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

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

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

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

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31 January, 2012

Epidemiologists are known for their poor grip on logic but this guy beats the band

The Warmist epidemiologist below is perfectly correct that past natural climate changes have been disastrous but the disastrous ones were episodes of COOLING. Periods of warming -- as in the Roman warm period -- were periods of prosperity and civilizational advance. Yet he is trying to make the case that history shows warming to be bad. He must know that history indicates the opposite so I say without hesitation that he is a lying crook of zero credibility on anything. I could go on to dispute more of his patently false claims but what's the point?

A LEADING Australian disease expert says prompt action on climate change is paramount to our survival on Earth. Australian National University Epidemiologist Tony McMichael has conducted an historical study that suggests natural climate change over thousands of years has destabilised civilisations via food shortages, disease and unrest.

"We haven't really grasped the fact that a change in climate presents a quite fundamental threat to the foundations of population health," Prof McMichael said. "These things have happened before in response to fairly modest changes to climate.

"Let's be aware that we really must take early action if we are going to maintain this planet as a liveable habitat for humans."

In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Prof McMichael argues the world faces extreme climate change "without precedent" over the past 10,000 years.

"With the exception of a few downward spikes of acute cooling due to massive volcanic eruptions, most of the changes have been within a band of about plus or minus three-quarters of a degree centigrade," he said today.

"Yet we are talking about the likelihood this century of going beyond two degrees centigrade and quite probably, on current trajectory, reaching a global average increase of three to four degrees."

Prof McMichael's paper states that the greatest recurring health risk over past millennia has been from food shortages mostly caused by drying and drought.

Warming also leads to an increase in infectious diseases as a result of better growth conditions for bacteria and the proliferation of mosquitoes.

Drought can also result in greater contact with rodents searching for scarce food supplies.

The ANU academic says while societies today are better equipped to defend themselves physically and technologically, they lack the flexibility smaller groups had in the past. That's partly because the world is now "over populated", according to Prof McMichael, so there are fewer areas available to retreat too.

Populations are also increasingly packed into large cities on coastlines which are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events.

Prof McMichael has been examining the impact of climate change on population health for 20 years and says it's not easy to raise awareness of the risk.

"Most of the attention has been of a more limited shorter-term kind relating to things around us like the economy, our property, infrastructure and risks to iconic ecosystems and species."


Electricity blackouts can be fatal

And with their innumerable attacks on reliable forms of electricity generation, Greenies are pushing us towards ever more blackouts

A vast electricity blackout in the United States and Canada in 2003 led to the deaths of nearly 100 people, a study found, linking the deaths — higher than official estimates — to not only accidents caused by lack of power, but also underlying diseases.

Researchers said the study published in the journal Epidemiology was the first to show that the death toll of such a power outage comes not only from accidents, such as carbon monoxide poisoning from using generators, but also from chronic health issues such as cardiovascular and respiratory problems.

“Our results from this study indicate that power outages can immediately and severely harm human health,” said lead author Brooke Anderson, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

Little is known about the health impact of power outages, Anderson and a colleague wrote.

To get a sense of the mortality from a blackout, they collected data on New York City’s weather conditions, air pollution levels and causes of deaths reported during the blackout in August 2003.

Though most of New York City was dark for only about a day, August 14 to 15, the blackout affected a wide swath of the northeastern United States and Canada, lasting as long as four days in some cases — including some pockets within the city.

Afterwards, the New York City health department attributed only six deaths to the blackout, most of them from carbon monoxide poisoning.

But Anderson found there was an overall 28 percent spike in deaths during the outage. Twelve of those additional deaths were caused by accidents, 38 by cardiovascular conditions, three from respiratory problems and 37 by various other health conditions.

Conditions during a blackout may explain why health problems can worsen. Many residents in high-rise apartments had no water for the duration, for example, and firefighters had to rescue hundreds of people from elevators.

“People were trapped in the subway in the dark and didn’t know what happened. Especially after September 11, people are more scared, and stress can trigger a heart attack or exacerbate asthma,” said Shao Lin, an epidemiologist with the New York State Department of Health, who was not involved in the study.

Increased air pollution from idling buses or other sources could also aggravate respiratory conditions, Lin said. In a previous study, she and her colleagues found that hospital admissions for respiratory conditions increased during the blackout.

Though pollution monitors didn’t work through the outage, shortly afterward there was an uptick in certain air pollutants, the researchers said.

Anderson said that people with chronic health issues could also have problems managing them.

“Most food sources and pharmacies were closed, which could be a serious problem for someone with diabetes or someone who is low on prescription medicines,” she said in an email.

Ambulances were slower, home medical equipment that used electricity couldn’t operate and cell phones didn’t work during part of the blackout.

Anderson said that while energy companies are working to stop power outages from taking place in the future, such as during heat waves when power grids struggle, increased stress on the grids could make blackouts more common in the future.

“The most direct way to reduce excess deaths from a blackout is to try to prevent blackouts,” she said.


A Really Inconvenient Truth Is Earth Is Not Melting After All

Earth is not warming. According to Big Green enviros, only Luddites and lunatics would believe such a ludicrous statement.

Well, now government scientists must be added to the long list of the so addled. Here it is, straight from the (high tech) horse's mouth, a new report from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies titled "Global Temperature in 2011, Trends, and Prospects:"

"Global temperature in 2011 was lower than in 1998."

But don't worry. Even as climate scientists -- and an ever-gullible media -- are forced by new data to admit that the Earth is not warming, they take pains to assure us that the Earth is still warming.

The Associated Press was typical in its contortions, as in this Jan. 20 statement: "The world last year wasn't quite as warm as it has been for most of the past decade, government scientists said Thursday, but it continues a general trend of rising temperatures."

Not as warm, but still a "general trend" of rising temperatures. Got that? No? Well, don't worry. The high priests of warming have apparently assumed a plane far above our mere mortal logic.

Besides, it all depends on how you define "trend," doesn't it? If you go far enough back, you can prove any trend you like about global temperatures. If you start at about 650 million years ago, when the Earth was covered pole to pole in ice, you can say current data show we are in a "general trend" of rising temperatures. If you go back to 1998, not so much.

It is cute, in a pathetic kind of way, to watch the global warming cult try and fudge and spin this fact like nobody's business. Here's another hilarious example, from the same AP story:

"'It would be premature to make any conclusion that we would see any hiatus of the longer-term warming trend,' said Tom Karl, director of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. 'Global temperatures are continuing to increase.'"

Yes, it would be premature to draw a conclusion (that global warming is not happening) based on current data (that global temps are lower today than in 1998). That's what we foolish mortals do.

Government scientists, and the functionaries and bureaucrats they serve, however, know better. Aren't we lucky?

In another sickening example, NASA scientists admit that while the new data is "suggestive of a slowdown in global warming, this apparent slowdown may largely disappear as a few more years of data are added."

An apparent slowdown that may disappear. Talk about covering your bases. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

One can understand this disappointment. Lucrative climate-scaremongering careers are at stake. So it is no surprise that many cling to the hope that maybe we will burn up after all, that maybe this new data is just a fluke, a blip, a natural respite from man's descent into an unnatural global conflagration.

The truth is this: There is no such thing as an "average" global temperature. The history of our planet is a history of wildly fluctuating temperatures, locally and globally, from season to season, century to century, epoch to epoch.

Only a generation as narcissistic as the baby boomers would assume that the temperature they were accustomed to as they came of age in the mid-20th century is the "correct" or "average" global temperature, which must be maintained in perpetuity no matter the costs.

Again, from NASA: "Global temperature in 2011 was lower than in 1998." Now there's an inconvenient truth for you.


The Massive NASA & IPCC Embarrassment: Hansen's Abysmal Global Warming Model Predictions

James Hansen has provided proof over the last few decades that climate models are worthless as climate prediction tools - will NASA & the IPCC admit failure?

Using the December-end temperature anomalies (topmost chart), it is readily apparent that NASA's James Hansen is entirely incapable of producing accurate global temperature predictions over the long-term. His predictions have been so bad that even the mainstream press is finally coming around to the realization that the alarmist global warming scenarios are truly without merit.

The second chart exhibits the non-predicted deceleration of global temperatures over the last 15 years using the IPCC's gold-standard HadCRUT dataset.

Whether it is long or short-term, Hansen/NASA models are no better than a Ouija board as a tool to predict global temperatures. This massive failure by Hansen et al can also be seen in his model's prediction of ocean heat content and sea level rise.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Little Ice Age recognized in top journal

Michael Mann's "hockeystick" says that the LIA did not happen. And in 2007 Phil Jones said "it's important "not to cling to outdated concepts of the past such as the MWP and LIA"

That the "modelling" of the authors below excludes a solar influence as the cause of the LIA need not detain us of course. You can get anything you like out of a model.

Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks

by Gifford H. Miller et al.


Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures over the past 8000 years have been paced by the slow decrease in summer insolation resulting from the precession of the equinoxes. However, the causes of superposed century-scale cold summer anomalies, of which the Little Ice Age (LIA) is the most extreme, remain debated, largely because the natural forcings are either weak or, in the case of volcanism, short lived. Here we present precisely dated records of ice-cap growth from Arctic Canada and Iceland showing that LIA summer cold and ice growth began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD, followed by a substantial intensification 1430–1455 AD. Intervals of sudden ice growth coincide with two of the most volcanically perturbed half centuries of the past millennium. A transient climate model simulation shows that explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times, and that cold summers can be maintained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols are removed. Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg. The persistence of cold summers is best explained by consequent sea-ice/ocean feedbacks during a hemispheric summer insolation minimum; large changes in solar irradiance are not required.


Phil Jones in June 2003 admits to changing his treatment of the data so as to confirm a warming trend

Email 2530

"Also, note that I've changed the way we smooth the series to preserve the late 20th century trend, like we did in the Eos piece. I've always estimated the uncertainties a bit more conservatively as described in text--so they're a bit expanded now. None of the conclusions change, although the globe is actually a bit more anomalous in the late 20th century when you spreserve the late 20th century trend in the smoothing, so I've tweaked the wording there just a bit..."



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30 January, 2012

Britain's Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.

Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.

We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’ – which is why last week’s solar storm resulted in sightings of the aurora borealis further south than usual. But sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th Century.

Analysis by experts at NASA and the University of Arizona – derived from magnetic-field measurements 120,000 miles beneath the sun’s surface – suggest that Cycle 25, whose peak is due in 2022, will be a great deal weaker still.

According to a paper issued last week by the Met Office, there is a 92 per cent chance that both Cycle 25 and those taking place in the following decades will be as weak as, or weaker than, the ‘Dalton minimum’ of 1790 to 1830. In this period, named after the meteorologist John Dalton, average temperatures in parts of Europe fell by 2C.

However, it is also possible that the new solar energy slump could be as deep as the ‘Maunder minimum’ (after astronomer Edward Maunder), between 1645 and 1715 in the coldest part of the ‘Little Ice Age’ when, as well as the Thames frost fairs, the canals of Holland froze solid.

Yet, in its paper, the Met Office claimed that the consequences now would be negligible – because the impact of the sun on climate is far less than man-made carbon dioxide. Although the sun’s output is likely to decrease until 2100, ‘This would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08C.’ Peter Stott, one of the authors, said: ‘Our findings suggest a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases.’

These findings are fiercely disputed by other solar experts.

‘World temperatures may end up a lot cooler than now for 50 years or more,’ said Henrik Svensmark, director of the Center for Sun-Climate Research at Denmark’s National Space Institute. ‘It will take a long battle to convince some climate scientists that the sun is important. It may well be that the sun is going to demonstrate this on its own, without the need for their help.’

He pointed out that, in claiming the effect of the solar minimum would be small, the Met Office was relying on the same computer models that are being undermined by the current pause in global-warming.

CO2 levels have continued to rise without interruption and, in 2007, the Met Office claimed that global warming was about to ‘come roaring back’. It said that between 2004 and 2014 there would be an overall increase of 0.3C. In 2009, it predicted that at least three of the years 2009 to 2014 would break the previous temperature record set in 1998.

So far there is no sign of any of this happening. But yesterday a Met Office spokesman insisted its models were still valid. ‘The ten-year projection remains groundbreaking science. The period for the original projection is not over yet,’ he said.

Dr Nicola Scafetta, of Duke University in North Carolina, is the author of several papers that argue the Met Office climate models show there should have been ‘steady warming from 2000 until now’.

‘If temperatures continue to stay flat or start to cool again, the divergence between the models and recorded data will eventually become so great that the whole scientific community will question the current theories,’ he said.

He believes that as the Met Office model attaches much greater significance to CO2 than to the sun, it was bound to conclude that there would not be cooling. ‘The real issue is whether the model itself is accurate,’ Dr Scafetta said. Meanwhile, one of America’s most eminent climate experts, Professor Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, said she found the Met Office’s confident prediction of a ‘negligible’ impact difficult to understand.

‘The responsible thing to do would be to accept the fact that the models may have severe shortcomings when it comes to the influence of the sun,’ said Professor Curry. As for the warming pause, she said that many scientists ‘are not surprised’.

She argued it is becoming evident that factors other than CO2 play an important role in rising or falling warmth, such as the 60-year water temperature cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

‘They have insufficiently been appreciated in terms of global climate,’ said Prof Curry. When both oceans were cold in the past, such as from 1940 to 1970, the climate cooled. The Pacific cycle ‘flipped’ back from warm to cold mode in 2008 and the Atlantic is also thought likely to flip in the next few years .

Pal Brekke, senior adviser at the Norwegian Space Centre, said some scientists found the importance of water cycles difficult to accept, because doing so means admitting that the oceans – not CO2 – caused much of the global warming between 1970 and 1997. The same goes for the impact of the sun – which was highly active for much of the 20th Century.

‘Nature is about to carry out a very interesting experiment,’ he said. ‘Ten or 15 years from now, we will be able to determine much better whether the warming of the late 20th Century really was caused by man-made CO2, or by natural variability.’

Meanwhile, since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold ‘La Nina’ effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific.

‘We’re now well into the second decade of the pause,’ said Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. ‘If we don’t see convincing evidence of global warming by 2015, it will start to become clear whether the models are bunk. And, if they are, the implications for some scientists could be very serious.’


The Cost of Obama's Green Appeasement

This weekend’s Boston Globe Magazine will feature a gargantuan, 3600 word homage to rabid environmentalism in the form of a profile on founder Bill McKibben. The piece and President Obama’s disastrously short-sighted decision Wednesday to reject permitting for Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline are both symptomatic of a much larger ailment plaguing liberal politicking in general and the Obama administration in particular: a continual willingness to sacrifice the well-being of the majority for an elite, hypocritical minority.

The Keystone project, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would bring crude from Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect decent-paying American jobs and reduce our dependency on the oil of despotic, anti-western nations with questionably sane leaders. But radical environmentalists like McKibben – a second generation jailed protestor and disciple of John Kerry – seem either not to know or else don’t care what real poverty looks like. And he is among the leaders of the voting contingent to which our president is pandering – purely for political reasons.

The Harvard-educated McKibben, who was among the 1,252 people arrested during protests against the pipeline outside the White House last year, is on a mission to “end the tyranny of oil” and coal. Along with his worship of the false god of climate change, McGibben like many leftist elitists is committed to “social justice” according to the Globe. What McGibben and his ilk overlook is that real social justice begins with a job, the dignity of work, and the ability to care for and feed one’s own family. McGibben & Company’s quest is anti-jobs and therefore anti true social justice.

According to analysis released just this week by the Brookings Institution, child poverty has risen 4% in the past five years – an addition of 3 million impoverished kids, most of them added in the time Obama has been in office. The state with the highest rate? Mississippi, in the Gulf Coast – the very region in which many of the Keystone XL’s quarter-million jobs would have been created, and where the Obama administration’s six-month deepwater drilling moratorium cost Americans tens of thousands of jobs. T.V. talk show host – and Obama supporter – Tavis Smiley said recently, “Many of the ‘new poor’ are the former middle class.”

Obama claims to be “all in” for domestic energy production and job creation, but when handed a no-brainer like Keystone, he choose to side with a radical minority of his base. Why? As Michael Brune, the head of the Sierra Club said, “it shores up the base, definitely.”

On Capitol Hill there has been almost universal silence from Congressional Democrats who apparently are listening to that same “base.” So, what does that say about what agenda really drives the Democratic Party? says that according to a “top Democratic fundraiser” the issues driving the party donors are “Keystone and gay marriage.”

Obama and the Democrats may soon grow to regret the Keystone decision. There are about 25 million Americans unemployed, under employed, or that have given up even trying to find a job. If you’re out of work or struggling to get by, a politician focused on killing jobs and promoting gay marriage probably doesn’t sound like one that has your best interests at heart.

Besides all jobs we now stand to lose out on, we also face a considerable new security challenge in the form of a bolstered China. As Rep. Steve King of Iowa said this week: “If we block [the pipeline] that oil will certainly go to China. It will enrich their economy.” Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper has no intention of waiting for the United States to reverse this wrongheaded move; his goal is to see Canada at the forefront of the energy game. Harper will travel to Beijing next month, where he will likely take part in talks on selling his country’s vast oil supplies to the Chinese government. And China is serious about quenching its thirst for oil.

“Chinese firms aren’t just buying stakes, they’re buying whole operations,” reads a piece this month in Canada’s daily Globe and Mail. “It’s a new phase of China’s step-by-step Canada strategy. It will change not just the oil patch but Canada’s foreign policy. And a game of international energy politics is afoot in Canada’s West.”

When Obama finally turns around for a gander at his fellow Washington backers on this latest political choice, he will see he has precious few.


America's worst regulatory agency outdoes itself

California continues its leading role as the national laughingstock of regulatory absurdity. This week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), forged another link in its unbroken chain of disastrous environmental policies. New CARB regulations reflect a decision process heavily influenced by three primary sources: Joseph Stalin, Al Gore and Pee-Wee Herman.

Let's look at the latest batch of lunacy from those swell 'crats in Sacramento. As an added bonus, we read from SFGATE, the reliable Left Coast mouthpiece that happily shills for the hard left Democratic mouth breathers.

".... the California Air Resources Board unanimously approved strict vehicle emissions regulations that will mandate production of more than a million zero-emission vehicles."

Unanimously? And you only thought I was kidding about the reference to Stalin.

"... the Advanced Clean Car program, will cut in half current greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. It means automakers will have to cut exhaust by two-thirds and begin mass-producing cars that do not run on gasoline."

"Although there may be some bumps in the road for individual vehicles, the steady drumbeat that is driving us to get off of petroleum continues." [Said Mary Nichols, the resources board chairwoman]

The new standards require 15 percent of new cars and small trucks sold each year in California to run on batteries, hydrogen fuel cells or plug-in hybrid technology within the next 13 years.

The new requirements will get increasingly stricter. By 2018, more than 70,000 cars and light trucks sold in California will have to run without spewing fossil fuel exhaust. An estimated 1.4 million zero-emission vehicles will be buzzing around the state by 2025.

By 2025, consumers will save an average of $4,000 over the life of a car compared with today - even though new vehicles will cost more, according to the Air Resources Board.

"Some bumps in the road for individual vehicles," "the new requirements will get increasingly stricter" and "new vehicles will cost more?" And you only thought I was kidding about the reference to Stalin.

Here is the money paragraph. Inhale the pungent aroma of liberal steer droppings lobotomizing the logic pathways of your frontal lobes.

"Scientists say the reductions in greenhouse gases that will result from the new rules are necessary for the world to avoid the most catastrophic effects of human-caused climate change. Regulators say the rules will also drive innovation and, therefore, job growth, reduce U.S. dependence on oil from hostile countries, and save people money on the cost of gasoline and medical care."

What mythical scientists are we talking about? Dr. Gore or Dr. Pee-Wee Herman? What mythical regulators? Perhaps a famous CARB bureaucrat with a fake degree who saddled taxpayers with millions of dollars of regulations? And how about that reduction of U.S. dependence on oil from hostile countries? Do you think they are referring to Canada and Keystone? And what in blue blazes is that last bit about medical costs, kinda creepy huh?

So what is driving all this idiocy? Last year it was called global warming, now neatly repackaged as global climate change. Let's look at today's article from the Daily Mail.

"Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years.

The supposed 'consensus' on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years."

Somehow the MSM overlooked this story; it must have been a busy news day. I'm just speculating here, but we won't see or hear about this on the major news networks any time soon.

Was global warming used as a wedge issue for the hard left to enact repressive and onerous governmental regulations to debase our freedoms and property rights?

Do you think that all this hooey from Al Gore and the global warming crowd what just a well orchestrated con game to scare taxpayers into funding billions of dollars of new bureaucracies? Was global warming just another consumer product, advertised and sold like mouthwash by the MSM to an indifferent and scientifically uneducated population?

Damn straight, that is exactly what happened.


Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Prior to the year 2000, the USHCN and GISS temperature database showed US temperatures as having peaked in the 1930s, with 1934 (by far) the hottest year – and 1998 the fifth hottest.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Dr. James Hansen from NASA wrote at the time :

Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought. The drought of 1999 covered a smaller area than the 1988 drought, when the Mississippi almost dried up. And 1988 was a temporary inconvenience as compared with repeated droughts during the 1930s “Dust Bowl” that caused an exodus from the prairies, as chronicled in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.

Around the year 2000, USHCN and GISS decided to “adjust” the temperature record, in a way which caused the 1930s to get much cooler, and recent temperatures to get much warmer.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

The animated image below shows how the data was adjusted. The year 1934 was cooled several tenths of a degree, while the year 1998 was warmed by half a degree. How is that two years prior to the adjustment, over 365,000 US temperature readings were measured improperly by half a degree?

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

The adjustments that were made can be seen on the USHCN map below.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

The map below uses the same images, but with regions of no temperature change removed. Note how the area of warming temperatures was nearly doubled, while the area of cooling temperatures was reduced by about 90%.

Corruption Of The US Temperature Record

Where is the data that was used before the Y2K corruption? Why is it not made available by the scientist who wrote the text below in 1999?

Empirical evidence does not lend much support to the notion that climate is headed precipitately toward more extreme heat and drought.

It is deeply disturbing that a group of climate activists (Hansen and Karl) have made adjustments which turned a cooling trend into a warming trend.


Biodiesels pollute more than crude oil, leaked data show

Greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels such as palm oil, soybean and rapeseed are higher than those for fossil fuels when the effects of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) are counted, according to leaked EU data seen by EurActiv.

The default values assigned to the biofuels compare to those from Canada’s oil sands – also known as tar sands – according to the figures, which should be released along with long-awaited legislative proposals on biofuels in the spring.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said she could “not comment on leaked documents, such as impact assessments which have not been published.”

But industry and civil society sources described the data as credible and in line with other studies. One said it would sound a death knell for the biodiesel industry, if published.

“I think the science has proved clearly that because of the link to deforestation in places such as South East Asia, a lot of the biodiesels have significantly negative impacts on the climate,” Robbie Blake, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth, told EurActiv.

Indirect land-use change

ILUC happens when forests and wetlands are cleared to compensate for lands taken to grow biofuels elsewhere.

One recent report predicted that all of Malaysia’s tropical peatswamp forests would be destroyed by the end of the decade because of ILUC - with alarming consequences for greenhouse gas emissions - unless the expansion of palm oil production was halted.

To measure the climate impact of fuels, Brussels favours assigning default values based on a calculation of their full lifecycle emissions, hence the debate over ILUC factors and biofuels.

In its recent review of the Fuel Quality Directive, the EU proposed a default value of 107g CO2 equivalent per megajoule of fuel (CO2/mj) for oil from tar sands, as compared to 87.5g CO2/mj for crude oil, reflecting the greater environmental harm that its production causes.

Yet while advanced ‘second generation’ biofuels comfortably outperform fossil fuels in the EU’s new data, palm oil is ascribed a value of 105g, soybean 103g, rapeseed 95g, and sunflower 86g, once ILUC is factored in.

The data propose ILUC-incorporating CO2/mj values for biofuels as follows:

Palm Oil - 105g
Soybean – 103g
Rapeseed – 95g
Sunflower – 86g
Palm Oil with methane capture – 83g
Wheat (process fuel not specified) – 64g
Wheat (as process fuel natural gas used in CHP) – 47g
Corn (Maize) – 43g
Sugar Cane – 36g
Sugar Beet – 34g
Wheat (straw as process fuel in CHP plants) – 35g
2G Ethanol (land-using) – 32g
2G Biodiesel (land-using) – 21g
2G Ethanol (non-land using) – 9g
2G Biodiesel (non-land using) – 9g


Isabelle Maurizi, a spokesperson for the European Biodiesel Board, told EurActiv that data such as the leaked biofuels values, and recent reports by the EU’s Joint Research Centre, the European Environmental Agency, and the International Food Policy Research Institute, were not consistent with research in the US.

“We do not recognise the validity of the science due to discrepancies in the results. The science is not grounded yet and is still immature so we would favour incentives in policy-making rather than punitive proposals,” she said.

Any application of the leaked values could severely hamper the ability of biodiesel manufacturers to enter into the EU’s new biofuels certification plan, announced last August.

This stipulates that certification only be awarded to biofuels which emit 35% less greenhouse gas than petrol, with the figure rising to 60% from 2018.

Advanced biofuels producers believe they would meet this standard and Rob Vierhout, the secretary-general of ePURE, a renewable ethanol association, said that the EU needed “a different shade of ILUC factor.”

“If indeed the effects on land use change depend on the feedstock that they’re using, then this has to be recognised in the policy,” he told EurActiv.

In April 2009, the EU legislated that renewable energy sources such as biofuels should make up 10% of Europe’s transportation fuels mix by 2020, and this has legal as well as financial consequences.


Heresy at the BBC

There's an extremely interesting snippet (about 3 minutes long) on the website of BBC Radio 4's "Today" program, which is their flagship program for serious news and current affairs. Peter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford, says that contrary to environmental orthodoxy that fossil fuels will shortly run out, "the facts are very, very different. We're awash with the stuff".

The snippet then goes on, incredibly for the BBC, to talk about how the "challenge" for environmentalists is to come up with an argument against this abundant source of energy, expecially clean burning shale gas. Amazing stuff for the BBC.

See here


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


29 January, 2012

A record of failed predictions

The acid test of any scientific theory is its ability to generate accurate predictions. David Evans shows below that Warmism has a comprehensive record of failed predictions. The Warmist predictions for the future must also therefore be expected to be wrong. Excerpt only below

There are literally thousands of feedbacks, each of which either reinforces or opposes the direct warming effect of the extra CO2. Almost every long-lived system is governed by net feedback that dampens its response to a perturbation. If a system instead reacts to a perturbation by amplifying it, the system is likely to reach a tipping point and become unstable (like the electronic squeal that erupts when a microphone gets too close to its speakers). The earth’s climate is long-lived and stable— it has never gone into runaway greenhouse, unlike Venus — which strongly suggests that the feedbacks dampen temperature perturbations such as that from extra CO2.

What the Data Says

The climate models have been essentially the same for 30 years now, maintaining roughly the same sensitivity to extra CO2 even while they got more detailed with more computer power.

How well have the climate models predicted the temperature? Does the data better support the climate models or the skeptic’s view?

Air Temperatures

One of the earliest and most important predictions was presented to the US Congress in 1988 by Dr James Hansen, the “father of global warming”:

Figure 3: Hansen’s predictions [6] to the US Congress in 1988, compared to the subsequent temperatures as measured by NASA satellites [7]

Hansen’s climate model clearly exaggerated future temperature rises. In particular, his climate model predicted that if human CO2 emissions were cut back drastically starting in 1988, such that by year 2000 the CO2 level was not rising at all, we would get his scenario C. But in reality the temperature did not even rise this much, even though our CO2 emissions strongly increased – which suggests that the climate models greatly overestimate the effect of CO2 emissions.

A more considered prediction by the climate models was made in 1990 in the IPCC’s First Assessment Report:[8]

Figure 4: Predictions of the IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990, compared to the subsequent temperatures as measured by NASA satellites

It’s 20 years now, and the average rate of increase in reality is below the lowest trend in the range predicted by the IPCC.

Ocean Temperatures

The oceans hold the vast bulk of the heat in the climate system. We’ve only been measuring ocean temperature properly since mid-2003, when the Argo system became operational.[9][10] In Argo, a buoy duck dives down to a depth of 2,000 meters, measures temperatures as it very slowly ascends, then radios the results back to headquarters via satellite. Over three thousand Argo buoys constantly patrol all the oceans of the world.

Figure 5: Climate model predictions [11] of ocean temperature, versus the measurements by Argo [12]. The unit of the vertical axis is 1022 Joules (about 0.01°C).

The ocean temperature has been basically flat since we started measuring it properly, and not warming as quickly as the climate models predict.

Atmospheric Hotspot

The climate models predict a particular pattern of atmospheric warming during periods of global warming; the most prominent change they predict is a warming in the tropics about 10 km up, the “hotspot”.

The hotspot is the sign of the amplification in their theory (see Figure 1). The theory says the hotspot is caused by extra evaporation, and by extra water vapor pushing the warmer wetter lower troposphere up into volume previously occupied by cool dry air. The presence of a hotspot would indicate amplification is occurring, and vice versa.

We have been measuring atmospheric temperatures with weather balloons since the 1960s. Millions of weather balloons have built up a good picture of atmospheric temperatures over the last few decades, including the warming period from the late 70’s to the late 90s. This important and pivotal data was not released publicly by the climate establishment until 2006, and then in an obscure place. [13] Here it is:

Figure 6: On the left is the data collected by millions of weather balloons. [14] On the right is what the climate models say was happening.[15] The theory (as per the climate models) is incompatible with the observations. In both diagrams the horizontal axis shows latitude, and the right vertical axis shows height in kilometers.

In reality there was no hotspot, not even a small one. So in reality there is no amplification – the amplification shown in Figure 1 does not exist.[16]

Outgoing Radiation

The climate models predict that when the surface of the earth warms, less heat is radiated from the earth into space (on a weekly or monthly time scale). This is because, according to the theory, the warmer surface causes more evaporation and thus there is more heat-trapping water vapor. This is the heat-trapping mechanism that is responsible for the assumed amplification in Figure 1.

Satellites have been measuring the radiation emitted from the earth for the last two decades. A major study has linked the changes in temperature on the earth’s surface with the changes in the outgoing radiation. Here are the results:

Figure 7: Outgoing radiation from earth (vertical axis) against sea surface temperature (horizontal), as measured by the ERBE satellites (upper left graph) and as “predicted” by 11 climate models (the other graphs).[17] Notice that the slope of the graphs for the climate models are opposite to the slope of the graph for the observed data

This shows that in reality the earth gives off more heat when its surface is warmer. This is the opposite of what the climate models predict. This shows that the climate models trap heat too aggressively, and that their assumed amplification shown in Figure 1 does not exist.


Plimer challenges the climate scaremongers with answers to 101 questions

The second print run of Ian Plimer’s How to Get Expelled From School is now shipping, the publisher, Connor Court, told Australian Conservative. The first print run sold out before Christmas.

Professor Plimer penned the best-selling Heaven and Earth in 2009. His new book continues to examine the issues surrounding the massive climate change scare-up and brings historical perspective to the issue. Plimer is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at The University of Melbourne and arguably Australia’s best-known geologist.

Professor Plimer says that past natural climate changes have been larger and more rapid than the worst case predictions, yet humans adapted. Is human-induced global warming the biggest financial and scientific scam in history? If it is, we will pay dearly, he says:
Life [today] is far better than 100 years ago. We eat better, live longer, have better housing and have a richer life. Environmental ideologies are attractive and form part of personal growth. But, an ideology embraced without analysis of practical aspects is vacuous. Global warming is a fad. Once there are consequences that affect a comfortable life, then another issue will be found. And embraced again with passion. What is the next scare campaign? Ocean acidification? Biodiversity?

Climate change has been with us for the 4,500 million year history of planet Earth. This is what climate does. It always changes. Changes in our lifetime may be natural.

If you have wondered if pupils, parents and the public being fed political propaganda on climate change, this book provides an opportunity to find out.

In one section of the book, Professor Plimer lists 101 simple questions to ask teachers, activists, journalists and politicians – and provides you with answers. Here’s just one of them:
If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age?

During the Little Ice Age, people died like flies and it was really not a good time to be on Earth. Besides the cold, there were crop failures, famine, cannibalism and disease. As a child, you might have been on the menu. It was certainly not an ideal temperature then. However, a clever teacher would put you in your place and may suggest that the ideal temperature for an Eskimo is not the ideal temperature for someone living in the jungles of Borneo. You could then come back and suggest that this shows that humans can adapt to a great range of temperature so why worry about a warmer world.

The Galileo Movement is promoting the book to schoolteachers and school librarians, with an offer of a free copy. Full details of the offer are available at Connor Court.


"Smart" meter cock-up in Britain

Millions of green energy meters may have to be replaced because the technology is not working properly. Homes and businesses which have already installed the digital devices have had problems switching to cheap deals and are even being hit with extra fees. Many meters could have to be stripped out altogether and reinstalled with a Government-approved model.

A Daily Mail investigation has revealed how some small businesses are being charged 20p a day simply to have a smart meter while many homeowners are being asked to give readings to energy firms because the technology is not transmitting their data properly.

The latest green energy fiasco is the result of suppliers pressing ahead with installing their own smart meters before the Government has decided on a standard model.

Every home and small business is due by 2019 to get a smart device, which is designed to show people how much energy they are using by the minute, so encouraging them to cut back to save money and energy.

However, even though installing the meters does not officially begin until 2014, many energy companies, including E.ON and Npower, are already doing so. This is because they will need to replace around 30million old electricity meters and 23million gas meters by the 2019 deadline.

Energy regulator Ofgem estimates four million smart meters are likely to be installed before 2014, while British Gas confirmed it has put in 400,000 so far.

However, because details of how the smart meters will work are not expected to be announced by the Government until March, many of the current devices may not be compatible and could have to be replaced in the future.

The scheme is due to cost energy companies £11.7billion, which they plan to pass on to consumers by hiking prices. Smart meters are expected to add £6 to the average annual bill by 2015.

In a letter to suppliers, energy watchdog Ofgem said it was also concerned that suppliers may not be able to read meters installed by a rival company. This renders the new technology useless if customers want to switch deals – in effect, the smart meter would work like the old types of ‘dumb’ meters currently in homes.

A spokesman said: ‘The meters being installed at present are not built to a common technical specification. As such, when a customer changes supplier, the new supplier may not be able to utilise the advanced functionality. ‘Furthermore, if the meter is not a compliant smart meter then it will have to be replaced by the end of the rollout.’

Consumer groups have also warned the green scheme is fast becoming a costly disaster. Zoe McLeod, of Consumer Focus, said: ‘We have repeatedly raised concerns about the cost and installation of smart meters. Customers – who will ultimately foot the bill – need to be confident that they will see tangible benefits.’

Last year, Money Mail revealed concerns that energy companies would try to sell expensive products to homeowners when installing smart meters.

Consumer groups have also warned that the devices will allow suppliers to cut off energy at the ‘flick of a switch’ without even having to enter people’s homes.


How the Friends of the Earth lost their focus

Their critics complain that the environmental activists came to represent 'Interminable meetings, not action'.

"Good gracious” exclaimed the newly retired ambassador, surveying my bald pate. “It’s Geoff Lean, isn’t it? We last saw each other when we exposed the illegal selling of a tiger skin in 1979.”

Thursday evening was that kind of an occasion. Friends of the Earth – which I have been covering since its formation in 1970 – was, rather belatedly, celebrating its 40th anniversary in a fashionable but forbidding London nightclub, and hundreds of its former campaigners were staging noisy mini-reunions with each other and with a few long-standing outsiders, like me.

And for once the pressure group, long past its youthful best, had something to celebrate besides longevity. The day before, it had scored its first significant victory for many moons when the Appeal Court ruled illegal a Government attempt to cut the feed-in tariff for solar power before the end of a consultation on the move. And there are signs that it may be beginning to revive itself after years of decline.

But the conversations – over hairily organic canapes made from food due to go to waste – were about the past, not the future. John Denham, the former Labour cabinet minister, even bumped into the man who had given him his first job, as an energy efficiency advisor for the organisation in 1977.

He, and many others from that time, reminisced about the cramped, cluttered, two-room offices in Soho’s Poland Street, where most of FoE’s – to give it its deliberately aggressive acronym – best campaigns were born. The group burst to national attention in 1971 when Schweppes stopped making its bottles returnable: on a sunny Saturday a procession of friends took 1,500 non-returnable ones back to the company’s headquarters, under the slogan: “Don’t let them Schh... on Britain.”

The demonstration’s lightheartedness – contrasting with the often ugly confrontations of the time – caught the public imagination, and over the next weeks local groups sprang up across the country. FoE went on, within three years, to win famous victories in stopping Rio Tinto Zinc from digging a vast copper mine in the Snowdonia National Park, preventing the Scottish hamlet of Drumbuie being turned into a site for building oil rigs, and persuading the government to ban the import of whale products and leopard and tiger skins.

More important, it kick-started still-continuing debates on whaling, nuclear power, renewables, transport policy, food wastage, and energy efficiency. It introduced then-revolutionary, but now commonplace, concepts, such as that building roads rarely solves congestion because it increases traffic, or that human error is the main cause of nuclear accidents and is hard to eliminate.

At the time, it seemed that FoE’s feisty group of young campaigners would rise to the top of British public life, but none, apart from Denham, did so. My ambassador, Tim Clarke (who represented the EU in Tanzania), and its most effective executive director, Tom Burke (who became a key advisor to three consecutive Conservative environment ministers before ending up at his former adversary Rio Tinto), achieved some prominence, while another early campaigner, Amory Lovins, became an alternative energy guru in America. Most, impressively, continued to pursue their concerns in academia or other pressure groups.

David Green, who gave Denham his job, spent many years in the unglamorous business of promoting combined heat and power generation. Early wildlife campaigners Sue Clifford and Angela King set up Common Ground, which has fought to save Britain’s orchards. And Fiona Weir, perhaps its best air pollution campaigner, now runs the single parent charity Gingerbead.

Meanwhile FoE grew in size, and shrank in effectiveness. Campaigners increasingly became over-specialised and over-concerned with trying to affect government policy behind the scenes, confusing access with influence, activity with achievement. Like many other green pressure groups it became increasingly seduced by the establishment it once challenged. And despite a few big successes – such as securing the 2008 Climate Change Act – it had relatively little impact.

Last year, a former executive director, Charles Secrett, accurately accused it and other green groups of being “out of touch, ineffective and bureaucratic”, adding: “Interminable meetings, not action, are the order of most days.”

FoE’s present leadership, however, does recognise the problem, and is finally trying to tackle it, starting with a long-overdue restructuring. The campaign team is being shaken up and new issues, which concern a broader public than just environmentalists, are being taken on. One such project on energy bill increases – mainly caused by the rising cost of fossil fuels – has already started, another on saving collapsing bee populations starts in April.

“There are finally some good signs, even if they are so far more organisational than operational”, says Tom Burke. The pressure group must hope that, for it, life can begin again at 40.


Australia: Ethanol critics push to overturn NSW fuel rule

OPPONENTS of a state government plan to ban regular unleaded petrol from July 1 are expecting to force a debate in Parliament and increase pressure on the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, to abandon the move.

Under a convention introduced by Mr O'Farrell, a petition of 10,000 signatures will trigger a debate if it is sponsored by an MP.

The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association wrote to 1200 petrol station owners last month asking them to display a petition opposing the plan under which petrol stations will be forced to replace regular unleaded with an ethanol blend, E10.

About 6000 people have signed the petition since January 5, the association's general manager, Nic Moulis, said. Mr Moulis said he had already been discussing sponsorship of the debate with MPs, whom he declined to name, and was optimistic that one of them would agree.

The petition calls for an indefinite suspension of the switch to E10 and a "full independent review" of the Biofuels Act, under which the change is scheduled to occur.

The association argues the switch will be costly for service station owners due to the need to modify their petrol supply infrastructure. It says it will particularly hit those retailers who do not sell E10, many of which are in regional areas.

On Monday, leaked cabinet documents revealed the government had pushed ahead with the ban despite advice from several agencies that it would increase petrol prices and may be unconstitutional.

The same day the Herald revealed research that suggested up to 750,000 motorists would pay more than $150 a year extra as they would be forced to use premium unleaded because their cars were not compatible with E10.

As part of its campaign the petroleum marketers association is encouraging station owners to display a flyer saying: "Want to pay over 10 cents per litre more for your fuel?"


Wind power very disruptive in poor countries

Wind's biggest impact may be in the developing world – indeed, according to the Global Wind Energy Consortium, 2011 was the first year the developing world installed more wind power facilities than the developed world. India is now fifth in wind power production. China, the global wind leader, installed more wind power in 2009 than existed on the planet prior to 2003. Morocco recently finished its first wind farm (200 megawatts) and, with plans to grow its capacity 10-fold by 2020, expects to export electricity to Europe.

For all the hope that wind energy offers a world eager to move away from costlier, more environmentally disruptive forms of electric power production, the industry is barreling into some of the same controversies and conflicts that its predecessors in natural resource exploitation faced, particularly in the developing world.

On one hand, says Paul Veers, chief engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: "The wind business is doing something no new electricity source has done in almost half a century – it's beginning to make an impact."

On the other hand, says Dan Kammen, a University of California, Berkeley, renewable energy scholar working on leave at the World Bank: "The conflicts that come up [with wind] are exactly the same ones that come up in basically every other land-based activity. We have done this in the past over Manifest Destiny and national security. The issue of the moment happens to be green energy, but there has been a history of this."

Towering turbines, often with blades as long as 30 yards, are installed in huge groups – wind farms – and require large tracts of land. Acquisition of that land has been a sometimes violent flash point in the new "wind rush.

The growth of wind power is driven partly by demand: China's electric power demand has doubled in just a decade, and India's peak demand is 12 percent higher than its available supply.

But also, national and international subsidies and incentives – such as carbon offsets that allow companies to invest in clean energy to "offset" carbon emissions in their dirtier businesses – have driven wind industry growth. Critics of the incentives say that every new turbine represents a blank check to pollute elsewhere. Supporters say it's a market-based solution meant to ease business into clean energy.

For Kyoto signatory nations it has meant a global rush to acquire land for wind turbines. Wind projects have been successful – notably, in Tamil Nadu, India, which experts like Ms. Shukla and Mr. Kammen cite as a model of responsiveness to local need and manageable scale.

Indeed, wind energy projects do generally inject economic benefits wherever they're built, but the development process often sparks anger, especially among poor landowners.

"What we see in many places, if not most places around the world, is very much what I would describe as the colonial model, where Europeans would go to Africa and other places and they say 'OK, we are going to develop this,' " says James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. "And the deal that is being offered, in the end, is not a good one."

In 2001, Mr. Anaya won a landmark case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that involved logging rights in Nicaragua and established that indigenous people have exclusive right to their lands. He says that too often a government or business acquires land through unequal negotiations, in which indigenous people aren't given all the information or options.

Negotiating any wind contract is complex. Often in the developing world, communities are poorly educated or largely illiterate and don't understand the implications of a contract. They may simply have no access to legal and technical advice and they may be powerless to negotiate. And because parcels are small, they can be destroyed by turbine construction.

Kammen, a strong supporter of wind power, says that by comparison, biofuels have a far worse record than wind development for land grabs. Rampant abuses in Tanzania, he says, recently led to a ban there on all new biofuel investment. He says that most conflicts involving wind energy deal with land occupied ­– but not owned – by indigenous groups, such as in the Kutch District of India, where a case pitting local herders against Indian wind giant Suzlon Energy Ltd. went to the high court there. He worries about such conflicts arising with Morocco's nomadic herders.

