limit the strain on coal-fired power plants and hydropower plants, which were struggling because of the buildup of ice.

The government also ordered the closure of all schools and non-essential businesses until February 20.

Port authorities for Serbian sections of the Danube, Sava and Tisa rivers halted navigation due to a heavy buildup of ice.

For the first time in decades, parts of the Black Sea has frozen near its shores, while the Kerch Strait that links the Azov Sea and the Black Sea has been closed to navigation.


Britain's National Trust comes out against 'public menace' of wind farms

The National Trust is now "deeply sceptical" of wind power, its chairman said as he launched an outspoken attack on the "public menace" of turbines destroying the countryside.

For years the conservation charity has been a supporter of renewable energy, including wind, to reduce carbon emissions and help fight global warming.

But in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Sir Simon Jenkins warned that wind was the "least efficient" form of green power, and risked blighting the British landscape.

Is the National Trust right to turn against wind farms?
Yes, wind farms are a blight on the countrysideYes, there are more efficient forms of green powerNo, all forms of renewable energy should be promotedNo, it should give its support but only where they will produce maximum energy

He said “not a week goes by” without the charity having to fight plans for wind farms that threaten the more than 700 miles of coastline, 28,500 acres of countryside and more than 500 properties owned by the Trust. “Broadly speaking the National Trust is deeply sceptical of this form of renewable energy,” he said.

At the moment the Trust is fighting against at least half a dozen plans to build wind farms or turbines that could damage the view from a stately home or stretch of countryside, including a massive offshore farm in the Bristol Channel and plans by the Duke of Gloucester to install a wind farm on his property.

Louise Mensch, the Tory MP and author, is backing the fight against turbines near Lyveden New Bield, Northants which she fears could “destroy one of the finest examples of Elizabethan gardens in England”

In the past the Trust, that now has four million members, fought plans for one of Europe’s largest wind farms in mid Wales and the National Trust for Scotland has spoken out against turbines marching over the hills.

The official position is to support renewable energy, including wind, although only in places where the turbine will produce the maximum amount of energy and “with regard to the full range of environmental considerations”.

The landowner already has 140 renewable energy projects installed on castles and farmland around the country, including a few small individual turbines.

The Trust’s climate change target to cut energy use by 50 per cent by 2020 will go beyond national targets and could save more than 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 4,500 cars off the road.

But Sir Simon said most of the renewables will be hydroelectric plants, especially in Wales, as the Trust has access to many miles or rivers and properties that were once water mills. An Archimedes screw is being installed at Morden Hall Park, London similar to the hydroelectric plant installed by the Queen in Windsor Castle.

Also biomass - the burning of plant matter - will cut oil use to virtually zero as the Trust has acres of woodland that needs to be managed anyway. Woodchip boilers have been installed in draughty castles around the country and some even have solar panels on the roof.

“We are doing masses of renewables but wind is probably the least efficient and wrecks the countryside and the National Trust is about preserving the countryside,” said Sir Simon, a former national newspaper editor.

His view is a blow to the Government who have already installed more than 3,500 turbines and are planning to complete 800 this year alone.

The Government can ill-afford another clash with the Trust - which has more members than all the major political parties combined - following its prominent role in the widespread revolt against the coalition's unpopular planning reform proposals.

Ed Davey, the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has come out strongly in support of wind, opening the world’s biggest offshore wind farm off Cumbria last week. The Lib Dem minister said wind power will ensure energy security as fossil fuels run out, cut carbon emissions and provide jobs.

RenewableUK, the main lobby group for the wind industry, think by 2020 there could be as many as 10,000 turbines onshore and 4,300 offshore.

However campaigners argue that wind turbines ruin the landscape and are less efficient than other forms of electricity because more back up is required for when the wind is not blowing.


British Wind industry's extensive lobbying to preserve subsidies and defeat local resistance to turbines

How Warmism rots the brain: The 15 biggest windmill owners will between them receive almost £850 million in subsidies

The full extent of lobbying by Britain's wind industry to preserve subsidies while getting thousands of new turbines built can be revealed. The intensive lobbying – both to construct wind farms and to maintain generous subsidies – comes amid growing unease over an industry adding to the burden on household electricity bills.

Analysis of UK wind farms shows that the 15 biggest owners will between them receive almost £850 million in subsidies that are added on to household electricity bills.

It comes after the disclosure last week that 101 Tory backbench MPs had written a letter to David Cameron demanding he slash the subsidies.

An investigation shows how the wind energy industry has:

* employed lobbying firms to fight against Government plans to cut a near £1 billion a year subsidy

* drafted in eco-activists to drum up support for wind farm projects in the face of local opposition

* defeated a Tory election pledge that could have triggered local referendums on wind farms before they are built

A separate study by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), a think tank opposed to onshore wind farms, shows that 7,000 turbines are on course to be built onshore across the UK by 2020, helped by a 70 per cent success rate on wind farm planning applications.

REF expects the total consumer subsidy paid out by 2030 to amount to a staggering £130 billion.

Dr John Constable, Director of REF, said: "The government's own data shows that in spite of its unpopularity the wind industry is in fact having an easy time in planning, with the vast majority of schemes being forced on unwilling local populations.

"Very high subsidy levels have resulted in an overheated market and a rush of development that is inappropriate and environmentally damaging, as well as being extremely expensive for the consumer."

RenewableUK, the trade body for the wind industry, said it had a roster of four lobbying firms while appointing a fifth last month to "help with media support".

The four main lobbying companies are Bellenden Public Affairs, Four Communications, Edelman and Citigate. A fifth – Hill+Knowlton – works on media strategy.

RenewableUK has fought to resist attempts to drastically cut the wind energy subsidy, paid out through the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme that is added on to household bills.

The Government, following a consultation, is looking at cuts of between five and 10 per cent, which prompted RenewableUK's chairman Andrew Jamieson to declare in its most recent newsletter to members: "Thanks to the highly effective way in which RenewableUK engaged with a wide range of stakeholders on key issues, the proposals do not appear as bad as originally feared."

A RenewableUK spokesman said: "We knew the consultation was coming out so we did work in advance of it."

In October, a flagship Conservative policy, which would have required local referendums on large-scale projects such as wind farms and housing estates, was quietly abandoned after intense lobbying by RenewableUK.

The trade body had warned of the "slow death" of the onshore wind industry if the referendums pledge had not been dropped from the Localism Bill, which was then going through parliament.

A RenewableUK briefing document subsequently sent to members stated: "Following a great deal of coordinated work with a number of other organisations and Peers with a development interest, RenewableUK has been successful in ensuring that planning applications and wider planning policy are not subject to referendums."

A RenewableUK spokesman said: "We saw a slow death of the onshore wind industry had that gone ahead which is why we were campaigning so hard to get it struck out."

While lobbying is taking place nationally, developers are also employing lobbying tactics on the ground to get wind farms built.

Energy companies have taken to hiring eco-activists, who run non-corporate, amateur-looking stalls proclaiming the virtues of renewable energy in order to produce hundreds of letters in support of planned wind farms. The stalls, typically in provincial towns generate hundreds of identical letters in support of a wind farm, often some distance away.

One anti-wind farm group, fighting a development in Norfolk, said an analysis of letters of support for a scheme by Renewable Energy Systems (RES), part of the Sir Robert McAlpine Group, showed that not a single letter had come from within a six mile radius. Some letters came from addresses more than 30 miles away.

Barry Cox, who is fighting the six-turbine farm at Jack's Lane, near Fakenham, said: "They [RES] should not be allowed to bamboozle the unsuspecting, by going for numbers collected miles away from the local villages. "They might just as well offer the views on Jack's Lane held by residents of Inverness."

An RES spokeswoman said: "Providing opportunities for people to comment on the wind farm has included two street canvassing activities in the nearest centres of population to the site, including King's Lynn, which resulted in more than 730 letters of support. "Many of these support letters used standard wording but all were signed by real people who supported wind and wanted to send the letters."

A Manchester-based company Pendragon Public Relations runs a pro-wind farm campaigning arm called Yes2Wind, which is hired out to developers seeking to build wind farms.

Yes2Wind boasts a specially designed computer software package Express Support, which enables "community members to quickly and easily generate their own individual, personalised support letters"

Alex Doyle, managing director of Pendragon, said: "We are trying to balance out the opposition. We are pro-wind and we put those arguments forward on behalf of the individual developers. "One of the difficulties is a lot of people who are supportive tend to shrug their shoulders and not actually take any action that will make themselves heard."

He said Yes2Wind's computer programme, which generated individual letters, was not a quick option and took between 15 and 20 minutes to complete so that letters reflected the genuine views of members of the public.

Yes2Wind often hires a freelance eco-activist Jeff Rice, from Derbyshire, to manage its stalls. Mr Rice, who was convicted of trespass on the roof of the Palace of Westminster in 2009 as part of a mass Greenpeace protest, is also hired out directly by energy companies, including Renewable Energy Systems. RES is estimated to earn £15 million a year alone through consumer subsidies.

Mr Rice said people supporting local wind farms were often too intimidated to speak up for a scheme. "We do get quite a lot of harassment," said Mr Rice, "Anti-groups can be quite aggressive."

He said letters were often identical because people were in a hurry and had no time to stop and compose their own letters. He added: "We are trying out best to make sure the letters are reasonably local within a few miles of a project. We do try and do that. If people are too far away we will stop them doing a support letter."


The perversion of science by the Royal Society and its Canadian counterpart

When Lord Robert May — a distinguished British population biologist — told a journalist: “I am the president of the Royal Society, and I am telling you the debate on climate change is over,” he was risking the reputation of the venerable institution he headed.

Presidents of national science academies are not meant to engage in ex cathedra statements, but to promote objective research. However, according to a devastating report this week from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the Royal Society — former home to Newton and Darwin — has adopted a stance of intolerant infallibility over climate science and, even less appropriately, over policy.

The report, Nullius in Verba: The Royal Society and Climate Change, by Andrew Montford, is important to Canada not merely because of the continued threat of climate alarmism, but because the Royal Society of Canada has twice attached its name to intensely political statements from its British counterpart.

The phrase “Nullius in verba,” the Royal Society’s motto, means “on the word of no one” and implies that science should always be determined by objectivity rather than the say-so of any “authority.” For ordinary folk like us, however, (including lazy and/or crusading journalists, and even scientists in other specialities) authority is all we usually have to go on, which explains the catastrophists’ relentless emphasis on the “consensus” of those 2,000-plus weighty “experts” who craft the reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC.

The burden of allegedly “settled” climate science lingers at every policy level, from electricity bills boosted by outrageously expensive wind and solar energy, to vast schemes to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to developed countries for a climate crime that was likely never committed.

Mr. Montford identifies Bob May as the man who started the society’s campaigns of radical advocacy and media manipulation. This approach continued under his successor, cosmologist Martin Rees, while current president, Nobel geneticist Paul Nurse, has continued to castigate skeptics.

Of pivotal importance to public opinion was action taken by the society in 2001, when promoters of catastrophic man-made climate change were focused on the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report — whose star exhibit was the so-called “Hockey Stick Graph,” which purported to show a thousand years of constant temperatures followed by a Nike swoosh upwards in the 20th century — and efforts to ratify Kyoto. The society took the lead in organizing a total of 17 national science academies to issue an editorial statement, which appeared in the journal Science. Lord May made it clear that he was particularly eager to counter skepticism expressed by U.S. President George W. Bush.

The 2001 statement, supported by the Royal Society of Canada, made the dubious statement that “It is now evident that human activities are already contributing adversely to global climate change.” It backed the IPCC as “the world’s most reliable source” on climate science, and demanded action on Kyoto.

Ironically, the IPCC has since been sharply criticized by a report from the InterAcademy Council, the representative body of national science academies, and more recently been lacerated by two dedicated Canadian researchers, economist Ross McKitrick and blogger Donna Laframboise. Meanwhile another independent Canadian researcher, Steve McIntyre would, along with Prof. McKitrick, break the Hockey Stick.

The 2001 editorial claimed that there was much that could be done to “reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases without excessive cost.” That obviously wasn’t true because it didn’t happen. Emissions reductions were trivial; costs were enormous.

The president of the Royal Society of Canada who signed this document, Dr. Bill Leiss, told me that he consulted with RSC science members before adding the society’s name. He also suggested that signing such documents is “the sort of things national academies do for each other.” However, another former head of the RSC, who did not want to be identified, suggested that the society had no mechanism for validating such support, and said that he disagreed with signing such documents.

In 2005, the RSC signed another multi-academy political document designed to pressure the G8 ahead of its meeting at Gleneagles in Scotland. The same year, the British Royal Society issued a misleading pamphlet rebutting skeptics, which Mr. Montford describes as “a low point in the society’s history.” Worse, it pressured the media not to publish dissenting views.

Towards the end of his term of office, Lord May characterized those who questioned the official science of climate thus: “On one hand, you have the entire scientific community and on the other you have a handful of people, half of them crackpots.” He pointed to the existence of a climate change “denial lobby,” funded by the “hydrocarbon industry.” Successor Sir Martin Rees came out strongly in support of the U.K. government-sponsored Stern review on climate change, whose economic assumptions were widely ridiculed. He also presided over a campaign against Exxon Mobil.

In 2010, by then Lord Rees was replaced by Sir Paul Nurse, a Nobel geneticist, who tried to bury the significance of the 2009 release of embarrassing internal emails between prominent IPCC scientists known as “Climategate,” claiming that it was “the greatest scientific scandal that never happened.” (Former RSC head Dr. Reiss suggested to me that there was no Climategate unless one was an “ideologue.” He also denied — as far as he knew — that there had been any halt to the trend in global warming. The latest official figures suggest it has been stalled for 15 years.)

The Royal Society of Canada has recently, with the help of Dr. Leiss, produced a well-regarded and well-balanced report on the impact of the oil sands (although it was inevitably ignored by radical environmentalists) and another on marine issues. However, by linking itself with politicized statements, it risks its own reputation.

As for its British equivalent, Mr. Montford concludes that “Each year that temperatures refuse to rise in line with the nightmare scenarios trumpeted by one president after another, the risk grows that the society becomes a laughingstock.”

Unfortunately, perverting science to promote draconian and poverty-inducing global controls is hardly a laughing matter.


Met Office global forecasts too warm in 11 out of last 12 yrs

And it's the BBC -- a great chapel of the global warming religion -- that says so, albeit with some attempted exculpations

Global temperatures fell quite sharply in January, according to the UAH satellite measure. The anomaly of -0.093C below the 30 year running mean equates to approximately +0.16C above the more standard 1961-1990 time period.

As regards 2011 as a whole, according to the Met Office, 2011 was the 12th warmest year in their 150 years of global temperature records with an anomaly of 0.346C. This compares to their 2011 forecast of 0.44C.

Although this discrepancy is within the stated margin of error, it is the 11th year out of the last 12 when the Met Office global temperature forecast has been too warm.

In all these years, the discrepancy between observed temperatures and the forecast are within the stated margin of error. But all the errors are on the warm side, with none of the forecasts that have been issued in the last 12 years ending up too cold. And, in my opinion, that makes the error significant.

Some scientists who I have spoken to suggest that one of problems is the lack of observations in the Arctic, which is known to have warmed faster than other parts of the world.

They point out that if proper account was taken of this area of the world, then the overall observed global temperature would be higher, a point acknowledged by the Met Office when I spoke to them earlier this week. In short, it could be that the observations are wrong, with computer predictions right all along.

Climate sceptics, however, say that the real reason why the computer predictions are systematically too warm is because they don't properly take into account some of the natural processes that are occurring, such as weak solar activity, which may be holding back global temperatures.

But in recent research conducted by the Met Office and Reading University, the possible cooling exerted by a less-active sun was found to have only a small effect on global temperatures.

This year, the Met Office is predicting an anomaly which is 0.44C above the long term average.

Whatever the reason for the ongoing 'warm bias' in Met Office global temperatures, their forecast for the first half of this decade, published in early 2010, that half the years between 2010 and 2015 would be hotter than the hottest year on record (with an anomaly of 0.52C set in 1998) is already looking in doubt.


Ethanol subsidy expires

Congress finally did something right. Or rather it did nothing at all, which was just the right thing to do in these wasteful circumstances. It let the ethanol tax credit expire after 30 years.

That's 30 years during which this wasteful, destructive, wrong-headed and (for some parts of the world) near-calamitous handout cost the American taxpayer more than $20 billion in subsidies.

Misguided from the first, the consequences of this brilliant idea -- use food for fuel! -- became worse every year. Even if it came wrapped in green slogans about saving the planet by avoiding fossil fuels. And as an Extra Added Bonus, make making the country energy-independent, too!

But a bad idea doesn't get any better because it's marketed as The Latest Thing. (See the Solyndra scandal.)

Wherever there is a federal subsidy involved, questions should be raised, suspicions aroused. The ethanol subsidy turned out to be a great boondoggle but an awful idea: a massive, long-term handout that was worse than useless. It was actively destructive, raising food prices around the world by driving up the price of corn, distorting the free market, and diverting a perfectly good foodstuff into an increasingly unneeded source of fuel.

Coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, wind ... almost anything makes more sense than using food for fuel.

It's hard to think of another government giveaway that has had so deleterious, not to say indecent, effect on the world's poor, the global economy, and the planet's economy and environment, not to mention a simple rational order of priorities.

Why subsidize the production of a dirty fuel that's not needed? Such subsidies encourage deforestation that the planet cannot afford, and stick the cost to taxpayers and consumers. The ethanol subsidy belongs in any gallery of Congress' greatest follies. And now it's mercifully gone. Let's just hope it stays gone.

Who killed the ethanol subsidy at last? An unlikely coalition of environmentalists and budget balancers sick of crony capitalism. They joined forces to kill this monster.

At last, conservatives and conservationists found common ground -- as they should more often.

This boondoggle was ended not by doing anything about it but by doing nothing, nothing at all, which is a beautiful thing after three decades of doing all too much.

The news that nothing had happened, that this huge tax break had simply been allowed to lapse, came like a glimpse of a pure, undefiled canvas in the place of some huge snarl of paint that a Jackson Pollock wannabe might sell to an all-too-gullible world.

Ethanol was going to be the answer to all our problems when, like so many panaceas, it proved the source of a multitude of them.

By raising corn prices, the ethanol lobby hurt meat and poultry producers, food companies, the food stamp program and shoppers in general.

Seldom have so few profited at the expense of so many. Not to mention the cost to the natural environment, which had to bear the brunt of still more pesticides, soil erosion, pollution and all the other ills the planet is subject to in an industrial age. Agribusiness applauded; the rest of us were stiffed.

But the ethanol lobby isn't through with us yet. Now it wants the government to further subsidize the manufacture and distribution of the pumps, tanks and other gizmos needed to make gasoline with higher and higher concentrations of the grain-based fuel. These people need to be stopped before they do even more damage.

Here's the good news: The long-entrenched ethanol subsidy has been replaced by just one great big, beautiful blank. And all because Congress did ... nothing.

Nothing whatsoever, praise the Lord.

Contrary to our president, there are times when the country could use a do-nothing Congress.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


13 February, 2012

Climate and the sun

The article excerpted below is a useful summary of the discussion about solar influences on climate. Climate skeptics will know the first part of it well. It is the second part -- putting the Warmist case -- that seems of some interest. So that is the section I excerpt below and discuss here.

The article is unsigned but is written by a "moderate" skeptic (possibly Pat Michaels) who accepts that CO2 can have SOME influence on climate -- rather than CO2 levels being a RESULT of climate. The author may adopt that stance for political reasons, given the poor empirical evidence for it. How come, for instance, that CO2 levels have risen greatly over the past 15 years, while temperature has flatlined or maybe even cooled?

A notable difference between the skeptical and Warmist cases is that the skeptical case -- as articulated by Svensmark -- is a theory that has been confirmed by direct experimental observations, while the Warmist case relies on a very dubious temperature record. The "hiding the decline" (in proxies) episode was a vivid demonstration of how unreliable temperature proxies are and the thermometer record has been blatantly corrupted by Jim Hansen and others with their various "adjustments". What the thermometers originally showed in aggregate is unknown. The data has been hopelessly compromised in an attempt to show temperature rises where no rise was previously shown.

So it is no wonder that Warmist scientists find no correlation with solar fluctuations and the temperature record. The temperature record is a false representation of reality.

But some facts from the past do not rely on a hokey temperature record. Events like the Little Ice Age or the Medieval Warm Period are well known from history. So we do have SOME information about past temperatures that we can rely on. And that data is very clearly correlated with solar activity. When both sides of the correlation are firmly established, we find that the correlation is strong. The "harder" the data the more we see a solar influence
The idea that solar variability exerts little-to-no influence on the global average surface temperature is based upon several lines of reasoning.

The first is that the difference in the amount of total incoming radiation from the peak of the well-known 11-yr solar sunspot cycle to the trough of the cycle is very low, only about one-quarter of Watt per square meter at the earth's surface. Depending on the climate sensitivity to incoming radiation that you prefer, this works out to a change in the global average temperature of maybe a tenth of a degree Celsius, give or take a few hundredths of a degree. Detecting such a small "signal" amidst other forms of climate "noise" (such as El Ni¤o, volcanoes, and a myriad of circulation patterns) becomes rather challenging.

The second, is that over a period spanning several solar cycles (several decades), the direct correlation between the solar variability and global temperature variability (after accounting for volcanoes and El Ni¤o/La Ni¤a cycles) is basically zero ( it even switches signs from time to time). This means that knowing what the sun is doing gives you little information as to what the global temperatures are doing. But notice the use of the word "direct". In Case #1 the mechanism is "indirect" with the sun modulating cloud formation via cosmic rays and not timed precisely with the more common measures of solar output (e.g. sunspot counts).

However, if your analysis is confined to last two of solar cycles, then it appears as if a decline/rise in solar output over the course of the 11-yr cycle is tied to a decline/rise in global temperatures. Such a correlation leads to the conclusion that declining solar output over the past decade has been, in part, responsible for the contemporaneous slowdown in the rate of global warming-accounting for maybe 0.05 to 0.1 degree of cooling over the course of past 10 years or so. This explanation is currently en vogue with respect to the obvious lack of strong warming in almost fifteen years. It is interesting to note that a solar explanation was largely absent (and in fact was pretty much pooh-pooed) by this same group of people during earlier periods when the warming rate was more to their liking.

A string of papers in the scientific literature have reported that even over the time period of the past several centuries that the influence of solar variability on the earth's average temperature has been slight. For example, Judith Lean and David Rind found that, although they could identify a persistent solar signal in the temperature record during the past century, the signal was small and little-changed over the course of the past 100 years. In other words, solar variability could not explain the observed warming trend. And another just-published paper by Gifford Miller and colleagues even makes the case that the cold period known as the Little Ice Age, long thought to have been the result of an extended period of low solar output, was primarily caused by a concurrence of large volcanic eruptions and feedback processes resulting therefrom. Currently, that paper is an outlier in the field and time will tell whether or not it is correct.

So in very general terms, what buoys the little-to-no solar variability influence reasoning is that straightforward empirical analyses trying to relate solar changes (both directly observed and inferred from proxies such as sunspots) to changes in the global temperature (both directly observed and inferred from proxies) fail to find a large direct influence on the latter from the former.

Even within the "little-influence" community, though, the science is not settled.


Santorum Sends The Right Message On Global Warming

A long-time source of frustration for many small-government Republicans has been politicians who buy into various subsidies, mandates, restrictions and other big-government “solutions” to speculative or nonexistent energy and environment problems. This frustration has continued throughout the Republican primary season as frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich each have a history of supporting such big-government energy and environment policies. But the times may be a-changing. Rick Santorum has been emphasizing small-government energy and environment policies in recent weeks and the conservative base is responding.

Most visibly, Santorum is throwing down the gauntlet on global warming. While blasting Obama on global warming, he is also hitting Romney and Gingrich hard on the topic. “Both of them bought into the global warming hoax!” Santorum has taken to saying on the campaign trail and in media interviews.

Santorum’s strategy is powerful for two reasons. First, he has an unassailable record of questioning alarmist global warming claims and opposing carbon dioxide restrictions. Second, he is pressing the issue with a fervor that conveys clear and unmistakable sincerity.

True, Romney and Gingrich have been saying the right things lately on global warming and other energy/environment topics. Small-government Republicans hope they will govern in a manner that is consistent with their recent statements and pledges on these topics. But small-government conservatives have reason to be concerned.

As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney championed and signed into law the toughest carbon dioxide restrictions in the nation. He directed state officials to factor carbon dioxide emissions into land-use decisions and other regulatory mischief. He appointed to highly influential government positions John Holdren and Gina McCarthy, who graduated from their Massachusetts positions to lead the Obama administration’s war on power plants and carbon dioxide emissions. He has chosen as his campaign’s top energy advisors people who have been outspoken supporters of cap-and-trade restrictions, carbon taxes, and Obama administration environmental policies. These things stick in the minds of Republican primary voters. They may hope that Romney really has turned over a new leaf, but they are hesitant to bet their vote on it.

As for Gingrich, he filmed the atrocious global warming commercial with Nancy Pelosi. He wrote A Contract with the Earth. He supports ethanol subsidies and mandates. He wants to hand over to the renewable power industry government revenues from oil and gas production. These are positions that are not generally considered limited-government or conservative.

Santorum has none of that baggage on energy and environment topics. He has consistently voted against ethanol subsidies. He has consistently fought global warming alarmism. He has consistently opposed handing over taxpayer dollars to the renewable power industry.

For pundits who don’t believe this is a powerful issue with Republican primary voters, remember that opposition to the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill in 2009 was the first big issue that took a sizeable chunk out of Obama’s approval rating. Cap-and-trade was in 2009 what Obamacare was in 2010.

When Romney hits Gingrich for filming his global warming commercial with Pelosi, small-government Republicans think, “Sure, but who is Romney to talk?” When Gingrich points out that Romney imposed toughest-in-the-nation carbon dioxide restrictions on Massachusetts power plants, small-government Republicans think, “Sure, but who is Newt to talk?” Santorum doesn’t have these obstacles with small-government conservatives.

Of course, no candidate is perfect and Santorum has other issues that are troublesome to small-government Republicans. But the lesson to be learned here, as Santorum surges in recent primaries due in large part to his willingness and ability to throw down the gauntlet on global warming and related issues, is that politicians champion big-government energy and environment policies at their own peril. Rick Santorum has a clean record on these issues, and he is starting to turn that clean record into political momentum.


Energy Policies Hit Poorest Hardest; Maybe That's the Goal

Because of the unproven notion that burning fossil fuels causes global warming, saving energy has become the cultural norm with the expectation that reducing the use of coal-fueled electricity and gasoline will help everyone. More and more wind and solar generation is being installed and cars use less and less gas, with some being all-electric. This should be a good thing, but it ends up costing everyone—and disproportionately hurts the poor.

Installing an unsubsidized residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system is expensive and the payoff can be decades. As a result, they are typically purchased by only those with substantial disposable income. A few years ago, I participated in a “solar fiesta.” I live in rural New Mexico where we often have snow on the ground from late October through early March. Due to cost, I only heat my home to 58 degrees in the winter. I have a large south-facing roof surface. I figured I was a prime candidate for a solar PV system. I visited different vendors. When I asked about the payoff, one vendor looked down his nose and emphasized: “It is not about the payoff.” I could not afford to go solar. I still burn pellets in my stove and bundle up all winter.

Those, who can afford the up-front costs to take advantage of the free energy from the sun, can avoid paying their utility company anything. They may even feel smug that they have beat the system. With net metering, when they generate extra power, the meter may literally spin backward. When the sun isn’t shining, they use the power they’ve banked. The end of the month total can balance out.

However, there are still costs to the electric company. The usage is still monitored. The home, or business, is still tied to the grid. The wires and other system services require maintenance and those costs are factored into the per-kilowatt-hour price and are borne by all the rate payers. But what happens when the wealthy few, who have the luxury of installing a solar system, no longer contribute to the communal cost of service? The overall cost must be spread to a smaller pool of users, which means rate increases for everyone—except those who are getting “free” electricity from the sun.

Case in point, in Hawaii, government mandates have encouraged the installation of solar systems. In 2011, Hawaii Electric Company (HECO) customers installed nearly triple the number of solar PV panels over the previous year, enough to generate a maximum of 30 megawatts of electricity. While this free electricity is saving homeowners and businesses millions of dollars in their utility bills, the personal savings translate into a $7.4 million loss to HECO—revenue that would typically contribute to fixed maintenance costs and system upgrades. As a result, HECO needs a rate increase that will cost the average ratepayer up to an additional $10 a month or $120 a year. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports: “HECO customers who don't have solar panels will see their rates go up because of the increase in customers who do.”

Solar advocates often tout the fact that, with subsidies, a system can be almost free—which makes my point. Where do the subsidies come from? Either government funds—meaning taxpayers (you and me)—or from utility company-funded programs—meaning ratepayers (you and me). Either way, everyone pays for a few to benefit and feel good. In the HECO case, Hermina Morita, PUC chairwoman acknowledges, “It's not equitable. It's something the commission will have to look at closely.”

On a national scale, there are mandates that cause similar problems.

In 2009, President Obama proudly announced new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for vehicles: 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Just six months ago, to great fanfare, he ceremoniously upped the ante: 54.5 mpg by 2025. The CAFE part is that a company’s overall fleet must have an average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg. Because Americans continue to purchase more trucks and SUVs with much lower mpg, a company must produce cars like the Volt or the Leaf that are measured at 93 and 99 mpg equivalent. Overall the average might come out in the mandated range. The CAFE standards also mean that manufacturers use technologically advanced lighter materials—as a light car gets better mileage. These materials are also more expensive, which increases the sticker price and makes it harder for lower-income people to purchase a new car and may lock them into buying used cars, with lower mpg and frequent expensive repairs.

Like the solar PV users in Hawaii, drivers of electric cars are using the infrastructure, but not paying for it. Drivers of high-mileage cars are using less gas and, perhaps, driving more. Because a good portion of highway construction and maintenance is paid for through gasoline taxes, many states are now looking for additional ways to collect needed funding. While Kansas has only two dozen Chevy Volts registered in the entire state, a bill has been proposed that would impose a new fee on electric- and hybrid-car owners—though it is unlikely to pass. In West Virginia, lawmakers are considering a “user fee” to make up the shortfall in the State Road Fund. Citing “less gas tax paid” due to “the fuel efficiency of new vehicles, especially hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles,” Oregon has been testing a mileage-based charge where a point-of-sale system sends data to a central computer that calculates the mileage fee. Washington, DC, is considering a system where a “transponder would calculate the totals” “and drivers would be charged accordingly when they purchased gas.”

Until new systems are in place (despite their big brother-like implications), those who can afford the more expensive, low mpg or electric, vehicles are beating the system by using infrastructure they are not paying for and sticking the rest of the population with the tab and increased operating costs resulting from bad roads. The wealthy, who are saving energy, are increasing costs for everyone.

Like solar power, wind energy is believed to be a saving—by reducing the burning of fossil fuels. Instead, it costs all of us, as the industry is heavily subsidized. Without taxpayer funding, it will fail, which is why advocates have been lobbying for an extension of the twenty-year-old production tax credit. But this supposed energy-saving technology would also cost all ratepayers more. A recent report on wiring wind energy shows that costs are nearly double what had been estimated. The increased costs will be paid through higher rates. Building a new gas-fueled power plant near the consumers would be cheaper than bringing the wind energy from afar. But once again, the few are benefitting while the average person pays.

Free energy sounds good. Saving energy makes people feel good. But the costs of these sound-good, feel-good policies hurt those who can least afford it—trapping them in a life of government dependence. Since we do not have an energy shortage, maybe that is the goal of all of these energy-saving policies, after all.


EPA should stop hiding the data used in making regulations

Thousands of conservative political activists, officeholders, public relations operatives, celebrities, think tankers, and academics are assembled here this week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Among the issues that most intensely unite the various factions within the conservative galaxy is the use by liberals of global warming programs and policies as cover for the expansion of government power. All too often the science behind those efforts is inaccessible to the public and thus not subject to genuinely independent review and verification. So a key ingredient in stopping the global warming juggernaut in agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency is making scientific data publicly available.

Consider a 1999 EPA report purporting to show that the Clean Air Act would generate $170 billion in economic benefits in 2010. That at least sounded plausible. But EPA's numbers changed dramatically when the agency released its 2011 report on the purported economic benefits of the Clean Air Act. The EPA's new number was $2 trillion, an increase exceeding 1,000 percent. How did the Obama EPA come up with this number? Government officials used an economic model that, according to the scientists who wrote the study, was filled with "significant" and "major uncertainties." The researchers even admitted that because of their model's design flaws, "there is no way to validate" their findings. The agency refused to make their data available for outside review.

Such outlandish findings are not exceptions at the EPA, but the rule. A 2004 EPA staff report found that "since EPA is a health and environmental protective agency, EPA's policy is that risk assessments should not knowingly underestimate or grossly overestimate risks." Notice the two different standards. The EPA can never "knowingly" underestimate risk, but they are allowed to overestimate it as long as they don't do so "grossly." The results are increasingly costly regulations that do little to actually protect human health and well-being.

