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

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

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28 February, 2013

Lord Lawson Calls On Geneticist Sir Paul Nurse To Acknowledge Global Temperature Standstill

Paul Nurse is an example of a poor boy made good, something uncommon and fragile in Britain. It would seem that toeing the establishment line is something that he sees as necessary to protect his current standing. You can have a Nobel Prize (which Nurse does) but someone who read PPE or Classics at Oxford will still have a much more secure social standing than you. He is certainly extremely dogmatic, something he condemns in theory.

Lawson's background is by contrast very establishment, though his Jewish roots would handicap him in British Leftist eyes

The fact that Nurse got his Ph.D. from that great temple of global warming -- the University of East Anglia -- is also at least amusing

And an undoubtedly amusing utterance from him is this: "We need to emphasize why the scientific process is such a reliable generator of knowledge with its respect for evidence, for skepticism, for consistency of approach, for the constant testing of ideas"

He himself seems to have no skepticism, no respect for evidence and no interest in the constant testing of ideas. Even Rajendra Pachauri is more honest about the facts than Nurse is -- JR

In a letter to the President of the Royal Society, Lord Lawson has criticised Sir Paul Nurse for denying the reality of a global temperature standstill.

Lawson was responding to a gratuitous attack by Sir Paul in a recent lecture at Melbourne University. In his speech, Sir Paul appeared to reject empirical evidence that the global warming trend of the 1980s and 1990s has come to a temporary halt since the beginning of the 21st century.

In his letter, Lord Lawson writes:

"You claim that I “would choose two points and say ‘look, no warming’s taking place’, knowing that all the other points that you chose in the 20 years around it would not support his case”. That is a lie. I have always made clear that there was a modest degree of recorded global warming during the 20th century (see, for example, my book An Appeal to Reason, which you have clearly not taken the trouble to read). However, so far from choosing any arbitrary ‘two points’, I was drawing attention to the fact that this warming trend appears to have ceased, since – contrary to the predictions of what you describe as “consensus scientific opinion” – there has been no further recorded global warming at all for at least the past 15 years, as even the IPCC Chairman, Dr Pachauri, has now conceded. Whatever the precise reason for this, it cannot simply be dismissed or denied."

SOURCE. (Full letter available from link)

Why won’t this administration look at this revenue source?

Because of their false agenda, that’s why. They’re still convinced that, despite 17 years of no warming (as recently admitted by the head of the IPCC), oil is bad and “green” is good and that they’re doing something to save the world. Disregard the fact that green is still unviable. Disregard the fact that everywhere it has or is being pushed, energy costs are skyrocketing. Nevermind the fact that we are sitting on a sea of fossil fuel products that we only need to access. Screw the fact that science can find no discernable warming. Their minds are made up.

That said, there’s also the fiscal side of the house. The debt. The deficit. And the demand by Democrats to raise more revenue.

Unfortunately, because of their agenda, they’re likely to completely screw up a golden opportunity to bring in much more revenue and drive energy prices down, because their agenda is against fossile fuel. And we all know the party agenda comes before what is best for the country.

Enter the administration with a renewed plan to tax oil companies instead of opening access to the vast natural riches we enjoy. The result? Well this chart will help you comprehend the vast differences in the two policy choices

So the either/or is “tax ‘em or open access”. The difference:

"According to a 2011 study by Wood Mackenzie, increased oil and natural gas activity underpro-access policies would generate an additional $800 billion in cumulative revenue for government by 2030. The chart puts into perspective the size of these accumulating revenues – enough to fund entire federal departments at various points along the timeline. By contrast, Wood Mackenize also found that hiking taxes on oil and natural gas companies would, by 2030, result in $223 billion in cumulative lost revenue to government."

It only proves the old saw -”If you want more of it, reward it and if you want less, tax it”. Think about it – money to help run government and pay down the debt (not to mention the thousands, if not millions of jobs created) being passed up in the name of false science and agenda politics.

Meanwhile, we’ll be left in the cold and the dark, thanks to agenda driven policies with no foundation in reality.


Biofuels wiping out America’s grasslands at fastest pace since the 1930s

America’s prairies are shrinking. Spurred on by high commodity prices and a biofuels rush, farmers are digging up grasslands in the northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the 1930s. While that’s been a boon for farmers, the upheaval could create unexpected problems.

A new study by Christopher Wright and Michael Wimberly of South Dakota State University finds that U.S. farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of grassland into corn and soybean fields between 2006 and 2011, a period of soaring crop prices and biofuel mandates (right). In states like Iowa and South Dakota, some 5 percent of pasture is turning into cropland each year.

It’s a big transformation in the heart of the country: The authors conclude that the rates of grassland loss are “comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia.” And those changes are already having plenty of impacts.

For one, farmers are now growing crops on increasingly marginal land. In Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, corn and soy are planted in areas that are especially vulnerable to drought. But farmers take the risk because corn and soy have become so lucrative — and, in part, because the federal government offers subsidized crop insurance in case of failure. (The study also finds evidence that many farmers are no longer enticed by federal conservation programs that pay for grassland cover.)

The loss of pasture itself could also have big environmental impacts. Studies have found that grasslands hold carbon in their soil better than cropland does. So there’s a climate-change angle here. A 2008 paper in Science argued that fuels like corn ethanol and soy biodiesel lose a portion of their carbon advantage over gasoline if farmers are simply digging up virgin grassland to grow the crops.

There’s a wildlife angle, too: The Prairie Pothole Region, traversing Minnesota and the Dakotas, is one of the continent’s key breeding grounds for ducks and other ground-nesting birds. Tall grasses in the area help sustain a number of species and shield birds from predators. But corn fields are now encroaching on the habitat, and bird populations are dropping.

In recent years, some environmental groups have argued that it doesn’t make sense for the federal government to keep subsidizing this push into the prairies. A recent report (pdf) from the Environmental Working Group, for instance, argues that Congress should scale back crop insurance for farmers who move into the country’s grasslands and wetlands. Farm groups, for their part, say the insurance is vital for their work — instead, Congress should expand conservation programs.

And what about biofuels? Groups like EWG have criticized ethanol mandates for pushing up corn and soybean prices and driving the crop boom. There’s a lot more hope for next-generation cellulosic biofuels grown from switchgrass or other plants with a much smaller environmental footprint. Or biodiesel made from algae, say. But until those become viable, the crop rush continues.


9th Circuit: Sea Shepherds are “pirates”

A federal appeals court has declared a sea-faring group of anti-whaling protesters modern-day pirates and ordered them to halt their aggressive and high-profile attacks of Japanese whalers.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late Monday that the whalers were likely to succeed with their federal lawsuit seeking to permanently ban Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd organization he founded from disrupting the annual whale hunt in the waters off Antarctica.

The Sea Shepherd’s efforts are the subject of the television show, “Whale Wars.”

The court in December ordered the organization to keep its ships at least 500 yards from Japanese whalers. The whalers have since accused the protesters of violating that order at least twice this month.

Watson and his lawyers contend U.S. courts don’t have jurisdiction in the Southern Ocean.


Environmentalism and Human Sacrifice

Dennis Prager

Last week, Bjorn Lomborg, the widely published Danish professor and director of one of the world's leading environmental think tanks, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, published an article about the Philippines' decision, after 12 years, to allow genetically modified (GM) rice -- "golden rice" -- to be grown and consumed in that country.

The reason for the delay was environmentalist opposition to GM rice; and the reason for the change in Philippine policy was that 4.4 million Filipino children suffer from vitamin A deficiency. That deficiency, Lomborg writes, "according to the World Health Organization, causes 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind each year. Of these, half die within a year."

During the 12-year delay, Lomborg continues, "About eight million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency."

"Golden rice" contains vitamin A, making it by far the most effective and cheapest way to get vitamin A into Third World children.

So who would oppose something that could save millions of children's lives and millions of other children from blindness?

The answer is people who are more devoted to nature than to human life. And who might such people be? They are called environmentalists.

These are the people who coerced nations worldwide into banning DDT. It is generally estimated this ban has led to the deaths of about 50 million human beings, overwhelmingly African children, from malaria. DDT kills the mosquito that spreads malaria to human beings.

US News and World Report writer Carrie Lukas reported in 2010, "Fortunately, in September 2006, the World Health Organization announced a change in policy: It now recommends DDT for indoor use to fight malaria. The organization's Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah explained, 'The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is useful to quickly reduce the number of infections caused by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. IRS has proven to be just as cost effective as other malaria prevention measures and DDT presents no health risk when used properly.'"

Though Lukas blames environmentalists for tens of millions of deaths, she nevertheless describes environmentalists as "undoubtedly well-intentioned."

I offer two assessments of this judgment.

First, in life it is almost always irrelevant whether or not an individual or a movement is well intentioned. It is difficult to name a movement that has committed great evil whose members woke up each day asking, "What evil can I commit today?" Nearly all of them think they're well intentioned. Good intentions don't mean a thing.

Second, while environmentalists believe they have good intentions, I do not believe their intentions are good.

Concern for the natural environment is certainly laudable and every normal person shares it. But the organized environmentalist movement -- Lomborg specifically cites Greenpeace, Naomi Klein and the New York Times -- is led by fanatics. The movement's value system is morally askew. It places a pristine natural world above the well-being of human beings.

The environmentalist movement's responsibility for the deaths of tens of millions of poor children in the Third World is the most egregious example. But there are less egregious examples of the movement's lack of concern for people.

Take the Keystone XL pipeline, the pipeline the Canadian government wants built in the US in order to send Canadian crude to American refineries. It would be a 1,179-mile, 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline, beginning in Alberta, and ending in Nebraska. The pipeline will be able to transport about 830,000 barrels of oil per day to Gulf Coast and Midwest refineries, reducing American dependence on oil from Venezuela -- Iran's base in the Western Hemisphere -- and the Middle East by up to 40 percent. It will also provide Americans with many thousands of well-paying jobs.

Approving this pipeline is a moral and economic necessity.

The American economy needs the pipeline -- even big labor wants it; it vastly reduces American dependency on countries that wish to hurt us; it helps our ally and biggest trading partner, Canada; and if America doesn't use that oil, China will.

But the Obama administration may (again) veto the Keystone XL pipeline -- for one reason: environmentalist fanaticism.

The employment of thousands of Americans, the well-being of the American economy and American national security -- all of these concerns are secondary to the environmentalist movement's view of nature uber alles.

There are many fine people who are concerned with the environment. Indeed, we should all be. But the movement known as environmentalism is not only a false religion, it is one that allows human sacrifice


What do the Greenies Really want?

There is no such thing as a happy Greenie

Nothing gets better press than those who claim to be environmentally friendly. You have corporations trying to shower you with money to get off your bad guy target list, and foundations can’t shovel enough money in your direction as you crusade to save the earth.

But what do enviros really want?

From a domestic energy use standpoint, they don’t want the development of vast U.S. natural gas and oil fields using hydraulic fracturing. This proven technique for gas and oil extraction threatens to make the U.S. oil and natural gas independent within the next decade, killing their alarmist chant about running out of so-called “fossil” fuels.

They don’t want nuclear, and have even worked to stop the development of places to safely store nuclear waste, preferring unsafe storage over a storage solution that makes the industry more viable.

They don’t want offshore oil drilling, or domestic drilling for that matter.

Many of them don’t want wind, as the giant windmills are killing fields for any birds that make the mistake of venturing into these chopping farms. And if the good liberals in Hyannisport, Massachusetts are any indication, they certainly don’t want these towering eyesores potentially impacting their million dollar views.

Of course, enviros want solar power, but solar takes copper and a lot of it. And, naturally, they oppose the development of a mine in a remote wasteland in Alaska that contains one of the largest copper deposits on earth, the very material needed to help create their green nirvana.

Enviros claim to believe that our world has one environment and that actions in the Brazilian rain forests impact the rest of the world. Yet, actions by the U.S. environmental movement actually create much more pollution than they actually stop.

When the environmentalist push for something like a carbon tax for U.S. manufacturers and those who supply them the fuel to run their plants, by design they increase the cost of producing goods and services here in the United States.

As these costs increase, those who manufacture and produce goods have to make a decision on whether it remains cost effective to continue to make their products here in the U.S., or whether to move production elsewhere in the world.

In the case of the enviro supported carbon tax, the Heritage Foundation study by economists Nicolas Loris and David Kreutzer determined that this enviro tax would cut a family of four’s income by $1,400 annually and raise their utility bills by $500 a year. Quite the pocketbook hit, and it doesn’t even include the increase in gasoline prices that are projected.

But the real irony is that the carbon tax would also cause some U.S. manufacturers of goods to move their production overseas to avoid the tax. This is where it is reasonable to ask whether the enviro movement is really on the side of the environment or not.

It is no mystery that China has become one of the world’s largest manufacturing economies over the course of the past forty years since Nixon paid his famous visit to Mao.

It is also no mystery that China, particularly Beijing has followed in the footsteps of its former communist cohorts in eastern Europe in becoming one of the most heavily polluted areas in the world.

What does a potential U.S. carbon tax have to do with pollution in China?

China’s economic boom is almost entirely due to the lower cost of producing goods in the country. While decreased labor costs certainly play a role, the high cost of doing business in the United States is another. A carbon tax would just make our domestic costs higher, encouraging those who might be inclined to locate a factory in the U.S. to look elsewhere.

The ironic result of pushing a U.S. carbon tax is that the tax will likely cut carbon dioxide emissions in the United States while increasing them elsewhere. And while doing so, it would likely have the added negative of causing an increase in manufacturing in parts of the world where spewing waste in the air is an accepted part of doing business.

The net effect is likely to be an increase in world-wide pollution. If enviros truly believe that every eco-system affects one another, than a tax which results in a net increase in pollution should be opposed, and opposed vigorously.

If the enviro movement were serious about world-wide pollution, they would be ardent advocates for hydraulic fracturing, which is unleashing a natural gas reserve in our nation which has caused President Obama to call the U.S. the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”

The enviro movement would be decrying Obama Administration efforts to stop hydraulic fracturing and other energy exploration on federal lands as detrimental to the world environment.

But instead the enviro movement seeks to block “fracking” at every turn. This, in spite of the fact that natural gas is a clean burning fuel that through abundance, can take over much of the power generation in the country based upon free market cost based decisions.

The virtuous cycle created by low cost energy ends with more goods produced in the United States due to it making financial sense to do so without any government mandates or involvement.

If the United States is producing more goods instead of high pollution tolerant environments like China, those goods will be produced in a more environmentally friendly way. Those goods also won’t have the additional carbon footprint associated with transporting them across the Pacific Ocean to market.

This seeming win/win equation for both the environment and the U.S. economy escapes the professional, environmental protestors.

If you have any doubt about the sincerity of enviro leaders, one only has to look at their staunch opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, where environmental leaders would rather have Canadian oil refined and burned in China under significantly less stringent air quality guidelines than under the United States’ much more restrictive rules.

No rational person who claimed to support a clean earth could make that choice outside of the delusion that stopping the flow of the oil to the U.S. would stop the flow elsewhere.

If one is to assume that the enviro leaders are rational, it leads back to the original question, what do enviros really want? Because clearly, it has nothing to do with a cleaner world-wide environment.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


27 February, 2013

Plastic bags and buying cheese

My city recently passed a law making it illegal for stores to provide plastic bags for free at the checkout stand. Now we have the option of paying ten cents for a paper bag or bringing our own. If one looks at this new law in isolation, it seems reasonable enough. People will adjust to the change and the environment will be better for it.

That's how it looks if you view the bag law in isolation. But allow me to put it in context and explain how I feel when I go to my local grocery store, Safeway.

When I walk into the store, and realize I didn't bring my reusable bags, I feel like an absent-minded moron. This is how I usually feel during the day, so it's no big deal.

Then I start looking for cheese, only to discover that some genius in Safeway's marketing department thinks that cheese should be spread out over about seven different locations throughout the store. You have your cottage cheese here, your artisanal cheeses there, your shredded cheeses somewhere else, and so on. There is no logical order to any of it. Five minutes into my shopping, I am filled with rage and I feel manipulated. I assume someone at Safeway decided that inconveniencing me would somehow make me buy more shit because I end up walking down every frickin' aisle in the store looking for my cheese. It's not the inconvenience that bugs me so much as the feeling of manipulation.

When I'm ready to pay, I see long lines at the human checkout stands and short lines at the self-checkout. I know from experience that using the self-checkout, which was designed by a crack team of practical jokers, sadists, and monkeys that have been abused by their trainers, will bring me to frustration. I know I will inadvertently move my bag before the system believes I should and it will proclaim to all nearby shoppers that I might be a shoplifter. I will feel humiliated, incompetent, stupid, and shamed.

So I skip the self-checkout and look for the shortest line with a human checker. The 15 Items or Less line looks good, but I'm never confident in how they do that calculation. Is a six-pack one item or two? What about two identical items for which only one needs to be scanned and the cashier can hit the "times two" button? Will the people behind me think I cheated? Will the cashier give me an angry look and call the manager? What exactly is the process for dealing with express line cheats?

I can't stand the ambiguity so I head for the regular checkout stand and its longer line. When it's my turn to pay I am faced with the choice of proving I have a loyalty card or paying a penalty if I can't. I don't carry loyalty cards with me because I would need a wheelbarrow for all of them. Instead, I rely on using one of our phone numbers at the checkout. But which one? The people behind me glare at me and my time-wasting hesitation, or at least it feels that way. I know some of those folks were just looking for cheese so they can't be happy.

Is the loyalty card registered under the landline number for our house? Or might it be the phone number we had at our old home when we first got the card? Is it under my wife's cell phone number or do I have my own Safeway loyalty card? I can't remember. I peck at the point-of-sale terminal until one of those numbers works.

Now I have to decide on debit versus credit. I choose credit because of the airline miles associated with the card, which is another cesspool of complexity. I get mad just thinking about my airline miles.

Now the point-of-sale terminal asks if I want to donate a dollar to some worthwhile charity. I approve of the charity, but it pisses me off that they ask me in this particular situation. It's manipulative. I JUST WANT MY DAMN CHEESE!!!!

The cashier informs me that my credit card is blocked. I must have recently purchased a few things that match the pattern of credit card thieves. I switch to my emergency backup credit card while the people behind me wonder if I am a credit card thief, a pauper, or an idiot who forgot to pay his bills. I feel belittled and frustrated and angry.

I am also aware that there was probably some sort of coupon or discount for the stuff I am trying to buy that I didn't know about. So I feel a little ripped off too.

Now I have to figure out the bag situation. I have too many items to hand-carry because my search for cheese caused me to buy several items I didn't even know I needed. It only got worse as I got hungrier and hungrier over the course of my cheese safari. Damn you, Safeway marketing department! Damn you!

The cashier asks, as law requires, whether I want to pay ten cents for a paper bag. I would happily pay the ten cents if the cost were baked into the total price, but something about being asked in front of witnesses makes it feel wrong. And I know that if I do buy the bag I will be destroying the planet for future generations. I will feel guilty buying it, guilty loading it into my car, and guilty recycling it later. I decide to buy a reusable bag that is offered at the checkout. At this point, for reasons I still don't understand, the cashier gives me a death stare and moves in slow motion toward the reusable bags, as if to signal to me that I have done something wrong, but I'm not sure what.

Then the cashier asks if I need help to my car with my half-a-bag of groceries. I know her company requires her to ask, but it calls into question my manhood. I feel insulted because I know I can lift as much as five pounds and carry it across an entire parking lot without stopping more than twice. I try to ignore the insult. . . until the bagger asks the same question.

By the time I reach my car I feel frustrated, angry, guilty, stupid, incompetent, belittled, weak, humiliated, ripped off, and inconvenienced. The feeling lasts until I get home and my wife says, "That's the wrong cheese." That feeling pretty much replaces all the other ones.

My point is that the new bag law in California is entirely reasonable when viewed in isolation. Likewise, loyalty cards, self-checkout, and all the other annoyances make complete sense when viewed in isolation. But we don't live in a world in which anything can exist in isolation. Safeway and my city government have made the simple act of food shopping so complicated that I'd rather scrounge in the dumpster behind the store than endure the pain of shopping inside the store.

This is an interesting issue because every business decision that causes inconvenience for customers is viewed in isolation. When you take that perspective, eventually the entire process becomes so complicated it is barely competitive with dumpster diving.

What we need is some sort of system in which any proposed complication is viewed as more bothersome than earlier complications. The first complication usually doesn't cause much problem. The tenth complication - no matter how well-meaning - destroys the system.

But here's my big gripe. Yes, I saved the best for last. You see, brains are like muscles in the sense that they have a limited capacity during any given day. If you lift too many heavy objects, your muscles will fail. Likewise, if you use up all of your brain cycles on nonsense, you have nothing left for the important things in life, such as making Dilbert comics and writing blog posts.

Seriously though, I think society is blind to the hidden cost of complexity in daily life. The ever-worsening complexity isn't simply annoying; it is hijacking your brain. Every minute you spend trying to find cheese, and trying to pay for it without getting arrested, is time you aren't thinking about solutions to real problems.

If this seems like no big deal, you might be wrong. Consider that everything good about modern civilization was invented by people who really needed to focus to get the job done. What happens to a world-class engineer or entrepreneur when he or she has to syphon off more brain energy to satisfying Safeway's marketing strategy instead of designing new products? Now multiply that times a hundred because every retailer, website, and business is trying to complicate your life too.

Complexity sneaks up on you because every individual decision - such as the bag laws in my city - make sense when viewed in isolation. But if that trend continues, complexity will be a huge drag on civilization.


Ten good reasons not to worry about polar bears

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting. The devastating decades of uncontrolled slaughter across the Arctic, including the Bering Sea, finally came to an end. And so in honor of International Polar Bear Day (Wed. February 27) – and because some activists are calling 2013 The Year of the Polar Bear – I’ve made a summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, with links to supporting data. I hope you find it a useful resource for tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears and celebrating their current success.

1) Polar bears are a conservation success story. Their numbers have rebounded remarkably since 1973 and we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago. Although we cannot state the precise amount that populations have increased (which is true for many species – counts are usually undertaken only after a major decline is noticeable), polar bears join a long list of other marine mammals whose populations rebounded spectacularly after unregulated hunting stopped: sea otters, all eight species of fur seals, walrus, both species of elephant seal, and whales of all kinds (including grey, right, bowhead, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales). Once surveys have been completed for the four subpopulations of polar bears whose numbers are currently listed as zero (how about funding that, WWF?), the total world population will almost certainly rise to well above the current official estimate of 20,000-25,000 (perhaps to 27,000-32,000?).

2) The only polar bear subpopulation that has had a statistically significant decline in recent years is the one in Western Hudson Bay (WH)(Fig. 1). A few others have been presumed to be decreasing, based on suspicions of over-harvesting, assumed repercussions of reduced sea ice and/or statistically insignificant declines in body condition (see 3, below) – not actual population declines.

3) Polar bears in the US portion of the Chukchi Sea are in good condition and reproducing well, while sea ice in the Bering Sea has rebounded from record lows over the last ten years – good reasons not to be worried about polar bears in the Chukchi. The Chukchi subpopulation (which includes bears in the Bering Sea) was formerly assumed to be decreasing due to suspected over-harvesting and past declines in sea ice – even though no population survey had ever been done (see 2, above) – but preliminary reports about a recent survey suggest that Chukchi polar bears are doing very well. While there is still no official population estimate for the Chukchi (currently listed as zero), sea ice coverage in the Bering Sea has been higher than average over the last ten years and 2012 didn’t just break the satellite-era record set in 1999, it exceeded it by almost 100,000 square kilometers.

4) A survey by the Nunavut government in 2011 showed that polar bear numbers in Western Hudson Bay have not declined since 2004 as predicted and all available evidence indicates that Hudson Bay sea ice is not on a steadily precipitous decline – good reasons not to be worried about Hudson Bay bears. While polar bear biologists Ian Stirling and Andrew Derocher continue to insist that the modest decline in numbers of Western Hudson Bay polar bears recorded between 1998 and 2004 was due to earlier breakup of sea ice – and continues on that trend to this day – it turns out that much of the data used to support that claim is either unpublished, woefully out of date, or both. Although Stirling and colleagues have not yet published comparable dates of sea ice breakup since 2007 (they use a particular computation of satellite data), Canadian Ice Service data suggests that over the last 10 years we have not seen another very early breakup in Hudson Bay like the one that occurred in 2003. Surprisingly, 2009 was a late breakup year: the Port of Churchill experienced the latest breakup of sea ice since 1974 (three weeks later than average). All of which suggests that in Western Hudson Bay, some years have been good for polar bears and others have been not so good, but there has not been a relentless decline in sea ice breakup dates over the last thirty years.

5) Population decreases in polar bear numbers attributed to earlier sea ice breakup in Western Hudson Bay (see 4, above) have not been anywhere near as severe as the catastrophic decline that took place in 1974 in the eastern Beaufort Sea, which was associated with exceptionally thick sea ice. The modest decline in the Western Hudson Bay population that took place between 1998 and 2004 (down 22%) pales in comparison to the 1974 Beaufort event, when ringed seals numbers (i.e. polar bear food) dropped by 80% or more and numbers of polar bears plummeted. Similar events took place in 1984 and 1992, which means that three precipitous population declines due to heavy ice have taken place in this polar bear population over the last 40 years – but each time, numbers rebounded a few years later. In other words, due to entirely natural causes, polar bear numbers can fluctuate quite dramatically over relatively short periods because of the highly variable sea ice habitat they live in.

6) Polar bears need spring and early summer ice (March through June) for gorging on young, fat seals and documented declines in sea ice have rarely impinged on that critical feeding period (except for a few isolated years in Hudson Bay, see 4, above). A new study suggests that while some Western Hudson Bay bears will likely perish if the ice-free period extends to six months (from its current four-to-four+), many will survive because of their exceptional fat storage abilities.

7) There is no plausible evidence that regulated subsistence hunting is causing polar bear numbers to decline, despite suspicions harbored by the Polar Bear Specialist Group.

8) Global temperatures have not risen in a statistically-significant way in the last 16 years (see Fig. 2) – a standstill not predicted by climate models and a phenomenon even the chairman of the IPCC has acknowledged – which suggests that the record sea ice lows of the last few years are probably not primarily due to CO2-caused increases in global temperatures. Such changes in Arctic sea ice appear to be normal habitat variations that polar bears have survived before (see 9, below) and are likely due to natural processes we do not yet fully understand.

9) Survival of polar bears over a hundred thousand years (at least) of highly variable sea ice coverage indicates that those biologists who portend a doomed future for the polar bear have grossly underestimated its ability to survive vastly different conditions than those that existed in the late 1970s when Ian Stirling began his polar bear research. Sea ice has varied – countless dozens of times – over the short term (decades-long climate oscillations) and the long term (glacial-to-interglacial cycles of thousands of years). Over the last 100,000 years, there have been periods of much less ice than today, but also much, much more. Polar bear population numbers probably fluctuated up and down in conjunction with some of these sea ice changes but the polar bear as a species survived – and so did all of the Arctic seal species it depends on for food. Such survival indicates that these Arctic species, in an evolutionary sense, are very well-adapted to their highly-variable habitat.

10) Polar bears today are well distributed throughout their available territory, which is a recognized characteristic of a healthy species.

These are all good reasons to feel good about the current status of the polar bear. It is plain to see that these ice-dwelling bears are not currently threatened with extinction due to declining sea ice, despite the hue and cry from activist scientists and environmental organizations. Indeed, because the polar bear is doing so well, those who would like to see polar bears listed as “threatened” depend entirely upon dramatic declines in sea ice prophesied to occur decades from now to make their case.


Landowners '£1 billion wind farm boom'

Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners are on course to earn around £1 billion in rental fees from wind farm companies

Struan Stevenson, a Conservative MEP, estimated the sum will be paid over the next eight years to at least a dozen landowners willing to allow turbines on their estates and farms.

He suggested the wealthiest Scots are benefiting from the spread of wind farms at the expense of consumers, who have to heavily subsidise the technology in their energy bills.

Among the landowners named in the book is the Duke of Roxburghe, who, he estimated, could earn £1.5 million a year from turbines erected in the Lammermuir Hills.

Titled So Much Wind – The Myth of Green Energy, the book also claims that the spread of wind farms is leading to a new wave of Clearances as families are forced to move away by the construction of industrial turbines.

It was published as MSPs debated Alex Salmond’s plan to generate the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

Mr Stevenson estimated that the target would require the construction of around 5,000 wind farms in Scotland of which around 1,900 have already been built.

“We’re seeing in Scotland the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich that we’ve ever seen in our history,” he told a press conference in Edinburgh.

“In parts of the Highlands now tourism is being effectively destroyed and people are leaving the Highlands because tourists no longer want to go there with the landscape bristling with wind factories and industrial wind turbines.

“It’s a catastrophic policy that could lead to the lights going out in Scotland and power cuts in the years ahead. It’s time this was exposed.”

His book argued that “money is the driver” behind landowners’ willingness to allow the construction of wind farms on their estates and farms.

“Rental payments vary and are top secret but it is estimated that a dozen or more of Scotland’s wealthiest private landowners will pocket around £1 billion in rental fees over the next eight years,” he wrote.

Mr Stevenson estimated the Duke of Roxburghe’s income based on 48 120-metre high turbines at Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills.

He wrote that Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming, a seventh baronet, could be earning £435,000 a year for allowing 29 turbines on his Altyre Estate near Forres in Moray.

Meanwhile, he estimated the Earl of Seafield could get £120,000 a year from eight turbines on his estate near Banff.

The Earl of Moray is estimated to receive around £2 million annually in rent for 49 turbines at Braes O’Doune, which Mr Stevenson wrote are “clearly visible from the iconic Stirling Castle”.

The Earl of Glasgow, a Liberal Democrat peer, has 14 turbines on his Kelburn estate in Ayrshire that could generate £300,000 of income per year.

Mr Stevenson highlighted how the Crown Estate, will controls large tracts of land and the seabed around Scotland, is on course to net billions of pounds from offshore wind farms. The revenue will be split between the Treasury and the Queen.

The Tory MEP argued wind farms are extremely inefficient and erratic, saying National Grid figures showed they produced only 0.1 per cent of the UK’s electricity needs on Tuesday morning this week.

In a debate at Holyrood, opposition MSPs complained about SNP ministers overturning local planning authorities’ decisions to reject wind farm applications.

However, Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister, insisted he would only approve “the right developments in the right places”.

Scottish Land and Estates, the body that represents landowners, and the Roxburghe Estate declined to comment on Mr Stevenson's claims.


British Member of Parliament Admits Climate Change Act ‘A Mistake’

by John O'Sullivan

Britain’s deeply unpopular Climate Change Act (2008) may be set for repeal as another politician joins the growing number of MP’s aghast at the damage it is having on the nation’s ailing economy.

Conservative Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell’s mea culpa today (February 25, 2013) shows dignity and acceptance of the weight of evidence conflicting with the already scientifically dubious notion of human-caused global warming. “My biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry,” said Carswell on his blog.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of last week’s surprise admission by Rajendra Pachuari, the UN’s head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr. Pachauri conceded that we are now into a 17-year pause in global temperature rises, as confirmed recently by Britain's Met Office. Even NASA’s most strident climate doomsayer, Dr. James Hansen concedes there has been "a pause” in any temperature rise.

The 2008 rush to enact the UK’s "carbon tax" is now dismissed by Carswell as “gesture legislation” and like other politicians he admits “this law has turned out to have real consequences.” Like others Carswell has woken up to the stark reality of just how much the UK’s Climate Change Act has pushed up energy prices and is “squeezing households and making economic recovery ever more elusive,” says the MP. Under the Act the government is currently legally committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. In contrast, the EU is only committed to cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020.Skyrocketing energy bills have forced 6 million households in fuel poverty and the proposed Carbon Floor Price will increase this number to 12 million - that is 1 in 4 households

Ironically, Carswell is a graduate of the UEA, made infamous by the Climategate scandal of 2009. He is also regarded widely as among the more principled politicians in Westminster hoping to turn the tide on this folly. Carswell was voted in 2009 by ‘Spectator’ readers as ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ while ‘The Daily Telegraph’ nominated him a ‘Briton of the Year.’ He now takes his place among that fast growing band of dissenting Conservative politicians speaking out about the damage misguided ‘green’ policies have had on our economies.


Yes! We Should Defund The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change

It seems that along with 17 years of flat global temperatures there is some evidence that we are witnessing some cooling on global warming hype and hysteria in Washington as well. Following President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double down on his frenetic “green” war to prevent climate change, U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has introduced legislation to discontinue any more taxpayer green from being used to advance the U.N.’s economy-ravaging agendas. The proposed bill would prohibit future U.S. funding for the alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and also for the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a scam devoted to redistributing American wealth in penance for our unfair capitalist free market prosperity.

Congressman Luetkemeyer strongly objects to the UNFCC’s use of IPCC’s suggestions and faulty data to implement a job-killing agenda here in America. He argues: “The American people should not have to foot the bill for an international organization that is fraught with waste, engaged in dubious science, and is promoting an agenda that will destroy jobs and drive up the cost of energy in the United States. Unfortunately, the president appears to be ready to fund these groups, revive harmful policies like cap and trade, and further empower out of control federal regulators at a time when we should be doing everything possible to cut wasteful spending, reduce regulatory red tape, and promote economic growth.”

While the amount we give to the UNFCC and IPCC may seem like a tiny pittance in the realm of government spending largesse, it’s important to realize that true costs of that folly amount to countless billions in disastrous policy and regulatory impacts. Under the Obama administration, the two organizations together have received a total average of $10.25 million annually, which will be upped to $13 million under a FY 13 budget request. The George W. Bush administration previously provided about $5.7 million each year.

Representative Luetkemeyer’s defunding proposal cites unsupportable IPCC claims based upon irresponsible science practices which were revealed in e-mail exchanges between climate researchers in the U.K.’s East Anglia University network. These communications provide clear evidence that leading global scientists intentionally manipulated data and suppressed legitimate opposing arguments in peer-reviewed journals. In some instances, collaborators were asked to delete and destroy incriminating e-mails rather than comply with legally-binding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

It may be instructive to remember that all of this global warming crisis frenzy really got heated up in the late 1980s, less than two decades after many scientists had warned during the mid-1970s that the next Ice Age was rapidly approaching. Even the National Academy of Sciences predicted in 1975 that there was a “finite possibility that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the Earth within the next 100 years.”

But guess what? Climate actually does change, and the planet then experienced a warming spell. Attributing this “crisis” to influences of man-made carbon emissions, a presumption based upon theoretical climate models, the U.N. established its FCCC in 1992, began to organize conferences, and created the IPCC to conduct scientific reviews.

The central FCCC strategy to fight what was promoted as “anthropogenic” (man-made) climate change was brilliant…to put a value credit on cutbacks in the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by fossil-burning industries, and then let other industries that produced amounts of CO2 emissions in excess of their allocations, purchase credits from them. In other words, they would create a trading market to buy and sell air.

This carbon “cap-and-trade” program would be accomplished on a country-to-country international scale through the Kyoto Protocol treaty, penalizing developed countries that produce lots of CO2 emissions by forcing them to purchase credits from less developed countries (amounting to free money for them). Incidentally, China and India, which emit huge amounts of CO2, were given a pass because of their developing country status.

Although IPCC is broadly represented to the public as the top authority on climate matters, the organization doesn’t actually carry out any original climate research at all. Instead, it simply issues assessments based upon supposedly independent surveys of published research. However, some of the most influential conclusions summarized in its reports have neither been based upon truly independent research, nor properly vetted through accepted peer- review processes.

The IPCC asserted in its 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would likely melt by 2035 due to global warming, prompting great alarm across southern and eastern Asia, where glaciers feed major rivers. As it turned out, that prediction was traced to a speculative magazine article authored by an Indian glaciologist, Syed Hasnain, which had absolutely no supporting science behind it. Hasnain worked for a research company headed by the IPCC’s chairman, Rajendra Pachauri. IPCC’s report author, Marari Lai, later admitted to the London Mail, “We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policymakers and politicians and encourage them to take action.”

Can we count upon objective conclusions from scientists who feel “called to action”? Consider commentary by the late Stephen Schneider who served as a lead author for important parts of three sequential IPCC reports. In a 1989 interview he told Discover magazine: “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, on the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that, we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

Oh, by the way… while “climate” is generally associated with periods spanning at least three decades, Schneider’s alarmist global warming position completely reversed a view he championed little more than a decade earlier. His 1976 book, The Genesis Strategy, warned that global cooling risks posed a threat to humanity.

While it should be recognized that most of the many scientific reviewers are indeed dedicated and competent people who take their work very seriously, few of them have much if any influence over final conclusions that the public hears about. Instead, the huge compilations they prepare go through international bureaucratic reviews, where political appointees dissect them, line by line, to glean the best stuff that typically supports what IPCC wanted to say in the first place. These cherry-picked items are then assembled, condensed and highlighted in the Summaries for Policymakers which are calibrated to get prime-time and front page attention.

Political summary editing processes usually progress through a series of drafts that become increasingly media-worthy. For example, the original text of an April 2000 Third Assessment Report (TAR) draft stated: “There has been a discernible human influence on global climate.” That was followed by an October version that concluded: “It is likely that increasing concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases have contributed significantly to observed warming over the past 50 years.” Then in the final official summary, the language was toughened up even more: “Most of the observed warming over the past 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

When the U.N. Environment Programme’s spokesman, Tim Higham, was asked by New Scientist about the scientific background for this change, his answer was honest: “There was no new science, but the scientists wanted to present a clear and strong message to policymakers.”

Sometimes IPCC report statements directly contradict conclusions published by the same authors during the same time period. Regarding any “discernible human influence on global climate”, a 1996 IPCC report summary written by B.D. Santer, T.M.L Wigley, T.P. Barnett, and E. Anyamba states: “…there is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcings by greenhouse gases and sulphate aerosols…from geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change…These results point towards human influence on climate.”

However, another 1996 publication, “The Holocene”, by T.P. Barnett, B.D. Santer, P.D. Jones, R.S. Bradley and K.R. Briffa, says: “Estimates of…natural variability are critical to the problem of detecting an anthropogenic [human] signal…We have estimated the spectrum…from paleo-temperature proxies and compared it with…general [climate] circulation models…none of the three estimates of the natural variability spectrum agree with each other…Until…resolved, it will be hard to say, with confidence, that an anthropogenic climate signal has or has not been detected.”

Go figure!


Identifying Global Warming Snow And Global Cooling Snow

Heavy snow during the 1970s was caused by global cooling, but equally heavy snow in recent years is caused by global warming.

Global warming snow can be differentiated from global cooling snow, based on the current funding scam of the climate seance community.


Australia: Queensland State Government plans to allow logging in areas earmarked for national parks

THE State Government is about to reopen logging in about two million hectares of environmentally sensitive land put aside by the previous government.

The move will see timber felled in prime conservation areas that were earmarked for national parks.

Logging will resume in southeast Queensland, the western hardwoods area, cypress regions in the west, central Queensland and north Queensland.

A leaked email from Agriculture Department director-general Jack Noye to National Parks Department director-general John Glaister says Agriculture Minister John McVeigh has approved the logging.

The email also notes that it is proposed that logging be conducted without Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service approval for codes or harvest plans.

It sparked a vicious response from Greens environment spokeswoman Larissa Waters, who said the letter confirmed Premier Campbell Newman was an environmental vandal.

"The reopening of native forest logging will trash invaluable habitat for native wildlife, destroy carbon stores and is an economic risk, given plantation forestry is more sustainable and provides reliable employment into the future," Senator Waters said.

Mr McVeigh said the areas being reopened were not World Heritage-listed forests.

"They are areas that have been previously available and they will ... meet the highest forest sustainability management standards," he said.

"Many of these robust, former state forests had been sustainably harvested for a century and more, supporting regional towns before being locked up by Labor in its dirty preference deals with the Greens."

He said the Greens wanted to shut down local forest industries, which forced greater reliance on imports.

It is expected about 30,000ha per year will be logged on a 30 to 40-year cycle.

In 1999, the state government signed the South East Queensland Forests Agreement with the Queensland Timber Board and conservationists.

Its aim - and other agreements that followed - was to end disputes over what areas should be logged or conserved and for producing plantations such as between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to gradually replace native forest logging over 25 years.

But logging companies in country towns such as Monto and Mundubbera, often major local employers, complained that the agreements starved them of logs.

Senator Waters said Mr Newman was determined to repeal all environmental protection.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


26 February, 2013

James Hansen, the denier

Robert W. Endlich visted Santa Fe to hear a talk by James Hansen. His report below

I attended a talk by Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Sciences on effects of climate change on 21 Feb 2013. James Hansen is also famous for being arrested, reportedly three times, for protesting the use of fossil fuels and the consequent emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Dr. Hansen’s talk was illustrated by of a number of slides depicting topics concerning surface temperature history, sensing systems, and paleoclimate history. His delivery rarely spoke to the content on the screen, and often rambled into opinions on the evils of fossil fuel use, dangerous rapid temperature rise, approaching “tipping points,” and the need to heavily tax fossil fuel use.

One item after another struck me as being completely at odds with measurements. For instance, Hansen claimed Earth’s energy balance is out of balance, and we are warming rapidly, but recent global surface temperatures of land and water have not increased and in fact many measures show cooling over the past 17-19 years. In the US, there has not been a new state maximum temperature record set since 1995, and in spite of the claims to the contrary, July,1936, is still the warmest month on record, set when CO2 was less than 300 parts per million. CO2 is now 395 PPM.

The talk was 45 minutes long, with 15 minutes allotted to questions and answers. Dr. Hansen is adept at President Obama’s knack of turning a question into an invitation to wax at length on opinions on anything vaguely related to the question. There were four questions; I asked number three.

My question was, roughly, “Dr. Hansen, one of your slides showed a time series of warming periods, indicated by reds, and cooling periods, indicated by blues, over time, indicating to me that climate warming and cooling periods are the norm. But, your 1988 forecast to the Senate was for continuous increases in temperature, about 1C of warming, from 1988 to the present. Observations show 10 years of warming from 1988 to 1998, but steady and by many measures, even falling temperatures since, a period over 17 years where the temperature has not risen at all. The total rise since 1988 has been only 0.2 - 0.3C. To what do you attribute the poor performance of that prediction?”

Hansen’s reply wandered around, saying there were three scenarios forecast and that actually the climate forcing was less than the “Business as Usual, Scenario A.” (In the basic talk he bemoaned CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use were on an ever increasing curve; to me, a non-sequitur) He then said that temperatures had NOT decreased, despite the fact that seven of the nine commonly watched measurements of global land, sea, and greenhouse temperatures have shown falling temperatures since at least 2001 during this time of increasing CO2. He then said I should have seen his 1983 paper and the forecast he made back then!

It has been 34 years since I have been in Graduate School. I was disappointed that a world-renowned researcher could not provide a cogent, coherent answer to a pertinent question regarding accuracy of the forecast which brought him to prominence. “How has this guy passed his candidacy exam or prelims?” I thought.

When formal questions were over, a number of attendees approached the podium; I joined the group. At my turn, I asked him a question about the paloeclimate records he referenced during the talk. I showed him a graphic of temperature and CO2 vs. geologic time with data provided by Berner and Scotese, which you can see if you Google “Berner Scotese Geologic CO2 Temperature Graph”.

I asked him about two periods in geologic history. First was end of the Ordovician, about 450 million years ago when CO2 increased from 4000 to 4400 PPM but earth entered a “snowball earth” phase. Second was the end of the Jurassic 150 million years ago, when CO2 was increasing, but temperatures fell. He told me that the data were wrong.

I specifically asked him about the measurements which showed large amounts of CO2 during the Cambrian and Ordovician about 4000-6000 PPM, and that even the IPCC speaks of large amounts of CO2 in the early Paleozoic. He said that there were no measurements of large CO2 amounts in the Paleozoic and again said I was wrong. I guess he has not heard of the Royer Compilation

I then asked about the Vostok Ice Core data which shows four previous interglacial periods CO2 was about 200-270 PPM, and temperatures were clearly much warmer that the present. “Dr Hansen, doesn’t the fact that the previous interglacials were a lot warmer than now, falsify the claim that CO2 is an important driver of climate?” He argued with me that the Vostok Ice core data did not show this, and said I was wrong. Google to see the data yourself.

Finally, I told him that the Greenland Ice core data showed that during the present interglacial period, temperatures were at a maximum 8000 years ago and have cooled overall since then. I asked him if CO2 has an important effect on climate, how this could be, and I said that there was nothing alarming about the present temperatures and rate of change of temperature. He told me that I was wrong again and his data showed today is the warmest in the Holocene Interglacial period. Google “Greenland Ice core data graph GISP2” and examine the geologic record showing temperatures and temperature changes to see how wrong Hansen is regarding this fact.

Hansen says the science is settled and there are no data which contradicts the alarmist view of imminent catastrophic temperature change and tipping points.
Who is the “denier?”

Hansen can’t accept the fact that measurements, observations, facts and data show that present temperatures are quite ordinary and that the rates of temperature change are among the smallest of the past 10,000 years, despite present CO2 concentrations.

Received via email from Bob Endlich [], a New Mexico meteorologist

NASA thinks that the USA is the world

Their only data below is about the Eastern United states but in their 5th paragraph below they link their findings to "climate change", code for global warming. They are a model of slippery wording but their intention is clear. They imply that shrinking foests in the area they look at are a global phenomenon. But are they? They avoid that question. It should however be noted that their data cover the last 10 years, when there has been NO global watrming, so what they found CANNOT be a global effect

NASA scientists report that warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation locally and regionally have altered the growth of large forest areas in the eastern United States over the past 10 years. Using NASA’s Terra satellite, scientists examined the relationship between natural plant growth trends, as monitored by NASA satellite images, and variations in climate over the eastern United States from 2000 to 2010.

Monthly satellite images from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) showed declining density of the green forest cover during summer in four sub-regions, the Upper Great Lakes, southern Appalachian, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern Coastal Plain. More than 20 percent of the non-agricultural area in the four sub-regions that showed decline during the growing season, were covered by forests. Nearly 40 percent of the forested area within the mid-Atlantic sub-region alone showed a significant decline in forest canopy cover.

“We looked next at the relationships between warmer temperatures, rainfall patterns, and reduced forest greenness across these “We looked next at the relationships between warmer temperatures, rainfall patterns, and reduced forest greenness across these regions,” said Christopher Potter, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “This comprehensive data set gave us the evidence to conclude that a series of relatively dry years since 2000 has been unfavorable for vigorous growth of forest cover over much of the Eastern U. S. this past decade.” Potter is the first author of the paper titled “Declining Vegetation Growth Rates in the Eastern United States from 2000 to 2010,” published by Natural Resources, Dec. 2012, (3), 184-190.

In the past, scientists were uncertain about what was causing the changes in the forests in the eastern U. S. Based on small-scale field site measurements since 1970, forest growth was thought to be increasing in regions where soil nutrients and water were in good supply. At the same time, there were fewer wildfires throughout the eastern U.S., which scientists believe contributed to the transformation of more open lands into closed-canopy forests with more shade-tolerant, fire-sensitive plants.

More recent studies indicate that climate change could be having many adverse and interrelated impacts on the region. The warming climate this century has caused new stresses on trees, such as insect pest outbreaks and the introduction of new pathogens. Scientists consider both climate change and disease to be dominant driving forces in the health of forests in this region.

NASA’s technology is revealing an entirely new picture of these complex impacts. The MODIS satellite captures very broad regional patterns of change in forests, wetlands, and grasslands by continuous monitoring of the natural plant cover over extended time periods. Now, with over a decade of “baseline” data to show how trees typically go through a yearly cycle of leaves blooming, summer growth, and leaves falling, scientists are detecting subtle deviations from the average cycle to provide early warning signs of change at the resolution of a few miles for the entire country.

"The next studies at NASA Ames will research areas that appear most affected by drought and warming to map out changes in forest growth at a resolution of several acres," said Potter.

This research was conducted under the National Climate Assessment as part of the United States Global Change Research Act of 1990.


New boogeyman for the Warmists

A conservative charity gives money to climate-skeptic causes! How surprising! Roughly the whole of the conservative side of politics is skeptical of global warming so Donor's Trust sure is an heroically effective organization if they have achieved all that! Nothing however could rival what governments around the world spend on promoting Warmist causes

While the secretive Donors Trust has given millions to a variety of right-wing causes, denying climate change appears to be its top priority. An analysis by the environmentalist group Greenpeace reveals Donors Trust has funneled more than one-third of its donations — at least $146 million — to more than 100 climate change denial groups over the past decade. In 2010, 12 of these groups received between 30 to 70 percent of their funding from Donors Trust. We’re joined by Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian, who has written a series of articles detailing the ties between Donors Trust and opponents of climate change science. "The goal here is to create this illusion, this idea that there is a really strong movement against the science of climate change and against action on climate change," Goldenberg says. "In fact, that’s actually, to an extent, become a reality now: You see that opposition to action on climate change is central to Republican thinking."


Straight-out lies from the NYT

"The Earth’s average surface temperature continues to climb". But it doesn't. It is no higher now than it was in 1998. The article then goes on to give an account of global warming theory that attempts to account for the average earth surface temperature. But they miss the bus in that too. They ignore entirely the huge adiabatic effect of the huge mass of the earth's atmosphere. The effects of air pressure alone account for a large part of the earth's surface temperature

Climate change is arguably the most important issue humanity has ever faced. The Earth’s average surface temperature continues to climb and weather is increasingly volatile. Our current trajectory looks perilous.

Is the situation really that critical? I asked atmospheric chemist Dr. Laura Foster.

"The future world will be a warmer place with different weather patterns and disease patterns and coastlines. We will have to adapt to these changes. The pessimist in me thinks of human beings on Earth like bacteria in a petri dish: we’re going to pollute our petri dish to the point that we can no longer survive in it."

The situation is that critical. Climate change is real. Responding to it will be full of challenges. But there will also be opportunities — an aspect of climate change emphasized by Dr. Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist based at the British Antarctic Survey.

Dr. Shuckburgh speaks widely about climate change, and if you happen to be in San Francisco next week, you’ll have the opportunity to attend one of her talks. Dr. Shuckburgh will be giving a public lecture titled “Climate Disruption: What Math and Science Have to Say” as part of a Mathematics of Planet Earth series being sponsored by the Simons Foundation.

“I think this talk will be of interest to everyone — and of particular interest to those who like math and science,” says Brian Conrey, executive director of the American Institute of Mathematics. “Also, Emily is a fantastic role model — she is so accomplished — and is an inspiring speaker.”

Following is a basic overview of how the Earth’s current average surface temperature arises.

It all starts, of course, with the Sun, which blazes away 93 million miles from the Earth. The Sun radiates energy that ultimately reaches the Earth.

This radiant energy from the Sun is absorbed by the Earth, which then radiates energy back out again, enabling the planet to maintain a constant average surface temperature.

If that were the end of the story, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be about -18°C. Much too cold to support life as we know it. But there’s something else going on. Not all of the energy radiated from the Earth makes it out into space. Some is captured and returned to Earth, resulting in an actual average surface temperature of 15°C.

The capture-and-return process is remarkable. Encasing the Earth are a variety of molecules that make up what we call our atmosphere. These molecules can be classified by the symmetry of their molecular bonds: some molecules — over 99% — have symmetric bonds, while the remaining molecules have asymmetric bonds. Symmetric-bond molecules are invisible to the Earth’s radiant energy. They have no impact on the Earth’s temperature. But with asymmetric-bond molecules we have a different story.


Goodbye to a Very Green "Business Week?"

By Alan Caruba

In late 2010, I let my subscription to The Economist expire and now I am going to do that for Bloomberg Business Week.

In the February 18-24 edition of Business Week, an editorial, “The Right Way Forward on Climate Change”, contained this gem: “Still, the U.S. accounts for about 19 percent of all emissions—emissions that are causing global temperature increases, rising seas, and destructive droughts, floods, and hurricanes, according to a government advisory panel report released last month.”

When a magazine publishes such drivel, you should not read it. There are no rising temperatures worldwide. There is, in fact, a colder world that reflects a cooling cycle that began around sixteen years ago. Glaciers are growing. Snow is falling in increasing amounts and in places one usually does not associate with snow like Arizona. The seas are not rising. Polar bears are not going extinct. Et cetera.

To not know such simple facts betrays either an appalling ignorance or an appalling agenda, the advancement of the global warming—now called climate change—hoax.

The February 25-March 3 edition had an editorial on why the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved. It began “Americans concerned about pollution and climate change have traditionally stood with science, in particular the consensus that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are warming the earth and changing the climate.” There is so much wrong with this short sentence one hardly knows where to start.

First of all, “climate change” is what the climate has been doing for 4.5 billion years on planet Earth. There have been a number of ice ages which properly can be called climate change . When the last one ended around 11,000 years ago, we entered the Holocene.

Pay attention now to this description of the Holocene: “Most recent of all subdivisions of geologic time, ranging from the present back to the time (c.11,000 years ago) of almost complete withdrawal of the glaciers of the preceding Pleistocene epoch. During the Holocene epoch, the sculpturing of the earth's surface to its present form was completed.”

“Withdrawal of the glacial ice resulted in the development of the present-day drainage basins of the Missouri and Ohio rivers, the development of the Great Lakes, and a global rise in sea level of up to 100 ft (30 m) as the glacial meltwater was returned to the seas. Warming climates resulted in the poleward migration of plants and animals.”

“The most significant development during the Holocene was the rise of modern humans, who are thought to have first appeared in the late Pleistocene.” Those modern humans did not control the climate when they arrived on the scene and they do not control it now. They will never control it no matter how many times Al Gore or the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says so.

We do not sacrifice virgins, tossing them into volcanoes to ensure a good harvest, nor do we do rain dances during a drought any more. Some of us, however, are convinced that we are the first Americans to have ever experienced a drought, a hurricane, or a blizzard.

When a magazine like Business Week employs morons to write its news and opinion, there is no point in subscribing to it in order to have your own intellect reduced by a couple of IQ points.

I am thoroughly sick of hearing that all life on the planet is threatened or going extinct. Been there. Done that.

In his weekly column on science topics, the Wall Street Journal’s Matt Ridley noted that, “When the asteroid slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula 66,038,000 years ago, North America took the brunt of the impact, because the asteroid came in from the southeast like a golf chip shot.” Globally, it wiped out all the dinosaurs, along with many bird and other species. Their relatives, the alligators survived. “Mammals reappeared within 20,000 years in North America, “probably from Asia via an Arctic land bridge.”

Right now, countless “environmental” organizations around the world are gearing up to celebrate “Earth Day” on April 22. Is it just a coincidence that it is the birthdate of Communist revolutionary and the former Soviet Union’s first dictator, Vladimir Lenin? I think not.

Business Week, the Economist, Time, Newsweek and countless other elements of the print and broadcast media will have an environmental orgasm, spewing forth the tired, old lies that undergird the greatest hoax of the modern era; one they can no longer call “global warming” because millions of people have concluded the Earth is getting colder, so now they call it “climate change.”

The alleged “consensus” of geoscientists and others that supports the climate change theory barely exists.

As reported in the March edition of The Heartland Institute’s Environmental & Climate News, “Global warming alarmists are attacking the integrity of scientists, desperately seeking to minimize the damage presented by a recent survey of geoscientists and engineers regarding global warming.

“A recent survey of more than 1,000 geoscientists and engineers reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies found that only 36 percent agree with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assertion that humans are causing a serious global warming problem. By contrast, a majority of scientists in the survey believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.”

Meanwhile, here in America, the current administration will continue to flush billions of dollars we do not have down the environmental drain, “investing” in the most uncompetitive and least productive forms of energy ever invented. It is an administration that declared war on coal—a resource that powered fifty percent of all the electricity we use until they came along. Can we—should we—trust people who cannot reduce the nation’s insane debt and deficit by even one half of one percent?

Should we trust people, journalists, charged with the responsibility to bring us the news about economic and scientific topics when they clearly are clueless? I think not.


God and Climate Change

Obama Has Brought Religion Back Into the Environmental Conversation

President Obama once again brought up climate change in his State of the Union Address, just as he did in his inaugural address last month. This week, he spoke in the cold voice of science, but in that first address the president took a different approach, one in which the seeds of a broader environmental coalition can be found.

On his second inauguration, Obama said the U.S. must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in order to “preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

Climate activists have argued that science, not God, requires urgent greenhouse gas reductions. Now, as a Slate headline put it, “Obama Brings God Into the Climate Change Fight.”

Some environmentalists speculated that Obama might be hoping to reach out to devout Christians—many of them Republicans—in the hope of building a wider consensus.

