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, 2014

Humans are NOT to blame for global warming, says Greenpeace co-founder, as he insists there is 'no scientific proof' climate change is manmade

There is no scientific proof of man-made global warming and a hotter earth would be ‘beneficial for humans and the majority of other species’, according to a founding member of environmental campaign group Greenpeace.

The assertion was made by Canadian ecologist Patrick Moore, a member of Greenpeace from 1971 to 1986, to U.S senators on Tuesday.

He told The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: ‘There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.’

Moore pointed out that there was an Ice Age 450million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher.

He said: ‘There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.’

Even if the earth does warm up, Moore claims that it will be to the advantage of humans and other forms of life, as ‘humans are a tropical species’.


'There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.

'The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

“Extremely likely” is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law. The IPCC defines “extremely likely” as a “95-100% probability”.

'But upon further examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical calculation or statistical analysis. They have been “invented” as a construct within the IPCC report to express “expert judgment”, as determined by the IPCC contributors.

'When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today.

'There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.

'Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species. There is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would bring disastrous results for human civilization.

'The IPCC states that humans are the dominant cause of warming “since the mid-20th century”, which is 1950. From 1910 to 1940 there was an increase in global average temperature of 0.5C over that 30-year period. Then there was a 30-year “pause” until 1970.

'This was followed by an increase of 0.57C during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature. This in itself tends to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to accelerate during this time.

'The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000. Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to “human influence.”'

He said: ‘It is extremely likely that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.’

Humans, he added, just aren’t capable of predicting global temperature changes.

Moore said that he left Greenpeace because it ‘took a sharp turn to the political left’.

Dr Doug Parr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace UK, told MailOnline: 'On climate science, Greenpeace accepts the consensus view put forward by 97 per cent of climate scientists, every national and international scientific institute and every government in the world – climate change is happening, it’s caused mainly by human activity, and it’s highly dangerous for the future well-being of people on this planet.'

Moore has made several other assertions over the years that have been at odds with Greenpeace's views. He has advocated logging, claiming it actually causes reforestation, and attacked campaigners for fear-mongering over nuclear energy.


All Pain And No Climate Gain … Expert Government Committee Recommends “Complete Scrapping” Of Feed-In Act! …………

Before the Obama administration charges blindly into a European-style feed-in act to promote renewable energies, they may want to look at what experts in Europe are saying about how well their own feed-in efforts are actually doing.

All pain and no gain – certified flop

An independent committee of expert advisors to the German government is recommending in a report that the country’s once highly ballyhooed EEG renewable energy feed-in act be scrapped altogether because it is 1) “not doing anything for the climate”, 2) “not promoting innovation” and 3) driving up the cost of energy.

The report will be officially presented to the government today.

In summary, the once highly touted German EEG renewable energy feed-in act has been all pain and no gain, and the experts see no reason to continue it.

$30 billion a year…yet “does not provide more climate protection”

According to the online Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeiting (FAZ) here, the Research and Innovation commission of experts assigned by the German government says in its report that “there is no longer any justification for continuing the EEG Act.”

The experts cite “additional costs of 22 billion euros [$30 billion] per year” and conclude that the renewable energies have an “exaggerated impact on climate change“. Also the reports says the Act has not measurably boosted innovation.

“No measureable impact on innovation”

The results of the experts’ report are damning in the harshest terms. The FAZ writes, quoting the report:

The conclusion of the expert commission is devastating: ‘The EEG act in its current form is not justifiable from an innovation-political view.”

The report also writes that “there has been no measureable impact on innovation“.

Well, why innovate if profits are guaranteed by massive subsidies?

The most damning text in the FAZ article probably is:

"That’s why the EEG’s initiated expansion of renewable energies has led to no additional avoidance of CO2 emissions across Europe, rather they have only been shifted elsewhere. ‘The EEG Act thus does not produce more climate protection, rather it just makes it considerably more expensive.’”

Green energy proponents and lobbyists will certainly move quickly to ferociously attack and dismiss the report. The FAZ writes, however, that the expert recommendation is the latest in a series of expert reports that have reached the same conclusion. But the FAZ does not expect the government to follow the recommendations.

But the pressure on the German government to radically scale back the EEG act is mounting as citizens struggle with skyrocketing electricity prices. Germany has also come under heavy fire from other European countries who accuse the German government of misusing the feed-in act in ways to provide competitive advantages to certain companies.


‘There have been at least nine separate explanations for the standstill in global warming’

1) Low Solar Activity; 2) Oceans Ate Warming; 3) Chinese Coal Use; 4) Montreal Protocol; 5) Readjusted past temps to claim ‘pause’ never existed 6) Volcanoes 7) Decline in Water Vapor 8) Pacific trade winds 9) ‘Coincidence’

Welcome to the world of ‘settled science’. With the latest study now placing blame on Sun for the ‘pause’ in global temperatures, that means there have been at least five seven eight nine separate explanations to attempt to explain the standstill in global warming. There is seemingly no end to warmists’ attempts to explain the global warming standstill.  As blogger Tom Nelson noted: ‘If we don’t understand lack of warming post-1998, how can we understand warming pre-1998?’  Let’s review:

1) Yet Another Explanation! New study claims low solar activity caused “the pause” in global temperature – but AGW will return! Published in journal Atmospheric and Climate Sciences


3) Chinese coal caused the ‘pause’, published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The study blamed Chinese coal use for the lack of global warming. Global warming proponents essentially claimed that coal use is saving us from dangerous global warming

4) The Montreal Protocol caused the ‘pause‘, which reduced CFC’s – but warming will return soon

5) The ‘pause’ never existed and presto, warmists readjusted Arctic temperatures to alter past global temperatures. See: Say What?! After years trying to ‘explain away’ the flatline/pause/standstill’ in global temperatures, warmists now readjust past temps to claim ‘pause’ never existed! - See: Presto! There was no global temperature standstill! Warmists rewrite temperature data to claim: ‘Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half’ (also see:  Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry on the Cowtan & Way ‘pausebuster’: ‘Is there anything useful [in it]?’)

Update: Two more reasons given for ‘pause’ in warming.

6) Volcanic aerosols, not pollutants, tamped down recent Earth warming, says CU study – March 2013: A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight — dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide. The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning…

Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet. Neely said previous observations suggest that increases in stratospheric aerosols since 2000 have counterbalanced as much as 25 percent of the warming scientists blame on human greenhouse gas emissions. “This new study indicates it is emissions from small to moderate volcanoes that have been slowing the warming of the planet.”

7) Contributions of Stratospheric Water Vapor to Decadal Changes in the Rate of Global Warming – 2010 Science Mag.: Stratospheric water vapor concentrations decreased by about 10% after the year 2000. Here we show that this acted to slow the rate of increase in global surface temperature over 2000–2009 by about 25% compared to that which would have occurred due only to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.’

8) Update Feb. 9, 2014: New paper finds excuse #8 for the ‘pause’ in global warming: Pacific trade winds: A paper published today in Nature Climate Change adds the eighth excuse for the ‘pause’ in global warming: strengthened Pacific trade winds, which according to the authors, were “not captured [simulated] by climate models.” On the basis of those same highly-flawed climate models, the authors predict rapid global warming will resume in a decade or so when those trade winds abate.

9) Update: Feb. 27, 2014: A new excuse (#9) of the global warming ‘pause’ according to NASA scientists – ‘Coincidence!’ — ‘Coincidence, conspired to dampen warming trends’: NASA’s Gavin Schmidt & colleagues finds ‘that a combination of factors, by coincidence, conspired to dampen warming trends in the real world after about 1992’ –

Latest excuse (excuse #9) for global temperature standstill mocked by skeptics: ‘Apparently, if you go back and rework all the forcings, taking into account new data estimates (add half a bottle of post-hoc figures) and ‘reanalyses’ of old data (add a tablespoon of computer simulation) you can bridge the gap and explain away the pause.’

SOURCE (See the original for links)

ADL Condemns Spencer’s Nazi Analogy

The ADL has once again put its Leftist foot in it.  Its big mistake is its backing for anything anti-Christian.  Now it has revealed itself as in lockstep with Warmism.  I reproduce below some of the comments that appeared on their own website

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today denounced remarks by University of Alabama – Huntsville professor Roy Spencer who wrote on his blog that those who refer to him as a climate change “denier” should be called “global warming Nazis” and that they “are supporting policies that will kill far more people than the Nazis ever did — all in the name of what they consider to be a righteous cause.”

He also claims those who advocate for policies to slow global warming are “like the Nazis” in that they are fascist and anti-capitalist. The post is also accompanied by an image of a swastika.

Shelley Rose, ADL Southeast Interim Regional Director issued the following statement:

University of Alabama-Huntsville Professor Roy Spencer’s analogy of proponents of global warming to Nazis is outrageous and deeply offensive.  This analogy is just the latest example of a troubling epidemic of comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust.

It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research.

The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better.  Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering.  This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions.



* It looks like there is a consensus emerging in the comments. It is that Dr. Spencer has been called a "climate change denier", and the "denier" word is commonly associated with the awful Holocaust of the Jews. So Dr. Spencer has been defamed, many times, without the ADL lending him their support.

In return, Dr. Spencer has defamed his accusers as "Nazis". This is actually a pretty good description of what the global warming alarmists are doing, or threatening to do, to quash free speech on this subject. Nevertheless I could agree with ADL were they to say "Dr. Spencer should assert that some of the behaviours of his opponents are Nazi-like rather than that they are Nazis". Two wrongs don't make a right, but please do not ignore the original wrong.

* Shelley, you have this 180 degrees backward, having sat by silently while the side to which Dr. Spencer was responding has been using the Holocaust denier reference and Nazi imagery for almost a decade.

As a Jew and a professional in the environmental industry, I cannot let this go unanswered. You'll be hearing from me directly. It would be in ADL's interest to hear what I have to say and show you.

* Time for a retraction and apology to Dr. Spencer. The longer you delay, the more damage done to your fundraising efforts.

* I suspect that the people who drafted the ADL press release were unaware of the background history of the use of the word "deniers" against sceptics as well as the direct comparisons with the holocaust presented by various commenters. Maybe next time they should not jump the shark.

* Yep - the ADL doesn't read enough of its friends' propaganda to realize Spencer is simply satirizing the AGW believers' own hateful, accusing, generalizing statements. Time for a groveling apology and full retraction by the ADL, but don't hold your breath.

* I note with wry amusement that you have chosen to speak out against Dr Roy Spencer’s Nazi analogy, in particular noting:

“The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better. Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering. This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions.”

I agree strongly with your sentiments and don’t support Roy Spencer’s move. None-the-less, I do wonder at your timing. Roy Spencer has, as have many others, been subject to more than a decade of public and private abuse for questioning some of the claims made in support of the AGW meme. The word “denier” is widely used to characterize anyone who questions any aspect of “climate change” or “global warming”, and was chosen specifically to make a link to exactly the same Nazi issue that you now belatedly condemn. Where has ADL been all these years?

* Where was ADL when George Monbiot published his book “How to stop the planet from burning” published in 2006, in which he recommends with reference to “the climate-change “denial industry”” that “we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg”

* Why the double standard? Is “a World without Hate” only for those whose views you agree with?  Where would that put you on the philosophical scale?

* As noted, I agree with your sentiments opposing the use of Nazi comparisons in what should be a  reasoned debate about a highly complex and poorly understood scientific issue. However, I do believe that your organization’s stand would have been a lot more credible and effective if it had been made when the term “denier” first appeared.

The Fateful Collision: Floods, Catastrophe And Climate Denial

by Media Lens, A Califonia Leftist outfit.  I reproduce below just some of a very long article which is quite hysterical about global warming.  The article cites countless "authorities" and rehearses lots of conspiracy theory but finds not a word to say about actual climate facts.  Their approach is completely authoritarian, in the best Leftist style.  Facts never have mattered to Leftists.  They do however wind themselves up into a wish to destroy their adversaries -- last paragraph below

An epic struggle is currently taking place that will determine the fate, and perhaps the survival, of our species. It is a collision between natural limits and rational awareness of the need to respect those limits, on the one hand, and the forces of blind greed, on the other.

Over the next few years, fundamental questions about who we are as a species really will be answered: Are we fundamentally sane, rational? Or are we a self-destructive failure that will end in the evolutionary dustbin?

As former Conservative energy minister Charles Hendry says, the recent UK floods “have ended political debate about climate change impacts”. Indeed, recent global weather extremes suggest that something of “enormous magnitude is happening”.

Even taken in isolation, the UK floods may constitute an “absolutely devastating environment incident”, a recent study by conservation scientists reports:

Noxious hydrogen sulphide fumes and lead poisoning are among the threats from floodwater contamination – while animals at almost all stages of the food chain, from insects to small mammals and birds, are already thought to be drowning or dying from lack of food.

The second half of our problem is that evidence of this terminal threat to our existence is being obstructed by literally hundreds of millions of dollars of organised propaganda.

Earlier this month, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse made a courageous and crucial speech to the US Senate. He commented:

I have described Congress as surrounded by a barricade of lies. Today, I’ll be more specific. There isn’t just lying going on about climate change; there is a whole, carefully built apparatus of lies. This apparatus is big and artfully constructed: phoney-baloney organisations designed to look and sound like they’re real, messages honed by public relations experts to sound like they’re truthful, payrolled scientists whom polluters can trot out when they need them. And the whole thing big and complicated enough that when you see its parts you could be fooled into thinking that it’s not all the same beast. But it is. Just like the mythological Hydra – many heads, same beast.

Whitehouse’s speech made repeated reference to a ground-breaking new study by Robert J. Brulle, professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel university, which describes the organisational underpinnings and funding behind climate denial. This is the first peer-reviewed, comprehensive analysis ever conducted on the topic.

Brulle finds that from 2003 to 2010, 140 foundations made 5,299 grants totalling fully $558 million to 91 major climate denial organisations. These 91 organisations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of $64 million in identifiable foundation support. The UK also has its own denial network.

Disturbingly, Brulle writes that “while the largest and most consistent funders behind the countermovement are a number of well-known conservative foundations, the majority of donations are “dark money,” or concealed funding”.

We must break the back of the beast… For the sake of our democracy, for the sake of our future, for the sake of our honour – it is time to wake up.

As NASA climate scientist James Hansen has suggested, Nuremberg-style trials must be held for senior corporate (including corporate media) and political executives responsible for crimes against humanity and planet that almost defy belief. They must be held to account for their crimes.


The Unscientific Consensus

Growing up in the 80s and 90s in Chevy Chase, Maryland, an inside-the-Beltway suburb, I only learned one thing about fossil fuels: they were causing global warming. That is, the CO2 my parents’ SUV was producing was making the Earth a lot hotter and that would make a lot of things worse. Oh, and one more thing: that this was a matter of scientific consensus.

Looking into the issue a bit, I found that there were professionals in climate science, such as Richard Lindzen of MIT, and Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia, who said that global warming wasn’t the big deal it was made out to be. But they seemed to be very much in the minority. Who was right? Of course, I knew the majority isn’t always right—but it certainly isn’t always wrong.

What was I supposed to make of all this? I think this is a predicament most of us experience. On the one hand, there is something authoritarian about calls to obey “consensus” such as John Kerry’s recent “When 97 percent of scientists agree on anything, we need to listen, and we need to respond.” On the other hand, there is something anti-science about the militant skepticism of some critics of the “climate change consensus.” For instance, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson says: “The term scientific consensus is an oxymoron in itself.” Not true. How can we possibly function in a complex division-of-labor society if we don’t consult experts—which includes learning about what there is consensus on (and what there isn’t) among the experts in different fields?

Scientific consensuses are an important part of any modern society—they tell us the general state of agreement in a field, not so we can blindly obey the experts in question (experts and consensuses can be wrong) but so that we can understand and critically think about those experts’ views. For example, if you are thinking about nutrition, it is a valuable starting point to know where there is general agreement, where there isn’t, and why. If I read a book endorsing a controversial diet, I can’t really have a responsible opinion until I know what most experts in the field think about the issues—including whether they have powerful arguments against the book’s claims that I couldn’t have thought of myself.

Thus, statements of scientific consensus can be extremely valuable tools. But they are only valuable, and only scientific, if they are explained clearly to the public. We need to know exactly who agrees with what for what reasons, and just as importantly, where there is disagreement within the consensus and for what reasons.

For example, it makes a big difference if there is a consensus that there is some global warming vs. a consensus that there will be catastrophic global warming. It makes a big difference if the consensus is based on issues that the experts have expertise on, such as climate records, vs. issues that they do not have expertise on, such as the economics of fossil fuels vs. solar and wind. Most consensus statements, however, are very unclear on who agrees with what and why. They are unscientific consensuses—misrepresentations of the state of scientific opinion designed to further a political agenda.

Take the consensus statement of the American Geophysical Union, which can be found in its entirety here. Like most consensus documents, it starts with something there is definitely a consensus on: “Extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming.” But then, with equal certainty, it cites dramatic predictions of climate models that, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reluctantly acknowledged, demonstrably failed to predict the climate of the past two decades. And still, with equal certainty, it calls for “urgent” political action to reduce fossil fuel use—with no acknowledgment of the cost of doing so.

Are observations, dramatic model predictions, and complex political decisions really all on the same scientific footing? No—but this kind of statement makes it seem as if they are all a matter of expert consensus.

I have spent quite a bit of time querying experts on this issue, and in my understanding the actual consensus in the field is something like the following.

When CO2 is added to the atmosphere it, all things being equal, has a mild, decelerating (logarithmic) warming effect; each additional CO2 molecule leads to less warming than the last. This effect has made some contribution to the widely-accepted .8 degrees C average warming in the last 150 years.

Within this consensus, there is considerable disagreement about whether other aspects of the atmosphere, called “feedbacks,” significantly amplify the CO2-induced warming or not. This is called the issue of “climate sensitivity.” More climate scientists than not seem to believe in significant climate sensitivity, as evidenced by the fact that the computer models used to predict climate are based on the assumption of significant climate sensitivity.

 At the same time, there is also consensus that in the last 15+ years there has been no significant global warming, despite record, accelerating CO2 emissions, and the climate models based on high sensitivity failed to predict this. There is dispute over whether and to what extent this supports the low-sensitivity theory of CO2. (Here is an account of the data and debate.)

I could go on about the consensus or lack thereof on other issues—the relationship between warming and extreme weather events, whether there have been significant changes in extreme weather events, etc.—but the point is I want the field of climate science to do that, so that we can think critically about it and ask questions.

What it shouldn’t be doing—but is—is telling us what political policies, namely fossil fuel policies, to adopt. The question of fossil fuel policy is an interdisciplinary one covering many fields that climate scientists are not experts on.

That means we need botanists to explain to us the potential benefits of increased CO2 in the air for plant growth. We need economists to share their knowledge about the consequences of more expensive energy if fossil fuels are restricted—and the capacity of human beings to adapt to climate change (man-made or not) over a period of decades. We need energy experts to tell us how far away solar, wind, and other alternatives are from providing the benefits of fossil fuels. We need geographers to share their knowledge on whether the climate has become more or less livable as we’ve used fossil fuels.

Having tried to get this information myself from these fields, I believe that if the state of knowledge and agreement in each field were objectively presented, we would conclude that the consequences of continuing to use large amounts of fossil fuels would be overwhelmingly positive to human life, and the consequences of restricting them would be overwhelmingly negative. But right now it’s hard for anyone to know what to conclude, because in today’s “consensus” statements, representatives of scientific fields neither explain the state of knowledge precisely, nor do they stick to their area of specialization.

Take a look at the NASA Global Climate Change Consensus page, which features 18 different consensus statements from professional scientific societies. The vast majority of these organizations don’t specialize in climate science, yet they make definitive statements about climate science. And many also use their scientific credibility to demand specific political policies.

The prestigious American Physical Society says “We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.” Really? Many in the fields of energy and economics have argued that forced reductions in greenhouse gases would lead to catastrophic consequences for human life, particularly in developing countries that need affordable energy to develop. As an association of physicists with no specialized knowledge of these issues, it is an abuse of scientific standing for the American Physical Society to support specific energy policies. A proper consensus statement by physicists would educate us about the physics of climate, not the politics of physicists.

I say, bring on the scientific consensus about climate change—and the scientific consensuses about everything else related to energy and environmental policy. Knowing what specialists in these fields think would be truly valuable information for our critical thinking about vital issues. But it’s time to stop the intimidation and manipulation. It’s time to throw out the unscientific consensus.



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

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27 February, 2014

So much for peer review

The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense.

Over the past two years, computer scientist Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, has catalogued computer-generated papers that made it into more than 30 published conference proceedings between 2008 and 2013. Sixteen appeared in publications by Springer, which is headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, and more than 100 were published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), based in New York. Both publishers, which were privately informed by Labbé, say that they are now removing the papers.

Among the works were, for example, a paper published as a proceeding from the 2013 International Conference on Quality, Reliability, Risk, Maintenance, and Safety Engineering, held in Chengdu, China. (The conference website says that all manuscripts are “reviewed for merits and contents”.) The authors of the paper, entitled ‘TIC: a methodology for the construction of e-commerce’, write in the abstract that they “concentrate our efforts on disproving that spreadsheets can be made knowledge-based, empathic, and compact”. (Nature News has attempted to contact the conference organizers and named authors of the paper but received no reply*; however at least some of the names belong to real people. The IEEE has now removed the paper).

How to create a nonsense paper

Labbé developed a way to automatically detect manuscripts composed by a piece of software called SCIgen, which randomly combines strings of words to produce fake computer-science papers. SCIgen was invented in 2005 by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge to prove that conferences would accept meaningless papers — and, as they put it, “to maximize amusement” (see ‘Computer conference welcomes gobbledegook paper’). A related program generates random physics manuscript titles on the satirical website arXiv vs. snarXiv. SCIgen is free to download and use, and it is unclear how many people have done so, or for what purposes. SCIgen’s output has occasionally popped up at conferences, when researchers have submitted nonsense papers and then revealed the trick.

Labbé does not know why the papers were submitted — or even if the authors were aware of them. Most of the conferences took place in China, and most of the fake papers have authors with Chinese affiliations. Labbé has emailed editors and authors named in many of the papers and related conferences but received scant replies; one editor said that he did not work as a program chair at a particular conference, even though he was named as doing so, and another author claimed his paper was submitted on purpose to test out a conference, but did not respond on follow-up. Nature has not heard anything from a few enquiries.

“The papers are quite easy to spot,” says Labbé, who has built a website where users can test whether papers have been created using SCIgen. His detection technique, described in a study1 published in Scientometrics in 2012, involves searching for characteristic vocabulary generated by SCIgen. Shortly before that paper was published, Labbé informed the IEEE of 85 fake papers he had found. Monika Stickel, director of corporate communications at IEEE, says that the publisher “took immediate action to remove the papers” and “refined our processes to prevent papers not meeting our standards from being published in the future”. In December 2013, Labbé informed the IEEE of another batch of apparent SCIgen articles he had found. Last week, those were also taken down, but the web pages for the removed articles give no explanation for their absence.

Ruth Francis, UK head of communications at Springer, says that the company has contacted editors, and is trying to contact authors, about the issues surrounding the articles that are coming down. The relevant conference proceedings were peer reviewed, she confirms — making it more mystifying that the papers were accepted.

The IEEE would not say, however, whether it had contacted the authors or editors of the suspected SCIgen papers, or whether submissions for the relevant conferences were supposed to be peer reviewed. “We continue to follow strict governance guidelines for evaluating IEEE conferences and publications,” Stickel said.

A long history of fakes

Labbé is no stranger to fake studies. In April 2010, he used SCIgen to generate 102 fake papers by a fictional author called Ike Antkare [see pdf]. Labbé showed how easy it was to add these fake papers to the Google Scholar database, boosting Ike Antkare’s h-index, a measure of published output, to 94 — at the time, making Antkare the world's 21st most highly cited scientist. Last year, researchers at the University of Granada, Spain, added to Labbé’s work, boosting their own citation scores in Google Scholar by uploading six fake papers with long lists to their own previous work.

Labbé says that the latest discovery is merely one symptom of a “spamming war started at the heart of science” in which researchers feel pressured to rush out papers to publish as much as possible.

There is a long history of journalists and researchers getting spoof papers accepted in conferences or by journals to reveal weaknesses in academic quality controls — from a fake paper published by physicist Alan Sokal of New York University in the journal Social Text in 1996, to a sting operation by US reporter John Bohannon published in Science in 2013, in which he got more than 150 open-access journals to accept a deliberately flawed study for publication.

Labbé emphasizes that the nonsense computer science papers all appeared in subscription offerings. In his view, there is little evidence that open-access publishers — which charge fees to publish manuscripts — necessarily have less stringent peer review than subscription publishers.

Labbé adds that the nonsense papers were easy to detect using his tools, much like the plagiarism checkers that many publishers already employ. But because he could not automatically download all papers from the subscription databases, he cannot be sure that he has spotted every SCIgen-generated paper.


New noise on climate change: A winning issue for Republicans

The Democrats think that climate change is going to be a winning issue for them in 2014 — and, if they handle it correctly, this could be a winning issue for the Republicans.

You know, nothing comes out of the Obama White House by mistake. Everything is planned, analyzed, and focus-group tested.

Last June when President Obama presented his Climate Action Plan at Georgetown University, some environmentalists hailed it. In response, Frances Beinecke, the then-president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: “The president nailed it.” The Huffington post reported that some environmental groups were wary that “Obama would follow through on the ambitious goals he laid out. Bill Snape of the Center for Biological Diversity described it as too little, too late.”

But, environmentalists haven’t been “thrilled with the administration’s record.” In January, 18 groups sent Obama a strongly worded letter telling him that he “needs to address climate change more aggressively.”

Obviously, Obama heard the complaints — making clear which group of constituents holds sway: billionaire environmentalist donors who believe Democrats have wavered on climate issues or the economically hard-hit middle class he claims to champion.

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration announced the creation of seven “climate hubs” — which the New York Times called: “a limited step” but said it “is part of a broader campaign by the administration to advance climate policy wherever possible with executive authority.” It is unclear what these “hubs” are or will do, but the stated goal is “to help farmers and rural communities respond to the risks of climate change, including drought, invasive pests, fires and floods.”

Washington Examiner columnist Ron Arnold calls the new hubs “propaganda spigots” and cites Steven Wilmeth, a southern New Mexico rancher, who said: “It’s another one of those ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’ deals. All I can say is, ‘Don’t help me.’ We hear the talk, but they’re not telling us what regulatory burdens these climate hubs will add to the overwhelming load we already carry.”

Then on February 14, President Obama announced a new $1billion “climate resilience fund” that “would go to research on the projected impacts of climate change, help communities prepare for climate change’s effects and fund ‘breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure.’”

In the Washington Post, Ed Rogers called the proposal “tired and unimaginative” — “part of a cookie cutter approach to our problems: It’s called the billion-dollar give away.”

Secretary of State John Kerry has received a lot of attention for his February 16 fear-mongering comments (reported to be the “first of what is to be a series of speeches on the topic this year”) in Indonesia during which he called climate change a “weapon of mass destruction” — the “world’s most fearsome.” He told the students, civic leaders, and government officials gathered at the U.S. funded American Center: “Because of climate change, it’s no secret that today Indonesia is…one of the most vulnerable countries on Earth. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk.” He then, according to CNN, announced “$332 million in funding through the Green Prosperity program to help Indonesia tackle unsustainable deforestation and support clean-energy projects.”

Kerry also derided scientists and citizens who challenge global warming’s scientific validity: “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts. The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”’s Ed Morrissey responded: “The demand to stop asking questions and testing the theory isn’t science-based; it’s political. The more that politicians demand that people stop questioning their use of the hypotheses of AGW for their preferred policies of top-down control of energy production, the more obvious those politics become.”

James H. Rust, retired Georgia Tech engineering professor, told me: “I take great offense to the Secretary of State of the United States berating his citizens on a foreign soil. I recall no such incidents occurring in the past.” He added: “Kerry’s remarks are a political attempt to convince the American people to adopt policies to reduce fossil fuel use and lead the world on introducing a world-wide protocol similar to the expired Kyoto Treaty.” Regarding Kerry calling climate change “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction,” Rust quipped: “Can his memory be so short not to remember the thousands who have died due to the war on terror that stretches back to at least 1983 when 241 marines were killed in a Lebanon barracks; trillions of tax dollars spent on a war that is nowhere near finished?”

On February 17, the New York Times (NYT) reported that billionaire Obama donor Tom Steyer plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election cycle to “pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.” Steyer has been critical of Democrats who waver on climate issues. The NYT reports that Steyer’s new fund-raising push “signals a shift within the environmental movement, as donors — frustrated that neither Democratic nor Republican officials are willing to prioritize climate change measures — shift their money from philanthropy and education into campaign vehicles designed to win elections.”

Working with Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, Steyer created his political organization NextGen Climate—a 20-person operation that includes a super PAC that the NYT says is “among the biggest environmental pressure groups in the country.” NextGen Climate spends millions of dollars to find climate-sensitive voters and in television advertising to try to persuade them. NextGen asked supporters for input on congressional candidates to target in its next ads. The list included vulnerable Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Steyer’s efforts should scare Republicans as he’s been successful in buying previous elections into which he has waded when he “burst onto the national political scene” in 2013.  According to the NYT: “He spent $11 million to help elect Terry McAuliffe governor of Virginia and millions intervening in a Democratic congressional primary in Massachusetts.”

However, I see all of this Democratic emphasis on climate change as an opportunity for Republicans — if they handle it correctly.

The January electricity price index was just released and revealed that the cost of electricity has hit a new high — which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the year. reports: “During the year, the price of a KWH of electricity usually rises in the spring, peaks in summer, declines in fall, and is at its lowest point in winter.”

True to the law of supply and demand, rising electricity prices in the U.S. have not been inevitable. According to, following WWII, the U.S. was rapidly increasing its electricity generation capacity. In the 1950s and 60s the price remained relatively stable. However, since 2007, the U.S. has decreased its electricity production; while the population has increased by more than 14 million people — almost all with multiple electronic gadgets running simultaneously.

The 2007 benchmark is important because 2006/2007 is when the global warming scare began to influence public energy policy — this is the time frame when states passed laws requiring more-expensive renewable energy be part of the total energy portfolio (laws that set up the rationale for the $150 billion of tax-payer dollars being spent of green energy projects). It is when the war on coal began.

The report states: “The Monthly Energy Review also indicates that a large part of the decline in U.S. electricity generation has come from a decrease in the electricity produced by coal—which has not been replaced by a commensurate increase in the electricity produced by natural gas or the ‘renewable’ sources of wind and solar.”

The decline in electricity production — slightly supplemented by more expensive renewables—has directly caused the price spike. And Obama’s climate change policies are shuttering more and more coal-fueled power plants — even after they’ve spent millions on pollution controls. We can expect continuing higher electricity costs heading into the 2014 election.

Recently, I received a phone call from an irate woman. She told me she’d been searching the Internet for someone who could help her and found me. She explained that she was an unemployed, single mom living in an 800 square foot apartment. She said she didn’t turn on her heat because she couldn’t afford it. When she got her electric bill, she noticed that it had a line item: $1.63 for green energy — about which she declared: “I don’t give a *!%# about green energy! I am so mad at PNM for making me pay for green energy that I don’t want!”

I explained that it wasn’t the utility company’s fault. They are just following the law by incorporating renewables into the portfolio. It is the lawmakers who deserve her wrath — from the local and state representatives all the way up to the president.

I do not know if this woman is a Democrat or a Republican. But I do know she represents the exact type of voter Obama claims to champion. The exact type of voter his climate change policies are hurting. These voters “don’t give a *!%# about green energy”—they care about the rising cost of electricity.

The Democrats own “climate change.” The Democrats are hurting their own.

If the Republicans are smart enough to capture the anger of voters — like the woman who called me — and feature it in television ads, the Democrats climate change emphasis could be a winning issue for Republicans. (BTW, Karl Rove, I have the callers’ phone number. Maybe you could feature her in an ad.)


Academics "Prove" It's Okay To Lie About Climate Change

From "hide the decline" to the "hockey stick" to Rush Limbaugh, the debate over climate change is fraught with accusations that the other side is willfully lying about the facts in order to win. Now there are two academics out with a paper justifying lying about climate change in order to convince global governments to "do something" about it.

Fuhai Hong and Xiojian Zhao, economists at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology respectively, are publishing a paper in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics called "Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements," which argues that manipulation of information by the media will "enhance global welfare" by inducing countries to agree to environmental accords (IEAs).

We show that the exaggeration of climate change may alleviate the problem of insufficient IEA participation. When the mass media has private information on the damage caused by climate change, in equilibrium they may manipulate this information to increase pessimism regarding climate damage even though in actual fact the damage may not be that great. Consequently, more countries will be induced to participate in an IEA in this state, thereby leading to greater global welfare ex post.

The article purports to prove, with an economic model, that the urgency of climate change and the necessity of international agreement makes it okay to lie about the projected consequences of climate change.

Progressives have advocated lying in order to get their way before, but this model is actually different from fighting lies with more lies; these two economists advocate lying even when assuming that the entire debate to this point has been entirely honest on both sides due to the asymmetric information problems and game theory involved. Now, they don't advocate "lying" - they merely propose "information manipulation," "accentuation" and "exaggeration" on the part of the media in order to enhance global welfare.

This isn't to suggest that all progressives advocate lying to further their political ideology, or even that it's particularly widespread beyond these two professors. But it's out there: there are academics who so vehemently believe that the urgency of action on climate change is so great that it justifies mass deception and lying in order to win, and are prepared to go to complex theoretical proofs in order to "prove" it.


The 'Absurd Results' Power Grab

Can the EPA simply rewrite a law to suit its policy goals?

The Obama Administration's penchant for rewriting the law via regulation will get a major test on Monday when the Supreme Court hears a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's "carbon endangerment" rule. This case is especially significant because it will determine whether the agency can rewrite its own previous rewrite of the Clean Air Act to bypass the normal channels of democratic consent.

The Clean Air Act of 1970 and its 1990 amendments never mention carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Though global warming has nothing to do with "clean air," the environmental lobby sued to force the EPA to regulate CO2 emitted by cars and other "mobile sources." In 2007, in Massachusetts v. EPA, a 5-4 majority sided with the greens, with Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the liberals.

That ruling merely held that the EPA could declare carbon a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, not that the agency must, but President Obama's climateers have taken it as a license to regulate carbon across the economy. Beyond tailpipes, they've moved to emissions from so-called stationary sources, mainly power plants but also heavy industry such as factories and cement makers.

Problem is, the Clean Air Act is one of America's largest and most prescriptive laws, with little provision for executive discretion. If the EPA decides to regulate something, Congress in the statute tells the EPA how the agency must regulate for its many specific clean-air programs.

Since the Clean Air Act was never designed to address CO2 and greenhouse gases are unlike the pollutants the law was meant to address, the stationary source programs would wreak economic havoc if applied to carbon. The statute mandates that the EPA regulate emissions above the specific numerical threshold of 100 tons of a conventional pollutant like sulfur dioxide or ozone. But ubiquitous carbon is released in quantities many orders of magnitude larger than 100 tons, and thus in practice the rule would sweep up some six million schools, hospitals, farms, churches, office buildings and even some large homes.

The incredible thing about Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, which consolidates six related lawsuits, is that the EPA agrees with all that. The agency argues that following the law as written would be "unrecognizable" to the Congress that enacted the law and claims that enforcing the law would be an "administrative impossibility." The other doctrine the EPA is asserting is known as "absurd results," meaning that the literal interpretation of the statute would lead to irrational or unreasonable outcomes.

The executive branch has always used the absurd results doctrine to make minor adjustments or to justify not enforcing a legal provision. And this is what the EPA should have done to avoid crowbarring carbon into what it admits is an unworkable regulatory framework. Instead, for the first time the agency is using the legal theory to arrogate the power to revise plain statutory language. Instead of 100 tons for carbon, the EPA unilaterally invented the new limit of 75,000 tons.

The Supreme Court is merely being asked to vacate the stationary source rule-making, not to revisit Mass v. EPA, alas. All the challenge asks is that if the EPA decides to regulate CO2, then it must obey the rule of law and regulate CO2 as the Clean Air Act instructs.

The White House is trying to avoid doing so because the political pros know that stationary source permitting by the EPA's own estimates costs as much as $125,120 and can be delayed for as long as 10 years. Democratic voters attend church and own small businesses too, and the political backlash would be fierce.

The White House could have persuaded Congress to adopt a new round of clean-air amendments, or to pass cap and trade. It tried the latter in 2009-2010 and failed. Justice Kennedy, the swing vote, must decide if federal regulators can assume the power to rewrite laws on their own without the authority granted by Congress. That would be the most absurd result of all.


British Labour party backs Green  totalitarianism

At PMQs Ed went on the attack over Owen Paterson’s sceptical comments about climate change. The line of questioning reminded Guido of the Green Party’s recent totalitarian demand for a purge of climate change sceptics from ministerial and adviser positions in government. A Labour spokesman has confirmed to Guido that Miliband backs a similar ban.

    “The qualification for being in a Labour government is rationality and believing in clear scientific evidence.”

Anyone working in a Labour government would be required to accept the party’s position on climate change. Anyone who doesn’t won’t be allowed to join. Dissenters will be exiled…


The eco-hysteria of blaming mankind for Britain's floods

Blaming storms on human industry is as backward as blaming them on gays

What a laugh we all had a few weeks ago when that UK Independence Party councillor, David Silvester, said floods in England were caused by gay marriage. Remember the merriment? The eccentric (I’m being polite) Silvester wrote to his local newspaper in Oxfordshire to say that the reason we are ‘beset by storms’ is because PM David Cameron acted ‘arrogantly against the gospel’ by allowing gay people to get hitched, and the internet exploded into guffaws. Silvester became the subject of witty memes, mocking tweets, and searing newspaper critiques. He was eventually ditched by UKIP. Everyone asked the same question: ‘In the twenty-first century what sort of person seriously believes that natural calamities like floods can be blamed on allegedly “sinful” behaviour?!’

Well, now we know. Now, as flooding in the south-west of England has intensified in recent weeks, we know that it isn’t only strange men who take the Bible literally who see floods as some form of payback or punishment for humanity’s deviant behaviour – so do the supposedly rationalist, secularist sections of society, the very people who just three weeks ago will have had a good old hoot bashing backward Silvester’s moralisation of floodwaters. Even the right-on moralise the weather today, treating it almost as a sentient force, a lecturing force, a vengeful force, and viewing hard rains and gushing waters as a slap on the wrist to wicked mankind – no, not for being gay, but, in essence, for being greedy.

Over the past week, as more and more towns and areas in England have become flooded, the hunt has been on for proof that it’s the fault of manmade climate change – that is, of man himself, of polluting, thoughtless, fossil fuel-using man. So former Conservative environment secretary Caroline Spelman says the floods should be a ‘sharp reminder’ to climate-change sceptics that they are wrong and stupid – ‘what is happening now relates to what we were doing two decades ago’, she said, referring to humanity’s increasing emission of greenhouse gases. Nicholas Stern, treated by many greens as a god-like oracle warning us all of future manmade doom, says the floods were caused by ‘human activities’. From the fawningly faithful reporting of his words, you could be forgiven for thinking Moses himself had published some new tablets about man’s wrongdoings. Other observers say man’s behaviour, his emission of CO2, is ‘loading the dice’ of nature’s fury, making floods more likely and more epic. One says our ‘wild weather’, the reason ‘people’s lives and properties [are] at stake’, is because of manmade climate change.

Labour leader Ed Miliband explicitly moralised the weather yesterday, when he told the Observer that ‘people’s homes, businesses and livelihoods [are] coming under attack from extreme weather’, as if the weather were some kind of military force. ‘The science is clear’ as to why this is happening, said Miliband – because man’s activities have rattled the climate and we are now ‘sleepwalking into a national security crisis’ (there’s that militaristic metaphor again). One broadsheet columnist bizarrely makes a link between the floods and human behaviour that he clearly just doesn’t like, suggesting our ‘extreme weather’ could be down to ‘the undeniable waste of energy in British cities, where office lights shine through the night and supermarkets pump out hot air at open entrances and cold air in their freezer sections’. This is pretty blatantly just another variant of blaming man’s bad behaviour for floods, albeit a more PC version than David Silvester’s – the more secularist flood-exploiters see storms as a consequence of industry, of the thoughtlessness of office bosses, of the electricity use of big, fat supermarkets, where the more religious flood-exploiters see them as spin-offs of gay behaviour.

Ah, the allegedly rationalist ‘man causes floods’ lobby will say, but we have science on our side whereas Silvester just had the made-up stories of the Bible. Do they really have science on their side? Some pretty high-calibre experts have actually said there is ‘insufficient evidence’ to draw any direct line between climate change and particular floods or weather events. And as more sensible heads have pointed out, levels of rainfall in England have long been pretty unpredictable, and parts of England have always been prone to flooding. To declare that these floods are definitely a product of manmade climate change, of ‘human activities’, of ‘what we were doing two decades ago’, is as fact-lite and driven by underlying moral prejudices as was Silvester’s claim that gay marriage stirred up the storms.

Yet across the media, blogosphere and Twitter, numerous people are hunting high and low for some graph or factlet that might ‘prove’ that climate change – which is, of course, just code for man’s exploitation of natural resources for the purposes of economic and industrial growth – is to blame for these floods. These individuals are driven by precisely the same urge as Silvester was: a longing to marshall the weather to their pet cause of chastising mankind for what they view as his immoral behaviour. Even if scientists did find some connection between climate change and general increased rainfall, we should remember two things.

Firstly, it would still be the case that the urge to draw a direct line between our industrialised, relatively comfortable lives and natural disaster, between supermarkets and floods, between the fact many of us live in buzzing cities and the recent outbursts of stormy weather, would be a fundamentally moralistic rather than scientific project, motored way more by personal distaste for human behaviour than by anything remotely resembling scientific fact.

And secondly, mankind more than has the capacity to protect against increased rainfall and floods, to build new towns and cities that can withstand such natural whims, by making use of the very ‘human activities’ – ambition, growth, exploitation of natural resources – that the eco-miserabilist lobby sneers at and blames for every natural disaster that befalls us.

Every time floods happen these days, eco-obsessives say the same thing: they are punishment for ‘our unsustainable lifestyles’ (a Guardian writer in the year 2000); they offer a ‘glimpse of a possible winter world that we’ll inhabit if we don’t sort ourselves out’ (a green author, 2007); they are a sign that ‘Poseidon is angered by arrogant affronts from mere mortals like us’ (Mark Lynas in his book Six Degrees). Rough translation? Mother Nature is punishing us for being bad, for being arrogant, for failing to ‘sort ourselves out’ and to behave in a fashion that the eco-meek lobby considers correct and pure. No amount of pseudo-scientific chatter or grasping at graphs that supposedly reveal the ‘truth’ of these floods can disguise the fact that, like Genesis before them, and David Silvester last month, these green-leaning politicos and campaigners are using weather to warn us out of our wickedness. Who’s backward now?



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26 February, 2014

Climate Alarmists Never Called Out For Spreading Fear

Al Gore was at it again over the weekend, scaring people unnecessarily about global warming. He, and others like him, should be held accountable for constantly trying to terrify the public. Will they ever be?

Preaching Saturday in Kansas City, the former vice president and current hysteric in chief declared while prattling on about the California drought that "the Dust Bowl is coming back, quickly, unless we act."

About that first Dust Bowl, the one in the 1930s: Was that also caused by man-made global warming, during a time when human carbon dioxide emissions were much lower?

Or was it just a part of the natural climate cycle that's been running throughout Earth's history?

The Kansas City Star reported that Gore packed them in at the "Westin Crown Center ballroom."

The Nobel Prize winner regaled the audience "with a 90-minute presentation, using photos and videos to illustrate a litany of floods, wildfires, torrential rains, droughts, dust storms, rising sea levels and increasing world temperatures."

In other words, what they heard at the Folk Alliance International conference was just another installment in Gore's long line of public disservice.

The man has made a post-vice-presidency career of scaring people for no reason. From his wildly exaggerated "Inconvenient Truth" movie to his claim years ago that the north polar ice cap would be gone by 2013 — it wasn't — to loopy predictions that "we're approaching this tipping point," Gore has been spreading hysteria and fright like a farmer sows seeds.

And so have the Democrats who have followed. Just last week, Secretary of State John Kerry said global warming is "the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction." He's clearly taking cues from his boss, President Obama, who has said that climate change is the "global threat of our time."

Obviously Kerry is unaware that there are life-and-death events with long-term consequences occurring in Ukraine and Venezuela during a time in which America's global reputation is in sharp decline.

Meanwhile, it seems Obama hasn't noticed how poor his economic recovery has been and how many Americans are either out of work or are painfully underemployed.

Maybe shrieking about global warming is a politician's attempt to cover up his failures while Gore keeps the climate change flame burning because he has a deep need to keep proving himself relevant and an oversized ego to feed.

Though the causes of their obsession might be dissimilar, all alarmists have one thing in common: Their predictions of disaster — the superstorms, the underwater coastal cities, famine, mass starvation, the end of snow, the end of skiing, a dangerous refugee problem — have been wrong.

Sure, there's been some rough weather recently. But it's just weather. As far as we know, no reputable scientist has positively linked the unusual cold and snow to man-made global warming.

Every weather event, every temperature reading, every cloud or lack thereof that the alarmists spin as proof of man-made global warming is actually within the historical variability of our climate.

Despite their record of failed predictions, the alarmists have never been held accountable for needlessly stirring up fear and generating anxiety.

Nor have they been called out for assembling a class of citizens who constantly hector everyone else about their carbon dioxide emissions.

The alarmists are instead feted, celebrated, glorified and held up as noblemen by a media and political class that are as invested in the narrative as the alarmists are. There's been no critical assessment, little inquiry into their methods and zero questioning of their motives.

Those questions are saved instead for the backward, unsophisticated skeptics and "deniers" who surely believe Earth is flat.


Facing Reality on Carbon Dioxide

Though you wouldn't necessarily know it based on news coverage, the United States in the reign of President Barack Obama is enduring the most prolonged period of slow growth and high unemployment since World War II. The president asserts that he saved us from another Great Depression, which, like his claim that the stimulus would "create or save" millions of jobs, is about as provable as the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

The Obama administration has done little to spur job creation, but a great deal to inhibit it. The president mocks the idea of deregulation ("cut two regulations and call me in the morning"), but the new layers of rules and directives his administration has layered over the already-existing sedimentary encrustations cannot have helped.

There is one segment of the economy that has defied the trough, though, and that's energy. The U.S. is now the world's leading producer of hydrocarbons. The International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will produce more petroleum than either Saudi Arabia or Russia by 2015. For the first time since 1949, the U.S. is a net exporter of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. For the past several years, the oil and gas industry has added between $300 billion and $400 billion annually to the economy. Without the hydrocarbon boom, the economy would still be in recession.

Obama has attempted to take credit for the boom in domestic energy production. His website boasts, "The President established a national goal in 2011 to reduce oil imports by one third ... "

The president can issue goals and schedules to his heart's content, but like so much else about his tenure, these words are piffle. As Mark Mills, an energy analyst at the Manhattan Institute notes, the president had absolutely nothing to do with the energy renaissance that is reshaping our economy and can do more.

Neither did Big Oil. Small businesses, most with fewer than 15 employees, are responsible for 75 percent of America's energy production. "Fracking" is only part of the story. The boom in on-shore energy production is the result of American technological prowess wedded to entrepreneurial genius. Computers and cameras guide probes below ground, minimizing dry holes. Horizontal drilling permits seams long inaccessible to be tapped.

Rumor has it that in North Dakota, epicenter of the Bakken formation, workers are in such demand that McDonald's is paying up to $18 an hour. The state currently enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and boasts a $1 billion budget surplus.

The boom is not limited to North Dakota. At least 16 other states have more than 150,000 workers associated with the energy industry. In the states most associated with the fracking revolution -- Pennsylvania, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wyoming -- statewide employment growth has beaten the national average.

Is the domestic energy expansion bad for the environment? Certainly not when natural gas replaces coal. Besides, the world has not yet figured out how to power itself with other energy sources. Ethanol, which consumes 40 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., provides only 5 percent of transportation energy. Renewables, including hydropower, biomass wood, wind, solar and geothermal, accounted for just 9.3 percent of U.S. energy use in 2012, despite government subsidies. The developing world, including China, India and Brazil, are unwilling to sacrifice economic growth on the altar of climate change. Germany, which made a hasty and emotional switch away from nuclear power after Fukushima and made a heavy investment in wind power, is now building dirty coal generation plants to cope with rising prices.

Democrats can sneer at so-called deniers all they like, but they themselves are denying a hard reality: Hydrocarbons will continue to power the world for the foreseeable future. There is no other fuel that can put planes in the air, for example. If carbon dioxide is causing the planet to warm (and the models significantly overpredicted the amount of warming so far), mankind will have to find ways to cope with the problem other than massive taxes to discourage CO2 use. Maximizing natural gas usage is one such step. Basic R and D on improving batteries, solar cells and other technologies is another. Seawalls, dikes and other ameliorating efforts are a third.

In the interim, the energy boom in the U.S. is a job creator, a boon to our friends (like Canada, Britain and Israel -- also poised to exploit the new technologies) and a setback for our adversaries.


British taxpayers fund wind farm scam

Comprehensive report from Scotland

Wind farm firms have been accused of building huge, ineffective turbines to exploit a lucrative loophole funded by the taxpayer.

And although the Government knows about the scam, it has not acted to stamp it out.

The Government pays different rates for wind energy depending on how much power is produced by turbines. In an effort to encourage small businesses and individuals to get involved in the industry, David Cameron's coalition agreed to buy electricity produced by low-powered machines at around double the rate of towering turbines. This means businesses like farms can afford to run a small turbine, which does not produce huge amounts of electricity.

But some operators are exploiting a legal loophole by building huge turbines and then slowing them down so their output is within the same category as a much smaller machine.

Critics claim it can be highly lucrative because owners receive the higher Feed-In Tariff (FIT) rate but also have a giant turbine which will consistently out-perform smaller machines.

But the practice, known as de-rating, means that some of the huge turbines scarring the landscape have been deliberately modified to be ineffective.

The Sunday Post has learned that although the Westminster Government is aware of specific de-rating cases, it has not moved to close down the loophole.

Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson last night blasted: "The whole thing is getting exposed as one of the biggest scandals since the collapse of the banks and de-rating is simply another spoke in the wheel."

Labour MP Sir Tony Cunningham, who represents Workington in Cumbria, recently quizzed the Westminster Government to find out what action it was taking. In response to his parliamentary question Energy Minister Michael Fallon revealed he was aware that eight of 110 turbines installed at the higher 100kw to 500kw FIT rate up to September 2013 had been de-rated.

He also revealed talks with industry body RenewableUK had not identified a "workable technical solution".

Linda Holt, of campaign group Scotland Against Spin, said: "Consumers are being ripped off. They are being forced to pay more for the turbines and people have suffered greater visual impacts than they need to."

Regulator Ofgem, which licenses the FIT scheme, said it does not keep a list of how many turbines on the FIT scheme are de-rated. But when it receives applications for a modified turbine it makes stringent checks to ensure the turbine has been permanently downgraded. It also confirmed it has not yet rejected any applications for the coveted 100kw to 500kw FIT category.

RenewableUK's deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: "The wind industry adheres strictly to the guidelines drawn up by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the independent regulator Ofgem.

"When issues have arisen, we have drawn them to the attention of Government and regulators, recommending improvements to ensure that the system is robust. The reasons for de-rating are complex. In some instances, the grid is unable to cope with a turbine operating at full power, as grid connections are limited in that area."

Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesperson said: "This is not a widespread problem and there is little evidence that de-rating is used as a means of accessing preferential tariffs."

 *  Wind farms were "secretly" paid nearly £20m to shut down before spells of stormy weather, an investigation revealed.

Companies qualify for "constraint payments" when they have to temporarily close down their turbines because bad weather would mean they produce so much power the National Grid would be unable to cope. The cash is paid to the companies through householders' domestic bills.

Dr Lee Moroney, of the Renewable Energy Foundation, uncovered a little known system called "forward trades" in which the Grid decides a sum that will be paid for a period of heavy weather, which is agreed before the bad weather even arrives.

It revealed £18.6m in forward trades were paid in 2011/12 in addition to £15.5m in traditional constraint payments. The payments covered all forms of power generation in England and Scotland but it is understood the majority applied to wind farms.

 *  The Feed-In Tariff is a Government scheme in which fixed-rate payments are made for every kilowatt hour generated by a turbine through a "generation tariff".

Turbines with a capacity of between 100kw and 500kw which come online before March 31 will earn 18.04p per kilowatt hour of electricity and those which generate 500kw to 1.5m kw earn 9.79p p/kwh. But the tariffs will be reduced for turbines coming online after April 1 with 14.82p p/kwh for turbines which produce between 100kw to 500kw and 8.04p p/kwh for 500kw to 1.5m kw machines.

Turbine owners can also use the electricity to power their businesses thus saving thousands of pounds in energy bills. They also see a second benefit from an "export tariff" in which excess energy not used by the turbine owner can be sold to the National Grid for 4.64p p/kwh.

 *  Critics reacted with fury when it was revealed millions of trees had been felled to make way for wind farms.

According to figures released in 2011, 10,000 hectares of woodland had been felled over the past decade to allow giant turbines to be built. It meant an area covering almost twice the size of Dundee could have been felled to fuel Scotland's "renewables revolution".

Critics hit out at the destruction of the forests which naturally soak up C02 emissions. John Mayhew, of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland warned wind farms were the biggest threat to Scotland's rural habitats and landscapes.

 *  Last week The Sunday Post revealed tycoon Donald Trump was facing a fresh battle over wind turbines - at his new golf course in Ireland.

He recently withdrew plans to build a second golf course in Aberdeenshire, after losing a legal battle to stop construction of 11 turbines off the coast. He then revealed he had invested £12.4m in the Doonbeg Golf Club in County Clare instead.

But a planning application has been lodged for nine giant turbines to be built three miles inland from the course.

Environmental campaigners say they will be contacting Mr Trump to ask for his support in opposing the plans.

 *  In November The Sunday Post revealed a Scots dog owner had won a battle to have two wind turbines removed after claiming her pet suffered seizures.

But 66-year-old Irene Cardle's victory was tinged with sadness because her beloved dog Shadow died just days after the 19-yard machines came down.

Irene claimed Shadow's health seriously deteriorated after nearby Blacklaw Primary School, in East Kilbride, built two turbines close to her home. The retired book-keeper revealed the turbines had made their lives a misery and she was forced to leave the house for hours at a time to escape the constant flicker and whine.

South Lanarkshire Council said it removed the turbines because they were not "cost-effective".


Drought-Stricken California to Get No Irrigation Water; 17 California Communities Could Run Dry

As the California Farm Drought Crisis Deepens, a federal agency rules agricultural heartland won’t get any federal irrigation water this summer.

 In a move that will likely signal higher food prices nationally, a federal agency says California’s drought-stricken Central Valley — hundreds of thousands of acres of the most productive farmland in the U.S. — won’t get any irrigation water this summer.

Friday’s announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation follows an earlier warning of no irrigation deliveries from the California State Water Project and leaves Central Valley farms and cities with only wells and stored water to get through the worst drought since the state began keeping records in the 1800s.

Statewide, some 8 million acres of farmland rely on federal or state irrigation water.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency following reports that the water content of snow in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada, whose spring runoff is stored in reservoirs and moved by canals to other areas of the state, stands at 29% of normal.

The announcement is significant because California is the largest U.S. agriculture producer. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent California Agricultural Statistics for the 2012 crop year, the state remains the leading state in cash farm receipts, with more than 350 commodities representing $44.7 billion, or 11% of the U.S. total, in 2012.

Over a third of the U.S.’s vegetables and almost two-thirds of its fruits and nuts were produced in California, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said in a report. The federal agency’s announcement will particularly affect San Joaquin Valley farmers who are last in line to receive federal water, San Jose Mercury News reported, adding that many farmers will have to pump already overtaxed wells or leave fields fallow this year. Farmers will leave 500,000 acres of fallow this year, the paper quoted Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, as saying  17 California Communities Could Run Dry in 100 Days

Is Shutting Off Irrigation Water a Good Idea?

Of course it is. It was a bad idea to provide subsidies to water the desert in the first place.

California grows a lot of food. Much of it is because of subsidies that overcharge residential customers [for water] for the benefit of farm owners.

I have a better idea: eliminate tariffs, crop supports, and all subsidies. We can get peppers, onions, tomatoes, and other produce and fruit items from places that do not have US taxpayer subsidies.

Activists will howl "other countries subsidize farmers". Without a doubt many do. An if so, it will be at their expense, not US taxpayer expense.


In Australia, the debate is over coal seam gas

Greenies treat it like they treat fracking elsewhere  -- with hysteria

Until last week I thought the NSW government had in effect banned the coal seam gas industry. The O'Farrell government has certainly abandoned public debate and as a result the greenies and Alan Jones have filled the vacuum with a lot of nonsensical claims.

But last week, the government designated a coal seam gas project in Narrabri as a "strategic energy project" which is meant to cut back on red and green tape.

Jones is in a different class to the greenies. He is a strong supporter of free enterprise. He supported me and Chris Corrigan over the waterfront dispute and he has been a strong voice for many good causes. But, for reasons I do not understand, Jones has a bee in his bonnet over the gas industry.

I became interested in natural gas at the request of the Victorian government, which was concerned at the impact of gas sales to China and its implications for the eastern Australia gas market. The massive developments in Queensland are already imposing transitional effects. There is a real prospect Sydney could suffer gas shortages causing major dislocation to business. Gas prices are already rising and it could take at least three years to supply additional gas to Sydney if everything goes well and if the government holds its nerve.

I do not discard community concerns about the gas industry. The NSW government has comprehensive regulations to manage it. Whatever the risks, they need to be addressed. But some activists are totally opposed to the gas industry regardless of the regulations and of the consequences.

The Greens also oppose coal and nuclear power and claim that solar and wind power can make the difference. It's hard to fathom why they oppose natural gas which has half the emissions of brown coal.

We all face risks every day. It's a risk to drive down the street or walk across the road. The question is whether the risks can be managed. Managing risk is the reality in Queensland, especially between farmers and the gas industry.

Professor Peter Hartley from Rice University in the US said: "There is no proven case of fracturing fluid or hydrocarbons produced by fracturing diffusing from the fractured zone into an aquifer." I believe you would be hard pressed to find any independently confirmed cases of water contamination as a result of drilling by the gas industry after more than 2 million fracking operations in the US.