For example, the EPA recently issued new Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Utility MACT) regulations for mercury that agency officials claim will produce $140 billion in annual economic benefits. But a quick review of the supporting documents shows that, at most, $6 million of the benefits will come from mercury reductions. The remaining $139,994,000,000 is attributed to benefits that will supposedly result from carbon dioxide reduction. On the flip side, EPA pegged compliance costs at $200 billion a year. That means the cost will exceed the benefits by $60 billion, as in $60,000,000,000. (A separate drafting error misstated a proposed emission standard by a factor of 1,000. Yet the rule is still scheduled to go into effect.)

One solution, suggested at a recent House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing, would be to require the EPA to make public all data used in formulating regulations. "When the EPA proposes a regulation based on science, it should name the papers it is depending on and it should make data sets used in those papers publicly available," Assistant Director for Bioinformatics at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Stanley Young testified. "Claims are more likely to be valid and resulting policy sensible. Let normal science help in the vetting process. Make the data available." We agree. Since taxpayers are paying for it, they ought to be able to the price sticker.


German daily newspaper article On Vahrenholt: “Climate Skeptics Are Like Viruses”

The usual Leftist reliance on abuse

Leftist TAZ Daily Article On Vahrenholt: “Climate Skeptics Are Like Viruses”: With the book out 6 days, parts of the the German mainstream media and green activists are finding the the whole affair really tough to digest. Some of the reactions have been downright nasty and Medieval.

The left wing German online TAZ here has a weekend article called ”Climate Skeptics Are Like Viruses“, which looks at the controversy swirling about Vahrenholt’s and Lüning’s new skeptic book “Die kalte Sonne“.

TAZ’s message is clear: In climate science, scientific scrutiny and enquiry are mental disorders coming from viruses. We all know what needs to be done with viruses.

In the TAZ piece, IPCC lead author Petra Döll is quoted as saying that skeptics don’t need to be heard. Lüning and Vahrenholt respond at their Die kalte Sonne site:
The attitude of refusal by the IPCC with respect to open scientific discussion and debate is now conspicuous. This is demomstrated by IPCC lead author Dr. Petra Döll in the German online taz in claiming that “climate skeptics” no longer need to be heard. Indeed it is questionable just how long this weird scientific approach can be maintained. Should we not expect a professional demeanor from scientists who are paid and supported by German tax revenue? Döll’s dubious reasoning: The climate skeptics ”just keep repeating the same arguments”. Could it be that the so-called climate skeptics are forced to keep repeating because the current climate science establishment has yet to provide a satisfactory answer?

There’s a lot that indicates this is the case. An assessment of the media one week after the launch of the book “Die kalte Sonne” has clearly shown: The media are relying on a hand-full of prominent experts whose arguments are showing to be everything but scientifically convincing. The statements of many experts and activist editors are characterized by misrepresentations, intentional omissions and errors.

Politicians have become aware of this problem. SPD socialist party Chairman writes in the the Sunday edition of the TAZ sonntaz that in all cases we have to hear the climate skeptics out, ‘and even if it is sometimes very difficult to do so.’ Perhaps he’s beginning to realize that something is amiss within the IPCC.

Politicians have blindly relied on the IPCC for too long. Whatever the IPCC said, was law. When one considers how high the stakes really are in the climate debate, then one has to conclude that an independent review of the IPCC’s basic assumptions is essential, even just for the sake of transparency reasons. To avoid conflicts of interest, such a review should be conducted by neutral parties who are not involved in the climate debate. Of course this should be done by scientists, but the more they are from outside of climate science, the better.

Climate science is not rocket science. An independent review by a commission is possible with independent scientists. In the event members come from a large research facility, then it must be assured that there is no sister institute that is dependent on climate science funding. The most important tool of such a commission is natural science common sense, which has been increasingly missing in the climate sciences over the last years.”

That’s a reasonable response. A commission to conduct a review of the IPCC is long overdue, as it is well-documented that the IPCC house is a mess.

But scrutinizing science is mentally ill – the TAZ wants to tell us. There’s another part of the TAZ report, which Lüning and Vahrenolt did not respond to (probably because of its sheer absurdity). Here’s what the end-of-the-world-obsessed TAZ adds:
Also psychologist Marius Raab asks that climate skeptics be listened to. Their ‘house of thoughts’ in the end fulfill many criteria for conspiracy theories, which Raab studies at the University of Bamberg. ‘A conspiracy theory is foremost a good story,’ he wrote to the sonntaz, “in structure and argumentation it is especially compelling and holds the invitation to get involved and thus to spread the word. Argumentation is one-sided, not scientific.’”

Reminds me of the old Soviet tactic of admitting political opponents to mental institutions in order to eliminate them. With the TAZ’s “virus” remark and adding the comments from shrink Raab, it’s clear that the TAZ has no interest in arguing the science and is perfectly content to engage in gutter journalism.


A letter to Paul Nurse

Prof. Nurse is a poor boy made good. Not rocking the boat is probably a lesson he learned on his way to the top

I am reproducing this letter with the permission of Professor Brice Bosnich, a retired chemist and a fellow of the Royal Society. He sent it to Paul Nurse on his election as president of the society in 2010. Nurse did not reply.

Dear Professor Nurse

I am a retired professor of chemistry in The University of Chicago. I also am a Fellow of the Royal Society. First, allow me to congratulate you on becoming president of the Society. You are about to live in interesting times, I am sure.

Whereas I am reluctant to intrude on your time, I feel compelled to draw your attention to a very serious matter related to the Royal Society's position on man-made global warming (AGW).

Beginning with the presidency of Bob May and continuing during the tenure of Martin Rees the Society has put forward a scientific case for (catastrophic) AGW, has joined with other academies in urging governments to take drastic action to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and, on occasions, has behaved as if it were a propaganda arm for the alarmist cause, [1]. No one objects to individual Fellows having any view they wish on this matter, political or scientific, but I believe the Society should exercise great care in its public pronouncements. It should, I believe, resist taking overtly political or advocacy positions. Cautious, balanced and informed scientific arguments should be presented, the political implications of which should be left to the politicians.

If one goes to the Royal Society Web site one finds an especially poor, in places inaccurate, case made for catastrophic AGW, [2]. There is also a highly speculative report on ocean acidification by CO2, [3], which seems to be based on a single paper, [4], that purports to calculate the change in ocean pH from 1750 to present! A change of 0.1 pH change was calculated! On this basis the report goes on to describe all imaginable catastrophes. At about the same time the Society's web page highlighted a paper about AGW and the shrinking sheep of St Kilda [5]! Then there was Bob May presenting an AGW lecture with the comprehensively discredited, [6], “hockey stick” graph as backdrop. I could go on.

How this state of affairs came about is a matter of speculation on my part. It is probable, however, that a group of committed Fellows persuaded the Society to take a position on AGW while the less conversant majority remained uncomfortably silent. Further, I fear the Society may have decided it was advantageous to blend its position with that of the existing government. I hope this is not the case.

Although I am not a climate scientist, I am sufficiently conversant with the climate science literature to be able to assess the issues accurately. My conclusion is that the case for catastrophic warming induced by man-made CO2 emissions is extremely weak (see for example, [7]). Allow me to encapsulate the issue, and forgive me if you are already familiar with the material that follows.

* Following the (global) Medieval Warm Period where the temperatures were similar to those presently recorded, the earth entered the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the Little Ice Age (about 1850) the earth has warmed intermittently. The actual amount of warming is controversial for technical and possibly other reasons. For surface temperatures recorded by thermometer measurements, the amount of warming is probably less than reported [8]. There is, however, no dispute that some near surface atmospheric warming has occurred, [9] [12].

* Doubling the concentration of atmospheric CO2, which is projected to occur by the end of this century, will lead to an increase in temperature of about 1 degree C from the CO2 greenhouse effect. There is no dispute here. No one has suggested that a 1 degree C of "forcing" would be catastrophic.

* In order to get to the 2 to 4 or more degrees C increase by 2100 as claimed by the IPCC, one has to invoke large positive feedbacks. For the case of the feedback by water vapor, as an example, the initial(CO2 induced) warming would generate an increase in atmospheric water vapor, a greenhouse gas, which itself will increase the temperature which, in turn, would generate more water vapor and so on. There are other feedbacks, most notably clouds, which combined with water vapor represent about 90% of the greenhouse effect. Contrary to what the Society’s Web site asserts, there was no (predicted) upper atmosphere signature found for water vapor feedback during the recent warming. The feedback from clouds is poorly understood as acknowledged by the IPCC. There is, however, accumulating evidence which suggests that the total feedback from all sources is zero or possibly negative (see for example, [10]). The evidence for the negative feedback case is substantially more persuasive than the IPCC assertion that it should be large and positive.

* The only case that the IPPC makes for AGW is that they can't think of anything else that could have caused the recent warming and that models can reproduce the warming. This reproduction is achieved by introducing arbitrary amounts of aerosols. These same models did not predict the recent 12 years of constant temperatures.

* Finally, there is an excellent correlation between the US postal rates since 1900 and global temperatures, [11]. Thus the assertions that AGW is responsible for the shrinking sheep of St Kilda or the vanishing snows of Kilimanjaro or any other alarmist pronouncements do not establish that the warming is man-made. This should be obvious to Fellows of the Royal Society, many of whom have used such correlations to support the existence of catastrophic AGW.

The case for catastrophic warming rests solely on the sign and magnitude of the feedbacks. As has been often said, “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence”. The potential of catastrophic AGW is an extraordinary claim, but is without compelling supporting evidence. Because of the way that the AGW issue has been politicized together with the behavior of certain climate scientists, the reputation of science and the institutions that support it have suffered. Further, were catastrophic AGW to join the dreary parade of alarms that have punctuated the recent history of affluent societies, the consequences to science and the Society could be severe. It may take a long time before reputations are restored. It is, therefore, imperative for the Society to stay away from politics and advocacy of AGW or any other science based issue, no matter how beguiling the prospect may seem.

Below is the opening paragraph of a joint statement (2005) by several academies including RS and NAS. This statement urges governments to take action on AGW. I have reviewed it for accuracy and balance, see round bracketed highlighted comments. This has been done in order to illustrate the unease and frustration that I am sure many Fellows feel when they read these official pronouncements.
There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate (Correct, climate science is in its infancy). However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring (Is about 0.7 degrees C increase in 150 years evidence?). The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures (No warming has occurred for the last 12 years and the recent rate of warming is about the same as the rate of rise for the period 1920 to 1940 when greenhouse gases were increasing more slowly, [12]), and subsurface ocean temperatures(No warming has occurred for 8 years, at least, [13], and sea temperatures have been varying up and down for at least 50 years, [14]), and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels(No significant change in the rate of rise of sea levels has occurred for at least 100 years, [15] ), glaciers retreating (Glaciers have been retreating and some reforming since the Little Ice Age, at least, [16], and there is no persuasive evidence to suggest that the retreat is accelerating), and changes to many physical and biological systems(Which ones, the sheep of St Kilda?). It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities [IPCC 2001] (See above for this "evidence"). This warming has already led to changes in the Earth's climate (Climate is defined as more than 30 years of weather, so what are they trying to say? That 0.7 degree C or so rise in temperature is an indication of climate change?).

Similarly, the most recent Royal Society statement, issued jointly with the Met Office and NERC, is replete with misleading and inaccurate assertions, [17].

Finally, I note that the Society has enthusiastically endorsed the central recommendations of the Stern Review, [18]. As noted by William Nordhaus, "the (Stern) Review should be read primarily as a document that is political in nature and has advocacy as its purpose". Moreover, Nordhaus makes a persuasive case that Stern has not got the economic assumptions right, especially on the crucial question of economic "discounting", [19]. The Nordhaus argument, placed in a wider context, is given in, [20], where it is noted that when “Prudential Handicapping” is abandoned for the “Precautionary Principle” there are no guiding criteria for an impossibly expensive journey in the endless pursuit of a zero risk world. A recent assessment of these issues offers a prescription for dealing with climate change, from whatever source, that drastically differs from that advocated by the IPCC, Stern and by the Royal Society, [21]. These and other social science studies indicate that it would be wise for statements from the Society to stay strictly within the bounds of (physical) science.

I end with a quotation from Atte Korhola, a Professor of Environmental Change at the University of Helsinki:
When later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of the twenty-first century as an embarrassing chapter in the history of science. They will wonder about our time and use it as a warning of how core values and criteria of science were allowed little by little to be forgotten, as the actual research topic of climate change turned into a political and social playground.

This letter is being sent to Martin Rees and to John Pethica. I should be grateful if you were to pass it on to members of Council.


Brice Bosnich



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


12 February, 2012

Skeptic brains 'emit fear signals that can disrupt attempts at rational thought'

Another Leftist attempt to declare their opponents psychologically unfit. Such attacks go back a long way. There was a big burst of it among academic psychologists from 1950 onwards and the Soviets even locked up their critics in psychiatric hospitals. So the ghoulish intellectual ancestry of the writer below is clear.

But projection is a regular feature of Leftist thought so it is a good rule that whatever they say about others is really true of themselves -- JR

Yup. That's how a Canadian alarmist explains PM Stephen Harper's lack of interest in global warming. Charlie Smith writes at
. Recently, I came across a neurological and psychological explanation why seemingly intelligent people like the prime minister don't want to wrap their minds around climate change.

Keep in mind that Harper is the son of an accountant who worked for Imperial Oil. He probably grew up in a home with a high regard for the fossil-fuel industry.

Author William Marsden explains in his recent book Fools Rule: Inside the failed politics of climate change (Alfred A. Knopf Canada) that the when the brain is confronted with tiny changes to familiar patterns, it "quickly emits fear signals that can disrupt attempts at rational thought".

Quoting McGill University neurologist Lesley Fellows, Marsden notes that there are parts of the brain that enjoy learning new things, but other areas summon anxiety when familiar habits are disrupted.

"Climate change poses a complexity of stressful challenges with which few people know how to deal," Marsden writes.

Fellows explained to Marsden that "nebulous" threats, such as climate change, are not handled nearly as well by the brain as are immediate threats.


An Unsettling Week For Global Warming's 'Settled Science'

People who claim that "the science is settled" on global warming have to be pretty unsettled by the science news in the last week.

"Setttled science", of course, means that we are inevitably headed toward a disastrous warming of surface temperatures as forecast by some computer models, and we therefore need an international carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, pronto.

Settled science would know all of the important "forcings" and "feedbacks" in the climate system, such as the sensitivity of surface temperature to changes in carbon dioxide (a forcing) and the behavior of clouds, which could either enhance or counter warming (a feedback).

Now it appears that cloud tops are lowering, a totally unforeseen cooling feedback on carbon dioxide-induced warming. Writing in Geophysical Research Letters, University of Auckland's Roger Davies and Matthew Molloy conclude this could be a "significant measure of a negative cloud feedback to global warming".

The average global cloud height is linked to the average global temperature-generally, the higher the average cloud height, the higher the average surface temperature, and vice versa. The tie-in is related to the height in the atmosphere from which clouds radiate infrared radiation to space. The higher up they are, the cooler they are, and they dissipate less radiation, which means the surface stays warmer.

Problem is that there's only ten years of data, and there was a pretty decent La Nina (that's the cold side of El Nino) in the Pacific Ocean in 2008, which was clearly correlated with a decline in cloud top height. Davies and Molloy are therefore properly cautious with their conclusions, but nonetheless note that a comparison of the beginning and endpoints for their study, which minimizes the La Nina contribution, still showed a decline in cloud height.

Who'd a thunk this one? Based upon data from the paper, the cooling climate impact from the decrease in the average global cloud height more than offset the positive forcing from an increase in greenhouse gases from human activities in the last decade.

This is-yet another-explanation in the refereed literature to apologize for recent climate misbehavior. Others include changes in the sun, cruddy air from China, and a change in stratospheric water vapor.

The last one is especially interesting because that, too, is a previously unknown forcing on climate, i.e. another bullet shot at "settled science".

Then there's the new icing on the global warming cake. Data from 2003 through 2010 from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite show virtually zero net melting from the massive Himalayan ice cap, the world's "third pole". The UN, using an unrefereed publication from the World Wildlife Federation, erroneously forecast in its last climate compendium that it would be gone by 2035. In reality, it will last hundreds of years, and even longer if the current trends reflect how the ice cap reacts to warming.

How could prominent glaciologists like Ohio State's Lonnie Thompson, who isn't shy about predicting glacial armageddon (and, who along with his wife, advises Al Gore on matters climatic), have missed this one? Simple-who wants to climb to the top of a Himalayan glacier? That can be close to the oxygen-starved "dead zone" where humans cannot linger. So most measurements have been made from the bottom. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the top of these behemoths will expand in a warmer world, as the ocean evaporates more moisture which will surely precipitate as snow at higher elevations.

In addition, the GRACE satellite found that total ice loss outside of Greenland and Antarctica was previously estimated 30% too high, another reinforcement of the "lukewarm" synthesis of climate change. After adding in the GRACE measurements for Greenland and Antarctica and median estimates for the "thermal expansion" of water, the current rate of sea-level rise is 8 inches per century. While that surely will rise before 2100, it's only one inch more than what was observed last century.

What with the finding of yet another cooling feedback, no net melting (within the range of measurement error) in the Himalayan ice cap, and confirmation of a low rate of sea level rise, it's been a bad week for climate hotheads.


A skeptical "Occupier"

America's Green Enemies

By Alan Caruba

It was good news that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the nation's first nuclear power plants on February 9th, clearing the way for the construction of two reactors by Southern Company at its Plant Vogtle site near Atlanta, Georgia. The bad news is that these are the first new nuclear plants since 1978!

In a nation with a growing population and increasing need for electricity to power homes and businesses, it is nothing less than insane to not include nuclear energy in the mix of providers. Environmentalists immediately attacked the announcement using the usual scare campaigns.

Equally insane is the failure to provide the means to safely store the radioactive materials that result. Highly contested by environmentalists, the Nevada-based Yucca Mountain deep geological repository storage facility for spent reactor fuel was cancelled in 2009. Nevada's Senator Harry Reid, Majority Leader in the Senate, played a major role in this disgraceful decision. The Obama administration terminated funding for the development of the site in 2011, leaving the nation with no long-term storage site.

In a similar fashion, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has waged a long war on the provision of energy; most recently with the imposition of its Utility MACT rule on plant carbon dioxide (CO2) and mercury emissions, neither of which pose any threat. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, decried the rule as one "intended to undermine the viability of coal, one of our country's most abundant and reliable energy sources."

Despite having spent billions to meet the demand for upgrades of the technology to trap such emissions, coal-fired plants all over the nation are in the process of being closed as a result of the MACT rule. These "greenhouse gas" rules are baseless insofar as CO2 is not a pollutant and is vital to the growth of all vegetation on the planet. There is no proof that minor mercury emissions represent any threat to public health.

The EPA use of bogus "computer models" to support wild health claims argues for an end to this agency and the return of its responsibilities to state environmental agencies.

In January, the American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the leading authority, warned that "environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years."

The Institute for Energy Research has stated that "Beyond the 38 gigawatts of electricity capacity that has already been announced to retire, NERC estimates that another 36 to 59 gigawatts of capacity will come off-line by 2018, depending on the `scope and timing' of EPA regulations. Together, nearly a quarter of our coal-fired capacity could be off-line by 2018, marking the first time in energy history that installed coal-fired capacity has declined."

This is a threat to the viability and security of a nation that sits atop the largest deposits of coal in the world! It is a nation in which coal provides 50% of its electricity.

In a similar fashion, environmentalists, after a long propaganda war against coal, have launched an equally massive campaign against natural gas, attacking the use of "fracking", a technology that has been safely used for the last fifty years or more to access equally vast reserves of natural gas.

Likewise the cost of automobiles has been systematically driven up by the wholly false EPA assertion that their CO2 emissions represent a threat to clean air. The imposition of a mandate to mix gasoline with ethanol has resulted in greater CO2 emissions while, at the same time, reducing the mileage of cars. In addition, the use of food crops like corn for the production of ethanol, have driven up food prices.

Anyone who has lost electricity due to a blizzard or a hurricane knows how totally dependent the nation is on reliable and affordable electricity, and knows how totally dependent they are on is provision.

The simple fact is that the present and prior administration's EPA, the Department of Transportation, and others have been lying to Congress and the American public for years regarding their claims about air pollution and energy provision. The Interior Department just put uranium-rich acres of land off-limits to mining.

Environmental organizations and special interest groups like the American lung Association are a fifth column of enemies within the nation.

The global warming hoax-now called climate change-is on its last legs. Nations around the world that have wasted billions on the claims made for "renewable" energy, solar and wind, are pulling back from further support. The "science" behind these claims has been totally and utterly refuted.

Even the United Nations, the source of the global warming hoax, is now switching its debased claims to a new hoax based on so-called endangered species.

The loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the energy and transportation sectors, as well as energy-intensive industries, is incalculable. EPA demands and mandates are deliberately undermining the nation's economy.

The lives and safety of Americans are under attack by environmental organizations and, if they are successful, the only outcome would be the deaths of millions here and around the world from hunger and the lack of power to turn on the lights, heat and cool homes, and power industries.

The planet is not running out of oil, coal, or natural gas. It can use more nuclear power, not less.

We are witnessing an environmental attack on American energy and, ultimately, on America.


VOA: Debate Over Global Warming Heats Up

Even the U.S. Government's propaganda outfit is rethinking global warmism. The Voice of America reports:

"Hardly a week goes by that we aren't reporting a story on concerns about global warming. But, a growing number of people in the scientific community are coming forward to express doubts about the prevailing scientific opinions concerning global warming."

No doubt the warmists will kick the crap out of the VOA for that sentence of honesty.


Why Geo-Engineering Is Like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Climate Science Goes Megalomaniacal

A February 6 report in the Guardian describes budding efforts to displace decarbonizing with geo-engineering as the goal for reducing the predicted catastrophic effects of global warming. At present, these efforts are being funded by mega-wealthy private citizens like Bill Gates, but some traditional environmentalists as well as some decarbonizers are becoming worried that climate theory is setting off in a new direction. Perhaps that is why the story appeared in the Guardian of all places. Instead of its usual uncritical climate gushiness, the Guardian delves into the smarmier side of climate science - its dependence on money.

Their dependence on money is a subject proponents of anthropogenic global warming avoid like the plague, even though they are wont to accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being in the pay of the fossil fuel companies. The Guardian report is important, because it inadvertently shines a light on how the intersection of money and groupthink among insular cohesive groups sharing a common interest is discrediting climate science in particular, but also science in general. (I am not introducing groupthink as a casual buzz word but in the context the distinguished psychologist Irving Janis used in his classic book Groupthink. Anyone who believes groupthink is not a problem in the insular self-righteous climate science community, should read the Hockey Stick Illusion or wade through just a few of the infamous emails hacked from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.)

Obviously, geo-engineering the earth's climate would be a big deal, culturally as well as scientifically. It would make the pyramids, the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Program look puny and intellectually trivial in comparison. By necessity, indeed by definition, geo-engineering would be forever dependent on analyses of the outputs of computerized global climate models (GCMs), because we can not put anything as complex as the world's atmosphere on a lab bench or in a wind tunnel for testing. Computer models, like all scientific theories, are mental constructs of reality - really analogies - to represent and cope with that reality. The first point to note is that no model can be perfect or exact in its representation of reality. All models are imperfect and therefore mutable, as the historian Thomas Kuhn, among others, explained in his classic, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. All scientific models must be continually tested to ensure their predictions match up to external conditions, and as the precision of observations increases, sooner of later, all scientific models become creaky and eventually need to be replaced with a newer construction to better explain a reality that is always receding as one seems to get closer to it by making more precise observations.

The second point to note is that GCMs are complex mathematical constructs made by like-minded or group-thinking minds. They are not the products of individuals. This requires a consensus-based mentality and the intense communal effort required to build these models reinforces that mentality. The need to raise money to pay for these models further intensifies the communal outlook. Consensus building, and especially the invocation of consensual authority, shapes the mentality of contemporary climate scientists in a very different way from the conceptions of physics that shaped the individual mental outlooks during the experiments that produced the models of the atom that competed for acceptance during the first half of the twentieth century. The great physicist who invented the first model of the atom, Niels Bohr, for example, used to introduce his lectures by saying everything he was about to say was wrong. By that he meant no theory is eternal.

You will not hear Bohr's kind of humility, tolerance, or encouragement of dissent and debate from dogmatic proponents of global warming like Michael Mann or James Hansen, ironically, both physicists, even though the GCMs they are basing their sense of authority on have not been validated with empirical data (or in the case of Mann's infamous Hockey Stick, have been shown to be statistically flawed). The dogmatic sense of certainty exhibited by goupthinking climate scientists exists despite the fact that the comprehensive data needed to test the GCM models for matchups to the environment simply do not exist. Yet, this uncertainty is not at all unlike that which created the far more open-minded debate among the advocates of different atomic models, like Bohr, Schr”dinger, or Heisenberg in the early Twentieth Century. So, the authority of the GCMs needed to justify geo-engineering must be based on unvalidated assumptions about reality - really conjectures which are now stated as dogma, like, for example, the crucial quantification of the sensitivity of the warming response to changes in CO2 levels.

But there is more to the speculative analytical pathway leading climate science into the geo-engineering cul de sac, which brings me to my third point. To justify the huge public expenditures and diversion of resources needed to geo-engineer the world, it will be necessary to perform cost-effectiveness analyses of the predicted benefits in a political context to convince policy makers of the need to undertake such a drastic and costly course of action. Although the Guardian does not mention it, I have met some global warming alarmists (all card-carrying decarbonizers) who are already advocating that we combine the output of the GCMs with econometric models of the global economy to predict the global relationship between the monetary inputs to the economic benefits of global temperature reduction via solutions like carbon sequestration, etc. If you want to know how accurate econometric models are, just ask Alan Greenspan. This kind of operation, clearly, would be like piling a house of cards on top of a house of cards.

Yet, the econometric-GCM mansion of cards is probably inevitable. It is a tiny logical step for advocates of geo-engineering to link their theoretical GCMs to econometric models, and given the money needed (and the sacrifices that would be made elsewhere), cost-benefit analyses will eventually become necessary. A policy decision to launch a "Manhattan Plus" project to geo-engineer the earth's climate based on analyses of the output of such poorly understood computer models (GCMs and econometric) would go beyond madness and descend into megalomania. The Guardian report inadvertently makes the madness quite clear: some climate scientists are calling for a political consensus to geo-engineer the globe, because the world cannot reach a political agreement on the vastly simpler problem of simply reducing carbon emissions. Such an argument is at once illogical and bizarre. Perhaps this yawning disconnect is why this report appeared in the Guardian, usually the most rabid pro global-warming mainstream newspaper in the world.

But of course, the megalomania implicit in geo-engineering has nothing to do with madness; it is about a group of like-minded intelligent people trying to feather their nest by creating a cash cow to do what they think is right and good. This is something I saw every day in the Pentagon.

Indeed, creating cash cows in the name of the greater good is the essence of the Pentagon's game. My 28 years experience in the Pentagon made me quite familiar with the steps needed to create the financial equivalent of a self-licking ice cream cone: (1) Inflate a threat to scare the bejeezus out of the people and induce politicians to unleash a torrent of publicly-funded money; (2) then, front-load a solution to neutralize that threat by overstating its benefits, understating its costs, and downplaying the uncertainties surrounding what is at best a poorly understood course of action; and then, (3) politically engineer a social safety net by spreading the money (grants and contracts) around the polity to lock in the constituent dependencies needed to keep the money flowing after the inevitable problems begin to surface.

Incidentally, the geo-engineering game, if publicly funded, will be manna from heaven for the US hi-tech weapons industry, which cannot compete commercially, but is in need of diversification, because of marginal cutbacks in the rate of future growth in the Pentagon's budget. You can bet what little is left of your IRA that defense mega-giants like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup Grumman will be attracted to the cash flow potential of geo-engineering like flies to honey, should a serious geo-engineering effort begin to materialize.

Speaking of the similarities between the advocates of geo-engineering to the inhabitants of the Pentagon and the defense industry - consider, as an example, the resemblance of using computer simulations to cope with the uncertainties of geo-engineering to the use of computer simulations in the now deeply troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Bear in mind, the Pentagon wrote the script for basing high-cost decisions with long term consequences on highly complex, poorly-understood computer driven simulations, while short-shrifting testing. It has more experience in modeling than just about any organization in the world. It began cost-effectiveness modeling on computers in the mid 1960s and has continued with increasing intensity ever since. Nevertheless, the unfolding debacle of the F-35 has taken these kinds of simulations to a new level of disaster: No less an authority that Frank Kendall, the acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition said recently that the F-35 program was started with the idea of putting it into production before it was fully tested under "the optimistic prediction that we were good enough at modeling and simulation that we would not find problems in flight test." . He characterized this decision as "acquisition malpractice" . that . "was wrong, and now we are paying for that." Of course, Kendall's use of "we" is a wee bit disingenuous, because it is the taxpayer not the Pentagon who is footing the malpractice bill.

It goes without saying that the uncertainties limiting our understanding of our ability to model the future consequences of a decision to design and produce the F-35 are trivial compared to those of geo-engineering the entire climate system. But humility is not in order, because geo-engineers, like milcrats and defense contractors, will be spending other people's money.


Good intentions but clean energy price too high

Comment from Australia

There are few things more dangerous than a bad policy built on good intentions. Communism springs to mind ("commune" is such a lovely word). The vast public housing estates built across the English speaking world in the 1960s and 1970s are another. The first famine in the Soviet Union, and the social dystopia in "the projects", should have quickly revealed that the policies were misconceived. Yet because the values behind the policies were ostensibly noble, they continued to operate on the original intention rather than the results. So it is with the government's Solar Flagships program.

"Renew" is also a gorgeous English word that carries with it a cache of that precious and elusive substance - hope. I don't want to disparage the search for diversified and sustainable energy security. I am concerned, as a taxpayer, that we get value for the $10 billion largesse we are pouring into renewables, as the price of Bob Brown's support for a minority government.

The policy was this week mugged by reality when both its Solar Flagship projects crashed. A $300 million grant to photovoltaic Moree Solar Farm must now be re-tendered because the proponents failed to attract matching private investment, in part because BP Solar, which was providing the technology, announced it was getting out of solar globally. (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Czech Republic have all slashed solar subsidies and four of the biggest solar systems suppliers have filed for bankruptcy in the past 10 months). A solar thermal project at Chinchilla in Queensland (which has suffered a $300 million cost blowout since July 2011) has had to be granted a six-month stay of execution because it is yet to secure a customer.

The former Labor Leader Mark Latham now looks prophetic in his December 2011 statement: "The Government has put aside $10 billion for so-called 'industry development' . this is the biggest industry slush fund in the history of the nation. The technologies aren't ready, the businesses aren't established to absorb this money in any productive way."

Latham is an echo of growing unrest among the more hard-headed inside the ALP, including those committed to "urgent action on climate change". Kevin Rudd's former economics adviser, Dr Andrew Charlton, referred in his Quarterly Essay 44, to "the wide gap between rhetoric and reality when it comes to clean energy . Neither wind nor solar power can currently provide continuous base-load power . these sources deliver nothing to the grid when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining". Charlton's thesis supports public investment over time but warns: "Trying to roll out large-scale renewable energy with current technology would be a terrible waste of money. We would spend billions of dollars installing expensive and inefficient renewable power with technology that will soon be outdated".

The British Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, this week faced a revolt of 101 MPs demanding a dramatic cut to a £400 million subsidy to the "inefficient" onshore wind turbine industry. They were not without a factual basis for their concerns after Verso Economics' March 2011 evaluation of The Economic Impact of Renewable Energy Policy found that: "Policy to promote the renewable electricity sector . is economically damaging. Government should not see this as an economic opportunity, therefore, but should focus debate instead on whether these costs, and the damage done to the environment, are worth the climate change mitigation".

That finding is supported by Bjorn Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Centre, which commissioned five economists to review renewables policy. Their advice? "Cutting carbon is extremely expensive, especially in the short term, because the alternatives to fossil fuels are few and costly."

The only source of large-scale, storable, renewable energy is recharge-pumping hydro-electricity. But the Greens believe climate change has permanently reduced rainfall and were founded in Tasmania on a commitment to stop the construction of dams. In a Brown/Gillard government, the taxpayer can look forward to massive, well-intentioned but poorly targeted spending on immature technologies that will deliver little enduring benefit.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


11 February, 2012

1939: When Climate Science Still Involved Actual Scientists

Real scientists are not afraid to say: "We don't know"; Glacial retreat goes back a long way

The Sydney Morning Herald Friday 13 January 1939


CANBERRA, Thursday: One of the riddles which is puzzling geologists all over the world is the continuous retreat of the ice glaciers. Does this phenomenon indicate that the sun is getting hotter as some astronomers believe or is it dependent upon comparatively unimportant changes in the earth’s atmosphere?