In 2010, the Monitor documented a case in Dhule, India, where 2,000 adivasi – or tribesmen – were forced to accept hundreds of wind turbines on their traditional lands. They'd lived on the land for generations but had dubious title. The government gave the land to Suzlon, which, in some cases, bought out owners.

However, ownership doesn't guarantee fair treatment. In Honduras a wind energy company recently forced indigenous Lenca people who did have land title to take on a wind farm, paying each farmer as little as $80 per year to lease the land. In many cases, the owners were barred from their land.

Cases like this, in which landowners are either coerced into a contract or don't understand what they are signing, are beginning to worry indigenous rights activists.

"You are talking about land that is the basis for the existence and survival of cultures – of entire social-culture dynamics that define a people," says Anaya. "You are talking about the cultural survival of these people."

Elsewhere, it's not clear what effect the wind boom is having on civil rights. China has doubled production capacity in each of the past five years. It has a history of driving people from land for hydropower, but wind experts say China's grip on information makes it hard to know if the same goes for wind projects.

Asked about the conflicts cited here, Shukla says her industry organization is unaware of any wind development projects that have caused poor landowners any strife.

In the Great Plains of the United States, many native American communities have joined a movement to direct all development on their lands. "The tribes were no longer satisfied with business as usual ... other people coming in, building some economic development project, owning it, taking the profits out, and leaving the tribe with it at the end of its life," says Robert Gough, a consultant with the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, which represents 10 Great Plains tribes.

Many tribal communities there say they pay high electricity costs or have no electricity at all. So the council decided no wind farms will be built on tribal land unless the tribe has controlling interest.

Mr. Gough says the tribes have struggled to find partners because of these demands and because federal investment incentives are designed for businesses, not municipalities or reservations.

But communal bargaining is catching on. In southern Wyoming, 2,000 owners have pooled 2 million acres in "wind associations."

Many countries are trying to start domestic wind industries. For example, 15 years ago, foreigners built China's turbines; now Chinese corporations do it.

"At the end of the day, developing countries are energy deficient. And they do need power," says Shukla. "You want to be able to give them energy that is cleaner than what we have been providing across the world."



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


28 January, 2012

No Need to Panic About Global Warming

There's no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy

Editor's Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:

A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about "global warming." Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.

In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: "I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: 'The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth's physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.' In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?"

In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the "pollutant" carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific "heretics" is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.

Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 "Climategate" email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.

The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2.

The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere.

Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.

This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before—for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.

Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word "incontrovertible" from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question "cui bono?" Or the modern update, "Follow the money."

Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.

Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. And it is likely that more CO2 and the modest warming that may come with it will be an overall benefit to the planet.

If elected officials feel compelled to "do something" about climate, we recommend supporting the excellent scientists who are increasing our understanding of climate with well-designed instruments on satellites, in the oceans and on land, and in the analysis of observational data. The better we understand climate, the better we can cope with its ever-changing nature, which has complicated human life throughout history. However, much of the huge private and government investment in climate is badly in need of critical review.

Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of "incontrovertible" evidence.

Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.


Correlating CO2 And Temperature In The Geologic Record

If we accept Warmist claims about the accuracy of temperature and CO2 proxies we get some very awkward findings about long-term trends

During the Ordovician, CO2 was more than ten times higher than at present. Global temperatures ranged between very hot and an ice age. We can state with 100% certainty that as CO2 increases, temperatures will either go up, go down, or stay the same.


Green Lebensraum: The Nazi Roots of Sustainable Development

By Mark Musser

Much of the European Union's green sustainable development plans are largely based on government controlled land use planning theories rooted in the lebensraum tradition. Literally, lebensraum means "living space." Lebensraum was originally developed by German geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904) and then greatly expanded under the banner of National Socialism (1933-1945).

Ratzel is the father of modern political geography which is commonly called geopolitics. He believed history was largely a natural evolutionary development of peoples looking for geographical living space. Ratzel also held that expanding borders reflected the biological health of a nation. The National Socialists adopted Ratzel's mixing of evolutionary theory, biology, and geopolitics in their own version of lebensraum.

Karl Haushofer (1869-1946), who was an early advisor to Hitler, was the link between Ratzel and National Socialism. Karl Haushofer's father was a friend of Ratzel. Karl was a member of the Thule Society before it was converted into the Nazi Party in 1920. Haushofer was also the mentor of Rudolf Hess, who was a green vegetarian mystic. Hess was Hitler's personal secretary up until 1941. Haushofer and Hess helped Hitler write Mein Kampf.

There was also a strong connection between lebensraum and the growing political empire of the Nazi SS under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler and Walther Darre. Himmler and Darre promoted a "back to the land" movement under the SS slogan of "blood and soil." In Darre's racist ideology, the economic catastrophe of the 1920's confirmed the decadence of the modern cosmopolitan city life. Darre believed that greedy foreign capitalism coupled with international Marxist class warfare divided the German race so that it was not allowed to sustain itself in the soil of its own homeland.

The hunger pangs of the 1920's were blamed on the international city, largely run by Jewish capitalists and communists. Darre and Himmler believed cosmopolitan cities arrogated themselves above the laws of life and nature. The answer to this crisis, therefore, was to get the German race out from under the yoke of dirty industrial cities and re-ruralize them "back to the land." In this way, the German race could recover its cultural and physical health based on a green socialistic agrarianism that was designed to compete against the cultural decadence of the cities.

There was not enough space in Germany itself to re-ruralize the population "back to the land." Without more living space there could be no proper marriage between German blood and soil. Additional lebensraum was required. It would therefore be sought in Eastern Europe and western Russia.

When the SS began to implement its "back to the land" campaign, it found itself in conflict with other powerful forces in Germany. However, by the mid to late 1930's the Office for Spatial Research and Space Planning was set up by the Nazi hierarchy to provide technocratic solutions on how to properly balance all the competing desires of the nation -- everything from the war economy, to industrial needs, housing, and even environmental protection. Sustainable development as a political ideal was thus pioneered under the auspices of Nazi spatial planning.

During the war, the SS had grandiose plans to use research garnered from the Office of Spatial Planning to create an eco-imperial empire in the conquered eastern territories. Inspired by SS planners Konrad Meyer (1901-1973), Emil Meynen (1902-1994), and Walter Christaller (1893-1969) , sustainable development as an applied political policy was to be implemented on the eastern front behind advancing German lines. Shockingly, under the SS, Ratzel's lebensraum came to mean living space for sustainable development.

The SS planned to use industry in the conquered eastern territories along with slave labor to pay for and build master planned communities. The eastern territories would also be filled with socialistic green garden villages and farms, together with national parks, forests, and many cockamamie renewable energy projects. Behind enemy lines, the living space of Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia would be cleansed of unnatural Jews and Slavs who were unworthy of the soil they lived on. In particular, planning schemes based on Walter Christaller's Central Place Theory would be applied on a scale unachievable in Germany thanks to the fact that the Nazis were first going to cleanse the landscape. Christaller advocated a hierarchy of towns and villages wrapped around a central city that was to maximize economic and administrative efficiency for state planners.

Toward the end of the war, Nazi spatial and environmental planners destroyed massive quantities of records. They then re-organized themselves into the 'Academy for Area Research and Regional Planning" and the 'Institute for Spatial Planning.' In 1946, Karl Haushofer committed suicide. Konrad Meyer survived Nuremberg and later continued his work in spatial planning and sustainable development. Walter Christaller joined the Communist Party in 1951. His Central Place Theory is sometimes even considered a model for sustainable development and the so-called Green Economy. Emil Meynen, a leading geographer of the Third Reich, became an environmental spatial theorist after the war. He was also present at the infamous Wannsee Conference where the destruction of the Jews was discussed from a technocratic point of view.

After the war, social engineering based on Aryan biology was replaced with a blander form of socialism, but its ties to environmentalism and sustainable development continued unabated and grew exponentially in the decades to come. Environmental planners just exchanged brown paint with red paint -- all the while keeping the interior green. German spatial planners played an early critical role in the development of the EU's sustainable development policies.

Today, the EU is fond of using the concept of "territorial cohesion" and "supra-nationalism" in the place of lebensraum. Its stress on multiculturalism has converted the old Nazi nationalism into an EU Super State. Instead of promoting German supremacy, the EU is now promoting European supremacy. In fact, the EU is using environmental social engineering, i.e., sustainable development, to hasten the evaporation of national borders.

Yet in spite of this multicultural super-state emphasis, Germany has still become the heart of the EU from both a financial and an environmental point of view. EU's expansion has thus only served to strengthen Germany's influence, not weaken it. The global warming apocalypse was first popularized by Austrian Nazi Guenther Schwab in the 1960's, but it was the German green movement in the 1980's that helped convert the theory into the worldwide political issue it has since become.

Today, the EU even has sustainable development plans and ideas for the western Russian living space. Ironically, 65 years after the end of World War II, lebensraum has returned to the gates of Moscow, this time without panzers. The EU is also in North Africa. It wants to cover the Sahara with solar panels for the sake of renewable energy.

Lebensraum is not dead. Ratzel's geopolitics is still in vogue today under the guise of the EU's sustainable development plans. While the Nazi past has been completely ignored and willfully forgotten in the development of the EU's environmental sustainability policies, the geopolitical epicenter of the green movement has been and continues to be: Germany.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Another green company bites the dust

Another green company on the government dole, Ener1, has gone bankrupt

ALG President Bill Wilson responded to the bankruptcy of Ener1 stating, “As early as 2008, an investment advisory firm Citron Research had issued dire warnings about Ener1, saying the company was ‘just a corporate shell company with a long history of failed businesses based on exaggerated promises’, citing the company’s long and shady history. When it was proposed that the ‘stimulus’ be used to give $118.5 million to Ener1, Americans for Limited Government worked with media to help expose this bogus firm for what it was. Predictably, it turns out those warnings were correct, unfortunately for taxpayers.”

This company had boondoggle written all over it from the very beggining.

In a series of articles in the Washington Times, Ener1′s connections to Vladimir Putin were exposed causing ALG’s Bill Wilson to comment in emails to the media, “If Ener 1 is even being considered for an Department of Energy loan or grant someone needs to lose their job or worse. Congress needs to look into this outrage immediately and put a stop to it now. It is as if we were subcontracting Los Alamos to the Iranians”

These loans from Department of Energy to green companies never seem to pay off. Here are some of the facts. In July of 2008 Citron research came to the following conclusion on Ener 1 .

"It is Citron’s opinion that Ener1 is just a corporate shell company with a long history of failed businesses based on exaggerated promises. Management has tried everything from video games to visualization software to set top boxes for television. All of these businesses have failed — miniscule revenues and never a penny of profit delivered to investors. They purchased Delphi’s years-old attempt to get a lithium battery business going, and got a sublease on a manufacturing plant in Indianapolis. Since then we haven’t seen a single sign of a viable business.”

As of 3/23/2009 Ener 1 is in line for a $480,000,000. Loan from the Department of Energy and is applying for part of the $2 billion grant that is part of the Advanced Battery Manufacturing Initiative in the stimulus plan.

Now it gets interesting. As of late February(2009), some 62% of Ener1’s outstanding shares were owned by privately held Ener1 Group. In turn, 66% of Ener1 Group — a recent participant in a $5.7 million loan to Think Global, which is trying to emerge from bankruptcy — is held by Bzinfin, a British Virgin Islands company whose “indirect beneficial owner” is Boris Zingarevich, a Russian businessman. Zingarevich had close ties to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.


Why Brits are no longer so keen on being green: Number of people willing to change the way they live falls by 10%

Public concern about climate change is on the wane

The number of people willing to alter the way they live in the hope of making a difference to global warming fell by around 10 per cent last year. There was also a sharp drop in those who regarded themselves as ‘fairly concerned’ about climate change.

The figures, released by the Government yesterday, suggest that doubts about global warming have been growing since the summer of 2009. This was before the damage inflicted on the cause by the ‘Climategate’ scandal later that year, in which leading scientists were accused of manipulating data to support the case of man-made climate change.

The credibility of global warming and concern about halting it appears to have been affected by the succession of three cold winters between 2008 and 2010.

More recently, doubts about the efficiency of wind turbines and the high costs of the Coalition’s drive for renewable energy have seen enthusiasm for the cause dwindling.

Fewer than two thirds now say they are at least ‘fairly concerned’ about climate change or that they are prepared to do something about it, figures published by the Department for Transport said.

According to the research, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, the share of the population who were at least fairly convinced that climate change was happening has dropped from 86 per cent in 2006 to 76 per cent last summer.

Over the same period, those who felt fairly concerned fell from 81 per cent to 65 per cent, and numbers willing to change their behaviour went down from 77 per cent to 65 per cent.

Fewer people said they were willing to use public transport or reduce how often they used their car, and only one in five said they would cut back on air travel. Most opposed higher taxes on air travel and petrol.

The findings came as the Government published a risk assessment warning of thousands of deaths because of climate change in coming decades. The report from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said Britain risks ‘sleepwalking into disaster’.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: ‘It shows what life could be like if we stopped our preparations now, and the consequences such a decision would mean for our economic stability.’

But Dr Benny Peiser, of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: ‘Climate change is dropping off the political agenda. The person in the pub no longer cares. It is bottom of their list of priorities.’


Spain Suspends Subsidies for New Renewable Energy Power Plants

Spain halted subsidies for renewable energy projects to help curb its budget deficit and rein in power-system borrowings backed by the state that reached 24 billion euros ($31 billion) at the end of 2011.

“What is today an energy problem could become a financial problem,” Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said in Madrid. The government passed a decree today stopping subsidies for new wind, solar, co-generation or waste incineration plants.

The system’s debts were racked up as revenue from state- controlled prices failed to cover the cost of delivering power. Costs have swollen in the past five years because of an increase in regulated payments for the power grid, support for Spanish coal mines and subsidies for renewable energy plants.

“It’s clear they have to make major cuts,” said Francisco Salvador, a strategist at FGA/MG Valores in Madrid. “The government has already ruled out a significant increase in prices, so the cuts will fall in many places and the spotlight is on renewables, but not just on renewables.”

Renewables companies fell on the Spanish action. Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), the biggest wind-turbine maker, slid as much as 2.9 percent in Copenhagen. Abengoa SA, a Spanish engineering firm specializing in solar mirrors, dropped as much as 2.2 percent in Madrid and Iberdrola SA (IBE), the biggest renewable energy producer based in Bilbao, declined as much as 1.5 percent.

First Step

Spain’s decision is a “first step” to rein in debts, and officials are working on a broader package of measures, Soria said. The nation isn’t planning a levy on hydropower or nuclear plants, nor will it take on power-system liabilities, he said.

The Spanish action follows Germany’s announcement last week that it would phase out support for solar panels by 2017 and the U.K.’s legal battle to reduce its subsidies for the industry.

Spain was an early mover in developing renewables plants, and support for wind energy helped Iberdrola become the world’s biggest producer of clean power, with plants in the U.S. and Brazil. The industry sustains about 110,000 Spanish jobs, according to the Renewable Energy Producers Association.

The government is wrestling with competing priorities as it struggles to convince investors it can meet a target to cut the budget deficit to 4.4 percent of gross domestic product this year, from 8 percent last year, while trying to create jobs in a country where 23 percent of workers are unemployed.
Horse Bolted

“This is shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted,” said Peter Sweatman, chief executive officer of consultant Climate Strategy. “The risk is that Spanish firms that are recognized global leaders in renewable energy feel their position undermined by lack of domestic support.”

Generating capacity is about twice Spain’s peak demand following a boom in investment in solar panel installations and combined-cycle gas-fired plants, while the country is ahead of its targets for clean power production, Soria said. The suspension won’t affect operating plants or projects that have already been approved for subsidies by the government, he said.

“It’s a real positive for the developers, the owners of assets, because it removes the risk of retroactive cuts,” said Sean McLoughlin, a renewable energy analyst at HSBC Plc. “The government could certainly have done that again when you think of how much it’s costing them but have decided not to. This suggests that the government is listening to the industry.



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


27 January, 2012

Scrap carbon tax say British politicians who believe it will have 'devastating effect' on industry

A carbon tax being introduced next year will increase household electricity bills and could have a ‘devastating effect’ on industry, MPs say. In a damning report they claim the ‘carbon price floor’ will saddle businesses with higher green penalties than the rest of Europe while failing to deliver any environmental benefits.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee urged the Treasury to scrap the plan and warned against revenue-raising exercises ‘disguised as a green policy’.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the levy on businesses for every tonne of carbon they emit last March. Starting at £16, it will almost double to £30 by 2020 for users of coal.

By 'going it alone' on setting a minimum levy, the UK faces the prospect of industry relocating to elsewhere in Europe, MPs warned.

Higher carbon costs also mean electricity prices will increase as the UK ends up effectively subsidising other European states, they added.

Committee chairman Tim Yeo said: 'The Chancellor was right to say we won't save the planet by putting the UK out of business. 'Ironically, however, it is the Treasury's decision to set a Carbon Price Floor that could result in industry and electricity production relocating to other EU countries. 'Unless the price of carbon is increased at an EU-wide level, taking action on our own will have no overall effect on emissions other than to out-source them.

'A revenue raising exercise disguised as a green policy won't help anybody, the price of carbon has to be increased at an EU level to kick-start investment in clean energy.'

Energy generators and heavy industry, such as steel and ceramics, face an 'exorbitant' top-up tax of up to £25 per tonne of CO2 under current plans, according to the report. Although UK emissions will be reduced under the Treasury plans, overall levels across Europe may not, the report said.

It calls for EU targets to be toughened up to deliver a 30% emissions reduction target by 2020 and an overall 60-80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Mr Yeo added: 'Instead of going it alone, the Chancellor would be better-off working with other European Governments to make the EU Emissions Trading System more effective as a whole. 'Before phase three starts next year, EU countries must set aside pollution permits to end the glut that has caused the price of carbon to collapse.'


New scholarly book on Bangladesh and global warming

Because much of Bangladesh is close to sea-level, it is often cited by Warmists as threatened by inundation caused by global warming. It is refreshing therefore to have a book which looks closely at the actual Bangladesh situation (Hint: Bangladesh is actually gaining land). Some particulars of the book:

1. Title of the book: Climate Change: Issues and Perspectives for Bangladesh

2. Co-Editors: Rafique Ahmed, Ph. D, Professor, Geography and Earth Science, University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA 54601 and ; S. Dara Shamsuddin, Former Professor, Geography and Environment, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

3. Publisher: Shahitya Prakash, Paltan Tower 87, Purana Paltan Line Dhaka 1000 Bangladesh Phone: (880-2)-935-5058; and (880-2)-935-1657 E-Mail: Proprietor: (Mr.) Mofidul Hoque

4. Number of Pages (95 plus xvi pages): 111 pages. 5. Book Cover: Hard Cover (shown on the last page of this document)

6. ISBN: 984-70124-0133-0

7. Retail Price: Bangladesh Taka 500/-.

8. Number of Chapters: Eight Chapters Out of the eight chapters, three are contributed by US authors, one by an Indian author, and four by Bangladeshi authors. The first 4 chapters deal with the greenhouse effect, global warming, climate change; uncertainty in climate science & IPCC's role; Global Climate Modeling; and sea level change - with special reference to Bangladesh.

One chapter deals with the major global and national issues & concerns other than global warming/climate change. The other chapters are specific to the climatic and environmental issues in Bangladesh. (Please see the Table of Contents at the end of this document).

9. Authors’ Credentials (A) Five US and Indian Authors Ahmed, Rafique, Ph. D. (Co-Editor): Professor, Geography and Earth Science, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA; Specialization: Meteorology and Climatology. Wrote an undergraduate climatology textbook in Bangla for the universities and colleges in Bangladesh and West Bengal (India), Revised 4th Edition, 2010, published by Gyankosh Prokashani, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Published many papers in professional journals on various climatological aspects on Bangladesh. Professional Membership: American Meteorological Society (AMS), Association of American Geographer (AAG), Bangladesh National Geographical Association (BNGA), and Institute of Indian Geographers (IIG).

Christy, John R., Ph. D. Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, and Director of Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville; Alabama State Climatologist; IPCC Lead Author: 2001 TAR (Third Assessment Report); Contributor: 1992 IPCC Supplement; Contributor: 1994 Radiative Forcing of Climate Change; Key Contributor: 1995 SAR (IPCC Second Assessment Report); Contributing Author: IPCC 2007 Report (AR4) - Working Groups I and II; NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement; American Meteorological Society Special Award for satellite observations; Fellow, American Meteorological Society; testified to the US House (1996, 1998, 2003, 2006 (2), 2007, 2009) and Senate (1997, 2000, 2001 (2), 2003, 2007) Committees regarding lack of evidence for catastrophic climate change caused by humans.

Legates, David R., Ph.D. Professor, Geography and Physical Ocean Science and Engineering, University of Delaware, Delaware, USA; Climate Scientist and hydroclimatologist; Editor, Physical Geography journal (Climatology Section); Delaware State Climatologist; Director, Delaware Environmental Observing System, testified twice to the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works against an anthropogenic origin of global climate change: March 13, 2002 and July 29, 2003.

Lohar, Debashish, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Atmospheric Science Research Group of the Department of Physics, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India; Recipient of the V. Bhavanarayana Award of the Indian Meteorological Society; Best paper award recipient of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing; Chief Consultant, Express Weather; Life-Member of Indian Meteorological Society (IMS); and served as the Secretary of IMS - Kolkata Chapter during 2007-09.

Soon, Willie Wei-Hock, Ph. D. Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; Climate Scientist; worked on the relationship between Arctic surface temperature changes and solar variability; testified to the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works against anthropogenic origin of global warming, July 29, 2003. He is also the authors of “The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection” (World Scientific Publishing, 2004; with Steven H. Yaskell) and “Introduction to Astronomy— Studying Astronomy Without the Luxury of Telescope” (University of Nigeria Press, 2004 with Pius N. Okeke).

Global Cooling Coming? Archibald uses solar and surface data to predict 4.9°C fall (!)

A fact-based alternative to the British Met Office model-run discussed yesterday

David Archibald, polymath, makes a bold prediction that temperatures are about to dive sharply (in the decadal sense). He took the forgotten correlation that as solar cycles lengthen and weaken, the world gets cooler. He refined it into a predictive tool, tested it and published in 2007. His paper has been expanded on recently by Prof Solheim in Norway, who predicts a 1.5°C drop in Central Norway over the next ten years.

Our knowledge of they solar dynamo is improving, and David adds the predicted solar activity ’til 2040 to the analysis. Normal solar cycles are 11 years long, but the current one (cycle 24) is shaping up to be 17 years (unusually long), and using historical data from the US, David predicts a 2.1°C decline over Solar Cycle 24 followed by a further 2.8°C over Solar Cycle 25. That adds up to a whopping 4.9°C fall in temperate latitudes over the next 20 years. We can only hope he’s wrong. As David says ” The center of the Corn Belt, now in Iowa, will move south to Kansas.”

He also predicts continuing drought in Africa for another 14 years, with droughts likely in South America too.

If he’s right, it’s awful and excellent at the same time. Cold hurts, but wouldn’t it be something if we understood our climate well enough to plan ahead?

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Unhappy windmill owners in Shetland

Serious and widespread breakdowns -- and the maker has gone broke

A solution may be on the horizon for owners of Proven P35-2 wind turbines in Shetland nearly four months after they were ordered to shut down their machines following catastrophic weld failures elsewhere in Scotland.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme, the body that decides which small renewable devices qualify for government power generation subsidies, said this week a way forward had been identified for the flawed £60,000 machines and agreement on the solution should be reached within weeks.

The MCS said: “Once the agreed solution has been finalised MCS will instruct the installation companies to advise their customers of the remedial work that will be required to restart the turbines.”

The long-awaited breakthrough for P35-2 owners, including the handful in Shetland, follows a meeting last week between the MCS’ certification body and the various parties involved with the turbines.

However with hundreds of the machines in existence in Scotland and elsewhere it remains to be seen when a turbine installer will be in a position to attend to the out-of-action machines in Shetland.

The 12.1 kiloWatt P35-2 was suspended from MCS certification on 23rd September after three spectacular main shaft failures. The drastic technical problem brought down Proven Energy itself followed by two of its main installers, Icon Energy and Shetland Wind Power. Proven was later bought by the large Irish firm Kingspan but it washed its hands of the old company’s turbine customers.

Shetland Wind Power’s customer base and some other assets were bought by VG Energy, an Ayrshire-based turbine installer which has been working on a solution to the P35-2 shaft problem.

A new company, still called Shetland Wind Power, has been set up. VG Energy’s founders, farmers Jim Paterson and Stephen Hamilton, also formed two other new companies called Shetland Turbines and Shetland Renewables. VG has ignored several approaches from The Shetland Times for information to provide to its readers.

Until the P35-2 solution is agreed and applied to the turbines the MCS has advised that the brake should be kept on to keep them out of action, although some have been running from time to time since the shutdown was ordered last year.

The news of movement on the P35-2 problem was welcomed by SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Jean Urquhart this week. She said: “I am delighted that progress is now being made and that these machines should soon be working again. “There are many of these turbines in Shetland and a number of owners have contacted me regarding the difficulties they are facing.”

Each owner has been losing potentially thousands of pounds a month from not being able to claim subsidy, enjoy free electricity or sell excess power into the Shetland grid.

As well as problems with the rotor heads there now seems to be question marks over the towers that the P35-2 turbines are built on. A machine owned by Norman and Evelyn Leask at Snarness, near West Burrafirth, suffered a catastrophic failure of its tower during a north-westerly storm at the end of last year. The steel tower broke in two, causing the turbine to crash to the ground.

Another leading turbine company, Evoco, is having to beef-up its 10kW turbine designs after suffering machine failures during gales in Yorkshire. There has been a problem with a rotational bearing which causes blades to snap off. Owners were told to shut them down and Evoco pledged to compensate them for lost feed-in tariff subsidy.


Map-makers admit Greenland gaffe

That poisonous Greenie influence is pervasive. Truth is the least of their concerns

The 2011 version of the map, left, incorrectly showed ice-loss

IT APPEARED to provide incontrovertible proof that global warming was accelerating faster than even the most doom-laden scientists had predicted.

There was considerable alarm when the word’s most authoritative atlas printed a map which showed that Greenland was rapidly turning green.

However, experts from around the globe pointed out that the cataclysmic chart had no scientific support and was contradicted by all of the most recent satellite images.

Now the Scottish map-makers responsible for the disappearance of 115,830 square miles of polar ice have admitted publicly they were wrong. As an act of contrition, The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World cartographers have produced a new map which restores Greenland’s ice cover.

Jethro Lennox, senior publishing editor of the £150 tome, insisted lessons would be learned from the episode, which generated headlines around the globe. The Glasgow-based map-maker said: “We’re very disappointed at the way it happened. “But we are now looking to draw a line under the Greenland controversy and move on.”

The latest atlas, which was published in September, showed a reduction in ice cover compared with the previous edition from four years ago.

Accompanying publicity material declared the change represented “concrete evidence” of the effects of global warming, stating: “For the first time the new edition has had to erase 15 per cent of Greenland’s permanent ice cover – turning an area the size of the UK and Ireland ‘green’ and ice-free.”

Publishers HarperCollins originally stood by the accuracy of the map but have since admitted to the mistake after the blunder was exposed by scientists.

Mr Lennox said: “After publication of the 13th edition of The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World it became apparent that we had not represented the permanent ice cover in Greenland fully and clearly. “In failing to do that, this section of the map did not meet the usual high standards of accuracy and reliability that the atlas strives to uphold. “To correct this, we decided to produce a new, more detailed map using the latest information available.” A new, corrected map of Greenland will be inserted into all remaining copies.

The updated chart was put together after the cartographers consulted experts from the University of Arizona, the University of Bristol, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and the Byrd Polar Research Centre.

The editor claimed the newly established links would prevent errors in future. He said: “We have made some valuable contacts and will be keen to work with them again in the future.”


Global warming down but not out

Campuses teem with “post-docs” – college bums with PhDs for whom there are no jobs. Given adequate finances, marshalling a choir of these sad creatures to chant whatever hymn is not difficult.

What is difficult is forecasting the fortunes of the Climate Change campaign. International climate negotiations gridlocked years ago. There is clear evidence of an orderly standing down by enviro-activists and their media allies. The number of climate alarmist stories appearing in the media is diminishing. Climate Change no longer appears high on the list of ruses deployed by the enviro-activists challenging energy projects. Climate Change suddenly seems so passé; so pre-Copenhagen. Have skeptical nerds been left holding the global warming bag?

One must distinguish enviro-sound from enviro-fury; pretexts from goals. The Climate Change campaign is an effort to impose energy, land-use, and political policies. Regarding energy, it is a war on coal and petroleum. Regarding land-use, it seeks restrictions on the amount of utilized land. Politically, it is an effort to disenfranchise the masses. While Climate Change is placed on the back burner, the underlying effort to impose these policies is heating up.

The EPA’s recent salvo in its war on coal, the December 2011-issued MATS (Mercury and Air Toxic Standards) regulations, hardly mentions Climate Change. Le cause de celebre is mercury poisoning. Mercury is a natural aerosol with a trace presence in our every breath. Less than 0.5% of the mercury floating over America comes from coal-fired power plants. Coal-burning’s alleged thousands of mercury-poisoned fatalities are “virtual people” buried in computers owned by health activist orgs funded by the EPA. MATS forces owners of non-compliant coal-fired power plants to spend billions on retrofits or face plant closure. Non-compliant plants produce a quarter of America’s electricity.

In North America, the war on petroleum’s most active front is the siege of Alberta’s oil sands. In the blocking of the Keystone XL pipeline, the focal canards were property rights, water pollution, and ecosystem destruction. Broadsides against the oil sands’ alleged climate damage, hitherto prominent in the “Tar Sands” campaign, were shelved.

Another proposed oil sands pipeline, Northern Gateway, was recently stuffed by a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency decision to entertain testimony from 4,500 witnesses at the pipeline’s approval hearings, which consequently will drag on for two years. A miniscule fraction of these witnesses possess expertise on petroleum transport. Pipeline opponents have threatened protracted litigation if authorities do not sufficiently prostrate themselves before the manifest malarkey of “aboriginal knowledge.” Climate Change is not a marquis concern at these hearings, nor is what commercial engineers think is safe petroleum transport. Both are trumped by worries about the emotional well-being of racially-obsessed shamans with wooden boxes on their heads.

Climate Change is not dead nor was it a dud. The campaign is in abeyance and might roar back – depending on AR2014’s reception, depending on the weather. Let no one say the campaign failed. When this campaign was hatched in the mid-1970s, wind power, solar power, and biofuels were novelties. These are now multi-billion-dollar industrial complexes on both sides of the Atlantic. Having their own social momentum and lobbying clout, these industrial complexes, according to plan, make Climate Change too big to suddenly fail.

Much more HERE (See the original for links)


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


26 January, 2012

One of the great cathedrals of Global Warming -- Britain's Met Office -- pooh poohs the effect of falling solar output

They appear to be considering total irradiance only. Despite their great reliance on "multipliers" in CO2 theory, they overlook multipliers of solar changes -- such as Svensmark's demonstration of the effect on clouds. And their whole edifice is built on the demonstrably wrong claim that increasing atmospheric CO2 increases terrestrial temperatures.

The Met office is such a failure at prediction that they have given up trying to forecsast seasons ahead. Piers Corbyn, by contrast is a successful long-range weather forecaster so his scathing dismissal of the Met Office assessment is clearly from someone who really does understand what is going on. I append it at the bottom of the article below

New research has found that solar output is likely to reduce over the next 90 years but that will not substantially delay expected increases in global temperatures caused by greenhouse gases.

Carried out by the Met Office and the University of Reading, the study establishes the most likely changes in the Sun's activity and looks at how this could affect near-surface temperatures on Earth.

It found that the most likely outcome was that the Sun's output would decrease up to 2100, but this would only cause a reduction in global temperatures of 0.08 °C. This compares to an expected warming of about 2.5 °C over the same period due to greenhouse gases (according to the IPCC's B2 scenario for greenhouse gas emissions that does not involve efforts to mitigate emissions).

Gareth Jones, a climate change detection scientist with the Met Office, said: "This research shows that the most likely change in the Sun's output will not have a big impact on global temperatures or do much to slow the warming we expect from greenhouse gases.

"It's important to note this study is based on a single climate model, rather than multiple models which would capture more of the uncertainties in the climate system."

The study also showed that if solar output reduced below that seen in the Maunder Minimum - a period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity was at its lowest observed level - the global temperature reduction would be 0.13C.

Peter Stott, who also worked on the research for the Met Office, said: "Our findings suggest that a reduction of solar activity to levels not seen in hundreds of years would be insufficient to offset the dominant influence of greenhouse gases on global temperatures in the 21st Century."

During the 20th Century solar activity increased to a 'grand maximum' and recent studies have suggested this level of activity is at or nearing its end.

Mike Lockwood, an expert in solar studies at the University of Reading, used this as a starting point for looking at the most probable changes in the Sun's activity over the 21st Century.

Met Office scientists then placed the projections into one climate model to see how they may impact temperatures.

Professor Lockwood said: "The 11-year solar cycle of waxing and waning sunspot numbers is perhaps the best known way the Sun changes, but longer term changes in its brightness are more important for possible influences on climate.

"The most likely scenario is that we'll see an overall reduction of the Sun's activity compared to the 20th Century, such that solar outputs drop to the values of the Dalton Minimum (around 1820). The probability of activity dropping as low as the Maunder Minimum - or indeed returning to the high activity of the 20th Century - is about 8%. The findings rely on the assumption that the Sun's past behaviour is a reasonable guide for future solar activity changes."


Corbyn replies

The UK Met Office and BBC promoted statement is extremely delusional and dishonest and a cover-up of reality. Full article: Decline in solar output unlikely to offset global warming

Their 'expectation' that the world will warm by 2C this century 'due to increased greenhouse gas emissions' is proven drivel based on their own failed self-serving fraudulent models.

They deliberately choose to know almost nothing about solar influences on earth's weather and climate and create 'information' designed to deceive.

It is the largely predictable vast changes in solar charged particle flux and sun-earth magnetic connectivity which control weather and climate.

That is why we at long range forecasters

1. Confidently predict that the world will continue general cooling to 2035 - see presentation in submission to UK parliament enquiry into Dec 2010 supercold which we predicted -

2. Systematically predict and will continue to predict extreme weather events and situations many months ahead around the world:

The CO2 driver theory of weather and climate is delusional nonsense propagated by a self-serving failed sect. Their 'theory' fails to explain past weather and climate; all its predictions over the last ten years have failed and it cannot and never will predict anything.

The dangerous delusional CO2 sect must be destroyed before it's diktats destroy the world economy and thousands more lives are lost from the chosen refusal of governments across the world to allow the application of scientific advanced forecasting of extreme weather which can help reduce disruption and destruction and save money and lives.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Obama has an epiphany on the road to Damascus this year's election

Backs fracking and more drilling for oil. Whether his rhetoric will translate into action is the big doubt

President Barack Obama pushed drilling for gas in shale rock and support for cleaner energy sources to boost the economy in his final State of the Union address before facing U.S. voters in November. He also pledged more oil drilling.

Hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals underground to free gas trapped in rock, could create more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade, Obama said yesterday. The process, called fracking, is among a list of energy policies Obama said would fuel economic growth.

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy,” Obama said.

Obama reiterated support for conservation and cleaner sources of power and pledged more oil drilling as part of an ‘all-out, all-of-the-above’’ policy “that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.” He said domestic energy production is at an eight-year high and imports of foreign oil were declining, prompting criticism from Republicans.

“It’s just a blind accident, if in fact we are producing more oil or natural gas than in previous years, it’s not because of any of his efforts,” Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican and head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said after the speech.

Republicans also sought to contrast Obama’s pledge to use energy policy to create jobs with his denial of a permit to TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline to connect Canada’s oil sands to refineries on the Gulf coast.


GM in damage control as Volt loses spark

The Volt plug-in hybrid was supposed to signal a new dawn for the world’s biggest car maker, but demand is slumping under the weight of controversy over a post-crash fire.

General Motors has been forced to mount a multi-front defence of its battery-powered Chevrolet Volt amid signs demand for the vehicle is slumping.

GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson told a House of Representatives panel that the Volt had become a “political punching bag” and that a US safety probe of the vehicle in part was politically motivated. The car maker launched national television and print ads defending the car's safety and fielded Volt questions online while the hearing was underway.

"We did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag," Mr. Akerson said at a House panel looking into whether US regulators delayed releasing information on a probe of the vehicle. "And that, sadly, is what the Volt has become."

The Detroit car maker reacted strongly to counteract the impact of the probe and the hearing on perceptions of the Volt. Dealer orders for the car are down, the company said, and GM is considering slowing production due to less-than-expected demand.

Congressional critics accused the agency of purposely failing to disclose the investigation for months, arguing that any perception of Volt as dangerous would hurt the White House after President Barack Obama and members of his administration touted the car in efforts to promote electric vehicles.

The Volt "is a halo car not so much for GM but for this administration," said Republican Mike Kelly.

The vehicle has become a polarising issue amid Republican criticism of the Obama administration's financial support of electric and other alternative vehicles.

"For the sake of the Volt and electric vehicles in general it is important we close the door on this issue," said GM spokesman Rob Peterson. The company, he said, launched the ad campaign amid worries that attention the Volt has received because of the safety investigation could deter customers or give them the impression the car is dangerous despite being declared safe by NHTSA.

NHTSA closed its safety investigation last week, saying the car poses no unusual risk of fire. GM from the start maintained the car is safe but took unprecedented steps to reassure Volt owners and the public that it was taking the matter seriously, including repurchasing some vehicles.

The company is adding steel reinforcements around the battery to prevent damage in the case of a crash. It also will add a sensor to monitor coolant levels and a bracket to the top of the coolant reservoir to prevent an overflow.

The Volt was failing to meet demand expectations before safety questions arose. GM fell about 2300 vehicles short of its goal to sell 10,000 in 2011. The company also has backed off its target of selling 45,000 Volts in the US this year.

Several dealers have said they are struggling to sell Volts and some are declining to take all the vehicles offered to them. Earlier this month, Vice Chairman Steve Girsky said the company was unsure how much demand exists for the vehicle and will decide by June if the vehicle "has legs."

Before the probe, the car was hamstrung by supply issues, its high cost and slow sales in California, where the vehicle didn't qualify for a tax credit and unrestricted use in car-pool lanes. GM will soon release a version of the Volt in California that meets those standards.

The car maker has not yet restarted production of the Volt following the holiday shutdown of its factories. Mr. Akerson said he expected production to resume in a few weeks. On Wednesday, he said demand for the car is improving.

GM, in the print ads, touted the car's safety and called the car, "the most significant step ever in GM's history to give customers a choice beyond oil."

Much of Wednesday's hearing focused on NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, who defended the agency's move to wait six months to disclose concerns about a potential fire risk in the Volt amid criticism from lawmakers that the decision was politically motivated.

Mr. Strickland took heat from members who accused the agency of waiting to publicize its investigation into Volt batteries for fear of hurting Obama administration efforts to advance electric vehicles.

"We pulled no punches," in the Volt investigation, Mr. Strickland said. If the Volt was unsafe, he said, “we would have clearly disclosed it”.

NHTSA disclosed in November it was investigating potential fire risk in the Volt because one of the vehicles caught fire weeks after a severe crash test. The announcement came months after the fire incident and immediately following a Bloomberg News report on the incident.

Mr. Strickland said the agency waited to announce the investigation because it took months to determine whether the Volt battery was the cause of the fire -it occurred in a facility with other vehicles - and whether a fire could occur again.

He said the car never posed an imminent threat to drivers as the fire occurred weeks after the crash. In subsequent testing, three batteries sparked or caught fire but only after they were removed from the vehicles and intentionally damaged.

"Not only would I drive one, I would drive one with my wife, mother and baby sister on board," he said.


New Book Looks at Global Warming and Climate Change from a Geological Perspective

Written from a unique geological perspective, Dr. G Dedrick Robinson's new book, Global Warming-Alarmists, Skeptics & Deniers: A Geoscientist looks at the Science of Climate Change, is a 69,000-word book aimed at non-specialist readers interested in learning the latest scientific findings concerning climate change and how great a danger it actually represents.

Written from a geological perspective, Dr. Robinson's book emphasizes key findings and conclusions from peer-reviewed science journals rather than attempting to smear the politics and motives of those with differing views. Its fourteen chapters use an easy-to-understand question and answer format to cover the entire climate-change-global-warming spectrum including the physics of the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle and why the science of geology is key to understanding global warming.

References and a short summary are provided at the end of each chapter and many graphs and charts are included. The book is about the science of global warming, not the politics or various policy directions the U.S. government might choose. It is not intended to lambaste any political party, branch of government, way of thinking or person.

It presents the science in a straightforward manner in everyday language without uncalled for political bias. It is the authoritative, concise guide to the global warming controversy that has long been needed.

Dr. Craig D. Idso, founder and chairman of the board of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, says the book “ a refreshing read on a topic of great societal importance...because the authors evaluate key predictions and controversies of the global warming debate using logic and science.”

Professor Robert M. Carter, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, says “Writing in an easily accessible style for all readers, and using Socratic dialogue, Robinson leads us systematically through the simple science information that is needed to answer the question, 'Are human carbon dioxide emissions causing dangerous global warming?'

And the more surprised you are that the answer to this question is 'no,' then the more you need to read this excellent book.”

G Dedrick Robinson Ph.D., author of nearly fifty science journal articles, is based in the Appalachian foothills region of South Carolina. He has closely followed the climate change debate during the course of his thirty-year career as a geology professor at James Madison University in Virginia.


NASA's Research Substantiates Trend Towards Global Cooling - Human "Global Warming" From CO2 Has Disappeared

Latest data from NASA / GISS confirms the robust deceleration of global warming, revealing the non-significant impact on global temperatures by CO2

The AGW alarmist claim of "accelerating" global warming requires, at minimum, an increasing rate of temperature change as denoted by an increasing slope of a linear trend line. The two above charts plot the rolling 10-year trend (slope) of the annual GISS temperature data - the left axis of both charts represents slope in terms of temperature change per hundred years (century).

The leftmost chart reveals a large variation in speed and level of temperature change since the 1800s. The right chart takes the same data but only plots the last 15 years of GISS "acceleration" and "deceleration."

From the 2001 peak of a +3.48°C/century temperature rate, it has now fallen at the end of 2011 to an almost flat rate of +0.04°C/century temperature increase. Per the actual evidence, the increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 (grey arrow and grey area of charts) has zero influence on whether global temperatures are accelerating or decelerating.

These two charts do not represent predictions of future temperatures, but both clearly indicate that the IPCC and major climate research agencies have been substantially wrong in predicting "accelerating" warming.

Likewise, they have been substantially wrong in their assumption that the climate sensitivity to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 is positive, growing and nearing a runaway tipping point. The empirical evidence proves all of these assertions to be essentially false.


* Global temperatures are decelerating, not accelerating

* Rising CO2 levels do not cause global temperatures to continuously increase

* Climate sensitivity to CO2 levels is not robust

* IPCC predictions of "runaway" temps and climate "tipping points" are without empirical merit.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


25 January, 2012

Climate change causing erections in Cambodia

But only among Greenies -- since the climate has in fact been stable since 1998

Cambodia, an exotic land filled with bright colors, city lights and ancient temples is a popular vacation spot. A remarkable country with exquisite culture holds one of the darkest secrets alive today. Very much a real and disturbing reality; we come to unfold this problem and discuss the problems of the sex trade in this area. In fact, children as young as 5 are being sold as slaves in exchange for sex. A problem that has been around for a while is being made worse by the problems caused by climate change.