There is a revolution in the US gas industry, to the extent that manufacturing plants that were established by the US in China are now popping up back home.

The US will soon have energy independence because of new technologies, such as fracking and horizontal drilling. In NSW and Victoria you would think the new technology is some form of plague.

The Santos project will face Jones leading the charge, microphone at the ready.

There are big changes under way in the NSW, Victorian and Queensland natural gas markets. Some big decisions will need to be made and they should be premised on the facts, the science and the public interest. The industry can provide jobs and rising living standards but for that to happen, there needs to be sensible debate, not a scare campaign.


Australian skeptic gets an apology (sort of) from "Hockeystick" Mann

By Andrew Bolt

Open and shut case. Michael Mann is a liar:

Normally I do not sue, but this seems to me a special case.

Mann, the climate alarmist who gave the world his dodgy ”hockey stick”, is now suing sceptic Mark Steyn for mocking him and his lawyers have produced deceptive legal documents in his defence.

Mann has published an outright lie that defames me, and should face the same punishment he wishes to mete out on Steyn for mere mockery.

I do not lie and Murdoch does not pay me to do so. Nor has Mann singled out a single “lie” I’m alleged to have committed.

In fact, Mann is so reckless with the facts that his tweet links to an obvious parody Twitter account run by one of my critics, clearly believing that it’s actually mine.

I have sent Mann the following email:

Dr Mann:

I note your publication of the following defamatory tweet:

You have published an outright lie that defames me.

I do not lie and am not paid by Rupert Murdoch to lie. You have not identified in your tweet a single example of an alleged lie, which suggests you simply made up this defamatory claim.

Indeed, you were so reckless with the facts that your tweet links to an obvious parody Twitter account run by one of my critics which you have clearly believed is mine.

Your other link is to the website of a warmist journalist who for years was a Murdoch columnist, too, writing on climate change. Was he, too, paid by “villainous” Rupert Murdoch to “lie to public”?

I’ve since learned that you last year retweeted another defamatory comment: “No other media organisation in any other civilised nation would employ #AndrewBolt as a journalist”.

As it turns out, that, too, is incorrect. I am not only employed by News Corp but by Australia’s Network 10 and Macquarie Radio Network, where I host a weekly television show and co-host a daily radio show respectively. I have also appeared as a commentator on other media outlets, including the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Al Jazeera, the BBC and Canadian radio stations. I am very confident I would be able to find work as a journalist in another “civilised nation”.

I note this because repeated defamations under Australia’s law is evidence of malice – and your history of defaming me shows a complete disregard for the facts.

It is appalling that you could be so reckless, so spiteful, so destructive and so ill-informed. I have long doubted the rigor and the conclusions of your work as a climate scientist and often deplored the way you conduct debate, but even I had never before today considered publically calling you a liar.

I demand you delete your tweet and issue a public apology on the same Twitter account within 24 hours. Failure to do so will not only cast doubt on your commitment to truth in debates on global warming, but expose you to legal action.


Mann gives a very grudging “not necessarily” apology for his brazen lie (and follows it up elsewhere with a string of insults):

Too late. His mask has slipped. What else has he repeated - whether “science” or personal calumnies - that was false and motivated by spite or self-protection?



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

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


25 February, 2014

Climate Consensus Con Game

By S. Fred Singer

At the outset, let's be quite clear: There is no consensus about dangerous anthropogenic global warming (DAGW)-and there never was. There is not even a consensus on whether human activities, such as burning fossil fuels to produce useful energy, affect global climate significantly. So what's all this fuss about?

Let's also be quite clear that science does not work by way of consensus. Science does not progress by appeal to authority; in fact, major scientific advances usually come from outside the consensus; one can cite many classic examples, from Galileo to Einstein. [Another way to phrase this issue: Scientific veracity does not depend on fashionable thinking.] In other words, the very notion of a scientific consensus is unscientific.

The degree of consensus also depends on the way the questions are phrased. For example, we can get 100% consensus if the question is "Do you believe in climate change?" We can get a near-100% consensus if the question is "Do you believe that humans have some effect on the climate?" This latter question also would include also local effects, like urbanization, clearing of forests, agriculture, etc.

So one has to be rather careful and always ask: What is the exact question for which a consensus has been claimed?

Subverting Peer Review

Finally, we should point out that a consensus can be manufactured-even where no consensus exists. For example, it has become very popular to claim that 97% of all publications support AGW. Here the key question to ask is: Which publications and what exactly is the form of support?

Thanks to the revelations of the Climategate e-mails, we now have a more skeptical view about the process which is used to vet publications. We know now that peer-review, once considered by many as the `gold-standard,' can be manipulated-and in fact has been manipulated by a gang of UK and US climate scientists who have been very open about their aim to keep dissenting views from being published. We also know from the same e-mails that editors can be bullied by determined activists.

In any case, the peer-review process can easily be slanted by the editor, who usually selects the reviewers. And some editors misuse their position to advance their personal biases.

We have, for example, the case of a former editor of Science who was quite open about his belief in DAGW, and actively discouraged publication of any papers that went against his bias. Finally, he had to be shamed into giving voice to a climate skeptic's contrary opinion, based on solid scientific evidence. But of course, he reserved to himself the last word in the debate.

My occasional scientific coauthors David Douglass (U. of Rochester) and John Christy (U. of Alabama, Huntsville) describe a particularly egregious instance of the blatant subversion of peer-review-all supported by evidence from Climategate e-mails.

Confusing the Issue

Further, we should mention the possibility of confusing the public, and often many scientists as well, by clever use of words. I will give just two examples:

It is often pointed out that there has been essentially no warming trend in the last 15 years-even though greenhouse forcing from carbon dioxide has been steadily increasing. At the same time, climate activists claim that the past decade is the warmest since thermometer records were started.

It happens that both statements are true; yet they do not contradict each other. How is this possible?

We are dealing here with a case of simple confusion. On the one hand we have a temperature trend which has been essentially zero for at least 15 years. On the other hand, we have a temperature level which is highest since the Little Ice Age ended, around 1800 A.D.

Note that `level' and `trend' are quite different concepts-and even use different units. Level is measured in degreesC; trend is measured in degC per decade. [This is a very general problem; for example, many people confuse electric energy with electric power; one is measured in joules or kilowatt-hours; the other is measured in kilowatts.]

It may help here to think of prices on the stock market. The Dow-Jones index has more or less been level for the last several weeks, fluctuating between 15,000 and 16,000, showing essentially a zero trend; but it is at its highest level since the D-J index was started in 1896.

This is only one example by which climate activists can confuse the public-and often even themselves-into believing that there is a consensus on DAGW. Look at two typical recent headlines:

"2013 sixth-hottest year, confirms long-term warming: UN"
"U.S. Dec/Jan Temperatures 3rd Coldest in 30 Years"

Both are correct, but neither mentions the important fact that the trend has been flat for at least 15 years-thus falsifying the greenhouse climate models, all of which predict a strong future warming.

And of course, government climate policies are all based on such unvalidated climate models-which have already been proven wrong. Yet the latest UN-IPCC report of Sept 2013 claims to be 95% certain about DAGW! Aware of the actual temperature data, how can they claim this and keep a straight face?

Their laughable answer: 95% of climate models agree; therefore the observations must be wrong! One can only shake one's head sadly at such a display of "science."

Another trick question by activists trying to sell a "consensus": "If you are seriously ill and 99 doctors recommend a certain treatment, would you go with the one doctor who disagrees?"

It all depends. Suppose I do some research and find that all 99 doctors got their information from a single (anonymous) article in Wikipedia, what then?

Opinion Polls

Both sides in the climate debate have made active use of opinion polls. In 1990, when I started to become seriously involved in climate-change arguments and incorporated the SEPP (Science & Environmental Policy Project), I decided to poll the experts. Having limited funds, and before the advent of widespread e-mail, I polled the officers of the listed technical committees of the American Meteorological Society-a sample of less than 100. I figured those must be the experts.

I took the precaution of isolating myself from this survey by enlisting the cooperation of Dr Jay Winston, a widely respected meteorologist, skeptical of climate skeptics. And I employed two graduate students who had no discernible expertise in climate issues to conduct the actual survey and analyze the returns.

This exercise produced an interesting result: Roughly half of the AMS experts believed there must be a significant human influence on the climate through the release of carbon dioxide-while the other half had considerable doubt about the validity of climate models.

Subsequent polls, for example those by Hans von Storch in Germany, have given similar results-while polls conducted by activists have consistently shown strong support for AGW. A classic case is a survey of the abstracts of nearly 1000 papers, by science historian Naomi Oreskes (UC San Diego); published in 2004 Science, she claimed a near-unanimous consensus about AGW. However, after being challenged, Oreskes discovered having overlooked some 11,000 abstracts-and published a discreet Correction in a later issue of Science.

On the other hand, independent polls by newspapers, by Pew, Gallup, and other respected organizations, using much larger samples, have mirrored the results of my earlier AMS poll. But what has been most interesting is the gradual decline over the years in public support for DAGW, as shown by these independent polls.

Over the years also, there have been a large number of "declarations, manifestos, and petitions"-signed by scientists, and designed to influence public opinion-starting with the "Leipzig Declaration" of 1995. Noteworthy among the many is the Copenhagen Diagnosis (2009), published to build up hype for a UN conference that failed utterly.

It is safe to say that the overall impact of such polls has been minimal, compared to the political consequences of UN-IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) reports that led to (mostly failed) attempts at international action, like the Kyoto Protocol (1997-2012). One should mention here the Oregon Petition against Kyoto, signed by some 31,000 (mostly US) scientists and engineers-nearly 10,000 with advanced degrees. More important perhaps, in July 1997 the US Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution against a Kyoto-like treaty by unanimous vote-which probably dissuaded the Clinton-Gore White House from ever submitting Kyoto for Senate ratification.

Is Consensus still an issue?

By now, the question of a scientific consensus on AGW may have become largely academic. What counts are the actual climate observations, which have shaken public faith in climate models that preach DAGW. The wild claims of the IPCC are being offset by the more sober, fact-based publications of the NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change). While many national science academies and organizations still cling to the ever-changing "evidence" presented by the IPCC, it may be significant that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has translated and published a condensation of NIPCC reports.

In the words of physicist Prof Howard "Cork" Hayden:

"If the science were as certain as climate activists pretend, then there would be precisely one climate model, and it would be in agreement with measured data. As it happens, climate modelers have constructed literally dozens of climate models. What they all have in common is a failure to represent reality, and a failure to agree with the other models. As the models have increasingly diverged from the data, the climate clique have nevertheless grown increasingly confident-from cocky in 2001 (66% certainty in IPCC's Third Assessment Report) to downright arrogant in 2013 (95% certainty in the Fifth Assessment Report)."

Climate activists seem to embrace faith and ideology-and are no longer interested in facts.


John Kerry's Climate McCarthyism Demeans Science

If you put John Kerry, Barack Obama and Tom Steyer in a room together, you would still yet to have a single scientist there. Even so, the three are hypocritically leading a campaign to demonize climate scientists at NASA, NOAA, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Columbia, etc., because the three political kingpins don't agree with the scientists' conclusions about global warming.

Kerry put this climate McCarthyism in the spotlight this week when he called the scientists at the above prestigious institutions "shoddy scientists" and members "of the Flat Earth Society." Sorry, John, but ramping up personal attacks against scientists who disagree with you does nothing to hide the fact that your alleged climate consensus is nothing more than a self-delusional myth.

If scientific truths were determined merely by a show of hands, and if people expressing dissenting scientific views had always been blackballed from expressing their views to the public, people would indeed still believe the world is flat. Fortunately for science, and unfortunately for Kerry, the Scientific Method encourages rather than blackballs critical inquiry and scientific debate. Kerry, Obama and Steyer may seek to employ climate McCarthyism to silence scientific inquiry, but neither scientists nor the public are being fooled by their heavy-handedness and mean-spirited personal attacks.

This Is Alarmist Consensus?

Even if we were to accept the infallible primacy of consensus, climate McCarthyists would still be in an embarrassing predicament.

More than 31,000 scientists have signed a summary of the science explaining why humans are not creating a global warming crisis. There is no document making the case for global warming alarmism with nearly as many scientists' signatures.

A survey of more than 1,800 atmospheric scientists within the American Meteorological Society shows less than half of the scientists believe humans are the primary cause of recent warming.

Comprehensive scientific summaries presented by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change reveal thousands of peer-reviewed studies contradict the alarmist global warming narrative.

In a survey of more than 500 climate scientists conducted by scientists at Germany's Institute for Coastal Research, less than half agreed that "Natural scientists have established enough physical evidence to turn the issue of global climate change over to social scientists for matters of policy discussion."

Scientific organizations such as the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences dispute the notion that humans are causing a global warming crisis. Others, such as the American Physical Society, point out that scientists are sharply split on the issue.

Public Not Fooled, Either

Even more maddening for climate McCarthyists is the general public's refusal to buy into "The Great Consensus" lie. Living in a political world where a media-emboldened president can create new laws or negate duly passed congressional legislation by sheer will and the stroke of a pen, the three political kingpins cannot fathom a world where the general public does not similarly fall into line whenever Obama says so. But whipping the general public into line is a much more difficult task than Obama whipping his lap-dog media into line.

A recent survey conducted by the Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication reveals only 15 percent of Americans are "very worried" about global warming. A larger number of Americans - 23 percent - don't believe global warming is happening at all. The most commonly held point of view - encompassing 38 percent of Americans - is that global warming is happening but is only "somewhat" worrisome. The survey also found only 38 percent of Americans expect to be harmed a "great deal" or even a "moderate amount" by global warming.

Another recent poll conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows Americans rank global warming dead last among 13 public policy priorities. Just 27 percent said addressing climate change should be a policy priority. A 41 percent plurality said Obama and Congress should wait before addressing climate change.

It's not just Americans who see through the climate McCarthyism charade. A survey conducted by Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, found less than half of Australians believe humans are a large factor regarding climate change. The subset is even smaller when those Australians who believe humans are causing climate change are asked whether they are very worried about it.

The Grand Poobah of Alarmist Myths

This leads us to the Grand Poobah of alarmist global warming myths - the assertion that 97 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing a global warming crisis.

To counter the skeptical consensus documented above, global warming alarmists frequently make the unsubstantiated assertion that 97 percent of scientists believe humans are causing a global warming crisis. The closest thing to actual evidence supporting such a claim is a couple of "surveys" conducted by global warming alarmists asking a cherry-picked group of their peers whether (1) the Earth has warmed during the past 100 years, since the Little Ice Age ended and (2) whether humans have played a role in the warming.

The two questions are meaningless in the global warming debate, as neither of these questions addresses the issues dividing alarmists and skeptics. Nobody disputes that the Little Ice Age is thankfully over (and ended while human carbon dioxide emissions were still quite minimal), and the vast majority of skeptics believe carbon dioxide emissions have modestly added to the natural warming. So skeptics like me answer "yes" to both questions and are then lumped into the 97 percent consensus.

Importantly, these 97 percent "surveys" deliberately avoid addressing the questions that divide alarmists and skeptics, such as the context of recent warming compared to the warmer temperatures that prevailed during the past several thousand years, the pace of recent warming, the likely pace of future warming, whether humans were better off during the Little Ice Age compared to today, whether future warming will benefit or harm human welfare, to what degree future warming may benefit or harm human welfare, whether the alarmists' prescribed "solutions" would effectively mitigate future warming and whether any future temperature mitigation is worth the immense costs of the alarmists' prescribed solutions.

By asking survey questions that do not address the core issues dividing alarmists and skeptics, global warming alarmists attempt to divert people's attention away from the skeptical consensus documented above. They deliberately cite the meaningless 97 percent consensus out of context and then ask trite and simple-minded questions like, "If 97 percent of the world's doctors say you have a life-threatening medical impairment and you need surgery to address it, would you listen to the 97 percent or the three percent who disagreed?"

This is like citing a survey in which 97 percent of doctors agree that people should seek professional medical attention for serious ailments, and then making a misleading and unsubstantiated jump in logic to assert that 97 percent of doctors support Obamacare. In reality, the alarmists' assertions of a 97-percent consensus merely prove that 97 percent of global warming activists are either ignorant about the global warming debate or are dishonest when explaining it.

But climate McCarthyism isn't about analyzing scientific evidence and comparing scientific theories. It is about telling scientific falsehoods and then having political kingpins preemptively denounce and insult honorable scientists at the world's most prestigious research institutions by calling them "shoddy scientists" and members "of the Flat Earth Society" simply because the scientists disagree with the politicians.

John Kerry and his fellow political kingpins may believe that climate McCarthyism will score points with global warming zealots and a compliant media, but real scientists and most of the general public are not buying it.


Electricity Price Index Soars to New Record at Start of 2014; U.S. Electricity Production Declining

Big loss of coal-fired plants the main factor

The electricity price index soared to a new high in January 2014 with the largest month-to-month increase in almost four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meanwhile, data from the Energy Information Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, indicates that electricity production in the United States has declined since 2007, when it hit its all-time peak.

The U.S. is producing less electricity than it did seven years ago for a population that has added more than 14 million people.

"The electricity index rose 1.8 percent, its largest increase since March 2010," said BLS in its summary of the Consumer Price Index released Thursday.

Electricity Price Index: In December, the seasonally adjusted electricity index was 203.740. In January, it climbed to a new high of 207.362.

Back in January 2013, the electricity price index stood at 198.679. It thus climbed about 4.4 percent over the course of a year.

Last month, the average price for a kilowatthour (KWH) of electricity in a U.S. city also hit an all-time January high of 13.4 cents, according to BLS. That marks the first time the average price for a KWH has ever exceeded 13 cents in the month of January, when the price of electricity is normally lower than in the summer months.

Average Price for a KWH in January:  A year ago, in January 2013, a KWH cost 12.9 cents. The increase in the price of a KWH from January 2013 to January 2014 was about 3.9 percent.

During the year, the price of a KWH of electricity usually rises in the spring, peaks in summer, declines in fall, and is at its lowest point in winter. In 2013, the average price of a KWH in each of the 12 months of the year set a record for that particular month. January 2014's price of 13.4 cents per KWH set a new record for January.

Historically, in the United States, rising electricity prices have not been inevitable. In the first decades after World War II, the U.S. rapidly increased it electricity production, including on a per capita basis. Since 2007, the U.S. has decreased its electricity production, including on a per capita basis.

In the 1950s and 1960s, when U.S. electricity generation was increasing at a rapid pace, the seasonally adjusted U.S. electricity price index remained relatively stable. In January 1959, the electricity index stood at 29.2, according to BLS. A decade later, in January 1969, it was 30.2-an increase of 3.4 percent over a 10-year span.

That 3.4-percent increase in the index from January 1959 to January 1969 was less than the 4.4 percent the index increased from January 2013 to January 2014.

Over the last seven years, according to the EIA, the U.S. has actually decreased its total net electricity generation, although not in an unbroken downward line from year to year (generation did increase from 2009 to 2010 before going down again in 2011 and 2012).

The combined 439,391 million KWH increase in electricity generation from natural gas, wind and solar did not cover the 502,413 million KWH decline in the electricity generated by coal.

Coal was not the only source that produced less electricity in 2012 than in 2007, according to the EIA data.

Electricity from nuclear power plants dropped from 806,425 million KWH in 2007 to 769,331 in 2012-a decline of 37,094 million KWH or 4.6 percent.

Electricity generated from petroleum sources dropped from 65,739 million KWH in 2007 to 23,190 million KWH in 2012-a decline of 42,549 million KWH or about 64.7 percent.

Conventional hydroelectric means of generating electricity hit their peak in 1997, a decade before overall electricity generation peaked in the United States. In that year, the U.S. produced 385,946 million KWH of electricity through conventional hydroelectric power. By 2012, that had dropped to 276,240 million KWH, a decline of 109,706 million KWH or 28.4 percent.


Canadian Government slams the door in the face of Big Green

In the ongoing,  mammoth underground `Rockefeller vs. Canada Battle', it's Rockefeller 0, Canada 1.

You can hear the enviro screams from Canada all the way to the American EPA-latest warrior to join the battle against the long-detained Keystone XL Pipeline.

Just about everyone in the lib-left mainstream media of both Canada and the U.S.A. are shouting rape because of Canada Revenue's 2013-2014 audit of high-profile environmental groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Tides Canada, Environmental Defence, the Pembina Foundation, Eqiuiterre and the Ecology Action Centre, among others.

They're demanding to know "WHY?"

Though the environmental groups will slice the pie of reasons into thousands of pieces, it's because the Canadian government finally decided to take a stand for the Canadian Aboriginal people and for Canadian interests.

In doing so, the Canadian Government took on the Goliath of the Environmental money war.

This is the biggest outcome:  The Rockefeller Foundation, leader of the pack of the American billionaires pouring millions into the fake, anti-oilsands shell organizations that flourish in Canada,  has had the door slammed in its face.

With stand-off impunity,  Rockefeller money runs the enviro world in North America, its deep pockets making it a veritable Goliath.  But make no mistake, that red imprint on the Rockefeller Foundation face looks an awful lot like a maple leaf.

The dirty little secret of the Keystone XL Pipeline is out: Rockefeller Foundation cash runs the Keystone Pipeline resistance, and it does so on the backs of poverty-stricken Aboriginal activists.  In fact  the oilsands are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in Canada.

Being paid just to hold an anti-oilsands sign and make a little white noise in orchestrated protests goes a long, long way when you have hungry children waiting at home.

With a battle cry as hushed as a farmer's field in Winter, the Rockefellers came in to the Land of the Maple Leaf with the election of President Barack Obama back in 2008.  That's when the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, headquartered in New York, wrote a 48-page campaign plan targeting Canada's oilsands.  Someone should show the Rockefellers a map of the 49th parallel.

Big boys with big money that are slippery as fish, up until now could count on camouflage to cover their job-killing anti-Canadian missions.

"They committed to a whopping $7 million yearly budget for this battle, now in its fifth year." (Levant).

"Page 36 of their plan couldn't be more clear: They need to put a non-billionaire, non-New York face on their campaign.

"They needed the help of groups like the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN).

"The plan was conceived and planned and funded and managed by white guys in New York.

"So they made a call down to central casting to order themselves up, to quote their campaign plan, "First Nations and other legal challenges."

In the `Rockefeller Vs. Canada Battle', celebrities get to sign their names to full-page anti-oilsands newspaper ads, the Indians get to do the grunt work.

Tom Goldtooth from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), based in Minnesota made this telling statement to the Washington Post when he said his Aboriginal activists were pretty much only called upon by white billionaires "when they need something".

As Levant aptly points out,  "the real money in Canadian environmentalism - the most radical money - isn't Canadian.  "It's from U.S. billionaires and their foundations."

Add to the bully boys spreading big money to fight Canada, the U.S.-based Tides Foundation, also pouring millions into vulnerable Indian activists, directing them in a staged play against Canada's interests.

Now that the cat's out of the bag, giants of the mainstream media are starting to report on the hideous hypocrisy of the radical environmental movement.

Only recently the Post stepped up to the plate with the somewhat anemic headline: "Within mainstream environmentalist groups, diversity is lacking".  The Post called out millionaire Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s organization known as the Waterkeepers for being all white guys.  "Is it surprising that out of 200 waterkeepers in his club across America, only one is black?" the Post asked.

"Kennedy's club is whiter than the wheat board.  "They're almost as white as the Klan."

Kennedys' Waterkeepers , around since 1999, and forging deep trails into Canada for decades,  has been whiter than the wheat board for a long time.

Canada continues to let Kennedy play here, but as As Ezra Levant colourfully points out:  "See, if it were a trust fund-kid like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. - let alone a Rockefeller (whose family billions came from oil) - attacking Canada's oil industry, we would laugh and run them out of town."

The same American billionaires who destroy thousands of jobs when they do President Barack Obama's bidding in Small Town America are no longer welcome in The Land of the Maple Leaf.

They can get out of Dodge and stay out of Dodge.


Are YOU a 'global warming Nazi'? People who label sceptics 'deniers' will kill more people than the Holocaust, claims scientist

Barack Obama, David Cameron and Richard Branson are all `global warming Nazis'.

This is according to scientist Roy Spencer, who is a professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and a vocal denier of man-made climate change.

Dr Spencer believe that people who label those against human-induced global warming `climate deniers' will `kill far more people than the Nazis ever did.'

He argues, these same people should be appropriately labelled as `global warming Nazis.'

`When politicians and scientists started calling people like me "deniers", they crossed the line. They are still doing it,' he wrote in a blog post published yesterday.

Use of the term 'climate deniers' became controversial after John Howard, former Australian Prime Minister, said that the term was used with 'malice aforethought'.

But In November, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he is entitled to call Tory climate sceptics 'deniers' despite a warning by the government's chief scientist that it is an abusive term.

'Surely I can agree with his scientific advice without agreeing with the choice of verbs, adjectives or nouns,' Clegg said.

Sir Mark Walport told MPs last year that he was uncomfortable with the term. He said: 'As far as possible it is always best to avoid abuse.

'People do get heated and emotional about this. But we have to be clear that those who argue against the human contribution of climate change are wrong.'

`They indirectly equate the sceptics' view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with the denial that the Nazi's extermination of millions of Jews ever happened' wrote Spencer on his blog.

`Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison,' he continues. `It's time to push back.'

His reasoning in using the word Nazis is because climate activists are, in his words, 'anti-capitalist fascists'.

`[They are] willing to sacrifice millions of lives of poor people at the altar of radical environmentalism,' he wrote.

The words come from a prominent figure in debates surrounding climate change.

Dr Spencer has been a called number of times by the Republican Party to give evidence to Congress.

But the term `climate change denier' isn't hated by everyone.

Dr Richard Lindzen, when asked which descriptive term he preferred, said: `I actually like "denier." That's closer than "sceptic"'.

Steve Milloy, the operator of the climate change denial website, told Popular Science, `Me, I just stick with "denier" ... I'm happy to be a denier.'

Dr Spencer has previously said: `I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimise the role of government.'

In the opening and closing of his blog, he writes: `Yeah, somebody pushed my button.'


BBC flogs dead horse

One could only utter a hollow laugh at the desperation of the BBC last week, in programme after programme, to put over its fond belief that our wettest winter for 84 years is all due to man-made climate change.

Today wheeled on the jailbird Chris Huhne to sell the message, impartially balanced by a chap saying much the same from the engineering firm CH2M Hill, which Evan Davis coyly failed to explain makes a fortune from renewable energy.

Newsnight had Prof Kevin Anderson from that hotbed of climate zealotry, the University of East Anglia, to tell us that despite global temperatures having remained pretty flat for 17 years, by 2100 they will somehow have leapt up by a staggering 6C.

When Panorama, in a programme called Britain Underwater, peddled a similar message - with the aid of such climate sages as the journalists George Monbiot and Sir Simon Jenkins - one wearily recalled a Panorama of November 14 2000 with exactly the same title, blaming floods in Yorkshire on global warming (on that occasion, with the aid of John Prescott).

Yet how strange that the BBC never quotes the latest report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which it normally cites as gospel, saying that "there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale".

In other words, whatever the BBC's propagandists may try to tell us, not even the IPCC believes it.



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24 February, 2014

Where are the Global Warmists for Freedom?

Warmism is an essentially  Authoritarian creed

By Daren Jonescu

Global warming "admitters" -- to distinguish you from those of us you call "deniers" -- I have a question for you: Do any of you have an answer to the cataclysm your settled science has proven beyond any possible doubt is coming which does not require totalitarian measures?

Let me rephrase that, in case the connotations of the phrase "totalitarian measures" have not yet passed peer review, in which case their meaning may not be able to reach minds occupying the rarefied atmosphere of pure science.  My question, then, is: Do you, or any of your gods of peer review, propose solutions to anthropogenic global climate change which do not involve the violation of property rights, the restraint of individual liberty regarding matters of self-preservation (i.e., jobs and wealth-creation), the weakening of every nation's sovereignty in favor of increased "global governance," and the expanded empowerment of thousands of bureaucrats, think-tankers, and advisors accountable to no one?

I ask this only because it has become apparent that you admitters, who are undoubtedly on the right side of history -- at least compared with the anti-science Neanderthals over on this side of the fence -- are absolutely at wit's end (or even a little beyond that) in seeking to understand how anyone could possibly continue in ignorance, when both Leonardo DiCaprio and Scarlett Johansson are on the side of Truth.  Concerned about your shattered (but scientifically settled!) nerves, I propose to help you out with a little inside baseball concerning the intellectual (yeah, I know, silly word choice) reticence of the unbelievers to join in your celebration of the revealed religion.

Having lived for some time as a kind of fellow-traveler in the ranks of the denier class -- I know how your leaders on the political side of things like the word "class" -- I believe I have divined one of the major causes of their decision to remain steeped in blindness.  To wit, one of the deniers' real bugaboos about accepting the world's first ever settled science -- and if we can't accept science that certain, then what must we think of the heliocentric universe? -- is that the pure science of global warming seems to have allowed itself to be absorbed completely into a political movement bent on circumventing the rule of law and individual rights in the name of unlimited power.  Yes, I know it seems crazy, but some us still imagine we are individual living entities, with a natural urge to preserve ourselves and determine our own paths in life with a view to -- I'll wait for you to catch your breath and stop laughing - the pursuit of happiness, through virtuous action freely chosen and intellectual interests freely pursued.

In light of this archaism of individualism that we choose to cling to -- rather bitterly I'm afraid -- we tend to be somewhat touchy about authoritarianism, regardless of the auspices under which it is pursued.  Hence, although we like a bit of national security from our national governments, we tend not to be so keen on government agencies gaining clandestine access to our private communications, fondling our women-folk at airports -- "women-folk" was just to remind you that we're hicks -- or otherwise intruding upon our daily lives in the name of protecting us.  Similarly, although we are more than capable of feeling concern for, and sympathy with, the poor, infirm, and elderly, we see no justification in this for the state to confiscate our income -- which is to say our time and labor, i.e., our lives -- in order to do generically and coercively what we could more easily (and in all likelihood more effectively) do through voluntary action, i.e., as free, moral citizens.  To put this another way, I do not see how my desire to help someone in need affords me the privilege of forcing my neighbor at gunpoint to do the same.

And this last observation brings us back to the matter at hand.  Listen carefully now -- painful as it may be to decipher my non-peer-reviewed accent, I really am trying to do you a favor.  After all, we all believe plenty of dumb things in our lives, and get suckered by dozens of false prophets of one kind or another.  I see no reason why you climate change admitters should be forcibly divested of your faith.  Perhaps, in the long run, it will advance the cause of happiness for you in some unforeseen way, as our most regrettable follies often seem to be able to do.  Who knows what benefit might accrue to a true believer of your sort, assuming he does not find himself on the business end of a glass of progressive Kool-Aid before he finds his way back to non-settled reality?

Here, then, is my point.  Is it conceivable -- just conceivable -- to you that, having achieved the Nirvana of settled science regarding man-made climate change, you might seek to persuade your unfortunate brothers on the outside to see the light, and to join you in voluntarily altering your collective behavior in the direction of a less carbonated world?  And that you might just accept the unfortunate possibility that, should you be unable to persuade us, the imaginary effect you suppose us to be having on the climate may have to continue through to its ultimate imaginary apocalypse, given that the alternative solution -- brute force aimed at curtailing human life -- would be draconian, tyrannical, and inhuman?

The fear we deniers have, and one reason we are unable to submit to all your peer-reviewed scholarship, is that your bottom-line answer to these questions is, has been, and apparently always will be "No."  Here's the little secret you seem to have overlooked: As long as your AGW advocacy -- has there ever been a more "advocated" scientific hypothesis? -- remains consubstantially linked to progressive collectivist political advocacy, no one out here in the non-settled world is ever going to take you seriously.

Oh, I know -- this is not about totalitarianism; it's just that the severity of the impending cataclysm should we "do nothing" makes strong, coordinated, immediate government action necessary in this case.  That "this case is different" mantra has been essential to the cause from day one.  And that is exactly what bothers some of us.  Where are the global warmists for freedom?  Where is just one such person?  Instead you have Michael Mann, who has officially parlayed his peer-reviewed status into a Nobel Prize he never actually received, a refusal to release the data he used to settle the science, and a season as the poster boy for the left's new strategy of silencing "deniers" through legal intimidation, via his lawsuit against Mark Steyn and the National Review.

Why is every "concerned" response to the settled science some variation on tyranny, Goebbels-style propaganda ("97 percent of scientists agree"), or violent accusations of "idiocy" (polite version) against everyone who does not swallow the propaganda whole, and follow you into your tyranny?  This is your problem: credibility.  This may seem strange, given that you have all the peer-reviewed settled science on your side.  Unfortunately, you also have Al Gore, Barack Obama, Herman van Rompuy, the United Nations, Prince Charles, and sundry other progressive elite men and organizations on your side.  And they are using your settled science as an excuse to impose tyranny.  And you are saying nothing against this -- quite the contrary, in fact.

In brief, "I need to take over your life, but it's for your own good," is not a line of argument men who still imagine themselves to be human are likely to accept, regardless of how many computer models you can provide to show them why you are demanding it.  You see?  It's a credibility issue after all.  For, in our (admittedly unsettled) minds, you are not enlightening us with science; you are enslaving us with lawless government.

In case you still cannot understand what I am talking about, allow me to conclude by seeing your settled cataclysm, and raising you a moral calamity.

I believe our society has become morally unhinged.  Our popular entertainment is rife with sounds, words, and images that would have been considered hardcore pornography in the not too distant past, but that are now available to -- indeed, aimed at -- every twelve year old, everywhere, all the time.  The effect of this degradation of the sentiments on education, the development of moral character, marriage and family, and adult socio-political life, is as settled, in the sense of unmistakably obvious, as any of your computer climate models -- and even has the added significance of being observable in the real world, rather than merely in the computer model.

I sincerely believe that if this trend continues, there will be no saving civilization and rational thought on this planet, barring a complete breakdown and renewal which could take centuries before anything resembling a decent social order was regained.  It is possible -- and I do not exaggerate -- that the only way to turn this around before it is too late would involve, at a minimum, eliminating all modern popular music, and its accompanying imagery, from public availability immediately.

Furthermore, I believe it might be necessary to institute a program of forced "access" to corrective musical forms for every human being -- let's say two hours per day consisting exclusively of Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann, with one hour per week allowed for free choice from among any approved selections from any historical period prior to 1820.  Anyone caught listening to music composed after that year would face fines or imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense.  One who abstained from his weekly free choice hour for a given number of weeks might be permitted to trade those hours for an hour of some more recent compositions, though the options would of course be limited to avoid overtly negative influences, e.g. Wagner.

Crazy, right?  And yet I am one hundred percent sure that if everyone followed a music-listening program similar to the one I have just advised, rather than the one most people have reduced themselves and their children to today, the world would be a better place on all levels, and just might avoid any further moral collapse of the sort that allows people to run submissively into the arms of totalitarian government just because Al Gore or Michael Mann told them to.

I have described, somewhat fancifully, what might save us.  And yet I would never actually propose it in practice, or advocate for it during political campaigns, or call people who disagree with me about the effects of Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga "morons."  (Okay, I might do that last one.)

Why not?  Because, through it all, and in spite of my belief that all my arguments are likely to be in vain, I cannot accept the proposition that my diagnosis of the ills of modern life, or my prognosis for the future if the current trajectory continues, give me -- or anyone else, elected or otherwise -- the moral authority to impose a new way of life on other human beings against their will.  So I am forced by the moral self-restraint of a rational individualist to try to persuade people, to show them what I mean, and to convince them to pursue a better life according to my best lights.  I cannot force them at gunpoint, just as they cannot force me.

So why, then, do you climate change admitters unanimously reject this option, and head straight for the Obamas, Kerrys, and Clintons of the world as your saviors?  Go ahead, try to persuade me.  Bury me in peer-reviewed articles, arguments from authority, decline-hiding fudgable facts and figures, anything you like.  I will listen, if your case is at least entertaining.  But I will shut you out the moment you begin telling me what I must do, or what governments are going to impose upon me in violation of my natural rights, "for my own good."

As soon as you go that way, we deniers start to suspect that tyranny, not science, was your real motive all along.  Get it?  Then try to prove us wrong.


High court climate case looks at EPA's power

 Industry groups and Republican-led states are heading an attack at the Supreme Court against the Obama administration's sole means of trying to limit power-plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.

As President Barack Obama pledges to act on environmental and other matters when Congress doesn't, or won't, opponents of regulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases cast the rule as a power grab of historic proportions.

The court is hearing arguments Monday about a small but important piece of the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to cut the emissions — a requirement that companies expanding industrial facilities or building new ones that would increase overall pollution must also evaluate ways to reduce the carbon they release.

Environmental groups and even some of their opponents say that whatever the court decides, EPA still will be able to move forward with broader plans to set emission standards for greenhouse gases for new and existing power plants.

But a court ruling against the EPA almost undoubtedly would be used to challenge every step of the agency's effort to deal with climate change, said Jacob Hollinger, a partner with the McDermott Will and Emery law firm in New York and a former EPA lawyer.

Republicans have objected strenuously to the administration's decision to push ahead with the regulations after Congress failed to pass climate legislation.

In 2012, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the EPA was "unambiguously correct" in using existing federal law to address global warming.

Monday's case, for which the court has expanded argument time to 90 minutes from the usual 60, stems from the high court's 2007 ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the agency has the authority under the Clean Air Act to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles.

Two years later, with Obama in office, the EPA concluded that the release of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases endangered human health and welfare. The administration used that finding to extend its regulatory reach beyond automobiles and develop national standards for large stationary sources.


Vilsack Won't Blame Climate Change for Snowy Winter, But ‘Climate Is Changing’

 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack did not link this winter’s frigid and snowy weather in much of the country to global warming, but said the “climate is changing” and the federal government wants to help the country’s food producers.

At a press conference on Thursday at the United States Agriculture Department’s (USDA) annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, asked Vilsack if global warming or climate change were to blame for the recent cold and snowy weather.

“You know, I don’t think scientists would suggest that any one weather incident can be attributed to one specific issue, but I think it’s fair to say that the climate is changing over a longer period of time,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack said climate change was the incentive for his Feb. 5 announcement of the creation of “Regional Hubs for Risk Adaption and Mitigation to Climate Change” at seven locations around the country.

The press release announcing the hubs stated that the hubs are part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan to “responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment.”

“And that’s one of the reasons why we felt it necessary to establish these climate change hubs to be able to do a very longitudinal, thoughtful, data-driven study of the risks and the vulnerabilities of each region of the country relative to agriculture and forestry to come up with strategies to allow producers to adapt and mitigate to the changes they’re seeing,” Vilsack said. “And to then use our extension service to make sure that they get the information that allows them to adapt and mitigate.

“We’re seeing a lot of circumstances that require adjustments on the part of producers and we want to be able to provide as much help and assistance as we can,” Vilsack said.

Later in the press conference Vilsack said his agency is “clearly focused on climate change.”

Aside from climate change, the conference offered participants a wide range of workshops with topics ranging from attracting a new generation of farmers, food prices, and how to deal with “invasive pests.”



The Green Gulag

8,000 people die in the UK every year due to what is being called "Fuel Poverty". Fuel Poverty is a trendy term for those who can't afford to heat their home because all the solar panels and windmills, the coal bans and the wars on fracking have made it too expensive for people not to freeze to death..

The left, which never misses a chance to blame profiteering for the failure of its policies, is staging "Die-Ins" outside energy companies to protect the real "Die-Ins" that they caused. But the real "Die-Ins" don't involve bored university students lying down on the concrete and posting the results to Tumblr. They end with the generation that saved Europe from Hitler dying in their own homes.

Rising fuel prices can in no small part be attributed to environmental mania. Energy companies are not run by saints, but neither do they have an interest in pricing their product out of the reach of ordinary people. It's hard to sell home heat to the dead or the destitute. On the other hand environmentalists do indeed want to make it hard for ordinary to be able to afford to heat their homes. That's not a conspiracy theory. It's their policy.

Talk of using carbon credits for "super-energy efficiency" is an admission that a movement using dead seniors as a prop is actually pushing to make energy use as expensive as possible and to reduce its use as much as possible. The "Die In" crowd isn't for lowering energy prices, it's for adding more taxes that will benefit their own parasitic clean energy experts.

Say what you will about energy companies, but their business plan involves selling a product. The anti-energy environmentalists want to make it as expensive as possible. The costs of their policies are not just a talking point, but a grim reality.

The family that has to choose between feeding their children or being able to drive to work and heat their home is not a talking point; they are the new Kulaks, the victims of an ideological activist policy that is killing innocent people for the Green greater good of the environment.

Stalin killed millions to industrialize the Soviet Union, the Green Left is preparing to kill millions to deindustrialize North America, Europe and Australia. It's already doing it. While its activists are trying to peg the blame for fuel poverty fatalities on a government which is badly out of cash, it need look no further than its own activists and celebrities who preach the green life from their mansions.

Clear energy has become the new Communism, an ideological program that can never be achieved, but for which we must all strive no matter how many die all along the way. In Scotland, the perennially deranged Scottish National Party called for generating 100 percent of the country's electricity from wind, wave and tidal power by 2020.

This plan would add 900 pounds to the average fuel bill. And that is how fuel poverty gets started.

Wales, which has the highest fuel poverty rate in the UK, is working on one of Europe's largest wind farms and has a plan for total clean energy by 2025, if anyone is still alive and hasn't frozen to death. Wind farms don't tend to do too well in the cold and human beings don't do too well without heat.

The current "green" policies will see higher prices for two out of three homes in the UK by the end of the decade. It's not energy companies, but government policies that are responsible, especially when companies and homeowners get saddled with the cost of wind farms and various voodoo measures to fight global warming that mainly end up putting money in the pockets of well-connected Greenies.

Americans complaining about high gas and oil prices can buckle up because that is only a taste of what is coming this way. Two years ago UK petrol prices hit 6 pounds per gallon. That's nearly 10 dollars, though for the imperial gallon which is higher than the US gallon. If you think it costs a lot to fill up a tank now, consider that the UK has a better ratio of production to population than we do. The high prices aren't an accident, they're part of the green program.

The Obama agenda isn't to make energy prices affordable, it's to make them so horribly impossible to afford that we'll use less energy.

Fuel poverty is the agenda here and we know that's so because he told us so.

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times  and then just expect that other countries are going to say ok," he said. And, "If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches."

That doesn't mean Obama can't heat the White House at 72 degrees or Hawaii level temperatures. It means that you can't do it. That's what fuel poverty really means. It means you have to freeze and if you die, then the community organizers of tomorrow will use your corpse as a prop in their ghoulish protests outside energy companies which have to not only cover all the clean energy boondoggles, but also take the blame for passing on the costs.

Every clean energy program comes with a rider for ending fuel poverty by 2015 or 2025 or 2255, which would be at least slightly more realistic, but it's the clean energy that's causing the fuel poverty. A program to create fuel poverty cannot be expected to prevent fuel poverty. A plan that makes energy use more expensive will not end fuel poverty, even with any amount of government subsidies.

The only thing that can end fuel poverty is cheap energy and that is what the left is dead set against.

Yet oddly enough there was a time when people were able to heat their homes and drive their cars, when they were even able to carry shopping bags, minus Wales' tax on shopping bags, and afford to eat. That brief golden period was stomped out by the friends of the working class, who knew how urgent it was to make life harsh and miserable and who are busy finding ways to make it even worse.

All this is for the greater good. Someone's greater good anyway.

Clean energy is supposed to make for energy independence, but since going green the UK has become a net energy importer. Scotland risks going the same way. Enough ideological investment in not-ready for prime time technologies leads to people freezing to death and purchases of energy from outside to cover the shortfall.

When all else fails, fake the figures. Promise impossible energy savings from energy efficiency. Obama's original stimulus plan focused heavily on energy efficiency in order to save money and create jobs. It accomplished neither goal, but the right people in the right companies got paid, which is how it always works.

Green is too big to fail, even when people are turning blue. The left from Prince Charlie to the Caliph of Chicago keep telling us that we have to make do with less and part of making do with less is shivering in homes without heat or the planet will be destroyed.

You can't make an energy efficient omelet without killing 8,000 or so people a year.

Progress doesn't just mean unsightly factories and people putting on suits and going to work in corporations and all the other things that the left despises. It means the technological progress to keep large numbers of people from dying.

If the US or the UK are to embrace the living standards of Africa as Prince Charles would like us to, they will also embrace its mortality rates. A reduction in the standard of living at this scale and on such a comprehensive level amounts to mass murder.

The Soviet Union killed millions for its ideology. The Western left has only begun and the day will come when a few thousand pensioners dead in their homes will be weighed as the smallest part of their toll. 


The flooding of the Somerset Levels was deliberately engineered

The shocking truth is that these floods were not a natural disaster, but the result of deliberate policy

I fear the front-page story in The Telegraph – revealing that the worst of the flood damage could have been prevented – didn’t tell the half of it. Nor did another newspaper’s “exclusive” on the story, reported here last week, that the Met Office had forecast in November that the three months between December and February would be drier than usual.

Devastating evidence has now come to light not just that the floods covering 65 square miles of the Somerset Levels could have been prevented, but that they were deliberately engineered by Labour ministers in 2009, regardless of the property and human rights of the thousands of people whose homes and livelihoods would be affected. Furthermore, that wildly misleading Met Office forecast in November led the Environment Agency to take a step that has made the flooding infinitely more disastrous than it need have been.

The “smoking guns” begin with a policy decision announced in 2005 by Labour’s “floods minister” Elliot Morley, later to be jailed for fraudulently claiming more than £30,000 on his MP’s expenses. Under the heading “Saving wetland habitats: more money for key sites”, Morley directed that, to comply with the EU’s habitats directive and a part-EU-funded study involving the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the WWF and the Environment Agency, flooding in Somerset should be artificially promoted, because “wildlife will benefit from increased water levels”. The 13 local drainage boards, responsible for keeping the Levels properly managed, were all to be co-opted into implementing this policy.

The Environment Agency had already stopped proper dredging of the River Parrett, which provides the main channel draining floodwater on the Levels to the sea, because of the exorbitant cost of disposing of silt under EU waste regulations. And Morley had vetoed a proposal to build a new pumping station at Dunball, at the end of the massive Kings Sedgemoor Drain, which would have allowed much more effective, 24-hour pumping of flood water into the mouth of the Parrett estuary,

In 2008, an Environment Agency policy document on the “Parrett Catchment Area” admitted that it was “still not completely clear” how much the deliberate increase in flooding would breach “the property rights and Human Rights” of those whose homes and businesses would be damaged. Yet in 2009, the government gave £8?million to “restore” – ie, increase flooding on – 10 Somerset “floodplains”, including the purchase of a large area of farmland at Southlake Moor next to Burrowbridge on the Parrett, which had been drained since the 13th century. It was to be handed over to Natural England to “store” water as habitat for birds when, as the Met Office was already predicting, climate change would bring drier winters.

This was where November’s forecast came in, because it led the Environment Agency deliberately to flood Southlake Moor in the expectation of a dry winter. When those December and January rains poured down, this large expanse of water-sodden ground blocked the draining to the already horribly silted-up Parrett of a very much larger area of farmland to the east. This was made even worse by the lack of that Dunball pumping station, vetoed by Morley, at the sea end of the Kings Sedgemoor Drain.

Thus came about the disaster that has filled our television screens for weeks. The hydrology of this vast area had been sabotaged by the Labour government’s deliberate, EU-compliant policy, directed by the Environment Agency. Only thanks to the intervention of the current Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, are huge Dutch pumps at Dunball now belatedly pouring seven million tons of water a day into the sea – with dredging of the Parrett due to begin as soon as is practicable.

Much of this story has been painstakingly uncovered by my co-author Richard North, who has published links to all the relevant official documents on his EU Referendum blog. As he says, “not only can we now see just how this flooding was deliberately engineered. It was done in blatant disregard for the rights of all those who live and work there. The evidence is now so strong that they should seriously consider suing the Government for compensation for the damage they have suffered, which could well amount to hundreds of millions of pounds.”


Wind farms paid £30m to shut down during high winds

Energy minister Michael Fallon orders wind farms to cut compensation charges as figures show they are paid millions for turbines to stand still in stormy weather

Onshore wind farms are being paid £30 million a year to sit idle during the windiest weather.

The payments are made because the cables which transmit power from the turbines to the National Grid cannot cope with the amount of electricity they produce during stormy conditions.

Ministers are launching a fresh crackdown on the compensation charges – which ultimately end up on customers’ bills - and are threatening to force power companies to reduce the cost of the payments.

Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, has written to renewable power companies warning that he is ready to change the law to force wind farms to lower their prices if they fail to cut the costs voluntarily.

The scale of the compensation payments, which can be disclosed for the first time, will fuel opposition to wind generators from campaigners who argue that they are inefficient and blight the landscape.

The payments are made to wind farm owners on top of “green subsidies” that they already receive to encourage renewable power plants to be built.

These subsidies are set by the government but paid ultimately from customers’ household bills.

On a daily basis, the National Grid forecasts what the likely demand for electricity will be and assesses it against the generating capacity of wind farms, as well as coal, gas and nuclear power stations.

When there is expected to be too much electricity generated by power plants for the network of transmission cables to handle, the National Grid invites companies to bid for compensation to shut down some or all of their equipment.

Wind farms are often thought to be among the first generators chosen to be switched off because they are relatively easy to stop, by applying brakes to the turbines to halt their movement.

Individual wind farms companies set the levels of their compensation demands and the National Grid then chooses which bids offer the best value.

The total amount paid out through these compensation arrangements – known as “constraint payments” - has risen dramatically in the last four years as the number of onshore wind turbines has grown. Between 2010 and October 2012, £17.8 million was paid in total.

But new figures based on Ofgem data disclose that these payments are expected to cost consumers £30 million this year.

On one day in August last year, 27 wind farms across the country had to shut down some or all of their turbines, costing more than £2 million in constraint payments, according to figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation.

In the first six weeks of 2014 alone, more than £4.2 million has been paid to wind farms to switch off their equipment, the Foundation said.

However, under pressure from the government, the average compensation payment has fallen significantly, even though the total has risen.

A new licence rule which applies to larger wind farms bans them from charging high prices, at the expense of consumers, when they are asked to switch off their turbines.

But smaller wind farms are exempt from the licence requirement and Mr Fallon is concerned that some are now charging the National Grid unduly high prices to shut down.

Smaller wind generators are charging the Grid 30 per cent more on average to switch off turbines than larger power plants, the figures showed.

In a letter to Renewable UK, the trade body for wind power, Mr Fallon said this practice must end.

Mr Fallon urged wind power companies to show “restraint” in the prices they charge for compensation.

“Bids being accepted by National Grid to reduce generation from a few licence exempt wind farms are substantially higher than those relating to licensed wind farms,” Mr Fallon said.

The energy regulator, Ofgem, has contacted some of the offending wind farm owners and these companies should “cooperate”, explain why their charges are so high, and, “where appropriate”, reduce their bills, he said.

Mr Fallon said “the government stands ready, if necessary”, to force individual wind farms to comply with tougher rules if they fail to cut their charges.

Ministers are also prepared to “extend the discipline” of the licence rules, which prevent larger wind farms exploiting the compensation scheme, to all onshore wind farms regardless of their size, he said. This will be done “through changes to legislation, should that prove necessary”, Mr Fallon warned.

The estimates seen by the Telegraph suggest that on average, wind farms that are exempt from the licence rules were paid £104 per megawatt hour to turn off their turbines last year, compared with £80 per megawatt hour for larger licensed generators.

It is understood that eight wind farms in particular have been charging excessive rates in exchange for shutting down turbines during windy weather, although they have not been publicly named.

Mr Fallon has also written to Energy UK, representing the major power companies, Scottish Renewables and the Renewable Energy Association.

Maria McCaffery, Renewable UK’s chief executive, said the wind farm industry had already taken steps to bring down costs of compensation and would continue work to “provide the best value for money for consumers”, she said.

“As the cost of using fossil fuels is so high - and importing gas is particularly expensive - we need to lessen our dependence on them by harnessing our own abundant, clean and totally sustainable resources,” she said.

“Wind is playing an increasingly vital role in our electricity mix as a flexible energy source that can be managed to fit our electricity demands by shutting down and powering up more easily and more quickly than other forms of energy.”



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

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


23 February, 2014

"Hockeystick" Mann in financial trouble?

 by John O'Sullivan

Massive counterclaims, in excess of $10 million, have just been filed against climate scientist Michael Mann after lawyers affirmed that the former golden boy of global warming alarmism had sensationally failed in his exasperating three-year bid to sue skeptic Canadian climatologist, Tim Ball. Door now wide open for criminal investigation into Climategate conspiracy.Mann arrest photo

Buoyed by Dr Ball's successes, journalist and free-speech defender, Mark Steyn has promptly decided to likewise countersue Michael Mann for $10 million in response to a similar SLAPP suit filed by the litigious professor from Penn. State University against not just Steyn, but also the National Review, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Rand Simberg. Ball's countersuit against Mann seeks "exemplary and punitive damages. " Bishop Hill blog is running extracts of Steyn's counterclaim, plus link.

Mann’s chief undoing in all such lawsuits is highlighted in a quote in Steyn’s latest counterclaim:

“Plaintiff continues to evade the one action that might definitively establish its [his science’s] respectability - by objecting, in the courts of Virginia, British Columbia and elsewhere, to the release of his research in this field. See Cuccinelli vs Rectors and Visitors of the University of Virginia...”

At last, after 3 years of legal wrangling, it is made clear why I was so bold as to formally undertake an indemnity to fully compensate Dr Ball for my own actions in the event Mann won the case.  Respected Aussie climate commentator, Jo Nova was one of the few to commend my unparalled commitment to Ball's cause.

Steyn’s legal team, aware of the latest developments from Vancouver, have correctly adduced that Ball has effectively defeated Mann after the Penn. State pretender’s preposterous and inactive lawsuit against Ball was rendered dormant for failure to prosecute. Under law, Mann’s prevarications, all his countless fudging and evasiveness in the matter, establishes compelling evidence that his motive was not to prove Ball had defamed him, but more likely a cynical attempt to silence fair and honest public criticism on a pressing and contentious government policy issue.

The fact Mann refused to disclose his ‘hockey stick’ graph metadata in the British Columbia Supreme Court, as he is required to do under Canadian civil rules of procedure, constituted a fatal omission to comply, rendering his lawsuit unwinnable. As such, Dr Ball, by default, has substantiated his now famous assertion that Mann belongs "in the state pen, not Penn. State."  In short, Mann failed to show he did not fake his tree ring proxy data for the past 1,000 years, so Ball’s assessment stands as fair comment. Moreover, many hundreds of papers in the field of paleoclimate temperature reconstructions that cite Mann’s work are likewise tainted, heaping more misery on the discredited UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) which has a knack of relying on such sub prime science.


The myth of ‘settled science’

By Charles Krauthammer

I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.

“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.

Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.

So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today’s climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?

They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.

Settled? Even Britain’s national weather service concedes there’s been no change — delicately called a “pause” — in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data is recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?

But even worse than the pretense of settledness is the cynical attribution of any politically convenient natural disaster to climate change, a clever term that allows you to attribute anything — warming and cooling, drought and flood — to man’s sinful carbon burning.

Accordingly, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”

How inconvenient. But we’ve been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of “extreme weather events” like hurricanes.

Nonsense. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricane when it hit the United States. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall . And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years. In fact, in the last half-century, one-third fewer major hurricanes have hit the United States than in the previous half-century.

Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years — of presumed global warming — has seen a 30 percent decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) versus the previous 30 years.

None of this is dispositive. It doesn’t settle the issue. But that’s the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.

Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).

Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.

But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon -belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”

Ah, settled science in action.


The Sierra Club’s War on Humans

As I point out in my new ebook, The War on Humans, the contemporary environmental movement is not only fast becoming explicitly anti-human in its rhetoric and advocacy memes–humans as a “cancer” on the earth, etc.–but also in its anti-prosperity prescriptions that would make the developed world far less prosperous–and devastate the ability of the developing world to escape its bone-crushing destitution.

Take a new book being promoted by the once sane Sierra Club that advocates cutting the work week in half so that we can all live less prosperous lives. From the promotion of the book Time on Our Side in Sierra magazine:

“There’s no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the U.S.,” Worldwatch senior fellow Erik Assadourian says. “We have to de-grow our economy, which is obviously not a popular stance to take in a culture that celebrates growth in all forms.

But as the saying goes, if everyone consumed like Americans, we’d need four planets.” Whether you move to a smaller house or an apartment, downsize to one or no car, or simply have fewer lattes to-go, a smaller paycheck could reduce consumption overall…

Shorter workweeks could mean more time for psychologically gratifying pursuits such as gardening, reading, or biking. In other words, we should intentionally become poorer in order to save the planet

Please. Rooting for less prosperity will not lead to people taking the time to smell the roses and write poetry, but to more of us leading increasingly difficult, and even desperate lives.

Indeed, it seems to me that the best cure for a dirty environment is increased prosperity as that gives us the ability to live more gently on the land and the resources to develop ever-more environmentally friendly methods of generating energy, traveling, heating and cooling our homes, etc..

Think about it: We despoiled the environment when we were poor, and have made remarkable progress in remediating past messes and making fewer new ones after becoming wealthy. The poorest nations today also tend to have the greatest problems with pollution. See China.

If you like today’s economy and want more of the kind of “fun” we have had for the last five years, just follow the green misanthropes.


Tokyo Pounded with Historic Snowfall as Globally Fierce Winter Continues

Tokyo received 10 inches of snow Saturday morning, the largest amount of snowfall the city has seen since the global cooling scare of the early 1970s. According to Japanese media reports, the snowstorm caused     12 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries. The historic snowfall debunks global warming activists’ assertions that this year’s unusually fierce winter is merely a North American phenomenon.

Global temperature measurements show there has been no warming at all this century, refuting alarmist assertions that the planet continues to rapidly warm despite the bitterly cold North American winter. Moreover, heavy snow events and record snow cover dispute frequent alarmist assertions that global warming is causing an end to snow.

While human emissions of carbon dioxide may be assisting the natural warming that pulled the planet out of the Little Ice Age a little over a century ago, the warming continues to be gradual and modest. A warming of 1 degree Fahrenheit is not going to put an end to winter or snowfall.

To the extent that global warming may moderate winter extreme cold and snow events in the future, this would benefit rather than harm human health and welfare. Mortality statistics for the United States, the United Kingdom, and other nations show cold weather and a colder climate kill far more people than heat.

These facts are inconvenient for global warming alarmists, but a welcome dose of scientific truth for the rest of us.