Consideration such as these were discussed by Professor R. Speight, formerly professor of geology at Canterbury College, Christchurch, New Zealand and now curator of the Canterbury Museum. In his presidential address to the geology section of the Science Congress today. His subject was “Some Aspects of Glaciation in New Zealand.”

The steady retreat of the glaciers in New Zealand he said had been observed during the last 70 years. Photographs taken in 1896 and 1935 showed that several glaciers had retreated distances varying from 100 yards to half a mile in 40 years

(The EPA uses 1935 as the start date for their photos, and they pretend that they don’t know that the glaciers were rapidly retreating during the 19th century)


The phenomenon, however, was world-wide. Equally impressive records were obtainable from Switzerland, Scandinavia, Iceland and the United States. Attempts had been made to reconcile these observations with the Bruckner cycle of climate change every 16 years. Pro-fessor Speight said, but so many discrepan- cies occurred that in his opinion precise synchronisation with that period could not be accepted.

In Alaska glaciers had been retreating from 100 to 200 years, the average rate of recession being about 50 feet a year. The Antarctic ice-sheet also showed signs of recent retreat.

“In fact,” said Professor Speight, “no case is recorded of a region of the world in which there are present signs of an advance. This is quite apart from the general retreat since the pleistocene age and may be merely a pacing phase. Its precise significance can only be determined by continued observation.”


United Nations pushing a 'green economy'

They're a talking shop for tyrants anyway so new tyrannies of course attract them

At a closed-door retreat in a Long Island mansion late last October, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his topmost aides brainstormed about how the global organization could benefit from a "unique opportunity" to reshape the world, starting with the Rio + 20 Summit on Sustainable Development, which takes place in Brazil in June.

A copy of the confidential minutes of the meeting was obtained by Fox News. According to that document, the 29-member group, known as the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), discussed bold ambitions that stretch for years beyond the Rio conclave to consolidate a radical new global green economy, promote a spectrum of sweeping new social policies and build an even more important role for U.N. institutions “ to manage the process of globalization better.”

At the same time, the gathering acknowledged that their ambitions were on extremely shaky ground, starting with the fact that, as Ban’s chief organizer for the Rio gathering put it, “there was still no agreement on the definition of the green economy, the main theme of the [Rio] conference.”

But according to the minutes, that did not seem to restrain the group’s ambitions.

Its members see Rio as the springboard for consolidation of an expanding U.N. agenda for years ahead, driven by still more U.N.-sponsored global summits that would, as one participant put it, “ensure that the U.N. connected with the roots of the current level of global discontent.”

Among other things, the CEB heard Ban’s top organizer, a U.N. Under Secretary General from China named Sha Zukang, declare that the wish list for the Rio + 20 meeting, already being touted as a landmark environmental conclave on the issue of “global environmental governance,” included making it:

* “the catalyst” for solidifying a global economic, social and political agenda, built around “green economy” goals

* a means to “reorient public and private decision-making” to make the world’s poorest people the new economy’s “main beneficiaries,”

* a method of also reorienting national decision-making in countries around the world to put the new agenda “at the heart of national ministries,”

* the occasion to create new bodies, like a U.N. Sustainable Development Council, similar to the U.N. Human Rights Council, to help guide the global process further in the years ahead, or give additional responsibilities to the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP), the world body’s chief environmental agency..

Other participants chimed in with additional ideas, including the notion from one key organizer that “the U.N. in Rio should be the voice of the planet and its people.”

At the same time, conference organizer Sha noted, “2012 was not the best year” for driving new environmental bargains, due to the global financial crisis walloping the world’s rich economies, a prevalent “atmosphere of general trust deficit” between the world’s rich and developing countries and that many countries (notably including the U.S.) were holding national elections that left their future policies up in the air.

Those realities had already stymied the latest attempt to forge a multi-trillion-dollar bargain to transfer wealth from rich nations to poor ones in the name of controlling “climate change,” at a meeting last December in Durban, South Africa.

As one of the participants, Achim Steiner, head of the UNEP, put it, according to the minutes: “In framing its role and mission, the U.N. not only had the preoccupations of the financial and economic crisis, but also had to grapple with the phenomenon of a geo-economically transformed world that was not yet geopolitically articulated.”

Translation: One of the U.N.’s challenges is that the world had not been globally reorganized in political terms -- yet -- to the same extent that it had been globally reorganized in economic terms.

But in general, the members of the CEB saw that as an opportunity for the world organization, which they clearly hoped to make central to that global re-articulation.


First you scare ‘em, then you snare ‘em – how the UEA treats 13 and 14 year olds

That epicentre of scarequakes on climate and carbon dioxide, the University of East Anglia (UEA) has been lowering its sights recently to target more than 60 early teenagers in their neighbourhood. Power Engineering carries the story, as does the print edition of the Norwich Evening News on 9th February. The impression it gives me is that they want them to be receptive to renewables as a source of energy, and at the same time get them involved in a scary scenario about a planetary emergency to get them on side.

Why would a university stoop to such a thing? Let us first look at it:

First, you get the youngsters to imagine that fossil fuels have disappeared, that this is really scary, and that they must come up with ideas to save the world. You pay an outside consultancy to do this, since it is one of their suite of activities for the young, and they no doubt have it down to a fine art. Now by itself, I can imagine really good teachers, with the right type of pupils, engaging their attention in such a way (with no need of course to pay others to do so). It is easy to imagine this could lead to lots of ideas and useful discussions. But what about the rest of it?

Second, you bring in people with a vested interest in renewable energy (in this case Aquaterra , Seajacks and a tiny start-up called Wind Elements Ltd) and/or carbon reduction schemes and devices (in this case, Lotus Cars and the University of East Anglia – the UEA, home of the Low Carbon Innovation Centre, commented on here in 2010, and of course of CRU, perhaps most widely known as the source of the Climategate materials ). You arrange for the pupils to speed-date their way amongst them.

Third, you alert the press to what you are up to, perhaps invite them to be there.

Fourth, you invite a children’s hero to attend, in this case a local footballer, perhaps in order to increase the possibility of a positive response from the press, and maybe even encourage more pupils to attend.

Now how does it look? Can you imagine this happening in the old Soviet Union (‘First, imagine the capitalists have closed down all their businesses in some yet-to-be-liberated land, and you have to save the people there from starvation. Second, let me introduce Commissar Crulcicski who wishes to tell the class about the new 5 year plan, and the glorious ideals of the Party. You will each have to talk with him. You need pay no attention to the comrade reporter from Pravda sitting at the back, but the famous footballer Stakhanovily Matthewski is here to distract deal with any technical questions that may arise. Let us begin.’)

There’s more. The no doubt well-intentioned facilitators of the simulation game (Camouflaged Learning) describe it as follows:
‘As the day begins, the students are informed that the Earth’s remaining reserves of fossil fuels have finally been exhausted and, as a result, the fabric of what we consider normal life has immediately started to crumble. No more light, no more heat, no more iPads. No more anything, in fact, meaning something needs to be done- and soon- before the world falls into total chaos.’

The UEA representative at the event is reported as hyping this up just a bit: ‘The students must solve the most catastrophic, significant and terrifying crisis imaginable – a world without power’, she said, ‘…It is essential that they act fast because, unless they’re successful, life as we know it could come to an end.’

If I were of a cynical disposition, I’d call this event ‘Camouflaged Selling – of renewables by the companies, and of alarmism by the university’. Perish the thought. Who would do such a thing with such young people?


Poor pupils of Norwich. A similar wheeze was followed by energy giant, EDF, last year at a high school in Norwich when they invited a famous athlete to attend a sustainability day of their devising. To their credit though, it seems they might have skipped the bit where you first scare the kids:

‘“Days like these are something that pupils will remember for the rest of their lives and it is great that EDF Energy can combine this with a way of getting people together to fight climate change.”

It is hoped that the school’s sustainable efforts will inspire others in the local community to follow in its footsteps and think about what they can do differently in their lives to be greener.
Clive Steed, sustainability manager for EDF Energy said: “We can only tackle climate change effectively by taking action together. As a leading energy company, EDF Energy has an ethical responsibility and the expertise to inspire people to reduce their carbon footprint, which is why we kicked off Green Britain Day.’


How Capitalism Makes Catastrophes Non-Catastrophic (Key data point for energy/climate debate)

One of the greatest and most unheralded successes of industrial capitalism is making our climate eminently livable.

The mass-production of sturdy, weather-proof buildings … the universal availability of heating and air conditioning … the ability to flee the most vicious storms through modern transportation … the protection from drought through modern irrigation … the protection from disease through modern sanitation–all of these have led to a 99 percent reduction in the number of climate-related deaths over the last century.

Given how obsessed America is about climate change (or some intellectuals/politicians want us to be), these facts should be well-known and incorporated into every discussion of industrial policy. Those who claim to care about a livable climate for the future should strive to understand the mechanisms by which industrial capitalism has already created the most livable climate in history.

If they did so, they would learn from such thinkers as Ayn Rand and Ludwig Von Mises how capitalism, by permitting only voluntary associations among men, unleashes the individual human mind–and that millions of such minds, free to associate and trade however they choose, will engage in stupendously intricate, collaborative planning for everything from how to make sure they can always get groceries to how to account for nearly any conceivable weather contingency.

Armed with an understanding of individual freedom and individual planning, the climate-concerned would suspect that any preventable problem in dealing with weather–such as widespread vulnerability to flooding–is caused by government interference in voluntary trade, such as taxpayer-financed flood insurance that encourages people to live in high-flooding areas.

Center for American Regress?

Unfortunately, an understanding of capitalism and climate is sorely lacking at the Center for America Progress, the hottest left-wing think-tank today. On its blog, ThinkProgress, the Center recently ran a piece by Christian Parenti entitled Climate Action Opponents Are Ensuring the Outcome They Claim to Oppose: Big Government.

A little translation is in order. From an individualistic perspective, “climate action” refers to the actions that free citizens take to make their climate as livable as possible–the kinds of actions that decreased climate vulnerability 99% in the last century.

But from the collectivist, statist perspective of CAP, “Climate Action” refers to dramatic caps on energy generated from hydrocarbons–the energy source that runs the industrial capitalist system that has increased our life expectancy from 30 to 80 years.

How will banning the vast majority of modern energy production help us oppose “Big Government”? Because otherwise we would face so many catastrophic storms, the article argues, that the government would necessarily become a disaster-recovery Leviathan.

After all, Mr. Parenti takes as given, government is the only entity that can adapt to storms: “To adapt to climate change will mean coming together on a large scale and mobilizing society’s full range of resources. In other words, Big Storms require Big Government.”

Big Storms Require Limited Government

In fact, the larger-scale a problem, the more freedom is essential. As economist George Reisman brilliantly explains in his landmark essay on global warming economics,
Even if global warming is a fact, the free citizens of an industrial civilization will have no great difficulty in coping with it—that is, of course, if their ability to use energy and to produce is not crippled by the environmental movement and by government controls otherwise inspired. The seeming difficulties of coping with global warming, or any other large-scale change, arise only when the problem is viewed from the perspective of government central planners.

It would be too great a problem for government bureaucrats to handle (as is the production even of an adequate supply of wheat or nails, as the experience of the whole socialist world has so eloquently shown). But it would certainly not be too great a problem for tens and hundreds of millions of free, thinking individuals living under capitalism to solve. It would be solved by means of each individual being free to decide how best to cope with the particular aspects of global warming that affected him.

Individuals would decide, on the basis of profit-and-loss calculations, what changes they needed to make in their businesses and in their personal lives, in order best to adjust to the situation. They would decide where it was now relatively more desirable to own land, locate farms and businesses, and live and work, and where it was relatively less desirable, and what new comparative advantages each location had for the production of which goods. Factories, stores, and houses all need replacement sooner or later. In the face of a change in the relative desirability of different locations, the pattern of replacement would be different. Perhaps some replacements would have to be made sooner than otherwise. To be sure, some land values would fall and others would rise. Whatever happened, individuals would respond in a way that minimized their losses and maximized their possible gains. The essential thing they would require is the freedom to serve their self-interests by buying land and moving their businesses to the areas rendered relatively more attractive, and the freedom to seek employment and buy or rent housing in those areas.

Given this freedom, the totality of the problem would be overcome. This is because, under capitalism, the actions of the individuals, and the thinking and planning behind those actions, are coordinated and harmonized by the price system (as many former central planners of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have come to learn). As a result, the problem would be solved in exactly the same way that tens and hundreds of millions of free individuals have solved greater problems than global warming, such as redesigning the economic system to deal with the replacement of the horse by the automobile, the settlement of the American West, and the release of the far greater part of the labor of the economic system from agriculture to industry.


We should be thankful that previous generations were not governed by the “ThinkProgress” philosophy of regarding government coercion as the solution to future changes, whether economic or environmental. Had they followed the near religious state-worship of Center for American Progress, we would have had the equivalent of Barack Obama or Christian Parenti dictating to millions of Americans when, how, or if they could transition to automobiles or go West or leave their farms. If we do indeed face worse weather ahead, then nothing is more important in preparing than more industry and more freedom.


The Galileo of Global Warming

By Robert Tracinski

I have written before about how the left loves to invoke the example of Galileo in order to present themselves as the great defenders of science against all of those knuckle-dragging religious bigots who don't believe in global warming. But these same people don't understand science very well themselves (remember amateur neurologist Janeane Garofalo lecturing us about the "limbic brain"?), so they end up using Galileo, a man who defied the "consensus" of his day, as a propaganda talking point to enforce the consensus of today.

It occurred to me a while back that there is something worse about this invocation of Galileo, because there is a modern-day equivalent to Galileo, specifically on the issue of global warming—and he's on the other side. In this more civilized age, he is thankfully not threatened with torture or any kind of persecution. But he is a pioneer of new and important scientific truths who is being ignored and vilified because his discoveries run counter to the quasi-religious dogma of our day.

That man is the Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark, who seems to have discovered the most important factor that actually regulates Earth's climate, and who is quietly in the process of proving it.

I linked last year to Svensmark's latest big breakthrough, but I didn't get a chance to discuss it much, so I want to give a little more detail now, then show one of the recent consequences of Svensmark's achievement.

Let me briefly sum up Svensmark's theory. The temperature of the Earth, he argues, is regulated by the intensity of solar radiation, but not in the obvious way. It is not that the increase is solar radiation heats the Earth directly. (It does, of course, but not to a sufficient degree to explain climate variations.) Rather, an increase in solar radiation extends the Sun's magnetic field, which shields Earth from cosmic rays (highly energetic, fast-moving charged particles that come from deep space). How does this affect the climate? Here is the crux of Svensmark's argument. When cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, he argues, their impact on air molecules creates nucleation sites for the condensation of water vapor, leading to an increase in cloud-formation. Since clouds tend to bounce solar radiation back into space, increased cloud cover cools the Earth, while decreased cloud cover makes the Earth warmer.

So if Svensmark is right, lower solar radiation means more cosmic rays, more clouds, and a cooler Earth, while higher solar radiation means fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer Earth.

Those who have followed the global warming controversy over the years may recall that cloud-formation is one of the major gaps in the computerized climate "models" used by the consensus scientists to predict global warming. They have never had a theory to explain how and why clouds form or to account accurately for their effect on the climate. Svensmark has smashed through this glaring gap in their theory.

Like I said, Svensmark hasn't just put this theory out there. He has been working to prove it. He has done some studies that attempted to track measurements of cosmic ray flux against surface temperature and cloud cover, with some success. But his big breakthrough last year was a long-awaited experiment at Switzerland's CERN particle accelerator that demonstrated the most controversial part of Svensmark's theory.

It is widely accepted that the Sun's magnetic field helps shield Earth from cosmic rays, and it is also widely accepted that increased cloud cover cools the Earth (though expect this to suddenly come into question as Svensmarks' theory gains ground). What Svensmark needed to demonstrate was that cosmic rays form nucleation sites that seed clouds.

Hence the aptly named CLOUD experiment performed at CERN last year, with the results published last August. The experiment was actually more than a decade in the making, but as Lawrence Solomon explains, it was help back for years by the scientific bureaucracy because of its potentially unwelcome results.

The results are indeed unwelcome, at least for the advocates of the global warming consensus. Anthony Watts explained the experiment at his blog, Watts Up With That? The CLOUD experiment used CERN's particle accelerator to send a beam of artificially generated charged particles—simulated cosmic rays—into a gas-filled chamber and then measured the formation of aerosols, the kind of compounds that can serve as cloud nucleation sites. It found a direct and very significant relationship.

This is not a total demonstration of Svensmark's theory. The Nature paper on the CLOUD experiment notes that "the fraction of these freshly nucleated particles that grow to sufficient sizes to seed cloud droplets, as well as the role of organic vapors in the nucleation and growth processes, remain open questions experimentally." But last year's result is a clear demonstration of a crucial step in Svensmark's theory. It's certainly a lot farther than the warmthers have ever gotten in demonstrating the physical basis for their theory.

("Warmther," by the way, is a coin termed—if I recall correctly—by occasional TIA Daily contributor Tom Minchin. It's intended to put advocates of the global warming hysteria in the same category as the "truthers" and the "birthers.")

What impact did the CLOUD experiment have? Well, the global warming establishment set out to make sure it would have no impact. Like I said, this is a more civilized age, so Svensmark and his colleagues will not be subject to an Inquisition. They will just be ignored, for as long as the entrenched establishment can manage to do so.

This campaign began immediately. James Delingpole's overview of the reaction to CLOUD quotes the statement given to the press by Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN.
I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.

I don't know what I find more amusing about this quote: the fact that he is directing scientists not to draw conclusions from data, or the fact that he then proceeds to assert his own interpretation of the data, that "cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters." Well, no, if Svensmark's theory is right, it is not "only one of many," it is the central factor, far more important than human emissions of carbon dioxide. But thanks for telling us all ahead of time what we're supposed to think.

Heuer's statement is an example of an old warmther practice of releasing scientific results to the media only on the condition that upper-level science bureaucrats, the ones who want to increase or preserve the funding they get from government, provide the politically appropriate "spin" to the press. In this case, the appropriate spin is, "move along, nothing to see here."

The BEST study provides an example of a different kind of spin. BEST, which stands for Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature, was a study begun in response to the Climategate scandal. Part of the Climategate scandal, you may recall, was the refusal of prominent climate scientists to share their raw data on global temperatures, as well as evidence that this data was unreliable. So Berkeley scientist Richard Muller, a believer in global warming who nonetheless publicly criticized the Climategate miscreants, started a program to examine the accuracy of global temperature measurements and make the data publicly available. As part of his team, he drafted Judith Curry, a scientist with a history of sympathy for global warming skeptics.

But Muller is still a warmther, and old habits die hard. So he released the study's first set of data shortly before an international global warming conference—then pulled the old warmther trick of summing it up in a press release promoting the politically correct conclusions, claiming that this data "proved you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer." Curry was then forced to go the newspapers to contradict this spin, telling the Daily Mail that "There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped. To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate."

The Daily Mail, being a London tabloid, present the controversy in very sensational terms. But here is the crucial passage that indicates what is going on.
[A]lthough Prof Curry is the second named author of all four papers, Prof Muller failed to consult her before deciding to put them on the internet earlier this month, when the peer review process had barely started, and to issue a detailed press release at the same time.

He also briefed selected journalists individually. "It is not how I would have played it," Prof. Curry said. "I was informed only when I got a group email. I think they have made errors and I distance myself from what they did."

I am afraid Professor Curry has been a bit naïve, because this is an exact repeat of the technique long used by the organizers of those United Nations global warming panels. The technique is to get a bunch of honest, legitimate scientists to contribute to your report and be listed as "co-authors," so long as their contributions are safely buried in the dense minutiae of the body of the report, which no politician or reporter is going to bother reading. Then, without their knowledge or consent, you "summarize" the work of these "co-authors" in a politically slanted press release and claim all of them as part of the "consensus" for your political conclusions.

So there you have the rules of the game, as played by the political-scientific establishment. If you have a study that you think backs up the global warming dogma, preface it with a press release drawing wildly speculative conclusions from the data. If you have a study that contradicts the global warming dogma, preface it with a press release declaring that no conclusions can be drawn.

But that's not going to work, which brings me to the recent news item that I mentioned at the beginning. James Delingpole's Daily Telegraph blog alerted me to the latest. In Germany, where the global warming dogma has been very deeply entrenched, one of the founding fathers of Germany's environmentalist movement, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, has converted into a global warming skeptic and is promoting his views in a new book and a series of article in Bild, a major German newspaper. What caused the change? According to one account:
Vahrenholt’s skepticism started when he was asked to review an IPCC report on renewable energy. He found hundreds of errors. When he pointed them out, IPCC officials simply brushed them aside. Stunned, he asked himself, “Is this the way they approached the climate assessment reports?”

Vahrenholt decided to do some digging. His colleague Dr. Lüning also gave him a copy of Andrew Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion. He was horrified by the sloppiness and deception he found.

But longtime skeptic Benny Peiser also notes another factor: "the work of the Danish researcher Henrik Svensmark and other climate scientists convinced [Vahrenholt] that the fluctuating magnetic field of the sun is a driver of climate change."

This is the way things are going to be from now on. The discoveries of the Galileo of global warming—to appreciate the irony, call Svensmark's view the heliocentric theory—is out there, the evidence for it is building, and that fact can no longer be hidden or ignored. If more brutal methods of suppression couldn't stop the truths spoken by Galileo, today's soft suppression of science isn't going to work, either.


Australia: Carbon tax to hit car jobs

CAR parts and plastics manufacturers warn their industries could be the next to shed jobs because the carbon tax will hit them hard.

And the future of Alcoa's Geelong smelter and 600 workers' jobs was no clearer after high-level meetings yesterday involving the company's bosses, Premier Ted Baillieu and federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Regional Cities Minister Denis Napthine revealed only that discussions had been "frank" and Alcoa had made no specific demands.

Mr Abbott called for the carbon tax to be dropped to save the jobs, saying: "With the carbon tax, the aluminium industry is essentially dead in this country."

The Federal Government, which is giving the aluminium industry $3.5 billion in compensation, said the big problem for Alcoa was the soaring dollar, not the tax.

Despite previously flagging that the carbon tax would be a significant cost to the company, Alcoa said yesterday it was not a factor in its decision this week to launch a review of its loss-making smelter at Point Henry in Geelong.

But car parts manufacturers, who employ about 43,000 Victorians, took the opportunity to warn a carbon tax could be a decisive impost on a fragile industry.

Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers chief executive Richard Reilly said continuing government help would be needed. "We are going to be impacted by a carbon tax, and our competitors (overseas) won't," he said. "If we want to have a car industry, we need continued co-investment."

Vinyl Council of Australia chief executive Sophi MacMillan warned the combination of a high Australian dollar, imported products and the impending carbon tax would "weed out" many exposed businesses. "It is difficult for the manufacturing sector in Australia at the moment across the board whether you are in plastics or other materials," she said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


10 February, 2012

It's not skeptics who are the deniers

No facts can change the minds of true believers

Damien Carrington — who is head of environment at the Guardian, which tells you almost everything you need to know about what’s going on inside his head (if at all) — writes about the discovery that Himalayan glaciers may not have been as vulnerable as previously thought… "The Himalayas and nearby peaks have lost no ice in past 10 years, study shows. Meltwater from Asia’s peaks is much less than previously estimated, but lead scientist says the loss of ice caps and glaciers around the world remains a serious concern"

Carrington quotes one of the researchers behind the study,

"People should be just as worried about the melting of the world’s ice as they were before. [...] The new data does not mean that concerns about climate change are overblown in any way. It means there is a much larger uncertainty in high mountain Asia than we thought. Taken globally all the observations of the Earth’s ice – permafrost, Arctic sea ice, snow cover and glaciers – are going in the same direction."

Hold on a minute. Environmentalists have been banging on about Himalayan Glaciers melting for years. Even when it turned out that the IPCC had take a completely wrong figure from ‘grey literature’, the claim that Himalayan glaciers are vulnerable to melting persisted. For instance, only this week, Donald R. Prothero, who claims to have been ‘Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena’, writes in an article called ‘How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused‘, that,

"Glaciers are all retreating at the highest rates ever documented. Many of those glaciers, especially in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, and Sierras, provide most of the freshwater that the populations below the mountains depend upon—yet this fresh water supply is vanishing. Just think about the percentage of world’s population in southern Asia (especially India) that depend on Himalayan snowmelt for their fresh water. The implications are staggering."

Not only was doubt cast over the pace of Himalayan Glacial retreat by the IPCC/2035 claim, it was widely reported at the same time that the dependence on the glaciers by Asia’s population was massively over-stated too. What sceptics have tried to explain is that, when you overstate things like the speed of change and the human consequences of that change, other people naturally start to question the argument. It’s no good restating the same mythology that existed before, in defence of the idea that we ‘know’ that ‘climate change is happening’ and that ‘we caused it’.

And the same is true of the most recent discovery. Of course it means “that concerns about climate change are overblown”. What else could it possibly mean, when one of the concerns turns out — yet again, as it happens — to have been overblown? How many times were the Himalayan glaciers pointed at? How many times did sceptics reply that there wasn’t sufficient data? how many times did alarmists claim in response that the sceptics had ‘denied the science’, and even that they were being paid for by Big Oil? I have quite definitely lost count.

Donald R. Prothero, like many before him, tried to make the claim that a billion people depend on the glaciers. In just one discovery, we’ve established that Climate Change is a problem which has been reduced by that same magnitude. It’s a billion people less of a problem.

Elsewhere on the Guardian blogs, Leo Hickman asks,

"Are the world’s glaciers threatened by climate change? A Nature study has shocked researchers by finding that the Himalayas have lost no ice over the past decade. Leo Hickman, with your help, investigates. Get in touch below the line, email your views to or tweet @leohickman"

It’s an interesting inversion of traditional journalism.

In the past, journalists went out to discover things. They then formulated an argument about what they had researched and wrote about it. (Assuming that they didn’t just make it up in the pub).

And then it would be read by readers, who, presumably, then made up their mind about the article given their confidence in the journalist, and the quality of the article. Now, however, it seems it is the readers who are being asked to do the research, and then the journalist makes up his mind…

"If quoting figures to support your points, please provide a link to the source. I am particularly seeking links to data and papers which show the wider, global picture regarding the impact of climate change on glaciers, and, crucially, the impact on humans and habitats if they do melt. I will also be inviting various interested parties to join the debate, too. And later on today, I will return with my own verdict."

I will return with my own verdict, he promises, from ‘pon high. All of which begs the question, what is the point of Leo Hickman? We can all go and do our own research, and read it alongside others’, and form our own analyses; Hickman adds no value to the process of journalism — journalism 2.0… perhaps?


CO2 Causes Contempt for Childhood - a climate well-worthy of our alarm

When children less than 6 years old are seen as 'instruments' 'for the achievement of a sustainable society' and that 'we' must make them 'understand deeply, and even shock them out of their unawareness', then something is seriously amiss; somebody somewhere is up to something we should resist. The quotes are from a UNESCO report recently reported on by Donna Laframboise.

Targeting toddlers under the smokescreen of ‘sustainable development’ has more than just a hint of the peculiar impulses which grip some campaigners convinced that CO2 is a threat to life on earth, and most especially to humans and to polar bears. Their negativity and exploitation of fear can lead to the absurd as well as to the totalitarian. Their answer is invariably more state control of what we do and what we think, and where we live, and how we live, and what we might try to do. Some kind of global rulebook, devised and enforced by an elite is what they want.

Nothing new there – countless religious and political movements have sought exactly that for thousands of years. What is new is the appeal to climate science rather than to one or more deities, or the pseudo-science of Marxism. Sometimes the outputs of computer programs are brought down as if from on high to be treated as part of the new gospel, interpreted by experts who do not care to have their authority challenged. There is also nothing new in the targeting of the young, where the big idea is presumably to get at them before they have much chance of resistance.

The report is about a UNESCO conference held in 2007. The conference-culture it represents is almost caricatured by this extract from the report:

‘This report originates from the international workshop, ‘The Role of Early Childhood Education for a Sustainable Society’, jointly organized in Göteborg, Sweden, by Göteborg University, Chalmers University of Technology and the City of Göteborg, from 2 to 4 May 2007. It was attended by thirty-five participants from sixteen different countries (see ‘List of Participants’). The workshop was a follow-up to the international conference on education for sustainable development, ‘Learning to Change Our World’, held in May 2004, in Göteborg. It was one of four preparatory workshops leading to another international conference on education for sustainable development, to be organized in 2008 or 2009, in the same city. The aim of the four workshops is to discuss promoters and barriers related to learning for sustainability, and to propose recommendations for the upcoming international conference.'

The delegates were described as not really knowing what 'sustainable development' was (and who can blame them!): ‘A common question raised in the beginning was ‘What is sustainable development?’ Most of the participants were not familiar with the concept,’

Which makes me think one motivation for this conference was to spread the gospel to them, the innocent delegates, rather than as a meeting place for like-minded people to discuss their work and ideas. This is reinforced by most of the papers presented - they really are mostly about motherhood and apple pie, about how good it would be if more children could get out in the open-air, enjoy nature, and be kind to one another. But in amongst this worthy stuff, there are contentious materials that raise the hackles of the sensitive reader, such as this gem:

‘Al Gore’s (2006), An Inconvenient Truth, the Stern (2006) review into the economics of climate change, and the report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (2007), have heightened awareness of how humans are over-stretching the Earth’s life-support systems.’ (page 19)

Each of the three sources given has been widely discredited as reliable guides. The 'heightened awareness' of which she speaks is best decoded as 'irresponsible, ill-informed alarmism'.

Laframboise has spotted several other phrases to raise the hackles of the concerned citizen:

educating for sustainability should begin very early in life. (p. 12)

Young children can be encouraged to question over-consumption. (p. 13)

young children have capacities to be active agents of change now… (p. 20)

Through their learning and social activism, the children were able to highlight their concerns… (p. 22)

even very young children…can be proactive participants…as initiators, provocateurs, researchers and environmental activists. (p. 22)

learning begins at birth…and even before. (p. 54)

We must find some effective methods of teaching sustainable development that can make children understand deeply, and even shock them out of their unawareness. (p. 85)


‘The environmental movement has lost its way’

An interview

Professor Ian Clark just does not see any evidence of oil sands contributing to global warming. That’s quite a stand to take in the face of a global environmental community that considers the development of the Canadian heavy oil industry tantamount to hastening the end of the world.

But Prof. Clark can claim to know a bit more about the science behind climate change than the average person. As a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Ottawa, he focuses on paleoclimatology — the study of changes in climate taken on the scale of the entire history of earth — and isotope hydrology, which determines the age of ice or snow, which can help indicate climate conditions in the past.

Last December, the professor testified before the Senate Standing Committee on Energy, The Environment, and Natural Resources, where he explained that our planet is experiencing global warming after 400 years of a cold period which he termed “the little ice age.” [Watch the video [external] here.]

“Our efforts to limit the use of fossil carbon-based energy has solved no environmental problems, yet has created many more, including the accelerated production of ethanol and the conversion of tropical rainforest to tropical palm oil production,” Prof. Clark told the committee. “It is time to address real, tangible environmental issues.”

In an emailed interview with Financial Post, Prof. Clark explains why the environmentalists “have lost their way” and why NASA scientist James Hansen and former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore are plain wrong.

Q: Could you elaborate on the theory that Co2 emissions lag the climate by 800 years.

A: During the ice ages, there is a very clear correlation between the concentration of CO2 and temperature. This is well demonstrated by ice core research, where ice cores have been collected that provide a continuous record of the past several hundred years.

During that time, temperature fluctuates by several degrees, and CO2 fluctuates between about 280 ppm during the interglacial periods (like today, except we have higher levels due to human emissions) and 180 ppm during glacial periods.

Former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore showed this strong correlation and misrepresented it as showing CO2 warms the climate. The reverse is true. As the temperature rises for external reasons (solar and Earth orbital parameters) the deep ocean basins (Southern Ocean mainly) begin to warm and degas CO2 to the atmosphere (CO2 is less soluble in warmer water).

However, the rise in CO2 lags the rise in temperature by about 800 years. This shows that CO2 does not play a role in the warming, and even a reinforcing role must be minor considering the lag. When the climate starts to cool, CO2 remains high, again for hundreds of years, and so plays no role in sustaining the warm climate, as the climate cools despite the high CO2.

Q: Do you believe there is a lobby misrepresenting facts on global warming and exaggerating the role of Canadian oil sands in accelerating it.

A: Absolutely. The oil sands contribute very, very little to global CO2. If one believes in global warming, then one must accept that the oil sands contribute very, very little to warming. Shutting down those operations would do nothing to reducing CO2 emissions. These are driven by demand, and supply from other countries will simply increase to meet it.

Greenpeace has commended their success in killing the Keystone XL pipeline and stated that they will now kill the Northern Gateway using the mechanisms of protest that they have become so adept with and have the corporate and financial means to support. Perhaps they will. The pollution and emissions from the oil sands have been greatly exaggerated. Killing the oil sands would be to the great detriment of all Canadians, from aboriginal groups to engineers and other workers alike. It is greener energy than many other sources.