The sex trade in Cambodia has been around since 1999. The sex trade is happening due to thousands of victims in need of natural resources like food, water and trees. Human trafficking affects 2-3 thousand children and young teens each year. Families are deceived by con artists telling them that their daughters will work for hotels, restaurants, hair salons or complete clerical work in order for them to bring money for their families. Truth is, con artists actually take their daughters into sex industries and force them to have intercourse with older men.

The livelihoods of most families that live in rural villages are affected by the changes brought on by climate change in that area. According to the United Nations, women feel these affects the most. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that, “Lifestyle and well being of women is put in greater danger by climate change, associated with a high rate of human trafficking.”

UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner declared, "Women often play a stronger role than men in the management of ecosystem services and food security. Hence, sustainable adaptation must focus on gender and the role of women if it is to become successful." Climate change will take a toll on environmental living especially women development.

Most of women development effects from climate change can result from: increased temperatures, severe weather, rise of sea level and droughts. Three main issues of climate change that can be linked to the sex trade are:

Water: As climate change causes droughts, it would be more difficult to attain water. As women are forced to travel greater distances to find and capture potable water they are at a higher risk of kidnapping and con-artists who are linked to the sex trade industry.

Agriculture: Climate change causes severe weather patterns that could make temperature rise and fall more drastically making seasons shift. As these seasons shift crops will be affected the most. It would be difficult for people to grow food. To offset the decrease in crop output women would be forced to look for better paying jobs to pay for food they otherwise might be able to grow themselves. The need for higher economic stimulation would make these jobs offered by sex trade con artists seem more valuable than they might have before.

Trees: Climate change and the resulting droughts would put a strain on the forests that supply the paper industry in Cambodia with their trees. As paper mill production drops workers may lose their jobs and would in turn be forced to look elsewhere for employment.

The lack of economic growth in Cambodia has made women’s lives even more difficult than before. The lack of education in this area for women makes them think that human trafficking is one of their only ways out. Researchers from the UN have concluded that women in developing countries are likely to be victims when being exposed to exterior threats. In a recent study by United Nations, trafficking has gone up by 30% in Cambodia since 2009 which may be linked to the increase in climate change during that time.


China too had a Medieval Warm Period comparable to temperatures today

Discussing: Zhou, XJ. 2011. "The characteristics and regularities of the climate change over the past millennium in China". Chinese Science Bulletin 56: 2985.

The author, Zhou (2011), - who is with the State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences in Beijing - writes in an introductory editorial in a special issue of the Chinese Science Bulletin (October 2011) that "research on global climate change has been at the frontier of the contemporary sciences," and within this context he further states that "debate has focused on whether the greenhouse effect produced by human activities is a major factor responsible for modern climate warming."

Against this backdrop, Zhou reports that "in 2009, the major project 'Research on tree-ring and millennium climate change in China' was implemented under the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China." Noting that eight articles published in this special issue of the Bulletin "present partly preliminary results obtained by the project over the past two years," he then goes on to summarize, in the broadest possible sense, their findings.

In the words of Zhou, the eight articles "reveal some characteristics and regularities of changes in temperature and precipitation in China and in East Asian monsoons over the past 1000 years," and he says that "notable conclusions," of which he lists only two, are that (1) "temperatures in the Medieval Warm Period are comparable to those in the current warm period over China," and (2) "the effect of solar activity on climate cannot be neglected in any period of the millennium."

These two findings stand in stark contrast to what is generally claimed by the world's climate alarmists, which is no small matter, as they apply to a significant portion of the planet. Hence, they should give everyone reason to reconsider the climate-alarmist claim that modern warming has been unprecedented over the past millennium or more, which claim is also refuted by many additional scientific studies we have reviewed in our Topical Archive under the heading Medieval Warm Period.


Even the most expansive assumptions about the data refute IPCC modelling conclusions

Discussing: Norman G. Loeb et al. "Observed changes in top-of-the-atmosphere radiation and upper-ocean heating consistent within uncertainty". Nature Geoscience (2012)

An interesting conclusion of that paper is that
We combine satellite data with ocean measurements to depths of 1,800 m, and show that between January 2001 and December 2010, Earth has been steadily accumulating energy at a rate of 0. 50 +/ 0.43 Watts per meter squared (uncertainties at the 90% confidence level). We conclude that energy storage is continuing to increase in the sub-surface ocean.

This is larger than is justified based on the upper ocean heat changes, as has been discussed by myself and others (e.g. Knox and Douglas 2010). The heat accumulation they refer to also has hardly been “steady”. However, lets just use these values.

Jim Hansen concluded in 2005 that the decadal mean planetary energy imbalance at the end of the 1990s was
,…..0.85 Watts per meter squared is the imbalance at the end of the decade.”

This value falls within the uncertainty range of the Leob et al 2012 study. However, we are 13 years since the end of the 20th century, so Jim Hansen’s value for the imbalance must be larger (~0.95 Watts per meter squared from GISS?).

This question about whether or not the IPCC model predictions (as represented by the GISS models) are still consistent even with the large Loeb et al estimate should have been a major part of their article. The Loeb et al 2012 even cited the Hansen paper but did not take the next step and complete model and observational comparisons. That the IPCC models are close to being refuted with respect to the magnitude of global warming even with the large Loeb et al values is an unspoken result of their findings. They missed a major implication from their results.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

William Briggs points out that the statistical critieria in the paper mentioned above have been stretched way beyond what is normally done. Using conventional statistical procedures the result would be even more refutational of the IPCC conclusions

Greenie gag campaign being outed

Much to the chagrin of the Warmist writing below

The network of climate deniers who pollute America’s local newscasts with anti-science propaganda includes Neil Barton, the news director of NBC affiliate KETK-TV in Dallas, Texas. On Monday’s evening newscast, Barton responded with outrage to the Forecast The Facts campaign that challenges the American Meteorological Society to oppose science denial by television meteorologists. Barton complained that Forecast The Facts and ThinkProgress Green are “outing” those who say “pish-posh to the whole idea of global warming”:
Now, a new progressive website is outing weather people who don’t agree with far-left thinking. is outing TV weather folks who have gone on record saying pish-posh to the whole idea of global warming. They put the weather person’s statements about why they won’t get on board under the heading “zombie quotes.”

KETK’s chief meteorologist, Scott Chesner, is a global warming denier as well. “Predicting the weather in the long range is an impossible feat the farther out in time you go, its just another reason why especially in terms of trying to predict man’s influence on the climate — totally preposterous!” Chesner said last December.

SOURCE (See the original for links and video)

UN attempts to re-brand climate change

The usual Leftist faith in verbal magic. See: political correctness

Following abject failures at its previous climate change summits, which always seem to take place in beautiful, faraway locales, the UN is now giving climate change a new name: sustainable development:
Representatives from around the world gather in Rio in June to try to hammer out goals for sustainable development at a U.N. conference designed to avoid being tripped up by the intractable issue of climate change.

But there is concern in the lead-up to the conference, known as Rio+20 or the Earth Summit, that it risks ending up as all talk and little action.

In an attempt to avoid too much confrontation, the conference will focus not on climate change but on sustainable development - making sure economies can grow now without endangering resources and the environment for future generations.

U.N. conferences over the past decade have begun with high hopes for agreements to compel nations to cut climate-warming emissions and help adapt to a hotter world, but they often ended with disappointingly modest results. That was the case last year in the global climate change summit in Durban, South Africa. Participants at that meeting agreed to forge a new deal by 2015 that would go into force by 2020.

The “sustainable” branding for this year’s summit, rather than climate, is by design, said Ambassador Andre Correa do Lago, who headed Brazil’s delegation to the U.N. climate talks in Durban and will be a chief negotiator for Brazil in Rio.

Sustainable development is an easier sell globally than climate change, even though sustainable development is a way of tackling global warming and other environmental issues, he said.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

UN Abuse of Precautionary Principle Lets Them Ignore Corrupt Climate Science

Politicians and lawyers want rules, but include catch-all words or phrases that allow them to do anything. These are necessarily undefined. It’s a good idea to cover unusual circumstances, but assumes it is applied with facts and logic. More frequently, it’s become an excuse to defy facts and logic for an agenda.

Environmentalists quickly faced the problem as they distorted facts and logic for their political agenda. They needed something to deny the need for facts and logic required by science and adopted the Precautionary Principle. Wikipedia says,

This principle allows policy makers to make discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from taking a particular course or making a certain decision when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking.

What is “extensive scientific knowledge” and how much can be “lacking”?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are 90 percent certain, but they examine only human causes of climate change and produce consistently incorrect climate model predictions. Physics Nobel winner Richard Feynman said,

It does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, or how many of you there are, and certainly not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.

A few scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), who effectively controlled the IPCC, corrupted science to prove human-produced CO2 was the cause. Although their malfeasance was exposed, it won’t stop the political juggernaut, because the Principle is part of the UN mandate on environment and climate.

In June the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Conference with RIO+20. They say,

The Conference will focus on two themes:

  1. a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and
  2. the institutional framework for sustainable development.

These are the ojectives pursued from the start, but green economies have failed everywhere. Sustainable development is a political creation that means everything to everyone and nothing to anyone.

Rio 1992 was the political manifestation of the Club of Rome objectives. Scientific evidence, required to ‘prove’ humans were destroying the planet with capitalism and its fossil fuel driven technology, was already underway through the IPCC. The political roadmap was formalized in Rio as Agenda 21. Annex 1 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development lists the basic Principles. Most are specific, but the catch-all is Principle 15:

In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.

It’s a naked, incorrrect, application of the Precautionary Principle. As one person said,

Proponents of the Precautionary Principle are trying to smuggle in a default position: The environment trumps all other values.

The vague phrase, “lack of full scientific certainty” easily pushes science aside; then you steal the moral high ground by claiming to protect the environment. It allows the challenge, “shouldn’t we act anyway just in case?” The correct answer is no, as I explained before the Canadian Parliamentary Committee investigating the Ozone question. Scientists can extrapolate a multitude of potential threats from a few facts. Political leaders must determine the most pressing and what they can afford. Lack of scientific understanding makes that infinitely more difficult.

Principle 15 effectively allows action with no scientific evidence. They don’t care if the climate science is falsified as with global warming. What is the purpose of applying the precautionary principle? Wildavsky provides the answer.

In a free society the individual is presumed to be free to act unless the state can prove harm or the potential to do harm. The precautionary principle says that no individual person is free to act unless that individual can prove to the state that the action can do no harm.

This is a perceptive academic analysis. Green and Armstrong put it more bluntly.

In practice, the precautionary principle is invoked when an interest group identifies an issue that can help it to achieve its objectives. If the interest group is successful in its efforts to raise fears about the issue, the application of the scientific method is rejected and a new orthodoxy is imposed. Government dictates follow. People who dissent from the orthodox view are vilified, ostracized, and may have their livelihoods taken away from them. Consider the case of “climate change”.

It’s another of the many circular arguments. Catch-all words or phrases provide for unusual circumstances, but assume it’s confirmed with facts and logic. Climate change is usual, but IPCC climate science falsely ‘proves’ it isn’t, which allows them to misuse a sound principle.

Related articles:
  1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Has Achieved Its Goal: It’s Time To Repair The Damage.
  2. Ernst Georg Beck: A Major Contributor to Climate Science Effectively Sidelined by Climate Deceivers
  3. Canada Quit Kyoto, Must Now Quit IPCC
  4. Corruption of Climate Science Has Created 30 Lost Years
  5. What is the US President Talking About?



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


24 January, 2012

A campaigning "ethicist"

Prof. Brown is at it again. He claims to be doing an ethical analysis of climate skepticism but as you will see from the excerpt below what he writes is all just Green/Left boilerplate, with the usual heavy reliance on "ad hominem" accusations and dubious assertions.

And as is also common on the Green/Left, the one thing he avoids like the plague is discussing the scientific facts. You will find no mention from him of the fact that the climate has warmed by less than one degree Celsius over the last 150 years. The only references he cites are fellow Warmists.

He sounds a bit of a nut to me, displaying the sort of calm but unfounded certitude one often finds among paranoid schizophrenics

Yet the emergence of global warming as an issue in the 1980s with its potential for large-scale social change needed to ameliorate its threat was seen as more threatening to conservatives in regard to industry, prosperity, life-style, and the entire American-way of life, than were traditional pollution problems. (McCright and Dunlap, 2000: 503) In other words, climate change directly threatened the central values of the US conservative movement even more than other environmental problems. (McCright and Dunlap, 2000: 505) As a result climate change denial has become a key environmental focus of the US conservative movement. In subsequent years the disinformation campaign would be taken up in other countries including the United Kingdom and Australia.

The climate change disinformation movement can be understood to be comprised of many organizations and participants including conservative think tanks, front groups, Astroturf groups, conservative media, and individuals. This disinformation campaign, as we shall see, frequently uses the tactics discussed in this series to convince people and politicians that the science supporting climate change policies is flawed. The central claims of the climate change disinformation movement have been:

• There is no warming.

• Its not caused by humans.

• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will cause more harm than good. (McCright and Dunlap, 2010: 111)

To support these basic counter-claims, as we shall see, the climate denial machine frequently has made claims that mainstream climate scientists are corrupt or liars, descriptions of adverse climate change impacts are made by "alarmists," scientific journals that publish climate related research are biased against skeptics, and mainstream climate science is "junk" science. As we shall also see, the climate change disinformation machine also has made frequent ad hominem attacks on those who produce climate change science and sometimes has cyber-bullied both climate scientists and journalists.

The climate change disinformation campaign began in the 1980s when some of the same scientists and organizations that fought government regulation of tobacco began to apply the tactics perfected in their war on the regulation of tobacco to climate change. (Oreskes and Conway, 2010:169-215). According to Pooley the disinformation campaign began "spinning around 1988 in response to the increasingly outspoken scientific community..." (Pooley, 2010: 39) For almost 25 years this campaign has been waged to undermine support for regulation of greenhouse gases.

To say that the campaign has been "waged" is not to claim that it has been a tightly organized, completely coordinated effort by a few groups or individuals or that all participants have the same motives. In fact different participants may have radically different motives including the fact that some may be sincere, some appear to be motivated by protecting free markets without government intervention, and many appear to believe that no restriction on fossil fuel use can be justified without very high levels of proof of harms.

Yet, the different participants, according to Newsweek, since the 1990s for the most part have acted in a well-coordinated campaign among contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks, and industry to create a fog of doubt around climate change. (Begley, 2007) They have accomplished this through the production of advertisements, op-eds, lobbying, books, media attention, and quotations from skeptical scientists often associated with conservative think tanks. They have argued first that the world is not warming, measurements that indicate otherwise are flawed, any warming is natural, that is not caused by human activities, and if warming does occur it will be miniscule and harmless. (Begley, 2007) Different groups created this counter-movement often acting independently of each other, yet connected through the internet to create a denial machine that has effectively responded to any public pronouncement by scientist or journalists that asserted that human-induced climate change is a serious problem. (Begley, 2007) Conservative activists wrote hundreds of documents (including policy briefs, books, press releases, and op-eds), held numerous policy forums and press conferences, appeared regularly on television and radio programs, and testified at congressional hearings on global warming. (Dunlap and McCright, 2008)


Political Activists trying to Gag TV Meteorologists on Climate Issues

Anthony Watts is a former TV meteorologist so has dug deep on this one. He shows that a Soros-funded Green/Left front organization is behind the censorship attempt. An excerpt below

According to WCTV-TV’s story Urging American Meteorological Society to Get Tougher on Climate Change, a program called Forecast the Facts is attempting to lobby the AMS to change their 5-year policy on climate change to a new policy “drafted by a panel of [unidentified] experts”
A new campaign, Forecast the Facts (, launches Sunday to pressure TV meteorologists to inform their viewers about climate change. The launch coincides with the kick-off of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) annual meeting in New Orleans, LA.

“This is an important moment in the history of the AMS,” said Daniel Souweine, the campaign’s director. “It’s well known that large numbers of meteorologists are climate change deniers. It’s essential that the AMS Council resist pressure from these deniers and pass the strong statement currently under consideration.”

The “Campaign Director” is identified as Daniel Souweine. The Forecast the Facts web site turns out to be a product of “Citizen Engagement Laboratory (CEL).” And who is the Chief of Staff of CEL? You guessed it: Daniel Souweine.

The web site describes CEL as: ”a non-profit, non-partisan organization that uses digital media and technology to amplify the voices of underrepresented constituencies. We seek to empower individuals to take collective action on the issues that concern them, promoting a world of greater equality and justice in the process.”

But as we see elsewhere, in the green incubator building description of CEL at the David Brower Center at 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA, that “non-partisan” claim doesn’t match this description. So much for the “truth in advertising”.

And then there’s the usual suspects friends of The CEL web site lists as a “Partner,” which describes itself as: “building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.”

Sounds like birds of a feather, even though they are both attempting to lobby a major national organization to change a policy that affects all of its members… from the top down. Hardly grass-roots organization. And hardly on behalf of “underrepresented constituencies.”

Evidently, grassroots meteorologists are insufficiently toeing the line when it comes to laying weather patterns at the feet of “global warming.” Someone unnamed wants them to publicly join the global warming bandwagon in blaming human CO2 emissions for observed climate change, ignoring the uncertainty of climate science, ignoring all evidence to the contrary, insisting on one single simplistic explanation for climate change.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Even the Washington Post finds the censorship attempt distasteful

(It endorsed Barack Obama for President and the writer below is a Warmist)

If you present the weather on TV and you reject that global warming is the result of human activities, the spotlight on you is hotter than ever. But the attention is a colossal waste of energy.

Coinciding with this week’s American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in New Orleans, the groups, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Citizen Engagement Lab have launched a campaign that exposes television weathercasters who take a contrarian stance on climate change science.

The campaign, called Forecast the Facts, launched a website that identifies 47 TV weathercasters by name who have publicly expressed climate change views considered outside of the mainstream. (It is also pressuring the American Meteorological Society to strengthen its position statement on the science.)

This confrontational approach is the wrong approach and promises to only further divide TV weathercasters whose views on the issue of climate change are already polarized.

The rationale for the campaign are results from a survey conducted by George Mason University in 2010* that found 63% of weathercasters believe global warming is due mainly to natural causes compared to just 31% who think it’s mostly a result of human causes. Some 27 percent of weathercasters referred to global warming as “a scam.” Whereas, the prevailing view among publishing climate scientists is that the Earth is warming primarily as a result of human activities.

Studies have shown some weathercasters don’t have the most reliable understanding of climate science and uneven levels of education. A 2002 study by Emory researcher Kris Wilson found many weathercasters held misconceptions on a range of climate science issues and their “politics” had the greatest bearing on that knowledge. Furthermore, some weathercasters are not scientists but broadcast journalists. And even for those with meteorology degrees, many of the degree programs do not require coursework in climate change. A 2011 survey of weathercasters at George Mason found only 42 percent of respondents had participated in climate change continuing education courses.

But the “Forecast the Facts”campaign makes no initiative to engage with weathercasters and enhance their education.

The campaign website asserts “viewers turning into their weather report deserve to be told the truth about climate change.” It’s hard to disagree that weathercasters should stay up to speed on climate change and pass along that knowledge to viewers. Maybe “Forecast the Facts” should be providing resources to make this happen rather than conducting a smear campaign.

This is not to say weathercasters shouldn’t bear some responsibility in becoming educated about climate change science. Nor does it absolve them from impartially communicating it.

In an editorial published in the Bulletin of American Meteorological Society several years ago, WJLA meteorologist Bob Ryan and NBC Telemundo meteorologist John Toohey-Morales took some of their peers to task for failing to set aside personal opinions in discussing climate change, writing:

"If we “experts” communicate conflicting information, conveying personal opinions with no scientific basis, the public can become confused and often collectively “tune out” of the issue just when it requires the most attention. The same would happen if we gave conflicting personal opinions during dangerous weather events. When we stray from objectivity in communicating the latest scientific findings, we do the public a disservice."

Ryan and Toohey-Morales took a constructive approach - making a passionate but respectful appeal to their peers when they felt they had gone astray. But when an outside activist group flies onto the scene outing individuals and calling them “deniers,” it’s not going make their targets more open-minded nor motivate them to seek out the latest journals online. Instead, it may alienate them and further entrench a narrow perspective

In my experience talking to weathercasters and other individuals whose views about climate change don’t seem grounded in science, I’ve found it’s most effective to dispassionately approach the subject and simply discuss the evidence. Just as important: treat the person with respect and show you understand their perspective.

For example, I’ve seen some weathercasters fall into the skeptics camp as a result of overstatements by activists, politicians and journalists, who have made predictions of certain catastrophe and blamed global warming for every conceivable natural disaster.

Such hyperbole might be overcome by demonstrating that, in reality, global warming forecasts include a range of possibilities, and, while many are concerning, they are not all dire. And by being clear that, while scientists have found global warming may intensify some types of extreme weather (i.e. heat waves and heavy precipitation events), few if any claim global warming is the root cause.


Pew Poll: Global warming finishes 22nd of 22 "top policy priorities of 2012"

The Pew poll also found that some issues – especially illegal immigration and climate change – did not resonate nearly as much with Americans as they did before Obama took office.

A quarter of Americans now find climate change a top concern, down from almost four in 10 in 2007.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

From Canada, Ezra Levant offers a concise summary of the Keystone calamity

Australia: Bats win park war because of Greenie laws

They are not remotely "endangered" so local authorities should be allowed to shoot them if necessary

FLYING foxes [large fruit bats] have officially won the war in Charters Towers, claiming the town's historic park as their own.

Charters Towers Mayor Ben Callcott has conceded defeat against the thousands of bats that invaded Lissner Park about 11 years ago and have since refused to leave.

He said unless state legislation was changed, which prevented the council from interfering with the colony, the council had simply run out of options. Locals claim the bats are a major health hazard, fearing they may spread disease, and are fed up with living with the stench and noise from the colony, which now numbers about 15,000.

Charters Towers Regional Council has been granted 15 damage mitigation permits by the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) over the years, to disperse the bats using noise, fogging and lighting.

An attempt to muster the bats using a helicopter was scuttled late last year by the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority over safety concerns. The council has applied for a 16th permit to move the bats, but Cr Callcott said their best efforts had simply shifted the animals to other parts of the town, where they had become even more of a problem.

"Charters Towers City Council spent $250,000 harassing them and it didn't do anything other than distributing them into suburbia," Cr Callcott said. "I'm not prepared to spend that kind of money to achieve the same ending.

"We may never get permission to muster them, so in that case, let them lodge in Lissner Park, where at least people can choose whether they get underneath them.

LNP leader Campbell Newman, who visited Charters Towers last year, promised the town "the bats in Lissner Park will go".

Cr Callcott said a law change was the only solution. "The bats under the present legislation have defeated us," he said.

Charters Towers Action Group Against Flying Foxes spokesman Jim Henderson, who lives near the park, said the bats were creating a health hazard and preventing locals and visitors from enjoying public facilities. "Nobody wants to come into the park and sit under those tables," he said.

Mr Henderson said residents' pleas to the State Government for help moving the flying foxes on had fallen upon deaf ears. "They've ignored us and ignored us since I've been fighting it," he said.

Vikki King, who lives opposite the colony, said she wanted the right to remove the bats from her own backyard. "Three or four weeks ago, every tree was chock-a-block in my yard here," she said. "The bat shit is everywhere and it just eats everything."



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


23 January, 2012

Keystone Kops halt US-Canada pipeline, and target another

White House, environmentalists and U.S foundations seek to block all oil sands development. Some little known information about the huge financial investment that US anti-hydrocarbon environmentalist foundations have in this battle

Oilfield workers in Alberta, refinery workers in Texas and countless factory workers just learned that the White House will not allow construction of an oil pipeline that would bring over half a million barrels of oil a day from Canada’s Alberta Province and North Dakota’s Bakken Field to refineries in Texas and Louisiana. The job-killing decision was a victory for radical environmentalists and well-heeled U.S. foundations that have long battled Canadian oil sands companies and the U.S. oil and gas industry.

President Obama says Congress gave him insufficient time to examine environmental issues. TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP can reapply, he added, if it reroutes the pipeline around Nebraska’s Oglala Aquifer and Sand Hills area and addresses other concerns. In the meantime, the Administration insists, the project “would not serve the national interest.”

Project supporters called the President’s decision “preposterous,” and urged Congress to craft a way to gain approval without White House involvement.

“The rationales for rejecting the project are nothing but dissembling, red herrings and hot air,” CFACT policy advisor Paul Driessen commented. “They are as credible as a Keystone Kops movie.”

The application for this project and pipeline route was submitted in 2008, Driessen noted. The Administration has had ample time to review every aspect. “This is the same White House that demanded passage of a healthcare bill that no one in Congress had a chance to read, much less study and understand, before it was presented for final vote. To claim that two months was not enough time to study a proposal that had already been studied three years is absurd,” he said.

The Keystone XL project would ensure jobs, affordable energy and national security, which Mr. Obama insists he supports. His rejection demonstrates that his real goal is to reduce energy supplies, raise energy prices, and destroy jobs that are not part of the Administration’s government-subsidized and directed “green jobs” agenda, Driessen and others say. Moreover, dozens of pipelines already cross the Oglala region; another well-designed pipeline would hardly pose an unacceptable threat.

Even the Washington Post editorial board says “Obama’s Keystone pipeline rejection is hard to accept” – especially coming one day after the President said the United States still needs inexpensive hydrocarbon energy, pipelines and a strong energy infrastructure. Quoting from government reports, the Post noted that the pipeline would have “limited adverse environmental impacts.”

Few Americans or Canadians were surprised by the announcement. TransCanada spokesman Jim Prescott had previously told a Houston newspaper, “It has become a political piñata ... that the activist community and environmental community have used to drive a larger … anti-oil agenda.”

Killing Keystone is just one part of a grand strategy that includes closing off Asian and U.S. markets from the oil; banning exploration and production across Canada and the United States; and even shutting down existing operations that radical greens call “blood oil,” in an insulting comparison to diamond mining in African regions torn by conflict and brutality.

Indeed, the same coalition fighting the Keystone project has spent hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S. foundations to shut down Canada’s entire vital and profitable oil sands oil operation – even though it increasingly uses less water and energy, emits less pollution and carbon dioxide, and relies more on in situ steam injection than surface mining. Radical environmentalists also oppose Canada’s Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific coast, to facilitate shipment by tanker to Asia.

Canada’s government recently began public hearings on the Northern Gateway proposal. Opponents won a major victory when Chief Hearing Officer Sheila Leggett, Vice Chair of Canada’s National Energy Board, decided to let foreign citizens, foreign lobbyists and even foreign governments take part in what will now likely be a protracted and rancorous public hearing circus.

“The world’s Canada-bashers laughed [at Leggett’s decision], then signed up to testify,” Ezra Levant observed in the Calgary Sun. “Almost 5,000 of them have signed up, including Hugo Chavez’s state-owned oil company CITGO, foreigners from Uruguay to Louisiana to Italy to Austria, Captain Jack Sparrow,” and somebody called “Cave Man.”

“But the biggest threat isn’t the clowns,” Levant added. “It’s the well-paid foreign professional lobbyists who used Leggett’s weakness to take over the process – pros like the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation,” which Levant says spent $200,000 to hire the West Coast Environmental Law Foundation to try to block development of the pipeline and tanker port. But that is just the tip of the iceberg!

Vivian Krause, writing in Canada’s Financial Post, says the thinking behind U.S. funding against Canadian oil was explained in a 2007 strategy paper, “Design to win: Philanthropy’s role in the fight against global warming,” funded largely by the Hewlett Foundation. Even earlier, Hewlett had paid Tides Canada to develop a strategic plan to fight oil and gas development in British Columbia.

Overall, Krause reports, U.S. foundations alone granted at least $300 million over the last decade to various environmental organizations and campaigns in Canada; half went to three campaigns. The Pew Foundation (heirs to Sun Oil!) gave $57 million to the Boreal Forest Initiative, which seeks to place fully one-third of Canada into protected areas and parks – off limits to logging, mining, hydroelectric, new roads, and oil and gas production, while accommodating traditional hunting, fishing and gathering.

Through the George & Betty Moore Foundation, Intel founder George Moore worked with Tides Canada to give $30 million to First Nations to create a Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area, which targets only that small part of the north coast of B.C. that includes the proposed oil tanker port site. The Great Bear Rainforest Initiative seeks to set aside 21 million hectares (52 million acres – the equivalent of Kansas) from Vancouver Island to Alaska, supposedly to protect the Kermode bear (aka Great Spirit Bear) but really to serve as the Great Trade Barrier against oil exports to Asia.

First Nation groups have received at least $50 million from U.S. foundations, Krause reports, ostensibly to lead the fight against oil pipelines. A newly emerging big player is the Sea Change Foundation, funded by Jim and Nathaniel Simons of Renaissance Technologies LLC, a $15 billion hedge fund.

Terence Corcoran of Canada’s National Post added that jet-setting, oil-consuming movie celebrities like Robert Redford, James Cameron, Darryl Hannah and Leonardo DeCaprio have also lent their personas to movements “aimed at shutting down large portions of the Canadian economy.” One wonders if they, too, are being paid with “blood money” from U.S. foundations created through wealth accumulated from fossil fuels, mining and other industries now in environmentalist cross-hairs.

Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Cabinet have taken a far different tack with the Northern Gateway hearings than the White House did with Keystone. While President Obama hemmed and hawed on the central question of whether Keystone XL would be in America’s best interest, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver made it clear that his government supports both Gateway and Keystone.

In an unprecedented open letter, Oliver asserted, “For our government, the choice is clear: we need to diversify our markets, to create jobs and economic growth for Canadians.... We must expand our trade with the fast growing Asian economies … to help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.”

Oliver went on to denounce “environmental and radical groups” whose goal is “to stop any major project, no matter the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydroelectric dams. These groups ... seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. “

Oliver lambasted foreign special interest groups for trying to undermine Canada’s economy, and ridiculed “jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world” for daring to “lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources” and using lawsuits as a last resort to obstruct industrial progress.

The opposition has done its research, invested wisely and heavily, and expects to win. The Harper government has pledged to fight for a prosperous future against the eco-imperialists of Deep Ecology, who use industry-based fortunes to control and hamstring the lives and livelihoods of current and future generations. The stakes are high; our very futures depend on the outcome of these twin battles.

President Obama must face the very real likelihood that the radicals he is placating over Keystone XL will be unable to block oil shipment to China or elsewhere in Asia. The net result will be no American jobs and no environmental gains – not even questionable or imaginary gains.

The oil will be extracted, transported overseas and burned under less rigorous pollution rules and controls, to create better jobs and lives for people across the Pacific Ocean. That will leave Americans with none of the energy or employment benefits that Mr. Obama insists he is committed to creating – and the global environment with none of the land use, air and water quality or climate benefits that the White House proclaims will be its lasting legacy.


Fred Singer replies to a critique of the Durban climate festival

His comment published in Nature in response to a Nature editorial‏ of Dec 15; "The Mask Slips"

"The Nature editorial talks about science and policy in parallel universes. Quite correct – if you mean ‘separate’ and ‘disconnected.’ COP 17 in Durban was never about climate, let alone science. It was all about money: (1) How to assure continuing government careers for 200 delegations, with annual vacations paid by taxpayers. (2) How to transfer $100 billion a year from industrialized nations to LDCs (or more precisely, to their kleptocratic rulers), using “climate justice” or “climate guilt” (depending on who is doing the talking). (3) How to gain a national advantage by setting differential emission limits.

By now it should be obvious that (1) the enshrined temperature limit of +2 degC is based on fiction and has no scientific basis. As an annual global average, climate models tell us, it will mean warmer winter nights in Siberia and Canada; perhaps -35degC instead of -40; and little warming in the tropics. (2) It should also be obvious that even strenuous and economy-killing efforts at mitigation, will have little effect on atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, let alone on climate. If a demonstration is needed, just look at the lack of warming since 1998, in spite of rapidly rising levels of greenhouse gases.

So, yes, I would agree with the editorial, if properly expanded."


Scare: Unprecedented, man-made trends in ocean’s acidity

Just another modelling exercise and one based on admittedly poor data. Amusingly, it makes a mockery of its own warnings. Its authors say that "anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last 100 to 200 years have already raised ocean acidity far beyond the range of natural variations". So where is the evidence of harm from that? There is none

Nearly one-third of CO2 emissions due to human activities enters the world’s oceans. By reacting with seawater, CO2 increases the water’s acidity, which may significantly reduce the calcification rate of such marine organisms as corals and mollusks. The extent to which human activities have raised the surface level of acidity, however, has been difficult to detect on regional scales because it varies naturally from one season and one year to the next, and between regions, and direct observations go back only 30 years.

Combining computer modeling with observations, an international team of scientists concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last 100 to 200 years have already raised ocean acidity far beyond the range of natural variations. The study is published in the January 22 online issue of Nature Climate Change.

The team of climate modelers, marine conservationists, ocean chemists, biologists and ecologists, led by Tobias Friedrich and Axel Timmermann at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, came to their conclusions by using Earth system models that simulate climate and ocean conditions 21,000 years back in time, to the Last Glacial Maximum, and forward in time to the end of the 21st century. They studied in their models changes in the saturation level of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate) typically used to measure of ocean acidification. As acidity of seawater rises, the saturation level of aragonite drops. Their models captured well the current observed seasonal and annual variations in this quantity in several key coral reef regions.

Today’s levels of aragonite saturation in these locations have already dropped five times below the pre-industrial range of natural variability. For example, if the yearly cycle in aragonite saturation varied between 4.7 and 4.8, it varies now between 4.2 and 4.3, which – based on another recent study – may translate into a decrease in overall calcification rates of corals and other aragonite shell-forming organisms by 15%. Given the continued human use of fossil fuels, the saturation levels will drop further, potentially reducing calcification rates of some marine organisms by more than 40% of their pre-industrial values within the next 90 years.

“Any significant drop below the minimum level of aragonite to which the organisms have been exposed to for thousands of years and have successfully adapted will very likely stress them and their associated ecosystems,” says lead author Postdoctoral Fellow Tobias Friedrich.

“In some regions, the man-made rate of change in ocean acidity since the Industrial Revolution is hundred times greater than the natural rate of change between the Last Glacial Maximum and pre-industrial times,” emphasizes Friedrich. “When Earth started to warm 17,000 years ago, terminating the last glacial period, atmospheric CO2 levels rose from 190 parts per million (ppm) to 280 ppm over 6,000 years. Marine ecosystems had ample time to adjust. Now, for a similar rise in CO2 concentration to the present level of 392 ppm, the adjustment time is reduced to only 100 – 200 years.”

On a global scale, coral reefs are currently found in places where open-ocean aragonite saturation reaches levels of 3.5 or higher. Such conditions exist today in about 50% of the ocean – mostly in the tropics. By end of the 21st century this fraction is projected to be less than 5%. The Hawaiian Islands, which sit just on the northern edge of the tropics, will be one of the first to feel the impact.

The study suggests that some regions, such as the eastern tropical Pacific, will be less stressed than others because greater underlying natural variability of seawater acidity helps to buffer anthropogenic changes. The aragonite saturation in the Caribbean and the western Equatorial Pacific, both biodiversity hotspots, shows very little natural variability, making these regions particularly vulnerable to human-induced ocean acidification.

“Our results suggest that severe reductions are likely to occur in coral reef diversity, structural complexity and resilience by the middle of this century,” says co-author Professor Axel Timmermann.”


The Frackin' Democrats

For every reasonable and responsible solution America comes up with to solve a problem, the frackin' Democrats have to come up with a hysterical response to stop it. Take hydraulic fracturing...

CatFish John wrote: 50 years from now water is going to be more precious than both oil and gas but you know who cares about our children and our children's children. - in response to Scientists Discover Gassy Liberal Pseudo-Science

Dear Comrade CatFish,

Water is always more precious than oil and gas. But we’ve been using oil and gas for over a century and we still have clean water here in the US. It wasn’t oil and gas that killed the Chesapeake Bay.

Liberals always have to act like the sky is falling, because they can’t rely on facts to back them up.

I don’t think we’ll run out of water, any more than the world will deflate from drilling for oil and gas or Guam will tip over from too many people.

Mark Twain once said that he felt about one of his books probably the same way that the Almighty felt about the world: “The fact is, there is a trifle too much water in both.”

Sons of Liberty wrote: The only poll I trust is the one that will be conducted on Nov. 6, 2012. And from past experience working the elections I'm not too optimistic that this President will be voted out of office. I've worked the elections for 6 years now and since then I have wondered if this republic can ever be saved. Example: out of more than 700 registered voters in my district only 100 to 150 voters show up to vote EVERY election cycle, from local to national elections. - in response to With Keystone XL, Obama Mask Slips on Jobs, Energy

Dear Liberty,

Six years isn’t that many election cycles.

I would say that it’s about the normal amount of time it takes the average voter to get completely disgusted with the party in power.

In this case that means disgust with the Democrats.

In 2008, voter turnout was the highest it’s been since 1968 at 56.8 percent of the population. 

The good news is that if you want voter turnout to increase in your district, you only have to contact those 700 voters once during the preceding 30 days prior to the election. If you break it down by households, it probably comes out closer to 400-500 households. That means that you only have to make 17 phone calls per day to voters in your district to positively affect the outcome.

Call your local party for the resources to contact your neighbors.

Ibuh wrote: Here we go again: spreading misinformation about the Keystone pipeline. Preserving the lies that cancelling that pipeline will result in decreased supply of Canadian oil to the US and increased oil prices. - in response to With Keystone XL, Obama Mask Slips on Jobs, Energy

Dear Comrade Ibuh,

If that’s not true than why is the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper threatening to sell the oil to China?

I would think that maybe he knows something- actually many things- about this that you don’t.  In fact, I would guarantee that he knows more about most things than you do.

“Prime Minister Harper expressed his profound disappointment with the news,” that Obama scuttled the Keystone pipeline. “He indicated to President Obama that he hoped that this project would continue given the significant contribution it would make to jobs and economic growth both in Canada and the United States of America.”  

He went on to say that since the US didn’t want the oil, Canada was looking to sell the oil to someone else.

Here goes that whacky Canadian Prime Minister “telling lies again” about Canadian oil.  

Beachgoer wrote: I find it very hypocritical that the president can visit Disney and call for more tourism to boost the economy but slams the door on the pipeline. My business runs on gasoline. I will not be voting to re-elect!! - in response to Expecting the Worst from President Hypocrite

Dear Beachgoer,

That’s because Obama knows as much about economics as Ibuh does.

Lon wrote: Yeah why did he make this divisive decision now? I mean besides because Republicans insisted on his making it now before they agreed to a two month extension of the payroll tax cut. - in response to Expecting the Worst from President Hypocrite

Dear Comrade Lon,

Actually this is the second time that Obama punted on making a decision. His first error was completely unforced by the GOP. In fact, it was probably Democrat-on-Democrat crime that put Obama in this mess to begin with.  

He has had the opportunity to make the decision since the State Department, run by Hillary Clinton, first gave the seal of approval to the pipeline back at the end of the summer.

From HuffPo:

On Friday, the State Department issued its final Environmental Impact Statement, concluding that the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline would have "no significant impact" on the environment and recommending that the project move forward, despite warnings from environmental groups that, among other things, the project would help accelerate the warming of the planet.

Just goes to show you that Hillary has a pair, and Obama does not.

Kilgore Trout wrote: I was curious where your figure of 200,000 jobs comes from. The only place I could find that figure was from the U.S Chamber of Commerce which is a conservative lobbying group. TransCanada itself stated that figure would be more like 20,000 temporary US Jobs with permanent jobs ranging in the hundreds. - in response to Expecting the Worst from President Hypocrite

Dear Comrade Kilgore,

The US Chamber, according to CBS News, says 250,000 permanent jobs. Congress has cited 20,000 construction jobs plus another 130,000 ancillary jobs. Meanwhile, Cornell University, in a flight of fancy, has said that Keystone construction “may actually destroy more jobs than it generates.” But that says more about liberal economists than it does about how many jobs the pipeline would create.

Six percent ($533 billion in payroll) of all labor income in the United States and 5.3 percent of all jobs are either directly tied to or support the oil and gas business. Some of the supporting industries include Services, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Rental and Leasing, Manufacturing, Transportation and Warehousing, Information, Construction, Agriculture, Utilities and Mining. The jobs are good paying, technical positions too.

When you figure in that Keystone will supply another million barrels of oil of the 19 million barrels the US uses- or more than a 5 percent increase- you are looking at a substantial boost to the economy. That’s $350 billion in oil. Certainly the number of jobs created by processing half-a-trillion dollars in oil in the US every year will be in the hundreds of thousands of jobs. I think 250,000 jobs is too conservative an estimate.

But the bigger issue, comrade, is that once the Keystone pipeline is operating, the US will begin to exploit is own reserves of oil, which will make it a net exporter of oil and refined product.

That’s what the Keystone issue is about.

As I have pointed out all along, the Keystone issue isn’t about the safety of a pipeline. Obama and enviro-whacko friends know that if they allow Canadian tar sands oil to be developed via the Keystone pipeline, that the US will also start to develop their own tar-sands and shale oil. The US contains well over 600 years of known reserves and that would allow the US to be a net exporter of oil. If that happens, the green economy ruse that the left has sponsored, already reeling from bankruptcies and cronyism, would collapse. It would show that there is no shortage of oil and “green” energy can not compete with fossil fuels.

Mac287 wrote: Our country is America which has purposely been broken into opposing "camps" and never the twain shall about coming together for the betterment of the country we love? Parties winning only signifies country losing as we never seem to work toward everything is a big campaign...whoever wins, we lose as a country. Any politicians out there with character & integrity and the welfare of our country at heart?- in response to UAW, Occupy and Obama Hang Themselves Together

Dear Comrade 287,

Here’s the dead giveaway that liberals are toast the next election.

Whenever they get in trouble they start singing the Rodney King anthem of “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

When they had Obama and both houses of Congress, it was: “We won” as they shoved Obamacare down our throats.

But, yes, there are politicians with character and integrity who have the welfare of country at heart. But very few of them now reside in the Democrat party.


DDT myths live on

Times-Picayune celebrates DDT myth as history

In celebrating the recovery of the brown pelican population, the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes,

The brown pelican survived a brush with extinction, and the bird was declared healthy in 2009, 39 years after it was placed on the endangered species list. In the 1960s, the pelican had largely disappeared from the Gulf Coast, primarily because of decades of heavy use of the pesticide DDT in agriculture and mosquito control.

But a ban on DDT and efforts to protect pelican nesting sites led to a dramatic comeback for the Louisiana state bird.

Research in the late 1960s proved that DDT, ingested from the fish pelicans ate, caused eggshells to crack prematurely. The chemical was banned in 1972. In its absence, the osprey, the bald eagle and other fish-eating birds also made comebacks.

By November, 2009, the brown pelican population was estimated at about 650,000 in the Gulf Coast, Florida and California…

But the brown pelican had almost disappeared way before DDT came on the scene and then DDT had no effect on the pelican populations.