Tokyo received 10 inches of snow Saturday morning, the largest amount of snowfall the city has seen since the global cooling scare of the early 1970s. According to Japanese media reports, the snowstorm caused     12 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries. The historic snowfall debunks global warming activists’ assertions that this year’s unusually fierce winter is merely a North American phenomenon.

Global temperature measurements show there has been no warming at all this century, refuting alarmist assertions that the planet continues to rapidly warm despite the bitterly cold North American winter. Moreover, heavy snow events and record snow cover dispute frequent alarmist assertions that global warming is causing an end to snow.

While human emissions of carbon dioxide may be assisting the natural warming that pulled the planet out of the Little Ice Age a little over a century ago, the warming continues to be gradual and modest. A warming of 1 degree Fahrenheit is not going to put an end to winter or snowfall.

To the extent that global warming may moderate winter extreme cold and snow events in the future, this would benefit rather than harm human health and welfare. Mortality statistics for the United States, the United Kingdom, and other nations show cold weather and a colder climate kill far more people than heat.

These facts are inconvenient for global warming alarmists, but a welcome dose of scientific truth for the rest of us.


Irish logic

It's pretty plain he is omitting a lot from his calculations  -- like the large capital cost of putting up the turbines and the cost of running backup systems

Wind power has saved Ireland more than €1 billion in imported energy costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions and has not added to customers’ energy bills, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has said.

“The evidence today is that renewable energy is working for Ireland and is bringing significant environmental and economic benefits,” said Brian Motherway, the authority’s chief executive, ahead of the publication of the renewable energy report for 2014 yesterday.

Ireland’s wind profile provided a plentiful renewable resource which also had great potential for export, he said. “More than €1 billion has stayed in the Irish economy which would otherwise have left to import fossil fuels from other countries.”

He said renewable energy sources were being tapped “in a way which did not add to consumer prices”.

Dr Motherway added: “Wind [power], if anything lowers prices when gas prices are high. Wind is a uniquely rich resource, it’s plentiful and it’s cheap and we should continue to exploit it.”

Asked if more and more turbines would scar the countryside, he said: “There are places we shouldn’t put turbines and other places which are perfectly acceptable. There are remote places and depleted bogs which people are looking at. We should remember that there are a couple of hundred wind farms out there already which are side by side with communities in harmony. We hear about the bad cases but we don’t hear about the good cases.”


Could Met Office have been more wrong? Just before floods, report told councils: Winter will be 'drier than normal' - especially in West Country!

The warmists of the Met office are a good example of the truism that if your theories are wrong, your predictions will be wrong

The Met Office’s ‘pitiful’ forecasts were under fire last night after it was revealed it told councils in November to expect ‘drier than usual’ conditions this winter.

In the worst weather prediction since Michael Fish reassured the nation in October 1987 that there was no hurricane on the way, forecasters said the Somerset Levels – still under water after more than two months of flooding – and the rest of the West Country would be especially dry.

Last night, it was confirmed the UK had instead suffered the wettest winter since records began.

The three-month forecast, which a Met Office spokesman conceded was ‘experimental to some extent’, was given to councils, the Environment Agency and other contingency planners to tell them what they could expect from December to the end of this month.

It was for the whole of the UK – not specific regions – but suggested only the east and south east might see average rainfall.

The forecasters – using ‘cutting-edge science’ – assured councils there would be a ‘significant reduction in precipitation compared to average’ for most of the country, adding that there was only a 15 per cent chance the winter would fall into the ‘wettest category’.

It will have been of little assistance to the many local authorities facing some of the most severe flooding Britain has seen in decades.

Swathes of the country are still underwater, the Army is still helping to pump out deluged homes and thousands of people have nowhere to live.

Last night it was confirmed that the past 90 days have seen the heaviest rainfall in more than a century.

The Met Office said the UK had been drenched in 19.2in of rain since December, making it the wettest winter since records began in 1910.

It had, it said, been exceptionally wet in the South West, South East, central Southern England and across Wales.

MPs and environmental planners yesterday said the long-term forecast had been a ‘mistake which could have cost Britain dearly’ and questioned whether the forecasting methods were fit for purpose.

Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris said: ‘The Met Office is very good at predicting the weather it can see is coming; but beyond that, its track record is pitiful.

‘Many government agencies and some government policies are dependent on these Met Office predictions and so these mistakes potentially are costing us dearly.’

Environmental planner Martin Parr said of the forecast: ‘It was a load of poppycock. I don’t know how they could have produced it and circulated it to emergency planners.

There was no way that was going to be the case.

‘It was known in November there were changes in the jet stream coming through. It was speeding up, there was more oscillation, that means strong winds were going to be prevalent, and it was going to be a wet winter.

The Met Office stopped publishing its long-range forecasts for the public to see in 2010, after its disastrous prediction of a ‘barbeque summer’ in 2009 – which ended in washouts throughout July and August.

The three-month forecasts are now sent only to contingency planners, such as councils,  government departments, and insurance companies.

The 90-day forecast was issued at the end of November, and makes clear planners should also consult the forecasts released 30 and 15 days ahead which are more accurate.

Using the Met Office’s super-computer, which can perform 100trillion calculations a second, experts in November predicted there would be high-pressure weather systems across Britain ‘with a slight signal for below average precipitation’.

But heavy rains began in December and the Somerset Levels has since seen some of its worst flooding ever, with hundreds of properties and farms affected.

Last month the flooding spread to the Thames Valley and official figures suggest 6,500 properties have been affected. Insurance companies fear the total bill could reach £1billion.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: ‘Our short and medium-term forecasts are the ones relied on by emergency responders to help them manage the impacts of severe weather.

'The Met Office’s five-day forecasts and severe weather warnings have provided excellent guidance throughout this period of exceptionally stormy and wet weather.’



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

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


21 February, 2014

Charles Krauthammer Destroys Global Warming Myths in 89 Seconds

Last night on “Special Report with Bret Baier”, columnist Charles Krauthammer questioned the “settled science” of global warming — an issue that is currently driving the President’s agenda.

In a clip discovered by The Daily Caller, Krauthammer rails against the notion of “settled science,” noting that Isaac Newton’s laws were settled for 200 years before Albert Einstein turned them over.

Speaking about the economic effects of climate change, Krauthammer noted that “all of this is driven by this ideology, which in it of itself is a matter of almost theology


EPA Video Contest Teaches Budding Child-Activists to Worry About 'Climate Change'

 The Environmental Protection Agency is co-sponsoring a "climate change video contest" that asks students, ages 11-14:" Why do you care about climate change?" And: "How are you reducing carbon pollution or preparing for the impacts of climate change?"

Students are advised to "be cool" and "be creative" in explaining "how climate change affects you, your family, friends, and community, now or in the future" -- and what they are doing to "prepare for a changing climate."

The Obama administration frequently uses video contests or "challenges" to advance its liberal viewpoint on a variety of issues, and this is no exception.

The climate-change videos may be up to two minutes long, and the top three winning entries will get prizes that can only be described as environmentally correct:

The first-place winner gets a solar-paneled backpack, which charges electronic devices; the second place prize is a "pulse jump rope" that generates enough energy to charge cell phones; and the third place prize is a "Soccket Soccer Ball," which turns kinetic energy from play into electrical energy that can be used to power small devices.

The prizes were selected and purchased by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), which is co-sponsoring the video contest with the EPA.

NEEF says students should read its "facts" on climate change before getting started on their videos.

Those "facts" include the following statements:

-- The signs of climate change are all around us (higher temperatures, wilder weather, rising sea level, more droughts, changing rain and snow patterns).

-- The climate you will inherit as adults will be different from your parents’ and grandparents’ climate.

-- Reducing carbon pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, is key to solving climate change and reducing the risks we face in the future.

-- A major way carbon pollution gets into the atmosphere is when people burn coal, oil, and natural gas for energy.

The tip page also recommends "small actions" students can take to reduce carbon pollution; "[W]alking to school, smart energy use, and smart water use, can add up to big reductions in carbon pollution over time," it says.

Students are invited to determine their carbon footprint using NEEF's online calculator. And, in a possible prelude to future activism, they're urged to consider if their communities, cities, or states are taking action to reduce carbon pollution.

In a "note for teachers," NEEF says, "This video contest would make a great project for your middle-school class."

The National Environmental Education Foundation was chartered by Congress in 1990 to advance environmental knowledge. It describes itself as a "complementary organization" to the EPA, which leverages private support for EPA's  mission.


Obama on Keystone Pipeline: ‘We Only Have One Planet’

President Obama conceded Wednesday that the lengthy process of evaluating whether to move ahead with the Keystone XL oil pipeline was probably viewed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as “a little too laborious” but added that economic growth had to be balanced against environmental concerns, as “we only have one planet.”

In a speech last June Obama said that he would not approve the pipeline from Canada if the project would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

During a joint press conference with Harper - a strong supporter of Keystone – and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, a Canadian reporter recalled those words and noted that a State Department environmental review has found that the pipeline would not have a significant effect on climate change.

What more needed to be done, the reporter asked.

Obama said he recognized that the process had “been extensive – and at times, I’m sure Stephen feels, a little too laborious.”

Following the State Department review, federal agencies were now weighing in on the issue, their input would be evaluated by Secretary of State John Kerry – and “we’ll make a decision at that point.”

Obama said he and Harper after lunch Wednesday had “discussed a shared interest in working together around dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. And this is something that we have to deal with.”

“I said previously that how Keystone impacted greenhouse gas emissions would affect our decision. But frankly, it has to affect all of our decisions at this stage because the science is irrefutable,” he continued. “We’re already seeing severe weather patterns increase.

“That has consequences for our businesses, for our jobs, for our families, for safety and security. It has the potential of displacing people in ways that we cannot currently fully anticipate and will be extraordinarily costly. So I welcome the work that we can do together with Canada.”

Obama said the economic growth fueled by fossil fuel reserves had to be balanced against environmental concerns.

“One of the wonderful things about North America is we have this amazing bounty of traditional fossil fuels, and we also have extraordinary businesses that are able to extract them in very efficient ways – and that’s something we should welcome because it helps to promote economic growth,” he said. “But we only have one planet.”


British Offshore wind farm scrapped due to fears over birds

Plans to extend the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, the London Array in the Thames estuary, have been scrapped due to fears it would harm seabirds, in the latest blow to the government’s hopes for the industry.

In further setbacks on Wednesday, another massive project was scaled back and a leading executive suggested that turbines were unlikely to be manufactured in the UK under current policy - raising fears that overseas firms will remain the main beneficiaries of Britain’s heavily-subsidised industry.

London Array was opened last summer, with 175 turbines sprawling an area of almost 40 square miles off the Kent coast and generating up to 630 megawatts (MW) of power – enough to power 500,000 homes.

Developers had been planning a second phase that would deliver more than 200MW of power, with an estimated 56 new turbines across a further 15 square miles.

But London Array said on Wednesday it was abandoning the plan because of concern over the impact on the red-throated diver, a bird classified as rare or vulnerable by the European Commission.

A large population of the birds spends winter in the area around the wind farm, which has been deemed a special protection area.

The planned extension had already been scaled back from original 370MW plans because of concern for the species.

London Array said it would have taken at least three years to accurately assess the impact on the birds from the current turbines and that “although initial findings from the existing Phase 1 site look positive, there is no guarantee at the end of three years that we will be able to satisfy the authorities that any impact on the birds would be acceptable”.

Separately, another company, Forewind, said it was scaling back by a fifth its planned Dogger Bank developments off the coast of Yorkshire.

It was now working on plans for six separate wind farms to be built in the area rather than eight, reducing the capacity from 9 GW to 7.2GW.

A spokesman said the decision was in order to be “more aligned with government targets” and to focus on those that were closest to going ahead.

Ministers say they want between 8GW and 15GW built by 2020, up from 3.6GW now, and suggest a total of about 10GW is most likely.

However, they have refused to say how much they expect to be built after 2020, with officials yesterday insisting only that it was not “credible” to suggest no more would be built and that there was a “pipeline” of almost 43GW in development.

Forewind's spokesman said: “If you look at the pipeline in the UK, if they all went ahead it would far exceed the targets the government has set for offshore wind.”

The projects Forewind has scrapped would not have been built until after 2020. However, she said: “If you extrapolate that [2020 ambition] then unless there is a significant difference in the government ambition [thereafter] it would be surplus to those requirements”.

She said the projects scrapped were also furthest from shore so probably most expensive to build.

Energy minister Michael Fallon trumpeted Britain’s status as “the world leader” in offshore wind, with more turbines running off the coast of the UK than the rest of Europe combined.

But critics warn that it is not clear the technology, which currently receives billions of pounds in subsidies, can ever become commercially viable and point out few other countries want to pursue offshore wind to the same extent as Britain.

Just one-tenth of the £2bn cost of the first part of London Array was spent in the UK but ministers aim to increase that to 50pc for future projects.

A series of manufacturers have set out plans for turbine factories in the UK but none has yet materialised.

Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer of ScottishPower and co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) said it was hard to put a figure on how many wind farms might be built after 2020, especially as there was a huge question over “how much offshore wind does the government want?”.

He said: “They have not said a number after 2020. If you are sitting in the supply chain as a turbine manufacturer, an investor in a port facility, or someone looking at building vessels for shipping and cabling, then the longer out those targets go the better and more helpful it is.

“I suspect if you were looking to build a turbine factory you want to know there is a reasonable length of time in terms of orders coming through. For a supply chain company to make that investment they need to have enough confidence that industry going to keep on growing.”

Officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the level built would depend on how much the industry reduced its costs but said it was "natural" that some projects would be scrapped.

Ministers have set a target that projects that start generating in the early 2020s should have a total cost of £100 per megawatt-hour – about twice the current market price of power, with the difference subsidised through levies on consumer energy bills.


The benefits of using carbon fuels are far greater than their (largely imaginary) costs

The Environmental Protection Agency, other government agencies and various scientists contend that fossil fuels and carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming and climate change. They use this claim to justify repressive regulations for automobiles, coal-fired power plants and other facilities powered by hydrocarbon energy.

Because these rules are costing millions of jobs and billions of dollars, a federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) devised the “social cost of carbon” concept (SCC) – which attaches arbitrary monetary values to the alleged impacts of using hydrocarbons and emitting carbon dioxide. SCC estimates represent the supposed monetized damages associated with incremental increases in “carbon pollution” in a given year.

With little publicity, debate or public input, in 2010 the IWG set the cost at $22 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Then, in 2013 (again with little notice), it arbitrarily increased the SCC to $36/ton, enabling agencies to proclaim massive, unacceptable damages from “carbon,” and enormous benefits from their regulations. Recently, the Department of Energy used the $36 formula to justify proposed standards for microwave ovens, cell phone chargers and laptops!

The SCC allows unelected bureaucrats to wildly amplify the alleged impacts of theoretical manmade climate disasters, exaggerate the supposed benefits of rules, minimize their costs, and ignore the value to society of the facility, activity or product they want to regulate. That is exactly what is happening.

Fundamental flaws in the SCC concept and process make the agencies’ analyses – and proposed rulemakings – questionable, improper, and even fraudulent and illegal. A new Management Information Services, Inc. (MISI) analysis examines this in detail.

1) Executive Order 12866 requires that federal agencies “assess both the costs and the benefits of the intended regulation and, recognizing that some costs and benefits are difficult to quantify, propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs.” (EO 12866 was issued by President Clinton in 1993.) A recent Office of Management and Budget statement notes that careful consideration of both costs and benefits is important in determining whether a regulation is worth implementing at all. Indeed, any valid and honest benefit-cost (B-C) analysis likewise requires that agencies consider both the benefits and the costs of carbon-based fuels and carbon dioxide emissions.

Thus far, the EPA and other government agency analyses, press releases and regulatory proposals have highlighted only the alleged costs of carbon-based fuels and their supposed effects on climate change. They have never even mentioned the many clear benefits associated with those fuels and emissions.

2) EPA claims the government is “committed to updating the current estimates, as the science and economic understanding of climate change and its impacts on society improve over time.” Given the Obama Administration’s history and agenda, it is highly likely that SCC values will only increase in forthcoming updates – with literally trillions of dollars at stake.

3) The IWG methodology for developing SCC estimates is so infinitely flexible, so devoid of any rigorous standards, that it could produce almost any estimates that any agency might desire. For example, its computer models are supposed to combine climate processes, economic growth, and feedbacks between the climate and the global economy, into a single modeling framework.

However, only limited research links climate impacts to economic damages, and much of it is speculative, at best. Even the IWG admits that the exercise is subject to “simplifying assumptions and judgments, reflecting the various modelers’ best attempts to synthesize the available scientific and economic research characterizing these relationships.” [emphasis added] Each model uses a different approach to translate global warming into damages; transforming economic damages over time into a single value requires “judgments” about how to discount them; and federal officials have been highly selective in choosing which “available scientific and economic research” they will utilize. As objective outside analysts have concluded, this process is “close to useless.”

4) The differences in the 2010 and 2013 SCC estimates are so large, and of such immense potential significance, as to raise serious questions regarding their integrity and validity – especially since, prior to 2010, the “official” government estimate for carbon costs was zero!

Finally, and most importantly, the agencies hypothesize almost every conceivable carbon “cost” – to agriculture, forestry, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. But they completely ignore every one of the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels … and of emitting carbon dioxide! Just as incredibly, they have done this in complete disregard of EO 12866 … and the OMB ruling that careful consideration of both costs and benefits is important in determining whether a regulation is worth implementing at all.  Had they followed the law and B-C rules, they would have found that:

Hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide benefits outweigh the cost by as much as 500 to 1!

In other words, the costs of EPA and other restrictions on fossil fuel use exceed their benefits by 50:1 (using the 2013 SCC of $36/ton of CO2) or even 500:1 (using the 2010 SCC of $22/ton). The entire process is obviously detrimental to American lives, jobs, living standards, health and welfare. Yet it is being imposed in the name of preventing highly speculative “dangerous manmade climate change.”

The successful development and utilization of fossil fuels facilitated successive industrial revolutions, launched the modern world, created advanced technological societies, and enabled the high quality of life that many now take for granted. Over the past 200 years, primarily because of hydrocarbon energy, people’s health and living standards soared, global life expec­tancy more than doubled, human population increased eight-fold, and average incomes increased eleven-fold, economist Indur Goklany calculates.

Comparing world GDP and CO2 emissions over the past century shows a strong and undeniable relationship between world GDP and the CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.  In fact, the fossil fuels that provide the vast bulk of the world’s total energy needs – and from which CO2 is an essential byproduct – are creating $60 trillion to $70 trillion per year in world GDP! That relationship will almost certainly continue for the foreseeable future. Today, 81% of the world’s energy is from fossil fuels. For at least the next several decades, fossil fuels will continue to supply 75-80% of global energy.

That means any reductions in United States fossil fuel use or carbon dioxide emissions will be almost imperceptible amidst the world’s huge and rapidly increasing levels of both. In fact, the World Resources Institute says 59 nations are already planning to build more than 1,200 new coal-fired power plants – on top of what those nations and Germany, Poland and other developed nations are already building

However, hydrocarbon use has also helped raise atmospheric concentrations from about 320 ppm carbon dioxide to nearly 400 ppm (from 0.032% of the atmosphere to 0.040%). The Obama Administration (wrongly) regards this slight increase as “dangerous.” That is an erroneous, shortsighted perception that improperly ignores the enormous benefits of this increase in plant-fertilizing CO2.

Carbon dioxide truly is “the gas of life,” the basis of all life on Earth. It spurs plant growth, and enhances agricultural productivity.  Plants use it to produce the organic matter out of which they construct their tissues, which subsequently become sources of fiber, building materials and food for humans and animals.

Carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by humans 1961-2011 increased global crop production by some $3.5 trillion, plant biologist and CO2 expert Craig Idso calculates. Human CO2 emissions will likely add $11.6 trillion in additional benefits between 2013 and 2050 – based on actual measurements of CO2-induced plant growth and crop production, not on computer models, Idso estimates.

Carbon dioxide benefits overwhelmingly outweigh the SCC – no matter which government reports are used. In fact, any estimate for “social costs of carbon” is hidden amid the statistical noise of CO2 benefits.

Prodigious amounts of fossil fuels are required to sustain future economic growth, especially in developing countries. If the world is serious about increasing economic growth, reducing energy deprivation, and increasing or maintaining living standards, fossil fuels are absolutely essential. Their benefits far outweigh any conceivable costs, and will continue to do so for decades to come.

These undeniable facts must form the foundation for energy, environmental and regulatory policies. Otherwise, regulations will be far worse than the harms they supposedly redress.


The Left Preaches the Great Apocalypse of Global Warming

This week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced to a group of Indonesian students that global warming was "perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction." He added, "Because of climate change, it's no secret that today Indonesia is ... one of the most vulnerable countries on Earth. It's not an exaggeration to say that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk."

Meanwhile, Hollywood prepared to drop a new blockbuster based on the biblical story of Noah. The film, directed by Darren Aronofsky, centers on the story of the biblical character who built an ark after God warned him that humanity would be destroyed thanks to its sexual immorality and violent transgressions. The Hollywood version of the story, however, has God punishing humanity not for actual sin, but for overpopulation and global warming -- an odd set of sins, given God's express commandments in Genesis 1:28 to "be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it."

This weird perspective on sin -- the notion that true sin is not sin, but that consumerism is -- is actually nothing new. In the 1920s, the left warned of empty consumerism with the fire and brimstone of Jonathan Edwards; Sinclair Lewis famously labeled the American middle class "Babbitts" -- characters who cared too much about buying things.

In his novel of the same name, Lewis sneered of his bourgeois antihero, "He had enormous and poetic admiration, though very little understanding, of all mechanical devices. They were his symbols of truth and beauty." Lewis wrote, through the voice of his radical character Doane, that consumerism has created "standardization of thought, and of course, the traditions of competition. The real villains of the piece are the clean, kind, industrious Family Men who use every known brand of trickery and cruelty to insure the prosperity of their cubs. The worst thing about these fellows it that they're so good and, in their work at least, so intelligent."

Lewis, of course, was a socialist. So were anti-consumerism compatriots like H.G. Wells, H.L. Mencken and Herbert Croly. And their brand of leftism was destined to infuse the entire American left over the course of the 20th century. As Fred Siegel writes in his new book, "The Revolt Against The Masses," this general feeling pervaded the left during the 1950s, even as more Americans were attending symphony concerts than ballgames, with 50,000 Americans per year buying paperback version of classics. That's because if the left were to recognize the great power of consumerism in bettering lives and enriching culture, the left would have to become the right.

Of course, consumerism is not an unalloyed virtue. Consumerism can be utilized for hedonism. But it can also be utilized to make lives better, offering more opportunity for spiritual development. It's precisely this latter combination that the left fears, because if consumerism and virtue are allied, there is no place left for the Marxist critique of capitalism -- namely that capitalism makes people less compassionate, more selfish, and ethically meager. And so consumerism must be severed from virtue (very few leftists critique Americans' propensity for spending cash on Lady Gaga concerts) so that it can be castigated as sin more broadly.

In a world in which consumerism is the greatest of all sins, America is the greatest of all sinners, which, of course, is the point of the anti-consumerist critique from the left: to target America. Global warming represents the latest apocalyptic consequence threatened by the leftist gods for the great iniquity of buying things, developing products, and competing in the global marketplace. And America must be called to heel by the great preachers in Washington, D.C., and Hollywood.



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

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20 February, 2014

Obama: ‘Unchecked’ Carbon Pollution Before 2009 Had ‘Severe Impacts on Our Weather’

How?  The climate was stable both before and after 2009

While announcing new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said “unchecked” carbon pollution prior to his administration’s efforts to raise fuel economy standards “was having severe impacts on our weather.”
“Carbon pollution was going unchecked, which was having severe impacts on our weather,” Obama said in a speech at a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, MD.

For decades, fuel efficiency standards had been “stuck in neutral, even as other kinds of technology leapt forward,” the president said. The economy was “vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices.”

“Every time oil prices shot up, the economy got hurt. Our automakers were in danger of being left in the dust by foreign automakers,” he said.

After taking office, the Obama administration “set in motion the first ever national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold” in the U.S.

“Our levels of dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change has actually gone down even as our production has gone up,” he said.

The administration had set the goal of raising fuel economy standards to 35.5 miles per gallon for a new vehicle by 2016 – an increase of more than eight miles per gallon over the average at the time.

Some automakers have already exceeded that goal, he said.

“Some are already making cars that beat the target of nearly 55 miles per gallon. They’ve got plug-in hybrids. They’ve got electric vehicles. They’re taking advantage of the investments that the Recovery Act made in American advances in battery technology, so cars are getting better, and they’re getting more fuel efficient all the time,” Obama said.

The new goal: doubling the distance cars and light trucks can travel before needing to refuel.

“We’re gonna double the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas by 2025. We’re gonna double it, and that means – that’s big news – because what it means is you got to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, and that saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time,” Obama said.

“I’m assuming you can use $8,000 that you’re not paying at the gas station, and in the process, it cuts American oil consumption by 12 billion barrels,” he added.

“And for anybody who said this couldn’t be done or that it would hurt the American auto industry, the American auto industry sold more cars last year than any time since 2007. And since we stepped in to help our automakers retool, the American auto industry has created almost 425,000 new jobs,” he added.


Green Group's GM War Costing Millions Of Lives, Claims Environmentalist

The Soil Association (SA), Britain's foremost organic food organisation, is indirectly responsible for the deaths of millions of children because of its ongoing opposition to Golden Rice, a leading environmentalist has claimed.

Dr Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, has accused the Soil Association -- which claims to be responsible for the certification of around 70 percent of organic produce in the UK -- of using "lies and scare tactics" and "anti-science extremism" in its campaign against the "miracle" genetically-modified (GM) crop, Golden Rice.

Golden Rice is modified to cure vitamin A deficiency, which kills more than two million children each year, and causes another 500,000 to go blind.

But the Soil Association claims that Golden Rice is expensive, ineffective, unethical and potentially dangerous.

Moore has vigorously rejected all these claims in a 5000-word rebuttal published on his Allow Golden Rice Now website, where he states, "[The Soil Association] have joined those extremist groups that are responsible for prolonging the approval of Golden Rice. They would sacrifice two million children per year on the altar of their ideology."

The Soil Association claims that "Golden Rice is sadly a classic case of misspent time and resources", whereas Moore responds that, "If Golden Rice delivers as promised, and all indications are that it will, it will be one of the most cost-effective cures for a major killer in history".

The SA has also commented that Golden Rice " only treating the part of the symptom, not the problem - poverty," to which Moore replied, "It is surely better to live in poverty with a healthy immune system and the sight in both eyes than it is to be blind or dead".

The organisation, founded in 1946, may have a fairly modest annual budget of £7 million, but its influence is huge. As Britain's leading organic certification body it helps regulate a UK industry worth in excess of £2 billion, and influences a global market worth more than $50 billion.

It has warned that, "A key weapon is to advise parents, the key target audience, of the dangers of rice based diets".

Dr. Moore, who often finds himself in disagreement with green organisations, including the one he helped found, Greenpeace, said: "This shows how misguided the Soil Association is. We are to warn people who eat rice as their staple food of the "dangers of rice-based diets"? All three and a half billion of them?"

He also attacked the SA's claim that "overdosing on beta-carotene has been linked to an increased cancer risk".

"The Soil Association should be very ashamed to make this statement," Moore wrote. "At first the anti-Golden Rice campaigners said there was not enough beta-carotene in Golden Rice to help with the deficiency. Now they say there could be too much?"

"Golden Rice is actually very close to being ready for commercialisation. If it were not for the unnecessarily onerous regulatory requirements - [partly the result of hysterical anti-GM campaigning by NGOs like Greenpeace and the Soil Association] - it would already be available."

"The campaign against GM technology is a classic propaganda campaign based on fear of the unknown. As Greenpeace has said of Golden Rice, 'there may be unforeseen health issues'. 'Unforeseen' sounds scary, but it really indicates that they know of nothing that could be harmful. And note the tentative nature of 'may be'.  Indeed there isn’t anything to the campaign but fear tactics to raise cash contributions from well intentioned, but misguided, supporters."

The full text of Moore's rebuttal can be read at the Allow Golden Rice Now website.


Obama's War on America: Killing Coal to Kill U.S. Electrical Power?

By Alan Caruba
President Obama, supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, is seeking to deprive America of the use of its enormous reserves of coal in coal-fired plants that produce the electricity on which the economy and all life in America depends.

This isn’t just a “war on coal”, it is a war on America and one free market think tank, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) has been joined by six major unions to ensure that the EPA’s proposed energy proposal, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule does not become a regulation that they call “nothing less than industrial sabotage by regulatory means.”

The EPA’s current regulations have resulted in the shut down over more than 150 coal-fired plants over the course of Obama’s first term and his second represents a threat to everyone living in America. We are living through one of the harshest winters in recent years and the 17-year-old cooling cycle which the entire Earth is experiencing promises to last decades.

Commenting on the proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants, Bonner R.Cohen, PhD, a CFACT Senior Policy Analyst laid out the reasons why MATS has no basis whatever in science.

Any regulation seeking to limit the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere deliberately and deceptively ignores facts that anyone can understand. Bonner spelled out the basic scientific facts, but it is essential to keep in mind that CO2 is essential to all life on Earth, providing the “food” that all vegetation depends.

"Current concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are 400 parts per million (ppm). Human activities in all their forms account for 4% of that total. The United States is responsible for 3% of that 4%, all the rest of the CO2 in the atmosphere (96% of the total) comes from purely natural causes, such as volcanoes, undersea venting, animal fluctuation, etc.,” said Cohen.

“The total U.S. contribution to atmospheric CO2 is one tenth of 1% or 00.1%. This 0.01% includes the CO2 that is emitted every time one of the approximately 315 million Americans opens his or her mouth to speak, cry, or engage in any verbal activity.” There are seven billion people on Earth contributing CO2 just by exhaling.

“The contribution of coal-fired plants to the U.S., much less global CO2 emissions, is so miniscule that it cannot be measured with any degree of accuracy. And the contribution of those entities targeted by the EPA to the Earth’s climate also cannot be measured. Thus the EPA has absolutely no way of saying how its proposed regulations will affect the climate.”

The EPA is moving toward imposing these baseless regulations despite the fact that China and India have been building coal-fired plants to provide their nations with the energy to expand and compete in the global marketplace. China’s CO2 emission increased by 167% between 1999 and 2009, while the U.S., the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide, emitted 17% over the same 10-year period.

According to an analysis by Climate Central, from 2005-2009, China added coal-fired electricity capacity that is equivalent to the entire U.S. fleet. From 2010-2013, it added half the coal generation of the entire U.S. again. Powered by cheap and abundant coal, China’s economy has lifted 600 million people out of abject poverty and into the middle class over the last two decades.

Carbon dioxide, however, is vital for all life Earth despite decades of lies about it by environmentalists falsely claiming it warms the Earth. It is the food that all vegetation requires in the same way all animal life requires oxygen.

“For EPA to impose carbon-pollution standards that by design will make the introduction of new coal-fired power plants all but impossible is to adapt a policy that by design will drive up the cost of electricity by limiting America’s sources of power,” said Cohen. “The EPA is engaging in a complete fabrication, one that will put an end to an industry that supplies the U.S. with 37% of its electricity.” When Obama took office in 2009, coal-fired plants were providing nearly 50% of U.S. electrical energy.

This is a criminal act against all Americans and one based on the totally false claims about “global warming”, now called “climate change.” The President, during the recent State of the Union speech lied when he said that science was “settled.”

CFACT is not alone in opposing the Obama administration’s attack on the provision of energy. Six unions are petitioning the Senate to hold hearings on the EPA coal plant rules. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and five other unions have sent a letter to top senators on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The United Mine Workers, Boilermakers and Utility Workers said that the proposed rules would result in the closing of 56 gigawatts of coal-fired generation and the loss of approximately 250,000 jobs. These unions have been pushing back against the Obama administration for years at this point.

In 2011 the Congressional Research Service reported that America’s reserves of coal are unsurpassed, accounting for more than 28% of the world’s coal. It estimated that U.S. recoverable coal reserves were approximately 262 billion tons—not including massive, cut difficult to access Alaskan reserves.

The U.S. consumes around 1.2 billion tons of coal a year and our coal reserves add up to centuries of coal use which the White House and the EPA is seeking to deny to all Americans.

If the White House and the EPA is permitted to implement the MATS regulation the economy will dramatically decline. Life in America will resemble that of third world nations. It is entirely based on lies.


Some futurists aren’t worried about global warming or overpopulation

IT’S almost impossible to view the news anymore without seeing something negative related to global warming, overpopulation or environmental degradation of the planet. The facts speak for themselves. Pollution is rampant in many cities. Entire forests are being cut down. And the human species is adding over 200,000 new people a day to the world. Environmental scientists have warned for years that the human race is dramatically affecting the planet and its ecosystems. Humans are changing the climate of Earth, consuming all its finite resources, and causing the disappearance of over 10,000 species a year.

Despite this, a growing number of futurists, many who are transhumanists — people who aim to move beyond the human being using science and technology — aren’t worried. While New York City, Boston and Miami may be partially underwater by 2100, many futurists don’t plan to be around in the flesh by then. And if they are, they’ll have the technology to walk on water. In fact, many futurists believe that before the end of this century, they will become cyborgs, sentient robots, virtual avatars living inside computers, or space travellers journeying on starships in far-off solar systems.

This sounds like science fiction to the general public. However, imagine if you had told someone in 1914 that in 2014 much of the world’s population would have access to making video conference calls on handheld wireless devices to people on the other side of the planet. No one would’ve believed you. After all, how could arrangements of radio waves travel almost instantaneously around the planet and perfectly mirror multiple conversations on the screen of a tiny handheld machine?

What many environmentalists, journalists and politicians fail to consider when assessing the future is how quickly technological innovation is growing. The future is coming much faster than people realise.

“According to Moore’s Law,” says Kevin Russell, a futurist and Executive Director of the online magazine Serious Wonder, “the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every 18-24 months. Technological advancements generally evolve at the same speed too. The improvement is exponential.”

While Moore’s Law may not hold out to be true indefinitely and cannot be used to address all aspects of technological growth, the point that tech innovation is soon to be at Olympic-like speed is well-noted.

As mammals with brains that haven’t biologically evolved much in the last 100,000 years, it’s hard for many of us to fathom what exponential scientific and technological growth really means. Our brains are wired to perceive life as it occurs, moment to moment. We’re very good at recognising and jumping away from a poisonous snake in the grass, but not so good at understanding choices and their consequences that take place over a quarter-century. Nonetheless, graphs that chart scientific progress do not lie. We are entering a phase where our technological innovation will spike and continue until we likely reach a Singularity.

This spike of technological growth will bring about a paradigm shift in human existence. Globally, there are dozens of companies and universities working on how to control robotic limbs and parts with brain waves. Already, the U.S. military is successfully experimenting with mind-controlled fighter jets. Within a few years, humans will begin attempting to download their first thoughts into computers. Soon after, a software interface will bring to life our authentic virtual personalities. Eventually, especially with the help of artificial intelligence, we will complete a full upload of our brains, and our minds and its thoughts will freely move in and out of machines. We will be digital avatars of our biological selves.

All this begs the question: Will this new phase of human existence require as many resources from the planet as we are currently using? Will we continue to eat food? Breathe air? Depend on water? Procreate? The answer is probably not. There is a time coming in this century when populations of humans will no longer be so dependent on continued usage of the Earth’s finite bounty. Achieving a sustainable harmony with nature, while politically correct in today’s world, may quickly lose relevance. The fact that so many people are worried about using up all the planet’s fossil fuels will soon become silly.

Many environmental and social scientists should realise that forecasts looking forward 50 years are likely to be embarrassingly wrong if they’re only focusing on humans. In the future, many people will be transhuman. Entire new forms of being will be created to fulfil needs and desires of our advancing species. To make accurate forecasts, a transhumanist perspective — not a Homo sapiens one — will be necessary. The entire population of the world and all its thoughts, experiences, and forms may one day fit into something the size of Stanley Kubrick’s black monolith in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. That is where we’re heading and how dramatically the species will change.

Until then, the real dangers of human civilisation lurk in those who want to hinder or over-regulate progress. Science and technology have brought us a far better world, scoring numerous victories for humanity. Globally, democracy is more widespread than ever, poverty is declining, and the species is healthier and living longer according to various recent reports by the United Nations.

There are probably zero futurists who feel good about damaging our beautiful planet. However, many of them realise that the benefit of the species’ rapid evolutionary ascent outweighs the harm progress is causing to Earth. Our planet is strong; it can handle climate change and an expanding human population while our species prepares for the transhumanist age. The evolutionary outcome of humanity will be better for turning a blind eye on Mother Earth. Exponential technological growth, increased prosperity from globalisation, and maintaining world peace are the critical issues of the future, not global warming, overpopulation or environmental degradation.


NC Gov. Pat McCrory: ' I Feel There Has Always Been Climate Change'

North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCory said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he feels "there has always been climate change."

"I feel there has always been climate change. The debate is really how much of it is manmade and how much will it cost to have any impact on climate change," McCrory told host Bob Schieffer during a segment on the snowstorm that has paralyzed most of the East Coast.

Over 100,000 people lost power in the latest snowstorm to hit North Carolina, McCrory said. Two major snowstorms hit  six major metropolitan areas in the state within a two-week period.  There were at least six fatalities - including two Good Samaritans who were struck and killed by a drunk driver, McCrory said. He signed emergency orders during both snow storms.

McCrory said while he believes in climate change, he thinks the focus should be on cleaning up the environment in a cost-effective way.

"My main argument is let's clean up the environment. And as a mayor and now as a governor, I'm spending my time cleaning our air, cleaning our water and cleaning the ground," the governor said.

"And I think that's where the argument should be on both the left and the right. And if that has an impact on climate change, good, but I think that's where the real argument should be, is doing what we can to clean up our environment," McCrory added.

"But we also have to look for cost-effective ways to do it because, as a governor, we're walking that fine line of keeping our environment clean but also continuing the economic recovery and making sure things like power are affordable for the consumer," he added.


Australian PM  downplays role of climate change in current drought

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has played down the role of climate change in the drought ravaging much of inland eastern Australia.

And he has indicated that the coming relief package for farmers will not take into account future increases in extreme weather events predicted in a new report by scientists.

At the end of a two-day tour taking in Bourke and Broken Hill in NSW and Longreach in Queensland, Mr Abbott said the present period of extreme heat and dry conditions – broken in part during his weekend visit – was not unusual for Australia.

"If you look at the records of Australian agriculture going back 150 years, there have always been good times and bad, tough and lush times," Mr Abbott said.

"This is not a new thing in Australia.  "As the seasons have changed, climatic variation has been a constant here in Australia."

Mr Abbott, who has previously dismissed a link between climate change and October’s early-season bushfires in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, ruled out taking the issue of a warming planet into consideration when preparing his drought-aid package for cabinet later this week.

"Farmers ought to be able to deal with things expected every few years," Mr Abbott said.

"Once you start getting into very severe events – one-in-20, 50, 100-year events – that’s when I think people need additional assistance because that is ... beyond what a sensible business can be expected to plan for."

A new report by the Climate Council – formed with public funding from the ashes of the Climate Commission, which the Abbott government abolished – says heatwaves are becoming more frequent, more intense and lasting longer.

It says Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide were already experiencing the number of annual hot days that had been forecast for 2030 in the first decade of the century.

The report, by Professors Will Steffen and Lesley Hughes and UNSW researcher Sarah Perkins, said: "Record hot days and warm nights are also expected to increase across Australia over the coming decades.

"For both northern and southern Australia, one-in-20-year extreme hot days are expected to occur every two to five years by the middle of the century."

Records melt

Those three cities, as it happens, have each broken heat records this summer.

Adelaide has had 13 days of 40 degrees or more, beating the previous record set more than a century ago, of 11 such days. Melbourne has hda seven days above 40 degrees, the most in any calendar year just six weeks in, while Canberra has had 20 days above 35 degrees, the most for any summer, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The Climate Council report highlights the effect that increased heat is expected to have on agriculture, including reduced crop yields and lower livestock productivity.

The three regions  Mr Abbott visited all had their hottest six-month period between August and January, with rainfall as little as one-fifth of normal levels.

Cabinet is expected to consider an extra $280 million in low-interest loans for farmers, among other measures. 

Touring the Mount Gipps cattle and sheep station north of Broken Hill on Monday, he said there was  "a world of difference" between companies seeking handouts and farmers needing help to get through the drought.

Graziers have been offloading their livestock throughout much of inland eastern Australia as they battle to cope with drought and declining feedstock.

John Cramp, the owner of  Mount Gipps,  said the recent extreme heat in his region had seen his cattle remain near their water troughs rather than go in search of remaining grass.

"They won’t leave their water, they won’t poke out and get some feed," Mr Cramp said, adding that in his view "climates have always changed".



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

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


19 February, 2014

Why The Met Office Has Hung Its Chief Scientist Out To Dry

But nobody seems to be asking the old fool how climate change could be causing Britain's wild weather when there has been no climate change for many years -- JR

Last week the Met Office and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology issued an admirable joint report on the floods and their possible connection to climate change, concluding that it is not possible to make such a link. ‘As yet’, it said, ‘there is no definitive answer on the possible contribution of climate change to the recent storminess, rainfall amounts and the consequent flooding’.

In many ways this was not much of a surprise, since only the wild activist fringe among the climate science community have tended to try to make the link in the past.

Taking such a level-headed view, the Met Office report represented a valuable opportunity to bring some calm to an increasingly frenzied debate over the flooding. However, unfortunately for everyone, the good work was all undone by the Met Office’s own chief scientist, Professor Dame Julia Slingo. Newly ennobled in the New Year’s honours list, Slingo seems to have found the temptation to put a global warming spin on everything that crosses her desk too much, and she blurted out to journalists the extraordinary claim that ‘all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change’.

Her position was undoubtedly a big problem for the Met Office, directly contradicting her own organisation’s report and the views of the scientific mainstream. It was therefore perhaps inevitable that these differences would be picked up in the media. Over the weekend, the Mail on Sunday reported a senior climatologist, Professor Mat Collins of Exeter University, as saying that:-

‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’

As the newspaper pointed out, there was an obvious discrepancy with what Slingo was telling the press.

On the grapevine I hear that climate scientists are privately furious with Slingo; their profession has had a rough ride in recent years and efforts to restore its battered reputation are not to be cheaply squandered. The signs are that climatologists have hung Slingo out to dry. Last night, Collins and the Met Office issued a much-anticipated response to the Mail on Sunday article. This made a great deal of global warming having increased the water content of the atmosphere, leading to increased rainfall, a surprising point given that as recently as 2012 Slingo had told Parliament that global warming was ‘loading the dice’ in favour of cold, dry winters. It also made a strong sales pitch about the potential of climate models to predict increases in storminess in future.

But it was what it did not say that was most significant. For while it artfully implied that the Mail on Sunday had got things wrong, in fact it went on to show only that the original report was consistent with Collins’ mainstream views. Regarding Slingo’s outlandish claims about ‘all the evidence’ supporting a link between the floods and global warming, there was only an ominous silence.


5 Scientific Reasons That Global Warming Isn't Happening

How did global warming discussions end up hinging on what's happening with polar bears, unverifiable predictions of what will happen in a hundred years, and whether people are "climate deniers" or "global warming cultists?" If this is a scientific topic, why aren't we spending more time discussing the science involved? Why aren't we talking about the evidence and the actual data involved? Why aren't we looking at the predictions that were made and seeing if they match up to the results? If this is such an open and shut case, why are so many people who care about science skeptical? Many Americans have long since thought that the best scientific evidence available suggested that man wasn't causing any sort of global warming. However, now, we can go even further and suggest that the planet isn't warming at all.

1) There hasn't been any global warming since 1997: If nothing changes in the next year, we're going to have kids who graduate from high school who will have never seen any "global warming" during their lifetimes. That's right; the temperature of the planet has essentially been flat for 17 years. This isn't a controversial assertion either. Even the former Director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, Phil Jones, admits that it's true. Since the planet was cooling from 1940-1975 and the upswing in temperature afterward only lasted 23 years, a 17 year pause is a big deal. It also begs an obvious question: How can we be experiencing global warming if there's no actual "global warming?"

2) There is no scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and caused by man: Questions are not decided by "consensus." In fact, many scientific theories that were once widely believed to be true were made irrelevant by new evidence. Just to name one of many, many examples, in the early seventies, scientists believed global cooling was occurring. However, once the planet started to warm up, they changed their minds. Yet, the primary "scientific" argument for global warming is that there is a "scientific consensus" that it's occurring. Setting aside the fact that's not a scientific argument, even if that ever was true (and it really wasn't), it's certainly not true anymore. Over 31,000 scientists have signed on to a petition saying humans aren't causing global warming. More than 1000 scientists signed on to another report saying there is no global warming at all. There are tens of thousands of well-educated, mainstream scientists who do not agree that global warming is occurring at all and people who share their opinion are taking a position grounded in science.

3) Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012: The loss of Arctic ice has been a big talking point for people who believe global warming is occurring. Some people have even predicted that all of the Arctic ice would melt by now because of global warming. Yet, Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012. How much Arctic ice really matters is an open question since the very limited evidence we have suggests that a few decades ago, there was less ice than there is today, but the same people who thought the drop in ice was noteworthy should at least agree that the increase is important as well.

4) Climate models showing global warming have been wrong over and over: These future projections of what global warming will do to the planet have been based on climate models. Essentially, scientists make assumptions about how much of an impact different factors will have; they guess how much of a change there will be and then they project changes over time. Unfortunately, almost all of these models showing huge temperature gains have turned out to be wrong.

Former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says that climate models used by government agencies to create policies “have failed miserably.” Spencer analyzed 90 climate models against surface temperature and satellite temperature data, and found that more than 95 percent of the models “have over-forecast the warming trend since 1979, whether we use their own surface temperature dataset (HadCRUT4), or our satellite dataset of lower tropospheric temperatures (UAH).”
There's an old saying in programming that goes, "Garbage in, garbage out." In other words, if the assumptions and data you put into the models are faulty, then the results will be worthless. If the climate models that show a dire impact because of global warming aren't reliable -- and they're not -- then the long term projections they make are meaningless.

5) Predictions about the impact of global warming have already been proven wrong: The debate over global warming has been going on long enough that we've had time to see whether some of the predictions people made about it have panned out in the real world. For example, Al Gore predicted all the Arctic ice would be gone by 2013. In 2005, the Independent ran an article saying that the Artic had entered a death spiral.

Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years....The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a “tipping point” beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.
Meanwhile, Arctic ice is up 50% since 2012. James Hansen of NASA fame predicted that the West Side Highway in New York would be under water by now because of global warming.

If the climate models and the predictions about global warming aren't even close to being correct, wouldn't it be more scientific to reject hasty action based on faulty data so that we can further study the issue and find out what's really going on?


Are energy efficient homes making us ILL? Toxic mould caused by poor air circulation could trigger 'sick building syndrome'
Energy efficient buildings are an important part of tackling the world’s energy crisis.  But while these structures can keep draughts out, they also have a hidden threat lurking within.

Deep within their crevices and corners, green buildings are susceptible to trapping humid air in which toxic mould can spread

The problem, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), affects between 30 and 50 per cent of new or refurbished buildings.  A number of these homes have become ghost buildings after the damp seeped in and destroyed furniture and belongings.

The Alberta Court of Appeal in Canada, for instance, has been abandoned since 2001, after renovations to 87-year-old building went wrong.

When the renovated building reopened, according to Umair Irfan at ClimateWire, judges and attorneys complained of fatigue, irritated lungs, and watery eyes.

Mould is a type of fungus - thousands of types are released at different times of the year, though autumn is the peak time for the release of the spores.

Up to four per cent of the population is thought to react to mould spores - with as many as one in ten people with allergies such as hay fever and eczema affected.

‘They couldn't figure out what was wrong,’ Tang Lee, a professor of architecture in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary told Climate Wire.

Air quality samples revealed that the problem came from mould growing inside the walls.  The new airtight building trapped moisture breeding toxic mould.

Professor Lee said that the situation is a stark reminder that even in pursuit of saving energy, human health should be a major concern in designing and retrofitting the enclosed spaces where people spend most of their lives.

‘It's not just making it look pretty, and it's not just making it more efficient,’ she said.

The World Health Organisation has termed what has happened in Canada and elsewhere as sick building syndrome (SBS).

According to the HSE, the most common symptoms of SBS are headaches, lethargy and poor concentration, skin irritation, dry itchy eyes and a congested nose.

Mould spores can also be dangerous for some asthmatics. Around two-thirds of the more serious life-threatening asthma attacks are believed to be triggered by mould.

Mould may also be linked to Parkinson's disease. A recent U.S. study found a compound given off by mould reduced levels of the brain chemical dopamine, a process which causes Parkinson's symptoms, although more research is needed.


Obama’s War on Coal: What possibly could go wrong?

The Washington Free Beacon headline read, “Report: Coal Power Plant Shutdowns to Accelerate, Industry, workers blame Obama EPA for layoffs as companies retire larger coal-fired plants.”

The article by Lachlan Markay reported on federal energy regulators who predict: “Projected retirements of coal-fired generating capacity in [EIA’s annual Energy Outlook report] include retirements above and beyond those reported to EIA as planned by power plant owners and operators.”

Markay notes that, “A key factor in those retirements is a new Environmental Protection Agency regulation on emissions of toxins from coal-fired power plants. Known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, it is expected to dramatically increase financial pressure on the coal sector.”

Isn’t this good news?  After all, we have been inundated with reports on how bad coal is, to the point that supposedly well-educated Seattle, Wash. residents fear coal trains running through their town due to environmentalist stoked worries about the previously unknown second-hand black lung disease.

What could possibly go wrong with administration policies that pander to this anti-coal barrage?

After all, we are investing billions of dollars in renewable energy sources.  Why would anyone be concerned that more coal fired electricity generation plants are going to be shut down than even the government anticipated?

Here’s why.

In 2012, 37 percent of all electricity in the nation was generated by coal fired plants according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).  By comparison, solar power made up 0.1 percent, and all renewable energy not including hydro-electric made up around 5 percent of our total electricity production.

Consider that in 2008, coal accounted 49 percent of all electricity. The rapid reduction in coal fired electricity generation is only partially being replaced by an increase in natural gas fired plants ensuring that less electricity will be available for U.S. consumers in 2016 than today.

Add to this equation news reports from earlier in the winter that many utilities were struggling to meet the demand for electricity due to the cold weather.   The natural emphasis of the stories focused upon the increased cost of electricity due to the high demand for power, and this is a guaranteed outgrowth of the EPA’s continuing war on coal fired utilities.

As the nation’s ability to generate electricity diminishes, the demand for power continues to increase taxing the electrical grid in ways our nation has not seen in generations.

The EIA itself reports the in 2012, more than 3 percent of coal fired capacity was lost due to closures and it anticipates another 20 percent of this electric generation capacity will cease to exist by 2020 largely due to EPA regulations.

To put this into perspective, in a time of rising electrical demand, our nation will be losing 6 percent of its total electric generation capabilities.  Of course a portion of this will be made up through conversion to burning natural gas, but the loss of coal fired electricity will create a shortage, much higher prices and blackouts during critical, high use times.

A nation that prides itself on being the most modern in the world, won’t be able to flip a switch and turn on the lights due to the Obama Administration’s war on coal, and those in more economically depressed areas will be forced to choose between expensive heat or air conditioning and putting food on their table.

That is the reality of the war on coal and cheap energy as a whole.  A war guaranteed to create brownouts, blackouts and families shivering under blankets in the dark.

But the most damaging impacts won’t be until a few years after Obama has left office and voters will blame the President who has to clean up his mess, rather than acknowledging just who turned off the lights.

A war on coal, what possibly could go wrong?


Bill Nye (Not a Science Guy) Blows it on the Global Warming Lie


RUSH:  Sometimes it gets so depressing.  I'm reading my tech blogs.  It's my hobby.  Folks, I'd love to call these out by name, but believe me it wouldn't be worth it.  It doesn't matter.  I know you're not going to go read them anyway.  But there is this one blog comprised of people who think they are engineers and scientists. They're 24, 25 years old -- maybe in their early 30s -- and it's just classic reading them.

They are nothing more than the product of the propaganda they've been taught at every level of education.  For example: Global warming.  "It is undeniable.  It is as real -- man-made global warming is as real -- as the sun coming up," and apparently, I guess, one of the Sunday shows had a debate between Marsha Blackburn and Bill Nye, "the Science Guy," who is not a science guy.  Bill Nye, apparently when talking about the North Pole, held up a picture of the South Pole.

But anyway, he believes in all this gobbledygook, and it's a hoax.  Democrats are reviving it, by the way. Kerry, Obama, they're reviving it just like they revive minimum wage and it gets their base going.  It expands the role of government.  But there's absolutely no evidence. It's a total hoax.  They're now focusing on the drought in California as part of global warming.  It's ridiculous.  The reason there's a drought in the Central Valley is because of water policy.

They have simply diverted water from human beings to animals, endangered species! They've been doing this in California since I don't know when, the '70s and '80s. That's how long they've been doing it, and that's why there's a drought.  That's why there's an agricultural crisis in the Central Valley.  It's not because of global warming. It's because of water policy.  California doesn't have enough water naturally.

They've got to take the runoff from the snowmelt, Hetch Hetchy in San Francisco. Southern California doesn't get enough rain; it's got to be diverted down there.  Southern California, ditto.  They're diverting water to save snail darters and things like that.  They've been doing it for years.  But none of that is given the time of day among these young, hip, know-it-alls.  I read this and I want to howl. If I had a chance to talk to these guys, how in the world would I get through to them?

It's a challenge.

It's something I ponder, 'cause I think one of these days it's probably going to happen somewhere.


RUSH: So, anyway, I didn't watch this, I guess it was Meet the Depressed.  Bill Nye, the Science Guy, was debating Marsha Blackburn, a congresswoman from Tennessee, about global warming.  Look, those of you who listen here regularly know that the whole hoax has been exposed thanks to the treasure trove of e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia in the UK.  All of the data faked.  All of the charts rigged, from ancient times to the current.  Any data that showed there was no warming when there should have been was suppressed.  Any data that did not show sufficient warming when they wanted it to was also suppressed and rearranged.  I mean, they just made it up.

Now, it's long since been forgotten, but at the time everybody paying attention realized that some of the key players in the man-made global warming argument are involved in this.  I mean, it's just ridiculous.  You go back, I remember watching in 1985 This Week with David Brinkley, and there's this scientist on named Oppenheimer.  And he's warning everybody (paraphrasing), "We got 20 years.  Actually not 1985.  It was 1980.  We got 20 years.  Now, we can't conclusively say that the earth is warming, and we can't conclusively say that man is causing it.  But we've only got 20 years, and we must err on the side of assuming we are causing it and it is getting warmer.  Because if we miss it, we're going to totally blow our effort to fix it in 20 years."

Well, I'm watching that and I'm totally incredulous, just on the basis of my common sense.  A, you're telling me that you can't prove it, we don't know it, but we better act as though it's happening because if we don't, in 20 years it's going to be what, disaster?  It's going to get so bad we can't fix it.  Well, if you can't prove in 1980 that we're causing it, then what the hell are we going to do to stop it?  That was only one year after Newsweek had run a cover on the coming global cooling, a new ice age.  One year later it becomes global warming.

And, of course, the guy is calling for massive tax increases, the United Nations to be involved, the creation of a worldwide agency to police developed countries to make sure they didn't pollute more than their share.  It's classic what was happening.  An absolute total hoax that they couldn't prove.  And even now, look it, I've taken you through this.  I'm not going to waste your time going through it anymore.  My point is, so I'm reading my little tech blog, and Bill Nye apparently in this debate with Marsha Blackburn said something innocuous as everybody knows that the earth is warming and that man is causing it.  They just took that quote and the little blog post:  Thank you.  Thank you, Bill Nye.  No, everybody doesn't agree with it.

Anyway, that constituted debate victory for these guys.  And I think about this in the terms of we're going to have to find a way to permeate the minds of these young people who have been propagandized and who want to believe that there's disaster and imminent danger at every turn.  People get caught up in that.  It excites them.  But then there's also vanity, this silly notion that we're causing it.  And then the doubly silly notion that we can stop it.  It's so absurd.  When you just stop to think about it, it's absurd to believe what they are teaching, which is that progress, human progress is destroying a planet created by God and placing us on it for the express purpose of having dominion over it.  They don't believe in creation or God, many of them, is one of the things.



Australia reviewing  renewable-energy mandates

Comment from the USA
It was out with the Labor Party and in with the Liberal Party in the Australian elections last September (translation: the government switched over from six years of progressive dominance to their version of conservatism).

Part of Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s campaign platform was cutting government spending and taking a more reality-based stance on the country’s green commitments (including a deeply unpopular carbon tax), and he immediately started to make good on both of those promises by getting rid of the country’s Climate Commission and freezing renewables funding (not to mention his new government’s suggestion as to where the United Nations could stick their latest attempt to rope developed countries into a mutual impoverishment pact “global climate treaty”).

Now, the government is moving forward on reevaluating the economic wisdom of their mandatory renewable energy target (RET), much to the chagrin of both Australian and global greens. Via Reuters:

The target to ensure Australia generates 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2020 has been a boon to the nation’s wind and solar producers, but has been blamed by the conservative Coalition government for increasing power prices.

“In particular, the review will consider the contribution of the RET in reducing emissions, its impact on electricity prices and energy markets, as well as its costs and benefits for the renewable energy sector, the manufacturing sector and Australian households,” Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said in a statement. …

Macfarlane said the outcome of the review was not set, though Environment Minister Greg Hunt last month proposed to delay the implementation of the target by five years. …

Green groups in Australia saw the appointment of Dick Warburton, a former Reserve Bank board member who has expressed doubt that carbon emissions cause climate change, as a clear sign that the government’s intention is to weaken or remove the target.

Which is probably a pretty good idea. The greens doth protest that weakening the target will ease investment in renewables and result in the country using more coal for electricity generation — but funnily enough, Germany’s very similar mandated energy targets of the past few years have in fact directly resulted in the country turning to coal for power generation, and a colossal waste of taxpayer money and loss of business competitiveness besides.



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

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


18 February, 2014

Mann and the Oxburgh Panel

The Mann libel case has been attracting increasing commentary, including from people outside the climate community. Integral to Mann’s litigation are representations that he was “investigated” by 6-9 investigations, all of which supposedly gave him “exonerations” on wide-ranging counts, including “scientific misconduct”, “fraud”, “academic fraud”, “data falsification”, “statistical manipulation”, “manipulation of data” and even supposed findings that his work was “properly conducted an fairly presented”. Mann also represented that these investigations were widely covered in international and national media and thus known to Steyn and the other defendants.