Q: So CO2 has nothing to do with global warming …

A: First we must be clear that there is, currently, no global warming. The global temperature has fluctuated over the past 15 years around a stable value, with no upward trend. The IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — models all predicted a steady increase of 0.2°C per decade, and this has not occurred. We have had global warming and cooling over geological time, and of course over the past century.

This is a good thing, as it warmed the planet from the cooler temperatures of the Little Ice Age. Agriculture, and civilisation flourishes with warmer temperatures. CO2, however, has had no apparent impact on the warming periods.

In fact, we experienced cooling during the years from 1950 to 1975 when global emissions were rising very quickly. Therefore, in the past we’ve seen no evidence for CO2 as a climate driver. Further, we can attribute the recent warming of the past century to a more active sun. The correlations are much stronger than between warming and CO2, and the science supporting a solar connection to climate warming and cooling becomes stronger each year.

Q: NASA scientist James Hansen says developing oil sands is “game over” for the climate. Do you agree with his assessment?

A: This is advocacy and has no basis in science, yet is stated by a leading scientist in the ranks of the global warming community. With or without the oil sands, humans will continue to burn fossil fuels. The oil sands are one of many sources of oil and gas.

Q: You also mentioned Al Gore in your testimony. How do you rate his work and do you think An Inconvenient Truth painted an accurate picture of the environmental issues facing the earth.

A: Mr. Al Gore is a politician, and an opportunist who gains much from the business of global warming alarmism. An Inconvenient Truth is a pack of lies and misrepresentations. It has done much to damage science. It states that CO2 is implicated in the increases in temperature in the ice ages when we know that it lags temperature by almost a millennium. His team has written and distributed a children’s book on global warming that has the audacity to switch the CO2 and temperature curves for the ice ages to show CO2 increasing first, followed by temperature. A scientist to deliberately misrepresent facts would lose his job.

Q: Are environmentalists wrong to blame oil sands for global pollution? Do you think Canada can develop its oil sands without adding to global pollution and global warming?

A: The environmental movement has lost its way. Saving whales and fighting for endangered species were worthy causes, but taking on the oil sands at any cost and any misrepresentation of the facts will accomplish nothing good for Canadians.

Yes, the oil sands have disrupted great tracts of the boreal forest, but in time these are recovered. Let’s compare that with urban sprawl and the mega-stores dominating suburban landscapes. The ecosystems that were paved over will never be recovered. Never.

The oil sands is a mega project that improves the lives of many Canadians, and will do so for many decades to come. The operations continue to improve, with less pollution and less impact. It is a focal point for innovation and technological development.

We have many serious environmental problems from overfishing of the oceans, coastal eutrophication, and habitat loss. Let’s focus on those. Perhaps we use too much energy and need more conservation. This will come through education and technologies to improve efficiencies. Let’s focus on that. Cutting off the oil sands energy supply will not reduce our addiction to fossil fuels. It will only require North Americans to import more.

Q: Scientists seem to present their findings as facts and absolutely truths. How can average people distinguish between fact and fiction and form their own opinions regarding scientific research.

A: This is not easy to answer. People must read a lot, and they must question what they read. They need to look at what the scientist has invested in the position that he is taking. Is he receiving lots of research funding? Is he advocating or presenting the results of his scientific work? Scientists are human, and consequently have personal sentiments and biases. It is easier to agree with the so-called consensus on global warming, as it aligns with the common sentiment that we live in a time of excess and over use of fossil fuels.


Obama’s amazing energy spin machine

The bankruptcy of Ener1, a "green energy" firm that got a $118 million stimulus grant, has brought the Obama administration's commitment to sinking billions of dollars into alternative energy boondoggles back into the spotlight. Unfortunately, President Obama remains committed to continuing down this wasteful path, as his statements about energy in his recent State of the Union Address made clear. While the president spent more time on the topic than any other policy area, he distorted the facts, misrepresented his plans, and ignored his record.

Obama announced that "tonight, I'm directing my Administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources." For those who favor energy production, this sounds great, but a close inspection reveals that this announcement was nothing new -- the sale should have been scheduled last year, and the only reason the administration is planning it now is that it is required under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. In fact, he didn't direct his administration to do anything new -- he just recycled a plan actually released in November 2011 that actually kept closed key areas for future oil and gas exploration in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic coastline.

The president claimed that, "over the last three years, we've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration…. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it's been in eight years. That's right -- eight years." But that's no thanks to the federal government. In fact, oil production on federally owned lands has gone down during Obama's first three years. The administration didn't hold a single offshore lease sale in all of 2010 and canceled sales off the coast of Alaska and Virginia this year. It's the oil boom in North Dakota on private lands that's kept domestic oil production from falling -- not the president's policies.

Obama continued, "The easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here's another proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings." But manufacturers already have huge incentives to reduce wasted energy. Airlines today, for example, use almost half as much energy per passenger mile as they did in 1979 and 24 percent less than in 2000. No one needed to tell them to do that. Energy is only "waste" if it cost less to save it than to not. Forcing taxpayers to pick up the tab for manufacturers' energy costs isn't eliminating energy waste -- it's creating government waste.

Obama has already been burned by his poor energy investments, but that hasn't stopped him from promoting them in every speech. "In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world's leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries," he said in reference to stimulus grants to an electric car battery manufacturer. That manufacturer was Ener1. Two days later, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The president insists that it's time to "double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs." Double-down on a slew of bankrupt clean energy investments? In addition, Ener1, Evergreen Energy, and Amonix -- all of which received millions of taxpayer dollars -- have either gone bankrupt (as Enr1 and Evergreen have) or cut their workforce by two-thirds (as Amonix has). And let's not forget Solyndra.

To be clear, the president does oppose some taxpayer-funded projects: "We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That's long enough. It's time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's rarely been more profitable." The oil industry does receive some subsidies -- which should be eliminated -- but they are orders of magnitude less than the clean energy industry. In fact, in 2010, according to the Energy Information Administration, clean energy and conservation programs received $22.4 billion in federal stimulus compared to $4.2 billion for coal, oil, and natural gas -- much of it designated for the environmentally motivated "clean coal" program.

The president made it clear that no Congress will stop his agenda. "So far, you haven't acted," he told Congress. "Well tonight, I will…. I'm proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world's largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -- with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year." The role of the Defense Department isn't to promote the president's energy investments, it's to defend the United States. Forget energy independence -- our defense will now be weather dependent. If only we could get battleships that ran on spin.


Is 'fire ice' wonder fuel buried under the Scottish coast?

A new wonder fuel dubbed ‘fire ice’ could be buried under the Scottish coast, according to government ministers and experts.

They suspect that massive quantities of methane hydrates reserves are locked off the coast of western Shetland, and that there is possibly enough to last 300 years.

The sherbet-like substance, which consists of methane trapped in ice, has already been tipped by energy experts to be the next major energy resource. The wonder fuel was initially thought only to exist in the outer reaches of the solar system. But fire ice has been discovered under the permafrost in the Arctic Circle and on some seabeds.

UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry said the government believes it is ‘possible’ that the substance is buried in Scottish waters.

He said: ‘The presence of methane hydrates in deep waters west of Shetland is possible, but has not been established. In the absence of any commercial technology for exploiting such resources, no estimate of reserves can be made at the present time.’

Japanese experts are already carrying out test drilling off the south east coast of Japan and commercial production could start as soon as 2016. And global reserves of the substance could be more than the total for all other fossil fuels put together.

Professor Bahman Tohidi, director of the Centre for Gas Hydrate Research at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh said: ‘For methane hydrate you need water depths of more than 1,640ft. ‘The only place we have those water depths is west of Shetland. We haven’t seen any hydrates yet but there could be some there.

‘If there is a potential, it needs to be investigated. ‘I would say there are chances of it being in UK waters, but even if there is nothing in the UK we should be developing the technology.

‘It definitely will be a major industry. I always say it is far too big to be ignored - it’s like the elephant sitting outside your doorstep and we can’t ignore it. Sooner or later we will develop the technology.’

Despite fears that disrupting the seabed could release methane and accelerate climate change, scientists believe replacing the methane with oxygen could help tackle global warming.

A spokeswoman for industry body Oil and Gas UK said: ‘We’re not aware of anyone investigating it in the UK but the volume of methane trapped in hydrates is believed to be very large worldwide.’

Alex Kemp, renowned Aberdeen University professor of petroleum economics, said: ‘I haven’t heard of it being present in any significant amounts in the UK continental shelf. ‘In other countries, for example New Zealand, it is regarded as having a big potential. They think they have large amounts. There is the question of what technology to use to extract it. It’s all very futuristic.’

Methane hydrate has long been regarded by oil and gas companies as a nuisance, because it can block marine drilling rigs.

The substance is formed within marine sediments where the gas is generated by chemical reactions or by microbes breaking down organic matter. The gas then works its way up to the sea bed where sediments tend to be much cooler.

The cooling allows the methane molecules to form weak chemical bonds with the surrounding water molecules, producing solid methane hydrate. However, such bonds also require high pressure - so methane hydrate forms only in deep water.


The First Ever Climate Change Reporter (And Skeptic)

Who was the first one to write about climate change? For a while I thought I had found the most ancient reference in world literature: Lorenzo Magalotti in 1683 (referred to by Giacomo Leopardi in 1832)

[One and a half centuries ago Magalotti wrote] in the Family Letters: “It is certain that seasons’ natural order is worsening. Here in Italy it is common saying and lamentation that the half-seasons have disappeared; and in this confusion, it’s without doubt that the cold is advancing. I have heard my father that in his youth, in Rome, on the morning of Easter Sunday, everybody would change into summer clothes. Nowadays whoever can afford not to sell his shirt, I can tell you he’s very careful not to abandon any winter piece of clothing”. This is what Magalotti wrote in 1683.

Then Tony Brown and WUWT found something even more remote: Saint “Cyrian” (actually, Saint Cyprian) from around 250AD

The world has grown old and does not remain in its former vigour. It bears witness to its own decline. The rainfall and the suns warmth are both diminishing. The metals are nearly exhausted the husbandman is failing in his fields. Springs which once gushed forth liberally now barely give a trickle of water.’

I can happily report we can push the date a couple of centuries further back, by referring to “De re rustica” (“Agriculture“) by Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (around AD40-50). From Book 1, 1:4-5:

[...] I have found that many authorities now worthy of remembrance were convinced that with the long wasting of the ages, weather and climate undergo a change; and that among them the most learned professional astronomer, Hipparchus, has put it on record that the time will come when the poles will change position, a statement to which Saserna, no mean authority on husbandry, seems to have given credence. For in that book on agriculture which he has left behind he concludes that the position of the heavens had changed from this evidence: that regions which formerly, because of the unremitting severity of winter, could not safeguard any shoot of the vine or the olive planted in them, now that the earlier coldness has abated and the weather is becoming more clement, produce olive harvests and the vintages of Bacchus in the greatest abundance. But whether this theory be true or false, we must leave it to the writings on astronomy [...]

Note how little has changed, with Authorities convinced the climate is changing, and the unconvinced agriculture expert…


Australian Federal government support new brown-coal power station

As in East Germany, brown coal (lignite) has been a great resource for the State of Victoria because it is so cheap to mine -- but Greenies hate it because it does give off some real pollution. The new plant aims to reduce all pollution, real and imagined

Resources Minister Martin Ferguson will this morning throw a lifeline to a contentious coal-fired power plant project in Victoria's Latrobe Valley that is subject to a legal tussle with state environmental authorities.

Mr Ferguson will also pledge $100 million of Commonwealth funds for CarbonNet — a carbon capture and storage project in the Latrobe.

The Greens are strongly opposed to the controversial HRL power plant project at Morwell. In granting the project a six-month extension, Mr Ferguson will make it clear that this is the last lifeline for a project that began under the Howard government.

Following this morning's announcement, green groups will likely accuse Mr Ferguson of a double standard after he pulled the pin this week on a dawdling solar project, the Moree Solar Farm, which was in line for $306 million in government help.

Mr Ferguson re-opened the bidding on the solar money, allowing three other shortlisted projects to have another shot.

The six-month extension to the controversial HRL Dual Gas project near Morwell will allow the project to meet the terms of a contract first established by the Howard government.

The Resources Minister says this will be the final extension given to the project, which has been under way since 2009, and is the subject of a legal challenge by Environment Victoria.

Mr Ferguson has firmly rebuffed the green opposition, and argued the project, which aims to optimise brown coal and lower its emissions, should have the opportunity to proceed.

"Despite political pressure from the Greens and others, the Australian government has treated the HRL grant with the same measure of good faith that we've shown to other challenging clean energy technologies – including the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund grant to Solar Systems," Mr Ferguson says.

"The government is absolutely committed to a technology neutral approach and proper administration of grant programs in accordance with due process."

In Morwell this morning, Mr Ferguson will argue the $1-billion-plus CarbonNet project will provide job opportunities in the Latrobe — and preserve the value of brown coal as Australia moves to lower carbon dioxide emissions.

"I hope today's announcement takes us one step further to not only shoring up the value of Victoria's brown coal resource, but perhaps more importantly helping to secure the economic future of the Latrobe Valley," Mr Ferguson will say this morning at a function in the regional city of Morwell.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


9 February, 2012

The "Skeptics" are hiding the decline too

THE SKEPTICS SOCIETY is an old-time band of brothers who were originally devoted to exposing "magicians", the "paranormal", religion and various scientific frauds. Some time ago however, they went over to the dark side and became peddlers of scientific fraud. Far from being skeptical about global warming, they now proselytize for it in an entrely unskeptical way.

I myself gave a talk to their local chapter a few years ago and found them very poorly informed about the science involved but zealous apostles nonetheless. I asked them to put their hands up if they thought 20th century warming was greater than one degree Celsius. Nearly everyone did. As I pointed out at the time, they thus showed that they didn't even know the Warmist case, let alone the skeptical one. So they were a perfect example of credulousness founded on ignorance: Exactly what they purport to oppose!

Their latest magazine continues the crusade. The skeptical letter in the WSJ from 16 eminent scientsts seem to have disturbed them deeply and in reply they trot out all the usual Warmist boilerplate that has been refuted and mocked hundreds of times on this blog.

I did however find a lighter moment in their rave: The graph below. They are actually a bit more honest about it than "The Team" of Phil Jones. Michael Mann etc. so I suppose that is to their credit but they show no sign of understanding what they have done.

As the team did in a less obvious way, they have used proxy data for most of their graph but suddeny abandoned that for the 20th century and substituted the thermometer record instead. We REAL skeptics know why they did that -- because the proxy record shows a FALL in temperature during the 20th century -- a decline that had to be "hidden". So if the 20th century thermometer record is correct (far from given when we know who is in charge of it) then the proxy record is not.

In other words their proxies are NOT a valid measure of temperature. So their whole graph is based on faith. There is no certainty about what, if anything, it measures. Amusingly, though, if we took their alleged proxy record at face value, it would show no trend, let alone an upward trend. The skeptics can't see for looking.


A summary comment on the article mentioned above received by email:

It doesn't present much of a scientific argument other than dragging out the refuted Hockey Stick again and a few other abstract charts using scale to embellish the argument.

It opens with a photo of a glacier with a (OMG!) crack in it (normally referred to by non-alarmists as a crevice). That's what ice does -- it cracks; glaciers move and icebergs are born. And, of course, the projection of the dreaded calving is estimated in square miles (350) for effect, because saying 19 by 19 isn't as alarming.

The text itself opens with ad hominem to set the stage and the mindset of the reader (i.e. the old "bad guy" tobacco and holocaust denier association), then red herrings and other blatant examples of fallacious argumentation follow.

Inhofe Book On Global Warming

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe has written a new book that will hit the stands later this month. Inhofe's book "The Greatest Hoax" covers the topic of man-made global warming and the political effort to drive home the message. Inhofe says politicians worked with the scientific community to make the data fit their message that human actions have had an adverse impact on the environment.

Inhofe says he will debut the book nationally with Sean Hannity on February 27th before it hits the news stands on February 28th.


Amazon link here. From the blurb:

Americans are over-regulated and over-taxed. When regulation escalates, the result is an increase in regulators. In other words, bigger government is required to enforce the greater degree of regulation. Bigger government means bigger budgets and higher taxes. "More" simply doesn't mean "better." A perfect example is the entire global warming, climate-change issue, which is an effort to dramatically and hugely increase regulation of each of our lives and business, and to raise our cost of living and taxes. In The Greatest Hoax, Senator James Inhofe will reveal the reasons behind those perpetuating the Hoax of global warming, who is benefitting from the general acceptance of the Hoax and why the premise statements are blatantly and categorically false.
Special Offers and Product Promotions

First elected to the Senate in 1994, Senator James Inhofe is one of the leading conservative voices in America and a strong advocate of common sense values. In January 2003, Inhofe became the Chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee where his priorities include strengthening our Nation's infrastructure, continuing strong environmental protections and improving national security.

January U.S. Temperature trend/decade: – 11.8 F COOLER in 100 years

It is getting cooler and cooler. Sorry – I mean that Global Warming is an imminent treat to humankind.

The official January temperature figures are out. As usual I thought it would be interesting to look at the recent January US temperature from a “historic” perspective. To see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 112 years.

Especially to see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 41 years. The period that according to the Global Warming Hysterics and computer models they worship should show a steady and accelerated increase in temperature.

And as I always point out:

Remember, these are the official figures. With the poor placement of stations (91 % of the stations are CRN 3 to 5 = bad to very poor); where they have purposely taken away the urban heat island effect, use huge smoothing radius, the historical “adjustment and tweaking” to cool the past etc.

Not to mention the great slaughter of GHCN stations 1990-1993 – roughly 63 % of all stations were “dropped”. Oddly enough many of them in cold places – Hmmm? Now the number of GHCN stations is back at the same numbers as in 1890.

Also remember that the US stations are now nearly a third of the all GHCN world stations.

So here are the trends:

US temperature January 1900-2012

The trend for 1900 to 2012 is 0.12 F / Decade

US temperature January 1970-2012

The trend for 1970 to 2012 is 1.16 F / Decade

US temperature January 1980-2012

The trend for 1980 to 2012 is 0.72 F / Decade

US temperature January 1990-2012

The trend for 1990 to 2012 is 0.03 F / Decade

US temperature January 2000-2012

The trend for 2000 to 2012 is - 1.18 F / Decade

And as I said in the beginning – always remember that these figures are based on the official data that has been tweaked, “adjusted” and manipulated to fit their agenda (cool the past, ignore UHI and land use change factors, huge smoothing radius – 1200km etc.).

So the “warming trend” 2000-2012 for January is exactly - 1.18 F degrees a decade. That is a - 11.8 F COOLER in 100 years. That’s what I call “warming”!

Noticing the “accelerated warming” trend??

According to the computer models that the Global Warming Hysterics love so much, worship and blindly follows (especially our intelligent politicians), it should be EXACTLY the opposite.

And we are supposed to be very worried about a predicted rise of 3-4 F?

But not this ACTUAL trend?

And for this predicted trend the politicians want to take our societies back to the Stone Age. But, as usual, they DO NOTHING about the actual trend.

Even worse, “our” politicians, “scientists”, journalists” and the mainstream medias attitude is: Move on, NOTHING to see here.

As I have been saying all along, it has always been a political agenda – anti human, anti freedom, anti development and anti capitalism. And this Global Warming Hysteria is part of that agenda. It has nothing to do with science, facts or saving the environment or the Earth.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Little Green Morons

By Alan Caruba

Michael Brune, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, holds degrees in economics and finance from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of “Coming Clean—Breaking America’s Addiction to Oil and Coal”, published in 2008 by the Sierra Club.

Recently, Brune bragged that he and the board had turned “away millions of dollars”, noting that “It sounds crazy” and explaining why. In 2010 Brune learned that, “beginning in 2007 the Sierra Club had received more than $26 million from individuals or subsidiaries of Chesapeake Energy, one of the country’s largest natural gas companies.”

This may come as a surprise to many, but a lot of energy companies and manufacturers who use a lot of energy give a lot of money to the Sierra Club. If this “sounds crazy”, it is because, presumably the Sierra Club is in business to put them out of business. In fact, Chesapeake Energy’s donations were for the Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign, an energy competitor to Chesapeake.

The fact that the Club’s Executive Director could brag about turning away millions in donations suggests that he wasn’t paying attention in college while studying economics and finance---or that like so many environmentalists, he is a moron. Or just a hypocrite. Time magazine revealed the actual story in its February 2nd edition. The Sierra Club was shilling for Chesapeake Energy.

And, yes, the corporations that give millions to the Sierra Club or give in to its demands are morons, too. In his previous job at the Rainforest Action Network, for seven years Brune led assaults on Home Depot, Citi, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Kinko’s Boise and Lowe’s. To put it another way, to hell with corporate jobs, dividends to investors, and profits with which to grow. Saving the rainforest came first. Cutting down a tree does not mean another one will not grow in the same place.

And now, at the Sierra Club, apparently the new battle is against natural gas. Can it get any more stupid? Like millions of Americans, my home of more than sixty years was heated by gas and the kitchen stove used gas. It was cheaper and cleaner than coal. As this is being written vast new reserves of natural gas are being found all over the nation, but as far as the Sierra Club is concerned, drilling for it poses risks “to our air, water, climate, and people in their communities.” Short of putting your head in the oven and turning on the gas, there are no significant risks and haven’t been any in the sixty years or so that “fracking” has been used to access natural gas.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is set to become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas by 2016 according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. It expects a cumulative increase in U.S. natural gas production through 2036.

To suggest otherwise is a form of environmental dementia reflected in their fear and hatred of every form of energy, be it oil, coal, natural gas, or nuclear. To quote Brune, if it “sounds crazy”, it probably is.

If you want to know what’s crazy, it’s the Ohio Environmental Council praising First Energy Corporation “for its plan to permanently close six coal-fired plants.” Yippee! Who needs plants that have the capacity to generate 2,700 megawatts of electricity—enough to power more than 600,000 homes? Who needs the jobs and revenue they also generate? And who needs the electricity? First Energy has read the writing on the wall that says the Environmental Protection Agency is determined to close down every coal-fired plant in America, even if they currently produce FIFTY PERCENT OF ALL THE ELECTRICITY!

Just how stupid, how moronic are environmentalists?

One way to answer is to look at the Obama administration’s track record when it comes to “green energy.”

Recently the President was seen leaving an event promoting clean energy in a motorcade of twenty-two (22) gas-guzzling vehicles. Well, do as Obama says, not as Obama does.

After three years of the most astonishingly stupid and wasteful green energy policies inflicted on Americans, it is hard keeping score of the various beneficiaries of government largess that are going bankrupt.

The most famous at this point is Solyndra that went belly up taking a half billion in loan guarantees—taxpayer funded—with it. Beacon Power, a green energy storage plant, filed for bankruptcy last fall took with it $43 million of more Department of Energy loan guarantees. Ener1, touted during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden—who inadvertently called it “Enron1”—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The electric car battery maker had received a $118 million grant from the Obama administration.

Since then, Evergreen Energy, a manufacturer of batteries for electric cars and recipient of “stimulus” funds also filed for bankruptcy. Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that had received $5.9 million in “stimulus” was stimulated to cut two thirds of its workforce, some 200 employees, barely seven months after opening a factory in Nevada.

The Obama administration has been hot for electric cars and hybrids. They are costly and you would have to drive one for a decade or two get amortize the sticker price with fuel savings. They have proved to be a big money-loser for auto manufacturers. At this point, only about 3% of all the cars sold in America are electric or gas-electric hybrids.

There’s more, but I won’t bore you with the trail of bad government loan guarantees and grants, more wasted “stimulus” millions.

The lesson here is that any organization, government agency, or company claiming to be “green” is composed of morons, charlatans or a combination of both.


Coming soon: Individual mandate to buy Chevy Volts

President Obama spent more than $85 billion bailing out General Motors and Chrysler three years ago. Now he claims credit for saving the industry, noting GM's recent return to the top sales spot among automakers worldwide, Ford's record profits (albeit achieved without federal funds), and the recent revival of Chrysler, (though Italy's Fiat owns it). Regardless whether you supported or opposed the government bailouts, the reality is the Big Three's assembly lines are humming again. Too bad Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is preparing yet another killer hike in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, only this time instead of merely inflicting massive costs on the industry and consumers, the coming regulation could very well demolish the Big Three for good.

Here's why: The CAFE rule is the fleet-wide average fuel economy rating manufacturers are required by Washington to achieve. The new rule -- issued in response to a 2010 Obama directive, not to specific legislation passed by Congress -- would require automakers to achieve a 40.9 mpg CAFE average by 2021 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. In case you're wondering whatever happened to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it has been supplanted in the CAFE process by the EPA. The proposed regulation was designed, according to the EPA, "to preserve consumer choice -- that is, the proposed standards should not affect consumers' opportunity to purchase the size of vehicle with the performance, utility and safety features that meets their needs." But the reality is that consumer choice will be the first victim.

Getting from the current 35 mpg CAFE standard to 54.5 can be achieved by such expedients as making air conditioning systems work more efficiently. We have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to anybody who thinks that's even remotely realistic. There is one primary method of increasing fuel economy -- weight reduction. That in turn means automakers will have to use much more exotic materials, including especially the petroleum-processing byproduct known as "plastic." But using more plastic will make it much more difficult to satisfy current federal safety standards. The bottom-line will be much more expensive vehicles and dramatically fewer kinds of vehicles.

The average price of a new vehicle will go up at least $3,200, according to NHTSA, but experts outside government such as the National Automobile Dealers Association say the cost will be substantially higher. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that there will be no vehicles costing $15,000 or less, the segment of the market that college students and low-income consumers depend upon. Altogether, an estimated seven million buyers will be forced out of the market for new cars.

Total costs, as calculated by the EPA, will exceed $157 billion, making this by far the most expensive CAFE rule ever. For comparison, the previous rule in 2010 cost $51 billion, according to the EPA. But the EPA doesn't include this fact in its calculation: Annual U.S. car sales are 14-16 million units, yet over time, this rule will remove the equivalent of half a year's worth of buyers. Will that be when the EPA takes a cue from Obamacare and issues an individual mandate that we all must buy Chevy Volts?


Australia: Opposition to coal seam gas based on worst-case scenarios

Scot MacDonald

IN THE United States, the emergence of the shale gas industry is creating thousands of jobs and breathing economic life into depressed regions.

Australia, and in particular regional Australia, has a similar opportunity with coal seam gas.

As a member of the NSW legislative council inquiry into coal seam gas, I’ve listened to hours of hearings, read countless submissions and spoken to dozens of stakeholders.

Most of the witnesses were very negative towards the nascent industry and, other than industry spokesmen or government officials, few were openly supportive.

Of those who opposed coal seam gas, I can’t recall a single piece of evidence or data to support their case. They were based on NIMBYsm, supposition, emotion and worst-case scenarios.

I’ve lived and worked in regional NSW or Queensland for more than 30 years.

In all that time, the mantra has been more regional jobs, more regional businesses, better infrastructure, reversing population decline, building export businesses, keeping our children in local jobs and so on. Now we have the prospect of an industry in coal seam gas that can deliver on those aspirations.

While no one can argue with the need for environmental caution and appropriate safeguards, the unwillingness to see the positives in the industry has been confronting.

What has disappointed me the most has been the failure of leadership and vision in our regional communities.

With the exception of the mayors of Gunnedah, Narrabri and Tamworth, local government representatives have been happy to be silent or run with the crowd.

For me this is an intergenerational issue. While those with assets are eager to “lock the gate” and maintain the status quo, the cost of turning our backs on coal seam gas will be borne mainly by future generations.

North West NSW can become the source of cheap, accessible, reliable energy.

In a world where all these features will be scarce, our region has the opportunity to transform itself from an agriculturally dependent, low-employment, low-growth, low-income demographic to a dynamic, developing, mixed-economic region with a key comparative advantage of affordable energy. Right now, international investors are looking for these features to build energy reliant industries.

For example, North West NSW is a heavy importer of nitrogen fertilisers for agricultural production. Perhaps we could follow the US trend to build fertiliser factories close to the source of its major raw material, which is gas.

Right now, these opportunities are being seized in places like the USA and Canada.

I would like to challenge the army of economic development officers, chambers of commerce, regional development boards and local governments from Tamworth to the Queensland border to take up the challenge for their communities of seizing this once-in-a-century game changer.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


8 February, 2012

An Interview with Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters

Unlike Al Gore, he does not think we are all going to drown. To the contrary he says that drought is the danger. So he appears to be ignorant of even High School physics. A warmer world will mean warmer oceans which will evaporate off more water to fall as rain and snow. In other word, a warmer world would be a WETTER world, not a drier one. He is obviously a smart man so he is a good illustration of how cults can warp the minds of people. One has to wonder if he has ever seen a warming kettle give off steam

If you are interested in weather, chances are you have visited Weather Underground and read the posts of its director of meteorology, Dr. Jeff Masters. The consistently reliable Masters has been a rare voice in helping make sense of, rather than cloud (zing!), the increasingly strange weather events hitting the planet....

Jeff Masters: The natural weather rhythms I've grown used to during my 30 years as a meteorologist have become disrupted over the past few years. Many of Earth's major atmospheric circulation patterns have seen significant shifts and unprecedented behavior; new patterns that were unknown have emerged; extreme weather events were incredibly intense and numerous during 2010 - 2011. The laws of physics demand that the huge amount of heat-trapping gases humans are pumping into the atmosphere must be significantly altering the fundamental large-scale circulation pattern of the atmosphere. Unprecedented behavior like we've witnessed in the configuration of the winter jet stream over North America-with the four most extreme years since 1865 occurring since 2006-could very well be due to human-caused climate change. Something is definitely up with the weather, and it is clear to me that over the past two years, the climate has shifted to a new state capable of delivering rare and unprecedented weather events. Human emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide are the most likely cause of such a shift in the climate.

Christine Shearer: Having really looked closely at the weather for a while now, is there something that stands out to you most?

Jeff Masters: The atmosphere I grew up with no longer exists. My new motto with regards to the weather is, "expect the unprecedented."

Christine Shearer: Anything you would like to say?

Jeff Masters: Stronger hurricanes, bigger floods, more intense heat waves, and sea level rise have been getting many of the headlines with regards to potential climate change impacts, but drought should be our main concern. Drought is capable of crashing a civilization. To illustrate, drought has been implicated in the demise of the Mayan civilization in Mexico, the Anasazis of the Southwest U.S., and the Akkadians of Syria in 2200 B.C. The Russian heat wave and drought of 2010 led to a spike in global food prices that helped cause unrest in Africa and the Middle East that led to the overthrow of several governments. It's likely that global-warming intensified droughts will cause far more serious impacts in the coming decades, and drought is capable of crashing our global civilization in a worst-case scenario, particularly if we do nothing to slow down emissions of carbon dioxide.


Pow! New paper supports Miskolczi's theory of saturated greenhouse effect (i.e. more CO2 has no effect)

A paper published today in the Journal of Climate finds that relative humidity has been decreasing 0.5% per decade across North America during the 62 year period of observations from 1948-2010.

Computer models of AGW show positive feedback from water vapor by incorrectly assuming that relative humidity remains constant with warming while specific humidity increases. The Miskolczi theory of a 'saturated greenhouse effect' instead predicts relative humidity will decrease to offset an increase in specific humidity, as has just been demonstrated by observations in this paper.

The consequence of the Miskolczi theory is that additions of 'greenhouse gases' such as CO2 to the atmosphere will not lead to an increase in the 'greenhouse effect' or increase in global temperature.
Journal of Climate 2012

Surface Water Vapor Pressure and Temperature Trends in North America during 1948-2010

By V. Isaac and W. A. van Wijngaarden


Over 1/4 billion hourly values of temperature and relative humidity observed at 309 stations located across North America during 1948-2010 were studied. The water vapor pressure was determined and seasonal averages were computed. Data were first examined for inhomogeneities using a statistical test to determine whether the data was fit better to a straight line or a straight line plus an abrupt step which may arise from changes in instruments and/or procedure. Trends were then found for data not having discontinuities. Statistically significant warming trends affecting the Midwestern U.S., Canadian prairies and the western Arctic are evident in winter and to a lesser extent in spring while statistically significant increases in water vapor pressure occur primarily in summer for some stations in the eastern half of the U.S. The temperature (water vapor pressure) trends averaged over all stations were 0.30 (0.07), 0.24 (0.06), 0.13 (0.11), 0.11 (0.07) C/decade (hPa/decade) in the winter, spring, summer and autumn seasons, respectively. The averages of these seasonal trends are 0.20 C/decade and 0.07 hPa/decade which correspond to a specific humidity increase of 0.04 g/kg per decade and a relative humidity reduction of 0.5%/decade.


New paper finds 20th century warming within range of natural variability

A paper published this week in the journal Climate of the Past analyzes an "unprecedentally large network of temperature ...proxy records" [a total of 120] and concludes that warming of the 20th century was "within the range of natural variability over the last 12 centuries." Only two of the eight types of temperature proxies analyzed indicate 20th century warming exceeded that of the Medieval Warming Period.
Clim. Past Discuss.3349-3397, 2011

Northern Hemisphere temperature patterns in the last 12 centuries

By F. C. Ljungqvist et al.