Check out the following from’s “100 Things You Should Know About DDT“:

92. Brown pelicans declined in Texas from a high of 5,000 birds in 1918 to a low of 200 in 1941, three years before the presence of DDT. [Pearson TG. 1919. Review of reviews. Pp. 509-511 (May 1919); Pearson TG. 1934. Adventures in Bird Protection, Appleton- Century Co., p. 332; Pearson TG. 1934 (Discussion of 1918 survey) National Geographic pp. 299-302 (March 1934); Allen RG. 1935. Auk 52: p.199;]

93. Disappearance of the brown pelicans from Texas was attributed to fisherman and hunters. Gustafson AF. 1939. Conservation in the United States, Comstock Publ. Co., Ithaca, NY. (Repeated in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Report No. 1, 1970)]

94. Brown pelicans experienced no difficulty in reproducing during the DDT years. [See Banks, RC. 1966. Trans San Diego Soc Nat Hist 14:173-188; and Schreiber RW and RL DeLong. 1969. Audubon Field Notes 23:57-59]

95. Brown pelicans did suffer reproductive problems following the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Oil on eggs is a known cause of embryo death. [See e.g., National Wildlife Federation . 1979. Embryonic mortality from oil on feathers of adult birds. Conservation News, pp. 6-10 (October 15, 1979); Hartung, R. 1965. (Oil on eggs reduces hatch ability by 68 percent). J Wildlife Management 29: 872-874; King, KA 1979. (Oil a probable cause of pelican mortality for six weeks after spill). Bull Environ Contam. Toxicol 23:800-805; and Dieter, MP. 1977. (5 micro liters of oil on fertile egg kills 76 percent to 98 percent of embryos within. Interagency Energy-Environment Research and Development Program Report, pp 35-42]

96. Among brown pelican egg shells examined (72 percent), there was no correlation between DDT residue and shell thickness. [Switzer, B. 1972. Consolidated EPA hearings, Transcript pp. 8212-8336; and Hazeltine, WE. 1972. Why pelican eggshells are thin. Nature 239: 410-412]

97. An epidemic of Newcastle disease resulted in millions of birds put to death to eradicate the disease. [United Press International. "Newcastle disease epidemic in California (April 1972)] The epidemic among U.S. birds was caused by the migration of sick pelicans along the Mexican coast. [Hofstad MC. 1972. Diseases of Poultry. Iowa State Univ. Press]


Australia: "Green" gasoline switch to leave 750,000 NSW motorists out of pocket

UP TO 750,000 drivers in NSW will be forced to pay at least $150 more for petrol each year when the government bans regular unleaded petrol in July.

NSW is the only government in Australia to ban regular unleaded petrol and replace it with fuel blended with 10 per cent ethanol.

But modelling by the University of Queensland and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce obtained by the Herald shows 25 per cent of NSW cars cannot use ethanol fuel and will be forced to use premium fuel instead.

With support from the Liberal and National parties, the former Labor government passed legislation in 2007 banning unleaded fuel, arguing that ethanol-blended fuel was better for the environment.

The Coalition supported the laws despite the fact that among those bearing the extra cost would be nearly 100,000 NSW motorists who drive cars made before 1986, many of whom live in rural Australia.

Almost all motorcyclists in NSW and drivers of several popular makes and models, such as all Ford Lasers and many Mazdas made before 2005, will also have to pay more as their vehicles cannot run on ethanol-blended petrol.

Anton le Rutte, of the Boat Owners Association of NSW, said most boats would also be unable to use ethanol fuel because it absorbed moisture and disintegrated and had a risk of starting fires in older boats.

At an average extra of 10¢ a litre for premium fuel, the average motorist will be paying $150 more a year. For a car with a 60-litre fuel tank, filling up once a week, it will cost an extra $300 a year.

The study was prepared for the ethanol industry. It used data from 2009 to project that, as of last year, only 75 per cent of 3 million passenger vehicles and motorbikes in NSW would be able to run on ethanol-blended fuel.

The extra cost to be borne by motorists was scarcely mentioned in the parliamentary debate on the legislation.

Tony Kelly, then the minister for rural affairs, said motorists who had to switch to premium unleaded would "enjoy a higher-octane, cleaner-burning fuel".

Andrew Stoner, the Deputy Premier, supported the legislation, despite airing industry concerns that some motorists would have to pay 12¢ a litre more for "nothing other than government policy".

The Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, did not respond to questions about whether he was concerned about the extra costs motorists would face or whether he had considered policies to offset them.

Kathleen Cash, a graphic designer from Rosebery, was totally unaware that regular unleaded petrol was being phased out and that she would have to pay more for premium fuel.

Ms Cash is thinking about trading in her 1998 Daewoo, which cannot run on ethanol-blended fuel, but her son looks likely to inherit it. "I don't really understand why it's going to cost more for older cars," she said. "I think it's really unfair that people who have older cars have to pay more".



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


22 January, 2012

Obama’s Misleading Green-Jobs Ad: Taking Credit for Imaginary Jobs

There are only 140,000 jobs in the whole renewable-energy sector, but in a new ad, Obama is taking credit for a “clean energy industry” that has “2.7 million jobs.” Obama inflated the number of “clean-energy” jobs by adding people who have nothing to do with clean-energy, like “trash collectors” and bureaucrats. By inflating the total, Obama was able to paper over his complete failure to live up to his utterly unrealistic campaign promise “to create 5 million new green jobs.” Most of America’s existing green jobs predate the Obama Administration, which did not create them: “from 2003-2010, the rate of growth for clean jobs was 3.4 percent.”

Indeed, the Obama Administration used federal green-jobs money to outsource American jobs to countries like China: “Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop” at American University. “79 percent” of all green-jobs funding “went to companies based overseas,” with the largest payment going to a bankrupt Australian company. “Most of the jobs are going overseas,” said Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

Meanwhile, America actually lost jobs in wind-manufacturing: “Even with the infusion of so much stimulus money, a recent report by American Wind Energy Association showed a drop in U.S. wind manufacturing jobs last year.” (CBS News recently reported that there are 11 more companies, in addition to Solyndra, that are embroiled in financial trouble after receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer money; five have already filed for bankruptcy).

Obama’s mythical green-jobs are like other imaginary jobs he claimed to have created with the $800 billion stimulus package. The Obama Administration took credit for jobs created in 440 non-existent Congressional districts, such as Arizona’s 15th and 86th districts (Arizona only had 8 Congressional districts, as ABC News noted with amusement). The Washington Examiner noted that at least “75,000 jobs” Obama has claimed credit for are “clearly imaginary” or “highly doubtful.” Readers can view its interactive map of “Inflated Jobs by State.”

The Obama Administration claimed that the stimulus package would keep unemployment from ever rising above 8 percent, but it peaked at over 10 percent. Obama claimed the stimulus was needed to prevent an “irreversible decline,” but the Congressional Budget Office admits that the stimulus package will shrink the economy “in the long run.”

Obama’s green-jobs pledge isn’t his only broken promise. Obama campaigned in 2008 on a promise of a “net spending cut,” but soon after taking office, he proposed budgets that would add $4.8 trillion to the national debt.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Destroying America by Denying Access to Energy

By Alan Caruba

It is the crime of the century that America, home to some of the world’s greatest reserves of coal, natural gas and oil, is being deliberately destroyed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior as they do everything in their power to restrict access and drive energy producers out of business.

It is common sense that a nation that cannot produce sufficient electricity to turn on its lights and power its manufacturing sector will be destroyed if current Obama administration regulations and actions continue. Our vital transportation sector and all others that utilize petroleum-based products will suffer, too.

While President Obama babbles about millionaires and billionaires, everyone will be impoverished by the loss of jobs and revenue our energy sector produces now and can produce in the future.

This isn’t an “energy policy.” It’s a “no-energy policy” and it is a guarantee of economic disaster.

Obama’s decision to reject a permit for Canada’s XL Keystone pipeline is just one example. It is a job-killer and a revenue-killer. There are thousands of pipelines serving America’s energy needs and the XL Keystone pipeline would ensure that Canada’s own vast energy reserves would flow to America. It is one of our key trade partners and Obama has slapped it in the face.

In early January, Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, announced a new 20-year, million-acre ban on uranium mining for federal lands in Arizona, despite the fact that these lands hold the highest-grade of known uranium deposits in the United States. It is an outrage that a new GOP-Congress will have to overturn if the nation is to be assured of sufficient uranium to power its nuclear plants and for weapons development. If the ban remains, these uranium resources would be inaccessible until 2023!

Tom Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research said that Salazar’s announcement “further compounds a man-made energy crisis that has been planned and executed in Washington, D.C.”

At the same time we are learning of enormous natural gas discoveries that can reduce our energy bills and turn sleeping little towns into boomtowns, environmental organizations have launched a vast propaganda campaign against “fracking”, a technology that has been safely used for more than fifty years. Their claims about dangers to the nation’s supply of fresh water are baseless. Their claims that fracking has caused earthquakes in Ohio are absurd.

Need it be said that the Environmental Protection Agency has turned its eyes on fracking and is working on a report due later this year that will likely call for harsh crackdowns on its use and more regulations to throttle the expansion of natural gas extraction?

The EPA has just released a report of those power plants that top the list of its regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. There is no basis in science to justify the reduction of CO2. Indeed, since it is a gas on which all vegetation depends, much as oxygen is vital to all animal life, reducing it would impair great crop yields and healthier forests.

These regulations are based on the global warming hoax that blamed CO2 for warming the earth. That is utterly false. The Earth is currently in a perfectly natural cooling cycle and the climate of the Earth is almost entirely based on the Sun—solar radiation—along with the actions of oceans, clouds, and even volcanic activity that spews tons of particulates into the atmosphere.

Coal-fired power plants account for fifty percent of all the electricity generated in the United States. Fifty percent! And yet the EPA is determined to shut down dozens of them providing that vital factor in the lives of all Americans and the economy, nor does this take into account the billions that energy producers have spent to upgrade their technology to reduce emissions.

The Obama administration fuel economy agenda, a call for 54.5 miles per gallon ignores simple physics. There is a finite amount of energy a gallon of gas can generate. If you dilute it with ethanol as is currently required, you get even less mileage. The administration is trying to circumvent Congress by issuing standards based on regulating “greenhouse gas emissions”, but there is no need for this. It is a false argument. The Center for Automotive Research says that the proposed new standards would cause the retail price of average motor vehicles to increase by more than $11,000.

Americans and the nation’s future are being victimized by Obama administration policies. The 18th annual Index of Economic Freedom, was released on January 12th by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, measures the many factors that contribute to the economic health of a nation—things like property rights, regulatory efficiency, open markets, free trade and labor policies.

Economic freedom is declining worldwide as governments try to spend their way out of the global recession. The United States fell to 10th place. In 2009 it ranked 6th, in 2010 it was 8th, and in 2011, it was 9th.

We are witnessing the deliberate murder of a superpower.


Computer Climate Models — A Masochist’s Best Friend

Harold Ambler

A new paper out of Duke, Stanford, and the Environmental Defense Fund, promises that California will have a hard time fulfilling its carbon sequestration targets if climate keeps changing at the terrifying pace it has of late. Using computer models to prove its claims, if not its logic (since it has none), the paper had the usual effect that such glorified press releases do on your correspondent.

Leaving aside the fact that carbon sequestration is a bad idea, in response to questionable science, the idea that newspaper space is occupied by model-driven climate analyses day in and day out is, I admit, hard to take. Why, you ask? Well, I happen to have addressed that very question in my spiffy new book. And, if you’re very, very nice, or even if you just keep reading, you’ll see why.

Let’s start with a picture!

Computer models have come to replace reality in the public debate about climate. NASA’s “Columbia” supercomputer, Mountain View, California, 2006

That’s a big boy! Must have something interesting to say about climate change! You bet he does! And now, just a tantalizing bit of Chapter 5 (Rise of the Machines) from Don’t Sell Your Coat:

So the ice caps aren’t melting. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of other ammunition with which to scare otherwise sane people badly. Put yourself in the shoes of the global warming doomsayers. If you’re going to scare the pants off a whole bunch of folks, you’re going to need some powerful tools. Arguably the most powerful tool available for such a purpose is the supercomputer. That is why a single phrase appears in nearly every article and book dealing with climate change. Although the phrase is used in other disciplines to signify divergence from reality, in the case of climate science it has come to be equated with reality, or even to replace reality. Its proponents are passionate, tireless. Its detractors don’t really know where to start.

That phrase? Computer models.

The full formal name is general circulation models. Using gridded cells the size of Connecticut, these computer models are humanity’s effort to lasso, intellectually, what may be the most mentally uncontrollable being ever created: Earth’s climate system. There are many, many issues with models.

Using the most powerful supercomputers in existence, modelers strain to generate even faintly accurate climate forecasts, simply for lack of computing power. The ocean-atmosphere system is that complicated. Among the items that the models must attempt to compute: highly complex, poorly understood deep-sea currents; the effects of aerosols (fine pollution particles) on cloud formation; the effect of black carbon pollution on the melt rate of snow and ice, especially in the Arctic; solar radiation (via an effect known as solar dimming); volcanic eruptions; the effect of air masses of different pressure on either side of mountains (a process known as mountain torque); variations in wind patterns, particularly of trade winds that lead to El Niños and La Niñas; variations in albedo, which is the extent to which the Earth’s surface and atmosphere (ice sheets, clouds, oceans, forests, deserts, cities, farms, rivers, and lakes) reflect radiation back to space; and, finally, solar variation, including a controversial secondary effect of the Sun’s shifting phases on cloud formation in our atmosphere.

Every one of these variable quantities is being debated in the scientific literature. And in the blogosphere the debate is red hot, as exemplified by the tongue-in-cheek suggestion by more than one blogger that global warming skeptics be murdered in their sleep. Controversy aside, just measuring any one of the factors to be included in computer model simulations, at any given moment in time, is nearly impossible. Among the reasons: The planet is a lot bigger than the average person gives it credit for being. The ability to fly from one continent to another in less than half a day gives a false impression of scale, it turns out.

The state of Texas can help convey the size of the planet. Texas, at 268,581 square miles constitutes 13.2 percent of the land area of the United States (which comes in at 3,537,441 square miles). The surface area of Earth, though, is 196,935,000 square miles. The percent of the world’s surface occupied by Texas, then, is 0.5. And yet within this one-half of one percent of Earth’s surface area are several vastly different climates. From the high mountain desert of El Paso in the west, where accumulating snowstorms are typical most winters, to the southernmost coast on South Padre Island where the warm Gulf of Mexico water acts as a powerful buffer against temperature extremes (especially those of winter), to oppressively hot and humid Houston, to Amarillo in the Panhandle with its four distinct seasons, to the state’s myriad river systems (each with its own micro-climate), Texas (as those who have labored to drive across any portion of it know) is enormous. Likewise, every other half-percent of the globe’s land mass is, too.

- end of excerpt -

As the models continue to foresee worse and worse scenarios, demanding more and more extreme measures from politicians and the public alike, including and specifically a darker and darker future for my native state, I have to say that California, outside of its political present, continues to be a healthy, vibrant land that I am fortunate to have known intimately, and to know still.


From Rescuing The Climate To Rescuing The Economy – Germany’s Energy Transition Goes Into Reverse

Imagine if the government forced supermarkets to buy bread from plain white bread bakeries, ordered them to pay these bakeries a fixed price that’s 5 times higher than normal for 20 years, and forced them to buy up all the white bread these bakeries could produce, whether needed or not.

And imagine if the government also forced the supermarkets to buy bread that was never baked to begin with! All of this of course justified by bogus science claiming plain white bread is healthy and whole grain bread is a killer.

You can imagine the consequences.

Well, that’s exactly what Germany is doing with electricity. It requires power utilities to buy up “green” electricity from every producer at exorbitant rates, and to do so for 20 years. And if the grid gets overloaded on windy days, the wind-farm operator is told to stop producing, but still gets paid by the power utilities.

Unfortunately, Germany’s green politicians here were too dim-witted to foresee the obvious consequences. Now reality has since caught up. The German electricity market is on the verge of collapse. The scale of the EEG Renewable Energy Feed-in Act is of unprecedented stupidity, a folly that will certainly go down in German history textbooks.

The backpedaling away from solar subsidies in Germany is now happening so fast that it’s making people’s heads spin. Call it the reverse energy supply transition – one from fantasy back to reality.

Germany pulls the emergency brake on solar energy

Today a growing number of German officials, who were once huge proponents of renewable energies and the EEG Feed-In Act, are now realizing that solar energy in gray and rainy Germany is a folly after all. Electricity rates in Germany are skyrocketing and the risks of uncontrolled energy supply interruptions are mounting. Officials are now screaming for a drastic scale-back of solar subsidies. Economics Minister Philip Rösler is now calling for an end to the fixed and guaranteed (for 20 years) renewable energy feed-in rates paid to green producers.

Even Germany’s super green Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has seemingly woken up and now plans to drastically scale back new installations of solar systems in Germany, according to CO2 Handel here. In the new plan, subsidies will be scaled back on a monthly basis and accelerated. Subsidies for solar systems under the new plan would end by 2017.

Energy intensive industries are bolting, or are planning to do so

Power utilities have been finding it increasingly difficult to juggle the constantly and widely varying energy sources of wind and solar power, and are warning that power outages and grid collapses are just a question of time.

The mandatory feed-in of the vastly more expensive solar energy has caused electricity rates to surge and have been driving energy-intensive industries out of Germany. Solar energy was until recently seen as a way of filling in as a power supply in place of the shut down nuclear reactors, and rescuing the climate from coal plants. Now the focus of politics has reversed and shifted to rescuing the economy.

Recent surveys have shown that companies are becoming increasingly wary of conducting operations in Germany due to what they view as a potentially unreliable energy supply. The European Institute for Climate and Energy EIKE) here reports that:
"One fifth of every industrial company has moved activities to foreign countries, or plans to do so, because of the uncertain energy and raw material supply. This is the result of a survey conducted by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), in which 1520 companies participated. DIHK-President Hans Heinrich Driftmann finds this alarming: Here, fears that Germany is losing its appeal for foreign investors in the wake of it’s energy supply transformation.”

No wonder Environment Minister Röttgen plans to take drastic measures in curbing solar energy. Germany’s industrial economy is eroding rapidly. Prof. Dr. Dieter Ameling, a former steel industry leader and spokesman, recently said the (green) energy supply transition in Germany meant the downfall of energy intensive industry in Germany.

Unfortunately greens don’t understand that transferring clean, high-standard German industry to foreign, low-standard countries means more CO2 emissions and pollution, and not less. And they certainly do not understand even the most basic laws of economics. Germany’s Renewable Energy Feed-In Act is proof.

Kook greens in Canada think solar power is for free!

Finally here’s hippie David Suzuki (3 min. mark) saying “It’s free, man, it’s free!”

With idiots like that advising governments, we’re not surprised everything is going bankrupt.


Solar Stocks Plunge as Germany Vows to Quicken Subsidy Cuts

Solar stocks plunged around the world after Germany, the largest market for panels, said it will make quicker cuts to subsidized rates and phase out support for the industry by 2017.

Chinese manufacturers listed in New York fell for a second day, with Trina Solar Ltd. and JA Solar Holdings Co. skidding 17 percent over the two-day period. GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., which makes the raw material for most panels, fell the most since November in Hong Kong. In Europe, Meyer Burger Technology AG, Solarworld AG and SMA Solar Technology AG dropped at least 5.3 percent each today.

German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said last night that he planned to reduce feed-in tariffs providing above- market prices for solar power every month instead of twice a year as he does now. He said he's working to curb an “unacceptable” surge in installations last year.

“It was clear that Roettgen would accelerate feed-in tariff digressions which would remove the bloom from the rose,” Jesse Pichel, an analyst for Jefferies Group Inc., said today. “This will remove the ability for the German market to materially upside estimates.”

Yesterday's decision indicated ministers are speeding up efforts to restrain the boom in installations after developers added 7.5 gigawatts of panels last year, surpassing the 3 gigawatts that Roettgen said would be acceptable.

Government Concern

Economy Minister Philipp Roesler has said spiraling costs linked to solar subsidies are a threat to the economy. Roettgen on Jan. 18 indicated concern that the funds are benefiting Chinese companies.

“The increase in installations in the past few years has gone far beyond what we had targeted in our legislation,” Roettgen said yesterday. He said the subsidy overhaul would be handled “quickly.”

Gordon Johnson, the Axiom Capital Management Inc. analyst who last week removed his “sell” recommendation on First Solar Inc. for the first time since 2008, cut his guidance again, giving five other solar companies a “sell” rating too.

“That was short,” he said in a note to clients. “We believe a severe cut in global demand is near.”

The higher frequency in cuts will do away with the year-end rushes of the past and may help bring installation “closer toward” the government's target, Solarworld Chief Executive Officer Frank Asbeck said by phone yesterday.

A slowdown in the German and Italian markets, which accounted for about half of worldwide installations last year, is bound to hurt the industry. Germany targets 2.5 to 3.5 gigawatts a year and seeks to phase out subsidies by 2017, Roettgen said.

The minister will propose aggressive cuts to fend off the “very real possibility” of a cap on installations, Pichel said.

The country was expected to cut tariffs by 15 percent in July, following a 15 percent reduction that took effect Jan. 1. Under the current law, lower rates are imposed automatically by above-target installations.



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


21 January, 2012

Sea Level Rise During The Hottest Year Ever

According to NASA’s Dr. Hansen, 2010 was the hottest year ever, and Greenland temperatures were also the hottest ever. We are told this led to record melt in Greenland, which caused massive amounts of water to pour into the ocean. Additionally, thermal expansion from the record heat caused the oceans to get much deeper.

Satellite data shows us that sea level has been falling steadily since the start of 2010, which tells us that the missing water and the missing heat must be hiding at the bottom of the ocean – along with the missing intelligence and integrity of government scientists.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

You Cannot Have This EPA and a Constitution

Mark Levin says America cannot at the same time have a Constitution and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is doing what the EPA is doing today.

Levin made the observation in an interview with about his new book, “Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America.”

Modern American liberals, who are Utopias, Levin said, aim to erode the separation of powers built into the U.S. Constitution so that a “relative handful of masterminds” can tell everybody else what to do.

“This erosion has been going on for about a hundred years,” said Levin. “It’s at a much faster pace right now and there’s a reason for this--because you can’t have constitutionalism and utopianism.”

“The purpose of the Constitution is to have a limited central government where the sovereignty remains with the individual and the people and the states,” said Levin. “The purpose of utopianism is the opposite of all that. It’s a relative handful of masterminds and their massive army of bureaucrats and their experts advising them from the colleges and so forth on how to run society.

“You cannot have an EPA and a Constitution at the same time doing what this EPA is doing,” Levin told

“You cannot have an NLRB deciding who gets to work where, how, and when, and at the same time follow the Constitution,” he said.

“You cannot have a tax code that serves basically the purpose of redistributing wealth, which is one of the things that Marx was pushing for so strongly, and at the same time be arguing about limited government and constitutionalism,” he said.

“The utopians reject history. Everything begins today,” said Levin. “The models they want to put in place begin today. So why anybody thinks they’re going to respect the Constitution when they don’t respect the rest of history is beyond me.”

In “Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America,” released Monday, Levin compares the Utopian political philosophy behind modern American liberalism with the vision of natural law, God-given rights and limited government that inspired the Founding Fathers to write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

The Supreme Court last week heard arguments in the case of Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. The case was brought by an Idaho couple, Mike and Chantell Sackett, who were told by the EPA that they could not build a home on their own lot because the EPA said it might be a wetland—and that they could face a fine of $37,000 per day for defying the EPA’s order.


Greenie versus Greenie: The Condor

Drive out of California’s smoggy San Joaquin Valley, past the oil rigs planted helter-skelter in citrus groves, climb into the Tehachapi Mountains, and the future suddenly comes into view. Hundreds of gleaming white wind turbines generating carbon-free electricity carpet chaparral-covered ridges and march down into the valleys of Joshua trees that lead to the Mojave Desert.

Here in Kern County, a bastion of Big Oil and Big Agriculture, green energy has become big business. In the past 36 months the wind industry has attracted $3.2 billion in investment to a region with an unemployment rate 64% higher than the U.S. average. A multibillion-dollar transmission line under construction in the Tehachapi will carry as much as 4,500 megawatts of renewable energy, most of it from wind farms, to coastal cities. At peak output that’s the equivalent of four or five big nuclear power plants and a linchpin of California’s mandate to ­obtain a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. With a crucial federal tax credit set to expire at the end of 2012, developers are racing to put steel into the ground and secure a spot on the wire.

“The hotels are now full, the people who work in the restaurants now have someone to wait on,” says Lorelei Oviatt, Kern County’s planning director in Bakersfield, the honky-tonk hometown of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. “If you were laying concrete for a house, now you’re laying concrete for a turbine.”

A shadow, however, is falling on the Tehachapi, cast by the nine-and-a-half-foot wingspan of a Pleistocene-born bird of uncommon intelligence and longevity. With the investment of tens of millions of dollars and extraordinary effort by scientists, North America’s largest bird, the California condor, is staging a spectacular comeback after verging on extinction 25 years ago. The 200 birds in the wild today (out of 400 total) are rapidly reinhabiting their historic range in one of the nation’s great achievements of conservation biology. Naturalists can once again marvel at a bird that manipulates hot winds to soar hundreds of miles without flapping its wings.

It’s a flight path that is taking the condor perilously closer to the spinning blades of Tehachapi wind turbines that depend on those same thermal currents to generate power; biologists fear it’s only a matter of time before the condor begins hitting the 500-foot-high machines. A single death could be catastrophic for the wind industry, the regional economy and, not least, the condor. The loss of an alpha bird could disrupt breeding patterns and an intricate avian hierarchy, according to biologists. “It would be a major disaster,” says Mark Tholke, an executive with wind developer enXco, which is building several projects in the Tehachapi.

Under the federal and California ­endangered species acts, it’s illegal for anyone to kill a condor without first securing a permit to do so. Given that the government has not issued such an “incidental take” permit and has no intention of doing so, if a turbine kills a condor, the operator could be charged criminally. Environmentalists could also ask a judge to shut down a wind farm where a condor died. “If we as an industry don’t come up with a plan that is clear and reliable,” says Tholke, “the uncertainty is going to drive some investors away and drive up the cost of renewable energy.”

Already, state regulators have scuttled a huge Pacific Gas & Electric wind project in part because of the financial risks of a potential condor-caused cut to electricity production. Last June the Tehachapi’s biggest developer, Terra-Gen Power, abruptly pulled a planned 411-megawatt farm after Oviatt says she told executives that condor concerns and opposition from local residents would likely doom the project. Then in October the Sierra Club and two other environmental groups sued Kern County over its approval of a 300-megawatt NextEra Energy Resources wind farm that state and federal officials warn poses a high risk to condors.


“Disbelieving is hard work”

Theory-induced blindness and Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s “Global sea level linked to global temperature.”

In one of the many interesting chapters of Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University Emeritus Professor of Psychology and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics discussed Daniel Bernoulli’s 250-year-old mathematical theory of risk aversion.

Kahneman points out that “Bernoulli’s essay is a marvel of concise brilliance…
Most impressive, his analysis… has stood the test of time: it is still current in economic analysis almost 300 years later. The longevity of the theory is all the more remarkable because it is seriously flawed. The errors of a theory are rarely found in what it asserts explicitly; they hide in what it ignores or tacitly assumes”

Kahneman then goes on to demolish of Bernoulli’s theory. This demolition is simple and incontrovertible, takes about one page, and is easily understood by anybody of average intelligence. Kahneman says this about the demolition…
“All this is rather obvious, isn’t it? One could easily imagine Bernoulli himself constructing similar examples and developing a more complex theory to accommodate them; for some reason, he did not. One could imagine colleagues of his time disagreeing with him, or later scholars objecting as they read his essay; for some reason, they did not either.

The mystery is how a conception … that is vulnerable to such obvious counterexamples survived for so long. I can explain it only by a weakness of the scholarly mind that I have often observed in myself. I call it theory-induced blindness: once you have accepted a theory and used it as a tool in your thinking, it is extraordinarily difficult to notice its flaws. If you come upon an observation that does not seem to fit the model, you assume that there must be a perfectly good explanation that you are somehow missing. You give the theory the benefit of the doubt, trusting the community of experts who have accepted it. Many scholars have surely thought at one time or another of stories such as [the examples that Kahneman gives] and casually noted that these stories did not jibe…But they did not pursue the idea to the point of saying ‘this theory is seriously wrong because it ignores the fact[s]‘…As the psychologist Daniel Gilbert observed, disbelieving is hard work…”

What does all this have to do with ClimateSanity? Simple – it sounds like Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s model linking global sea level to global temperature (“Global sea level linked to global temperature,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, December 22, 2009 vol. 106 no. 51 21527-21532 ). It has been incontrovertibly demolished, but the believer’s just can’t let it go. They must suffer theory-induced blindness. They seem to have endless capacity to simply overlook the plethora of bizarre, improbable or impossible consequences of the Vermeer and Rahmstorf model.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Britain's Green Subsidy Farms Harvest £25 Million For Sweet F.A.

Wind farms are receiving millions of pounds to shut down when the weather is too windy, The Times has learnt.

Dozens of onshore facilities shared £25 million last year, a 13,733 per cent increase on 2010, after a particularly blustery year, according to the figures released by National Grid.

The payments to stop operating are made by National Grid because it cannot cope with the amount of power being fed on to the system when it is very windy. But experts and consumer groups have accused wind-farm operators of abusing the system by demanding excessive payments.

Ultimately, the cost of being shut down is passed on to households because National Grid charges energy suppliers, who add the levy to bills.

Wind farms already receive large subsidies from consumers because they cost more to operate than coal and gas plants but produce no carbon emissions.

In total last year National Grid paid operators to stop generating for 149,983 megawatt-hours, equivalent to 1.49 per cent of the total electricity generated by Britain’s wind farms. This is equivalent to one large onshore farm being paid to be switched off all year.

It is the first time that National Grid, a FTSE-100 company, has revealed how much it paid wind farms not to operate. Many of the payments are made to onshore wind farms in remote places, like the Scottish Highlands, where the grid has not been properly upgraded.

National Grid argues that it is usually cheaper to pay off wind farms on the occasions when they would be operating at full capacity than spending billions of pounds to strengthen these isolated parts of the grid.

On one of the windiest days in October last year, National Grid paid wind farms £1.6 million, or £361 per MW/h on average, about four times the price that operators would expect to sell their electricity, according to ENDS, the specialist environmental information provider.

Consumer Focus said that wind-farm operators should not be able to hold National Grid to ransom by demanding huge payments in return for not generating electricity.

Richard Hall, head of energy regulation, said: “If wind-farm generators are asked to cut production they will clearly expect some compensation. But to keep costs down for customers we believe this should be at a level which reflects the realistic value of the loss to the company, not an arbitrary level that the firms set themselves.”

Ofgem, the energy regulator, said that it had “long-standing concerns” about the level of payments.

Since 2007 the amount of these “constraint payments” to all power generators has doubled as the amount of renewables being built has risen. Wind farms receive a disproportionately high amount of these payments compared with coal and gas plants.

The size of payments will soar further as Britain tries to meet its target of generating a third of its electricity from renewables, mostly wind farms, by 2020.

Phil Hare, vice-president for northwest Europe for Pöyry Management Consulting, the energy consultant, said: “If wind farms are receiving much more in constraint payments than they would if they sold the electricity, they are making a turn they shouldn’t be.

“By 2020, because of all the wind farms which will be on the system, the ups and downs of power generation will be staggering and very hard to deal with.”


Global Warming: The Evidence is Endless

If I believed the Earth was slowly turning into cheddar cheese, I could invoke this theory to explain a lot of things. Why is the rat population in our major cities growing so quickly? Earth cheesification is providing more rat food. Why have there been so many earthquakes lately? The cheesification of the tectonic plates has made them less resistant to sudden shifts. Why are glaciers melting? The freezing point of cheddar cheese is lower than that of water; as the Earth at the poles undergoes cheesification, the unfrozen cheese is causing a slight warming of the ice sheets from below, resulting in unusual levels of melting.

I could go on like this for a long time, I suppose. At some point, however, you would confront me with some natural fact that I could not logically account for by means of my cheese theory. In other words, even the greatest faith in this underlying assumption could never withstand all possible evidence.

If, however, we could devise a theory that might literally be able to repel absolutely any possible counter-evidence, then we would have accomplished something truly diabolical: an unfalsifiable theory. If we could indeed devise such a theory, then we could run wild explaining anything and everything, and absorb absolutely any eventuality, without ever needing to question our faith in the underlying hypothesis.

Then we would be at liberty to publish headlines such as this: “Research suggests warmer summers could be causing colder winters.” This conjecture, brought to you via the magical theory of global climate change, is reported as though it is the most plausible explanation of the peculiar fact that Canadian winters do not appear to be getting any warmer.

Question you aren’t supposed to ask: Why is the non-warming of recent winters a peculiar fact in need of an explanation? After all, did anyone in the past harbor any presumption that winters ought to be getting warmer? Why should they? The difference, of course, is that in the age of global warming, everyone is supposed to know, beyond any doubt, that the Earth is indeed getting significantly warmer. Thus, every time someone casually observes that the weather is pretty chilly, or that there has been a lot of snow, all hearers in the room look at their hands awkwardly, smirk bemusedly, or display some other symptom of that feeling familiar to anyone who has had to face doubts about a deeply held religious belief: “But this just can’t be true, because if it is, then my world is about to crumble.”

The world of anthropogenic global climate change crumbled a long time ago

The world of anthropogenic global climate change crumbled a long time ago. That, in fact, is why we have a theory called “anthropogenic global climate change” in the first place. Thirty-five years ago, it was called global cooling. When the temperature records made minced meat of that “theory,” it was put on ice for a few years, as it were. Finally, on the principle that if you can’t beat Mother Nature, you must join her, the wizards who brought us global cooling conveniently revised their models to prove beyond any doubt that the newly discovered global warming trend was a man-made phenomenon. Then, around 1998, the temperature records began to flat-line. Carbon dioxide, the Enemy, was reaching ever-higher levels in the atmosphere; and yet it was no longer having the desired – er, I mean “anticipated” – effect of warming the planet as it should (oops, I mean “as the models predicted”).

For several years, the global crusaders against carbon dioxide mocked, ridiculed, and/or ignored anyone who dared to ask why, if rising CO2 levels cause global warming, temperatures were not rising at accelerating rates, as CO2 levels continued to rise exponentially. Oh, but temperatures are indeed rising, the faithful said. In fact, each year, they produced annual temperature record analyses, garnered through the official scientific records center, the UN, showing that that year had been the warmest ever recorded. Then, a little later, some fine print would appear somewhere explaining how the report had slightly overestimated the warming for the year in question.

Hedging their bets, the global warmers began offering arguments to account for the stalled warming trend, even while they continued to deny that the trend had stalled – a method equivalent to saying, “I didn’t kill my wife, but if I did, it was in self-defense.” Their main argument was a condescending appeal to the big picture that the skeptics were allegedly too narrow-minded to see: Global temperature change, they said, is a process that develops over a very long period of time. Therefore, they harrumphed, claiming that a broader trend has ceased because temperatures have not changed for a few years shows an unscientific short-sightedness.

Of course, if one were to accept this bet-hedging argument, one could turn it back on the global warmers: Eighty years can hardly be called a “big picture,” in planetary terms. The Earth is believed to be more than four billion years old. If five years without warming is too short a period to call a trend, then why is eighty years of net warming a long enough period to call a trend? From the point of view of four billion years, eighty looks an awful lot like five, does it not? (To be precise, as a percentage of four billion, 5 is 0.000000125%, while 80 is 0.000002%.) So how sure can we be that the period during which this unnatural warming is alleged to have happened is a long enough period to indicate a “long-term trend”? Will they be forced back to frightening us about global cooling again in twenty years?

Perhaps dimly recognizing this little problem, the global warming advocates – um, I mean “researchers” – finally hit upon the perfect modification of their theory, namely to say that it doesn’t matter what happens to the temperature; the cause, in any case, is man. Thus, along about the middle of this century’s first decade, we suddenly had John Kerry and Hillary Clinton exiting a Senate hearing and taking to the microphones to discuss “global climate change.” No one officially announced this name change, of course. It just sort of happened. And with it came the lovely new premise that what our CO2 emissions are causing is neither warming nor cooling, per se, but rather “change.” “What kind of change?” you ask. Invalid question. Just “change.” Change from what? From some previous year’s “climate”? From some objective standard of what would have happened “naturally,” had we icky humans not spewed the by-product of so much life-sustaining productivity into Gaia’s aura? It makes little difference; no need to fuss about what exactly the “changers” are claiming is changing, since the particular changes that might occur from here on out are of no consequence to the theory. Any change will do – including no change at all, which can also be interpreted as a change, if you tilt your head a bit to one side.

The unanimous, settled scientists and their masters, the unanimous, settled proponents of global governance, have continued to act as though they still want you to accept that temperatures are rising every year, ice caps are shrinking, polar bears are drowning, and so on. “Global climate change” is, for most practical purposes, still “global warming.” This is necessary, since global regulation requires global panic, and it would be much more difficult to stir panic over the idea – which is, officially, the theory of the moment – that “temperatures, and their effects, may or may not change in one way or another over any given period of time.”

Global warming is indispensable as a political tool, even if it can only be preserved through a fuzzy bait-and-switch operation with global climate change

Global warming is indispensable as a political tool, even if it can only be preserved through a fuzzy bait-and-switch operation with global climate change. Nevertheless, the name change provided good backside protection. “Global climate change” takes a perfectly good bit of crackpot neo-religiosity and elevates it to the level of unfalsifiable pseudo-theory – unfalsifiable, as in nothing you could possibly present to the nutters by way of facts can ever be evidence to the contrary. Why not? Because there is no contrary.

If cooling, warming, and stasis are all evidence of anthropogenic global climate change, then science has finally followed the rest of the modern world into that realm of inescapable self-incrimination dubbed the Kafkaesque. We are guilty of global climate change. There is no proof. There is not even anyone to talk to by way of defending ourselves. Having been inexplicably accused, we will simply be sent on a dreamlike quest through a never-ending maze of inhuman obfuscation until, gradually, we come to accept that the accusation against us must be true, or else it would not have been made. At this point, we must desire our own demise, as the only “just” resolution, given the undefined crimes of which we have convicted ourselves.

At last, as the fight to defend global warming reached fever pitch over some e-mails seeming to discuss evidence-alteration – remember, this defense of warming took place years after the official line was that it didn’t matter whether the temperature was rising or not – one of the main players in the scandal, and one of the most prominent and respected defenders of the cause-without-any-definable-effect, stepped forward to concede that there has been no warming since 1995. When asked whether he thought natural causes could account for the warming from 1975-1998, and if so, to what extent, he answered, “This area is slightly outside my area of expertise. When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system).”

So let’s get this straight: Dr. Phil Jones, one of the world’s foremost authorities on global climate change, says that the question of the possibility and degree of natural climate influences is outside of his area of expertise. Translation: I don’t do climate change; I do man-made climate change. His expertise is in trying to show the existence of an influence on climate that no one prior to 1970 thought was possible, and he thinks that looking at other influences which everyone has always known were real is outside of his area. In other words, looking at known facts of nature would get in the way of his career-advancing conjectures, so, as a matter of professional policy, he doesn’t look at them.

Notice that when Jones lists “all possible factors” of warming from 1975-1998, he lists “human influences” first, as though this were the obvious first place to look for an explanation of a variation in global temperatures over a 23-year period – as though no 23-year period has ever shown a variation in temperatures before. His default assumption is the furthest one from common sense, namely that humans did it.

Likewise, in our latest contribution to unfalsifiability, in which cold winters have been interpreted as a symptom of global warming – in spite of the fact that until recently, the party line was to deny that winters are still cold at all – the research project undertaken to reach this conclusion is described this way: “Cohen and his co-authors began by asking themselves why winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere aren’t going up as quickly as in the spring, summer and fall.” Once again, the default assumption is anthropogenic global warming. The task the researchers set for themselves was to explain away falsifying evidence. For example, why were they not trying to explain how the cold winters might be causing warmer summers? Because the paradigm they are working in demands that all apparent exceptions to global warming be explained away. Thirty-five years ago, they would indeed have been making the opposite argument, in order to salvage global cooling.

Recently, a former Korean student of mine made a typical unquestioning reference to global warming. Constitutionally averse to letting smart people say stupid things, I briefly offered some of the usual arguments against anthropogenic climate change. My student answered, diplomatically, that the issue seemed to be a “mystery,” but that as she was unable to verify my facts in her first language, and as so many intelligent people were working on this issue at the UN, she was obliged to stick to her position. In other words, she was assuming, as we are all meant to do, that the burden of proof is on the “denier.”

I asked her this question: If I went to the police and told them you were a murderer, should they arrest you? Why not? Because we put the burden of proof on the accuser, which is to say, on the person proposing something that falls outside of normal assumptions. Why do we do the opposite with man-made global climate change?



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


20 January, 2012

Charles Manson energy

It’s time to apply endangered species, wildlife and economic laws fairly and equitably

Paul Driessen

“… gleaming white wind turbines generating carbon-free electricity carpet chaparral-covered ridges and march down into valleys of Joshua trees.” This is “the future” of American energy – not “the oil rigs planted helter-skelter in [nearby] citrus groves,” nor the “smoggy San Joaquin Valley” a few miles away."

The Forbes article’s poetic paean to Aeolian energy nevertheless voiced consternation that a 300-megawatt “green” turbine project might kill some of the magnificent California condors that are just coming back from the edge of extinction – and the project might be cancelled as a result.

Indeed, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has asked Kern County to “exercise extreme caution” in approving projects in the Tehapachi area, because of potential threats to condors. The “conundrum will force some hard choices about the balance we are willing to strike between obtaining clean energy and preserving wild things,” the article suggested. Hopefully, it concluded, new “avian radar units” will be able to detect condors and automatically shut down turbines when one approaches.

All Americans hope condors will not be sliced and diced by giant Cuisinarts. But most of us are puzzled that so few “environmentalists” and FWS “caretakers” express concern about the countless bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, ducks, geese, bats and other rare, threatened, endangered and common flying creatures imperiled by turbine blades.

And many of us get downright angry at the selective, indeed hypocritical ways in which endangered species and other wildlife laws are applied – leaving wind turbine operators free to exact their carnage, while harassing and punishing oil companies and citizens.

In 2011, following an intensive million-dollar, 45-day helicopter search for dead birds in North Dakota oil fields by FWS officials, US Attorney Timothy Purdon prosecuted seven oil and gas companies for inadvertently killing 28 mallard ducks, flycatchers and other common birds that were found dead in or near uncovered waste pits. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the companies and their executive officers faced fines of up to $15,000 per bird, plus six months in prison. (They eventually agreed to plead guilty and pay $1,000 per bird.)

Also in 2011, an FWS agent charged an 11-year-old Virginia girl with illegally “taking” a baby woodpecker that the girl had rescued from a housecat, even though she intended to release the bird after ensuring it was OK. The threatened $535 fine was finally dropped, after the FWS was deservedly ridiculed in the media.

The mere possession of an eagle feather by a non-Indian can result in fines and imprisonment, even if the feather came from a bird butchered by a wind turbine: up to $100,000, a year in prison or both for a first offense. Poisoning or otherwise killing common bats that have nested in one’s attic can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in fines.

Wind turbine companies, officers and employees, however, are immune from prosecution, fines or imprisonment, regardless of how many rare, threatened, endangered or migratory birds and bats they kill. In fact, FWS data show that wind turbines slaughter some 400,000 birds every year. If “helter-skelter” applies to any energy source, it is wind turbines, reflecting their Charles Manson effect on birds.

The hypocritical Obama-Purdon-FWS policy certainly protects, promotes and advances an anti-hydrocarbon, catastrophic global warming agenda that is increasingly at odds with environmental, scientific, economic, job-creation and public opinion reality. It also safeguards wind turbines that survive solely because of government mandates, taxpayer subsidies … and exemptions from laws that penalize and terrorize the rest of us.