In today’s post, I’ll look closely at the Oxburgh panel, one of the investigations cited in Mann’s pleadings. However, contrary to the claims in Mann’s litigation, not only did the Oxburgh panel not exonerate Mann, at their press conference, Oxburgh panelist David Hand, then President of the Royal Statistical Society, made very disparaging and critical comments about Mann’s work, describing it as based on “inappropriate” statistics that led to “exaggerated” results. These comments were widely reported in international media, later covered in a CEI article that, in turn, was reported by National Review. Moreover, information obtained from FOI in the UK a couple of years ago shows that Mann objected vehemently to criticism from Oxburgh panelist, which he characterized as a “rogue opinion” and unsuccessfully sought a public apology.

Mann’s claim that the Oxburgh panel “exonerated” Mann on counts ranging from scientific misconduct to statistical manipulation to proper conduct and fair presentation of results has no more validity than his claim to have been awarded a Nobel prize for his supposedly seminal work “document[ing] the steady rise in surface temperatures during the 20th Century and the steep increase in measured temperatures since the 1950s.”

Much more HERE

Horror at the world's largest solar farm days after it opens as it is revealed panels are SCORCHING birds that fly over them

Environmentalists have hit out at a giant new solar farm in the Mojave Desert as mounting evidence reveals birds flying through the extremely hot 'thermal flux' surrounding the towers are being scorched.

After years of regulatory tangles around the impact on desert wildlife, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened on Thursday but environmental groups say the nearly 350,000 gigantic mirrors are generating 1000 degree Fahrenheit temperatures which are killing and singeing birds.

According to compliance documents released by developer BrightSource Energy last year, dozens of birds were found injured at the site during the building stage.

State and federal regulators are currently conducting a two-year study of the Ivanpah plant's effects on birds, with environmental groups questioning the the value of cleaner power when native wildlife is being killed or injured.

Ivanpah, a joint project uniting NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy, can produce enough electricity to power 140,000 homes.

Larger projects are on the way, but for now, Ivanpah is being described as a marker for the United States' emerging solar industry.

While solar power accounts for less than one per cent of the nation's power output, thousands of projects from large, utility-scale plants to small production sites are under construction or being planned, particularly across the sun-drenched Southwest.

'The opening of Ivanpah is a dawn of a new era in power generation in the United States,' said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. 'We are going to be a global leader in solar generation.'

The plant's dedication comes as government continues to push for development of greener, cleaner power.

President Barack Obama has mounted a second-term drive to combat climate change, proposing first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

His plan aims to help move the U.S. from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by wind and solar power, nuclear energy and natural gas.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, the cost of building and operating a new solar thermal power plant over its lifetime is greater than generating natural gas, coal or nuclear power.

It costs a conventional coal plant $100, on average, to produce a megawatt-hour of power, but that figure is $261 for solar thermal power, according to 2011 estimates.

The figures do not account for incentives such as state or federal tax credits that can impact the cost.

Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the solar association, said in a statement that solar systems have seen 'dramatic price declines' in the last few years.

That's good for utilities in California, which must obtain a third of their electricity from solar and other renewable sources by 2020.

The Ivanpah site, about 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas, has virtually unbroken sunshine most of the year and is near transmission lines that carry power to consumers.

Using technology known as solar-thermal, more than 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors roughly the size of a garage door reflect sunlight to boilers atop 459-foot towers. The sun's power is used to heat water in the boilers' tubes and make steam, which drives turbines to create electricity.

While many people are familiar with rooftop solar, or photovoltaic panels, 'these are a little bit different. This takes the sun's rays and reflects them onto towers,' said NRG spokesman Jeff Holland.

The plant can be a startling sight for drivers heading toward Las Vegas along busy Interstate 15. Amid miles of rock and scrub, its vast array of 7-by-10-foot mirrors creates the image of an ethereal lake shimmering atop the desert floor. In fact, it's built on a dry lakebed.

Google announced in 2011 that it would invest $168million in the project. As part of its financing, BrightSource also lined up $1.6billion in loans guaranteed by the U.S. Energy Department.

Ivanpah can be seen as a success story and a cautionary tale, highlighting the inevitable trade-offs between the need for cleaner power and the loss of fragile, open land. The California Energy Commission concluded that while the solar plant would impose 'significant impacts on the environment ... the benefits the project would provide override those impacts.'

Such disputes are likely to continue for years as more companies seek to develop solar, wind and geothermal plants on land treasured by environmentalists who also support the growth of renewable energy. At issue is what is worth preserving and at what cost, as California pushes to generate more electricity from renewable sources.

In 2012, the federal government established 17 'solar energy zones' in an attempt to direct development to land it has identified as having fewer wildlife and natural-resource obstacles. The zones comprise about 450 square miles in six states — California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

The Western Watershed Project is continuing to push a lawsuit against federal agencies that reviewed the Ivanpah project. Its California director, Michael J. Connor, said alternatives to the site were not considered and serious environmental impacts, including fragmenting the tortoise population, were ignored.

'Do we really need to have these giant plants first, or is it better to generate solar power on people's roofs, the place it's going to be used?' Connor asked.  NRG did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

Resch said a key issue for the industry will be maintaining government policies that encourage development, including tax credits for solar projects that are set to expire in 2016 and government loan guarantees. 'The direct result of these policies is projects like Ivanpah,' he said.

According to statistics compiled by the Energy Department, the solar industry employs more than 140,000 Americans at about 6,100 companies, with employment increasing nearly 20 percent since the fall of 2012.


Ice storm paradox: It's colder because the Earth is warmer

David Horsey has some very horsy comments below  -- but very little truth

With the American South locked in a deep freeze, you can be sure that plenty of the folks suffering through the snow and ice storms are interpreting the big chill as more proof that global warming is a hoax. “Warming?” they scoff. “How can the planet be warming when it’s so darn cold?”

Put very simply, here is what the predominant science says: Average global temperatures have been rising in recent decades. Some of the warming could be part of a natural cycle but, almost certainly, increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels are a pivotal factor in intensifying the phenomenon. The starkest evidence of the temperature jump is the rapid melting of the polar ice caps and the disappearance of the world’s glaciers. [Except that they're not and they're not]

Climate scientists have said another key signal to watch for is a dramatic shift in weather patterns. It is close to impossible to attribute any single weather event – a snowstorm, a tornado, a hurricane – to temperature rise, but, once extreme weather becomes normal and what has been normal is no longer the norm, we will know we are in the throes of change that is likely irreversible. {But extreme weeather is getting LESS normal]

It sure looks like that could be where we are now. In just the last couple of years, Americans have experienced epic tornados in the center of the country, a monster storm that flooded Manhattan and ravaged New Jersey, extended drought in the West that threatens agriculture and water supplies, and an unprecedented number of wildfires in forests dried to the flammability of kindling. This winter, frigid polar air has slipped south, freezing much of the country, while in Alaska the season has been unusually warm. There are piles of snow in Atlanta, but a dearth of snow in the Sierra.

Extreme and unusual weather has been rolling in with more frequency all over the world [Except that it hasn't].  Governments in most major countries have moved beyond debate about whether global warming is real. They are now busy making plans to deal with the costly disruptions and lethal disasters that climate change has already begun to bring.

Not in this major country, however. Though the Republican nominee for president in 2008, Sen. John McCain, declared that all the things that need to be done to cope with and combat climate change would be worth doing even if warming was not happening, the dominant voices in the party sharply disagree. They seem fixated on loony conspiracy theories that imply that the scientists of the world are spinning lies in order to destroy American capitalism.


Turns out the 'Evil' Koch Bros are only the 59th biggest donors in American politics. Can you guess who is number one?

Charles and David Koch are the two most evil people in American politics, right? We know that because Jane Mayer proved it with her landmark "Covert Operations" tour de liberal force in 2010.

Well, it turns out that Mayer's aim was off just a little, by like 58 slots on the all-time biggest donors in American politics list, as compiled by tallied the top donors in federal elections between 1989 and 2014. Koch Industries -- privately owned by the Evil Koch Bros -- is on the list, to be sure, but doesn't appear until the 59th slot, with $18 million in donations, 90 percent of which went to Republicans.

Unions, unions, unions

So who occupies the 58 spots ahead of the Evil Koch Bros? Six of the top 10 are ... wait for it ... unions. They gave more than $278 million, with most of it going to Democrats.

These are familiar names: AFSCME ($60.6 million), NEA ($53.5 million), IBEW ($44.4 million), UAW ($41.6 million), Carpenters & Joiners ($39.2 million) and SEIU ($38.3 million).

In other words, the six biggest union donors in American politics gave 15 times more to mostly Democrats than the Evil Koch Bros.

Wall Street and Act Blue, too

Three of the remaining four slots in the top 10 were taken by AT&T ($56.4 million), National Association of Realtors ($51.2 million) and Goldman Sachs ($44.8 million).

So, if money is the measure of evil in American politics and the Evil Koch Bros only come in 59th, who is really the most evil donor ever?

Turns out it's Act Blue, with just short of $100 million in contributions during its lifetime, which only started in 2004, 15 years after the Evil Koch Bros in the compilation.

Any bets on when Mayer's "Covert Operations II: Act Blue" will appear in the New Yorker?


How much weather is being caused by climate change? Maybe 1 part in 1,000

 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

In another silly pseudo-science rambling, the President’s science advisor, John Holdren, has recently stated, “Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change.”

Drought in California. Record snows in the East. It’s tempting for many to blame it all on our use of fossil fuels.

What Causes Weather?

Let’s start with the basics. Weather is caused by energy imbalances, primarily (1) between the solar heated surface of the Earth and the atmosphere above it, and (2) between different geographic regions (e.g. the tropics vs. high latitudes; the warm oceans versus cold continents in winter).

These energy imbalances have associated temperature differences, which in turn cause atmospheric circulation systems which form clouds, precipitation, and high and low pressure systems.

How much energy is involved? On a global basis the average rate of solar energy absorbed by the Earth is estimated to be about 240 Watts per sq. meter. In order for the climate system to stay at the same average temperature year after year, the Earth has to lose exactly the same amount of energy (240 W m-2) to outer space, in the form of infrared energy.

It’s all about the energy…and especially about imbalances in energy, which causes “weather” as the ocean and atmosphere seek to reduce those imbalances. On a local basis, those imbalances can be tens or even hundreds of watts per sq. meter.

So, How Much of Weather Could be Caused by Manmade Climate Change?
Our best estimate of how much the climate system has been perturbed from energy balance comes from the slow warming of the oceans, which since the 1950s equates to a 1 part in 1,000 energy imbalance (say, if 240 W m-2 of solar energy has been absorbed on average, 239.75 W m-2 has been lost to space…the slight ~0.25 W m-2 imbalance leads to slow warming).

Now, how exactly can a 1 part in 1,000 energy imbalance lead Holdren to state, “Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change”? Well, all I can think of is that his statement is not based in science.

Maybe that imbalance in recent years is somewhat more…say 2 parts in 1,000 (about a 0.5 W m-2 imbalance). But even that depends upon whether you believe in the measurements of tiny, multi-decadal oceanic warming trends of tenths or hundredths of a degree (depending on depth).

And it’s far from clear that even that is entirely our fault.

Now, how that tiny imbalance gets translated into a change in weather is, admittedly, not well understood. But, ultimately, weather is still related to energy imbalances, and mankind’s role in changing those rates of energy flow is miniscule.

You might say, “But what about global warming causing a warmer Gulf Stream, which then clashes with the cold air masses and makes bigger East Coast snowstorms?” The trouble with that argument is that “global warming” warms those winter air masses more than it warms the oceans,reducing the temperature contrast. So, if the opposite is happening this winter, then it’s not due to global warming.

The idea that any of the weather we are seeing is in any significant way due to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions verges on irrationality.

How much weather is being caused by climate change? Maybe 1 part in 1,000.


Climate models robustly predicted the opposite of what has caused the record cold US weather

An article published today "Winter weirdness: Is Arctic warming to blame?" notes "this winter has brought unseasonable warmth to Alaska, frigid temperatures to much of the Eastern US, and more drought to California. The jury is still out on whether a warmer Arctic is behind the extreme weather." "When persistent weather patterns have brought drought or heat waves or repeated invasions of cold air to usually mild locations in winter, these links to the Arctic have become a go-to explanation among many commentators and policymakers."

But is there any credibility to such claims?

The author interviews several climate scientists active in this debate including Dr. Elizabeth Barnes, who has previously debunked claims that 'Arctic amplification' causes extreme weather, as well as dueling hyper-alarmist Jennifer Francis, and others, demonstrating there is trace to no credible scientific evidence supporting such claims.

Of particular note, the article points out that climate models actually predicted the opposite pattern to occur with the jet stream drawn north, with fewer jet stream dips, and no change in jet stream blocking:

"These [modeling] studies suggest that a warming Arctic will draw the jet stream's average track north. Blocking patterns will decrease. Moreover, the models indicate no "robust" decrease in the jet stream's speed, notes Elizabeth Barnes, a climate scientist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins who focuses on the jet stream's behavior and the factors affecting it. To be sure, the models could be wrong, she acknowledges. But when different teams with different models converge on the same answer, that inspires more confidence in the result."

Interesting how climate fraudsters like Michael Mann claim the opposite of what the observational evidence shows & climate models predict. It's all for the cause

Furthermore, the article notes "Long-term swings in Atlantic sea-surface temperatures, known as the [natural] Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, appear to have the same effect on the jet stream's meanders and blocking patterns that Arctic warming and sea ice are purported to have.

When the AMO enters its warm phase – its condition since the 1990s – the jet stream tends to weaken and buckle. Blocking patterns increase, and colder temperatures prevail at mid-latitudes.

"This also supports the colder winters of recent years," Magnusdottir says, adding that the results seem robust, since they show up in real-world data as well as in computer simulations."


DDT and The Magic Study Machine!
By Rich Kozlovich

In December 2011 I wrote an article that was entitled, DDT - Lets Have Another 10,000 Studies!, saying;

“There have been thousands of studies regarding the effects of DDT on the environment, people and wildlife, and most of them were junk science….. conclusions in search of data. A number of years ago…..Dr. Rutledge Taylor...produced a film documentary about DDT called 3 Billion and Counting. …..At one point he had received almost 100 studies from one of the anti-DDT groups that claimed all sorts of things. He sent them to me and asked me to look them over…..

As I went through the first ten, very carefully outlining and taking notes on what was clearly wrong with those studies, I found out that they were filled with claptrap; speculation, weasel words, logical fallacies and weak associations. I went through the next ten just as carefully, without taking notes this time, and found the exact same pattern in all of them. I skipped to every fifth study only to find the same pattern over and over again. In short, these studies were nothing more than “academic welfare”!

You know what welfare is; pay without work; work being the operative word for producing something of value. And in these cases the ‘academic welfare’ produced preconceived conclusions. Conclusions in search of data! And everyone one of these studies was produced after DDT was banned! Why?”

Well, there is one thing we know for sure. Anti-DDT ‘studies’ will generate grant money, and the holy grail of science is grant money, and that’s what makes them ‘magic’. They’re magic because anti-DDT studies produce gold out of nothing. This kind of reminds me of that old Grimm brother’s fairy tale about Rumpelstiltskin and spinning straw into gold, and spinning is the operative word, because they're still desperately attempting to prove the ban really has some scientific basis instead of the political decision it really was.

One of of my readers sent me a link to this study, entitled, Elevated Serum Pesticide Levels and Risk forAlzheimer Disease, which claimed there ‘may’ be a link between Alzheimer’s and DDT, or in this case DDE the metabolite, or breakdown product, of DDT, finally concluding;

“Elevated serum DDE levels are associated with an increased risk for AD and carriers of an APOE4 ?4 allele may be more susceptible to the effects of DDE. Both DDT and DDE increase amyloid precursor protein levels, providing mechanistic plausibility for the association of DDE exposure with AD. Identifying people who have elevated levels of DDE and carry an APOE ?4 allele may lead to early identification of some cases of AD.”

The L.A. Times quotes and states;

"Over 80% of us have measurable levels of DDE in our blood, that is a reality," Richardson told The Times. "We get it from legacy contamination or food that comes from countries using DDT.  None of the people in the study had DDE levels that were way beyond what is found in the general population. "The levels we observed were not outside what you find in the top 5% of people in the United States," he said.

He added that some of the participants who had high DDE levels did not have Alzheimer's. "We need to do a lot more work to understand this association," he said."It may not be as simple as different levels of exposure.

With all those caveats, why was this study even published?
Let me tell you about weasel words and phrases, which has now been updated. When you start to look at these “studies” touted by the activists you find that there is one common thread. They are full of weasel words and phrases. This gives them a great deal of wiggle room because they never come out and definitively state that things are factual, they’re always ‘maybes’, and always scary ‘maybes’. Did it ever occur to anyone that this is nothing more than unfounded printed accusations, or even professional guess work? When this stuff makes it into print the media consistently fails to give the impression this may not be viewed as real science from the rest of the scientific community.

The American Council on Science and Health published an article on January 28, 2014 dealing with this entitled, “New study tries to link Alzheimer’s disease and DDT; media thinks it succeeded”.

“A small biomonitoring study of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients’ exposure to DDT, as compared to those of non-AD patients, came up with some statistically significant associations of otherwise no clinical significance. But that didn’t stop the news media from blaring the findings hither and yon, without giving a moment’s thought to the underlying mechanisms or significance. As usual.”
The article goes on to say;

“among 86 AD and 79 control patients [Editor's note; way to small a number to mean anything]. These levels were measured in serum. [DDT] is persistent (meaning it does not break down rapidly in the environment), as is DDE. But the levels measured in the study subjects were in the nanogram per milligram of cholesterol range: where a nanogram is one-millionth of a milligram! Simply put, the levels of DDE were somewhat akin to a drop of water in an olympic-sized swimming pool or less.

The problem with so many of these studies is in how they’re conducted, and what the media fails to tell everyone, and probably doesn’t understand anyway. The article went on to say;

The results, such as they are, indicated that the measured levels of DDE were 3.8 fold higher in the AD patients than the controls. Does this mean that the DDT/DDE caused AD in those higher-exposed? Not at all. In fact, the 2 study groups were assembled in 2 different locations, and each group’s numbers failed to show any effect. The authors took care of that inconvenient problem by pooling both groups, and voila! the statistics came back to them as they hoped.

But while that teeny-tiny amount may make this whole endeavor ridiculous, even more so is this simple fact: while the amount of DDT/DDE in the environment has clearly declined since it was banned and its manufacture nearly disappeared forty-plus years ago, the incidence of AD has climbed, indeed accelerated over that same period. That’s tough to explain using the “DDT linked to Alzheimer’s” scare story. Isn’t it?  Also, can you postulate the likely biological hypothesis for how these chemicals infiltrate one’s brain and interfere with memory on a progressive basis? No? Neither can I.

The author of the study is quoted as saying;

“That is exactly why this study was done: to try to discover some–any– remediable factor to try to prevent AD. Otherwise, we just feel helpless and at the mercy of fate.

ACSH’s Dr. Gil Ross notes;
“ that’s a poor excuse for twisting yourself into a pretzel to come up with some bizarre linkage such as this study. And then there’s this insinuation that all pesticides are alike, which is utter nonsense.”

Of course groundwork must be laid for future grant chasing. “We have submitted grants to follow this up in much larger groups of people,” ….“That is the most important step — to replicate this and to have it in a much larger sample.” And so it goes, "The Magic Study Machine" is kept humming - filling the world with hype that is promoted by scientifically illiterate journalists.

But this is just the latest study generated by the Magic Study Machine over DDT. In January 2012 it was declared that DDT was now “linked” [another weasel word] to Vitamin D deficiency. Why didn’t the problem appear 40 years ago? And its really hard to believe whatever is left of DDT could have this kind of impact on anyone.
Then there was the December 2011 claim that DDT causes lung problems in babies?

Again, as Steve Milloy notes;

“DDT hasn’t been used in developing countries for decades. Now it causes lung infections? Here’s the study.The statistical associations are weak and insignificant, the data self-reported and a credible biological explanation for how DDE could possibly cause respiratory tract infections is non-existent —and, of course, respiratory tract infections in infants are so common thath it is absurd to even attempt to attribute them to trace levels of a ubiquitous metabolite of a long-banned insecticide. “

Then there was the May 2011 claim that, DDT causes diabetes, breast cancer and infant deaths.  Steve Milloy states;

I traced the diabetes claim to a study published in the July 2009 Environmental Health Perspectives. Aside from the usual fatal flaws of weak association epidemiology, this study’s assertion that DDT metabolite DDE was associated with incident diabetes is laughable since the average body mass index (BMI) of the study subjects was 33.2 — e.g., meaning that the average study subject was likely to be obese (check out this chart to see what height/weight combos make for a BMI of 33+).

Moreover, no significant associations were reported for study subjects with a BMI less than 29. I don’t know whether obesity leads to diabetes or diabetes leads to obesity, but there’s no evidence that DDT is involved.   As to the breast cancer risk claim, I last addressed this issue in an October 11, 2007 column, responding to an October 2007 Environmental Health Perspectives study.

What about infant deaths?

“The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences study referred to by the New York Times doesn’t even try to associate DDT with nonmalarial infant death. It instead only estimates nonmalarial deaths that may be associated with DDT spraying, the alleged “association” being based on three studies“suggesting” that DDT exposure may increase pre-term delivery and small-for-gestational-age births, and shorten the duration of lactation. “
Here’s Steve’s quick take on those three studies:

§ Association between maternal serum concentration of the DDT metabolite DDE and preterm and small-for-gestational-age babies at birth is an effort to retrospectively blame DDT for premies and underweight births 35 years after the births. But this can’t be credibly done with biased data and weak/inconsistent statistical associations.

§ DDE and Shortened Duration of Lactation in a Northern Mexican Town reports statistically insignificant results.

§ Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethene (DDE) in Human Milk: Effects on Growth, Morbidity,and Duration of Lactation confounding risk factors were not considered in a multivariate regression model (i.e., all at the same time), so its hard to blame DDT on even a statistical basis.

“So contrary to the New York Times‘ assertion, there is no credible evidence that DDT has anything to do with diabetes, heart disease or infant deaths. Moreover, given that one million children under the age of five die every year from malaria, even if DDT did increase the risk of diabetes, breast cancer and infant death, those risks would be better than the alternative. While the Times misinforms millions are dying needlessly.”

One thing will become clear for those of you who really want to understand what’s going on with these studies. So often these “Magic Studies” are conclusions in search of data.  They involve data dredging for associations and associations are not proof of causation, and invariably they are incapable of demonstrating the biological mechanism that supposedly make these things happen.

As for the Alzheimer study;  you have to wonder if it ever occurred to these people the reason this problem is becoming so pronounced is because more people are living longer and the real cause is “multiple birthday syndrome”? Did it ever occur to these ‘scientists’ that these people might not have been able to experience “multiple birthday syndrome” without the advent of DDT?

For those of you who could care less about the facts you can take solace in one reader’s caustic remark; “That settles it…DDT is now on double-secret probation!”  And the Magic Study Machine will soon crank out another crank study proving that DDT does ________, (just fill in the blank).  Who knows, you may be able to get a grant to study “something”, or even 'anything' , just so long as 'something' or 'anything' is caused by DDT.



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

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17 February, 2014

The great 1928 flood of London

Floods are nothing new for the Thames

In 1928 the Thames flooded much of central London, with fatal consequences. It was the last time the heart of the UK's capital has been under water. How did the city cope and what has changed?

It was after midnight when the river burst its banks. Most Londoners slept as the floodwaters gushed into some of the nation's grandest buildings and submerged many of city's narrowest slum streets under 4ft of water.

The Houses of Parliament, the Tate Gallery and the Tower of London were all swamped. So too, tragically, were many of the crowded basement dwellings into which the city's poorest families were crammed. Some 14 souls drowned and thousands were left homeless.

The date was 7 January 1928. There was no early warning system to wake householders, no Thames Barrier to protect the city from tidal surges.

A modern observer would not find the aftermath entirely unfamiliar, however. As the waters were drained from Tube lines and debris cleared from the Embankment, there were political rows about dredging and whether local or central government should take responsibility.

The river poured over embankments at Southwark, Lambeth, Temple Pier and the Houses of Parliament, where Old Palace Yard and Westminster Hall were quickly flooded.

"It came like a waterfall over the parapet and into the space at the foot of Big Ben," wrote the Times' correspondent.

The moat at the Tower of London was filled for the first time in 80 years. The Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels were under water. There was extensive flooding around Victoria Embankment Gardens, Charing Cross Station and King's College.

"There were miniature waterfalls at Cleopatra's Needle and the Royal Air Force Memorial, and the training ship President floated at street level," reported the Manchester Guardian.

According to some reports, the first section of the riverbank to give way was at Millbank by the Tate. Incredibly, given its proximity to the Thames, many of the gallery's works were stored in the lower ground floor. Some 18 were damaged beyond repair, 226 oil paintings were badly damaged and a further 67 were slightly damaged.

However, the most serious devastation was in the working class areas that backed on to the river.

What the Times described as the "many little narrow streets, courts and alleys, reminiscent of Shakespeare and his times" between Southwark and Blackfriars bridges were flooded, as was the Bankside area. Police went door-to-door urging residents to leave.

Many of them were taken away on carts. "The water was rising so quickly that many who were roused from their sleep simply threw a blanket round their shoulders and made their escape in their night attire," the Times said.

Worst affected were the slums on the Westminster side of Lambeth Bridge, where 10 of the 14 victims lost their lives.

"The people who died were poor people living in crowded basements," says Anna Carlsson-Hyslop of the University of Manchester's Sustainable Consumption Institute. They had little time to escape.

At one inquest, a man named Alfred Harding identified the bodies of his four daughters - Florence Emily, 18, Lillian Maude, 16, Rosina, six, and Doris Irene, two.

A separate hearing heard how two domestic servants, Evelyn Hyde, 20, and Annie Masters Moreton, 22, drowned in similar circumstances in a room they shared in Hammersmith. The coroner, Mr HR Oswald, said they had been "caught like animals in a trap drowned before they realised their position".

Flooding occurred as far west as Putney and Richmond. The high waters were caused by a depression in the North Sea which sent a storm surge up the tidal river. It was the highest levels the Thames had witnessed for 50 years.

The river had subsided by the end of the day. However, according to Alex Werner, head of history collections at the Museum of London, "It took maybe a month to pump out all the water."

What made the relief effort harder was that London had already suffered extensive flooding in the days leading up to 7 January. Heavy snow over the Christmas period had melted, swelling inland rivers and leaving much of east London under several feet of water.

The tidal flood along the Thames was a different order of magnitude, however.

The river's flood defences were designed to cope with a tide of 18ft above the Ordnance Datum. This height had been chosen to exceed the previous record of 17ft 6in, which was reached in 1881. The 1928 surge saw this exceeded by 11in.

In the wake of the flood, the embankments were raised. However, it would take the North Sea flood of 1953 to persuade the authorities to look into constructing the Thames Barrier.


UK weather: it's not as weird as our warmists claim

Misconceived EU and UK policies provide a better explanation of the floods than 'climate change'

Inevitably, in the wake of all these dramatic storms and floods, the usual suspects, eagerly abetted by the BBC, Channel 4 News and Sky, piled in to claim that the latest “extreme weather events” – coupled with blizzards in 49 of the 50 American states – are clear evidence of man-made global warming. At their forefront, proclaiming that “all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change”, was that arch-climate proponent Dame Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office; that same Met Office that, back in November, was predicting that “precipitation” for the three months between December and February was likely “to fall into the driest of our five categories”, and would more likely than not take the form of snow,

This is also, of course, the same Met Office that in March 2012 was assuring us that April to June that year would be drier than average, with April the driest month, just before we enjoyed the wettest April ever; that in October 2010 forecast that December would be 2ºC warmer than average, just before the coldest December since records began; and that in April 2009 said it was “odds on for a barbecue summer” with “below average” rainfall, just before the heavens opened for months on end.

Even more significantly, this was the same Dame Julia who, in 2010, told MPs that the global warming-obsessed Met Office relies for its short-term forecasts on the very same £33?million super-computer that it uses to provide the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with its most valued projections of what the weather will be like in 100 years’ time.

As we know, since the 17-year “pause” in the rise in global temperatures made a nonsense of all those IPCC computer models, the warmists have sought to prop up their faltering religion by seizing on any “extreme weather event” they can lay their hands on, hot, cold, wet or dry. These recent storms and floods have been as manna from heaven for the likes of our “climate change” secretary Ed Davey, Lord Stern, the Great Moonbat and Bob Ward, the spokesman handsomely paid to spout all the required mantras by Jeremy Grantham, the billionaire climate zealot who has funded no fewer than two institutes at leading London universities.

Another Grantham luminary, and leading light of John Gummer’s “independent” Climate Change Committee, is Sir Brian Hoskins, wheeled on to preach the word by the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Thursday. Although there might be “no simple link” to any of “these extreme events around the world”, he said (as they always do), nevertheless the increase in rainfall and atmospheric humidity, melting polar ice, temperatures likely to rise by “four to five degrees” by the end of the century and the threatening rise in sea levels, could only lead any sensible person to one conclusion.

All true science, of course, has here been thrown out of the window. There is no rising trend in atmospheric humidity. Put the Arctic and the Antarctic together and there is more polar sea ice today than at any time since satellite records began in 1979. Not even the IPCC predicts a temperature rise of 5ºC. The latest Nasa Grace satellite data on sea levels, which have been modestly rising since we emerged from the Little Ice Age 200 years ago, shows that, on the trend of the past decade, the rise by 2100 would be just 6.7in.

For proper evidence-based science these days one has to step outside the hermetically sealed bubble of warmist group-think and look to that array of expert blogs and websites that provide the data necessary to thinking straight. On the belief that Britain has recently experienced unprecedented rain, for instance, look at the analysis of the Met Office’s England and Wales rainfall data sets on Paul Homewood’s website, Not A Lot Of People Know That. There is no upward trend in our rainfall. Even January’s continual downpours made it only the sixteenth wettest month since records began in 1766. Even if this month’s rain adds a further 200mm (8in) to the December-January figure, the resulting 650mm would still be way short of the 812mm (32in) recorded between November 1929 and January 1930.

The real lesson of this episode is not that we are seeing unprecedented rain, but that, across the board, a whole raft of misconceived EU and UK policies have been horribly caught out. We now further have an official admission from the Environment Agency that the reason why it so disastrously abandoned dredging of our rivers such as the Thames and those needed to drain floodwater from the Somerset Levels when it took control in 1996 was that absurdly expensive new EU waste management rules made it “uneconomical” to dispose of the silt dredged out of them.

A real madness has taken over here, as we saw in that weird rant last week from the pitifully ill-equipped Mr Davey, when he lashed out at his “wilfully ignorant” Conservative colleagues for “parrotting the arguments of the most discredited climate change deniers”.

Whether or not it was he who described Owen Paterson as “climate stupid”, the one minister who has so far made a practical and informed contribution towards saving the Somerset Levels from any repeat of their present horror story, Davey claimed that these people were in danger of undermining the whole of Britain’s present energy policy. That, of course, is precisely what a growing number of better-informed people than himself would like to see.


Dim as an eco-friendly lightbulb: A portrait of British Liberal politician  who this week called climate sceptics 'diabolical'

Not heard of Ed Davey? You are forgiven. This fellow may be a Rt Hon, a multiple-red-box wallah, a fellow with a grand private office, spin doctors and attendant lackeys.

He may be Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change - a job so important that it comes with its own fuel-guzzling, ozone layer-torpedoing limousine. But he has a public profile as low as a limbo dancer.

Comrade Davey, 48, shines as dimly as an eco-friendly light bulb. How appropriate for a climate-change enthusiast.

In Parliament, when he speaks, gallery reporters lay down their pencils and fold their arms for a snooze, so confident are they that nothing remarkable will be said. He is not so much an orator as a platitudes-by-the-yard man.

One of the ways we sketchwriters pass the time during a Davey speech is to play Cliche Bingo. You get a point each time he says ‘challenge’ or ‘proactive’ or ‘empower’.

And yet, more by accident than merit, this over-diluted glass of Ribena, this wholesale accepter of received wisdoms, finds himself in one of the hottest Whitehall departments.

This week, he used that bully pulpit to make an indignant, bad-tempered little speech that insulted the intelligence of people who just happen to disagree with him.

He mounted a distinctly illiberal, hyperbolic attack on climate-change sceptics, calling them ‘wilfully ignorant, head-in-the-sand nimbys’ who were driven by ‘europhobia’. He waved aside considered and thoughtful doubts about the climate-change industry as ‘diabolical’.

Quite a word, isn’t it? It means Satanic, akin to devils, on a par with Lucifer. Just for being sceptical.

Along the way, he pretty much attributed the current bad weather to man-made global warming. To stuff so much nonsense into one small speech was quite a feat.

So who is this leviathan, this seer, this genetic composite of Michael Fish, Jacques Delors and Mr Pooter?

Ed Davey became an MP in the Centre-Left landslide of 1997, defeating sometime Tory minister Richard Tracey by just 56 votes. Before entering Parliament he had worked as a management consultant and as an adviser to Liberal Democrat MPs.

Although clearly ambitious, and in those days something of a pin-up, Davey was one of the less scintillating members of Paddy Ashdown’s band of desperadoes.

Some of the Lib Dems had a raffish individuality about them. They were unpredictable. They were independent-minded. But those qualities were never much evident in Ed Davey.

He was a party loyalist and his Commons interventions blew long with slogans and soundbites. Over 16 long years of listening to his dronings, I don’t think I have ever detected a scintilla of originality in any phrase or conclusion. He is about as radical as a mid-range Ford Focus.

He was quickly rewarded for such dullness with a frontbench brief on the Treasury. Gordon Brown was Chancellor at the time. Dear old Gordon would squint across the House at this pipsqueak Davey and you could see him thinking: ‘I’ll tae that wee sprat for mah high tea!’ Which he duly did.

Tory frontbenchers valiantly hurled themselves against the New Labour battlements, pointing out that Mr Brown was on a mad spending spree. They had no chance of altering the Government’s course but the Tories at least followed their principles and, as it happens, spoke the truth.

Ed Davey, Mr Mute, supported the status quo. He always does. At Westminster, the status quo blokes tend to do well. Mr Davey kept being promoted. Charles Kennedy gave him the education beat.   Menzies Campbell made him his chief of staff. Nick Clegg promoted him yet again to foreign affairs. (He is, naturally, wildly enthusiastic about Europe.)

Davey was like the girl in the Seventies TV adverts for Nimble bread. He was flying like a bird, rising and rising on thermals of consensus.

Given his ‘back story’, it is all rather disappointing, for his life outside politics has had its unexpected, indeed inspiring moments.

Born to a solicitor in the East Midlands, he lost his parents horribly early in life and made the most of his private education to take a first-class degree in economics at Oxford. Good for him.

The orphaned teenager worked in a pork-pie factory (hence, says a Lib Dem colleague cruelly, his chunky waistline). Again, good for him.

But having actually done a proper job, at least for a while, you might expect him to have acquired some more robustly common-sensical views.

As a young man he also risked his life to save a woman from some rail tracks and was duly rewarded with recognition by the Royal Humane Society. This is all good stuff.

So why on earth is he such a crashing bore politically? He subscribes to the Left’s big-state orthodoxy, to the Government-knows-best creed that has infected so much of our  political class.

In 2010 the Lib Dems went into Government for the first time since Lloyd George. Had Mr Davey been a Conservative he would have been fortunate to become even a ministerial bag-carrier, but because he was a Lib Dem - and a Lib Dem, furthermore, who did not have flat feet, a wall eye or a mad hairdo - he was made a minister.

He was given a middle-ranking job under Vince Cable at the Department of Business. He was minister for post offices. Minister for stamps.

There he probably would have stayed until being returned to the backbenchers, had it not been for Chris Huhne’s little local difficulty.

When Mr Huhne went to prison for perverting the course of justice, Nick Clegg looked around in desperation and gave his job to Mr Davey (energy having been designated a Lib Dem portfolio).

Little was either of them to know that Ed Miliband was about to make a big play with energy prices, making this a frontline department. Of course, one reason energy prices were so high was that they had been saddled with green taxes under a previous Energy Secretary - the self-same Miliband.

Rather than make political hay with this, as he could have done, Mr Davey wimped out and insisted that the green policies must remain in place. Who pays most for green taxes? The working poor.

Rather than question those policies, Mr Davey trotted out the mantra that we should regard it as a privilege to be paying so much more to keep the lights on. Lucky us to face such price hikes.

And now, playing to form, he uses the bad weather to bang the highly questionable drum for climate- change prevention and all the bureaucratic and fiscal burdens it brings.

Even more typically, climate change is produced as an argument to justify the great mothership itself - the European Union.

We keep being told the floods are unprecedented. Not true. They happened like this in the 17th century, when 2,000 poor souls died. No one spoke then about man-made climate change.

Scepticism was once regarded as an essential quality in any civilised and, yes, truly liberal society.  Scepticism tests the orthodox. All the great thinkers, from Socrates to Einstein, from Galileo to Marie Curie, were in their own way sceptics.  Scepticism challenges the old ways and that leads to progress and the truth.

But now scepticism is ‘diabolical’. Ed Davey has declared it to be so. If you dare to disagree with him, you must be the spawn of Satan.


UK: How 'money-saving' solar panels actually INCREASED my heating bills by 220 per cent!

Residents who were forced to have solar panels fitted to their homes under a green scheme are now being charged £1,000 more for heating.

The householders were given a £38,000 taxpayer-funded grant and were told the panels would generate spare electricity that they could sell back to the National Grid. They would be saving hundreds of pounds on their energy bills and helping the environment, they were told.

But the panels were incorrectly installed and, as a result, some people have seen their bills rise by up to 220 per cent. Sixty residents have signed a petition stating that many have been pushed into fuel poverty. Experts blame ‘inherent design issues’ for the problems, including panels fitted on the wrong sides of houses.

A total of 175 householders in Longtown, Cumbria, received the new system from Warmer Energy Services, financed by Riverside Housing Association.

The £38,000 grant came from a government-backed scheme called Cert (Carbon Emissions Reduction Target). One man has now turned off his boiler altogether. James Rob, 42, a window cleaner, who lives in a two-bedroom flat, used to pay £25 a week for heating. He said: ‘Any saving would have been fine, but now I’m paying £80 a week. I can’t afford it so I only heat one room with an electric heater.

‘The boiler is far too powerful, it is a 9kw boiler, enough to heat the Royal Albert Hall. It costs £1.24 an hour to heat.  ‘To rectify the problem and have a working system installed could cost £4,700.’

‘All money generated from the solar panels, which I don’t use, is going into the grid which Riverside then receives money for.’

Janet and Tom Boak switched to the new heating system in the spring of 2012.  They now pay £98 in monthly direct debits to EDF Energy for their three-bedroom semi-detached property which they live in with their two  sons. Before the scheme they paid £39 a month.

Mrs Boak, 51, a carer for her  57-year-old husband, said: ‘When we used to have the coal fire we would put the heating on when we got up  at 9am and the last shovel would go on at 9pm.

‘Now we only have it on from 6pm till 10pm because we can’t afford it. We are cold the rest of the time.

‘I had to use my Christmas savings to pay off a bill. We didn’t want the new system because we had one installed two years previously. We were told it was cheaper to run and we would make a significant saving. We felt we had no choice.’

Annie Graham, 77, a retired carer, has seen her electricity bills soar to nearly £3,000 a year – compared to £1,750 a year previously.

In one month alone she paid £450 to heat her three-bedroom semi-detached property. The great grandmother said: ‘I was told it would be cheaper and that if I refused I would be responsible for the upkeep and repairs to the old system. I am 77 years old and in the past year the new heating has cost me £3,000. I’ve just paid £82.32  for seven and a half days of keeping the house warm. I’m just on my basic pension.

‘When you get old you are just a number. I was active before this happened, I was doing everything – now I don’t go to Bingo.’

A report last December by  consulting engineers Avoca,  analysed the work at two complainants’ properties.

It stated: ‘It is evident the energy costs for each of the properties  surveyed has increased over and above the normal expected rate and certainly there has been no reduction in costs.

‘It has been established that the installed heating systems have inherent design issues that contradict the requirement for providing efficient, effective and economical heating to the properties.’

A Riverside spokesman said: ‘Generally the feedback from  tenants about the improvements has been very positive.

‘We are a non-profit organisation and use the income generated, by selling energy back to the National Grid, to improve homes and provide better services to tenants.’


Heating Up a Controversy

During his 2008 campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama said that electricity prices would "necessarily skyrocket" under his grandiose idea of a cap-and-trade energy scheme to fight global warming. Well, he actually kept his promise of higher prices. Meanwhile, with the Southern and Mid-Atlantic states currently buried beneath snow and ice, the only place that seems to be getting warmer is the area around a massive solar energy project in the California desert.

Since coming online last year, and even in the preliminary testing, dozens of dead birds have been found surrounding the Ivanpah solar power plant, which uses a five-square-mile array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to boilers mounted on three 40-story high towers. The temperatures around the towers reportedly can reach 1,000 degrees, which is enough to cook any size bird unfortunate enough to fly through the area. All this to create just enough electricity to light 140,000 homes a year at a cost of $2.2 billion. Most of that came from a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee, which means taxpayers are on the hook for three Solyndras here. A sure sign of exorbitant expense: utilities that are purchasing the power from Ivanpah aren't releasing the cost of their 25-year deals.

And while Ivanpah represents an ideal source of electricity in Barack Obama's world, the rest of us who live in the real world are enjoying a winter without the sticker shock of crippling natural gas prices. Despite a bitterly cold winter that caused a record-setting day for natural gas usage back in January, prices haven't been as unstable as in previous winters, even with a 40% jump. The reason? Americans are extracting their own natural gas through the environmentally incorrect practice of fracking.

So let's compare. The ideal for Barack Obama costs up to four times as much to produce a kilowatt of electricity, has the potential to cook hundreds or even thousands of birds annually in a giant oven, and is secured by a $1.6 billion taxpayer-backed loan guarantee. On the other hand, private enterprise has created a situation where supply shortages are smoothed out and costs are relatively stable -- not to mention the side benefit of producing thousands of good-paying jobs.

We'd be nuts not to embrace the method shown to us by the private sector, but everyone knows Obama is crazy about "fundamentally transforming" the nation we know and love.


Australia: Carbon tax figures add to pressure to repeal

Australian companies paid $6.6 billion in the first full year of the carbon tax, with the seven biggest electricity producers each slugged more than $250 million.

The first annual tally of carbon tax liabilities, released on Friday by the Clean Energy Regulator, was largely as forecast.

But the Abbott government seized on the sheer scale of the figures to increase pressure on Labor to "get out of the way" of its election promise to abolish the tax. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has vowed to block the government's carbon repeal bills in the Senate.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the "hit on the economy" from the tax was worse than Labor had predicted when the Gillard government introduced it last year.

He said the cost to the economy was $7.6 billion once reduced fuel tax credits and charges on the refrigeration and aviation industries were considered.

Of the 348 companies that paid the tax, NSW-based Macquarie Generation had the biggest bill at nearly $470 million. Great Energy Alliance, the company behind Victoria's Loy Yang power plant, paid $425 million.

Sixteen of the top 20 carbon tax contributors were power companies, with a combined bill of $4.1 billion, according to the six-monthly update by the Clean Energy Regulator.

Manufacturing companies paid a total $1.1 billion.

Mr Hunt used the numbers to renew the attack on Labor which has defended the tax.

"All Australians can blame Bill Shorten [for] helping to push up electricity bills and the overall cost of living," he said. "It's time for Labor to get out of the way and support the repeal of the carbon tax."

Mr Hunt said the $7.6 billion paid by companies had resulted in only a 0.1 per cent fall in emissions. Proof, he said, that "it doesn't even work".



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

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16 February, 2014

Scientists tricked into believing this lie

'People who were daring to question it didn't get funded'

The climate-change movement is ultimately designed to thin the earth’s population, and the science behind the movement is deeply and deliberately flawed to further a political end, according to climatologist Dr. Tim Ball.

In his new book, “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science,” Ball also lays out how he believes those perpetrating in this massive scientific fraud managed to keep the truth hidden from mainstream scientists and later intimidated most of them to keep them quiet.

Ball is one of the leading voices from the climatology community to loudly condemn the conclusions and tactics of those calling for major public-policy changes to combat the purported threat to the climate posed by human activity.

According to Ball, the motivation for the climate-change movement’s leaders is nothing new. He told Radio America’s Greg Corombos it is the latest incarnation of an effort that goes back to the 19th century writings of Thomas Malthus, who argued that the human population was growing so fast that the earth’s resources could never sustain it. He, therefore, advocated population control to ward off mass disease and starvation.

Malthus and others ultimately identified industrialized nations as the greatest consumer of resources and suggested the advance of industry needed to be stopped. As the years went on, Ball said, the focus narrowed to the fossil fuels powering the economy in advanced nations.

He said that obsession ultimately led the modern-day activists to settle on carbon dioxide as the culprit for the earth’s dangerous climate trends but required an ingenious approach to get the public on board with the idea.

“If you can shut off the flow of fossil fuels, that will stop the engine of those industrialized nations, but people would scream immediately if that happened,” Ball said. “But if you could show that the byproduct of the combustion of that fossil fuel, carbon dioxide, was causing runaway global warming and climate change, then you could use that for a vehicle to introduce legislation to shut down those industrialized nations.

“That’s been the whole driving force of everything Maurice Strong is doing and, of course, underlies what Obama’s pushing,” he said.

Ball sees Maurice Strong as one of the most pivotal figures in the advancement of what he considers the modern-day assault on industrialized nations. He said Strong grew up in a socialist Canadian family and rose to prominence in a way many might not expect.

“He’s a superb organizer of bureaucracies, and he made a lot of money in the industry. That’s the irony of these people like Bill Gates. They get money, and then they’re going to go save the planet,” mused Ball.

Strong ultimately worked his way into becoming the head of the United Nations climate program in the 1980s. That role led to his calling for the Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992 and the creation of a larger U.N. vision known as Agenda 21. Later in the 1990s, Strong shepherded the creation of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, where Ball said Strong wielded immense power.

“Strong, in an interview with Elaine Dewar, in a book called ‘Cloak of Green,’ she said what he’s doing is using the United Nations to establish world government and total control,” he said. “When he made the comment to her about how we’ve got to shut down industrialized nations, she said, ‘Why don’t you run for politics?’ He said, ‘You can’t do anything as a politician. I’m going to go to the U.N. and get all the money I want and not be accountable to anybody.’”

Ball said the fix was in from the start and that the IPCC was only tasked with one job, proving that global warming was caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide.

“They did that by directing them to only look at human causes of climate change. Of course, if you don’t know how much natural variability there is, you can’t possibly determine the human portion. They didn’t care about that. They just wanted to be able to say the science is settled, and we’re 95 percent certain that human carbon dioxide is causing global warming. That’s why they picked on CO2, and that was Maurice Strong’s role in it,” he said.

One of the most difficult arguments for the public to believe from climate-change skeptics like Ball is that there was, and continues to be, some grand conspiracy to produce results concluding that human activity is triggering higher carbon dioxide and that urgent actions to curb emissions must be taken.

Ball said the U.N.’s climate panel was very carefully constructed to limit who actually saw the data and who made policy recommendations based on the research. He said the IPCC had three working groups. One did the scientific research that was predestined to show alarming climate change. The second group then projected how the climate would change if new policies weren’t adopted. The third group formulated policies for industrialized nations to follow to avoid the dire predictions.

Ball said the results were an odd combination of admittedly bad science and a tight circle of experts turning out the finished products.

“In Working Group One, they tell you everything that’s wrong with their computer models. They set it all out. They say, ‘Look, we don’t know this. We don’t know that. This is wrong. That’s wrong. But they set up a separate group called the Summary for Policy Makers, which includes politicians and bureaucrats and a few very carefully selected scientists. Most of these were scientists at the Climactic Research Institute (CRU), where all the leaked emails about what they were doing came from,” Ball said.

“They controlled critical chapters (in the IPCC reports). They controlled the chapter on data, and they manipulated the data. They controlled the chapter on paleo-climate data, that is reconstruction of past climates,” he said. “So they set about through that Summary for Policy Makers, creating a completely false image of what their findings were.

“The Summary for Policy Makers, by their own rules, is released before the science report is released and they know that’s going to get media attention.  It says the temperature is going to rise by this much and all of the other nonsense and that is what gets the media headlines.

“Then a few months later they bring out the science report, which of course they know nobody’s going to read,” he said.

“But when you compare the science report with the Summary for Policy Makers, it’s more than the difference of night and day. It’s like two completely different planets. This is done deliberately to deceive,” Ball said. “Everything’s been manipulated to create a completely false and extreme scenario of what their research actually shows.”

Even if Strong and his allies at the U.N. and CRU managed to close ranks in conducting research and presenting the findings, how did such a large consensus of scientists around the world come to agree with the IPCC conclusions if the data is clearly flawed?

Ball said some just don’t understand the science well, and for others the lack of public opposition pretty much boils down to money and power.

“The vast majority of people, and even scientists, they don’t understand climate science. That’s part of the difficulty. They might know their own area of physics or their own area of biology, but they didn’t know what the climate science was, so they just accepted it,” said Ball, noting that the bulk of scientists didn’t examine the science report and merely read through the Summary for Policy Makers.

Ball said another brilliant stroke taken by Strong and the IPCC was to enlist the World Meteorological Organization, or WMO. That group is made up of bureaucrats from every national weather agency. Ball said the WMO then proclaimed the IPCC findings to be national policy in all member nations, and the few political figures who dared to question the findings were dismissed as lacking standing in climate science.

Independent scientists were also silenced because the WMO and its member nations only provided money to scientists who adopted the official line.

“Because all of the national weather agencies were involved in this, then they directed funding only to those researchers that were proving what the IPCC was saying,” Ball said. “As a result, people who were daring to question it didn’t get funded.”


Loss of production tax credits brings big wind chill to the cooling subsidy-dependent market

Unsurprisingly, President Obama didn’t let Congress’s decision to finally end Production Tax Credits (PTCs) let the air out of his breezy wind power subsidy agenda. Speaking at his State of the Union address, he said: “We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough. It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double down on a clean energy industry that never has been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits. Create these jobs.”

We can be very certain that Big Wind will be back with gale force attempts to persuade Congress to restore the longstanding PTC ,which was allowed to expire at the end of 2013. This subsidy which has paid producers 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity generated was originally pitched as a temporary assistance means to establish a cost-competitive renewable power source. Now, more than 20 years later after having “temporarily” extended the PTC seven times, wind is still substantially more expensive than coal, natural gas, and nuclear power. In fact, taxpayer subsidies can often account for more than one-third of the retail price for electricity.

Between 2009 and 2013, federal revenues lost to wind power developers are estimated to have amounted to about $14 billion, including $6 billion from PTC and another $8 billion from an alternative energy subsidy provided in the Obama stimulus package. Wind and solar each receive more than 50 times more subsidy support per megawatt-hour than conventional coal, and more than 20 times more in terms of average electricity generated by coal and natural gas. According to a 2008 Energy Information Agency (EIA) report, the average 2007 subsidy per megawatt-hour for wind and solar was about $24, compared with an average $1.65 for all others.

Regarding those “Heavily-Subsidized Oil Companies”

Using a very broad definition applied by Oil Change International, the term “subsidies” refers to: “any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers, or lowers the price paid by consumers.” Yet in one form or another, these same advantages are extended to other industries as well, and often with far more generous benefits.

In reality, oil and gas extraction and refining has already been singled out to receive even fewer tax breaks than other industries. Whereas Section 199 of the “American Job Creation Act of 2004” provides a 9 percent deduction from net income for businesses engaged in “qualified production activities,” oil and gas was penalized and limited to a 6 percent deduction. Meanwhile, many manufacturing industries, including farm equipment, appliances, and pharmaceuticals, take advantage of the full Section 199 deduction. Even highly profitable companies like Microsoft and Apple get those breaks, as do some foreign companies that operate factories in the U.S.

Small independent petroleum producers are eligible for resource depletion allowances which are similar to benefits available for all oil well mineral extraction, timber industries, etc., allowing them to pass the depletion on to individual investors. Large integrated corporations haven’t been eligible for these since the mid-1970s.

Oil and gas companies also receive benefits allowing them to write off drilling expenses in the year incurred rather than capitalizing them and writing them off over several years. This affects only timing of the expenses, not the total amounts. In addition, as with all international companies, they receive a tax credit for taxes paid to foreign nations. The purpose is to provide an offset to foreign taxes, often paid as royalties, so that the companies aren’t taxed twice on the same income.

And What About that Other Tax Money Blowing in the Wind?

A 2013 report titled “Assessing Wind Power Cost Estimates,” published by the Institute for Energy Research, found that the 2012 PTC extension alone cost taxpayers $12 billion. It also stated that details of many other wind power costs go unreported in government-funded study groups such as the Energy Laboratory (NREL). It observes that NREL’s estimates exclude key categories such as the cost of transmission and grid balancing for far-away, intermittent wind sources.

Rather than approaching the cost of wind power from the point of view of the wind project developer, the report author, Dr. Giberson, takes a broader view of the cost of wind power to all Americans, including electricity consumers and taxpayers. Such costs include the expense of transmission expansions needed to develop wind power, other grid integration expenses, and added grid reliability expenses. When these costs are accounted for, adding wind power via the PTC cannot reduce the overall cost of power to the economy — it merely shifts costs to taxpayers.

The PTC wind subsidy also creates an economic market distortion called “negative pricing.” So long as projects generate electricity, even during times when that power isn’t needed, producers still collect the tax credit for every kilowatt-hour they generate. We taxpayers pay for that, as do electricity consumers in the form of price rate adjustments.

And those “Green energy” jobs the President promised in his previous State of the Union Address … how’s that working out so far? Navigant Consulting of Chicago estimated that ending the PTC could ultimately cost 37,000 jobs throughout the wind power industry out of about 75,000 presently existing. So what would savings of those jobs through a PTC extension cost? Comparing the taxpayer costs per job for wind vs. the oil and gas sector, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Robert Bryce estimates the former to be 15 times more.

Bryce arrived at this number by dividing a PTC $12.18 billion extension by 37,000 jobs purported to be saved per year spread over a decade, amounting to $32,900 per job annually. In contrast, applying March 2012 Congressional Budget Office figures putting tax preferences extended to the fossil fuel sector at a total of about $2.5 billion per year, along with an American Petroleum Institute estimate that the oil and gas sector employs 1.2 million people (not including service stations), that works out to $2,100 per job, per year. And while Bryce admits that this isn’t a perfect apples-to-apples correlation, he believes that it does provide a general sense of comparative tax treatments.

At least one Green energy developer recognizes that these stimulus subsidy programs have a record of doing more harm than good, and he isn’t reluctant to say why. Patrick Jenevein, CEO of the Dallas-based Tang Energy Group, posted a Wall Street Journal article noting that since 2009, wind farm developers like his company have been able to get a cash grant or tax credit covering up to 30 percent of their capital investment in a new project. He argues that as a consequence: “Government subsidies to new wind farms have only made the industry less focused on reducing costs. In turn, the industry produces a product that isn’t as efficient or cheap as it might be if we focused less on working the political system and more on research and development.”

Jenevein points out that: “After the 2009 subsidy became available, wind farms were increasingly built in less-windy locations… The average wind-power project built in 2011 was located in an area with wind conditions 16 percent worse than those of the average… Meanwhile, wind-power prices have increased to an average $54 per megawatt-hour, compared with $37 in 2005.” He continues: “If our communities can’t reasonably afford to purchase and rely upon the wind power we sell, it is difficult to make a moral case for our business, let alone an economic one.”

Important Lessons from Across the Pond

Teachable lessons for America from the Germans are reported by Der Spiegel in an article titled, “Gone With the Wind: Weak Returns Cripple German Renewables.” It emphasizes that rather than returning up to 20 percent annual returns on investment as promised, more often than not such pledges have not only been illusory, but that many of the investors have lost money to boot. Court complaints are mounting from those who haven’t received a dividend disbursement in years, along with investors in wind installations which have gone belly up. Bankruptcies combined with plans recently released by new German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel for a reduction in the guaranteed feed-in tariff are scaring off new money.

Particular concern is focused upon numerous projects that are financed by an investment model known as “closed-end funds” —which typically run for a 20-year period and are restricted to a limited number of investors. While such funds are supposed to guarantee annual dividend payments, about half of Germany’s wind enterprises are in such bad shape that many of those investors may not even recover their initial investments after 20 years. And even if they did, inflation will likely have reduced the value of those paybacks below original investment values.

A ten-year review 170 commercial wind company annual reports conducted by the German Wind Energy Association’s Investment Committee presents a sobering picture. Even if returns were to increase dramatically in the coming years — as a possible result of paying down debts, for example — only those projects in the best locations are likely to prove profitable. One-fifth of those with available annual reports dating back more than ten years haven’t ever paid back dividends exceeding 2 percent. This is all the more remarkable given the substantial government renewable energy subsidies provided over the years.

Writing again in the Wall Street Journal, Robert Bryce provides evidence that Europe’s long green energy romance honeymoon is over. Both the EU and German government announced separately last month that they are rolling back aggressive subsidies and mandates for renewables they simply cannot afford.

Such subsidies which now cost German consumers and industry about $32 billion prompted Minister Gabriel to state that his country is risking “dramatic deindustrialization” if it doesn’t reduce energy costs. After spending more than $100 billion subsidizing renewables since 2000, thanks (or no thanks) to a move away from nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, Germany’s coal dependency is increasing. An estimated 7,300 megawatts of new coal plants are planned to be brought on line next year.

In Denmark, the wind investment wonderland, there’s little wonder why residential consumers pay more than three times more for electricity than we Americans do. The Center for European Policy Studies, a Brussels-based think tank, reported that European steelmakers pay twice as much four electricity (and four times more for natural gas) than in the U.S.

Subsidies have also blown ill winds in Spain. The economically ravaged country has already racked up a $35 billion “tariff deficit.”

Let these European experiences provide vital instruction for America. So long as this industry’s survival depends upon preferential government handouts and regulatory mandates, two things are clear. Wind is not a “free” or competitive free market source of energy. It is also not a charity we can continue to afford blow more money into.