We analyze the spatio-temporal patterns of temperature variability over Northern Hemisphere land areas, on centennial time-scales, for the last 12 centuries using an unprecedentedly large network of temperature-sensitive proxy records. Geographically widespread positive temperature anomalies are observed from the 9th to 11th centuries, similar in extent and magnitude to the 20th century mean. A dominance of widespread negative anomalies is observed from the 16th to 18th centuries. Though we find the amplitude and spatial extent of the 20th century warming is within the range of natural variability over the last 12 centuries, we also find that the rate of warming from the 19th to the 20th century is unprecedented. The positive Northern Hemisphere temperature change from the 19th to the 20th century is clearly the largest between any two consecutive centuries in the past 12 centuries.


The Great Delusion

In 1841 a Scottish journalist named Charles Mackay published a landmark study of mass hysteria and sociopsychosis titled “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.”

Mackay painstakingly analyzed a wide variety of popular pathologies in his entertaining tome, including financial panics, medical quackery, pseudoscience like alchemy and astrology, and witch crazes. He wanted to know why so many people choose to believe so much that is not only not true, but also potentially deadly. His answer:

“We go out of our course to make ourselves uncomfortable; the cup of life is not bitter enough to our palate, and we distill superfluous poison to put into it, or conjure up hideous things to frighten ourselves at, which would never exist if we did not make them.”

Conjure up hideous things to frighten ourselves—I could not help but think of global warming as I was re-reading Mackay’s words. How he would have delighted in the strange, self-flagellating notion that is anthropogenic warming. He would have recognized it as kin to his own numerous and insidious subjects—superstition masked as science; Western guilt over having conquered the world manifesting itself as hatred for the technologies that made it possible; apocalyptic yearning in the guise of political enlightenment.

In fact, global warming is the most widespread mass hysteria in our species’ history. The fever that these legions of warmists warn of does not grip the globe, but rather their own brains and blinkered imaginations.

And like every mass delusion, there is danger – danger that Man wil be convinced by these climate cultists to turn his back on the very political, economic, and scientific institutions that made him so powerful, so wealthy, so healthy.

Will the fever break before this happens? I think so. I think the fever is breaking, as more and more scientists come forward to admit their doubts about the global warming paradigm, as more and more voters become suspicious of government-mandated schemes to control their “carbon emissions”, which is a bureaucrat’s way of controlling productivity, and therefore freedom.

In centuries hence the global warming boogey man will be seen for exactly what it is – The Great Delusion. Future generations will wonder how so many people could have believed something so suicidally ridiculous.

Unless they read Charles Mackay’s wonderful book.


CNN Explains How Physical Laws Changes Over Time
Shrinking polar ice caps may be to blame for frigid Europe

Europe’s deadly cold snap may have a lot to do with shrinking amounts of ice in the Arctic, a recent study suggests.

Nearly 300 deaths have been reported across the continent, with snow accumulations not seen in five decades reported in some places. Warsaw, Poland, has seen 11 days of temperatures well below average, with a coldest reading of 35 below zero Fahrenheit.

The science behind this is very simple. Excess heat creates cold. Five decades ago, heavy snow was caused by cold, but now heavy snow is caused by heat.

In order to understand this, you need to abuse drugs for several decades and occasionally bang your head with a heavy blunt object.

Thank you CNN for continuing to lower the IQ of the planet.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Australia's Green party press case for billion-dollar "free" dental scheme

As usual, the Greens are to the Left of the mainstream Leftists

The Greens are insisting the Federal Government allocate at least $1 billion in this year's budget to meet a commitment on taxpayer-funded dental care.

The Greens have proposed introducing a Medicare-style dental scheme, which could cost about $5.5 billion, and a report on the feasibility of the plan is due from the National Advisory Council on Dental Health this week.

The Opposition thinks the Government is gearing up to scrap the dental deal with the Greens, after Prime Minister Julia Gillard said honouring the commitment needed to be weighed up in the budget process.

Greens health spokesman Richard Di Natale says he is optimistic, but wants significant start-up funds.

"There are existing schemes that can be used, but we think that unless you're talking about a scale of investment in the order of $1 billion or more that you're not going to make the necessary inroads in this year's budget that we need to make," he said.

"We do have an agreement with the Government that there needs to be significant investment.

"I'm optimistic that they will follow through with the recommendations of that report which I'm sure will recommend a significant investment in dental health over the coming years."

Greens MP Adam Bandt asked Ms Gillard whether she would honour her commitment to the Greens. In answering, the Prime Minister detailed spending commitments the Government had made to date, and then added: "But as we weigh what we can do in the budget process, we will of course make the appropriate fiscal decisions for the nation."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


7 February, 2012

Die CO2-Lüge: Renommiertes Forscher-Team behauptet: Die Klima-Katastrophe ist Panik-Mache der Politik

(The CO2 lie: Renowned research team claims that alarm over looming climate-catastrophe is just panic-mongering by politicians)

By Dr Werner Weber, professor of physics at the Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany. Article published in a popular German newsmagazine

Does the human race face a self-made climate catastrophe? Or is global warming just a big CO2 lie by hysterical scientists? A team led by Hamburg's former environment minister Fritz Vahrenholt has given the all clear.

Climate alarmism is the invention of politicians and UN climate scientist. In truth, the sun is at least as responsible for the temperature fluctuations of the earth as CO2. Exclusive to BILD the authors have summarised their theses.

What the IPCC conceals

Climate horror warnings are raining down on us: heat waves, hurricanes, floods of biblical dimensions should soon plague the planet. It seems as if the apocalypse is near. Even school children are indoctrinated: it’s all our fault. By 2020, we, the developed nations will have to pay 100 billion dollars per year to developing countries to redress alleged climate damage.

One thing is certain: In the last 150 years it has warmed by an unwieldy 0.8 degree Celsius. The omniscient IPCC of the United Nations tells us that the warming has been caused almost entirely by evil CO2. And if our emissions have already caused almost a degree of global warming, then soon a few more degrees would be added by the end of the century.

But what if the UN organisation is wrong? Can we really trust these experts blindly? Are they really independent?

If you check the facts carefully, you arrive at a different result: Less than half of the current warming of 0.8 degree Celsius is probably man-made. With the other half, we have absolutely nothing to do.

Because the main culprit, when it comes to climate variability, is our sun.

The sun shines very evenly. Too evenly to produce large climate fluctuations. But the sun has sunspots. Sometimes it is very active and has many and great spots that create strong magnetic fields. Sometimes it has few and very small spots. This happens in 11-year cycles. There are other cycles, some last for centuries, while others last for millennia.

On Earth, the sun leaves behind traces of its activity. The active sun with its magnetic fields weakens significantly the cosmic radiation coming from outer space. This solar influence can be traced over many millennia by analysing soil layers. And it is proven that it has changed the Earth's climate: when the sun was less active, our planet was cool. And whenever the sun's activity increased, the earth warmed - long before humans increased the CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

1000 years ago, solar activity was much stronger for several centuries than before. During this "Medieval Warm Period", it was so warm that the Vikings could settle in Greenland and had agricultural farms there. But a few hundred years later, the sun became weaker during the "Little Ice Age". On Earth, it got icy cold. The Viking settlements in Greenland perished miserably. In Europe, there were massive crop failures. Hunger and diseases spread. The Thames was frozen over in many winters.

The question is: How much has the Sun contributed to global warming over the last centuries? It is established that its activity has increased sharply since 1700 and that in the two cycles prior to 1995 it has even reached the highest level for 400 years.

Pure chance, claim the IPCC’s climate experts. Without further ado, they ignore solar activity in their climate models. Thus they ignored the findings of the Danish physicist and climate researcher Professor Henrik Svensmark. He found strong evidence that clouds decrease according to solar activity and virtually form a radiation shield, dynamics that are remote-controlled by solar activity. In my own work, which were inspired by Svensmark’s work, I found further evidence for the climate relevance of solar activity.

And it gets even worse: leading solar physicists have found that the activity of the sun has been decreasing rapidly for about 15 years - and will continue to decline until at least 2030. So we slide into a decade-long lull sun.

And it comes in good time. For it will neutralize the CO2 warming for quite a while and bring our world probably a cooling phase. Only after 2040, it will warm again. And by 2100, temperatures may rise by a half to a full degree Celsius.

One thing is clear: we should do something about that. The shift away from oil, gas and coal to renewable energy is right. But the excessive warming forecasts by the IPCC are pure fear-mongering.


China Bans Airlines From Joining EU Carbon Levies System

China is extremely sensitive about any external interference in its internal affairs. But the rest of the world is not far behind. The EU is headed for a bloody nose over this.

The irony that the old Peace of Westphalia is violated by the EU in this matter might also be noted. The Peace of Westphalia is of course a European treaty (or series of treaties) and its basic principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations has long been a keystone of international law. It was designed to end confict and has been influential in avoiding it. It takes the historical ignorance of the Green/Left to flout it for such little gain

China, home to the world’s fastest growing aviation market, banned airlines from taking part in a European Union carbon-emissions system designed to curb pollution, saying the program violates international rules.

The system contravenes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and international civil aviation regulations, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement posted on its website today. Carriers were also barred from using the EU program as a reason for raising fares, it said.

The EU hopes to resolve the issue through negotiations or it may ultimately be ruled on by the courts, Markus Ederer, its ambassador to China, said at a press briefing in Beijing today. India, the U.S., Russia and global airlines have also objected to the levy, saying it will be less effective than a global solution.

“I believe all sides will negotiate again and find a solution,” said Chai Haibo, vice president of the China Air Transport Association. “I can’t imagine that the worst case, such as the EU grounding Chinese flights, could happen.”

The airline group has called on the government to oppose the EU levy and it is working on a legal challenge in Germany. Whether the lawsuit will continue will depend on the EU reaction to the China ban, Chai said. The group’s members include China’s big three state-controlled carriers, Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern Airlines Corp.

The EU added aviation to a wider carbon-trading system on Jan. 1. The move could cost Chinese airlines as much as 800 million yuan ($127 million) in 2012, according to the China airline group.

Based on current carbon prices and the fact that airlines will get some emissions allowances for free, the system would boost Beijing-to-Brussels ticket prices by 17.50 yuan, Ederer said.

Global System

Other nations’ carriers can be exempted from the EU system if their own governments introduce similar programs, he said. The International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN body, has said that it plans to form a global system.

The EU Court of Justice in December upheld the legality of the bloc’s drive to extend the world’s largest carbon cap-and- trade program beyond its borders. The system covers the EU’s 27 members as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

China Southern Chairman Si Xianmin said last week that Europe’s emission trading program is not beneficial in the current economic environment or for Europe’s efforts to escape the sovereign debt crisis. He made the comments at a briefing also attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

The carrier, Asia’s biggest by passenger numbers, flies to Amsterdam and Paris. It intends to start services to London this year. Air China, the nation’s largest international carrier, generated 11 percent of revenue in Europe in the first half of last year. Its destinations in the region include London, Paris and Madrid.

Countries outside the European bloc have said that the emission trading program is illegal because carriers are charged for pollution that happens outside of Europe, for instance, on the first part of a flight from Asia to Europe. The countries say this should only be regulated by the affected nations.

India has asked carriers not to give emissions data to the EU, K.G. Vishwanath, Jet Airways (India) Ltd.’s vice president for commercial strategy & investor relations, said in a Jan. 23 conference call. The country also plans to work with other nations opposed to the program, Environment Ministry Joint Secretary M.F. Farooqui told reporters in New Delhi last week.

Shinichiro Ito, president of All Nippon Airways Co., Asia’s largest listed carrier by sale, said last month that he favored a global system over a regional one. The carrier and the Japanese government are working on ways to oppose the system, he said without elaboration.

The U.S. House of Representatives last year passed a bill prohibiting the country’s airlines from participating in the EU carbon program after the industry estimated that participation in the system would cost U.S. airlines $3.1 billion from 2012 to 2020. Bills in the U.S. also need approval from the senate and president before they become laws.


Climate concern is now largely a Democrat belief only

They're good at believing the impossible and improbable. They even thought President emptyhead offered hope and change

In March 1981, pollsters tucked the first question about global climate change into a national poll, asking 1,000 adults if they had "heard or read about the 'greenhouse effect.'" Fourteen percent replied either "a great deal" or "a fair amount." The majority - 62 percent - said they had never heard of it.

In the ensuing 30 years, some 300 polls have tracked the nation's opinion on this topic. Concern has waxed and waned, but it's never been much more than a blip on the nation's consciousness. Environmental concerns rarely crack the top 20 issues on national polls; among environmental issues, climate change rarely makes the top 10.

Now a group of sociologists have plumbed those polls to divine the factors driving public opinion on climate change.

A study published Monday in the journal Climatic Change finds that the economy, perhaps not surprisingly, is one of the biggest influencers, followed closely by "elite cues" – statements and actions from political leaders, celebrities, advocacy groups and the like.

Weather extremes and efforts to increase scientific literacy have minimal to no impact, the study concluded.

"When Congressional Democrats speak publically about the need for action on climate change, the public increases its perception of the seriousness of the issue," the researchers wrote in the study.

"When Congressional Republicans vote against key pieces of environment legislation, the public adjusts perceptions of the threat of climate change downward."

One surprising result of the analysis, said Robert Brulle, the study's lead author and a sociologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, is the volatility of public opinion.

Concern about global warming is driven by current events, he said, and has almost no relation to past levels of concern. That, Brulle added, is a sign that efforts to educate the public to climate science are not sticking and should be rethought.

"That's a really key finding," he said. "If you're going to have an information campaign, it's going to have to be constant.... It's not permanent. You're not going to convince the American public once and for all."

Ed Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, called Brulle's approach "very innovative" but was not surprised to see economics play such a large role.

"Particularly in bad economic times, there's a finite 'pool of worry,'" he said. "That dramatically reduces the bandwidth to think about other potential threats, such as climate change."

Radical polarization

But Maibach noted public perception of climate change has undergone a radical polarization in the past 15 years. When the Clinton Administration was negotiating the Kyoto Protocol, two out of three Americans felt climate change was a problem worth addressing, he said.

Since then, the proportion of Democrats concerned about the issue have moved from two out of three to closer to nine out of 10. Republicans, meanwhile, have shifted almost as dramatically the other direction, from two out of three to three out of 10, he said.

"There's been this divergence, and it's been a politically defined divergence," Maibach said. "That's given rise to the cues of the political elite that are so important."

The study looked at five factors that potentially account for changes in public concern about climate change: extreme weather, media coverage, science education, elite cues and advocacy efforts. It also examined external events, such as war, unemployment, and the price of oil.

It found media coverage to be a key driver – the greater the quantity of media coverage, the greater the level of public concern, the authors concluded. But that, Brulle said, prompts the question: What drives media coverage? That answer, he added, is clear. The most important factor is the "elite partisan battle over the issue," the study concluded.

"A great deal of focus has been devoted to the analysis and development of various communication techniques to better convey an understanding of climate change to individual members of the public," the report concluded. "These efforts have a minor influence and are dwarfed by the effect of the divide on environmental issues in the political elite."


HadCRUT (UEA) Coverage: Worse Than It Seems

Warmist temperature reports are always given with great apparent precision. They have to do that because we live in an era of exceptional temperature stability -- so all actual average temperature changes are microscopic. But the precision is spurious. They don't have enough data to enable precision. Only a very rough estimate is possible

The map above shows typical HadCRUT land coverage in the 1860s. Land coverage is well below 10%, yet global temperatures are reported to 0.001 precision. A complete farce.


Britain’s Wind Lunacy

THE big freeze has not just caused major disruption across the country. It has also exposed the hollowness of fashionable green rhetoric about global warming.

For years, environmental zealots have indulged in alarmist talk about relentlessly soaring temperatures caused by mankind’s destructive irresponsibility. Typical of this scaremongering was the claim made in 2000 by Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the university of East Anglia, that “children just aren’t going to know what snow is”.

How foolish those words now look more than a decade later as Britain is gripped by Arctic weather. Indeed, contrary to the green lobby’s shrill declaration that “the science is settled” on the reality of man- made global warming, there is now a wealth of evidence that earth is not heating up at all.

One recent study by the Met office, based on readings from 30,000 measuring stations, indicates that there has been no significant increase in temperatures over the past 15 years.

But nothing will halt the environmental fanatics who are driven by dogma rather than the search for the truth. That is why they are so keen on manipulating data, bullying their opponents and spreading lurid propaganda.

Our ruling political class has swallowed the green agenda because it gives them an excuse to grab more power while posing self-righteously as the saviours of the planet. In the name of protecting future generations they can pursue their favourite activities of imposing regulations, dishing out subsidies and raising taxes.

Always keen to expand the role of the state labour enthusiastically adopted this approach, especially when Ed Miliband was Climate Change secretary in Gordon Brown’s government until 2010.

But the coalition has been just as bad. Miliband’s successor, the liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, was an aggressive evangelist for green policies no matter what the burden to the public. since his resignation on Friday, Huhne’s place has been taken by fellow liberal Democrat Ed Davey.

Though he has been hailed as a more pragmatic figure than Huhne it is likely that Davey will pursue the same line. “I am determined to follow on Chris’s priorities,” he proclaimed on taking office.

Many Conservatives, however, are rightly disturbed at the Government’s continuing infatuation with expensive environmentalism. And their concern has focused on the ministerial obsession with wind farms, the most controversial, high-profile aspect of the fashionable green agenda.

OVER the weekend no fewer than 101 Tory MPs, along with a few politicians from other parties, wrote a letter to David Cameron urging that he cut the lavish, counter-productive subsidies given to wind power.

The rebellious Tories are right to challenge the coalition. The onward march of wind farms has been a disaster for the country, imposing savage increases on household electricity bills while doing nothing to enhance our energy supplies. Wind turbines are monuments of political folly, a triumph of dogma over common sense. Chris Huhne, with the characteristic fervour of a green extremist, called these massive structures “elegant and beautiful” but the truth is that they are unsightly monstrosities.

Paradoxically, for all the cheer-leading of the green lobby, they do terrible damage to the environment. They despoil the landscape, create noise pollution and are a men- ace to wildlife. It is estimated that 400,000 birds are killed every year in America by their revolving blades.

Moreover, wind farms are both costly and inefficient, which is why they have to be so heavily subsidised. The Government pours £522million every year into support for wind power, for which we all have to pay through increased electricity charges. Green politics operates like robin Hood in reverse, taking from the hard- pressed citizens through electricity bills and giving to rich landowners through handouts.

The outlay for this madness is likely to soar in the coming years as the coalition expands the role of wind power. There are already 3,500 turbines in Britain but the Government wants another 10,000 onshore and 4,300 offshore by 2020, a programme that will ultimately cost £140billion, the equivalent of £5,600 for every household. Within eight years wind subsidies will account for about a fifth of our electricity bills.

BUT the rush to wind makes little difference to energy generation. Despite all the profligate funding, wind turbines currently supply a pitiful 2.7 per cent of our electricity. Even if 10 per cent of the entire country was covered in wind farms they could still only provide a sixth of our needs. That is because turbines are so hopelessly unre- liable. on still days they produce nothing yet if the wind gusts at more than 56mph they have to be shut down because they become unstable
In 2010, onshore turbines operated on average at just 21 per cent of capacity, making a mockery of the greens’ claim that wind can ever be an effective source of power.

While we cripple ourselves in an expensive display of ideological superiority, nations such as China, India and Brazil are forging ahead. It does not have to be like this. We are a uniquely energy rich country with plentiful supplies of oil, gas and coal, as well as nuclear expertise.

We should be exploiting our resources to become richer, not submitting to green lunacy to make ourselves poorer.


2011, and the Unlucky Country finally gets a carbon dioxide tax

by Bob Carter

Australian voters entered 2011 with the pre-election commitment of Prime Minister Julia Gillard still sounding in their ears: "There will be no carbon [dioxide] tax under a government that I lead".

Nonetheless, cognitive dissonance had already arrived on the Canberra political scene, in the shape of the Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change (MPCCC) that was established in late 2010 in order to plan for the introduction of just such a tax.

Thereafter, the political year yielded a spectacular display of chicanery, scientific malfeasance, media bias and economic and social irresponsibility, all underpinned by a confusion of both purpose and morality and accompanied by an uncertainty of outcomes: and that’s just the global warming picture.

The way that science works

Climate change is self-evidently a natural process. Warmings, coolings, cyclones, floods, droughts and bushfires have been coming and going since long before human industrial processes started adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere; and, indeed, since before there were humans at all.

The appropriate question is therefore not whether climate change is “real”, but the more specific one of whether human-related greenhouse emissions are causing dangerous global warming.

Scientists assess such speculative ideas against a norm called the null hypothesis, which, following long historical practice, is fashioned to be the simplest interpretation of any given set of material facts.

The null hypothesis for today’s observed climate changes is therefore that they are of natural causation, unless and until specific evidence accrues otherwise.

Contrary to prevailing political belief, and to the alarmist messages that come from the UN’s discredited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), much amplified by environmental organisations and a compliant media, scientists have searched for this accrual in vain.

Instead, tens of thousands of scientific papers published in reputable journals delineate changes in climate and the environment, and ecological responses, that are entirely consistent with the null hypothesis of natural causation. In contrast, not a single paper exists that demonstrates an evidential cause-effect link between change in an environmental variable (be that more or less storms, floods, droughts, cyclones, honeyeaters or even polar bears) and warming caused by human-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Given the astonishing amounts of money that are now poured into climate change research, it is no surprise that 2011 saw the publication of several thousand more scientific papers that contain data relevant to this problem. But it may perhaps be to some readers’ surprise that these papers simply added yet more evidence in favour of the validity of the null hypothesis.

2011 in review: the two universes of climate change

The 33 selected discoveries and events discussed in the main review represent but a small part of the recent evidence that challenges the belief that dangerous global warming is being caused by human-related carbon dioxide emissions. Contradictions of nearly every shibboleth of the AGW faith are present on the list, and every argument that has been advanced in favour of the speculative dangerous warming hypothesis is now feeling the breeze of contradictory fact. Many additional articles that contradict the prevailing wisdom can be found in the more comprehensive reviews of the Non-governmental International Committee on Climate Change (NIPCC).

The 2011 climate year, then, as judged from both media coverage and new scientific literature, has confirmed the existence of two entirely parallel universes of climate thought.

In the first universe, independent scientific and public opinion are moving inexorably towards the rejection of climate alarmism and the costly measures that are perpetrated in its cause. An important manifestation of this opinion was the recent publication of a reasoned statement of disagreement with warming alarmism in the Wall Street Journal, signed by 16 independent scientists. Their conclusion is that global warming is not a serious problem, and that even if it were the solutions being offered wouldn’t fix it anyway.

In contrast, the IPCC and its supporters, who include the Australian government as one of the most faithful acolytes, continue to project unrelenting alarmism. Towards which end they encourage the implementation of expensive, unnecessary and ineffectual measures that they claim will mitigate dangerous warming, such as carbon dioxide taxation and the massive subsidisation of feel good eco-bling like solar farms and windfarms.

Yet the IPCC is a discredited organisation that remains under heavy attack, and its forthcoming 5th Assessment Report is facing a barrage of fundamental criticism even before its publication. For the distinguished Dutch chemical engineer and philosopher of science, Professor Arthur Rörsch, has issued a critique of the draft version of this report, entitled “Post-modern science and the scientific legitimacy of the IPCC’s WGI AR5 draft report”. Noting that the IPCC is a political organization that applies post-modern “logic” to the science that it summarizes, Rörsch calls for thorough independent investigations to be instituted into climate change policy in Europe, thereby mirroring conclusions drawn, and similar calls made, by independent scientists in Australia, Canada and other countries over the last five years.

The political costs of irrational climate policy

The huge social, environmental, economic and (so far limited, but increasing) political costs of pursuing irrational climate policies have to date simply been swatted aside, both in Australia and overseas.

But now that major discrepancies have emerged between genuine scientific knowledge and IPCC advice, sensible policy reappraisals are occurring in many countries. In these circumstances, the compulsive Australian self-harm of continuing to demonize carbon dioxide emissions has become politically enigmatic – not to mention the ultimate ironic twist that the emissions are actually environmentally beneficial, and additionally so at a time of likely global cooling.

When the accumulating new research knowledge, and the reassurance that it provides, are compared with the statements and actions of the Australian government during 2011, an enormous disconnect becomes apparent. And when measure is taken also of the present state of Australian public opinion, and of the rapidly shifting, worldwide political movement away from climate alarmism, and away from punitive measures against carbon dioxide, that disconnect morphs into full blown cognitive dissonance.

In which state of mind, the Labor-Independent-Green government in Australia last year passed what must be the worst legislative package ever approved by a federal parliament. “Worst” because it marks a direct attack on the cheap power prices that formerly underpinned the Australian economy, thereby being a direct attack also on the living standards of all citizens – and especially the less well-off.

Those with the most to lose include not only individual citizens, but also the very lobby groups that have so assiduously fomented the dangerous warming scare.

Including, in particular, environmentalists (because anti-carbon dioxide measures, and the destruction of wealth and landscape desecration that go with them, harm the environment), scientists (because piping a called tune is the very antithesis of science), business interests (because shareholder value is never going to be enhanced by encouraging large and irrational increases in the cost of power) and politicians (because their atavistic need to be elected will not be facilitated by sharply attacking the living standards of their constituency).

The way forward will be determined by an election

The Australian government and its climate-alarmist supporters are now trapped deep inside a blind alley with walls that are labelled “scientific consensus” and “public consensus”. These have always been political siren calls, but the first is a nonsense by definition, and, in that fickle fashion that public opinion often exhibits, the public consensus dramatically reversed its direction during 2009-2010, partly because of the Climategate affair and the attendant loss of IPCC’s virginity.

Former British PM Margaret Thatcher well understood that it is the nature of consensus policy-making to spawn legislative stupidities such as Australia’s carbon dioxide legislation. As she said so well:

"Consensus is the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot [otherwise] get agreement on the way ahead."

Well, people did object but a carbon dioxide tax has still become law, and as they pass from 2011 into 2012 Australian voters are probably less interested in pondering causes, consensual or otherwise, and more interested in action towards rectifying what they see as an economically damaging, expensive, regressive, ineffectual and unnecessary new tax.

They are therefore likely to be contemplating closely the carefully chosen words of Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott:

"We have a Prime Minister who is the great betrayer of the Australian people. She was absolutely crystal-clear before the last election – 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead'. We [the Coalition] can repeal the tax, we will repeal the tax, we must repeal the tax. I am giving you the most definite commitment any politician can give that this tax will go. This is a pledge in blood. This tax will go."

Barring unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances, and terminally bored though we all are with the debate already, the next Australian federal election will therefore be won or lost on the global warming/carbon dioxide tax issue.

By pulling out of the Kyoto protocol, and scheduling formal Senate hearings on global warming from independent scientists, as they did in December, Canada has blazed a new trail.

The question is whether Australia’s Coalition partners will now muster the courage to honour Mr Abbott’s pledge, and to administer the bureaucratic restructuring and legislative repeal that is needed to restore sanity to our national climate policy.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


6 February, 2012

100 British Conservatives revolt over wind farms

David Cameron has been hit by a major protest by Conservative MPs over the Government’s backing for wind farms, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

A total of 101 Tory MPs have written to the Prime Minister demanding that the £400 million-a-year subsidies paid to the “inefficient” onshore wind turbine industry are “dramatically cut”.

The backbenchers, joined by some MPs from other parties, have also called on Mr Cameron to tighten up planning laws so local people have a better chance of stopping new farms being developed and protecting the countryside.

The demands will be a headache for Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, who joined the Cabinet on Friday when Chris Huhne resigned after being charged with perverting the course of justice.

Mr Huhne, who denies claims that he asked his ex-wife, Vicky Pryce, to accept speeding penalty points on his behalf, was an enthusiastic proponent of wind farms. There are currently more than 3,000 onshore wind turbines in Britain.

At least 4,500 more turbines are expected to go up as the Government’s drive to meet legally binding targets for cutting carbon emissions sparks a green energy boom.

Critics say wind farms are inefficient because the wind cannot be guaranteed to blow at times of greatest energy demand. They are also said to be unsightly, blighting the landscape.

Wind farms are also accused of forcing up energy bills while swallowing disproportionate amounts of taxpayer-funded subsidies.

The Tory MPs, including several of the party’s rising stars as well as former ministers, say it is wrong that hard-pressed consumers must pay for the expansion of onshore wind power.

In the letter sent to No 10 Downing Street last week, which has been seen by The Sunday Telegraph, the MPs say they have become “more and more concerned” about government “support for onshore wind energy production”.

“In these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines,” they say. The MPs want the savings spread between other “reliable” forms of renewable energy production.

They have also called on Mr Cameron to change the proposed National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) so that it gives local people who object to proposed wind farms a better chance of victory in the planning process. The framework has finished a public consultation process and is awaiting the green light from ministers.

The letter reads: “We also are worried that the new National Planning Policy Framework, in its current form, diminishes the chances of local people defeating onshore wind farm proposals through the planning system.”

The number of Tory signatories to the letter, organised by Chris Heaton-Harris, the Conservative backbencher, means that the controversy could be the biggest protest to hit Mr Cameron since the Coalition was formed. Last October, 81 Tory MPs defied him in a Commons vote on holding a referendum over Britain’s future in the European Union.

The letter’s backers claim that while other Conservatives who are ministers and parliamentary private secretaries are unable to sign because they are part of the government “payroll”, they too privately support the move against wind farms.

It is understood that there is also support from the Treasury. Among the signatories are former Conservative ministers including David Davis and Christopher Chope, as well as party grandees such as Bernard Jenkin and Nicholas Soames. They are joined by several rising stars including Matthew Hancock, Nadhim Zahawi and Steven Barclay.

Mr Hancock, who is close to the Chancellor, George Osborne, said last night: “I support renewable energy but we need to do it in a way that gives the most value for money and that does not destroy our natural environment.”

Another Tory MP who signed the letter, Tracey Crouch, said: “It is tragic that we blight our countryside with hideous electricity pylons and now we intend not only to do the same with onshore wind farms but also to subsidise them.

“I’d much rather see better planning regulations and greater investment in other sources of renewable energy, which will protect the beauty of our countryside for future generations.”

Latest figures from Ofgem, the energy regulator, showed that £1.1 billion in taxpayer subsidies was paid to the producers of renewable energy in 2009-10.

Of this, about £522 million was for wind power, with most going to onshore wind farms. Much of this cash ended up in the hands of energy companies and investment funds which are based abroad.

The highest-profile critic of the onshore wind industry is the Duke of Edinburgh. Last year it emerged that the Duke claimed farms were a “disgrace” and they would “never work”.

Mr Huhne, by contrast, has described turbines as “elegant” and “beautiful”. His successor, Mr Davey, is thought to be bringing a more pragmatic approach to the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Mr Davey says he is committed to promoting a “green economy” but has also stated that he is “conscious” of the impact on households of high energy bills in tough economic times.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “We need a low carbon infrastructure and onshore wind is a cost effective and valuable part of the diverse energy mix.

“The Government has commissioned a review of subsidy levels and we are proposing a cut for onshore wind subsidies to take into account the fact that costs are coming down.

“We are committed to giving local communities the power to shape the spaces in which they live and are getting rid of regional targets introduced by the last government.”


Wind farms can actually INCREASE climate change by raising temperatures and causing downpours, warn academics

They have long been championed as a way to combat global warming by creating clean energy. But wind farms can actually alter the climate according to a new study by a group of American scientists.

The team from the University of Illinois found that daytime temperatures around wind farms can fall by as much as 4C, while at night temperatures can increase.

The study found that currently the effect is restricted to areas near to the turbines, but the increase in larger farms could create weather changes on a regional scale.

The study was led by Somnath Roy, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the university, with the San Gorgonio wind farm in California the focal point of his research. He suggested that the turbines' blades scoop warm from the ground and push the cooler air downwards. This is then reversed at night.

Roy, whose findings were published in the Sunday Times, added that he believes the turbines causing turbulence and reducing winds speed are the cause. He also added that the churning of air from low to high can create vortices that could extend the phenomenon for large distances downwind.

Roy's research is supported by a study undertaken by the Iowa State University, who looked at how a 100-turbine farm would affect conditions on farmland. They found that temperatures on the ground were warmer at night, which in turn allowed plants to breathe more.

While scientists in the United States have conducted research into the effects of wind farms on climate, such research in the UK is at an early stage. Currently no measurements have been made on changes to weather around British farms despite plans to increase turbines by tenfold. The UK currently has 3,500 wind turbines, with a further 800 under construction.

The Government aim to have 10,000 onshore and 4,300 offshore by 2020, but the rapid growth has led to 101 Tory MPs writing to David Cameron about the proposal. The members are calling for a dramatic cut in subsidies to onshore wind farms and more influence for local people to stop them being built.


Toppling Tax Dollars for Turbines

On February 1, an urgent alert was sent to supporters of wind energy. It stated: “The PTC is the primary policy tool to promote wind energy development and manufacturing in the United States. While it is set to expire at the end of 2012 ... the credit has already effectively expired. Congress has a choice to make: extend the PTC this month and keep the wind industry on track...”