It may be true that housecats and reflective windows kill more songbirds than turbines do. However, that oft-cited defense of wind energy Cuisinarts is irrelevant to the birds and bats discussed here.

Even if avian radar and turbine shutdown systems do eventually work, and can actually and abruptly stop turbine blades before they butcher an approaching bird, should they be limited to condors? Shouldn’t they be required for eagles and falcons – and for hawks, ducks, flycatchers, bats and other protected species? Geese, for example, to prevent a repeat of the December 7, 2011 massacre of numerous snow geese by wind turbines along upstate New York Route 190, as reported by a motorist?

Why aren’t wind developers and permitting authorities required to consider the lost economic benefits of butchered birds and bats, which do so much to control rats and insects that carry diseases and destroy crops? Shouldn’t that analysis be made mandatory, as more wind projects are proposed, thereby posing an ever-increasing threat to numerous species – and even to the survival of some?

Of course, even condor protection alone could reduce affected turbine electricity output to 20 or even 10% of rated capacity, instead of their current 30% average. Adding other protected species would drive nearly all actual wind turbine electricity output down below 5% – making the turbines virtually worthless, and driving the exorbitant cost of wind energy even higher.

But why should wind turbines be above the law? In fact, why should we even worry about reducing their electricity output?

America’s environmentalists, legislators, judges and bureaucrats have already made hundreds of millions of acres of resource-rich land off limits – and rendered centuries of oil, gas, coal, uranium, geothermal and other energy unavailable. The Environmental Protection Agency’s anti-coal zero-pollution rules, intense opposition to the Keystone pipeline, and looming restrictions on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas are already further impairing electricity and other energy availability and reliability.

This government-imposed energy deprivation is already driving families into energy poverty and sending more jobs overseas.

Put bluntly, wind energy is unsustainable. It kills unconscionable numbers of bats, raptors and other birds. It requires billions in perpetual subsidies – and billions more for (mostly) gas-fired backup generators. It impacts millions of acres of scenic, wildlife and agricultural land – and depends on vast amounts of raw materials, whose extraction and processing further impairs global land, air and water quality. Its expensive, unreliable electricity kills two jobs for every one supposedly created.

A far more rational public policy would cut out the costly, unreliable middleman. It would forget about wind turbines, simply build more gas, coal and nuclear generators, to generate reliable, affordable, sustainable electricity – and apply the same laws fairly and equitably to all energy sources.


Plastic Bag Bans Hurt Shoppers, Retailers and Workers

A small but increasing number of cities are in a frenzy to ban plastic shopping bags. More than two dozen cities nationwide have either banned plastic grocery bags (and in some cases, paper bags) entirely, or have imposed a fee for using them in order to encourage the use of reusable bags. However, such policies have hidden costs few seem to recognize.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that cities with bag bans have lost commerce, while surrounding cities and neighborhoods benefit as shoppers choose to go elsewhere.

This is consumer choice – most people prefer the plastic bag option for their convenience, flexibility, strength and other obvious reasons.

Many consumers use plastic bags at home. They can be used to line bathroom trash bins, collect Fido’s waste and Kitty’s cat litter, to securely seal the baby’s soiled diapers, and more. I use them to carry donation items, transport dry cleaning and for storage in my garage and attic. Without them, we will likely buy more trash bags and baggies to compensate.
As to recycling, it is increasing. Bag bans will reduce the motivation for those recycling efforts.

The reusable bags that are being pushed as an alternative to paper or plastic in locales across the nation have other, rarely considered, drawbacks. On the economic front, China is the leading manufacturer of reusable bags, while plastic bags are made in the U.S. with the industry employing thousands of workers. Thus, cities banning plastic bags are helping China take over one more industry while putting American workers in the unemployment line.

There are also health concerns associated with reusable bags and these problems are already making people sick. When used to carry meats, poultry or fish, blood and other fluids can soak into the reusable bags. If not cleaned regularly and stored properly, bacteria – including e-coli — can take up residence and mold can form. Continued use can contaminate the users own food and even the food of others as the contaminated reusable bags come into contact with the grocery conveyor belt. It’s true that reusable bags can be washed, but doing so shortens their useful life considerably.

Sadly, much of the push to ban plastic retail bags is based on false or misreported data.

Ban proponents claim that plastic bags are rarely used more than once and that they make up a large portion of landfill content litter on roadways. In Austin, the city council seems to be particularly influenced by a presentation from Bob Gedert, director of city department Austin Resource Recovery, in which he stated that plastic bags comprise 2.2 percent of the city’s litter. Gedert cited a study whose lead author was Steven Stein as the source for his claim.

However, Stein’s study never said that. In fact Gedert exaggerates the percentage of plastic bag litter by 366 percent. What Stein’s actually found was that plastic bag litter comprised only 0.6 percent of litter volume, not the 2.2 percent claimed by Gedert. Stein asked Gedert to make a correction. Even the 0.6 percent figure is high since it includes other types of plastic waste, such as industrial wrapping, dry cleaner and trash bags. Indeed, the national 2009 Keep America Beautiful study does not even include plastic bags in its top ten sources of litter.

Bad data makes policy. In this case, the evidence shows that plastic bags are a miniscule waste problem and that every city that bans plastic bags costs its shoppers, businesses, the city government and workers across the nation with little or no benefit for the environment or economy.


Climate Change Doubts Heat Up the Classroom

Teachers reportedly are getting push-back on middle and high school curricula that fuel the speculation that man is warming the planet. Their frustration is almost worthy of a celebration.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times recounted teachers' experiences with global warming instruction. The Washington bureau noted that "scientists and educators report mounting resistance to the study of man-made climate change in middle and high schools" and declared that "a flash point has emerged in American science education."

Frank Niepold, identified as "climate education coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who meets with hundreds of teachers annually," described for the Times what he has seen in these exchanges.

"Any time we have a meeting of 100 teachers, if you ask whether they're running into push-back on teaching climate change, 50 will raise their hands," Niepold said. "We ask questions about how sizable it is, and they tell us it is (sizable) and pretty persistent, from many places: your administration, parents, students, even your own family."

Apparently, teachers expected to be free to indoctrinate their students. But they have run into dissent. And this is encouraging: If Niepold's observation is representative of the nation as a whole, then roughly half of Americans are apparently skeptical of the global warming claim.

Considering how the public has been bombarded by a press that believes in and is wedded to the man-made global warming tale, this actually borders on the remarkable.

With the science as unsettled and divided as the public, teachers should cover both sides of the debate if they insist on teaching about greenhouse gases and climate. Man-made global warming isn't the law of gravity, the boiling point of water or any other indisputable scientific fact. It's a hunch that hasn't panned out, a possibility but not a foregone conclusion.

Students, whose minds are impressionable, deserve to know that there is no scientific accord on the question, that skeptics indeed exist and, no, they're not subhuman monsters on Big Oil's payroll. Millions of parents, who too often have to deprogram heads that have been filled with left-wing nonsense in the schools, would be grateful if the facts were given a full airing.


Would a warmer world lead to more warfare?

Colder periods have certainly led to population movements and conflict as people try to escape food shortages caused by failed crops -- so if we take history as a guide, a warmer world would lead to LESS war. But in their airy disregard for the facts, the Greens have been saying the opposite. Climatewire reports:

Two years ago, the Defense Department made headlines when it deemed climate change a “threat multiplier” for the nation’s armed forces — an X factor that could exacerbate existing tensions and threats in unpredictable ways.

That unpredictability has been challenging for physical and political scientists trying to understand how shifting weather patterns, rising seas and more extreme weather will affect conflict in coming decades, experts said yesterday at a conference sponsored by the National Center for Science Education.

What appears to be an intuitive link between climate change, resource scarcity and conflict may be illusory, said Kaitlin Shilling, who recently completed a Ph.D. at Stanford University, where she studied the relationship between climate, agriculture and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We’re already committed to a certain amount of climate change in coming decades,” she said. “But we need to move beyond the idea that conflict is the inevitable result of climate-driven resource scarcity” to investigate the mechanisms by which shifting climatic conditions may influence human behavior…

Some of the strongest evidence linking climate and conflict concerns so-called communal conflicts, tensions on a smaller scale than civil wars or wars between nations, said Cullen Hendrix, a professor of international relations at the College of William and Mary.

That category includes studies that have concluded climatic conditions are “highly influential” on the frequency of cattle raids in Africa’s Sahel and played a role in post-election rioting in Kenya in 2007 and 2008. Other research suggests that, in some agriculture-dependent areas, “better” climatic conditions can actually increase violence.

“Climate variability can have impacts that are not in any obvious way resource wars,” Hendrix said.


Why Everybody Seeing Climate Changes Now Is Uninformed Or A Liar

Lots of Warmists are shrieking about disasters already taking place as a result of climate change and making dire predictions for the near future -- but even the IPCC models now predict nothing of the sort. They predict temperature stasis for at least the next 20 years

In its latest “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)”, whose “Summary for Policymakers” is dated November 18, 2011, the IPCC writes:
(p9) “Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain”

Therefore people trying right now to discern/portray climate change of the extreme variety, (“disasters [that] produce widespread damage and cause severe alterations in the normal functioning of communities or societies“, according to the IPCC – in other words the only changes of actual practical interest), are placing themselves outside mainstream science, perhaps out of naivety, perhaps due to personal gain.

In any case, not one of the usual suspects will lament such a manipulation of the best evidence we have. Who needs skeptics when believers are so determined to sustain each other through long-distance charades?


Obama's jobs council report says 'drill, baby, drill'

President Obama’s jobs council called Tuesday for an “all-in approach” to energy policy that includes expanded oil-and-gas drilling as well as expediting energy projects like pipelines.

“[W]e should allow more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands,” states the year-end report released Tuesday by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

The report does not specifically mention the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but it endorses moving forward quickly with projects that “deliver electricity and fuel,” including pipelines.

“The Council recognizes the important safety and environmental concerns surrounding these types of projects, but now more than ever, the jobs and economic and energy security benefits of these energy projects require us to tackle the issues head-on and to expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the report says.

The report retreats slightly from an interim report released in October that addressed the Keystone XL pipeline directly. The interim report appeared to offer cautious support for Keystone, calling on officials to “balance” environmental protections while realizing what it called the benefits of the pipeline.

But Keystone supporters will point out that the year-end report released Tuesday argues that energy projects like pipelines will result in economic and security benefits. It even echoes a common refrain from Republicans and the oil industry: that such energy projects "can support hundreds of thousands of jobs."

White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted Tuesday that the jobs council report does not endorse the Keystone pipeline.

"Well, first of all, the Jobs Council wasn't talking about Keystone specifically," Carney said at his daily briefing. "The Jobs Council was talking about the importance of expanding domestic oil and gas production, a goal this president shares and has expounded upon at length, and has taken action as a policy matter to demonstrate his commitment to."

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

“The Council recognizes that providing access to more areas for drilling, mining and renewable energy development is controversial, but, given the current economic situation, we believe it’s necessary to tap America’s assets in a safe and responsible manner,” the report says.

“Additionally, policies that facilitate the safe, thoughtful and timely development of pipeline, transmission and distribution projects are necessary to facilitate the delivery of America’s fuel and electricity and maintain the reliability of our nation’s energy system.”

Stakeholders should work together to develop “best practices” aimed at ensuring safety, while also expediting energy projects, according to the report.

“[R]egulatory and permitting obstacles that could threaten the development of some energy projects negatively impact jobs and weaken our energy infrastructure need to be addressed,” the report says. “Speedy adoption of best practice standards would allow government officials to reduce regulatory and permitting obstacles to important energy projects.”

Under a payroll tax cut packaged signed into law in December, the president must make a decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21. White House and administration officials have said they will have little choice but to reject the pipeline under the deadline, arguing they will not have enough time to adequately review the project.

The looming deadline has set off an aggressive lobbying campaign. Republicans and industry officials argue that the project has been subject to sufficient review and is essential for boosting the ailing economy and creating jobs.

But environmental groups and other opponents of the pipeline have raised concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands production, as well as potential oil spills.

House Republicans quickly pounced on the jobs council report Tuesday, noting that the recommendations echo their "all-of-the-above" energy strategy.

"The President’s Jobs Council today confirmed what House Republicans have known all along, that American energy production will spur job creation and strengthen our national security," House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it appears President Obama is ignoring his Council’s recommendations, much as he has ignored the views of House Republicans on energy production, economic growth and job creation."

More broadly, the jobs report calls for expanded oil-and-gas drilling, as well as “safe and responsible” natural-gas extraction from shale formations.

The report notes that the Obama administration has called for new lease sales and said it will consider opening up new areas to drilling. But it says “further expanding and expediting the domestic production of fossil fuels both offshore and onshore (in conjunction with more electric and natural gas vehicles) will reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil and the huge outflow of U.S. dollars this reliance entails.”

Beyond oil and gas, the report calls for policies that improve energy efficiency, encourage private investment in energy research and development and expand renewable energy.



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


19 January, 2012

British plans for green energy drive 'will cost families £400 a year by 2020'

Plans for a massive expansion of renewable energy will cost families an average of £400 a year each, a report warned last night.

It accuses Energy Secretary Chris Huhne of ‘misleading’ the public by suggesting energy costs could be lower as a result of the Government’s drive for green power.

It said official estimates had grossly underestimated the impact on families by leaving out much of the huge taxpayer subsidy for wind farms and other costly forms of renewable energy.

Mr Huhne told MPs in November that the Government’s green energy policies would reduce average household bills by 7 per cent – equal to about £94 a year.

Businesses will see average bills rise by 19 per cent. Government officials last night said ministers stood by the estimate.

But the study by the respected think-tank Policy Exchange says the Government’s figures are based on huge assumptions that households will cut their energy use. It suggests the overall impact of subsidies for green energy will cost the average family £400 a year by 2020 – the equivalent of adding 2.5p to the VAT rate.

The huge cost will raise fresh questions about the Government’s strategy of focusing resources on an expensive network of offshore wind farms in an effort to meet tough EU carbon emission targets.

Simon Less, of Policy Exchange, called on ministers to be ‘more transparent’.

The think-tank, which has close links to the Conservative Party, believes the Government’s green targets should be ‘renegotiated’ with Brussels, and that the private sector should be given incentives to come up with cheaper ways of cutting carbon emissions.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said £400 was ‘not a credible figure, and appears to be based on flawed analysis’.


Dangerous religious fanatic masquerading as a scientist

Islamic fundamentalism is not the only religion threatening the wellbeing of the West
The Alberta Tar Sands are believed to contain the planet’s second-largest deposit of oil, after Saudi Arabia, and extracting it takes a lot more energy than traditional drilling. If we start down that path, warns James Hansen, a climate activist and scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, it will be “game over for the planet.”

For most of the last 600 million years, atmospheric CO2 was much higher than at present. The planet survived just fine. The planet flourished. Live evolved on land and in the sea. Corals evolved with CO2 more than 10X current levels. Shellfish evolved. Mammals evolved. Reptiles evolved.

Our country needs the energy – he should be fired immediately. This country was not founded by idiots, and will not survive them for long.


Another junk science scare

The Greens want to stop Brazil from developing its jungle — oh, excuse us — “rainforest.” In a new study in Nature, Woods Hole researchers continue laying the junk science foundation for keeping Brazil poor. The Woods Hole release is below.

North America was also once largely tree covered until European settlers came along and converted much of it for agriculture and pasturage. No disaster ensued. Why should it be different in South America? They do not say. They prefer their crystal ball to the historical facts
New study evaluates impact of land use activity in the Amazon basin. Highlights signs of transition to a disturbance-dominated regime

A new paper published today in Nature reveals that human land use activity has begun to change the regional water and energy cycles – the interplay of air coming in from the Atlantic Ocean, water transpiration by the forest, and solar radiation – of parts of the Amazon basin. In addition, it shows that ongoing interactions between deforestation, fire, and climate change have the potential to alter carbon storage, rainfall patterns and river discharge on an even larger basin-wide scale.

The research was led by the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC). Lead scientist Eric Davidson (WHRC) and 13 Brazilian and US colleagues from universities, government and the NGOs, all of whom participated in the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in the Amazon (LBA), produced a framework by which the connections among climate change, agricultural expansion, logging, and fire risk can be evaluated. The framework considers changes in greenhouse-gas emissions, and energy and water cycles. Using it they found signs of transition to a disturbance-dominated regime in the southern and eastern portions of the Amazon basin. Co-author Jennifer K. Balch adds: “One strong sign of a new disturbance regime is the high number of recent large-scale wildfires, which are a by-product of intentional fires in Brazil’s ‘arc of deforestation.’” She emphasizes that these fires “are extremely frequent, occurring every few years, compared with every couple centuries in the past.”

Why is this important? Humans have been part of the Amazon basin forest-river system for thousands of years, but the expansion and intensification of agriculture, logging and urban development, and their synergistic impacts are beginning to stress the natural integrity of the ecosystem. Since the Amazon River produces about 20% of the world’s fresh water discharge and the Amazon forest holds about 100 billion tones of carbon (10 years’ worth of global fossil fuel emissions), it is important that economic development in the region proceed along sustainable paths that do not degrade the ecosystem services provided to local, regional and global communities by the forests and rivers of the region. “The studies in this review, document changes in river flow, sedimentation in rivers, and lengthening of the dry season in the southern and eastern flanks of the Amazon Basin,” notes Dr. Davidson. “Whether similar changes are likely to occur in other parts of the basin will depend on the interplay of management decisions and the impacts of climate change during the next few years and decades.”

The project showed that the Amazon forest is resilient to considerable climatic variation from year to year, but that this resilience can be exceeded by severe or prolonged drought. The evidence points to a system in biophysical transition, highlighting the need for improved understanding of the trade-offs among land cover, carbon stocks, water resources, habitat conservation, human health, and economic development in future scenarios of climate change and land-use change.

Efforts in Brazil to curb deforestation have led to a significant decline in the clearing of forests in the Amazon basin, from nearly 28,000 km2 per year in 2004 to less than 7,000 km2 in 2010, but at the same time, the incidence of fire has not decreased, indicating continued risks for forest degradation through climate-fire interactions.

With Brazil poised to become a major economic power, the study emphasizes that improvements in scientific and technological capacity, and human resources will be required to guide and manage future sustainable development in the region.


Climate Skepticism is not the new Creationism. Warmism is

Those who thought that the war was won and the forces of junk science—who prop up the climate change alarmists—were sent packing need to think again. With the new year, a new assault on climate skepticism is being waged on multiple fronts. Editorials in Nature and Science herald the resurgence of the climate catastrophists and their attempt to bamboozle the public, mislead government officials and brainwash our children. Wake up and smell the steer manure, the battle against the bogus boffins of climate hysteria is far from over.

With the the Arab Spring, recession and national default looming in Europe, and America being distracted by its quadrennial presidential circus there has been precious little mention of that old bugaboo, global warming, in recent days. So little news that the casual observer might think that the mater is settled and rationality has put paid to the alarmist rabble. Not so! To start off 2012, the editorial section of the British journal Nature has sounded a clarion call for a climate change resurgence.

In an editorial titled “Reach out about climate,” scientists of the world are urged to put 2011 behind them and rejoin the fight in 2012:
With US politics in gridlock, Europe in financial turmoil and minimal progress at the climate conference in South Africa in December, 2011 was a bad year for political progress in tackling climate change. In addition, surveys of public opinion show a declining belief that climate change is an urgent problem. Clearly, the need to make the public aware of the threat has never been greater. In the face of climate-change contrarians and denialists, some of them with political clout and voices amplified by the media, climate scientists must be even more energetic in taking their message to citizens.

By their own admission, 2011 was a very bad year for the purveyors of alarmist tripe. On most fronts they have been stymied, governments have turned a deaf ear to their ever shriller protestations. Worst of all, the public has grown tired of the climate Cassandras and their constant droning on about doom and destruction. But the true believers are using the distractions of the current news cycle as cover while they lick their wounds, marshal their forces and plan a new offensive. Again quoting from the Nature editorial:
Two challenges face those who communicate the science of climate change to the public. The first is to make the messages from models and observations as vivid as possible while maintaining scientific probity — avoiding the blurring of dispassionate discussions of the science and the equally important individual right of advocacy. The second is to find the right ways of conveying uncertainties without losing grip on the central, generally agreed, conclusions.

Bemoaning government difficulties in achieving “clarity of national action on climate change,” they nonetheless urge the climate faithful forward. “[S]cientists and their organizations need to do more to help citizens engage with the issues and not be misled by travesties of the evidence.” Travesties of evidence? As in there is no convincing evidence backing the climate cabal's claims? This ongoing guerrilla war on rationality is the only travesty here.

The view from Europe is echoed by the even shriller climate activists at American journal Science. In a January 17th online article, under the title “Education Advocates Enter the Climate Tempest,” the question is posed: “Is climate change education the new evolution, threatened in U.S. school districts and state education standards by well-organized interest groups?”

This is not the first attempt to place climate skeptics on the same disreputable level as creationist. The inference is that doubting climate change dogma is the same as denying Evolution—the province of religious fanatics and fringe science loonies. Sorry, science doesn't work that way. Disbelief in a poorly formed theory supported by scanty evidence in no way implies belief or disbelief in any other unconnected theory. Real scientists would know better.

Yet the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in Oakland, California, which fights the teaching of creationism, announced that it's going to take on climate change denial as well. In the article from Science, NCSE environmental education expert Mark McCaffrey states “There's a climate of confusion in this country around climate science.” Amazing! Wasn't this supposed to be settled science? How can something so supposedly well accepted by science meet with such resistance? Surely the climate change alarmists have incontrovertible proof of their assertions. Oops.

NCSE expects opposing climate skepticism to be much harder than fighting creationism. “The forces arrayed against climate science are more numerous and much better funded,” says NCSE Director Eugenie Scott. Armed with contradicting facts and rational arguments those cheeky skeptics are better able to get their message across in the mainstream media. I've got news for you, Eugenie, it's not the funding. The fight against climate skepticism is so hard because the warmists' evidence is so unconvincing.

This is supposed to be a scientific debate, yet the warmists are putting their efforts into propaganda, particularly propaganda aimed at the young. Better to teach our children the scientific method, at the heart of which is the principle of hypothesis rejection by contrary empirical evidence. As one poster on Slashdot recently said, “neither the IPCC, nor NOAA, nor the Royal Meteorological society have made any clearly falsifiable hypothesis statement about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.” In short, global warming doesn't even qualify as a scientific theory.

So gird your intellectual loins and man the ramparts, the forces of crap science are mounting a counter attack. Their evidence has not improved, their models have not miraculously become a stand-in for the real world, the validity of their weak, ad hoc theory has, if anything, diminished. But yet they yammer on, after all there are buckets of grant money at stake. We skeptics must remain strong and objective, for the cost of freedom from crackpot science is eternal vigilance.


Re-Evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun

The costs of subsidizing solar electricity have exceeded the 100-billion-euro mark in Germany, but poor results are jeopardizing the country's transition to renewable energy. The government is struggling to come up with a new concept to promote the inefficient technology in the future.

The Baedeker travel guide is now available in an environmentally-friendly version. The 200-page book, entitled "Germany - Discover Renewable Energy," lists the sights of the solar age: the solar café in Kirchzarten, the solar golf course in Bad Saulgau, the light tower in Solingen and the "Alster Sun" in Hamburg, possibly the largest solar boat in the world.

The only thing that's missing at the moment is sunshine. For weeks now, the 1.1 million solar power systems in Germany have generated almost no electricity. The days are short, the weather is bad and the sky is overcast.

As is so often the case in winter, all solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity at the same time. To avert power shortages, Germany currently has to import large amounts of electricity generated at nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. To offset the temporary loss of solar power, grid operator Tennet resorted to an emergency backup plan, powering up an old oil-fired plant in the Austrian city of Graz.

Solar energy has gone from being the great white hope, to an impediment, to a reliable energy supply. Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels on their roofs collected more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but the electricity they generated made up only about 3 percent of the total power supply, and that at unpredictable times.

The distribution networks are not designed to allow tens of thousands of solar panel owners to switch at will between drawing electricity from the grid and feeding power into it. Because there are almost no storage options, the excess energy has to be destroyed at substantial cost. German consumers already complain about having to pay the second-highest electricity prices in Europe.

Solar Industry Facing Tough Economic Times

In the coming weeks, the German government intends to decide how it will treat solar energy in the future. The parliamentary leaders of the ruling center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) have written Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen a letter asking him to present a new subsidy concept by Jan. 25. Economy Minister Philipp Rösler (FDP) would prefer to abandon the current subsidization system altogether, as would the business wing of the CDU.

The FDP leader, who long ignored the subject of the energy transition, hopes to boost his profile by opposing solar subsidies. Rösler sees an opportunity to demonstrate that he, unlike his fellow cabinet minister Röttgen, has an understanding of economics, especially as he knows that many in the CDU, and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), agree with him.

Until now, Merkel had consistently touted the environmental sector's "opportunities for exports, development, technology and jobs." But now even members of her own staff are calling it a massive money pit.

New numbers issued by the pro-industry Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research (RWI) will only add fuel to the fire. The experts calculated the additional costs to consumers after more solar systems were connected to the grid than in any other previous month in December. Under Germany's Renewable Energy Law, each new system qualifies for 20 years of subsidies. A mountain of future payment obligations is beginning to take shape in front of consumers' eyes.

According to the RWI, the solar energy systems connected to the grid in 2011 alone will cost electricity customers about €18 billion in subsidy costs over the next 20 years. "The demand for subsidies is growing and growing," says RWI expert Manuel Frondel. If all commitments to pay subsidies so far are added together, Frondel adds, "we have already exceeded the €100 billion level."

The RWI also expects the green energy surcharge on electricity bills to go up again soon. It is currently 3.59 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, a number the German government had actually pledged to cap at 3.5 cents. But because of the most recent developments, RWI expert Frondel predicts that the surcharge will soon increase to 4.7 cents per kilowatt hour. For the average family, this would amount to an additional charge of about €200 a year, in addition to the actual cost of electricity. Solar energy has the potential to become the most expensive mistake in German environmental policy.


Collapse in European carbon price leaves Australia's Leftist government out on a limb

Australian carbon price to be much higher than in Europe

THE gulf between Australia's incoming fixed carbon price and the floating international price is set to widen as Europe's economic troubles and regulatory uncertainty undermine carbon markets.

The value of European Union Emission Allowances (EUAs) has halved since June and touched a record low of €6.38 ($7.85) a tonne of carbon dioxide on January 4.

The value of Certified Emission Reductions units, mandated under the United Nation's Clean Development Mechanism - tradeable internationally but mostly sold as offsets to liable parties in Europe - fell to a record €3.28 a tonne on Monday.

On Tuesday, French bank Societe Generale cut its forecast for European Union permit prices in 2012 by 28 per cent to €8.90 a tonne, on lower emissions because of worsening economic conditions and faster than expected deployment of renewable energy.

SocGen's Paris analyst, Emmanuel Fages, said if European regulators failed to set tight limits in the carbon market after 2020, when the continent's emissions trading scheme enters its fourth phase, "prices in an oversupplied market could rapidly fall further from present levels to values close to zero".

From July 1, Australia's biggest emitters will be liable to pay a carbon price of $23 a tonne, rising by 2.5 per cent a year until 2015, when it will float subject to a floor price of $15 a tonne, itself rising for another three years until it is reviewed.

Deutsche Bank analyst Tim Jordan said "clearly there's parts of business that would like access to a carbon price of €6 a tonne, but that would defer the decarbonisation of the Australian economy".

"There'll be pressure on the government to consider a lower price but I think the Parliament has passed the legislation and parties would be unlikely to reopen debate by 1 July," he said.

In November, Deutsche downgraded its forecasts for the price of European permits in 2012 to between €5 and €7 a tonne and predicted "if there is a repeat of the distress in interbank lending markets that we saw in 2009 … we think prices could break below €5 a tonne for a time".

Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Seb Henbest said there was "not a lot of price support on the horizon" for international carbon prices. A mooted increase to Europe's 2020 emissions reduction target from 20 to 30 per cent was the only thing that could boost the price.

But Mr Henbest said Europe would not be the main driver of international carbon prices indefinitely. At some point, Europe would exceed its so-called "supplementarity" limits, which allow it to buy permits from overseas, mainly via CERs.



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


18 January, 2012

Another Green Stalin: Green Environmentalist Wants Eco-Gulags For Climate Change Deniers

Finnish Environmentalist - "the state should enact draconian measures of discipline, prohibition, enforcement and oppression in order to make people comply with environmental dictates."

Before the apologists start and say that this eco-facist is a lone voice in the wilderness, not representative of the Green environmental movement and all the usual platitudes used to explain away these people; Google “Climate Skeptics should be punished” and consider the 7.4 million hits Google returns.

The demands of the Church of Climatology and its supporters for the punishment of sacrilege does not just come from Finland, the calls are global, from people such as the British Royal Family’s Green simpleton Prince Charles, Obama Science Czar John Holdren and NASA junk scientist James Hansen, who took time off from making up climate data, to demand jail for Climate Change Deniers.

In Australia Green Socialists have sought to control the media, in July 2011 the Green party leader Christine Milne demanded political censorship and punishment for dissent for the media to the enthusiastic applause from an audience of party faithful.

The Green campaigner in question is Finnish environmentalist guru Pentti Linkola who makes a combination of Hitler, Stalin and Mao all rolled into a complete entity, look an attractive proposition:
A Finnish environmentalist guru has gone further than any other global warming alarmist in openly calling for fascism as a necessary step to save the planet from ecological destruction, demanding that climate change deniers be "re-educated" in eco-gulags and that the vast majority of humans be killed with the rest enslaved and controlled by a green police state, with people forcibly sterilized, cars confiscated and travel restricted to members of the elite.

No doubt about it, the science is settled and the Green Stasi are going to keep it that way.
Linkola's barbaric and dictatorial philosophy has remained relatively obscure but is now gaining traction as the mask of environmentalism is lifted to unveil its true nature - a justification for 21st century tyranny on a grand scale, characterized by eugenics, sterilization, gulags, police states, and total government control over every aspect of our existence.

Now before proceeding further this article was published in September 2010, Google returns 11,200 results for Greens “greens denounce linkola” the results are only returned because they contain “denounce” or “linkola”. No statements from Greenpeace, WWF, FoE or another Green environmental movement distancing themselves from Linkola. Given the extreme views of this eco-facist and the time elapsed you could be forgiven for thinking someone, somewhere in the environmental movement would have said something like “this man is a nutter and not representative of the Green agenda”.

The silence is both deafening and also speaks volumes for the real agenda of Greens and environmentalists, there is no other way, and certainly no highway for anyone but the Green elite.
Under Linkola's proposal to save earth from man-made climate change, "only a few million people would work as farmers and fishermen, without modern conveniences such as the automobile." This system would be enforced by the creation of a "Green Police" who would abandon "the syrup of ethics" that governs human behavior to completely dominate the population.
The environmentalist believes that only jackbooted tyranny can help to save mother earth from "the worst ideologies in the world" which he defines as "growth and freedom".

“Growth and Freedom“, sounds all to familiar, though normally cloaked in much friendlier terms by warming alarmist outlets like the BBC and The Guardian who make the same case for no growth and actively support the idea of Green laws to punish people who don’t follow the Greens party line.
Those who refuse to be enslaved by Linkola's new eco-tyranny would be abducted and sent to the mountains for "re-education" in eco-gulags, according to the environmentalist, who says that the only solution "lies in a centralised government and the tireless control of citizens."

As part of his eco-fascist hell, Linkola calls for `killing defectives' by means of sterilization, licenses for births, tight regulation of electricity, forcing humans to eat rats, the confiscation of private cars, travel to be restricted to members of the elite only, and businesses to be terminated as the economy is entirely handed over to the control of the state.

The Hitler/Stalin/Mao being would be so proud of Linkola, but as previously stated Linkola is not alone:
Another prominent figure in the climate change debate who exemplifies the violent and death-obsessed belief system of the movement is Dr. Eric R. Pianka, an American biologist based at the University of Texas in Austin. During a speech to the Texas Academy of Science in March 2006, Pianka advocated the need to exterminate 90% of the world's population through the airborne ebola virus. The reaction from scores of top scientists and professors in attendance was not one of shock or revulsion - they stood and applauded Pianka's call for mass genocide.

The current White House science czar John P. Holdren also advocates the most obscenely dictatorial, eco-fascist, and inhumane practices in the name of environmentalism. In his 1977 Ecoscience textbook, Holdren calls for a "planetary regime" to carry out forced abortions and mandatory sterilization procedures, as well as drugging the water supply, in an effort to cull the human surplus.

Linkola has outstripped even notorious murder mastermind Charles Manson in his hatred for the human race. During prison interviews, Manson routinely spoke of his belief that around 50 million humans should be slaughtered for the good of the planet, whereas Linkola and his fans simply believe that humanity should cease to exist in its entirety. A fan site dedicated to Linkola includes links to his articles which have headlines like "Extinguish Humans, Save the World".

Like Manson, Linkola has become a respected environmentalist guru for a new cult of believers who feel that governments and global institutions are not being ruthless enough in enforcing overdue measures to save the Earth from ecological destruction.

Then there are those who consider and actively push that the idea that Climate Change Denial is a mental disorder though judging from the content and comments the mental disorder would seem to belong to the very same people who set up the page in the first place.


Obama Discovers Natural Gas

Another election-year transformation

A re-election campaign is a terrible thing to waste, and this year's race is already producing miraculous changes at the Obama White House: The latest example of a bear walking on its hind legs is the President's new embrace of . . . natural gas from shale.

Last week the White House issued its latest report on jobs and it includes a section on "America's Natural Resource Boom." The report avers that a few years ago there were widespread "fears of a looming natural gas shortage," but that "the discovery of new natural gas reserves, such as the Marcellus Shale, and the development of hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract natural gas from these reserves has led to rapidly growing domestic production and relatively low domestic prices for households and downstream industrial users."

Please pass the smelling salts to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Lisa Jackson at the Environmental Protection Agency.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the White House has favorably mentioned the Marcellus Shale, the natural gas reservoir below Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other Northeastern states. And now he's taking credit for this soaring production.

As the White House report puts it: "Of the major fossil fuels, natural gas is the cleanest and least carbon?intensive for electric power generation. By keeping domestic energy costs relatively low, this resource also supports energy intensive manufacturing in the United States. In fact, companies like Dow Chemical and Westlake Chemical have announced intentions to make major investments in new facilities over the next several years."

And that's not all: "In addition, firms that provide equipment for shale gas production have announced major investments in the U.S., including Vallourec's $650 million plant for steel pipes in Ohio. An abundant local supply will translate into relatively low costs for the industries that use natural gas as an input. Expansion in these industries, including industrial chemicals and fertilizers, will boost investment and exports in the coming years, generating new jobs."

We checked to see if someone slipped a press release from the Natural Gas Council into the White House report by mistake, but apparently not.

The report does add the obligatory disclaimer about hydraulic fracturing that "appropriate care must to be taken to ensure that America's natural resources are extracted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner" with safeguards "to protect public health and safety." But no one disagrees with that.

The catch is that this endorsement runs against every energy policy pursued by the Obama Administration for three years. The Institute for Energy Research reports that royalties from oil and gas drilling have fallen more than 90% since 2008 because of Interior Department permitting delays and rejections.

The EPA recently issued a flawed report on groundwater contamination that could shut down the fracking process the President is now touting as a jobs producer. EPA's political goal is to grab power to supercede state drilling regulation. The industry regards new EPA authority as a real threat to its future.

Each year Mr. Obama has also supported a $40 billion tax hike on the oil and gas industry because, as he put it in 2009, the tax code "encourages overproduction of oil and gas" and "is detrimental to long-term energy security." Even the Securities and Exchange Commission has imposed extensive new reporting requirements on oil and gas fracking companies.

It's certainly smart politics for Mr. Obama to distance himself from the anti-fossil fuels obsessives, and no doubt his political advisers are hoping it helps this fall in the likes of Ohio and Pennsylvania. On the other hand, this could be a one-year wonder, and if he wins Mr. Obama might revert to form in 2013. A good test of his sincerity would be to replace Ms. Jackson and Mr. Salazar.


Wholesale electricity price declines 50% as Shale Spurs Natural Gas Glut

A shale-driven glut of natural gas has cut electricity prices for the U.S. power industry by 50 percent and reduced investment in costlier sources of energy.

With abundant new supplies of gas making it the cheapest option for new power generation, the largest U.S. wind-energy producer, NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), has shelved plans for new U.S. wind projects next year and Exelon Corp. (EXC) called off plans to expand two nuclear plants. Michigan utility CMS Energy Corp. (CMS) canceled a $2 billion coal plant after deciding it wasn't financially viable in a time of "low natural-gas prices linked to expanded shale-gas supplies," according to a company statement.

Mirroring the gas market, wholesale electricity prices have dropped more than 50 percent on average since 2008, and about 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a Jan. 11 research report by Aneesh Prabhu, a New York-based credit analyst with Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC. Prices in the west hub of PJM Interconnection LLC, the largest wholesale market in the U.S., declined to about $39 per megawatt hour by December 2011 from $87 in the first quarter of 2008.

Power producers' profits are deflated by cheap gas because electricity pricing historically has been linked to the gas market. As profit margins shrink from falling prices, more generators are expected to postpone or abandon coal, nuclear and wind projects, decisions that may slow the shift to cleaner forms of energy and shape the industry for decades to come, Mark Pruitt, a Chicago-based independent industry consultant, said in a telephone interview.

Power Earnings Impact

Natural gas fell today on investor concerns that mild winter weather in the U.S. will damp demand. Natural gas for February delivery fell 18.2 cents, or 6.8 percent, to $2.488 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement price since March 2002.

"You're lowering the earnings ceiling every time natural- gas prices drop," said Pruitt, former director of the Illinois Power Agency, which negotiates power-purchase agreements for the state's utilities.

Price declines are expected to hurt fourth-quarter 2011 earnings and continue to depress profits through 2012, Angie Storozynski, a New York City-based utilities analyst with Macquarie Capital USA Inc., said in a Jan. 11 research note.

Hardest hit will be independent power producers in unregulated states such as Texas and Illinois, which don't have the protections given regulated utilities where states allow a certain level of profits.

60 Percent Decline

The Standard & Poor's independent power producer index, which groups Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG), NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) and AES Corp. (AES), has fallen 60 percent since the beginning of 2008, compared with a 14 percent drop for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Low gas prices drained the momentum from a resurging nuclear industry long before last year's meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plants in Japan, said Paul Patterson, a New York City-based utility analyst with Glenrock Associates LLC. No applications to build new reactors have been filed with federal regulators since June 2009.

Exelon, the largest U.S. nuclear operator, canceled plans last summer to boost capacity at two nuclear plants in Illinois and Pennsylvania after analyzing economic factors, Marshall Murphy, a spokesman for Chicago-based Exelon, said in an e-mail.

CMS Energy's canceled coal plant, planned for Bay City, Michigan, would have showcased the newest pollution-control technology for capturing and storing carbon-dioxide emissions.

Wind Expansion Slows

Investors also are cooling on wind investment because of falling power prices, a lack of transmission infrastructure and the possibility that federal subsidies may expire next year. T. Boone Pickens, one of wind power's biggest boosters, decided to focus on promoting gas-fueled trucking fleets after canceling plans for a Texas wind farm in 2010.

"Boone still sees wind being a key part of America's energy future," Jay Rosser, a spokesman for Pickens, said in an e-mail. "Natural-gas prices will ultimately rise and make wind energy more competitive in the process."

NextEra didn't include new U.S. wind projects in its financial forecast for 2013, Lew Hay, chief executive officer of the Juno Beach, Florida-based company, said in a November conference call with investors. NextEra's wind expansion after 2012, when a federal tax credit for wind generators is expected to expire, is contingent upon "public policy support," said Steve Stengel, a spokesman for NextEra, in a telephone interview.

"Wind on its own without incentives is far from economic unless gas is north of $6.50," said Travis Miller, a Chicago- based utility analyst at Morningstar Inc. (MORN)

Shale Gas Boom

U.S. gas supplies have been growing since producers learned how to use hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to tap deposits locked in dense shale rock formations. Gas prices have been falling since mid-2008, when a global recession sapped demand just as drilling accelerated in the gas-rich Marcellus shale in the eastern U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gas prices collapsed further in late 2011 on concerns mild winter weather in the U.S. will curb demand for the heating fuel. Gas is expected to stay below 2011's average price of $4.026 for the next two years, priced at around $3.10 per million British thermal units for 2012 and $4 for 2013, according to Robert W. Baird (BADC) & Co., an investment bank based in Milwaukee.
New Gas Generation

Declining power prices may also make it unprofitable for utilities to install pollution controls on older coal-fired plants, adding to the wave of plant closures that are expected to result from new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules over the next two to three years, Pruitt said.

As much as 90 gigawatts of new generation, enough capacity to light 72 million homes and businesses, will be needed by 2015 to replace retiring coal plants and meet electricity demand, according to a Nov. 30 research report by Hugh Wynne, an analyst at investment bank Sanford C. Bernstein.

Cheap gas makes it difficult for rival forms of fuel to compete, said Sam Brothwell, a senior utility analyst with Bloomberg Industries, in a telephone interview. Historically, gas-fired generators have been the least expensive to build, offset by a higher fuel cost, Brothwell said. With gas falling below $3, "it makes all other forms of producing electricity look less competitive by comparison," he said.

Gas Power Costs

The cost, including construction, to produce one megawatt hour of gas-fueled electricity was $62.37 an hour in the third quarter of 2011, which was less expensive than coal, wind and solar generators, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Power companies are leery of becoming too dependent on gas, which historically has had the biggest price swings of all the power fuels. In 2005, gas prices climbed to nearly $14 after hurricanes disrupted production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Project cancellations, along with a broader switch from coal to gas, will leave the industry with fewer alternatives and thus more exposed to rising gas prices, Pruitt said.

"The way to make $4 gas $8 gas is for everyone to go out and build combined-cycle natural-gas plants," Michael Morris, non-executive chairman of American Electric Power (AEP) Inc., said at an industry conference in November. "We need to be cautious about how we go about this."


The United States Possesses the Largest Energy Resources on Earth

We live in an age of abundance, so the misanthropic Greenies want to turn it into an age of artificial scarcity

A new report from the Congressional Research Service points out that in terms of total hydrocarbon resource, the US possesses the largest inventory of any nation on Earth. But under the Obama regime, an unstated but unrelenting program of "energy starvation" is being carried out -- from the DOE to the Department of Interior to the EPA, even including the NRC. It is one thing to be energy-poor because you lack the resources. It is quite another to intentionally cripple your own economy using half-baked policies of carbon hysteria, nuclear fear, and faux environmental crisis fabrication.

America's combined energy resources are, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CSR), the largest on earth. They eclipse Saudi Arabia (3rd), China (4th) and Canada (6th) combined - and that's without including America's shale oil deposits and, in the future, the potentially astronomic impact of methane hydrates.

...if the White House is in any way serious about impacting the economic Black Hole that is the burgeoning national debt, reinvigorating business big-time, creating real jobs and restoring ebbing national wealth, the best shot by a distance if you're American ... well, you're standing on it, or rather above it.

...While the US is often depicted as having only a tiny minority of the world's oil reserves at around 28 billion barrels (based on the somewhat misleading figure of `proven reserves') according to the CRS in reality it has around 163 billion barrels. As Inhofe's EPW press release comments, "That's enough oil to maintain America's current rates of production and replace imports from the Persian Gulf for more than 50 years". Next up, there's coal. The CRS report reveals America's reserves of coal are unsurpassed, accounting for over 28 percent of the world's coal. Much of it is high quality too. The CRS estimates US recoverable coal reserves at around 262 billion tons (not including further massive, difficult to access, Alaskan reserves). Given the US consumes around 1.2 billion tons a year, that's a couple of centuries of coal use, at least.