Role of Christianity

This is a long way from the 1967 declaration of American historian Lynn White, in Science magazine, that Christianity bears primary responsibility for raping the earth. Indeed, Obama’s inaugural remarks appear to have been an allusion to the book of Genesis, which tells us that God gave the world to human beings for their sustenance and enjoyment, but requires us to be good stewards of his creation.

The president also might have been acknowledging the fact that among the political problems of our time, climate change could be the most “wicked” of all. Voters are being asked to bear large burdens now in order to create practical benefits that might not be realized until many of them are dead. If the case for climate change is not deeply moral, capable of invoking powerful altruistic motives, it will be politically hopeless.

Many of Obama’s environmental supporters admittedly have in mind a different message of the Christian God. If human beings alter the climate radically, they will be “playing God,” challenging God’s authority over his own creation. In the Old Testament, we learn that those who challenge God’s authority will surely be punished, typically with flood, famine, pestilence, drought, earthquake or other environmental calamity.

Today, new prophets tell us that our modern sins will lead to rising seas, stronger hurricanes and longer droughts. If we don’t reform our sinful ways, global catastrophe on a biblical scale looms. Billy Graham could hardly have said it better.

Hearing God’s call

In traditional Christian theology, there are two direct ways to access the thinking of God: the “Book of the Bible” and the “Book of Nature.”

Until Charles Darwin, Christians believed that the earth was not much changed from its creation about 6,000 years ago, meaning the design of the natural world offered a glimpse into the mind of God. John Calvin would thus write that God “daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe.” The plant and animal kingdoms are “burning lamps” that “shine for us ... the glory of its author.” To eliminate a species or damage the earth is to limit our knowledge of God.

In some ways, environmentalism should be seen as a secularized version of Calvinism, minus God. Obama has brought God back into the environmental conversation, even if his theological knowledge is incomplete.


Australia: Key climate change body loses Government funding

Amid much weeping and wailing and garnishing of teeth

A key research body charged with preparing Australia to handle the impacts of global warming is running out of money.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research facility [NCCARF] has been running for five years but the Federal Government has decided not to extend its funding.

It means that from June the facility, which develops knowledge used by decision-makers from both the Commonwealth and industry, is expected to be wound up.

With more than 100 researchers set to be affected by the funding cut, Professor Jean Palutikof, director at the facility, says she is saddened and concerned that critical work may not being followed through.

"We've built up a lot of knowledge through our research programs that have really placed Australia in a very good position to deal with the challenge," she said.

"There are a lot of people out there now who know a lot about climate change and those people were not in that position five years ago.

"We might be seen an organisation that perhaps is meeting a future challenge rather than a current challenge although I have to say looking out of the window here in Queensland it looks to me like the challenge is pretty much here now.

"The bottom line is the activities of government in that respect of the present time are totally inadequate.

"Therefore we are also going to have to prepare ourselves to respond to the impacts of climate change that will inevitably happen because we haven't really managed that successfully on the mitigation front.

"When I say we haven't managed that successfully, I'm really talking about the global effort, not the effort of Australia individually."

Chief executive officer at the Investor Group on Climate Change, Nathan Fabian, says NCCARF has played an integral role in keeping the nation and industry up-to-date on what is proving an important global issue.

"Business is largely still working out what it knows and what it doesn't know about the physical impacts of climate change and to us," he said.

"NCCARF has played an important interpretive role between the science of climate change and its impacts on regions and resources and in some cases the assets that we invest in, so there is still an important role to be played."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


25 February, 2013

Eco-tastrophe! How MPs in the pay of subsidised eco-firms set insane new carbon targets that send your bills sky-rocketing... and drag us to a new Dark Age

David Rose is truthtelling in Britain's Daily Mail once again

Like all MPs, Tim Yeo is paid £65,000 a year. But he never has to make do with just that. Last year alone, three ‘green’ companies paid the Conservative MP for South Suffolk £135,970.

For this, he usually did just a few hours’ work a month. Yet he may be the firms’ most valuable asset, as Mr Yeo is chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, and so plays a key role in shaping the green economy in which his sometime employers – AFC Energy, Eco City Vehicles and TMO Renewables – operate.

And he may be about to perform his most valuable service yet.

Mr Yeo has moved an extraordinary amendment to the Energy Bill that would set a crippling and binding target for the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by generating power in 2030. It would transform the electricity industry and bring huge benefits to the business sector, which has so generously rewarded Mr Yeo.

For the rest of us, however, the effects will be very different. It will cause already high energy bills to soar further and could lead to more power cuts. The effect on business is likely to be even more dramatic.

Yet despite the considerable drawbacks, the amendment is likely to be passed into law. Following intense campaigning by an alliance of dozens of green pressure groups and renewable-energy firms, the move has won the support of Labour, many backbench Liberal Democrats and some Tories, which may be enough to push it through Parliament.

‘Even without the amendment, the long-term consequences of the Bill will be horrible,’ said Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, one of Britain’s leading experts on energy economics. He issued a strong warning the ‘surreal’ amendment could spell the end of British industry. ‘It’s a recipe for deindustrialisation,’ he said.


MYTH The world is continually getting warmer.

TRUTH Official Met Office data shows no statistically significant global temperature rise since January 1997. The fact was confirmed last week by Raj Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many scientists say this means forecasts of how much warmer the world will be by 2100 must be revised downwards. Pachauri disagreed: for him to be convinced, the ‘pause’ would have to last 30 years.

MYTH Global warming is already causing extreme weather.

TRUTH If anything, weather has become less, not more extreme in the past 50 years. Professor Roger Pielke Jr of Colorado University – no climate sceptic – last week said that the past seven years had been the longest period ever recorded without a Category 3 or stronger hurricane hitting America, and that drought has decreased since the mid-20th Century. The IPCC admits there is no evidence that global warming has caused more storms in the tropics.

MYTH If we don’t take swift, drastic action to cut CO2 emissions, the world will soon become uninhabitable

TRUTH The ‘pause’ in rising temperatures, along with new research into the decline in the sun’s output and other natural factors, is leading many scientists to lower estimates of how fast carbon dioxide warms the world. Until now, the IPCC has suggested that doubling CO2 causes a worrying increase of 3.5C, but many experts say it is about 1.7C. The computer models still say the world will be at least 2C warmer by the end of the century, but they failed to predict the pause.

MYTH We’ve got to do our bit, even if it hurts. If we cut emissions, the rest of the world will follow.

TRUTH The fiasco of the 2009 UN climate conference in Copenhagen proved that China, India, Brazil and other fast-growing nations are simply not prepared to make any binding commitments to reduce their emissions. However, by cutting our own ever more deeply, all we do is increase the already rocketing price of our energy and so drive jobs abroad – while making almost no difference to world CO2 levels.

MYTH The faster we cut carbon in our power generation, the more prosperous we will be.

TRUTH We face declining energy capacity, while the Government targets on 2030 emissions would mean few firms will be willing to invest in the one proven type of power source – gas – that can fill the gap relatively cheaply. Instead of ‘green growth’, we face years of impoverished stagnation, while industry flees Britain and our sky-high energy prices.

MYTH The Arctic is going to be ice-free in summer in a few years.

TRUTH Although last summer saw a return to the relatively low levels of ice seen in 2007, the growth of Arctic winter ice this year is the fastest on record. Canadian archaeologists have been finding evidence the ice cover shrank to half its current extent during a warm period 7,000 years ago – but never vanished entirely.

Much more here

One day, turning off the lights won't be up to you

Britain's governments have taken suicidal gambles with our energy supplies

Readers of this column might have been astonished by the media response last week to that warning by Alistair Buchanan, retiring head of the energy regulator Ofgem, that next month we will see the closure of five major coal-fired power stations that between them contribute nearly a sixth of the UK’s average electricity needs.

Over the next few years, Mr Buchanan feared, we will be dangerously close to not having enough power in the grid to keep Britain’s lights on.

I have been trying to explain this here for so long that my readers may be weary of it. It was back in 2006 that I first reported on why, within a decade or so, we might see Britain’s lights going out. In fact, as I set out in my book, The Real Global Warming Disaster, in 2009, the writing was already on the wall in the government’s energy White Paper of 2003. Tony Blair signed us up to an energy policy centred on building thousands of windmills, already fully aware that we would be losing many of our coal-fired power stations due to an EU anti-pollution directive, and that we were unlikely to build any new nuclear power stations to replace those that by now would be nearing the end of their life.

This made a nonsense of Mr Buchanan’s claim in a vacuous interview with Evan Davis, on Tuesday’s Today programme on Radio 4, that everything was fine with Britain’s “visionary” energy policy until we were hit by that “financial tsunami” in 2008. This prompted Mr Davis to comment, “So we can blame the bankers for it, as we normally do”. (Nine months earlier I had written a column headed, “When the lights go out, you’ll know who to blame” – it wasn’t the bankers.)

The most interesting passage in Mr Buchanan’s interview was where he began hinting at what has recently been emerging as a terrifying new element in the Government’s energy policy. It well knows that electricity from the tens of thousands more wind turbines it hopes to see built in the coming years will cost between two and four times as much as that from conventional power stations. Its solution to this is to rig the market with new taxes and other devices so that this will make electricity from wind farms somehow seem competitive – not by making wind cheaper but by doubling the cost of electricity from the gas, coal and nuclear power stations that still provide virtually all the electricity we need to keep our lights on.

Around lunchtime last Monday, for instance, National Grid was showing that all our 4,300 wind turbines put together were providing barely a thousandth of the power we were using, 0.1 per cent, or a paltry 31MW (as compared with the 2,200MW we can get from a single gas-fired plant).

The harsh fact is that successive governments in the past 10 years have staked our national future on two utterly suicidal gambles. First, they have fallen for the delusion that we can depend for nearly a third of our future power on those useless and unreliable windmills – which will require a dozen or more new gas-fired power stations just to provide back-up for when the wind is not blowing.

Yet, at the same time, by devices such as the increasingly punitive “carbon tax” due to come into force on April 1, they plan to double the cost of the electricity we get from grown-up power stations, which can only have the effect in the coming years of doubling our electricity bills, driving millions more households into fuel poverty.

If our government were not lost in a bubble of complete make-believe, it would keep open those coal-fired power stations the EU is forcing us to close next month (although it may be too late), it would stop subsidising grotesquely expensive wind farms, and it would go flat out to exploit Britain’s vast reserves of the shale gas that has more than halved US gas prices in four years.

But we do not have such a government. Our lights will go out, our economy will suffer a catastrophe, our bills will double, and tens of thousands more people will die of cold in those freezing winters that our politicians were somehow fooled into believing would never come again.


Wind farms will create more carbon dioxide, say scientists

Thousands of Britain’s wind turbines will create more greenhouse gases than they save, according to potentially devastating scientific research to be published later this year.

The finding, which threatens the entire rationale of the onshore wind farm industry, will be made by Scottish government-funded researchers who devised the standard method used by developers to calculate “carbon payback time” for wind farms on peat soils.

Wind farms are typically built on upland sites, where peat soil is common. In Scotland alone, two thirds of all planned onshore wind development is on peatland. England and Wales also have large numbers of current or proposed peatland wind farms.

But peat is also a massive store of carbon, described as Europe’s equivalent of the tropical rainforest. Peat bogs contain and absorb carbon in the same way as trees and plants — but in much higher quantities.

British peatland stores at least 3.2 billion tons of carbon, making it by far the country’s most important carbon sink and among the most important in the world.

Wind farms, and the miles of new roads and tracks needed to service them, damage or destroy the peat and cause significant loss of carbon to the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change.

Writing in the scientific journal Nature, the scientists, Dr Jo Smith, Dr Dali Nayak and Prof Pete Smith, of Aberdeen University, say: “We contend that wind farms on peatlands will probably not reduce emissions …we suggest that the construction of wind farms on non-degraded peats should always be avoided.”

Dr Nayak told The Telegraph: “Our full paper is not yet published, but we should definitely be worried about this. If the peatland is already degraded, there is no problem. But if it is in good condition, we should avoid it.”

Another peat scientist, Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, said: “If we are concerned about CO2, we shouldn’t be worrying first about the rainforests, we should be worrying about peatlands.

“The world’s peatlands have four times the amount of carbon than all the world’s rainforests. But they are a Cinderella habitat, completely invisible to decision- makers.”

One typical large peat site just approved in southern Scotland, the Kilgallioch wind farm, includes 43 miles of roads and tracks. Peat only retains its carbon if it is moist, but the roads and tracks block the passage of the water.

The wind industry insists that it increasingly builds “floating roads,” where rock is piled on a textile surface without disturbing the peat underneath.

But Mr Lindsay said: “Peat has less solids in it than milk. The roads inevitably sink, that then causes huge areas of peatland to dry out and the carbon is released.”

Mr Lindsay said that more than half of all British onshore wind development, current and planned, is on peat soils.

In 2011 the Scottish government’s nature protection body, Scottish Natural Heritage, said 67 per cent of planned onshore wind development in Scotland would be on peatland.

Struan Stevenson, the Tory MEP for Scotland who has campaigned on the issue, said: “This is a devastating blow for the wind factory industry from which I hope it will not recover.

"The Scottish government cannot realise their plans for wind farms without allowing the ruination of peat bogs, so they are trying to brush this problem under the carpet.

"This is just another way in which wind power is a scam. It couldn’t exist without subsidy. It is driving industry out of Britain and driving people into fuel poverty.”

Scotland’s SNP government has led a strong charge for wind power, promising that 100 per cent of the country’s electricity will be generated from renewable sources.

But even its environment minister, Stewart Stevenson, admits: “Scotland has 15 per cent of the world’s blanket bog.

"Even a small proportion of the carbon stored in peatlands, if lost by erosion and drainage, could add significantly to our greenhouse gas emissions.”

In 2008 Dr Smith, Dr Nayak and Prof Smith devised the standard “carbon payback time” calculator used by the wind farm industry to assess the CO2 impact of developments on peat soils.

“Large peatland wind farms introduce high potential for their expected CO2 savings to be cancelled out by release of greenhouse gases stored in the peat,” they said.

“Emission savings are achieved by wind power only after the carbon payback time has elapsed, and if this exceeds the lifetime of the wind farm, no carbon benefits will be realised.”

Even the initial version of the calculator found that the carbon cost of a badly sited peat wind farm — on a sloping site, resulting in more drainage of the peat, and without restoration afterwards — was so high that it would take 23 years before it provided any CO2 benefit. The typical life of a wind farm is only 25 years.

The researchers initially believed that well-managed and well-sited peatland wind farms could still cut greenhouse gas emissions, over time, compared to electricity generation overall.

But now they say that the shrinking use of fossil fuels in overall electricity generation has changed the equation, making the comparison less favourable to all peatland wind farms.

“Our previous work argued that most peatland sites could save on net [CO2] emissions,” they said. “But emissions factors [in UK electricity generation as a whole] are likely to drop significantly in the future.

"As a result, peatland sites would be less likely to generate a reduction in carbon emissions, even with careful management.”

The significance of the Aberdeen researchers’ work is increased by the fact that they are funded by the Scottish government and are broadly pro-wind.

They wrote in a previous paper that “it is important that wind farm developments should not be discouraged unnecessarily because they are a key requirement for delivery of the Scottish government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

Helen McDade, from the John Muir Trust, which campaigns to protect wild land, said: “Much of the cheap land being targeted by developers desperate to cash in on wind farm subsidies is peatland in remote wild land areas of the UK.

"This statement, from the academic team who developed the carbon calculator for the Scottish government, is a timely reminder that we must have independent and scientific assessment of the effects of policy and subsidies.”

The wind industry insisted that the impact of properly managed wind farms on peat and carbon emissions was minimal. Niall Stuart, director of Scottish Renewables, a trade association, said that damaged peatland could be restored in as little as a year.

He said the association had signed a “statement of good practice principles” with environmental groups promising that “every reasonable effort” will be made to avoid “significant adverse environmental effects” on peatland, including “properly planned and managed habitat restoration”.

Jennifer Webber, a spokesman for RenewableUK, the industry lobbying group, said: “Wind farms continue to be an important tool in decarbonisation and energy independence, with actual measurements showing wind displacing gas from the system. This is why they retain support from environmental organisations.”


Emails show EPA collaboration with media 'friendlies'

Officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have released a second batch of emails to and from former Administrator Lisa Jackson using the false name of "Richard Windsor" in apparent violation of federal transparency laws and regulations.

The new emails reveal Jackson and other top EPA officials devoting extensive attention to and cooperation with media, public officials and other "friendlies" whose coverage and commentary put the agency's policies and leadership in a positive light.

The new release also contains page after page of emails in which all or most of the information is redacted on the basis of an EPA claim that it was exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act's fifth, or "deliberative process," exemption.

That exemption permits, but does not require, withholding of documents created as part of the decision process leading to adoption of a specific agency policy or program.

The agency posted the new batch of Richard Windsor emails Friday evening as President Obama prepared for a weekend golf vacation in Florida on a trip from which White House reporters were barred.

Earlier in the week last week, Obama described his tenure in the White House as "the most transparent administration in history."

The Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank had filed FOIA requests for all emails to or from Jackson using the false name. The illegal emails - federal law bars use of false names in email or other communication regarding official business - were ordered to be made public by a federal court in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the agency by the conservative group.

In ordering the agency to release an estimated 12,000 Richard Windsor emails to CEI in four separate tranches, the court rejected an EPA attempt to withhold all of the controversial emails from public disclosure. The first tranche was made public in January. The agency witheld 900 emails from the first batch without providing an explanation.

Jackson announced her plan to resign in December, 2012 shortly after the court ruled the Richard Windsor emails had to be released to CEI.

The existence of the illegal emails was discovered by CEI senior fellow Christopher Horner while researching his recently published book entitled "The Liberal War Against Transparency."

Christopher Horner, a CEI senior fellow, told The Washington Examiner that the think tank estimates that 85 percent of the emails released Friday were redacted under the FOIA's fifth exemption. An EPA spokesman has been asked for a comment for this news story.

In one of the emails to "Richard Windsor," Andy Adora, then Jackson's press secretary, told the EPA head that an eagerly anticipated Washington Post news story had been delayed. Adora told Jackson she "can't decide if she's losing a battle w her editors or if they're taking extra time to make this a bigger story." An apparently disappointed Jackson responded as "Richard Windsor," saying "Yeesh."

Adora is now a press secretary at the U.S. Department of Justice.

In another of the legible Richard Windsor emails, Jackson corresponded with an associate EPA administrator about her eagerness to see herself on the cover of Rolling Stone for an article that described her as "the eco-warrior" and "the most progressive EPA chief in history."

In a third of the legible Richard Windsor emails, Jackson expressed her elation at being included by NBC's The Grio among its top 100 African-American history makers: "When you go to the Grio's website, I'm right there. Cool. Thanks to whoever worked this. Let's do something fun on it. CNN just did a feature on the top 100."

EPA officials will have to explain to the federal court how the Adora, Rolling Stone cover and Grio Top 100 emails, as well as each of the hundreds of other emails redacted under the deliberative process exemption of the FOIA, were integral parts of the agency's policy-making process.

Transparency in government experts often point to such tactics by federal officials as examples of how FOIA regulations can be used to delay making public embarrassing documents.


Obama's anti-stimulus energy policies take money out of economy

"I have to tell you that there are some Democrats, for example, who represent states or districts that are heavily reliant on old power plants and are more heavily manufacturing based," President Obama said during a Google online chat session with the public on Friday. "And the truth is that if you produce power using old power plants, you're going to be emitting more carbon, but, to upgrade those plants means energy is going to be a little more expensive, at least on the front end."

Naturally, Obama understated the costs involved in upgrading power plants and switching to new sources of energy. But his remark is true in its essentials: In exchange for very modest reductions in carbon emissions, his policies require consumers to pay higher upfront prices for electricity.

Now compare Obama's statement to the theory behind his stimulus package -- both the $800 billion package he championed and signed in 2009 and the additional stimulus he has since asked Congress to enact. The assumption underlying his proposed and enacted deficit spending, expansion of entitlements (such as food stamps) and demand-side tax breaks as stimulus is that Americans have a temporary cash-flow problem. The idea is that because people don't have enough money in their pockets, commerce is suffering, causing hiring to lag. So by providing a small pay increase to workers and extra business for contractors, the Recovery Administration was supposedly alleviating this temporary cash crunch so as to ease the economy back onto the road to recovery.

Apparently, though, the one hand in Obama's White House doesn't know what the other is doing. Because even as "stimulus Obama" talks about putting more money in people's pockets, "green-energy Obama" is demanding that Congress un-stimulate the economy by burdening Americans with the large upfront costs. As Obama put it on Friday, it's his job to convince people to "take actions now where the benefits are going to be coming down the road -- or at least avoiding big problems down the road -- and it's hard when people are thinking about day to day issues." Indeed.

The Institute for Energy Research predicts that new EPA rules on mercury and cross-state pollution targeting old power plants will shut down 34 gigawatts of coal-fired production capacity, or 10 percent of the U.S. total. Those burdened most by the energy price increases resulting from these rules -- as with the price hikes that result from Obama's more ambitious plans for carbon reduction -- will be the poor, who already spend a greater percentage of their income on energy than those who are more affluent.

Obama's energy and economic policies are thus incoherent and working at cross-purposes. He acknowledges yet fails to appreciate the trade-offs involved in carbon rationing and other environmental regulations. If you wonder at the stimulus' failure to put the economy back on track in spite of such large expenditures, this contradiction explains it all. How can Obama maintain that the economy is stuck because middle and lower-income Americans don't have enough money in their pockets, then at the same time enact policies that guarantee they will have even less money in their pockets? What good is it to inject billions into the economy via government, only to have them taken out again through government-mandated increases in the price of electricity?


No winners in Obama's green-energy trade war

"As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy," President Obama said in last week's State of the Union Address, "so must we."

Obama has thrust the U.S. into an arms race in green-energy subsidies. To grasp the difficulty - or perhaps futility - of such a contest, look at SolarWorld, the subsidized German manufacturer now drowning in a sea of cheap Chinese panels.

Bonn-based SolarWorld has benefitted nicely from German solar subsidies for years. In 2008, the company opened U.S. operations in Oregon, with help from local politicians.

Oregon offered SolarWorld up to $100 million in renewable energy tax credits. Boris Klebensberger, the company's COO, asked for more. The Oregonian reported at the time: "Klebensberger, calling the right to have renewable energy a 'civil right,' urged Oregonians to push for more government support and incentives for the sector."

At that time, an interviewer with GreenTech Media asked Klebensberger: "U.S. incentives aren't as generous as in Germany. Are you concerned about the ability to succeed in this regulatory environment?"

"That is one of the problems in America," Klebensberger responded

Obama's election made the U.S. incentives more generous. In 2009, the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency, approved $61.0 million in loan guarantees for SolarWorld to sell solar panels in South Korea.

On Earth Day 2010, while announcing "Solar Express" - an expedited process for subsidizing solar panel exports - Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg toured SolarWorld's California factory.

Later in 2010 the Obama administration announced SolarWorld was eligible for an $82.2 million Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.

Despite all this help, the company has faltered. In early September 2011, SolarWorld announced it was ending all manufacturing in its its California plant and laying off 186 of its 300 employees there. The Oregonian reported that an industry analyst said of the Oregon plant " 'To be honest, it's just a matter of time' before the plant sees job losses given China's pressure on prices."

Two weeks later, the Obama administration gave the company another hand. The Department of Energy awarded a $2.3 million stimulus grant to SolarWorld to study new manufacturing techniques for solar panels.

September was fruitful for the SolarWorld-Obama relationship: On the 30th of the month, Ex-Im approved an $18.9 million direct loan, at a low 2.63% rate, to an Indian power company buying SolarWorld panels.

Meanwhile, states and the federal government provide plenty of other subsidies for SolarWorld's customers. If you installed solar panels on the roof of your corner store in recent years, you could get a stimulus grant from the Treasury. Generate electricity with solar panels, and you can get the production tax credit. Many states require their utilities to buy solar- and wind-generated power.

But still, the profits don't flow. In recent weeks SolarWolrd announced it was laying off more than a third of the workers at its flagship Oregon factory. The company is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and its stock is plummeting.

As a result SolarWorld has pocketed only $27 million of its $100 million in state tax credits, according to company spokesman Ben Santarris. If you don't make profits, you don't owe tax credits, and thus you can't benefit from tax credits. SolarWorld never got any federal tax credits, for the same reason.

Why can't SolarWorld - or Solyndra before it - turn a profit? Because the Chinese sell their solar panels for much cheaper. Chinese labor is cheaper, but U.S. solar companies like SolarWorld also charge that China "cheats."

China subsidizes its solar manufacturing and exporting even more than the U.S. does. This allegedly allows it to "dump" panels in Europe and the U.S., helping China kill U.S. competitors and thus corner the market. Santarris calls it "mercantilism."

Obama's Commerce Department, three weeks before the election, announced retaliatory tariffs against the Chinese solar industry.

But if Obama wants "affordable renewable energy," as he says, why doesn't he welcome cheap solar panels subsidized by the poor people of China. Cheaper energy means more disposable income and cheaper manufacturing, freeing up consumer spending and thus creating new jobs.

But Obama doesn't just want affordable solar energy, nor does he simply want jobs - he insists on solar jobs. That means more subsidies and tariffs.

Taxpayers and consumers pay the price for these policies. The benefit goes to companies like SolarWorld, which still can't turn a profit. You have to wonder if this trade war is a war worth fighting.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


24 February, 2013

Open Fascism: Democracy should be replaced by 'elite warrior leadership' in order to fight global warming

The world is full of envirofundamentalist doomsday prophets, who paint a grim picture of what is ahead for humanity. Few are however as candid as the two Australians, professor emeritus of medicine David Shearman and philosopher and ecologist Joseph Wayne Smith, who openly attack the liberal democratic system, which they think should be replaced by an authoritarian "elite warrior leadership".

This is what the two "warriors" have to say in the foreword of their book 'The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy':

"We have known about these impending problems for several decades. Each year the certainty of the science has increased, yet we have failed to act appropriately to the threat. We have analyzed the reasons for this indolence. This understanding will lead you to ask yourself if Western civilization can survive in its present state of prosperity, health, and well-being, or will it soon suffer the fate of all previous civilizations—to become a mere page in history?

We will demand from you the reader, far more than your comprehension of the consequences of climate change and the workings of democracy. You will need to examine the limits of your introspection and the motivation bestowed upon you by biology and culture. The questions to be asked are difficult. You have a commitment to your children, but are you committed to the well-being of future generations and those you may never see, such as your great-grandchildren? If so are you prepared to change your lifestyle now? Are you prepared to see society and its governance change if this is a necessary solution?"

Chapters 6 and 7 demonstrate...

"that the inherent failures of democracy that have lead to the environmental crisis also operate in many other spheres of society. They are inherent to the operation of democracy. Furthermore, we come to share Plato’s conclusion that democracy is inherently contradictory and leads naturally to authoritarianism.

In chapters 8 and 9 we argue that authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity, and it may be better to choose our elites rather than have them imposed. Indeed Plato, on seeing the sequelae of democracy’s birth, observed that it is better that the just and wise should rule unwillingly, rather than those who actually want power should have it. We analyze authoritarian structures and their operation ranging from the medical intensive care unit and the Roman Catholic Church to corporatism with the conclusion that the crisis is best countered by developing authoritarian government using some of the fabric of these existing structures. The education and values of the new “elite warrior leadership” who will battle for the future of the earth is described."

The authors do not - at least not in the foreword - say, what will happen to the global warming 'deniers' in their brave new world. However, the Gulags of Stalin and Mao should serve as good models ...


Managing HumanWildlife

The National Wildlife Federation regards human beings as just another form of wildlife to be managed.

A year ago this month, the US National Wildlife Federation published a curious, 60-page document titled The Psychological Effects of Global Warming, And why the U.S. Mental Health Care System is not Adequately Prepared.

Yes, that’s right. Wildlife activists devoting time and money to writing reports about mental health. Climate change sure does odd things to people.

The tone of this report is amateurish and the logic is strained. For example, the word “suicide” appears 29 times and particular attention is paid to suicides by armed forces personnel. We’re told that America should embrace “alternate renewable sources of energy” for the sake of its military, and that

Our national need to put these young people in harm’s way would also decline if we were simply more energy efficient. How will we answer these service members’ questions about why we didn’t work harder at fixing this problem?

As if a wildlife group writing about mental health wasn’t silly enough, these people also believe they’re in the business of promoting “social justice.” The preface to the report tells us its purpose is to raise awareness:

by exposing the emotional side of the issue, to find the place in our hearts that mobilizes us to fly into action, forewarned, determined, relentless. It also is a call for professionals in the mental health fields to focus on this, the social justice issue of all times… [bold added]

Elsewhere, the report compares climate change to child abuse:

We must ask…if the call for climate change action is any less compelling than stopping child abuse or protecting the sick. In the final analysis inflicting the burden of climate change on the vulnerable is an immoral act that puts future generations in mortal danger. [bold added; page xiii]

The authors of this report believe that those with psychological training should be using this training to produce politically correct outcomes. For example, page 31 declares:

The discipline of psychology can be used to uncover what the barriers are to reducing our carbon footprint and adopting a green lifestyle.

The following page says:

We need people to learn about and support positive steps at home and in their communities in order to lower carbon footprints.

Indeed, from the perspective of the National Wildlife Federation, we humans are just another form of wildlife to be managed. Members of the public aren’t presented as voters capable of making up their own minds. The public isn’t viewed as the final authority to whom politicians must answer. Instead, we’re errant children who require shepherding. Thus, the report declares that:

America’s leaders should be trained to use the most persuasive educational tools to influence people to change and to sustain their changes. [p. xiii]

Similarly, businesses are urged to

present environmentally sound products that will steer the consumer to make ethical purchases. [bold added, p. 34]

And then there’s the downright offensive. According to this report, poor people

need professionals and the mental health care community to help them voice their outrage. [p. 34]


Climate evangetist Borenstein wrong to say winters are getting warmer

By Larry Hamlin, retired Southern California Edison vice president of power production, former state energy construction czar

In the article, “Less snow, more blizzards may be in store” [News, Feb. 10], Seth Borenstein, again, uses erroneous information and results from unvalidated climate models to mischaracterize recent weather events occurring in the U.S.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration empirical temperature data shows that U.S. winters have cooled in the past 15 years in all nine U.S. climate regions. Thus, Borenstein’s most basic and fundamental premise, that global warming makes winters warmer, is wrong, based on reviewing actual temperature data.

North America snow extent empirical data from the Rutgers University Global Snow Lab for the fall, winter and spring seasons from 1967 through 2012 show virtually no change in total snowfall during this period. Thus, again, one of the article’s most fundamental claims, that global warming results in less snow, is wrong, based on reviewing actual snowfall data records.

Borenstein also claims that global warming results in more winter storms but NOAA winter storm data clearly shows increased storms during cooler periods, which is the opposite of Borenstein’s claims.

The number of winter storms in the past decade is consistent with the number of storms that occurred in the cooler-winter decade of the 1960s versus the fewer number of storms that occurred in the warmer-winter decades of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

This article, unfortunately, is another example of climate alarmists making unfounded claims that are easily refuted using empirical data. Further, the article relies on results from unvalidated climate models whose “projections” are based on unproven assumptions of man-made links to climate change.


Shock! SciAm allows some doubt


Although extreme weather events, from the creeping drought that scorched last year's corn crop to Superstorm Sandy, are worrisome, automatically and simplistically tying them to the scientific phenomenon of climate change could be misleading.

Last year's drought in Texas, for example, could not be specifically tied to climate change, said John Nielsen-Gammon, the Lone Star State's climatologist. Over the past century there has been an increase in rainfall -- not a tendency toward dryness -- over most of Texas by about 10 percent.

"Changing climate has not contributed to the lack of rainfall over the long term, as of yet," he said. Last year's drought, much like the famed Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s and another significant drought in the 1950s, is tied to rising sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean -- the weather event known as la Niña.

"Until we see a long-term decrease in rainfall in Texas, it will be hard to say that climate change has caused a decrease," Nielsen-Gammon said.

Temperatures have risen in Texas, meaning the increased rainfall is being evaporated at a more rapid rate, he added. But for the drought, which continues to seize more than half of the lower 48 states, heat was a drought accelerant but not the main cause.


Keystone pipeline is the key to the future

Everything we will ever need to know about the Obama Administration may come down to a single decision. And that is whether Obama, along with newly sworn in Secretary of State John Kerry, approve the Keystone XL pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to the U.S.

For, contained in that decision is not just the future energy independence of North America — the U.S. currently depends on foreign sources for 45 percent of our fuel — but perhaps the future prosperity of the American economy.

If completed, the expanded pipeline — there actually is another Keystone pipeline from Alberta operated by TransCanada that already delivers about 590,000 barrels of oil a day — will add another 500,000 barrels a day to the mix.

The fact the Chinese are waiting in the wings to claim this energy for themselves would be reason enough to approve it. Beijing has offered to pay for building an alternative pipeline to the Pacific coast to have the oil shipped there.

For now, global production keeps up with global demand, but developing economies like China and India — oil importers both — invariably are leading to higher demand.

Which means every drop we fail to develop here, whether in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, or fail to gain access to, as in Canada, is driving up prices at the pump.

The recent run-up in gasoline prices provides yet another warning to the Obama Administration of the types of price pressures the American people will be faced with in the future should we fail to become energy independent. Since Jan. alone, the price for a gallon of regular gasoline has jumped by $.44 to $3.69 on Feb. 18, reports the Energy Information Agency.

But even all of that pales in comparison to the growing danger posed to the petrodollar and more generally, the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency — that makes Obama’s opposition to Keystone all the more inexplicable.

As part of the resolution to the 1973 oil shock, the petrodollar was born when Richard Nixon convinced Saudi Arabia to only accept dollars for payment of oil in return for protecting their oil fields and a guaranteed return on investments in U.S. treasuries.

It was a move that cemented the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, since ample dollars were needed by all oil-importing nations in order to transact in the most essential of commodities in the global economy.

But since that time, the U.S. has not been a responsible steward of the reserve currency, racking up more than $16.58 trillion in debt with artificially low interest rates that seemingly get lower by the year, offering little return on investment for foreign creditors. Right now, some $5.5 trillion of debt is held overseas.

However, the single largest holder of U.S. debt is not a nation or a Wall Street investment house. It is the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank, which holds $1.6 trillion, and government agencies, which hold another $4.8 trillion. At $6.5 trillion, that means the government holds about 40 percent of its own debt.

Classical economist Adam Smith warned that such a policy — printing money to pay the debt — was “a real public bankruptcy [that] has been disguised under the appearance of a pretended payment.”

Even if the Saudis continue to agree to denominate oil in dollars and to ignore our obvious insolvency — other nations are not. Russia, Iran, and Venezuela all have taken serious steps to obliterate the petrodollar, first by accepting payment in other currencies. China and India, as customers, are aiding this process along.

These steps make perfect sense, if one anticipates a collapse of the dollar, to already have built a financial system that is capable of delivering energy even without dollars to transact with. And the more these alternative modes of payment are utilized, the weaker the dollar becomes.

The Achilles’ heel may be the House of Saud itself. A WikiLeaks an official U.S. diplomatic cable released in 2011 found that Saudi Arabia may be overstating its oil reserves — said to total from 716 billion to 900 billion barrels — by as much as 40 percent.

Sadad al-Husseini, a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, was cited in the cable as disagreeing with the official estimates, and that “[i]n his view once 50 percent of original proven reserves has been reached … a steady output in decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. He believes that what will result is a plateau in total output that will last approximately 15 years followed by decreasing output.”

If true, that would mean the Saudis on their own could not perpetuate the petrodollar regime if they wanted to — and that the system might collapse sooner than anyone thinks.

Which brings us back to the Keystone XL pipeline. If the demand for dollars to buy oil is reduced, then the very foundation of our financial system is put in jeopardy. Our saving grace is to generate as much oil, natural gas and coal as we can and sell it for dollars, thus maintain the need for other nations to get and keep dollars.

Our salvation includes developing North American energy resources, like deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, like the Bakken shale oil, and like making certain the Alberta oil sands flow via the pipeline to here and not to Beijing.

It also includes dismantling the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency is regulating carbon emissions and stormwater without any guidance in the law. It is ruining the nation’s coal industry. It is engaged in a sue-and-settle racket with radical environmentalist groups to expand its powers via judicial fiat. And its regulations threaten America’s future ability to develop and utilize natural resources.

Developing energy here and removing regulatory impediments alone will not obviate our financial problems, which are profound, but they can at least keep provide a foundation for future economic growth. Improved economic prospects will boost our ability to service the national debt without relying on petrodollars or outright monetization. It will reduce inflation and the cost of doing business here in the U.S.

Cheap fuel will pave the way for expanded manufacturing capacity here, creating millions of jobs.

If, however, the Obama Administration rejects Keystone XL, and if it turns its EPA loose on shale oil producers in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere as it has on coal producers — it will have put America on a dangerous path toward a dark and weakened future.

And it will have done so knowing the consequences. Knowing the dollar’s reserve currency status was threatened. Knowing the oil would wind up overseas anyway or just remain in the ground. And worst of all, doing this while knowing that everything depended on taking a different path.

Yes, we’ll know just about everything we need to know about the Obama Administration based on its Keystone XL decision — and its continued war on energy, growth and prosperity via the EPA.


Are we drowning in reusable grocery bags? Bring back plastic?

“Green” grocery bags once were going to save the planet. Now they’re multiplying in closets.

Patrick Swanson has launched a covert operation to rid his house of reusable shopping bags that his wife keeps bringing home from the grocery store. He brings a bag over to a friend’s house and, when no one is looking, “forgets” it there.

“The idea of the reusable bag has merit, but my opinion is that the majority of people forget to re-use them,” the St. Paul resident said. As a result, “they pile up. ... We never re-use them. In fact, I think we have more ‘reusable’ bags in our closet than the old paper and plastic kind.”

Swanson is far from alone in wondering if reusable bags sound better in theory than in practice. There’s an increasing pushback against the bags, with critics arguing that when you factor in the way the bags are used — or, in this case, not used — they actually have a larger carbon footprint than the plastic variety. But members of the green movement still staunchly believe in them, arguing that the cloth versions keep landfills free of millions of plastic bags, which can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

Even among naysayers, support for reusable bags continues to grow: 39 percent of grocery shoppers own them, according to a recent study by McOrr Research.

But are shoppers using the bags enough to make them worthwhile? The UK Environment Agency recently concluded that a cotton bag has to be used 131 times to equal the environmental impact of producing one plastic bag.

Supporters of reusable bags have rushed to their defense.

“Yes, there’s energy embedded in the making of those bags,” conceded Madalyn Cicoi, a waste prevention and recycling specialist for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “The goal is, once you get the bag made, to get as many uses out of it as you can.”

Of course, they don’t help the environment if they’re piling up in a closet.

“There’s no need to collect more of them than you need,” said Cicoi, who carries her groceries home in two cotton bags that she bought in 1995. “The whole point is to use them all the time.”

Some people who end up with a stockpile of bags find alternative uses: stashing Christmas decorations in them, using them to organize hobby gear or turning them into overnight bags.

“They are incredibly utilitarian,” said Sara Pearson, who now lives in Richmond, Va., and still uses bags she got in Minnesota six years ago.

Paper, plastic or bacteria?

Reusable bags have come under attack before. When San Francisco banned plastic grocery bags in 2007, the Social Science Research Network published a report claiming that reusable bags are breeding grounds for bacteria. The most alarming charge was that after the plastic bag ban went into effect, emergency room admissions related to bacteria jumped 25 percent.

The report was widely lambasted for not following accepted research procedures involving peer review, and follow-up research failed to come close to verifying the 25 percent figure. But the report was enough to motivate other research, including a 2011 study of reusable bags in California and Arizona in which 51 percent of the bags examined had picked up bacteria from the food they carry.

The green community’s reaction? “Well, duh.”

“To wash something that you carry food in, that’s just common sense,” Cicoi said.

In fact, the same 2011 study, facilitated by Food Protection Trends, also found that washing the bags killed the bacteria.

“I don’t worry about it,” said Nancy Lo, who works on waste reduction and recycling for the Hennepin County Department of Environmental Services. “I just throw the bags into the washing machine.”

A jump in reusable use

Reusable bags, mainstays in Europe for decades, started making inroads into the United States around 1990.

“When they started showing up in mainstream places like Lunds, people realized that they weren’t just for tree huggers anymore,” Lo said.

Lunds and Byerly’s started selling reusable bags in 2006 and began tracking their use in 2009 via an incentive program in which the stores donate 5 cents to the Second Harvest Heartland food shelf for every reusable bag a customer brings into the store. As of last week, the stores had donated $220,000, which translates to 4.4 million reusable uses.

But lapses of memory hamper the bags’ use.

“That’s a big issue for us, getting people to remember to put the bags back in their cars after they unpack their food at home and then remembering to bring the bags into the store with them,” Lo said. “Just having the bags isn’t enough. People aren’t going to use them if they’re not convenient.”

Some grocery stores are posting reminder signs in the parking lot and on their doors. Hennepin County is making available free “Don’t forget the bags!” window clings.

“I have a sticker in my car to remind me to bring reusable bags into the store, because I would often forget,” said Mia Olson of Bloomington. “But eventually it becomes habit-forming.”

Sometimes, however, even the best intentions go awry. Laura Toledo of Minneapolis admitted that even though she and her husband try to keep bags in the trunk of their car and put a couple of spare ones on a hook by the kitchen door, they still occasionally arrive at the checkout stand empty-handed.

Rather than buy even more bags, they have a backup plan.

“If we do forget our bags, we’ll take plastic at the store and re-use them at home,” she said. “We never throw them away right when we get home. We’re trying to save the environment in as many ways as possible, even small ones like this.”




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


22 February, 2013

New paper finds Antarctica has been gaining surface ice mass over past 150 years

A paper published today in The Cryosphere finds Antarctica has been gaining surface ice and snow accumulation over the past 150+ years, and finds acceleration in some areas noting, "a clear increase in accumulation of more than 10% has occurred in high Surface Mass Balance coastal regions and over the highest part of the East Antarctic ice divide since the 1960s."

Furthermore, the paper notes, "Global climate models suggest that Antarctic snowfall should increase in a warming climate and mitigate rises in the sea level."

According to the paper, Antarctic surface ice mass is presently growing by 2100 gigatons per year. Even the allegedly "vulnerable" West Antarctic Ice Sheet [WAIS] surface mass balance has not changed in 150+ years.
A synthesis of the Antarctic surface mass balance during the last 800 yr

By M. Frezzotti et al.


Global climate models suggest that Antarctic snowfall should increase in a warming climate and mitigate rises in the sea level. Several processes affect surface mass balance (SMB), introducing large uncertainties in past, present and future ice sheet mass balance. To provide an extended perspective on the past SMB of Antarctica, we used 67 firn/ice core records to reconstruct the temporal variability in the SMB over the past 800 yr and, in greater detail, over the last 200 yr.

Our SMB reconstructions indicate that the SMB changes over most of Antarctica are statistically negligible and that the current SMB is not exceptionally high compared to the last 800 yr. High-accumulation periods have occurred in the past, specifically during the 1370s and 1610s. However, a clear increase in accumulation of more than 10% has occurred in high SMB coastal regions and over the highest part of the East Antarctic ice divide since the 1960s.

To explain the differences in behaviour between the coastal/ice divide sites and the rest of Antarctica, we suggest that a higher frequency of blocking anticyclones increases the precipitation at coastal sites, leading to the advection of moist air in the highest areas, whereas blowing snow and/or erosion have significant negative impacts on the SMB at windy sites. Eight hundred years of stacked records of the SMB mimic the total solar irradiance during the 13th and 18th centuries. The link between those two variables is probably indirect and linked to a teleconnection in atmospheric circulation that forces complex feedback between the tropical Pacific and Antarctica via the generation and propagation of a large-scale atmospheric wave train.

The Cryosphere, 7, 303-319, 2013

Where were the appeals to feed starving polar bears in 1974?

Pesky! It is COLD that is bad for polar bears

The so-called “policy paper” that polar bear biologist Andrew Derocher has been promoting over the last few weeks, which I commented on briefly when the press release came out, is still grabbing headlines. Online news outlets continue to run stories on this bizarre discussion of what officials might decide to do 40 years from now if global warming causes Western Hudson Bay polar bears to spend 6 months on land (Molnar et al. 2010), causing some of those polar bears to starve (see here, here, and here) – as if this is something likely to happen within the next couple of years.

But forget imagined future starvation: where was the media attention on the plight of starving polar bears back in 1974 and 1975 when polar bears were actually starving in large numbers in the eastern Beaufort Sea?

At least two of the co-authors of the paper getting all the attention – Drs. Ian Stirling and Nick Lunn – witnessed polar bears starving in the Beaufort in 1974 because of an especially cold winter and said nothing – even though polar bear populations worldwide at the time were already low due to the wanton slaughter of previous decades. Did Stirling and Lunn humanely euthanize the bears they saw starving? Contact the media? [If they did, I’d like to know.] Appeal to governments to make a plan in case it happened again? Apparently not, because it did happen again, at least twice in the following two decades – with no attendant hue and cry then either. No, those Beaufort Sea bears starved to death, time and time again, without a word to the media from Ian Stirling and Nick Lunn.

Polar bear biologists have known for decades that polar bear populations can plummet when there is an especially cold winter that results in thick shorefast ice in the spring (Stirling and Lunn 1997; Stirling 2002) – I’ve discussed this in previous posts here and here. The devastating effects that heavy ice cover has had on polar bears in the eastern Beaufort Sea (see map below) has been documented for 1974 and 1984, with similar events inferred from anecdotal information for 1964 and 1992.


IPCC Head Rajendra Pachauri Acknowledges Global Warming Standstill

THE UN's climate change chief, Rajendra Pachauri, has acknowledged a 17-year pause in global temperature rises, confirmed recently by Britain's Met Office, but said it would need to last "30 to 40 years at least" to break the long-term global warming trend.

Dr Pachauri, the chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said that open discussion about controversial science and politically incorrect views was an essential part of tackling climate change.

In a wide-ranging interview on topics that included this year's record northern summer Arctic ice growth, the US shale-gas revolution, the collapse of renewable energy subsidies across Europe and the faltering European carbon market, Dr Pachauri said no issues should be off-limits for public discussion.

In Melbourne for a 24-hour visit to deliver a lecture for Deakin University, Dr Pachauri said that people had the right to question the science, whatever their motivations.

"People have to question these things and science only thrives on the basis of questioning," Dr Pachauri said.

He said there was "no doubt about it" that it was good for controversial issues to be "thrashed out in the public arena".

Dr Pachauri's views contrast with arguments in Australia that views outside the orthodox position of approved climate scientists should be left unreported.

Unlike in Britain, there has been little publicity in Australia given to recent acknowledgment by peak climate-science bodies in Britain and the US of what has been a 17-year pause in global warming. Britain's Met Office has revised down its forecast for a global temperature rise, predicting no further increase to 2017, which would extend the pause to 21 years.

Dr Pachauri said global average temperatures had plateaued at record levels and that the halt did not disprove global warming.

"The climate is changing because of natural factors and the impact of human actions," Dr Pachauri said.

"If you look at temperatures going back 150 years, there are clearly fluctuations which have occurred largely as a result of natural factors: solar activity, volcanic activity and so on.

"What is quite perceptible is, in the last 50 years, the trend is upwards.

"This is not to say you won't have ups and downs - you will - but what we should be concerned about is the trend, and that is being influenced now to a large extent by human actions."

He said that it would be 30 to 40 years "at least" before it was possible to say that the long-term upward trend in global temperatures had been broken.

"If you look at the last century, records tell you that the increase in average surface temperature has been 0.74C," he said.

"If you have five or 10 years when you don't have the same trend, that doesn't necessarily mean that you are deviating from the trend - you are still around the trend."

Dr Pachauri said the record accumulation of Arctic ice this northern summer - following a record melt last winter - was consistent with the current understanding of climate change.

He said the IPCC had "clearly specified there are going to be extreme precipitation events".

"If in the Arctic, for example, we get a huge amount of snowfall this year, you will get ice formation," Dr Pachauri said.

"That again is something that doesn't deviate from the trend, which time and again has shown that ice cover in the Arctic is shrinking."

Dr Pachauri said the IPCC was yet to finalise its estimates for sea-level rises and the contribution from melting ice sheets.

Commenting on the global energy transformation, Dr Pachauri said renewables faced an uncertain future in Europe, where public subsidies were being wound back and the carbon trading market had slumped.


Academic journal "Global Environmental Change" intolerant of dissent

Roger Pielke Jr

Five days ago I critiqued a shoddy paper by Brysse et al. 2013 which appeared in the journal Global Environmental Change. Today I received notice from the GEC editor-in chief and executive editor that I have been asked to "step down from the Editorial Board." They say that it is to "give other scientists the chance to gain experience of editorial duties."

Over the past 20 years I have served on the editorial boards of about a dozen or so academic journals. I have rolled off some when my term was up, and continued for many years with others. I have never received a mid-term request to step down from any journal. My 6 years with the GEC editorial board is not long in academia, and certainly much shorter than many other serving members.

Are my critique and the request to step down related? I can't say. It is interesting timing to be sure. Perhaps it is an odd coincidence. Perhaps not. I did reply by accepting their request and asking the following two questions which might help to clarify the terms of my release:

"Could you tell me which other members of the editorial board are being asked to step down at this time? And also, could you tell how many others have served on the board 6 years or longer and remain on the board?"

If I get a reply I will update this post.

UPDATE: I just checked the GEC editorial board from 2005, the year before I was invited to join ($ here). There are 13 members of the 2005 board who continue through 2013 ($ here). If those 13 members (of 38 total in 2013) have not all be asked to "step down" at this time, then yes, I am getting "special" treatment.

UPDATE 2: Neil Adger, editor of GEC, replies to explain, contrary to the earlier email, that I have been removed from the editorial board due to a perception of my "waning interest in the journal" citing my declining of 3 reviews last year (I'd guess overall that I declined 50 or more requests to review last year and took on about 12, welcome to academia;-). Of course, he could have asked about my interest before removing me from the Board. He did not comment on my critical blog post. I take his response to mean that I am indeed the only one who has been removed at this time. So there you have it, another climate ink blot. Coincidence? You be the judge.

UPDATE 3: Neil Adger has written a second email to me which has has asked me to post in the comments here. My response to him is here. And here is the original email from GEC dropping me from the Board. All info is in sight, people can make up their own minds about this academic tempest in a teapot.

I am of course happy to make way for other scientists to "gain the experience of editorial duties." However, if my critique of a GEC paper is in any way related to my removal from the editorial board, then the message being sent to those other scientists is pretty chilling. For my part, I value my academic freedom to offer critique as I see things far more than being allowed into certain clubs.


Explanatory note: The editors of the journal in question are:

Neil Adger, who is a member of the Tyndall Centre and was until recently at UEA.

Katrina Brown, who is a member of the Tyndall Centre and was until recently at UEA.

Declan Conway, who is a member of the Tyndall Centre and is at UEA.

In other words, all three are from one of the great temples of Warmism

Pat Robertson: Only ‘nutty’ Ph.D.s believe climate change causes more blizzards

Televangelist Pat Robertson on Thursday dismissed scientific evidence that large winter storms are linked to climate change, insisting that only “nutty” Ph.D.s believe the theory.

A Thursday 700 Club report pointed out that a recent Princeton study projected that there would be less overall snowfall, but larger snow storms and blizzards as carbon dioxide rates soared in the next 50 to 60 years.

“Only in Princeton would people say nutty things like that,” Robertson quipped. “You know, they get to be Ph.D.s and they wonder where they’ve studied and learned all these things. But I tell you, if you’re a true believer, bad things will happen because you see them coming.”


The Deadly Opposition to Genetically Modified Food

Vitamin A deficiency has killed 8 million kids in the last 12 years. Help is finally on the way

By Bjørn Lomborg

Finally, after a 12-year delay caused by opponents of genetically modified foods, so-called “golden rice” with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines. Over those 12 years, about 8 million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency. Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?

Golden rice is the most prominent example in the global controversy over GM foods, which pits a technology with some risks but incredible potential against the resistance of feel-good campaigning. Three billion people depend on rice as their staple food, with 10 percent at risk for vitamin A deficiency, which, according to the World Health Organization, causes 250,000 to 500,000 children to go blind each year. Of these, half die within a year. A study from the British medical journal the Lancet estimates that, in total, vitamin A deficiency kills 668,000 children under the age of 5 each year.

Yet, despite the cost in human lives, anti-GM campaigners—from Greenpeace to Naomi Klein—have derided efforts to use golden rice to avoid vitamin A deficiency. In India, Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist and adviser to the government, called golden rice “a hoax” that is “creating hunger and malnutrition, not solving it.”

The New York Times Magazine reported in 2001 that one would need to “eat 15 pounds of cooked golden rice a day” to get enough vitamin A. What was an exaggeration then is demonstrably wrong now. Two recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that just 50 grams (roughly two ounces) of golden rice can provide 60 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. They show that golden rice is even better than spinach in providing vitamin A to children.

Opponents maintain that there are better ways to deal with vitamin A deficiency. In its latest statement, Greenpeace says that golden rice is “neither needed nor necessary,” and calls instead for supplementation and fortification, which are described as “cost-effective.”

To be sure, handing out vitamin pills or adding vitamin A to staple products can make a difference. But it is not a sustainable solution to vitamin A deficiency. And, while it is cost-effective, recent published estimates indicate that golden rice is much more so.

Supplementation programs costs $4,300 for every life they save in India, whereas fortification programs cost about $2,700 for each life saved. Both are great deals. But golden rice would cost just $100 for every life saved from vitamin A deficiency.

Similarly, it is argued that golden rice will not be adopted, because most Asians eschew brown rice. But brown rice is substantially different in taste and spoils easily in hot climates. Moreover, many Asian dishes are already colored yellow with saffron, annatto, achiote, and turmeric. The people, not Greenpeace, should decide whether they will adopt vitamin A-rich rice for themselves and their children.

Most ironic is the self-fulfilling critique that many activists now use. Greenpeace calls golden rice a “failure,” because it “has been in development for almost 20 years and has still not made any impact on the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency.” But, as Ingo Potrykus, the scientist who developed golden rice, has made clear, that failure is due almost entirely to relentless opposition to GM foods—often by rich, well-meaning Westerners far removed from the risks of actual vitamin A deficiency.

Regulation of goods and services for public health clearly is a good idea; but it must always be balanced against potential costs—in this case, the cost of not providing more vitamin A to 8 million children during the past 12 years.

As an illustration, current regulations for GM foods, if applied to non-GM products, would ban the sale of potatoes and tomatoes, which can contain poisonous glycoalkaloids; celery, which contains carcinogenic psoralens; rhubarb and spinach (oxalic acid); and cassava, which feeds about 500 million people but contains toxic cyanogenic alkaloids. Foodstuffs like soy, wheat, milk, eggs, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, sesame, nuts, peanuts, and kiwi would likewise be banned, because they can cause food allergies.

Here it is worth noting that there have been no documented human health effects from GM foods. But many campaigners have claimed other effects. A common story, still repeated by Shiva, is that GM corn with Bt toxin kills Monarch butterflies. Several peer-reviewed studies, however, have effectively established that “the impact of Bt corn pollen from current commercial hybrids on monarch butterfly populations is negligible.”

Greenpeace and many others claim that GM foods merely enable big companies like Monsanto to wield near-monopoly power. But that puts the cart before the horse: The predominance of big companies partly reflects anti-GM activism, which has made the approval process so long and costly that only rich companies catering to First World farmers can afford to see it through.

Finally, it is often claimed that GM crops simply mean costlier seeds and less money for farmers. But farmers have a choice. More than 5 million cotton farmers in India have flocked to GM cotton, because it yields higher net incomes. Yes, the seeds are more expensive, but the rise in production offsets the additional cost.

Of course, no technology is without flaws, so regulatory oversight is useful. But it is worth maintaining some perspective. In 2010, the European Commission, after considering 25 years of GMO research, concluded that “there is, as of today, no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.”

Now, finally, golden rice will come to the Philippines; after that, it is expected in Bangladesh and Indonesia. But, for 8 million kids, the wait was too long.

True to form, Greenpeace is already protesting that “the next ‘golden rice’ guinea pigs might be Filipino children.” The 4.4 million Filipino kids with vitamin A deficiency might not mind so much.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


21 February, 2013

Extreme Weather Events are the new sea level rise

Contrary to expectations fueled by Al Gore's slideshow, Manhattan has not been submerged yet and sea levels remain generally un-alarming. So Warmists hardly mention sea level these days.

Extreme weather is MUCH juicier. We have had extreme weather events forever but people's memory of them is vague and people can easily be persuaded that recent events are anomalous. Studies of weather statistics show we are having FEWER EWEs lately but who needs statistics when you've got models?