The wind energy industry has reason for concern. America's appetite for subsidies has waned. Congress is looking for any way it can to make cuts and the twenty-year old Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy is in prime position for a cut—it naturally expires at the end of 2012. Without action, it will go away.

The payroll tax extension will be a hot topic over the next few weeks as it expires on February 29. Wind energy supporters are pushing to get the PTC extension included in the bill. Whether or not it is included will be largely up to public response—after all, regarding the PTC's inclusion in the payroll tax extension bill, the February 1 alert stated: “our federal legislators heard us loud and clear.” In the December payroll tax bill negotiations, the wind energy PTC was placed on a “short list of provisions to be extended through that bill.” Wind supporters are worried—hence the rallying cry.

Due to a deteriorating market, Vestas, the world's largest manufacturer of industrial wind turbines, is closing a plant and laying off workers. Everyday citizens, armed with real life information gleaned from the wind energy's decades-long history, are shocking lobbyists and killing back room deals by successfully blocking the development of industrial wind plants in their communities.

As news of actual wind energy contracts are coming in at three and four times the cost of traditionally generated electricity becomes widespread, and natural gas prices continue to drop due to abundance, states are looking to abandon the renewable energy mandates pushed through in a different economic time and a different political era. American Wind Energy Association spokesman, Peter Kelley, reports: “Industry-wide we are seeing a slowdown in towers and turbines after 2012 that is rippling down the supply chain and the big issue is lack of certainty around the production credit that gives a favorable low tax rate to renewable energy.” All of this spells trouble for the wind energy industry.

The PTC is part of a push for renewables that began in the Carter era. Enacted in 1992, the twenty-year old wind energy PTC was designed to get the fledgling industry going. However, after all this time, wind energy is still not a viable option. Even the industry’s own clarion call acknowledges that government intervention is still needed to keep it “on track.” If the training wheels are removed, it will topple.

Wind energy lobbyists have a plan: HB 3307 will extend the PTC for another four years. If the PTC extension passes, it will add an extra $6 billion to the $20 billion in taxpayer dollars the wind industry has already received over the past 20 years. These are monies we borrow (typically from China) to give to Europe—where most of the wind turbine manufacturers are located.

With advertisements featuring blue skies, green grass, and the warm and fuzzy images of families (and not one shot of a 500-foot wind turbine looming over their home), it is easy for the average person to be taken in and think we should continue to underwrite this “new technology”—after all, there is an energy shortage. “What will we do when we run out of oil?” Wind energy is electricity and electricity doesn't come from oil—even if it did, we don't have an oil shortage. Electricity comes from clean-burning natural gas and coal—both of which we have in abundance and know how to use effectively. They don't need an expensive replacement.

Wind energy supporters often tout turbines because of the misguided belief they will get us off of fossil fuels—when, in fact, they commit us to a fossil fuel future. Optimistically, a wind turbine will generate electricity 30% of the time—and we cannot predict when that time will be. Highly variable wind conditions may mean the turbine generates electricity in the morning on Monday, in the middle of the night on Tuesday, and not at all on Wednesday. A true believer might be willing to do without electricity at the times when the wind is not blowing, but the general population will not. Public utilities and electric co-ops cannot—they are required to provide electricity 24/7 and to have a cushion that allows for usage spikes.

So, during that average 30% of the time that the turbine blades are spinning, the natural gas or coal-fueled power plants continue to burn fossil fuels—though possibly slightly less in an extended period of windy weather, and full-steam-ahead the remaining 70% of the time. (Research shows that turning up the heat on power plants, and then turning it back down, and up again actually increases the CO2 emissions.) Absent a major breakthrough in expensive energy storage, wind can never save enough fossil fuel to make any significant difference. After twenty years of subsidies, wind energy has not replaced one traditional power plant.

Some argue that many new technologies got their start through government support. This might be a good viewpoint if wind energy were “new.” But after twenty years of subsidies it is little better now than it was in the late 1800s. Windmills produced electricity then, and modern industrial wind turbines generate electricity now. It is not that they do not work, they do. They just don't do so effectively, economically, or 24/7—and they still need Uncle Sam to prop them up.

Those who favor free markets need to seize upon this opportunity to push for the government to get out of the business of picking winners and losers. Clearly the “green” experiment has failed. Billions have been lost in the effort.

If we truly believe in free markets, why stop at just cutting the subsidies to wind energy? Stop the subsidies to all energy! May the strongest survive! The fact is, such a move is afoot. While HB 3307 aims to stretch out the subsidies for wind energy, HB 3308 will stop subsidies for all energy sources—wind and solar, oil and gas. The playing field will be level; billions will be saved!

A congressman I spoke to fears that, in the current political climate, his colleagues will cave on the wind energy subsidy, as they seem unwilling to take a strong stand on any issue. While wind energy supporters are calling their representatives, free-market advocates and everyone who believes the government-gone-wild spending must stop has to place a call, too.

Call, or e-mail, your Congressman, and as many others as you can take the time for, and tell them to stop subsidizing energy: “Do not include HB 3307 in the payroll tax extension bill. Support HB 3308 which will repeal the PTC and numerous other renewable energy tax incentives including the investment tax credit, the cellulosic biofuel producer credit, the tax credit for electric and fuel cell vehicles, and tax credits for alternative fuels and infrastructure. Additionally, HB 3308 will also repeal the enhanced oil recovery credit for producing oil and gas from marginal wells.”

Instead of propping up energy policy based on politics rather than sound science, we have to prop up our representatives and give them the backbone to do what is right. Tell them to end energy subsidies.


Govt Funding Created Too Many in Battery Space

Here’s a quick footnote to our commentary published last week about the bankruptcy announcement by Ener1, another of Obama’s failed green-energy “investments.” Ener1 manufactured lithium-ion batteries to be used in electric vehicles, EVs. Today’s Wall Street Journal provides further reasons to question Obama’s judgment and his irresponsible stewardship of the taxpayer’s dollars.

Ener1 blamed the anemic market for rechargeable battery cars and an overly competitive market place for the company’s financial woes. That is a similar refrain to the one offered by Solyndra, the California solar energy company that went bust last September even after Obama had guaranteed $535 million in loans.

But, flooding an uncertain, limited, nascent market with a plethora of manufacturers did not seem to bother the Obama Administration or cross anyone’s mind at the DOE. “The battery glut was created in substantial part by the Obama Administration, which handed out money to no fewer than 48 different battery technology and electric vehicle projects in 2009,” according to the WSJ.

Ener1 was awarded a $118 million grant by the DOE in 2009. That’s a “grant” – as in “gift” – not a loan like Solyndra or Beacon Power, a Massachusetts green company that also went bankrupt after a $43 million DOE loan guarantee. At least with a government loan there is an assumption, however weak, that the funds will eventually be paid back. Not so with a grant.

It’s far from clear why a taxpayer gift of $118 million seemed justified other than that the Obama Administration was passing out favors to just about anybody that could say “green energy” – better still if they had also contributed to the Obama campaign. It certainly wasn’t based on prior performance.

The company was founded in 2002, but was never able to post a profitable year. Even 2010, the year after the $118 million grant, Ener1 posted a $165 million loss. That was also the year that Vice-President Biden visited the plant and said the company “was leading the way…sparking whole new industries that will ensure our competitiveness for decades to come.”

Give Joe credit for being an eternal optimist, but he certainly isn’t very good at business. Only Joe would claim that a company showing loses of hundreds of millions of dollars and less than a year away from bankruptcy was “leading the way” to anything but the poor house.


Popular German newsmagazine features climate rebel

Here’s how DER SPIEGEL describes tomorrow’s upcoming story:


With heretical claims, RWE ma­na­ger Fritz Vah­ren­holt is causing a commotion: ‘The climate catastrophe is not taking place’, the environment expert claims. The sun is being underestimated as a natural climate factor. ‘The sun has been weak since 2005′, Vahrenholt said in a DER SPIEGEL interview. ‘We can only expect cooling from it for the time being.’”

Perfect timing

The timing of the DER SPIEGEL feature story couldn’t be worse for Germany’s catastrophe-obsessed warmists. This week renewable energies manager Fritz Vahrenholt’s and geologist Sebastain Lüning’s much anticipated climate-catastrophe skeptic book “Die kalte Sonne” is also hitting bookstores everywhere.

Even the weather is cooperating! When citizens pick up their copy of the flagship Spiegel magazine tomorrow morning at the newsstands, they’ll be shivering in temperatures down to -20°C, as Germany remains gripped in its coldest February freeze in 25 years. Temperature tomorrow morning in Berlin are forecast to dip to a frigid -17°C with no warming in sight.

There’s no way of knowing whether DER SPIEGEL will unload on Professor Vahrenholt and Dr. Lüning, take a more fair and balanced approach, or back them up. One thing is certain – the DER SPIEGEL story will push sales of Vahrenholt’s and Lüning’s book way up the overall best-seller list. The unwanted debate is unavoidable.

More than just the sun

One thing I have noticed: all the premature criticism from the warmists so far is focussed on the sun. I hate to tell you critics, guardians of the climate catastrophe narrative, but the book looks at a hell of a lot more than just the sun. We’re talking about over 800 cited sources (many peer-reviewed) and 80 graphics on a wide range of factors. I suggest you all hold your blabber and read the book first.

Expect lots of howling from the catastrophe-obsessed warmist zealots in the weeks ahead.


Jellyfish panic rebutted

THEY not only sting people and break fishing nets. In recent times jellyfish have also clogged up desalination works, blocked the cooling systems of nuclear power stations and even disabled a war ship.

These incidents, widely covered in the media, have created the perception that jellyfish numbers are rising alarmingly, and fuelled speculation these annoying gelatinous organisms will dominate the oceans in the future, as a result of overfishing and climate change.

But a new study has found claims of a jellyfish plague are scientifically unsubstantiated.
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Carlos Duarte, of the University of Western Australia, said researchers had assembled a database of more than 500,000 records of jellyfish abundance dating back more than 200 years.

"We have looked critically at the evidence to support those assertions and concluded the evidence was not there," Professor Duarte, director of the university's oceans institute, said.

Rather than blooms increasing, humans were seeing their impact more often as a result of increased coastal infrastructure, tourism and fishing.

"We have desalination plants that can be blocked by jellyfish blooms, whereas 20 years ago, at least in Australia, there were none," he said.

Occasional outbreaks are a normal and ancient phenomenon, with Minoans painting images of jellyfish blooms on their pottery 4000 years ago, he said. The fossil record also contains geological evidence of huge numbers of the creatures washed ashore.

"Swarms" of jellyfish were noted in Sydney Harbour by some of the first British arrivals.

And a scientific report in 1925 mentioned the "hordes" of jellyfish that appeared annually in Monterey Bay in California, "as if it were common knowledge", the researchers point out in their paper in the journal Bioscience.

Along with historical records, the team collected 42 sets of observations of jellyfish abundance from different parts of the world, dating back to 1790.

Professor Duarte said Japan was the only place where there was "robust evidence" for an increase in jellyfish - the giant Nomura jellyfish, which break fishermen's nets. Up to two metres in diameter, and weighing "more than a Sumo wrestler", they were hard to miss.

Researchers first predicted a possible jellyfish plague in 2001, and this "rise of slime" hypothesis has been widely cited by other scientists and echoed in the media, often with "alarmist headlines, despite a lack of evidence", Professor Duarte said.

But obtaining accurate information on jellyfish abundance was important for tourism, fisheries and ocean management in a changing climate. The new jellyfish database would provide "hard scientific data rather than speculation", he said.

In 2006 in Brisbane, jellyfish were sucked into the cooling system of the massive nuclear-powered warship USS Ronald Reagan on its maiden voyage.

Last year, a desalination plant in Palm Beach, Florida, became clogged with jellyfish, disrupting the water supply to residents for several days.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


5 February, 2012

More on the "exchange of views" in the WSJ

By Martin Hertzberg, Ph. D., Stanford, 1959

The recent exchange of letters entitled "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" and "Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate" are, either implicitly or explicitly, appeals to politicians based mainly on arguments from "Authority". It is tragic that what should have been an objective evaluation of the available data by independent scientists, has instead degenerated into a partisan political diatribe.

    Weather and Climate are controlled by natural laws on a scale that is enormous compared to the scale of human activity. Those natural laws engender forces and motions in the Earth's atmosphere, its oceans, and its surface that are beyond human control. Weather and Climate existed long before humans appeared on Earth, and they will continue to exist in the same way long after we are gone, either individually or collectively as the human race.

    Those forces and motions are driven by the following phenomena. First, there is the motion of the Earth relative to the Sun: the periodic changes in its elliptical orbit, the rotation of the Earth about its axis, the periodic changes in the tilt of that axis, and the periodic precession of that axis.

Second, there is the variation in Solar activity which causes changes in the amount of radiant energy that reaches the Earth and also causes variations in the Cosmic Ray input into its atmosphere, which effect the Earth's cloudiness.

Third, there is the distribution of land and water on the Earth's surface which controls the temperature distribution of the atmosphere, the availability of moisture, monsoon effects, and the paths and intensities of hurricanes, typhoons, and other storms.

Fourth, there is the topography of the Earth's land mass which causes copious precipitation on the windward side of mountains and aridity on the leeward side. Fifth, there are the motions within the Earth's oceans that determine moisture availability and its surface temperature distribution (El Nino and La Nina cycles).

    The determinant of weather is mainly water in all of its forms: as vapor in the atmosphere; in its heat transport by evaporation and condensation, as the enormous circulating mass of liquid ocean whose heat capacity and mass/energy transport dominate the motions of our atmosphere and the precipitation from it, and finally as cloud, snow, and ice cover which influence the radiative balance between the Sun, the Earth, and free Space. In comparison, the human emission of CO2 is totally insignificant for the Earth's weather and climate and there is not one iota of reliable evidence that proves otherwise.

    This was all learned by me when I served as a research and forecasting Meteorologist while on active duty in the U. S. Navy. That was long before the ersatz field now called "Climate Science" was fabricated out of thin air for the main purpose of promoting the false theory that human CO2 emission was causing "global warming/climate change/extreme weather phenomena." Note that the theory has become a moving target over the last decade, but it is still relatively easy to track and shoot down.
Letter submitted to the WSJ, received by email

Snow falls in Rome for the first time in 26 YEARS as -36c temperatures across eastern Europe send death toll to 150

Snow fell in Rome today for the first time in 26 years as freezing temperatures took the death toll across Europe to more than 150.

The Italian capital is usually blessed by a moderate climate but the snowfall prompted authorities stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors.

The last substantial snowfalls in Rome were in 1985 and 1986, though there have been other cases of lighter snow since then, including in 2010. The director of the Colosseum, Rossella Rea, said the sites were closed out of fears that visitors could slip on ice..

Snow began falling in the late morning Friday, leaving a light dusting on trees and cars and forming slush on the roads. It wasn't clear if there would be any significant accumulation on the ground.

The European Union is bracing for another potential energy crisis in the dead of winter as Russian gas supplies to some of its member states suddenly have dwindled by up to 30 percent.

The European Commission put its gas coordination committee on alert today, but insisted the situation had not yet reached an emergency level since coordination between nations to help each other had improved and storage facilities had been upgraded.

Commission spokeswoman Marlene Holzner said Russia was going through an extremely cold spell and needed more gas to keep its citizens warm.

She said that Russia's gas contracts 'allow for certain flexibility in case they also need the gas. And that is the situation that Russia is facing at the moment.' The severe winter in Russia has seen temperatures drop to minus 35 C (minus 30 F).

Snow fell across large parts of the UK, with two inches covering Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk in white, while in the Pennines, fences and phone masts resembled ice sculptures.

The east of the country will again be covered in snow today and the South-East, Midlands and North will be hit tomorrow afternoon.

The Met Office said up to four inches of snow could fall over the weekend across much of England and Wales, with southern and central areas likely to see the worst of it.

A level three ‘amber’ cold weather alert - the second most serious - was issued, which warns of health risks to the elderly and vulnerable, and the likelihood of disruption to transport. Level four 4 would mean a 'major cold weather incident', in which normally healthy people are at risk from the cold.

The alerts are tied in to the Government’s Cold Weather Plan and are relayed to organisations such as Age UK, which help the elderly through winter.

The military have been put on alert should conditions deteriorate to a level four. When freezing conditions struck in 2010, members of the armed forces were called in to help clear snow from the roads and assist residents in particularly hard-hit areas and help clear special locations such as hospitals and care homes.

Parts of the Black Sea froze near the Romanian coastline and there was a rare snowfall on Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea. In Bulgaria, 16 towns recorded their lowest temperatures since records started 100 years ago.

Police spokesman Predrag Maric said emergency crews were pressing hard to try to clear the snow and deliver badly needed supplies. He said: 'We are trying everything to unblock the roads since more snow and blizzards are expected in the coming days,' Maric said.

Newly reported deaths on Thursday because of the cold included 20 in Ukraine, nine in Poland, eight in Romania, and one more each in Serbia and the Czech Republic.

About 180 schools were closed in Romania because of the freezing cold. Three ships were blocked on the Danube River - one German, one Dutch and one Romanian - and efforts were made to unblock them from ice.

In Bulgaria, where 16 towns recorded their lowest temperatures since records started 100 years ago, 1,070 schools across the country remained closed Thursday and large sections of the Danube were frozen, hampering navigation.

Dutch authorities banned boats from some of Amsterdam's canals and waterways in the hope the big freeze gripping the city would turn the still water to ice and allow residents to go skating. They also turned off mills and pumps that regulate water levels in the low-lying, flood-prone nation to improve the chances of canals freezing over.

Speed skating is a winter obsession in the Netherlands and hopes are about the possibility of holding the Elfstedentocht - or '11 Town Tour' - skating race being staged for the first time since 1997.

The 200-kilometer (125-mile) tour route takes skaters over frozen canals and lakes linking 11 towns in the northern Netherlands. The tour, which is also a race for elite skaters, has only been staged 15 times since the first official event in 1909.


Greenie nut caught out in Britain

The feud between Energy Secretary Chris Huhne and his economist ex-wife Vicky Pryce culminated yesterday in sensational charges against both of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Huhne, the first Cabinet minister in history to be forced from office by a criminal prosecution, fiercely protested his innocence and pledged to fight the charge of using his former wife’s name to escape speeding penalty points.

Greek-born Miss Pryce, by contrast, made no reference to how she intends to plead, simply declaring she hoped for a rapid resolution to the case.

If she admits the charge, she could be called to give evidence against Mr Huhne, while if she decides to plead not guilty, she will almost certainly end up side by side with her husband in the dock.

The allegations, which stretch back to 2003, surfaced after the couple separated in 2010 when the Energy Secretary announced he was leaving his wife of 27 years for his aide Carina Trimingham, who had previously been in a civil partnership with a woman.

It is claimed that the millionaire MP sought to evade speeding points by putting them in Miss Pryce’s name.

The long-running criminal probe has sent shock waves through the Liberal Democrats and the Government as a whole.

Friends said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam telephoned Miss Pryce minutes after she learned she was to face trial, telling her: ‘If you need somewhere to stay, if the kids need support, we’re here.’

One friend who spoke to Miss Pryce after charges were announced said: ‘She seems very cheerful and in a good mood. It’s like a Greek drama. But she was very buoyed up by Miriam’s call.’

For months, the Energy Secretary had appeared confident that charges would not be brought, declaring only last week that he believed prosecutors would drop the case.

Allies even suggested that he might stay in his job if he faced trial – a prospect apparently killed off by Mr Clegg and Cabinet

Yesterday 57-year-old Mr Huhne, who has three children and two stepchildren with his former wife, quit shortly after charges were announced, describing the decision to take the case to court as ‘deeply regrettable’.

‘I am innocent of these charges and I intend to fight this in the courts and I am confident that a jury will agree,’ he insisted. He said he was resigning as Energy Secretary ‘to avoid any distraction’ to his official duties or trial defence.

Mr Huhne and his ex-wife face the extremely serious charge of perverting the course of justice – an offence for which, along with perjury, former Tory Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was jailed for 18 months.

A jail sentence of more than 12 months would mean Mr Huhne’s Parliamentary career coming to an end, as well as his Cabinet one. MPs who are imprisoned for more than a year automatically lose their seats.

Regardless of the merits of the case against him, his departure from the Cabinet was met with private delight by many senior Tories, who have regarded him as an abrasive and grandstanding coalition colleague.

Mr Huhne’s relationship with Mr Clegg has also long been tense. Mr Clegg only narrowly defeated Mr Huhne in a contest for the Lib Dem leadership, and Mr Huhne’s allies always insisted he would have been crowned the winner had a bunch of postal votes not been delayed.

The Deputy Prime Minister went out of his way to suggest Mr Huhne could make a swift return to Government if he was acquitted.

In a letter to his former leadership rival, Mr Clegg said: ‘I fully understand your decision to stand down from government in order to clear your name, but I hope you will be able to do so rapidly so that you can return to play a key role in Government as soon as possible.’

The Prime Minister pointedly made no mention of a possible return in his own letter accepting Mr Huhne’s resignation.

During a visit to Plymouth, Mr Cameron said: ‘I think Chris Huhne has made the right decision, given the circumstances.’ Mr Cameron’s spokesman declined to say that the Prime Minister felt any personal sympathy for Mr Huhne.

The charges relate to a speeding offence committed on March 12, 2003. It is said to have taken place while Mr Huhne was driving back from Stansted airport having returned from the European Parliament, where he was then an MEP.

Last week Essex police took possession of emails and other material from the Sunday Times, which published an interview with Miss Pryce in which she first made the allegations.


Britain's Solar power incentives lose their shine

The fledgling industry has been flourishing, but the halving of government subsidies has thrown it into confusion

The last year hasn’t been a happy one for the British economy: GDP fell by 0.2 per cent in the final quarter of 2011; unemployment rose to a 17-year high; and government debt recently reached a record £1 trillion.

One sector, however, has been bathing in the broad sunlit uplands of growth. In 2010 there were 450 solar businesses, employing around 3,000 people; by the end of last year, there were almost 4,000, employing more than 25,000 people. In September alone, some 16,000 households had solar panels installed – twice as many as in June – as everyone from farmers to vicars to Mick Jagger (plus thousands of other canny home owners with £12,000 to spare) scrambled to take advantage of generous government subsidies.

It was, said Lord Marland, an energy minister, in a House of Lords debate this week about halving the subsidies, “one of the most ridiculous schemes ever dreamed up”.

The Government’s case is that the taxpayer is paying through the nose to subsidise inefficient technology at the expense of other renewable technologies. The solar industry argues that the Government has acted unlawfully, putting thousands of jobs at risk and stifling a promising industry at birth.

The feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme was introduced, appropriately for its detractors, on April 1, 2010. Under the scheme, householders could install solar panels on their roofs – at around £12,000 – and receive a high rate, guaranteed for 25 years, from energy companies for the electricity generated, while simultaneously saving on their energy costs (the average installation generates just over half a home’s energy needs).

According to the Energy Saving Trust, the average household could expect to be almost £1,200 a year better off by selling electricity to the grid at a rate of 43.3p per kilowatt hour (six times more than the energy companies pay for their own electricity).

Inevitably, the generous scheme ran out of control – there were more than three times as many solar installations as predicted. The Department of Energy and Climate Change estimated that, if the subsidies continued at the same rate, £100 could be added to everyone’s electricity bills by 2020. Meanwhile, the average cost of a solar panel had fallen by a third. Last October, the Government decided that this jamboree had to stop.

They went about it in a remarkably cack-handed way, however, announcing a halving of the tariff to 21p on December 12 – 11 days before a consultation period finished. A high court judge found this legally flawed, following a challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms. On January 25, the Court of Appeal upheld his decision. Chris Huhne, the former Energy Secretary, was said to be considering a further appeal, to the Supreme Court, just before he resigned to spend more of his own time in the courts.

This has left the solar industry in limbo, as customers have variously rushed to take advantage of offers before they vanish or stood back to see what happens next. Now that the Government has lost its appeal, there is a further window until March 3 before the feed-in tariff is reduced. Anyone installing a system before then can join existing solar owners in benefiting from the 41p rate.

“It went ballistic before Christmas,” says Andy Tanner, chief executive of Plug Into the Sun, a firm that’s been operating in Penzance for seven years. “Then it was as dead as a doornail. Now it’s gone ballistic again. However, we’re on tenterhooks for February 9.”

That is the date when the Government announces the results of its consultation, including a scantily reported proposal to pay feed-in tariffs only to homes with an energy performance certificate of grade C or above. “That would rule out some 80 per cent of our customers,” says Tanner.

Toby Darbyshire, chief executive of Engensa, which is based in London and made a profit of £2 million on a turnover of £15 million in its first year of trading, has a list of 400 potential customers wondering whether or not to install solar panels.

“There’s a huge amount of uncertainty in the industry at the moment,” he says. “There is real anger about the sledgehammer way this has happened.”

The industry’s beef is not so much with the tariff cut – Engensa had even been lobbying the Government to reduce it, to make the industry more viable in the long term – as with the timing. “It’s left the industry high and dry,” says Derry Newman, chief executive of Solarcentury, one of the firms that took the Government to court. Solarcentury has had to scrap 12 new jobs, each of which had attracted more than 60 applicants. Investor confidence has evaporated, leading the company to cancel a social housing project in Wales. While the hysterical predictions in December of 25,000 job losses haven’t (yet) turned out to be true, some firms have gone bust. “Lots are just hanging on,” says Newman. “The small guys with large bank loans, who don’t have the cash-flow to pay them back.”

Of course, many of us without solar power – but still subsidising it – will wonder just how sympathetic we’re supposed to be. Even with a reduced feed-in tariff, those who can afford the installations will still make more than £600 a year. We’ll still be helping them to recoup their initial investment, albeit in 18 years, instead of 10. As Lord Marland put it this week: “It is already going to cost the consumer £7 billion for £400 million of net present value. This is on a product where you need the electricity when the sun doesn’t shine. It is going to produce 1.1 per cent of our electricity supply, and it doesn’t target the needy and the consumers.”

The response of the solar industry is: bear with us a little longer. According to the Solar Future campaign, costs will come down so much over the next decade that new solar capacity will not have to be subsidised. The total subsidy, it estimates, over the next 30 years will be a maximum of £9 per household.


How green zealots are destroying the planet: The provocative claim from a writer vilified for denying global warming

Just imagine a world where you never had to worry about global warming, where the ice caps, the ‘drowning’ Maldives and the polar bears were all doing just fine.

Imagine a world where CO2 was our friend, fossil fuels were a miracle we should cherish, and economic growth made the planet cleaner, healthier, happier and with more open spaces.

Actually, there’s no need to imagine: it already exists. So why do so many people still believe otherwise?

How come, against so much evidence, everyone from the BBC to your kids’ teachers to the Coalition government (though that may change somewhat now Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has resigned), to the President of the Royal Society to the Prince of Wales continues to pump out the message that man-made ‘climate change’ is a major threat?

Why, when the records show that there has been no global warming since 1997, are we still squandering billions of pounds trying to avert it?

These are some of the questions I set out to answer in my new book — which I can guarantee will not make me popular with environmentalists.

Almost every day, on Twitter or by email, I get violent messages of hate directed not just at me, but even my children. Separately, I’ve been criticised by websites such as the Campaign Against Climate Change (Honorary President: the environmental activist and writer George Monbiot). I’ve had a green activist set up a false website in my name to misdirect my internet traffic. I’ve been vilified everywhere from the Guardian to a BBC Horizon documentary as a wicked ‘denier’ who knows nothing about science.

Not that I’m complaining. Margaret Thatcher once famously said: ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.’ That’s just how I feel about my critics’ ad hominem assaults. They’re born not of strength but out of sheer desperation.

The turning point towards some semblance of sanity in the great climate war came in November 2009 with the leak of the notorious Climategate emails from the University of East Anglia.

What these showed is that the so-called ‘consensus’ science behind Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) — ie the theory that man-made CO2 is causing our planet to heat up in a dangerous, unprecedented fashion — simply cannot be trusted.

The experts had, for years, been twisting the evidence, abusing the scientific process, breaching Freedom of Information requests (by illegally hiding or deleting emails and taxpayer-funded research) and silencing dissent in a way which removes all credibility from the scaremongering reports they write for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

(The IPCC is the heavily politicised but supposedly neutral UN advisory body which has been described by President Obama as the ‘gold standard’ of international climate science.)

Since Climategate, the scientific case against AGW theory has hardened still further. Experiments at the CERN laboratory in Geneva have supported the theory of Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark that the sun — not man-made CO2 — is the biggest driver of climate change.

The latest data released by the Met Office, based on readings from 30,000 measuring stations, confirms there has been no global warming for 15 years.

Now, with sunspot activity (solar flares caused by magnetic activity) at its lowest since the days of the 17th-century frost fairs on the Thames, it seems increasingly likely we are about to enter a new mini Ice Age. Should we be bothered by this? Of course we should. Not only does it mean that for the rest of our lives we’re likely to be doomed to experience colder winters and duller summers, but it also makes us victims of perhaps the most expensive fraud in history.

Over the past 20 years, across the Western world, billions of pounds, dollars and euros have been squandered by governments on hare-brained schemes to ‘combat climate change’.

Taxes have been raised, regulations increased, flights made more expensive, incandescent light bulbs banned, landscapes despoiled by ugly, bird-chomping wind farms, economic growth curtailed — all to deal with what now turns out to have been a non-existent problem: man-made CO2.

But if anthropogenic warming is not the threat environmentalists would have us believe, why do so many people believe it is? And how come so many disparate groups — from the hair-shirt anti-capitalist activists of Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth to the executives of big corporations, to politicians of every hue from Gordon Brown to David Cameron to scientists at NASA and the UEA — are working together to promote this pernicious myth?

The short answer is ‘follow the money’.

Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the UEA which was at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ scandal, for example, was given £13.7 million in grants for his department’s research work; the environmental non-governmental organisations such as Greenpeace came on board because scaremongering helps them raise revenue.

You’re not going to give money to the charity’s Project Thin Ice if you think the polar bear is good for another 10,000 years, but you might if you’re told it’s seriously endangered.

Politicians were attracted because it was a good way of being seen to be addressing an issue of popular concern, and a handy excuse to put up taxes.

Big corporations joined in the scam as a) it enabled them to ‘greenwash’ their image through campaigns like BP’s ‘Beyond Petroleum’ and b) it meant all that extra environmental regulation would be a handy way of pricing their smaller competitors out of the market place.

But money isn’t the only reason. If you read the private emails of the Climategate scientists, what you discover is that most of them genuinely believe in the climate change peril.

That’s why they lied about the evidence and why they tried to destroy the careers of those scientists who disagreed with them: because they wanted to scare politicians into action before time ran out. This was not science, in other words, but political activism.

A similar ‘end justifies the means’ mentality seems to prevail among all those environmental lobby groups. They don’t exaggerate or misrepresent because they’re bad people. They do it, as a former head of Greenpeace once charmingly put it when accused of having overstated the decline in Arctic sea ice, to ‘emotionalise the issue’; because they want to make the rest of the world care about these issues as much as they do.

Powerful feelings, though, are hardly the most sensible basis for global policy. Especially not when, as it turns out, they are based on a misreading of the facts.

One of the grimmest ironies of the modern environmental movement is just how much damage it has done to the planet in the name of ‘saving’ it. Green biofuels (crops such as palm oil grown for fuel) have not only led to the destruction of millions of acres of rainforest in Asia, Africa and South America, but are now known to produce four times more CO2 pollution than fossil fuels.

Wind farms, besides blighting views, destroying topsoil and causing massive noise pollution, kill around 400,000 birds a year in the U.S. alone. Environmentalists, in fact, have a disastrous track record when it comes to predictions and policy recommendations. Rachel Carson’s 1962 bestseller Silent Spring — which promised a cancer epidemic from pesticides — led to a near worldwide ban on the malarial pesticide DDT, thus condemning millions in the Third World to die from malaria.

Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, meanwhile, rehearsed another of the green movement’s favourite themes: overpopulation. By the Seventies and Eighties, he warned, hundreds of millions of us would be dying like flies because there wouldn’t be enough food.

Why did Ehrlich’s prediction never come to pass? Because, like most of the greenies’ doomsday scenarios, it overlooked one vital factor: progress.

Because the green movement has for years been ideologically wedded to the notion that mankind is an ecological curse (‘The Earth has a cancer. The cancer is man’, as a global think tank called The Club of Rome, which includes several current and former heads of state, puts it), it fails to understand the role which technology, human ingenuity and adaption play in our species’ survival.
Ehrlich’s population disaster was averted thanks to a brilliant American scientist called Norman Borlaug who devised new mutant strains of wheat which managed to treble cereal production on the starving Indian subcontinent.

Of course, there is still widespread concern over the use of genetically modified crops, but scientists argue that with proper safeguards in place they can actually be more environmentally friendly than conventional crops, using less water and fewer pesticides.