...In 2009 the CRS upped its 2006 estimate of America's enormous natural gas deposits by 25 percent to around 2,047 trillion cubic feet, a conservative figure given the expanding shale gas revolution. At current rates of use that's enough for around 100 years. Then there is still the, as yet largely publicly untold, story of methane hydrates to consider, a resource which the CRS reports alludes to as "immense...possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels." According to the Inhofe's EPW, "For perspective, if just 3 percent of this resource can be commercialized ... at current rates of consumption, that level of supply would be enough to provide America's natural gas for more than 400 years."

...With 85 percent of global energy set to come from fossil fuels till at least 2035 no matter what wishful thinkers may prefer, current US energy policy - much like European - is pure political pantomime.


A Misleading article in "Nature Geosciences"

In Nature Geosciences January 2012, Volume 5 No 1 on page -9, there is an article titled

Climate change confirmed. again

The article is written by Alexandra Witze

who covers the Earth and other sciences for the US biweekly magazine Science News

as reported in the Nature article.

My Comment: The first error in this article is that climate change (i.e. the title “[c]limate change confirmed…” ) is not just the global average surface temperature trend! Climate (and changes in climate statistics) is very much more than that limited metric, as discussed, for example, in

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

The article starts with the text [highlight added]

Year after year, three top climate science groups analyse global surface temperature data and reach the same conclusion: the planet is warming at unprecedented rates. So why would a fourth team be needed to also scrutinize the data? The answer lies in the sociopolitical morass of how climate science is received today by much of the public. Sceptics have done their best to sow confusion by questioning, among other things, the integrity of the global temperature record. The criticisms are manifold. Weather monitoring stations have been cherrypicked, data sloppily extrapolated, and spurious effects not properly accounted for - or so say the detractors. Such arguments have gained traction among many audiences.

My Comment: The reporter’s statement that “the planet is warming at unprecedented rates” shows a failure by this journalist at examining actual data which conflicts with this statement. She is accepting the global average surface temperature as the definitive metric to diagnose global warming when other data sets (e.g. lower tropospheric temperature trends - see Figure 7; upper ocean heat trends) show no such unprecedented warming. Even the global average surface temperature trends have been muted in recent years with respect to what the multi-decadal global models are predicting (e.g. see).

The statement that “[s]ceptics have done their best to sow confusion” completely misrepresents the scientific method where scientists are obligated (if they are using the accepted scientific method) to seek to falsify hypotheses! Richard Muller’s BEST work is an example of hypothesis testing (and he should be credited for this), but, as discussed in my weblog posts on his work that are listed below, the hypothesis remains incompletely tested using his approach.

The text continues with

This explains the intense media response to the first papers published from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, led by iconoclastic physicist Richard Muller of the University of California, Berkeley. The BEST scientists set out to reassess records from weather stations by compiling an independent, bigger data set from scratch and developing their own statistical techniques to analyse it.

My Comment: The reporter repeats the erroneous statement that the BEST data set is independent of the NCDC, CRU and GISS data sets, as discussed in the posts

Comments On The Testimony Of Richard Muller At the United States House Of Representatives Committee On Science, Space And Technology

Is There A Sampling Bias In The BEST Analysis Reported By Richard Muller?

Richard Muller On NPR On April 11 2011 - My Comments

Comment On The Article in the Economist On Rich Muller's Data Analysis

Comments And Questions On The BEST Analyses

The Nature Geosciences article also failed to report that there is a siting problem with the surface temperature trend data as was reported in detail in

Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146.Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union.

Below this article on the same page, is a separate write-up titled “The journalist's take” [a subscription is needed to read]

which starts with the paragraph

For climate scientists, the question of whether Earth's surface is warming was settled in the affirmative long ago. But for journalists, other considerations come into play when deciding whether to run such a well-trodden story.

My Comment: The journalist who wrote this text fails to recognize that the question as to whether the Earth surface is warming needs to be continually monitored each year, as the climate is much more dynamic than represented by a monotonically increasing annual average global surface temperature. Perhaps, in the coming years, the surface temperature will warm but it is not a “settled” question but one that needs to be continually reassessed.

In this case, the very fact of who was releasing the study, and why they actually did it, was newsworthy. Nearly every public discussion of the surface-temperature record now comes with at least one sceptic raising the issue of station quality and data integrity. Richard Muller, head of the BEST team, is a self-proclaimed climate sceptic to a certain degree.

My Comment: The identification of Richard Muller as a “skeptic” who has had an epiphany seems to be the main reason that the news media are so focused on his views. In reality, he is a newcomer to the climate issue, and, from my perspective, is still very much on a learning curve.


Increase in temperatures will cut short lives, says "expert"

What a lot of rubbish. It's cold that is bad for you. Deaths are much higher in winter. Another "modelling" exercise, no doubt. New Nostradamus also has a laugh at this "study"

A GLOBAL temperature rise of 2C by 2050 would result in increased loss of life, a new Queensland study has found. Scientists from the Queensland University of Technology and the CSIRO examined the "years of life lost" due to climate change, focusing on Brisbane.

"A two-degree increase in temperature in Brisbane between now and 2050 would result in an extra 381 years of life lost per year in Brisbane," lead researcher Associate Professor Adrian Barnett, from the university's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said.

"A two-degree increase in temperature is the figure in the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is dangerous, but could be reached unless more aggressive measures are undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Prof Barnett said the "years of life lost" measurement gives greater weight to deaths at younger ages instead of focusing only on elderly people. "We suspected that many temperature-related deaths were in the elderly, which would reduce the public health importance of temperature compared with other issues," he said. "In fact, we found the opposite, with a surprisingly high years of life lost figure."

Prof Barnett said that an increase of more than two degrees would be catastrophic. "A four-degree increase in temperature would result in an extra 3242 years of life lost per year in Brisbane."

Interestingly, the study found that a one-degree increase would result in a decrease in the number of lives lost. This is believed to be because the increase in heat-related years of life lost are offset by the decrease in cold-related years of life lost. The researchers said cold-related deaths were significant, even in a city with Brisbane's warm climate.

And many deaths could be avoided if people had better insulation in their houses. "Many houses in Brisbane are built of thin planks of wood and are poorly insulated, which means the occupants are exposed to whatever the temperature is outside," Prof Barnett said.

The researchers believed that while their work was focused on Brisbane, it contained helpful information to decision-makers in other areas as well.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.



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


17 January, 2012

Huge new energy source

A discovery by scientists may have more than doubled the world’s energy reserves. They have found vast amounts of natural gas frozen into the sea bed, potentially containing more energy than all the world’s known coal, oil and gas reserves combined. The methane gas is mixed with water, and frozen solid by the high pressure and low temperatures in the deep sea.

Methane hydrate, as the substance is known, has long been regarded by oil and gas companies as a nuisance, because it can block marine drilling rigs. Now a study by Statoil, Norway’s state oil firm and a leading global gas producer, suggests it should be reclassified as a significant fuel resource, with enough buried in the oceans to power the world for decades or even centuries.

“The energy content of methane occurring in hydrate form is immense, possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels,” said Espen Andersen, Statoil’s exploration manager in unconventional hydrocarbons, who will present his study at an energy conference next week.

Such claims will anger environmentalists, who fear that global exploitation of the deep sea bed would put marine life at risk, especially whales and dolphins, which are sensitive to noise. It would also mean an increase in the burning of fossil fuel — so worsening climate change.

The research follows the growing excitement generated by Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec), which has been drilling test wells into methane hydrate reserves in the Nankai trough, off Japan’s southwest coast.

It predicts the first gas will be extracted this year, and suggests there could be enough methane hydrate in the trough to supply all Japan’s energy for 300 years.

Such discoveries have sparked a global search to find other areas with high concentrations of methane hydrate, with Statoil one of the leading companies involved. Huge reserves are already believed to lie off China, South Korea and India, countries that are all currently reliant on imports.


Unreal: CBS News Identifies Eleven 'New Solyndras'

As regular readers are well aware, Solyndra was a troubled "green energy" firm into which the Obama administration poured half-a-billion taxpayer dollars as part of their "stimulus" program. They did so over multiple red flag warnings from both their own and Bush-era accountants. Despite the generous infusion of cash, the company went bankrupt last year, destroying 1,000 jobs and flushing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars down the toilet.

Luckily for the firm's top investors -- who happened to be major Obama campaign donors -- the administration generously refinanced the loan to ensure that said investors would recoup the first $75 million in losses when the company went under. And as the ship was sinking, Obama officials and Solyndra executives (who are now lining up for bonuses) assured the public and Congress that everything was fine and dandy. It was a disgrace. Now CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson, who is already in hot water with the Obamites for daring to report accurately about Fast & Furious, has filed a new report detailing eleven "new Solyndras." These companies were given billions in taxpayer subsidies, despite serious financial problems, and have subsequently (and predictably) gone bust. Hey, remember this? Behold, President Obama's economic handiwork:

Ed Morrissey has more on this mess. American taxpayers have seen this movie before, and we're bracing to see it over and over again. As Democrats gear up to wage a class envy-laden attack campaign against GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, these cases will be very instructive. Romney was a successful private sector investor, who used private money to back upstart and struggling companies. The vast majority of his decisions were sound, resulting in growing companies, more jobs, and yes, profits. If his track record had proven lackluster, he would have been forced to answer to his board, his shareholders, and his investors. Obama's 'green' ordeal is venture socialism. He and his team pushed billions of public dollars out the door in order to temporarily delay ideological allies' inevitable demise. As CBS explains, they did so knowing full well that their bets were foolish at best. To whom is Obama responsible? Voters, that's who. November is coming.

UPDATE - Americans for Prosperity has unveiled a new multimillion dollar ad buy, hitting Obama on Solyndra. Today's CBS report will give them a lot of fresh material for future spots. Well done:


Revealed: There are more charging points than electric cars in UK as sales slump

Sales of electric cars have slumped so badly that there are now more charging points than vehicles on the road. Just 2,149 electric cars have been sold since 2006, despite a government scheme last year offering customers up to £5,000 towards the cost of a vehicle.

The Department for Transport says that around 2,500 charging points have been installed, although their precise location is not known.

The government grant has boosted sales - from 138 in 2010 to 1,1082 last year - but only £3.9million of the £300million set aside has been paid out. A spokesman for the DFT told The Sunday Times: 'It's fair to say that there hasn't been a huge take-up over the past year.'

The high cost of electric cars has put many off. The Nissan Leaf still costs £25,990 even after the £5,000 grant has been deducted.

Electric cars are also only suitable for short journeys, with a maximum range of around 100 miles on a full charge.

Mark Goodier, former Radio 1 DJ who owns a Nissan Leaf, told the newspaper: 'Nissan needs to work on range. If you travel more than 100 miles, this is not for you. 'You have to think about usage and plan what you are going to do. You can't wake up and decide to drive to Scotland.'

The government is spending £30million on publicly-funded charging points and those in private companies. These range from points which take between six and eight hours, to those which provide an 80 per cent charge in half an hour.

Drivers can pay an annual fee to use the majority of the points, with authorities charging a membership fee for the year but no extra charge for electricity.

It's a similar story in the U.S., with Nissan selling 10,000 Leaf cars last year - compared to almost 13million new vehicles every year, The Sunday Times reported.

A spokesman for Nissan said: 'The Leaf is meeting its business plans but it's a car that's going to take a while to be accepted in the market.'

More fuel-efficient petrol engines are also affecting electric car sales.

Norman Baker, transport minister, said the availability of electric cars was the main challenge to the market.


Moisturizing the EPA

Property rights advocates had reason to be optimistic this week, as the Supreme Court heard arguments in Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At stake is landowners' right to challenge bureaucratic control of their lands without redress or any meaningful right to appeal. The Justices seemed receptive to arguments on behalf of the plaintiffs, Mike and Chantell Sackett. A ruling in their favor would help restore some of the property rights protections that have been eroded over the past century.

The Sacketts had purchased a small lot in Priest Lake, Idaho, to build their home. The lot was in a residential area and they obtained all the necessary permits, graded the lot, and dumped gravel for the foundation. Then the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suddenly declared their lot a federally protected wetland under the Clean Water Act, and told the Sacketts they must restore it to pristine condition or face a fine of $37,500 per day.

They were told they could not appeal until they had exhausted all administrative remedies. Therefore, they must restore the land at considerable cost and then appeal for a permit, a process which could take years and cost tens of thousands of dollars -- and likely result in a denial of their appeal. Only then would they be able to go to court -- by which time they might be facing bankruptcy.

The Sackett case provides the Court an opportunity to revive the orphan child of the Bill of Rights -- the Fifth Amendment, specifically due process and the takings clause. For much of the past century, various advocates of big government have run roughshod over property rights. Green activists have consistently used environmental legislation not to protect the environment but rather to impose land-use control at no cost to the government. For property owners, the costs can be staggering -- complete loss of the use of their property.

From the day the Clean Water Act was passed, giving the federal government the authority to protect navigable waters, the bureaucrats at EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have stretched the definition of navigable water beyond all rational bounds to include almost any surface that is ever wet -- no matter how seldom, for how short a time, or to what degree or depth. As one attorney has put it, the government is now trying to regulate the "moistures of the United States."

Rather than work to reduce fill and pollution in the nation's genuine navigable waters, agency regulators have spent ever-increasing amounts of time harassing small landowners, functionally "taking" their lands by preventing their use, entangling them in costly permit battles that often stretch out over several years, and even imprisoning some of them.

Consider the case of Gaston Roberge, a retiree in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. He owned a commercial lot where he had allowed the town to dump clean fill. Attempting to sell the lot for his retirement, the Army Corps charged him with illegally filling a wetland. After six years and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting to get a permit, it turned out he didn't need the permit after all, as his lot was finally designated as not a wetland. He then sued for a temporary taking of his property. During the proceedings, a Corps memo was discovered, saying, "Roberge would be a good one to squash and set an example."

That is how the Clean Water Act is being used -- to set an example in order to prevent citizens from using their own land. The EPA may well be trying to set another example at Priest Lake to slow development. Mike Sackett is in the construction business -- who better to make an example of?

At Monday's hearing, the Sacketts' attorney seemed to make a strong argument. Most of the justices seemed somewhat angered by the government's actions, some strongly so. Justice Alito asked: "[D]on't you think most ordinary homeowners would say this kind of thing can't happen in the United States?" Justice Scalia said, "It shows the high-handedness of the agency." Even Justices Sotomayor and Breyer appeared irritated at times.

Rather than wasting taxpayer money to regulate farmers' stock ponds, the federal government should concentrate on the original goals of the Clean Water Act. Those who believe in a free society and a healthy environment can only hope for a wise decision from the Court -- one that will protect landowners' rights to challenge arbitrary agency designations of dry land as navigable waters. Perhaps we are on the verge of seeing a return to the protection of people's inalienable rights, as the Constitution was intended to do.


Take or Pay at the EPA

A story by Matthew Wald in the New York Times on January 9th demonstrates the poverty of governmental attempts to pick “winners” in the realm of green technologies, the wasteful subsidy programs supporting that policy goal and the huge costs for the private sector of being unable to march to Washington’s tune.

Among its other provisions, the Orwellian Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required the refiners of gasoline and diesel fuel to mix 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel into petrol products shipped to market in 2011; the quota for this year is 8.65 million gallons.

Cellulosic biofuel is derived from plant materials such as wood chips and corn cobs and, hence, represents a “renewable” alternative to the fossil fuels that are anathema to environmentalists and to those wanting to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.

The problem, though, is that processes for producing cellulosic biofuels exist only in laboratories and in small-scale workshops. None is yet commercially available. Of the technologies being worked on to produce such energy sources, “there are some that are closer to the beaker and some that are closer to the barrel,” according to the executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Association.

Yes, Virginia, there is a special-interest group to promote the manufacture and sale of a make-believe product.

The Environmental Protection Agency nevertheless is poised to slap refiners with $6.8 billion in penalties for failing to meet last year’s cellulosic biofuel quota; the penalty for 2012 will be even larger.

Meanwhile, companies are lining up for taxpayer handouts to ramp up production although a scalable technology for cellulosic biofuels is still a pipe dream. Mascoma, partly owned by General Motors, plans to build a plant in Kinross, Mich., to make fuel from wood waste. It will receive up to $80 million from the Energy Department, an unknown amount from the State of Michigan and additional funds from Valero Energy Corp. to start construction.

KiOR, a Texas-based company, hopes to begin producing gasoline and diesel fuel components from yellow pine chips late this year at a plant in Columbus, Miss., where ground has been broken. Perhaps it will be more successful than Range Fuels, which received more than $150 million in government grants for a factory in Soperton, Ga., that was to turn pine chips into fuel. The facility closed more than a year ago after encountering insurmountable technological problems.

Even if congressional dreams would have come true – the 2007 law actually set goals of 250 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels for 2011 and 500 million gallons for 2012 – the program’s contribution to energy “security and independence” would have been miniscule. This year the EPA expects Americans to buy 135 billion gallons of gasoline and 51 billion gallons of diesel.

Despite evidence to the contrary, the EPA continues to believe that the 8.65 million gallon quota for 2012 is “realistically attainable.” In justifying the imposition of production quotas on refiners, EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn was at least honest in saying that quotas “avoid a situation where real cellulosic biofuel production exceeds the mandated volume”, a scenario that in the tortured economic logic of the New York Times, “would weaken demand”!

One of the two, perhaps both, needs to retake Econ 101. What the statements taken together imply is that if refiners actually could produce more cellulosic biofuels than the EPA wants them to produce, the product’s price would fall too far and too fast, too many gallons of it would be purchased and producers’ economic profits (rents) would be in jeopardy.

It could just as well be that the profitability of cellulosic biofuels already has been undermined by the anticipated billions of dollars in penalties the refiners will pay to the EPA, and the agency therefore wants to keep the price of cellulosic biofuels jacked up high enough so that the refiners can recover the penalty payments if and when the product enters the market.

Try as it might, Washington cannot pass a law that makes a new technology commercially viable. The policy effort to promote cellulosic biofuels is another example, if one were needed, that the private sector and taxpayers sometimes will have to double-down, financing investments in an unproven technology and paying penalties for not using the product of that technology even if it is available only in beaker-sized quantities.

Unless or until the process of turning plant materials into fuels usable in gasoline and diesel engines, the only “green” from this ill-conceived governmental program will be flowing into the coffers of the EPA.


Tacky environmental journalism

In the fall of 2006, honey bees began dying in strange and unsettling ways. Entire colonies flew off en masse and simply vanished. More than a third of America's commercially managed hives collapsed in 36 states. In Europe, India, and Brazil, many beekeepers saw up to 90 percent of their colonies fail. Scientists named the phenomenon "Colony Collapse Disorder," or CCD, and the news of the honey bee's alarming decline was reported in media outlets everywhere. With one-third of the nation's crops pollinated by bees, concerns grew about what the honey bee's decline might portend for us. How would we feed ourselves if all the bees disappeared?

Speculation about the causes of the disorder ran from genetically-modified corn, to a sinister Chinese fungus, to cell phone transmissions that led foragers astray ("They get distracted talking and never get any work done," someone quipped in a beekeeper chat room). But very quickly, many journalists settled on neonicotinoids -- pesticides that are applied to more than 140 different crops -- as the likely culprit. It seemed a familiar story of human greed and shortsightedness. With their callous disregard for nature, big chemical companies and big agriculture were killing the bees -- and threatening our own survival.

With the benefit of time, it has become clear that the story was a lot more complicated than that. But the rush to judgment and the end-of-days narratives it spawned should serve as a cautionary tale for environmental journalists eager to write the next blockbuster story of environmental decline. I should know. I almost wrote that story myself.

1. As fate would have it, I was preparing to publish a feature about a colorful commercial beekeeper named John Miller in High Country News, a Colorado-based environmental magazine, when the colony collapse story broke. Miller keeps around 10,000 hives, trucking them around the country to pollinate crops and struggling mightily to keep his charges alive. With bees in the headlines, I did a quick rewrite and the story garnered more views on the magazine's website than any article in its history.

It was just the kind of break every journalist hopes for, and soon I was fielding inquiries from publishers interested in producing a book on the subject. They envisioned a hard-hitting investigation into big beekeeping, big agriculture-, and the looming pollination crisis -- with heroes, villains, and impending-- ecological apocalypse. It would, like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring -- the 1962 bestseller that linked DDT to plummeting bird populations and human cancer and launched the modern environmental movement -- chronicle the crimes of industry against nature. Substitute bees for birds and neonicotinoids-- for DDT, add a dollop of outrage, and voil…: Silent Spring II.

This sounded appealing. I had more to say about John Miller, his bees, and his daft and unrequited passion for these difficult creatures, and I had always-- wanted to write a book. But there was a problem: I had just had my first child, who brought me great joy but also considerable delays in putting together-- a book proposal. As I swaddled and dandled, other environmental journalists got to work. In 2008, a number of bee books hit the bookshelves.

These books had a lot in common with the original idea I had bandied about with publishers: they expounded on CCD and America's pollination crisis--; they chronicled the crimes of the pesticide industry against bees; they evoked Silent Spring. Some also prominently employed a quotation attributed to Albert Einstein, one that had appeared in numerous articles since the crisis began: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." This was an eye-opening quote, impressing upon readers the gravity of the situation: if the smartest guy ever was alarmed about the disappearing honey bee, we too should be afraid, right? Right -- except there's no evidence that Einstein ever said it. Einstein died in 1955; the first known mention of the quote appeared in 1994, in a pamphlet distributed during a political protest staged by French beekeepers objecting to the high cost of sugar for feeding bees and a proposed reduction of tariffs on imported honey.

And there's also this: it simply isn't true. Honey bees are a crucial link in our agricultural system. They pollinate over 90 fruits and vegetables, including-- blueberries, canola, cherries, watermelon, lettuce, and almond trees. Bees are industrious, they are prolific, and they are mobile; there is no pollinator better suited to plying the landscape of modern agriculture. Without them, many crops would sputter or fail and our diet would be a far more lackluster affair.

But the honey bee's disappearance wouldn't necessarily mean the end of humanity. It wouldn't even mean the end of industrial agriculture. Much of our agricultural production does not require the pollination services of bees, and people have lived in lots of places where honey bees haven't. Humans dwelled for millennia in North America, for instance, before the European honey bee (the species found in most of the world's apiaries) arrived from England around 1620, on the same boats that brought the nation's first colonists and their crops. Honey bees have traveled the paths of human migration from Africa to Europe and Asia, then to North America, and they have flourished in most places. If they weren't so useful, you might even be tempted to call them an invasive-- species.

Honey bees have also disappeared before. In 1853, Lorenzo Langstroth, the 19th century beekeeper who invented the modern hive, described colonies that were "found, on being examined one morning, to be utterly deserted. The comb was empty, and the only symptom of life was the poor queen herself." In 1891 and 1896, large clusters of bees vanished in a case known as "May Disease." In the 1960s, bees vanished mysteriously in Texas, Louisiana, and California. In 1975, a similar epidemic cropped up in Australia, Mexico, and 27 US states. There were heavy losses in France from 1998 to 2000 and also in California in 2005, just two years before CCD was first diagnosed.

In fact, honey bees have been on human-assisted life support for a long time now. Much recent coverage of CCD has implied that America's recent honey bee apocalypse began in 2006, but it really began 20 years ago, when a vicious little mite arrived from Asia and wreaked havoc on American apiaries. Thanks to a relentless onslaught of global pests and pathogens since then, "wild" bees (which were never in fact wild, but feral -- the offspring of swarms that had escaped from managed hives) have been wiped out across much of the United States. The bees that have survived are, with very, very few exceptions, commercially managed ones, kept aloft only by the efforts of determined beekeepers like John Miller.

Indeed, there's nothing at all "natural" about the presence of honey bees in most places in the world. They're not native. Most of the plants they pollinate aren't native either. The modern honey bee is largely a human creation. You wouldn't know it from the media coverage, but for all the carnage in recent years, the actual number of honey bee colonies in the US has held steady, thanks to a robust queen-rearing industry that churns out hundreds of thousands of new queens each year. While honey bees are now experiencing worldwide die-offs, their populations are still much higher than in the past, thanks almost entirely to the commercial beekeeping industry.

So maybe the fictitious French Einstein had it backwards: if man disappeared off the face of the earth today, most European honey bee colonies would certainly have no more than four years to live.

2. Covering the fate of the bees, and all the symbiotic relationships in which they are enmeshed -- with flowering plants, with their keepers, with the farmers who need commercial beekeepers to pollinate crops -- has called my attention to another troubled symbiotic connection: the one between journalists and environmental disaster.

Take last summer's BP oil spill in Louisiana. Covering the spill was the Super Bowl of environmental journalism. You couldn't have asked for a better disaster: the never-ending gusher, the oiled birds and tar balls, the callous foreign corporation-- and corrupt government agency. Everyone wanted in on the story, and many of my journalist friends sent delighted updates on Facebook about being sent to the Gulf Coast to cover the environmental story of the decade. I viewed their messages with envy -- because after having another baby, I was in no position to go off chasing oil slicks -- but also with a certain discomfort I couldn't put my finger on until recently, when New Yorker staff writer Raffi Khatchadourian published an exhaustive investigation into the spill.

Khatchadourian disputed the notion that the BP-funded response to the spill was mismanaged and willfully negligent, as much of the contemporary coverage implied. He described an enormous effort that, while necessarily improvised-- and Byzantine, was mostly effective in cleaning up and dispersing the oil.

More of a disaster, he argued, was the media coverage of and political response to the spill. In the early days after the Deepwater Horizon sank, says Khatchadourian, there were lots of tight-focus shots of oily marshes, with "suffocating swirls of shimmery crude and sickly pelicans. The scenes were riveting and heartbreaking," he wrote, "but they fundamentally misrepresented the situation." There was, in fact, very little oil to be found in Louisiana's marshland. With just 25 miles of "heavy oiling" on the entire 1,600-mile Gulf coastline, "One had to travel, sometimes an hour or more, to see the oil -- one had to hunt for it."

But of course, hunt we did, and those images -- sensationalized depictions that exaggerated the spill's damage -- often spurred responders and politicians to insist on measures that were costly, ineffectual, and perhaps even harmful. It will be years before we fully understand the long-term effects of the oil and dispersants on the Gulf ecosystem and human health, but the Gulf of Mexico is thought to absorb more than 50 million gallons of oil a year from natural seeps in the ocean floor, and its biology is remarkably well-adapted to absorbing oil. It's less well-adapted to the dredging and building of artificial berms, and the placing of booms that Gulf Coast lawmakers insisted BP install in many ecologically sensitive areas as public outcry-- mounted. In his story, Khatchadourian asked the question that lingered in the back of my head all summer: is it possible that the breathless coverage of and knee-jerk responses to the disaster actually made the ecological damage worse?

The honey bee's recent problems have occasioned a similar rush to judgment. Before any studies had been conducted on the causes of CCD, three books and countless articles came out touting pesticides as the malady's cause. Had I been able to turn a book around quickly, I might have leapt to the same conclusions. But I was late to the party, and as more studies came out and I came to better understand the science, I became less and less convinced that pesticides provided a convincing explanation for beekeepers' losses.

In June 2009, a comprehensive USDA report reached the same conclusion: "It now seems clear that no single factor alone is responsible for the malady." Instead, a combination of factors is probably to blame -- some sort of interaction between pathogens and variables such as nutrition, weather, parasites, pesticides, and the insults of long-distance beekeeping. "I go back to the death by a thousand paper cuts theory," John Miller told me. "That it's some combination of stress, accumulated pathogens, chemical materials, overstimulation, near-starvation -- an accumulation of what we do."

3. With the luxury of time, I was freed from the obligation to write the next Silent Spring. The Beekeeper's Lament, in bookstores in June, does, of course, explore the reasons bees are dying. But it also tells a complicated story about a man named John Miller, who really, inexplicably, loves bees. He loves them so much that he doesn't mind all the insults and indignities of modern beekeeping: pests and plagues and poor honey prices; droughts and deluges and the daunting logistics required to transport 10,000 hives from the northern Plains to the Central Valley and back each year. He loves them despite all the practices he has to engage in that hurt them -- stacking them on semi-trucks, feeding them miticides and fungicides and antibiotics, waking them up early from their winter slumber to make him money pollinating almonds.

There are no neatly presented demons in the story. Miller is a big beekeeper who pollinates crops for big agriculture, but he's not in it to make big money; if he were, he would have gone into software sales, or real estate, or something that actually makes a lot of money. Still, he does manage to earn a living and keep people employed in rural economies that offer few other opportunities. That isn't as sexy or easy a story to tell as the one about the evil chemical companies and the innocent wild creatures. But I hope it's one that can illuminate the complex relationships between the food on our tables, the people who grow it, the bees that pollinate all those millions of acres of crops, and the bee guys, like John Miller, who care for those bees.

By contrast, reflexively blaming pesticides for all of the honey bee's problems may in fact slow the search for solutions. Honey bees have enough to do without having to serve as our exoskeletal canaries in a coalmine. Dying bees have become symbols of environmental sin, of faceless corporations out to ransack nature. Such is the story environmental journalism tells all too often. But it's not always the story that best helps us understand how we live in this world of nearly seven billion hungry people, or how we might square our ecological concerns and commitments with that reality. By engaging in simplistic and sometimes misleading environmental narratives -- by exaggerating the stakes and brushing over the inconvenient facts that stand in the way of foregone conclusions-- -- we do our field, and our subjects, a disservice.



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


16 January, 2012

Time-lapse video shows how a glacier disappears in just FOUR YEARS

This proves only that photographers are not big on history. See the article following the one immediately below

This shocking time lapse video shows how a glacier has receded thousands of feet in just four years. The footage of Alaska's Columbia glacier was taken by expert and photographer James Balog and his team between May 2007 and September 2011.

Balog used to a climate change skeptic himself but eventually went on to start the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most comprehensive photographic study of glaciers ever conducted.

His new documentary Chasing Ice will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on January 21, the Huffington Post reports.

The EIS team currently has 27 time lapse cameras in 15 places in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and in the Rocky Mountains. Their next venture will be a comprehensive study in British Colombia, Canada.

Balog told the Idaho Press: 'Shrinking glaciers are the canary in the global coal mine. 'They are the most visible, tangible manifestations of climate change on the planet today.'


The Glacier Climate Scam

One of the more popular climate scams employed by the EPA, Katherine Hayhoe and many others – is to show photographs of glaciers from the 1940s (or later) next to recent photos. The implication being that these glaciers started to retreat sometime recently, and that it is due to global warming.

This is blatant fraud. These glaciers have been retreating for hundreds of years, and it has nothing to do with CO2. The glacier in the EPA photograph above retreated eight feet per day between 1794 and 1879.
As you enter Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska you will cruise along shorelines completely covered by ice just 200 years ago.

Explorer Captain George Vancouver found Icy Strait choked with ice in 1794, and Glacier Bay was barely an indented glacier. That glacier was more than 4000 ft. thick, up to 20 miles or more wide, and extended more than 100 miles to the St.Elias Range of mountains.

By 1879 naturist John Muir​ found that the ice had retreated 48 miles up the bay. By 1916 the Grand Pacific Glacier headed Tarr inlet 65 miles from Glacier Bay’s mouth.

Same story for glaciers in Europe.

Clarence and Richmond Examiner Tuesday 14 October 1902

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Communicating skepticism of Greenie claims

Tom Harris

Many of the crusades of the environmental movement are very easy to contest because, in general, the science is often NOT on their side.

However, most of the scientists who know this are either too poor at communicating in layman's language or don't know the ins and outs of media so that they can get covered broadly, or simply don't have the time to do the desperately needed communications job done so well by environmental movement. That is especially true in the case of the climate debate in which much of the science of alarmists is either wrong or grossly exaggerated, but they have literally hundreds of millions of dollars to make their case, misguided though it usually is.

That is why the International Climate Science Coalition was created in 2007, to help these scientists simplify their messages so that the average person can understand them and then to help these experts get heard in main stream media. While we have been successful in many areas--radio, TV, newspapers, at UN conferences, in public presentations, and most recently the senate hearing that you can read about on our Website--we face several barriers to progress if we are to move beyond being a prototype organization demonstrating the potential impact of the science-based, nonpartisan, international approach we take:

1 - the first is obvious, namely main stream media's resistance to publishing or broadcasting anything opposed to their environmentalist allies (and in many cases, they are allies, not just providers of timely, easy to use copy). This necessitates that we make many, many submissions of, say, any newspaper OpEd, to get just a few published. To do this takes manpower and to have that manpower takes money, which leads to our second obstacle.

2 - industry are afraid to fund us in case they are found out (although all donations to ICSC are confidential), so, unlike the climate campaigners who have dump truck loads of money from corporations (have a look at the David Suzuki Foundation's annual report on the Web, for example), we have none at all. This means that we rely on donations from the average person, typically in the $100 range. The only way we can compete with the heavily funded enviros then is if we get literally thousands of donations. But, we don't; we get perhaps a few hundred a year, which keeps our organization in the prototype stage forever since we can't hire contractors to help us out, buy ads, go to conferences, etc. as our opponents do all the time.

ICSC has demonstrated how to beat the extreme enviros and, in our small way, we continue to do that, but without adequate financial support we remain a relative small fry in the debate, only able to contribute what we can with the resources we have.

One of two things needs to happen for ICSC to play a more prominent role in ending the climate scare. Either the big funders in corporations and foundations need to get over their fear of funding a politically incorrect (but scientifically correct) organization, or more of the public needs to do more than send us supportive messages (which we appreciate but can only take us so far). It takes considerable money to be at UN conferences, put out news releases on major wire services (translated for different countries - for example, our 2009 Copenhagen news release cost over $6,000 to get into a dozen media markets (where it was very well reported on, BTW)) and support scientists who need help preparing testimony, articles, speeches, etc.

Suzuki knows this which is why he ends his talks (at least those that I have seen) with an appeal for financial support and the left have been very generous in supporting his cause. Strangely, those on the right and the centre are generally much less generous to support the counters to Suzuki et al and so we continue to be unable to expand our message enough to properly contest the climate alarm.

At this point, it is all about the volume of work we can do. We know our message works in bringing people--left, right and centre--over to climate realism. ICSC simply needs the resources to do a great deal more of what we are already doing.


Thou must not question Big Environment

Rex Murphy

The environmental movement has enjoyed smooth, mostly untroubled progress since its beginnings in the 1960s, when its activists romped around the northern sea floes off the coast of Labrador. The enviros migrated with almost the same punctuality as the seals: Every spring, you could treat yourself to the sight of them bobbing up and down on the ice-pans, high-bosomed starlets stroking the pelts of large-eyed newsmen and seals alike, whole platoons of photographers aiming for the perfect cute shot, and a kite tail of various enthusiasts and camp followers to give a sense of noise and drama. Labrador is more or less quiet these days: Those Who Care have decamped to the oil sands and other pastures.

Robert Redford, when he can tear himself away from the general dorkiness of the Sundance Festival, is big on saving the planet these days. James Cameron can generally be found rustling the vines somewhere in the Amazon rain forest. Leonardo DiCaprio is always good for a Vanity Fair cover as long as its backlit and there’s a polar bear somewhere. Mixing it up with the environmental crusaders is good PR for Hollywood one-percenters — takes the heat off their monstrous paydays, their jets and, for that matter, most of their silly movies.

Some enviro groups have grown corporate in size, techniques and attitude. Greenpeace is now to the environmental world what GM used to be to the automobile world. The various Sierra Clubs dot the world like McDonald’s. As the example of Canada’s own Northern Gateway pipeline shows, modern environmental protestors have refined a basic set of skills to near perfection: deploying legal challenges to stall a project, taking advantage of hearings to protract and delay, signing on huge numbers of groups and individuals to take part in such hearings. They are expert at singling out one activity and applying all their focus and energy toward stopping it.

The big-name environmental groups are routinely excellent communicators — faster, clearer and quicker with the message than governments or industry. I credit them for this, incidentally. Good for them that they have tuned themselves so finely, learned the game. Businesses and politicians have always been way behind in the new world of publicity and protest, and it is their own fault — half-laziness and half arrogance — that they are.

The greatest advantage the greens have had is the relative absence of scrutiny from the press. Generally speaking, it’s thought to be bad manners to question self-appointed environmentalists. Their good cause, at least in the early days, was enough of a warrant in itself. And when it was your aunt protesting the incinerator just outside town, well that was enough. But when it’s some vast congregation of 20,000 at an international conference, or thousands lining up to present briefs protesting a pipeline, well, let’s just say this is not your aunt’s protest movement anymore.

There is no such thing as investigative environmental reporting — or rather very precious little of it in the established media. Environmental reporters rarely question the big environmental outfits with anything like the fury they will bring to questioning politicians or businesspeople. Advocacy and reportage are sometimes close as twins.

And so the great thing I see about Resource Minister Joe Oliver’s little rant against Northern Gateway pipeline opponents a few days ago — asking whether some groups are receiving “outside money” or if they are proxies for other interests — is not so much the rant itself, but rather the fact that at last some scrutiny, some questions are being asked of these major players. Big environment, however feebly, is being asked to present its bona fides. And that’s a good thing: The same rigor we bring to industry and government, in looking to their motives, their swift dealing, must also apply to crusading greens.

Where does their money come from? What are their interests in such and such a hearing? What other associations do they have? Are they a cat’s paw for other interests? Do they have political affiliations that would impugn their testimony? In hearings as important as the ones over the Northern Gateway pipeline, with the jobs and industry that are potentially at stake, the call to monitor who is participating in those hearings is a sound and rational one.

No one should be excluded from those hearings — at least, no one who has a solid and honest objection to the project. But some amount of transparency from all those environmental groups that demand “transparency” from everyone else is a reasonable ambition as well. Let us have some vetting of the vetters. To that degree, I applaud the Minister.


O Canada Our Only Hope

James Delingpole

I love Canada. I love Canadians. I like very much what their government is doing. I have great faith in their future. And if it weren't for their winters, I'd go and live there like a shot. Weird, huh?
Well it's certainly weird enough for those of us old enough to remember Canada in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties when it was little more than an embarrassing liberal-lefty joke. Sure we still remembered the suffering and courage of those plucky Canucks from Vimy Ridge to Dieppe to the Low Countries, but that spirit appeared long since to have vanished under the noisome regime of Pierre Trudeau and his grisly communitarian successors. Canada was like a pale imitation of the US with all the worst aspects of European Socialism and political correctness tacked on to it.
But suddenly – sorry South Park – but Canada-is-cr*p jokes just aren't funny any more because they lack the key ingredient of truth.
And the truth is that right now, of all the great Western nations Canada is probably the only one left still standing up for the values that made the West great. What better evidence of this could there be than the glorious news that Stephen Harper's Conservative administration has declared war on the anti-growth, anti-energy, hair-shirt eco-loons who are trying to destroy the Canadian economy? (Mega H/T Benny Peiser at GWPF)
Terence Corcoran has the story:
It is a cliché in journalism to declare metaphorical wars at the drop of a news release. In this case, it looks like war is exactly what Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver launched Monday in an unprecedented open letter warning that Canada will not allow “environmental and other radical groups” to “hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”
“These groups,” said Mr. Oliver, “seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interests to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.”
The "foreign special interests" are the ones exposed by Vancouver investigative blogger Vivian Krause in articles like this – on how America's Tides Foundation has spent at least $6 million funding a propaganda war on Alberta's oil sands production – and this blog post.
According to my preliminary calculations, since 2000 USA foundations have poured $300 million into the environmental movement in Canada. The David Suzuki Foundation alone has been paid at least $10 million by American foundations over the past decade. Why are American foundations spending so much money in Canada instead of in their own country or in other countries around the world that are far more needy than Canada?
Actually I think the sinister-foreign-interests-trying-to-destroy-Canada angle is overdone. It's not Canada these green activists specifically want to ruin: it's Western industrial civilization generally. The only reason Canada may be attracting more flak than most at the moment is because of its courageous position on Kyoto (it wants to pull out), on fossil fuels (it has lots and wants to exploit them) and on economic growth (controversially among the current crop of Western administrations it considers it to be a desirable thing).
Now let us pause for moment and weep for America where sadly rather different attitudes to the environment and economic growth now obtain:
Oil and politics are a volatile mix for President Barack Obama, as he weighs whether to approve a pipeline to bring crude oil from Canada to Texas. On the merits, Obama should greenlight construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Our economy runs on oil. Given the political volatility in some oil-rich regions of the world, it's just common sense to help maximize the oil-producing capacity of our friend to the north.
But Obama tried to put off the issue until after the election. That's because to decide is to antagonize either labor unions, who want pipeline jobs, or environmentalists, who fear pollution and climate change.
America's problem is that Canada isn't going to wait for it to make up its mind.
“I am very serious about selling our oil off this continent, selling our energy products off to China,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week. “I ran into several senior Americans, who all said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get Keystone done. You can sell all of your oil to us.’ I said, ‘Yeah we’d love to but the problem is now we're on a different track.’”
So now the battle lines are drawn. On one side are China, Brazil, India, Korea and the other emerging economies whose priority is growth – and, by extension, jobs, a higher standard of living and a future for their citizens. On the other are the moribund economies of the West – weighed down by regulation, hamstrung by activist pressure groups on issues ranging from equality and diversity to environmentalism and elf and safety* – whose slow demise will meant that for the first time in two centuries the latest generation is all but guaranteed to enjoy a worse standard of living than its parents. Canada, by joining the former, has chosen well for its children.
As I outline in my expose of environmentalism Watermelons, the green movement bears a huge amount of responsibility for our economic decline. Greens are not kind, they're not fluffy, and they're definitely not caring. At least not unless you're one of those ruddy, completely un-endangered polar bears.
*UK slang for Health and Safety regulations.


GM's Flop in Green

by Patrick J. Michaels

At the Detroit Auto Show this week, CEO Dan Akerson admitted that General Motors may have to cut back production of the Chevrolet Volt because the 4,600-plus Volts on the market now are about three times the monthly sales. Other figures put the GM hybrid car’s inventory at an outrageous 120-plus days.

By most accounts, “Government Motors” has stuck with the Volt mainly to please the Obama administration, which still owns a third of its stock in the wake of the 2009 government “rescue” of the company. But just how badly is the effort faring? Well, consider the 1,529 sold in December.

More than a third of those were fleet sales to corporations. None of these were the traditional large-fleet purchasers, i.e. Hertz, Avis and the other big rental companies. They were more like Verizon and General Electric — with GE having committed to buying 12,000 and having already purchased unspecified “hundreds,” with continued “daily” deliveries, as The Wall Street Journal reported recently.

Then there are the direct taxpayer buys. Fifty to New York City. The city of Deland, Fla., brags about buying five with an Energy Department grant. The federal General Services Administration has bought 101 so far, but President Obama has ordered it to procure only hybrid or high-mileage vehicles by 2015. (The taxpayers buy about 60,000 cars a year for GSA.)

Anyway, until GM is transparent and forthcoming about how many (or how few) Volts are selling to private individuals, we aren’t going to know. But several ominous signs suggest that the Volt’s long-term viability may be a risky proposition.

Taxpayers are rightly grumpy about ponying up a $7,500-per-car subsidy on a car that is generally priced around $44,500 (the median for the 4,612 Volts on People who will spend nearly $40K for a small four-passenger car don’t need a subsidy. (Nor, for that matter, do folks who buy a $100,000 Tesla.)