Since the data are so pesky, however, even the modelers are having a struggle to justify their conclusions. It was all hanging out at a recent IPCC modelers meeting and Michael Kile fisks their agonizing ably below

Dr Peter Stott is now head of climate monitoring and attribution at the UK Met Office Hadley Centre. He was in Hobart in mid-January for the IPCC’s WG1-AR5 fourth Lead Author Meeting, with 254 other scientists from 39 countries. They met to “consider comments received during the Expert and Government Review of the Second Order Draft”.

As discussed previously, the global climate “conversation” has become all about EWE risk and “the odds of events.” Stott made this clear in a nine-minute ABC RN interview.

Stott: “You can’t say that a particular event - a particular heatwave or particular drought was definitely caused – or not caused – by climate change [ie: DACC, DAGW]. But what you can do is look at how the odds of events has changed. Is CC changing the odds, or making particular types of weather events more or less likely?”

ABC: You say event-attribution is an emerging science. How do you quantify how much is due to AGW as opposed to natural climate variability?

Stott: “You need to look very carefully at the observations. Then you need to use climate models to calculate the contribution which can be attributable to human influence, as opposed to natural variability. So what you are really trying to do is to detect the fingerprint of human influence and to distinguish it from other factors....

...What you are seeking to do is to compare the probability of having a heat-wave in a particular region as it exists at present with the probability we would have had if we had not changed the climate....

...It is also important to point out that not all of these EWEs will be shown to have had a significant contribution from climate change [ie: DAGW, DACC]. Many of them will, but some of them also will be attributed more to the natural variability of the climate.”

But can climate models ever determine accurately the AGW contribution attributable to human influence, as opposed to natural variability? Is there something fishy going on here? What is the probability that climate changes all by itself?

Stott: “What we have done in this brand-new report is to gather analyses; to have looked at some EWEs of the previous year and put them in the context of climate variability and change.”

Stott’s “brand-new report” -- a research paper in the Bulletin of American Meteorological Society, Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 from a Climate Perspective -- had received, he said, “a very, very positive response from the scientific community ... the first example of near-real time attribution of a number of important extreme events occurring in one year.”

Stott did not mention the uncertainty monster during the interview, but he did admit that “to carry out such analyses and to make sure they are peer-reviewed and robust, this is really stretching the ability of the science and the scientists.”

His BAMS paper was more emphatic, stressing that “explaining the causes of specific extreme events in near-real time is severely stretching the current state of the science.” Nevertheless, he hoped this would the first of many annual EWE reports.

The IPCC, not surprisingly, agrees with him: “Extreme climate events can cause widespread damage and have been projected [not predicted] to become more frequent as the world warms”. But even it admitted last year that “it is often not clear which extremes matter the most, and how and why they are changing” (IPCC interdisciplinary workshop, 2012).

Another joint-authored paper -- Attribution of Weather and Climate-related Extreme Events -- presented to the 2011 World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) conference, gives a revealing glimpse inside the EWE sausage – and it sure ain’t pretty. Event attribution, we learn, is a very tricky business. Yet despite big challenges, such as whether “causal factors [for climate events and extremes] can be identified and model deficiencies addressed,” Stott insists that further ACE research “could lead to improved predictions of such events in the future.”

Attribution seems to come down to a dodgy three-way bet -- and loaded dice.

Here’s the bet: “Human influences have increased the risk of some extreme weather- and climate-related events, reduced the risk of others and, for some may not have affected the risk substantially”. Whatever the outcome, Team ACE can explain it away.

Here are the loaded dice: “A finding that human influence has not contributed substantially to the magnitude of a particular EWE may not be incompatible with a finding that human influences substantially altered the odds of such an event happening (especially a particular threshold exceedence).”

Heads I win, tails you lose.

Stott does admit, however, initial studies “highlight many of the challenges still to be faced”, the “considerable uncertainties that remain”, the uncertainty around alleged “causal links” and “whether relevant processes are captured adequately” by models.

One of them will be required reading in the “de-biasing” gulags proposed by pro-AGW social psychologists and purveyors of what might be called Lewandowsky Logic. It argues that “some cold events are consistent with the inter-play of on-going global warming and internal variability”.

A research group (Perlwitz et al) studied the “very cool 2008 climate conditions” in North America that “diverted strongly from the long-term warming trend observed over previous years”. Their “suite of model experiments” apparently “showed that an anthropogenic warming of North American temperature was overwhelmed by a particularly strong bout of naturally induced cooling resulting from the continent’s sensitivity to widespread coolness of the tropical and north-eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures.”

The study’s implications:

“...that the cool year in 2008 did not indicate that the climate was likely to embark upon a prolonged period of cooling and, on the contrary, the pace of North American warming was more likely to resume in coming years.”

As they say, go figure!

Stott’s concluding comments are also revealing: “While it is possible for an attribution service [such as ACE] to provide quantitative results, it is much harder to provide carefully validated results that include sufficient well-calibrated information that would enable a user to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of the information provided.” Needless to say, “in the interim it will be important to manage expectations."

In other words, don’t expect too much from us anytime soon.

Future “progress” apparently depends on – inter alia – “effective communication of attribution results, including remaining uncertainties”. Given we are told they are considerable, why do we rarely hear about them? It may be “effective” for ACE, but is it being economical with the truth?

No surprise, then, to discover even the UN-funded WCRP describes the quest for an atmospheric El Dorado - a “science underpinning the prediction and attribution of extreme events” - as a "Grand Challenge". Indeed, so much of a challenge that for David Karoly – who was at Team Ace’s foundation meeting four years ago in Boulder, Colorado – WCRP’s ambitious “climate information service” concept is only at "first draft" stage and still “needs consultation and feedback” from the CLIVAR, ETCCDI, GEWEX, WGSIP and WGCM model groups.

We learn something else from Karoly, too: there are “conceptual difficulties in validating model results against observations, first of all associated with (but not limited to) co-location in space and grid-cell data versus point measurements.”

Furthermore, any “improvements in longer term predictions of changes in the frequency and intensity of EWEs” will require “improved representation of key processes in climate models” and resolution of other complex issues.

When did the orthodoxy’s “authoritative” voice ever stress – or mention publicly - there are “conceptual difficulties” with the very models being used to determine EWE “probabilities”?

When did it reveal that “little is currently known about the predictability of the frequency of daily extremes at long lead times”? Does the political class know – or care - that “much work is needed to take careful account of uncertainty when delivering forecasts of extremes [EWEs] to users”? (Karoly, WGSP, 2012, white paper, I3).

When the word “mystery” appears in a peer-reviewed paper, it is time to sit up and pay attention. Did the 255 scientists in Hobart last month do so? Did they discuss the implications of this paper -The mystery of recent stratospheric temperature trends -- during their one-week IPCC lead author meeting?

If not, they should; for it challenges the orthodoxy’s “settled science” mantra. As blogger Doug Hoffman explained here last month: Imagine part of the atmosphere

“that is literally only 10km from anywhere on Earth, a component of our environment that science thought it understood quite well. Now imagine the embarrassment when a major review in a noted journal finds that previous datasets associated with this component are wrong - and have been wrong for more than a quarter of a century. Yet that is precisely what has happened. The area is the stratosphere. The impact of this report is devastating for climate scientists and atmospheric modellers everywhere.”

Even worse, the paper’s authors concluded “the new data call into question our understanding of observed stratospheric temperature trends and our ability to test simulations of the stratospheric response to emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances.”

Seeking laws of climate-change and attribution? Prepare yourself for a long wait. Some (funded) studies can go on forever. How many climateers can dance on the head of a pin, or tango on the hot-plate of uncertainty? How many other “mysteries” are lurking in the belly of the catastrophist beast?


As The Consensus Among Scientists Crumbles, Global Warming Alarmists Attack Their Integrity

Global warming alarmists are attacking the integrity of scientists, desperately seeking to minimize the damage presented by a recent survey of geoscientists and engineers regarding global warming.

A recent survey of more than 1,000 geoscientists (commonly known as earth scientists) and engineers reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies found that only 36 percent agree with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assertion that humans are causing a serious global warming problem. By contrast, a majority of scientists in the survey believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

Global warming alarmists, desperate to restore the shattered remains of their fictitious global warming consensus, spent the last week in overdrive expressing outrage and attacking the scientists participating in the survey. Their asserted arguments go something like this:

Argument 1

The survey consisted of geoscientists and engineers in Alberta, Canada, which has the highest per capita of geoscientists and engineers in North America. Oil companies and companies in related industries employ many of these geoscientists and engineers. These scientists are therefore biased and do not represent geoscientists and engineers as a whole.

Argument 2

Geoscientists and engineers are not qualified to give an informed opinion on global warming. Only atmospheric scientists are qualified to do so.

Argument 3

The survey takers claim their survey is not strong evidence against the mythical global warming consensus, therefore skeptics cannot cite the survey while debating the mythical consensus.

Let’s address the first two arguments first. These arguments would be plausible, and perhaps might even be persuasive, except that alarmists have been saying exactly the opposite for decades. When alarmists say that scientists can be biased based on their career path, and that only atmospheric scientists are qualified to give informed opinions on global warming, they are engaging in the most laughable form of hypocrisy.

Let’s start with Argument 1.

Skeptics frequently point out that claims of an alarmist global warming consensus rely on tainted, biased participant pools. Donna Laframboise, for example, has documented absurd bias and activism with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), where environmental activists drive the IPCC findings in their roles as lead authors. Similarly, I documented how environmental activists directed the findings of a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) global warming report and how nearly all of the 23 NAS authors were already on the record as being global warming alarmists before being chosen to write the report.

Additionally, an often misrepresented survey claiming 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing a global warming crisis (actually, the survey asked merely whether some warming has occurred and whether humans are playing at least a partial role – two questions to which I would answer yes), restricted its participant pool to government scientists and scientists working for institutions dependent on government grants. Scientists who work for – or are funded by – government institutions know that their funding will dry up and their jobs will disappear if and when global warming stops being an asserted crisis.

When skeptics point out these blatant biases, however, alarmists claim that scientists by their very nature are immune from having their environmental activist affiliations, the source of their paychecks or their preexisting advocacy for global warming restrictions influence their research and scientific opinions. Skeptics who call attention to such biases are demonized as “attacking scientists” or “attacking science” itself.

So which is it? Skeptics are willing to play by any set of rules alarmists make, just so long as the rules are consistently applied. Alarmists can’t have it both ways. Scientists’ career choice, salary dependency, and preexisting sociopolitical points of view either taint their objectivity or do not taint their objectivity. They do not taint skeptics’ objectivity while failing to taint alarmists’ objectivity. When alarmists make duplicitous claims to the contrary, they are about as intellectually compelling as Vizzini attempting to divine the location of the poisonous iocane powder in The Princes Bride.

Now let’s address Argument 2.

Skeptics frequently point out how people who have little or no atmospheric science education dominate the IPCC, the NAS report and other so-called “consensus” reports. People without advanced science degrees and degrees in fields other than atmospheric science serve as lead authors for IPCC. Less than a quarter of the authors of the NAS report have degrees relating in any significant way to atmospheric science. Heck, the godfather of global warming alarmism, James Hansen, is an astronomer. The head of the IPCC , Raj Pachauri, is a railroad engineer.

Alarmists claim that their scientists’ lack of in-depth training in atmospheric science does not diminish their authority to speak on global warming issues. Skeptics who point out such shortcomings are, again, accused of attacking scientists or attacking science itself.


Climate fear-mongers’ blind faith in suspect and shoddy science

There have always been priests and shamans who claim that their rituals can "fix" the weather but there is still nothing that actually works. The wish is mother to the faith, however

Bill McKibben, founder of, spoke on Sunday at the “Forward on Climate Rally” in Washington, D.C. He said, “Science should have decided our course long ago.” He was right. If only environmental policy were based on what science really says, billions of dollars would not have been wasted trying to “contain climate change,” as nonsensically demanded of President Obama this past weekend.

No matter what Mr. McKibben and Al Gore tell us, experts in the field understand that climate science is highly immature. We are in a period of “negative discovery,” in that the more we learn about climate, the more we realize we do not know. This problem is compounded by the fact that much of the data used by campaigners to try to convince the public that we are in an unusual period climatically is either wrong or highly suspect.

Rather than “remove the doubt,” as Mr. Gore tells us should be done, we must recognize the doubt in this, arguably the most complex science ever tackled.

The confidence expressed by Mr. Gore, Mr. McKibben and Mr. Obama that mankind is causing dangerous climate change is a consequence of a belief in what professors Chris Essex (University of Western Ontario) and Ross McKitrick (University of Guelph) call the “Doctrine of Certainty.” This doctrine is “a collection of now familiar assertions about climate that are to be accepted without question” (“Taken by Storm,” 2007).

Mr. Essex and Mr. McKitrick explain, “But the Doctrine is not true. Each assertion is either manifestly false or the claim to know is false. Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.”

Yet, as long ago as 1989, Mr. Gore insisted there was “no dispute worthy of recognition” about the dangers of man-made climate change. Since then, his certainty, and that of the U.N. and most member governments, has solidified into a dogma that few politicians, media, educators or industry leaders dare question.

Yet that dogma is being questioned by more and more reputable scientists who are finally speaking out in an organized fashion. For example, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) shows that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has unjustifiably downplayed research that suggests variations in solar output have far greater impact on global climate than all human activities combined. The NIPCC demonstrates that much of the science being relied upon by governments to create multi-billion dollar climate policies is likely wrong.

Climate change and extreme weather have always happened and always will, no matter what we do. Therefore, instead of foolishly trying to stop them from occurring, we need to adapt to such phenomena by preparing our societies for these inevitable events.

Adaptation measures would include burying electrical cables underground, reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure and preparing for a continuation of sea level rise. We must also ensure reliable, affordable energy so that we have the power to heat and cool our dwellings as needed. For this reason, the president must expand, not shrink, the use of America’s cheapest, most reliable and most abundant energy source — coal — which generates half the country’s electricity. Replacing significant amounts of conventional fossil fuel and nuclear power with intermittent and diffuse sources such as wind and solar power, as groups like are demanding, is irrational.

It is time to listen to reputable experts who say that, while someday we may be able to meaningfully predict climate, it is not possible now. The science fiction of attempting to actually control global climate through impractical energy policies will simply leave us hungry and freezing in the dark.

That may not be a comforting thought for the thousands who braved the elements to demonstrate on the Mall on Sunday, but that is the true climate reality.


The Green Lobby Is Destroying The British Economy

IMAGINE a different future. We are now so used to rising energy prices – they’ve gone up 159 per cent since 2004 – that they have come to seem an inevitable part of life.

That’s certainly what Energy Secretary Ed Davey tells us, saying it’s impossible to “turn back the tide” of rising energy prices.

But instead of unrelenting increases, instead of a collapse in our capacity to generate energy and instead of fears that we will soon be in hock to Russian gas oligarchs, imagine a different story.

Imagine the price of gas falling by two-thirds in less than a decade. Imagine electricity prices crashing by more than a quarter in less than a year. It sounds like a fantasy. Too good to be true.

A little later I shall tell you why it needn’t be. But first let us reflect on Britain’s actual energy policy.

Yesterday Alistair Buchanan, the departing head of energy regulator Ofgem, warned that our energy reserves are “uncomfortably tight”.

If we think the rises in energy prices have been bad enough already then we need to think again. This, he said, is only the start.

As Mr Buchanan put it, the combination of British power plants closing, foreign gas supplies shrinking and demand for energy rising has tipped us perilously close to the edge. He is simply stating the obvious.

Our energy policy is no longer dictated by the need to keep supply plentiful and cheap which for decades was the basis of all planning. Today energy policy is framed with only one factor in mind: satisfying the green lobby.

It is, to be blunt, mad. Next month we are forcing 10 per cent of our energy production plants to close in order to meet environmental targets.

They are in full working order. No matter. They will be boarded up by order of the state.

There is no starker example of the disconnect between the political classes and the rest of us. For the political classes – all three main parties are as one over this – the only thing that matters is signing treaties on global warming.

They love nothing more than flying off to summits parading their green hearts. Only when they get home does reality strike and we have to start implementing their deals.

Five years ago we lived in a different world. Growth was not just a cherished wish but a reality. For many people climate change was the most pressing problem faced by the world.

And so green treaties seemed prescient – an example, it was proclaimed, of foresight and good stewardship of the planet.

But actions have consequences.

And we are now paying the price of the green lobby persuading governments to rip up decades of energy policy and start again.

Some of the less starry-eyed analysts warned at the time that by 2015 there would be an energy crunch as coal and oil plants were closed to meet EU green energy rules.

Added to that wasteful subsidies for wind power, a minimum price for carbon (due to come into effect on April 1) which would push up prices and the failure to bolster nuclear supplies have all added to the mix. And then came the financial crash.

In the pre-crash world the green obsession might, just, have been manageable if we actually wanted to throw money away on inefficient and unnecessarily expensive energy supplies. But in today’s world it is economic madness.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey thinks rising energy prices are now out of control

"Five years ago we lived in a different world. Growth was not just a cherished wish but a reality. For many people climate change was the most pressing problem faced by the world. "
Not one of the coal or oil plants now being closed needs to shut. The only reason they are being tossed aside is because of our green obligations.

Soaring energy costs are the opposite of what the economy needs as it limps from one quarter to another. We need to reduce the price of energy.

And yet governments – this one and the last – have constructed a new energy system calculated to inflate costs.

What is truly enraging about the perfect storm of energy chaos into which we are now plunging headfirst is that none of it is necessary.

The “fantasy” scenario I sketched above is, you see, no fantasy at all. It is the story of energy prices in the US over the past few years. Two huge economies. Two nations with vast energy needs. One – the US – has chosen to meet those needs and put its people first.

Another – the UK – has chosen the opposite path.

Because as well as saddling ourselves with crippling green commitments we have turned our backs on the new technology and method which has brought about such a revolution in the US: fracking.

In America the extraction of shale gas from rocks (fracking) has transformed everything. In one state alone – Pennsylvania – production of natural gas went from zero to more than the North Sea’s entire output in four years.

Gas prices in the US are now just 20 per cent of the equivalent price of oil.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that the US will overtake Russia as the world’s biggest producer of natural gas by 2015 and by 2020 will produce more oil than Saudi Arabia.

Yet in the UK we let the green lobby sneer at fracking and barely even pay lip-service to its possibilities, at the same time as we close down productive power plants and stand back watching while prices go through the stratosphere.

The political classes have treated the rest of us with contempt.

When Ed Davey says the only way for prices to go is up he is talking, quite simply, nonsense. And he is treating the rest of us as idiots.


British government invests another £37m in electric cars despite only 2,000 being sold last year

The electric car industry was handed a £37million boost by the taxpayer yesterday – even though only 2,300 were sold last year.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced a subsidy for homes and businesses which fit plug-in points for the cars.

It will pay up to three-quarters of the installation costs, which range from £1,000 to £10,000.
Hospitals, police and public bodies may have the full price paid.

The government wants to encourage the ownership of electric cars, such as the Vauxhall Ampera (pictured)

The government wants to encourage the ownership of electric cars, such as the Vauxhall Ampera (pictured)

The news comes amid fears that battery-powered cars are losing their spark with drivers.

Only 3,200 have sold in the last two years – less than 1 per cent of the total market – despite green discounts of £5,000 per car.

In 2012 just 2,237 electric cars were sold and registered for the ‘plug-in car grant’, though that is double the figure of 1,052 in 2011 and a big increase on the 111 in 2010.

Studies show the fear of losing power on the road is a top reason people do not use the vehicles.

Mr McLoughlin announced the subsidy on a visit to Sunderland, where Nissan produces its Leaf electric car. He said he wanted Britain to be a world leader in the electric car industry.

But he rejected criticisms that electric sales were poor because they were only of use in towns, and insisted manufacturers would not be making them if there were not a market for them: ‘They are fantastic cars.’

The new multi-million pound funding package aims to kick-start home and on-street charging, as well as the creation of new charge points for people parking plug-in vehicles at railway stations, by offering subsidies covering up to 75 per cent of the cost of installing the charging points.

Hospitals, the police and other public bodies are set to have the full cost of the installation covered.

The announcement was made at Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation next to Nissan’s site in Sunderland.

The cash-boost follows a critical report by MP watchdogs in September which said electric car sales are stalling except as ‘subsidised second cars for the rich’ allowing the affluent middle classes to run around town and appear environmentally-friendly. The MP’s report said Government grants were ‘subsidising second cars for affluent households’.

It concluded that despite the £5,000 per car ‘green’ subsidy, electric vehicles have lost their spark and proved too expensive for most motorists. Past failure by ministers to provide enough public plug-in power points also means electric car sales had fallen flat threatening an end to the Government’s electric dreams, said the report by the House of Commons transport Select Committee.

The Department for Transport said the £37million funding for the package comes from the Government’s £400million commitment to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission or ‘green’ vehicles and is available until April 2015.

Installing a charge-point in a home costs about £1,000-£1,500, while rapid chargers can cost around £45,000. A charge-point capable of charging two vehicles at once in residential streets or train stations costs around £10,000.

The full package announced today includes up to £13.5million for a 75per cent grant for homeowners who want domestic charge-point installed at their. There is also an £11million fund for councils in England to install on-street charging for residents who have a plug in vehicle but do not have off-street parking.

Up to £9million is being made available to fund charge-points at railway stations.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: ‘This investment underlines the Government’s commitment to making sure that the UK is a world leader in the electric car industry.

‘Plug in vehicles can help the consumer by offering a good driving experience and low running costs. They can help the environment by cutting pollution. And most importantly of all, they can help the British economy by creating skilled manufacturing jobs in a market that is bound to get bigger.’

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: ‘Today’s announcement will make the consumer environment for plug-in vehicles more attractive and, in turn, makes the UK a more compelling place to invest.’

John Martin, Nissan’s senior vice president for manufacturing, said: ‘We are delighted that the UK Government is showing it shares our commitment to the transport of the future.’

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders welcomed the move which it said would ‘boost confidence’ in the electric car market.


Climate sceptic in Tasmania

LORD Christopher Monckton, one of the world's best-known climate change sceptics, breezes into Tasmania today with a warning the Greens are the new totalitarians and Labor is not much better.

Speaking from Melbourne yesterday, the outspoken British peer said there had been no measurable global warming for at least 16 years and quite likely longer, despite increases in carbon dioxide emissions. Lord Monckton said the science was collapsing around the alarmists and ordinary people were angry at the lies that had been told.

He said much of the debate was driven by left-wing politics. "The Greens are too yellow to admit they are reds," he said. "Labor is frighteningly close.

"The totalitarian left thinks they know best how we should live. It's about increasing the ability to interfere in every aspect of our lives, down to the last dim, flickering light bulb."

Lord Monckton described Australia's carbon tax as "fantastically cost-ineffective".

If the whole world adopted Australia's carbon tax scheme for 10 years, it would cost $317 trillion or 59 per cent of global GDP. This amounted to $45,000 for every person and all it would achieve was to forestall warming by about one sixth of one degree. It would be 36 times more expensive than paying the cost of adaptation to any climate change.

While carbon dioxide did have some effect on temperatures, he believed it was vastly overstated. He dismissed the idea of a scientific consensus as intellectual baby talk. "Science is a matter of verifiable proof. Climate science is much slipperier."

Asked about warming of the sea along Tasmania's East Coast, he said Australia was one of the only places where warm currents had had any effect, but the Great Barrier Reef had experienced no temperature change at all.

Lord Monckton is speaking at the University of Tasmania's Sir Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre in Hobart tonight at 7.30




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


20 February, 2013

The new robber barons: Government regulators

An oil and natural gas boom is underway in the United States, born of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” It has created tens of thousands of well-paying jobs directly, and hundreds of thousands more in hundreds of businesses that supply and support the industry and its workers.

In North Dakota, the unemployment rate is 2.4 percent, in large part because of a huge increase in natural gas and crude oil production from deep shale rocks that yielded nothing prior to fracking. The new technology is also driving job growth, higher incomes, and increased tax revenues for hard-pressed state and local governments in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas and other states.

Meanwhile, 350 miles north of Edmonton, Alberta, other innovators are producing billions of barrels from oil sands that stretch across an area the size of Utah. Shallow deposits are accessible via surface mining, while deeper lodes are tapped using in situ drilling and steam injection. As work is completed in an area, the land is restored to woodlands, grasslands, lakes and marshes, and the process moves on.

As with fracking, the oil sands create tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and generate billions in revenue, benefitting people from Fort McMurray, Calgary and Vancouver to Ottawa and Halifax, and throughout the United States. Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline would multiply these benefits.

And yet, despite ample evidence that responsible development of these enormous energy resources could power a national economic, manufacturing and employment renaissance, the Obama Administration’s environmental ideologies and political debts to radical green groups could delay or stymie progress.

The new robber barons in the Executive Branch and Congress are not content only with taxing job creators and saddling our children and great grandchildren with trillion-dollar IOUs. They are using hard-earned tax money to finance wind, solar, biofuel and other schemes that primarily reward crony capitalist campaign contributors. They’re also locking up centuries’ of oil, gas, coal and uranium that could generate an economic revival, millions of jobs, and many billions in federal, state and local royalty and tax revenues.

Some say the way these robber barons use, abuse and ignore laws to advance this agenda reminds them of the infamous James Gang, which plundered banks and trains until Northfield, Minnesota citizens ended their lawless ways. Others say a better example is the Chicago-based Al Capone mob.

Still others point to the Capitol Hill “fiscal cliff” negotiations, as providing clues as to what lies ahead. President Obama says he favors a “balanced” approach to avoid fiscal calamity, but insists on raising taxes on high-income citizens – and will not discuss reining in entitlement expenditures that are lead life preservers on taxpayers and our economy. His Treasury Secretary tells us, “There are no options.”

The President’s unique concept of “balance” also defines his “all of the above” energy program. Like Humpty Dumpty, his words mean just what he chooses them to mean – as in all of the above-ground projects, but none of the below-ground resources. Perhaps the real question is, who is to be master … of our lives, natural resources, nation and pursuit of happiness?

Thus the Administration banned oil development on 1.6 million more acres of federal lands in the West and millions more on the Outer Continental Shelf, while delaying leasing and drilling in still more areas – on top of vast acreage and resources that Congress placed off limits through legislation. The ruling czars and robber barons also imposed ethanol-in-gasoline requirements that turn 40% of the nation’s corn crop into fuel, converting an area the size of Missouri from growing food crops to producing fuel that we could get by drilling, and driving up the cost of countless food products.

Their wind and solar programs waste billions of tax dollars on expensive, unreliable electricity projects that blanket habitats and steal our wildlife heritage, in violation of clear environmental laws.

Meanwhile, EPA issued still more hugely expensive rules that effectively ban the use of coal in electricity generation – sending coal’s contribution from 45% a few years ago to 35% today, and killing thousands of mining and utility jobs. Its latest rules demand that the transportation sector slash its soot emissions another 20% – ostensibly to reduce asthma, other illnesses and “thousands” of premature deaths.

In reality, the only health or environmental benefits exist in EPA computer models, press releases and cover-ups of illegal experiments on humans, whose response to being subjected to “dangerous” levels of soot actually disproved EPA’s claim that tougher standards are needed. EPA has also ignored the significant health risks caused by its regulations, especially for now unemployed older workers.

In the midst of all this, at the just concluded United Nations climate change negotiations in Doha, Qatar, Obama Administration representatives entertained brazen proposals to require developed countries to compensate less developed countries for “climate change damages” – under a wealth redistribution scheme that could potentially cost United States taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. Also in the works are EPA rules, laws and treaty agreements to force the US to curb fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions.

Inconvenient facts about these decisions were simply ignored – or treated much the same way as Steven Spielberg handled his powerful and entertaining Lincoln movie. It was released after the 2012 elections, many believe, so that minority and other voters would learn too late that it was our sixteenth president and other Republicans who championed the end of slavery – and northern and southern Democrats who fought to prevent passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, outlawing the heinous practice.

The robber barons say whatever is expedient – and then pursue policies that undermine the overall public welfare, while postponing many costly and politically explosive actions until after elections.

They also ignore and undermine the recent International Energy Agency forecast that, by 2020, the USA could be producing more oil than Saudi Arabia, currently the largest oil producer on the globe, thanks to advances in seismic, fracking, deepwater drilling and other technologies. A March 2012 Citi Global Problems and Solutions report painted a clear picture of the benefits that domestic energy development could bring – if government “public servants” and environmental “public interest” groups would permit it.

Cumulatively, the new production, reduced consumption and numerous activities associated with these technologies “could increase real GDP by an additional 2% to 3%, creating from 2.7 million to as many as 3.6 million net new jobs by 2020,” the Citi report stated. They could also shrink America’s “current account deficit” by 2.4% of GDP (a 60% reduction in the current budget deficit) and cause the dollar to appreciate in real terms by +1.6 to +5.4% – all by 2020.

In the next few decades, Citi concluded, the energy sector “could drive an extraordinary and timely revitalization and reindustrialization of the U.S. economy, creating jobs and bringing prosperity to millions of Americans, just as the national economy struggles to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.” It would also “improve national energy security and reverse perennial current account deficits” for decades to come.

However, as the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research has made clear, these enormous benefits “are at risk if new restrictions are imposed on the industry, from delays in approval of liquid natural gas exports, to opposition to expanding ports for coal and gas export, to opposition to pipelines and refineries, and to the threat of redundant federal regulations on the technology of hydraulic fracturing.” Worse, foregoing these enormous benefits would bring little or no improvement to the environment or human welfare.

Abundant, reliable, affordable energy is the backbone of the US and global economy. Perhaps one day renewable energy will become a viable alternative to the hydrocarbons that sustain jobs and energize virtually everything we make, ship, eat and do. Until then, America and the world need to promote regulatory sanity and increased production of our enormous base of coal, oil and natural gas resources.


Why the world isn't running out of oil

Decades ago, the world was told it was running on empty. Today, we have more oil than we need. What’s fuelling the boom in black gold?

On the evening of April 18 1977, President Jimmy Carter invited television cameras into the Oval Office and portentously announced to the American people that “tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes.”

The unprecedented problem was energy. Or rather, the lack of it. “We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources,” said the 39th President of the United States. “The oil and natural gas we rely on for 75 per cent of our energy are running out.”

Carter’s talk was poorly received. Americans didn’t appreciate the apocalyptic message, still less his vision for tackling the situation, with its rather schoolmasterly demand for a collective show of moral backbone. But hardly anyone questioned his facts. And yet he was about as wrong as he could be. Far from running out, oil and natural gas reserves were, if not inexhaustible, then unfathomably vast. Nobody knew that then, but they do now.

Moreover, as well as bountiful oilfields in North America, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other producers in the Middle East, there are massive, barely tapped reserves in South America, Africa and the Arctic: not billions of barrels’ worth, but trillions. So the planet is not about to run out of oil. On the contrary, according to a Harvard University report published last year, we are heading for a glut.

The 75-page study, by oil executive Leonardo Maugeri, was based on a field-by-field analysis of most of the major oil exploration and development projects in the world, and it predicted a 20 per cent increase in global oil production by 2020.

In particular, the report highlighted the deep-water reservoirs in Brazil’s Santos basin, which are thought to hold as much as 150 billion barrels of oil, Venezuela’s “extra-heavy” oil in the Orinoco Belt, estimated at 1.2 trillion barrels, the oil sands in Canada, the Kwanza basin in Angola, and the Bakken and Three Forks fields in North Dakota and Montana, in the United States, which, Maugeri said, “could become the equivalent of a Persian Gulf-producing country” all on their own.

And the reason for this boom? A technological revolution that is transforming the way we both find and extract oil.

“We, as an industry, are now able to see what we had previously not been able to see, and find what we previously had not been able to find,” says Gerald Schotman, Shell’s chief technology officer, who is based in The Hague. “But we are also able to make more out of these reserves, by being cleverer about the ways we manage them.”

One of the greatest advances, and the procedure that’s dominated the headlines in recent years, for both good reasons and bad, is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In essence, fracking is a way of releasing oil or gas that is tightly bound up in shale rock, using immensely powerful water pumps exerting a pressure of up to 20,000 pounds per sq inch. Fracking was actually pioneered in Kansas in the Forties but it is only recently, thanks to numerous improvements, that it has become economically viable. Oil previously thought unreachable is now within our grasp.

And nobody is exploiting these advances with more enthusiasm than America. In just six years, the number of barrels being produced by the Bakken formation, a unit of shale rock occupying about 200,000 sq miles stretching from Montana to North Dakota, has increased 100-fold — from 6,000 a day to 600,000 a day – and made North Dakota the second-biggest oil producer in America, after Texas. The population of the main town, Williston, has tripled in 10 years as truck drivers and oilfield workers (not to mention strippers) have flocked there from all over recession-hit America. North Dakota has new businesses and new hospital wings, but also an infrastructure groaning under the weight of the influx. There is also a vociferous campaign against fracking by environmental groups who say the technique has the potential to contaminate underground water supplies, cause minor earthquakes and pollute the environment with vast quantities of toxic wastewater.

Supporters of fracking insist these dangers can be mitigated. And they point out the huge benefits. The boom in North Dakota is rapidly transforming America from a net importer of oil to a net exporter, thus reducing its dependency on the Middle East. China, Russia and Argentina, impressed by the results in the US, are also pushing ahead with their own fracking operations. And Linc Energy announced just last month that it was hoping to extract 233 billion barrels of oil from shale rock in the Australian outback, with a potential worth of £13 trillion.

But fracking is just one of many remarkable breakthroughs behind the new boom. As well as helping producers release so-called “tight oil”, technology has found a way to get at oil that’s mixed with sand and clay, known as tar sand, the largest deposits of which occur in Canada.

Again, like shale oil, extraction had been dismissed as economically unviable, but new processes that involve steam-heating the sands have made it a sound proposition; Canada is now producing up to 1.9 million barrels a day from oil sand projects, although, like fracking, it has attracted huge protests. Al Gore, the climate campaigner, has described tar sands as “the dirtiest source of liquid fuel you can imagine”, and labelled plans to build a major new pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Texas Gulf, as “insane”.

The oil boom has also been fueled by new, more accurate methods of drilling. The invention of horizontal drilling means even if the surface site is several miles off target, companies are able to drill downwards and then turn sideways to get to the bottom of the well. A rig 300 miles out at sea can steer a drill down five miles, out five miles, and come within a couple of inches of the bullseye. In short, it means there is virtually no chance of drilling a dry well; oil companies had a 99 per cent success rate in 2011.

Companies are drilling deeper than ever before, too. The Yastreb rig on Sakhalin Island, just off the east coast of Russia, has set numerous industry records and, last August, its operators announced they’d drilled the world’s longest extended-reach well, plunging eight miles into the Earth – which is deeper than Mount Everest is high.

At the moment, basic geometry prevents anybody going much deeper than that. As Lance Cook, chief operating officer for Shell Projects & Technology in China, explains, the well bores have to be reinforced with steel, so that they don’t collapse, but the only way to sink the individual steel casings is for each one to be marginally smaller than the one before.

And, as Archimedes would have understood, that imposes limitations on depth. “If, right now, a company wanted to drill to 20 miles, say, the first casing string would probably have to be bigger than the building I’m sitting in,” says Cook on the phone from China.

Technology, however, has an unstoppable forward momentum, and what seems mind-boggling now will soon seem old-fashioned. In the past 10 years Shell has developed a technology called mono-diameter which will allow it to drop one steel casing through another, and then expand it to the same dimensions. In theory, this will facilitate the drilling of much deeper wells, although engineers still have to work out how to stop the steel melting at such depths.

As for the $64,000 question, that of where exactly the oil lies, there is a relentless quest for answers. Geologists at least know where not to look; hydrocarbons are formed by tiny decayed plants, algae and bacteria, which exist up to the outer reaches of the continental shelf, but not beyond, so mid-ocean drilling is pointless.

Closer to land, however, so-called “seismic vessels” trail between 10 and 20 cables, each up to nine miles long, probing sonically for oil and gas deposits. “With their trailing gear they are easily the largest man-made moving objects on Earth,” says Robin Walker, vice-president of marketing for WesternGeco, which operates a number of these behemothic ships. And they are properly huge. The biggest of them, Ramform Sterling, owned not by WesternGeco but a Norwegian company called PGS, carries 400 tons of highly sensitive electronic equipment deployed over an area equivalent to 830 football pitches.

Each seismic vessel uses an air gun to fire acoustic pulses of compressed air into the water. Sound waves then bounce off the underwater rock and are picked up by the streamers, which contain underwater microphones. By studying this data, geologists can then map reservoirs and identify whether they’re filled with oil, gas or merely water.

In the Seventies, seismic vessels tended to be converted fishing-boats, and the technology was only two-dimensional. Today they are custom built, cost up to £160m and use 3D imaging, greatly improving their accuracy. They are not infallible. Sometimes, the streamers get hopelessly knotted – “it’s the world’s biggest plate of spaghetti”, says Walker – and can take weeks to untangle. But all the same, the level of sophistication is breathtaking.

“What is going on out there is the marine equivalent of the space programme,” Robert Bryce, an American author and journalist specialising in energy issues, tells me. “And all of it is privately funded.”

The sums involved make your head spin. In total, “upstream” energy companies (the ones involved in exploration and drilling) spent £800bn last year. Shell alone paid £63m for exploration rights in 5,000 sq miles of water off the eastern coast of Canada. It would not have done so without extensive data suggesting the presence of hydrocarbons, but all the same, in many ways the most striking sentence in the press release announcing the deal was this: “Shell said it has yet to determine if its new exploration blocks could contain oil or natural gas.” What might Shell have paid if it knew for sure?

But competition among what the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin calls “the wheeler-dealers, the operators, the finders, and the facilitators” is fierce. Everyone is out for their cut and executives are under pressure to buy up rights fast.

One of the fiercest battlegrounds over the past two decades has been Brazil. In years gone by the Santos basin, an offshore area 200 miles south-east of São Paulo, was impossible to probe for oil due to its thick layer of salt. (Salt is a poor transmitter of vibrations.) But improvements in seismology meant the area suddenly became a premier destination for oil companies and in 1999 Petrobras found a field containing around 700 million barrels of oil.

The success in Brazil then prompted geologists to look across the Atlantic to pre-salt formations in Angola. Knowing, as they did, that the coast of Brazil was once, 100 million years ago, adjoined to the west coast of Africa, they reasoned that similar oil reserves may exist there as well. In February last year their theories were proved right when a reservoir was discovered in Angola’s Kwanza basin thought to hold some 1.5 billion barrels of crude. Since then half a dozen oil groups, including BP and Total have secured exploration rights.

The successful bidders did not disclose the size of any so-called “signature bonuses” but it can be safely assumed they were hefty. In 2006, China’s giant Sinopec corporation set a world record when it paid $1.1bn for one offshore block. How much of this money will go to the Angolan people is a moot point, of course. The history of oil exploration in Africa is not a happy one. Angola was ranked a lowly 168th out of 182 countries in Transparency International’s recent “perceptions of corruption” index, so one has to wonder how much of the oil money will benefit the country’s neediest citizens, and how much will end up furnishing the palaces of tinpot dictators.

But it is naive in the extreme to imagine the genie will ever be put back in the bottle. As Robert Bryce says: “The world runs on oil, period. No other substance can compete when it comes to energy density, flexibility, ease of handling, ease of transportation. If oil didn’t exist we would have to invent it.”


German Scientists Vahrenholt and Lüning: PIK Greenland Meltdown Scenario Handily Refuted

Not long ago the catastrophe-obsessed scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research claimed that another 1.6°C of warming may be enough to melt all of Greenland’s ice and cause global sea levels to rise catastrophically.

Keep in mind that the PIK is probably the biggest producer of catastrophe stories in the world after Hollywood.

Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt and Dr. Sebastian Lüning now say this fringe scenario has been handily refuted, citing a new, recently published international study authored by scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute and others. They write:

"Good news coming out of Greenland. A new study involving the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) of Bremerhaven has refuted earlier horror scenarios of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), which claimed that a warming of 1.6°C possibly could lead to a complete meltdown of Greenland’s ice mass.”

The AWI study contains a surprising conclusion, say Vahrenholt and Lüning, who write at their Die kalte Sonne blog:

"The surprising conclusion of the study, which appeared in the journal Nature: At air temperatures that were as much as 8°C higher than those of the 21st century, the ice mass melted far less then when compared to what was recently suspected. Back then the Greenland ice sheet played a far smaller role in the global sea level rise during the Eem interglacial than what was previously assumed. Should the current temperature rise in Greenland continue, then the reactions of the ice sheet in the wake of the Eem warm period apply as possible future scenarios for the ice mass on the island.”

Such is the difference between fishy models and reality. Lüning and Vahrenholt therefore now see a considerably diminished danger of an Greenland ice meltdown. Greenland was far from being ice-free during the Eem interglacial of 130,000 to 115,000 years ago. Lüning and Vahrenholt add:

"To the contrary: From the peak in the glacial period prior to the Eem, about 400 meters were lost in size, and it was 130 meters lower during the Eem 130.000 to 115.000 years ago than it is today. In the same time period it’s volume shrank a maximum of one quarter.”

Vahrenholt and Lüning conclude:

"The good news of the study was that the Greenland ice sheet did not react as sensitively to this temperature rise as previously thought.”


The Myth of ‘Acidification’ of Oceans

by Professor Cliff Ollier (School of Earth and Environment, University of Western Australia)

To demonise CO2 yet again, a false claim is that human production of CO2 will cause the oceans to become acid. ‘Acid’ is an emotive word to the general public, which is why it is seized upon by the alarmists in their search for yet another scare. In reality increasing CO2 makes the ocean become ‘less alkaline’, but never ‘acid’.

pH is a measurement of the amount of hydrogen ion concentration in a solution, the log of the hydrogen ion concentration with the sign changed. Because it is a log scale it is very hard to move a pH of 8.2 to 7.0, which is neutral.

The pH needs to be less than 7 to be ‘acid’, and this has not happened through at least the past 600 million years because it would dissolve limestones, and limestone have been deposited in the sea and not re-dissolved in the sea through all that time.

Many marine organisms need CO2 to make their coral skeletons, carbonate shells and so on. Corals also have symbiotic plants within their flesh that use CO2 in photosynthesis.

Marine life flourishes where CO2 is abundant. Professor Walter Stark wrote about a favourite place for scuba divers, the ‘Bubble Bath’ near Dobu Island, Papua New Guinea. Here CO2 of volcanic origin is bubbling visibly through the water so that the water is saturated with CO2. Abundant life flourishes to make the spot a spectacular diver’s delight. He reported many accurate measurements of pH in the area and concluded “It seems that coral reefs are thriving at pH levels well below the most alarming projections for 2100.”

The pH of sea water can be very variable and makes temperature measurement look like child’s play. Ocean pH varies regionally by 0.3, and seasonally in a particular location by 0,3. But nobody has ever measured ocean water below 7, which is what “acid” means. Rhodes Fairbridge told me that he found the day-night variation in a coral pool was 9.4 to 7.5.

There is another factor called Henry’s Law. Cold water can hold more CO2 than warm, so if you warm saturated water it gives off CO2. You can see the effect if you warm a glass of fizzy drink: it goes flat. The ocean-air interface is usually rough so interchange is rapid. Actually if the aim of the AGW activists is to keep the world cooler by reducing atmospheric CO2 they are going in the direction of increasing ‘acidification’ of the oceans.

One of the factors affecting ocean pH is photosynthesis by plants. Experimental results show that plants grow better if CO2 is increased, and greenhouse managers commonly increase the CO2 artificially to increase crops, often by 30% or more. There is every reason to suppose that marine plants also thrive if CO2 is increased. There is also experimental evidence that carbonate secreting animals thrive in higher CO2. Herfort and colleagues concluded that the likely result of human emissions of CO2 would be an increase in oceanic CO2 that could stimulate photosynthesis and calcification in a wide variety of corals.

Marine life, including that part that fixes CO2 as the carbonate in limestones such as coral reefs, evolved on an Earth with CO2 levels many times higher than those of today, as reported by Berner and Kothaval. It may be true to say that today’s marine life is getting by in a CO2-deprived environment.

Tuvalu has long been ‘hot news’ as the favourite island to be doomed by sea level rise driven by global warming, allegedly caused in turn by anthropogenic carbon dioxide. But if a coral island is sinking slowly (or relative sea level rising slowly) the growth of coral can keep up with it. In the right circumstances some corals can grow over 2 cm in a year, but growth rate depends on many factors. Coral islands, made of living things, are not static dip-sticks against which sea level can be measured. We have to consider coral growth, erosion, transport and deposition of sediment and many other aspects of coral island evolution – not just the pH of seawater.

Webb and Kench studied the changes in plan of 27 atoll islands located in the central Pacific, and found that most had remained stable or grown in area over about the past twenty years (despite measured rises in atmospheric CO2 over the same period), and only 15% underwent net reduction in area. One of the largest increases was the 28.3% on one of the islands of Tuvalu. This destroys the argument that the islands are drowning, and coral growth is not reduced by ‘acidity’.

Marine life depends on CO2, and some plants and animals fix it as limestone, which is not generally re-dissolved. Over geological time enormous amount of CO2 have been sequestered by living things, so that today there is far more CO2 in limestones than in the atmosphere or ocean. This sequestration of CO2 by living things is far more important than trivial additions to the atmosphere caused by human activity.


Australia will need coal-generated power for the foreseeable future

Coal will be a significant part of Australia's power generation mix for at least another 20 years, according to a new study.

University of Queensland researchers say coal-generated power could be halved without compromising the country's power supply, but they argue it will take decades of "orderly transition" to completely move to clean energy production.

"It's not possible to make a transition where the lights don't go out without easing coal down fairly gradually," UQ Professor of Economics and study co-author John Foster said.

"At the moment, over 80 per cent of our power is generated from coal [and] in the context of our report, Australia is what we call a non-resilient economy in terms of its power - it's very heavily dependent on one source."

Mr Foster added that if Australia is to meet its 2050 emissions targets, the time for action is now.

"When you look into the engineering and all the details, you realise what a long time it takes to make these transitions - 20, 30, 40 years is the kind of time scale that you're talking about," he said.

"To get 80 per cent [clean energy] by 2050, we'd have to be starting right now with a fairly dramatically important shift.

"If it was nuclear, we'd have to start right now, you'd have to put more into carbon storage.

"So most of our scenarios, we just wouldn't get to 80 per cent by 2050."

While the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) agrees that Australia's use of renewable energy will have to ramp up considerably to remain on target, it believes that the production of adequate levels of renewable energy can be achieved within 20 years.

"In the last year alone, solar power has dropped in price by 45 per cent and 75 per cent in the last three years," ACF climate change program manager Tony Mohr said.

"And that's led Bloomberg New Energy Finance to conclude that wind power and solar power are both cheaper than new coal fired power plants in Australia right now.

"So I'd say that really, we're seeing a much faster shift towards renewable energy than we would have thought of even just a couple of years ago.

"In South Australia right now, in September last year, there was a couple of days there where wind power was contributing 55 per cent of South Australia's total energy supply and in Spain they've had records set of about 60 per cent.

"Now that's what we can do today, so it's realistic I think to expect we'll be able to do much better in 20 years' time."


Australian Green party leader has a tantrum

Greens leader Christine Milne says her party's agreement with Labor is effectively over, citing a string of Government policies including its refusal to redesign the mining tax.

In a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra, Senator Milne says it has become clear that Labor no longer has the "courage or the will" to work with the Greens on a shared national agenda.

"Labor has effectively ended its agreement with the Greens," Senator Milne told the audience.

"Well so be it. But we will not allow Labor's failure to uphold the spirit of our agreement to advance the interests of Tony Abbott.

"We will not walk away from the undertakings we gave not only to the Prime Minister, but to the people of Australia, and that was to deliver confidence and supply until the Parliament rises for the election. "The Greens will not add to the instability that Labor creates every day for itself."

While her announcement will add to the air of instability that often surrounds the minority Government, Senator Milne's decision to guarantee confidence and to continue passing budget bills means the current parliament will continue until the election, due on September 14.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Julia Gillard has released a one-line statement in response to Senator Milne's speech.

"This is a matter for Christine Milne and the Greens. We will always be the party that puts jobs, growth and work first."

Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan says the Greens have opposed several pieces of Government legislation over the past couple of years, and he does not think the decision will affect how Parliament operates.

He told reporters at the Australian Workers' Union national conference on the Gold Coast that Senator Milne's decision highlights the fundamental differences between the two parties.

"The Greens want to abolish the mining industry. That's right over on the fringe," he said. "The Labor Party and the Greens are cut from a different cloth. We don't pander to special interests on our left or on the right."

Fellow Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese believes Senator Milne's speech was fuelled by internal disunity within the Greens.

"We know that Christine Milne, since Bob Brown left the leadership of the Greens, has been under siege from the extreme elements of the Greens political party, led by Lee Rhiannon from New South Wales," he said.

Powerful union figure Paul Howes, who has publicly urged Labor to distance itself from the Greens, has also played down the end of the formal alliance.

"So what? I mean, the Greens haven't been supporting a whole range of Labor's initiatives in the Parliament," he told reporters at the Australian Workers' Union national conference on the Gold Coast. "There are numerous pieces of legislation in the Senate and in the House that the Greens have voted against. "Frankly, if Christine Milne wants to rip up an agreement? Excellent."

Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says despite Senator Milne's speech, the Greens will continue to prop up the Labor government through their guarantee of confidence and supply.

"Senator Milne's diatribe at the National Press Club today adds to the chaos surrounding this Government, but in reality nothing has changed," Senator Abetz said in a statement.

"The Greens have worked out how toxic the Labor brand is and are trying to distance themselves from it."

After the 2010 election, the then-Greens leader Bob Brown signed an agreement with Ms Gillard which helped Labor remain in office.

But the relationship between the two parties has been strained by a string of policy disagreements, most recently the push by the Greens to overhaul the mining tax following revelations it raised just $126 million in its first six months.

And Senator Milne fired another broadside at Environment Minister Tony Burke, describing his decision to reject a proposal to list Tasmania's Tarkine wilderness on the National Heritage register as "pathetic". "Minister Burke sold out the Tarkine to mining interests at the behest of New South Wales right [faction], Paul Howes."

"Only the Greens are standing up for the Tarkine - the largest tract of temperate rainforest left in Australia."

In March last year tensions between Labor and the Greens spilled over after Ms Gillard's described them as a "party of protest" which rejects the "moral imperative to a strong economy".

"The Greens will never embrace Labor's delight at sharing the values of every day Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation," Ms Gillard said at the time.

Former Senator Bob Brown fired back, accusing the Prime Minister of "unfortunate and gratuitous" insults against the Greens which will "come back to bite her".




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


19 February, 2013

Fascism in America today wears a green cloak

In a peer-reviewed paper put out by the American Institute of Biological Sciences titled “Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges” (available ahead of print), to be published in the march 2013 edition of BioScience, a group of well-known scientists calls on government and scientists to start with the planned social engineering of “norms” and “values” in regards to environmental policies.

The objective, according to the authors, is that these engineered “norms” must work their way into existing ones so finally environmental policies will be accepted without reserve. A sustained campaign, in other words, with government and scientists working together as to gradually create changes in behavior so environmental policies will be more easily accepted over the course of some time.

“Life scientists could make fundamental contributions to this agenda through targeted research on the emergence of social norms”, the group asserts.

“Substantial numbers of people will have to alter their existing behaviors to address this new class of global environmental problems. Alternative approaches are needed when education and persuasion alone are insufficient.”

One of these proposed alternative approaches include more environmental regulations from the top down with the aim of conditioning the public to accept an increasing governmental control over personal behavior. The paper continues by saying that the best way to alter existing behaviors is through persuasive government regulations “such as penalties, regulations, and incentives” in order to “achieve significant behavior modification.”

“Effective policies, then, are ones that induce both short-term changes in behavior and longer-term changes in social norms”, the authors indicate.

Anticipating that regulatory interventions by government are sure to create resistance among the target population, the scientists express confidence that their recommendations “can be carried out in a way that abides by the principles of representative democracy, including transparency, fairness, and accountability.”

The way government may go about it, they argue, is by on the one hand “managing norms” through “such things as advertising campaigns, information blitzes, or appeals from respected figures”. The other aspect involved is the use of financial incentives and disincentives:

“Fines can (…) be an effective way to alter behavior, in part because they (like social norm management) signal the seriousness with which society treats the issue.”

By extension, the authors asses that behaviors and values will “coevolve” alongside increased government control in the form of state regulations and “fines”:

“A carbon tax might (…) prove effective even in the face of near-term opposition. What needs to be assessed is the possibility that behaviors and values would coevolve in such a way that a carbon tax—or other policy instrument that raises prices, such as a cap-and-trade system—ultimately comes to be seen as worthy, which would therefore allow for its long-term effectiveness”

“The probability of a boomerang effect from such appeals is low (except in the most avidly antiauthoritarian subpopulations).”

After the paper continues listing examples of past “information blitzes” which have proved to be a success, they stress that government (and the scientific community) should “move beyond” public consent when it comes to top-down regulations imposed on the American people:

“Some have argued that regulations are inherently coercive and cannot or should not exceed implied levels of public permission for such regulations. An alternative viewpoint is that governments can and even should move beyond existent levels of public permission in order to shift norms, allowing public sentiment to later catch up with the regulation”.

The paper is concluded with three distinct recommendations to scientists and governmental agencies:

“(1) the greater inclusion of social and behavioral scientists in periodic environmental policy assessments; (2) the establishment of teams of scholars and policymakers that can assess, on policy-relevant timescales, the short- and long-term efficiency of policy interventions; and (3) the alteration of academic norms to allow more progress on these issues.”

By admitting they are willing to “move beyond existent levels of public permission” to push ahead with draconian environmental policies, these prominent scientists (among whom we find two Nobel laureates and one Paul Ehrlich) have proven their willingness to deceive the American population in order to fulfill an international agenda.


Wind farms SUCK IN conventional power

Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined.

Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. At the facility in Searsburg, Vermont, for example, it is apparently not even metered and is completely unknown

The manufacturers of large turbines -- for example, Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon -- do not include electricity consumption in the specifications they provide.

Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:†

* yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) -- the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine

* blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)

* lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.

* heating the blades -- this may require 10%-20% of the turbine's nominal (rated) power

* heating and dehumidifying the nacelle -- according to Danish manufacturer Vestas, "power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds"

* oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox

* hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)

* thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) -- 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost

* magnetizing the stator -- the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a "large" amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous "cage rotor" that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine's rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more

* using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not, particularly during important site tours) -- it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind

Could it be that at times each turbine consumes more than 50% of its rated capacity in its own operation?! If so, the plant as a whole -- which may produce only 25% of its rated capacity annually -- would be using (for free!) twice as much electricity as it produces and sells. An unlikely situation perhaps, but the industry doesn't publicize any data that proves otherwise; incoming power is apparently not normally recorded.

Is there some vast conspiracy spanning the worldwide industry from manufacturers and developers to utilities and operators? There doesn't have to be, if engineers all share an assumption that wind turbines don't use a significant amount of power compared to their output and thus it is not worth noting, much less metering. Such an assumption could be based on the experience decades ago with small DC-generating turbines, simply carried over to AC generators that continue to metastasize. However errant such an assumption might now be, it stands as long as no one questions it. No conspiracy is necessary -- self-serving laziness is enough.

Whatever the actual amount of consumption, it could seriously diminish any claim of providing a significant amount of energy. Instead, it looks like industrial wind power could turn out to be a laundering scheme: "Dirty" energy goes in, "clean" energy comes out. That would explain why developers demand legislation to create a market for "green credits" -- tokens of "clean" energy like the indulgences sold by the medieval church. Ego te absolvo.

(One need only ask utilities to show how much less "dirty" electricity they purchase because of wind-generated power to see that something is amiss in the wind industry's claims. If wind worked and were not mere window dressing, the industry would trot out some real numbers. But they don't. One begins to suspect that they can't.)

Wayne Gulden has analyzed the daily production reports of a Vestas V82 1.65-MW wind turbine at the University of Minnesota, Morris, from 2006 to 2008. Those records include negative production, i.e., net consumption, as well as daily average wind speeds. The data suggest that the turbine consumes at a minimum rate of about 50 kW, or 8.3% of its reported production over those years (and which declined 2-4% each year).

'In large rotating power trains such as this, if allowed to stand motionless for any period of time, the unit will experience "bowing" of shafts and rotors under the tremendous weight. Therefore, frequent rotating of the unit is necessary to prevent this. As an example, even in port Navy ships keep their propeller shafts and turbine power trains slowly rotating. It is referred to as "jacking the shaft" to prevent any tendency to bow. Any bowing would throw the whole train out of balance with potentially very serious damage when bringing the power train back on line.