Similar technological advances in the field of energy make a nonsense of environmentalists’ claims that we are running out of fuel: long before coal ran out came the petroleum revolution; and, though we still have plenty of oil left, we now have the miracle of shale gas which lies in abundance everywhere from Blackpool to the North Sea, and is released using blasts of high-pressure liquid to open pockets of gas in rock.

When, many decades hence, that runs out we will start to harvest clathrates (solid methane deposits) buried on the ocean floor.

Economic progress is not our enemy but our friend. It is an historical fact that the richer nations are, the more money they have to spare on ensuring a cleaner environment: compare the relatively clean air in London to the choking smog that envelops Beijing and Delhi; look at where the worst ecological disasters happened in the last century — under impoverished Communist regimes, from the Aral Sea to Chernobyl.

But the greens refuse to accept this because, according to their quasi-religious doctrine, industrial civilisation is a curse and economic growth a disease which can only be cured by rationing and self-sacrifice, higher taxes and greater state control.

That’s why I call my new book Watermelons — because it’s about zealots who are green on the outside, but in political terms, red on the inside. If only their views weren’t so influential, in schools, universities, in the media, in the corridors of power, the global economy wouldn’t be nearly in the mess it’s in today.

As someone who loves long walks in unspoilt countryside and who wants a brighter future for his children, I’m sickened by the way environmental activists tar anyone who disagrees with them as a selfish, polluting, anti-science ‘denier’.

The real deniers are those ideological greens who refuse to look at hard evidence (not just pie-in-the-sky computer models which are no more accurate than the suspect data fed into them) and won’t accept that their well-intentioned schemes to make our world a better place are in fact making it uglier, poorer and less free.


GISS Temperature Trend Is Complete Garbage

According to Hansen, the land surface has warmed 1.2C since 1880.

This is blatant scientific fraud. As you can see below, he had almost no temperature data in the 1880s for Africa, Greenland, South America, Northern Canada, Siberia, The Arctic, the Antarctic and South Asia. His error bar (green) is much too small to be correct. The few stations in South America and Africa show little or no warming since 1880

To make matters worse, he has corrupted the US temperature data, which makes up more than a third of the available stations for comparison. Note that a number of stations in Africa and Australia have cooled, and that most of his warming is in UHI affected areas. For all we know, the 1880s may have been warmer than the present. How is it that glaciers were rapidly melting in the 1880s, and growing in the 1960s and 1970s? How can he possibly claim that 2011 is 1.2C warmer than the 1880s based on the limited data above? It is complete nonsense to make such a claim.

Before Hansen tampered with the data, the 1880s were nearly as warm in the US as they were in the 1990s. This is critically important – because the lion’s share of high quality global weather stations during the 1880s were located in the US. Hansen’s thermometers reported little warming in the US since 1880s, and the “warming” only appears after the data has been modified. Without the US temperature data tampering (adjustments) the “global” trend since 1880 gets greatly reduced.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe and in Washington DC both occurred in 1881. Hansen’s data has zero legitimacy. He is missing data from at least 0.70 of the land surface during the 19th century, yet reports trends within 0.01 degrees. He would fail any undergraduate science class for reporting a precision two orders of magnitude larger than his accuracy. It is illegitimate science to publish this temperature data without an accurate error bar, and lots of disclaimers describing the severe limitations of accuracy.

It is imperative that he publishes equally available graphs made from unaltered data, even if he honestly believes his bogus adjustments are accurate. And his altered graphs need to be clearly marked. Most people believe that they are seeing temperatures reported by thermometers, and that simply isn’t true.

CIA report below from 1974, showing that snow and ice were increasing during the 1970s. Hansen reports higher temperatures in the 1970s than the 1880s, yet we know that glaciers and polar ice were disappearing in the 1880s.

It would be impossible to have disappearing ice at lower temperatures, and increasing ice at higher temperatures – yet that is exactly what Hansen’s data shows.

More HERE (See the original for links)


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


4 February, 2012

Two more replies to some Green/Left boilerplate

I myself commented on the boilerplate concerned on 2nd but I have received via email from an Australian source the following addition to the discussion:

On 1 February a group of climate scientists published an article in The Australian (it had already been published in the Wall St Journal) explaining why they believe there is no compelling argument for drastic action to reduce emissions. This produced a response by a group of climate scientists (under the name of one, Kevin Trenberth) who believe there is a need for such action and a claim that the first group does not have the required expertise. A copy of the latter article is set out below.

The fact that the self-appointed experts have felt the need to respond is a further indication of concern by the experts that their analyses are increasingly being exposed as (to say the least) highly questionable. The response, however, is largely devoid of substance and is based on the pathetic claim of superior expertise.

This has produced several letters challenging the respondents, the most important of which is the one below by Bill Kininmonth who is of course one of our expert climate scientists but whose views have to date been ignored by the government.

Climategate email reveals doubts on data (Letter published in The Australian, 4-5 Feb 2012)

Kevin Trenberth, responding to an Opinion (to which I was a co-signatory) published in the Wall Street Journal (27/1/12) and The Australian (“Climate change ‘heretics’ refute carbondangers”,1/2), claims to have been quoted out of context and misrepresented (“Expertise a prerequisite to comment on climate”, 3/2).

The quote in our Opinion is from an email sent by Trenberth to a group of colleagues that became public with the release of emails from the UK University of East Anglia (or climategate). Trenberth wrote: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t...... there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observation system is inadequate.”

The context is an exchange of emails initiated on 11 October 2009 in response to a BBC item that there has been no warming since 1998 and that Pacific oscillations will force cooling for the next 20-30 years.

Trenberth was certainly lamenting the inadequacy of the observing systems (with which I agree) but at face value he is also acknowledging that the available data do not support warming since 1998. The latter is an inconvenience to the human-caused global warming hypothesis that he and his colleagues are wedded to.

William Kininmonth, Kew, Vic

Expertise A Prerequisite To Comment? (Square bracketed section deleted by Ed)

[Kevin Trenberth writes with other climate scientists in defence of their view that the world faces dangerous warming (Commentary, 3/2). But he fails to explain why some qualified scientists present a vastly different perspective.

Take just one example from the attitude of Climate Research Unit head at East Anglia University, a principal source of advice to the IPCC. He told the BBC in 2010 that surface temperature data cannot be verified or replicated, that the mediaeval warming period may have been as warm as today, that no statistically measured global warming has occurred for the previous 15 years and that the science is not settled. There are many other examples of expert climate scientists with different views.]

Although not an economist, Trenberth claims a low-carbon economy will “drive decades of economic growth”. But analysis by Australia’s expert economist, Ross Garnaut, says action to mitigate the effect of emissions would lift growth by 2100 to only a minor extent, and then after cutting it initially.

There are experts and experts. Some are right and some are wrong. The uncertainties of climate science, acknowledged in the IPCC’s 2007 report, suggest emission reducing action by governments is not justified.

Des Moore, South Yarra Vic

Hidden dissent at a great temple of Warmism (the UEA)

Nick Brooks in Email 1558:

"I'm always wary of claims (p3) that we are entering a period of unprecedented warmth. I do not know what the mean global temperature was in the Holocene climatic optimum, but research suggests tropical sea-surface temperatures some 5-6 degrees higher than present. Even a smaller change would of course be catastrophic for many societies today, but unless there have been serious comparisons between today and the mid-Holocene and we can say with confidence that anthropogenic warming scenarios exceed such palaeoclimatic conditions such claims may come back to haunt us.


Century of ocean warming good for corals, research shows

Another nasty one for Hoagy and all the other Warmists. Hoagy has been very quiet in recent years

A GOVERNMENT-run research body has found that the past 110 years of ocean warming has been good for the growth of corals spanning more than 1000km of Australia's coastline.

The findings undermine predictions that global warming will devastate coral reefs, and add to a growing body of evidence showing corals are more resilient than previously thought - up to a certain point.

The study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, peer-reviewed findings of which were published today in the leading journal Science, examined 27 samples from six locations from the West Australian coast off Geraldton to offshore from Darwin.

At each site, scientists took cores from massive porites corals - similar to a biopsy in humans - and counted back to record their age in much the same way tree rings are counted.

Although some cores extended to the 18th century, they focused on the period from 1900 to 2010.

The researchers found that, contrary to their expectations, warmer waters had not negatively affected coral growth. In fact, for their southern samples, where ocean temperatures are the coolest but have warmed the most, coral growth increased most significantly over the past 110 years. For their northern samples, where waters are the warmest and have changed the least, coral growth still increased, but not by as much.

"Those reefs have actually been able to take advantage of the warmer conditions," said Janice Lough, a senior AIMS research scientist and one of the study's authors.

The key question is how warm the water can get before the positive effects are reversed. [Why should they be reversed? That is just ideology speaking. Warmth is generally good for all life] Lab studies have typically measured the effect of short-term, rapid changes in temperature and water chemistry; these mimic, for example, coral-bleaching events that are known to be devastating.

Much harder to measure are the long-term effects of gradual warming, such as those caused by climate change.


Tiny sales for Chev Volt

General Motors extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt had its worst sales month since August, as negative publicity over fire risks hurt vehicles sales in January.

GM sold just 603 Volts - above its sales in January 2011, but far below GM's best-ever sales month in December, when GM sold 1,529 Volts.

Last week, GM North America President Mark Reuss said sales of the Volt have been hurt by bad publicity.

Reuss said bad publicity from the government's investigation into fire risks of post-crash Volts is "definitely a component" of the decline in sales.

GM sold about 7,700 in 2011, below GM's target of 10,000. GM abandoned its sales target of 45,000 for 2012 last month, saying it would match "supply to demand."

GM was outsold by Nissan Motor Co.'s all-electric Leaf in 2011, as the Japanese automaker sold nearly 9,700 last year. Nissan said it sold 676 Leafs in January, down from 954 in December.

Nissan hopes to double Leaf sales this year.

Reuss said that when GM restarts production in February at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, it will build Volts in a "very reasonable" volume. He said there is some pent-up export demand.

Reuss says Volt awareness has gone up over the last two months in the wake of publicity over the government's investigation.

GM is focused on rehabilitating the Volt's reputation. "It's a tough road, but we've got to do it," Reuss said.

Last week, Congress held a hearing into the Obama administration's handling of disclosure of a fire in a crash-tested Volt. GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson testified at that hearing. He said the Volt is safe, and that the Volt has become "a political punching bag." He said the Volt has suffered "collateral damage" because of two months of rentless bad publicity.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed its investigation into the Volt in January after finding no unreasonable risk to safety. GM has agreed to make some voluntary upgrades to the Volt to guard against fires in post-crash Volts, but stopped short of issuing a formal recall.


Obama's War on Oil Crushing Small Businesses, Jobs

When the Deep Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded in May of 2010, the Obama Administration was quick to climb the rostrum of political opportunity and seize full advantage from public outrage directed at BP, the energy company responsible for the well. “We will keep our boot on their neck until the job gets done,” raged Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar in reference to responsibility for stopping the leak and cleaning up the contamination.

Holding BP responsible was fair enough, and nobody was rushing to defend the company. However, Salazar and his boss, Barack Obama didn’t stop there. Salazar quickly imposed a permitting moratorium that essentially shut down the gulf. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu as well as other elected officials immediately objected saying it would devastate the gulf economy far beyond the already significant impact of the well explosion, particularly to the energy, fishing, and tourism industries.

Eventually, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman overturned the moratorium and ordered Interior to begin permitting according to existing regulations. Salazar re-instated a second moratorium within days, which caused Feldman to find him in contempt of the previous court order noting that the Administration had shown “determined disregard” for the court. In a separate ruling, the court found that new regulations imposed unilaterally by Salazar also violated his authority and federal law and struck them down, as well.

Obama extorted $20 billion from BP to fund an escrow damage account without constitutional authority or judicial foundation. Columnist George Will was appalled. The use of "raw political power, without recourse to courts that exist for this sort of thing, under laws, with due process, essentially confiscates $20 billion from a publicly held corporation, about half of its shares held by Americans, to be dispensed, again, without judicial supervision, as the political branch sees fit" resembles the action of a tyrant ruling a "Northern Hemisphere Venezuela" rather that the United States of America Will said on the ABC News program, This Week.

Interior has effectively maintained an "informal moratorium" by stalling and delaying permitting. The results have been devastating just as Gov. Jindal warned. A study just completed by Greater New Orleans, Inc., or GNO, an economic development agency, found that the many small and medium size business that are dependent on the energy business in the gulf are shedding workers, exhausting personal savings, and leaving the gulf in an attempt to survive. It’s a tale of economic destruction that was created by excessive over-reach for perceived political gain by Salazar and the Obama White House.

In a survey of 100 business owners or company executives associated with the oil and gas industry in the gulf, GNO found that 50 percent had been forced to lay off workers as a result of Salazar’s moratorium. Thirty-nine percent reported retaining staff but being forced to reduce salaries and cut hours.

Of the 100 companies surveyed, 41percent are not making a profit, 76 percent have drained cash reserves, and 82 percent have been forced to tap into personal savings as a result of the permit slowdown – 13 percent said they had completely exhausted their personal cash.

Forty-six percent of the companies surveyed reported moving some or all of their operations away from the gulf in an attempt to survive.

"Small and mid-sized companies are the hidden victims of the permit moratorium and ensuing slowdown," said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO, Inc. "While global companies can simply shift their assets, these Louisiana companies – through no fault of their own – have endured significant, and now documented, financial hardships."

Although the moratorium is technically lifted, permit issuance is slow at best. According to GNO’s most recent published Gulf Permit Index report for January, 2012 the rate of issuance of deep-water permits are 71% fewer than the historical average. Just two permits per month have been issued over the last 90 days. Barely two-per-month shallow-well permits are being issued, too, which is 84% less than historical levels.

In his recent State of the Union Address, Barack Obama tried to claim credit for increases in oil and gas production in the U.S. Production in some parts of the nation has happened in spite of his Administration, not because of it. Advanced technology and the success of fracking to open more reserves to production from Texas to North Dakota and Pennsylvania to Alaska are responsible. But, in the gulf – where 30 percent of domestic oil and 13 percent of natural gas is produced – Obama’s policies have damaged not only energy production but the economy and lives of countless Americans. That’s a tragedy Barack Obama didn’t mention in his speech and a reality he chooses to ignore.


Agenda-driven “science” at EPA

Newly proposed air pollution rules impose exorbitant costs for illusory health benefits

In December 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency released new Clean Air Act “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.” Once again, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson touted the supposedly huge benefits of controlling emissions of mercury (Hg) and other air toxics from U.S. coal- and oil-fired power plants (or electric generating units, EGUs).

The people of Idaho may welcome this new rule, since EPA’s miraculous modeling machine has promised to prevent “six premature deaths” and create “up to $54 million” in health benefits by 2016 – even though not one coal-fired EGU in Idaho fits the EPA’s final rules. Even the District of Columbia, which has only one oil-fired unit, will somehow, magically realize “up to $120 million” in health benefits, presumably from new restrictions on coal-fired units in Maryland or Virginia.

The average U.S. citizen, however, can be excused for no longer being willing to be penalized by EPA – the Extreme Punishment Authority – for such minimal, imaginary and manufactured benefits.

In fact, the final rule may be the most expensive one ever devised by EPA. And yet, even EPA admits, the alleged “hazards to public health” from mercury and non-mercury emissions from American EGUs are “anticipated to remain after imposition” of the new regulations.

As to benefits, EPA computer models claim Hg emission cuts will reduce average per person “avoided IQ loss” by an undetectable “0.00209 IQ points,” with estimated “total nationwide benefits” of $500,000 to $6.1 million by 2016. For the electric utility sector, says EPA, net job creation from the rules will be “not statistically different from zero” and could be between minus 15,000 and plus 30,000 jobs.

In fact, the new regulations will likely eliminate tens of thousands of jobs annually, especially in energy-intensive industries that rely on low-cost electricity to survive and face growing competition from foreign companies that pay far less for energy, labor and raw materials. Small businesses will also get hammered.

“EPA cannot certify that there will be no SISNOSE from this rule,” the agency admits. “SISNOSE” is EPA-speak for “significant impacts on a substantial number of small entities.” In other words, the rules are likely to inflict significant economic harm on small businesses, and thus on the health and welfare of numerous (former) small business owners, employees and families. The agency failed to explain why it has once again ignored the adverse impacts on human health and welfare caused by its rules.

EPA also confessed that U.S. power plants actually contribute a mere 3% of the total mercury deposited in computer-modeled American watersheds, and thus in fish tissue. Citizens will justifiably wonder where the other 97% comes from, and why we should spend so much money for so little benefit. (The “missing” mercury comes from foreign sources and from volcanoes, subsea vents and other natural sources.)

To see how extreme EPA’s scenarios are, consider five more egregious errors in the final regulations. First, EPA admitted it could “calculate risk” for only 3,100 (4%) of the continental USA’s 88,000 watersheds.

Second, for over 60% of the 3,100 watersheds it did model, EPA took only one or two fish mercury measurements – making it virtually impossible to adopt even valid 75th-percentile fish mercury values. There is a breaking point where extremely poor statistical sampling renders EPA’s pretentious number crunching, conclusions and rules invalid. That breaking point has clearly been reached.

Third, the agency’s estimates for mercury exposure risks are solely for “hypothetical female subsistence consumers” who daily eat almost a pound of fish that they themselves catch in U.S. streams, rivers, and lakes over a 70-year lifetime. That’s less than 1% of U.S. women. For the rest of American women (who eat mostly ocean fish, purchased at a grocery, on a far less regular basis), EPA’s rules are irrelevant.

Fourth, EPA admits that only 22 to 29% of its computer-modeled watersheds are “at risk” from EGU mercury, even when it erroneously assumed that at least 5% of total Hg deposition into the watersheds came from U.S. power plants. If the modeling criteria were tweaked only slightly – to reflect average freshwater fish consumption rates for American women, and require that at least 15% of total mercury deposition be attributable to EGUs – not one U.S. watershed would be at risk.

Finally, EPA ignores the presence of selenium in nearly all fish. Its strong attraction to mercury molecules protects fish and people against buildups of methylmercury (MeHg), mercury’s biologically active and more toxic form.

Combining any series of small probability scenarios results in a near-zero likelihood that the events will actually happen. If each of five scenarios has only a 20% chance of happening, the likelihood that all five will happen is 0.032 percent.

As the preceding analysis suggests, the probability that all the EPA’s improbable scenarios will actually happen is virtually zero; the likelihood that its new regulations will benefit human health is also zero.

However, EPA still stubbornly “disagrees that [mercury] exposure levels in the U.S. are lower than those in the Faroe Islands.” Exposure to MeHg in the U.S. is “the same” as in the Faroe Islands, EPA insists.

The agency is simply wrong.

Extensive medical and scientific studies demonstrate that average Americans are exposed to at least 5 to 10 times less MeHg than average Faroe Islanders. The islanders consume large quantities of pilot whale meat and blubber – which is high in methylmercury, high in PCBs and low in selenium. As a result, their blood mercury concentrations can be up to 350 times higher than the mean blood mercury levels measured by the Centers for Disease Control for average American women.

The Faroe Islands study is irrelevant to mercury exposure risk for average Americans. EPA’s use of that study is deceptive. American women and children are safe from any likely threats from mercury.

To top it off, EPA itself proclaims: “The emissions limits in today’s rule are technology-based … and do not need to be justified based on their ability to protect public health.”

In other words, if the technology exists to eliminate these pollutants, the agency will impose the new regulations – regardless of their cost, their effect on electricity prices and reliability, their impact on factory and other jobs, and whether the rules actually do little or nothing to improve human health.

It has become increasingly obvious that EPA’s real goal is to assert its authority over ever-increasing segments of our economy; reinterpret medical and scientific studies to fit its regulatory agenda; and replace as many coal-fired power plants as possible with costly, unreliable renewable energy systems.

American voters, elected officials and courts need to challenge these radical, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, demand an end to EPA’s distortion of science and reality – and reverse these flawed rules.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


3 February, 2012

An unintended tribute to climate skeptics

He wanted to discredit climate skeptics by comparing them to the Taliban but what's not to like about being compared to a group of outnumbered fighters who will undoubtedly defeat their foe in the end?

He is a very confused thinker, however. He seems to confuse Afghanistan with the Soviet Union. He thinks the war in Afghanistan will bring about mutually assured destruction. It will not. Both parties will survive the conflict perfectly well -- just as climate skeptics will survive perfectly well

Remember the Cold War doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)? To some, it justified the arms race between the U.S. and the old USSR. Fortunately, no nuclear-armed country has tested this doctrine by preemptively launching nuclear weapons against a nuclear-armed foe.

The warring sides in the climate debate, however, are locked in a hostile embrace that threatens to destroy them both. There is one difference to this war, though, in that it is not a conventional clash of superpowers, but more an asymmetrical conflict. Think of it like the war in Afghanistan, where climate scientists and campaigners are the U.S. military presence and Marc Morano and his like-minded band of ideologues are the Taliban.

Technically, the U.S. is waging a counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, trying to win over the populace with a hearts & minds campaign while also taking out the hostiles. For various reasons, it’s become a rather futile effort that military analysts can explain better than me. [poor grammar too]

But here are some of the parallels with the climate war. The Taliban, like Morano, are fiercely puritanical. They are not averse to cleansing their own side. Morano has shown that in the Republican Presidential race, where he’s gone after GOP candidates who once were in favor of taking action on climate change. Not coincidentally, global warming has become a litmus test for Republicans in this election year.

The Taliban, like Morano, are excellent provocateurs. They don’t have the manpower to go toe to toe, but they have successfully goaded the U.S. into committing what some experts have called ”own goals.” So it is with the climate movement, whose public spokespersons tend to fan the flames that perpetuate the fighting.

Now before I go any further, let me state outright that I am not equating Marc Morano’s tactics with those of the Taliban. The latter is comprised of a brutal, extremist culture that terrorizes its own people in horrific ways. Morano merely uses excessive rhetoric and hyperbolic language to advance his aims. He runs an operation that has a political aim: To delegitimize climate science. To do that, he and his allies engage in a propaganda war that goads his opponents and smears the reputations of individuals prominently associated with the climate change cause.

His tactics, while ugly, can in no way whatsoever be compared to the actions of the Taliban. I’m merely saying that he is an insurgent who (with like-minded allies) has successfully forced the other side into a defensive crouch. The climate concerned community is fighting a battle on on his terms.

So where does this leave the climate community? Well, like the U.S. military’s rethinking of its strategy in Afghanistan, the climate-concerned community has to reassess how it can best achieve its aims. If it wants to win hearts & minds (broaden public understanding and support for its cause), then it should probably settle in for the long haul and rethink its communication strategy. But if the climate community prefers to expend most of its energy trying to defeat its most committed enemies, then it likely will stay on the current path of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Somehow, I think that would suit Morano just fine. For he will have achieved his goal and then move on to his next battle.


A Green octopus

An Ezra Levant interview with Marc Morano

A wordwide tyranny by a self-selected elite slowly shaping up

They only have our own good at heart, of course -- but only they are allowed any say in what that is.

Ms Kosciusko demeans the name she bears. Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko was a Polish patriot who fought to free both his own native land and the American colonies. She wants to reimpose external control on both those places

More than a hundred countries now support a French proposal to create a "World Environment Organisation" at the upcoming 20th anniversary conference of the Rio Summit, France's ecology minister said on Tuesday.

"More than 100 countries have now associated themselves with the proposal," Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said at a conference in Paris aimed at stimulating ideas for June 20-22 global gathering.

The idea is to beef up the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which critics say lacks muscle for dealing with the world's worsening environmental crisis.

But rather than be just a branch of the UN, the proposed agency would help implement international environmental standards and include grassroots groups and business, according to the proposal.

Speaking afterwards to reporters, Kosciusko-Morizet said the United States "has yet to back" to the proposal, citing questions of sovereignty. "However, we have already overcome the north-south divide in terms of numbers," she said.

Kosciusko-Morizet said the new agency was a key to the success of the "Rio+20" conference, designed to assess the two decades that have elapsed since the Rio Summit which nailed the environment to the political agenda.

It should be part of a rethink of the world's economy, in which green issues and social questions should be integrated into the search for profit, she said. "The new capitalism which emerges from the crisis has to be environmental, or it won't be new," she said. "We are looking for a new kind of environmental governance, something more inclusive, in which all parties have a stake and it's not just governments which have the right to speak."

She insisted on the word "World" in the organisation's name, saying it was an important nuance compared with "international," meaning an exclusive focus on nations.

The Paris conference gathered several hundred representatives from national and local government, thinktanks and civil society with the declared aim of gingering up a programme, called "draft zero," that is being hammered out for Rio.

According to a background document issued by the ecology ministry, countries that are supporting the French idea comprise more than 30 European countries and the 54 members of the African Union, as well as Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, Chile and Uruguay.

Based in Nairobi, UNEP was set up in 1972 as an office of the UN, but as a "programme" it does not have the scope of an agency.

Its mission, according to its website, is "to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations."

Many environmental experts believe UNEP is too underpowered for dealing with a crisis that now ranges from climate change and ozone depletion to overfishing, pollution and deforestation.


Scores dead as global cooling grips Europe

A cold snap is keeping Europe in its icy grip, pushing the death toll to 163 as countries from Ukraine to Italy struggle with temperatures that plunged to record lows in some places.

Entire villages were cut off, trapping thousands; road, air and rail links were severed in several places and gas consumption shot up as people grappled with the severest winter in decades in several places.

Nine more people died in Poland overnight as temperatures hit minus 32 degrees in the south-west, taking the country's toll to 29 since the deep freeze began last week, police said.

In Ukraine, tens of thousands have headed to shelters trying to escape the freeze that the emergencies ministry said had killed 63 people.

Most of them literally froze to death on the street, with only a handful making it to hospital before succumbing to hypothermia, the ministry said.

Thousands of homeless people in the region are at risk, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned.

"Although we expect harsh winters in this part of the world this current freeze has come towards the end of a mild winter," said Zlatko Kovac, IFRC representative for Belarus and Ukraine.

"Homeless people have been caught unawares and unprepared. They don't follow long-range forecasts and are extremely vulnerable."

Red Cross Societies have helped with hot meals, warm clothing and blankets. The organisation said it had released €108,000 ($133,360) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to boost the effort.

Shivering and hungry, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have sought help in the more than 2000 temporary shelters set up by the authorities to help the poor survive the fearsome spell of cold weather.

Temperatures fell to minus 33 degrees in the Carpathians and minus 27 in the capital Kiev.

"I am unemployed. I have somewhere to live but nothing to eat. I ate here and it was good - bread with a slice of fat and an onion as well as porridge," said Olexander Shemnikov after visiting a shelter in Kiev.

In Romania, eight people died overnight bringing the overall toll to 22, the health ministry said. Schools remained closed in some parts of the country as temperatures reached minus 31 degrees.

In Bulgaria, where the mercury dipped to lows not seen in a century, at least 10 people have died, according to media. Authorities have not released official figures.

With parts of the Danube freezing, authorities moved some vessels to ports further away to protect them from the advancing ice.

And in the capital Sofia, some residents found their money frozen as automated teller machines stopped functioning, according to local media.

In Latvia, 10 people have died around the capital Riga alone, with no figures available for the rest of the country.

In neighbouring Lithuania a 55-year-old homeless man found in the ruins of an abandoned house in Klaipeda became the ninth victim of the chill.

And in Estonia, organisers even had to postpone a trio of cross-country skiing events after temperatures plunged to minus 30.

In Italy, hundreds of people were trapped overnight on trains as freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls in the centre and north caused widespread chaos on roads, railways and at airports.

The cold has so far killed an infant in Sicily and a 76-year-old in Parma during what forecasters say is the coldest weather in Italy in 27 years.

In France, 41 of the 101 regions were on alert for snow or "deep cold".

Authorities banned trucks on several major highways where the risk of snowfall and ice remained high. In Paris, the army set aside nearly 600 places in military buildings to shelter the homeless from the cold.

Two people died in Austria, seven perished in Serbia - where 11,500 others were trapped mostly in remote mountain villages inaccessible by road, five have died in the Czech Republic and two each in Slovakia and Greece.


Germany: Intellectually Insolvent U. Of Osnabrück Shuts Down Debate – Calls Skepticism “Provocative”

What do the intellectually challenged do when they’re out-matched in debate and fully exhausted of arguments?

You do what the University of Osnabrück has done: you prevent the opponent from entering the debating arena. You call it off and closed-mindedly insist you’re right.

This is what is happening today with the University of Osnabrück and Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, who had been invited by the university to give a speech on February 8.

It’s a vivid look into the cowardice of today’s German academia and its intellectual depletion.

The problem is that Vahrenholt has just written a controversial climate skeptical book (Die kalte Sonne) together with geologist Dr Sebastian Lüning - a book that is politically incorrect because it doubts the climate catastrophe fairy tale. The book is already near or at the number 1 position in bestseller list for environment and ecology books, and is thus causing the warmists to scurry in panic. The sense of alarm and fear that have gripped the climate establishment is so strong that the University of Osnabrück decided it would be improper to have Vahrenholt as a speaker.

Vahrenholt got his dis-invitation 2 days ago. Openly questioning the dogma of catastrophic global warming is not welcome. The University prefers to stay in the Dark Ages. Here’s the public invitation:
In the series of presentations “University Speeches” of the University of Osnabrück, Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt – RWE Innogy, Essen will hold a speech titled “The Climate Catastrophe is not Taking Place”.

The IPCC is wrong. The climate debate has to be restarted. In contradiction to prognoses, there has been no global warming in over 10 years. Even with rising CO2 emissions the warming for this century will not exceed 2°C. The warming effect of CO2 is over-estimated. The latest findings show that ocean cycles and the sun, which recently entered a longer-term period of quite activity, has played a greater role in the course of climate than previously assumed.

Here is the incredible letter of cancellation:
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

When we invited Prof. Vahrenholt in May, 2011, it was done with regards to a very good speech he had given in Greifswald (Greifswald Speeches - a Foundation of the Alfried Krupp College Greifswald) on the topic of “Options for the Future Energy Supply of Germany”. This topic and the speaker also were accepted by the Osnabrück University Professorium.

When we invited him, we suggested this topic, which he did not object. When we asked him to provide us with the exact title of his speech 3 weeks before it was scheduled to take place, he surprised us with the provocative title ‘The Climate Catastrophe Is Not taking Place’. The reactions to this announcement range from positive to critical, and to negative.

Independent of these reactions, we have become convinced that such an assertion requires ‘a counter speech’ from a climate scientist and that the subsequent discussion be led by a competent moderator. Because it is not possible to organize this before February 8, we will search another date in 2012, in agreement with Prof Vahrenholt and the 2 yet-to-be-named individuals. We will inform you on a timely basis.

Yours sincerely,
Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Altendorf
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Asholt”

So unhindered, free dissent and questioning are unwelcome. Not believing that the world is on the road to catastrophe is “provocative”. Sorry, but this is the kind of insecure behaviour ones sees from dictatorial regimes. It’s intellectual insolvency.

Things really are that bad in Germany’s academia today – at least at the University of Osnabrück.

Two questions to professors Altendorf and Asholt: What are you afraid of? Does a movement steeped in fear and insecurity have any chance of victory? Your letter is as clear an admission one could get that the answer is “definitely no”.

Your decision is as about as remote as one can get from the true spirit of academia.


Al Gore's wet dream

He is enjoying it too much to wake up to reality

Al Gore's trek to Antarctica with global warming activists Richard Branson, NASA's James Hansen and Climategate's Kevin Trenberth among many others, is designed to alarm the public that somehow something is amiss there. Gore is warning of a melting continent.

"The ice on land is melting at a faster rate and large ice sheets are moving toward the ocean more rapidly. As a result, sea levels are rising worldwide," Gore wrote on January 31 during his visit to Antarctica.

But beginning on page 7, Climate Depot's A-Z Climate Reality Check makes a mockery of Gore and company's claims. The vast majority of Antarctica is cooling and gaining ice, according to recent peer-reviewed studies and data.

As for sea levels, Gore is apparently clueless on the latest sea level data. See: European Space Agency global sea level reveals 'two year long decline was continuing, at a rate of 5mm per year' & 'In August 2011, NASA announced that global sea level was dropping and was 'a quarter of an inch lower than last summer'

What others say:

The Antarctic sea ice extent has been at or near record extent in past few summers and the ice has been expanding. Antarctica is failing to follow the predictions of man-made global warming activists.

Veteran Polar Scientist Heinrich Miller on Antarctica: 'If anything over last 30 years we have a slight cooling trend' -- Miller: 'Here almost nothing has changed. At least not near the surface. The average annual temperatures have remained the same. There are of course large fluctuations from year to year. If anything over last 30 years we have a slight cooling trend.