Kansas legislature working on resolution declaring Obama climate goals based on false assumptions about manmade CO2

A Kansas House committee is weighing a resolution urging Congress to resist following President Barack Obama's plan for addressing climate change

Members of the House Energy and Environment Committee took nearly two hours of testimony Thursday about the measure. It declares that the federal goals for addressing climate change are based on false assumptions about the role of carbon dioxide and human activity. Supporters point to data suggesting warming is occurring naturally and human influence is overstated.

Environmentalists argue that the resolution is based on bad science and ignores data that emissions and humans are altering sea levels and weather patterns.

The resolution cites Obama's 2013 plan that calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and encourages development of renewable forms of energy.


British environment agency ignores flood danger; Spend hundreds on 'equali-tea' gay awareness mugs... and £30,000 on gay pride marches

The government agency responsible for dealing with floods was last night under pressure to explain why it had spent thousands of pounds on what appeared to be ‘pet projects’  of its chairman Lord Smith.

A Mail on Sunday investigation has established that the Environment Agency, headed by Lord Chris Smith – Britain’s first openly gay Cabinet Minister – spent £639 on mugs promoting gay rights.

The mugs, emblazoned with the slogan ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’, are thought to have been handed out to staff at the organisation’s headquarters in London and Bristol. The cost of the mugs is enough to buy more than 250 sandbags to protect flood victims’ homes.

It has also emerged that the agency spent £30,000 sponsoring Birmingham’s Gay Pride festival in 2009 and that staff were provided with ‘proud to be at Pride’ T-shirts and banners with the organisation’s logo on at Manchester Gay Pride marches in 2009 and 2007.

The agency even took out a costly half-page advert in the Independent newspaper’s Diversity section to boast about its sponsorship of the Birmingham Gay Pride event in 2009. Lord Smith became EA chairman in 2008.

The revelations come as the agency faces growing criticism of its handling of the flooding crisis. An analysis of the Environment Agency’s spending has uncovered that it spent more than £250,000 from 2011 to mid-2012 on meetings at private venues, despite having more than two dozen offices around the country.

The agency paid £5,439 to Aston Villa Football Club in 2012 for the use of meeting rooms, even though its Villa Park ground is only ten miles away from the organisation’s regional Midlands office.

The Environment Agency would not reveal details of what rooms it hired but Villa Park offers a host of luxurious meeting places including the Holte Suite, which costs £4,500 for a full day, and boasts an ‘elegant ground-floor suite’ which can cater for conference events and ‘sumptuous black-tie dinners’.

Meanwhile, the 1874 suite costs £3,000 for a day and offers views across the pitch as well as two bars and is said to be ideal for ‘stylish receptions, gala dinners and company meetings’.

The EA paid another £4,320 to Fulham Football Club in the same year for meeting rooms, even though the agency’s London offices are based only five miles away from Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground, which boasts a number of upmarket meeting rooms including the Marathonbet Lounge, which overlooks the Thames and is described as ‘ideal for small gatherings and  business events’.

Another £3,892 was paid to Sheffield United FC – recorded under the heading ‘restaurant and bars’ on a list of spending – for meeting rooms at the club’s Bramall Lane ground, despite the Environment Agency having offices little more than three miles away.

An EA spokeswoman said the organisation tried to hold meetings at its own premises, or in other government offices, and used commercial premises only ‘if absolutely necessary’. Referring specifically to the football ground venues, she added: ‘We will have used these premises as they were the best value for money available.’

Last night, Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, whose Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency has been devastated by the floods, reacted with fury to the spending and called for Lord Smith to stand down. He said: ‘It seems like Chris Smith is spending taxpayers’ money on his own pet projects. He has been proven to be wanting at every level dealing with these floods.

‘It was crass stupidity to tell people who are living on flood plains that they’ve got it wrong. Now this shows that he’s actually made silly choices himself to spend hundreds of pounds on mugs and thousands sponsoring a Gay Pride event.

‘It gives no help to people in my constituency. He should go now and not hang around and spend more money on mugs which are not helping any flood victims. The only mug I can think of is Lord Smith. What are people going to think who work on the ground in flooded areas when they find out money is being spent on expensive meetings at football grounds?

‘Sadly, nothing surprises me any more – this agency has a history of excess and a lack of integrity.’

Lord Smith is a keen follower of the arts, having been a former Minister for culture, media and sport and chairman of the Donmar Warehouse theatre in London since 2003. He has also been a board  member for Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), an organisation which manages the rights of performers, since 2007.

The Environment Agency has even wasted thousands of pounds paying for meeting rooms that had to be cancelled because staff had to be called away to deal with flooding. From 2011 to mid-2012, the agency has spent £6,621 on cancelled meetings. Of that, £3,276 was because of floods.

As much as £1,188 was spent on one of the cancelled meetings, which was to be hosted at the four-star Royal York hotel but was called off due to flooding. Another £750 was spent on a meeting at Nottingham’s four-star Park Plaza hotel, despite it being cancelled due to flooding. And more than £700 was spent on cancelling a meeting at the four-star  Mercure Hotel in Manchester.

The Environment Agency also spent more than £1,200 on two chairs for employees with ‘health issues to avoid time taken off sick’, £1,056 on 500 pin badges for staff while working on an Olympics project and £900 on free fishing rods to hand out to participants in angling events.

Another £1,134 was spent on a plush dinner at Hotel Du Vin in Bristol for board members of the Environment Agency and Natural England to discuss ‘joint working and collaboration’.

Menus at the hotel’s restaurant offer diners £11.95 pan-roasted scallops for starters, £29 fillet steaks for main, and £7.95 raspberry soufflés. An EA spokeswoman said it no longer provided financial support for Gay Pride events but would not say why, adding: ‘As an employer, the Environment Agency is committed to diversity, and we support this in a number of ways.  ‘We continue to support Pride,  but we no longer provide financial sponsorship.

‘The Environment Agency has an important role to play in raising awareness of flood risk.  ‘We undertake a number of activities to ensure people know they are at risk of flooding, and understand the actions they can take get warnings, and prepare and protect themselves when the worst does happen.'


British High Court judge blocks moves to build huge wind turbine

A High Court judge has blocked a plan to build a huge wind turbine amid an unspoilt historic landscape, in a ruling that will give hope to campaigners nationwide.

The 284ft turbine, which would have been visible from more than three miles, was due to stand in an area of Norfolk countryside dotted with historic churches, a Grade I-listed Jacobean mansion, and a moated 15th century castle.

Although the scheme had been rejected by North Norfolk district council, a planning inspector overturned the decision and gave it the go-ahead – even making the extraordinary suggestion that the giant rotor blades could actually draw tourists to the area.

But High Court judge Robin Purchas yesterday granted a court order to the council quashing the scheme’s approval, saying the inspector failed to give adequate weight to the impact on the landscape and historic buildings.

Landowner David Mack had applied for permission to erect the turbine on his farm at Cromer Ridge, one of the highest points in Norfolk. Mr Mack, who operates Pond Farm under the name Genatec, argued it would generate energy for 665 homes and be ‘a good asset to the community’.

Listed buildings in the magnificent surrounding countryside include the Grade I-listed Barningham Hall, which is of Jacobean origin, the 15th century Baconsthorpe Castle, also Grade I, and four churches listed at Grade II*.

The council, which originally unanimously refused planning permission in August 2012, was outraged when planning inspector Alan Novitzky ruled last April that the huge turbine could be built.

Remarkably, he declared in his decision that the impact of the giant rotor blades in the midst of such beauty ‘would be less than substantial’. And in response to objections that it would deter tourists, he said: ‘For some, a wind turbine provokes interest rather than distaste.’

The local authority immediately launched a High Court appeal and argued that approving the scheme ‘flies in the face of the will of the local community’. The application had generated 1,800 letters and emails, 1,450 of which had been against the turbine plan.

Council members argued that allowing the turbine could open the door to similar future applications, damaging the district’s vital tourism industry.

Yesterday Judge Purchas ruled that the planning inspector did not comply with the planning regulations requiring him to have special regard to the ‘desirability of preserving the settings of listed buildings’. But he added that, had the inspector complied with theses, he could still have come to the same overall decision.

Last night North Norfolk district council leader Tom FitzPatrick welcomed the ruling, saying: ‘While a firm supporter of the economic benefits of off-shore wind energy, the council firmly believes on-shore wind turbines detract from the unique landscape of this beautiful area.’

Member of the No To That Turbine protest group councillor David Ramsbotham said: ‘The decision by the last inspector was disgusting because it did not take into account the views of local people.

‘A turbine would ruin the view for miles around. The tourism industry is vital for north Norfolk as it employs 8,500 people and brings in £400million a year.’

Mr Mack, who is building a 20-acre solar farm next to the proposed turbine site, said: ‘We will carry on fighting to get the turbine. The benefits would far outweigh any impacts.’


No, global warming did NOT cause the storms, says one of the Met Office's most senior experts

Contradicts silly old Slingo

One of the Met Office’s most senior experts yesterday made a dramatic intervention in the climate change debate by insisting there is no link between the storms that have battered Britain and global warming.

Mat Collins, a Professor in climate systems at Exeter University, said the storms have been driven by the jet stream – the high-speed current of air that girdles the globe – which has been ‘stuck’ further south than usual.

Professor Collins told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge.’

His statement carries particular significance because he is an internationally acknowledged expert on climate computer models and forecasts, and his university post is jointly funded by the Met Office.

Prof Collins is also a senior adviser – a ‘co-ordinating lead author’ – for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). His statement appears to contradict Met Office chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo.

Last weekend, she said ‘all  the evidence suggests that climate change has a role to  play’ in the storms.

Prof Collins made clear that he believes it is likely global warming could lead to higher rainfall totals, because a warmer atmosphere can hold more water. But he said this has nothing to do with the storm conveyor belt.

He said that when the IPCC was compiling its Fifth Assessment Report on climate change last year, it discussed whether warming might affect the jet stream. But, he went on, ‘there was very low confidence that climate change has any effect on the jet stream getting stuck’. In the end, the possibility was not even mentioned in the report.

Prof Collins declined to comment on his difference of opinion with Dame Julia.  Five months ago, in a briefing on the IPCC report to Ministers, Dame Julia conceded the consequence of warming for rainfall ‘is not simulated well’ by climate models – though they are the basis for most of what she and other scientists say about the effects of climate change.

Last April, after the temperature fell to -11C in Aberdeenshire, the coldest April temperature for more than 100 years, Dame Julia said the cold winter and spring might also be due to global warming, because of ice melting in the Arctic.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has continued to issue questionable long-term forecasts. In mid-November, two weeks before the first of the storms, it predicted persistent high pressure for the winter, which was ‘likely to lead to drier-than-normal conditions across the country’.

It added that its models showed the probability of the winter being in the driest of five official categories was 25 per cent. The chances of it being in the wettest category was 15 per cent.

Infamously, in April 2009, the Met Office promised a ‘barbecue summer’ – which then turned out to be a washout. It forecast the winter of 2010 to 2011 would be mild: it was the coldest for 120 years.

In 2007, the Met Office said that globally, the decade 2004-2014 would see warming of 0.3C. In fact, the world has not got any warmer at all in this period.

At the beginning of 13 of the past 14 years, the Met Office has predicted the following 12 months would be significantly warmer than they have been. This, says the sceptic think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, indicates ‘systemic’ bias.



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

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


14 February, 2014

1350+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skeptic Arguments Against ACC/AGW Alarm

Preface: The following papers support skeptic arguments against Anthropogenic Climate Change (ACC), Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) or ACC/AGW Alarm [Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW)].

ACC/AGW Alarm: (defined), "concern relating to a perceived negative environmental or socio-economic effect of ACC/AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic."

Disclaimer: The inclusion of a paper in this list does not imply a specific personal position to any of the authors. While certain authors on the list cannot be labeled skeptics (e.g. Harold Brooks, Roger Pielke Jr., Roger Pielke Sr.) their paper(s) or results from their paper(s) can still support skeptic's arguments against ACC/AGW alarm. Various papers are mutually exclusive and should be considered independently. This list will be updated and corrected as necessary.

This is a resource for skeptics not a list of skeptics.

Counting Method: Only Peer-Reviewed papers are counted. Supplemental papers are not counted but listed as references in defense of various papers; * Addendums, Comments, Corrections, Erratum, Rebuttals, Replies, Responses, and Submitted papers.

This is a dynamic list that is routinely updated. When a significant new number of peer-reviewed papers is added the list title will be updated with the new larger number. The list intentionally includes an additional 10+ peer-reviewed papers as a margin of error at all times, which gradually increases between updates. Thus the actual number of peer-reviewed papers on the list can be much greater than stated.

Criteria for Inclusion: All counted papers must be peer-reviewed, published in a peer-reviewed journal and support a skeptic argument against ACC/AGW or ACC/AGW Alarm.

Criteria for Removal: Papers will only be removed if it is determined by the editor that they have not properly met the criteria for inclusion or have been retracted by the journal. No paper will be removed because of the existence of a criticism or published correction.

Formatting: All papers are cited as: "Paper Name, Journal Name, Volume, Issue or Number, Pages, Date and Authors". All Supplemental papers are preceded by an asterisk and italicized; * Addendums, Comments, Corrections, Erratum, Replies, Responses and Submitted papers. Ordering of the papers is chronological per category.

Purpose: To provide a resource for peer-reviewed papers that support skeptic arguments against ACC/AGW or ACC/AGW Alarm and to prove that these papers exist contrary to claims otherwise;


So why wasn't Thames dredged? In case a rare mollusc was disturbed

The Army has been called in, hundreds of families have been forced to evacuate their homes, and small businesses are wondering if they’ll ever be able to reopen.

But it’s not bad news for all the inhabitants of the Thames Valley. The river’s population of Depressed River Mussels is safe.

As residents faced an uncertain future, it emerged the Environment Agency rejected calls to dredge the flood-hit lower reaches of the Thames because of the presence of the endangered mollusc.

In a 2010 report, seen by the Mail, they ruled out dredging between Datchet and Staines because the river bed was home to the vulnerable creatures.

And even though a public consultation indicated support for de-silting work, the quango said it would be ‘environmentally unacceptable’ due to the ‘high impact on aquatic species’.

But last night a spokesman at the Environment Agency said the report on mussels was ‘badly worded’ and the presence of the mussels would not have been the only argument against dredging.

‘If protected species are living in a river and dredging would reduce the risk of flooding then we would ensure that dredging occurs without having a serious impact on wildlife,’ he said. ‘This is case not just for the Thames but all rivers.’

But he added; ‘An independent study carried out by engineering firm Halcrow has shown that the natural activity of the Thames removes significantly more silt than mechanical dredging would do.’

The revelation came as it emerged that EU waste regulations have made regular dredging on Britain’s rivers uneconomic.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that the disposal of silt became so complex and expensive that it was more attractive to take advantage of financial incentives given by Brussels to conservation schemes.

This Despite the Agency describing that stretch of the river as one of the ‘largest and most at-risk developed and undefended flood plains in England’.

Hundreds of houses on the Thames are presently under water and there are fears the situation could get worse.

The Depressed River Mussel, the name of which comes from the flattened shape of its shell, is categorised by environmentalists as ‘vulnerable and threatened’, with the number of rivers it lives in declining by 30 per cent in the past 25 years.

However, some believe the UK actually has the healthiest populations in Europe, with the possible exception of Finland. One river - the Waveney - may have 1.2million of the mussels alone.

The agency’s report said: ‘A number of protected and threatened species are known to be present in the waters of the Lower Thames, including the Depressed River Mussel, which is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species, and on the IUCN Red List as near-threatened.

‘This poses a constraint on any works to be undertaken within the River Thames itself, especially activities such as dredging.’

A ‘strategy appraisal report’, compiled by the agency into the prospect of defence works on the Lower Thames in August 2010, said dredging was one of the ‘options rejected at preliminary stage’.

However, the previous year the Agency held a public consultation with residents along the banks of the Thames, and the official report shows that they thought ‘dredging of pinch points of the River Thames is essential to provide interim relief from flooding’.

Tory MPs said they were appalled that the Environment Agency appeared to be more interested in promoting the welfare of molluscs than householders.

Douglas Carswell said: ‘Ever since we have given responsibility for flood defences to this central quango, they’ve elevated the interests of the natural over and above the human.

'We can see the consequences today. There is nothing nice about letting our rivers and coastline revert to nature. London used to be a swamp, and if we leave these clowns in charge it will return to that.’

Alok Sharma, Tory MP for the flood-affected Thames-side constituency of Reading West, said: ‘The priority has to be protecting people and property not mussels.

Ultimately, any decision on dredging any river has to take into account the impact on communities living further downstream.’

Regular dredging was undertaken for 50 years on the stretch of river from Datchet to Staines following the 1947 floods, but was stopped in 1996 when the agency took over responsibility.


Unthinking climate change worship harms UK': Tory energy minister hits back at Liberal attack on 'diabolical' coalition partners

Britain has been damaged by ‘unthinking climate change worship’, a senior Tory minister claimed today as the coalition parties clashed over going green.

Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey is using the floods crisis to launch an extraordinary attack on ‘diabolical’ and ‘wilfully ignorant, head in the sand, nimbyist’ Conservatives who question global warming.

But Conservative energy minister Michael Fallon has hit back, insisting now is not the time for ‘political’ squabbling.

The storms which have wreaked havoc across much of England and Wales have reignited the debate about the role of climate change on altering weather patterns.

In a speech to Institute for Public Policy Research, Mr Davey insisted the disaster that has befallen much of England demonstrates ‘the possible consequences of a world in which extreme weather events are much more likely’.

Mr Davey said climate change denial and Euro-scepticism are a ‘diabolical cocktail’ that threatens efforts to tackle global warming.

The attempt to exploit the flooding crisis to attack the Tories came as David Cameron came under pressure over his ‘money is no object’ pledge on aiding victims.

But Mr Fallon, the junior Tory minister in Mr Davey’s department, condemned the outburst by his boss. He told the Standard: ‘This is not a time for Coalition squabbling. We should all be focusing on getting people’s power back on and protecting the sub stations that are in danger of being flooded.

‘Unthinking climate change worship has damaged British industry and put up consumer bills.  'It’s David Cameron who is cutting green taxes and steering Europe away from artificial targets.’

Mr Davey’s intervention will be seen as an attack on Environment Secretary Owen Paterson in particular, who harbours doubts about the degree to which man has contributed to global warming.

Mr Davey added: ‘From the right, fringes of the Conservative Party and Ukip are parroting the arguments of the most discredited climate change deniers – seizing on any anomaly in the climate data to attempt to discredit the whole.

‘This is undermining public trust in the scientific evidence for climate change – overwhelming though it is. And we can see around us today the possible consequences of a world in which extreme weather events are much more likely. This type of climate change denying conservatism is wilfully ignorant, head in the sand, nimbyist conservatism.

‘And when married to the europhobia innate to parts of the Conservative Party, you have a diabolical cocktail that threatens the whole long-term structure of UK climate change and energy policy.

'If you accept the logic of climate change, you have to accept the logic of European co-operation to tackle it.’

He was backed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who said: ‘It’s not a secret that in the Conservative Party you’ve got a fair number of people who just don’t accept the reality of climate change.’

Speaking on his weekly radio phone-in, the Lib Dem minister told LBC 97.3: ‘These very violent and volatile weather patterns are linked in some shape or form to climate change.

‘Other people are entitled to say, no we think it’s all baloney, but I think at a certain point you’ve just got to say, look come on, how many more times do you need to be told by people who know what they’re talking about that this happening, and we’ve got to do something about it.’

Former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lawson insisted there was no evidence that extreme weather was linked to climate change, and urged scientists to admit they did not know what was happening.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'I think we want to focus not on this extremely speculative and uncertain area. I don’t blame the climate scientists for not knowing.

'Climate and weather is quite extraordinarily complex and this is a very new form of science. All I blame them for is pretending they know when they don’t.'


Obama’s big freeze for America

An Obama Department of Energy official told the House Energy and Commerce Committee today that Administration policies aimed at coal fired electric generation would increase the wholesale cost of electricity by 70 to 80 percent.

The admission that Obama environmental policy proscriptions targeting the coal fired utility industry would dramatically increase the cost of turning on the lights, as well as heating and cooling homes is news. But this Administration’s gross disregard for the least of these in our society is the headline even though it is not surprising to those paying attention.

As the Energy Department is trying to almost double the price of coal fired electric generation, the EPA has regulations that would ban the production and sale of 80 percent of wood burning stoves in the country. With 12 percent of all homes in the U.S. primarily dependent upon burning wood for heat and cooking, the EPA measure will hit right at the heart of many people’s ability to stay warm in the long, cold winters.

Apparently, the Obama Administration would rather that people—who are struggling to keep their heads above water under the yoke of his failed economic policies—freeze to death as the federal government strips away affordable and available home heating options.

This is liberal compassion.  And it can be anticipated that more tax dollars flow to government programs to help the indigent with their heating costs, now that their environmental policies have exacerbated the need.

After all, the utility company gets the blame when electricity costs go up, not the federal government that deliberately drove those costs through the roof.

And no one can figure out why they can’t find a wood stove anymore for their home, so they are tied to the electrical grid for heating and cooking.

But politicians get credit when they give these same people other people’s money to pay for some of the increased costs, and the very victims of the crazy environmental policies that caused the problems then reward the very politicians responsible with their votes.

In a nutshell, that is the big government environmentalist scam.  Create market scarcity through regulations, meet scarcity with government handouts which entices your victims to vote for you and repeat process.  All the while, our nation’s economy gets destroyed.


Olympians blame global warming for lack of snow in sunny Sochi

ClimateDepot founder Marc Morano ridiculed Olympians who signed onto a letter urging a U.N. global warming treaty in the wake of low snow totals for the Sochi Olympics, noting that record snow is occurring throughout the world and they picked “the most southern Russian city with palm trees.”

Morano spoke with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto about the letter, which saw over 100 Olympic athletes write a letter claiming climate change “threatens” this and future Winter Olympics. They highlighted the importance of signing a comprehensive, global climate change treaty at a 2015 U.N. meeting on global warming.

But Morano pointed out that Sochi’s position in Russia — thousands of miles south of Moscow and not far from the Turkish maritime border — lends the resort town an almost tropical feel that doesn’t produce much snow. Meanwhile, vast swathes of the Northern Hemisphere, including the storm-socked East Coast, remain buried under snow and ice.


The martyrdom of Mark Steyn

James Delingpole 

When I first read, many months ago, that the notorious US climate scientist Michael Mann was suing the notorious right-wing bastard Mark Steyn for defamation, I admit that I felt a little piqued.

Obviously a libel trial is not something any sane person would wish to court; and naturally I’m a massive fan of Steyn’s. Nevertheless, after all the work I’ve dedicated over the years to goading Mann, I found it a bit bloody annoying that Steyn — a relative latecomer to the climate change debate — should have been the one who ended up stealing all my courtroom glory.

What made me doubly jealous was that this was a case Steyn was guaranteed to win. In the unlikely event it came to court — which I didn’t think it would, given Mann’s longstanding aversion to any form of public disclosure regarding his academic research — the case would fall down on the fact that defamation is so hard to prove in the US, especially when it involves publicly funded semi-celebrities who are expected to take this sort of thing on the chin.

Since then, though, much has changed. It now looks — go to for the full story — as if Steyn is going to be up there on his own, fighting and financing his case without the support of his magazine, National Review; that the outcome is not as certain as it seemed at the beginning; and that this hero deserves all the help we can give him.

Why? Well, the fact that I even have to explain this shows what a cowardly, snivelling, career-safe, intellectually feeble, morally compromised age we inhabit. By rights, Mann v Steyn should be the 21st-century equivalent of the Scopes monkey trial, with believers in free speech, proponents of the scientific method and sympathetic millionaires and billionaires all piling in to Steyn’s defence with op eds, learned papers, and lavish funds to buy the hottest of hotshot lawyers.

Instead, what do I read? Crap like, ‘Steyn’s out of order: he shouldn’t have been so rude about the judge who mishandled the initial hearing.’ (OK, maybe he shouldn’t — but what are you supposed to say about judges who mishandle your case? ‘Nice job, ma’am’?) Crap like, ‘And he’s going to take the National Review down with him.’ (No he isn’t. That’s what libel insurance is for.) Crap like, ‘Well, he shouldn’t have used such-and-such a word or written that polemic in quite so inflammatory and offensive a way.’ (Yes that’s right. Polemics should be cautious, dry, legalistic, tame. Otherwise people might read them and have their minds changed.)

So let’s just cut through that crap and remind ourselves briefly what we know about the plaintiff. Michael Mann was an obscure young physicist-turned-climatologist who rose without trace in 1998 with the publication in Nature of his ‘hockey stick’ chart showing dramatic and apparently unprecedented late-20th-century global warming.

There followed almost instant fame, on which Mann has traded ever since — gaining tenure at Penn State University, drawing millions in public funding for research, often called on by the Guardian and the New York Times to sum up the state of climate science. Al Gore used a version of Mann’s hockey stick in his Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth. The IPCC used it five times in its Third Assessment Report and promoted Mann to lead author.

But the hockey stick, on which Mann’s reputation largely rests, was and is a nonsense. It obliterates the medieval warm period; it is unduly reliant on proxy data — bristlecone pine samples — which are known to be unreliable; it is dependent on a flawed algorithm which, according to every statistical authority who has ever looked at the subject, creates the same hockey-stick data almost regardless of the information you feed into it.

Surely if you’re going to sue someone for defamation, this must involve an examination of the reputation said to be worth defending. What would this say about Mann, onlie begetter of arguably the most comprehensively discredited artefact in recent climate science history?

And if Mann’s scientific reputation really matters to him so much, maybe he ought first to do a bit of reading on how world-class scientists actually behave. He could do worse than read Paul Johnson’s account in Modern Times of how Einstein proposed his general theory of relativity. Einstein insisted that before his claims were taken seriously, they must first be verified by empirical observation, in the form of three specific tests. Of the final one — the red shift — Einstein wrote: ‘If it were proved that this effect does not exist in nature then the whole theory would have to be abandoned.’

Einstein’s rigour and integrity inspired Karl Popper to form his influential theories on falsification: that a scientific theory is only useful if it contains the key to its own destruction. This, critics argue, is the fundamental flaw with anthropogenic global warming theory: it has been couched in such a way as to be unfalsifiable; it is being kept alive not by science and free enquiry, but by the kind of appeals to authority we see exemplified by Mann’s response to Steyn’s criticisms.

Mann may or may not have a case against Steyn on technical grounds; but in terms of the bigger argument about empiricism, free speech and the scientific method, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Steyn gets this and — as he did in his case against the Ontario Human Rights Committee — is laying his neck on the line not solely because he’s a show-off and an awkward sod but for the greater cause of western civilisation. Now go to his website and read what you can do to support him.



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

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


13 February, 2014

Time to reform the Endangered Species Act

By Marita Noon

If you find oil or natural gas on your property, the value goes up. If you find an endangered species, your land becomes virtually worthless because the critter prevents productive use.

Most people would be excited to have a Jed-Clampet moment when, while hunting for dinner, the shot resulted in bubbling crude coming up from the ground. Like the Clampet family, your life would change dramatically. Your land would suddenly be worth more than you’d ever dreamed!

If, while hunting for dinner, you instead find an endangered species — the half-jest, half-serious advice would be “shoot, shovel and shut up.” Kent Holsinger, a Colorado attorney whose work centers around endangered species issues, told me that he has seen many landowners lose significant value due to a listed species being found on their property.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law in 1973 by President Richard Nixon to preserve, protect and recover key domestic species. Though well-intentioned at the start, the ESA has since been used as a tool to hinder or block economic activity from logging and farming to mining and oil-and-gas development — often to protect species that don’t truly need it.

In my book, Energy Freedom, I feature an entire chapter on the spotted owl because it gives us a beginning-to-end case history on the ESA. The spotted owl was listed as an endangered species on June 26, 1990, and has since shut down a substantial part of federal timber harvest and threatens logging on private lands.

I start the chapter with these words: “It is hard to imagine a bigger failure — or a greater success — depending upon which side of the issue you stand. If you strive for open and honest government policy that is straightforward about its goals, this twenty-year experiment has failed. If you believe the end justifies the means, regardless of the cost in life or livelihood, then the spotted owl represents a great success.”

I sum it up this way: “the spotted owl threatens private property rights, kills jobs, and puts the health of the forest in peril.” All that, and the owls have not “recovered.”

I’ve been very active in the fight to prevent the listing of the sand dune lizard in the oil patch of West Texas and New Mexico’s Permian Basin — which produces about 15 percent of U.S. oil. (Thanks to conservation agreements with private industry, the lizard was not listed.) I emceed the Roswell, New Mexico, rally to draw attention to the five-state lesser prairie chicken listing threat — which would, again, impact oil-and-gas development.

(The Western Governors Association has been working with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to develop a similar range-wide plan to protect the chicken while allowing for economic development. The listing decision is due by March 30, 2014.)

Coming up is the greater sage grouse — “a chicken-sized bird that has been in decline across large portions of its 11-state Western range. A final decision on whether to protect sage grouse is due next year and could result in wide-ranging restrictions on oil and gas development, agriculture and other economic activity,” reports the Associated Press (AP).

The delta smelt—that most of us first heard of in 2009 — is, once again, back in the news.

California is facing a severe drought that Governor Jerry Brown has called “an emergency.” A recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article examines “How green politics has exacerbated the state’s growing shortages.” It lists water rationing, forbidden sprinkler use, and restaurants serving water by-request-only as some of the ramifications of California’s historic drought.

But, the WSJ states: “Suffering the most are farmers south of the delta whose water allocations have plunged over the last two decades due to endangered-species protections.” It continues: “California’s biggest water hog is the three-inch smelt, which can divert up to one million acre-feet in a wet year. In 2008, federal regulators at the prodding of green groups restricted water exports south to protect the smelt.”

The Bakersfield Californian cites Larry Starrah, a local farmer, whose family has been “forced to let 1,000 acres of productive almond trees die this year for lack of water.” The January 22 article faults the “delta smelt and other fish protected under the Endangered Species Act.”

(Note: if your property has lost value due to an endangered species finding or if the federal government suddenly decides it is a protected wetland in violation of the National Wetlands Act — which can happen even though it has never been wet — have the property reassessed. In such cases, others have successfully had their property taxes dramatically lowered due to the fact it can never developed and is therefore less valuable. Imagine how the attitude about ESA and restrictions on wetlands would change if county governments’ property tax collections and revenues plummeted due to such punitive designations.)

To help alleviate the California water crisis, House Speaker John Boehner was in Bakersfield, with lawmakers from California, to tout legislation that would, according to Reuters: “roll back environmental rules limiting how much water agencies can pump out of the fragile San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta in dry years.” At a press conference Boehner said: “It’s nonsense that a bureaucracy would favor fish over people.” But, that is what the ESA requires.

The WSJ reports: Senator Dianne Feinstein “and her fellow California Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno urged federal agencies to ‘exercise their discretion in regulatory decision-making within the confines of the law to deliver more water to those whose health and livelihoods depend on it’” — which indicates that even the most radical of liberal politicians realize the problems they have created.

No wonder, many people believe it is time for the ESA to be overhauled.

In a letter to the WSJ, Greg Schildwachter applauds environmentalist Timothy Male for acknowledging that the ESA has flaws, as he did in his January 16 op-ed: “A green olive branch on endangered species.”

Schildwachter sums up the problem: “The ESA leaves rights to property and species up to anyone’s guess and, therefore, to no one’s satisfaction.” He also offers a solution: “Before ESA, starting in the 1930s, wildlife conservation produced results. Sportsmen and sporting-equipment industries joined with government to restore deer, elk and other then-depleted wildlife.

This worked politically because it added — instead of taking — value. It worked in policy because money improved field work instead of sharpening legal briefs. Something like it can work today.” Within his letter, Schildwachter points out: “The Interior Department inspector general concluded that lawsuits ‘are driving nearly everything [FWS] does in the ESA arena.’”

In a second letter published in the January 31 WSJ, Kyle Donovan called the lawsuits brought by environmental groups: “nuisance litigation.” his op-ed, Male says: The “mixed record on wildlife restoration — and the real and perceived impact it has on business — has turned the ESA into a partisan playing field.”

The aforementioned AP piece states: “Throughout its history, the law has faced criticism from business interests, Republicans and others.” And continues: “Those complaints grew louder in recent months after federal wildlife officials agreed to consider protections for more than 250 additional species under settlement terms in lawsuits brought by environmental groups” — an arrangement frequently referred to as “sue and settle.” If federal officials can add hundreds more “endangered species” to their protected list, development can be easily halted almost everywhere in the country.

The ESA has few friends outside of environmental lobbyists and attorneys. It was last updated in 1988. Holsinger explained it to me this way: “When the ESA was last amended, the Soviet Union was a superpower and Def Leppard was on the pop charts. It is high time that Congress modernized and improved this law to reflect what we now know.”

As we’ve seen with the sand dune lizard—and hope to see with the lesser prairie chicken — there are ways to successfully assist species that are truly in danger without putting species in conflict with people.

This is the goal of a brand-new report released on February 4 by the ESA Congressional Working Group led by Representatives Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and eleven others. Formed on May 19, 2013, The Working Group, according to the mission and purpose statement, “sought to examine the ESA from a variety of viewpoints and angles; receive input on how the ESA was working and being implemented and how and whether it could be updated to be more effective for both people and species.”

The report reflects hundreds of comments from outside individuals and testimony from nearly 70 witnesses who appeared before a Working Group forum and House Natural Resources Committee hearings. It concludes: “After more than 40 years, sensible, targeted reforms would not only improve the eroding credibility of the Act, but would ensure it is implemented more effectively for species and people.”

Rep. Lummis points out the tremendous conservation advances that have been made since the ESA became law:

“The American people have grown by leaps and bounds in their understanding of conservation, their willingness to conserve species, and their ability to conserve species — the ESA needs to grow with them. The ESA is stuck in a litigation driven model. This outdated model hinders the boots on the ground conservation we should be harnessing to actually recover endangered species, not just spout flowery rhetoric about the law in courtrooms. Our report is an exciting opportunity to bring the ESA into the next millennia.”

The report recommends constructive changes to the ESA in the following four categories:

Ensuring greater transparency and prioritization of ESA with a focus on species recovery and delisting;

Reducing ESA litigation and encouraging settlement reform;

Empowering states, tribes, local governments and private landowners on ESA decisions affecting them and their property; and

Requiring more transparency and accountability of ESA data and science.

Regarding the proposed changes, the AP states: “experts say broad changes to one of the nation’s cornerstone environmental laws are unlikely given the pervasive partisan divide in Washington, D.C.” And: “Given the current level of rancor between Democrats and Republicans, academics who track the law were skeptical that the latest calls for change would succeed.”

Such statements highlight the importance of supporting the representatives behind the new report, encouragement of all other representatives and senators to sign on to the proposed reforms—and the importance of the 2014 election. As the AP points out: the ESA “enjoys fervent support among many environmentalists, whose Democratic allies on Capitol Hill have thwarted past proposals for change.”

Instead of shoot, shovel and shut up, key domestic species that should be preserved, protected and recovered would be better served by targeted legislative changes that can truly benefit species and people.


Ice Expert Predicts Lake Superior Will Completely Freeze Over This Winter

 Lake Superior hasn’t completely frozen over in two decades.
But an expert on Great Lakes ice says there’s a “very high likelihood” that the three-quadrillion-gallon lake will soon be totally covered with ice thanks to this winter’s record-breaking cold.

The ice cover on the largest freshwater lake in the world hit a 20-year record of 91 percent on Feb. 5, 1994.

Jay Austin, associate professor at the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, Minn., told that he expects that record will be broken this winter when the most northern of the Great Lakes becomes totally shrouded in ice.

The thickness of the ice on Lake Superior “varies tremendously,” from a very thin sheet in some areas near the coast to several feet thick in other spots, Austin says. The  National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the mean thickness of the lake ice is 26 cm, or a little over 10 inches.

Lake Superior ice thickness

Austin attributes the large amount of ice on the lake to the “extraordinary cold winter we’ve had,” pointing out that Duluth recently experienced an all-time record of 23 straight days of below-zero temperatures.

The previous record of 22 days was set in 1936 and tied in 1963, according to the National Weather Service.

Austin, who studies the effect of lake ice, predicts that it will have a “very strong influence” on the regional climate this summer, with the “air conditioning [lake] effect” more pronounced than usual.

“Typically, the lake will start warming up in late June, but it will be August before we see that this year,” Austin told

As of February 10th, ice covered 80.4 percent of all the Great Lakes, compared to 38.4 percent last winter, according to NOAA. That’s considerably higher than the lake’s long-term average of 51.4 percent under ice.

The record for maximum ice coverage of 94.7 percent was set in 1979. The lowest ice accumulation occurred in 2002, when just 9.5 percent of the surface of the Great Lakes was frozen solid.


EPA's New Clean Coal Rule Would Increase Power Prices by 70 to 80 Percent

Well it appears the Department of Energy, which has long lobbied for more clean energy, is now finding that this clean energy is a lot more expensive than they thought it would be. The Obama administration’s plan to fight global warming was to limit carbon dioxide from new power plants. So in order for new coal plants to be built, they would need to spend a lot of money on carbon capture and storage technology.

I guess the EPA then forgot to think about the next logical step. If the power plants have to spend more money on this technology, they are going to have to pay for it somehow; hence the higher prices for consumers.

The deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the Department of Energy told House lawmakers that this new technology will cause wholesale electricity prices to rise by 70 or 80 percent.

So what doesn’t seem to be clear is why this even becoming law. This is not helping the American people. Even though these are the estimates for the first generation of increases, the second generation is not much better and is still higher than what we currently pay.

I don’t know about you, but I thought the government was supposed to be helping me. Instead these new “clean coal” laws are hurting me. Energy is already so expensive, and without exploring more energy resources, we are not going to be able to afford this much longer.



Torch bearing radicals descend on pipeline executive’s home

It’s the kind of scene we’d like to think we’d put behind us. Yet here it is again.  How would you like to look outside and see masked radicals with torches on your front lawn?

That’s what greeted Mark Maki and his family.  Maki was targeted for this shameful act of intimidation because he is a member of the board of Enbridge Energy Management which works with oil pipelines.

The masked perpetrators refused to identify themselves, or their group, claiming only that they represent “the people.”  Their banner includes the words “solidarity means attack!”  The age of the eco-terrorist is upon us.

This comes at a time when both parties are coming around to the realization that pipelines are the safest, most economical and environmentally sound way to move petroleum, particularly after several bad train accidents.

The radicals are in danger of losing the pipeline issue and they know it.  Their response is to act out and threaten sabotage.

Not too long ago Marc Morano, who edits CFACT’s award-winning Climate Depot Morano interviews pipeline protesternews and information service, asked an anti-pipeline protestor if they were ready to engage in “eco-terrorism.”  The protestor replied that they would do “whatever it takes” to prevent the project.  It appears now that such threats are more than mere hyperbole.  Law enforcement needs to be on alert.

The most high profile pipeline project in the country right now is the Keystone XL.  It has been the subject of years of wasteful and foolish obstruction.  It is time for President Obama to end all delays, listen to his own State Department, pick up his vaunted pen, sign his name and authorize Keystone XL once and for all.

Paul Driessen has the facts on Keystone XL at  They are important.

Mister President, the time has come.  Authorize Keystone XL today.  Will you side with ignorance, radicalism and intimidation, or the economic, energy and environmental needs of the nation?

No American, no matter who they are or where they stand, should ever fear threats from masked radicals with torches outside their home again.

Such intimidation cannot be tolerated.


Europe’s New Climate Targets: Myth & Reality

On 22 January, the outgoing European Commission (EC) proposed new EU-wide CO2 emissions and renewables targets for 2030 which will be discussed by the European Council in the next 12 months.

This announcement was reported in the media as if the EU has already adopted these aggressive, new targets.  However, this is not the case.

If agreed by the European Council, the CO2 emissions target would only be offered as a conditional pledge during the 2015 international negotiations on climate change in Paris.

In its press release, the Commission states:  “The Commission invites the Council and the European Parliament to agree by the end of 2014 that the EU should pledge the 40% reduction in early 2015 as part of the international negotiations on a new global climate agreement due to be concluded in Paris at the end of 2015.”

In light of deep splits among EU member states, there are considerable uncertainties about what will happen to these proposals:

(i) There is no certainty that the proposed targets will remain as stringent as currently proposed.

(ii) There is no guarantee of a final EU agreement before the UN climate summit in Paris in 2015.

(iii) In the event that no global CO2 emissions treaty is agreed in 2015, the EU’s conditional pledge may not be enacted.

This uncertainty has significant implications for the UK’s climate policy, with a real prospect of UK emissions targets being scaled back significantly in line with EU targets.


Solar Thermal Technology Poses Challenges for Drought-Stricken California

Reducing water consumption at solar thermal plants raises costs and decreases power production

California’s ambitious goal of getting a third of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 is being tested by its driest year on record, part of a multiyear drought that’s seriously straining water supplies. The state plan relies heavily on solar thermal technology, but this type of solar power also typically consumes huge quantities of water.

The drought is already forcing solar thermal power plant developers to use alternative cooling approaches to reduce water consumption. This will both raise costs and decrease electricity production, especially in the summer months when demand for electricity is high. Several research groups across the country are developing ways to reduce those costs and avoid reductions in power output.

Solar thermal power plants use large fields of mirrors to concentrate sunlight and heat water, producing steam that spins power-plant turbines. Utilities like them because their power output is much less variable than power from banks of solar panels (see “BrightSource Pushes Ahead on Another Massive Solar Thermal Plant” and “Sharper Computer Models Clear the Way for More Wind Power”).

The drawbacks are that solar thermal plants generate large amounts of waste heat, and they consume a lot of water for cooling, which is usually done by evaporating water. Solar thermal plants can consume twice as much water as fossil fuel power plants, and one recently proposed solar thermal project would have consumed about 500 million gallons of water a year.

A technology called dry cooling, which has started appearing in power plants in the last 10 years or so, can cut that water consumption by 90 percent. Instead of evaporating water to cool the plant, the technology keeps the water contained in a closed system. As it cools the power plant, the water heats up and is then circulated through huge, eight-story cooling towers that work much like the radiator in a car.

Dry cooling technology costs from two and a half to five times more than conventional evaporative cooling systems. And it doesn’t work well on hot days, sometimes forcing power plant operators to cut back on power production. In the summer, this can decrease power production by 10 to 15 percent, says Jessica Shi, a technical program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. On extremely hot days, power production might be reduced even more than that.

One approach to solving this problem is to oversize the cooling system so that it can deliver enough cooling even on hot days. That’s the approach taken by the developers of California’s new Ivanpah solar thermal plant, which is about to start production (see “World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant Delivers Power for the First Time”). But it adds to the cost of an already expensive system.

More than a dozen research groups funded by the Electric Power Research Institute and the National Science Foundation are developing ways to avoid the current problems with dry cooling technology. One project uses a conventional evaporative cooling system but captures the water vapor to reuse it. Others are working to improve the efficiency of dry cooling towers so that they can be made smaller and cheaper. A third approach is to use nanoparticles in the cooling fluid to improve its ability to absorb heat. And new designs that improve air circulation could reduce the size and cost of cooling towers.

The drought and water shortage that California is undergoing will increase the costs associated with solar thermal power, but they aren’t likely to bring the spread of the technology screeching to a halt. While dry cooling costs far more than conventional water cooling, it accounts for a relatively small part of the total cost of a plant—about five percent of around $2 billion.



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

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


12 February, 2014

Evidence points to climate change role in floods, says official UK scientist

Dame Julia is just a silly old lady who does not know what she is talking about.  Her agency predicted a DRY winter.  That's how much she knows and understands about the weather

Climate change almost certainly lies behind the storms that have been lashing Britain this winter, according to the Met Office’s chief scientist.

Dame Julia Slingo said while there was not yet “definitive proof”, “all the evidence” pointed to a role for the phenomenon.

She also delivered a grim warning that the country should prepare itself for more similar events in future.

The comments came at a briefing for journalists as the latest wave of storms crashed into southern England. It is the strongest link yet made by the Met Office between the intense weather and climate change, and backs David Cameron’s remark last month that he “very much suspects” a connection.

“The severe weather in the UK coincided with exceptionally cold weather in Canada and the USA,” the document said. “These extreme weather events on both sides of the Atlantic were linked to a persistent pattern of perturbations to the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean and North America.

“There is a strong association with the stormy weather experienced in the UK during December and January and the up-stream perturbations to the jet stream over North America and the North Pacific.

“The North Atlantic jet stream has also been unusually strong; this can be linked to an unusually strong westerly phase of the stratospheric Quasi-biennial oscillation deep polar vortex and strong polar night jet.”

Dame Julia said none of the individual storms had been exceptional but the “clustering and persistence” were extremely unusual.

“We have seen exceptional weather. We cannot say it’s unprecedented, but it is certainly exceptional,” she said.

“Is it consistent with what we might expect from climate change? Of course, as yet there can be no definitive answer on the particular events that we have seen this winter, but if we look at the broader base of evidence then we see things that support the premise that climate change has been making a contribution.”

Recent studies have suggested storms are developing a more southerly track, and that has been “typical” of the weather patterns here over the winter.

“One of the most unusual aspects of the winter’s weather has been the southerly track of the storms. We expect them to go well north of Scotland,” Dame Julia said.

“They have been slamming into the southern part of Britain. We also know that the subtropical, tropical Atlantic is now quite a lot warmer than it was 50 years ago.

‘Basic physics’

“The air that enters this storm system comes from that part of the Atlantic where it is obviously going to be warmer and carrying more moisture. “This is just basic physics.

“We also now have strong evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense. That is emerging in the UK records, and it is seen very definitely around the world in other countries like India and China. [But not in Australia].

“There is indeed as far as I can see no evidence to counter the premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly heavy rain events.”

Dame Julia said sea levels were expected to rise by a foot over time, causing more problems for those trying to deal with flooding. “That might not sound a lot, but when you are looking at storm surges, when you are looking at moving water from the Somerset Levels out to sea, it does matter,” she added.



Private weather forecaster Piers Corbyn also sinks the boot into silly Slingo

British environmental agency responsible for much of Britain's disastrous floods

They want a drained area to "revert to nature".  Too bad about the people living there

The Environment Agency put water voles, greater water parsnips, silver diving beetles and large marsh grasshoppers ahead of people in the flood-ravaged Somerset Levels

A 250-page agency document issued in 2008 shows that years of neglecting vital dredging which used to let water drain away much faster is part of a deliberate policy to increase flooding in the areas now worst affected.

The policy was revealed as agency director of operations David Jordan angered residents yesterday by calling the flood defences a ‘success story’.

He said: ‘We need to recognise that 1.3?million other properties would have flooded if these flood defences had not been built. That is the success story, if you like, that we are talking about.’

Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, whose Bridgwater & West Somerset constituency has been among the worst affected areas said: ‘What a stupid man – this is absolute stupidity and arrogance. This is a tragedy and disaster.’

The 2008 agency document shows the objective for the Levels was to ‘take action to increase the frequency of flooding to deliver benefits locally or elsewhere’.

In the document the agency says flooding on the Somerset Levels 'is not in itself a major problem' because it will be beneficial to wildlife including greater water parsnips (right) and greater silver beetles (left)

The agency claimed this might ‘constitute an overall flood risk reduction’.

But it added: ‘This policy option involves a strategic increase in flooding in allocated areas [the area of the Levels on the Rivers Tone and Parrett now underwater], but is not intended to affect the risk to individual properties.’

Under European Union directives, the policy document says, ‘we  have obligations to protect the habitats that have developed hand in hand with the man-made flood-risk infrastructure’.

‘From an economic point of view, a lot of money is required to protect relatively little when considered at a £ per square kilometre point of view,’ it says, adding that farming and housing, first established 250 years ago when the Levels were drained, might suffer from what it called the ‘redistribution’ of future floods.

However, the use of the land by humans was ‘based on historical practice which should be challenged in the future’.

‘This will have social and financial implications which will have to be considered carefully?.?.?. We are aware that challenging centuries of drainage operations may be difficult, and it requires good communication and co-operation between various authorities.’

The document says the agency might have to close pumping stations built to move floodwater from the fields into the rivers and aqueducts: ‘It is likely that there  are some pumping stations that are not economic.

‘Many pumping stations are relatively old and in some cases difficult to maintain?.?.?. Redistributing floodwater, while logical in some areas, may be difficult to promote because individual farms will be affected in different ways.

'From an agricultural perspective, some may gain financially but some may also lose.’

The document, the Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan, went through five successive drafts, the last in March 2008, shortly before the agency’s then chairman, Baroness Barbara Young, stepped down.

Last Friday, her successor, former Labour MP Lord Smith, was given a hostile reception when he toured the flood-affected area.

As he tried to address the TV cameras at Stoke St Gregory, a village on the shores of what has become a vast inland sea, one heckler told him he was ‘toast’.

On the ground – what is left of it – the reasons for the bitterness were readily visible.

Lord Smith had claimed that all the pumping stations were working flat-out, but on the Tone and Parrett, they are deserted and not functioning – because the silt which has clogged the rivers means there is nowhere for pumped water to flow.

The last dredging took place in 2003, and since that time, an agency spokesman admitted, the rivers’ water-carrying capacity has declined by almost half.

Even in mid-stream, clumps of weeds and islands of willow mark the areas now clogged with mud.

Last year, after another flood, Lord Smith stood on a bridge over the Parrett and promised residents there would be dredging in 2013.

But all that took place before the onset of the current floods in December was the removal of a few ‘pinch points’ on the Tone.

In his own flying visit to the Levels on Friday, David Cameron described the floods and waves of storms as ‘biblical’ events.

But the point being made by locals is that while some flooding this year would have been inevitable, when the rivers were not clogged and the pumping stations were working, water levels could be drastically reduced in a day or two.

If the drainage system had still been functioning, this could have been done in the gaps between each storm – greatly reducing the floods’ impact.

Dramatic confirmation can be seen just a few miles away, in the northern part of the Levels.

At the Gold Corner pumping station, three giant pumps are still lifting the waters from the rivers Axe and Brue up seven feet into the Huntspill Drain – an artificial watercourse about 100ft wide which runs straight to the sea.

But unlike the southern Levels rivers, the Huntspill is not silted up. The land for miles around is just as low-lying as the drowned villages and fields near the Parrett, but the flooding is far less severe.

‘The purpose of the rivers has been forgotten,’ said farmer Ray Adlem, 65. It should be to get rid of the water as quickly and efficiently as possible.

'You can read that 2008 document and conclude that running the system down has been deliberate. The Levels has always been an artificial landscape.  'If you don’t maintain an artificial landscape, it reverts to nature – and that’s what some people wanted.’

The tragedy is that even the intended beneficiaries of the agency policy have suffered.

‘Any time you went for a walk in the Levels, you’d hear plopping – the sound of the water voles diving  into the rivers,’ said farmer Edwin White. ‘I haven’t seen a vole for ten years. They’ve all been drowned.’


Climate Change This Week: Faulty Accounting

An audit by the Office of the Inspector General found that the State Department's $75 million tab for climate change programs included $600,000 that couldn't be accounted for. That may be seen as nothing more than a rounding error, but it was also a sign of burning cash and fudging data. The OIG pointed out the recipients in question “did not fully … ensure that the data used in reporting programmatic results were complete, accurate, consistent, and supportable.”

Buttressing this revelation about “fudging” the data, at a time when earlier climate models estimated we had been significantly warmer, the amount of ice and snow cover burying most of the nation signifies otherwise. Satellite reporting this week showed the Great Lakes had their greatest ice cover in two decades, with Lake Superior and Lake Erie being almost totally frozen.

Yet there are some in Congress who continue to use incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent and unsupportable data to plod on with their tired tales of man-made climate change. After all, there's a lot of government money to be redistributed and regulations to be handed down from on high. The Safe Climate Caucus (yes, that's a real thing), chaired by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), can't get the time of day in a GOP-controlled House, so the Caucus is enlisting the help of an all too willing Leftmedia. Regardless of the evidence mounting against man-made climate change, Waxman believes the American people will “wake up” and ask “how can you deny this?”

But the chances are greater that a new skepticism of science could arise, argues Australian climate scientist Garth Paltridge. He writes that “the average man in the street … is beginning to suspect that it is politics rather than science which is driving the issue,” fretting that this may put an end to the belief in the honesty of science for years to come. Having to dig out from another foot of snow may also be a sign of this challenge to conventional wisdom.


Cruz Calls for an 'American Energy Renaissance' to Restore Economic Growth

Outside the Beltway, Americans care most about jobs and economic growth, but Washington isn't listening, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a conservative gathering in Washington on Monday.

Cruz called for an "American energy renaissance" as the best way to restore the growth that people want but politicians won't even discuss.

"What an incredible opportunity we have right now," Cruz said. "The only thing that can stop this great energy renaissance is the government getting in the way."

He pointed to North Dakota, a fracking hub, where the average hourly wage in the oil and gas industry is $45.90 an hour and the unemployment rate is 2.6 percent.

Cruz said the same thing is happening in Texas, where increased oil revenue is turning around poorer school districts and allowing high school graduates to earn $80,000 driving trucks.

Cruz said the energy revolution "didn't come from the U.S. Department of Energy" or any other government agency: "It came from entrepreneurs putting capital at risk and meeting a need," he said, in states where regulation didn't strangle experimentation.

"In coming weeks, I will be introducing a bill, the American Energy Renaissance Act, that is designed to do two significant things: number one, to prevent the federal government from stopping the energy renaissance that is blossoming across the country; and number two, to expand the lands, the resources that are available for the private sector to develop so that we can answer what the American people are asking for, which is jobs and economic growth.

"This opportunity is right in front of us if the federal government will simply listen to the American people."

Cruz said his bill will:

-- prevent federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing;
-- improve domestic refining capacity;
-- approve the Keystone pipeline and remove the barriers for approving additional pipelines:
-- stop EPA overreach and the war on coal;
-- require Congress and the president to sign off on EPA regulations that kill jobs;
-- broaden energy development on federal lands;
-- expand offshore exploration and development;
-- expand U.S. energy exports.

"Preventing Washington from stopping the American energy renaissance has enormous benefits, will produce millions of high-paying jobs across this country, and also will generate significant additional revenues to Washington -- and the final element in this bill is that the additional revenues coming in will be dedicated in a trust fund to paying down our crushing national debt," Cruz said.

In his speech to the Heritage Action for America Conservative Policy Summit, Cruz said he's spent 13 months in Washington, but the Senate in that time has not addressed economic growth at all.

"We spent six weeks talking about guns and the president's agenda to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and virtually no time talking about fundamental tax reform, about regulatory reform, about reducing the barriers coming from Washington that are making it harder and harder for people who are struggling to achieve the American dream."

Cruz has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate for 2016, and if he does plan to run, it appears he's settled on energy as his campaign theme.


Infographic: North America sits on enormous natural gas reserves

The natural gas industry has grown exponentially over the last several years and continues to make great strides in the United States. Natural gas is a natural resource that has the potential to safely and cleanly fuel the next generation of American innovation and economic expansion with enough quantity in the United States alone to last for hundreds of years.

This infographic from the Unconventional Oil & Gas Center highlights the growth of the natural gas sector of the last several years as well as potential for greatly expanded production in the future:


SHUT UP AND SKI: 105 Olympians conned into calling for climate treaty… good news is 2,795 Olympians NOT conned

Snow cover is largely a matter of precipitation, not temperature.  The dupes below apparently do not realize that the earth's temperature has been stable for 17 years

Today, US Ski Team member, 2014 Olympian Andrew Newell, 105 Olympians and Protect Our Winters released a statement calling on world leaders to take action on climate change and to prepare a commitment to a global agreement prior to the UN Framework Convention in Paris in 2015.

“Recognize climate change by reducing emissions, embracing clean energy and preparing a commitment to a global agreement at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris 2015.”

The letter has been signed by 105 Olympians from countries that include: The United States, Switzerland, Norway, Estonia, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy and Sweden. In addition to Newell, some of the 105 athletes include: US snowboarders Danny Davis and Arielle Gold, Switzerland’s Bettina Gruber, Norway’s Astrid Jacobsen and Italian ski jumper Elena Runggaldier.

This year alone, nearly half of the FIS cross country World Cup international competitions have taken place on artificial snow. Even last year in Sochi, several pre-Olympic skiing and snowboarding events had to be canceled because of poor conditions, something that has been a consistent problem both in Central Europe and Scandinavia.

Snow conditions are becoming much more inconsistent, weather patterns more erratic, and what was once a topic for discussion is now reality and fact. Our climate is changing and we are losing our winters.

Given this, and after having seen climate change affecting his local training grounds in Vermont, Newell decided that the Olympics would be a good opportunity to galvanize the global community of winter Olympians, raise the level of awareness at the policy level and take action on a global stage.

The athletes are calling on world leaders to come together at the UN Framework Convention in Paris in 2015 to finally take bold and immediate measures to tackle climate change.

“We know that as the snowpack declines, the sobering economic impacts start to impact communities everywhere”, says Chris Steinkamp, POW’s Executive Director. “Having this quantity and caliber of Olympians make this statement this week should be one more wake up call for world leaders.”



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

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


11 February, 2014

Doubts about the hiding ocean heat

The latest episode in the claim that  heat is "hiding" in the ocean is  here, reporting a study led by a Prof. England.  Just a few preliminary notes:

The study offers an explanation for the pesky fact (for Warmists) that there has been a "standstill" in the earth's temperature for about 17 years.   Prof. England calculates that stronger winds in the Pacific in recent years would have pushed hot surface water to below 700 meters and that the heat is just lurking there to come up again some time and warm us.  So the heat is not absent, just hiding.

There is much to note there.  The first is that Prof. England has spent at least a decade denying that there has been a temperature standstill.  Yet when it suits him he suddenly admits it.  His attachment to the facts is clearly very opportunistic and not at all confidence-inspiring.  Would his calculations survive scrutiny by someone who knows all about fluid dynamics?

Secondly, he implicates a NATURAL process in what it going on  -- something Warmists have always sedulously avoided.  Why could not ALL the processes involved be natural?  And there is every reason to regard the standstill as natural and requiring no particular explanation. It is entirely consistent with the meandering pattern of slight temperature changes over the last century or more.

Thirdly he speculates that the warm water is hanging out below 700 meters, when the extreme limit of the mixing layer is normally given as 200 meters. How did it get down there?