'In addition to just protecting the gear box and generator shafts and bearings, the blades on a large wind turbine would offer a special challenge with respect to preventing warping and bowing when not in use. For example, on a sunny, windless day, idle wind turbine blades would experience uneven heating from the sun, something that would certainly cause bowing and warping. The only way to prevent this would be to keep the blades moving to even out the sun exposure to all parts of the blade.

'So, the point that major amounts of incoming electrical power is used to turn the power train and blades when the wind is not blowing is very accurate, and it is not something the operators of large wind turbines can avoid.


Environmentalists exaggerating extreme weather

Environmentalists have been pointing to intense storms and Extreme Weather to urge lawmakers to immediately address climate change, but some researchers contend this trend has been exaggerated.

The U.S. is in an “intense hurricane drought,” according to Roger Pielke, Jr., environmental studies professor at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“Climate change is real and has a significant human component,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “But that does not justify exaggerating the science associated with extreme events and disasters. One reason is that such exaggerations are not in line with current science.”

Pielke told TheDC News Foundation that an “intense hurricane drought” means the the country is currently in the longest stretch between intense hurricanes — Category 3,4, and 5 — ever documented. When the next hurricane season starts on June 1, 2013, it will have been more than seven years since the intense hurricane hit the Atlantic coast.

Pielke notes that there has not been such a prolonged period without intense hurricanes hitting the U.S. since 1900. In fact, hurricane landfall intensity and frequency has not increased in the U.S. for at least more than a century.

Climate activists and even President Barack Obama, however, have been using the destructive hurricane as well as other “extreme weather” events to justify swift government action to address climate change.

“Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense,” Obama said in his State of the Union Address. “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.”

Hurricane Sandy was estimated to be the second costliest cyclone to hit the U.S. since 1900 — causing nearly $50 billion in damages. That was due to the storm’s massive size, as it was still a Category 1 hurricane.

However, Pielke aregues that the costs of weather disasters “are not a proxy for trends in climate phenomena.”

According to Pielke, flood magnitudes in the U.S. have not increased in over a century, possibly longer, and a report from 2008 found that “droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century.”

Pielke also points out that there has been no evidence of an increasing incidence of tornadoes, especially high-damage ones, in the U.S. since 1950.

Pielke worries that over-hyping extreme weather events is dangerous because when “people are convinced that we’re are seeing worst-case scenarios, they may actually be unprepared for worse disasters to come — which are in the cards regardless of the climate change connection.”

“During long periods with no disaster, we build more, people move to the coast, our wealth accumulates,” Pielke told TheDC News Foundation. “So even comparing past storms to what is possible will leave us underestimating potential impacts. History is not a good guide to what the future holds — which will inevitably be worse disasters than in the past.”


Bronte heritage put before green energy in key British wind turbine ruling

The literary significance of the “Bronte” moorlands has been used for the first time to curb the onslaught of wind farms, in a key victory for campaigners.

The brooding West Yorkshire countryside that inspired classics such as Wuthering Heights has been protected from plans for more turbines because of the importance of the famous sister writers.

It is believed to be the first time the literary significance of an area has been put before the need for green energy.

It comes as the High Court will this week hear a separate case brought by leading heritage groups hoping to protect historic sites from wind farm development.

Bradford Council has rejected plans for a 15m turbine at Hardnaze Farm, Oxenhope, Keighley, less than two miles from Haworth, where Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte grew up.

Councillors ruled the scheme would do little to boost renewable energy – while creating a blot on Bronte Country.

The area is already a focus for green energy with turbines twice the height of Nelson's Column due to replace existing ones at the Ovenden Moor Wind Farm four miles away.

More than a dozen applications for turbines have been submitted to Bradford Council in the last year, on top of the Ovenden Moor redevelopment plans approved by neighbouring Calderdale Council.

The area attracts visitors from around the world wanting to see the moorland views that inspired much of the Bronte's finest writing.

Sally McDonald, chairman of The Bronte Society Council, said the decision “gives support to the Bronte Society's argument that this is a special and unique landscape and that this landscape needs to be protected”

“Visitors journey from around the world come to see the wild moors of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and want to see high waving heather – not high waving turbines,” she said.

"I am delighted by this decision and that all future applications will have to take into account 'the importance of the historical and literary associations of the area.

"In making this decision, Bradford acknowledges for the first time the importance of the unique landscape to the area.

Campaigners will now turn their attention to plans for four 328ft turbines flanking each side of the Brontë Way on Thornton Moor.

The planning ruling said: "The proposed development would introduce an incongruous and widely visible vertical element into this sensitive upland landscape, whose historical and literary associations are also central to its wider economic value in tourism terms.

"The proposed turbine would be seen from a number of vantage points and would result in significant harm to the character of the landscape that would outweigh its limited contribution towards overall renewable energy targets."

Bronte Society Heritage and Conservation officer Christine Went said: "It is good they have acknowledged the importance of this heritage landscape, and internationally renowned heritage area.

"A woman who came to Haworth to write about the Brontës recently said 'It's not worth coming here because it's all turbines'."

Britain is building more wind turbines than ever before, with more than 1,200 turbines due to start spinning throughout the countryside and around the coast over the next 12 months.

The "dash for wind" has been prompted by a cut in subsidies due this year and an apparent relaxing of the planning rules.

Last year the approval rate for wind farms went up by 50 per cent, according to industry group Renewable UK.


Germany And Spain Throw Green Energy Under the Bus

Consumers in Europe are revolting against their countries’ green energy policies. For over a decade, the governments of Germany and Spain have been funding their subsidies for solar and wind energy by passing on large costs to the consumer. In Germany, an extra charge is added to household electricity bils, and that charge nearly doubled in January. Worried about the consumer reaction, Merkel’s government is now furiously backpedaling, according to the WSJ:

"Fearing a voter backlash from anger over the lopsided financing of green energy, Ms. Merkel’s government on Thursday proposed putting a cap on the green-energy surcharge until the end of 2014 and then restricting any rise in the surcharge after that to no more than 2.5% a year. The government also plans to tighten exemptions, which would force more companies to pay, and achieve a cut in green subsidies of €1.8 billion ($2.42 billion). The plan is a quick fix pending comprehensive reform after the election, government officials said."

Merkel hopes to gain votes by taking these measures to cap green energy subsidies. Meanwhile, Spain is following suit, cutting renewable energy subsidies in an attempt to push down energy costs. The logic is clear:

"Renewable-energy producers “are going to receive less revenue, but these measures are better for consumers” said Energy Minister José Manuel Soria.

What both countries are experiencing is the pain of trying to subsidize an industry that’s not ready for prime time. If renewable energy eventually becomes viable, it won’t need subsidies; capital owners who can make money off of it will ensure it’s put to use. But until then, these attempts to prop up struggling industries are foolish and painful to consumers.


Britain’s Green Energy Fiasco: Running On Empty

Britain, once the envy of Europe thanks to its North Sea energy riches, will lose nearly a third, 25-30 gigawatts (GW), of its generating capacity. If nothing is done, we could face decades lurching from crisis to crisis.

Ed Miliband steps up to the microphones. Looking drawn after an all-night crisis session with his Lib-Lab coalition cabinet, the prime minister clears his throat.

“The unprecedented cold spell has put our energy system under tremendous strain,” he says. “We are doing everything to ensure your lights stay on but the risk of power cuts is high. I am asking all citizens to switch off all non-essential electrical equipment.”

It is January 2017, four years hence. The harsh winter has pushed electricity and gas consumption to record highs. Britain’s antique power plants are struggling to cope.

The rocks under Lancashire and other parts of the country are thought to be rich in shale gas but exploratory work has been held up by community meetings and impact assessments. Plans for new nuclear power plants, the first for two decades, have been delayed by government reluctance to offer energy companies the guaranteed high prices they demand before stumping up the billions each one costs to build.

Faced with the prospect of having to impose part-time working, the government decides to risk angering Brussels instead. Miliband orders coal-fired plants, mothballed to comply with European pollution regulations, to be fired up again, even though it means hundreds of millions of pounds of fines for breaking our commitment to cut CO2.

Scaremongering? Not necessarily. Britain is caught in an energy crunch that is shaping up to be one of the most serious problems to face this administration — and the next. Nuclear plants that produce about a fifth of our energy began to be shut down last year. By 2023, only one — Sizewell B in Suffolk — will still be in operation.

Britain’s energy-generating capacity is shrinking fast
Britain’s energy-generating capacity is shrinking fast (Duncan Vere Green)

By the middle of this year several coal-powered stations, which have been supplying the equivalent of 6m homes’ worth of power, will be closed under EU agreements to reduce carbon emissions. Only a single gas-fired power plant is being built to replace them, and uncertainty over policy has paralysed the industry.

The lethargy is palpable. No fewer than 27 consultations are being carried out by Ofgem, the regulator, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change on different aspects of the industry. These include reviews of the Electricity Market Reform Bill, the government’s flagship legislation for its £200bn plan to replace old fossil-fuelled plants with expensive, and cleaner, alternatives such as nuclear and wind power. Why does it seem impossible to make a plan and execute it before it is too late?

By the early years of the next decade, Britain, once the envy of Europe thanks to its North Sea energy riches, will have lost nearly a third, 25-30 gigawatts (GW), of its generating capacity. At the same time, America is enjoying an energy bonanza. If nothing is done, we could face decades lurching from crisis to crisis.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


18 February, 2013

January temperature trends

As usual, Sophia is comparing the most recent monthly average temperature figure with the figures for the same month in previous years. She finds that the 2013 figures project out to a COOLING of 9.4 F over the next 100 years. Judged by the most recent trend, Januaries are getting cooler-- JR

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 113 years

Especially to see how the decade trends have evolved during the last 43 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:

The trend for 1900 to 2013 is 0.11 F / Decade

The trend for 1970 to 2013 is 1.13 F / Decade

The trend for 1980 to 2013 is 0.69 F / Decade

The trend for 1990 to 2013 is 0.05 F / Decade

The trend for 2000 to 2013 is - 0.94 F / Decade

So the “warming trend” 2000-2013 for January is exactly - 0.94 F degrees a decade. That is a - 9.4 F COOLER in 100 years. That’s what I call “warming”!

According to the computer models that the Global Warming Hysterics love so much, 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.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Another Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Record – Still On Track To Break All-time Highest Minimum

Day 45 – Valentines Day – saw another Antarctic Sea Ice Record for the day of 3.75 million sq km.

Day 44, so far, is the lowest value for the year and still higher than the all-time highest minimum of 3.69176 which occurred on day 51 in 2008.


Carbon Tax Hallucinations

Average planetary temperatures haven’t budged in 16 years. Hurricanes and strong tornadoes are at or near their lowest ebb in decades. Global sea ice is back to normal, while the Antarctic icepack continues to grow. The rate of sea level rise remains what it was in 1900.

And yet, President Obama and many politicians, newscasters and alarmist scientists continue to insist that carbon dioxide emissions are changing Earth’s climate, and we need to take immediate action to prevent storms like Hurricane Sandy and avert catastrophes predicted by IPCC computer models and “scientific consensus.” Not surprisingly, polls show public support for controlling CO2 output and taxing hydrocarbon use – to “ensure climate security” and “save vital federal programs” from budgetary axes.

As the liberal lobby Think Progress put it, people “overwhelmingly” prefer a carbon tax on “big polluters” versus cuts in favorite programs “like education, Social Security, Medicare and environmental protection.”

Five-alarm climate claims, skewed polling questions and phony taxes-versus-grandma budget alternatives will almost always ensure support for carbon taxes – especially among Bigger Government and Ban Fossil Fuels constituencies. More rational analysis reveals that dreams of hundred-billion-dollar windfalls from slapping regressive new taxes on job creation and economic growth are nothing more than dangerous tax revenue hallucinations. They would bring intense pain for no climate or economic gain.

Employing Energy Information Administration data, a recent Heritage Foundation study by economists David Kreutzer and Nicolas Loris found that a tax starting at $25-per-ton of CO2 emitted and increasing by 5% per year would cut a family of four’s income by $1,400 annually, raise their utility bills by $500 a year, and increase gasoline fill-ups by up to 50 cents per gallon. That’s $2,000 a year chopped from their budget for food, vacations, home and car payments and repairs, college and retirement savings, dental and medical care, and overall quality of life.

Even “millionaire” families making $200,000 a year would find such a hit painful. While the poorest families might get some offsetting tax relief, most would get nothing – nor would employers.

Carbon taxes would thus increase the likelihood that many breadwinners will end up unemployed, since the tax would raise business energy costs dramatically, force companies to trim hours and/or employees, and result in an aggregate loss of at least 1 million jobs by 2016, Heritage notes. That would bring more home foreclosures, greater stress, reduced nutrition, and more strokes and heart attacks, especially for older workers whose odds of finding new employment are increasingly bleak.

No small businesses or energy-intensive manufacturing companies would get a rebate for their soaring carbon taxes. Nor would any mall, hospital, school, church, synagogue or charity group.

Hydrocarbons provide over 83% of all the energy that powers America. A carbon tax would put a hefty surcharge on everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do. It would put the federal government in control of, not just one-sixth of our economy as under Obamacare, but 100% of our economy and lives. It would make the United States increasingly less productive, less competitive globally, less able to provide opportunities for our children.

But it gets worse, because this tax on America’s energy and productivity is not being promoted in a vacuum. It would be imposed on top of countless other job and economy strangling actions.

President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has already issued 2,071 new rules and dispensed a regulatory burden of over $353 billion per year – equal to all wealth generated annually by Virginia’s private sector. It is now preparing still more rules, the most crushing of which would regulate the same CO2 emissions that some in Congress want to tax, from both moving and stationary sources. Most, if not all of its punitive rules, are based on exaggerated risks, fear mongering, junk science, and illusory health, welfare, “environmental justice” and “sustainability” benefits.

Other agencies are inflicting still more rules, and more crushing paperwork burdens. Obamacare alone will add 127,602,371 more hours per year to the federal paperwork burden for American businesses and families. That’s enough time to carve 1,039 Mount Rushmore monuments, says the Washington Examiner. Even at $25 per hour, that’s $32 billion a year. On top of that, there are the Dodd-Frank financial requirements and myriad other costly, time-consuming, economy-sapping, job-killing rules.

Nothing at all suggests that Congress would reverse or modify even one of these laws, regulations and taxes, as part of a carbon tax deal – or that Mr. Obama would refrain from vetoing any attempted change. Nothing whatsoever suggests that Congress, the President or environmentalists will ease their opposition to issuing leases and drilling and fracking permits for more of our vast onshore and offshore oil and gas deposits, which could generate millions of jobs and billions in royalties and tax revenues. Or that they won’t ultimately enact a punitive cap-and-trade law on top of all of this.

Instead of real energy for real jobs and revenues, President Obama wants to redouble spending on “green” energy – extracting billions of dollars from still productive sectors of our economy, and transferring the money to crony corporatists and campaign contributors, whose operations are exempted from endangered species and other laws that are imposed routinely and punitively on oil, mining and other companies.

Meanwhile, federal “discretionary” spending skyrocketed another $129 billion annually in just four years under Obama. That’s comparable to what carbon tax snake oil salesmen claim a $25-per-ton tax would raise each year, several years into a steadily escalating tax, using static analyses that ignore all these “concrete lifesaver” effects.

The CBO Congressional Budget Office says the US economy will grow by a miserly 1.4% for the next several years, and official unemployment will remain stuck at 7.5% (plus extensive involuntary underemployment and people who have given up looking). Washington Post economics analyst Neil Irwin worries that the United States doesn’t just have a $1-trillion budget deficit. Largely because of government restrictions, regulations, red tape and taxes, it also has a $1-trillion “output gap,” between what it is capable of producing and what it actually produces. To top it off, if Congress and the White House get more money, they will spend more money!

The net result of a carbon tax will not be new federal revenues. It will be more economic strangulation, a more bloated federal bureaucracy, more layoffs, sharply higher unemployment, food stamp and welfare payouts, reduced corporate and personal income tax receipts – and thus reduced federal revenues.

And for what? The Kyoto Protocol is dead. Japan and many other countries are rejecting any new binding emission targets. China, India, other rapidly developing nations, and even Germany and Europe are burning more coal, emitting more carbon dioxide, and sending atmospheric CO2 levels higher.

And yet, average planetary temperatures show no trend up or down, and global hurricane activity stands at a near-record low. There’s no change in big tornadoes, droughts or rains averaged over the USA for the past century. Polar sea ice is down slightly in the Northern Hemisphere, but up in the Southern. And sea levels show no measurable deviation from trends over the last hundred years.

The only thing that will happen if carbon taxes are inflicted on the US economy is that American jobs, economic growth, living standards, health, dreams and lives will be sacrificed for nothing.

We need to stop basing laws and policies on hallucinations – and start basing them on reality.


Washington Turns Science to Science Fiction

“If you build it,” an Iowa corn farmer was told in the movie Field of Dreams, “they will come.” That worked out so well for all concerned that the federal government is reviving the approach, with some slight edits. “If we mandate it, the science will come,” seems to be Washington’s motto.

Instead, government has ended up replacing science with, well, fiction. Consider the push for renewable fuels.

It’s easy to see why lawmakers would want to encourage Americans to grow energy rather than dig it out of the ground. But in their eagerness to create an industry, lawmakers often go too far. In 2007, Congress passed a requirement that refiners add something called cellulosic biofuel to their gasoline. It’s made from non-edible plant material -- wood chips, corn husks, and so forth. The problem: Nobody could produce such biofuel on a commercial scale.

Still, hope triumphed over reality. Lawmakers demanded that refiners use 100 million gallons in 2010, 250 million in 2011, and half a billion in 2012. Refiners ended up breaking the law, though, because they used no cellulosic biofuel. Only about 20,000 gallons have ever been produced commercially, and all of that was exported to Brazil last year.

The federal government actually benefitted, in a way, because the Environmental Protection Agency fined refiners $6.8 million in 2011 for failing to use a product that didn’t exist. Good thing it’s not called the “Reality” protection agency.

EPA had wanted to pocket another $8 million or so in fines for last year, but a federal court said it cannot. Still, that isn’t stopping the agency from trying to squeeze more money out of refiners. This year, EPA says it will demand refiners use 14 million gallons of this non-existent product. Expect another lawsuit to ensue.

This matters to everyone, because we’re all paying more for gasoline than we need to, because when they’re hit with fines, refiners simply add their higher costs into the price of a gallon of gasoline. But another EPA program may end up costing you even more.

Two years ago, EPA declared that E15 -- gasoline that’s 15 percent ethanol -- is safe for use in any car made after 2001. Currently refiners are required to use 10 percent ethanol, as virtually any gas pump in the country warns you.

But in tests completed last month, the American Petroleum Institute found that E15 led to, “an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine.” None of these problems occurred when E10 or gasoline without ethanol was used.

The problem, again, is one of science. EPA approved E15 without waiting for testing on it to be completed. As the API report notes, “When Congress passed the law, it could not know it was creating this problem. Today we know. The answer is to repeal the [Renewable Fuel Standard] before it puts millions of vehicles and many motorists at risk.”

That’s one answer. A more comprehensive answer would be for Congress to stop passing vague laws, such as the RFS, and then expecting bureaucrats to find ways to implement them.

Today’s bureaucrats like to claim there’s a scientific reason that they have so much power. As Matthew Spalding writes for The Heritage Foundation, “They rule over virtually every aspect of our daily lives, ostensibly in the name of the American people but in actuality by the claimed authority of science, policy expertise, and administrative efficiency.”

Sadly, we’re seeing not only a usurpation of political power by today’s bureaucrats, but a perversion of science as well. Instead of having Washington decide what’s best for Americans, let’s repeal the EPA’s various mandates and let the market decide what fuel is best in our cars.


Magic-gas Discovery in Australia

It has been discovered that Australian coal has a magical property – it is one of a small group of coals which produces an invisible gas with super-natural properties.

This magic gas, carbon dioxide, first became famous for its claimed ability to warm the whole world, thus removing the threat of a new ice age. The British academic who reported this magic power claimed that winter snow would become “a very rare and exciting event”.

Then an Australian guru predicted that just a tiny addition of magic-gas to the atmosphere would abolish floods, and billions of dollars were spent constructing water desalination plants to combat his forecast of never-ending droughts.

Then after massive snows in Britain and huge floods in Australia, it was widely reported that magic-gas could produce both heatwaves and snowstorms, floods and droughts and even bushfires, cyclones and tornadoes, depending on the way the political winds were blowing in that country.

Strangely, only a few countries are able to produce “magic-gas”. A special exclusive club called the Kyoto Club was formed for these lucky countries. Membership fees are stratospheric, but members are rewarded with invitations to lavish UN conventions at top tourist destinations. However, many founding members have allowed their membership to lapse, leaving only EU, Australia and New Zealand as fully paid up members.

Coals burnt in Russia, India, China, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Canada and USA produce carbon dioxide but their gas apparently lacks the magic climate-altering properties of Australian magic-gas. Amazingly, these properties are lost if Australian coal is burnt overseas – once loaded on a ship the magic disappears.

There are a few unpatriotic Australians who think the whole “magic-gas” thing is a big con, and just an excuse for a new tax.

Worried that the world may become sceptical of the magic-gas story, CSIRO has been charged to re-educate these dangerous and deluded sceptics. Vast sums are also being spent by academics to invent more climate-bending properties for carbon dioxide, and regular dramatic announcements are expected on the ABC and the BBC.

By email from the satirical Viv Forbes []

"Expert" assures us: Global warming causes everything bad

Someone who is both a professor of law and an IPCC lead author must know

Scientists and environmentalists have reacted with anger to emerging reports that dismiss the reality of climate change.

While climate scepticism is a popular topic in fringe political groups, the evidence points to irreversible climate change with devastating impacts for poor communities if no action is taken.

"No doubt, Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capacity. Environmental and climatic stress also raises existing inequalities between rich and poor," Professor Oliver C Ruppel told News24.

He is professor of Law at Stellenbosch University, specialising in Public International Law and Diplomacy, World Trade Law, Regional Integration Policy, Sustainable Development Law and International Environmental Law.

The UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has identified extreme weather events as part of a global warming trend that could see a temperature rise of over 5°C by 2100.


"If you look at the trend then I think that's pretty unmistakable and any proper analysis would tell you that we are heading in that direction," said IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri recently in Australia as the body discussed the heat waves that affected the country.

The IPCC said it expects more extreme weather events as climate change takes hold.

Sceptics, however, have argued that a Medieval warming period proves that global warming is part of a natural cycle.

"Claims that global average temperatures during Medieval times were warmer than present-day are based on a number of false premises," World Wide Fund for Nature climate expert Richard Worthington told News24.

He said the warming period was not as widespread as the sceptics argue, and noted that temperatures warmed up significantly in the latter half of the 20th century.

"There is wide scientific consensus that the increased number and intensity of climate change induced natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis and hurricanes, is of alarming concern," said Ruppel, though adding that not all climate events lead to disasters.

According to Ruppel, who serves as AR5 co-ordinating lead author for the Chapter on Africa of the UN IPCC, Working Group II, policies need to be in place to recover from disasters related to climate change.

"Policies to avoid, prepare for, respond to and recover from the risks of disaster can reduce the impact of these events and increase the resilience of people exposed to extreme events."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


17 February, 2013

Climate Change’s Hypothetical Links to Conflict

Schellnhuber is a nasty little creep. He seems unaware (to be charitable) that when Indians talk of the monsoon "failing", they don't mean a total failure of it to appear. It always appears but in "failing" years the rain starts later in the year and delivers (say) 10% less rainfall overall. And with greater prosperity, the tendency is for such "failures" to be much less disastrous than they were

Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve.

This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.

Either rich nations will find a way to supply needy nations suffering from damaging climate effects “or you will have all kinds of unrest and revolutions, with the export of angry and hungry people to the industrialized countries,” Schellnhuber said in an interview yesterday.

In the Marshall Islands -- site of U.S. nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s and now being lost to a rising Pacific Ocean -- global warming has “threatened our very existence,” said Tony deBrum, minister-in-assistance to the president of the island state. In the future, the 68,000 inhabitants of the low- lying coral atolls could become stateless.

“Our roads are inundated every 14 days,” he told reporters in New York after the meeting. “We have to ration water three times a week. People have emergency kits for water. We can no longer use well water because it’s inundated with salt.”

Serious Consequences

The Security Council session was evidence of the increased focus on the link between climate change and global security.

Climate change is a “reality that cannot be washed away,” according to notes prepared for diplomats at today’s session. “There is growing concern that with faster than anticipated acceleration, climate change may spawn consequences which are harsher than expected.”

Yet, today’s discussions were not held as a formal meeting of the council because China and Russia, two of the larger emitters of the greenhouse gases that scientists tie to climate change, raised objections, said two UN diplomats who asked not to be named given the sensitivity of the subject. China was the largest gross emitter of carbon dioxide in 2011, followed by the U.S., the European Union, India and Russia, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.

Informal Talks

Instead, the informal, closed-door discussion was kept away from the council chamber and led jointly by the U.K. and Pakistan, where floods have left millions of people homeless in a foreshadowing of the extreme weather scientists say will result from a warming planet.

“Before it was always an issue of the developed world, so the involvement of Pakistan is a very interesting sign,” said Schellnhuber, a climate change scientist who is German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s top adviser on the issue.

Representatives from nations not on the 15-member Security Council were invited to the session, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participated. In 2011, the council agreed to a statement expressing “concern that the possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security.”

“It was OK, but it was rather vague,” said Schellnhuber.

With 2012 one of the world’s hottest years on record, the implications for both domestic and foreign policy of wildfires in Australia and Russia, floods in Asia and hurricanes in the Americas gave today’s discussion an added sense of urgency.


Stealing Valentine Candy from Babies

Wasn’t I just saying yesterday that, everywhere we turn, someone nags us about the environment? That it’s inescapable? That you can’t spend a single day without being beaten over the head by greens?

One of the reasons green nags are so irritating is that a large percentage of what they say is unadulterated nonsense. It’s based on shoddy analysis. Appearing to do something for the planet, feeling pious seems to be more important than actually accomplishing something meaningful.

Far too many green ideas appear to have been dreamed up by people sitting around singing Kumbaya. The same individuals who claim to care so deeply about the environment apparently can’t be bothered to invest a few hours researching the implications of what they’re proposing before foisting their latest green idea on the rest of us.

As if to demonstrate my point, there’s a story in today’s Calgary Herald about elementary schools banning kids from exchanging Valentine’s cards. According to the school’s newsletter, if every child gives 30 cards to their classmates why, that would be just horrible:

"it adds up to 3,000 cards! Imagine the trees we are saving by not exchanging cards in our school."

I’m not sure what happens in other parts of the world, but here in Canada it has long been a tradition that parents purchase a package of small, inexpensive cards decorated with hearts and puppy dogs, that children address them to their classmates, and then exchange them at school on February 14th.

As far as traditions go, this is not an overly important one. It could disappear tomorrow and little harm would be done.

But it’s the principle of the matter. If people are prepared to ban innocent childish pastimes on the flimsiest of environmental excuses, what else are they prepared to ban? What other aspects of our public and private lives will the green police intrude on?

Of course it’s dumb to outright waste anything. But trees are a renewable resource – a crop much like any other. Once we’ve ensured that foresters are following sensible practices, saving trees makes no more sense than saving turnips or cabbages.

(If the real objection is that Valentine’s cards are frivolous, so are a lot of other things. It is not the business of schools to cleanse the world of frivolity.)

There’s no sound environmental reasoning behind this decision. This is about people abusing their power.

This is about little kids being conditioned to make meaningless sacrifices for Mother Earth.


Cars may explode in crashes if EU forces firms to fit 'highly flammable' green coolant, warns Mercedes

New cars sold in Britain and Europe risk catching fire and exploding in a crash because of EU rules to impose a controversial 'green' air-conditioning coolant from the start of this year, German car giant Mercedes-Benz has warned.

The luxury car-maker says the new 'climate-friendly' air-con chemical is 'highly flammable', poisonous and poses a danger both to occupants and rescue services – and German government officials now agree.

Mercedes-Benz is refusing to put the controversial new gas refrigerant into its latest vehicles, sparking a major confrontation with Brussels and the firms who make it - both of whom deny any safety risks.

Today, Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler received backing from Germany's Federal Environment Agency UBA.

It asked the EU to 'compromise' by granting them and other car-makers – including Volkswagen and Audi - an extension from the mandatory rules until 2015 if they agree to introduce an alternative green refrigerant based on carbon dioxide, which experts say is safer because it doesn't burn.

If Daimler is correct, around 2 million new cars sold in the UK each year are potentially at risk. Photographs from the firm's own simulated crash tests on cars showed that a mix of the refrigerant and air-conditioning compressor oil released under a car's hood could ignite a heated engine.

This would mainly be a risk if the car crashes, but it is also possible if the coolant leaks for any other reason.

The row centres on the new coolant with the codename 'R1234yf' which Daimler argues can start a fire in the car and release toxic hydrogen fluoride gas. It is the replacement for the long-time industry standard, which EU legislators in Brussels have ordered to be phased out from January because of concerns about greenhouse gases.

The new 'green' refrigerant is produced by US giant Honeywell and is currently the only one if its kind that meets new EU climate guidelines. The firm denies categorically that there is any safety risk.

Car makers are supposed to phase in the change from the start of this year, but by 2017 every single one of the estimated 14 million a year air-conditioned vehicles that rolls off assembly lines for sale in Europe will be filled with about £43 worth of the new coolant. This will not include the million Mercedes-Benz's built each year, of which 90,000 are sold in the UK.

Urging the EU to compromise, Jochen Flasbarth, president of Germany's Federal Environment Agency UBA said: 'We have been warning about the dangers (of HF0-1234yf) for years. Daimler's internal tests proved not only that our own fears were justified but also that we may even have underestimated the risks.'

But he added: 'It's just not possible to switch to a CO2-based system within six months or even a year, though, so I would propose giving carmakers until the end of 2015 to make the switch.'

Mr Flasbarth noted:'If you switch to CO2 then you reduce your global warming potential by 75 per cent over HFO-1234yf, so I think that justifies permitting a longer transition time for those carmakers that commit to the switch,'

Earlier this month, BMW joined Daimler and Volkswagen's Audi in resigning from an industry research group looking into the safety of HFO-1234yf, due to concerns over the scientific thoroughness of the investigation.

Mercedes-Benz executives said they watched in horror when engineers at a test-track in Sindelfingen in Germany simulated a leak in the air-conditioning line of a Mercedes B-Class tourer using the new coolant.

After releasing a fine mixture of the refrigerant and air-conditioning compressor oil which sprayed across the car's turbo-charged 1.6 litre engine, they watched it ignite in 'a ball of fire' before their eyes.

The substance caught fire as soon as it hit the hot surface, releasing a toxic, corrosive gas as it burned. The car's windshield turned milky white as lethal hydrogen fluoride began eating its way into the glass, said the firm.

Stefan Geyer, a senior Daimler engineer who ran the tests said: 'We were frozen in shock, I am not going to deny it.'

A Mercedes-Benz source said: 'In over half the tests, a significant fire occurred, which could endanger the lives of passengers and rescue teams.

'It doesn't explode like in the movies. But there is a boom and a ball of fire.'

'In over half the tests, a significant fire occurred, which could endanger the lives of passengers and rescue teams.

Walter Pütz, director of vehicle certification and regulatory affairs at Mercedes-Benz Cars said: 'The whole vehicle can catch fire and the burning refrigerant generates acutely poisonous hydrogen fluoride which poses a severe danger to both passengers and rescue workers.'

In sharp contrast, the existing refrigerant 'was proved to be safe under identical testing conditions, he said.

Daimler said in a statement: 'Due to the new findings of this study and the high safety demands at Mercedes-Benz, this chemical will not be used in its products.'

German carmaker Volkswagen has also announced it is looking at an alternative carbon-dioxide (CO2) based coolant to the new 'green' version.

But MEPs said parent company Daimler were putting cost-cutting ahead of climate change remedies – charges the firm denies.

Liberal MEP Chris Davies told European magazine EurActive that the firm was trying to 'frustrate' the directive's ambitions: 'Daimler are evil and I think their CEO should be summoned to the European parliament and humiliated.'

A spokesman for Britain's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it was taking seriously Mercedes-Benz's concerns, adding: 'At the forefront of all members thoughts is the safety of drivers and passengers in the vehicles they are putting on the market. 'The additional research is welcome and members will be looking at the outcomes of that research closely.'


True-believing environmental journalist mourns the glory days at CNN

He appears to have no insight into the fact that constant Greenie evangelism was largely responsible for making his network BORING -- and thus a loser in the ratings

With former NBC chief Jeff Zucker now in charge at CNN, the network reportedly has big changes planned.

The overhaul presents an opportunity for CNN to reverse a decline in environmental coverage that one former top environmental producer at the network blames on an obsession with beating Fox News.

Peter Dykstra, who oversaw the CNN environmental beat from 1995 to 2008, recalled top CNN executives describing environmental stories as "elite issues or liberal issues" that would not draw a Fox News crowd.

"For the last 10 years, CNN has been battered by competition, primarily by Fox. They have incurred huge losses in ratings to Fox and like just about anyone in cable television, they have altered their programming far more in the direction of entertainment and amusement as opposed to information with redeeming value. That of course does not bode well for covering science," Dykstra said in a recent interview. "CNN has looked obsessively at how many viewers they've lost to Fox." ...

"The biggest issue is that what we covered were perceived to be either elite issues or liberal issues that were of little value if your goal in life is to compete head to head with Fox News," Dykstra recalled about his CNN days. "You do not need science and technology to compete with Fox."

Ironically, a recent report at the Project for Improved Environmental Coverage ranked Fox News 9th out of 30 national news outlets in the amount of environmental stories, with CNN ranked near the bottom at 25th. The report noted, however, that "Fox's environmental coverage has often been documented and criticized for being biased and misleading."

Dykstra said that former CNN President Jonathan Klein, who served in that role from 2004 to 2010, was one of several executives who called for a reduction in environmental coverage in order to compete with Fox, even though he believed climate change existed.

"I will give him credit for looking me in the eye and telling me to my face, and he was not the only CNN boss who did this, that he did not consider science and environment coverage to be a high priority," Dykstra said of Klein, later adding, "It never was hostility, it was more an attitude of 'that doesn't work for us, that doesn't help us beat Fox.' There was very little if any political push back. In fact, Jon Klein, I recall him saying in editorial meetings on more than one occasion 'it's obvious that this is for real, it just didn't necessarily have a place in CNN's coverage.'"

Dykstra said CNN had been a leader in environmental coverage in the early 90s as it ramped up coverage at the time.

Asked when and why the shift changed at CNN to less coverage, Dykstra said: "Much of it can be attributed to the response to Fox [which launched in 1996]. Gradually, through the 90's and dramatically after 9/11 and then in a very final sense after the economy tanked [in] 2007, 2008. In the midst of a real focus [post-9/11], we did no environmental coverage. There was really no coverage of anything other than Al Qaeda and 9/11 here."

But Dykstra said the lack of coverage is almost worsened by the way CNN has handled climate change today. He cited the recent appearance on Piers Morgan's show of Marc Morano, who oversees the climate change denial site

"That means they are comfortable with allowing utterly discredited crackpots on the air like Marc Morano, who has been on there twice in the past six weeks," Dykstra said. "If you let Marc Morano have half of a show on climate change, someone who was utterly discredited, who was involved in the swift boat story, who worked for Rush Limbaugh... if you took that same standard that they used for this environment story and applied it to a medical story you would have to pair Sanjay Gupta up with a faith healer or a witch doctor every time he went on the air."

Jonathan Klein could not be reached for comment and CNN did not respond to requests for comment.

"What has happened particularly in the cable news business is that the competition particularly between MSNBC and Fox and CNN has prompted all three to strive for the lowest levels," he said. "With Fox in the lead and MSNBC and CNN playing catch-up, there has been a tendency to present over-simplified versions of the news and often to have them presented on the air by the real-life equivalent of cartoon characters."

He said his efforts to focus coverage on climate change and even evolution versus creationism were often blocked in the later years of his CNN stint.

"It obviously does not fit the political portfolio of Fox and a place like CNN is terrified of alienating viewers with progressive coverage and driving them to Fox. Climate change stories were not my most difficult sell at CNN," he said. "I could get absolutely nowhere with relevant stories about the science and politics of creationism versus evolution."

"When I was there, of course it was long before [Hurricane] Sandy this year and all of the horrendous weather stories of the past year, extreme weather was an easy sell," he explained. "Katrina made climate change a bit easier sell ... people tend to forget there were at least four major hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004. Those issues where there was reason and immediate on the ground self-evident reason to ask questions about climate, it was an easier sell."

He later added, "Now we see it rising again and it is rising again on the occasion that we've just gone through tremendous drought, a huge melt back of the arctic ice pack, Sandy and other storms... and the public is responding again. TV news often reacts to that response. There's at least a sliver of hope that there will be some comeback in climate reporting at CNN and other networks."

Dykstra offered some hope that CNN would improve its environmental coverage, praising most of the reporters there. But, he stressed, the striving for ratings and push for personalities does not help.

"There was and still is enough journalistic sensibility at CNN that they will never move to the right like Fox, but they will give Glenn Beck his first [TV hosting] job, which CNN did about 5 years ago. They will tolerate Lou Dobbs becoming this Howard Beale-like populist crackpot at the point in his career when Lou Dobbs was denying climate change and promoting birther stories about Obama."

Dykstra said ratings are not always the driving force, sometimes it is getting advertisers who want a certain audience, even at the detriment of proper news coverage.

"Lou Dobbs' business show never really had high ratings, but business-oriented sponsors, people who might be selling Cadillac Escalades or jewelry to wealthy viewers, would pay a premium price even if it's a smaller numerical audience to reach a richer audience," he explained. "The eternal challenge [for environmental coverage] is that we are not linked to a personality, there is no star environmental reporter out there."

Dykstra said the CNN environmental and science team reached 24 people -- with up to a dozen on the environment alone -- in the 1990s. By 2000, it was down to 12 staffers across both beats.

Dykstra was among seven environmental journalists laid off in 2008, with five having been let go during 2004-2007.


Al Gore too is rowing back from global warming

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore uploaded a new video to YouTube – the first video on his YouTube channel – in which he announced a new company, Earth Inc.

The video has attracted more than 1,000 viewers in three days. Well, it was probably 200 viewers seeing it 5 times but it's still impressive for a former vice-president and a major party's presidential candidate in a country with 300 million people. We may be going to double the number of views. ;-)

Al Gore advertises printers that may print whole houses within a day as well as new Al Gore Rhythms that increase the efficiency of law firm assistants 500 times. He seems to partially take credit not only for the Al Gore Rhythms but maybe for the 3D printers, too. If you told him about plans to 3D print buildings on the Moon, he would take credit for them, too.

His company Earth Inc. will also struggle to balance opportunities and new perils arising from the new technologies. Blah blah blah.

Needless to say, what I find most remarkable is that this 76-second video doesn't mention the climate, climate change, global warming, greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide, emissions, or anything of the sort. They have already sold his and pals' Current TV to the Arab oil sheikhs for half a billion dollars so he may have changed his focus, right. The closest words to the "planetary emergency" that we hear in this video are the words "truly sustainable economy" which can mean anything and everything. Maybe the sheikhs bought what this jerk would be talking about, too: they bought his mouth.

If you're thinking about buying his new book about The Future, Six Drivers of Global Change, you may want to know the table of contents. There are chapters on Earth Inc; the global mind; power in the balance; outgrowth; reinvention of life and death; the edge; conclusion. It seems to me that this top leader of the climate hysteria has largely abandoned it.


What a nutcase!

Obviously a desperate need for attention

It was protest time at the White House on Wednesday.

Environmental activist Robert Kennedy Jr., actress Daryl Hannah, civil rights leader Julian Bond and dozens of others were arrested for chaining themselves to the White House gate in protest of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

"It's unfortunate that civil disobedience is the only recourse against a catastrophic and criminal enterprise that will enrich a few while impoverishing the rest of humanity and threatening the future of civilization," said Kennedy, president of the Waterkeeper Alliance.

President Obama is getting it from both sides on Keystone.

Republicans accuse the administration of obstructing the Canada-to-Texas pipeline, costing the nation jobs and new oil supplies.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


15 February, 2013

An unreferenced plunge into fantasy

Greg Laden writes below for Daily Kos. Not a place for balanced discussion, of course. But the story he tells below is just fantasy. He does not mention for instance that the Arrhenius theories were regarded as disproven by the scientific "consensus" for most of the 20th century. And the last sentence I reproduce below flies stright into the face of the latest HadCRUT global temperature statistics. And HadCRUT is a Warmist product! We are in fact not experiencing ANY warming, let alone warmer years than predicted. There was some warming towards the end of C20 but none in the present century (which is why lots of Warmist charts end in the year 2000!)

It's no wonder that he gives no source, reference or link for his assertions below. He cannot. It's just Goebbels-style propaganda. More on the frantic Mr Laden here and here. Laden is certainly inventive.

As we wrestle with hard science and hard policy and the interaction between the two, the real problem we face are made much harder to solve because of the seemingly incessant drumbeat of science denialism.

Climate change is real and is mainly caused by humans, but climate change science denialism is an industry, a cottage industry, or a hobby for many. Big oil pays for the production of anti climate science rhetoric and activism. Anti climate science activists exhibit bizarre non-scientific behavior that goes beyond denying anthropogenic climate change. It may be hard to tell if the denialist activism in this important area of science and policy is something people are driven to do by vocation, or if they make a living at it.

Climate Change is Real and Caused by humans

The idea that greenhouse gasses determine the temperature of the atmosphere…or more accurately, the atmosphere’s heat-holding capacity…is old, as is the idea that burning fossil fuels can release additional gasses, augmenting what is already in the atmosphere, to cause further warming. Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, suggested this in 1896. He measured the greenhouse effect of natural CO2 in the atmosphere, called it the “greenhouse effect” and with Thomas Chamberlin, attempted to estimate the amount of global warming that would occur with a doubling of CO2 from burning fossil fuel.

Numerous other scientists throughout the first two thirds of the 20th century verified and expanded on this knowledge. During the last third of the 20th century and through to the present, there have been significant improvements in the data required to measure Earth’s climatic changes and the relationship between greenhouse gases and global temperature. On one hand, more measuring stations and satellites intensified sampling for recent decades. On the other hand, the assembly of the older records from numerous weather stations around the world and the use of “proxyindicators” of ancient temperature were developed. It is now possible to reconstruct temperatures and precipitation patterns for many regions of the world, and globally, for hundreds of thousands of years of time with accuracy approaching that which would be achieved by sending hundreds of meteorologists equipped with instruments back in time, without the use of time machines. Which is good, because time machines have not yet been invented (nor, apparently, were they invented in the future!).

Serious scientists have not questioned the basic greenhouse model in decades, but rather, have worked to refine it, and to understand the relationship between natural effects, human effects, and the climate. A couple of decades ago, it was probably true that one could consider the possibility that some natural and human effects would increase warming while at the same time, others would decrease it. For instance, one might have thought that releasing CO2 from fossil sources into the atmosphere would increase plant growth. The increase in plant growth would, in turn, cause extra atmospheric CO2 to be captured by plant tissue, thus providing a negative feedback loop, bringing temperatures at least some measure back to normal. However, it turns out that there is a limit to how much this effect happens, and it is negligible.

At the same time, positive feedback loops have been considered. For example, if warming melts snow and ice, there may be less reflection of the sun’s energy back into space, causing a warmer atmosphere or ocean, enhancing warming and melting more snow and ice.

It turns out that the sum of negative feedbacks, reducing warming, and positive feedbacks, enhancing warming, do not balance out; positive feedbacks are numerous and often alarmingly potent while negative feedbacks are rare and weak. Burning a whole lot of fossil fuel makes the atmosphere and the seas warmer, and this, in turn, causes additional warming through numerous positive feedbacks. The only really strong factor causing cooling seems to be the occasional massive volcanic eruption which temporarily cools the atmosphere when upper level dust blocks sunlight or keeps some of the sun’s energy at high altitude where it returns more directly to space. The absolute amount of energy we get from the sun and its interaction with a dynamic atmosphere and magnetosphere also affects global temperature, but only a little.

In short, we’ve known about greenhouse effects, and the role of human activities that release additional greenhouse gas, for over 100 years, our understanding has become amazingly refined both in terms of data and modeling, and the greenhouse problem has typically been revealed to be worse, not better, than expected as the research progresses.

”Alarmists” should be more alarmed

Indeed, we may be seeing an important period of adjustment of climate models today. For various reasons, climate scientists have been conservative in their estimates of the severity of greenhouse warming. Many models of change provided multiple possible future trajectories and upper and lower likely limits. In reality, as models produced several years ago have been tested against measured reality, that reality has been at or above the predicted upper limits of change for many measures. We are experiencing warmer years than previously predicted.


Global warming scientists cooling it on CO2

Libertarian News Examiner has long argued against human-caused climate disruption nee climate change nee global warming on the basis that the science has been corrupted through politicization.

It just seems too coincidental that the "solution" to global warming is to tax 99 percent of Earth's population back into the Stone Age so the Master Class can act as everyone's environmental Savior.

"Coincidental" because it so perfectly mirrors the overall ideology of the coercive statist-welfarist-collectivist left.

But now Denver Libertarian Examiner Jeffrey Phelps shows through a chain of interlinking articles how the science has been corrupted by ... science.

For decades we've been told by UN climate scientists that the human-caused unsustainable rise in global C02 is creating a greenhouse effect that, unchecked by our Saviors, will melt the ice caps, drown coastal cities, kill polar bears and destroy our world as we know it.

But very quietly, says Phelps, environmental scientists are admitting that "recent figures suggest that climate sensitivity is drastically less than the IPCC's old estimate" based on "a substantiated group of corroborating studies."

This is not a "single-study syndrome" situation, we're told, in which one random warming denier or climate change skeptic publishes contrarian data.

What we have is "an accumulating body of reviewed, published research shaving away the high end of the range of possible warming estimates [4.5°C] from doubled carbon dioxide levels" leading to "best estimates of climate sensitivity are now merging into a commonly understood figure that is even lower than 2°C … A vast reduction from alarmist's original estimates."

Yet, notes Phelps, no one in the liberal media – that is to say, the media – has been reporting this story, "other than the original journalist in a major mainstream news publication and a blog or two."

That major mainstream news publication is "a respected NYT earth-science blog," Phelps writes, which "came forward admitting the once over-hyped threat of CO2, as it relates to alleged global warming, may no longer be as much of a problem as previously advertised."

Another is Matt Ridley whose WSJ article suggests, "Evidence points to a further rise of just 1°C by 2100. The net effect on the planet may actually be beneficial."

Phelps finally quotes a publication that "ends by acknowledging 'libertarians' as having been right all along."



Algae, evolution, and the future of biofuels

The fiscal cliff deal that greeted New Year's Day included language qualifying algal biofuels for the $1.01 per gallon blending tax credit available already to cellulosic and advanced biofuels. Once again, rather than letting market-based evolution work out how to replace fossil fuels, the government has decided it can pick the winner.

This of course has reignited both sides of a long-running debate, either touting algae as fuel sources of the future, or dismissing them as so much "pond scum." I have made a career of biologically derived liquid transport fuels (LTFs) and would like to offer some clarifying information.

Algae are amazing creatures. They or something like them created the petroleum deposits on earth from which we derive our LTFs, working their magic over many millennia. The potential energy yield from an acre of land, if this process could be run at 100 percent efficiency, is truly impressive, so scientists have been tinkering with algae growth and genetics.

Getting There

Here are the numbers: Of the sun's energy that makes it to Earth, only about 17 percent reaches the surface, translating annually into 7,000 mega joules of light energy on a square meter of “standard” earth surface area. Only 53 percent of sunlight is photosynthetically active; about 70 percent of this actually makes contact and is absorbed by chlorophyll. Algae are able to convert 32 percent of chlorophyll-bound energy into fat. If everything worked perfectly, algae could produce approximately 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of liquid fuel per acre per year.

The science is well understood. In a nutshell, algae convert sunlight into molecules by reversing our digestive process. We eat sugars, extract energy, and expel "end-metabolites" of CO2 and water. Algae and other photosynthetic organisms take these metabolic dead ends and turn them back into the stuff of life: DNA, protein, and fat. They absorb sunlight with the enzyme chlorophyll, using the energy to bond CO2 with water, and store excess energy as fat. Some obese strains of algae generate 25 percent and sometimes even 50 percent of their body mass as fat.

It takes more processing to convert this fat into useful LTFs. Fat from algae can be extracted from the non-fat using methods similar to those for extracting soybean and canola oil—with a chemical solvent and/or with mechanical "breaking" of the cells. Both processes take a considerable amount of energy, but do produce a net output of fatty oils. Extracted oils can then be converted into the biological equivalent of diesel. Biodiesel, such as Willie Nelson's BioWille, is only the most prominent example. UOP and Neste Oil, among others, have competing technologies for converting oils into "green diesel," with a near-identical chemical fingerprint to diesel.

Just Engineering

But here's where, as a biochemical engineer, I must recommend caution. There’s an industry adage that goes, “Once you solve the science, everything else is just engineering.” But that “just engineering” is another way of saying that it usually doesn't work perfectly. If you don't want just a teaspoonful but rather 60 billion gallons of bio-equivalent diesel, it's not as simple as building more and bigger test tubes. There are certain to be issues and limits associated with scaling up.

Take just one example: Two of the ingredients, CO2 and water, are simple to combine; they make soda water. But scaling that up to account for all of the CO2 produced by U.S. diesel combustion—more than 440 million metric tons annually—presents a host of problems. For one thing, actually converting that much CO2 to soda would fill Lake Tahoe. Then you have to source the CO2. The air contains plenty, but has to be concentrated to be of any practical use. Industrial and utility combustion off-gases are rich in CO2, but are also dirty and not necessarily located where the sun shines brightly enough. Then we have to bring the water, CO2, algae, and sunlight together in some processing machinery. Will we use open ponds or enclosed plastic or glass bioreactors? Open ponds raise environmental contamination issues. Enclosed reactors would require a lot of plastic and glass that reflect light. In all cases, pumping water and mixing CO2 are energy intensive.

And the Winner Is…

What's my point? That each scale-up issue and parasitic energy load reduces the actual gallons per acre per year to well below the number of theoretical gallons. So the land area equivalent needed to replace diesel with algae may be Connecticut, or it may be Alaska. Algae may not even work out as an engineering solution to LTF production. We simply don't know yet, and we won't until the market is allowed to allocate capital to the thousands of engineering R&D projects that need to be completed before a practical biofuels industry is in place.

ExxonMobil invested heavily in photosynthetic algae technology. You probably saw their commercials. Joule Unlimited, a biotech startup company, manipulates the genetics of blue-green algae (which is actually a photosynthetic bacteria) to directly produce diesel analogues that transfer across the cell membrane and alleviate the need for physical extraction. Dynamic Energy is a joint venture between Tyson Foods and Syntroleum for converting animal fats and inedible greases into green diesel. Chevron and an international lumber company, Weyerhaeuser, also have a joint venture between them, Catchlight Energy, with a "longer term focus on direct conversion of biomass to hydrocarbons." Royal Dutch Shell and BP Biofuels—the business unit of BP where I worked as principal engineer—have both invested in Brazilian sugarcane ethanol. Both have also invested in biotech companies with cellulosic ethanol and advanced biofuel technologies. And I was part of a technology collaboration between BP and Royal DSM, looking into non-photosynthetic organisms as an alternative to algae-derived diesel.

Who's right? I don't know. What I do know is that no one in the government knows, either. I do know that biofuels are worth investigating as a potentially cost-effective means of producing a substantial supply of LTFs for the world. Mother Nature uses an evolutionary process that involves testing and rejecting millions of systems over billions of years before winners emerge. We don’t need that much time, but we do need the patience to let market-based economic evolution take place. Let's give the market-based evolutionary process an opportunity to work its magic.


Shale oil 'to boost world economy by up to $2.7tn'

Shale oil production could boost the world economy by up to $2.7tn (£1.7tn) by 2035, according to a report.

The extra supply could reach up to 12% of global oil production, or 14 million barrels a day, and push global oil prices down by up to 40%, PricewaterhouseCoopers said.

Shale oil and gas have emerged as a viable way to boost energy supplies.

However, there are concerns over the process by which the gas is extracted, known as fracking.

In fracking, a mixture of water, sand and some chemicals is pumped into a well under high pressure to force the gas from the rock. It has been linked to minor earthquakes, and there are concerns about its impact on the environment.

In its report, PwC said that the level of global growth could increase by around as much as 3.7% by the extra supply of shale oil, which is the equivalent of adding an economy roughly the size of the UK to the total world economy by 2035.

But the benefits of oil price reductions due to shale oil will vary significantly by country.

Current major oil exporters, such as Russia and the Middle East, could be "significant net losers in the long term unless they can develop their own shale oil resources on a large scale", it said.

Last month, China stepped up its efforts to explore shale gas reserves by awarding exploration rights on 19 shale gas areas to 16 firms.

Demand for energy in China has surged in recent years as its economy has expanded. The country is now the world's biggest energy consumer.

In December, the UK government gave the go-ahead for a firm to resume fracking to exploit gas in Lancashire, which was stopped after two tremors near Blackpool.


Why Greenies should love shale: Shale gas finds could kill Nuclear

But there's no such thing as a happy Greenie, of course

Nuclear power stations in Canada and the United States are closing because they cannot compete with cheap power being produced from shale gas.

This revolution in the way North America produces its electricity is sending shock waves through the nuclear industry in Europe too. New nuclear build will be spectacularly uneconomic if a fracking industry is successful in the United Kingdom.

Gas prices would tumble as they have across the Atlantic. Even the existing nuclear stations in France, Belgium and the UK would find themselves struggling to compete, especially if they need investment to achieve modern safety standards.

A report, expected to be published shortly by the UK Government, shows that the country may have massive gas reserves that can be released by fracking.

It is a controversial technology because of environmental concerns about water contamination and earthquakes, but it promises cheap power, far cheaper than even the most optimistic new nuclear station operator could offer.

If the leaked reports that the British Geological Survey has dramatically increased its estimate of the amount of gas available in the UK are correct, then reserves are 200 times greater than originally thought. This is enough for more than a century of British needs and will cut gas prices across Europe.

This kind of bonanza in the US has made gas generation cheaper than coal, resulting in a reduction in coal-fired generation there and a fall in coal prices internationally. The switch to gas has led to a temporary drop in US greenhouse gas emissions from the power industry, because gas is a cleaner fuel than coal.

In the long run, however, a large supply of cheap gas undercutting both renewables and nuclear will be a serious threat to international attempts to tackle climate change.

Nuclear power, supported by the UK Government chiefly as a low carbon technology that is important to the energy mix, would be priced out of the market.

An example of what may happen in Europe if fracking gets under way is the decision on the Gentilly-2 reactor in Quebec. The low price of generation from gas obtained by fracking – four to five cents a kilowatt hour – puts the nuclear power plant at a competitive disadvantage. Its current production price is nine cents and it needs a $4.3 million refurbishment.

This makes it uneconomic to update. According to the Montreal Gazette Thierry Vandal, president of Hydro-Quebec which owns the reactor, told a national assembly committee hearing that “shale gas killed Quebec’s only nuclear reactor.”

The financial analysts Bloomberg say six nuclear stations are at risk of “early retirement” in the US for the same reason. Duke Energy has decided to close the Crystal River Unit 3 plant in Florida rather than repair it, and Dominion Resources Inc’s Kewaunee reactor in Wisconsin is closing. The future of four other reactors is being reviewed.

In the UK the programme to build at least eight new reactors has hit trouble because a series of potential backers has pulled out – the latest of them Centrica, the largest electricity supplier in the country.

It had a 20% stake in plans by EDF, the French nuclear giant, to build four new reactors in England. With costs escalating and delays, the company wrote off the £200 million it had already spent on the project and said that instead it was to concentrate on gas generation and renewables (see our report of 5 February).


EDF is looking for new partners and is in talks with the UK Government to try to get a minimum price for electricity from the new stations. This is to be a guarantee for investors so that they will get their money back.

The trouble is that the European Union bans subsidies, so the Government will have trouble avoiding legal action if it props up nuclear power. The nuclear industry is reported to need a price of £100 a megawatt hour for 30 years for its electricity to get a reasonable return on its investment, while the current price is around £60.

If EDF built four reactors that would cost householders and businesses about £1 billion a year in higher bills, a decision not likely to be popular.