Inconvenient truth: Antarctica sea ice extent growing 1.43% per year -- 'A paper published today in Journal of Climate examines the trend of sea ice extent along the East Antarctic coast from 2000 to 2008 and finds a significant increase of 1.43% per year'

No Trend In Antarctic Temperatures: 'NASA's Hansen forecast Antarctica would be fastest warming place on Earth. Instead we have seen a slight downwards trend'

Antarctica sea ice shows accelerating increase over past 30 years: 'Journal Climate Dynamics finds 'Antarctic sea ice extent shows an increased trend during 1979–2009' – '...with a trend rate of 1.36 ± 0.43% per decade. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition analysis shows that the rate of the increased trend has been accelerating in the past decade'

Rumors Of Antarctica's Demise Were Exaggerated: 'Turns out there hasn't been any polar amplification after all...Scientist Franzisca Nehring 'feels global warming hasn't really affected the ice' -- Nehring: 'It's too easy to say that Antarctica is warmed by 1-2 degrees but, I'd infer, that is not really true'

More HERE (See the original for links)


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


2 February, 2012

More barefaced lies

A group of prominent Warmist "scientists" have got a letter published in the WSJ in reply to a skeptical article published there. See below. But the reply is just carelessly put-together Warmist boilerplate that shows no regards for the facts

An example of a careless statement: "Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused."

So mankind was responsible for the ice ages too?

An example of a barefaced lie: "Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter"

Even Warmist outfits like Britain's Met Office have recently conceded that there has been no warming over the last 15 years.

And that's as near as they get to mentioning any actual science. The rest is just the usual intellectually disreputable appeal to authority. I won't bother anyone with the many occasions when the "experts" have been wrong

I could go on and point out where that 97% figure comes from etc., etc. but what's the point? These guys are obviously just crooks

Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.

You published "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology. While accomplished in their own fields, most of these authors have no expertise in climate science. The few authors who have such expertise are known to have extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert. This happens in nearly every field of science. For example, there is a retrovirus expert who does not accept that HIV causes AIDS. And it is instructive to recall that a few scientists continued to state that smoking did not cause cancer, long after that was settled science.

Climate experts know that the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter. And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean. Such periods are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.

Thus, climate experts also know what one of us, Kevin Trenberth, actually meant by the out-of-context, misrepresented quote used in the op-ed. Mr. Trenberth was lamenting the inadequacy of observing systems to fully monitor warming trends in the deep ocean and other aspects of the short-term variations that always occur, together with the long-term human-induced warming trend.

The National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. (set up by President Abraham Lincoln to advise on scientific issues), as well as major national academies of science around the world and every other authoritative body of scientists active in climate research have stated that the science is clear: The world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible. Impacts are already apparent and will increase. Reducing future impacts will require significant reductions in emissions of heat-trapping gases.

Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused. It would be an act of recklessness for any political leader to disregard the weight of evidence and ignore the enormous risks that climate change clearly poses. In addition, there is very clear evidence that investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy will not only allow the world to avoid the worst risks of climate change, but could also drive decades of economic growth. Just what the doctor ordered.


Warmist email: Maybe CO2 doesn't cause malaria after all

Email 4418:

"Did you hear that our joint proposal (with Pim Martens) is one of 1,500 now assessed by the EU? Does not look hopeful. However, maybe we can do some PR and raise the profile of the proposal a bit. What I have in mind is a letter to the Lancet relating weather and historic malaria fluctuations in Europe. In an earlier letter (1994, I may have given you a copy), the geographical association was made between areas affected by ENSO and periodic epidemics. This letter ends with an open explanation for the 20-year periods in malaria in Europe (Italy and the Netherlands).

Last weeks publication in Science on a possible North Atlantic equivalent of the Nino with a period of 20 years may be of significance.

I dug up the malaria data (Italy and The Netherlands) between 1820-1930 which do show evidence of this 20 year cycle, with exacerbations in 1821, 1839, 1860, 1879, 1902, 1920. I have no idea whether there are any climate data (sea temperature or otherwise) to justify a hypothesis that both phenomena. Do you have any suggestions?"


Malaria expert Paul Reiter comments:

I wonder what sort of data he has on malaria? I hardly think it exists, at least not until well after the beginning of the 20th century.

Remember, Laverin only identified the malaria parasite somewhere in the 1880s and Ronald Ross only published his studies in 1899 (these dates from my head). So how was this data collected? I mean, how was "malaria" diagnosed?

Not by microscopy, that's for sure. Symptomatology would be impossible to define: I have had dengue, scrub typhus and malaria and, at least for the first few days they all feel the same (horrible, and I prefer malaria of the three).

On top of that, malaria in the Netherlands was probably mostly Plasmodium vivax, a parasite that persists in the liver but emerges to cause illness, particularly in people weakened for other reasons.

And I doubt that doctors did much routine diagnosis, let alone recording of "positive" cases, in the marshland areas. In fact, they were so "aguish" that most self respecting doctors kept away!

For a nice description of agueish marshes, see David Copperfield somewhere in the first few pages (when the convict forces Pip to get him some food and drink. Then figure out whether the doctors in his neighborhood were recording cases in their little notebooks.

One more thing. Pim Martens did his Masters, his PhD and his Post-doc on malaria and climate change. There is a long story to what happened when I published an article "From Shakespeare to Defoe: malaria in England in the Little Ice Age" (you can find it on the web).

Briefly, the article was censored by the Clinton government (the journal EID is a CDC publication and I was a CDC employee. They did tiny things, like eliminating the words climate change from the abstract and substituting "the weather"; despite my furious response, and support from others, the article went ahead without the poisonous words.

After that, the article was popular, so we wrote a press release. Nothing happened, and then I learned that it had not been released.

Meanwhile, Martens wrote a typical letter denouncing my sceptical stance.

I had the right to respond in the same issue of the journal but each time I submitted a letter the journal found fault in it until they were able to publish Martens' letter without mine (despite strenuous protest by top brass in CDC). My response was eventually published: two months later, when all had been forgotten.

Via email

The Coming of the New Ice Age: End of the Global Warming Era?

I just finished reading a terrifying new book about climate change. I learned this:

* Climate change is happening faster than we realize and it will have catastrophic consequences for mankind.

* There’s very little we can do to stop it at this late stage, but we might be able to save ourselves if we immediately take these necessary and drastic steps:

- Increase our reliance on alternative energy sources and stop using so much oil and other carbon-based fuels;

- Adopt energy-efficient practices in all aspects of our lives, however inconvenient;

- Impose punitive taxes on inefficient or polluting activities to discourage them;

- Funnel large sums of money from developed nations like the U.S. to Third World nations;

- In general embrace all environmental causes.

You of course recognize these as the solutions most often recommended to ameliorate the looming crisis of Global Warming. But there’s a little glitch in my narrative. Because although the book I read was indeed about climate change, it wasn’t about Global Warming at all; it was instead about “The Coming of the New Ice Age,” and it isn’t exactly “new” — it was published in 1977.

The Solution Remains the Same

As many other pundits and analysts have pointed out, in the mid-to-late 1970s we endured a massive “climate change scare” that was the exact opposite of the one we’re enduring now. Back then, the media and activists trumpeted the arrival of a new ice age, with the specter of ice sheets and glaciers covering half the northern hemisphere, and brutal winters in the remaining ice-free zones.

The fact that the media and popular culture and academia have veered from one panic-inducing disaster scenario to another one which completely contradicts the first one is funny enough in its own right. But reading The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age opened my eyes to an even more significant aspect of this serial crisis-mongering:

The “solutions” prescribed to solve both Global Warming and the looming Ice Age are exactly the same.

In both cases, proponents of the theory-du-jour say that in order to stave off disaster, we must reverse the march of civilization, stop our profligate use of carbon-based fuels, cede power and money from the First World to the Third World, and wherever possible revert to a Luddite pre-industrial lifestyle.

I realized: The solution (commit civilizational suicide) always remains the same; all that differs are the wildly divergent purported “crises” proffered up to justify the imposition of the solution.

Seen from this angle, the entire Climate Change field should be more properly reframed thus: "In order to weaken and eventually destroy the existing industrialized nations, we must devise an ecological “crisis” so severe that only voluntary economic suicide can solve it; and if this first crisis doesn’t materialize as planned, then devise another, and another, even if they flatly contradict our previous claims."

I had long suspected that this is the most accurate characterization of Climate Changeology; but reading The New Ice Age clinched it for me. The true purpose of climate change disaster-mongering is to permanently cripple the First World, and to elevate the Third World, in order to create a planet with no economic inequality. The goal remains constant; the supposed imminent catastrophes justifying it come and go as needed.

Ice Ages Are Making a Comeback

Turns out my choice of reading material (discovered recently at a rummage sale for 25¢, in case you’re curious) was fortuitous, as climate change — and ice ages — are suddenly back in the headlines this past week. And the news is not good for the crisis-mongers.

First we learned that the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide is actually helping us stave off the next inevitable ice age by a few years. Yes, you read that right: the “runaway global warming” scenario is now off the table; a new ice age is coming for sure, and whatever human warming effects there may be will only make our descent into the deep freeze a little more comfy.

Then, in a different breakthrough, leading scientists announced the discovery of a heretofore undetected type of molecule in the atmosphere which spurs cloud formation and negates global warming effects. Thanks to something called “Criegee biradicals,” the more we pollute, the more clouds form, and the cooler the planet becomes. Thus, the cumulative effect on the climate due to mankind’s activity: zilch. So for the second time in a week, the entire Anthropogenic Global Warming theory was fatally undermined.

But wait! We’re not done. Next up: A study out of Harvard proving that warming and cooling cycles are caused by orbital wobble and precession of the poles; and that the only reason the next ice age hasn’t arrived quite on schedule yet is due to our beneficial increase in carbon dioxide. Yes, that’s right: more data showing that another ice age is inevitable sooner or later.

A third nail in AGW’s coffin in less than a week? Why wasn’t this front page news?

But brace yourself — because those nails in the coffin were just the opening act. The next bit of news was the real blockbuster, a stake through AGW’s heart:

Now we learn that the world has not warmed at all for the last 15 years, and that the entire recent “global warming” hubbub was totally imaginary. Furthermore, the recent cooling is so significant that we may be headed for — you guessed it — a “mini ice age.”

Still not enough for you? The coup de grace came from our own USDA, which released a new “Plant Hardiness Zone Map” indicating that the mild global warming spike of a few years ago was actually good for plant growth and biodiversity. In other words: Even if we do experience warming, it makes the world a nicer place.

And that was just one week’s news. I wonder what next week will bring?

Now, you’d think that this devastating barrage of body blows would basically bring an end to the whole Global Warming “controversy.”

But no. Because, you see, true believers are nearly impervious to facts. In the midst of all this, the AGW activists and bullies continued their relentless quest to reshape the world’s economic landscape, as if they still had the upper hand. They even launched a witch hunt against “denier” weathermen, threatening to get any TV meteorologists fired unless they present global warming propaganda during their forecasts. Meanwhile, Al Gore continued on his decade-long tirade, declaring that “civilization is at risk” if the presidential candidates don’t cave into his demands immediately. And if you check the Web sites of any number of climate change nonprofits and organizations, they’re all still in hysterical crisis mode about the coming calamity. To them, you see, news stories like the ones we saw this week may come and go, but Global Warming is forever!

More HERE (See the original for links)

Why should my granny pay £40 a year for your solar energy?

The debacle over payments for solar energy in Britain is dragging on

We currently have an excessively generous system that pays people with solar panels 43p per kWh to generate energy - £1,000 a year, on average, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

This system, known as the feed in tariff, was designed to incentivise people to ‘go green’ and is paid for by all consumers, in the form of higher energy bills.

But if these lavish payments continue, it will add £40 a year to every household’s electricity bill by 2020. The Government had budgeted for each household to pay just £23 – an already iniquitous sum.

These green subsidies need to be curbed now to avoid spiralling bills. The Government is going to cut it to 21p per kwh from March – but will this reduction be enough?

The feed in tariff, launched in April 2010, is already proving to be a costly disaster for the Government. It desperately needs to rein in the cost or we will all end up paying the price.

At a time when there are already 5.5 million people in fuel poverty – where one tenth or more of a household’s income goes on fuel bills – it is madness to add to the burden of rising fuel bills with green initiatives.

Solar panels can cost around £10,000 to install, meaning they are usually the preserve of the well-off. Indeed, only 80,000 households have had them installed, out of 28 million households in total. Yet those with solar panels have already cost us £24 million in just three months from July to September 2011.

It seems particularly perverse, and totally contrary to the Government’s own aims to eradicate fuel poverty, that pensioners huddled under a duvet because they cannot afford to turn their heating on should be footing the bill. It is these pensioners who are paying to slash the energy bills of already-wealthy households.

In fact, the only people that have benefited from the feed in tariff are solar panel salesmen and the savvy investors looking for a good return on their cash. And sadly, research from Which? – as well as Money Mail’s postbag – reveals that many households who have bought solar panels have been mis-sold by unscrupulous salesmen who exaggerated the benefits.

The Government has mishandled the situation by failing to foresee that the cost of panels would fall as more people had them installed, thereby making the returns from feed in tariffs too generous. It has therefore been forced to cut the subsidy very quickly, leaving thousands of installers in doubt about their future.

Of course it would be great if we could secure thousands of jobs and lower our carbon emissions by incentivising people to adopt green energy. But the current feed in tariff is not the way to do it. It is expensive, regressive and unsustainable.


Global cooling strikes again

Britain to shiver in temperatures 'colder than the South Pole' as health chiefs say more than 1,500 people a week could die from killer freeze

A cold snap that has left dozens dead across Eastern Europe will reach Britain by the weekend. Temperatures are set to plunge far below freezing point making the country even colder than the South Pole. Forecasters are expecting overnight temperatures of between -8c (18f) and -10c (14f) on Friday.

The McMurdo research facility in Antarctica is currently recording -6c (21f) at night. The bitter cold has forced some countries to deploy their armed forces and set up emergency accommodation.

Health chiefs have also started warning that as a result of the freezing conditions, more than 1,500 people a week could be killed by the weather.

The Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer said that around 1,560 people, many elderly, would die due to cold weather each week between now and March in normal winter weather. That figure will rise 'substantially', however, due to extreme cold like that we are currently experiencing.

During last year's big freeze, the death rate in England and Wales shot up by 21 per cent from 9,220 a week to 11,193. Dame Sally Davies said: 'Mortality rises by 19 per cent in winter months in England, amounting to 27,000 excess deaths or 1,560 more people per week compared with the rest of the year. And very severe weather can substantially add to this death toll.

'The majority of UK deaths are among older people, especially women, and those with underlying health problems - but they are not people who would have died anyhow at that time.'

To help deal with the extreme cold, the Army has been put on standby. Around four inches of snow and ice could cover part of the country after a high pressure system hanging over Scandinavia which is pushing raw winds towards the UK.

Cold Weather Watch has now upgraded its severe weather warning to a level three, after stating that there was a 100 per cent probability of 'severe' conditions across most of England this week. With severe weather warnings already in place and chaos on the roads, the military have been put on standby should there be a level four 'major cold weather incident'.

When freezing conditions struck in 2010, members of the armed forces were called in to help clear snow from the roads and assist residents in particularly hard-hit areas. Mobilised soldiers will also help clear special locations such as doctors’ surgeries, care homes and hospitals.

According to the Met Office temperatures will drop to as low as -6C (21.2F) tomorrow and on Thursday, when daytime maximums will be no more than 3C (37.4F). Severe weather warnings for ice were also issued for last night and this morning across eastern parts of England and Scotland, and Northern Ireland, south-west England and south Wales.

Police in Devon and Cornwall have warned motorists in some parts of the region not to travel unless it is essential after snowfall over the higher areas of Exmoor and Dartmoor.

The Department of Health issued a 'Level 2' cold-weather alert running for the next two to three days, which is triggered when low temperatures give rise to significant health risks. It warned that low temperatures can especially be dangerous for the young and the elderly or those with chronic disease.


Nobel Peace Prize Jury Under Investigation

The bleeding obvious is getting some recognition at last. Could Obama and the IPCC have their awards rescinded?

Nobel Peace Prize officials were facing a formal inquiry over accusations they have drifted away from the prize's original selection criteria by choosing such winners as President Barack Obama, as the nomination deadline for the 2012 awards closed Wednesday.

The investigation comes after persistent complaints by a Norwegian peace researcher that the original purpose of the prize was to diminish the role of military power in international relations.

If the Stockholm County Administrative Board, which supervises foundations in Sweden's capital, finds that prize founder Alfred Nobel's will is not being honored, it has the authority to suspend award decisions going back three years — though that would be unlikely and unprecedented, said Mikael Wiman, a legal expert working for the county.

Obama won in 2009, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won in 2010, and last year the award was split between Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.

For this year's award, Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Cuban rights activists Oswaldo Paya and Yoani Sanchez are among the candidates who have been publicly announced by those who nominated them.

The secretive prize committee doesn't discuss nominations — which have to be postmarked by Feb. 1 to be valid — but stresses that being nominated doesn't say anything about a candidate's chances.

Fredrik Heffermehl, a prominent researcher and critic of the selection process, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that "Nobel called it a prize for the champions of peace."

"And it's indisputable that he had in mind the peace movement, i.e. the active development of international law and institutions, a new global order where nations safely can drop national armaments," he said

Especially after World War II, the prize committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, has widened the scope of the prize to include environmental, humanitarian and other efforts, he said.

For example, in 2007 the prize went to climate activist Al Gore and the U.N.'s panel on climate change, and in 2009 the committee cited Obama for "extraordinary efforts" to boost international diplomacy.

"Do you see Obama as a promoter of abolishing the military as a tool of international affairs?" Heffermehl asked rhetorically.

Nobel, a Swedish industrialist and inventor, gave only vague guidelines for the peace prize in his 1895 will, saying it should honor "work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."

Nobel said the peace prize should be awarded by a Norwegian committee, and the other Nobel Prizes by committees in Sweden. The two Scandinavian nations were in a union at the time.

Geir Lundestad, the nonvoting secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, dismissed Heffermehl's claims.

"Fighting climate change is definitely closely related to fraternity between nations. It even concerns the survival of some states," he told AP.

Still, the County Administrative Board decided to sent a letter to the Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation, which manages the prize assets, requesting a formal response to the allegations. "We have no basis to suggest that they haven't managed it properly. But we want to investigate it," Wiman said.

"The prize committee must always adjust its rules to today's society," he said. "But peace work has to be at the core — it can't deviate too much from that," Wiman said.

The peace prize and the Nobel awards in chemistry, physics, medicine, literature and economics are always handed out Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 February, 2012

What NOAA believes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is a heavily politicized body and because of that they are keen to expunge any "incorrectness" from their ranks. If they were really a scientific body they would welcome diversity of views in their ranks and reject any notion of correctness.

But they are getting nervous. They obviously think that some of their employees may not know the true gospel or (horrors) not agree with it. So they have circulated a catechism to all their employees in the form of a questionnaire with the "correct" answers marked. The correct answers are also accompanied by scriptural (IPCC) references to support each answer. The catechism has been "leaked" to Climate Depot and thence to other skeptics so I reproduce it below, minus the scriptural references. The "correct" answer is starred

1. Which of the following statements about global climate change is true?
* Most climate scientists agree that global climate change is happening

2. Most scientific studies that have looked into the cause behind the increase in global temperature over the last 50 years indicate that it is.
* Caused mostly by human activities

3. Which of the following best describes the relationship between climate and weather?
* Weather describes short-term conditions; climate describes long-term conditions

4. Studies of natural records such as tree rings and layers of ice in glaciers:
* Provide a relatively consistent picture of how global temperature has changed over time

5. Over the last 10,000 years, during the time humans developed the ability to raise crops, Earth's climate has been:
* more stable than previous periods

6. Which of the following processes have been identified as the most significant causes of increasing global temperatures over the last century? Check the top three
* Burning of coal, oil, and natural gas to produce electricity and heat buildings

7. Indicate if the following statements are True, False, or you Don't Know.

A. If the amount of energy put out by the Sun decreased, Earth would get cooler
* True

B. Global climate change will eventually eliminate the differences between summer and winter.
* False

C. Climate scientists have a solid understanding of the basic physical processes that control Earth's climate system.
* True

D. Today's computer-based climate models have successfully projected the trend and magnitude of observed global temperature for the last century.
* True

E. As the ocean warms, its waters expand, raising the elevation of the sea's surface.
* True

F. Melting of glaciers and ice sheets on land is expected to have little effect on global sea level.
* False

G. Temperature measurements of Earth made from satellites are generally consistent with temperatures measured by ground based instruments.
* True

8. Climate scientists' concern about rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere relates to carbon dioxide's
* ability to absorb and release heat energy

9. Since 1750, when the Industrial Revolution began, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased
* significantly - a change of about 40% (from 280 to 392 ppm)

10. Which country below currently emits the most carbon dioxide per person? Note: This question is about per person emissions rather than total emissions.
* United States

11. Which of the following are among the expected impacts of global climate change? Check all that apply

* Heavier downpours when it rains
* Changes in the ranges of wildlife and plants
* Increase in coastal flooding due to sea level rise

12. Indicate if the following statements are True, False, or you Don't know

A. As a result of global climate change, the warmest places on Earth are likely to see the greatest increases in temperature.
* False

B. Over the last decade, the U.S. has experienced about twice as many record-breaking hot days as record-breaking cold days.
* True

C. Most of the heat added to Earth's climate system over the last five decades has been absorbed by the ocean.
* True

D. Federal agencies are already working with communities to help them prepare for extreme weather and climate impacts
* True

E. Corals in warm, tropical seas around the world are thriving as the ocean waters around them get warmer.
* False

13. Recent research shows that the acidity of ocean waters is increasing. This phenomenon, called ocean acidification, is
* a result of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean

14. By monitoring conditions within and above the Pacific Ocean, climate scientists have identified a pattern called the El-Ni¤o Southern Oscillation. This phenomenon:
* can influence global weather patterns for several seasons

Pesky new academic journal article reports that the present period is only the third warmest in the last 2000 years

The Roman and Medieval warm periods were warmer -- without a single SUV or power station in sight!
Variability and extremes of northern Scandinavian summer temperatures over the past two millennia

By Jan Espera et al.


Palaeoclimatic evidence revealed synchronous temperature variations among Northern Hemisphere regions over the past millennium. The range of these variations (in degrees Celsius) is, however, largely unknown. We here present a 2000-year summer temperature reconstruction from northern Scandinavia and compare this timeseries with existing proxy records to assess the range of reconstructed temperatures at a regional scale. The new reconstruction is based on 578 maximum latewood density profiles from living and sub-fossil Pinus sylvestris samples from northern Sweden and Finland. The record provides evidence for substantial warmth during Roman and Medieval times, larger in extent and longer in duration than 20th century warmth. The first century AD was the warmest 100-year period (+ 0.60 °C on average relative to the 1951–1980 mean) of the Common Era, more than 1 °C warmer than the coldest 14th century AD (− 0.51 °C). The warmest and coldest reconstructed 30-year periods (AD 21–50 = + 1.05 °C, and AD 1451–80 = − 1.19 °C) differ by more than 2 °C, and the range between the five warmest and coldest reconstructed summers in the context of the past 2000 years is estimated to exceed 5 °C. Comparison of the new timeseries with five existing tree-ring based reconstructions from northern Scandinavia revealed synchronized climate fluctuations but substantially different absolute temperatures. Level offset among the various reconstructions in extremely cold and warm years (up to 3 °C) and cold and warm 30-year periods (up to 1.5 °C) are in the order of the total temperature variance of each individual reconstruction over the past 1500 to 2000 years. These findings demonstrate our poor understanding of the absolute temperature variance in a region where high-resolution proxy coverage is denser than in any other area of the world.


Three in one week! Another green energy stimulus recipient goes bankrupt

Last week (I know this will be hard to believe) three green energy stimulus recipients either filed for bankruptcy or had to significantly reduce their labor force! Three! Talk about green energy job creation. Talk about the sector that according to Obama and Biden is the future of the country!

From last Friday:

"Earlier this week, Stimulus beneficiary Evergreen Energy bit the dust. Then, Ener1, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and recipient of Stimulus largesse, filed for bankruptcy. And today, the Las Vegas Sun reports that Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the Porkulus, will cut two-thirds of its workforce, about 200 employees, only seven months after opening a factory in Nevada."


When Global Warming Freezes Over

Global warming alarmists won't give up their campaign to spread fear and backward thinking until an ice bridge stretches from New York to Paris. Science, though, says they should.

Al Gore, who invented global warming hysteria, has most recently been found planning a trip to Antarctica where he will surely find evidence that man is overheating the planet.

This clearly insecure man who so desperately needs an audience that approves of his world-saving efforts says he will be taking with him "a large number of civic and business leaders, activists and concerned citizens from many countries." He expects them "to see firsthand and in real time how the climate crisis is unfolding in Antarctica."

For Gore's reading material on this trip, we suggest he look at some data released by Great Britain's Met Office. He would find himself meeting head-on a terribly inconvenient truth.

According to the data, there's been no warming for more than a decade. The global temperature that Gore and the rest of the alarmist tribe are so concerned about was about one full degree cooler (as measured in Celsius) last year than it was when temperatures peaked in 1997.

Of course 2012 could be warmer than 2011 just as 2010 was warmer than 2008 and 2009. Or it could be cooler. Who knows?

Our space program thinks it does. NASA physicist David Hathaway believes the next solar period, called Cycle 25, "could be one of the weakest in centuries."

The Daily Mail, which, unlike America's mainstream media, isn't afraid to report news that goes against the global warming narrative, says the British government agrees with that assessment.

The Mail says a Met Office research paper notes that "there is a 92% chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the 'Dalton minimum' of 1790 to 1830."

But "it is also possible," continues the Mail, "that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the 'Maunder minimum,'" which occurred "between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the 'Little Ice Age' when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid."

OK, so frozen Dutch waterways are not the same as an ice bridge linking Fifth Avenue to Avenue des Champs-Elysees. But predictions that a man-made global warming catastrophe is imminent look foolish in light of the data and the solar cycle forecasts.

In fact, they've looked foolish for quite some time. The warmer temperatures the alarmists were predicting decades ago have never arrived. Nearly five years back, Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist who believes in global warming, had to admit that "none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate."

We have no models, but even without one we think we can safely predict that the alarmist community and its sphere of influence will continue to shrink.


There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

New Scientist whines about CLEAN power

“As energy demand grows, even alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear fusion could begin to affect the climate” Meh. They even whinge about our previous discovery and use of dense energy sources, calling them ‘a mistake’

Some people must still peruse the Nude Socialist because people still send us some of their items. In this one NS again fails to realize waste heat is rapidly transported away from earth’s surface by convective activity and heated packets of air are lofted until such time as they reach an altitude/temperature where radiative energy is lost to space. Oddly enough NS has in the past run items on cities creating their own weather due to UHIE and heat plumes extending both downwind and vertically. Wonder why they think this effect will cease to function and earth’s surface warm appreciably from waste heat?

Here’s the item in case you are interested:
Power paradox: Clean might not be green forever

As energy demand grows, even alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear fusion could begin to affect the climate

“A better, richer and happier life for all our citizens.” That’s the American dream. In practice, it means living in a spacious, air-conditioned house, owning a car or three and maybe a boat or a holiday home, not to mention flying off to exotic destinations.

The trouble with this lifestyle is that it consumes a lot of power. If everyone in the world started living like wealthy Americans, we’d need to generate more than 10 times as much energy each year. And if, in a century or three, we all expect to be looked after by an army of robots and zoom up into space on holidays, we are going to need a vast amount more. Where are we going to get so much power from?

It is clear that continuing to rely on fossil fuels will have catastrophic results, because of the dramatic warming effect of carbon dioxide. But alternative power sources will affect the climate too. For now, the climatic effects of “clean energy” sources are trivial compared with those that spew out greenhouse gases, but if we keep on using ever more power over the coming centuries, they will become ever more significant.

While this kind of work is still at an early stage, some startling conclusions are already beginning to emerge. Nuclear power – including fusion – is not the long-term answer to our energy problems. Even renewable energies such as wind power will have to be used with caution, because large-scale extraction could have both local and global effects. These effects are not necessarily a bad thing, though. We might be able to exploit them to geoengineer the climate and combat global warming.

There is a fundamental problem facing any planet-bound civilisation, as Eric Chaisson of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, points out. Whatever you use energy for, it almost all ends up as waste heat.

Much of the electrical energy that powers your mobile phone or computer ends up heating the circuitry, for instance. The rest gets turned into radio waves or light, which turn into heat when they are absorbed by other surfaces. The same is true when you use a mixer in the kitchen, or a drill, or turn on a fan – unless you’re trying to beam radio signals to aliens, pretty much all of the energy you use will end up heating the Earth.

We humans use a little over 16 terawatts (TW) of power at any one moment, which is nothing compared with the 120,000 TW of solar power absorbed by the Earth at the same time. What matters, though, is the balance between how much heat arrives and how much leaves (see “Earth’s energy budget”). If as much heat leaves the top of the atmosphere as enters, a planet’s temperature remains the same. If more heat arrives, or less is lost, the planet will warm. As it does so, it will begin to emit more and more heat until equilibrium is re-established at a higher temperature.


Ethanol subsidies: Down but not out

At the end of last year’s legislative session, Congress let two of corn ethanol’s market-rigging policy gimmicks—the 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit (VEETC) and the 54-cents-per-gallon ethanol import tariff—tumble into history’s dustbin.

This was good news for taxpayers and consumers. The VEETC added $5-6 billion annually to the federal deficit and the tariff propped up domestic ethanol prices by blocking competition from Brazilian sugarcane ethanol.

The demise of the VEETC and tariff is the ethanol lobby’s first loss of corporate welfare benefits in more than 30 years. As the Wall Street Journal noted, “Congress created ethanol subsidies in 1978, expanded them in a 1980 bill, and then rinsed and repeated in 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2004, 2005 and 2007.”

But not in 2011: Congress declined to renew the subsidies just two weeks before the caucuses in Iowa, where pandering to Iowa corn farmers had been a staple of American politics for decades.

Several factors converged to kill those once sacrosanct policies: the federal debt crisis, the Tea Party movement (an Iowa Republican poll found that caucus goers were more likely to support candidates who opposed ethanol subsidies), and research by Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University refuting ethanol lobbyists’ hysterical claims that terminating VEETC would destroy 112,000 or even 160,000 rural jobs. Only about 1,000 ethanol-related jobs would disappear over the next five years, Babcock estimated. Renewing VEETC would add $30 million to the national debt for each ethanol job “saved.”

Perhaps the key factor turning the tide against the ethanol lobby was the formation in 2010 of “No2VEETC,” a coalition of business associations, hunger and development organizations, agricultural groups, environmental groups, budget hawks and free marketers.

Green groups like Friends of the Earth, Environmental Working Group, and ActionAid USA, limited-government groups like Taxpayers for Common Sense, National Taxpayers Union and Competitive Enterprise Institute, and business groups like Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Turkey Federation and National Restaurant Association worked together to expose VEETC as a costly, polluting, food-price-inflating special-interest giveaway.

The coalition was also vigilant in opposing schemes to replace VEETC with Solyndra-like loan guarantees for construction of ethanol pipelines and tax credits for installation of pumps to sell E-85 (motor fuel made with 85% ethanol) at service stations.

The final critical ingredient was the emergence of legislative champions, such as Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Wally Herger (R-CA), and Pete Stark (D-CA), and Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who worked across party lines to end VEETC and oppose pipeline and blender pump subsidies.

The really good news is that the most coercive ethanol policy—a Soviet-style production quota called the “renewable fuel standard” (RFS), a.k.a. the ethanol mandate—is now vulnerable to political challenge.

Created by the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPA) and expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), the RFS establishes a guaranteed market for ethanol producers, forcing refiners to blend and consumers to buy ethanol whether they want to or not.

Under EISA, sales of renewable fuels are to increase from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion in 2022, of which 16 billion gallons are to be “cellulosic”–ethanol made from wood chips, prairie grasses and other fibrous plant matter. Ethanol from corn maxes out at 15 billion gallons in 2015. But cellulosic is proving to be a spectacular flop, and the ethanol lobby is pushing to have corn ethanol qualify as “advanced” biofuel to take up the slack.

Many of the reasons persuading Congress to drop the VEETC and tariff apply in spades to the mandate. The mandate diverts massive quantities of corn from food to fuel production, making food more costly for the world’s poorest and hungriest people. It inflates U.S. corn prices, undercutting the competitiveness of U.S. cattle, hog and poultry producers. It ramps up production of water-and-fertilizer-intensive corn, expanding aquatic “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay. It induces land-use conversions that can increase net greenhouse gas emissions.

By expanding supply relative to demand, the mandate has pushed the per-gallon price of ethanol below that of regular gasoline.

Nonetheless, gasoline is still a better buy, because ethanol contains one-third less energy by volume. According to the American Automobile Association’s Daily Fuel Gauge, for example, on Jan. 16, 2012, the mpg-adjusted price of E-85 was $4.014/g—higher than regular gasoline ($3.387), premium ($3.663), and diesel ($3.871).

Even more telling, according to, a Web site jointly administered by the Department of Energy and EPA, flex-fuel vehicle owners will spend up to $750 a year more for fuel if they fill up with E-85 rather than regular gasoline.

Reporters, debate moderators and citizens who want to have some fun in the silly season should ask presidential and congressional candidates: If ethanol is such a great bargain, why do we need a law to make us buy it?



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is 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

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

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 pass 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


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“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

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

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

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.

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)