Worldwide, subsidies for all kinds of green energy are being cut — resulting in a true sectoral depression. Solar-energy stocks are down 90 percent. The gigantic wind company Vestas may be acquired or worse.

The Volt will meet a similar fate if the subsidy ends. The chances of that happening are about the same as those of electing a Republican Senate and president: significant.

Then there’s the competition, which starts in earnest this year. The extended-range Prius, which will be on the market in months, will go out the door for about $35,000 (minus a $2,500 subsidy) — bringing the net cost to about $5,500 less than the Volt. Nissan’s Leaf, Ford’s hybrid and Hyundai’s product (said to undercut the Prius price) will all be in this small market by the end of the year. Which, if any, will endure?

Then there’s the half-billion dollars the feds have sunk into the Fisker Karma. At $95,000, who’s really going to buy something that gets a lousy 20mpg once the battery finks out after around 30 miles?

The added cost for a plug-in rather than a conventional model varies from about $14,000 (Toyota Prius vs. Corolla) to $20,000 (Volt vs. Cruze Eco) and on up to the Fisker and Tesla. And the internal-combustion engine is being improved dramatically at far less cost. The Cruze is much cheaper to run than the Volt, once the latter is on its premium-fuel-powered gas engine. (Don’t want to use the Volt’s gas engine? Stay within 15 miles of home.)

Which is why plug-in hybrids won’t sell. Why prolong the agony? Kill the car now. It’s not cost-effective, and it’s irritating taxpayers in an election year. Much has been learned in its development, including a little economics and the folly of subsidies.

Taxpayers and corporations can’t prop up this flop forever. GM management should end the misery before being told off by the voters, the markets and its own technology.



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


15 January, 2012

"We cannot rule out..."

The paper below looks into the much touted "runaway" greenhouse effect and concludes that it is not likely until billions of years into the future. But to remain safe from vengeful Warmists, the authors say "We cannot rule out" such an effect happening sooner.

I cannot rule out the possibility that some of the hardcore Warmists will one day admit to their fraud but I would be foolish to plan on it.

And the paper commits a scientific howler about Venus. The high surface temperature on Venus is predictable as an adiabatic effect. It is caused by the great weight of the huge Venusian atmosphere. Invoking a greenhouse effect is unparsimonious

The ultimate climate emergency is a "runaway greenhouse": a hot and water vapour rich atmosphere limits the emission of thermal radiation to space, causing runaway warming. Warming ceases only once the surface reaches ~1400K and emits radiation in the near-infrared, where water is not a good greenhouse gas. This would evaporate the entire ocean and exterminate all planetary life. Venus experienced a runaway greenhouse in the past, and we expect that Earth will in around 2 billion years as solar luminosity increases. But could we bring on such a catastrophe prematurely, by our current climate-altering activities? Here we review what is known about the runaway greenhouse to answer this question, describing the various limits on outgoing radiation and how climate will evolve between these. The good news is that almost all lines of evidence lead us to believe that is unlikely to be possible, even in principle, to trigger full a runaway greenhouse by addition of non-condensible greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. However, our understanding of the dynamics, thermodynamics, radiative transfer and cloud physics of hot and steamy atmospheres is weak. We cannot therefore completely rule out the possibility that human actions might cause a transition, if not to full runaway, then at least to a much warmer climate state than the present one. High climate sensitivity might provide a warning. If we, or more likely our remote descendants, are threatened with a runaway greenhouse then geoengineering to reflect sunlight might be life's only hope


Lubos Motl also has a laugh at this paper

An Inconsistent Truth

Phil Valentine advises:

An Inconsistent Truth Official Movie Trailer. The movie they don't want you to see:

Also, a humorous deleted scene

Tom Nelson has got a strong stomach. He is reading all of the ClimateGate 2.0 emails

He comments:

For a while, I was looking at the ClimateGate 2.0 emails by searching them for certain names and keywords.

Now, my plan is to read all 5,349 of them at this link. I didn't want to start at #1, so I started at #5000, read to the end, then went back to 4,000. I'm currently about 1,000 emails into this project. If you don't want to read a lot of ClimateGate email excerpts, you might want to avoid this blog for a while. I can't wait to see what's in the next 4,300 emails.

So far, it's been fascinating to get a look at the climate hoax from the inside. The data fudging, the demonization of doubters, the knee-jerk rejection of alternate hypotheses, the quest for funding, the travel to exotic locations, the pal review, the left-wing politics, the fear of debate, the swagger in the early days, then the panic as the skeptics closed in--it's all there.

Another thing I've learned is that Michael Mann is evidently vastly smarter than me, because while it'll take me months to finish all of these emails, he finished up his stellar analysis back on Day 1.


Yes, all that snow in Alaska really is due to low temperatures

Anchorage, Alaska is having record snow this year. Through the first fourteen days of January, the average dew point in Anchorage has been -17C, which corresponds to a specific humidity of 1.2 grams/m³.

Gizan, Saudi Arabia has received no precipitation this year, and has had an average dew point of 21C, which corresponds to a specific humidity of 19.8 grams/m³.

Gizan has 16 times as much water vapour in the air, but hasn’t had a single drop of rain. By contrast, Anchorage has seen almost continuous snow, despite much lower amounts of water vapour.

Those who claim that the snow in Alaska is due to excess humidity, are either grossly incompetent or grossly dishonest. The snow is due to record cold temperatures, which is causing the small amount of moisture in the air to saturate and precipitate.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

New study: People with better knowledge of science are more likely to be sceptical of global warming

A new study by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School has produced a result that its authors want to hide:

"People with better knowledge of science and stronger reasoning skills are more likely to be skeptical of climate change than people with lower levels of comprehension".

This is without doubt the most importantant finding in the new study, but because it does not fit into the warmist authors´ agenda, they choose to bury it in a heap of sociological gobbledygook:

See: "The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change"

SOURCE (See the original for links)

US Republicans stir transatlantic tensions over climate change

Concerns are growing in Brussels that persistent denial of human-caused global warming among Republican presidential hopefuls could damage EU-US relations and even spark a trade conflict.

All the leading challengers for the White House have staked out positions on global warming that defy the international scientific consensus, causing what Thomas Legge, a climate officer for the German Marshall Fund, called “exasperation” in Brussels.

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said in September she was “shocked that the political debate in the US is so far away from the scientific facts.” [What facts? Global warming is a prophecy, not a fact] “When you hear American presidential candidates denying climate change, it's difficult to take,” she said.

If a Republican president disrupted the EU's inclusion of aviation in the EU’s Emissions Trading System, or its default values ascribed to oil from tar sands, Jo Leinen, the chair of the European Parliament’s environment committee, called for “a reaction that would affect transatlantic trade.”

“In order to have a fair competition between our industries and theirs, we could talk about broader measures against materials from the US with high energy intensity or output of climate gases like steel, metals, and chemical products,” he told EurActiv.

This could take the form of “a CO2 levy or tax on the border to compensate for the [low carbon] investments in products made in Europe,” he said. [And what if the USA retaliated by putting a complete embargo on the importation of European wines and motor vehicles? That would not hurt the USA significantly but French winemakers and German carmakers would screech loudly enough to be heard even in Brussels! Those two industries are sacrosanct to the countries concerned so losing a major market for them would hurt so badly that a rapid backpedalling would ensue]

Rather than continue with current EU-US relations, Leinen proposed a move by the EU to “orient itself towards a coalition with China.”

But Sarah Ludford, the Liberal vice-chair of the EU’s delegation for relations with the United States, disagreed with trade sanctions, while conceding that Republican positions were “a long way from the mainstream of European thinking”.

“As a free-trader, I am always a little bit wary of trade linkages,” she said by telephone from London. “I understand where Jo Leinen is coming from but I would tread with caution as you can descend into a tit-for-tat situation that carries considerable dangers.”

“I hope that Obama wins the election and we get a more moderate and encouraging position from the US administration,” she added, speaking in a personal capacity.

Ironically, the ‘cap and trade’ idea that underwrites the global carbon market was originally the brainchild of US Republicans. But this changed because of what one senior US climate negotiator at Kyoto described as a collection of “toxic” ingredients.

“There are three issues – constraining industry, sending money abroad, and strengthening the UN – that are inflammatory on their own right,” Nigel Purvis, a State Department official under the Clinton and Bush administrations, said on the phone from Washington.

More than that, the climate change issue had become a symbol of ‘big government’ for Republicans, Purvis argued, and this had been amplified by “an enormous amount of campaign finance contributions and political advertising” paid for by the fossil fuel industry, and some trades-unions.

The UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has said leadership changes in the US and elsewhere should not undermine progress towards setting up a globally binding climate deal by 2015, as set down in the roadmap at the recent global climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

However, Republican party presidential contenders may disagree with Figueres' analysis.

Rick Santorum has described global warming as “a liberal conspiracy” for government control, based on “junk science”. Mitt Romney argues that the origins of climate change are unknown, and little should be spent on countering it.

Ron Paul has called global warming “the greatest hoax… in hundreds of years”, while Rick Perry described it as a “contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight”. Newt Gingrich has recanted past support for climate action.



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


14 January, 2012

Ozone holers expect a cooling Arctic!

What happened to all that melting that was supposed to be going on in the Arctic? Ya gotta laugh! To explain why the Montreal ban on CFC's is not stopping ozone depeletion, they let global cooling in the door

Arctic winter 2010/2011 at the brink of an ozone hole

B.-M. Sinnhuber et al.


The Arctic stratospheric winter of 2010/2011 was one of the coldest on record with a large loss of stratospheric ozone.

Observations of temperature, ozone, nitric acid, water vapor, nitrous oxide, chlorine nitrate and chlorine monoxide from the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) onboard ENVISAT are compared to calculations with a chemical transport model (CTM). There is overall excellent agreement between the model calculations and MIPAS observations, indicating that the processes of denitrification, chlorine activation and catalytic ozone depletion are sufficiently well represented. Polar vortex integrated ozone loss reaches 120 Dobson Units (DU) by early April 2011. Sensitivity calculations with the CTM give an additional ozone loss of about 25 DU at the end of the winter for a further cooling of the stratosphere by 1 K, showing locally near-complete ozone depletion (remaining ozone <200 ppbv) over a large vertical extent from 16 to 19 km altitude.

In the CTM a 1 K cooling approximately counteracts a 10% reduction in stratospheric halogen loading, a halogen reduction that is expected to occur in about 13 years from now. These results indicate that severe ozone depletion like in 2010/2011 or even worse could appear for cold Arctic winters over the next decades if the observed tendency for cold Arctic winters to become colder continues into the future.


Soot making a comeback in reverse: -- Now a warmer and not a cooler

The soot man has been saying this for a long time but the conventional view used to be that soot had a shading effect

Der Spiegel reports today that scientists have identified soot (black carbon) as one of the major global warmers out there.

According to Science Journal here, a team of 24 experts led by NASA scientist Drew Shindell looked at 400 emission control measures and identified 14 measures targeting methane and black carbon (BC) emissions that would reduce projected global mean warming.

Recently scientists and activists have been frustrated by the slow progress and dogged reluctance by countries to cap CO2 emissions, which are thought to be causing global warming. So Shindell looked for alternative ways to avert warming. Suddenly, lo and behold, soot (BC) and methane have emerged as major global warming factors. The amount they admit soot and methane contribute to warming is in my view astonishing. The abstract states:

"We considered ~400 emission control measures to reduce these pollutants by using current technology and experience. We identified 14 measures targeting methane and BC emissions that reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050.”

This equals the total amount of warming we’ve seen in the last 40 years!

Now scientists are telling us that soot and methane will have the same effect that CO2 is claimed to have had over the last 40 years? Whatever happened to the assertion that man-made CO2 has caused 95% of the warming over the last decades? Obviously CO2 as a driver is seriously getting cut down to size. Throw in the emerging solar effects and there isn’t much left for poor old CO2.

The abstract continues:

"This strategy avoids 0.7 to 4.7 million annual premature deaths from outdoor air pollution and increases annual crop yields by 30 to 135 million metric tons due to ozone reductions in 2030 and beyond. Benefits of methane emissions reductions are valued at $700 to $5000 per metric ton, which is well above typical marginal abatement costs (less than $250). The selected controls target different sources and influence climate on shorter time scales than those of carbon dioxide–reduction measures. Implementing both substantially reduces the risks of crossing the 2°C threshold.”

No need to worry any longer about a doubling of CO2 concentrations. Indeed CO2 as a driver and its hypothesized positive feedbacks simply aren’t materializing. We haven’t seen any warming in 15 years. Now scientists are realizing that soot is a big league player.

Der Spiegel writes:

"About 3 billion people prepare their meals over open fires that burn wood, dung or coal, and thus emit huge amounts of soot. However attempts to get people in Africa and Asia to get interested in other cooking devices have often proven to be difficult."

Of course it has been difficult. When idiot bureaucrats attempt (and are successful) to slow down progress, people remain poor and all they have left to burn is wood. But if they promote growth, free markets and development so that poor countries can attain western standards of living, then they will be able to afford to burn cleaner fuels like gas and oil. And if someday they should get really rich, they too will be able to afford wind and solar energy.


Full abstract:
Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security

Drew Shindell et al

Tropospheric ozone and black carbon (BC) contribute to both degraded air quality and global warming. We considered ~400 emission control measures to reduce these pollutants by using current technology and experience. We identified 14 measures targeting methane and BC emissions that reduce projected global mean warming ~0.5°C by 2050. This strategy avoids 0.7 to 4.7 million annual premature deaths from outdoor air pollution and increases annual crop yields by 30 to 135 million metric tons due to ozone reductions in 2030 and beyond. Benefits of methane emissions reductions are valued at $700 to $5000 per metric ton, which is well above typical marginal abatement costs (less than $250). The selected controls target different sources and influence climate on shorter time scales than those of carbon dioxide–reduction measures. Implementing both substantially reduces the risks of crossing the 2°C threshold.


New paper finds no change in Antarctic snowmelt since measurements began in 1979

Since 91% of the earth's glacial ice is held in Antarctica, this dynamites Warmist scares about rising sea levels

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds no significant change in Antarctic snowmelt over the entire 31 year period of satellite observations 1979-2010. The paper actually shows a declining trend in snowmelt over the past 31 years, although not statistically significant. Of note, the abstract states,

"other than atmospheric processes likely determine long-term ice shelf stability." Translation: increased CO2 and other 'greenhouse gases' do not threaten stability of the Antarctic ice shelf.

Meltwater volume for the Antarctic continent (top graph) shows a declining (statistically insignificant) trend since satellite observations began in 1979


Full abstract below:

Insignificant change in Antarctic snowmelt volume since 1979
Key Points

By P. Kuipers Munneke et al.

Surface snowmelt is widespread in coastal Antarctica. Satellite-based microwave sensors have been observing melt area and duration for over three decades. However, these observations do not reveal the total volume of meltwater produced on the ice sheet. Here we present an Antarctic melt volume climatology for the period 1979–2010, obtained using a regional climate model equipped with realistic snow physics. We find that mean continent-wide meltwater volume (1979–2010) amounts to 89 Gt y−1 with large interannual variability (? = 41 Gt y−1). Of this amount, 57 Gt y−1 (64%) is produced on the floating ice shelves extending from the grounded ice sheet, and 71 Gt y−1 in West-Antarctica, including the Antarctic Peninsula. We find no statistically significant trend in either continent-wide or regional meltwater volume for the 31-year period 1979–2010.


Winning A Climate Bet

Its ability to make consistently accurate predictions is the test of any scientific theory. Below we see that it was a skeptic, not a Warmist who made the accurate prediction

Dr. David Whitehouse

Predictions, Neils Bohr once said, are difficult, especially about the future. They are even more interesting however, when there is money at stake.

In December 2007 I wrote what I thought was quite a straightforward article for the New Statesman pointing out that it was curious that when so many voices were telling us that global warming was out of control, and that the global warming effect dwarfed natural fluctuations, the global annual average temperature hadn’t increased for many years. I wasn’t promoting any particular point of view just describing the data. The New Statesman jumped at it.

It caused quite a storm resulting in an Internet record number of comments that were complimentary by a large majority, although there were some less than supportive remarks. It evidently also caused quite a fuss in the offices of the New Statesman. responded with, in my view, an unsatisfactory knock-down of my piece based on trend lines, which I had expected. Trend lines, especially of indeterminate length in the presence of noise, can tell you almost anything, and nothing.

The New Statesman environment correspondent Mark Lynas chipped in eventually with, “I’ll be blunt. Whitehouse got it wrong – completely wrong,” after saying he was initially reluctant to comment. He reproduced’s trendlines argument and accused me of deliberately or otherwise setting out to deceive. It was a scientifically ignorant article which subsequent events, and peer-reviewed literature, emphasise. Moreover, when I asked New Statesman for redress against such an unnecessary, and in my view unprofessional insult, they declined, and stopped answering my emails. In doing so they missed out on an important, though perhaps inconvenient, scientific story.

More or Less

To my surprise interest in my article was worldwide, and eventually the BBC’s radio programme “More or Less” got in touch. The programme is about numbers and statistics and they set up a series of interviews. You can hear the programme here.

Almost at the last minute the programme-makers came up with the idea of a bet. It was for £100 that, using the HadCrut3 data set, there would be no new record set by 2011. It was made between climatologist James Annan and myself. His work involves analysing climatic data and validating climate models. He accepted enthusiastically as he has a perchant for taking on 'sceptics.' The presenter said that if the global temperature didn’t go up in the next few years, “there would be some explaining to do.”

Later today, January 13th, “More or Less” returns to the bet, which I am pleased to say I won, though I note that this bet, or its conclusion, is not yet mentioned on Annan’s Wikipedia entry despite his other climate bet being discussed.

Writing shortly after the wager was placed James Annan said he believed it was a fairly safe bet, though not certain, as the trend since the current warming spell began, around 1980, was upward (showing those same trendlines!) He drew a straight line from 1980 to 2007 and projected it forwards concluding that sometime over the next few years HadCrut3 would rise above its highest point which was in 1998 (a strong El Nino year.)

The problem with this approach is that it destroys all information in the dataset save the gradient of the straight line. In climate terms 30 years is usually held to be the shortest period to deduce trends (though shorter periods are used often if the trend deduced is deemed acceptable) but that is not to say there is not important information on shorter periods such as volcanic depressions, El Nino rises and La Nina dips. Then there are the so-called, poorly understood decadal variations.

My view was that the information in the dataset was important, especially if projecting it forward just a few years when natural variations were clearly dominant. Looking at HadCrut3 it is clear that there isn’t much of an increase in the 1980s, more of an increase in the 1990s, then there is the big 1998 El Nino, followed by no increase in the past decade or so. It therefore seemed far more likely that the temperature would continue what it had been doing in the recent past than revert to an upward trend, in the next few years at least.

My approach was to listen to the data. The approach taken by James Annan was flawed because he didn’t. He imposed a straight line on the data due to theoretical considerations. I always wonder about the wisdom of the approach that uses straight lines in climatic data. Why should such a complex system follow a straight line? Indeed, the rise of HadCrut3 is not a straight line, but the past ten years is, and that in my view is very curious, and highly significant.

Why, I wonder start the linear increase in 1980? Obviously the temperature starts rising then, but why not start the straight line in 1970? The answer is that the temperature is flat between 1970 and 1980. It seems illogical to take notice of flat data at the start of a dataset but totally ignore it at the end!

When a record is not a record

During the recent interview for “More or Less” James Annan said that had other temperature databases been used he would have won. This is a moot point that also strongly reaffirms my stance. In NasaGiss 2010 is the warmest year, with a temperature anomaly of 0.63 deg C, only one hundredth of a degree warmer than 2005, and within a whisker of 2007, 2006, 2002, 2001 and 1998. Given the 0.1 deg C errors even Nasa did not claim 2010 as a record. Technically speaking 2010 was slightly hotter because of a strong El Nino. Otherwise, NasaGiss shows hardly any increase in the past decade.

During the “More or Less” interview the question arose of extending the bet to “double or quits” for the next five years. I was game for it with a proviso. Betting against a record for ten years raises a higher possibility that there might be a statistical fluctuation than betting for five years. Because of this I would like to see two annual datapoints, consecutively more than one sigma above the 2001 – date mean level. After all, that is the minimum statistical evidence one should accept as being an indication of warming. James Annan did not commit to such a bet during the programme.

It just has to start getting warmer soon.

Back in 2007 many commentators, activists and scientists, such as Lynas, said the halt in global temperatures wasn’t real. It is interesting that the Climategate emails showed that the certainty some scientists expressed about this issue in public was not mirrored in private. Indeed, one intemperate activist, determined to shoot my New Statesman article down but unable to muster the simple statistics required to tackle the statistical properties of only 30 data points, asked the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and the Met Office, to provide reasons why I was wrong, which they couldn’t.

What was true in 2007 is even more so in 2012. Since 2007 the reality of the temperature standstill has been accepted and many explanations offered for it, more than can possibly be true! We have seen predictions that half of the years between 2009 and 2014 would be HadCrut3 records (a prediction that now can’t possibly come to pass) which was later modified to half of the years between 2010 and 2015 (likewise.) The Met Office predict that 2012 -16 will be on average 0.54 deg C above the HadCrut3 baseline level, and 2017 -2021 some 0.76 deg C higher. Temperatures must go up, and quickly.

So how long must this standstill go on until bigger questions are asked about the rate of global warming? When asked if he would be worried if there was no increase in the next five years James Annan would only say it would only indicate a lower rate of warming! Some say that 15 years is the period for serious questions.

We are already there

In a now famous (though even at the time obvious) interview in 2010 Prof Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia confirmed that there was no statistically significant warming since 1995. There was an upward trend, but it was statistically insignificant, which in scientific parlance equates to no trend at all. In 2011 Prof Jones told the BBC that due to the inclusion of the warmish 2010 there was now a statistically significant increase between 1995 and 2010. Since 2011 was cool it doesn’t take complicated statistics to show that the post 1995 trend by that method of calculation is now back to insignificant, though I don’t expect the BBC to update its story.

The lesson is that for the recent warming spell, the one that begins about 1980, the years of standstill now exceed those with a year-on-year increase. It is the standstill, not the increase, that is now this warm period’s defining characteristic.

The nature of the anthropogenic global warming signal is that, unlike natural fluctuations, it is always additive. Sooner or later, it is argued, it will emerge unambiguously, perhaps at different times in different parts of the world, but it must emerge. Some argue that by the time it does it will already be too late, but that is another debate.

James Annan is keen on a “money markets” approach to forecasting global warming, and bemoans the reticence of so-called climate sceptics to put their money where their mouth is! I hope that his early-stage financial loss won’t be too much of a setback and a deterrence for potential investors, not that I will be among them.

Now that I am joining the ranks of those who have made money out of global warming (or rather the lack of it) I wonder where the smart money will be placed in the future.


Governance of the science

A speech to the House of Lords by Lord Turnbull, on 12th January 2012

The governing narrative for our climate change framework can be summarised as follows. Our planet is not just warming—this is not in dispute—but the rate of warming is projected to accelerate sharply: rather than the increase we have witnessed of less than 1 per cent per century, by the end of this century the planet is projected to be around 3 degrees centigrade hotter, taking the centre of the range. Some time during this century we will pass a 2 degree centigrade threshold, which is portrayed as a tipping point beyond which serious harm to the planet will occur. The main driver of this is man-made CO2 and the principal response must be the almost complete decarbonisation of the economies of the industrial world less than 40 years from now.

This narrative is largely based on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, so the competence and integrity of the IPCC are of huge importance if it is to drive the massive social and economic changes being advocated. The reliance that one can put on the report of the noble Lord, Lord Stern, is also at issue, since it adopted large parts of the IPCC framework.

Over the last two years, there have been three separate reports on the IPCC. They are: the report by the InterAcademy Council, a collective of the world’s leading scientific academies; the report written by Professor Ross McKitrick, a Canadian professor of economics who for a time served as an expert reviewer for the IPCC’s fourth assessment report; and a book, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’ s Top Climate Expert, written by Donna Laframboise, a Canadian journalist. Although they write from three different perspectives, in different styles, the message is the same: there are serious flaws in the competence, operations and governance of the IPCC.

The reality is a long way from the way that the IPCC describes itself. The IPCC claims that it employs the top scientists in the field; it uses only peer-reviewed material; its staff are independent and impartial; its operations are transparent; its procedures for review are rigorous and free of conflicts of interest; and its role is to present objective scientific advice to policymakers, not to advocate policy responses. None of these claims is true.

There are many instances where it has not employed the top practitioners in the field, and worse, many instances where it has employed researchers who have barely completed their PhDs—and in some cases not even that. There has been substantial use of “grey”—that is, non-peer-reviewed—literature. The IPCC has been extensively infiltrated by scientists from organisations like Greenpeace and WWF. There is no transparency about how its lead authors and reviewers are selected and what their expertise is. It has been obstructive to outsiders seeking information on data sets and working methods. It is resistant to input from those who do not share the house view. It was specifically criticised by the IAC for not giving sufficient weight to alternative views.

Its review procedures are flawed, allowing too much latitude to lead authors in choosing which of its reviewers’ comments to accept or reject. It has allowed lead authors to introduce new material after the review phase has been completed. Its policies on conflict of interest are inadequate. It blatantly adopts an advocacy role rather than confining itself to scientific advice. Its Summary for Policymakers is a serious misnomer. The scientists prepare a draft but this is redrafted in a conclave of representatives from the member Governments, mostly officials from environment departments fighting to get their Ministers’ views reflected. In short, it is a Summary by Policymakers not for Policymakers.

In a pamphlet I wrote last year for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Lawson, I said:

“In my opinion, the IPCC and its current leadership no longer carry the credibility which politicians need if they are going to persuade their citizens to swallow some unpleasant medicine. It is therefore regrettable that the UK Government has taken no steps to find an alternative and more credible source of advice”.

I see no signs that serious reform of the IPCC is on the agenda for the fifth assessment. The IAC specifically recommended that the chair should serve only for one cycle. Meanwhile, Chairman Pachauri doggedly clings on.

In the field of governance, things are not a great deal better in the UK. We have seen a second instalment of the CRU “Climategate” e-mails, which tell us little new but confirm the culture of shiftiness, obstruction and the stifling of debate seen in the first instalment. We still hear from time to time the mantra of, “The science is settled, the debate is over” from politicians and even from some scientists.

Therefore, I was very heartened to hear Professor Brian Cox, the pin-up boy of British science, and his colleague Professor Jeff Forshaw on the “Today” programme recently. Professor Cox said:

“Science is an improvement in our understanding of nature ... There are no absolute truths in science. It’s the only human endeavour where that level of modesty applies”.

Professor Forshaw said:

“We are always trying to improve on the theories we have got ... And we always expect that they are going to be just temporary structures and that they are going to be replaced at some point”.

So let us have no more “the science is settled/the debate is over” nonsense, particularly in the field of climate science, which is so complex and so young.

My view on the Durban conference is that while many of the participants came away disappointed, it was a sensible conclusion—in the words of the noble Lord, Lord Prescott, to “stop the clock” on the emissions issue for a decade—while the science improves and the evidence accumulates, an approach I have heard suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Rees of Ludlow. However, there is good news to report. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has drawn the UK back from its extreme unilateralism, for which he should be congratulated rather than criticised.

Finally, I have a few personal observations. In my pamphlet I wrote that,

“if a technology exists only by virtue of subsidy we only impoverish ourselves by trying to build jobs on such shaky foundations”.

The debacle in the solar sector was, therefore, entirely predictable. My second observation is that if a debate with the same title as today’s had taken place 15 years ago when I became Permanent Secretary at the old Department of the Environment—where I had a very happy year working for the noble Lord, Lord Prescott—it would not have been so dominated by decarbonisation but would have been much more about those aspects of the environment people care deeply about: air and water quality, habitats, birds, forests and the countryside. How sad that the issues have been pushed so far down the agenda, accelerated by the misconceived transfer of climate change from Defra to DECC.

In 40 years engaged on public policy, I have come across a number of cases where there was a strong international consensus among political elites, but for which the intellectual underpinning proved to be weak, as those elites were slow to acknowledge. The first was the so-called Washington Consensus which came to be seen as promoting globalisation with the maximum liberalisation of trade and finance and the minimum of regulation, but it turned out to overestimate the efficiency of markets. I confess that I swallowed that one pretty much whole. The second is the euro, where the European political elite pressed on despite warnings about the internal contradictions of the project and even now, it has yet to acknowledge the full extent of the problem. I never bought into the euro from the start.

Climate change—or more accurately, the current decarbonisation project—is in my view the third. Originally I bought in to the IPCC narrative on the science and its impacts while remaining critical of the policy responses. However, the intellectual certainty is beginning to crumble. In the next 10 years I believe we will see the current narrative replaced by something more sophisticated—perhaps drawing extensively on the work of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Chesterton, who will speak shortly—more eclectic, less alarmist and, in Professor Cox’s words, more “modest” in its claims.


EPA regulation of fuel economy: Congressional intent or climate coup?

In May 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule setting standards for motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. By creating these standards, EPA is implicitly regulating fuel economy. Because the rule also obligates EPA to regulate greenhouse gases from stationary sources, the agency is now determining national policy on climate change. EPA has asserted that it is simply implementing the Clean Air Act. But the Clean Air Act was neither designed nor intended to regulate greenhouse gases, and it provides no authority to regulate fuel economy.

Last year, Congress declined to give EPA explicit authority to regulate greenhouse gases when Senate leaders abandoned cap-and-trade legislation. A key selling point for the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill was that it would exempt greenhouse gases from regulation under several Clean Air Act programs.2 If instead of introducing a cap-and-trade bill, Reps. Waxman and Markey had introduced legislation authorizing EPA to do exactly what it is doing now—regulate greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act as it sees fit—the bill would have been rejected. The notion that Congress gave EPA such authority in 1970, almost two decades before global warming emerged as a public concern, and five years before Congress enacted the first fuel economy statute, defies common sense.



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


13 January, 2012

Evolutionary Psychology of Climate Change

Yet another attempt by the Green/Left to portray their opponents as mentally defective. That people who believe in unvalidated prophecies are the ones with a problem he does not consider

Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” argues that the human brain is poorly equipped to respond to global warming.

Our ability to mentally time-travel between the past, present and future and act in accordance with personal and shared goals is a result of the magnificent human-prefrontal cortex. Evolution, guided by natural selection, has tinkered with this brain region for millions of years, aiding us in the unrelenting pursuit of survival and reproduction. By learning from the past and imagining alternative futures, we perform complex cognition functions that inform decision making and allow us to respond to threats that endanger our well-being.

Among the many threats on our radar, it is evident from the political discourse in the United States that global warming is unique. Though scientific studies confirm that rising global temperatures and shifting climate patterns threaten human health, biodiversity, ecosystem sustainability, food security, water and air quality, and other ecosystem services on which we depend, less than half of adults worldwide see global warming as a threat to themselves and their families. Why aren’t we more worried about this looming disaster?

Daniel Gilbert argues that human brains evolved to respond to threats that have four features, ones that global warming lack.

Firstly, global warming isn’t tied to social intention or plotting. Our brains are highly specialized for thinking about the devious schemes of others because social interaction (both in terms of cooperation and detecting defecting) crucial to the survival of our species. Unlike anthrax and terrorism, climate change lacks agency, and is instead an emergent property of more nebulous interactions.

Secondly, global warming doesn’t violate our moral intuitions. Unlike dangers that are tied to emotional aversions, such as hurting an animal or burning a book, chemicals in the atmosphere do not make us angry or repulsed.

Thirdly, humans are masters at responding to immediate threats (such as a zooming baseball or a hungry predator), but are novices at acting to resolve worries of the distant future.

Lastly, Daniel Gilbert argues that global warming occurs so gradually that it goes undetected by the brain. Though the human brain is very sensitive to chemical and psychical changes such as light, temperature, pressure, sound, size, and weight, incremental differences largely go unnoticed.


Newly detected molecule 'could reverse global warming' say researchers

Once again, clouds are a major key to warming or cooling

A little-understood molecule in the atmosphere could play an important role in reducing pollution and global warming, scientists believe. The 'Criegee biradicals' could lead to aerosol formation - and ultimately to clouds, with the potential to cool the planet. The compounds react far more rapidly than scientists expected.

They were isolated using a hi-tech particle accelerator at America's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Criegee biradicals were first hypothesised in the 1950s but have only now been isolated and measured.

New research shows they act as powerful ‘clean up’ agents, neutralising atmospheric pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. A byproduct of the process is the creation of aerosol droplets that ‘seed’ planet-cooling clouds.

The molecules, known as chemical ‘intermediates’, should have a significant influence on climate. However, until now they have never been directly observed.

The new work involved watching simple Criegee intermediates react with various atmospheric molecules including nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

The detection of the Criegee biradical and measurement of how fast it reacts was made possible by a unique apparatus, designed by Sandia researchers, that uses light from a 'synchrotron' particle accelerator. The intense, tunable light from the synchrotron allowed researchers to discern the reactions.

The researchers found that the Criegee biradicals react more rapidly than first thought and will accelerate the formation of sulphate and nitrate in the atmosphere.

These compounds will lead to aerosol formation and ultimately to cloud formation with the potential to cool the planet.

The research is reported today in the journal Science. Study leader Dr Carl Percival, from the University of Manchester, said: ‘We have been able to quantify how fast Criegee radicals react for the first time.’ ‘Our results will have a significant impact on our understanding of the oxidising capacity of the atmosphere and have wide ranging implications for pollution and climate change.’

Co-author Professor Dudley Shallcross, from the University of Bristol, pointed out that chemicals released naturally by plants aided the production of Criegee biradicals. ‘Natural ecosystems could be playing a significant role in off-setting global warming,’ he said.


Please, Global Warming Alarmists, Stop Denying Climate Change - And Science

Gleick sets the tone for his blog post in the very first sentence, where he begins his column by stating, “The Earth’s climate continued to change during 2011….” Here, in the first eight words of his column, Gleick unwittingly reveals one of the primary reasons why he is so wrong in his dire warnings of a human-induced global warming crisis. Gleick and his fellow global warming alarmists are the ultimate climate change deniers.

They present changing climate as unprecedented and unavoidably harmful. They act as if the climate never changed before now. In reality, however, the earth’s long-term, mid-term and short-term climate history is defined by frequent and substantial climate change. Of course, as Gleick states, “The Earth’s climate continued to change during 2011”! When was the last time the Earth’s climate was not undergoing some change? Please, global warming alarmists, stop denying climate change!

Gleick finishes his opening sentence by asserting, “a year in which unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events killed people and damaged property around the world.”

That is quite a bold, unsupported statement. Just what were those extreme weather events? Gleick doesn’t say. Perhaps we can speculate.

It certainly wasn’t hurricanes, as Ryan Maue at the Florida State University Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies documents that global and U.S. hurricane activity has been remarkably quiet for the past few years. During 2009, global accumulated tropical cyclone energy reached a record low, and has remained abnormally quiet in the two-plus years since.

It certainly wasn’t tornadoes, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports 2011 continued a long-term trend in declining frequency of strong tornadoes. Yes, there were some strong tornadoes in 2011, but there are strong tornadoes every year. The only thing climatically remarkable about the 2011 tornado season is that the relatively few strong tornadoes that did occur happened to beat the odds and touch down more often in urban areas than is usually the case. Unless Gleick is arguing that global warming somehow causes hurricanes to wickedly target disproportionately urban areas, tornadoes like hurricanes are becoming less of a threat during recent decades as the planet has modestly warmed.

It certainly wasn’t drought, as multiple peer reviewed studies report global soil moisture has consistently improved during the past century as the planet has warmed. (See, for example, this study.) Yes, some droughts are going to occur somewhere on the planet each year, as they always have, but cherry-picking one of the increasingly less frequent droughts that still do occur does not constitute evidence that global warming is causing more extreme weather events.

Perhaps Gleick can identify some alternative candidates to tornadoes, hurricanes and droughts by which global warming allegedly caused “unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events [that] killed people and damaged property around the world.” But don’t hold your breath.

Gleick, like so many of his alarmist colleagues, believes that anybody who disagrees with his scientific theories is “anti-science.” Yet it is hard to imagine objective tornado data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to be “anti-science.” But Gleick apparently believes it so.

It is hard to imagine objective tropical cyclone data compiled by Florida State University Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies to be “anti-science,” but Gleick apparently believes it so.

It is hard to imagine objective soil moisture data compiled by several independent teams of scientists to be “anti-science,” but Gleick apparently believes it so.

The term “anti-science” most appropriately applies to those who refuse to consider competing evidence and scientific theories that raise doubts about their own theories. This term applies in spades to Gleick.

In the very same sentence that Gleick rants about people who disagree with him being anti-science, he accuses them of being financially bought off. Gleick asserts the people who disagree with him are part of a “concerted, well-funded, and aggressive anti-science campaign” [emphasis in the original] that is “focused on protecting narrow financial interests.” That is a very curious accusation, considering that environmental activist groups like Gleick’s Pacific Institute receive a great deal more funding than the free-market, sound-science groups that he claims are “well-funded” and overly concerned with the role of the federal government.

For example, Gleick twice directs his wrath at the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute does indeed receive approximately $7 million in annual funding (with relatively little coming from corporations and only a very small fraction coming from corporations having anything to do with the global warming debate). By contrast, the Natural Resources Defense Council receives close to $100 million in annual funding, Greenpeace receives close to $200 million in annual funding, the World Wildlife Fund receives approximately $600 million in annual funding, etc., etc., etc. Which groups, indeed, are the “well-funded” entities “focused on protecting narrow financial interests?”

Gleick continues his blog by venomously attacking by name people and groups with whom he disagrees on the science.

He begins by singling out everyone who is a candidate to lead the Republican Party. Whether one is a Republican, a Democrat or a member/sympathizer of any other political party should be irrelevant regarding scientific inquiry and truth, but prominent global warming alarmists such as Gleick seem obsessed with bringing political party affiliation into the discussion. Give us a break!

Curiously, Gleick claims some of these Republicans “intentionally distort science because it conflicts with deeply held political or religious ideology.” Yet in the very same paragraph Gleick praises a prominent global warming alarmist who “happens to be an evangelical and speaks regularly to conservative groups.” Well, which is it? Is it acceptable to view scientific issues through the prism of religious beliefs and political ideology or is it not appropriate? Gleick betrays his lack of objectivity and his agenda-driven worldview by imposing such a blatant double-standard on those who disagree with him.

Gleick follows up the imposition of his double-standard by writing about the evangelical alarmist, “She was also targeted by these activists for personal abuse – a tactic often pursued by climate deniers and contrarians.” As is the case throughout his blog post, Gleick fails to present any facts to back up his assertion. Specifically which activists targeted her for personal abuse, and specifically what personal abuse occurred? Also, specifically who, how and when was this “tactic often pursued by climate deniers and contrarians”? Furthermore, assuming any such personal abuse indeed occurred, how is it any different from the personal abuse heaped upon skeptics? Gleick, not surprisingly, provides no such examples or explanations.

Gleick then writes three predictable paragraphs targeting those few members of the national media who are not in the back pocket of global warming alarmists and environmental activist groups. Heaven forbid even a few media personalities or media outlets present anything other than Gleick’s side of the debate!

Gleick then pours his wrath out on scientists who oversee NASA satellite instruments showing little or no recent global warming. Gleick accuses the scientists, without presenting any facts or evidence to back it up, of presenting “misleading” testimony to Congress. He then says one of their papers “turned out to contain serious scientific errors according to experts working in this field.” Gleick conveniently forgets to mention that the so-called “experts” he describes consist almost entirely of Gleick and his cabal of outspoken, agenda-driven global warming alarmists. Talk about “misleading” statements!

After this, Gleick singles out several more people and groups for his wrath. To be honest, I started falling asleep at this point, as the blog post was becoming exceptionally redundant and predictable. Suffice it to say that I feel Peter’s pain and empathize with his anguish. At some point, however, one must either move on to more interesting topics or risk falling asleep in the midst of empathy.



Those Who Claim to Speak for the Future

Some people have a high opinion of themselves. I mean, what sort of personality type do you have to be to imagine that you, self-anointed you, are the voice of future generations?

What kind of ego trip do people embark on prior to concluding that, among the billions of souls inhabiting this planet, it’s their own special calling to speak on behalf of those who haven’t yet been born?

A long list of individuals with this exalted regard for themselves can be found on the website of the World Future Council. Actually, there are four lists. The first consists of those who are the Councillors and Honorary Councillors of this body. Among these self-aggrandizing mortals we find:

Then there’s the Supervisory Board of the World Future Council. This includes a gynecologist, the directors of two foundations (presumably these are bankrolling the venture), a benefactress, and what no self-respecting group of speakers-for-the-future can do without – a Middle Eastern expert.

List number three is the organization’s Board of Advisors. The bios of those folks are handily collected in this 7-page PDF (backup link here). It turns out that Cyril Ritchie, the chairman of that board, is also “serving his fourth term as Secretary of the Conference of UN NGOs (CONGO).”

I’ve never heard of this body, but evidently it spends its time “actively promoting the involvement of NGOs in the working of the United Nations.” Here are some of the other board members:

Oh, and let’s not forget Farhad Vladi. This gentleman is equipped to speak for future generations, apparently, because he’s president of three companies that “sell, develop and rent privately owned islands world-wide.” Moreover, he’s “very much involved in art and music” and is “interested in the subject of global warming and renewable energy.”

Finally we come to the last list of names. These people are responsible for the day-to-day activities of the World Future Council. Jakob von Uexkull is “a patron of Friends of the Earth International and a member of the Global Commission to Fund the United Nations.”

Alexandra Wandel used to work for Friends of the Earth before she became a spokesperson for a group of “major European environmental NGOs” that included the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace.

No doubt you’ve heard the term social justice before. Well the World Future Council is pushing future justice. It has a Director of Future Justice, a Campaign Manager for Future Justice, and two policy officers who also have that slogan in their titles.

Quelle surprise, the Director of Future Justice, Maja Göpel, has a history of working for NGOs. A link embedded in her bio takes us to an entire Future Justice page (backup link). Here one finds eyebrow-raising statements such as:

  • The world is warming dangerously. A quarter of our mammals face a high risk of extinction in the near future.
  • We need Future Justice because we need to overcome the obscene inequity between people.
  • Putting Future Justice into place means tackling head-on our culture, policies and laws…

In the new, improved world these people wish to substitute for our current one:

Fair treatment would be a basic human need, set out in law. Fair shares and fair burdens would be a matter of justice between all humans living, and those yet to be born.

Those who act without concern for the planet, and the human and non-human life upon it, would be pursued and prosecuted.

Notice the legalistic tone. These people imagine that fair burdens and fair shares is simply a matter of passing laws. And if you behave in ways they disapprove of – if you act without concern for the planet – you can look forward to being pursued and prosecuted.

The World Future Council, therefore, doesn’t use the term justice the way most of us do. Rather than simply advocating for certain improvements, these people would have us believe that their particular vision of the future is indistinguishable from justice itself.

In reality, the World Future Council is a collection of NGO brats, self-important rich folks, and UN bureaucrats who think everything would be just so much nicer if they were running the planet.

In my view, their analysis is both infantile and creepy. May future generations be spared their meddling.


Big windmill maker in trouble

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas will cut 2,335 jobs in a bid to restore profitability after rising costs wiped out its 2011 earnings.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S said the cuts, about a tenth of its workforce, would help reduce costs by more than 150 million euros ($190.3 mln) by year-end. Another 1,600 jobs could go at U.S. units later this year if a tax credit for renewable energy is not extended.