The nuclear industry’s current plans are to build four of the European Pressurised Reactors at two sites in England. The two under construction in Finland and France are years late and billions over budget. There was another blow this week (Monday 11 February) when the the Finnish plant, the prototype, was delayed again, until 2016.

It was started in 2005 and was supposed to be connected to the grid first in 2009, then in 2012. The start date was then put back in 2012 to “beyond 2014”, and the cost rose from 3 bn euros to more than 6 bn.



Three current articles below

Burn-off policy outrage in Tasmania

Greenie opposition to precautionary burnoffs designed to prevent forest fires is hard to understand except by reference to their misanthropy

A GROUP of Tasmanian farmers say their livelihoods are being threatened by bureaucratic red tape stopping them from burning off on their land and putting their properties at risk of further catastrophic fires.

Lobby group leader and owner of Redbanks at Nugent, Sorell councillor Lindsay White, was due to take part in a teleconference last night with the NSW Volunteer Firefighters Association to give advice based on the issues facing Tasmanian farmers after the Lake Repulse, Forcett and Molesworth fires.

"Our group believes that farmers' property rights have been eroded over the past 30 years to appease the wishes of government departments," Mr White said.

"Farmers are unable to effectively manage their own properties because of the quagmire of red and green tape," he said.

The group has now met with Emergency Management Minister David O'Byrne and Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown to voice their concerns and demand change.

A Facebook page has also been set up called "It's Our Land Too" calling for supporters, and Mr White wants to hear from other landowners struggling to deal with bureaucratic red tape.

The group says the Forcett fire would not have exploded into such a catastrophic event if Parks and Wildlife adhered to their reserves management plans and the Tasmania Fire Service "heeded the advice of local fire chiefs and farmers".

The TFS says it will work with farmers to address their concerns.

But Mr Brown said it was important to note that while the Forcett fire burned with the same ferocity of the deadly 1967 bushfires, there was no loss of life and far less property damage.

Carlton River farmer Leigh Arnold lost a shearing shed, wool shed and house in the Forcett blaze and says it was the final straw after hundreds of acres he planned to subdivide on his property were locked up after being deemed "potential foraging ground" for the swift parrot.


An extreme contrast between electric cars and V8s

Governments are pissing into the wind with their "green" car initiatives. Virtually nobody wants them.

Holden has revealed the V8 muscle car that will take on the American car industry at its own game.

The SS Commodore will form the basis of a $200 million export program that will see the car sold as a Chevrolet alongside the iconic Camaro and Corvette muscle cars.

The car will also take to America's oval race tracks, becoming Chevrolet's entrant in the Nascar series, which ranks second only to the NFL in television ratings.

Holden moved forward the unveiling of the new Commodore because the export version will be shown to the American public for the first time tomorrow, as part of the lead up to the legendary Daytona 500.

The car will have one of the most powerful V8s ever fitted to a locally-produced car and Holden will only sell the most powerful – and, likely, thirstiest – version.

The move flies in the face of the Federal Government's controversial Green Car Innovation Fund, which has pumped money into the local car industry to make it more environmentally friendly.

In an era of downsizing and more fuel efficient vehicles – Holden has invested tens of millions of dollars into the new Commodore to reduce weight and improve fuel economy by about 10 per cent - the country's newest export is also its thirstiest.

The export car will look almost identical to the recently-revealed VF Commodore SS-V, albeit with Chevrolet badges and – possibly – bonnet scoops to give it a more aggressive look.

However it's expected to get a 6.2-litre V8, which will outgun the Holden version that makes do with a 6.0-litre V8.

Holden has said it is looking to sell between 3000 and 5000 to Chevrolet in the US, where it will be sold as the brand's flagship performance sedan, the SS.

It will likely sit between the locally-designed Camaro two-door and the Corvette flagship as a four-door performance hero in the Chevrolet range.

However Holden insiders have suggested those sales estimates are “very conservative” and that executives on both sides of the Pacific hope to achieve higher numbers, reinforcing the demand for V8 sedans.

Even the Corvette – a purebred sports car – sells in far higher numbers; it has regularly accounted for more than 30,000 in annual sales and even since the global financial crisis has accounted for more than 10,000 sales annually.

In Australia sales of V8s are strong, too, with about one-third of all Commodores sold fitted with a V8.

The figures show that despite a global push towards fuel efficiency, Australians are reluctant to sacrifice power for fuel economy and environmental concerns.

Despite significant media coverage and new arrivals last year, fewer than 200 all-electric cars were sold in 2012, whereas more than 25,000 V8-powered cars were sold in Australia.


Conservative leader backs plans to build more dams

A horror moment for the Green/Left. Dams are their bete noir

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Australians need to get over their "dam phobia", amid reports the Coalition is considering a multi-billion dollar plan to build up to 100 dams across the country.

Mr Abbott says there have been too few dams built in recent years, and it is time to throw off the "green extremism" that has prevented new projects going ahead.

"What we want to avoid is the dam phobia which has afflicted our country for at least a generation," he told reporters this morning.

"We currently use about 6 per cent of our available water resources. Nine per cent is the international average.

"If we could lift our utilisation to the international average, our agricultural productivity would be massively increased."

The idea, contained in a draft discussion paper, has the enthusiastic support of the Nationals, but there are differing interpretations within the Coalition of what status the plan for more dams has.

The Coalition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt this morning said no decision had been made on any particular dam proposal, suggesting some may not be viable.

"We have no proposal for 100 dams as such," Mr Hunt told ABC NewsRadio.

"Those are initiatives which other people have suggested to us and we've simply chronicled the submissions."

But Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce has rejected suggestions the draft discussion paper was just a pre-election thought bubble.

"This has been worked on for nearly two years, travelling the countryside, examining sites over the past couple of years," Senator Joyce told reporters in Canberra.

"This is certainly not a thought bubble. This is a key policy.

"It goes to show the Australian people that whilst we have been in Opposition we can be diligently doing our homework and preparing ourselves for that opportunity if it comes, the honour of government."

The Coalition's plan for more dams was initially leaked to News Limited newspapers, prompting ridicule from Labor.

"This is a story about water, dams and leaks," Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson told reporters in Canberra this morning.

"Mr Abbott has had three leaks in three weeks. This is a strange way to release policy."

Dr Emerson says the Coalition now needs to explain how it is going to pay for the mutli-billion dams plan.

"The Australian people expect the release of fully costed policies, so that they know about the policies of both parties, and... where the money is coming from."

Mr Abbott says new dams would only be built after a thorough cost-benefit analysis, but argues many projects would not need government funding.

"The proponents would fund them because the spin-offs - in terms of agricultural development, in terms of hydro electric power, in terms of flood mitigation - are just really too good to ignore," he told Macquarie Radio.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


14 February, 2013

Obama's billion-dollar EV gamble fails

The Obama administration's electric-car fantasy finally may have died on the road between Newark, Delaware and Milford, Conneticut.

That's where the Tesla Model S electric car driven by the New York Times' John M. Broder repeatedly ran out of juice during a test drive, partly because cold weather reduces the battery's range by about 10 per cent.

Broder's trip turned into a nightmare, including a stretch with the conked-out car riding the back of a flatbed truck.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk fired back this week, tweeting that Broder's report is a "fake" and that "vehicle logs" show he "didn't actually charge to max and took a long detour."

The Times is standing by its story. My take is that even if Musk is 100 per cent right and Broder is 100 per cent wrong — which I doubt — Musk loses.

Who wants a $101,000 car that might die just because you feel like taking "a long detour"?

President Obama repeatedly declared that, with enough federal aid, we can put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. His administration has invested about $5 billion in grants, guaranteed loans — including $465 million for Tesla — and tax incentives to buyers.

Yet Americans bought just 71,000 plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles in the past two years, according to That's about a third as many as the Energy Department forecast in a 2011 report that attempted to explain why Obama's goal was not preposterous.

Federal billions cannot overcome the fact that electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids meet few, if any, of real consumers' needs. Compared with gas-powered cars, they deliver inferior performance at much higher cost. As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded last June: "Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future."

If you don't believe the scientists, listen to Takeshi Uchiyamada, the "father" of the Toyota Prius: "Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars."

Even Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, whose commitment to the all-electric Leaf helped his firm get a $1.4 billion US loan guarantee, has reduced his boosterism in the face of disappointing sales.

Nor do electric cars promise much in the way of greenhouse-gas reduction, as long as they rely on a power grid that is still mostly fired by fossil fuels.

As for Vice President Joe Biden's 2009 forecast of "billions and billions and billions of dollars in good, new jobs," the electric car factory at which he made that statement sits idle. Ditto the taxpayer-backed Michigan factory of battery maker LG Chem. Two Energy Department-funded lithium-ion battery makers have gone bankrupt.

There's simply no denying that the administration's electric-vehicle project was a mistake.

But it's worth asking precisely what kind of mistake (beyond eminently foreseeable and terribly expensive). As Bruce Springsteen once sang: "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?"

I accept the president's good intentions. He didn't set out to rip off the public. Nor was the electric-car dream a Democrats-only delusion. Several Republican pols shared it, too.

Rather, the debacle is a case study in unchecked righteousness. The administration assumed the worthiness and urgency of its goals. Americans should want electric cars, and therefore they would, apparently.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, he of the Nobel Prize in physics, epitomized the regnant blend of sanctimony and technocratic hubris. He once told journalist Michael Grunwald that photosynthesis is "too damn inefficient," and that DOE might help correct that particular error of evolution.

The department has recently backed away from the million-car target, in favour of reducing battery costs to $300 per kilowatt hour by 2015 (from $650 today). Even this seems dubious, given the APS symposium's view that "only incremental improvements can be expected" in lithium-ion batteries.

Chu is on his way out but still dreaming. "For the engineers in the room or those who follow this, you might be saying to yourself, 'What are they smoking?' " he remarked at the Washington Auto Show. "We're not smoking anything. They are ambitious goals but they are achievable goals."

I might add that Chu does not own a car.


Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Record For Most Ice On This Day

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent set a record on day 43 (Feb 12 2013) for most ever on this day. at 3.80037 million sq km.

The old record was in 2008. The record for most ice ever at minimum was also in 2008. 3.69176 million sq km. There is a decent chance that record will be broken.


Most Ice Gain Ever Recorded

With a few weeks of growth still to occur, the Arctic has blown away the previous record for ice gain this winter. This is only the third winter in history when more than 10 million km² of new ice has formed.


German Meteorology Professor Expects Cooling For The Decades Ahead…”Climate Protection Is Ineffective”

Meteorologist Prof. Dr. Horst Malberg has an article posted at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here. He tells us we ought to be preparing for a cooler 21st century first half.

Professor Malberg starts his article by showing and discussing various solar activity charts. Today I’m a little short on time, and so I’ve translated his outlook and conclusion part of the article, which sums it up nicely.


The sun is currently at the start of a quiet phase of activity and will likely reach the critical mean value of 50 sunspots during the current cycle, or even fall below it, i.e. the boundary value between a warm and a cold period. Analogous to the climate conditions during the time of the Dalton Minimum of 200 years ago, we have to expect a climate cooling for the decades ahead.

Only the “fickle“ sun will decide the general extent of the expected cooling and when the temperature again will gradually start to increase. The latter is expected to occur in the second half of the 21st century, when the sun returns to a more active phase.

Both the 200-year De Vries cycle and the 80 to 90-year Gleissberg solar activity cycle point to an imminent drop in solar activity that will have consequences for global climate and food supply.

Russian scientist I. Abdussamatov of the Russian Pulkovo Observatory near St. Petersburg ( has reached the same conclusion. Also according to his results, the solar minimum – which corresponds to the peak in cooling - is expected to be reached during the solar sunspot cycle around the year 2055.

CO2 will neither be able to keep Europe nor the globe from cooling. At most it will help temper the temperature decrease a bit.

Global temperature has not risen in 15 years. It has stagnated, and in recent years has even shown a downward trend – despite the massive annual increases in CO2 emissions. (Why hasn’t the public been informed of this by the media?) For the politically motivated IPCC and its followers, it is now time to give up the dogma of CO2?s climate dominance and the marginalization and branding of those who differ with climate science. Just because one belongs to the mainstream does not mean he automatically has a better knowledge of the science.

Predicting a global warming of 4°C and associated apocalyptic consequences by 2100 by the CO2-dominated climate models (World Bank, PIK) is pure hypothesizing. As long as the solar effects and associated interactions are underestimated and the effects of CO2 exaggerated, no realistic climate conclusions can be expected.

The earlier analyses of climate allow only one conclusion to be made:

Compared to the integral solar climate effect, with all its complex, non-linear interactive mechanisms (ocean, clouds, albedo, biosphere, cosmic rays,…), the anthropogenic greenhouse/CO2 effect is only of subordinate significance. Also the media attempts to trace back singular weather events to an anthropogenic influence has no merit. History shows that hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, droughts and floods have occurred on and off over the centuries as a result of synoptic constellations. However, because of the population growth to 7 billion, more and more people and their goods are being impacted by natural catastrophes.

Instead of attempting over-rated and ineffective climate protection, all efforts should concentrate on global environmental protection: clean air, clean water, uncontaminated soil and an intact ecosystem are among the fundamental rights of people. Measures for reducing CO2 can be justified by the limited fossil fuel resources and pollution that comes from combustion processes. So-called climate protection is, on the other hand, the least effective of all measures. There never has been a stable climate over the course of history, and there isn’t going to be one in the future.”


Protecting Global Warming Liars

By Alan Caruba

The debasement of science continues as various elements, organizations and publications, and the mainstream media circle the wagons to protect those who continue to spread lies about global warming.

Most recently, the National Geographic Science Blogs have added Dr. Peter Gleick to its roster of contributors despite the fact that he stole documents from The Heartland Institute in 2012, creating and disseminated a phony “memo" to defame the 28-year-old, non-profit research organization.

In his initial National Geographic blog post, Dr. Glieck described himself as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is also the president of the Pacific Institute. Among the topics he intends to address are “misrepresentations of science.”

You can read the facts about his deception on, a website Heartland created after Dr. Glieck’s aborted effort to spread a variety of lies about its funding and efforts to debunk the global warming hoax. Dr. Glieck admitted to this and one would think that such behavior would not be rewarded, but neither the National Geographic nor the Pacific Institute and other organizations that claim to be devoted to scientific accuracy and ethics were bothered in the least.

He was welcomed back to the Pacific Institute with a statement that blandly stated that Dr. Glieck “has apologized publicity for his actions, which are not condoned by the Pacific Institute of Directors and run counter to the Institute’s policies and standards of ethics over its 25-year history. The Board accepts Dr. Glieck’s apology for his lapse of judgment.”

Lapse of judgment? Using deception to deliberately slander the Heartland Institute is hardly a lapse of judgment. Those invested in keeping the global warming hoax alive are happy to forgive and forget, and hope the public does so as well.

At a recent convention of the American Geophysical Union, Dr. Glieck was among the featured speakers, along with Michael Mann, a key figure in “Climategate”, the 2009 exposure of emails between himself and other global warming schemers. Mann is famous for creating false data to support it and, in 2012, claimed to have been a joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize! The Norwegian Nobel Institute issued a statement “affirming that climate scientist, Michael Mann lied…”

Penn State University where Michael Mann remains on the faculty despite his Nobel Peace Prize lie, the university simply scrubbed its websites and official documentation of his claim.

Considering that global warming is a lie from start to finish, one must conclude that all those involved have few, if any, qualms about lying. Indeed, this year the American Geophysical Union honored Dr. Glieck as a new AGU Fellow.

A year earlier, then AGU president, Michael McPherson stated that Dr. Glieck’s “transgression cannot be condoned” and had “compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society.” But that was last year and AGU has the same short memory as other scientific organizations that have put their reputations on the line for global warming.

Other professions, such as the law, drum out such people, deny them the right to practice law in the courts, and treat them with contempt when they engage in criminal or unethical behavior, but in the world of science these days, such behavior ends up being rewarded and, by inference, defended.

It is not surprising that National Geographic has provided Dr. Glieck a platform for his defense of global warming. It has long perpetrated all the global warming lies we associate with the hoax.

It is not surprising that AGU has honored Dr. Glieck barely a year after the revelations of his attack on The Heartland Institute.

It is not surprising that Michael Mann remains on the faculty of Penn State University and continues to earn thousands for speeches about global warming.

Nor should we be surprised that Al Gore who spent years campaigning against fossil fuels as the “cause” of global warming should sell his television channel to Al Jazeera, funded by Qatar, a leading oil producer.

What we are witnessing is the web of deception, a global conspiracy joined by governments, including our own, to advance the greatest hoax of the modern era.

Its victims are those forced to pay higher prices for the energy provided by traditional sources, oil, natural gas, and oil, along with the higher cost of gasoline that must be blended with ethanol even if it damages the engines of our automobiles and drives up the cost of food as a large percentage of our corn crop is diverted for its production.

If the so-called “greenhouse gas emissions” of carbon dioxide can be taxed governments such as Australia’s benefit while the industries and businesses affected are defrauded and even driven to close their doors. Carbon dioxide does not trap heat. The Earth balances its absorption and release. It is a minor gas in the atmosphere, barely 0.038%

There was a time when science adhered to strict rules of ethical behavior. When those are thrown overboard, everyone is victimized.


"Carbon farming" boondoggle in Australia

The Federal Government has been questioned about why it did not demand a management plan before funding a carbon farming project in the Northern Territory.

Henbury Station in Central Australia was purchased by RM Williams Agricultural Holdings in 2011 for $13 million, of which the Commonwealth contributed $9 million.

It was pitched as Australia's biggest carbon farming project.

The plan was to destock the 5,000 square kilometre property, about 125 kilometres south of Alice Springs, and return it to its natural state to earn carbon credits.

After a change of project management late last year, there was talk of incorporating some beef production in the plan.

A draft methodology on running the property was submitted to the Government but this was returned to RM Williams Agricultural Holdings, with a request for more information.

No carbon credits have been earned by the project so far.

This week, National Parks Director Peter Cochrane was questioned about the project during a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra.

He said a management plan had not been required before the contract was signed.

Mr Cochrane told the hearing a Carbon Farming Initiative methodology has still not been approved.

National Party Senator Fiona Nash described the situation as appalling.

"The whole process seems to be a bit of a shambles and there really is a real lack of transparency," she said.

"To give $9 million of taxpayer money to a private company to purchase a property and not expect something as transparent and basic as a final management plan before that money was handed over, I think, is just an extraordinary state of affairs."

She says running cattle on the property would be a complete breach of the funding agreement.

The Environment Department has been asked to report on what will happen to the Commonwealth money if the project fails.

A spokesman for RM Williams Agricultural Holdings says there is a detailed interim management plan in place at Henbury Station.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


13 February, 2013

The Carbon Positive Campaign

Please join the fun, exciting, life-affirming, environment benefiting, life-creating campaign for carbon dioxide!

The Carbon Positive Campaign!

Within 50 years, in the time of our children and grand-children, we will have improved the environment and created a lush, green, productive, life-filled planet Earth with all of the beneficial green plant food carbon dioxide we are re-adding and giving back to the environment.

The carbon that is currently trapped in hydrocarbon fuels used to be life! It used to be carbon circulating in the global biospheric process of life, and sustained a lush, green planet, that could support huge creatures like dinosaurs in the past. Today, that carbon-based life has been trapped underground and has formed hydrocarbon fuels that humans can access. Humans get to use that old carbon, which has turned into hydrocarbon fuel, for benefiting our standard of life and relieving poverty on a global scale, and enriching human livelihood in general with the energy it provides. That hydrocarbon fuel has supported a tremendous and enriching transformation and development of human society in the last hundred years.

For the last few millions years, the carbon dioxide concentration in the air was getting so low that plant life was almost ready to stop being able to perform photosynthesis! This would have spelled the extinction of almost all life on the planet, and this extinction would have been global and possibly permanent! It was a very close call. Luckily, by the grace of God, evolution, Gaia, or whatever you would like to be believe – even convenient and lucky happenstance – humans came along at just the right geological time-period to return that trapped life, carbon, back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide where it can then turn back into plants and sustain new and more life. Isn’t it amazing?

It is the most wonderful win-win situation that nature could have provided for us. We get cheap, beneficial, life-enriching energy, and the environment gets back its own source of fuel. It is exactly like how animals and humans breathe out carbon dioxide, and then plants turn around and breathe it in as food and, then produce oxygen for us to breath again. The circle of life. Except now, we’ve industrialized that process and are returning much more food back to the environment where it is supposed to be, and where it can do some good in creating new life. We’re giving back the breathe of life by using hydrocarbons and giving carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere, and this new carbon dioxide can now go back into real, living life, in the present and future.

We can use this wealth supplied by hydrocarbons and the time it gives us to develop new, future-oriented sources of power such as advanced nuclear, fusion, and whatever power generation technology science might invent, because eventually hydrocarbon fuels may become too limited to provide the energy requirements we desire. And when we get to that point, we will be able to always look back and think of all the good that we did for the environment by reinvigorating it with its own carbon dioxide – carbon that had been trapped away from its use in creating and being life.

Please help spread the word of this fantastic news and fantastic science!


High quality proxy study confirms earlier warm periods

There have been a number of these Fenno-Scandinavian studies with similar conclusions. This one is particularly notable for the careful validation of the measurements used. It was of course the INVALIDITY of Michael Mann's "hockeystick" data that led to a need to "hide the decline" in his chosen proxies. So, unlike Mann, the authors below demonstrate that they really are measuring past temperatures.

Warmists dismiss Fenno-Scandinavian data with a wave of their hand, claiming that such data are local, not global. The only problem is that such findings ARE global, ranging from Argentina to New Zealand to China

Esper, J., Büntgen, U., Timonen, M. and Frank, D.C. 2012. "Variability and extremes of northern Scandinavian summer temperatures over the past two millennia". Global and Planetary Change 88-89: 1-9.


The authors developed 587 high-resolution wood density profiles from living and sub-fossil Pinus sylvestris trees of northern Sweden and Finland to form a long-term maximum latewood density (MXD) record stretching from 138 BC to AD 2006, wherein all MXD measurements were derived from high-precision X-ray radiodensitometry, and where biological age trends inherent to the MXD data were removed using regional curve standardization, after which the new MXD record was calibrated against mean June-August temperatures obtained from the long-term (1876-2006) instrumental records of three different monitoring stations.

And in comparing their results with the earlier temperature reconstructions of others, they say that their MXD-based summer temperature reconstruction "sets a new standard in high-resolution palaeoclimatology," as "the record explains about 60% of the variance of regional temperature data, and is based on more high-precision density series than any other previous reconstruction."

Finally, and most importantly, the four researchers state that their new temperature history "provides evidence for substantial warmth during Roman and Medieval times, larger in extent and longer in duration than 20th century warmth."

More specifically, they identify the Medieval Warm Period as occurring between approximately AD 700 and 1300; and they identify the warmest 30-year interval of this period as occurring from AD 918 to 947, during which time June-August temperatures were approximately 0.3°C warmer than those of the warmest 30-year interval of the Current Warm Period.

Northern Scandinavian JJA temperatures shown with 100-year filters of the reconstruction (red curve) and uncertainty estimates integrating standard and bootstrap errors (shaded area). Text indicates the Roman Warm, Dark Ages Cold, Medieval Warm, Little Ice Age, and Current Warm Periods. Temperatures are expressed as anomalies with respect to the 1951 1980 mean.


About Those Tobacco Connections…

Where’s the scholarly press release highlighting Al Gore’s “longstanding ties to tobacco companies?” Where’s the study announcing that WWF’s tobacco connections extend back to the 1960s?

There’s chatter in the climate blogosphere about a new paper that claims the fiscally conservative movement in America known as the Tea Party has links to Big Tobacco. For example, climatologist Michael Mann is (re)tweeting about it

The paper in question has been published in a journal titled Tobacco Control. You can purchase one day of access to it here if you’re willing to pay $30 US (or, since I’m in Canada, the price is 20 British pounds).

The author of the paper is a University of California San Francisco professor named Stanton Glantz. Since this is a discussion about who’s connected to whom behind the scenes, it’s worth noticing that Glantz happens to sit on the Editorial Advisory Board of this very journal.

In any case, climate activists have a long history of trying to discredit climate skepticism by claiming that skeptics are behaving like Big Tobacco by questioning the urgency of the climate crisis, that we’re employing a “tobacco strategy” to communicate our point-of-view, and so forth. In the comic-book world inhabited by such people, climate skepticism and the Tea Party are practically indistinguishable, hence the interest in this paper.

The University of California has issued a press release headlined: Study: Tea Party Organizations Have Ties To Tobacco Industry Dating Back To 1980s. It quotes Glantz:

"Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party movement have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry’s anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda."

Let’s deal with the last half of that sentence first. The claim is that the Tea Party is promoting the tobacco industry’s agenda. Except that hostility toward excessive taxes and job-killing regulations is actually its own agenda. Those ideas are central to a fiscally conservative economic analysis.

Even if tobacco never existed, the Tea Party would still be against red tape. It would still be saying that ordinary people pay too much tax. Any professor who thinks the Tea Party’s opposition to taxes has been orchestrated by the tobacco industry needs to step outside his ivory tower and inhale some fresh air.

Which leaves the first part of the sentence. We’re told that Tea Party organizations “have longstanding ties to tobacco companies.” Well, if that is sufficient to discredit the Tea Party, it should be sufficient to discredit a wide swath of environmental activism as well.

Back in 1996, the New York Times reported that, six years after Al Gore’s sister had died of lung cancer, he himself “was still accepting campaign contributions from tobacco interests.” In 1999, it revealed that Gore’s “top media adviser,” Carter Eskew,

"helped design a $40 million advertising blitz for the big tobacco companies during the Congressional fight over Federal anti-tobacco legislation…[Eskew] is not the only member of the Gore team with tobacco ties. Tina Flournoy, Mr. Gore’s finance director, is a former Philip Morris executive, and Jonathan Tisch, one of his top fund-raisers in New York, is a top executive at the Loews Corporation, the parent company of Lorillard Tobacco."

On the campaign trail back in 1988, Gore couldn’t boast loudly enough about the central role tobacco has played in his life:

"Throughout most of my life, I’ve raised tobacco…I want you to know that with my own hands, all of my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I’ve hoed it. I’ve chopped it. I’ve shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it."

And let us not forget the World Wildlife Fund’s tobacco connections. The 2011 book, Saving the World’s Wildlife: WWF – the first 50 years was written with the cooperation of WWF officials. It says this organization extended a warm welcome to South African corporations during the apartheid era. According to page 120:

"WWF-South Africa was in many ways a special branch of the [WWF]. Instead of appealing to the general public it derived its income from corporate members. Seventy-two companies joined within a year thanks to Anton Rupert’s active canvassing among the South African business community."

Rupert was one of the founders of the WWF and one of the richest men in the world. Where did his fortune come from? Tobacco. An obituary explains:

"Calculating that there would always be a great demand for tobacco, regardless of what happened in the world, he developed a cigarette-making company named Voorbrand, soon to be renamed Rembrandt Ltd, whose overseas tobacco interests were eventually consolidated in Rothmans."

The WWF is the largest and wealthiest green lobby group on the planet. One of its founders was a tobacco baron.

Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his climate change activism. He has been intimately linked to tobacco for most of his life.

Will Professor Glantz be writing a paper about these facts? Will he be declaring, in a press release, that both Al Gore and the WWF have “longstanding ties to tobacco companies”?

Will his university issue a press release that announces, in it’s title, that the WWF’s links to the tobacco industry extend back to the 1960s?

Finally, will the hired-gun, public relations professionals posing as activists over at DeSmogBlog tweet about how the WWF “was created by Big Tobacco and Billionaires”?


Obama's Green policies make him the enemy of the poor

A winter storm of epic proportions has pounded the northeast. The president's solution: make it colder. That's the message he sent during his second inaugural speech, and it's what we're going to hear in the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Not that the president's climate change proposals will actually work. Closing down a few coal-powered plants is not going to alter global temperatures. But it will please the environmental lobby and bring in contributions in advance of the 2014 congressional elections, which is more or less the point.

If the White House could alter the climate, the 2013 supersnow would argue for making it warmer, not colder. The storm has killed at least four, shut down commerce in four states, and wrought havoc on air travel nationwide.

The recent cold spell in the eastern U.S. has been accompanied by record cold in China, Europe, and other regions. Obviously, the earth's climate is not getting dramatically warmer, as climate alarmists claim. While it is generally acknowledged that global temperatures have risen since 1850, more recent temperature readings have been less clear-cut, and future readings are unpredictable. In the centuries-long period before 1850 known as the Little Ice Age, global temperatures were the coldest in millennia.

The next century may well revert to that pattern of cooling -- a prospect not to be desired. On balance, periods of climate cooling result in devastating crop failures, higher death rates, and lower standards of living. Warming, on the other hand, produces bumper crop yields, economic growth, improved health, and greater prosperity -- especially for the world's poor.

President Obama has never shown much concern for the world's poor. Unlike President Bush, whose Millennium Project brought a measure of reform to developing nations, Obama has been willing to meet "without preconditions" with any corrupt tyrant, anytime and anywhere. The result has been no improvement in living standards or human rights among the world's poorest citizens. Obama is more interested in rewarding green energy investors who just happen to be major contributors to the Democratic Party than he is in relieving suffering among the poor.

The president's climate change policies certainly don't do much for anyone, poor or not. After the failure of Solyndra and many other government-funded green energy companies, one would have thought that Obama had learned his lesson. But his second inaugural proposal was to double down on green energy -- that is to say, continue shoveling out tens of billions of dollars to wealthy investors in exchange for campaign contributions. Even with continuing trillion-dollar deficits, Obama insists that government does "not have a spending problem." A trillion dollars is nothing to this president as long as he can wring a billion dollars of contributions out of it.

The fact that all of this spending comes at the expense of ordinary Americans seems not to matter. At a point in the economic cycle when the economy should be expanding by more than 4%, estimates of GDP growth for 2013 are coming in at 2% or less. That lack of growth, and the lack of job-creation that accompanies it, has devastated working Americans. Proposed EPA regulations of existing coal-powered plants will, if implemented, result in a tax on all Americans, but one that disproportionately affects the poor and middle class. The same thing can be said for Obama's radical plans to raise CAFE standards on passenger vehicles. Likewise for EPA regulation of oil and gas drilling and all the other misguided climate-related policies coming out of this administration. Ordinary citizens are paying a tax equal to 25% of their income -- the effect of compounding wage losses of 3% annually over eight years of the Obama administration -- just to fund the president's green energy pay-to-play schemes.

The effect on the world's poor is even greater. It is, in fact, a matter of life and death. Obama's continuing support for corn ethanol mandates has raised global grain prices beyond what the world's poorest citizens can afford. Quite literally, Obama has caused billions of poor people to go to bed hungry each night and millions to starve. Ironically, America's first African-American president would rather collect cash contributions from the green energy lobby than save the life of a child starving in east Africa.

Global hunger is already a crisis, but if Obama really could lower global temperatures, as he claims to be able to do, hunger would become a catastrophe, and not just in east Africa. Fortunately, nothing any politician can do will change the course of the earth's climate. Unfortunately, Obama doesn't see this, or he doesn't want to see it. And his actions are going to cause great harm, especially to the poor the world over.

What is truly disturbing is this president's callousness toward the poor. One stroke of the pen could eliminate corn ethanol mandates, end biofuel boondoggles, and block EPA regulation of fossil fuels. As a result, the U.S. economy -- and the global economy with it -- would flourish, creating new wealth that would spread not just among America's people, but among human beings everywhere.

Real reform of this kind would lower food and fuel costs globally, thereby relieving suffering for the world's poor. Obama's proposal to double down on green energy, on the other hand, will drive food and fuel costs even higher. Tens of millions of desperate human beings will die as a result of the president's policies, and billions will suffer the agony of unending hunger. Does the president even care? Not as long as donations keep rolling in.


Tricks of the climate trade

by Michael Kile

Want to play the climate game? Make sure you cover all bases and potential outcomes. Discourage attempts to falsify your claims. Never give your critics criteria against which they could test the veracity of your pseudo-predictions and alleged attributions. Insist you know how to separate the “signal” (AGW “fingerprint”) from the “noise in the system” (random weather).

If your ensemble (multi-model) simulations produce a glaring anomaly when compared with real-world data, explain it away by saying: “in this case there must have been more natural variability than we assumed in our models.” Hide uncertainties under a facade of faux confidence. Never hint that an ensemble approach is a neat way to keep your colleagues in the game.

Be harsh with anyone who asks if there could be something awry with model methodologies. Distract attention from your claim that you can “identify” a local weather impact of a global mean temperature rise of less than 1C a century -- allegedly due to the presence of 0.0385 per cent of an atmospheric trace gas -- in a world where the daily range exceeds 80C (-45C to +45C), and so on.

Dismiss heretics who worry about the uncertainty monster, especially those who claim that “large uncertainties in both the observations and model simulations of the spectral amplitude of natural variability preclude a confident detection of anthropogenically-forced climate change against the background of natural internal climate variability.”

In June last year, The Guardian’s Leo Hickman asked some climate scientists whether it was now acceptable "to blame extreme weather on global warming". Was there a “distinctive [AGW] fingerprint” in extreme weather events (EWEs) unequivocally caused by human GHG emissions?

Some, like NOAA’s Harold Brooks, placed each-way bets: “Our understanding of how global scale atmospheric changes affect tornadoes and severe thunderstorms is that global warming will make some of the [atmospheric] ingredients for them more likely and others less likely. As a result, it appears that long-term trends in tornado occurrence or intensity are unlikely to be large. Even without the planet warming, we would expect to see some years with many tornadoes and others with few tornadoes.”

Other responses were dicey. Princeton University’s Professor Michael Oppenheimer is a dice-man. The alleged link between recent EWEs and increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was, for him, “best represented by a 'loading the dice' analogy – as the world warms, the likelihood of occurrence (frequency), intensity, and/or geographic extent of many types of extreme events is increasing.”

Professor Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann of Penn State also was keen on “the analogy of loaded dice”. There had been, he said, a doubling in the frequency of record-breaking heat in the US, “relative to what we would expect from chance alone.” Records were being broken at “nearly 10 times the rate we would expect without global warming. So there is no question in my mind that the 'signal' of climate change has now emerged in our day-to-day weather. We are seeing the loading of the random weather dice toward more 'sixes'. We are seeing and feeling climate change in the more extreme heat we are witnessing this summer.”

But how confident are they about detecting a climate change signal [DACC] in the “chaotic noise” of near-term weather patterns? One person who appeared to have doubts -– at least three years ago -- was Gavin Schmidt, a meteorologist with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

In a 2009 interview, Schmidt said the problem with climate “predictions” to 2030 and 2050 was that they cannot be tested “in the way you can test a weather forecast”. The reason is that long-term trends take

“...about twenty years to evaluate because there is so much unforced (“natural”) variability in the system that we can’t predict – the chaotic component of the climate system – which is not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically. That is something that we really can’t get a handle on. We can only look at the climate problem once we have had a long enough time for that chaotic noise to be washed out so that we can see that there is a full signal that is significantly larger than the inter-annual or the inter-decadal variability. This is a real problem because society wants answers from us and won't wait 20 years.”

There was a more fundamental problem, too. Climate variables are “horribly non-linear” and “horribly complex”.

“There is never going to be a theory of climate. People have tried, but they all fall pretty much at the very first hurdle. It is 'irreducibly complex'. And you can't get away from that.”

Yet researchers claim today they can make meaningful model simulations “with and without forcing due to climate change” (DACC) and “compute differences in the probabilities of particular events.”

While Hickman’s other contributors all sang from the ACE song-sheet, some seemed more cautious. Was it because they had doubts about specifying EWE probabilities with and without DACC? Several emphasised the difficulty “in calculating the contribution of climate change to an individual extreme event”. (author’s italics).

For Michael Wehner, staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the “relevant question” was: how has the risk of an individual EWE changed because of climate change (DACC)?

In Wehner’s view, the risk of EWEs, particularly very severe heatwaves, “has already changed significantly due to AGW. He claimed the chances of the 2003 European summer heatwave, was “responsible for as many as 70?000 additional deaths, at least doubled and likely increased by a factor of 4 to 10.” The chances of the 2010 Russian and 2011 Texas events had “undoubtedly increased,” yet apparently “these events could have occurred without the human changes to the climate.” By 2100, he predicted, today’s most EWEs will seem “relatively normal.”

Some, like MIT’s Kerry Emanuel, felt the orthodoxy could say something like “the annual probability of a heatwave of magnitude A and duration B before DACC was X, but as a result of DACC has increased to Y and is expected to further increase to between Z1 and Z2”. It would take, of course, some work to actually fill in the numbers X, Y, Z1, and Z2......Any statement that went “appreciably” further probably would involve “spin of one kind or another.”

Harold Brooks admitted attribution of EWEs was challenging. “We’re faced with two separate, but related, questions. How much did the planet’s warming contribute directly to the extreme event? The second more challenging question: how much more likely was the event because of a warmer planet?”

But is it possible to determine how any low-probability event (EWE) changes with changes in “average conditions”? The orthodoxy is not only asserting it can do so, but also claims weighted-coin or loaded-dice outcomes are analogous to probabilities in the EWE-space. But is this the case?

“If you flip a fair coin 100 times,” Brooks explained, “on average you get 50 heads, but 95% of the time you’ll get between 40 and 60 heads and, two or three times you’ll get 65 heads. If you get a weighted coin [or loaded dice] that is 55 per cent likely to be heads, it will be 10 times as likely that you’ll get 65 heads. The small change in the average chance means the chance of an extreme [EWE] becomes much more likely.”

Brooks claims this approach can be applied to temperature extremes. But how to determine whether any change in average temperature made it more likely atmospheric flows would be even more likely to occur than just by chance? How, indeed!

UEA’s Dr Clare Goodess did “not believe that it will ever be possible to look at a single event and say definitively if it would or would not have occurred in the absence of human influence. Paradoxically, however, she felt it was possible “to estimate the extent to which human activity has increased the risk of such events occurring. It has, for example, been demonstrated that human influence has more than doubled the risk of a hot European summer like that of 2003 occurring, and substantially increased the risk of flooding which occurred in England and Wales in autumn 2000.”

DACC attribution was, she admitted, “a more challenging task for rainfall and other weather variables than for temperature, and for areas smaller than continents.”

We soon enter the realm of the “seamless prediction paradigm” -- and EWE-climate pseudo-prediction. (For those interested in more detail, read this critique by Dr Henk Tennekes, a past director of research at the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute.)

As for EWE risk analysis, any statement that describes the likelihood of a future climate or weather event occurring in terms of estimated “probabilities” is defined here as a pseudo-prediction.

Example: “Calculating how the odds of a particular extreme event have changed provides a means of quantifying the influence of climate change on the event. The heatwave that affected Texas has become distinctly more likely than 40 years ago. In the same vein, the likelihood of very warm November temperatures in the UK has increased substantially since the 1960s.”

The state of climate science today resembles in some ways that of seismology. No seismologist has ever predicted the location and timing of any major earthquake, nor a climatologist a (DAGW-induced) EWE. Unlike the latter, seismologists not only admit they do not know how to do it, most do not expect they will ever know how to do it. Most seismologists therefore resist the temptation to make precise short-term predictions. Some, however, release probability statements, as climatologists are now doing for near-term EWE attribution. Mark Quigley, Senior Lecturer in Active Tectonics and Geomorphology at NZ’s Canterbury University, is one of them.

It is doubtful, however, that this kind of “probabilistic” risk approach will ever protect any community - be it in an active earthquake zone, a cyclonic belt or bushfire region.

Hence even if one accepts the validity of Team ACE’s EWE attribution ambitions, it is difficult to see how “authoritative assessments of EWE risk” would be useful; especially when they are to be “produced shortly after the EWEs in question when interest is at its height.”

ACE’s work has been useful for DACC alarmists, such as Christian Figueres, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary. “It doesn’t take a scientist to connect the dots,” she said late last year. “While none of these events can be exclusively linked to climate change, taken together they indicate we’re already in the midst of climate unpredictability, of a profound disruption of the Earth’s hydrological cycle the effect of which is still unknown.” Climate “certainty” is within reach, apparently, but only if UNFCCC is given the power and money to sort things out.

Everyone who’s anyone is now playing the EWE-climate game: loading dice, yet ignoring the uncertainties (see Part III).

Economist Paul Krugman did it in an op-ed column last July. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, did it in Hobart on 15th January this year, when he kicked off the EWE conga line. President Obama did it to “rapturous applause” in his Inauguration speech, vowing to “preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God”, in a burst of rhetoric reminiscent of Al Gore’s Noah period.

“We will respond to the threat of climate change”, Obama promised, “knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations”. (Even more than dumping on them the formidable task of repaying trillions of dollars of national debt?)

Inspired by the decarbonising vibes now radiating from Capitol Hill, our prime minister did it hours later. Singing from the same song-sheet as Figueres et al, she reportedly said that while Australia’s summer EWEs could not be directly attributed to climate change, “the science indicated very clearly climate change means more EWEs.”

Let’s play it again, PM. While EWEs could not be directly attributed to “climate change” -- presumably code for DAGW or DACC -- the science “indicated very clearly climate change means more EWEs.” Down at the track, this would be a scratched horse. [Climate change, strictly speaking, merely describes a natural process – the changing climate. How could it be a cause of anything?]

Fortunately, not everyone has been duped by the new EWE-speak. When Bill Leak rolled his dice, he came up with this cartoon: “A Combet Nation of Fact and Fiction” (The Weekend Australian, 19-20 January, 2013). A perspiring Combet presents the national weather forecast against the backdrop of a continent in flames. “Our satellite picture shows,” he says unconvincingly, “the carbon tax bringing relief from the sweltering conditions we’ve all been....”

Professor Ross Garnaut, the Canberra Carbon Cargo Cult Club’s former climate change guru, also did it in a recent speech to China’s National Development and Reform Commission. “Climate change,” he warned, “takes us into unknown territory for human civilisation”. Australia’s extreme January heat and bushfires were the “latest of the increasingly common extreme weather events that carry a climate change [DACC] footprint.” (How does a fingerprint become a footprint?)

Garnaut is a dice-man, too. He also likes an each-way bet. He was on-message in Beijing. “The association of EWEs with climate change is complicated and can be confusing, because natural climate variability would anyway have introduced damaging extreme weather events from time to time.” Nevertheless, he claimed “we can characterise the way that global warming has affected weather in probabilistic terms by thinking of outcomes as being the result of the throwing of a standard dice with six faces” and so on. But can we?

This was, he said “the probabilistic sense in which climate scientists should be understood when they say that [while] no particular EWE can be said to be caused by global warming [DAGW], [nevertheless] EWEs will happen more often and the worst will be more extreme than before” [because of it.]

But can statistical probability be used in this way? Is the dice a legitimate analogy? Is EWE frequency comparable to a dice throw? To answer these questions, we must venture further into Garnaut’s “unknown territory” -- and into the belly of the beast.


Shale mining coming to Australia

A BAN on shale oil mining in Queensland will be lifted, creating potentially thousands of jobs and providing the cash-strapped State Government with a new revenue stream.

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps will today announce plans to lift the ban, placing the Newman Government on a collision course with environmentalists.

The decision will mean the Government can count on new royalty revenue from shale oil, liquefied natural gas and uranium in the future.

The shale oil industry has been in limbo since 2008 after a 20-year moratorium was placed over a major deposit in north Queensland and the industry told it must prove its technology before the Government would give the green light to proceed.

Shale oil is a sedimentary rock that can be mined, crushed, heated and processed or heated in place to produce petroleum and other fuels.

The Newman Government's decision will allow one operator, Queensland Energy Resources, to progress its trial plant at Gladstone and seek approval for a full commercial operation.

Other potential operators are likely to kickstart the approvals process for their own operations in coming years, with 90 per cent of Australia's known oil shale reserves in Queensland.

However, the Government will maintain until 2028 the moratorium on the controversial deposit near Proserpine in north Queensland, which critics claim is too close to the coastline and sensitive wetlands.

Mr Cripps said the industry could provide huge economic benefits to Queensland, with the current resource considered capable of producing 22 billion barrels of oil.

"As the world supply of conventional crude oil diminishes, there are strong prospects for oil shale to become the next major source of liquid fuel supplies in Australia, and Queensland is well placed to lead that charge," he said.

Under the new shale oil policy, the Newman Government promised project proponents would have to demonstrate how they would meet high environmental standards.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell stressed approvals would be made on a "case-by-case" basis.

QER chief executive Pearce Bowman said the Government's decision recognised the potential importance of oil shale to Australia's transport fuel future, and QER's achievements in constructing and operating a clean and quiet technology demonstration plant




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


12 February, 2013

Coca Cola promotes the "endangered" polar bear myth

Some of their propaganda below. A good reason to buy Pepsi, it seems to me

A polar bear first graced a Coca?Cola poster in 1922, and since then we’ve had an affinity with the great icon of the ice. That’s why we’ve teamed up with WWF to launch Arctic Home, a campaign to help protect the bears’ natural habitat.

Polar bears depend on Arctic ice to hunt, roam and raise cubs - but the ice is melting and the future of this species is under threat. Through our campaign, we’ll be raising awareness and money to help WWF conserve the bears’ precious Arctic home.

Over the next three years, Coca?Cola will pledge €3million; this sum, along with money donated by consumers, will go towards working with local communities and government, supporting scientific research and helping to reduce conflict between people and bears. Efforts will focus on the Last Ice Area, a particular stretch of the Arctic that is larger than France and Spain combined.


Chevy Volt Follows Stupid 2012 with Stupider 2013

You find it hard to believe that a mostly-owned subsidiary of the United States government and the Obama administration- like GM is- could get any stupider than say Fannie Mae, or Federal Reserve Bank.

Yes, that’s tough competition, but in the “idiocy” category GM seems to be the ruling champion.

Not only have they lost substantial amounts of taxpayer dollars, they have managed to do it while generating record profits even though they still have an unfunded pension liability of over $100 billion. The pension liability is more than twice as large as the company’s current valuation on the stock market.

GM has now all but admitted that in it’s current iteration, the Chevy Volt- the car on which the company says it pinned all its hopes and dreams- is dead.

That could be a sign of progress, but alas, no.

Because as a result they have introduced a Cadillac version of the Volt power plant just to make the stupidity a bit pricier.

As of now it’s unclear if spontaneous engine compartment fires will be included in the Cadillac luxury version just as they were in the original Chevy Volt or if rich liberals will have to pay more for that option.

What is clear is sales are struggling, with the Volt reaching only 38 percent of its sales goal for 2012, despite incentives that make the Volt a loss leader amongst “green cars.” And if you thought sales were bad in the USA, they were even worse in Europe and Asia.

According to, “[j]ust 1,336 Volts found buyers outside the States during the portions of the year the car was on sale--against 23,461 in the U.S. Of those, 1,225 of them were sold in Canada. China and Europe together accounted for only 111 Volts.”

Remember: This was the European car journalists’ “Car of the Year” for 2012, which just goes to show you that Europeans feel about the same regarding their journalists and the Chevy Volt as Americans do about their journalists and the Chevy Volt.

So now GM’s plan is to make the Volt more expensive, because the Obama administration understands that richer liberals are just stupider with their money. Rich liberals went out and voted a tax increase for themselves after all, campaigned for it, embraced it; argued, in fact, that the biggest problem in all of the world is that the government doesn’t have enough of our money.

What better way to reward them then to figure out another way to fleece them out of more money that they don’t value?

But this time the fleecing will come with Onstar Navigation, leather seats and a dual DVD players. Maybe shortly they can come out with an Escalade version?

Like most government enterprises, however, GM has decided that it doesn’t want to completely ignore bilking the middle-class.

That why they have announced that the next version of the Chevy Volt is going to far cheaper.

“Instead of shoehorning the electric powerplant into a conventional GM compact-car platform,” reports USAToday, “the next Volt will be purpose-built. That will allow the ability to better package the batteries and other specialized components, says Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. He spoke Wednesday night at Automotive News' World Congress here in Detroit.”

The result will be a car that’s more affordable for working class dudes like you and me.

I’m not exactly sure why they wouldn’t have made the car “purpose-built” in the first place to make it as affordable as possible.

But perhaps like the tax increase that was supposed to be aimed just at the rich, had we known they were going conjure up one “affordable” for all of us, no one would have voted for them.

Because no one was just itching for the payroll tax hike.

And I’m guessing that most everyone would agree that buying a $30,000 car that gets 35 miles between all-night, plug-in charges is just stupid.

Even for middle class liberals.


Obama's Carbon Dioxide Lies

By Alan Caruba

The utter desperation of the “Warmists”, the advocates of global warming—now called climate change—is evident in a recent “study” reported in the Daily Caller in which “an international team of researchers” concluded that “earthworms could be contributing to global warming.” Earthworms!

That's how stupid they think the public is.

It is useful to know the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, the object of much fear-mongering by Greens and Warmists. According to Wikipedia, “Air is the name given to the atmosphere used in breathing and photosynthesis. Dry air contains roughly (by volume) 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1%. While air content and atmospheric pressure vary at different layers, air suitable for the survival of terrestrial plants and terrestrial animals is currently only known to be found in Earth's troposphere and artificial atmospheres."

The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is extraordinarily low compared to its other elements. Edmund Contoski, the author of the award-winning “Makers and Takers”, a study of how wealth and progress is created or thwarted, has noted that “Not only is carbon dioxide’s total greenhouse effect puny, mankind’s contribution to it is minuscule. The overwhelming majority (97%) of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere comes from nature, not from man.”

Not only are worms contributing to the CO2 in the atmosphere, but Contoski notes that “Volcanoes, swamps, rice paddies, fallen leaves, and even insects and bacteria alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined.” Contoski’s data is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy which also notes that 98% of all the carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed again by Nature.

According to a February 5 Wall Street Journal article, President Obama’s forthcoming State of the Union speech “will lay out a renewed effort to combat climate change that is expected to include using his authority to curb emissions from existing power plants…Mr. Obama is likely to signal he wants to move beyond proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules on emissions from new power plants and tackle existing coal-fired plants…”

There is not a scintilla of evidence that reducing carbon dioxide to avoid global warming has any basis in science, but ample evidence that Obama sees it as a way to reduce the nation’s capacity to generate the energy—electricity—it requires for economic growth. The effort to impose a carbon tax would suck more wealth out of the private sector while fueling the government’s insatiable desire for more funding.

The administration’s efforts to maintain this absurd, baseless notion were on full display when a report was released in January by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee, claiming that “humans have so altered the composition of the atmosphere that the next glaciation (ice age) has now been delayed indefinitely.” The northeastern states were hit with a monster blizzard in February.

In late December, The Heartland Institute brought together fourteen conservative think tanks and advocacy groups to urge Congress to oppose carbon taxes. In a letter sent to all U.S. Senators and Representatives, they pointed out that a new tax on carbon content of fossil fuels would be a job killer and raise energy costs across the board, “hurting every industry and every consumer.” The letter noted that carbon is already taxed enough and that U.S. carbon emissions are already declining, but the bottom line is that reducing U.S. emissions will have no effect at all on the so-called climate change. Why? Emissions from China, India, and other developing nations are rising rapidly.

The irony of this is that more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere would contribute to healthier forests and jungles, and most importantly, to increased crop yields that provide food for mankind and livestock, as well as all other creatures that consume vegetation as part of their diet. Carbon dioxide is Nature’s fertilizer for vegetation from a single blade of grass to a giant Sequoia tree.

There is no “consensus” among scientists regarding global warming and many, like those warning about earthworms, have misled Americans and others around the world with the greatest hoax of the modern era.

Since 2008, the U.S. has wasted nearly $70 billion on “climate change activities.” A report by the Congressional Research Service revealed that, from fiscal years 2008 through 2012, the federal government spent $68.4 billion to “combat climate change.” In addition, the Department of Defense spent $4 billion on the same futile, idiotic efforts when, in fact, humans play no role whatever in the changes occurring in the Earth’s climate. The Earth has actually been COOLING since around 1998 and that is entirely the result of less solar radiation. Those billions are an obscene waste of taxpayer funding.

Obama is lying. And he is using the Environmental Protection Agency to advance his lies as they produce more and more regulations whose sole purpose is to shut down existing coal-fired utilities and render impossible the construction of more utilities using coal in a nation that has centuries-worth of affordable coal reserves for the generation of more electricity to serve our energy needs. He is no friend of any other fossil fuel if the delay of the XL Keystone pipeline is any indication.

Energy, indeed, energy independence and the wealth and prosperity that would be generated is within our grasp. The only person standing in the way is Barack Hussein Obama.


A “Hiroshima” of energy

Al Gore, who evidently never learned that the metric unit of energy is the joule, has been bleating the factoid that Anthropogenic Global Warming is the equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs a day of energy added to the planet.

Climate Sanity has done the number-crunching so I don't have to.

Presumed extra CO2 forcing: This value is highly debatable, but I will play along with a commonly quoted warmist value: 0.6 Watts/m2 = 0.6 Joules /( s m2 )
Surface area of the Earth: 5.1 x 1014 m2
Seconds in a day: 86,400 s / day
Yield of Hiroshima bomb: 15 kilotons of TNT
Kilotons of TNT to Joule conversion: 4.2 x 1012 Joules / kilotons of TNT

Crunching through the numbers I get about 420,000 "Hiroshimas" of energy per day. But what's missing from that number is context:

Average insolation at the surface of the Earth: 250 W/ m2 = 250 J / s /m2

...which means that normal sunlight is the equivalent of 175 million "Hiroshimas" of energy a day. Al's getting all hot and bothered over an increase of one quarter of one percent* -- and that's assuming his original number for "forcing" is correct. (Al Gore? Exaggerate? Surely you jest.)

Someone should point out to Al that his Tennessee mansion burns 1/100 of a Hiroshima of energy every year. Assuming he's lived there 20 years, that's 1/5 of a Hiroshima from just one of his several dwellings. A Gulfstream IV burns about 26,000 pounds of jet fuel for an eight-hour flight; at 43 MJ/kg that's another 1/60th of a Hiroshima for each round trip to Europe. I think we can safely assume that Prince Albert has made 60 such flights in his globe-trotting career. Maybe we should call him "Hiroshima Al."

Bottom line: when you hear someone measuring energy in "Hiroshimas," you know they're trying to push an emotional button, not a rational one. Don't be awed by the figures; insist on comparative figures for context. And if you should by some unfortunate chance happen to hear an Al Gore presentation, be sure to ask him how many Hiroshimas of energy he used to get there.


Extreme Climate Change Events: Early 1950's

Unlike the 1950's, when a severe weather event was just called 'bad weather,' now days these events are identified as climate change or climate disruption, caused by humans. Every new hurricane, blizzard, flood and forest fire is quickly labeled as the new normal, which infers a similar event/disaster must never have happened before.
Unfortunately, for the climate ignorant, the 1950's were not an era of stable climate conditions and unchanging temperatures. Although the black & white TV entertainment was fairly simple back then, that period's climate and weather were just as complex...and deadly... as our current 21st century variety.

Below is a list of early 1950's "climate change" events and disasters that were originally identified as bad weather; and, interestingly, climate issues the previous generation of scientists were worried about at that time. A simple review of this list provokes, justifiably, a common sense climate-epiphany: my god, it's the same old, same old.

1950: "Climate Change - World Is Warming"

1950: No Snow In New England Region Devastates Winter Recreation Business

1950: European Countries Finance Antarctica Research To Investigate Warming Earth

1950: Strange Atmospheric Events Affect World's Weather

1950: Hurricane Sweeps Along New England Coast - 60 MPH Winds, Mountainous Waves

1950: 1,000 Villages In Pakistan Destroyed By Flooding

1950: Cold Wind And Dust Storm Sweep Over Bombay, India

1950: Record Rain In Queensland, Australia

1950: Minnesota, N. Dakota & Nebraska Regions Swamped By Flooding

1950: Wild Bushfires Scorch 60 Square Miles of Colorado

1950: Pine Beetle Population In Idaho Forests "Building Up To Alarming Proportions"

1950: Floods In Brazil & Ecuador Take 150 Lives - Train Plunges Off Washed-Out Bridge

1950: Oregon Heat Wave Breaks Temperature Records

1950: Oklahoma's Dust Bowl Region Struck By New Drought

1950: Nine Die In Midwest Dust Storm

1950: 3rd Dust Storm This Year Strikes Wheat States

1950: Scientists Say Earth Warming And Glaciers Melting

1950: Great Appalachian Storm Wreaks Havoc On 22 States - Massive Rainfalls and Blizzard

1950: Eroding Beaches In Australia Due to Rapid Sea Level Rises

1950: Rapid Warming In Greenland - Sea Temperatures Up By Several Degrees

1950: Six Nations Send Scientists To Arctic To Investigate Glacier & Ice Cap Melting

1950: Scientist Says Sidney, Australia Climate Getting Hotter

1950: "The World's Weather Is Just Crazy"

1951: "Glaciers, Icebergs melt as world gets warmer"

1951: Slow Moving Blizzard Leaves Iowa City With 27" of Snow

1951: MIT Scientist Correctly Predicts Global Cooling – Based On Sunspots, Not CO2

1951: Bone-Dry Texas Swelters From Heat Wave

1951: Bakersfield, California Life Halted Due To Blinding Dust Storm

1951: Warming of Greenland & Melting Exposes Medieval Farm-Homes Buried Under Ice For Centuries

1951: Hurricane Level Winds Lash America's Midwest - Flash Floods, Snow & Heat Wave!