And how long is that "hot" water going to stay down there?  It is very cold in the ocean deeps so normal convective processes would  ensure that the "hot" water would rapidly become cold.  As such it's unlikely to warm anything in the future  -- JR

Uncertainty!  Halt in Global warming is a hot topic in science circles

The standstill is certainly pesky for Warmists but it is in fact an incidental flaw in their claims.  The BIG flaw in their claims is that the gentle temperature rise seen for the last century or so will stop and suddenly take a great leap upwards instead.  That is pure prophecy  based on very weak theory.  Successful scientific  predictions are generalizations from known existing processes.  Warmism is just a leap in the dark which dismisses existing knowns

First it was dismissed as imaginary, then it was called a statistical blip. Now it’s become one of the hottest topics among climate scientists: why has global warming stopped?

Since the late 1980s, we’ve been told that our planet is warming up with potentially disastrous consequences. Leading climate scientists have declared – with increasing confidence – that the fault lies with mankind, with our reckless use of greenhouse gas-generating fossil fuels.

Yet not everyone has gone along with this scientific consensus. Some have argued that the 0.8C rise over the last century is just natural variation. Others have insisted it’s due to faulty measurements.

But some have claimed that while global warming may have once been underway, it isn’t any more.

They point to the graphs of average global temperatures, which show a seemingly inexorable rise from the mid-1970s onwards, reaching a peak in 1998 followed by… stasis. For the past 15 years, the graphs show no discernible trend.

The claim that global warming is on hold was first made in 2006 by Prof Bob Carter, an earth scientist from James Cook University, Australia.

At the time, the claim was deeply controversial, and was challenged on the entirely reasonable grounds of insufficient evidence. Yet since then the evidence for a pause in the upwards trend has grown.

Climate scientists continued to argue it was a statistical blip, but now even leading advocates of man-made global warming accept that the pause is real, and demands explanation.

Last month, the leading science journal Nature – not known for its denial of climate change – looked at the current best guesses as to the likely cause of the pause.

Top of the list, ironically, is the phenomenon widely blamed for the record-breaking peak global temperature in 1998: El Niño.

Known to scientists as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (Enso), this is a notorious family of weather patterns that breaks out every three to eight years in the Pacific Ocean.

Its origins lie in the complex interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean. Each year the sun’s warmth causes a huge build-up of heat in the Pacific, plus powerful convective air currents in the atmosphere.

By the end of the year, some of this heat is offloaded by currents from the western coast of South America, triggering winter rains in Australasia.

But every so often, there’s a much larger westward surge of heat, affecting ocean temperatures and air flow across the whole Pacific.

The result is a powerful El Niño effect, accompanied by a change in air pressure known as the Southern Oscillation – and worldwide climatic upheaval.

The 1997-8 El Niño event was particularly dramatic, and is widely blamed for everything from floods in Chile to droughts in Indonesia. It is also thought to be the cause of that sudden spike in global temperatures.

But almost immediately afterwards, colder waters from deep within the Pacific moved in to the same area. This is now seen as part of an even grander weather cycle, called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

And when something as vast as the Pacific gets cooler, it’s likely to have global consequences.

This has now been confirmed by computer models based on actual temperature data from the Pacific taken over several decades.

Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, have shown that the resulting PDO cooling is enough to mop up the underlying global warming trend – making it appear to have stopped dead.

To climate-change sceptics, this will sound like fiddling with computer models until they give the “right” answer. So many weather cycles have now been identified that the explanations based on them look suspiciously like the gear-packed “epicyclic” models the Greeks used to prop up the idea of an Earth-centred solar system.

In fairness, climate scientists are discovering more complexity rather than merely inventing it. Even so, what’s needed is that acid test of any credible scientific theory: a verifiable prediction – which is what climatologists are now seeking.

The most obvious is that, if the PDO really is the cause of the pause in global warming, it will flip around, causing a sharp rise in global temperatures.

That turnaround may be underway right now.

According to reports in Nature, strong tropical winds are already driving warm water back into the El Niño zone of the Pacific. The western part of the ocean has now acquired a 20cm swell compared with the east – and you don’t need a computer to tell you that can’t last forever.

As climate scientist Dr Kevin Trenberth of the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, memorably put it in Nature: “At some point the water will get so high that it just sloshes back”.

And when it does, the resulting release of heat will trigger a sudden resumption of global warming.

Or, rather, it should. For, as with so much in climate science, things aren’t that simple.

There’s another influence on our climate that’s puzzling scientists – one that could throw any prediction out of whack: the sun.

Like our climate, the sun goes through cycles, marked by the rise and fall in solar activity, as measured by sunspot numbers.

These cycles last roughly 11 years, and the current one reached its peak last year.

What bothers scientists is that it wasn’t much of a peak. In fact, it was the most feeble for more than a century.

This has led to speculation that the sun is starting to wind down to a level of activity not seen since the late 1600s – which just happened to coincide with a period when the Earth became much colder.

The causal link between solar activity, sunspots and global temperatures is far from fully understood.

What is clear, however, is that it could make a mockery of climate predictions – and with it those scientists hoping to revive the case for action on global warming.


Center for American Progress -- Big Green

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has emerged as a leading liberal think tank. But what role do its corporate donors play in its policy positions?

This is the first in a series of articles by The Daily Caller News Foundation investigating this question — and TheDCNF has found that the progressive think tank used its influence and networking to forward corporate agendas.

CAP was founded by former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta in 2003 as an alternative to the conservative Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, and in its relatively short lifespan has gained much notoriety on the Washington, D.C. policy scene.

Podesta has been able to bring on other prominent former Democratic officials, such as Clinton Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner and former White House official Neera Tanden, who now serves as CAP’s president.

The liberal think tank has been active on virtually every major policy issue in the last decade, including energy and climate policy, as well as pushing federal health-insurance reform through backing Obamacare.

“As progressives, we believe America is a land of boundless opportunity, where people can better themselves, their children, their families, and their communities through education, hard work, and the freedom to climb the ladder of economic mobility,” CAP’s website reads.

“We believe an open and effective government can champion the common good over narrow self-interest, harness the strength of our diversity, and secure the rights and safety of its people,” the think tank’s bio continues. “And we believe our nation must always be a beacon of hope and strength to the rest of the world.”

Podesta recently took a position back at the White House as an Obama administration senior adviser. Before he left CAP, the think tank released a list of 58 corporate donors, including Google, General Electric and major insurance companies. The move was supposed to improve the institution’s image, but it was met with intense criticism from the left.

“Mr. Podesta, named a senior adviser to President Obama, is not currently a lobbyist and therefore does not have to worry about the Obama administration’s self-imposed ban on hiring lobbyists to administration jobs,” writes The New York Times. “But he will nonetheless arrive at the White House after having run an organization that has taken millions of dollars in corporate donations in recent years and has its own team of lobbyists who have pushed an agenda that sometimes echoes the interests of these corporate supporters.”

CAP argues, however, that only about $2.7 million of its $42 million budget last came from corporations or foundations run by corporations. And despite the criticisms over supporting their donor’s corporate agenda, CAP argues it is not under corporate influence.

“The Center for American Progress has always been fiercely independent — our views are shaped by what we think the best solutions are to improve the lives of all Americans,” said Neera Tanden, CAP’s president. “Donations, be they from individuals or corporations, do not guide or determine our work. Period. Indeed, we have advocated numerous policies that would impinge on corporate interests — from tax policy to government subsidies; our interests are simply to provide ideas to solve the country’s problems.”

While they may argue against corporate influence, a favorite talking point of the post-Occupy left, CAP’s policy promotion and lobbying efforts have indeed benefited at least some of its donors. As the NY Times wrote: “The defense contractor Northrop Grumman gave money to the left-leaning Center for American Progress … as the nonprofit group at times bemoaned what it called the harmful impact of major reductions in Pentagon spending.”

“Pacific Gas and Electric sent in a donation as Mr. Podesta championed government incentives to promote solar energy and other renewable sources that the California company buys more of than nearly any other utility,” the Times added. “The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly was also a donor because of what it said was the Center for American Progress’s advocacy for patients’ rights — and just as the debate heated up in Washington over potential cuts to the Medicare program that covers Lilly’s most profitable drugs.”

Exhibit One: The Greenwashing of BMW

CAP has billed itself as an independent voice that promotes progressive solutions to complex policy problems. But the disclosure of their corporate donors has called into question the extent of their “independence”.

BMW of North America has been a member of CAP since 2009. The auto group was having trouble promoting its “green” image and turned to the lobbying firm run by former German Foreign Minister and early leader of the German Green Party Joschka Fischer. As it turned out, Fischer’s firm had a strategic partnership with the Albright Stonebridge Group which is run by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and features CAP distinguished fellow and former Clinton Environmental Protection Agency administrator Carol Browner. The former EPA chief also served as a climate advisor to President Obama.

BMW brought on Fischer’s firm in 2009 to develop a “sustainable and environmentally friendlier business,” reports the German newspaper Der Spiegel. It was likely through Fischer’s connection to Albright Stonebridge that got them in touch with officials from CAP.

It wasn’t long before CAP held an event in October 2009 called “Driving the Transformation” about eco-friendly transportation which was used to tout how BMW’s being  a leader in terms in being environmentally conscious. The event’s featured speaker was Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management and CEO for the BMW Group.

“Reithofer emphasized that BMW is ahead of the clean car curve thanks to its 28 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 1997 to 2008,” reads a summary of the hearing. “For Reithofer, keeping up with society’s expectations for energy-efficient vehicles is the key to survive in the car industry over the coming years. Clean transportation is both a moral imperative and good for business.”

“And any good business knows to how diversify,” the summary continued. “Reithofer said the world’s ‘transportation future will require a mix of mobility options,’ including modern combustion engines, efficient diesel, and hybrids. He said that BMW is committed to pushing energy-efficient technology to the next level.”

The event also featured Fischer, who said that energy-efficient cars are one way the rest of the world can raise their living standards without contributing to global warming. CAP, however, did not disclose in the event’s summary that Fischer had been hired by BMW to promote their sustainability efforts or that he was partnered with Albright Stonebridge — a CAP donor.

This was not all CAP did for BMW, however, as the group also wrote articles touting the car company’s efforts to clean up its act and help make eco-friendly vehicles. In August 2011, CAP published a piece entitled “It’s Easy Being Green: Sustainable Motor Works.” BMW would have already been a member of CAP for about two years by then.

The article, which reads more like a BMW press release, talks about how BMW was focusing on leading the auto industry in “clean energy” and protecting the environment. CAP also mentioned how BMW’s South Carolina plant which is listed as number three “on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of the 20 strongest on-site generation clean power users,” according to CAP.

It was leaked in 2012 that BMW had been part of CAP’s Business Alliance, which requires members to donate between $25,000 and $100,000 annually. The Business Alliance comes with many perks, including private meetings with CAP policy analysts and top officials and invitations to VIP events with federal officials.

What does this mean?

CAP used its influence and position as a progressive think tank to promote BMW’s green credentials. The liberal think tank is influential in environmental circles as it employs former EPA chief Browner — who also works at Madeline Albright’s firm.

Regardless of whether or not BMW is genuinely a leader in sustainability, CAP has greatly benefited from its partnership with BMW — getting donations from the company since 2009. All CAP had to do was promote the company’s environmental agenda.

Another thing this episode illustrates is the connections between Albright’s lobbying group and CAP. Both Podesta and Albright served under President Clinton and have since appeared at events together. Albright serves on CAP’s Board of Directors and even employs CAP fellows.

Former EPA chief Browner was a founding principal of the Albright Group, the predecessor to Albright Stonebridge, as well as a founding board member of CAP. Browner currently serves as a senior fellow at CAP and as a senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that CAP national security fellows Richard Verma and Brian Katulis both also work for Albright Stonebridge. Verma works as a counselor at Albright Stonebridge, working on global trade issues. Katulis works as a senior adviser at Albright Stonebridge dealing in international issues.

An Albright Stonebridge spokesman said “we regard the Center for American Progress as an important hub of policy development and analysis in Washington, and the Albright Stonebridge Group is proud to lend its support to CAP and contribute to its mission.”

CAP did not respond to requests for comment from TheDCNF.


There is No Global Warming and Will Be None for Decades

By Alan Caruba

I recently received an unsigned email about my Sierra Club commentary in which I pointed out that it opposes traditional forms of energy and made a passing reference to Obama’s lie that “climate change”, the new name for global warming, was now "settled science.”

Global warming was never based on real science. It was conjured up using dubious computer models and we were supposed to believe that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change could actually predict what the climate would be twenty, fifty, or a hundred years from now.

The writer of the email disagreed with me. “lol you are a f**king idiot. you don’t believe there is global warming going on? you need to let your prejudices go and stop basing your views on what your political stance is…do you research you f**king faggot.”
Now, not everyone who believes in global warming is as rude as this individual and certainly not as ignorant, but his message suggests that those who do not believe in it do so as the result of “a political stance” when, in fact, our views are based on science.

Anyone familiar with my writings knows that a lot of research is involved. In my case, it dates back to the late 1980s when the global warming hoax began to be embraced by politicians like Al Gore who made millions selling worthless “carbon credits” while warning that “Earth has a fever.”

A small army of scientists lined their pockets with government grants to produce data that supported the utterly baseless charge that carbon dioxide was causing the Earth to warm. They castigated other scientists or people like myself as “deniers” while we proffered to call ourselves sceptics. They were joined by most of the media that ignored the real science. And the curriculums in our schools were likewise corrupted with the hoax.

Then, about 17 years ago the Earth began to cool. It had nothing to do with carbon dioxide—which the Environmental Protection Agency deems a “pollutant” despite the fact that all life on Earth would die without it—and everything to do with the SUN.

A few days after the email arrived, two-thirds of the contiguous U.S.A. was covered by snow. As this is being written, Lake Superior is 92% frozen, setting a new record. As of February 5, the entire Great Lakes system was, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 77% covered with ice.

On February 1st, NOAA and NASA held a joint press conference in which they released data about 2013’s global surface temperature. They made reference to a “pause” in the temperature that began in 1997. Dr. David Whitehouse, science editor for the BBC, noted that “When asked for an explanation for the ‘pause’ by reporters, Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA and Dr. Thomas Karl of NOAA spoke of contributions from volcanoes, pollution, a quiet Sun, and natural variability. In other words, they don’t know.”

Both of these government agencies, along with others like the EPA and the Department of the Interior are staffed by people who understand that their employers are deeply committed to the global warming hoax. One should assume that almost anything they have to say about the “pause” is based entirely on politics, not science.

Then, too, despite the many measuring stations from which data is extracted to determine the Earth’s climate, there is a paucity of such stations in COLD places like Siberia. Stations here in the U.S. are often placed in “heat islands” otherwise known as cities. If you put enough of them close to sources of heat, you get thermometer readings that produce, well, heat.

People in the U.S., England, Europe and other areas of the world who do not possess Ph.ds in meteorology, climatology, geology, astronomy, and chemistry have begun to suspect that everything they have been told about global warming is false. Between 1300 and 1850 the northern hemisphere went through a mini-ice age. After that it began to warm up again. So, yes, there was global warming, but it was a natural cycle, not something caused by human beings.

Nature doesn’t care what we do. It is far more powerful than most of us can comprehend.

This brings us back to the Sun which determines, depending on where you are on planet Earth, how warm or cold you feel. The Sun, too, goes through cycles, generally about eleven years long. When it is generating a lot of heat, its surface is filled with sunspots, magnetic storms.

When there are few sunspots, solar radiation diminishes and we get cold. Scientists who study the Sun believe it may encounter another “Maunder minimum”, named after astronomer Edward Maunder, in which the last “Little Ice Age”, between 1645 and 1715, occurred. The Thames in England froze over as did the canals of Holland froze solid.

There is no global warming and scientists like Henrik Svensmark, the director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark’s National Space Institute, believes that “World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more.” I agree.


The Sierra Club hates energy

By Alan Caruba

If I told you that you should hate coal, oil and natural gas, you might think I was crazy and you would be right. Everything we do involves these three energy reserves and the U.S. has so much of them that we could be energy independent of the rest of the world while, at the same time, exporting them.

When you think about energy reserves, think about the hundreds of thousands of jobs they represent. Then think about the huge revenue in leases and taxes they represent to the government that needs to reduce its debt. Ultimately, though, try to imagine a nation that does not utilize petroleum in thousands of ways or fails to tap its enormous coal and natural gas reserves to generate the electricity upon which that everything depends.

I recently received an email from the Sierra Club praising the President’s State of the Union speech in which he claimed that climate change — by which they mean global warming — is real and that the science is “settled.” No, the science entirely refutes it — except if one means that the climate has always been a state of change. The most recent climate change is 17 years of cooling that has gifted us with record-breaking cold as far south as Florida.

What Sierra Club focused on was Obama’s call for “new sources of energy” other than the traditional ones. He was referring to solar and wind energy. A recent news article on CNSNews noted that “Solar power, which President Barack Obama promoted…accounted for 0.2 percent of the U.S. electricity supply in the first nine months of 2013, according to data published by the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration.”

According to the EIA, “the United States is producing less electricity now than it did when Obama took office…From 2008 to 2012, U.S. electricity production declined by 1.7 percent.”

Some might take this as a good thing, but “electricity has gotten more expensive since 2008 — with the electricity price index at an all-time high.” So we are paying more while getting less.

The Sierra Club, however, criticized Obama saying “As long as his administration keeps throwing lifelines to old sources of energy like oil and gas, we won’t be able to lead the world on clean energy solutions like wind and solar.” They called for an “end to oil and gas fracking on public lands.” What they are not saying is that the Obama Administration has virtually put an end to any exploration and extraction of energy sources on public lands. And you can forget about the massive reserves estimated to exist off-shore of our coasts.

In early January, Mark D. Green, the editor of Energy Tomorrow, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, examined the reality of our vast energy sources. Keep in mind that every product we purchase is dependent in some way on oil. “Every day 143 U.S. refineries convert an average of 15 million barrels of crude oil” that provide power for our vast transportation needs and thousands of other uses. Oil is the basis for the creation of plastic. Try to imagine living without anything that does not utilize plastic in some fashion.

As for natural gas, experts predict that lower prices as more is discovered via fracking, will increase industrial output 2.8 percent by 2015 and 3.9 percent by 2025. Policies that would allow the export of U.S. liquefied natural gas would generate between $15.6 billion and $73.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product and help reduce our deficits and debt.

The Sierra Club doesn’t want to see the U.S. benefit from coal, oil, and natural gas. It wants to see the landmass filled with solar farms and thousands of wind turbines that would not produce enough electricity to meet the needs of nation, let alone a major city. Because they are unpredictable, all require the backup of traditional plants.

Nor does the Sierra Club make any mention of the Obama Administration’s war on coal that has forced 153 plants to shut down. It’s Environmental Protection Agency has proposed regulations that would require new plants to employ carbon capture and sequestration technology that is not commercially available! Nor is there any reason to capture carbon dioxide, the gas that is the “food” that every single piece of vegetation requires; a gas that plays virtually no role at all in the Earth’s climate.

As this is being written, the State Department just released a report that would clear the way for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada after a 5-year delay by the Obama Administration. Pipelines are the safest way to transport oil and natural gas. If the U.S. cannot gain access to the oil, it will go to China and other nations.

The prospect of the pipeline was rejected by the Sierra Club. Friends of the Earth announced that it would join with the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, and other radical Green groups to hold vigils around the nation Monday to protest its possible approval and construction.

The Sierra Club is not only lying to its members, it is lying to all of us when it says: “Getting all of the energy we need without using fossil fuels is no longer a question of whether we can—but whether we will.” We can’t, we shouldn’t, and we won’t…but we must wait until Obama is no longer in office and, as early as the 2014 midterm elections, we must rid our nation of his supporters in Congress.

Then we will watch our nation’s economy expand with more jobs and more revenue.


The ignorance and hypocrisy behind oil export  bans

Help consumers, security, environment by eliminating prohibition on exporting US oil and gas

Paul Driessen

US oil and gas production was already declining, when the 1973 Arab oil embargo sent oil and gasoline prices skyrocketing and created block-long lines at gas stations. Increased domestic production could have eased the supply and price crunch, but the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill had resulted in congressional leasing and drilling moratoriums on federal offshore and onshore lands.

Though it voted 50-49 to build the Alaska pipeline, Congress refused to allow more drilling. Instead, it legislated a 55-mph speed limit, mileage standards for vehicles and a ban on exporting domestically produced crude oil. The speed limit was eventually lifted, but drilling bans expanded, the mileage rules tightened, the export ban remained, and the United States increasingly imported more oil at higher prices.

However, quietly and under the federal and environmentalist radar, America’s oil industry improved and expanded its horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (aka, fracking) technologies – on state and private lands, where DC regulators and pressure groups had little sway. The unprecedented boom that followed sent US oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (propane) production sharply upward for the first time in decades. America’s oil output rose 30% just between 2011 and 2013, to 7.4 million barrels per day. The Green mantra that we were depleting petroleum supplies was smashed on the fractured rocks of reality.

Suddenly, the United States was importing less oil than at any time since 1995; millions of oil patch and related jobs were created; frack state royalty and tax revenues skyrocketed; natural gas prices plummeted; and the cheaper fuels and feed stocks fostered a US petrochemical and manufacturing renaissance. The fracking revolution also enabled companies to export more gasoline, kerosene, lubricants, solvents, asphalt and other finished products (since the government never banned refined product exports). Those exports have greatly improved the nation’s balance of trade and gross domestic product.

Now many American producers want the misguided export ban sent to history’s dust bin, so that they can ship crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to foreign ports. Numerous other companies support their call for change. Asia needs the energy, they note, to fuel its growing economy and support its inadequate petroleum production infrastructure. Europe needs it because too much of its natural gas comes from Russia, which charges high prices and sometimes engages in energy blackmail, and because EU fracking bans and global warming/renewable energy policies have sent business and family energy prices into the stratosphere and killed millions of jobs. The United States as a whole would also benefit.

Congress should terminate the ban. (Or President Obama could void it with yet another unconstitutional executive diktat, to counter his job-killing mandates.) Proffered reasons for perpetuating the prohibition reflect a poor grasp of energy markets, misguided self interests and simple hypocrisy.

US oil production is expected to increase by some 780,000 barrels per day in 2014, rising to 9.6 million per day by 2019. The nation’s refining capacity is at record levels, for light, heavy, sweet and sour crude. Exports would provide and important outlet for some of this crude, encouraging further exploration, protecting jobs, further revitalizing our economy, and ensuring continued royalty and tax revenues.

Opening more publicly owned lands to leasing, drilling and fracking would magnify these benefits many times over. These resources belong to all Americans, not only to those who oppose energy development or want to use anti-hydrocarbon policies to undermine economic growth and job creation. Expanded fracking operations on all these lands would further expand supplies, by making otherwise marginal plays more economic to produce, reinvigorating old oil and gas fields, prolonging oil field life, and ensuring greater resource conservation, by leaving far fewer valuable resources behind in rock formations.

Concerns that ending the ban would hurt consumers are misplaced. Indeed, for reasons just given, the opposite would happen. Expanding domestic supplies will keep OPEC at bay, stabilize global supplies and prices, and make the United States less reliant on imports and less vulnerable to supply disruptions.

What’s truly ironic and hypocritical here is that this sudden concern about consumer prices comes from members of Congress and self-styled environmental and consumer groups who have led the wars on leasing, drilling, fracking and hydrocarbons – while supporting expensive, land-intensive, water-hungry ethanol and biofuel programs. All these policies hurt consumers, by driving up energy prices. And who can forget President Obama’s pledge that electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket” under his policies, or former Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s wish that gasoline cost $8-10 per gallon, as it does in Europe.

Companies like Dow Chemical and Delta Airlines would thus be better advised to support expanded petroleum exploration and production (for which their voices have rarely been above a whisper), than to continue campaigning for an extended oil and gas export ban.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman (!) Ron Wyden (D-OR) also displayed woeful ignorance about energy matters when he recently expressed concern about proposed LNG exports worsening propane shortages that have left many families shivering this winter. Propane is naturally occurring natural gas liquids; it has nothing to do with exports. LNG is liquefied (compressed and super-cooled) natural gas. Moreover, the propane shortage is due to pipeline maintenance and repair problems in late 2013, coupled with unusual demand for propane last fall to dry corn for ethanol production.

(Mr. Wyden’s remark brings to mind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s famous comment: “I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels.” Memo to Ms. Pelosi: Natural gas is a fossil fuel. And these are the people who are dictating and running our energy and economic policies!)

Furthermore, these pseudo-converts to consumer protection are claiming concern that the current $9 per barrel difference between US and global oil prices could shrink if some oil is exported. They say Barclays Bank predicts that eliminating the export ban could add $10 billion a year to gasoline costs. However, US gasoline expenditures totaled $335 billion in 2012. So this potential increase works out to just 3% of an average household’s $2912 gasoline expenses. That’s $87 a year, $1.67 a week – half the price of one Starbucks Latte Grande. The consumer impact of America’s massive land lockups is much higher.

Even worse, increasingly tougher automobile mileage standards result in countless injuries and deaths.

One more ironic and hypocritical aspect of all this is that ban proponents want US oil and gas to remain in the USA, rather than letting some of it support our European allies. Let Europe produce its own oil and gas, or get it from the OPEC and Russian extortionists, they say. And yet these same “ethicists” have long demanded that the United States keep its own vast petroleum supplies locked up, while we deplete other countries’ assets and put their ecological treasures at risk from production-related accidents.

President Obama himself has said the Saudis should send us more oil, when global supplies tighten – rather than using his pen and phone to tell his energy overseers to produce more here at home. The US has also criticized China for restricting exports of rare earth metals – and selling only electronic, solar panel and wind turbine components made with rare earths – while we block US rare earth mining.

Manmade climate change alarmists should also remember that natural gas exports will reduce coal use overseas, which will in turn reduce those dastardly emissions of plant-fertilizing, life-giving carbon dioxide. (Not surprisingly, chief Bill McKibben claims that aggregate life-cycle CO2 emissions from gas production and use will “almost certainly” be worse than coal. This is utter nonsense. It’s also worth noting that life-cycle energy use, CO2 emissions and pollution associated with electric car rare earth metals, production, charging and use are almost certainly worse than coal or natural gas.)

The bottom line is simple. Exporting US oil and natural gas will benefit American workers, families, consumers, balance of trade and government revenues. We must not let provincial views, anti-hydrocarbon ideologies or misinformed policy positions perpetuate this antiquated ban.

Via email


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

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


10 February, 2014

Can Migrating Corals Outpace Ocean Warming and Acidification?

Discussing:  Couce, E., Ridgwell, A. and Hendy, E.J. 2013. "Future habitat suitability for coral reef ecosystems under global warming and ocean acidification". Global Change Biology 19: 3592-3606.

According to Couce et al. (2013), "there is concern that the growing frequency and severity of mass bleaching episodes may lead to species composition shifts and functional collapse in coral reefs in the near future." On the other hand, they also note global warming "has the potential to improve currently marginal environmental conditions and extend the range of tropical coral reefs into higher latitudes," as is "demonstrated in the fossil record in response to warmer geological periods (e.g., Lighty et al., 1978; Veron, 1992; Precht and Aronson, 2004; Greenstein and Pandolfi, 2008; Woodroffe et al., 2010; Kiessling et al., 2012)."

But what if ocean acidification occurs concurrently?

To investigate this potential situation, Couce et al. employed "a suite of statistical models based on the environmental factors thought to be limiting to the present equilibrium distribution of shallow-water coral reefs, perturbing them with Earth System Model projected future sea surface temperatures and aragonite saturation changes (the simulations used in Turley et al., 2010)," while considering "a range of potential future CO2 emissions scenarios," but focusing on "the consequences of the 'A2' scenario (characterized by regionally oriented economic development and high population growth, expecting ca. 850 ppm CO2 by 2100)."

After all was said and done, the three UK researchers found, "contrary to expectations, the combined impact of ocean surface temperature rise and acidification leads to little, if any, degradation in future habitat suitability across much of the Atlantic and areas currently considered 'marginal' for tropical corals, such as the eastern Equatorial Pacific." And they note, in this regard, that "these results are consistent with fossil evidence of range expansions during past warm periods."

In terms of the nitty-gritty here-and-now, Couce et al. conclude by stating that their results "present important implications for future coral reef management, as they suggest that more emphasis should be placed on conservation efforts on marginal reefs as they are not necessarily a 'lost cause'."


Seven Rough Questions Corporations, Eco-Groups Avoid when they Proclaim ‘We Must Stop Global Warming’

When public figures make a far-reaching policy proclamation, shouldn't they clearly affirm they did their due diligence on the matter?

When a prominent person, group or corporation exploits a situation to promote an immediate singular solution to a controversial problem they deem to be settled while having no personal expertise on the topic and in the face of plausible fact-based criticisms of the basic problem, it’s a natural reaction to ask if they fully examined all aspects of it before adopting their final position. On the topic of global warming, readers here are free to borrow seven questions I repeatedly pose regarding due diligence. Perhaps they’ll also encounter the same deer-in-the-headlights reactions I’ve seen.

One can envision a cartoon caricature of the actual screencapture below, where an asterisk after the statement “The time for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is now” might lead to fine print saying “comments supporting our view are welcome, dissenting ones will not be seen by the public”

In a recent public comment section of a blog at the Hewlett Foundation, I questioned the blog writer’s settled global warming science premise and subtly tried to induce some introspective thought about alleged funding influences on either side of the issue. When the blog writer completely sidestepped my questions, this was yet another perfect opportunity to pose the following seven questions I’ve been asking since 2009. Readers here are more than welcome to use them – I’ve highlighted the specific words in green that would need to be changed to suit whatever person, group or company readers wish to send these to.

* What is the Hewlett Foundation’s official position regarding “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the NONgovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)”, the related 2011 Interim Report, and CCR 2 Report? These reports, (seen here: are a detailed, authoritative rebuttal of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings, which the Obama Administration and the EPA rely on for their regulatory proposals.

* What is the Hewlett Foundation’s official position regarding allegations that the IPCC reports fall short of EPA guidelines requiring highly influential scientific assessments to meet a variety of standards for transparency, data availability and due diligence?

* Has the Hewlett Foundation done its own due diligence assessments of IPCC reports to assure readers of its statements that information conveyed by it on the issue of global warming is above reproach? If those assessments have been done for the Hewlett Foundation, can it provide specific references in IPCC reports where theories of natural causes for the current global warming have been disproved, or more simply, show that the IPCC had any requirement to also evaluate potential natural causes?

* If the Hewlett Foundation takes the position there is a scientific consensus in favor of the idea of human-caused global warming, is it prepared to show how “consensus” is the new operating standard of scientific inquiry across all fields of study?

* If the Hewlett Foundation’s position is indeed that global warming skeptic scientists operate under guidance from industries opposing CO2 regulation, is it prepared to provide specific proof of improper payments to those scientists, and specific proof of faults in the scientists’ resulting reports that are obvious indications of industry-guided science errors?

* Is the Hewlett Foundation able to demonstrate how energy sustainability and stewardship of the environment are synonymous with CO2 regulation, considering the questions above?

There’s really no right or wrong answers to those. But rather than answer them, the Hewlett Foundation’s blog moderator partly addressed the funding point in my first comment while avoiding my questions about his organization’s official position on skeptic climate science points. He subsequently directed me to a new blog by no less than the president of the Hewlett Foundation, Larry Kramer, who still skipped my questions.

I’ll spell out Kramer’s original blog link url here so readers are aware of what his blog’s prior title was, and so that all may see how the final url changes. Apparently “No Room for Debate” was too assertive, so it was changed mere hours after it appeared to “There Comes a Point”. The prior title is seen in my screencapture of the rebuttal I submitted. My rebuttal is no longer “under moderation”, though, it has been deleted.

The first time I used those seven questions was in July 2009, after seeing a news item about Deutsche Bank’s declaration that we need to do something about global warming. Deutsche Bank never replied. Various Nike personnel gave me the email run-around about my inquiry being sent to the top administrators, when I asked how they justified bailing out of the US Chamber of Commerce over the global warming issue. My questions are most often ignored, such as when the “Grannies for a Livable Future” did so last year.

The disturbing part of this entire exercise is the irony in which these people are so keen to inform the public about the perils of global warming, yet they are unwilling or unable to use a great public opportunity to tell us why they know skeptic climate scientists are unworthy of consideration.

But there was one instance where a corporate spokesperson felt no restraint.

We are familiar with Dr. S. Fred Singer, Dr. Frederick Seitz and also the Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).  Dr. Singer’s first critique of the UN IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report was titled Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate, and it listed 24 contributors from 14 countries and included a foreword by Dr. Seitz.   Climate scientists from NASA, Stanford University and Princeton who were contacted by ABC News dismissed the NIPCC report as “fabricated nonsense.”

The “fabricated nonsense” bit arises solely out of a March 23, 2008 ABC News piece titled “Global Warming Denier: Fraud or ‘Realist’?”, in which ABC’s viewers were never told who the NASA, Stanford and Princeton scientist accusers were, or how those scientists proved the NIPCC Report was either a fabrication or simply nonsensical. As seen in the balance of PNM’s response, they feel consensus validates the conclusion put out by IPCC scientists.

Lovely. The largest electricity provider in the state of New Mexico, PNM Resources,  apparently has a global warming policy that was significantly influenced by a single line out of a news report, and is otherwise shored up by little more than a ‘show of hands’. Their email to me had no restriction about reproducing it, and they went dead silent on my subsequent follow-up email questions.

By all means, feel free to use my set of questions to find out how many more public figures, politicians, groups or corporations are able to defend their ‘pro-global warming’ positions. Wouldn’t it be even more interesting if a professional pollster posed those questions in order to see how many end up looking like a deer caught in the headlights.


Global Warming Improving Mental Health?

Freelance writer Marlene Cimons, an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Maryland, wrote an editorial published by LiveScience and Yahoo News claiming increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events damage mental health. Cimons presented this assertion as a means to claiming global warming is harming mental health.

Assuming for the sake of argument that extreme weather events cause mental health-damaging stress, the facts show global warming is improving rather than harming mental health.

While spending the majority of her editorial asserting a link between extreme weather events and mental health, Cimons addressed global warming science in less than a full paragraph. Citing an anecdotal story of somebody claiming to have stress-related headaches and depression after Sandy battered the New Jersey coastline in November 2012, Cimons made an unsupported leap in logic that global warming caused the storm and therefore caused the headaches and depression.

Global warming realists know factual evidence shows extreme weather events have become less frequent and extreme as our planet gradually warms from the Little Ice Age conditions that prevailed through the end of the nineteenth century. Cimons’ editorial is a timely reminder that global warming activists should not go unchallenged when they falsely assert the relatively few extreme weather events that still occur must be caused by global warming.



European Court of Justice condemns EPAW; Armed groups have more rights than wind farm victims

On 21 January 2014, the Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Court of Justice ruled that the European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) does not have “legal personality,” and therefore had no right to initiate a recourse in its chambers against the European Commission. epawEPAW represents 649 associations of windfarm victims across Europe. It had brought a case against the European Union, denouncing Brussels’ new renewable energy targets for not respecting the rights of citizens to participate in environmental decision-making under the provisions of Aarhus Convention legislation.

Yet in a judgment dated 18 January 2007, the Court of Justice had declared admissible an appeal by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an organization with no legal personality, based outside the EU, and with a history of armed rebellion. The Court had then given value to the argument that "it is a question of avoiding excessive formalism” (case C-229/05 P).

Initially, the General Court had admitted EPAW’s recourse, and had processed it. Indeed, unincorporated bodies based in Ireland such as EPAW do not have to be constituted as registered associations to have certain rights regarding environmental matters. The Irish Supreme Court even confirmed on 27 November 2013 that in similar circumstances unincorporated bodies could bring matters into proceedings at the Irish High Court. These bodies argue that, lacking both time and resources, many groups of citizens cannot spend precious energy and money drafting legal statutes, organizing annual assemblies, writing minutes, doing secretarial work and filing reports to government(s).

Other EU institutions, like the European Ombudsman and the European Commission, did not refuse to process complaints submitted to them by EPAW. Neither have the United Nations in Geneva, which are watching over the rights of the people in environmental matters under the Aarhus Convention. Furthermore, the Platform is registered (Nº 66046067830-67) on the EU’s Transparency Register, which provides information on organizations seeking to have a say in EU decision making.

On 23 January, EPAW received from the General Court the defense memorandum of the European Commission, which had been lodged nearly 4 months earlier. Attached to that same email of 23 January was the ruling of the Court, not permitting EPAW to challenge the arguments of the Commission, dismissing the case and ordering EPAW to pay the costs incurred by Brussels in defending itself.

“The Aarhus Convention stipulates that access to justice must be ‘free of charge or inexpensive’,” complains Mark Duchamp, of EPAW. “As a platform, we have no money, and our lawyer is working pro bono. What the Court has done is to castigate windfarm victims, whereas it had helped the armed group PKK to get its funds unfrozen by EU banks.

“In the circumstances, we can’t even appeal the decision, risking more punishment we can’t afford. And if we can’t pay the defense costs of the European Commission, what then? Will Brussels name a figure, and force windfarm victims to sell their homes to pay for it? This is outrageous, especially when considering that the Commission has been violating its own laws on people’s participation in decision-making, as per the findings of the United Nations’ Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. But Brussels is proceeding with its non-compliant 2020 renewable energy program in defiance of its own legislation and of the UN. It is now even seeking to extend this illegal program to 2030 in a manner which is, again, non-compliant with required public participation procedures. This is precisely what EPAW was, rightly, trying to stop.”

Duchamp is wondering about the independence of the Court of Justice from the executive arm of the EU: “the Court had admitted our recourse. They had processed it, notifying the other party (the European Commission). But all of a sudden, eight months later, they backtracked without letting us present new evidence, such as the Irish Supreme Court ruling, or even defend ourselves against the misleading allegations of the Commission. They showed a surprising hostility by condemning us to pay costs, whereas they had themselves decided to accept our recourse. If indeed our action was not admissible, why did they process it, notifying the defendant? And if it was their mistake, why condemn us to pay the European Commission’s lawyers? – Again this is outrageous, and we have a good reason to be indignant.

“Now the Commission is no longer under the threat of seeing its new renewable energy targets challenged by the General Court. Brussels was handed a get-out-of-jail-free card, the Aarhus Convention is dead in the water, and so may be the rule of law in the EU.”


Greenie bureaucrat responsible for big British flooding disaster

The Labour quango chief blamed by flood victims for wrecking homes and livelihoods has effectively been told to quit by No?10.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, now put in charge of handling the flooding crisis by David Cameron, said Environment Agency chairman Chris Smith should make a public apology for its mistakes.

And asked whether Lord Smith, a former Cabinet Minister, should resign, Mr Pickles said bluntly: ‘He has to make his own decision.’

He used brutal sarcasm to pile on the pressure, adding: ‘I don’t see myself becoming the advocate of the “Save Chris Smith” campaign or printing “Save The Environment Agency One” T-shirts.’

He accused Lord Smith of playing ‘divide and rule’ by ‘trying to set town against country’, letting the EA become ‘riddled with politically correct’ eco-fanatics opposed to dredging, presiding as the organisation ‘lost its way’ and spending 20 times more money on its bloated bureaucracy than on keeping rivers clear.

Mr Pickles’s comments came 24 hours after Lord Smith visited the flood-hit Somerset Levels and refused to resign. The Minister showed little sympathy over the mauling local residents gave Lord Smith, who lives in a £1?million London apartment with beloved Tibetan terrier Jinny.

‘It’s always good to get feedback from your customers,’ Mr Pickles observed drily. ‘At least he’ll never have to hire a focus group to know what people are thinking.’

Ignoring Labour claims that the Government is ‘scapegoating’ Lord Smith, Mr Pickles urged him to give in to demands to say sorry for the EA’s alleged failings.

‘It’s not a sign of weakness. A bit of reaching out and humanity and humility is good for everybody, whether a distinguished quangocrat or a member of the Cabinet.’

Mr Pickles added: ‘Being flooded is like a burglary: Afterwards, the effect continues. It’s not just the drying out or loss of precious possessions and memories. Every time it rains people wonder, “Is it going to happen again?”?’

Mr Pickles was asked by Mr Cameron to take charge of the crisis last week after Environment Secretary Owen Paterson had to have urgent treatment for a detached retina.

Mr Paterson, who is married to an aristocrat’s daughter, had been criticised for visiting the Somerset Levels in town shoes, not Wellington boots. He was accused of seeming ‘shrill and aloof’ in interviews and in dealing with flood victims.

By contrast, plain-talking Yorkshireman Mr Pickles was born into a Labour-supporting family and has the common touch you would expect of an Essex MP.

Mr Pickles said the EA had blundered by stopping dredging. ‘The Somerset Levels were man-made and dredging was a fundamental part of keeping it going, just as it is with any land below sea level right across the world. You need to continuously dredge.

‘It worries me that in a politically correct attempt to be more environmentally sound than the next person, something as basic as this has been forgotten.’

No one has ever accused Eric Pickles of being a slave to political – or any other – fashion. By contrast, culture vulture Lord Smith was a New Labour Minister who cut his teeth in trendy, Labour-run Islington, the urban fount of political correctness.

‘Chris Smith tried to play divide and rule by setting town against country [when he said that the EA had to protect one or the other]. That is a false choice.

‘The people on the ground have done a fantastic job, but the agency has lost its way and become riddled with political correctness.

It is not the first time he has clashed with the EA’s eco warriors. ‘Don’t even start me on my arguments with them about fortnightly rubbish collections,’ he roared.

The flood has submerged the homes and lives of thousands of people. And if Mr Pickles has his way, the EA and Lord Smith will join the casualty list.

He plans to force town halls to spell out on council tax bills how much money each household is contributing to the EA’s eye-watering £1.2?billion annual budget. He said: ‘The EA hiked up the council tax by around 20 per cent in the West Country last year with little to show for it. ‘

He added: ‘It must not be invisible any more. They need a clear leadership and to understand that people matter. People are entitled to feel safe in their homes.

‘The EA gets £1.2?billion a year but paid out £395?million on staff last year and just £20?million on improving maintenance of culverts and channels to ensure the free flow of water.’ It was the most expensive agency of its type in Europe, costing nearly as much as in the USA.

Mr Pickles had no truck with green activists who say people on the Somerset Levels chose to live below sea level and should move.

‘That’s bad news for most of the Netherlands isn’t it?’ he quipped, with trademark deadpan humour.  ‘I am certainly not in retreat. I want people back in their homes and animals back in their farms.’

Mr Pickles said he was determined to restore train links to Cornwall after the track crumbled into the sea in Dawlish in Devon.

But he does not rule out re-routing the track inland in the future. And he plans a massive ‘storm audit’ of all coastal road and rail links to find out whether other changes are needed.

‘We will look at all our strategic infrastructure to ensure it is as  clear as possible from disruption from storms.’

He is due to visit areas hit by the floods in a few days. When he does, unlike Mr Paterson, he will definitely be wearing Wellingtons.

Are they black or green?

‘Black, of course,’ laughed Mr Pickles. Green Wellies are for the posh kids, like Messrs Paterson and Cameron.


Forgotten: Historic hot temperatures recorded with detail and care in Adelaide, Australia

What I found most interesting about this was the skill, dedication and length of meteorological data taken in the 1800?s. When our climate is “the most important moral challenge” why is it there is so little interest in our longest and oldest data?

Who knew that one of the most meticulous and detailed temperature records in the world from the 1800?s comes from Adelaide, largely thanks to Sir Charles Todd. The West Terrace site in Adelaide was one of the best in the world at the time, and provides accurate historic temperatures from  “Australia’s first permanent weather bureau at Adelaide in 1856?. (Rainfall records even appear to go as far back as 1839.)  Lance Pidgeon went delving into the National Archives and was surprised at what he found.

If we want to understand our climate the records from the 1800?s in Adelaide are surely worth attention?

The BOM usually shows graphs like this one below starting in 1911. You might think you are looking at the complete history of Adelaide temperatures and that smoothed temperature is rising inexorably, but the historic records remain unseen. While “hottest” ever records are proclaimed in the media, few go hunting for older hotter records. Yet, one of the hottest temperatures recorded in Australia were recorded in 1828, and raging heatwaves with temperatures over 50C occurred in the 1800s. In 1896 a monster heatwave across the nation killed hundreds, and people were even evacuated on emergency trains.

BOM temperature records for Adelaide ignore older warmer days: BOM

The old equipment was not identical to modern stations, but it was recorded diligently and with expert attention, and in the same location for over 120 years. When compared side by side, the older types of screens produced slightly more  extreme temperatures than the Stevenson screens but this does not mean that the old recordings should be forgotten. With careful adjustment the Adelaide record could be one of the longest in the world. Strangely, no one seems too interested. If these old records showed Adelaide was way cooler in the 1860?s, do we suppose an eager PhD student would not have jumped at the chance to splice historic old and new records into a long alarming graph and a popular thesis? The question begs…

I fear the cult of the young means the smarts of the oldest of old-timers is automatically discounted, yet those old codgers  from the 1800?s  weren’t necessarily old at the time, and were connected to the harsh realities of the natural world in way that soft cushy net-connected university grads could not imagine today.

Below, notice how commonly those red spikes go about 40C? Adelaide gets scorched nearly every year. It’s summer.



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

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


9 February, 2012

Cartoon corner

Denying the cold

The future according to Greenies

Hawaii is getting cooler

Discussing:  Safeeq, M., Mair, A. and Fares, A. 2013. Temporal and spatial trends in air temperature on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. International Journal of Climatology 33: 2816-2835.

According to Safeeq et al. (2013), daily temperature (T) measurements of Tmin and Tmax that were collected during 1969-2007 from twelve different stations scattered across the island of Oahu were downloaded from a repository at the U.S. National Climate Data Center, after which they computed the trends of each parameter over the 39-year period of 1969-2007 and the 25-year period of 1983-2007.

Based on their analysis of such trends, the authors report that over the longer 39-year period, island-wide minimum temperature increased by 0.17°C/decade, while there was no detectable trend in the corresponding maximum temperature.

And during the more recent 25-year period, they found annual maximum temperature actually showed a decline, while minimum temperature continued to increase. And they thus calculated that the trend in the diurnal temperature range (DTR) "shows a decline during the past 39 years with a stronger decreasing trend during the recent 25 years."

Perhaps one of the most significant implications of the researchers' findings - which they do not mention, however - is the finding of Yang et al. (2013), who while working in Guangzhou City (the largest metropolis in Southern China) discovered "a linear DTR-mortality relationship, with evidence of increasing mortality with DTR increase," where "the effect of DTR occurred immediately and lasted for four days," such that over that time period, a 1°C increase in DTR was associated with a 0.47% increase in non-accidental mortality, and who also found this effect to be most prevalent among "the elderly, females and residents with less education."

Thus, with Oahu's decreasing DTR trend, and its increasingly decreasing value, many of the inhabitants of Oahu should be able to expect a modest increase in the livability of their island home.


Atmospheric CO2 Helps Oak Trees Recover from Natural Disasters

Discussing:  Day, F.P., Schroeder, R.E., Stover, D.B., Brown, A.L.P., Butnor, J.R., Dilustro, J., Hungate, B.A., Dijkstra, P., Duval, B.D., Seiler, T.J., Drake, B.G. and Hinkle, C.R. 2013. The effects of 11 years of CO2 enrichment on roots in a Florida scrub-oak ecosystem. New Phytologist 200: 778-787.

Day et al. investigated the belowground root responses of a scrub-oak ecosystem located at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on the east coast of Florida, USA.

At this location the soil is acidic, well-drained and nutrient-poor, and the climate is subtropical with a wet season between late June and October and a dry season between April and early June. In addition, lightening-induced fire is the chief ecosystem disturbance, exhibiting a 7-15-year cycle, while other natural disturbances are periodic drought and severe weather from tropical storms and hurricanes.

In their particular experiment, half of the study's open-top chambers enclosing groups of trees were exposed to eleven years of atmospheric CO2 enrichment to approximately 350 ppm above the ambient concentration. Fine root production, turnover and biomass were measured using mini-rhizotrons, while coarse root biomass was measured using ground-penetrating radar, and total root biomass using soil cores.

The twelve researchers report "total root biomass was as much as five times greater than aboveground biomass in this system, reflecting the importance of belowground structures as a carbon reservoir." They also note the belowground biomass was temporally dynamic and underwent natural cycles "affected by ecosystem disturbances in systems with strong disturbance regimes." More specifically, they state "strong CO2 effects on fine root biomass were seen after disturbance by fire and hurricane during periods of recovery followed by periods in which CO2 effects diminished."

In the concluding words of Day et al., "elevated CO2 may enhance root growth following disturbance and potentially speed up the recovery." Indeed, it would appear even following the massive aboveground destruction caused by both fires and hurricanes, atmospheric CO2 enrichment is able to bring scrub-oak ecosystems back from the brink, so to speak, to once again flourish, as the life-giving gas stimulates root production and the acquisition of needed-but-scarce soil nutrients.


The Polar Vortex: Climate alarmism blows hot and cold

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson posted a January 28 Investor’s Business Daily Op-Ed piece titled “Beyond Vortex Lies a Lesson for Denialists.”  His thesis was that recent cold waves bringing subzero and single-digit temperatures too much of the nation provide an excuse for global warming skeptics (us “denialists”) to claim that “it’s really cold outside, so global warming must be a crock!” He emphasizes that we skeptics “forget that it’s winter, and apparently they [we] don’t quite grasp that even when it’s cold in one part of the world, it can be hot in another.”

Frankly, while my fellow skeptics may seriously doubt that any evidence of a human-caused, or even nature-caused, climate crisis exists, I don’t know of any who disagree with Robinson about not concluding much of anything about “climate change” based upon conditions occurring over a few days, weeks, months, or even years of unseasonably cold (or warm) weather over part or most of the world. After all, “climate” is a term typically applied to cycles lasting at least 30 years which depend a lot upon when you start measuring.

There is certainly no dispute regarding the fact that climate changes, and does so for many reasons. In fact the past century has witnessed two distinct periods of warming and cooling. The first warming occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn’t change much, they couldn’t have been the cause before 1950.

The second warming shift began in 1975 and rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year…although this later warming is reported only by surface thermometers, not satellites, and is legitimately disputed by some. (There’s some background on this in my June 18 column.)

Incidentally, about half of all estimated warming since 1900 occurred before the mid-1940s despite continuously rising CO2 levels since that time. As for continued warming (up until a recent 17-year “pause”), we have been witnessing a pretty constant trend of temperature increases ever since the last “Little Ice Age” (not a true Ice Age) ended in about 1850.

Robinson cited a January 2 article in the journal Nature arguing that human-generated carbon emissions will lead to even greater warming than was previously anticipated. This will allegedly result from the impact of warming on cloud cover causing average global temperatures to possibly rise a full 7° F by the end of the century.

The study’s lead author, Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales, told the Guardian newspaper that this: “would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous” and “would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much the tropics.”

Some other January articles posted in Nature might be noted as well. For example, an unsigned editorial in the January 16 issue titled “Cool Heads Needed,” warns that unusual cold weather doesn’t prove or disprove the theory of that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming that “climate skeptics” have “celebrated”. It also theorizes that “global warming might in fact be contributing to the string of abnormally cold U.S. winters in recent years,” yet also observes that “the average global temperature… has plateaued since 1998.”

The editorial admits that: “plenty of questions remain … Exactly how sensitive is Earth’s climate system to increasing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases?” It finally concludes that “if the past is any indication, we may have to live with a fair degree of uncertainty.”

Another Nature journal article of the same date titled “The Case of the Missing Heat,” by Jeff Tollefson, reviews research on why “the warming stalled” in 1998. He reports “the pause has persisted, sparking a minor crisis of confidence in the field.”

Tollefson then claims that: “climate skeptics have seized on the temperature trends as evidence that global warming has ground to a halt. Climate scientists, meanwhile, know that the heat must be building up somewhere in the climate system, but they have struggled to explain where it is going, if not into the atmosphere.”

Then his wrenching dilemma: “Some have begun to wonder whether there is something amiss in their [climate] models.”

Something amiss in their models…is that truly possible? Golly, I thought only radical “skeptics” entertained that rash possibility!

And by the way, there are also some really smart climate scientists who believe that the global climate warming “pause” we have been experiencing since the time most of today’s high school students were born will not only continue, but now introduces a much longer-term cooling cycle.

As I discussed in my January 21 column, Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov who heads Russia’s prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg predicts that: “after the maximum of solar Cycle-24, from approximately 2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cycle of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 11 years” (the 19th to occur in the past 7,500 years).

Abdussamatov and others primarily link their cooling predictions to a 100-year record low number of sunspots. Periods of reduced sunspot activity correlate with increased cloud-forming influences of cosmic rays. More clouds tend to make conditions cooler, while fewer often cause warming. He points out that Earth has experienced such occurrences five times over the last 1,000 years, and that: “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”

But back to that “polar vortex” thing. As Robinson and other members of the Four-Alarm Fire Brigade insist, with the planet obviously in flames, those numbing temperatures over much of the country (the ones we “skeptics/denialists” are so eager to flaunt) must be an anomaly…a rare exception… certainly not something that can be correlated with any natural climate change that would suggest a possible cooling trend. Giving it a special, exotic-sounding name is a great way to distinguish this from a common old run-of-the-mill weather phenomenon.

Actually however, it’s really not such a new name after all. And the warministas are right that it apparently has nothing to do with global warming, with human fossil-burning carbon emissions, or with flatulent cattle and kangaroos either for that matter.

Princeton University physicist Dr. Will Happer provides a good thumbnail sketch of the physics involved in an interview posted on Marc Morano’s Climate Depot website. Emphasizing that polar vortices have been around forever, he explains: “The poles have little sunshine even in summer, but especially in winter, like now in the Arctic. So the air over the poles rapidly gets bitterly cold because of radiation to dark space, with negligible replenishment of heat from sunlight.”

Dr. Happer continues: “The sinking cold air is replaced by warmer air flowing in from the south at high altitudes. Since the Earth is rotating, the air flowing in from the south has to start rotating faster to the west, just like a figure skater rotates faster if she pulls in her arms. This forms the polar vortex. The extremely cold air at the bottom of the vortex can be carried south by meanders of the jet stream at the ends of the vortex.”

Happer concludes that “we will have to live with polar vortices as long as the sun shines and the Earth rotates.”

My meteorologist friend Joe Bastardi notes two fairly recent examples when Arctic polar vortices dropped blasts of very cold air into the U.S. One occurred during January 1977, and the other came along at the time of President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in January 1985…when Chicago’s temperatures then reached a record low of 28°F below zero.

As a matter of fact, a polar vortex back in 1777 can potentially be credited with influencing the course of American history. That was just before the Battle of Princeton when Cornwallis’s men marched south of New York City in an attempt to trap George Washington’s small Continental Army in Trenton. Fortunately for the home team, a vortex swept across New Jersey which enabled Washington to avoid encirclement by evacuating his troops and artillery over frozen roads. Upon reaching Princeton, they successfully attacked the British garrison.

Can we thank climate change, global warming, or even global cooling for that? Well, while it did occur near the end of that last Little Ice Age, probably not. But let’s at least finally give that polar vortex some long overdue recognition.


The EPA is Helping Environmental Groups Sue the EPA

Why is it not surprising to see extensive collaboration between federal agencies and private groups? Especially when it’s the EPA and environmental groups doing it. Emails released earlier show this relationship.

Emails show EPA used official events to help environmentalist groups gather signatures for petitions on agency rulemaking, incorporated advance copies of letters drafted by those groups into official statements, and worked with environmentalists to publicly pressure executives of at least one energy company.

This is a major issue because this basically shows that the EPA worked with these private groups in order to make these strict regulations on carbon, which effectively killed many coal projects. But what’s funny is that this relationship is not new.

Basically every major federal law regarding the environment has provisions that allow private organizations to sue the EPA if they don’t think the EPA is doing enough to protect the air quality. But the EPA is most often sued by environmental groups! And of course it folds to the pressure without putting up a fight.

This type of corruption is completely out of control. As if we didn’t already know the EPA is a complete waste of federal funds, now we know that they are also crooked. Talk about a not so hidden agenda!

The DOJ spent $43 million on defending the EPA against suits brought by environmental groups in a 12 year period of time. What a waste of tax dollars! And additionally, this certainly makes it look like the EPA is using the activist lawsuits as a way to increase regulations.

Whatever happened to the government being accountable to the American people instead of special interests? And remind me, which party is it that is the one that represents the special interests more? Yeah, that’s what I thought.


Europe Starts To Run, Not Walk, Away From Green Economics

The media aren't paying much attention, but in recent weeks Europe has decided to run, not walk, as fast as it can away from the economic menace of green energy.

That's right, the same Europeans who used to chastise us for not signing the Kyoto climate change treaty, not passing a carbon tax and dooming the planet to catastrophic global warming.

In Brussels last month, European leaders agreed to scrap per-nation caps on carbon emissions. The EU countries — France, Germany, Italy and Spain — had promised a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030 (and 80% by 2050!). Now those caps won't apply to individual nations.

Brussels calls this new policy "flexibility." Right. More like "never mind," and here's why: The new German economic minister, Sigmar Gabriel, says green energy mandates have become such an albatross around the neck of industry that they could lead to a "deindustrialization" of Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier this year that overreliance on renewable energy could cause "a problem in terms of energy supply" — and she's always described herself as a green politician and a champion of these programs.

But green dreams have collided with cold economic reality. Green programs aren't creating green jobs but green unemployment at intolerable double-digit rates. The quip in economically exhausted Europe these days is that before we save the planet, we have to save ourselves.

Now European leaders are admitting quietly that they want to get into the game of fracking and other new drilling technologies that have caused an explosion of oil and gas production in the U.S.

According to energy expert Daniel Yergin, if Europe wants to remain competitive, these nations must tap the fountain of abundant and cheap shale gas and oil. He recently wrote that European leaders now realize a major factor behind the economic woes in euroland is that electric power costs are "two to three times more expensive" than in the U.S.

Consider the price of natural gas in the U.S. vs. other nations in the chart below. U.S. prices are about three to four times lower, and in states like Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania this is causing a renaissance in manufacturing. German engineering and manufacturing firms are looking to relocate to the U.S. where power costs are lower.

What's amazing about this story is that so few American politicians get it. President Obama talked in his State of the Union speech about doubling renewable energy output over the coming years. Mr. President, these are exactly the goals the Europeans are abandoning. Why chase the losers?

Why not try a different approach to energy policy? Get rid of all taxpayer subsidies for energy — oil, gas, wind and solar power, biofuels, electric-battery-operated cars and others — and create a true level playing field where every energy source competes on efficiency and cost rather than political/corporate favoritism?