1951: Kansas River Flood Displaces Over 500,000

1951: Mississippi River Reaches Highest Level For 107 Years

1951: Floods, Drought Ravage China Over 3-Month Period

1951: Fierce Hailstorm & 40 MPH Winds Wreck Apple Crop In Australia

1951: Kansas City Crippled by Missouri River Flood Waters, St. Louis Next

1951: Mount Lamington Eruption Causes 3,000 Deaths

1951: Hurricane Charlie Blasts Jamaica - 150 Dead

1951: Philippines Loses 541 Lives To Typhoon

1951: 100 Degree Heat Wave Lasts For 7 Weeks In Texas

1951: Eastern Airlines Pilot Runs Into A Sahara Dust Storm 700 Miles From U.S. Coast

1952: March 23 - Hundreds Killed In Southern Tornadoes – Flooding On Lake Erie – Blizzard On the Plains

1952: "Worst Ever Seen" Dust Storm Covers The Columbia Basin In State of Washington

1952: Previously Submerged Town Behind Grand Coulee Dam Has Dust Storm

1952: Exodous Begins - Imminent Starvation Due To Drought Facing Mexican Families

1952: Missouri River "Savagery" Causes Massive Flooding In Iowa

1952: Mississippi River Floods - Record Crests In Minnesota & Wisconsin

1952: Norweigan & Alaskan Glaciers Shrunk 50% Since 1902 Says Scientist

1952: Arctic Scientist Says Polar Ice Cap Melting Threatens Australia's Seaports

1952: Many Species Migrate Northward In Northern Hemisphere Due To Warming World

1952: July Extended Heat Wave – 104 Degrees In Norway – 106 In Italy

1952: March Earthquake, Tsunami And Snowstorm Hits Japan

1952: Another Severe Drought In Australia

1952: North East India Floods Submerge 391 Villages

1952: Alaska really is getting warmer

1952: Yugoslavia's Agriculture Suffers From Repeated Drought

1952: Scientist Says Both Polar Ice Caps Melting At Alarming Rate

1952: Billowing Dust Storm Shrieks Across Southwest U.S.

1952: Massive Arctic Warming, Glaciers Lose Half Their Size, Seas Are Ice Free Most Of The Time

1952: Record Rain Pummels Texas After Record Drought

1953: Hurricane's Sea Floods Kill More Than 900 In Europe - Worst Since 15th Century

1953: UK Floods Kill 300, Farmlands Made Infertile From Salt Water

1953: Consensus Among Meterologists: The World Is Warming

1953: Scientists Say Antarctica Ice Melting Rapidly

1953: Australia's 'Atomic" Port Struck by Hurricane - Every Single Builing Damaged

1953: UK Tornado - 89 Deaths

1953: China's Authorities Report Severe Drought Impact

1953: Wisconsin Heat Wave Pales To Heat Wave They Had In 1936

1953: Choking Dust Storm Darkens Most of Texas

1953: Texas Drought Dust Falls In NY's Times Square

1953: Severe Drought - Texas & Oklahoma Declared Major Disaster Areas

1953: West German Drought Close To Drying Up An Important Water Reservoir

1953 Multiple May Tornadoes Pummel Waco, TX - 115 Die

1953: May Tornadoes Roar Through Georgia & Alabama - 24 Dead

1953: 3rd Huge Dust Storm In 10 Days Blasts America's Wheat Areas

1953: June Tornado Rampage Killed Hundreds In Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Texas

1953: Drought Dries Up Rio Grande River, Missouri River Is Flooding Montana

1953: Heat Wave Blisters U.S. East of The Rockies

1953: Sweden Takes Steps To Stop Paratyphiod Epidemic

1954: 100 MPH Blizzard Winds Howl Across Nebraska

1954: Scientists Tell Congress That The Arctic Might Be Navigable By 1979

1954: Arctic Permafrost In Canada Melting - Natives Have To Be Moved

1954: Mainstream Media Reports That Past Was Much Warmer Than Current Temperatures

1954: Melting Himalayan Glacier Flooding - 200,000 Homeless

1954: North African Earthquake Followed By More Tremors - 1,340 Deaths In Algeria

1954: Longest Drought Grows To Four U.S. States

1954: Heat Wave In Illinois Registers 112 Degree Temperature - Highest Ever

1954: Dixie First Hit By Dust Storms Then Tornadoes

1954: Drought Turns To Floods In Texas

1954: Worst Floods of Century Devastate Areas of Nepal

1954: Hurricane Carol Stampedes Through New England - 49 Dead

1954: Hurricane Edna Blasts New England & Canada

1954: Hurricane Hazel Strikes Haiti, U.S. & Canada - At Least 1,000 Dead

1954: 8 Hurricanes Wreak Havoc On U.S. During 1954 - Worst Year On Record

1954: Record Heat Wave Brings Death, Destruction

1954: 18 Die In Airliner Crash Caused By Mexican Dust Storm

1954: "UK, Europe Have Worst Summer For Years"

1954: Radioactive Dust Storm Injures 23 Japanese Fishermen

1954: Climate Scientists Say Summers Getting Cooler & Wetter In Australia

1955: "Science Agrees! Our Weather Is Changing"

1955: Heavy snows strike France

1955: "Brisbane Facing Worst Flood In Its History"

1955: Northeast US Hit By The Worst Floods In History – Twice

1955: Iceland Hurricane & Snowstorm Sinks 2 Ships - 40 Men Lost

1955: Blizzard Kills 42 Across The U.S. Great Plains

1955: Long Island Sized Iceberg Breaks Off From Antarctica

1955: Muggy Heat Wave In America But Buenos Aires Has 1st Snowfall In 37 Years

1955: Heat Wave Brings Milwaukee Extreme Temperatures

1955: 51 Los Angeles Residents Die From Heat Wave

1955: Europeans Suffer From Long Heat Wave - 70 Die

1955: 25 Million Indians & Pakistanis Lose Their Homes To Floods

1955: 5-Year Drought Ends With Big Floods - Texas, Colorado & Oklahoma

SOURCE (See the original for links

A wide-ranging interview with Fred Singer

The Daily Bell is pleased to present this exclusive interview with Dr. S. Fred Singer.

Introduction: Dr. S. Fred Singer (Siegfried Fred Singer) is an American atmospheric physicist, professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, which he founded in 1990. Dr. Singer is a prolific author, having published more than 200 technical papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as editorial essays and articles that have appeared in leading publications. Front-cover stories appearing in Time, Life and US News & World Report have featured his accomplishments. Dr. Singer is author, coauthor or editor of more than a dozen books and monographs and has given hundreds of lectures and seminars on global warming, including to the science faculties at Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley and many others. He is elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Geophysical Union, American Physical Society, and American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Daily Bell: Good to meet you. Please give us some background. Where did you grow up and go to school?

Fred Singer: I grew up in Vienna, Austria, left school at the age of 13 and apprenticed at an optical machine shop. I left in 1939, crossing the border into Holland the same day Hitler marched into Czechoslovakia, on March 15, 1939. I continued to England and worked as a teenage optician in Northumberland. I joined my parents in Ohio in 1940, shortly after the London Blitz had started and after the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk.

Daily Bell: You received a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1948 in physics. Why did you get interested in physics? What kind of physics?

Fred Singer: In 1941, I was admitted to Ohio State University and studied electrical engineering; I finished in 1943 and was admitted to Princeton University as a graduate student of physics. It gave me the theoretical background for engineering. My Ph.D. came after service in the US Navy in World War 2 and dealt with cosmic rays, essentially high-energy physics.

Daily Bell: You've questioned the link between UVB and melanoma rates, and between CFCs and stratospheric ozone loss. Explain, please.

Fred Singer: The link between solar UVB and melanoma is problematic. It is possible that solar UVA is the main cause; UVA is not absorbed by ozone. However, there could be many different causes for melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. I have never questioned the connection between CFCs and stratospheric ozone loss; my only concern was whether enough CFCs entered the stratosphere to deplete ozone.

Daily Bell: You are well known for denying the health risks of passive smoking. Is passive smoke deadly? Does it cause cancer? What does cause cancer?

Fred Singer: I definitely do not deny the health risks of passive smoking but it is not as deadly as direct smoking. I would not be surprised if passive smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases. However, the analysis done by the EPA is based on poor science and is not in accord with epidemiology. Cancer is produced by all kinds of causes; smoking is definitely one of the major causes.

Daily Bell: Explain your view on global warming and climate change. What's the difference and why?

Fred Singer: Climate change includes both global warming and global cooling, as well as regional changes. It is not known to what extent human activities are responsible for climate change or global warming.

Daily Bell: Please summarize some of your books. What was Global Effects of Environmental Pollution about, for instance?

Fred Singer: My first book dealing with the climate change issue was published in 1970 with the title of Global Effects of Environmental Pollution. It was updated several years later, titled The Changing Global Environment; it is currently being digitized and reprinted by the Springer publishing company. My book The Ocean in Human Affairs deals with the science, history and other aspects of the ocean, including its influence on human exploration. Global Climate Change presents both sides of the global warming debate. My book Greenhouse Debate Continued discusses mainly the shortcomings of the IPCC report of 1990. My book Hot Talk, Cold Science (1997) and its second edition of 1999 describe the evidence against an appreciable human influence on global climate. My co-authored Climate Change Reconsidered assembles peer reviewed papers and other evidence against any appreciable human effect on climate. It can therefore be viewed as responding to the IPCC claim for AGW.

Daily Bell: Thanks. What did you do while you served in the armed forces, and in what capacity did you work in government?

Fred Singer: I enlisted in the US Navy at age 18, hoping to become a radar officer; however, the Navy decided to use me in anti-mine warfare. After the end of hostilities I was detailed to work under the mathematician John von Neumann, designing an early electronic computer.

I've held several government positions: First with the Office of Naval Research as a scientific liaison officer in Europe, then with the Department of Commerce as the first director of the weather satellite service, then at the Department of Interior as deputy assistant secretary of water quality and research, then as deputy assistant administrator of EPA and finally as the chief scientist of the Department of Transportation.

Daily Bell: You were a leading figure in early space research and established the National Weather Bureau's Satellite Service Center. How did that come about?

Fred Singer: research grew out of my high-altitude research with rockets (1946-50). I developed the idea of satellites and was then able to put them into effect as director of the weather satellite program. As a result of my experience in satellites, satellite design, instrumentation and atmospheric physics I was asked to establish the National Weather Bureau's weather satellite service, and set that up in 1962-64. From there I went to the University of Miami to set up a new school: It included oceanography, climate science ? and dealt with Earth sciences generally.

Daily Bell: How did you become such a global warming skeptic? Your critics say you are irresponsible for advocating your positions. Are you?

Fred Singer: My skepticism about global warming is purely based on the observed evidence ? which shows no appreciable warming while there had been large increases in greenhouse gases. I feel that scientific criticism is the most responsible sort of thing ? both from the point of view of science and from the point of view of national policy.

Daily Bell: In 2006 you were named by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as one of a minority of scientists said to be creating a standoff on a consensus on climate change. Was this an unfair charge?

Fred Singer: The CBC forgot to mention that thousands of scientists hold the position that I hold and therefore not a "minority" of scientists, at least not a small minority.

Daily Bell: You argue there is no evidence that global warming is attributable to human-caused increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and that humanity would benefit if temperatures do rise. Why do you feel this is a responsible position to take?

Fred Singer: As far as we can tell, the increase of CO2 has not been producing corresponding warming. For example, there has been no warming in the 21st century ? despite the large increase of greenhouse gases.

Daily Bell: You are an opponent of the Kyoto Protocol and have said of the climate models that scientists use to project future trends that "models are very nice, but they are not reality and they are not evidence." How is it possible that so many scientists can be so wrong while you are correct?

Fred Singer: I am one of many who oppose the Kyoto Protocol, both for scientific reasons and for economic reasons. It is basically a political document, a treaty based on climate models rather than observed evidence.

Daily Bell: You have been accused of pushing "climate-denier" and "junk science" lines on behalf of large corporate interest groups. Is this fair?

Fred Singer: I have never been supported by any corporation and have therefore developed my work on climate science without any such support.

Daily Bell: The National Center for Public Policy Research lists you as someone who journalists can interview on climate change policy. Why do they offer your name?

Fred Singer: There are many organizations that list me as a source for sound science on the global warming issue.

Daily Bell: Lately, you've appeared to change your mind. You've strongly criticized those who have claimed that (a) the greenhouse effect violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics and that rising carbon dioxide levels do not cause temperatures to rise. Please explain.

Fred Singer: I am opposed to those who criticize the global warming scare, basing it on what I consider to be incorrect physics. CO2 is certainly a greenhouse gas and should produce some increase in atmospheric temperatures but it is so small we cannot detect it. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is sufficient to affect climate but the atmosphere has developed in another direction.

Daily Bell: ... that natural variations in carbon dioxide dwarf human contributions. Comment?

Fred Singer: Over geological history there has been much fluctuation ? much greater than any human influences. However, over the last 100 years the source has been largely human.

Daily Bell: You are said to have had a change of heart and have lost patience with many AGW deniers. Is this true? Why?

Fred Singer: I have no use for those who oppose the IPCC based on incorrect science.

Daily Bell: In 1995, as president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (a think tank based in Fairfax, Virginia) you launched a publicity campaign about "The Top Five Environmental Myths of 1995," a list that included the US Environmental Protection Agency's conclusion that secondhand tobacco smoke is a human carcinogen. What made you come to the conclusion that the dangers of secondhand smoke are a myth?

Fred Singer: Secondhand smoke may well be a carcinogen; however, the statistical analysis carried out by EPA is full of mistakes.

Daily Bell: You've also criticized radon as fake science. Can you explain?

Fred Singer: It is the considered opinion of experts that radon in low concentration is not a carcinogen.

Daily Bell: You don't believe a hole in the ozone layer is a danger. Why not?

Fred Singer: The so-called hole in the ozone layer is a temporary thinning in the month of October in the Antarctic; I do not believe it is dangerous.

Daily Bell: You recently concluded that unchecked growth of climate-cooking pollution is "unequivocally good news." Why? Because "rising CO2 levels increase plant growth and make plants more resistant to drought and pests." Do you stand by this conclusion?

Fred Singer: Agricultural experts pretty much agree that a higher level of CO2 promotes plant growth and makes plants more resistant to droughts and pests.

Daily Bell: Why are so many false myths about science circulated? What is the agenda of those who continue to maintain that the world is warming at catastrophic levels?

Fred Singer: There are many false myths about science that circulate ? usually based on insufficient expertise. I have been one of those who attacks smoking as a member of an anti-smoking organization. Cigarette smoking is definitely unhealthy. There are those who warn of catastrophic events from future warming; their aim appears to be to scare the population. I suspect that many are motivated by monetary considerations.

Daily Bell: Are islands drowning?

Fred Singer: As far as I am aware, islands are not drowning.

Daily Bell: Why have you fought this fight? You've been smeared, derided and even slandered. Has it been worth it? Will the forces of climate change win out?

Fred Singer: I think it is worth fighting for sound science even if one is smeared and slandered. My belief is the global warming scare will be over in the matter of a decade or so.

Daily Bell: Will we continue to bury carbon in the ground? Shouldn't this money be spent elsewhere for better causes?

Fred Singer: The idea of burying carbon dioxide in the ground is a bad one, and I hope we do not carry out such projects. There are much better ways of spending the money; the world is full of places that need support.

Daily Bell: Are you winning the good fight?

Fred Singer: I think we are winning a good fight.

Daily Bell: Does the sort of idiocy you've been fighting make you believe humankind is doomed?

Fred Singer: I don't think humankind is doomed, even though this has been predicted many times.

Daily Bell: Thanks!




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


11 February, 2013

Global cooling hits Moscow

White-out in Moscow as the Russian capital endures its snowiest winter in a century

The east coast of America awoke to a thick blanket of snow today in the aftermath of a furious winter storm that battered the region from Maine to New York.

Relentless snowfall and hurricane-force winds swept the Northeast overnight, forcing airports to ground flights and leaving drivers stranded as they abandoned their cars on impassable highways.

But these images show how the hardy residents of Russia's capital have been enduring similar conditions for months, with Moscow in the midst of its snowiest winter in a century.

With more than 85 inches of snowfall recorded so far, this winter is the snowiest Moscow has seen in a hundred years, according to a report on

According to Moscow's deputy mayor for residential issues the snow in the city this year has already reached one and a half times 'the climactic norm'.


We're up against extreme dumbness

Have we finally discovered where the "dumb blonde" concept comes from?

CNN anchor Deb Feyerick asked Saturday afternoon if an approaching asteroid, which will pass by Earth on February 15, “is an example of, perhaps, global warming?”

Moments earlier, before an ad break, she segued from the Northeast blizzard to a segment with Bill Nye “the science guy,” by pointing to global warming: “Every time we see a storm like this lately, the first question to pop into a lot of people’s minds is whether or not global warming is to blame? I’ll talk to Bill Nye, ‘the science guy,’ about devastating storms and climate change.”

She never got to that question in the subsequent interview at about 3:25 PM EST during CNN Newsoom, instead transitioning from a snowfall update: “Talk about something else that’s falling from the sky and that is an asteroid. What’s coming our way? Is this an effect of, perhaps, of global warming or is this just some meteoric occasion?”

Nye resisted confirming her hypothesis.


Warmists know they're losing

If you play team sports, or even just watch them, there’s very often a moment in the struggle between the opposing teams, when one of them breaks. Sometimes it’s sparked by a single incident but more usually, it’s an acceptance by the whole group that they’re going to lose. The opposition are simply too good. It’s a moment of gestalt realisation, not so much them giving up but more like them accepting that they’re going to lose. It’s subtle, synchronised and solid as a concrete block hitting you right between the eyes. When it occurs, no team bounces back from it....

Whatever unit cohesion they once had is now gone. They’re no longer working together. People are just running in circles. They even start to fight each other. The blame game kicks off, even before the game itself has finished. It’s all your fault. No, it ain’t, it’s your’s. I always said, we should never play this formation. Sorry, when’d you say that? Piss off. Who the f*ck are you anyway?

They start throwing each other to the wolves before they’ve even got off the pitch. All composure has been lost and there’s not a shred of dignity to the thing. Even as a winner, it leaves a bad taste.

Since the turn of the year, I get a definite sense that us climate guerillas are up against a team who know they’re going to lose. It’s an intuition but a strong one. All the signs are there.

They’re like a bad losing team and you can see the former supporters distancing themselves or just plain outright bailing in realtime. It’s as if they don’t want to be the last girl to leave the party, so there’s a quiet but indecently increasing stampede for the exit doors. Even the bemused old geezers like Lovelock know which way the flatulence is blowing. No smoking please.
People are edging towards the exit.

The worst and most humiliating indicator of that change is the tenor of the skeptic blogs. There’s been a subtle shift. Instead of doing the usual mentat deconstruction of climate papers, they’re doing humour. There’s nothing much left to hit so they’re having a bit of fun. They’re relaxing, having a larf really.

Finally, it’s rest and relaxation time. As R&R goes, they have very definitely earned that, after so many years of brutal effort assaulting each of those islands, one after another. They’re veterans, who’ve taken too many places like Peleliu and Okinawa and have a growing sense of the end of the war.

Sure, it’ll drag on but we own them. At this stage in the game, we’re just running down the clock.


Greens Now Stunned/Stumped By The Massive Environmental Damage From Climate Policies

Last week Austrian Broadcasting network ORF aired the controversial new film "Climate Crimes" in German.

Having seen the film in its entirety for the first time, I was truly horrified by the scale of the environmental destruction and mayhem brought on by the recent climate protection movement. It is truly madness at a whole new level and dimension. If you have the chance to see the documentary, then do so. You’ll be shaking your head throughout the film.

Indeed the level of destruction with respect to loss of eco-systems, biodiversity, erosion, etc. brought on by the “green economy” is far beyond anything man-made climate change was ever fantasized of causing by the year 2100. The current damage caused by the “green economy” is real, and it’s happening here and right now. Worse, it’s all taking place with the official green stamp of approval.

In the film, environmental economist Nico Paech says: "Climate protection as it is practiced now is throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

The green economy, intended to rescue the climate from a man-made climate catastrophe in a computer, is in reality systematically accelerating the wide-scale destruction of the environment today by at least a factor of ten.

Many greens are having their eyes opened for the first time, and are now grudgingly admitting that something has gone terribly awry. Wiping out the Earth’s eco-system to rescue the climate is not what they had in mind.

Yet they still refuse to acknowledge that they’ve erred with the climate science, and that all the destruction was unnecessary.

They still insist the computerized catastrophe is real, approaching fast, and that we need to act rapidly. The only thing they’re admitting is that the “green energy” sources of hydro-power and biofuel are no longer options. In their view the human race is now in a dilemma because so many sources of energy must never be used. There’s no painless way out.

After showing the Climate Crimes documentary, ORF held a discussion round. The theme of the discussion round was what needs to be done to get out of the (imagined) energy dilemma?

Four experts joined moderator Michael Hofer were Kurt Remele (ethics and theology expert), Angela Köppl (economics expert in the field of environmental economics, energy and climate protection and Angela Kallhoff (philosophy). The other was co-author of Die kalte Sonne, geologist Sebastian Lüning. Clearly the discussion was not to focus on climate science. For moderator Hofer and the 3 other guests, the science is settled in their view, and there was no need to discuss it. Thus the discussion focused on environmental ethics and man’s responsibilities.

Near the end of the discussion round, moderator Hofer asked each guest to tell us what has to be done to get out of the environmental dilemma. The three greenies were more or less unanimous, telling the audience that we will have to change our behaviour, get away from the model of growth, expand public transportation, consume less, and to even eat less meat.

Lüning, the only guest with a different opinion, said that it was necessary to get back to science and real environmental protection. In Lüning’s view, the discussion had been taken over by extreme elements on both sides, and that it had to get back to the center. He also encouraged more critical thinking, and that we not immediately believe someone just because they have a doctor title.

Earlier in the discussion round, Lüning commented that there was too much fear-mongering by a number of opportunistic parties, for example re-insurers. Lüning said that the huge environmental backfire we’ve seen in the green movement so far should say something about the science.

Lüning also reminded the other guests and Hofer that climate science is not settled, and cited a recent study showing soot was a far greater factor in climate than previously thought.

He also pointed out that much more could be done locally and regionally with far less money, and with a far greater impact, than to try to solve the globe’s problems by tweaking a single trace gas. Lüning said: “There are lots of high impact things that can be done for relatively little money.”


An eminent naturalist becoming increasingly strange in his dotage

No, David Attenborough: Africa hasn't warmed by 3.5 degrees C in two decades

It's not often one looks to the Guardian's environment pages for an incisive and thorough critique of green propagandising. But hats off – really – to Leo Hickman for this ruthless deconstruction of an erroneous claim made by David Attenborough on his latest BBC nature documentary that in the last twenty years Africa has warmed by 3.5 degrees C.

3.5 degrees C in two decades? That would indeed be a remarkable temperature rise in anybody's money. (Remember, since 1850 global mean temperatures have risen by about 0.8 degrees C – and we're supposed to find that worrying and significant). Which is why, you might have thought, the BBC would have spotted so obvious an error and removed it before the programme went out.

To his credit, this troubled Leo Hickman, too.

"I'd never heard this arresting claim before. If that rate of temperature rise continued over, say, a century, then those parts of Africa would see a deathly rise of 17.5C?! Could that claim really be true?"

So began his wild goose chase to track down the source of the BBC's factoid. As you'll see from his superb piece he never got a terribly satisfactory answer.

"I was told that it came from a report published in 2006 by the "Working Group on Climate Change". The full title of the report was "Africa – Up in Smoke 2: The second report on Africa and global warming from the Working Group on Climate Change and Development" and it was "written and compiled" by Oxfam and the New Economics Foundation, with the support of a wide range of environmental and development NGOs such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF, Cafod and the Institute of Development Studies."

This, in turn, takes him to a report produced by Christian Aid; and thence to the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia – which has a stab at citing a "peer-reviewed" article in Nature, which doesn't support the claim made in the programme either.

What's rather touching about this is that Hickman is so surprised. Those of us who follow Donna Laframboise's research, for example, will have long been wearily familiar with the extent to which the IPCC's supposedly authoritative reports depend on "grey literature" – ie propaganda – produced by activists at organisations like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Cafod, etc.

Hickman writes:

"Personally, I find it bizarre – and frustrating – that an otherwise exemplary series, which took years to film, has been tainted – in my mind, at least – by such a sloppy piece of research. Why rely primarily on a seven-year-old report published by an NGO? Why not just directly ask climatologists who would have the latest available data to hand? And how did the BBC's researchers even come across such an obscure fact? You get the sense they simply Googled "Africa temperature rise" and went for the first thing they found."

I agree. But it's so much nicer – and frankly more damning – when instead of my saying it comes from someone on the other side.



Three recent reports below

Leftist leader against carbon tax

WESTERN Australia's Labor leader Mark McGowan has distanced himself from Prime Minister Julia Gillard by saying he opposes the carbon tax ahead of next month's state election.

But Mr McGowan says he does support an emissions trading scheme.

A Newspoll commissioned by The Australian newspaper shows voters find Mr McGowan likable and caring but most think Premier Colin Barnett is a better economic manager.

The poll, published on Monday, shows 54 per cent of voters believe Mr Barnett is more capable of handling the state's economy, compared to 33 per cent support for Mr McGowan.

But the leaders are tied at 81 per cent when it comes to having a vision for the state.

Responding to the poll, Mr McGowan said he opposed a carbon tax but was in favour of an emissions trading scheme, and he would support the mining tax only if WA got back the exact share it put in.

"We see Western Australia as being more than just mining, whilst acknowledging the importance of mining," he told News Ltd.

Newspoll has pointed to a landslide election win for the WA Liberals on March 9, putting it ahead of Labor 57 to 43 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt says Mr McGowan's comments show why Labor cannot be trusted on the environment.

He worries Labor could be "opening the door" for its MPs to vote against existing climate change law if it loses the September 14 federal election.

"Is this the first signal that WA federal MPs might not vote to keep this package," Mr Bandt asked reporters in Canberra.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese defended Mr McGowan's stance.

"I notice that he also said that he supported an emissions trading scheme," he told Sky News.

"Of course what we have is a fixed price on carbon evolving into an emissions trading scheme."

Mr Albanese talked up support in WA for Labor, citing big federally-funded infrastructure projects such as the Great Eastern Highway, Perth CityLink project and Gateway project.

Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella said Mr McGowan knew Australians were hurting from increased costs of living because of the carbon tax.


Climate boffins dine out on $1740 taxpayer dollars

A DOZEN Climate Change authority executives dining out at a posh Italian restaurant to get to know each other better left tax-payers with an almost $2000 bill.

The dinner was held so the executives of the outfit created in July to review and make recommendations about the carbon tax and other federal government green schemes could meet in "an informal setting" to better their "collective decision making" capacity.

Executives dined at swish Melbourne eatery The Italian Restaurant and Bar on a $135-a-head menu of New Zealand king salmon, calamari, caprese salad, southern supreme beef, gnocchi with oyster mushroom and vanilla panna cotta with dark chocolate.

The dinner, which the authority planned to spend $1620 on but receipts show a cost of $1740, on November 20 last year was the night before a major board meeting.

"It is bad enough that Labor established a raft of new bureaucracies to manage its carbon tax but now it seems that those bureaucracies are literally dining out on the taxpayer," Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham.

"Many Australians will rightly wonder why the carbon tax they're paying through their higher electricity prices is being used to pay for expensive dinners.

He said the Coalition would scrap the agency if it won the September election.

A spokeswoman for the authority said the meeting was to allow authority members to meet informally.

"We are a newly established agency, we have got nine authority members from diverse backgrounds and locations to date they have had one opportunity to meet informally," she said.

"We wanted to provide them with an opportunity for an informal gathering with both the board members and senior executives to get to know each other a bit better.

"They need to be able to be a collective decision making body so it is important they know each other.
"It was the night before one of our critical board meetings."

Authority members at the dinner included Bernie Fraser, Lynne Williams, John Marlay, Professor David Karoly, Heather Ridout, Elana Rubin, Professor John Quiggan and CEO Anthea Harris, the spokeswoman said.

In its first five months the authority has spent a total of almost $4000 on catering with one bill for a stakeholder meeting with authority staff at Sydney's Sofitel Hotel expected to cost $645.

Catering for meetings at Climate Change Authority offices has varied between $21.80 during staff interviews and $442.80 for a staff planning day in October, an answer to budget estimates has revealed.


CSIRO not scientific when it comes to climate: Report

Below is a summary of a much larger and very thorough document to be found here

Respected unpaid climate analyst, Malcolm Roberts, of Brisbane, Australia compiled the 'CSIROh! Report' on the invitation of ABC Radio’s Steve Austin. Across 29 pages Roberts details a litany of evidence proving that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, corruptly and unlawfully misrepresented science, climate and Nature.

Austin asked of Roberts, “Please read through the Australian scientific paper and identify where you believe the CSIRO data has been falsified or is wrong.” To complete his task Roberts engaged in detailed correspondence with CSIRO’s Chief Executive Dr. Megan Clark and CSIRO’s Group Executive-Environment Dr. Andrew Johnson; extensive analysis and research of CSIRO reports and discussions with former CSIRO scientists including former chief research scientist Professor Garth Paltridge.

With evidence presented by the above authorities Roberts put Aussie government’s climate science under the microscope to expose how bias and propaganda misled the public to support the government’s tax on carbon dioxide (CO2). Even-handedly Roberts concedes, “CSIRO has many fine people and a proud heritage. In areas outside climate it appears to have capability and credibility. That is threatened by CSIRO’s politicization.” But, critically, his findings reveal that CSIRO had no empirical scientific evidence whatsoever that human CO2 caused warming (see Appendix 2). Instead, the reports shows a dearth of actual evidence but the policies so far enacted are implicated in causing the needless deaths of more than 40 million people, mainly in Third World regions.

Four Failures to Find Fault

The key litmus test applied by the study was the requirement that CSIRO’s science should provide “yes” answers to these four key questions:

1. Is global ATMOSPHERIC temperature warming unusually in either amount or rate

and is it continuing to rise?

2. Does the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in air control or determine Earth’s temperature?

3. Does human CO2 production determine the level of CO2 in air?

4. Is warming catastrophic or even damaging?

Roberts, who also provides research for the Galileo Movement, demonstrates that CSIRO failed to show any actual “causal relationships” to validate even one “yes” answer. On the contrary, Roberts identified evidence that shows CSIRO scientists used taxpayer funds rather to advocate for global governance at United Nations (UN) conferences than evince empirical data to support their position. Roberts says, “This is consistent with CSIRO’s actions supporting implementation of UN Agenda 21, the UN’s campaign pushing global governance. It bypassed Australia’s parliament and people and threatens Australia’s sovereignty and our personal freedoms.”

What the study shows in answer to those four key questions is a very different reality as follows:

1. Global atmospheric temperatures peaked in 1998. Temperatures have since been flat

with every year since colder than in 1998. Since the start of atmospheric temperature

measurement in 1958 temperatures cooled slightly from 1958 to 1976. A sudden small

2. Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in air are a consequence of temperature, not a cause.

This is the reverse of UN IPCC, CSIRO and government claims. It applies throughout

Earth’s history and over every duration. It’s true seasonally and long-term;

3. Nature alone determines levels of CO2 in air. This is the reverse of UN IPCC, CSIRO

and government claims. It means that cutting or increasing human CO2 production

cannot affect CO2 levels in air. It’s useless to cut human CO2 production;

4. Warmer periods in Earth’s history are highly beneficial to people, humanity, civilization and the natural environment. This is the opposite of UN IPCC, CSIRO and government claims. Warmer periods are scientifically classified as optimums.

As a result, this damning analysis, says Roberts, shows that CSIRO scientists are deeply enmeshed in producing corrupt UN IPCC reports. The evidence shows the IPCC colluded with CSIRO to enlist contributing scientists of various rank and to have papers referenced and presumably act as reviewers. Without applying any safeguards, CSIRO endorsed UN IPCC reports despite those reports being demonstrably corrupt and pushing a political agenda. UN IPCC contributors and officials are shown to have bypassed and at times prevented scientific peer-review. “As a method of quality assurance, the process of peer-review is now worthless” says the Roberts report.

Evidence reveals that all four UN IPCC reports to national governments and media—1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007—contradict empirical scientific evidence and provide no logical scientific reasoning for their core claim that human CO2 caused, causes or will cause global warming. “The corruption is pervasive, systemic and driven by a political agenda to achieve a political outcome,” says Roberts. Empirical scientific evidence and discussion in Appendix 4 reveals corruption of ground-based temperature data and of CO2 data used by the UN IPCC and CSIRO.The propaganda relied upon by alarmists is ostensibly that collated by former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, shows Appendix 3.

Major international banking firm Merrill Lynch is implicated in the climate shenanigans. (Appendix 6). They and other international banks are shown to profit enormously from trading in CO2 credits. This relationship raises perceptions and questions about the opportunity for conflicts of interest.

Evidence Proves Natural Forces, not Humans Drive our Climate

This telling Australian report lays out in black and white that our atmosphere is not warming, much less unusually. “Fluctuations since 1958 reveal modest natural cyclic temperature variation.” While ground-based rural measurements reveal the same since 1890. In Appendix 4 it is shown that the strongest natural factors proven by empirical scientific evidence to control global climate. They are El Nino, La Nina and other regional ocean-atmosphere decadal cycles. Scientists have identified many factors driving climate. These include galactic, solar system, solar, planetary and lunar cycles ranging from 150 million years to 11 years. Strong drivers include:

* Solar: (1) variations in sun’s solar output; (2) Output of solar particles; (3) Sun’s magnetic field polarity and strength;

* Water vapour: (1) atmospheric water content; (2) Cloud cover;

* Cyclic regional decadal circulation patterns such as North American Oscillation and the southern Pacific ocean’s El Nino together with their variation over time;

* Ocean: (1) temperature; (2) salinity; (3) currents; (4) sea surface temperatures;

* Volcanic activity.

The above natural drivers are either omitted from, or downplayed in erroneous unvalidated computerized numerical models used by the UN. CSIRO has thereby used deception dressed up as science to cede sovereignty over Australian science to an unscientific and corrupt foreign political organisation pushing a global political agenda. “CSIRO is thus abetting systemic and pervasive documented corruption of science,” says Roberts.

Tellingly, the prestigious Inter Academy Council’s (IAC) August 2010 review of the UN IPCC showed that there were “crippling deficiencies” in UN IPCC processes and procedures that should have sounded alarm bells that CSIRO is supporting implementation of UN Agenda 21, the greatest threat to Australian sovereignty.

Roberts invites readers to examine the evidence on offer in this new study and to verify for themselves that CSIRO has misled the media. He points to three key falsehoods that any objective examination of the available scientific proves. They are:

1. Human CO2 controls and determines global temperature and climate. False;

2. There is an overwhelming consensus of scientists supporting that claim. False;

3. Catastrophic consequences will result at some unspecified future date from human disruption of global climate: sea level rise, extreme weather, floods, drought, snowfall, fires, ocean pH (alkalinity), disease, species extinction, ... All false.

“Through the National Press Club and media, CSIRO misled the people and parliament of Australia. CSIRO has been actively engaged in UN IPCC corruption of climate and science, “ concludes the Brisbane climate analyst. How Steve Austin, the listeners of ABC radio and other Australian citizens react to these damning findings remains to be seen.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


10 February, 2013

Some examples of scientific reasoning

Can I just recommend the Twitter feed of Paul Ehrlich [Professor of Population Studies in the department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and president of Stanford's Center for Conservation Biology] to my readers. Try these choice excerpts from the last ten days or so.

#Climate disruption. Remember this when denier morons claim snow proves no warming. Just the opposite. #greed.

#Overpopulation and idiocy -- more on the WSJ's latest moron. Right wing struggling to find even dumber "analysts"

#Climate disruption. Arizona pol gives more evidence we'll never run out of morons

Friends of Fraud -- #Republithugs on the rampage #plutocracy #greed

Tricky Dick pioneering the techniques of todays #Republithug #plutocrats. Richard Nixon's Even-Darker Legacy …

WSJ gibbing idiocy on #population no accident. Part of Murdoch empire's attempt to murder our grandkids for profit.

#Population. Julian Simon proved by example long ago the ultimate resource, which will never be exhausted, is morons

For those who don't use Twitter, there is a thing called Friday follow, where you suggest good people to follow to your own followers. I think everyone on the dissenting side of the debate should be recommending Erlich. He's a hoot.

You can see why Paul Nurse and the other big wigs at the Royal Society would want to elect him a fellow. The voice of calm rationalism is just the thing don't you think?


Instant interpretation again

The usual nutty claim: Warming makes us colder (when it's not making us warmer). They did not need to comment at all, of course. It would have been perfectly reasonable to dismiss the latest storm as simply "weather". Instead, however, everything has to be fitted into the Warmist straitjacket. Comment from meteorologist Joe Bastardi at the foot of the article

As the Northeast digs out from under a mammoth blizzard, it might seem easy for climate change skeptics to point to such intense storms as evidence that global warming isn't real.
The reality is that such snowstorms often don't occur despite global warming, but because of it.

They would be wrong.

"Climate change contrarians and deniers love to cherry-pick individual events to argue that they are somehow inconsistent with global warming, when they are not," said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. "As long as it's cold enough to snow – which it will be in the winter – you potentially will get greater snowfalls."
blizzard walker

The reality is that such snowstorms often don't occur despite global warming, but because of it. "It's basic physics, and it's irrefutable," Mann said.
Super-saturated air

The science behind this is clear: Warmer temperatures cause more water to evaporate into the atmosphere, and warmer air holds more water than cooler air. The air's "water-holding capacity," in fact, rises about 7 percent with each Celsius degree of warming. This results in air that becomes super-saturated with water, often bringing drenching rainfall followed by flooding or – if it is cold enough – heavy and intense snowfall.

A study of 20th century snowstorms, published in the August 2006 Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology – before the big storms of recent years – found that most major snowstorms in the United States occurred during warmer-than-normal years. The authors predicted that "a warmer future climate will generate more winter storms."


Joe Bastardi comments:

The three stooges of climate science, McKibben, Mann and Cullen cannot possibly have looked at past weather patterns. The cold pdo, wam amo winter/summer patterns are as plain as the nose on my Italian face. Today's day 11 super analog is astounding -- as 5 of the top 10 analog patterns are out of the 1950s!

As someone who has always revered phds because of the work they must do to get that, and the phds I knew at PSU, I can not believe these people actually have that level of education. They violate all that I was taught about testing your answer, from simple math classes, to challenges to any ideas.

I believe it's a sign of a much deeper cancer on society as a whole, the lack of actual competition to prove worth, and in a strange way, an almost messianic desire to be worshipped without challenge.

I know for a fact that Mann demands questions written on paper a day before a talk if he is going to answer him. I am friends with a former TA of his, and in his class he would not accept students challenging his position in front of the class, instead demanded they talk to him personally

It would be funny if we did not see people starving in our streets while money is thrown at the god of climate change and good honest academics truly striving for answers weren't being blackballed

As a ditch digging synoptics person (as low as one can get on the climate/meteo food chain), I realize today that the Forest Gump adage of stupid is as stupid does applies with these people. It's no country for old men, especially if they love the weather

CO2 argument begins cooling

Corroborating scientific studies have all come to the conclusion that CO2 is not actually causing the "greenhouse effect" that was once advertised. Surprising to some, not so surprising to others.

Albeit very quietly, a major mainstream news publication came forward admitting the once over-hyped threat of CO2, as it relates to alleged “global warming,” may no longer be as much of a problem as previously advertised.

An extraordinarily strange phenomenon has occurred within the world of science and news.

A gigantic shift is taking place in the way a potential threat to mankind has been largely viewed by “science” and the public for decades. Yet, somehow, the entirety of the vast media-industrial complex has managed to overlook this massive situation.

Once billed as the end of human civilization as we know it, CO2, labeled a “greenhouse gas” by the EPA and potentially threatening all life on the planet, if not brought under control, is now all of the sudden being acknowledged as much less of a threat to the public as was once thought.

Despite this incredible revelation, somehow no one in the establishment's media has either seen it or is willing to touch it, other than the original journalist and a blog or two.

Any other time news of this magnitude becomes public, it would typically be seen as a gigantic story. But when a respected NYT earth-science blog unearths a damning report, downplaying a formerly impending situation, one would think it would become one of those news days that would go down in the annals as one of the more memorable.

UN climate scientists have been arguing for decades that carbon emissions from various sources, like cars, factories, cows, etc., are all causing a dramatic and unsustainable rise in global C02 emissions. According to the UN and former UN lawyer Al Gore and his Academy award-winning documentaries and best-selling books, this was causing a greenhouse effect that was quickly approaching a point of no return for all life on the planet.

The focal point of the UN's climate alarmist arguments were in regard to “climate sensitivity,” in relation to additional atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. It referred to how much warming can be expected from a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, based on current (CO2) greenhouse gas emissions projections.

According to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a 2007 report concluded that:

"Climate sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values.” In IPCC parlance, likely means that there is a 66 percent probability that climate sensitivity falls between 2 and 4.5°C (3.6 to 8.1°F), with 3°C (5.4°F) as the best estimate."

Conversely, some researchers even suggested the UN's figures were conservative and likely much worse than even that.

In layman's terms, should industrial CO2 emissions not be addressed in any meaningful way, according to many of the world's climate alarmists piggybacking off of the UN's information, the earth was warming and the eventual rise in overall global temperature averages would lead to polar ice cap melting, rising oceans and ocean temperatures, natural disasters of epic proportions and a domino effect leading to vast famine and disease.

If global carbon taxes weren't implemented on all of the pollution and CO2 emitting corporations, in a vast transfer of wealth to those who would be self-proclaimed as responsible for managing the situation for the rest of humanity, all life on the planet would be eventually doomed to man's inability to see the “warning signs,” before it was too late. Humanity was in desperate peril.

Now, as if somebody just switched on the lights, scientists have begun discovering that CO2 may not actually be anywhere near the problem it was originally being sold to the public as.

According to a substantiated group of corroborating studies, recent figures suggest that climate sensitivity is drastically less than the IPCC's old estimate. In the NYT report, the publication suggests:
* critically important metric — how hot the planet will get from a doubling of the pre-industrial concentration of greenhouse gases, a k a “climate sensitivity” — some climate researchers with substantial publication records are shifting toward the lower end of the warming spectrum....

* But while plenty of other climate scientists hold firm to the idea that the full range of possible outcomes, including a disruptively dangerous warming of more than 4.5 degrees C. (8 degrees F.), remain in play, it’s getting harder to see why the high-end projections are given much weight.

* This is also not a “single-study syndrome” situation, where one outlier research paper is used to cast doubt on a bigger body of work — as Skeptical Science asserted over the weekend. That post focused on the as-yet-unpublished paper finding lower sensitivity that was inadvisedly promoted recently by the Research Council of Norway.

* In fact, there is an accumulating body of reviewed, published research shaving away the high end of the range of possible warming estimates from doubled carbon dioxide levels. Chief among climate scientists critical of the high-sensitivity holdouts is James Annan, an experienced climate modeler based in Japan who contributed to the 2007 science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It seems as though, best estimates of climate sensitivity are now merging into a commonly understood figure that is even lower than 2°C… A vast reduction from alarmist's original estimates.

And although having trouble with just how much of a reduction that is, while still holding on to the belief that even the new, much lower estimates could still potentially cause eventual warming detrimental to the well-being of the planet's current ecosystem, the publication ends by by acknowledging “libertarians” as having been right all along, saying:
I can understand why some climate campaigners, writers and scientists don’t want to focus on any science hinting that there might be a bit more time to make this profound energy transition. (There’s also reluctance, I’m sure, because the recent work is trending toward the published low sensitivity findings from a decade ago, from climate scientists best known for their relationships with libertarian groups.) Nonetheless, the science is what the science is.

That's for sure.


A Swedish moderate voice

"We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified. Yes, humankind is affecting the climate. But no, there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic”, says Lennart Bengtsson, one of the most accomplished Swedish climate scientists, who has been more and more “frustrated” by the debate of late.

The frustration lies in the fact that the debate usually divide everything into two camps, those who believe in global warming and those who don’t, when the truth usually isn’t so black and white, especially in science.

He goes on to say that we create unjustified anxiety, which doesn’t lead to any ability to act. Instead he thinks it is most important that we reach reasonable solutions. That carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses promote warming has been known for a 100 years, and that humans contribute to raising the levels of those gasses isn’t under debate either. What is being debated and still not settled is how big this effect is.

“The warming we have had the last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have had meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all”, he goes on to state. One of the main points the article makes is that the Earth appears to have cooling properties that exceeds the previous thought ones, and that computer models are inadequate to try to foretell a chaotic object like the climate, where actual observations is the only way to go.

It is a very interesting read, and in my opinion a very sensible and moderate voice in a debate which has grown ever more polarized.

SOURCE. Original in Swedish here.

British recycling con: Millions of tons end up in landfill as officials admit success is exaggerated

Millions of tons of rubbish carefully sorted by families for recycling has been buried in landfill.

After years of denials, officials admitted yesterday that much of the waste councils claim to have recycled is turned away by depots.

A paper from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs revealed that most managers at plants that recycle rubbish for industrial use say that at best ‘some’ – and in other cases ‘hardly any’ – of the waste sent to them is usable.

The news confirms the fears of many householders – forced to comply with fortnightly collection rules and bin police regulations – that the painstaking recycling process ends when the dustmen have finished their round.

The abolition of weekly rubbish rounds for half the country in favour of fortnightly collections began eight years ago, supposedly to reduce landfill and carbon emissions. Many families must now sort their rubbish into several different bins, and official figures show 43 per cent of household waste is now recycled – around three million tons a year – up from just over 30 per cent seven years ago.

However, recycling has now levelled off and amounts of household rubbish sent to power-generating incinerators are going up.

Now it has emerged that the level of rubbish that is recycled has been exaggerated. The admission comes in a ‘quality action plan’ from Defra, which is under the control of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

The document contains proposals to revamp household recycling schemes run by local councils, warning: ‘Current recycling rates are likely to be overestimates as many do not account for material rejected by the MRF [materials recovery facility] during the sorting process in a robust manner.’

MRFs divide materials from household recycling bins into paper, metal, plastic and so on. Material is then sent from the MRFs to reprocessing plants, which turn waste material into usable products. However, these materials are also often inadequate.

The Defra report said a survey found that 60 per cent of reprocessing managers say that only ‘some’ or ‘hardly any’ of the material they are sent by MRFs is good enough to use.

Three quarters of the reprocessing plants added that recycling material delivered by councils is of worse quality than that from their other suppliers. The rejected material is often sent to landfill.

The survey, conducted by the Defra-financed Waste and Resources Action Programme, found that on average more than 18 per cent of mixed plastic sent to reprocessing plants cannot be recycled.

For mixed paper the figure is 15 per cent; for card and plastic bottles 12 per cent; and for newspapers and magazines 10 per cent.

The Defra document cautions: ‘If it transpires that material collected for recycling is sent to landfill or illegally exported, this can undermine confidence and damage efforts to increase recycling.’

The paper also acknowledges for the first time that the main reason for abolishing weekly rubbish collections, and demanding families put rubbish into separate recycling bins, is a European directive.

It reveals that EU rules now require householders to sort rubbish into separate bins, adding that ‘the revised Waste Framework Directive requires us to promote high-quality recycling as a way of maximizing the environmental benefits of recycling.’

Christine Melsom of the Is It Fair? council tax campaign said: ‘I am an enthusiastic recycler but I have been lied to. People will not obey recycling rules if all their efforts are for nothing.’

And Doretta Cocks of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collections warned: ‘The more you make people obey complicated rules, the more likely they are to put out contaminated recycling.’ A spokesman for Defra said councils are to get new guidance on how to calculate recycling figures.

Resource management minister Lord de Mauley added: ‘The quality of [recyclable] material is important but often overlooked.’


Outrage among British Greenies as ministers 'break vow' to bring in levy on plastic bags

Ministers were last night accused of breaking promises to reduce plastic bag usage and its devastating impact on the environment by appearing to dismiss calls to charge a small fee.

Despite growing momentum to introduce a charge for the bags, Richard Benyon said it ‘may not be the best option’ due to ‘pressures on household budgets’.

Measures to slash the billions of carrier bags handed out by retailers every year were backed by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and then prime minister Gordon Brown when the Mail launched its ‘Banish the Bags’ campaign in 2008.

Usage initially dropped by 14 per cent, but the issue was then kicked into the long grass by the Coalition and in 2011 350million more bags were handed out.

Mr Cameron responded by issuing an ultimatum to supermarkets ordering them to deliver significant falls in numbers or be forced to by law.

A poll last year found a majority of the public would back a charge.

However Mr Benyon – the minister in charge of the natural environment – laid out objections on cost grounds, despite research showing a fee would make people re-use bags and therefore escape the charge.

Just three months ago farming minister David Heath said a charge – which has been successfully introduced in Wales at 5p, is coming to Northern Ireland in April and is being consulted on in Scotland – would change behaviour in ‘that very large middle group who want to do the right thing and feel guilty when they do not’.

Campaigners say plastic carriers are used for an average of just 20 minutes but damage the environment for hundreds of years, killing birds and wildlife which ingest them and blighting beaches.

Dr Sue Kinsey, senior pollution policy adviser at the Marine Conservation Society, said: ‘We are absolutely astounded that Richard Benyon has come to this decision.

'Our research shows that bag charging is popular and effective.’

Green MP Caroline Lucas accused the Government of ‘betraying its promise’ to take action and said the Mail’s campaign had ‘demonstrated the level of public support for such a measure’.

It is understood the Treasury wanted to block a charge which could raise millions of pounds a year for good causes.

The Environment Department, Defra, insist they have not made a decision yet and are still monitoring the situation in other parts of the UK while ‘considering all the relevant factors, including the pressure on household budgets at this time’.

A Number 10 source denied the idea had been axed and said it was ‘still on the table, and we are looking closely at the situation in other parts of the UK’.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


8 February, 2013

The de-published man

Stephan Lewandowski now has the rare "honour" of being twice de-published. His first lulu of a paper -- designed to tar climate skeptics as maladjusted -- was first accepted for publication (though it has never been printed) but then withdrawn by the journal from its publication queue after many protests over its dubious "science".

Lewandowski seems however to have been rather peeved by that and wrote a second paper doubling down. He once again slimed climate skeptics using very dubious logic -- as I reported on 6th. His second paper was however in a very humble journal, where the author has to pay to get published.

Not only his logic in the second paper was faulty, however. He repeated claims from his first paper that he knew by then to be false. He lied. So his second paper has also now been withdrawn by the journal.

What is wrong with the man? How can he have any respect for his own case when he has to lie to support it? What he writes sounds sane and logical until you look into it. Where does he go wrong?

I think there is an obvious answer. There is a lot of psychopathy on the Left and from what I see Lewandowski is one of them. The hallmark of psychopathy is that they are plausible but careless liars. They sound good at the time but the lies shatter under scrutiny. A classic example is Bill Clinton's claim that Hillary was named after Mt. Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary. Sir Edmund was just another New Zealand sheep farmer when the future Mrs Clinton was born. He didn't climb Everest until 7 years later.

One must seriously wonder about Lewandowski's continued employment at the University of Western Australia. Is such an unreliable character fit to be a teacher at any level? One expects politicians to lie, but teachers?

IPCC Confirms CO2 Is Not A "Thermostat" & Global Warming Is Not "Dangerous"

The United Nations IPCC climate agency has a gold-standard dataset used since 2007 to make global climate predictions - the HadCRUT3 gold-standard confirms that the predicted dangerous global warming is non-existent, and unequivocally, that CO2 is not the world's thermostat

Black = CO2; Color = Temperature

Taxpayer-funded climate scientists and ideologue politicians have continuously predicted that the globe will suffer from dangerous global warming; and they claimed that human CO2 emissions acted as the world's climate thermostat.

Fortunately for the world's citizens, the experts and pompous political elites and elected officials have been egregiously wrong.

As the adjacent chart reveals, the IPCC's own temperature gold-standard (HadCRUT3) refutes the "experts" and "elites" hysterical, anti-science prognostications:

#1. The global temperature dataset clearly indicates that the world has exhibited a slight global cooling trend since the spike in temps from the super El Niño of 1997/98. That's 180 months (15 years) of non-dangerous global warming.

#2. The chart's thin black line is a plot of the monthly changes in CO2 levels. The correlation between monthly temperature and CO2 changes ranges from slim to none - this supposed thermostat relation of CO2 to temperatures has a ludicrously low R2 of 0.01. CO2 is not only not a "thermostat," it's likely not even a major climate forcing, per the actual data.

#3. While global temperatures have been slightly cooling, the global changes in monthly CO2 levels have been slightly increasing (note smooth grey curve - a 2nd order fit).

#4. Simply stated, this actual IPCC gold-standard empirical evidence robustly refutes all the anti-science predictions/claims of climate "experts" and alarmist "elites."

And, as we are currently witnessing, the green-sharia, anti-human fanatics are now having to do some serious crawling-back from their previous anti-CO2 agenda and bogus-science blinders to the climate reality.


New study shows cloud formation more complex than thought

The basic finding is that organic particles in the atmosphere speed up cloud formation. But the important point is that this is not factored into the climate models. And clouds are the key factor in the proposed global warming. The upshot is that the models are shown to be based on inadequate assumptions and cannot therefore be relied on: Warmism relies on something that nobody understands fully. It is a premature prophecy

"Surfactants from the gas phase may promote cloud droplet formation"

Neha Sareena et al.


Clouds, a key component of the climate system, form when water vapor condenses upon atmospheric particulates termed cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Variations in CCN concentrations can profoundly impact cloud properties, with important effects on local and global climate. Organic matter constitutes a significant fraction of tropospheric aerosol mass, and can influence CCN activity by depressing surface tension, contributing solute, and influencing droplet activation kinetics by forming a barrier to water uptake.

We present direct evidence that two ubiquitous atmospheric trace gases, methylglyoxal (MG) and acetaldehyde, known to be surface-active, can enhance aerosol CCN activity upon uptake. This effect is demonstrated by exposing acidified ammonium sulfate particles to 250 parts per billion (ppb) or 8 ppb gas-phase MG and/or acetaldehyde in an aerosol reaction chamber for up to 5 h. For the more atmospherically relevant experiments, i.e., the 8-ppb organic precursor concentrations, significant enhancements in CCN activity, up to 7.5% reduction in critical dry diameter for activation, are observed over a timescale of hours, without any detectable limitation in activation kinetics.

This reduction in critical diameter enhances the apparent particle hygroscopicity up to 26%, which for ambient aerosol would lead to cloud droplet number concentration increases of 8–10% on average.

The observed enhancements exceed what would be expected based on Köhler theory and bulk properties. Therefore, the effect may be attributed to the adsorption of MG and acetaldehyde to the gas–aerosol interface, leading to surface tension depression of the aerosol. We conclude that gas-phase surfactants may enhance CCN activity in the atmosphere.


EPA, Court Decisions and Simple Facts

Recently, a federal court sided with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lower its biofuel volume target. Quite simply, as posed by API, the EPA exceeded their authority and ignored logic to foist a phantom “alternate fuel” onto the American people in quantities far too vast to be considered realistic. Their target production for 2012 was almost 500 times beyond the capability of the fuel “producers.”

Think about that. The US uses about 100 quadrillion British Thermal Units of energy per year. A BTU is the heat of one kitchen match; a quadrillion is 100 followed by 15 zeros. If all those BTUs were a pile of blocks or Legos, they would cover Manhattan Island (12.5 x 2.5 miles), to a depth of 161 feet. World energy demand would be a pile 600 feet high.

As to the US pile’s energy-source components, oil would be 65 feet, and natural gas and coal 36 feet each. They add to 137 feet, or 85% of the US total. Nuclear energy would add 13 feet (with no certainty of more) and hydroelectric, 4 feet (but some dams are being removed). Those energy sources bring the pile to 154 feet, or 93% of the total.