The answer is that the green lobby knows it can't possibly compete on a level playing field. Not with natural gas at $4 and 150 years' worth of this power source in Appalachia's Marcellus shale basin and more out West.

The Europeans made nearly a $100 billion wrong bet on renewable energy, and their economies and citizens have taken a big hit. Now they've awakened to their mistakes. The shame is Washington is still slumbering.



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

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


7 February, 2014


According to an article in The Times (London) earlier this week, the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, is about to start a lecture tour, which ‘will put climate change back on the political agenda’.

With the global effort to reduce CO2 emissions in tatters, with the EU doing a volte-face on its own green energy targets, with the UK examining its own commitment to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and to green legislation, and with scientists scratching their heads about the absence of warming over the past 17 years, Walport’s words seem incautious, possibly foolish.

Environmentalists have a tendency to do their own negative PR. Too much was invested by too many in the notion that, by now, we would be seeing the natural world fall apart, taking human civilisation with it. It didn’t happen. Environmentalists’ prophecies about the climate have gone the way of their prophecies about population, resource depletion, and toxic chemicals.

The IPCC – the embodiment of the consensus itself – recently reported that there is no climate change signal in extreme weather events, except a slight tendency toward warmer days and increased precipitation. Nature, it seems, abhors vacuous alarmists.

Worse, environmentalists have failed to reflect on their own failures, and to find some other way of accounting for them. Accordingly, Walport’s opening salvo in this new climate offensive were ‘There are some people who don’t like the policy implications of climate change and think that the best way to duck the discussion is to deny the science’. The government’s soothsayer points his expert finger.

Walport is wrong. There have been countless criticisms of UK, EU, and UN climate and energy policies, quite apart from the criticisms of mainstream climate science, from climate sceptics. Climate sceptics have long been critical of the UK government’s hastily-constructed attempts to save the planet. And sceptics have observed that green-energy policies are expensive, don’t provide adequate or reliable supply, and have created deep distortions in the energy market – problems which are now being felt across Europe.

Furthermore, sceptics have argued that emission-reduction targets were never tested for feasibility, much less for costs and benefits, and even less for their effectiveness at saving the planet.

There is even a think-tank established precisely to interrogate climate policy – the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). The clue is in the name. The GWPF has published reports on EU policy, shale gas, alarmism in policymaking, green jobs, problems with the IPCC, the Stern Review, and many other topics. If Walport had read just one of them, he would surely address them.


Global cooling hits the Ayatollahs

Certain to be Israel's fault

“Unprecedented” snowfall – Ten cities cut off – 145 townships lose water and power – 40 to 50 houses crushed

Heavy snowfall has reportedly paralyzed the northern Iranian provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, knocking out gas, power and water supplies. The Chaloos representative in Parliament reported on February 3 that 145 townships in western Mazandaran are without water and power, and access to 10 cities has been cut off by snowfall in the region.

Citizens have been urged to plow snow from their roofs to avoid cave-ins, as reports indicate that the unprecedented snowfall has reached two metres in some regions.

In Savadkouh, 40 to 50 homes have been crushed by heavy snow.

Gilan Province is under similar conditions with some people unable to get out of their homes due to the heavy snowfall.

Revolutionary Guards chief Moahmmad Ali Jafari announced that they have dispatched forces to the northern provinces to assist


No, the wind industry hasn’t given up on their expired production tax credit
For the wind lobby, the expiration of their all-important wind production tax credit at the start of the year is hardly a reason to abandon their constant quest to redeem it; after all, the credit has had several other close shaves with expiration over the years, only to have Congress relent and tack it back on to some bill or other at the last minute. After a brief expiration, the industry managed to procure just such a retroactive extension in the debt-deal deliberations at the start of 2013, good for just the one year, and with the added provision that energy companies need only to have begun development of new wind projects by the time the credit expired at the start of the new year in order to qualify for its benefits (a mighty generous subsidy of a little more than two cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity provided for the first ten years of a wind farm’s operation).

That would help to explain why 2013?s fourth quarter was witness to a whole rash of new wind projects getting off the ground, and the number of wind power megawatts currently under construction in the U.S. is now at a record high — and why the wind lobby is continuing their ever-vigilant push for the PTC’s renewal. Via WaPo:

Wind power advocates urged Congress on Thursday to quickly restore the production tax credit that expired at the end of 2013, saying that a prolonged period without it threatens gains made in recent years.

Officials from a wind power company, a steel company and the American Wind Energy Association said the loss of the 2.3-cents per kilowatt hour tax credit will directly translate into lost jobs. Despite continued demand, steel companies, wind energy firms and utilities will not devote their money and resources to wind power without the certainty that the credit provides, they said.

“We have to have a quick extension” of the credit, said Jaime Steve, director of government affairs at Pattern Energy, which runs wind power projects in the United States, Canada and Chile. “This is about people’s jobs. …

Congress allowed a variety of tax breaks, worth a total of about $50 billion a year, to expire on Dec. 31. The 2013 production tax credit, designated specifically for wind power, cost $12 billion over 10 years.

Ugh. Despite more than thirty years of generous government subsidization, the wind industry still quite literally lives and dies by the corporate welfare they receive via taxpayer largesse, and you can be darn sure they’ll but up a fight for it. They’ll do everything they can to once again persuade Congress to capitulate to their demands for continued top-down market manipulation, but perhaps they should examine the scenario currently playing out in Spain. In just the past year, the government was forced to acknowledge the fiscal and economic disaster they brought on themselves with their heavy renewables subsidization, and they are now engaged in a precipitous comedown from their ambitious renewables central planning — and yes, their wind industry is also flipping out about it, via the WSJ:

The new formula, described in more than 1,500 pages of documents, calculates a level of “reasonable profitability” that each type of project can expect during its decadeslong life span. The calculations take into account, for example, how long a wind farm has been generating power and how much in subsidies it has already received. The level of “reasonable profitability” would determine the size of future subsidies the project can receive.

AEE, Spain’s wind-energy association, said wind farms representing 37% of the country’s installed wind-power capacity would receive no further subsidies under the proposal and would have to derive revenue only from selling electricity at market price. The rest of the wind farms would see their subsidies halved, AEE said in a written statement, and some companies would have trouble paying debts if the proposal passes.

The proposal “is a historic mistake,” the association said.
“Reasonable profitability“? Yeah, that’s a thing that Spain does now. Perhaps the “historic mistake” was doubling down on so much unsustainable subsidization without regard to price efficiency, no?


It's time to get rid of the EPA

In January 2011 President Obama – stung by an electoral rebuke that cost his party control of the House of Representatives – issued an executive order attempting to reassure the public regarding his rapidly expanding regulatory state.

Obama’s order instructed federal agencies to “identify and use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends.” It also instructed them to “propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs.”

Months later, though, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 180-page Utility MACT rule – one of the costliest regulations in American history.

    It is time to call out this enviro-bureaucratic conspiracy for what it is: The most elaborate, expensive, egregious government-subsidized hoax in human history.

Intended to impose maximum achievable control technology (MACT) over hazardous air pollutants, the rule -- part of a broader war on cheap energy -- stemmed from a 2000 EPA determination that it was “appropriate and necessary” for the agency to regulate mercury emissions from power plants under the 1990 Clean Air Act.

How did the EPA reach this determination? By projecting a rise in mercury emissions from 46 to 60 tons per year by 2010 (even though emissions actually declined to 29 tons over that time period).

Nonetheless, based on this false data (and fuzzy science regarding prenatal mercury exposure) the EPA promulgated the Utility MACT rule in early 2012 despite identifying health benefits of only $500,000 to $6 million annually – at an estimated cost of nearly $11 billion per year. Industry experts place the compliance costs much higher – at $84 billion over four years.

That’s not the truly frightening component of this rule, though. Like Obama's socialized medicine bureaucracy, his “envirocrats” are making it up as they go along.

“We may determine it is necessary to regulate under (the Clean Air Act) even if we are uncertain whether the rule will address the identified hazards,” the rule states, adding “we believe it is reasonable to err on the side of regulation of such highly toxic pollutants in the face of uncertainty.”

This, in a nutshell, is the modus operandi of Obama’s regulatory state: Erring on the side of government intrusion no matter what the outcome.

The forces driving these policies are no big secret.

Recently emails obtained by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) revealed senior EPA officials had been meeting with leaders of the radical environmental lobby in an effort to kill the Keystone XL pipeline – an energy project which boasts broad bipartisan support in Congress.

“These damning emails make it clear that the Obama administration has been actively trying to stop this important project for years,” U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) said.

Previous FOIAs submitted by this organization uncovered similarly cozy conspiracies with far left environmentalists to shut down coal-fired plants – including one involving a high-ranking EPA administrator who used his personal email address to secretly plot coal’s demise.

Another bombshell that dropped recently was the testimony of former EPA official John Beale, who testified before Congress regarding meetings he had in 2009 with EPA director Gina McCarthy (then head of the agency’s air and radiation division).

The subject of Beale and McCarthy’s “deep discussions?” Ways the government could “modify the DNA of the capitalist system” to make its regulations reach even deeper into the American economy.

Now we have arrived at the heart of the matter, haven’t we? This isn’t about the environment. It isn’t about protecting our natural resources, preserving pristine lands, safeguarding endangered species or keeping Americans’ safe and healthy.

This is about money and power.

With NASA data confirming that the “pause” in global warming continued through 2013, it is time to call out this enviro-bureaucratic conspiracy for what it is: The most elaborate, expensive, egregious government-subsidized hoax in human history – a massive conspiracy aimed at redistributing wealth from the industrial world to the third world and expanding dependency (and government power) here at home.

At the leading edge of this conspiracy – working in lockstep with the enviro-radicals – is Obama’s EPA, which has become a clear and present danger to American free enterprise, energy independence, the rule of law and U.S. sovereignty. Any U.S. lawmaker who is serious about creating new jobs, lowering energy costs and preserving our constitutional form of government must make gutting this rogue bureaucracy their top priority.

It is time to de-fang the EPA -- and lawmakers can take a critical first step in that direction by defunding enforcement budgets for job-crippling edicts like the Utility MACT rule and other radical Obama-era regulations.


IMF Chief: “Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled”

Responding to hyperbolic rhetoric on climate change by Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, Friends of Science point out that her comments are not supported by the recent IPCC report, the exaggerated climate models’ failed predictions or the evidence of no global warming in 16+ years. Unrestrained terrifying statements are damaging the mental health of children and youth; in fact Friends of Science recent report on the alleged 97% consensus shows only 1-3% of scientists in 3 of 4 "consensus" surveys explicitly stated agreement with the IPCC declarations on global warming, and no agreement with a catastrophic view.

Friends of Science are denouncing recent remarks on climate change by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, as being unsupported by science, as reported in Canada's Globe and Mail Feb. 01, 2013.

“This is a senseless form of public scaremongering from a body that has no expertise in climate science,” says Ken Gregory, director of research for Friends of Science. “The sources listed in the 2013 World Economic Forum Global Risks report refer to very outdated climate information.”

In a recent report entitled “97% Consensus? No! Global Warming Math Myths and Social Proofs.” Friends of Science demonstrate that only 1-3% of scientists surveyed in 3 of the most-cited consensus surveys, explicitly agree with the claim that more than half of the global warming since 1950 was caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Many scientists see carbon dioxide as beneficial and though humankind’s impact on climate is evident, it is nominal.

“Using frightening rhetoric like Madame Lagarde’s statements that “future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled” is very irresponsible,” says Gregory. “The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests no such thing. The IPCC reduced its estimate of future warming in their recent report. There has been no warming since 1998."

On July 18, 2013 Roger Pielke, Jr. presented testimony to the US Senate that extreme weather has diminished and the hottest days in North America were during the drought of the 1930’s.

Gregory refers to Dr. Roy Spencer's June 4, 2013 graph "Epic Fail" showing that 73 climate models predicted have all failed to match actual temperatures.


73 Climate Computer Models Fail to Match Observed Temperatures

“This is a type of psychological terror – Children across the developed world are suffering from depression thanks to such unrestrained rhetoric,” says Gregory.

Bjorn Lomberg addressed this issue in his June 15, 2009 article “Scared Silly Over Climate” in The Guardian. In it he cites cases of children obsessed with saving polar bears, terrified themselves of dying of global warming,

“As noted in our recent report on the 97% ‘nonsensus’ – this type of psychological manipulation is intended to force people to comply,” says Gregory.

Environment News Service reported on Jan. 25, 2014 Lagarde’s demands for more investment in green energy – a sector that is facing spectacular collapse around the world, and the interest in pricing carbon appear to be connected to World Bank green investments.

The World Bank has invested heavily in carbon and green energy schemes for Third World Countries, but is having trouble finding a trading partner now that the carbon markets of Europe are worthless.

CBC reported Jan. 21, 2014 that the World Economic Forum on Energy and Climate Change will be held in Alberta, Canada April 24-25, 2014.

Says Gregory. “Can Canadian resource industries expect a fair hearing when the Managing Director of the IMF, is making catastrophic climate change predictions based on faulty and unscientific information?”

Businessweek on Jan. 24, 2014 reported green energy projects are losing subsidies, investment funding and popular support world-wide.

Citing an April 11, 2013 Fraser Institute study by Canadian economist Ross McKitrick, Gregory states ”Renewable ‘green’ energy like wind and solar have proven to be some 10 times the cost of conventional fuel with no net environmental benefit.”

After a decade of climate science review, Friends of Science hold the position that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not you. Not carbon dioxide (CO2).



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

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


6 February, 2014

A Tale of Two Droughts

Despite recent sporadic rain, California is still in the worst extended drought in its brief recorded history. If more storms do not arrive, the old canard that California could withstand two droughts -- but never three -- will be tested for the first time in memory.

There is little snow in the state's towering Sierra Nevada mountains, the source of much of the surface water that supplies the state's populated center and south. The vast Central Valley aquifer is being tapped as never before, as farms and municipalities deepen wells and boost pump size. Too many straws are now competing to suck out the last drops at the bottom of the collective glass.

The vast 4-million-acre farming belt along the west side of the Central Valley is slowly drying up. Unlike valley agriculture to the east that still has a viable aquifer, these huge farms depend entirely on surface water deliveries from the distant and usually wet northern part of the state. So if the drought continues, billions of dollars of Westside orchards and vineyards will die, row cropland will lay fallow, and farm-supported small towns will likewise dry up.

There is a terrible irony to all this. Never have California farm prices been higher, given huge Pacific export demand. Never have California farmers been more savvy in saving water to produce record harvests of nutritious, clean and safe food. And never has farming been so central to a state suffering from the aftershocks of a housing collapse, chronic high unemployment, overregulation and the nation's highest sales, income and gas taxes.

Yet there are really two droughts -- nature's, and its man-made twin. In the early 1980s, when the state was not much more than half its current population, an affluent coastal corridor convinced itself that nirvana was possible, given the coastal world-class universities, the new riches of the Silicon Valley, the year-round temperate weather, and the booming entertainment, tourism and wine industries.

Apparently, Pacific corridor residents from San Diego to Berkeley had acquired the affluence not to worry so much about the old Neanderthal concerns like keeping up freeways and airports -- and their parents' brilliantly designed system of canals, reservoirs and dams that had turned their state from a natural desert into a man-made paradise. They have become similar to the rarified Eloi of science-fiction writer H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine," who live dreamy existences without any clue how to supply their own daily necessities.

Californians have not built a major reservoir since the New Melones Dam more than 30 years ago. As the state subsequently added almost 20 million people, it assumed that it was exempt from creating any more "unnatural" Sierra lakes and canals to store precious water during California's rarer wet and snow-filled years.

Then, short-sightedness soon became conceit. Green utopians went further and demanded that an ailing 3-inch bait fish in the San Francisco delta receive more fresh oxygenated water. In the last five years, they have successfully gone to court to force millions of acre-feet of contracted irrigation water to be diverted from farms to flow freely out to sea.

Others had even grander ideas of having salmon again in their central rivers, as they recalled fishing stories of their ancestors from when the state population was a fifth of its present size and farming a fraction of its present acreage. So they too sued to divert even more water to the sea in hopes of having game fish swim from the Pacific Ocean up to arid Fresno County on their way to the supposedly ancestral Sierra spawning grounds.

The wages of both nature's drought and human folly are coming due. Unless it rains or snows in biblical fashion in the next 60 days, we could see surreal things in California -- towns without water, farms reverting to scrub, majestic parks with dead landscaping -- fit for Hollywood's disaster movies.

Instead of an adult state with millions of acre-feet stored in new reservoirs, California is still an adolescent culture that believes that it has the right to live as if it were the age of the romantic 19th-century naturalist John Muir -- amid a teeming 40-million-person 21st-century megalopolis.

The California disease is characteristic of comfortable postmodern societies that forget the sources of their original wealth. The state may have the most extensive reserves of gas and oil in the nation, the largest number of cars on the road -- and the greatest resistance to drilling for fuel beneath its collective feet. After last summer's forest fires wiped out a billion board feet of timber, we are still arguing over whether loggers will be allowed to salvage such precious lumber, or instead should let it rot to enhance beetle and woodpecker populations.

In 2014, nature yet again reminded California just how fragile -- and often pretentious -- a place it has become.


State Dep't.: Not Building Keystone Pipeline Could Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 Not building the 875-mile Keystone XL Pipeline could result in the release of up to 42 percent more greenhouse gases than would be released by building it, according to the State Department.

Not building the pipeline “is unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the [Canadian] oil sands or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the United States,” the department noted in a long-awaited environmental report released January 31st.

But the “No Build” option is likely to result in an increased number of oil spills, six more deaths annually, and up to 42 percent higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the State Department concluded.

The proposed 36-inch pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of crude oil each day from western Canada through the Bakken oil fields of Montana and South Dakota before connecting to an existing pipeline in Nebraska on its way to Gulf Coast refineries.

The project will create an estimated 42,100 jobs and add $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy.

TransCanada first applied for a presidential permit to build the pipeline in 2008, but the controversial project has been in limbo ever since the State Department delayed a decision to issue the permit in 2011 due to environmentalists’ concerns that the pipeline would increase GHG emissions and threaten underground aquifers.

It will do neither, according to the project’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).

However, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf warned reporters during the department’s daily press briefing Friday that the release of the SEIS “is not a decision. It’s another step in the process as prescribed by the executive order,” adding that Secretary of State John Kerry will become involved in the Keystone pipeline permit process “for the first time.”

“There’s no deadline for Secretary Kerry to make a decision,” Harf said. “I stress that this [SEIS] is only one factor in the determination that will weigh many other factors as well, and for Secretary Kerry, climate and environmental priorities will of course be part of his decision-making, as will a range of other issues.”

In a conference call with reporters after the SEIS was released, Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, reiterated Harf’s comment that “this document is only one factor that will be coming into the review process for the permit. This is one of the elements that we will be looking at as we move into the national interest determination.”

The State Department, which must sign off on the project because it crosses an international border, notes that crude oil extracted from the western oil sands in Alberta will still be shipped to refineries by railcar or tanker even if the pipeline permit is not approved. And that comes with its own set of hazards, the SEIS pointed out.

Using a “wells to wheels” lifecycle analysis that starts with the extraction of crude oil and follows it to its end-use as gasoline or diesel fuel, the SEIS  noted that  “the total annual GHG emissions (direct and indirect) attributed to the No Action scenarios range from 28 to 42 percent greater than for the proposed [pipeline] Project.”

That’s because the fumes released by the combustion of diesel fuel from railcars and trucks, and the extra electricity needed for expanded marine terminals to handle oil tankers and barges, would create significantly higher levels of GHG emissions than the pipeline itself.

“There is also a greater potential for injuries and fatalities associated with rail transport relative to pipelines,” the State Department report noted. “Adding 830,000 barrels per day to the yearly transport mode-volume would result in an estimated 49 additional injuries and six additional fatalities for the No Action rail scenarios compared to one additional injury and no fatalities for the proposed Project on an annual basis.”

The SEIS also points out that “rail transport has more reported releases of crude oil per ton-mile than pipeline or marine transport.”

Of 1,692 oil spills reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration(PHMSA) between January 2002 and July 2012, “321 were pipe incidents and 1,027 were involving different equipment components such as tanks, valves or pumps,” according to the SEIS.

However, “the number of barrels released per year for the No Action scenarios is higher than what is projected for the proposed [pipeline] Project,” the State Department report stated. And although more oil is released per incident when a pipeline fails, “this constraint is offset by the increased statistical likelihood of spills associated with these alternative modes of crude oil transport relative to pipelines.”

The other major environmental concern holding up approval of the pipeline is the possibility that an oil spill from the pipeline could contaminate the underground Northern High Plains Aquifer (which includes the Ogallala Aquifer) and the Great Plains Aquifer (GPA). But the SEIS notes that this is highly unlikely due to the geological characteristics of the area:“Modeling indicates that aquifer characteristics would inhibit the spread of released oil, and impacts from a release on water quality would be limited.”

The SEIS also considered environmentalists’ concern that the Keystone pipeline, which would cause a loss of only two acres of permanent wetlands, would adversely affect endangered wildlife.  The report concluded that it would not.

“Of the federally listed, proposed, and candidate species, the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) is the only species  that is likely to be adversely affected by the proposed Project…but not likely to jeopardize [its] continued existence,” the report stated.

Nor would the Keystone project seriously impact the livelihoods of the 263,300 people living in the sparsely populated pipeline corridor.

“After construction, approximately 5,569 acres would be retained within permanent easements or acquired for operation of the proposed Project,” the SEIS added, but property owners would still be able to “farm or conduct other limited activities” within the pipeline’s 50-foot right of way.


Greens threaten that  base will sit out election over Keystone

Environmental groups are warning President Obama that his liberal base might stay home on Election Day if he approves the Keystone XL  oil pipeline.

Proponents of the $5.4 billion Canada-to-Texas pipeline say their case is buoyed by the State Department’s environmental analysis of the project, which was released to great fanfare last week.

But critics say approval of the project could sow liberal discontent and hurt Democratic chances in 2014 — including a host of contests that will likely decide who controls the Senate during the final years of the Obama White House.

“It is very likely that there will be negative consequences for Democrats if Keystone were approved,” said Kate Colarulli, the associate director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil campaign. “This is a tremendous opportunity to protect the climate and build the Democratic base if Obama rejects Keystone XL.”

Green groups are promising acts of “civil disobedience,” if Obama signs off on the project and contend Keystone’s approval could torpedo the president’s broader climate change agenda.

The White House insists the electoral ramifications wouldn’t play a part in the president’s final call on the pipeline, which would carry crude from Alberta oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries.

“He’s been very clear that he’s going to insulate this process from politics,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

The issue, however, is irreversibly entangled in politics, with Republicans and some Democrats pressing for the pipeline’s approval and environmentalists waging war to stop it.

Jamie Henn of the green group called the dispute over Keystone “the most iconic fight of a generation” and said the youth vote, which played an important part in Obama’s rise, could hang in the balance.

“A Keystone XL approval will turn a lot of people off from the process, and they will get involved in action that could be disruptive,” Henn said.

More than 75,000 activists have threatened to engage in acts of civil disobedience if Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry gives Keystone XL the green light, Colarulli said.

Sign-carrying activists opposed to the pipeline have been a fixture at speeches and campaign events featuring the president. A dramatic increase in protests could muddle the party’s message, said Daniel J. Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress.

“If he approves the pipeline, the number of people protesting Keystone outside the Beltway could increase by a hundredfold or more,” he said.

A final decision on the pipeline is likely months off. Now that the environmental analysis is finished, a 90-day interagency review weighing the national interest of the project begins. Simultaneously, the State Department will open up the public comment period for 30 days.

That means everything should wrap up by June — just as the election season reaches a fever pitch.

The Keystone issue is certain to play heavily in a host of contested Senate races, as Republicans attempt to wrest control of the chamber from Democrats.

And while a “yes” to the project by Obama would likely help vulnerable Democratic Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) in their reelection bids, it could hurt Democrats’ chances of holding onto the Senate and keeping seats in the House, activists say.

Democratic candidates running for Senate seats in red-leaning states West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota will have to woo Republican voters, and that means walking a fine line on the Keystone issue.

“They need votes on all sides of the issue,” said Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of The Rothenberg Political Report.

At the same time, some candidates clearly view Keystone as an opportunity to draw a distinction between themselves and Obama in GOP country.

“There are more than a handful of Democrats running in red states looking to declare their independence from the president and the national Democratic Party,” Gonzales said.

The State Department’s environmental analysis highlights multiple factors at play that could influence agency heads and Kerry on whether the project serves the nation’s interests.

The report notes that a steep drop in oil prices and “long-term constraints on any new pipeline capacity,” which could result in higher transportation costs of the crude oil, could significantly affect oil sands production.

On the other hand, the report states Keystone XL would transport 830,000 barrels of oil each day, adding an extra 1.3 million to 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.

While the report doesn’t make the claim that Keystone would drastically “exacerbate emissions,” it does state the crude oil would make it to market either way, and as a result, Obama will have to determine if that oil will be burned even if he denies the project.

An Obama approval of the pipeline could undermine the president’s larger efforts to counter the effects of global warming through regulatory action, multiple observers said.

Some have suggested Obama announce he is approving the project in concert with other actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency  is due to propose new standards for existing plants in June, about the same time a decision on Keystone is expected.

That strategy could help blunt the political pain from approving the pipeline, but it would do little to build support for the EPA regulations among major industry and environmental players in Washington, Weiss said.

“Approval of the pipeline could distract some allies on climate pollution reductions without gaining the support from any of the opponents of the power plant rule,” he said.

Elijah Zarlin, a senior campaign manager with activist group CREDO, said Keystone has become a litmus test for Obama in the eyes of environmentalists.

Zarlin said rejecting Keystone is the best chance Obama has at succeeding with his climate regulations, including the proposed limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

“The best chance of getting these regulations done is by energizing the base,” Zarlin said. “We have seen when the base is energized that it helps the president. But the question is:  Do we want it more than he does?”



All life on earth depends on CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere. Its concentration is currently around 400 ppm (parts per million) or 0.04%. Life would cease to exist if the CO2 level were to drop to half of that.plant wilting At 200 ppm, the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere would be too small for most plants to take up the CO2 and convert it to plant matter.

But isn’t the government telling you that CO2 is just about the greatest villain of modern times?  Isn’t it true that CO2 is near the “tipping point” of causing runaway “climate change?”

Natural CO2

The earth has had CO2 in its atmosphere forever. In fact, many million years ago, its level was much higher; ten to 100 times higher than now. All that natural CO2 came from volcanoes and smaller volcanic vents all over the globe. Of course, nature has not stopped producing that, not at all. At any time, a couple of dozen volcanoes are really active somewhere around the world, but even when they are “dormant” many emit massive amounts of volcanic gases all the time. That’s where all the natural CO2 in our atmosphere has come from ever since the earth was created.

 Manmade CO2

Manmade CO2, in more scientific terms “anthropogenic” carbon dioxide is released by mankind’s burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. That CO2 is called “bad” for the environment. Barack Obama calls it “carbon pollution” and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) thinks it needs to be controlled. The consequence is that many governments want to tax it, which makes it “good” for them.

CO2 is Vital to Life on Earth

Strictly from a chemical point of view, one CO2 molecule is the same as the next. There is no difference between manmade and natural CO2 molecules, none at all. The trees in the forests and the algae in the water use them all for the same purpose and in the same way to build up biomass—in plain English, to grow. The plants in the farmers’ fields rely on it as much as the fish feeding on the smaller prey in the water which feeds on algae. Take away that vital nutrient and the whole food chain is in peril; especially the top tier, that‘s us humans.

The Difference between Good and Bad CO2

The difference between manmade (“bad”) and natural (“good”) CO2 is not a chemical one. It only exists in the minds of politicians, bureaucrats and scientists who understand the principle of a dollar sign in front of a number.

Natural CO2 comes without any such sign and, therefore, is of no consequence. Obviously, that’s prevents it from being manipulated or taxed – a fact which makes it then “bad.”

In contrast, manmade CO2 is highly $$$-laden and therefore now “good.”  And that, dear readers, is the only difference between “good” and “bad” CO2!



Higher carbon dioxide levels are coming from undeveloped countries in equatorial Africa and South America not from UK, EU and US, shows Japanese government satellite data.  Japan abandons its CO2 targets as separate scientific evidence suggests Earth is fast approaching a new ice age.fig 1

Japanese climate satellite data supports climate realist Professor Murry Salby in rejecting global warming theory; humans are not responsible for measured increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) affirm evidence in Report from Japanese Aerospace exploration agency (JAXA).The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has revealed that its climate satellite IBUKI data shows that the growth in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is coming from third world under developed forested equatorial regions of Africa and South America.

The Japanese satellite maps show that the asphalt and concreted industrial nations are “mopping up” carbon dioxide faster than their manufacturers and consumers can emit it.  Astonishingly, this is the opposite to what is being relayed to the public from an unswerving alarmist climate media lobby.  The JAXA evidence shows that US and western european nations are areas where the carbon dioxide levels are lowest!

In personal communication with leading climate scientist, Richard Lindzen, emeritus professor of atmospheric physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he told this author that there was no surprise that the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes mostly from high vegetation forested low industrial areas rather than developed countries like the US, UK and EU.

In the  IBUKI climate satellite map (fig 1 above) regions coloured red represent high emission CO2 emissions, regions coloured white represent low or neutral CO2 emissions while regions coloured green represent no CO2 emissions only CO2 absorption!

This is the opposite effect predicted by alarmist global warming theory. While the Japanese rely on verifiable physical evidence as observed by satellites the climate alarmists base their doomsayig claims on 'homogenized' (computer-manipulated) ground-based temperature recording stations.

Independent analysts say the data from ground-based recording stations has been deliberately altered to show an imaginary warming trend not borne out by the 'raw' (unadulterated) temperature reasdings. Moreover, the number of sites for such ground thermometers have been reduced from 6,000 to 1,500 over several years, with most of those in cooler regions now omitted. (For more on this see “While the Earth Endures”  by Rev Philip Foster St Matthew Publishing ).

The upshot of this systematic cherry-picking gives temperature data that is skewed towards painting a (false) picture of a rapidly warming climate. By contrast satellite data, by its very nature of coming from satellites, cannot be altered by human hands (see figure 2 [right] from Murry Salby lecture in House of Common, November 6, 2013).Salby data

In this satellite image the blue colour in the northern hemisphere represents low carbon dioxide emissions from the industrial nations of the US, UK and EU. The red colour in the southern hemisphere represents high carbon emissions from forested vegetation areas in equatorial regions. This is precisely the opposite of what an alarmist and quiescent mainstream media would have you believe.

For a detailed account of the lecture by Professor Salby see the Scottish climate and energy forum web site:

What an increasing number of independent experts are seeing is that earth is cooling, and many predict we are on the cusp of a new Little Ice Age, due to the decline of the bi-cenntenial component of the total solar irradiance.  Bern fig 3

Figure 4 (below)  shows the decline (credit: Dr H Abdussamatov Director of Space Physics at Polkovo Observatory St Petersburg). As such, there will be no further global warming this century!   

 Scientists accuse IPCC of fraud in use of Bern Climate Cycle formula

A formula used by the International Panel on Climate Change (see page 34, ARA4, WG1 Technical Summary) represents the decay of a pulse of CO2 with time t.  The first constant ao has a value of 0.217.  As this first term is constant the CO2 level will always go up and never down!

However as Dr Jonathan Drake,  noted UK climate researcher, and Mr D Alker of Principia Scientific International (PSI) pointed out at the Edinburgh meeting with Professor Murry Salby, all records of atmospheric CO2 concentrations past, proxy or present show that CO2 varies both up and down on any time scale relevant to climate. Thus, the formula used by the IPCC (right) allows them to claim wrongly that CO2 will always increase, a convenient ploy engineered since the inception of the modern era of climate change alarmism.ipcc formula

It has also pointed out by Mr Alker that because the models are only dependent upon CO2 to change temperature the ao term means that all the climate models of the IPCC can only produce warming! Essentially, this means that 21.7 percent of each year's human emissions of CO2, according to this rigged IPCC formula, NEVER leaves the atmosphere, thereby leading to an assumed accumulation of human-emitted atmopsheric CO2, entirely the product of statistical shennanigans.

Pollution of the atmosphere is already taken care of by the clean air acts in force now in most countries including the UK and the US. We may reasonably infer from the pronouncements of climate alarmists who vilify fossil fuels, that they wish to return mankind back to the days before the industrial revolution, when lifespans were half what they are today and when poverty and disease were widespread.

Regardless of such extreme ambitions today's CO2 levels stand at a miniscule 0.04 percent of the atmosphere.  The lowest it has ever been in geologic time and dangerously low for plant life.  In fact many species of plants are dying due to the low CO2 levels - and if they die we die!

In short, the earth needs more CO2, not less. The present rise over the last couple of centuries is trivial compared with previous ages and most likely due to the earth coming out of the Little Ice Age (LIA) when records show frost fairs were extremely common and ice skaters frolicked on the frozen River Thames. The LIA ended in 1850.

Independent scientists who study climate say that present climate change is almost all caused by a combination of temperature induced and moisture induced natural releases from vegetation areas in equatorial regions of the earth, and also from deep ocean warming during the Medieval Warm Period; it takes several hundred years for oceans to  respond by outgassing CO2.

However with the sun now changing due to its declining total solar irradiance and with the present static global temperature for the past 18 years, it is clear the new Little Ice Age could be here already (see Fig 4, right).  An entirely natural phenomena nothing to do with humans.

SOURCE  (See the original for graphics)

Australia:  Conservative State government to mothball gas-fired power station

Amid Greenie heartburn

The low-emission, gas-fired Swanbank E power station west of Brisbane will close for three years because it has become more lucrative to sell the gas than to burn it and sell electricity.

The station’s owner, [Qld.] state government-owned Stanwell Power Corporation, will instead re-start the coal-fired Tarong power station to meet electricity demands.

It is cheaper to produce electricity from coal than from gas, however coal produces almost twice the greenhouse emissions of gas.

Stanwell says that will mean 25 jobs will go from Swanbank E, while the Electrical Trades Union’s Peter Simpson argues 33 of the 40 staff at Swanbank E will lose their jobs.

The jobs will not be recovered at Tarong, which lost 130 jobs when their two coal-fired units were closed down in late 2012.

Stanwell is the largest electricity generator in the state, providing 45 per cent of Queensland’s electricity.

Swanbank E near Ipswich - described as one of the most efficient and advanced gas-fired power stations in Austalia - will be closed for three years from October 1.

Staff will be offered voluntary redundancies or positions at one of Stanwell’s 10 power plants.

Swanbank E produces 385 megawatts of electricity from gas from Roma.

The plant produces 50 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than an average coal-fired plant and uses only one quarter of the water, its website says.

Instead, Stanwell will bring back the coal-fired units at Tarong over two years, which together produce 350 megawatts of electricity.

Stanwell will bring back Tarong’s unit 4 power plant ‘‘later in 2014’’ and its unit 2 power plant in mid-2015, Stanwell Corporation chief executive Richard Van Breda said.

‘‘The exact timing for the return to service of both units depends on market conditions and portfolio requirements, which Stanwell will continue to review,’’ Mr Van Breda said.

Queensland has a massive oversupply of electricity generation capacity.

At 4pm on Wednesday, the demand for electricity in Queensland was 3055 megawatts.

Queensland’s electricity generation capacity is around 14,000 megawatts, although it varies with weather conditions.

As one example, on the very hot January 4th 2014, the capacity was 8280 megawatts.

A Stanwell spokesman said their decision was all about revenue.

‘‘We can generate more revenue by selling the gas than we can if we were to take the gas and burn it for electricity generation,’’ the spokesman said.

Stanwell bought gas entitlements into the future from the major gas companies for Swanbank E power station for three years.

‘‘If we were to take that gas, then burn it for electricity - in the current market where we have a huge oversupply in Queensland at the moment - well we’d make more just selling the gas.’’

Stanwell, despite being a government-owned utility, operates under an independent board.

The Queensland Government is considering selling Stanwell after the next election.



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

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


5 February, 2014

A Historical Perspective on Hysterical Rhetoric

From 1948 to the present, environmental activists have declared that the sky is falling.

Suzuki hysteria

We tend to ignore history in our daily lives. Which is too bad, because historical perspective is one of our best defenses against foolish ideas.

Once we realize that a long line of people have insisted, in recent decades, that we’re on the brink of environmental disaster, today’s climate doomsayers suddenly snap into perspective.

Absolutely nothing new is going on here. Today’s hysteria, exaggeration, and emotionally manipulative language are part of a larger pattern that stretches back decades.

Human society has always had its Chicken Littles, its risk-averse individuals, its glass-half-empty personalities, and its drama queens. Those people have every right to participate in societal discussions. But when we allow their voices to dominate, everyone loses. We end up wasting time and money pursuing illusory fixes to what may, in fact, be non-problems.

Let us, therefore, not be confused: Al Gore didn’t invent the idea of a “planetary emergency” with the publication of his 2006 book, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Rather, he was repeating ideas that had been promulgated far and wide a full 60 years earlier.

In their illuminating paper, The Post War Intellectual Roots of the Population Bomb, Pierre Desrochers and Christine Hoffbauer examine two US bestsellers published in 1948. Remarkably, much of the rhetoric we hear today is contained within the pages of these books.

In Our Plundered Planet, Fairfield Osborn (who was born in 1887) talked about humanity’s “mounting destruction” of the natural world, said it posed a greater danger than the Second World War, and referred to “the day of atonement that is drawing nearer.”

Like today’s environmentalists, Osborn portrayed humanity as greedy and short-sighted. He also seemed more concerned about preserving the world for “future children” than in demonstrating empathy and compassion toward the impoverished souls who were already alive.

A few years later, he wrote a second, alarmist book, The Limits of the Earth, and then edited a third, titled Our Crowded Planet.

William Vogt, who was born in 1902, authored the other 1948 bestseller, Road to Survival. Wikipedia tells us Vogt was an ornithologist – a person who studies birds. But his involvement in conservation organizations led him to shift his focus to the environmental impact of human population growth.

Like today’s activists, Vogt was convinced we’d experience “a catastrophic crash of our civilization” if we failed to adopt drastic measures. Sixty years ago, he was talking about “the carrying capacity of the land” in a manner nearly indistinguishable from the discussions we encounter today (see here, here, and here). He, too, warned of a “day of reckoning” and insisted that “the Day of Judgment is at hand.”

In this context, David Suzuki - Canada’s environmentalist icon who wrote the 1990 It’s a Matter of Survival – hardly seems to have produced a single original idea. As I’ve previously observed,

    Suzuki has spent decades typecasting humanity as shortsighted, dangerous, and suicidal. He says we’re stubborn, blind, incapable of grasping the significance of our actions, and in denial.

What’s interesting is that these ideas were well-developed decades before either Suzuki or Gore became famous. (Suzuki was born in 1936 and Gore in 1948. This means these books first appeared when Suzuki was 12 and during the same year that Gore was born.)

Fairfield Osborn. William Vogt. David Suzuki. Al Gore. Each of them is merely another bead on a string. From 1948 onward, these men have been united by their uncharitable views of humanity, their pessimism regarding the future, and their propensity to see planetary emergencies everywhere.


Fracking – Clean and green

Hatred of hydrocarbons should not excuse frackophobes from learning facts or speaking factually

Deroy Murdock

Williamsport, PA. The only thing deeper than a natural-gas well is the ignorance of the anti-fracking crowd.

Fracking – formally called hydraulic fracturing – involves briefly pumping water, sand and chemicals into shale formations far beneath Earth’s surface and thousands of feet below the aquifers that irrigate crops and quench human thirst. This process cracks these rocks and liberates the gas within. Though employed for decades with seemingly no verified contamination of ground water, anti-fracking activists behave as if this technology were invented specifically to poison Americans.

“Fracking makes all water dirty,” declares a poster that Yoko Ono recently exhibited at a Manhattan carpet store. Rants another: “Pretty soon there will be no more water to drink.”

Reporting on an anti-fracking event starring actor Mark Ruffalo and mystic Deepak Chopra, writer Alisha Prakash warns: “If this process remains the status quo, our planet will not be able to sustain life in another 100 years.”

Matt Damon’s 2012 film Promised Land dramatizes fracking’s supposed dangers by showing a toy farm devoured by flames.

In contrast to all this absurd hyperventilation, consider the sworn testimony of former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. Hardly a right-wing shill for Big Oil, Jackson told the House Government Reform Committee in May 2011: “I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.” In April 2012 Jackson said, “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.”

Naturally occurring methane has tainted water since long before fracking was invented. However, environmental regulators from Pennsylvania to Arkansas to California echo Jackson. The allegation that fracking causes water pollution lacks just one thing: proof.

Beyond this, frackophobes would be astonished to see how much Anadarko, America’s third-largest natural-gas producer, obsesses over health, safety, and the environment in its Marcellus Shale operations. Anadarko and the American Petroleum Institute discussed these practices during a summer 2013 fact-finding tour that they hosted for journalists in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the thriving heart of what I call Frackistan.

“We live in this area,” says Anadarko production manager Robert Montgomery. “We love the forests here. We want to keep the environment safe for us and our kids.” He adds: “Regulatory agencies have been working with us every step of the way, as we have been developing these new technologies. There’s a whole lot of science and engineering involved, and we work side by side, so they know what’s going on.”

Montgomery explains that, before drilling, Anadarko identifies flora and fauna near production sites. In Pennsylvania, it uses outdoor cameras to determine which animals traverse the area. This helps Anadarko work with landowners after drilling and fracking are completed, to restore their property to its prior condition, or enhance it with new and different vegetation if the owners want to attract certain species.

For example, a large pond on a small hill belonging to the Elbow Fish and Game Club temporarily holds production-related water for an adjacent development site. After 50 to 100 days of drilling and well construction, and two to five days of fracking, about six to twelve wells will quietly begin to collect natural gas from this field. At that point, the soil excavated for the pond will be removed from storage and returned from whence it came. Anadarko will plant local grasses and flowers and, except for a few unobtrusive wellheads, the place will look largely untouched, as the wells yield gas for 20 to 40 years.

A few minutes away by car, several wells are being fracked on acreage owned by a farmer named Landon. The bonuses, rents and royalties he receives for gas exploration and production on his property enable him to put a new roof on his house and barn, buy new equipment, and save money for retirement. But he wants his fields and wildlife habitats protected. To that end, a thick felt-and-rubber pad, surrounded by a large berm, prevents potential spills from contaminating Landon’s soil.

“We even collect rainwater that falls on the pad,” says a production worker fittingly named Anthony Waters. “It’s pumped down the well, not put onto land.”

It would be far cheaper to let rainwater wash over fracking gear and then drain into the soil or roll downhill into a creek. But that’s not Anadarko’s style.

As mentioned, fracking does not involve constant injection and extraction of water throughout a well’s two- to four-decade lifespan, but only for the five days or less it usually takes to frack a well. This is the rough equivalent of getting a vaccination for five seconds, rather than living with a constant intravenous drip. For all its supposed evils, in this analogy, fracking is like a flu shot.

The amount of water involved here is microscopic, compared to other, thirstier fuels. According to the U.S. Energy Department, it typically takes about three gallons of water to generate 1 million British thermal units of energy from deep-shale natural gas. For conventional oil: 14 gallons. Coal: 22.5. Tar sands: 47.5. Corn ethanol: 15,805. Soy biodiesel: 44,500 gallons. Cultivating corn and soybeans requires irrigation, fertilizer and pesticides, which highlights just how stupid it is to turn food into fuel.

Fracking the Marcellus Shale happens some 6,000 feet underground. That is about 5,000 feet (more than three Empire State Buildings) below groundwater supplies. Drills and pipes penetrate aquifers, but all the way through more than a mile of rock they are encased in multiple layers of steel and concrete designed to separate drinking water from fracking fluids (which are 99 percent water and sand and less than 1 percent chemicals).

An old-fashioned well was like a vertical straw that sucked up gas just from the bottom tip. Horizontal wells start from one small spot at the surface and then fan out far underground. They then draw in gas from across a wide area of gas-bearing shale, as if through small holes in vacuum hoses laid flat on the floor. Having multiple wells drilled through a limited space on the surface means reduced impact on farmland and habitats, as well as fewer roads and trucks.

Is there risk in all of this? Of course. If not, Anadarko would not take these precautions. However, risk encircles us. Seat belts are not a reason to ban automobiles. Instead, they are evidence that managing risk lets people live their lives rather than hide at home – which is perfectly safe . . . until fires, floods, tornadoes and burglars come knocking.

Rather than peddle ill-informed nonsense and crazy lies about fracking, Yoko Ono and company should learn what Anadarko is doing and encourage other producers to adopt its standards as best practices. And if another company is cleaner and safer, challenge Anadarko and its competitors to learn that producer’s lessons. The frackophobes’ hatred of hydrocarbons should not prevent them from learning nor excuse them from speaking factually.

Unlike Pennsylvania, New York State is sitting on its adjacent portion of the Marcellus Shale and studying its collective navel, while farmers and their loved ones live on the edge of poverty and approach bankruptcy. The Empire State and the rest of the U.S. should harness fracking’s surprisingly clean technology and develop this country’s bountiful natural-gas reserves – carefully, responsibly and for everyone’s benefit.

What’s not to like? This fuel is all-American, and the revenues stay here – not in the hands of people who want to kill us.

Via email

The Keystone saga

Even Ed Schultz says it "Makes Sense" to Build the Keystone Pipeline

Remember, a Pew Research Center survey conducted last year showed that the preponderance of respondents -- including more than half of all Democrats -- wanted the Keystone Pipeline completed. And more recently, as Christine reported last week, the U.S. State Department’s own internal study concluded that building it would not “greatly increase” carbon emissions or "greatly worsen" climate change.

Granted, this is just one government study, but considering the fact that the president did say he would not approve the pipeline if it “significantly exacerbate[s] the problem of carbon pollution,” it seems his list of grievances with the project is growing shorter by the day:

The president and his Democratic allies in Congress have not seen eye to eye on this issue. In truth, Pew called the debate raging over Keystone “perhaps the most politically contentious energy issue in Barack Obama’s second term.” Even Ed Schultz isn't on board with the White House.

I believe Schultz’s argument in favor of building the pipeline is two-fold: One, the United States runs on oil. It drives our economy. And even though “climate change” does exist, he concedes, “we’re not getting out of the oil business” any time soon. Two, building the pipeline “makes sense” in part because it’s safer than continuing to use old and obsolete rail cars to transport oil across large tracts of land. Indeed, that same State Department report noted above concluded that without building Keystone, on average, the rail-related death toll in this country could rise by six every year.

That’s not an argument in favor of building the Keystone XL pipeline in and of itself, of course, but it certainly puts additional pressure on the White House to finally approve the measure. So we'll wait and see if the study meaningfully tips the scale in supporters' favor.

The president is expected to announce his decision sometime before the 2014 midterm elections.


EPA ban on wood stoves is freezing out rural America

Greenies are all in favour of "sustainable" use of resources -- but not when it's actually practical

It seems that even wood isn’t green or renewable enough anymore. The EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents. The agency’s stringent one-size-fits-all rules apply equally to heavily air-polluted cities and far cleaner plus typically colder off-grid wilderness areas such as large regions of Alaska and the American West.

While the EPA’s most recent regulations aren’t altogether new, their impacts will nonetheless be severe. Whereas restrictions had previously banned wood-burning stoves that didn’t limit fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter (?g/m3) of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 ?g/m3 limit. To put this amount in context, the EPA estimates that secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed car can expose a person to 3,000-4,000 ?g/m3 of particulates.

Most wood stoves that warm cabin and home residents from coast to coast cannot meet that standard. Older stoves that don’t cannot be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.

The impacts of the EPA ruling will affect many families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 survey statistics, 2.4 million American housing units (12 percent of all homes) burned wood as their primary heating fuel, compared with 7 percent that depended upon fuel oil.

Local governments in some states have gone even further than the EPA, banning not only the sale of noncompliant stoves, but even their use as fireplaces. As a result, owners face fines for infractions. Puget Sound, Washington, is one such location. Montréal, Canada, proposes to eliminate all fireplaces within its city limits.

Only weeks after the EPA enacted its new stove rules, attorneys general of seven states sued the agency to crack down on wood-burning water heaters as well. The lawsuit was filed by Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, all predominantly Democrat states. Claiming that the new EPA regulations didn’t go far enough to decrease particle pollution levels, the plaintiffs cited agency estimates that outdoor wood boilers will produce more than 20 percent of wood-burning emissions by 2017. A related suit was filed by the environmental group EarthJustice.

Did EPA require a motivational incentive to tighten its restrictions? Sure, about as much as Br’er Rabbit needed to persuade Br’er Fox to throw him into the briar patch. This is but another example of EPA and other government agencies working with activist environmental groups to sue and settle on claims that afford leverage to enact new regulations which they lack statutory authority to otherwise accomplish.

“Sue and Settle “ practices, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits,” are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors. Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action both they and the litigants want.

And who pays for this litigation? All too often we taxpayers are put on the hook for legal fees of both colluding parties. According to a 2011 GAO report, this amounted to millions of dollars awarded to environmental organizations for EPA litigations between 1995 and 2010. Three “Big Green” groups received 41 percent of this payback, with Earthjustice accounting for 30 percent ($4,655,425). Two other organizations with histories of lobbying for regulations EPA wants while also receiving agency fundng are the American Lung Association (ALA) and the Sierra Club.

In addition, the Department of Justice forked over at least $43 million of our money defending the EPA in court between 1998 and 2010. This didn’t include money spent by the EPA for its legal costs in connection with those ripoffs, because the EPA doesn’t keep track of its attorneys’ time on a case-by-case basis.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has concluded that Sue and Settle rulemaking is responsible for many of EPA’s “most controversial, economically significant regulations that have plagued the business community for the past few years.”  Included are regulations on power plants, refineries, mining operations, cement plants, chemical manufacturers, and a host of other industries. Such consent decree-based rulemaking enables EPA to argue to Congress: “The court made us do it.”

Directing special attention to these congressional end run practices, Louisiana Senator David Vitter, top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has launched an investigation. Last year he asked his Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to join with AG’s of 13 other states who filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking all correspondence between EPA and a list of 80 environmental, labor union, and public interest organizations that have been party to litigation since the start of the Obama Administration.

Other concerned and impacted parties have little influence over such court procedures and decisions. While the environmental group is given a seat at the table, outsiders who are most impacted are excluded, with no opportunity to object to the settlements. No public notice about the settlement is released until the agreement is filed in court…after the damage has been done.

In a letter to Caldwell, Senator Vitter wrote: “The collusion between federal bureaucrats and the organizations entering consent agreements under a shroud of secrecy represents the antithesis of a transparent government, and your participation in the FOIA request will help Louisianans understand the process by which these settlements were reached.”

Fewer citizens would challenge the EPA’s regulatory determinations were it not for its lack of accountability and transparency in accomplishing through a renegade pattern of actions what they cannot achieve through democratic legislative processes.

A recent example sets unachievable CO2 emission limits for new power plants. As I reported in my January 14 column, a group within the EPA’s own Science Advisory Board (SAB) determined that the studies upon which that regulation was based had never been responsibly peer reviewed, and that there was no evidence that those limits can be accomplished using available technology.

Compared with huge consequences of the EPA’s regulatory war on coal, the fuel source that provides more than 40 percent of America’s electricity, a clamp-down on humble residential wood-burning stoves and future water heaters may seem to many people as a merely a trifling or inconsequential matter. That is, unless it happens to significantly affect your personal life.

As a Washington Times editorial emphasized, the ban is of great concern to many families in cold remote off-grid locations. It noted, for example, that “Alaska’s 663,000 square miles is mostly forestland, offering residents and abundant source of affordable firewood. When county officials floated a plan to regulate the burning of wood, residents were understandably inflamed.”

Quoting Representative Tammie Wilson speaking to the Associated Press, the Times reported: “Everyone wants clean air. We just want to make sure that we can also heat our homes.” Wilson continued: “Rather than fret over the EPA’s computer–model–based warning about the dangers of inhaling soot from wood smoke, residents have more pressing concerns on their minds as the immediate risk of freezing when the mercury plunges.”

And speaking of theoretical computer model-based warnings, where’s that global warming when we really need it?


Congress needs to act before California’s drought destroys farms

California is in a severe drought as the rainy season never came this year.  With seventeen towns in the state in such dire straits that they may run out of water within two months, emergency measures are being taken to avoid drought ghost towns.

The House of Representatives is considering action to help deal with this emergency by considering a measure that would provide for alternative ways of protecting the Delta smelt – a fish that a federal Court has ruled must be protected even at the cost of the state’s vast food production capacity.

Even without the current crisis, California already faced a “government-imposed dust bowl” due to Endangered Species Act requirements that fresh water be flushed out to sea in an unproven hope that this would help save the endangered Delta smelt.  This diversion of what long-time Californian’s consider their most precious resource has already choked large portions of the state’s agricultural salad bowl.

Now, with the drought worsening and snow packs in the Sierra Nevada range at critically low levels, it is time to put partisan wrangling aside and pass legislation that stops the waste of water while still protecting the fish.

The House of Representatives is likely to consider HR 3964 in the next two weeks, which accomplishes this very fete.  By focusing upon allowing fisherman unlimited takes of natural predators of the endangered smelt, the endangered fish should thrive, allowing the life giving freshwater that is currently being wasted to be returned to the hundreds of miles of aquaducts that feed the irrigation systems in the state’s fertile San Joaquin Valley.

But this is not just a common sense issue, it is also a life saving one.  As small central valley agriculture towns have suffered with unemployment rates above 40 percent due to the lack of water to grow crops.

Rebekah Rast, a central California native, reported in on this issue last year writing,

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

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

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

Without Congressional action to allow the water to return to irrigate crops, the current drought puts the  agricultural infrastructure in California at risk.   The consequences of Washington, D.C. failing to pass legislation to stop dumping the states water into the Pacific Ocean will affect both the cost and availability for consumers around the nation of the food that will not be produced.

Now is the time to act before this water crisis becomes catastrophic for those who lose their jobs working on farms and for those who consume the food they produce.  It is time for the environmental lobby that has blocked similar measures in the past to embrace the taking of the Delta smelt predators and allow the water to flow around the state.

The House of Representatives is expected to take the necessary steps to throw a lifeline to California.

With two Senators from the San Francisco Bay area, who knows if they will tell their cocktail party environmentalist friends to stop obstructing this needed water bill, or if instead they will tell the rest of the state to pound sand.

The choice seems obvious, but they are San Francisco Bay area liberals, so who knows what they might do?


Great Barrier Reef: Governments say world heritage site not in danger from development

Australia has argued it is making substantial progress on the United Nations' requests for better protection of the Great Barrier Reef and that it should not be listed among world heritage sites "in danger".

In a progress report to the UN World Heritage Committee, the federal and Queensland governments say the natural values the reef was protected for are still largely intact, although in parts - such as inshore areas south of Cooktown - they are declining.

The report was delivered to the UN on Saturday, a day after final approval was granted to dump in the reef's waters 3 million cubic metres of dredging sludge from the expansion of coal export terminals at Abbot Point.

The World Heritage Committee has threatened to put the reef on a list of world heritage sites considered "in danger" after becoming concerned in 2012 about the effect of numerous resource projects slated for the reef's coast.

Australia needs to show significant progress on UN recommendations for better reef management to avoid a downgrade. Tourism operators warn an "in danger" listing will damage the reef's international reputation and their businesses.

The governments' report points to several programs to reduce threats, including a sustainability strategy, water quality measures and a draft Queensland ports strategy.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said there was genuine improvement in reef indicators in regard to dugongs, turtles, seagrass and coral. The Coalition had rejected Labor's multiple new-port strategy and was containing development to five existing port areas, he said.

"It is a permanent task for every Australian government to protect and maintain the reef. Nobody can ever rest on that, but there should be no way the reef can and should be considered 'in danger'," Mr Hunt said.

Australian Coral Reef Society president Peter Mumby said many people had argued convincingly that the reef was in the worst shape since monitoring began. He said the progress report downplayed industrial development threats, including port and agriculture expansion, that could add as much as another 14 million tonnes a year of damaging sediment to reef waters.

University of Queensland coral reef ecologist Selina Ward said the Abbot Point decision was dangerous because the best modelling showed dumped sediment would drift to outer areas, damaging coral and seagrass.

The government progress report said extreme weather and climate change were the biggest threats to the reef. It also pointed to nutrient and sediment run-off from land clearing and agriculture, and associated spikes in crown-of-thorns starfish numbers.

It said pollution from other sources, including port development and dredging, "is minor but may be highly significant locally and over short time periods".

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the governments' progress report had identified the port development impacts as being minor and temporary.



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

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4 February, 2014


With none of the fanfare that accompanies their prediction of the global temperature for the forthcoming year the Met Office has quietly released the global temperature for 2013. It will come as no surprise after the 2013 temperatures released by NASA and NOAA that it shows the global temperature standstill – now at 17 years – continues.

The temperature anomaly (above 14.0 deg C) for 2013 is 0.486 making 2013 the 8th warmest year. Statistically with errors of +/- 0.1 deg C ranking the warmest years is meaningless, but it seems to be something many scientists and the media do. So, 2013 is cooler than 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1998 and only 0.003 above 2007. Note that the early part of the 2000s was warmer than the latter part. Four of the five years between 2002-2006 were warmer than 2013, but only two of the past seven have been. Note also that 2013 is cooler than 2003.

The forecast for 2013 made by the Met Office in late 2012 said it would be between 0.43 and 0.71 deg C with a best estimate of 0.53. Once again the Met Office predicted the following year would be considerably warmer than it turned out to be.

There is something seriously wrong with the Met Office’s forecasts. Consider the assessment given by the Met Office’s Vicky Pope in 2007.

Vicky Pope: “By 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than 2004, and just to put that into context the warming over the past century and a half has only been 0.7 degrees, globally, there have been bigger changes locally but globally the warming is 0.7 degrees. So 0.3 degrees over the next ten years is pretty significant. And half the years after 2009 are predicted to be hotter than 1998 which was the previous record. So these are very strong statements about what will happen over the next ten years, so again I think this illustrates we can already see signs of climate change but over the next ten years we are expecting to see quite significant changes occurring.”

This ‘state-of-the-art’ estimate, and advice to government, could not have been more wrong. 2014 will not be 0.755 deg C. Only one of the four years since 2009 has been warmer than 1998, and that by less than 2 hundredths of a deg, again statistically insignificant.