“Green” sources are the remaining 7%. Biomass would add 5 feet, of which cellulosic ethanol (subject of the EPA mandate/court case), comprises less than the thickness of two sheets of paper. In 2012, EPA ordered the use of 10.45 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in gasoline, despite the fact that the fuel is little more than a lab experiment at this time. Production for the year was 22,069 gallons, less 2/10 of 1% “required” volume, or 8 drops per car per year, at a cost of $400 million!

For the last two feet of the energy pile, geothermal would add 7 inches; wind, 14 inches, and solar, the thickness of 10 sheets of paper. So EPA, which wants to drive coal-fired electric generating plants out of business through one regulation, is forcing US refiners and drivers to pay for a non-existent transportation fuel through another one.

Thank goodness we have three branches of government. The court ruled as it should. Now, if the Executive and Legislative branches would consider logic, facts and arithmetic before enacting “policy,” American consumers, businesses and the entire US economy would be better off.


European carbon price 'inching ever closer to zero'

Meaning that it provides very little incentive to reduce CO2 emissions

"Dramatic", "enduring", "meltdown" – the words used by leading analyst firm Thomson Reuters Point Carbon to describe the continued slump in global carbon prices could not be starker. And according to analysts the chances of prices recovering in the near future remain extremely thin.

The company today released data for 2012 showing that, while the volume of carbon traded globally rose 28 per cent to 10.7Gt, the value of the market fell 35 per cent to €62bn as the price of allowances in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) collapsed.

The figures mirror similar data released last month by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which claimed the market value contracted by more than a third to €61bn last year.

"In Europe, prices plunged as it became clear that the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is over-allocated all the way to 2020, mainly due to the impact of Europe's economic troubles on emissions", explained Anders Nordeng, senior carbon analyst at Thomson Reuters Point Carbon and co-editor of the report.

"Unless European policy makers quickly agree to take action, either through backloading or some form of long-term structural change, we are now facing the prospect of the carbon prices in Europe inching ever closer to zero."

Speaking to BusinessGreen, Nordeng said oversupply in the European market was now so severe that the record low carbon prices of under €3 a tonne that have been seen in recent weeks were only stopped from falling further by hopes the EU may eventually reform the market.

"Everything depends on the political signals, but whenever they come up with a new plan to tackle the problem it gets stuck in endless negotiations," he said. "There is not the political will to tackle the problem, and until that political will is there it will continue."

The report confirmed similar woes afflicting the CDM offset market, where the value of the market "crashed" from €17.8bn in 2011 to just €6.1bn, despite an increase in traded volumes from 2,012 to 2,408Mt.

The price of the CER offsets traded in the CDM have dropped below €0.50 in recent months, and Nordeng warned that until a new source of demand emerges for the credits prices will remain in the doldrums.



Conservatives often point out that laws, no matter how benign they may appear, have unintended consequences. They can reverberate in ways that not many people foresaw and nobody wanted: Raising the minimum wage can increase unemployment; prohibition can create black markets.

The efforts in many cities to discourage the use of plastic bags demonstrate that such unintended consequences can be, among other things, kind of gross.

San Francisco has been discouraging plastic bags since 2007, saying that it takes too much oil to make them and that used bags pollute waterways and kill marine animals. In 2012, it strengthened its law. Several West Coast cities, including Seattle and Los Angeles, have also adopted bans for environmental reasons. The government of Washington, D.C., imposes a 5-cent plastic-bag tax. (Advocates prefer to call it a "fee" because taxes are unpopular.) Environmental groups and celebrity activists, including Eva Longoria and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, support these laws.

The plastic-bag industry, predictably, wants to throw them away. It says that the making of plastic bags supplies a livelihood to 30,000 hard-working, law-abiding, patriotic Americans, many of whom have adorable children to support. It cites a 2007 report by San Francisco's Environment Department that said plastic bags from retail establishments, the target of the ban, accounted for only 0.6 percent of litter.

Most alarmingly, the industry has highlighted news reports linking reusable shopping bags to the spread of disease. Like this one, from the Los Angeles Times last May: "A reusable grocery bag left in a hotel bathroom caused an outbreak of norovirus-induced diarrhea and nausea that struck nine of 13 members of a girls' soccer team in October, Oregon researchers reported Wednesday." The norovirus may not have political clout, but evidently it, too, is rooting against plastic bags.

Warning of disease may seem like an over-the-top scare tactic, but research suggests there's more than anecdote behind this industry talking point.

In a 2011 study, four researchers examined reusable bags in California and Arizona and found that 51 percent of them contained coliform bacteria. The problem appears to be the habits of the reusers. Seventy-five percent said they keep meat and vegetables in the same bag. When bags were stored in hot car trunks for two hours, the bacteria grew tenfold.

That study also found, happily, that washing the bags eliminated 99.9 percent of the bacteria. It undercut even that good news, though, by finding that 97 percent of people reported that they never wash their bags.

Jonathan Klick and Joshua Wright, who are law professors at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University, respectively, have done a more recent study on the public health impact of plastic-bag bans. They find that emergency room admissions related to E. coli infections increased in San Francisco after the ban. (Nearby counties did not show this increase.) And this effect showed up as soon as the ban was implemented. ("There is a clear discontinuity at the time of adoption.")

The San Francisco ban was also associated with increases in salmonella and other bacterial infections. Similar effects were found in other California towns that adopted such laws.

Klick and Wright estimate that the San Francisco ban results in a 46 percent increase in deaths from food-borne illnesses, or 5.5 more of them each year. They then run through a cost-benefit analysis employing the same estimate of the value of a human life that the Environmental Protection Agency uses when evaluating regulations that are supposed to save lives. They conclude that the anti-plastic-bag policies can't pass the test — and that's before counting the higher health care costs they generate.

The authors argue, not completely convincingly, against the idea that regular washing and drying of reusable bags would solve the problem. They point out that the use of hot water and detergent imposes environmental costs, too. And reusable bags require more energy to make than plastic ones. The stronger argument, it seems to me, is that 97 percent figure: Whatever the merits of regularly cleaning the bags, it doesn't appear likely to happen.

The best course for government, then, is probably to encourage people to recycle their plastic bags — or, maybe, just let people make their own decisions. Plastic-bag bans are another on a distressingly long list of political issues where I cannot see eye to eye with Eva Longoria.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


7 February, 2013

Scientific tests of global warming

Common ground amongst climate protagonists

Though you wouldn’t know it from the antagonistic nature of public discussions about global warming, a large measure of scientific agreement and shared interpretation exists amongst nearly all scientists who consider the issue. The common ground includes:

* that climate has always changed and always will,

* that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and warms the lower atmosphere,

* that human emissions are accumulating in the atmosphere,

* that a global warming of around 0.5OC occurred in the 20th century, but

* that global warming has ceased over the last 15 years.

The scientific argument over DAGW is therefore about none of these things. Rather, it is almost entirely about three other, albeit related, issues. They are:

* the amount of net warming that is, or will be, produced by human-related emissions,

* whether any actual evidence exists for dangerous warming of human causation over the last 50 years, and

* whether the IPCC’s computer models can provide accurate climate predictions 100 years into the future.

How does science work?

Arguments about global warming, or more generally about climate change, are concerned with a scientific matter. Science deals with facts, experiments and numerical representations of the natural world around us. Science does not deal with emotions, beliefs or politics, but rather strives to analyse matters dispassionately and in an objective way, such that in consideration of a given set of facts two different practitioners might come to the same interpretation; and, yes, I am aware of the irony of that statement in the present context.

Which brings us to the matter of Occam’s Razor and the null hypothesis. William of Occam (1285-1347) was an English Franciscan monk and philosopher to whom is attributed the saying ‘Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate’, which translates as ‘Plurality should not be posited without necessity.’ This is a succinct statement of the principle of simplicity, or parsimony, that was first developed by Aristotle and which has today come to underlie all scientific endeavour.

The phrase ‘Occam’s Razor’ is now generally used as shorthand to represent the fundamental scientific assumption of simplicity. To explain any given set of observations of the natural world, scientific method proceeds by erecting, first, the simplest possible explanation (hypothesis) that can explain the known facts. This simple explanation, termed the null hypothesis, then becomes the assumed interpretation until additional facts emerge that require modification of the initial hypothesis, or perhaps even invalidate it altogether.

Given the great natural variability exhibited by climate records, and the failure to date to compartmentalize or identify a human signal within them, the proper null hypothesis – because it is the simplest consistent with the known facts – is that global climate changes are presumed to be natural, unless and until specific evidence is forthcoming for human causation.

It is one of the more extraordinary facts about the IPCC that the research studies it favours mostly proceed using an (unjustified) inversion of the null hypothesis – namely that global climate changes are presumed to be due to human-related carbon dioxide emissions, unless and until specific evidence indicates otherwise.

What hypothesis do we wish to test?

Though climate science overall is complex, the greenhouse hypothesis itself is straightforward and it is relatively simple to test it, or its implications, against the available data. First, though, we need to be crystal clear about precisely what we mean by the term.

In general communication, and in the media, the terms greenhouse and greenhouse hypothesis have come to carry a particular vernacular meaning – almost independently of their scientific derivation. When an opinion poll or a reporter solicits information on what members of the public think about the issue they ask questions such as “do you believe in global warming”, “do you believe in climate change” or “do you believe in the greenhouse effect”.

Leaving aside the issue that science is never about belief, all such questions are actually coded ones, being understood by the public to mean “is dangerous global warming being caused by human-related emissions of carbon dioxide”. Needless to say, this is a different, albeit related, question. These and other sloppy ambiguities (“carbon” for “carbon dioxide”, for example) are in daily use in the media, and they lead to great confusion in the public discussion about climate change; they also undermine the value of nearly all opinion poll results.

The DAGW hypothesis that I want to test here is precisely and only “that dangerous global warming is being caused, or will be, by human-related carbon dioxide emissions”. To be “dangerous”, at a minimum the change must exceed the magnitude or rate of warmings that are known to be associated with normal weather and climatic variability.

What evidence can we use to test the DAGW hypothesis?

Many different lines of evidence can be used to test the DAGW hypothesis. Here I have space to present just five, all of which are based upon real world empirical data. For more information, please read both Dr. Hayhoe’s and my book.

Consider the following tests:

(i) Over the last 16 years, global average temperature, as measured by both thermometers and satellite sensors, has displayed no statistically significant warming; over the same period, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by 10%.

Large increases in carbon dioxide have therefore not only failed to produce dangerous warming, but failed to produce any warming at all. Hypothesis fails.

(ii) During the 20th century, a global warming of between 0.4O C and 0.7O C occurred, at a maximum rate, in the early decades of the century, of about 1.7O C/century. In comparison, our best regional climate records show that over the last 10,000 years natural climate cycling has resulted in temperature highs up to at least 1O C warmer than today, at rates of warming up to 2.5O C/century.

In other words, both the rate and magnitude of 20th century warming falls well within the envelope of natural climate change. Hypothesis fails, twice.

(iii) If global temperature is controlled primarily by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, then changes in carbon dioxide should precede parallel changes in temperature.

In fact, the opposite relationship applies at all time scales. Temperature change precedes carbon dioxide change by about 5 months during the annual seasonal cycle, and by about 700-1000 years during ice age climatic cycling. Hypothesis fails.

(iv) The IPCC’s computer general circulation models, which factor in the effect of increasing carbon dioxide, project that global warming should be occurring at a rate of +2.0O C/century.

In fact, no warming at all has occurred in either the atmosphere or the ocean for more than the last decade. The models are clearly faulty, and allocate too great a warming effect for the extra carbon dioxide (technically, they are said to overestimate the climate sensitivity). Hypothesis fails.

(v) The same computer models predict that a fingerprint of greenhouse-gas-induced warming will be the creation of an atmospheric hot spot at heights of 8-10 km in equatorial regions, and enhanced warming also near both poles.

Given that we already know that the models are faulty, it shouldn’t surprise us to discover that direct measurements by both weather balloon radiosondes and satellite sensors show the absence of surface warming in Antarctica, and a complete absence of the predicted low latitude atmospheric hot spot. Hypothesis fails, twice.

One of the 20th century’s greatest physicists, Richard Feynman, observed about science that:

“In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience; compare it directly with observation, to see if it works.

It’s that simple statement that is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong.”

None of the five tests above supports or agrees with the predictions implicit in the greenhouse hypothesis as stated above. Richard Feynman is correct to advise us that therefore the hypothesis is invalid, and that many times over.


The current scientific reality is that the IPCC’s hypothesis of dangerous global warming has been repeatedly tested, and fails. Despite the expenditure of large sums of money over the last 25 years (more than $100 billion), and great research effort by IPCC-related and other (independent) scientists, to date no scientific study has established a certain link between changes in any significant environmental parameter and human-caused carbon dioxide emissions.

In contrast, the null hypothesis that the global climatic changes that we have observed over the last 150 years (and continue to observe today) are natural in origin has yet to be disproven. As summarised in the reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), literally thousands of papers published in refereed journals contain facts or writings consistent with the null hypothesis, and plausible natural explanations exist for all the post-1850 global climatic changes that have been described so far.


Consensus science is bad science

When scientists wish to speak with one voice, they typically do so in a most unscientific way: the consensus report. The idea is to condense the knowledge of many experts into a single point of view that can settle disputes and aid policy-making. But the process of achieving such a consensus often acts against these goals, and can undermine the very authority it seeks to project.

My most recent engagement with this form of penance is marked this week with the release of Geoengineering: A National Strategic Plan for Research on Climate Remediation. Sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington DC, the report reflects more than a year of discussion between 18 experts from a diverse range of fields and organizations. It sets out, I think, many valuable principles and recommendations.

The discussions that craft expert consensus, however, have more in common with politics than science. And I don't think I give too much away by revealing that one of the battles in our panel was over the term geoengineering itself.

This struggle is obvious in the report's title, which begins with 'geoengineering' and ends with the redundant term 'climate remediation'. Why? Some of the committee felt that 'geoengineering' was too imprecise; some thought it too controversial; others argued that it was already commonly used, and that a new term would create confusion.

I didn't have a problem with 'geoengineering', but for others it was a do-or-die issue. I yielded on that point (and several others) to gain political capital to secure issues that had a higher priority for me. Thus, disagreements between panellists are settled not with the 'right' answer, but by achieving a political balance across many of the issues discussed.

This political essence of consensus leads to other difficulties. Ask a panel to address broad questions — future directions for a field, say, or ways to improve a government programme — and the recommendations that come back are typically bland and predictable. New and controversial ideas are inherently difficult for experts to agree on. In the absence of consensus, the default position is simply to call for more research — the one recommendation that most scientists can get behind.

Sometimes, expert panels are asked to find consensus on narrow technical questions at the heart of public controversies. The hope is that a unified scientific voice will resolve the dispute, but it rarely works out that way. In 2000, the US National Academies assembled climate experts to resolve discrepancies in surface and satellite climate temperature records, as if this would help to settle the political debate. A decade on, it is clear that the goal was not met.

And in 2009, at the height of the US debate on health-care reform, the US Preventive Services Task Force released a consensus report on the risks and benefits of mammograms. Rather than clarifying anything, the key recommendation — that mammograms were being overutilized — became instant ammunition for reform opponents, who viewed it as a threat to patient autonomy.

The fuss over mistakes in the 2007 reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlights a related problem: a claim of scientific consensus creates a public expectation of infallibility that, if undermined, can erode public confidence. And when expert consensus changes, as it has on health issues from the safety of hormone replacement therapy to nutritional standards, public trust in expert advice is also undermined.

The very idea that science best expresses its authority through consensus statements is at odds with a vibrant scientific enterprise. Consensus is for textbooks; real science depends for its progress on continual challenges to the current state of always-imperfect knowledge. Science would provide better value to politics if it articulated the broadest set of plausible interpretations, options and perspectives, imagined by the best experts, rather than forcing convergence to an allegedly unified voice.

Yet, as anyone who has served on a consensus committee knows, much of what is most interesting about a subject gets left out of the final report. For months, our geoengineering group argued about almost every issue conceivably related to establishing a research programme. Many ideas failed to make the report — not because they were wrong or unimportant, but because they didn't attract a political constituency in the group that was strong enough to keep them in. The commitment to consensus therefore comes at a high price: the elimination of proposals and alternatives that might be valuable for decision-makers dealing with complex problems.

Some consensus reports do include dissenting views, but these are usually relegated to a section at the back of the report, as if regretfully announcing the marginalized views of one or two malcontents. Science might instead borrow a lesson from the legal system. When the US Supreme Court issues a split decision, it presents dissenting opinions with as much force and rigour as the majority position. Judges vote openly and sign their opinions, so it is clear who believes what, and why — a transparency absent from expert consensus documents. Unlike a pallid consensus, a vigorous disagreement between experts would provide decision-makers with well-reasoned alternatives that inform and enrich discussions as a controversy evolves, keeping ideas in play and options open. That is something on which we should all agree.


Spreading an Energy Revolution

ONLY two or three years ago, consensus was building among pundits that we had reached peak oil, that the fossil fuel industry was in its dotage and that the world would suffer repeated energy price shocks in the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy. Many people in the oil industry were skeptical of this dire prognosis, and the extraordinary recent expansion of unconventional gas and oil production in North America proved the optimists to be correct.

What many fail to recognize, however, is that North America’s oil and gas renaissance, which has the potential to fuel a U.S. industrial recovery with cheaper energy, is not a happy accident of geology and lucky drilling. The dramatic rise in shale-gas extraction and the tight-oil revolution (mostly crude oil that is found in shale deposits) happened in the United States and Canada because open access, sound government policy, stable property rights and the incentive offered by market pricing unleashed the skills of good engineers.

Last year, in BP’s Energy Outlook 2030, we hailed the prospect of North American energy self-sufficiency. With the incentive of high oil prices and the application to oil of drilling techniques mastered for shale gas, we now estimate that tight oil will account for almost half of the 16 million barrel per day increase in the world’s oil output by 2030. Almost two thirds of the new oil will come from the Americas, mainly U.S. tight oil and oil sands from Canada. The United States is likely to surpass Saudi Arabia in daily output very soon, and non-OPEC production will dominate global supply growth over the coming decade.

Policy, not geology, is driving the extraordinary turn of events that is boosting America’s oil industry. East Asia boasts shale and tight-oil resources greater than those of the United States. Latin America and Africa too have very substantial endowments. However, the competitive environment, government policy and available infrastructure mean that North America will dominate the production of shale gas and tight oil for some time to come.

Markets play a dual role in changing the landscape. A decade of high prices spurred on the technological change that is now restoring North America’s energy crown. And the same market forces are promoting efficiency and curtailing energy demand in countries where the price mechanism is allowed to do its job. Consumption of liquid fuel among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development will continue to fall and be overtaken in 2014 by demand from emerging market nations, where fuel prices are still often subsidized.

One consequence, not often discussed, is the impact of these changes on today’s oil market. The tight-oil revolution poses a challenge to the OPEC nations and their national oil companies. We predict that all of the additional oil supplied to the market over the next decade will come from unconventional sources outside OPEC.

The expected surge of new oil will lead to increased supply overall and continued market volatility. If history is any guide, OPEC will cut production and forego market share in favor of price stability. But as so often before, its policy response and its ability and willingness to manage spare capacity will be crucial in determining market conditions in the medium and longer term.

In the 1980s, oil from the North Sea and Alaska transformed the market. Today, market-led innovation has brought us to a crossroads again, and the time has come to make critical decisions about energy. Nations with abundant resources must decide whether to follow the path of open markets, including foreign access and competitive pricing. Alternatively, they can opt for restrictive investment regimes that risk becoming less rewarding.

Communities must decide whether the carbon-reducing benefit of using natural gas in power generation outweighs the fear of new drilling technologies. Europe too must grasp the market nettle. Without a clear signal that carbon has a price, European power utilities will be charmed by the cheapness of coal, increasingly available thanks to America’s embrace of shale gas.

A surge in shale gas and tight-oil production is transforming our energy landscape. Forecasts of its potential differ widely. What is certain, however, is that our energy future is not wholly at the mercy of geology. The speed at which we can bring this useful resource to market will depend to a great extent on issues that will be decided by our governments, in our parliaments and in our town halls.


Study: Work less, save the planet

Americans should work less, play more -- and in doing so, save the planet. That’s the basic formula a Washington think tank is shopping around as a way to cut down on global warming.

The shift from a U.S. work model to a more "European" one – which includes shorter work weeks and more vacation time -- could cut as much as half of the expected global temperature rise by 2100, according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The study claims that scaling back on work hours could bring down greenhouse gases.

“The calculation is simple: fewer work hours means less carbon emission, which means less global warming,” economist David Rosnick said.

Assuming that 40-to-60 percent of potential global warming is already locked in, about one-quarter to one-half of the warming that is not already locked in could be cut by scaling back hours, Rosnick, who wrote the study, said.

“For many years, European countries have been reducing work hours -- including by taking more holidays, vacation and leave – while the United States has gone the route of increased production, but it might be time for a change,” Rosnick told Tuesday.

But it's not all umbrella-drinks and beaches. There is a trade-off that many people may not like, he said.

“Obviously, if you are working less, you’re buying less,” he said. “That’s the flip side.”

Rosnick’s study released this week is similar to a 2006 one he co-wrote with economist Mark Weisbrot that looked at the potential environmental effects of European and other countries adopting the American ethic of longer work hours.

In that report, the authors found that “Old Europe” currently consumes about half as much energy per person as does the U.S. If Europe upped its production levels, they would most likely consume 30 percent more energy. The report outlined how worldwide energy patterns could be dependent on which model developing countries choose to copy in the coming years. If they choose to follow the U.S. model, they would apparently consume 30 percent more energy than they do now


Electric cars not viable

Hybrid car pioneer and “father of the Prius” Takeshi Uchiyamada says the billions poured into developing battery electric vehicles have ultimately been in vain. "Because of its shortcomings--driving range, cost and recharging time--the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars," said Uchiyamada. "We need something entirely new."

Uchiyamada’s comments come as the U.S. Department of Energy announced Thursday that the government is backing off President Barack Obama’s promise to put one million electric cars on American roads by 2015. As Breitbart News reported last September, there are just 30,000 electric cars on American roads.

"Whether we meet that goal in 2015 or 2016, that's less important than that we're on the right path to get many millions of these vehicles on the road," said an Energy Department official.
President Obama made promotion of electric vehicles a key component of his green initiative. Last September, the Congressional Budget Office reported that federal policies to prop up and promote electric cars will cost taxpayers $7.5 billion through 2019.

Several of the electric car companies Obama has funneled taxpayer funds to have floundered. U.S. electric battery maker A123 Systems, which received a $249 million taxpayer-funded government loan, announced last year its decision to sell a controlling stake to Wanxiang, a Chinese company, for $450 million.

Similarly, lithium-ion battery manufacturer Ener1, Inc., which received a $118.5 million taxpayer-funded grant, filed for bankruptcy. And another company, Aptera Motors, has already folded.

“The electric car, after more than 100 years of development and several brief revivals, still is not ready for prime time--and may never be,” concludes Reuters.


World’s first methane hydrate mining to begin off central Japan coast

The Japanese government has revealed that its Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corp. has dispatched a mining ship that will begin the world’s first offshore test to excavate methane hydrate from the seabed. As a potential new energy source, the search for methane hydrate will take place in the eastern Nankai Trough, roughly 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) off Aichi Prefecture‘s Atsumi Peninsula, in central Japan.

The oil, gas, and metal company’s deep-sea drilling ship Chikyu set sail last week for an offshore well that drilled last year. Measuring 1,000 meters (0.6 miles) deep, the well reaches a 300 meter (980 feet) layer of methane hydrate under the seabed, where the testing is to take place. Also known as “burning ice,” there has been much attention on methane hydrate as a new plentiful natural fuel resource.

The next step will involve inserting a large pipe down into the well in order to separate methane hydrate into methane gas and water. If everything goes smoothly, and there are no delays in scheduling, the extraction will begin in March seeing the removal of as much as 10,000 cubic meters of gas per day over a two-week period. Estimates say that Japan’s coastal waters hold nearly 100 times the amount of natural gas that the country uses per year, and the government’s Industry Ministry plans to eventually survey the Sea of Japan for methane hydrate.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


6 February, 2013

Lewandowski strikes back -- and misses

Poor old Lewandowski has been reduced to publishing his latest brain-fart in an "author pays" journal. In the circumstances, even the loquacious Ben Pile (below) dismisses the effort with some brevity

Lewandowski's latest effort is purportedly a survey of critical reactions to his earlier paper but the various swingeing criticisms of it that I have put up on this blog (e.g. here) are not mentioned -- which is made particularly amusing by the fact that I seem to be the only fellow-psychologist to have given his paper a roasting. I obviously located the skeletons in the cupboard far too accurately

UPDATE: Even an "author pays" journal has some shame. Lewandowski's second paper has now also been pulled -- on the grounds of deliberate misrepresentaion -- JR

Readers will no doubt remember climate change psychologist, Stephan Lewandowsky and his attempt to connect climate change denial and scepticism to conspiracy theories.

Lewandowsky et al’s paper, ‘NASA faked the moon landing|Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science‘ was published on the author’s university web site, though it was presented as ‘in press’, shortly to be published by the Journal of Psychological Science. However, in spite of being ‘in press’, the article never made it to hard copy.

We might reasonably be allowed to speculate what the reasons for the paper not making it to print were. One reason may be that it was, as has been widely observed, utter BS. Even Lewandowsky’s own colleagues pointed out its many flaws in methodology, and its naked attempt to diminish Lewandowsky’s opposites in the climate debate — climate bloggers.

Lewandowsky has returned, apparently with an analysis of the reactions to his unpublished, non-peer-reviewed paper. And it is published, in an ‘open-access’ journal:

"Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation"

Conspiracist ideation has been repeatedly implicated in the rejection of scientific propositions, although empirical evidence to date has been sparse. A recent study involving visitors to climate blogs found that conspiracist ideation was associated with the rejection of climate science and the rejection of other scientific propositions such as the link between lung cancer and smoking, and between HIV and AIDS (Lewandowsky, Oberauer, & Gignac, in press; LOG12 from here on). This article analyzes the response of the climate blogosphere to the publication of LOG12. We identify and trace the hypotheses that emerged in response to LOG12 and that questioned the validity of the paper’s conclusions. Using established criteria to identify conspiracist ideation, we show that many of the hypotheses exhibited conspiratorial content and counterfactual thinking. For example, whereas hypotheses were initially narrowly focused on LOG12, some ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors of LOG12, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. The overall pattern of the blogosphere’s response to LOG12 illustrates the possible role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science, although alternative scholarly interpretations may be advanced in the future

It’s all the more remarkable that the reaction to the first, unpublished paper (referred to in the new paper as ‘LOG12?) should be the subject of a second paper, published in a journal with arguably far less credibility. Indeed, there is not even a link to LOG12 in the new paper, other than the citation:

Lewandowsky, S., Oberauer, K., & Gignac, G. E. (in press). NASA faked the moon landing|therefore (climate) science is a hoax: An anatomy of the motivated rejection of science. Psychological Science.

Still ‘in press’. Or is it? Perhaps the journal has decided, wisely, not to let themselves get dragged into Lewandowsky’s political war. Either way, readers of the new journal don’t get to see the substance of Lewandowsky’s earlier paper, nor the substantive criticisms of it — merely those which, on Lewandowsky et al’s view, demonstrate conspiracy theory ‘ideation’.

It’s a bit like comprehensively losing a football match 7-nil, but to only include in your retelling of the game one successful tackle. And that’s being generous to Lewandowsky. Because, not only does his new paper deny its readers a précis of his previous paper, he frames responses to it as ‘conspiracy ideation’, whereas in fact they were largely trying to establish exactly what it was he had done.

For instance, the new paper presents an unfolding story of sceptic’s reactions to the original paper:
“Skeptic” blogs not contacted (2). Initial attention of the blogosphere also focused on the method reported by LOG12, which stated: “Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 `skeptic’ (or`skeptic’-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link.” Speculation immediately focused on the identity of the 5 “skeptic” bloggers. Within short order, 25 “skeptical” bloggers had come publicly forward ( to state that they had not been approached by the researchers. Of those 25 public declarations, 5 were by individuals who were invited to post links to the study by LOG12 in 2010. Two of these bloggers had engaged in correspondence with the research assistant for further clarification.

This apparent failure to locate the “skeptic” bloggers led to allegations of research misconduct by LOG12 in blog posts and comments. Those suspicions were sometimes asserted with considerably {sic} confidence; “Lew made up the `5 skeptical blogs’ bit. That much we know” ( One blog comment airing the suspicion that “skeptic” bloggers had not been contacted also provided the email address to which allegations of research misconduct could be directed at the host institution of LOG12?s first author. This comment was posted by an individual (SMcI; see Table 3) who had been contacted twice by the researchers’ assistant.

But self-evidently, it was the opacity of the first paper (LOG12) and its method that led to the bloggers’ speculation. Had Lewandowsky and his researchers been upfront about which blogs they had approached and when and by whom, there would have been no confusion. But on Lewandowsky’s view, speculation about his methodology counts as ‘conspiracy ideation’, which is to say that wondering out loud about whether or not Lewandowsky had done what he had claimed to have done betrays a similar mode of thought that convinces people that the CIA organised the assassination of JFK.

Blog comments, like blogs, vary in their quality. They can be breath-takingly bad, or conversely, knock you out with insight. But it would be impossible to claim that any ‘side’ of any debate on any subject had the monopoly on low quality conspiracy theories. Indeed, the conspiracy theorising by ‘warmists’ in the climate debate isn’t confined to the blogosphere. You may remember George’ Monbiot’s belief, published in The Guardian that oil interests pay for armies of sceptic drones to undermine his arguments. And respectability and scientific expertise is no barrier to bad ideas, either. The Royal Society itself published an argument in its guide to climate change that,

There are some individuals and organisations, some of which are funded by the US oil industry, that seek to undermine the science of climate change and the work of the IPCC. They appear motivated in their arguments by opposition to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which seek urgent action to tackle climate change through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions… Often all these individuals and organisations have in common is their opposition to the growing consensus of the scientific community that urgent action is required through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. But the opponents are well-organised and well-funded…

I have little interest in parsing the 57 pages of the new paper, to get the measure of the remainder of what Lewandowsky believes are conspiracy theories. It seems sufficient to say that, whether or not the comments in question do betray a tendency of the authors towards conspiracy theorising, they were a response to a poorly-conceived research exercise which was transparently intended to frame the debate as one between science on the one hand, and idology/conspiracy theorists on the other. If the internet has a gutter, in which thrive conspiracy theories and pointless interminable flame wars between people who have little grasp on the real world, Lewandowsky’s work is amongst it.

But what is remarkable, however, is that seemingly academic research should have fallen to this level. Lewandowsky reduces academia to a silly blog comment war. He drags journals, and research organisations into this war, undermining the value of research in general and trust in it. The thrust of Lewandowsky’s paper is ‘I picked a fight on the Internet, and this is what people said about me’, which, of course, omits any criticism of his work that may enable him to develop a better argument.

And that’s the point. Lewandowsky’s research is intended to reduce the phenomenon of ‘scepticism’ and ‘denial’ without taking any notice of what sceptics say, except when it confirms to the stereotype Lewandowsky wants to demonstrate the existence of. No doubt that’s a ‘conspiracy theory’ on his view, but the truth is much simpler: either his mediocre talents aren’t sufficient for the critical self-reflection necessary to produce robust research, or an inflated ego precludes critical self-reflection.


British eco-homes DOUBLED our energy bills: Resident rocked by £1,600 charge after just six months

So much for "energy saving"

They were described as the ‘homes of the future’, with an eco-friendly design that would keep bills low.

The 45 super-insulated houses, built with £5.6million of public money, were even held up as a ‘model’ of environmentally-friendly construction.

But 18 months after the social housing complex in Bradford was completed, residents have complained of bills that are double what is normal and faulty equipment that was supposed to save them money.

Council bosses admit there is a ‘serious problem’ with energy use at the Pavilion Gardens site and promised to reimburse residents for excessive bills, blaming the original builder.

Resident Danny Hall, 27, a redundant sales adviser, his wife Jacqueline, 28, and their three children have had problems ‘from day one’.

‘The houses were supposedly the most energy efficient in Bradford,’ he said. ‘We weren’t really told what expected bills would be but with solar panels, heat exhaust and all this fancy stuff you would expect it to be considerably lower than what we used to pay.’

Instead the family received a £1,600 bill after six months. Energy bills were almost double what they paid at their previous home, he said.

When the family moved in, there was no water in the toilets because the water recycling system had not been activated.

When it was turned on, water ‘poured through the light fittings’.

The homes are equipped with an eco-heat exhaust pump that recycles warm air, solar panels, and rainwater-harvesting systems to cut water bills.

Twelve of the homes, supposedly built to the highest standards for sustainability, are heated by a communal biomass boiler.

Sunny Tanday, 23, a tenant who lives with wife Raquel, 23, and their two young children, said it was proving an expensive disaster.

He said: ‘We thought it was going to be our dream house. 'They are lovely houses on a nice street, but they are not what we expected them to be in terms of power-saving and being cheap to run.

‘We moved in here to be a family, but it’s just tearing us apart because the big bills are making us argue all the time. There are people in the street who already want to move out because it’s just too expensive.’

Mr Tanday said his electricity bills averaged £500 a quarter since December 2011. The highest was £949 and he has had to borrow to cover the charges.

A spokesman for Bradford Council said: ‘We appreciate that it is a serious problem and we are working with residents, the building contractor, the energy company and our managing agents to find a solution.’


These corals would find global warming a snack

Hoagy and his friends screech about a 2 degree temperature rise killing off Australia's coral reefs. In the Persian gulf, however an extra 8 degrees doesn't bother corals. And the Warmists below admit their confusion

We tend to associate coral reefs with tropical seas of around 28 degrees, where even slight warming can have devastating effects on corals. But in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, corals survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius every summer, heat levels that would kill corals elsewhere.

In their study, the NOCS team worked closely with NYUAD researchers to select and characterise model corals from the Arabian/Persian Gulf, which will facilitate future molecular-scale investigations into why they can tolerate heat stress.

“We have established successful laboratory cultures of Gulf corals,” said Dr Jörg Wiedenmann, Head of the Coral Reef Laboratory and Senior Lecturer at University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science, both of which are based at NOCS. “This will greatly accelerate the progress of unravelling the mechanisms that underlie their surprising heat resistance.”

Reefs are made up of many species of coral, each of which have a mutually beneficial, or “symbiotic”, relationship with algae living in their tissue. These algae supply vital nutrition to the host but are sensitive to environmental changes including increases in seawater temperature.

Even a temperature rise of just one degree Celsius can harm the symbiotic algae, which in turn can increase mortality in corals. The associated loss of symbiotic algae is known as “coral bleaching” because the white skeletons of the corals become visible through the tissue depleted from the algal pigments.

“In Gulf corals, both the coral host and the associated algal partners need to withstand the high seawater temperatures,” said Dr Wiedenmann who led the study.

But the scientists were surprised to discover that the algae in Gulf corals belong to a group not known for its thermal tolerance.

“We see that the algae are indeed special but in a way that we did not expect,” said Dr Wiedenmann. “The algae that we found in most of the corals in Abu Dhabi reefs were previously described as a ‘generalist strain’ that is usually not found in corals exposed to high levels of heat stress.”

“The system seems to be more complex than it is commonly thought but now we are in an excellent position to tackle these important questions.”

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has recently granted funding to Dr Wiedenmann and the Coral Reef Laboratory, so that the team can do just that. The researchers will build on their previous findings and use their model corals to investigate the molecular mechanisms that allow corals to thrive at extreme temperatures.


Polar bear population on the rise

Global hysteria ensued after former Vice President Al Gore posed a theory in his film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” that polar bears were on the edge of extinction. Soon after, reports of fish shortages, cross-breeding between species and even polar bear cannibalism added to the global-warming debate.

These reports piqued the interest of Zac Unger, who wanted to become “a hero of the environmental movement,” proving how man-made global warming is affecting the polar bear population. He packed up his wife and kids and headed for Churchill, Manitoba, an isolated piece of land on the Hudson Bay in northern Canada accessible only by train or plane.

“I was going to write this mournful elegy for the polar bears, at which point I’d be hailed as the next coming of John Muir and borne aloft on the shoulders of my environmental compatriots,” he told NPR.

However, the researcher came away with a much different story, which became the premise for his new book, “Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye.”

“I started realizing polar bears were not in as bad a shape as the conventional wisdom had led me to believe,” he told NPR.

“There are far more polar bears alive today than there were 40 years ago. … In 1973, there was a global hunting ban. So once hunting was dramatically reduced, the population exploded,” Mr. Unger said.

Currently, there are an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide, and that number has increased steadily in the past 40 years since Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Norway, the United States and the former U.S.S.R. signed the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears in 1973.

A federal court threw out a government proposal last month that would have designated a 187,000-square mile area of Alaska as a critical habitat for polar bears, the Daily Caller reports. The court ruled that the plan went too far.


Duke of Edinburgh invites climate change heretic David Bellamy to Buckingham Palace

Prince Philip has invited David Bellamy, who was allegedly banned from the BBC because of his views on global warming, to give a lecture at Buckingham Palace.

David Bellamy described how the BBC 'froze him out' when he dismissed global warming as 'poppycock'

The Prince of Wales warned in March 2009 that there were “less than 100 months to act” to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change. His father is known to be more sceptical.

Now, the Duke of Edinburgh has invited Britain’s best-known global warming heretic to give a lecture at Buckingham Palace.
David Bellamy, who described last month how the BBC “froze him out” when he dismissed global warming as “poppycock”, is to give the inaugural David Bellamy Lecture at the Palace next month.
Prince Philip is holding the event as honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management.


Christopher Booker comments on the views of Prince Philip:

When in 2009 I published a book called The Real Global Warming Disaster it provoked contrasting responses from two members of the royal family. Prince Charles, protesting that he was ‘bemused’ by my views on climate change, struck me off his Christmas card list, where I had been for 25 years since we became environmental allies back in the 1980s. I was, however, startled and delighted to have a long, thoughtful and sympathetic letter about the book from Prince Philip, whom I had met only once, and which, inter alia, led me to be far from surprised when he last year made headlines for having dismissed wind turbines as ‘absolutely useless’.

Back in the 1960s, now to my shame, I once wrote a far from kindly profile of Prince Philip in Private Eye. Over the decades since, like many others, I have come to have ever more admiration for him, not least since he represents those values of robust masculine common sense which in the post-war years when I grew up were taken for granted, but which in our public life are today little more than a memory.

Last year one newspaper marked his 90th birthday by publishing a list of his ‘notorious gaffes’. Since then I have met several people who, like me, went through that list ticking off every one of his supposedly embarrassing comments with a nod of amused approval. How fortunate we are to have had such a man at the centre of our national life for 65 years.


Leftists Plan to Reduce Global Warming by Lowering American Living Standards

Regular readers may remember last year when I shared some remarkably silly data from the “Happy Planet Index,” which supposedly showed the United States ranked below very poor nations such as Cuba, Albania, and Venezuela.

It turns out that nations got lower grades based on their energy consumption. And since energy usage is one of the key indicators of prosperity, that explains why the United States also trailed such global garden spots as Pakistan, Palestine, Iraq, Moldova, and Tajikistan.

Well, the authors of the Happy Planet Index are not the only ones who explicitly embrace stagnation and decline as a strategy to deal with so-called climate change. A leftist think tank in DC is now arguing that we should work less, which means we will produce less and consume less energy.

But that means we will earn less, and therefore consume less. In other words, they are openly asserting that we should all endure lower living standards. Here are some excerpts from U.S. News and World Report.
Working fewer hours might help slow global warming, according to a new study released Monday by the Center for Economic Policy and Research. A worldwide switch to a “more European” work schedule…could prevent as much as half of the expected global temperature rise by 2100, according to the analysis, which used a 2012 study that found shorter work hours could be associated with lower carbon emissions. The Center for Economic Policy and Research is a liberal think tank based in Washington. “…lowering levels of consumption, holding everything else constant, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions,”

writes economist David Rosnick, author of the study. Gee, maybe we should be like Haiti and Afghanistan, the nations that “won” the top two spots for smallest “ecological footprint” in the Happy Planet Index.

I am a big fan of wilderness and nature and I recognize that – unless we figure out a way to extend property rights to water and air – there is a role for government intervention.

But I’m nonetheless quite skeptical of professional environmentalists. Why? Well, here are a few reasons.

The environmentalist-driven war on high-quality light bulbs.
The environmentalist-driven rule against working toilets.
The environmentalist-driven prohibition against washing machines that actually clean.
This environmentalist-driven example of EPA thuggery.
The environmentalist-driven pointless recycling mandates.

This is what we get from the sane environmentalists. The nutty ones are even more bizarre:

The environmentalist accusation that you’re racist if you oppose their agenda.
The environmentalists who don’t believe in bathing,
The environmentalists who sterilize themselves to avoid carbon-producing children,
The environmentalists who produce/use hand-cranked vibrators to reduce their carbon footprint.
The environmentalist claim that climate change causes AIDS.

Then there’s the super-nutty category:

The environmentalists who choose death to lower their carbon footprints.

So perhaps global warming is a real concern, but I think you can understand why I don’t trust environmentalists to be in charge of the issue. Though Al Gore has lots of followers, so I guess that’s all that matters.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


5 February, 2013

Where has that consensus gone?

In good Warmist style, the paper below polls "experts" rather than looking at any climate data. Sadly, however, they found that their "experts" disagreed about almost everything. The one consolation was that most of the experts allowed some possibility that it would get VERY warm (over 4.5°C warmer) in future
Expert judgments about transient climate response to alternative future trajectories of radiative forcing

By Kirsten Zickfeld et al.


There is uncertainty about the response of the climate system to future trajectories of radiative forcing. To quantify this uncertainty we conducted face-to-face interviews with 14 leading climate scientists, using formal methods of expert elicitation. We structured the interviews around three scenarios of radiative forcing stabilizing at different levels. All experts ranked “cloud radiative feedbacks” as contributing most to their uncertainty about future global mean temperature change, irrespective of the specified level of radiative forcing. The experts disagreed about the relative contribution of other physical processes to their uncertainty about future temperature change. For a forcing trajectory that stabilized at 7 Wm-2 in 2200, 13 of the 14 experts judged the probability that the climate system would undergo, or be irrevocably committed to, a “basic state change” as ?0.5. The width and median values of the probability distributions elicited from the different experts for future global mean temperature change under the specified forcing trajectories vary considerably. Even for a moderate increase in forcing by the year 2050, the medians of the elicited distributions of temperature change relative to 2000 range from 0.8–1.8?°C, and some of the interquartile ranges do not overlap. Ten of the 14 experts estimated that the probability that equilibrium climate sensitivity exceeds 4.5°C is > 0.17, our interpretation of the upper limit of the “likely” range given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Finally, most experts anticipated that over the next 20 years research will be able to achieve only modest reductions in their degree of uncertainty.


Some criticism of the IPCC by a Warmist

He thinks the IOPCC are deliberately exaggerating the warming that would result from their prophecies coming to pass. In passing he (rightly) dismisses the paper above as a lightweight contribution to understanding and notes that one of the pollees had admitted openly to deliberate lying about the likelihood of warming

So, sensitivity has been in the climate blogosphere a bit recently. Just a few days ago, that odd Norwegian press release got some people excited, but it's not clear what it really means. There is an Aldrin et al paper, published some time ago - which gave a decent constraint on climate sensitivity, though nothing particularly surprising or interesting IMO. We thought we had sorted out the sensitivity kerfuffle several years ago, but it seems that the rest of the world still hasn't yet caught up. As I said to Andy Revkin (and he published on his blog), the additional decade of temperature data from 2000 onwards (even the AR4 estimates typically ignored the post-2000 years) can only work to reduce estimates of sensitivity, and that's before we even consider the reduction in estimates of negative aerosol forcing, and additional forcing from black carbon (the latter being very new, is not included in any calculations AIUI). It's increasingly difficult to reconcile a high climate sensitivity (say over 4C) with the observational evidence for the planetary energy balance over the industrial era. But the Norwegian press release seems to refer to as yet unpublished research, and some of the claims seem a bit hard to credit. So we will have to wait for more details before drawing any more solid conclusions.

Before then, there was the minor blogstorm (at least in some quarters) surrounding Nic Lewis' criticism of the IPCC's stubborn adherence to their old estimate of climate sensitivity. This, of course, being despite the additional evidence which I've just mentioned above.

When I looked at the IPCC drafts, I didn't actually notice the substantial change in estimated aerosol uncertainty that Nic focussed on. With limited time and energy to wade through several hundred pages of draft material, I mostly looked for how and where they had (or had not, but perhaps should have) referred to my work, to make sure it was fairly and accurately represented. I was pretty unimpressed with some parts of first draft, actually, and made a number suggestions. Of course in line with the IPCC conditions, I'm not going to say what was or was not in any draft. According to IPCC policy, my comments will all be available in the fullness of time, but I have also criticised this delayed release so in the spirit of openness here is one comment I made about their discussion of sensitivity in Chapter 12 (p55 in the first order draft):

"It seems very odd to portray our work as an outlier here. Sokolov et al 2009, Urban and Keller 2010, Olson et al (in press JGR) have also recently presented similar results (and there may be more as yet unpublished, eg Aldrin at the INI meeting back in 2010). Such "observationally constrained pdfs" were all the rage a few years ago and featured heavily in the last IPCC report, there is no clear explanation for your sudden dismissal of them in favour of what seems to be a small private opinion poll. A more balanced presentation could be: "Annan and Hargreaves (2011a) criticize the use of uniform priors and argue that sensitivities above 4.5°C are extremely unlikely (less than 5%). Similar results have been obtained by a number of other researchers [add citations from the above]."

Note for the avoidance of any doubt I am not quoting directly from the unquotable IPCC draft, but only repeating my own comment on it. However, those who have read the second draft of Chapter 12 will realise why I previously said I thought the report was improved :-) Of course there is no guarantee as to what will remain in the final report, which for all the talk of extensive reviews, is not even seen by the proletariat, let alone opened to their comments, prior to its final publication. The paper I refer to as a "small private opinion poll" is of course the Zickfeld et al PNAS paper. The list of pollees in the Zickfeld paper are largely the self-same people responsible for the largely bogus analyses that I've criticised over recent years, and which even if they were valid then, are certainly outdated now. Interestingly, one of them stated quite openly in a meeting I attended a few years ago that he deliberately lied in these sort of elicitation exercises (i.e. exaggerating the probability of high sensitivity) in order to help motivate political action. Of course, there may be others who lie in the other direction, which is why it seems bizarre that the IPCC appeared to rely so heavily on this paper to justify their choice, rather than relying on published quantitative analyses of observational data. Since the IPCC can no longer defend their old analyses in any meaningful manner, it seems they have to resort to an unsupported "this is what we think, because we asked our pals". It's essentially the Lindzen strategy in reverse: having firmly wedded themselves to their politically convenient long tail of high values, their response to new evidence is little more than sticking their fingers in their ears and singing "la la la I can't hear you".

Of course, this still leaves open the question of what the new evidence actually does mean for climate sensitivity. I have mentioned above several analyses that are fairly up to date. I have some doubts about Nic Lewis' analysis, as I think some of his choices are dubious and will have acted to underestimate the true sensitivity somewhat. For example, his choice of ocean heat uptake is based on taking a short term trend over a period in which the observed warming is markedly lower than the longer-term multidecadal value. I don't think this is necessarily a deliberate cherry-pick, any more than previous analyses running up to the year 2000 were (the last decade is a natural enough choice to have made) but it does have unfortunate consequences. Irrespective of what one thinks about aerosol forcing, it would be hard to argue that the rate of net forcing increase and/or over-all radiative imbalance has actually dropped markedly in recent years, so any change in net heat uptake can only be reasonably attributed to a bit of natural variability or observational uncertainty. Lewis has also adjusted the aerosol forcing according to his opinion of which values are preferred - concidentally, he comes down on the side of an answer that gives a lower sensitivity. His results might be more reasonable if he had at least explored the sensitivity of his result to the assumptions made. Using the last 30y of ocean heat data and simply adopting the official IPCC forcing values rather than his modified versions (since after all, his main point is to criticise the lack of coherence in the IPCC report itself) would add credibility to his analysis. A still better approach would be to use a model capable of representing the transient change, and fitting it to the entire time series of the various relevant observations. Which is what people like Aldrin et al have done, of course, and which is why I think their results are superior.

But the point stands, that the IPCC's sensitivity estimate cannot readily be reconciled with forcing estimates and observational data. All the recent literature that approaches the question from this angle comes up with similar answers, including the papers I mentioned above. By failing to meet this problem head-on, the IPCC authors now find themselves in a bit of a pickle. I expect them to brazen it out, on the grounds that they are the experts and are quite capable of squaring the circle before breakfast if need be. But in doing so, they risk being seen as not so much summarising scientific progress, but obstructing it.


New paper finds tree-ring studies underestimate climate extremes of the past

A new paper published in Nature Climate Change finds tree-ring reconstructions of temperature, such as Mann's infamous hockey stick, "underestimate climate fluctuations of, for example, air temperature," due to data complicated by "the climate of past years and other factors like tree age" and precipitation. "Our results point to uncertainties in the global climate system that were previously not recognized," says David Frank, co-author of the study.

Understanding Earth's Climate Prior to the Industrial Era

Climate signals locked in the layers of glacial ice, preserved in the annual growth rings of trees, or fingerprinted in other so-called proxy archives such as lake sediments, speleothems, and corals allow researchers to quantify climate variation prior to instrumental measurements. An international research team has now investigated hundreds of these proxy records from across the globe and compared them with both simulations of the Earth’s climate and instrumental measurements of temperature and precipitation.

Climate extremes not always recognized in proxy archives

The scientists learned that these proxy archives provide an incomplete record of climate variation. The annual width or density of tree-rings is not only influenced by temperature while the ring is developing, but also from the climate of the past years and other factors like tree age. This makes it difficult to extract pure temperature signals from these natural archives.

Importantly, the researchers found out that proxy data underestimate climate fluctuations of, for example, air temperature over the land surface where large year-to-year variability is common. In contrast, long-term trends in precipitation tend to be exaggerated by the proxy records. These findings indicate that the proxy data often result in a “blurry picture” of climate variation. The researchers were able to conclude from their work that short-term extreme climate events, such as individual years with hot summers, are not well captured by the proxy reconstructions.

Temperature trends can’t be used to understand rainfall

Investigations on the individual factors and processes fingerprinted in tree-ring, ice-core and speleothem records are needed to develop a more accurate history and understanding of the climate system. The authors explicitly warn that proxy records that predominately reflect temperature variation should not be used to make conclusions about precipitation change and vice-versa. "Our results point to uncertainties in the global climate system that were previously not recognized," says David Frank, co-author of this study. He continues: "This might be surprising because we know more about the Earth’s climate now than say 20-years ago. Part of the scientific process is to confront and uncover these unknowns while developing climate reconstructions." There is still a lot of basic research needed to reduce uncertainties about how the Earth’s climate system operated prior to the industrial era and how it may operate in the future.
Spectral biases in tree-ring climate proxies

Jörg Franke et al.


External forcing and internal dynamics result in climate system variability ranging from sub-daily weather to multi-centennial trends and beyond1, 2. State-of-the-art palaeoclimatic methods routinely use hydroclimatic proxies to reconstruct temperature (for example, refs 3, 4), possibly blurring differences in the variability continuum of temperature and precipitation before the instrumental period. Here, we assess the spectral characteristics of temperature and precipitation fluctuations in observations, model simulations and proxy records across the globe. We find that whereas an ensemble of different general circulation models represents patterns captured in instrumental measurements, such as land–ocean contrasts and enhanced low-frequency tropical variability, the tree-ring-dominated proxy collection does not. The observed dominance of inter-annual precipitation fluctuations is not reflected in the annually resolved hydroclimatic proxy records. Likewise, temperature-sensitive proxies overestimate, on average, the ratio of low- to high-frequency variability. These spectral biases in the proxy records seem to propagate into multi-proxy climate reconstructions for which we observe an overestimation of low-frequency signals. Thus, a proper representation of the high- to low-frequency spectrum in proxy records is needed to reduce uncertainties in climate reconstruction efforts.



Is clean energy an impossible dream?

"Don’t get us wrong: If low-polluting renewable energy sources could displace fossil fuels without massive taxpayer subsidies that would harm the economy, you’d find us at the front of the parade. But President Obama’s undying devotion to clean energy — memorably invoked in his inaugural address — should trouble anyone who does not believe in showering public money on industries with no hope of a back-end payoff for the taxpayer or consumer.

On the steps of the Capitol, Obama again spoke of clean energy as the energy of the future, intoning: “We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries.” He also repeated the argument that clean energy is a necessary prerequisite for saving the world from catastrophic global warming. Let’s look at both points.

If clean energy is the energy of future, then it’s news to the analysts within the Obama administration. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) — the analytic arm of the U.S. Department of Energy — predicts that renewable energy (excluding liquid biofuels like ethanol which are, at present, as carbon-intensive as crude oil) will rise from 8 percent of total U.S. energy consumption today to a grand total of 11 percent in 2040. Moreover, that modest gain in market share is not expected to come from improvements in clean energy’s ability to compete with fossil fuels. No, the EIA believes that this anemic growth stems “mainly from the implementation of … state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) programs for electricity generation” (that is, state programs that simply dictate that a certain amount of renewables are produced regardless of cost).

If this is the main pillar of the president’s plan to create jobs, then we’re in big trouble. First of all, there’s no evidence to suggest that “clean” energy is more labor intensive than “brown” energy. After all, once the wind farms or solar facilities are built, it doesn’t take a lot of employees to fuel them or run them unless they happen to break down. If plant construction is the main source of job creation, then we could accomplish the same end by building museums, highways, oil refineries, or a few dozen Egyptian-style pyramids for that matter.

To be fair, forecasting future energy market shares is a problematic and — if past is prologue — nearly pointless exercise. Much hinges on technological innovations and breakthroughs that have yet to occur (and may never occur). Even on the eve of a revolution in hydraulic fracturing, few forecasters saw anything but sky-high natural gas prices as far as the eye could see. Still, the EIA’s forecasts represent our most educated guesses about where the future will take us — and alas, even those who draw paychecks from the Obama administration believe that clean energy will remain a bit player in energy markets despite the myriad tax credits, loan guarantees, and government production mandates to change that reality.

It’s difficult to believe that this modest gain in market share is going to do much to reduce the impact of climate change. Happily, hydraulic fracturing is doing that environmental job for us. As Mitt Romney and his cohorts on the right were fond of telling us during the recent presidential campaign, 135 coal-fired power plants have already closed during the Obama administration and another 175 are scheduled to close by 2016. But what Romney & co. didn’t tell us is that low-cost natural gas — courtesy of hydraulic fracturing — was the main reason for those plant closures. Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, argues persuasively that this will continue as carbon-rich fuels continue to give way — as they have historically — to hydrogen-rich fuels. Yesterday, it was coal displacing biomass, then oil displacing coal. Today, it’s natural gas displacing oil and coal. Tomorrow, it will likely be hydrogen displacing natural gas.

Would a more aggressive set of government policies succeed on the clean energy front? One never knows, but it’s worth noting that the two instances in which the federal government has made Herculean efforts to turn ugly energy ducks into beautiful economic swans — nuclear energy and corn ethanol — have failed spectacularly despite decades of concentrated political effort and tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer assistance. Nuclear energy and corn ethanol continue to be so uncompetitive that, absent continuing government subsidy, those industries would largely disappear. There’s no reason to think that throwing the same effort into clean energy will turn out any differently.

Environmentalists remain wedded to clean energy subsidies because they fear that, even if we are correct, no better policy avenue exists to address climate change. This approach is likely to yield next to nothing, although it does provide the illusion that climate risks are being addressed. But they aren’t. Far better, we think, for environmental voters to have no such illusions about what the president is delivering.


Glencore director says corn use in biofuel questionable

A director of commodity trading giant Glencore on Sunday questioned the conversion of corn into ethanol biofuel, saying it can contribute to higher prices.

Critics of using foodstuffs to make fuel say the process can drive up food prices by reducing available supplies, hitting the world's poorest people hardest.

Responding to a question in a panel discussion at the Kingsman Dubai sugar conference, Chris Mahoney, director of agricultural products at Glencore, said; "Ethanol production from grains and from edible oil is questionable." He added, "It has been a factor in creating a higher price environment."

Sunny Verghese, CEO of commodity merchant Olam International Ltd, which trades a range of agricultural commodities, was more critical of the use of corn to make ethanol.

"It is inappropriate. It does not make sense to convert corn to ethanol," Verghese told delegates. "But it makes sense to convert sugarcane to ethanol."

Later Verghese told Reuters: "I don't believe that converting corn into ethanol helps the food complex. I don't think, given the input-output usage efficiency, it makes a lot of sense to do this." He did not elaborate.

The February 2-5 Kingsman sugar conference has gathered more than 600 sugar trade leaders from around the world.


Another Made Up Mandate on Energy that Doesn't Exist

Requiring the citizens of the kingdom to purchase something that doesn’t exist, and then fining them for not doing it sounds more like the behavior of a tinhorn dictator than the actions of a global superpower—but then, maybe the “superpower” status has led the US government to believe that it can “let the wish be father to the thought.”

Perhaps Congress, the authors of the Clean Air Act, and, more specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—and even biofuel lobbyists—have attended too many motivational seminars in which they were taught: “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.”

The dream to “achieve” is cellulosic biofuel or ethanol—which has an admirable goal of producing a renewable transportation fuel without impacting the world’s food supply. Different from corn- or sugar-based ethanol—which is technologically achievable (with questionable benefits)—cellulosic ethanol is made from wood chips, switchgrass, and agricultural waste, such as corn cobs.

The problem is the dream doesn’t match reality.

Through the Clean Air Act, the EPA can mandate a set volume of cellulosic biofuels that refiners must blend into gasoline based on “the projected volume available.” In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) established annual renewable fuel volume targets. The “targets” increase each year to reach 36 billion gallons by 2022. The EISA’s original cellulosic biofuel expectation for 2013 was 1 billion gallons.

The targets gave birth to a new cellulosic ethanol industry. Thanks to the government mandates, start-ups such as Range Fuels and Cello Energy were born. They cranked out press releases touting a potential for millions of gallons of the biofuel. Based on optimistic projections aimed at attracting investors, the EPA set its targets.

In 2006, President Bush pledged government funding for the nascent industry—declaring that cellulosic ethanol would be “practical and competitive within six years.” In March 2007, Range Fuels received a $76 million grant from the Department of Energy and another $80 million from the Obama administration in 2009. According to the Wall Street Journal, in May 2009, “Range's former CEO, Mitch Mandich, explained that the problem was that nobody had figured out how to produce cellulosic ethanol in commercial quantities.” Despite the approximately $300 million in a combination of private, state, and federal funding, Range Fuels never produced cellulosic ethanol. The company filed for bankruptcy in December 2011. Cello Energy filed Bankruptcy in October 2010.

So much for “If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.”

But, the lack of cellulosic ethanol didn’t deter the EPA. While they did dial back a 100 million gallon 2010 mandate, to 6.5 million, the EPA didn’t give up on its “dream.” It has continued to predict fantastical production volumes: approximately 5 million gallons in 2010, 6.6 in 2011 and 8.7 in 2012. These predictions establish the volumes that refiners must use to blend into our gasoline—regardless of whether or not the cellulosic ethanol is available. These mandates are called the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS). If refiners fail to meet the mandate, industry has to purchase waiver credits—essentially a fine that serves as a hidden tax on consumers. The startups who failed to meet their projections and, therefore, didn’t provide the fuel stock to the blenders, weren’t penalized, but the refiners, who are generally in no position to ensure the fuels’ availability, are. Addressing the fines, Stephen Brown, VP for Federal Government Affairs at Tesoro, operating seven refineries in the western United States, says: “An unavoidable fine levied by the government sounds an awful lot like a tax.”

To date, virtually no cellulosic ethanol has been produced. Despite the demise of Range and Cello, there are still a few other companies, which have received taxpayer funding, that claim to be near commercial production. Bill Day, Executive Director of Media Relations for Valero—which had made some investments in cellulosic ethanol (though there are none currently active) and is the world’s largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer, told me cellulosic ethanol was five years away five years ago, and is still five years away today. Companies like Tesoro and Valero still have to pay the fines, even though the product doesn’t exist. Those costs are passed on to us, the consumers, in the form of higher gasoline prices.

It is the absurdity of these credit purchases that prompted the American Petroleum Institute (API) to file a lawsuit last year challenging the EPA’s rulemaking. API petitioned the court to review the EPA’s January 2012 RFS—which API’s Group Down Stream Director Bob Greco claims would have cost more than $8 million in credit purchases.

On January 25, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a unanimous decision. rejected the 8.65 million gallon cellulosic ethanol target—finding that the EPA was projecting far too much production of cellulosic ethanol for 2012.

API’s Greco was optimistic about the decision: “The court has provided yet another confirmation that EPA’s renewable fuels program is unworkable and must be scrapped.” He said: “This decision relieves refiners of complying with the unachievable 2012 mandate and forces EPA to adopt a more realistic approach for setting future cellulosic biofuel mandates.” But Valero’s Day is more cautious: “It is too early to say what the result will be. This issue is likely to continue beyond this one decision. Valero will be watching closely.”

US Senator David Vitter (R-LA), top Republican of the Environment and Public Works Committee, is also enthusiastic: “The EPA has been playing games with made-up standards on renewable fuels, but the recent appellate court decision should be their first clue that it needs to stop. I applaud the DC Circuit Court of Appeals for recognizing how ludicrous the situation is to force refiners to either purchase amounts of a product that doesn’t even exist or pay a hefty fine.”

Likewise, Charles T. Drevna, President of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), believes: “The court’s decision provides welcome relief and puts the EPA on notice that it must act as a neutral arbiter rather than as a promoter of cellulosic fuel.” AFPM has a pending petition for a waiver of the 2012 mandate. A similar 2011 waiver was denied.

While the court vacated the 2012 mandate, it was not a total win for industry. The court rejected API's argument that the EPA had to follow the US Energy Information Administration's cellulosic biofuel volume projections in setting its own and, also, that the EPA was not entitled to consider information from cellulosic biofuel producers in setting its projection. Biofuel lobbying groups didn’t see the court’s ruling as a total setback: “Today’s decision, once again, rejects broad-brushed attempts to effectively roll back the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.”

A January 29 Bloomberg report predicts: “Tossing out the 2012 standard for those cellulosic fuels, … leaves the 2013 standard in doubt, as well. The EPA is overdue to issue its mandate for 2013, and this decision may further complicate that process.” On January 30, Vitter said: “The EPA has been getting away with mandating exaggerated fuel standards based on a pie-in-the-sky wish, but now they’ll actually have to use some cold, hard facts.”

Apparently the EPA didn’t allow the decision to “complicate” their 2013 standards. On January 31, the EPA released its 2013 requirements: 14 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels—60% more than 2012. The Fuels America Coalition continues to dream. It reports: “Cellulosic biofuels are being produced now and millions of gallons of cellulosic fuel are expected to come online in the next two years.”

“If you can dream it, then you can achieve it” hasn’t worked so far.

In response to the EPA’s 2013 proposed mandate, Greco suggests that the EPA needs to “provide a more realistic assessment of potential future production rather than simply relying on the assertions of companies whose self-interest is to advertise lofty projections of their ability to produce the cellulosic biofuel.” API recommends basing predictions on the previous year of actual production.

Once again, it looks like the consumers will be paying the price for the EPA’s incompetence in mandating something that doesn’t exist—and for more lawsuits.

Maybe if we dream about a reasonable EPA Administrator to replace the ideologically blinded Lisa Jackson, we can achieve it.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


4 February, 2013

Inconvenient truth: Sea level rise is decelerating

On Warmist theory, it should be accelerating

A paper published in the Journal of Coastal Research finds that sea level rise around mainland Australia decelerated from 1940 to 2000. According to the latest NOAA sea level budget, global sea levels rose at only 1.1 - 1.3 mm/year from 2005-2012, which is less than half of the rate claimed by the IPCC [3.1 mm/yr] and is equivalent to less than 5 inches per century. Contrary to alarmist claims, sea level rise decelerated over the 20th century, has also decelerated since 2005, and there is no evidence of any human influence on sea levels.
Is There Evidence Yet of Acceleration in Mean Sea Level Rise around Mainland Australia?

P. J. Watson


As an island nation with some 85% of the population residing within 50 km of the coast, Australia faces significant threats into the future from sea level rise. Further, with over 710,000 addresses within 3 km of the coast and below 6-m elevation, the implication of a projected global rise in mean sea level of up to 100 cm over the 21st century will have profound economic, social, environmental, and planning consequences. In this context, it is becoming increasingly important to monitor trends emerging from local (regional) records to augment global average measurements and future projections.

The Australasian region has four very long, continuous tide gauge records, at Fremantle (1897), Auckland (1903), Fort Denison (1914), and Newcastle (1925), which are invaluable for considering whether there is evidence that the rise in mean sea level is accelerating over the longer term at these locations in line with various global average sea level time-series reconstructions.

These long records have been converted to relative 20-year moving average water level time series and fitted to second-order polynomial functions to consider trends of acceleration in mean sea level over time. The analysis reveals a consistent trend of weak deceleration at each of these gauge sites throughout Australasia over the period from 1940 to 2000. Short period trends of acceleration in mean sea level after 1990 are evident at each site, although these are not abnormal or higher than other short-term rates measured throughout the historical record.


The New Tin Pot Dictators: Green NGOs

Ben Pile is his usual prolix self on this issue so I present just his opening shots below

It should be clear to everyone by now that environmentalists have no sense of proportion. For instance, on the green view, the claim that ‘climate change is happening’ has been a matter of true or false, rather than a matter of degree. But is this misconception the consequence of green ‘ideology’, or simply a strategy intended to promote it?

A press release from Friends of the Earth on Friday announced:

"Samsung questioned over tin as profits soar: Commenting on phone manufacture Samsung’s soaring profits revealed today (Friday 25 January 2013), Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:

“Samsung’s profits may be soaring, but do they come with a cost? The company has yet to explain whether the tin it uses in its phones is ravaging the tropical forests and coral reefs of Bangka Island, Indonesia.

“Research shows that tin from Banka is almost certainly in Samsung’s products. “New rules are needed to make all companies disclose their supply chains – starting with a Europe-wide law next year.”

FoE’s research was published last November, in a report called, Mining for smartphones: the true cost of tin [PDF]. On page 20, the report explains FoE’s decision to target Samsung:

Samsung is the top-selling smartphone brand in Europe. It offers a wide range of handsets and as a result has a global reach like no other – in 2011 it sold 95 million smartphones – that’s nearly one in five of all smartphones sold worldwide (19.5 per cent of the global market share). In fact just one model, the Galaxy S, launched in June 2010, and updated Galaxy S2 and S3, has already sold more than 42 million. Samsung Electronics is South Korea’s biggest company and has extended its reach as an Olympic Games 2012 partner and Chelsea football club sponsor.

When Friends of the Earth investigators contacted Samsung Electronics prior to publication to ask if the company sourced tin from Bangka or was aware of the damage tin mining is causing the island’s communities and ecosystems, a Samsung spokesperson neither confirmed nor denied this. In a statement, the company said it took the issue of ethical sourcing of minerals very seriously. “Samsung is committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility, and we continue to evaluate our sourcing policies to ensure they comply with global standards associated with our industry,” said a spokesperson. “We will monitor the Bangka Island situation to determine if an investigation into whether tin in our supply chain is being sourced from the region is required.”

During Friends of the Earth’s research Samsung was identified as a buyer or user of Indonesian tin via the supply chain of PT Timah.

The problem, according to FoE is the environmental destruction caused by tin mining operations in Indonesia. As this FoE film shows, it’s certainly not a pretty process, and the lot of the workers involved in the production of tin have a pretty lousy time.

Tin is used in the production of mobile phones, chiefly as an ingredient in solder, a substance used to hold electronic components to circuit boards. But to what extent is Samsung responsible for the situation in Indonesia?

Let’s start with the facts. FoE claim that Samsung sold 95 million smartphones last year. That’s a lot of phones. So how much tin is that? Curiously, for it’s emphasis on smartphones, FoE’s report is vague about how much tin is in a smartphone.

A tablet contains between 1 and 3 grammes of ‘tin rich solder’. So let’s assume that a smartphone, which is about half the size and complexity of a tablet, contains a gramme of tin rich solder. So Samsung used 95 million grammes of tin in smartphones in 2011. There are a million grammes in a tonne (1,000 grammes in a kilogramme; 1,000 kg in a tonne). So that’s 95 tonnes of tin, for Samsung’s global smartphone market.

Is that a lot? No. According to the US Geological Survey, in 2010, the world produced 277,000 tonnes of tin. On the FoE’s own gallery of images of tin mining in Indonesia, it shows a picture of an operation that produces 50,000 tonnes a year:

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Is Climate Change Like Gravity?

If climate change is as straightforward a scientific concept as gravity, why does the IPCC continue to produce multi-thousand-page reports?

A few days ago Martin O’Malley, the Governor of Maryland, delivered a speech – the complete text of which was published by The Washington Post.

O’Malley is a lawyer by training. His official biography says he has been involved in Democratic Party politics since he was 23 years old. Near the end of his speech O’Malley said the following:
Climate change is not an ideological issue any more than gravity is. It is physics, pure and simple.

O’Malley isn’t the first person to use the gravity analogy. Last November, the Associated Press reported that physicist Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, an official with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made similar remarks:

[Van Ypersele] said the scientific backing for man-made climate change is now so strong that it can be compared to the consensus behind the principles of gravity.

“It’s a very, very broad consensus. There are a few individuals who don’t believe it, but we are talking about science and not beliefs,” Van Ypersele told AP.

But here’s the problem. Van Ypersele isn’t a dispassionate scientist who can be counted on to tell us the facts and only the facts. At the same time that he’s serving as one of the IPCC’s three vice-chairs (one step down from chairman Rajendra Pachauri on the org chart), Van Ypersele is also an honourary member of that granddaddy of alarmist environmental organizations, the Club of Rome.

The front page of the Club of Rome’s website is currently promoting its latest report, Bankrupting Nature: Denying Our Planetary Boundaries. A headline on that same front page declares: “Enough is Enough. It’s time for a new kind of economy.”

I’ve written previously about affluent, well-connected do-gooders who believe that their purpose in life is to shepherd the rest of us toward a utopian tomorrow. The Club of Rome fits that description.

It insists that the future is “gloomy” because of our “outmoded ideas, values and institutions.” Its members, therefore, have nothing less than a wholesale redesign of human society in mind.

In my view, the Club of Rome is dangerous because the people involved appear to have learned nothing from other, profoundly tragic, attempts to establish new economic and social orders (see the former Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea, and Cambodia). They appear entirely unfazed by all the misery and murder that has historically accompanied these sorts of experiments.

But to get back to the gravity analogy. If climate change was no more than “physics, pure and simple” there’d be no need, would there, for a UN body such as the IPCC?

For the past 25 years the IPCC has recruited thousands of scientists to write reports thousands of pages long about what is going on with the climate.

The fact that no similar reports are necessary where gravity is concerned exposes the flawed – and foolish – nature of this analogy.


Japan to drop warmist pledge

Japan will drop its pledge to the global community to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 because of the country’s reduced future reliance on nuclear power, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a government panel Friday.

During a meeting of the panel, which is discussing economic revival measures, Abe stated that he will revise the energy strategy compiled by the previous administration of the Democratic Party of Japan, which aimed to completely phase out atomic energy by the 2030s.

He instructed Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara and other members of his Liberal Democratic Party-led Cabinet to alter the DPJ’s target of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other gasses blamed for greenhouse warming by 25 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

Domestic utilities have become increasingly reliant on fuel oil and gas for thermal power generation since almost all of the nation’s nuclear reactors remain offline for safety reasons following the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Yukio Hatoyama, the DPJ’s first prime minister after the party swept the 2009 general election, announced the 25 percent reduction goal the same year in a speech at the U.N., drawing praise from many countries.

Abe said his government aims to establish the country’s new emission goal prior to a U.N. conference on climate change to be held this November in Poland. However, any lowering of the target could weaken Japan’s influence at the gathering, officials in Tokyo said.

At the panel meeting, Abe also instructed his ministers to address 10 major issues, including the revision of the DPJ-set energy strategy, work to enable stable low-cost energy supply, the promotion of free-trade agreements with other countries and support for Japanese farm exports.

The panel is also examining policies to boost domestic employment, encourage deregulation in growth sectors such as medical and welfare, and promote Japan-made infrastructure abroad.

The new policies will be incorporated into Japan’s new growth strategy slated to be compiled by June. “I hope you will be freed from conventional ideas and will pursue policies in different spheres,” Abe told the gathering.

However, he fell short of making clear Tokyo’s position on whether to join negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a Pacific Rim free-trade initiative fiercely opposed by LDP supporters in the agricultural sector.


Greenies getting into bed with a fossil fuel industry?

Top solar rep endorses long-term marriage to natural gas

It’s no secret that environmentalists are going through a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to natural gas. Celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Matt Damon, and Yoko Ono have aligned themselves with green groups like the Sierra Club to come out steadfastly against gas because of fracking, the drilling technique that harvests most of it, citing concerns about water and air contamination. Meanwhile others, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Environmental Defense Fund, have boosted fracking as a “bridge” to wean the US off of coal, and usher in more renewables, a process that is already underway.

But a report released this morning makes it clear that the renewables industry sees itself in the latter camp, forming an unexpected alliance with the natural gas industry, since both groups are intent on giving coal the boot. The informal partnership should be a PR boon to the embattled gas industry, which has spent the last several years trying to allay concerns from the public and policymakers by shouting over the anti-fracking fracas.

“Natural gas and renewables complement each other very nicely,” Rhone Resch, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said this morning at a press conference for the release of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s 2013 Factbook, an exhaustive analysis of the state of clean energy in America (it’s chock full of interesting charts; we pulled out a couple key ones here). The report, based on a blend of original and existing government research, is unequivocal in placing natural gas in the same “clean energy” boat as renewables, a new arrangement Resch and Dave McCurdy, head of the American Gas Association, agreed they were happy to see.

“I think it can happen: In the next 30 years we’re going to have 50 percent renewables and 50 percent natural gas,” Resch said, referring to the breakdown of US energy generation. Natural gas can fill the gap when renewables go intermittant, he said, ramping up when the wind stops or the sun goes down; meanwhile, renewables, which are growing even faster than natural gas, can pick up the slack left by a waning coal industry.

As the chart below shows, energy from coal and natural gas is still much cheaper than that from renewables (the purple bar is a range; the blue triangle the average cost). Still, this chart doesn’t account for subsidies, which make solar and wind even more competitive. And solar in particular has already made huge strides toward cheapness, the report found, dropping in price by more than half since 2009. Steps toward cost parity put renewables in a stronger position to exert pressure on coal.

But Jenny Chang, a spokesperson for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas campaign, says the partnership between renewables and natural gas is more unholy than happy: It distracts, she says, from the basic fact that, as a fossil fuel, natural gas can never be truly “clean.”

“It’s incredibly frustrating and incredibly manipulative” for the gas industry to align itself with renewables, Chang said. “Clean energy and natural gas are not on the same spectrum.”

Natural gas-burning power plants produce half the carbon emissions of coal-burning ones, but some researchers fear that leakage of methane—a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide—from natural gas extraction sites could offset any potential emissions benefits. At this stage, however, given the low price of natural gas, rampant fracking across the country, Obama-era emissions rules, and other factors, natural gas is on the rise and seems on track to stay that way for the forseeable future. As for its potential to form a “bridge” from coal to renewables, recent research suggests that, to hit ambitious carbon goals, the bridge would have to be quite short.

Still, Resch said he wants to encourage policymakers and activists, as renewables gain increasingly solid footing in the US enegy market, to see natural gas as a natural ally.

“I think it’s important to recognize that these industries, although we do compete,” Resch said, “are working together to address some of the most pressing energy needs in the country.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

"Sustainability" is a grab for for control and power

Comment from Tennessee

Our elected leaders are either complicit, or willfully ignorant of the ongoing assault on your private property rights, your liberty and your children. Our elected servants are drunk with power and some that have been re-elected are now emboldened to continue the march toward seizing every opportunity to take your land and wealth through taxation and annexation, in the name of sustainability.

Have you noticed the words "sustainability" or "sustainable development" popping up in the local media, at your grocery store, at government meetings and even by family members in your own home? If you are paying attention, it is coming home with your children as part of their education. Oh it sounds great! The planner's plan, the city council approves beautiful projects, the so-called leaders of the community are going to create jobs and save the city from a slow death and save the county from over population through grand development schemes. Utopia is here!

These leaders wrap their ideas in nice little packages and use phrases like, "Public/Private partnerships" (which is code for government control of property and business, Communism.) "We are working on drainage improvement projects, and adding more greenways, bike, and pedestrian paths to improve livability in our community" (all of which are forced on us by our government), or "we want to enhance the quality of life for farmers, ranchers, forest mangers, workers and society as a whole," or, "we are working to sustain the economic viability of agriculture in our beautiful rural communities." Some of them just come right out and admit their intentions, like mayor Jo Ann Graves of Gallatin TN, "We need to get you folks out of your cars and into walk-able communities." From this statement I can surmise she believes we humans are killing the planet and we are bad, bad folks who need to be taught how wrong we are for driving our earth killers.

Really pretty statements, non-threatening, notice the key words in these phrases; livability, quality of life, viability, sustained, sustainable and walk-able.

There is nothing wrong with any of this, if private individuals through private investment are doing it. If these private investors want to build walkable communities and take the risk, then so be it. If it fails, they lose their investment and move on; if it succeeds, then they build more at their own expense and we as citizens can make a choice of free will to live in these communities or not. But, what we have here is a public private partnership in which we are all footing the bill and, once we allow it to happen, the government will just continue to throw money at it, as it fails over and over again, and we will be stuck with the bill.

Sustainable development is nothing more than the re-naming of a failed theory that just won't die in the hearts of progressives. No matter how you look at sustainability, the trail always inevitably leads to one source, global warming.

Even though the radical group of scientists who helped push global warming, then climate change, and now sustainability, have been exposed as frauds, with Al Gore being the most notable face of their deceitful agenda, global warming wacko's just can't accept the facts.

Even the Godfather of Global warming had to admit, before his death, that he was wrong. James Lovelock, the master to apprentice Al Gore and the man who created the "Gaia theory" {in which the earth operates as a single, living organism}, who's work had a profound impact on the development of the now debunked global warming theory, and after observing that global temperatures since the turn of the millennium, have not gone up in the way computer-based climate models predicted, acknowledged, "the problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago." He goes on to say in his interview on MSNBC, "so-called 'sustainable development' -- is meaningless drivel -- we rushed into renewable energy without any thought. Our schemes are largely, hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant. I personally can't stand windmills at any price." These are his final words, about Global religionists claiming, "The science is settled" on global warming: "One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don't know it."

So, now we have the truth of the fraud perpetuated on us by science, from the man who invented global warming, we can move on right? Nope. For decades the environmental tree hugger wackos have lost battle after battle, trying to convince us that the ice caps will be gone in 5 years and New York will be under ten feet of ocean by the end of the decade every decade. Polar bears will be extinct, but oops! The ice caps still freeze on both ends and polar bears are thriving. Dr. Drikus Gissing, Director of Wildlife Management in Nunavut, Canada says, "the bear population is not in crisis as people believed," He goes on to say, " the media in southern Canada has led people to believe polar bears are endangered. They are not." He went on to add that; "there are about 15,000 polar bears across Canada's Arctic. That's likely the highest population level there has ever been."

The scientific community continues to tell us CO2 is causing the earth to warm when actual evidence is to the contrary. By the way, if you didn't learn this in 5th grade science, when you breathe out, that's CO2. Also trees and plants just love the stuff and use it to create oxygen, which I am sure you know already, it is the stuff we breathe.

Why am I telling you all of this you say? Well, because sustainable development is just the newest evolution of global warming hysteria, and your local governments, right now in your back yard, are carrying it out. Of course, it's not being called global warming or Agenda 21. Because of the recent exposure of this U.N. plan, numbers of local governments have backed out of the groups pushing these utopian projects, but our local, county, and state governments have not stopped implementing the plan.

NGO's (Non-governmental organizations) like Cumberland Region Tomorrow and Power of TN are just two of the groups you must pay attention to. These organizations are made up of your mayors, city councils, county commissioners, city planners, Chambers of Commerce and regional planners, all the way up to the Governor's office and, from there, all the way to the Whitehouse. These organizations are operating as a shadow government, where elected officials and bureaucrats who do not live in your county or city are being given a say in how your county or city is run and developed.

Sustainable development has nothing to do with preserving the environment; it has everything to do with power and governmental control. Whoever controls land and water resources controls all the wealth and who is wealthy. In America, we hold private property rights up as one of the symbols of why our nation is the greatest power on earth, because the people, not the government, own the majority of property. This is a huge problem for progressives, and they have figured out that if they can convince Americans that we are world citizens, not individual Americans, and individually we are weak, but together as a collective we are strong, we will buy into their communistic philosophy under the guise of environmental, financial, collective patriotism.

In a lot of ways government ownership of all land has been in place for decades. We all say we own our land, but do we? Try not paying your property tax and see what happens. No, they already have us. By us allowing our local and county governments to tax our property in the name of the "children", we are doing nothing more than leasing what we call our property from the government. Like an over bearing landlord, we receive our bill every year and, if not paid, we will be evicted like some squatter.

You will continue to hear the cries of fairness and equality from progressive socialists. You will be called hateful, and it will be said that you just don't understand what we are trying to do for you. You will hear your politicians say, we must come together to accomplish our goals and move our city forward. Watch for the words progress, progressive, and forward.

Do your own research. Look up sustainable development, research and follow the trail of links that lead right to Federal control of your cities, towns, and counties and, ultimately, global control through the U.N.Council. This plan may not be complete in our lifetime, but we must fight it now in the beginning stages so our children will not have to.




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


3 February, 2013

National liars federation?

They call themselves the National Wildlife federation but it doesn't take much to catch them in a lie. Just note the brief excerpt below and try to square it with the story following. How long does cooling have to go on before they deign to notice? They had their little period of global warming in the '80s and 90's and are forever stuck on that. They talk as if nothing had changed since then. The one thing they cannot face is that climate CHANGES!

The climate crisis is already changing the playing field for wildlife and urgent action is needed to preserve America’s conservation legacy, according to a new report released today by the National Wildlife Federation. Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis examines case studies from across the country illustrating how global warming is altering wildlife habitats. It recommends solutions to protect both wildlife and communities across America from the growing climate-fueled threats such as extreme weather, sea level rise and wildfires.

Alaska has warmed about twice as much as the continental United States and warming is severely altering the Arctic landscape including melting permafrost. In the face of this unprecedented warming, many uniquely polar habitats—like the sea ice that polar bears, seals, and walrus require to hunt —are shrinking fast.


Forget global warming, Alaska is headed for an ice age

The 49th state has long been labeled one of the fastest-warming spots on the planet. But that's so 20th Century.

In the first decade since 2000, the 49th state cooled 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a "large value for a decade," the Alaska Climate Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks said in "The First Decade of the New Century: A Cooling Trend for Most of Alaska."

The cooling is widespread -- holding true for 19 of the 20 National Weather Service stations sprinkled from one corner of Alaska to the other, the paper notes. It's most significant in Western Alaska, where King Salmon on the Alaska Peninsula saw temperatures drop most sharply, a significant 4.5 degrees for the decade, the report says.

The new nippiness began with a vengeance in 2005, after more than a century that saw temperatures generally veer warmer in Alaska, the report says. With lots of ice to lose, the state had heated up about twice as fast as the rest of the planet, in line with rising global greenhouse gas emissions, note the Alaska Climate Center researchers, Gerd Wendler, L. Chen and Blake Moore. After a "sudden temperature increase" in Alaska starting in 1977, the warmest decade on record occurred in the 1980s, followed by another jump in the 1990s, they note. The third warmest decade was the 1920s, by the way..

Will Alaska’s frigid spell last long? The researchers don't know. The report notes, however, that Alaska endured three decades of relative cold starting in the mid-1940s.

Alaska’s cold trend may even be strengthening this winter. National Weather Service meteorologist Shaun Baines reported Saturday that as of Dec. 21, Anchorage had already spent 10 days below zero this month. The city's average temperature this December is just 5.3 degrees, nearly 8 degrees shy of the December average of 13.2 degrees. Even though warmer air is due by Christmas Day, Anchorage was already enroute to the coldest winter since 1982.

Could it warm up a bit during the second half of Alaska’s winter? Anything is possible, but the National Weather Service in Anchorage recently completed its 90-day forecast and calls for colder-than-normal temperatures at least through the end of March, said meteorologist Dave Strickland.


New Research Blows Climate Science Wide Open

THE world’s great forests have long been recognised as the lungs of the earth, but the science establishment has been rocked by claims that trees may also be the heart of its climate. Not only do trees fix carbon and produce oxygen; a new and controversial paper says they collectively unleash forces powerful enough to drive global wind patterns and are a core feature in the circulation of the climate system.

If the theory proves correct, the peer-reviewed international paper co-authored by Australian scientist Douglas Sheil will overturn two centuries of conventional wisdom about what makes wind. And it will undermine key principles of every model on which climate predictions are based.

The paper, Where do winds come from? A new theory on how water vapour condensation influences atmospheric pressure and dynamics, is not designed to challenge the orthodox view on climate science. But Sheil, a professor of forest ecology and conservation at Southern Cross University’s School of Environment, Science and Engineering, says he is not surprised that is how the paper has been received internationally.

Boiled down, he says, bad science is protecting shoddy climate models.

The paper, lead authored by Anastasia Makarieva, sparked a long-running and furious debate about whether it should be published at all. At the end of a bruising assessment process the editorial panel of the prestigious journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics chose to publish and be damned.

In an accompanying statement the journal editorial board said: “The paper is highly controversial, proposing a fundamentally new view that seems to be in contradiction to common textbook knowledge. The majority of reviewers and experts in the field seem to disagree, whereas some colleagues provide support, and the handling editor (and the executive committee) are not convinced that the new view presented in the controversial paper is wrong.

“The handling editor (and the executive committee) concluded to allow final publication of the manuscript in ACP in order to facilitate further development of the presented arguments, which may lead to disproof or validation by the scientific community.”

Sheil says the key finding is that atmospheric pressure changes from moisture condensation are orders of magnitude greater than previously recognised. The paper concludes “condensation and evaporation merit attention as major, if previously overlooked, factors in driving atmospheric dynamics”.

“Climate scientists generally believe that they already understand the main principles determining how the world’s climate works,” says Sheil. “However, if our hypothesis is true then the way winds are driven and the way rain falls has been misunderstood. What our theory suggests is that forests are the heart of the earth, driving atmospheric pressure, pumping wind and moving rain.”

In a blistering assessment of the paper, international climate scientist Isaac Held of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA are Warmist evangelists] recommended that publication be rejected.

“The authors make an extraordinary claim that a term that is traditionally considered to be small, to the point that it is sometimes neglected in atmospheric models and, even when not neglected, rarely commented on, is in fact dominant in driving atmospheric circulations,” Held said. “A claim of this sort naturally has to pass a high bar to be publishable, given the accumulated evidence, implicit as well as explicit, that argues against it. I am afraid that this paper does not approach the level required.

“I have done my best to keep an open mind, but do not see any cogent arguments that overturn the conventional wisdom.”

In reply, the authors claimed Held’s logic was bad for science.

“A higher bar for unconventional ideas automatically implies a lower bar for conventional ones,” they said. “Introducing a positive feedback – relating the height of the higher bar to the number of studies that have passed the lower bar – in time, if this continues, a once-vibrating scientific community can be trapped in dogma.”

Shiel says he is not surprised at the resistance from within the climate science establishment. “These guys are under a barrage of claims every day and we are just another one,” he says. “But we are serious scientists, we have serious reasons for looking at this and if you can show us where our analysis is wrong, that’s fine, that’s how science works.

“Accepting our theory would basically mean the climate models are wrong. It wouldn’t mean that theories about carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses are wrong.

“The basic physical issues are still there. Winds are still caused to some degree by temperature differences, global warming will still be potentially caused by greenhouse gasses. But what we are saying is one of the major reasons that air moves around the surface of the globe, and one of the main reasons that rain falls where it does, is to do with these patterns of moisture evaporation and condensation.”

For Sheil, who returned last year from working at the Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation based in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, the significance of the findings goes way beyond climate-change politics.

It could have dramatic consequences for how vegetation is considered and managed. And it could have ramifications for securing future rainfall for some of the world’s most impoverished regions.

“Our theory also explains how declines in both rainfall and rainfall reliability can result from forest loss elsewhere,” Sheil says. “Such patterns have been observed in various parts of the world and are clearly of major importance for many people – for example, those who are suffering from the increasingly irregular monsoon rains in West Africa.

“I would have said Australia is a desert because of the global climate cycles, but if you do the calculations, a forest across the surface of Australia would produce forces strong enough to water it and you wouldn’t need to irrigate.

“When we look at the Amazon and ask, is the forest there because there is a lot of rain, we are saying, no, it is the other way around: the rain is there because there is a lot of forest.

“It may sound strange – forests causing wind, forests causing rain – but the physics is quite convincing.”

Climate scientists, however, still say the significance is not as great as has been claimed.

“It has now gone from a discussion about mechanism to a discussion about magnitude,” Sheil says, adding that a key objective of his work is to make climate models more reliable.

“At present the models are incorrect,” he says, “because they are missing one the key mechanisms of how the global climate works. I know it does sound amazing to say this, but once you look at these models they are not as detailed and not as smart as you would think.

“A lot of it is, they are calibrated to fit. There is a little bit of people hiding the problems, and that is bad science.


More environmental extremism

David Attenborough has made a good living out of wildlife but it is now clear that he is driven by a dislike of people rather than by a love of nature. If he were really a lover of nature he would be living somewhere like New Zealand's unspoilt Southland rather than in London. The scenery is famous, the water is trustworthy, they all speak English (with a funny accent) and internet access is good in the Southland

A recent report out of England is a perfect illustration of the thesis that a major component of the modern environmentalist movement consists of religious worshipers of a decidedly peculiar pagan proclivity, to wit, worshipers of Thanatos, the god of death.

The story is about the famous BBC broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, brother of the famous British actor Richard Attenborough. Sir David is a fixture of British TV, hosting various nature shows, including the acclaimed series Life on Earth.

Sir David has just put forward the simply lovely view that human beings are a disease afflicting the planet. He is greatly perturbed by the bête-noirs of the environmental movement: global warming and overpopulation. “We are plague on the Earth,” he cried piteously, adding, “It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”

Need I add that Sir David is a big supporter of the Optimum Population Trust, an NGO devoted to curtailing growth of the population?

With folks like him, Thanatos is God and Malthus was His Prophet.

Citing as an example Ethiopia, the “compassionate” Sir David averred, “We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves — and that’s not an inhuman thing to say.”

No, Sir David, it isn’t an inhuman thing to say — just a stunningly simplistic thing to say. The endemic famine in Ethiopia — like all famines in the last century — is mainly the consequence of a bad government and economic system, merely triggered by natural calamity. In the case of Ethiopia, it was most recently a drought, a natural weather cycle that has happened throughout recorded history. In fact, as the brilliant Bjorn Lomborg noted just recently, there hasn’t been any significant increase in drought worldwide over the last 60 years. There has been more drought in southern Europe and western Africa, true enough, but there has been less in northwestern Australia and central North America.

And by the way, if you do want to limit population growth, what you need to do is limit government and promote free enterprise, which invariably results in higher living standards. As the middle class increases, population growth declines. Depend on it.


The very flexible "sustainability" concept

Activist sustainability concepts don’t meet environmental, humanitarian or sustainability tests

Paul Driessen

Companies everywhere extol their sustainable development programs and goals. Sustainability drives UN programs like Agenda 21, EU and US green energy initiatives, and myriad manufacturing, agricultural, forestry and other efforts. But what is sustainability? What is – or isn’t – sustainable?

Former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland said sustainability means we may develop … and meet the needs of current generations … only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

At first blush, that sounds logical, perhaps even ethical. But on closer examination, it is neither. It’s right out of Alice’s encounter with an anthropomorphic egg in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” Humpty Dumpty replied, “who is to be master. That’s all.”

Obama presidential science advisor John Holdren has said we cannot talk about sustainability without talking about politics, power and control. That troubling reality is at the core of growing debates about Washington, DC central power versus state federalism, individual rights and liberties, United Nations and European Union attempts to make decisions for sovereign nations, and the growing power and influence of activist nongovernmental organizations on energy, environmental, economic and other matters.

Because those who define the terms of debate increasingly determine public policies, they also determine who is to be master: those who must live with the consequences of their personal choices, or unaccountable mandarins who impose policies, regulations, decisions and consequences on others.

Putting that vital discussion aside for another day, one can discern three kinds of sustainability.

The public relations variety promotes corporate images and inspires flattering ads and press releases, but is largely devoid of real substance. A favorite example is a consulting company’s annual sustainability report, which boasted of having reduced the number of – paper cuts among employees.

Real sustainability seeks constantly improving technologies and practices: conserve energy, be more efficient, cut costs, to keep companies profitable and employees employed; tune up cars, keep tires inflated, and improve traffic light sequencing, to move traffic along, increase gas mileage and reduce pollution; use high yield farming to get the most crops per acre, reduce water use and improve nutrition.

This is tikun olam (repair of the world); the precept that you are not obligated to complete the task, but neither are you free to abandon it; the Boy Scout prescription that we must leave our world better than we found it; the Judeo-Christian principle of stewardship of creation: or Robert Kennedy’s declaration: I dream things that never were and say, Why not?

This brings us back to sustainability á la Gro Brundtland, the UN, Rio+20 and environmental activists: We may meet the needs of current generations only to the extent that doing so “will not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” The concept it inherently unworkable and inequitable.

No one predicted, certainly not years in advance, that the Hearthstone House in Appleton, Wisconsin would suddenly be lit with hydroelectric power, or that electricity would safeguard and enhance our lives and economy in the numerous ways it does today. No one foresaw widespread natural gas use for electricity generation and home heating, ubiquitous laptop computers, flash drives, fiber optic cables replacing copper, or little mobile phones with far more power than a 1990 desktop computer.

Today, the pace of technological change has become mind-numbing. And yet, under sustainability dogma, we are supposed to predict future technologies – and ensure that today’s development activities will somehow not compromise those technologies’ unpredictable energy and raw material requirements.

Sustainability dogma also demands that we base policy decisions on knowing how many years energy, metal or other resource deposits will last, and to determine whether developing and using them will be sustainable. But what if new technologies let us find and develop new deposits, or make existing deposits last decades or centuries longer: 3-D and HD seismic, deepwater drilling and production, instant metallic mineral analysis gear in a backpack, or horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, for instance? How long must those expanded reserves last, before using them won’t be sustainable? And who decides?

How can politicians, regulators and environmental activists decree that oil and gas are not sustainable – even as seismic, fracking, drilling and other technologies unlock a century of new deposits? And then insist that corn ethanol is sustainable, even though this year’s US ethanol quota requires 40% of our corn crop, on an area the size of Iowa, billions of gallons of water, huge quantities of hydrocarbon-based pesticides, fertilizers and tractor fuel, vast amounts of natural gas to run the distilleries, and perpetual subsidies … to produce a fuel that drives up food prices and gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline?

How can they decree that wind energy is sustainable, despite killing millions of birds and bats every year?

How is it sustainable, ethical or “environmental justice” for the United States to use so many of the world’s oil, gas, rare earth, platinum, gold and other resources – because we refuse to allow exploration and development of our own vast energy, metallic and other deposits right here in the United States?

How is it ethical to safeguard the needs of future generations, even if it means ignoring or compromising the needs of current generations – including the needs, aspirations, health and welfare of the most impoverished, energy-deprived, malnourished, politically powerless people on Earth? How much longer must 700 million Africans, 400 million Indians and another 300 million people in other countries continue to live without electricity and all its countless blessings, because eco-activists obsess about global warming, insist on wind and solar, and oppose coal, gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants?

How long must billions of people remain destitute, diseased and malnourished, because environmental activists and UN bureaucrats don’t like economic development, insecticides or biotechnology, either?

Does anyone suppose human ingenuity, creativity and innovation (what Julian Simon called our ultimate resource) will suddenly stop functioning? Assuming there is no government restriction on or confiscation of our God-given rights to innovate, create, invest and build – will human beings ever stop doing so?

The fundamental problem with UN/activist/EPA “sustainability” is that it is infinitely elastic and malleable. No one can really know what it means, and it’s the perfect weapon in the hands of anti-hydrocarbon, anti-development activists. Whatever they support is sustainable. Whatever they oppose is unsustainable.

To the extent that their agendas foster “social justice” and “poverty eradication,” they will do so only in the context of climate protection, biodiversity, green growth, renewable energy, and an end to “unsustainable patterns of consumption and production” – as defined, evaluated and implemented by UN or EPA-approved scientists, regulators and activists, assisted largely by assumption-laden, agenda-driven computer models.

Worst of all, this UN/activist/EPA version of sustainable development gives unelected regulators increasing control over energy use, economic growth, wealth redistribution, and people’s lives, living standards, health and well-being. And they get control without the essential safeguards, checks and balances of robust science, independent courts, democracy, transparency, honesty and accountability.

We should and must always strive to conserve energy, water and other resources, reduce dangerous air and water pollutants – and be sustainable. But we cannot afford to let “sustainable development” become just one more pretext for ceding more power to unelected, non-transparent, unaccountable overseers.

Received via email from Paul Driessen []

Climate signals uncertain in Australia

Australia is a big place (MUCH bigger than Texas) so tends to have both droughts and floods at roughly the same time (in different parts of the country) so it takes a Warmist to extract any generalizations from that. Even they are growing hesitant, however, as we see below

For Australia, 2013 looks like being a "year of living extremely" if January is anything to go by. The Bureau of Meteorology says January was the hottest ever month in just over a century of records. Nationwide, the January average maximum temperature anomaly was 2.28 degrees, "a substantial increase" on the previous record of 2.17 degrees set in 1932. [And it was similarly hot way back in 1790]

And, thanks to the unusual scale of the massive heatwave that dominated the first half of January, all states and territories posted above-average temperatures, the bureau said

This week's floods, of course, added to the extremes. The Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, warned damage to the state's economy was $2.4 billion and rising, eclipsing the $2.388 billion bill from the huge flooding of 2011. Insurers don't think it will be that bad for them.

Add in record low rainfall for much of southern Australia, a flurry of bushfires and it looks a lot like climate change is kicking in - or does it?

Professor John McAneney, the director of Risk Frontiers, an independent research group funded mostly by the insurance industry, says that based on a database of natural hazard events in Australia, including some dating back to 1803, "there has been no increase in the frequency of natural hazard events since 1950".

But what of the spiralling insurance claims in the wake of hailstorms, floods, cyclones (think Yasi at $1.4 billion) and bushfires ($4 billion for Victoria's Black Saturday firestorms)?

"What we can see very clearly is that when this dataset … is corrected for the increases in numbers of buildings at risk and their value, no long term trend remains," Professor McAneney said.

"It is indisputable that the rising toll of natural disasters is due to more people and assets at risk."

He said US hurricane modelling to identify a signal climate change is contributing to storm strength suggests it could be a while before the data is definitive. Averaging 18 different climate models, "it's going to take 260 years", he said.

"This whole thing about climate change being responsible for an increase in extreme weather, or natural disasters, is just a fiction really."

Cue howls of protests from climatologists and cries of "gotcha" from climate change doubters? Not quite.

Some climate change signals are clearer than others, and there is no reason to ignore the direction most indicators are clearly pointed, said Andrew Ash, director of the climate adaptation flagship at the CSIRO. "It doesn't mean all extremes are changing," Mr Ash said.

Take temperature, for instance. The weather bureau notes that during 2001-11, the frequency of record high temperatures in Australia was 2.8 times (for maximum temperatures) and 5.2 times for minimums than the rate of record low temperatures.

Sea temperatures are also increasing, with waters in the Australian region [Only in the Australian region? Sounds like a local phenomenon, not a global one] about 0.6-0.7 degrees warmer than they were in 1900, said Neil Plummer, assistant director of the weather bureau's climate information services.

Add a warmer atmosphere - with temperatures about 1 degree higher than pre-industrial levels [i.e. over 150 years!] and rising - there is little doubt more moisture can be held and then dumped in the form of more severe rain deluges.

A peer-reviewed report for the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate by researchers including Seth Westra, a hydrologist at the University of Adelaide, bears that out. The report found statistically significant increasing trends globally of annual maximum daily precipitation, using a dataset of 8326 high quality observing sites with more than 30 years of records. [Yet Warmists contantly tell us that it is drought that proves global warming!]

The median intensity of extreme precipitation increases "in proportion with changes in global mean temperature at a rate of between 5.9 per cent and 7.7 per cent per degree, depending on the method of analysis," the report found.

The big wet, when it comes, is getting wetter. But what of Australia? The weather bureau says it depends where you look.

The annual number of days with more than 30 millimetres of rain from 1950-2012 has decreased in the southern and eastern parts of the country but increased in the north.

And as for the frequency of disasters, such as cyclones, the answer is complex because there aren't many instances in the record to count.

"Because you're dealing with a very small number of very extreme events … the size of the signal you would need to have before it was statistically significant is detectable is quite big," said Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the bureau.

"The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


1 February, 2013

Single graph demonstrates man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming

Plot for yourself here a single graph that simultaneously demonstrates the clear observational evidence that

* temperature drives CO2

* CO2 does not drive temperature

* man is not the cause of the rise in CO2 levels

The effect follows the cause; the cause does not follow the effect. Short-term global temperature changes precede CO2 levels by about 1 year as shown by observations, and by 800+ years in ice core data.

Global temperature anomaly shown in green, CO2 levels in red

Ice core data also shows temperature changes precede CO2 changes by 800+ years.


Unofficial forecaster got recent Australian long-range weather forecast pretty right

Hayden Walker is the succesor to Lennox Walker who was in turn successor to the famous Inigo Jones, who was condemned as "unscientific" for his emphasis on solar activity as an influence on weather. He made good long-range forecasts, however. Farmers planned their planting and harvesting by him. They did not expect him to get the day right but getting the week or even the month right was still very valuable to them.

In the light of the week of sub-cyclonic weather that North Queensland has just had -- and which reached into Southern Queensland for a few days -- Walker would seem to have got close to reality. The forecasts below were reported on Nov. 20, 2012 and seem pretty right as of 30 January, 2013.

In the rest of the article excerpted below, none of the official forecasters even tried to make long-range predictions. More on Inigo Jones here

Brace for summer of wild weather, says forecaster

Fourth generation long-range weather forecaster Hayden Walker said the Coast would experience more storm and rain activity for the rest of November, before the weather tapered off in December and January.

"For the start of 2013, the forecast is for good to heavy rain in January," Mr Walker said. "It won't be as substantial as some years.

"We've seen in the last two to three years an increase in sunspot and solar activity - it intensifies the heavy rain and flooding."

Mr Walker said while the weekend's storm activity had broken the heat, the rest of spring and summer would be "humid and uncomfortable".

Despite cyclones being predicted for south-east Queensland this summer, Mr Walker believed cyclonic activity would be confined to northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.


Warmists stack the deck

In one of the most memorable scenes in the classic movie, The Sting, grifter Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) cheats crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) out of $15,000 in a card game by secretly switching four jacks into his hand in place of the cards that were dealt him. This scene, in which Lonnegan knows he was cheated but can’t prove it in front of the other players, sets the stage for the entire second half of the film.

I have always loved The Sting, and the crooked card game has always been my favorite scene. Nevertheless, something always bothered me about the memorable scene; it wasn’t very believable. After all, how could Gondorff be certain none of the other players had been dealt a jack, which would result in Gondorff’s instant death if one of the other players called Gondorff out on it? Indeed, how could Gondorff be sure Lonnegan himself didn’t hold at least one jack, which would give Gondorff enough of an excuse in front of the others to kill Gondorff for cheating? Would Gondorff really risk his own life on the unlikely event that nobody else in the hand had been dealt a jack? In short, the scene was long on Hollywood entertainment but short on believability.

This scene came to mind earlier this month when the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released its National Climate Assessment draft report. In an all-too-predictable plot, USGCRP’s government money-funded senior scientists claim global warming is doing to America what the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man did to downtown Manhattan , and only an avalanche of more government funding and big government programs can save the day.

The part of the draft report that reminded me of The Sting (even more than the report reminded me of Ghostbusters) was the listing of the senior scientists steering the draft report’s conclusions. While the crooked card game scene in The Sting stretched the limits of Hollywood believability, the list of senior scientists steering the USGCRP draft report stretches the limits “objective” public policy believability.

As investigative journalist Donna Laframboise reports, most of the 13 senior scientists controlling the draft report are prominently associated with environmental activist groups. These are the folks putting together an “objective” assessment of global warming and government policy recommendations.

Let’s review the background of seven of the 13 senior scientists:

* Chair of the report Jerry Melillo is a contributing author for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

* Vice Chair Gary Yohe is part of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Climate Witness Program.

* Richard Moss is a former vice president for WWF.

* James Buizer is on the Board of Directors of the environmental activist group Second Nature.

* Susanne Moser is a former staff scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

* Andrew Rosenberg is a director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

* Donald Weubbles is an author for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

That makes seven of the 13 people charged with putting together what is supposed to be our government’s objective assessment on climate change having deep and undeniable ties with environmental activist groups. And we are supposed to take this report seriously?

Folks, you can’t just make this stuff up! If I was looking at two Hollywood movie scripts and one contained the crooked card game scene from The Sting and the other contained the crooked scientist list from the USGCRP draft report, I would say the crooked card game scene is the much more believable of the two. Heck, I would fear the crooked scientist list from the USGCRP draft report would get laughed right out of the movie theater.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time government funding has put together a farcical group of agenda-driven activists and passed it off as authoritative science. As I documented two years ago, the list of authors for the National Academy of Sciences’ America’s Climate Choices report also failed the laugh test.

Amazingly – or not – the media failed to report the blatant bias and pitiful lack of scientific expertise on the National Academy of Sciences panel. Heck, I bet the media over the years covered the crooked card game in The Sting more than they covered the pathetic lineup of authors for the NAS report.


"Green" cars lose London concessions

So-called eco-friendly cars are facing a crackdown in London after a scheme to encourage motorists to switch to ‘greener’ alternatives has started to make air more toxic.

Transport for London is to remove the Congestion Charge exemption for diesels and some Hybrids because soaring sales has increased pollution and traffic.

Diesels now account for one in two sales, but emit 22 times more soot particulates than petrol cars.

The U-Turn has provoked an outcry from motoring organisations, who accused authorities of moving the ‘green goalposts’. And the move is also expected to cause anger among motorists who bought their cars to take advantage of the exemption.

Edmund King, AA president, told the Evening Standard: ‘We do have real concerns about “green goalposts” being moved after drivers and businesses have invested in low-emission hybrid and diesel vehicles. We need to encourage the take-up of a range of greener vehicles.’

More than 50 ‘green’ models, which includes the petrol/electric Toyota Prius — a favourite among environmentally conscious drivers - will no longer be exempt from the £10 charge.

The move will come into force in July if approved by Boris Johnson.

It is understood the changes to the pricing will generate up to an extra £2 million a year. The additional revenue will go some way to plugging the £60 million lost since the abandoning the Congestion Charge’s western extension.

About 70,000 motorists a day enter the congestion zone, with 2,500 qualifying for Transport for London’s Greener Vehicle Discount because they emit less than 100g/km of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. TfL wants to scrap this limit and replace it with a much tougher 75g/km maximum in a new scheme — which effectively rules out all hybrid and diesel vehicles now on the road.

David Bizley, the RAC’s technical director, said that only pure electric cars are likely to meet those new rigorous pollution restrictions.

Applications for the Greener Vehicle Discount would cease to be accepted from July. But drivers already registered would continue to qualify for the exemption until June 2015.

TfL, which made a £136.8 million net profit from the congestion charge in 2011/12, believes the existing system ‘creates an incentive’ for owners of hybrid and diesel cars to enter the zone.

It fears the number could more than double to 6,000 ‘free’ cars a day by the end of this year.

The new rules would sit alongside a £10 increase in penalty fines — taking them to £130 — and the closure of C-charge payment points in shops and petrol stations. These changes would generate a further £2.5 million a year.


Extinction of millions of species 'greatly exaggerated'

Reports of the extinction of millions of species on Earth have been greatly exaggerated, a team of scientists has said.
Extinction of millions of species 'greatly exaggerated'

In the past scientists have warned that up to five per cent of species are at risk of dying-out as a result of climate change, deforestation and development.

But a new analysis by the University of New Zealand found that this figure was five times greater than reality because the number of animals living in the wild in the first place had been over estimated.

This meant that conservationists assumed that rates of decline were much faster, as they were starting from a higher point.

In fact the rate of extinction is much slower, with just one per cent of animals in danger of dying out globally.

Writer Mark Twain famously responded to the news that his obituary had appeared in the New York Journal by saying: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."

Writing in the journal Science, the researchers calculate that there are around five million species of plants and animals on Earth, of which 1.5 million have been named.

This is far fewer than some other estimates, which put the figure as high as 100 million.

If a habitat is thought to contain more animals than it does, this can easily lead to a mistaken idea of how quickly they are disappearing.

Finding 500 members of a species in a population estimated to top 1,000 would indicate a more than 50 per cent decline.

But if the population was actually 500 in the first place, the loss rate falls to zero.

Professor Mark Costello, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, said that globally, around one per cent of species are likely to be vanishing per decade rather than the five per cent figure some experts have proposed.

"Our findings are potentially good news for the conservation of global biodiversity," said lead scientist

"Over-estimates of the number of species on Earth are self-defeating because they can make attempts to discover and conserve biodiversity appear to be hopeless," he said.

"Our work suggests that this is far from the case.

"We believe that with just a modest increase in effort in taxonomy and conservation, most species could be discovered and protected from extinction."

Co-author Professor Nigel Stork, from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, said: "Surprisingly, few species have gone extinct, to our knowledge.

"Of course, there will have been some species which have disappeared without being recorded, but not many we think."

One of the greatest fears of conservationists has been that many species will die out before they have even been discovered.

Despite their reassurances about the plight of life on Earth, the scientists said there was no room for complacency.

"Climate change will dramatically change species survival rates, particularly when you factor in other drivers such as over-hunting and habitat loss," said Prof Stork.

"At this stage we have no way of knowing by how much extinction rates may escalate.

"But once global warming exceeds the two degrees barrier, we can expect to see the scale of loss many people already believe is happening.

"Higher temperature rises coupled with other environmental impacts will lead to mass extinctions."


Conservative-led Australian State to continue with its gas plan

THE NSW state government will push ahead with the expansion of the state's Coal Seam Gas industry despite increasingly organised opposition from green groups, home owners and farmers.

Resources and Energy Minister Chris Hartcher told The Sunday Telegraph there would be "catastrophic consequences" if NSW did not develop its own supply of secure and cheap gas.

Gas supplies would begin to run dry as early as 2014 and prices are already set to soar, he said, with predictions they could double within five years without further development.

Mr Hartcher said for too long green groups with an anti-mining agenda had been allowed to spread misinformation and stir up fear in the community without being properly held to account by the government or industry.

The Minister said the state was already losing manufacturing businesses that were concerned about gas prices and supply. Australian company Incitec Pivot has decided to build an ammonia plant in Louisiana, US, rather than Newcastle, because of concerns over the prospect of the soaring price of gas. This has cost the city hundreds of jobs.

"The real problem is going to be the customers who are dependent on gas. One-third of all the state's energy needs come from gas," he said.

"It really is fundamental to not only the economy but the lifestyle of the whole state."

Mr Hartcher said the Greens had been allowed to "just stand up with great confidence and assert things as facts".

"They are determined to change our energy to solar and wind and destroy gas as an alternative," he said. "Well, people can have these forms of energy, but they will have to be prepared to pay more than ten times what they do now."

The recently released Infrastructure NSW report said exploitation of the state's vast coal seam gas deposits would be "game changing" allowing the state to re-energise its manufacturing industry.

"There are two million gas extraction wells throughout the world now, and it's difficult for the anti-gas protesters to point to one that is causing problems," he said.

"The challenge for them is to find a single example where the water has been tainted or the ground has been damaged. But they don't have a single example - anywhere in the world."

The Minister said he understood residents' concerns in southwest Sydney about drilling under homes, but expansion had yet to be approved. "People are naturally protective of their homes, but at this stage the government hasn't approved any mining under people's homes," he said.

But Greens upper house MP Jeremy Buckingham has vowed to oppose any plans to expand CSG mining in NSW.

"The claim that there are no examples of CSG mining having an impact on health is a lie," he said.

"There has been a massive impact on the health of people in the US. People are reporting adverse impacts such as nose bleeds and ear aches."




Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

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

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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