The Met Office predict that 2014 will have the same range as it did last year – 0.43 – 0.71 deg C but their new best estimate is 0.57 which will make 2014 the warmest year ever. It might be possible if 2014 is an El Nino year (the reason why 2010 poked its head marginally above the means of the other years) but that would prove nothing about global warming, just inter-annual variations. Many expect 2014 to be an El Nino year.

It is time some best practice seeped into these temperature datasets, at least as far as their communication to the public and the media is concerned. If a pre-university student produced a measurement of 0.486 +/- 0.1 they would be failed. Global temperatures should be quoted to one significant figure. This would mean all years since 2001 would be either 0.5 or 0.4 deg C with errors of +/- 0.1.


North Carolina Renewable Power Mandate Pushing Electricity Prices Up

North Carolina consumers are paying a steep price for the state’s renewable power mandates, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. In North Carolina, electricity prices have risen 65 percent faster than the national average since the state imposed renewable power mandates in 2007.

Under the 2007 law, investor-owned utilities must generate 12.5 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2021. Electric co-ops and municipal utilities are required to get 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2018.

Sharply Rising Prices

Since 2007, U.S. electricity prices have risen 10.8 percent, but North Carolina electricity prices have risen 17.8 percent.

Notably, the increase in North Carolina electricity prices masks an even faster rise in electricity costs. Federal taxpayers (including North Carolinians) provide substantial subsidies to renewable power producers, most notably through the wind power production tax credit. These additional costs are hidden, and are not reflected in the EIA retail price data.

Directly Traceable to Renewables

The increasing generation of costly renewable power directly raises North Carolina electricity costs. During testimony last year before the Ohio Senate Public Utilities Committee, Andrew Ott, senior vice president for markets at the grid operator which which coordinates electricity transmission in 13 states, testified it costs at least double or triple as much to deliver wind power to electricity consumers as it does to deliver conventional power. These renewable power cost premiums apply in North Carolina and throughout the nation.

Household Finances Hit Hard

The rapid increase in electricity prices is imposing real financial hardship on North Carolina families. Had North Carolina electricity prices risen at merely the national average since 2007, North Carolina electricity consumers would have saved over $4.2 billion in electricity costs. Averaged out over North Carolina’s 3.7 million households, the average North Carolina household has already paid an extra $1,135 in electricity costs (approximately $190 per household per year) beyond what each household would have paid if North Carolina electricity prices rose merely at the same pace as the national average since 2007.


Climate Protection May Cut World GDP 4% by 2030, UN Says

The cost of holding rising temperatures to safe levels may reach 4 percent of economic output by 2030, according to a draft United Nations report designed to influence efforts to draft a global-warming treaty.

Most scenarios that meet the 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) cap on global warming endorsed by world leaders require a 40 percent to 70 percent reduction in heat-trapping gases by 2050 from 2010 levels, according to the third installment of the UN’s biggest-ever study of climate change. The world would need to triple the share of renewables, nuclear power and carbon-capture and storage to meet that goal.

“This report shows that 2 degrees is still technically possible and ought to remain the primary policy target” for climate negotiations that intend to produce a global agreement in 2015, said Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

A draft of the study was obtained by Bloomberg from a person with access to the documents who asked not to be identified because it hasn’t been published. A spokesman for the panel declined to comment on the document.

The research is important because it’s intended to influence the direction of UN negotiations involving more than 190 countries on how to combat global warming. The discussions have been beset by wrangles between developing and industrialized nations over who should bear the cost of tackling climate change.


 Coral reefs in Palau surprisingly resistant to naturally acidified waters

Ocean researchers working on the coral reefs of Palau in 2011 and 2012 made two unexpected discoveries that could provide insight into corals' resistance and resilience to ocean acidification, and aid in the creation of a plan to protect them.
 The team collected water samples at nine points along a transect that stretched from the open ocean, across the barrier reef, into the lagoon and then into the bays and inlets around the Rock Islands of Palau, in the western Pacific Ocean. With each location they found that the seawater became increasingly acidic as they moved toward land.

"When we first plotted up those data, we were shocked," said lead author Kathryn Shamberger, then a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and a chemical oceanographer. "We had no idea the level of acidification we would find. We're looking at reefs today that have levels that we expect for the open ocean in that region by the end of the century."

Shamberger conducted the fieldwork in Palau with other researchers from the laboratory of WHOI biogeochemist Anne Cohen as well as scientists from the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC).

While ocean chemistry varies naturally at different locations, it is changing around the world due to increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs atmospheric CO2, which reacts with seawater, lowering its overall pH, and making it more acidic. This process also removes carbonate ions needed by corals and other organisms to build their skeletons and shells. Corals growing in low pH conditions, both in laboratory experiments that simulate future conditions and in other naturally low pH ocean environments, show a range of negative impacts. Impacts can include juveniles having difficulty constructing their skeletons, fewer varieties of corals, less coral cover, more algae growth, and more porous corals with greater signs of erosion from other organisms.

The new research, published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, explains the natural biological and geomorphological causes of the more acidic water near Palau's Rock Islands and describes a surprising second finding – that the corals living in that more acidic water were unexpectedly diverse and healthy. The unusual finding, which is contrary to what has been observed in other naturally low pH coral reef systems, has important implications for the conservation of corals in all parts of the world.

"When you move from a high pH reef to a low pH neighboring reef, there are big changes, and they are negative changes," said Cohen, a co-author on the paper and lead principal investigaor of the project. "However, in Palau where the water is most acidic, we see the opposite. We see a coral community that is more diverse, hosts more species, and has greater coral cover than in the non-acidic sites. Palau is the exception to the places scientists have studied."

Through analysis of the water chemistry in Palau, the scientists found the acidification is primarily caused by the shell building done by the organisms living in the water, called calcification, which removes carbonate ions from seawater. A second reason is the organisms' respiration, which adds CO2 to the water when they breathe.

"These things are all happening at every reef," said Cohen. "What's really critical here is the residence time of the sea water."

"In the Rock Islands, the water sits in the bays for a long time before being flushed out. This is a big area that's like a maze with lots of channels and inlets for the water to wind around," explained Shamberger. "Calcification and respiration are continually happening at these sites while the water sits there, and it allows the water to become more and more acidic. It's a little bit like being stuck in a room with a limited amount of oxygen – the longer you're in there without opening a window, you're using up oxygen and increasing CO2."

Ordinarily, she added pushing the analogy, without fresh air coming in, it gets harder and harder for living things to thrive, "yet in the case of the corals in Palau, we're finding the opposite.  "What we found is that coral cover and coral diversity actually increase as you move from the outer reefs and into the Rock Islands, which is exactly the opposite of what we were expecting."

The scientists' next steps are to determine if these corals are genetically adapted to low pH or whether Palau provides a "perfect storm" of environmental conditions that allows these corals to survive the low pH. "If it's the latter, it means if you took those corals out of that specific environment and put them in another low pH environment that doesn't have the same combination of conditions, they wouldn't be able to survive," said Cohen. "But if they're genetically adapted to low pH, you could put them anywhere and they could survive."

"These reef communities have developed under these conditions for thousands of years," said Shamberger, "and we're talking about conditions that are going to be occurring in a lot of the rest of the ocean by the end of the century. We don't know if other will be able to adapt to ocean acidification – the time scale might be too short."

The scientists are careful to stress that their finding in Palau is different from every other low pH environment that has been studied. "When we find a reef like Palau where the coral communities are thriving under low pH, that's an exception," said Cohen. "It doesn't mean coral reefs around the globe are going to be OK under ocean acidification conditions. It does mean that there are some coral communities out there – and we've found one – that appear to have figured it out. But that doesn't mean all coral reef ecosystems are going to figure it out."

"In Palau, we have these special and unique places where organisms have figured out how to survive in an acidified environment. Yet, these places are much more prone to local human impacts because of their closeness to land and because of low circulation in these areas," said co-author Yimnang Golbuu, CEO of the PICRC. "We need to put special efforts into protecting these places and to ensure that we can incorporate them into the Protected Areas Network in Palau."


The UEA has a new priest

A sermon below by Corinne Le Quéré, a professor of climate change science and policy at the notorious University of East Anglia, home of Phil "hiding the decline" Jones.  Queer Corinne claims to be a scientist but forgets to mention that there has been no climate change for 17 years.  So she must be wrong about what she attributes to it.  Something that does not exist cannot cause anything.  Whether she is a scientist or not she is certainly no logician

Sean Thomas depicts me in his blog as professing a new type of religion because I speak about climate change and flood risk. His tweet appears to describe me as a "nutter". Mr Thomas appears to be himself professing ignorance, something I hardly recommend.

I am a physicist of 20 years' experience, and climate change research is a science, not a faith. That means it is based on observations and on understanding of how the world works. It is the same kind of science that provides the tides, currents and weather forecasts. It’s not perfect science, but science, and knowing the weather, has taken us a long way in making our everyday life a lot more comfortable.

Mr Thomas is ignorant of the fact that heavy precipitation in winter has increased over the past 45 years in all regions of the UK. That’s not just stories told by people based upon their own experience, it is a lot of data collected and analysed all over the UK.

Mr Thomas is ignorant of the fact that that heavy precipitation is an anticipated consequence of a warming climate in wet regions of the world, such as the UK. It is simple physics: the planet warms, water evaporates more, more moisture is available in the atmosphere for individual storms, therefore more heavy precipitation. Storms are made by the weather, but climate change puts more moisture into the atmosphere that makes the rainfall heavier.

As for his ignorance on Arctic melting, Mr Thomas cites one year of data for his claim. The September ice cover has shrunk by 40 per cent in 30 years. When there is no ice, seawater evaporates and loads the atmosphere with moisture, which affects the weather patterns. A look at a map shows that the UK is close to the Arctic, and the possibility that changes in the Arctic might play a role in the weather that we are experiencing in the UK and elsewhere. Mr Thomas takes science and data very lightly.

What is harder to detect is the exact contribution of climate change to extreme weather when it occurs. Bad weather has always been around and “extreme” is a relative term. The techniques required to detect the role of climate change in extreme weather are at an early stage of development, and we don’t yet have the capacity to apply them while weather events occur. If UK science had that capacity then it would help alleviate Mr Thomas’s ignorance over the difference between weather, climate and belief. It would also help put a cost to the risks we are taking by changing the climate.

Mr Thomas refers to the “eerie and echoing syntax” and “the faintly theological tones of the estimable Professor Corinne Le Quéré” – but the only faintly theological tones here are made up by Mr Thomas’ livelihood as a writer of religious fiction. His fatalistic belief that data and independent evidence is of no value, and that climate change is all in the mind of the thousands of scientists specialising in the topic, is ignorant and foolish.

While Mr Thomas might believe that it is all in the hand of god, science attributes manmade climate change to man, and coping with and limiting the consequences is in our hands.


Climate Change’s Inherent Uncertainties

By Garth Paltridge, emeritus professor at the University of Tasmania and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He is the author of "The Climate Caper: Facts and Fallacies of Global Warming". He was a chief research scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research

Virtually all scientists directly involved in climate prediction are aware of the enormous uncertainties associated with their product. How is it that they can place hands over hearts and swear that human emissions of carbon dioxide are wrecking the planet?

The World Meteorological Organisation of the United Nations took its first steps towards establishing the World Climate Program in the early 1970s. Among other things it held a conference in Stockholm to define the main scientific problems to be solved before reliable climate forecasting could be possible. The conference defined quite a number, but focused on just two.

The first concerned an inability to simulate the amount and character of clouds in the atmosphere. Clouds are important because they govern the balance between solar heating and infrared cooling of the planet, and thereby are a control of Earth’s temperature. The second concerned an inability to forecast the behaviour of oceans. Oceans are important because they are the main reservoirs of heat in the climate system. They have internal, more-or-less random, fluctuations on all sorts of time-scales ranging from years through to centuries. These fluctuations cause changes in ocean surface temperature that in turn affect Earth’s overall climate.

The situation hasn’t changed much in the decades since. Many of the problems of simulating the behaviour of clouds and oceans are still there (along with lots of other problems of lesser moment) and for many of the same reasons. Perhaps the most significant is that climate models must do their calculations at each point of an imaginary grid of points spread evenly around the world at various heights in the atmosphere and depths in the ocean. The calculations are done every hour or so of model time as the model steps forward into its theoretical future. Problems arise because practical constraints on the size of computers ensure that the horizontal distance between model grid-points may be as much as a degree or two of latitude or longitude—that is to say, a distance of many tens of kilometres.

That sort of distance is much larger than the size of a typical piece of cloud. As a consequence, simulation of clouds requires a fair amount of guesswork as to what might be a suitable average of whatever is going on between the grid-points of the model. Even if experimental observations suggest that the models get the averages roughly right for a short-term forecast, there is no guarantee they will get them right for atmospheric conditions several decades into the future. Among other problems, small errors in the numerical modelling of complex processes have a nasty habit of accumulating with time.

Again because of this grid-point business, oceanic fluctuations and eddies smaller than the distance between the grid-points of a model are unknown to that model. This would not be a problem except that eddies in turbulent fluids can grow larger and larger. A small random eddy in the real ocean can grow and appear out of nowhere as far as a forecasting model is concerned, and make a dog’s breakfast of the forecast from that time on.

All of the above is background to one of the great mysteries of the climate change issue. Virtually all the scientists directly involved in climate prediction are aware of the enormous problems and uncertainties still associated with their product. How then is it that those of them involved in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can put their hands on their hearts and maintain there is a 95 per cent probability that human emissions of carbon dioxide have caused most of the global warming that has occurred over the last several decades?

Bear in mind that the representation of clouds in climate models (and of water vapour, which is intimately involved with cloud formation) is such as to amplify the forecast warming from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide—on average over most of the models—by a factor of about three. In other words, two-thirds of the forecast rise in temperature derives from this particular model characteristic. Despite what the models are telling us—and perhaps because it is models that are telling us—no scientist close to the problem and in his right mind, when asked the specific question, would say that he is 95 per cent sure that the effect of clouds is to amplify rather than to reduce the warming effect of increasing carbon dioxide. If he is not sure that clouds amplify global warming, he cannot be sure that most of the global warming is a result of increasing carbon dioxide.

Bear in mind too that no scientist close to the problem and in his right mind, when asked the specific question, would say there is only a very small possibility (that is, less than 5 per cent) that internal ocean behaviour could be a major cause of the warming over the past half-century. He would be particularly careful not to make such a statement now that there has been no significant warming over the most recent fifteen or so years. In the mad scurry to find reasons for the pause, and to find reasons for an obvious failure of the models to simulate the pause, suddenly we are hearing that perhaps the heat of global warming is being “hidden” in the deep ocean. In other words we are being told that some internal oceanic fluctuation may have reduced the upward trend in global temperature. It is therefore more than a little strange that we are not hearing from the IPCC (or at any rate not hearing very loudly) that some natural internal fluctuation of the system may have given rise to most of the earlier upward trend.

In the light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem—or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem—in its effort to promote the cause. It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society’s respect for scientific endeavour. Trading reputational capital for short-term political gain isn’t the most sensible way of going about things.

The trap was set in the late 1970s or thereabouts when the environmental movement first realised that doing something about global warming would play to quite a number of its social agendas. At much the same time, it became accepted wisdom around the corridors of power that government-funded scientists (that is, most scientists) should be required to obtain a goodly fraction of their funds and salaries from external sources—external anyway to their own particular organisation.

The scientists in environmental research laboratories, since they are not normally linked to any particular private industry, were forced to seek funds from other government departments. In turn this forced them to accept the need for advocacy and for the manipulation of public opinion. For that sort of activity, an arm’s-length association with the environmental movement would be a union made in heaven. Among other things it would provide a means by which scientists could distance themselves from responsibility for any public overstatement of the significance of their particular research problem.

The trap was partially sprung in climate research when a number of the relevant scientists began to enjoy the advocacy business. The enjoyment was based on a considerable increase in funding and employment opportunity. The increase was not so much on the hard-science side of things but rather in the emerging fringe institutes and organisations devoted, at least in part, to selling the message of climatic doom. A new and rewarding research lifestyle emerged which involved the giving of advice to all types and levels of government, the broadcasting of unchallengeable opinion to the general public, and easy justification for attendance at international conferences—this last in some luxury by normal scientific experience, and at a frequency previously unheard of.

Somewhere along the line it came to be believed by many of the public, and indeed by many of the scientists themselves, that climate researchers were the equivalent of knights on white steeds fighting a great battle against the forces of evil—evil, that is, in the shape of “big oil” and its supposedly unlimited money. The delusion was more than a little attractive.

The trap was fully sprung when many of the world’s major national academies of science (such as the Royal Society in the UK, the National Academy of Sciences in the USA and the Australian Academy of Science) persuaded themselves to issue reports giving support to the conclusions of the IPCC. The reports were touted as national assessments that were supposedly independent of the IPCC and of each other, but of necessity were compiled with the assistance of, and in some cases at the behest of, many of the scientists involved in the IPCC international machinations. In effect, the academies, which are the most prestigious of the institutions of science, formally nailed their colours to the mast of the politically correct.

Since that time three or four years ago, there has been no comfortable way for the scientific community to raise the spectre of serious uncertainty about the forecasts of climatic disaster. It can no longer use the environmental movement as a scapegoat if it should turn out that the threat of global warming has no real substance. It can no longer escape prime responsibility if it should turn out in the end that doing something in the name of mitigation of global warming is the costliest scientific mistake ever visited on humanity. The current redirection of global funds in the name of climate change is of the order of a billion dollars a day. And in the future, to quote US Senator Everett Dirksen, “a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon we’ll be talking about real money”.

At the same time, the average man in the street, a sensible chap who by now can smell the signs of an oversold environmental campaign from miles away, is beginning to suspect that it is politics rather than science which is driving the issue.

Scientists—most scientists anyway—may be a bit naive, but they are not generally wicked, idiotic, or easily suborned either by money or by the politically correct. So whatever might be the enjoyment factor associated with supporting officially accepted wisdom, and whatever might be the constraints applied by the scientific powers-that-be, it is still surprising that the latest IPCC report has been tabled with almost no murmur of discontent from the lower levels of the research establishment. What has happened to the scepticism that is supposedly the lifeblood of scientific inquiry?

The answer probably gets back to the uncertainty of it all. The chances of proving that climate change over the next century will be large enough to be disastrous are virtually nil. For the same reason, the chances of a climate sceptic, or anyone else for that matter, proving the disaster theory to be oversold are also virtually nil. To that extent there is a level playing field for the two sides of the argument. The problem is that climate research necessarily involves enormous resources, and is a game for institutions and organisations. Scepticism is an occupation for individuals. Things being as they are in the climate-change arena, scepticism by an individual within the system can be fairly career-limiting. In any event, most individual scientists have a conscience, and are reluctant to put their heads above the public parapet in order to propound a view of things that may be inherently unprovable.

In short, there is more than enough uncertainty about the forecasting of climate to allow normal human beings to be at least reasonably hopeful that global warming might not be nearly as bad as is currently touted. Climate scientists, and indeed scientists in general, are not so lucky. They have a lot to lose if time should prove them wrong.



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

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


3 February, 2014

Scientific Pride and Prejudice

The article below by MICHAEL SUK-YOUNG CHWE discusses the biases common in science.  I also append after it a comment by Martin Herzberg that points out the relevance of such biases to Warmism.  I actually don't think there is much relevance to Warmism because Warmism has long gone from being science to being a political creed.  The studies Mr Chwe discusses are rigorous compared with the rank speculation that is Warmism

SCIENCE is in crisis, just when we need it most. Two years ago, C. Glenn Begley and Lee M. Ellis reported in Nature that they were able to replicate only six out of 53 "landmark" cancer studies. Scientists now worry that many published scientific results are simply not true. The natural sciences often offer themselves as a model to other disciplines. But this time science might look for help to the humanities, and to literary criticism in particular.

A major root of the crisis is selective use of data. Scientists, eager to make striking new claims, focus only on evidence that supports their preconceptions. Psychologists call this "confirmation bias": We seek out information that confirms what we already believe. "We each begin probably with a little bias," as Jane Austen writes in "Persuasion," "and upon that bias build every circumstance in favor of it."

Despite the popular belief that anything goes in literary criticism, the field has real standards of scholarly validity. In his 1967 book "Validity in Interpretation," E. D. Hirsch writes that "an interpretive hypothesis," about a poem "is ultimately a probability judgment that is supported by evidence." This is akin to the statistical approach used in the sciences; Mr. Hirsch was strongly influenced by John Maynard Keynes's "A Treatise on Probability."

However, Mr. Hirsch also finds that "every interpreter labors under the handicap of an inevitable circularity: All his internal evidence tends to support his hypothesis because much of it was constituted by his hypothesis." This is essentially the problem faced by science today. According to Mr. Begley and Mr. Ellis's report in Nature, some of the nonreproducible "landmark" studies inspired hundreds of new studies that tried to extend the original result without verifying if the original result was true. A claim is not likely to be disproved by an experiment that takes that claim as its starting point. Mr. Hirsch warns about falling "victim to the self-confirmability of interpretations."

It's a danger the humanities have long been aware of. In his 1960 book "Truth and Method," the influential German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer argues that an interpreter of a text must first question "the validity - of the fore-meanings dwelling within him." However, "this kind of sensitivity involves neither `neutrality' with respect to content nor the extinction of one's self." Rather, "the important thing is to be aware of one's own bias." To deal with the problem of selective use of data, the scientific community must become self-aware and realize that it has a problem. In literary criticism, the question of how one's arguments are influenced by one's prejudgments has been a central methodological issue for decades.

Sometimes prejudgments are hard to resist. In December 2010, for example, NASA-funded researchers, perhaps eager to generate public excitement for new forms of life, reported the existence of a bacterium that used arsenic instead of phosphorus in its DNA. Later, this study was found to have major errors. Even if such influences don't affect one's research results, we should at least be able to admit that they are possible.

Austen might say that researchers should emulate Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice," who submits, "I will venture to say that my investigations and decisions are not usually influenced by my hopes and fears." At least Mr. Darcy acknowledges the possibility that his personal feelings might influence his investigations.

But it would be wrong to say that the ideal scholar is somehow unbiased or dispassionate. In my freshman physics class at Caltech, David Goodstein, who later became vice provost of the university, showed us Robert Millikan's lab notebooks for his famed 1909 oil drop experiment with Harvey Fletcher, which first established the electric charge of the electron.

The notebooks showed many fits and starts and many "results" that were obviously wrong, but as they progressed, the results got cleaner, and Millikan could not help but include comments such as "Best yet - Beauty - Publish." In other words, Millikan excluded the data that seemed erroneous and included data that he liked, embracing his own confirmation bias.

Mr. Goodstein's point was that the textbook "scientific method" of dispassionately testing a hypothesis is not how science really works. We often have a clear idea of what we want the results to be before we run an experiment. We freshman physics students found this a bit hard to take. What Mr. Goodstein was trying to teach us was that science as a lived, human process is different from our preconception of it. He was trying to give us a glimpse of self-understanding, a moment of self-doubt.

When I began to read the novels of Jane Austen, I became convinced that Austen, by placing sophisticated characters in challenging, complex situations, was trying to explicitly analyze how people acted strategically. There was no fancy name for this kind of analysis in Austen's time, but today we call it game theory. I believe that Austen anticipated the main ideas of game theory by more than a century.

As a game theorist myself, how do I know I am not imposing my own way of thinking on Austen? I present lots of evidence to back up my claim, but I cannot deny my own preconceptions and training. As Mr. Gadamer writes, a researcher "cannot separate in advance the productive prejudices that enable understanding from the prejudices that hinder it." We all bring different preconceptions to our inquiries, whether about Austen or the electron, and these preconceptions can spur as well as blind us.

Perhaps because of its self-awareness about what Austen would call the "whims and caprices" of human reasoning, the field of psychology has been most aggressive in dealing with doubts about the validity of its research. In an open email in September 2012 to fellow psychologists, the Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman suggests that "to deal effectively with the doubts you should acknowledge their existence and confront them straight on, because a posture of defiant denial is self-defeating." Everyone, including natural scientists, social scientists and humanists, could use a little more self-awareness. Understanding science as fundamentally a human process might be necessary to save science itself.



`The above article by Michael Suk-Young Chwe is one of the finest I have read for years in the Times. Science is  indeed "in crisis" because of the "selective use of data" because of the "confirmation bias" whereby "we seek out information that confirms what we already believe." Unfortunately, he neglects to mention the most egregious example: the "global warming / climate change" theory that attributes changes in weather to human emission of CO2. There is not one iota of reliable evidence for that theory, yet it has been accepted by many scientific organizations, government agencies, mainstream media (including the Times) and even President Obama: all because of their biases, and their complete absence of self doubt. As a result, billions of dollars are being wasted in the pursuit of the phantom in the sky: the so-called "greenhouse effect" - a pure fiction.

    Only one disagreement with Mr. Chwe: Milliken's oil drop experiment was complicated because of the difficulty in measuring the mass of his oil drops by balancing the gravitational force against the drag force when the droplets reached terminal velocity in the absence of an electric field. Once that mass was determined, and a balance was achieved in the presence of balanced electric and gravitational forces, the electric charges on the droplets were all found to be multiples of the fundamental charge of the electron. Milliken's early difficulties had nothing to do with his "confirmation bias" but only with the difficulty of an indirect and complex determination of the droplet's masses.

Martin Herzberg  -- Via email

EPA Administrator on `Destroyed Ozone Layer' - `We Are Fixing That'

Speaking at the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) conference on Thursday in Arlington, Va., Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy said her agency is "fixing" the damaged ozone layer.

"From keeping our air clean and our water clean to combating climate change, science has always been and will always be at the heart of the mission of the United States Environmental Protection Agency," McCarthy said.

"Just think: Science showed us beyond a doubt the deadly effects of a destroyed ozone layer," McCarthy said. "We are fixing that."

According to an April 26, 2007 report from the EPA, the banning of the chemicals thought to damage the ozone layer between the Earth and the sun were no longer being produced in the United States.

"Countries around the world are phasing out the production and use of chemicals that destroy ozone in the Earth's upper atmosphere," the report stated. "The United States has already phased out production of those substances having the greatest potential to deplete the ozone layer."

Actions to "fix" the ozone layer date back to 1989 with the creation of United Nations-backed Montreal Protocol, which called on countries to stop using the chemicals some scientists said were depleting it. The United States is one of the countries to sign on to the Protocol, which was amended in 1991, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2008, according to the U.N.

The NCSE conference described its mission in the program this way: "The 14th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Building Climate Solutions will engage some 1,000 key individuals from any fields of sciences and engineering, government and policy, business and civil society to advance solutions to minimize the causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change."


UK flooding: Environment Agency boss Lord Smith engulfed in crisis

Lord Smith's leadership of the Environment Agency is in crisis following the flooding gripping parts of Britain.

Sources have accused Lord Smith, a Cabinet minister in Tony Blair's Labour government, of "keeping his head down" despite parts of the country being submerged for weeks.

Allegations that he is "too distracted" by having too many jobs - in all Lord Smith has 11 paid and unpaid posts - have added to the growing concern in Whitehall.

Although he is due to step down as chairman of the Environment Agency in June, a source said: "There is no way he would get back in even if he wanted to reapply for his post."

Lord Smith has insisted the agency is doing all it can in the face of the wettest January in history and has pointed out that - unlike the North Sea floods of 1953 when more than 300 people died - lives have been protected through the hard work of his staff.

However, the agency has faced severe criticism, particularly over its alleged failure to dredge rivers on the Somerset Levels. One local MP accused the body of failing to spend its resources on flood defences and instead diverting millions of pounds to bird sanctuaries.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater in Somerset, said: "We're just sick to death of it [flooding]. They [the Environment Agency] need to dredge these rivers, stop spending money - £31 million - on bird sanctuaries and spend £5 million, that's all we want, to sort this out.

"What comes first is the humans. I'm afraid the birds will fly off elsewhere."

The Telegraph can also disclose that the Environment Agency undertook detailed computer modelling on the impact of dredging in 2012, which showed that dredging would have "significantly reduce[d] the duration and depth of flooding" in the worst hit areas.

Residents of the Somerset Levels piled further pressure on the agency after tests showed stagnant flood water had left gardens "awash with unsafe bacteria".

Tests by microbiologists from the University of Reading in Moorlands, Somerset, showed 60,000 to 70,000 bacteria per 100 millilitres. The World Health Organisation states agricultural water should have no more than 1,000 bacteria per 100 millilitres. Experts said it would take up to three months for bacteria levels to fall within safe limits.

"It's unsurprising considering there are septic tanks in these people's gardens that are overflowing and animals within close proximity," said Nathaniel Storey, the microbiologist who carried out the research, "All this excrement in these areas is being dredged up by the floodwater and taken into houses and into gardens."

Gavin Sadler, 35, who lives in Moorlands in Somerset, said: "We've been told children shouldn't go in any of the areas for two months after the water has gone . The guys on the ground for the Environment Agency have been great. But some questions ought to be asked about at management level. Where was the help weeks ago?"

On Saturday, the Environment Agency issued five severe flood warnings - in Cornwall and in areas around the Severn River - and 147 flood warnings and 289 flood alerts as a combination of high tides, torrential rain and gale force winds battered Britain. A severe flood warning is only issued if lives are in danger.

Significant disruption is predicted over the next 24 hours for much of the coast of Wales and south-west England from Flintshire to Dorset.

This includes coasts and tidal areas of Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire. Parts of south-east England, the North West and the Yorkshire and Hull coast were also facing the cumulative effects of wind, rain and high tides over the weekend.

The military remained on standby last night in Somerset, where the village of Muchelney has been cut off for a month.

New spending on flood defence schemes will be announced this week with resources likely to be targeted at the hardest-hit areas.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, chaired a meeting of the Cobra emergencies committee yesterday in an attempt to get to grips with the crisis. He was criticised last week for wearing a suit and shoes to flood-hit areas rather than appropriate footwear and clothing. Aides said he had rushed to the scene.

Cobra was told that 20 properties remained flooded in the Somerset Levels amid suggestions the worst may be over.

But there was further exasperation after allegations that Somerset county council had failed to dip into a £24 million contingency fund available for local flood victims. On Saturday, David Cameron, writing in the Western Daily Press, appeared to criticise the response to the flooding. He said: "It is not acceptable for people to have to live like this almost four weeks later - and I am not ruling out any option to get this problem sorted out."

An Environment Agency spokesman said last night: "Chris Smith has done a brilliant job as chairman. But he can only serve two terms as chairman and his second term is coming to an end. There just isn't the option to have him any longer." She added that the agency was working around the clock to alleviate difficulties caused by heavy rainfall.


EPA Administrator to Scientists: 'Speak the Truth' on Climate Change to Meet Obama's 'Needs'

Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asked scientists at a climate change conference on Thursday in Arlington, Va., to explain the science of climate change.

She also said that the EPA looks at climate change as an opportunity to grow the economy and create jobs.

"Scientists, you folks help us understand our world," McCarthy said at the 14th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Building Climate Solutions, sponsored by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE). "You help EPA to meet our mission of public health protection and environmental protection.

"I need you now more than ever to speak the truth," McCarthy said. "I need you to stand up together with us and explain what the science is telling you.

"To tell people that science and technology improvements will allow us to take action moving forward that meets the needs of this president as he has charged EPA, which is to look at climate change as something where we can innovate and we can move forward to grow the economy, to grow jobs, to understand how we're producing sustainable, livable communities," McCarthy said.

Obama has said he will use executive authority to move forward his agenda, including climate change.

Obama referenced climate change in his State of the Union address while talking about "cleaner energy."

"The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way," Obama said. "But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.

"And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did," Obama said.

Peter Saundry, executive director of NCSE, introduced McCarthy by noting Obama's pledge to act unilaterally on climate change.

"President Obama has announced that he will work with Congress whenever he can but will not be held hostage - will move forward and do the utmost, we hope, through executive authority and through the agencies," Saundry said. The Supreme Court has noted that EPA has authority under (the) Clean Air Act and also other authorities, under (the) Clean Water Act, and so EPA is marching forward and taking actions right now which is really, really important."

The conference described its mission in the program this way: "The 14th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Building Climate Solutions will engage some 1,000 key individuals from any fields of sciences and engineering, government and policy, business and civil society to advance solutions to minimize the causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change."


Build the Keystone pipeline, already!

KXL was AWOL from SOTU - along with real energy, job, economic and revenue solutions

Paul Driessen

President Obama frequently says he wants to turn the economy around, put America back to work, produce more energy, improve public safety, and open new markets to goods stamped "Made in the USA." In his State of the Union address he said, if congressional inaction continues, "I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible."

Unfortunately, like Arafat, he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to do all these things.

Most Americans are no longer fooled by empty hope and change hype. In December only 74,000 jobs were created (many of them low-paying part-time seasonal positions), while 374,000 more people gave up looking for work. Not surprisingly, recent polls have found that three-quarters of Americans say the country still appears to be in a recession, two-thirds don't trust the President to make the right decisions for the country, and barely 30% say the nation is "heading in the right direction."

The President needs to use his pen and phone to free our energy, economy and entrepreneurial instincts. But ANWR, OCS, HF, KXL and other solutions were AWOL from the SOTU. They were sacrificed on the CO2 and CMGW altar, by the POTUS, EPA, DOI and DOE, in obeisance to the EDF, NRDC, other environmentalist pressure groups, and assorted unelected, unaccountable, unconstitutional autocrats.

(Don't you love Washington-speak - from the land of acronyms, that pricey patch of real estate on the banks of the Potomac River, bordered by reality and places where people actually work to earn a living, despite presidents and hordes of legislators and regulators doing their level best to make that difficult. For those whose Wash-speak is as bad as their Spanish and German, translations are provided below.)*

Our nation is blessed with vast energy, metallic, mineral, forest and other resources, waiting to be tapped. But they are locked up in favor of crony-capitalist, eco-unfriendly, land-hungry, subsidy-dependent, nigh-useless pseudo-alternatives that are dearly beloved by utopian environmentalists - and by politicians hungry for campaign contributions from businesses that they repay with billions in other people's money, taken from taxpayers at the point of an IRS gun to prop up renewable energy schemes.

Our hydrocarbon wealth especially offers amazing benefits: improved human safety, health, welfare and living standards, in a more stable world, with new sources of jobs, wealth and income equality. Not tapping these resources is contrary to Obama's promises and our national interest. It is immoral.

Of all the opportunities arrayed before him, the 1,179-mile Alberta to Texas Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) is the most "shovel ready." Indeed, it awaits merely a presidential phone call or signature, to slash bureaucratic red tape, streamline the permitting process, and create construction and manufacturing jobs. Some 40,000 jobs in fact - more than half as many as were created nationwide last December.

As I have pointed out before (here, here, here and here), there are compelling reasons why the President should end this interminable six-years-and-counting dilatory KXL review process - right now.

Jobs. KXL would create an estimated 20,000 construction jobs; another 10,000 in factories that make the steel, pipelines, valves, cement and equipment needed to build the pipeline; thousands more in hotel, restaurant and other support industries; and still more jobs in the Canadian, North Dakota and other oil fields whose output would be transported by the pipeline to refineries and petrochemical plants where still more workers would be employed. With Mr. Obama and his EPA waging war on communities and states that mine and use coal, these jobs are even more important to blue-collar workers in Middle America.

Revenue. States along the pipeline route would receive $5 billion in new property tax revenues, and still more in workers' income tax payments. Federal coffers would also realize hefty gains.

Safety. Right now most of the oil from Canada's oil sands and North Dakota's Bakken shale deposits moves by railroad and truck fuel tanks, often through populated areas. Truck and rail accidents have forced towns to evacuate and even killed 50 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Corporate executives and federal regulators are working to improve tanker designs and reroute traffic. But even despite occasional accidents, pipelines have a much better safety record. KXL would be built with state-of-the-art pipe, valves and other components, to the latest design, manufacturing, construction and inspection specifications. It has been configured to avoid population centers, sensitive wildlife areas and the Ogallala Aquifer.

Resource conservation and energy needs. Building Keystone will help ensure that vast petroleum resources can be efficiently utilized to meet consumer needs. In conjunction with other pipelines, it will greatly reduce the need to flare (burn and waste) natural gas that is a byproduct of oil production in Bakken shale country. The pipelines will also help get propane and natural gas to places that need these fuels. Recent pipeline problems, plus unusually high demands for propane to convert corn to ethanol, created soaring prices and shortages amid one of the nastiest North American cold spells in decades.

KXL will also enable state and private lands to continue contributing to America's hydrocarbon renaissance. That is especially important in the face of congressional and Obama Administration refusals to open more federal onshore and offshore oil and gas prospects in Alaska and the Lower 48 States.

US-Canadian relations. The endless dithering over KXL has frayed relations between Canada and the United States. It has compelled the Canadians to take decisive steps toward building new pipelines from the Alberta oil sands fields to Superior, Wisconsin . and to Canada's west coast, for shipment to Asia's growing economies. Further delays will not reduce oil sands development - only the oil's destination.

Climate change. In his SOTU speech, President Obama informed us that "climate change is a fact." Well, duh. It's been a fact since Earth was formed. The only pertinent issues are these: Are humans causing imminent, unprecedented climate change disasters? And can we control Earth's climate, by drastically curtailing hydrocarbon use, slashing living standards and switching to renewables?

No evidence supports either proposition. Moreover, oil sands production would add a minuscule 0.06% to US greenhouse gas emissions, a tiny fraction of that amount to global carbon dioxide emissions, and an undetectable 0.00002 deg F (0.00001 C) per year to useless computer-model scenarios for global warming.

A January 24 letter spearheaded by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and signed by all 45 Republican Senators notes many of these points and requests that President Obama permit KXL pipeline construction "as soon as possible." Several Democrats told Hoeven privately that they support his effort and Keystone, but are nervous about challenging the President or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid publicly.

On January 31, the State Department reaffirmed its previous conclusions that KXL is unlikely to noticeably increase demand for Canadian oil sands or global emissions of carbon dioxide. With reelection behind him, the President has "greater flexibility" and doesn't need to kowtow to his radical green base. By picking up his pen and phone, cutting off another year-long study of whether Keystone is "in the national interest," and approving the pipeline, he could satisfy independents and his union base. He'd even reduce CO2 emissions, which State says would be 28-42% higher if Canada's oil is shipped via train or truck, instead of through the pipeline.
Democrats are urging unemployed workers to lobby Republicans for extended benefits. They should instead lobby Democrats and the President to do what's right for America: create the jobs they promised, by approving Keystone - along with drilling, fracking, mining, and reduced taxes and regulations. 

America is waiting. Will there finally be real hope and change? Or just more hype and empty rhetoric?

Via email

Greenie shark lovers in Australia

People have never been a Greenie priority

Anthony Joyce once shared the Western Australian government's views on sharks after he found his foot in the jaws of one while surfing.

But the surfer from Sydney's northern beaches, who was pulled on to the beach at Narrabeen last October bleeding profusely from a wound lined with puncture marks, has done what says is a "180" on his initial support for the culling of sharks over three metres.

"The amount of sharks they are going to kill is going to make no difference in the scheme of things," he said.

Mr Joyce said, since undertaking three months of research that included talking to shark experts and marine biologists, he now supports greater government support for marine biology programs and shark education in schools and through surf lifesaving.

Mr Joyce, who took three months to enter the water again after his shark bite, soon hopes to get back on his board.

He was one of thousands of people gathered on Manly Beach on Saturday to protest against WA's shark culling policy. The policy, introduced after a fatal attack off Gracetown in November, intends to target tiger, bull and great white sharks longer than three metres that come within a kilometre of the shore.

The Manly rally was one of many held around Australia and New Zealand.  Witty signs, foam shark fins and chants of "stop the cull" filled the idyllic beach.

Among the protesters was James Cook, a 27-year-old who said he was more likely to be king hit than attacked by a shark. His mother, Katherine Cook, was equally outraged at Australia's desire to kill the marine animals.  "I'm really angry and incensed that we can't co-exist with anything," she said. "We are going into their [sharks'] environment. Why can't we co-exist?"

She said more people died across the world each year from being hit by coconuts than shark attacks.

Thousands of Western Australians also rallied at Perth's Cottesloe Beach, calling for an end to the state government's policy.

The protest came hours after an under-size two-metre shark, believed to be a tiger shark, was pulled from a baited drumline off Leighton beach by Fisheries officers. The animal - the second to be killed under the program - was dumped further offshore.

The first rally at Cottesloe - the home suburb of WA Premier Colin Barnett - on January 4 drew an estimated 4500 protesters while the event on Saturday attracted about 6000 people, with speakers including Greens leader Christine Milne and state Labor leader Mark McGowan.

``Rights, rights, rights for great whites,'' the crowd chanted. One placard read: ``Sharks are more important than human recreation''.

The Liberal-led government believes a string of fatal attacks in WA waters in recent years has dented tourism, particularly the diving industry and says beachgoers must be protected.

But Virgin Airlines boss Sir Richard Branson, who is fighting China's shark fin trade, told the local Fairfax radio station on Friday that the catch-and-kill policy would backfire, driving away tourism.

Mr Barnett, who is in Africa for a mining conference, has come under immense pressure to call off the cull, including having the windows of his Cottesloe office smashed by a protester.

The baited drumlines are scheduled to remain in metropolitan and South West waters until April 30.

WA shark expert Paul Sharp said the baited drum lines might actually increase the risk of shark attacks.  "Simply having those baits in the water will result in excited and stimulated sharks," he said at the Manly protest on Saturday.  "Like any other animal, when they are excited, there is a greater risk of an accident happening."



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

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


2 February, 2014

Who Cares What Prince Charles Says?

He talks to plants and supports quack medicine so he may not be the sort of guy you want on your side
Recently it was reported that Prince Charles took a shot at 'climate deniers', claiming it's "baffling ... that in our modern world we have such blind trust in science and technology that we all accept what science tells us about everything - until, that is, it comes to climate science." He went on to call these presumably "powerful groups of deniers" of mounting "a barrage of sheer intimidation" against opponents, calling them a 'headless chicken brigade'.

First of all, I would like to know exactly what "climate science" he's referring to - the fraudlent claims and speculations by warmers - or the real world climate being reported on by the "headless chicken brigade? 

Second, there is no one who knows anything about science who has a 'blind trust in science and technology'.  Only the ignorant and foolish accept that premise. 

Third, if we accept his basic premise it would mean an abandonment of all that makes science possible, a large successful industrial society.  Does anyone besides me detect a bit of cognitive dissonance in the Prince?  Well, actually no.

The green movement, a secular religion, will use any argument to promote its goals, including name calling, intimidation, irrational logic, emotional appeals and then blames the other side for doing it.  The Prince is the perfect greenie.  Arrogant, self righteous, detached from reality and the consequences of green policies, presents arguments full of logical fallacies, corrupt in his thinking, and living a life style he claims is destroying the world.

Finally, the "sheer intimidation" in all this Anthropogenic Global Warming nonsense came from the warmers, with the support of powerful government entities, who allotted 'acceptable climate scientists' grants to the tune of billions of dollars and were behind efforts to take grants away from those who didn't go along with “acceptable warming science”.  In effect, the actions amongst warmists in science and government became a practice of modern  ‘Lysenkoism'!

I was once told by an Australian correspondent not to beat up on the Prince because he’s a good guy being misled by advisers.  Well, that may be true, but since he embraces all sorts of greenie idiocy it would appear to me he is doing the leading and hand picking advisors that agree with him.  It further seems to me the Prince lives in an echo chamber of self congratulatory head nodders.

Let’s face it, would anyone really care what this man thinks or says if he wasn’t to be the next King of England?   Would he be allowed to get away with the comments he makes if he wasn’t to be the next King of England?  Do we really believe he wouldn’t be challenged to a public debate on what he calls ‘climate science’, if he wasn’t to be the next King of England?  Why does a man, that will be the next King of England, continue of defend ‘climate science’ that has made all sorts of predictions which are proving wrong? 

Charles has access to the best information available in the world, and yet he ignores what is going on in reality and accepts greenie speculations and claims that are not only proving false, but shown to be deliberately fraudulent.

My question to the Prince would be – presuming anyone would be allowed to ask him any questions that requires him to think on his feet – why he accepts predictions that are failing versus predictions from a climatologist [Donn Easterbrook] who’s predictions from 1999 are proving to be spot on saying, “the PDO [Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a natural cycle that fluctuates between warm and cold phases] said we're due for a climate change,”. 

He claimed, “It looks as though we're going to be entering a period of about three decades or so of global cooling.”  Was his prediction right?  Yes, he went on to say,  “We have now had 17 years with no global warming and my original prediction was right so far,” and “for the next 20 years, I predict global cooling of about 3/10ths of a degree Fahrenheit.”

Here is the most telling thing Easterbrook said, “cold is way worse for humanity than warm is,” he correctly adds.  The article went on to say, "alarmists continue with ostentatious rants about nonexistent warming, just remember that what we're actually seeing was foreseen long ago by someone with facts on their side.”

There is a number of things we can take away from all of this.  The Prince is clueless, and likes it that way.  He’s deliberately ignoring real science in favor of models that amount to nothing more than “Game Boy Science”!  Like Game Boys, models spit out what they’re designed to spit out.  He must be historically illiterate regarding climate since all the previous warming periods were periods highly beneficial to humanity, and historically these cyclical warming and cooling periods occurred regularly throughout Earth’s history, and mankind had as little to do with those cycles then as mankind has now. 

Finally, we need to ask, during all or any of the previous warming periods did any of the terrible consequences they’re predictiing for today occur?  There is nothing in the historical record to show it did.  If that’s the case why would we believe it would occur now?  We shouldn’t!  So why does the Prince?

The green movement is irrational, misanthropic and morally defective.  The moderates within the movement want to eliminate 4 to 5 billion people, and they’re the moderates.  The radicals, which are a large minority, believe mankind is a virus that must be eliminated.  There is even an environmental movement that calls itself the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement that wants people to abstain from reproduction to cause the gradual voluntary extinction of humankind, in order to prevent environmental degradation.

And these are the kinds of people to which Charles has emotionally and intellectually attached himself.

So now we're left with deniers as a "headless chicken brigade", and warmers - including a Prince - who are among the "chicken little scaremongers", and one of them is wrong, and those the Prince has embraced are looking like fools and frauds and - wrong!  And he’s to be the next King of England!  Isn’t it fortunate the monarchs of England are for the most part powerless?  Which makes me wonder what’s wrong with the rest of the Brits for keeping them?  Who knows, at this rate Charles' real legacy may be the end of the monarchy in England.  For that he may be remarkably qualified.


Arctic outbreaks defy predictions

This winter's multiple extreme cold outbreaks are a stark reminder that global warming activists have routinely and brazenly exaggerated the effects of global warming. Each new, historic cold snap provides yet another scientific reason to doubt dire predictions about human-caused warming.

Low temperature records are falling by the hundreds this winter. This is occurring despite the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting that extreme cold outbreaks will become less frequent and less severe. When a theory's predictions are contradicted by real-world events, sound science requires us to re-examine the theory.

Increasing the atmosphere's carbon dioxide content from three parts per 10,000 (0.03%) to four parts per 10,000 (0.04%) should cause some modest global warming. However, the extremely cold winter reminds us this modest warming is not creating the worldwide climate catastrophe predicted by global warming activists. It also provides appropriate context for the next time we experience a heat wave and activists tell us global warming is to blame.

To the extent global warming may eventually lessen the frequency and severity of extreme cold outbreaks, it will benefit, rather than harm, human health and welfare. Mortality statistics show far more people die as a result of low temperatures and cold-associated ailments such as pneumonia and the flu than from hot temperatures and heat-associated ailments.

Many additional benefits are becoming evident as the Earth continues its gradual recovery from the Little Ice Age, which afflicted humanity from approximately 1300 to 1900. Hurricane activity is at historic lows, tornadoes are weakening, and droughts are becoming less frequent and severe.

Cold spells, heat waves and extreme weather events will continue to occur as our planet modestly warms. This winter's extreme cold outbreaks illustrate that global warming is not changing our planet's climate severely, as activists claim. To the extent changes are occurring, these are benefiting rather than harming human health and welfare.


Michael Mann's Global Warming Argument Fuels 'Denier' Skepticism

James Taylor below goes to the trouble of rebutting Michael Mann's tired old assertions

Warmist point man Michael Mann recently authored a New York Times editorial presenting global warming activists’ best arguments in favor of a global warming crisis. A quick look at his weak arguments and false claims shows why the American public is increasingly siding with skeptics in the global warming debate.

In his editorial titled “If You See Something, Say Something,” Mann draws an analogy between global warming skeptics and terrorists, and urges people to “speak up.” OK, Mike, I accept your invitation to speak up in the name of truth.

Mann launches into charlatanism from the very beginning of his editorial: “The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science.”

Mann’s introduction of the issue is a classic bait-and-switch. He attempts to debate fictitious opponents regarding a fictitious issue for which there is little debate. Virtually all skeptics agree the Earth is (thankfully) no longer suffering the pains of the extended Little Ice Age. Most skeptics, myself included, believe humans have played a role in this beneficial warming. And it’s a good thing too; the Little Ice Age, lasting from approximately 1300-1900 A.D., was the coldest period of the past 10,000 years and brought human misery that was unprecedented since the dawn of civilization. Afraid to debate the true issues dividing alarmists and skeptics – such as the pace of recent warming, the context of recent warming, the likely pace of future warming, and the likely results of future warming – Mann waves his magic wand and conjures up an imaginary skeptic straw man who argues no warming has occurred and we are still in the Little Ice Age.

Not missing a beat, Mann strengthens his charlatanism with a healthy dose of pixie dust in paragraph two: “In fact, there is broad agreement among climate scientists not only that climate change is real (a survey and a review of the scientific literature published say about 97 percent agree), but that we must respond to the dangers of a warming planet.”

Really, Mike? Show us a single survey where 97 percent of climate scientists say “we must respond to the dangers of a warming planet.” There are a few dodgy, agenda-driven surveys in which it is claimed 97 percent of scientists claim the planet is warming (I agree with this assertion, by the way) and that humans have played a role (I agree with this assertion, also). But like so many of fellow global warming activists, Mann either deliberately or through appalling ignorance misrepresents these dodgy surveys to say something that is not even addressed in the surveys. None of these surveys show a 97-percent consensus for the assertion that “we must respond to the dangers of a warming planet.”

If Mann really wanted to spread truth rather than propaganda, he would have noted that a recent survey of American Meteorological Society (AMS) atmospheric scientists found only 38 percent of AMS scientists believe future warming will be very harmful, and an even smaller 30 percent are very worried about global warming. This is a far cry from Mann’s unsupported assertion that “97 percent agree … we must respond to the dangers of a warming planet.”

Mann then links global warming to “Midwestern farmers struggling with drought, more damaging wildfires out West, and withering record summer heat across the country.” For good measure, he throws in “possible linkages between rapid Arctic warming and strange weather patterns, like the recent outbreak of Arctic air across much of the United States.”

Sound science contradicts each and every one of Mann’s self-serving assertions. Drought has become less frequent and less severe as our planet modestly warms. Wildfires are at historic lows. Record heat is becoming less frequent. And even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says global warming will cause fewer extreme cold outbreaks, not more.

Mann writes fondly of his former colleague Stephen Schneider being a scientist-activist and concludes his column by urging more scientists to follow Schneider’s lead. Here is what Schneider said about being a scientist-activist:

“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 any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

It is pretty clear from Mann’s weak, dishonest arguments that he sides with being “effective” rather than honest.


Keystone report raises pressure on Obama to approve pipeline

Pressure for President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline increased after a State Department report played down the impact it would have on climate change, irking environmentalists and delighting the project's proponents.

But the White House signaled late on Friday that a decision on an application by TransCanada Corp to build the $5.4 billion project would be made "only after careful consideration" of the report, along with comments from the public and other government agencies.

"The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement includes a range of estimates of the project's climate impacts, and that information will now need to be closely evaluated by Secretary (of State John) Kerry and other relevant agency heads in the weeks ahead," White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said.

The White House comment came after proponents of the pipeline, which would transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, crowed about how the State Department report cleared the way for Obama to greenlight the project.

The agency made no explicit recommendation. But the State Department said blocking Keystone XL - or any pipeline - would do little to slow the expansion of Canada's vast oil sands, maintaining the central finding of a preliminary study issued last year.

The 11-volume report's publication opened a new and potentially final stage of an approval process that has dragged for more than five years, taking on enormous political significance.

With another three-month review process ahead and no firm deadline for a decision on the 1,179-mile (1,898-km) line, the issue threatens to drag into the 2014 congressional elections in November.

Obama is under pressure from several vulnerable Democratic senators who favor the pipeline and face re-election at a time when Democrats are scrambling to hang on to control of the U.S. Senate. The project looms over the president's economic and environmental legacy.

Canada's oil sands are the world's third-largest crude oil reserve, behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, and the largest open to private investment. The oil sands contain more than 170 billion barrels of bitumen, a tar-like form of crude that requires more energy to extract than conventional oil.

Obama said in June that he was closely watching the review and said he believed the pipeline should go ahead "only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."

The report offered some solace to climate activists who want to stem the rise of oil sands output. It reaffirmed that Canada's heavy crude reserves require more energy to produce and process - and therefore result in higher greenhouse gas emissions - than conventional oil fields.

But after extensive economic modeling, it found that the line itself would not slow or accelerate the development of the oil sands. That finding is largely in line with what oil industry executives have long argued.

"This final review puts to rest any credible concerns about the pipeline's potential negative impact on the environment," said Jack Gerard, head of the oil industry's top lobby group, the American Petroleum Institute.

The optimism was echoed by the chief executive of TransCanada, and Canada's Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, who said he hoped Obama would approve the project in the first half of 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will consult with eight government agencies over the next three months about the broader national security, economic and environmental impacts of the project before deciding whether he thinks it should go ahead.

The public will have 30 days to comment, beginning next week. A previous comment period in March yielded more than 1.5 million comments.

Kerry has no set deadline. The open-ended review made some pipeline supporters nervous.

"The administration's strategy is to defeat the project with continuing delays," said Republican Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, where the oil boom has boosted truck and rail traffic.

Some North Dakota oil would move on the pipeline, designed to take as much as 830,000 barrels of crude per day from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would meet the project's already complete southern leg to take the crude to the refining hub on the Texas Gulf coast.

The State Department's study found that oil from the Canadian oil sands is about 17 percent more "greenhouse gas intensive" than average oil used in the United States because of the energy required to extract and process it. It is 2 percent to 10 percent more greenhouse gas intensive than the heavy grades of oil it replaces.

The Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group, said the report shows the pipeline would create as much pollution each year as the exhaust from almost 6 million cars - evidence that it said will be hard for Obama to ignore.

"Reports of an industry victory on the Keystone XL pipeline are vastly over-stated," said Michael Brune, the group's executive director.


Schism between Obama, enviromentalists over energy policy

 President Barack Obama is sticking to a fossil-fuel dependent energy policy, delivering a blow to a monthslong, behind-the-scenes effort by nearly every major environmental group to convince the White House that the policy is at odds with his goals on global warming.

The division between Obama and some of his staunchest supporters has been simmering for months, a surprising schism that shows the fine line the environmental community has walked with a Democratic president who has taken significant steps on climate change, and the recalcitrance of Obama’s White House when it is criticized, even by its allies.

Days before Obama’s State of the Union speech, the heads of 18 environmental groups sent a letter to the president that had long been in the works saying his policy doesn’t make sense. They see a contradiction in increased American production of energy from oil and natural gas at the same time the government is attempting to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming.

"We believe that continued reliance on an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy would be fundamentally at odds with your goal of cutting carbon pollution," they wrote.

But in his Tuesday night speech, Obama proclaimed that embracing all forms of energy, even carbon-pollution fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas, is working.

"Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet," said Obama.

White House officials knew last spring that a letter objecting to their energy policy was in the works. They urged the environmental groups to wait until after Obama delivered a speech on climate change in June, hoping his aggressive steps on global warming would change their minds.

"There is a cognitive dissonance inside the administration. We believe their commitment to fight climate change is genuine, and yet the energy policy goals of the administration make achieving climate change much more difficult," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in an interview with the Associated Press.

The environmental groups’ stance could be dismissed as advocacy groups just doing what they do — pushing the president to go further on an issue important to their members. Already, they have protested a pipeline project carrying Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S., fought to shutter coal-fired power plants and opposed hydraulic fracturing.

But for the major groups, the letter marked new territory, the first time the lobby has been both united and sharply critical of Obama’s central environmental issue and one they support in principle: curbing climate change.


About-turn underway in Europe?

The EU’s energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, has spoken out against a planned 40% cut in CO2 emissions across the EU by 2030, just a week after he helped to launch the policy.

Speaking at an ‘Industry Matters’ conference in Brussels, Oettinger said those who expected the cut to “save the world” were “arrogant or stupid”, and publicly questioned whether the reduction was even achievable.

“It’s an ambitious compromise and I am a little bit sceptical,” he told delegates at the conference, organised by the pan-European employers' confederation BusinessEurope.

“I have to be constructive as I’m a member of the team but I’m sceptical.”

The energy commissioner, who argued for a lesser 35% goal behind the scenes, said the EU was only on track to cut emissions 20% by the decades's end because of economic crisis and the closure of soviet-era plants in Eastern Europe.

“These were low-hanging fruits but there are no more now, so every percentage going down gets more difficult and cost-intensive,” he said. The EU was just responsible for 10.6% of global emissions today, a sum that would fall to 4.5% by 2030, he noted.

“To think that with this 4.5% of global emissions you can save the world is not realistic,” Oettinger said. “It is arrogant or stupid. We need a global commitment.”

The EU’s proposed 2030 package will now be discussed at a European summit of EU heads of state in March, before a new proposal is revealed in September, the same month that an international climate summit meets in Lima, Peru.

A final package should then be agreed before July 2015, ahead of a climate summit in Paris that is supposed to forge a binding global agreement.

As well as addressing climate issues, Oettinger, a Christian Democrat from Germany, said that in the long-term Europe might import gas from Iraq, Nigeria, Libya and Qatar.

Shale gas 'pioneers'

He hailed the UK and Poland as cheap energy “pioneers” for their efforts to exploit shale gas and said that perhaps the US could export some of its shale here.

“Europe is on the way to deindustrialise and the US has a different strategy,” he said.

Oettinger’s speech did not chime with the Commission’s own recent ‘Trends to 2050’ analysis which forecast a 32% CO2 cut by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario.

Environmentalists say that including surplus carbon allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System would take this figure to 40% without additional efforts. Friends of the Earth spokesman Brook Riley dubbed Oettinger’s remarks “utter nonsense”.

As a whole, the EU sees a strong commitment to cutting greenhouse gases as key to persuading other countries to make similar pledges.



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

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


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

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."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"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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