The world's biggest wind turbine maker is battling fierce competition, including from Chinese rivals , as well as the threat of subsidy cuts for renewable energy by hard-pressed governments forced to tighten budgets.

Formerly a darling of investors, the wind industry has been hit in the crisis by overcapacity and sliding turbine prices.

Late in 2011, Vestas was hit by cost overruns in product development and delayed revenues which last week forced it to issue its second profit warning in just three months.

It will shut a tower factory with 350 workers in the town of Varde in Denmark, but 1,600 of the total redundancies would be salaried administrative workers and 735 hourly-paid employees.

"We have no plans to shut more plants," Engel told Reuters.

On Jan. 3, Vestas shocked the market by warning that increased product development costs and delayed revenues had wiped out its 2011 profit. It had expected an operating profit of 255 million euros.

It said 2011 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) would be zero while revenues would be around 6 billion euros instead of an already downgraded estimate of 6.4 billion euros.

Vestas said last week that it learned in the final days of 2011 that costs related mainly to ramping up manufacturing of its V112-3.0 MW turbine grew out of control. Analysts said this has stoked fears that the problems could spread.

Vestas stands atop a record backlog of orders but solar and wind power are facing possible subsidy cuts as many of their mature markets are weighed down by swelling public deficits and weak economies which have hit energy investment.

Vestas has warned that the possible expiry in the United States of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) at the end of 2012 could lead to a very difficult 2013 in the U.S. market.

The PTC gives a 2.2-cent per kilowatt-hour benefit for the first 10 years of a renewable energy facility's operation.

Vestas has invested $1 billion in its U.S. manufacturing and research operations, mainly four plants in Colorado.

"We are now preparing Vestas for the situation where one of our largest single markets, the USA, may be facing a tough 2013," Engel said. "This will have a huge impact on our business, if we do not act now."


Ben Stein Sues Ad Agency & Client Claiming Political Discrimination over his climate skepticism

Economist and writer and humorist and actor Ben Stein has filed suit against Kyocera Corp and advertising agency Seiter & Miller alleging that an agreement for him to appear in TV commercials was illegally breached because of his personal and political beliefs about global warming.

Stein’s memorable jacket-and-tie deadpan persona has figured in numerous TV commercials and appearances. Not to mention his iconic turn in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. According to Stein’s suit, Grace Jao of Seiter & Miller in December 2010 contacted his agent Marcia Hurwitz of Innovative Artists about appearing in commercials for Kyocera printer products and about speaking at a company function. Over the course of about five weeks, the suit claims, the parties reached an agreement on all significant deal points including payment of Stein’s fee of $300,000 for shooting the commercials and for the speaking engagement. The circumstances led Hurwitz to believe the deal was done, the suit says, and Stein planned accordingly.

Early in February 2011 Jao contacted Hurwitz, the suit says, to inform the agent that questions had been raised over Stein’s beliefs about global warming and the environment and whether they were “sufficiently conventional and politically correct for Kyocera,” according to language in the suit. Hurwitz told Jao that as far as she was concerned the deal was done, the suit said, and Stein’s political and scientific views were not part of his contract for extolling the company’s printers. Stein told Hurwitz to inform the defendants that he was extremely concerned with environmental issues but he was no means certain that global warming was manmade. He also told her to inform the defendants that it was a matter of his religious beliefs that God and not man controlled the weather.

On February 16, 2011, Livingston Miller, president of the ad agency, informed Hurwitz via email that the agency had decided to “withdraw its offer” even though negotiations had resulted in an acceptance of the offer and other stipulations. The reason? According to the suit, because of “Ben’s official positions on various policy issues that appear on the web of which we have only lately become aware.” Kyocera and the agency Seiter & Miller then hired a Ben Stein lookalike, the suit alleges, and dressed him with a tie, sport jacket and glasses and brazenly misappropriated Stein’s public persona for commercials — thereby intentionally inflicting emotional distress on Stein.

In addition to breach of contract and breach of good faith and fair dealing, Stein’s suit charges Kyocera, Seiter & Miller and associated individuals of illegal religious discrimination and with wrongful discharge for political expression, which are illegal under California law. Stein seeks the sum of $300,000 for work he agreed to do, attorney fees and court costs and punitive damages.



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12 January, 2012

Global cooling hits the Austrian Alps

More than 1,000 British holidaymakers are trapped in the Alps after freak snowfalls severed road, rail and air links. As much as 18ft of snow has fallen in Austria the past few days with falling trees and rocks blocking many routes.

Some 1,000 British skiers are stuck in the Austrian town of Ischgl alone, with more trapped in the resorts of Galtur, St Anton and Arlberg - which have seen as much as 10ft of snow in the past 48 hours.

Yesterday authorities in the region raised the avalanche warning to stage three, or `considerable risk', and holidaymakers were advised to stay indoors.

Few ski lifts were operating and many pistes were closed down as darkness fell.

One of the few lifts still working shut down in the sub-zero temperatures, stranding 150 skiers on the slopes in the popular resort of Mayrhofen.

Two Austrian Army helicopters were scrambled to airlift a number of inexperienced skiers - including children - down the difficult slopes above the Ahornbahn lift.

High Alpine winds continue to create the potential for fearsome snowslides according to the local Avalanche Commission, which is monitoring the situation.

Some 76,000 households, hotels, pensions and guest houses have been hit by power cuts over the past few days as a result of the storms. `It is a winter that went from zero to 100', said Andreas Steibl, tourism director for the Paznaun-Ischgl resort, yesterday.

The main access road, along the Paznaun Valley from the town of Landeck to Ischgl, was open for a while on Saturday - allowing holidaymakers in and out of the resort. But since then the road has been closed because of the high risk of avalanches.

`Although the roads have been closed, the resort itself has been operating as normal with skiers and boarders experiencing amazingly good conditions,' Mr Steibl said.

Before Christmas the area enjoyed high temperatures and many in the Tyrol region now fear an economic wipeout.

Dutch tourist Romke Loopke and his family were buried in their car by an avalanche. He said; `It was scary as hell. One minute it was all white and then the next totally dark. `Luckily I got a window open and managed to dig my way out.'

John Thorpe, 33, on holiday from Glasgow with wife Gill and their two sons, told an Austrian radio station in Ischgl; `It's a bit like being trapped in paradise.

`We were due to head for Salzburg and home today but we can't get down the road. `The railway line is out and the road is blocked. But I don't think you will find many people complaining - it's beautiful and thrilling to see nature this powerful this close to.'

The region's mayor, Rainer Silberberger, said: `We are working to clear roads and secure the snow falls. I've never seen weather like it.'

One British ski rep said there was growing frustration among some holidaymakers who were supposed to be back at work yesterday and from those who were due to start their trips at the beginning of the week. He said: `While I think it is fair to say most people are happy to be trapped, there are those who urgently need to get home and those who want to get started on their holidays, and so a sense of frustration is mounting.'

And ski instructor Sarah Hannibal, who works in Ischgl, said: `The skiing conditions are fantastic, although obviously no one is going off-piste at the moment because of the amount of snow. `It has been very windy at the top of the mountain which means visibility can be affected by wind-blown snow - but the holidaymakers are having a wonderful time.

`Many ski instructors who live in other parts of the valley are the ones affected most by the conditions and they have had to make arrangements to stay with friends or at hotels in Ischgl. `That includes me as I live in Galtur and have been stranded in Ischgl but it's no hardship when the skiing is so good.'


Will Replicated Global Warming Science Make Mann Go Ape?

About 10 years ago, December 20, 2002 to be exact, we published a paper titled “Revised 21st century temperature projections” in the journal Climate Research. We concluded:

Temperature projections for the 21st century made in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate a rise of 1.4 to 5.8°C for 1990–2100. However, several independent lines of evidence suggest that the projections at the upper end of this range are not well supported…. The constancy of these somewhat independent results encourages us to conclude that 21st century warming will be modest and near the low end of the IPCC TAR projections.

We examined several different avenues of determining the likely amount of global warming to come over the 21st century. One was an adjustment to climate models based on (then) new research appearing in the peer-reviewed journals that related to the strength of the carbon cycle feedbacks (less than previously determined), the warming effect of black carbon aerosols (greater than previously determined), and the magnitude of the climate sensitivity (lower than previous estimates). Another was an adjustment (downward) to the rate of the future build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide that was guided by the character of the observed atmospheric CO2 increase (which had flattened out during the previous 25 years). And our third estimate of future warming was the most comprehensive, as it used the observed character of global temperature increase—an integrator of all processes acting upon it—to guide an adjustment to the temperature projections produced by a collection of climate models. All three avenues that we pursued led to somewhat similar estimates for the end-of- the-century temperature rise. Here is how we described our findings in paper’s Abstract:

Since the publication of the TAR, several findings have appeared in the scientific literature that challenge many of the assumptions that generated the TAR temperature range. Incorporating new findings on the radiative forcing of black carbon (BC) aerosols, the magnitude of the climate sensitivity, and the strength of the climate/carbon cycle feedbacks into a simple upwelling diffusion/energy balance model similar to the one that was used in the TAR, we find that the range of projected warming for the 1990–2100 period is reduced to 1.1–2.8°C. When we adjust the TAR emissions scenarios to include an atmospheric CO2 pathway that is based upon observed CO2 increases during the past 25 yr, we find a warming range of 1.5–2.6°C prior to the adjustments for the new findings. Factoring in these findings along with the adjusted CO2 pathway reduces the range to 1.0–1.6°C. And thirdly, a simple empirical adjustment to the average of a large family of models, based upon observed changes in temperature, yields a warming range of 1.3–3.0°C, with a central value of 1.9°C.

We thus concluded:

Our adjustments of the projected temperature trends for the 21st century all produce warming trends that cluster in the lower portion of the IPCC TAR range. Together, they result in a range of warming from 1990 to 2100 of 1.0 to 3.0°C, with a central value that averages 1.8°C across our analyses.

Little did we know at the time, but behind the scenes, our paper, the review process that resulted in its publication, the editor in charge of our submission, and the journal itself, were being derided by the sleazy crowd that revealed themselves in the notorious “Climategate” emails, first released in November, 2009. In fact, the publication of our paper was to serve as one of the central pillars that this goon squad used to attack on the integrity of the journal Climate Research and one of its editors, Chris de Freitas.

The initial complaint about our paper was raised back in 2003 shortly after its publication by Tom Wigley, of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research and University of Toronto’s L. D. Danny Harvey, who served as supposedly “anonymous” reviewers of the paper and who apparently had a less than favorable opinion about our work that they weren’t shy about spreading around. According to Australian climate scientist Barrie Pittock:

I heard second hand that Tom Wigley was very annoyed about a paper which gave very low projections of future warmings (I forget which paper, but it was in a recent issue [of Climate Research]) got through despite strong criticism from him as a reviewer.

So much for being anonymous.

The nature of Wigley and Harvey’s dissatisfaction was later made clear in a letter they sent to Chris de Freitas (the editor at Climate Research who oversaw our submission) and demanded to know the details of the review process that led to the publication of our paper over their recommendation for its rejection. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

Your decision that a paper judged totally unacceptable for publication should not require re-review is unprecedented in our experience. We therefore request that you forward to us copies of the authors responses to our criticisms, together with: (1) your reason for not sending these responses or the revised manuscript to us; (2) an explanation for your judgment that the revised paper should be published in the absence of our re-review; and (3) your reason for failing to follow accepted editorial procedures.

Wigley asked Harvey to distribute a copy of their letter of inquiry/complaint to a large number of individuals who were organizing some type of punitive action against Climate Research for publishing what they considered to be “bad” papers. Apparently, Dr. de Freitas responded to Wigley and Harvey’s demands with the following perfectly reasonable explanation:

The [Michaels et al. manuscript] was reviewed initially by five referees. … The other three referees, all reputable atmospheric scientists, agreed it should be published subject to minor revision. Even then I used a sixth person to help me decide. I took his advice and that of the three other referees and sent the [manuscript] back for revision. It was later accepted for publication. The refereeing process was more rigorous than usual.

This did little to appease to those wanting to discredit Climate Research (and prevent the publication of “skeptic” research) as evidenced by this email from Mike Mann to Tom Wigley and a long list of other influential climate scientists:

Dear Tom et al,

Thanks for comments–I see we’ve built up an impressive distribution list here!

Much like a server which has been compromised as a launching point for computer viruses, I fear that “Climate Research” has become a hopelessly compromised vehicle in the skeptics’ (can we find a better word?) disinformation campaign, and some of the discussion that I’ve seen (e.g. a potential threat of mass resignation among the legitimate members of the CR editorial board) seems, in my opinion, to have some potential merit.

This should be justified not on the basis of the publication of science we may not like of course, but based on the evidence (e.g. as provided by Tom and Danny Harvey and I’m sure there is much more) that a legitimate peer-review process has not been followed by at least one particular editor.

Mann went on to add “it was easy to make sure that the worst papers, perhaps including certain ones Tom refers to, didn’t see the light of the day at J. Climate.” This was because Mann was serving as an editor of the Journal of Climate and was indicating that he could control the content of accepted papers. But since Climate Research was beyond their direct control, it required a different route to content control. Thus pressure was brought to bear on the editors as well as on the publisher of the journal. And, they were willing to make things personal. For a more complete telling of the type and timeline of the pressure brought upon Chris de Freitas and Climate Research see this story put together from the Climategate emails by Anthony Watts over at Watts Up With That.

Now, let’s turn the wheels of time ahead 10 years, to January 10, 2012. Just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is a paper with this provocative title: “Improved constraints in 21st century warming derived using 160 years of temperature observations” by Nathan Gillett and colleagues from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis of Environment Canada (not a group that anyone would confuse with the usual skeptics). An excerpt from the paper’s abstract provides the gist of the analysis:

Projections of 21st century warming may be derived by using regression-based methods to scale a model’s projected warming up or down according to whether it under- or over-predicts the response to anthropogenic forcings over the historical period. Here we apply such a method using near surface air temperature observations over the 1851–2010 period, historical simulations of the response to changing greenhouse gases, aerosols and natural forcings, and simulations of future climate change under the Representative Concentration Pathways from the second generation Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2).

Or, to put it another way, Gillett et al. used the observed character of global temperature increase—an integrator of all processes acting upon it—to guide an adjustment to the temperature projections produced by a climate model. Sounds familiar!!

And what did they find? From the Abstract of Gillett et al.:

Our analysis also leads to a relatively low and tightly-constrained estimate of Transient Climate Response of 1.3–1.8°C, and relatively low projections of 21st-century warming under the Representative Concentration Pathways.

The Transient Climate Response is the temperature rise at the time of the doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, which will most likely occur sometime in the latter decades of this century. Which means that results of Gillett et al. are in direct accordance with the results of Michaels et al. published 10 years prior and which played a central role in precipitating the wrath of the Climategate scientists upon us, Chris de Freitas and Climate Research.

Both the Gillett et al. (2012) and the Michaels et al. (2002) studies show that climate models are over-predicting the amount of warming that is a result of human changes to the constituents of the atmosphere, and that when they are constrained to conform to actual observations of the earth’s temperature progression, the models project much less future warming (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Dashed lines show the projected course of 21st century global temperature rise as projected by the latest version (CanESM2) of the Canadian coupled ocean‐atmosphere climate model for three different future emission scenarios (RCPs). Colored bars represent the range of model projections when constrained by past 160 years of observations. All uncertainty ranges are 5–95%. (figure adapted from Gillet et al., 2012: note the original figure included additional data not relevant to this discussion).

And a final word of advice to whoever was the editor at GRL that was responsible for overseeing the Gillett et al. publication—watch your back.


Gillett, N.P., et al., 2012. Improved constraints on 21st-century warming derived using 160 years of temperature observations. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L01704, doi:10.1029/2011GL050226.

Michaels, P.J., et al., 2002. Revised 21st century temperature projections. Climate Research, 23, 1-9.


Shale gas pollution fears dismissed

It is "extremely unlikely" that ground water supplies would be polluted by methane as a result of controversial "fracking" for shale gas, UK geologists have said.

And although the process, which uses high-pressure liquid pumped deep underground to fracture shale rock and release gas, caused two earthquakes in Lancashire last year, the quakes were too small to cause damage, they said.

Campaigners have called for a moratorium on fracking in the UK in the face of the earthquakes and amid fears it could lead to pollution of drinking water by methane gas or chemicals in the liquid used in the process.

Fracking has proved controversial in the US, where shale gas is already being exploited on a large scale and where footage has been captured of people able to set fire to the water coming out of their taps as a result of gas contamination.

But Professor Mike Stephenson, of the British Geological Survey, said most geologists thought it was a "pretty safe activity" and the risks associated with it were low.

He said the distance between groundwater supplies around 40-50 metres below the surface and the deep sources of gas in the shale a mile or two underground, made it unlikely methane would leak into water as a result of fracking.

There was no evidence in peer-reviewed literature of pollution of water by methane as a result of fracking, he said, adding that the presence of the gas in US water supplies was likely to be natural. But a survey was currently being conducted in the UK, to establish a baseline of any gas naturally found in groundwater before drilling took place.

"If you don't know what the baseline is, you don't know if people are running a tight ship. There's natural methane in groundwater and you have to distinguish between what's there already and what might have leaked in."

He said two cases of methane pollution of water in the US, neither of which were due to fracking for shale gas, were the result of mismanagement. The UK has one of the strictest regulatory regimes in the world, he added.

Fracking by energy company Cuadrilla was halted in the Blackpool area last year, after two small quakes in the area which the geologists are certain were caused by fracking. Although they were felt by around 50 people in the area, they were too small to cause any damage.


On IPCCs exaggerated climate sensitivity and the emperor's new clothes

Nir Shaviv

A few days ago I had a very pleasant meeting with Andrew Bolt. He was visiting Israel and we met for an hour in my office. During the discussion, I mentioned that the writers of the recent IPCC reports are not very scientific in their conduct and realized that I should write about it here.

Normal science progresses through the collection of observations (or measurements), the conjecture of hypotheses, the making of predictions, and then through the usage of new observations, the modification of the hypotheses accordingly (either ruling them out, or improving them). In the global warming "science", this is not the case.

What do I mean?

From the first IPCC report until the previous IPCC report, climate predictions for future temperature increase where based on a climate sensitivity of 1.5 to 4.5øC per CO2 doubling. This range, in fact, goes back to the 1979 Charney report published by the National Academy of Sciences. That is, after 33 years of climate research and many billions of dollars of research, the possible range of climate sensitivities is virtually the same! In the last (AR4) IPCC report the range was actually slightly narrowed down to 2 to 4.5øC increase per CO2 doubling (without any good reason if you ask me). In any case, this increase of the lower limit will only aggravate the point I make below, which is as follows.

Because the possible range of sensitivities has been virtually the same, it means that the predictions made in the first IPCC report in 1990 should still be valid. That is, according to the writers of all the IPCC reports, the temperature today should be within the range of predictions made 22 years ago. But they are not!

The business as usual predictions made in 1990, in the first IPCC report, are given in the following figure.

The business-as-usual predictions made in the first IPCC report, in 1990. Since the best range for the climate sensitivity (according to the alarmists) has not changed, the global temperature 22 years later should be within the predicted range. From this graph, we take the predicted slopes around the year 2000.

How well do these predictions agree with reality? In the next figure I plot the actual global and oceanic temperatures (as made by the NCDC). One can argue that either the ocean temperature or the global (ocean+land) temperature is better. The Ocean temperature includes smaller fluctuations than the land (and therefore less than the global temperature as well), however, if there is a change in the average global state, it should take longer for the oceans to react. On the other hand, the land temperature (and therefore the global temperature) is likely to include the urban heat island effect.

The NCDC ocean (blue) and global (brown) monthly temperature anomalies (relative to the 1900-2000 average temperatures) since 1980. The observed temperatures compared to the predictions made in the first IPCC report. Note that the width of the predictions is ñ0.1øC, which is roughly the size of the month to month fluctuations in the temperature anomalies.

From the simulations that my student Shlomi Ziskin has carried out for the 20th century, I think that the rise in the ocean temperature should be only about 90% of the global temperature warming since the 1980's, i.e., the global temperature rise should be no more than about 0.02-0.03øC warmer than the oceanic warming (I'll write more about this work soon). As we can see from the graph, the difference is larger, around 0.1øC. It would be no surprise if this difference is due to the urban heat island effect. We know from McKitrick and Michaels' work, that there is a spatial correlation between the land warming and different socio-economic indices (i.e., places which developed more, had a higher temperature increase). This clearly indicates that the land data is tainted by some local anthropogenic effects and should therefore be considered cautiously. In fact, they claim that in order to remove the correlation, the land warming should be around 0.17øC per decade instead of 0.3. This implies that the global warming over 2.2 decades should be 0.085øC cooler, i.e., consistent with the difference!

In any case, irrespective of whether you favor the global data, or the oceanic data, it is clear the the temperature with its fluctuations is inconsistent with the "high estimate" in the IPCC-FAR (and it has been the case for a decade if you take the oceanic temperature, or half a decade, if you take the global temperature, not admitting that it is biased). In fact, it appears that only the low estimate can presently be consistent with the observations. Clearly then, earth's climate sensitivity should be revised down, and the upper range of sensitivities should be discarded and with it, the apocalyptic scenarios which they imply. For some reason, I doubt that the next AR5 report will consider this inconsistency, nor that they will revise down the climate sensitivity (and which is consistent with other empirical indicators of climate sensitivity). I am also curious when will the general public realize that the emperor has no clothes.

Of course, Andrew commented that the alarmists will always claim that there might be something else which has been cooling, and we will pay for our CO2 sevenfold later. The short answer is that "you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time!" (or as it should be adapted here, "you cannot fool most of the people indefinitely!").

The longer answer is that even climate alarmists realize that there is a problem, but they won't admit it in public. In private, as the climate gate e-mails have revealed, they know it is a problem. In October 2009, Kevin Trenberth wrote his colleagues:
The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

However, instead of reaching the reasonable conclusion that the theory should be modified, the data are "surely wrong". (This, btw, is a sign of a new religion, since no fact can disprove the basic tenets).

When you think of it, those climatologists are in a rather awkward position. If you exclude the denial option (apparent in the above quote), then the only way to explain the "travesty" is if you have a joker card, something which can provide warming, but which the models don't take into account. It is a catch-22 for the modelers. If they admit that there is a joker, it disarms their claim that since one cannot explain the 20th century warming without the anthropogenic contribution, the warming is necessarily anthropogenic. If they do not admit that there is a joker, they must conclude (as described above) that the climate sensitivity must be low. But if it is low, one cannot explain the 20th century without a joker. A classic Yossarian dilemma.

This joker card is of course the large solar effects on climate.


Warmist makes private admission

Ed Cook: "in certain ways the [Medieval Warm] period may have been more climatically extreme than in modern times"

Climategate Email 5089:

A growing body of evidence clearly shows that hydroclimatic variability during the putative MWP (more appropriately and inclusively called the "Medieval Climate Anomaly" or MCA period) was more regionally extreme (mainly in terms of the frequency and duration of megadroughts) than anything we have seen in the 20th century, except perhaps for the Sahel. So in certain ways the MCA period may have been more climatically extreme than in modern times. The problem is that we have been too fixated on temperature, especially hemispheric and global average temperature, and IPCC is enormously guilty of that. So the fact that evidence for "warming" in tree-ring records during the putative MWP is not as strong and spatially homogeneous as one would like might simply be due to the fact that it was bloody dry too in certain regions, with more spatial variability imposed on growth due to regional drought variability even if it were truly as warm as today. The Calvin cycle and evapotranspiration demand surely prevail here: warm-dry means less tree growth and a reduced expression of what the true warmth was during the MWP.


No spark in electric car sales for a decade, execs say

Auto execs think it will be a decade before electric cars reach 15 percent of annual global sales

Despite continued heavy investment by auto makers in electric propulsion technologies, global automotive executives don't expect e-car sales to exceed 15 percent of annual global auto sales before 2025, according to the 13th annual global automotive survey conducted by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm.

In polling 200 C-level executives in the global automotive industry for the 2012 automotive survey, KPMG found that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of executives don't expect electrified vehicles (meaning all e-vehicles, from full hybrids to FCEVs) to exceed 15 percent of global annual auto sales before 2025.

Executives in the U.S. and Western Europe expect even less adoption, projecting e-vehicles will only account for 6-10 percent of global annual auto sales.

"Electric vehicles are still in their infancy, and while we've seen some recent model introductions, consumer demand has so far been modest," said Gary Silberg, National Automotive Industry leader for KPMG LLP. "While we can expect no more than modest demand in the foreseeable future, we can also expect OEMs to intensify investment, fully appreciating what is at stake in a very competitive industry."

Automakers Inject Investments into Range of Electric Technologies
Despite the relatively modest sales projections for electric vehicles over the next 15 years, automotive executives in the KPMG survey indicate that a wide range of electric technologies will be an increased focus of their investment matrix. In fact, over the next two years:

83 percent say automakers will increase investment in e-motor production,

81 percent say investment in battery (pack/cell) technology will rise,

76 percent expect increased investment in power electronics for e-cars, and,

65 percent predict increased investment in fuel cell (hydrogen) technology.

Additionally, executives expect that hybrid fuel systems, battery electric power and fuel cell electric power will be the alternative propulsion technologies to attract the most auto industry investment over the next five years.

Placing Bets `Across the Board

"What's interesting is that automakers are placing bets across the board, and large bets at that, because no one knows which technology will ultimately win the day with consumers," added Silberg.

"In last year's KPMG survey, execs told us it would be more than five years before the industry is able to offer an electric vehicle that is as affordable as traditional fuel vehicles for mainstream buyers. It will be interesting to see how consumer adoption progresses as automakers discover ways to offer these electrified cars at better price points and the infrastructure for these vehicles becomes more robust and accommodating," he said.

However, despite all the investment and energy being focused on electric platforms, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of executives say the optimization (so-called downsizing) of internal combustion engines (ICE) still offers greater efficiency and CO2 reduction potential than any electric vehicle technology based on the current energy mix.



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


11 January, 2012

More from the New York Times Perpetual Stupidity Machine

Through a long chain of tortured "logic", we're supposed to conclude that trace amounts of CO2 "are proving devastating to songbirds"

Songbirds as a Casualty of Warming -
As the United States experiences a snow shortage, researchers have released a study showing that declining snowfall in the mountainous regions of Arizona are causing a cascading series of effects that are proving devastating to songbirds

Dispatch from the real world: Cold weather is a lot more devastating to songbirds than warm weather. Maybe that could help explain why so many of them move toward the Equator during winter?
The massive cold wave of the 1890's devastated bluebird and robin populations. Then again the cold winters in North America in the 1920's, 1940's and early 1960's pretty well wiped out the Eastern Bluebirds across the northeastern states. By the early 1970's Eastern Bluebirds were making a come back across the northeast USA.

Another massive die off in the mid 1970's was really the driving force to create The North American Bluebird Society in the late 1970's in order to save the Eastern Bluebirds mostly. Since the 1980's there have been regional disasters with the bluebird and robin populations but no REALLY cold weather that griped the nation all the way down through the main wintering grounds of the Eastern Bluebirds. It only takes about one week of ice and snow in late January or early February that covers the middle states from Missouri to the Carolinas and then on down into the northern halves of the gulf coast states and we can lose a huge percentage of the Eastern Bluebird population again

SOURCE (See the original for links)

More Green Goblins

Consumer demand for solar products has fallen off. During the last year, for example, German demand fell by 29%.

The Dutch, those clever people, have grasped the fact that land-based wind farms are hideous, costly, unsafe, and noisy, while offshore wind farms are even costlier and harder to maintain.

The Great Green Energy Bust continues to accelerate, with new wrinkles on crony green capitalism showing up almost daily.

Let’s start with the far-from-sunny news regarding the Obama administration’s favorite industry, solar power. The Wall Street Journal reports that the whole solar industry is in trouble. The demand for solar panels is projected to be flat next year, and many of the players in the industry face plummeting stock prices or even bankruptcy.

In the last quarter of 2011, at least seven solar manufacturers hit the wall. These include the German firms Solar Millennium and Solon SE, and of course the notorious American firm Solyndra. Six of the ten biggest solar companies reported losses in the third quarter of 2011; six of the ten also showed corporate debts that exceeded their market capitalizations.

The solar industry as a whole experienced an average stock price drop of 57% during 2011.

Part of the problem is noted in the Journal article: a glut on the market of solar panels and other components, because China has expanded its solar manufacturing industry. Remember, China has the vast majority of known reserves of the rare earth minerals used in solar panels, and it still has relatively inexpensive labor.

But the article also notes that consumer demand for solar products has fallen off. During the last year, for example, German demand fell by 29%.

What the article doesn’t mention are the major reasons for the decline in demand, but these are important to understand.

First, more countries are cutting back on their massive subsidies for solar panels. Solar power requires much more subsidization than nuclear power, and vastly more than for fossil fuels such as natural gas.

Second, there has been a renaissance of fossil fuel energy, driven by the rapid rise of nonconventional fossil fuels — natural gas and oil extracted from shale and tar sand fields by such newer technologies as fracking and horizontal drilling. I have explored this renaissance elsewhere; suffice it to say that it has pushed natural gas in particular to such low prices that it is making green energy seem obviously stupid from any economic standpoint.

Next comes a report out of the Netherlands that the Dutch — for whom windmills have been part of the national ethos — are apparently starting to have regrets about wind as a power source.

Five years ago, in a burst of Green enthusiasm, the Dutch built three dozen huge wind turbines — each the size of a 30-story building — out in the North Sea. However, even the North Sea wind and the Dutch enthusiasm couldn’t change the fact that, like solar power, wind power is grotesquely inefficient, and so requires lavish taxpayer support. The Dutch had to pay $4.5 billion Euros last year to subsidize these windmills.

The government there has just announced that it can no longer afford to pick up the tab. Naturally, it hopes to make consumers and businesses pick it up instead. In 2013, the government will start a billing scheme under which consumers will pay more for wind power, and investors will (supposedly) be lured into supporting it.

The government concedes, however, that the new arrangement will cover only about a third of the subsidy. So, as the article gently puts it, “The outlook for Dutch wind power projects seems bleak.”

The Dutch, those clever people — think of their achievements, from those enormous dikes to those quaint wooden shoes — have grasped the fact that land-based wind farms are hideous, costly, unsafe, and noisy, while offshore wind farms are even costlier and harder to maintain.

The Dutch government had planned to increase its current share of renewable energy (as a percentage of all energy used) from the current 4% to 14% by 2020. But that was just a green dream. The government now estimates that it will only be at 8% to 12% renewable energy by then. Of course, if it ended all subsidies, even the ones it passes on to hapless consumers, the industry probably wouldn’t grow at all — or even survive.

Let’s turn to another green energy boondoggle, one often overlooked because the scandals in solar and wind power have been so juicy and so damn numerous. Several recent reports show that the so-called “alternative biofuels” program is also rife with waste and corruption.

By the way, the misleading term “biofuels” refers to alcohol, diesel, or other liquid fuels created from plants. For many years, ethanol has been produced from sugar cane, and more recently from corn. Call that “standard biofuel.” Alternative or “cellulosic” biofuel is derived from other plants, such as switch grass, and plant wastes, such as corncobs. Now you know.

A WSJ article recounts the astonishing history of the whole biofuel program. It started as one of George Bush’s sillier ideas. So eager was he to show that he wasn’t the “oil boy” his critics accused him of being that he signed the Pelosi-crafted bill into law in 2007.

This abominable bill called for (shock and awe!) super subsidies for the super fuel. (Why do all these super energy schemes do that?) The bill provided a tax credit of $1.01 per gallon. Another Pelosi-Bush bill then required oil companies to blend this costly crap with their fossil fuels. The mandate started at 100 million gallons in 2010 and was supposed to hit 250 million in 2011, 500 million in 2012, and 16 billion in 2022. But already this preposterous program has stolen $1.5 billion from the taxpayers. I don’t need to tell you that Obama gave it his Chicago crony capitalist stamp of approval.

Would that Bush and Obama had both been oil boys, real ones. In that event we taxpayers would have been spared the billions of bucks pumped pointlessly into corn ethanol and cellulosic biofuels — not to mention the $70 billion Obama has pumped into the even stupider solar and wind programs.

As anyone could have predicted, cellulosic biofuel program has been a complete fiasco. Despite the billions in pelf that have been purloined from the citizenry to induce companies to produce the government-approved dreck, very little is being produced. The EPA (the agency with the power to revise the mandate) dropped the 2011 requirement from the original 250 million gallons to a risible 6.6 million. The EPA has just announced that it will set the level at 8.65 million gallons in 2012, significantly beneath the 500 million gallons called for, and will allow refiners to use corn ethanol to help meet the requirement. (Of course, corn ethanol is another corrupt boondoggle, as I have remarked elsewhere.)

The EPA thus acknowledges that the real production of cellulosic biofuels is infinitesimal. The feds are requiring refiners to buy a product that isn’t being produced in anywhere near the quantities necessary for them to comply with the requirement, and the EPA has been fining oil companies for not meeting the mandate.

The problem with alternative biofuels — indeed, all biofuels — is the same as that with solar and wind energy. As the National Academy of Science put it in a recent report on this so-called industry, it is cost, “the high cost of producing cellulosic biofuels compared with petroleum-based fuels, and uncertainties in future biofuel markets.” Read: uncertainty about how much longer a nearly bankrupt government will be able to fund such scams.

Scams? Yes, I said scams — “scams” in the sense of unworkable nonsense, at least, and sometimes “scams” in the sense of something worse.

Despite the prospect or reality of subsidies, about a half dozen of the firms that were supposed to produce alternative biofuels never got off the ground. And the company that was supposed to provide 70% of the cellulosic fuel to meet last year’s mandate, Cello Energy, went bankrupt last year.

The Cello story is cute. The company was found guilty in a 2009 civil case of making fraudulent claims. It reportedly overstated its production capabilities to investors, and — this is hilarious! — passed off some ordinary (i.e., petroleum derived) diesel as biodiesel. In fact, the company never produced much biofuel of any kind, standard or alternative.

Then there is the unsurprising news that crony green capitalism extends to biofuels as well as wind and solar energy. A recent story recounts how yet another Obama crony is at the center of yet another massive scam on the taxpayer.

It so happens that the Regime’s highly politicized Agriculture Department — you know, the one that has been waging war on non-conventional fossil fuel production — pushed the Navy to purchase nearly half a million gallons of alternative biofuels for their aircraft. This is the largest federal purchase of biofuel ever.

That’s just the beginning of the story. In an effort to create what it calls — dig this! — “the Great Green Fleet Carrier Strike Force,” the Navy is working with the Agriculture and Energy Departments to buy $510 million in biofuels, so that our seaborne fighting force, which earlier made the transition from diesel to nuclear power, can transition back to diesel fuel — but this time to biodiesel rather than fossil fuel diesel.

If that’s not funny enough, consider this: the biodiesel just purchased costs $16 per gallon, which is four times the price of normal (i.e., fossil fuel derived) diesel.

A key beneficiary of this price gouging of our Navy is a California company called Solazyme. Solazyme’s major “strategic advisor” turns out to be one T.J. Glauthier, who was a member of Obama’s transition team and crafted the energy industry section of the Obama Regime’s notorious 2009 “stimulus” bill.

Oh, and lest I forget, Glauthier made sure that Solazyme got $22 million out of that very bill.

Meanwhile, however, there is hope. The renaissance in fossil fuels, and the growing shortage of government funds to subsidize stupidly inefficient industries, is rapidly putting paid to the whole insane, overhyped, profoundly corrupt green energy program.

Thank God!


One Energy Subsidy Ended on January 1, 2012

A major part of the United States' misguided policy on ethanol usage came to an end as the $6 billion-a-year ethanol subsidy dies
America's corn farmers have been benefiting from annual federal subsidies of around $6 billion in recent years, all in the name of ethanol used as an additive for the nation's vehicles.

That ends on Jan. 1, when the companies making ethanol will lose a tax credit of 46 cents per gallon, and even the ethanol industry is OK with it -- thanks in part to high oil prices that make ethanol competitive.

Subsidized since 1979 as a homegrown fuel cleaner than gasoline, corn ethanol had plenty of opponents, environmentalists among them.

Environmentalists question the cleaner energy premise -- adding factors like tractor diesel emissions and fertilizer runoff make it dirtier, they say.

"Corn ethanol is extremely dirty," Michal Rosenoer, biofuels manager for Friends of the Earth, said in heralding the tax credit's demise. "It leads to more climate pollution than conventional gasoline, and it causes deforestation as well as agricultural runoff that pollutes our water."

Opponents also see corn ethanol, which now takes a larger share of the U.S. corn crop than cattle, hogs and poultry, as a factor in driving food prices higher.

"The end of this giant subsidy for dirty corn ethanol is a win for taxpayers, the environment and people struggling to put food on their tables," Rosenoer added.

But there's a nearer-term battle brewing over corn-based ethanol. A 2005 law requires that 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel be produced by 2012 -- 6.25 billion gallons were produced in 2011. A 2007 revision gradually increases that to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

AAA Predicts 4 Cent Rise in Gasoline Prices

Please consider End of ethanol subsidy expected to bring higher gas prices
In January, the federal government is stopping a 45-cent-a-gallon subsidy to ethanol producers, who will pass that extra expense to drivers who buy ethanol-supplemented gas, said AAA Carolinas spokesman Tom Crosby. Extra costs at the pump will amount to about 4 cents, he said.

Not So Fast

The Brazilian Sugar Cane Association reports Congressional recess means the end of three decades of US tariffs on imported ethanol
For the first time in more than three decades of generous US government subsidies for the domestic ethanol industry, coupled with a steep tariff on imports, the United States market will be open to imported ethanol as of January 1st, 2012, without protectionist measures. Today’s adjournment of the 112th Congress means both the US$0,54 per gallon tax on imported ethanol and a corresponding tax credit of US$0,45 per gallon for blenders, the VEETC (Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit), will expire as expected on December 31st.

“With Congress in recess, there are no opportunities for further attempts to prolong the tax credit or the tariff, so we can confidently say these support mechanisms will be gone at the end of 2011,” said the Washington Representative for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Leticia Phillips. This means that in 2012, the world’s largest fuel consuming market will be open to imports of less costly and more efficient ethanol, including sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil, recognized since 2010 by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an advanced biofuel because of its verified reduction of up to 90% in greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline.

If attempts in Congress to prolong the tax credit had been successful, the subsidy package now about to expire would continue to cost American taxpayers about US$6 billion per year. As for the tariff, meant primarily to keep Brazilian sugarcane ethanol out of the US market, its demise should reinforce fact-based assessments about the various feedstocks used around the world to produce ethanol, according to UNICA President Marcos Jank.

45 Cent Subsidy Ends, So Does 54 Cent Tariff

With the tariff ending, price of imported ethanol should drop by 54 cents per gallon. The net effect of the end of expiring bill, all thing being equal (which they won't be), should be a 9 cent drop in price of ethanol.

Federal and State Ethanol and Biodiesel Requirements

Please consider Federal and State Ethanol and Biodiesel Requirements
Minnesota, a major producer of ethanol, has required all gasoline to contain at least 7.7 percent ethanol since 1997. Hawaii requires 85 percent of its gasoline to contain 10 percent ethanol, effective on April 2, 2006. The intention of the law is to spur local production of ethanol from sugar, but the ethanol could also come from the U.S. mainland or from Brazil.

Minnesota was also the first State to require biodiesel blending into diesel fuel, at 2 percent by volume. The requirement became effective in mid-2005, when two new biodiesel plants, each with 30 million gallons per year capacity, began operation in the State. The law was waived several times because of quality problems with the biodiesel, but it is again in effect.

Washington requires 2 percent ethanol in gasoline and 2 percent biodiesel in diesel fuel no later than November 30, 2008. The requirement will increase to 5 percent once the State can produce biodiesel equal to 3 percent of its diesel demand.

Louisiana enacted a requirement for 2 percent ethanol in gasoline and 2 percent biodiesel in diesel fuel, once sufficient capacity is built in-State. Assuming that Louisiana’s 2-percent and Washington’s 5-percent requirements are triggered, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Washington will require 102 million gallons of biodiesel in 2012 and 146 million gallons in 2030.

State Mandated Ethanol Usage

As noted above, some states mandate its usage, others don't. Mandating various blends adds to the price, due to inefficiencies. Moreover, given that ethanol from corn makes no environmental sense, promoting the idea is absurd.

The California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center states
Most ethanol used for fuel is being blended into gasoline at concentrations of 5 to 10 percent. In California, ethanol has replaced methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) as a gasoline component. More than 95 percent of the gasoline supplied in the state today contains 6 percent ethanol. There is a small but growing market for E85 fuel (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), several million of which have been produced by U.S. automakers. But E85 is primarily found in the Midwest in corn-producing states. Ethanol is also being used to formulate a blend with diesel fuel, known as "E-Diesel", and as a replacement for leaded aviation gasoline in small aircraft.

All gasoline vehicles in use in the U.S. today can accept gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol (sometimes called gasohol). Flexible Fuel Vehicles (VVFs) are cars and trucks that can use any level of ethanol up to 85 percent. They're built with special fuel system components designed to be compatible with higher ethanol concentrations.

Calculating the Savings

For California then, assuming Brazil supplies the ethanol 9 cents cheaper, and the ethanol content of gasoline is 6%, California prices might drop about a half-cent per gallon. In states where the ethanol content is 10%, the price should drop nine-tenths of a cent per gallon.

However, this assumes Brazil supplies 100% of US ethanol and that is not a realistic assumption even if it makes good environmental and economic sense.

More than likely costs go up a couple pennies rather than the 4 cents calculated by the AAA. However, any price hikes on gasoline would be more than made up for by the drop in corn prices which in turn will pass through to grain-fed beef, corn flakes, etc.

Regardless of what happens to prices, ending all tariffs and letting the free market set prices is a very good thing in and of itself. Unfortunately, inane state rules and still intact federal rules mandating ever-increasing amounts of biofuels in gasoline formulations are still in control even though the subsidies ended.


Colony Collapse Disorder: Cause - All Natural!

By Rich Kozlovich

Starting in 2007 the world became inundated with articles about something called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Every newspaper in the country had headlines such as, “Are GM Crops Killing Bees?”; “As Bees Go Missing”; “Why the Honey Bee Decline?”; “Who Killed the Honey Bees?”; “Bees Vanish, and Scientists Race for Reasons!”

What was worse was the rhetoric used in these articles such as; “If the tireless apian workers didn't fly from one flower to the next, depositing pollen grains so that fruit trees can bloom, America could well be asking where its next meal would come from.” Then there were articles quoting Einstein as saying; “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.” While it is true that Einstein was a brilliant physicist, he turned out to be a zero as an entomologist. We have to understand that the European honey bee is an introduced species. How did all the plants, fruits, vegetables and grain crops get fertilized in the America’s before that?

This became an issue in 2007, but CCD was already going on for some time and it appears that we aren’t all dead. I will admit that I haven’t been feeling well lately, but since my wife insists that I get up and go to work every day, I think that clearly settles it…I’m definitely alive and so are seven billion other people on the planet. I don’t want to be hasty mind you, but I would really like to take a speculative stab at this and say; these claims of agriculture disasters are being promoted by greenie scaremongers and scientific fraudsters, and might be ……just might be……a bit premature!

The ‘theory’ I liked best was from the Devic Kingdom. Never heard of that? Here, let me fill you in. There was this lady who was capable of channeling “intuitive information on the microcosm and the macrocosm [regarding] world events, natural disasters, public figures…..and more”; and she was in direct psychic communication with the Devic Kingdom of bees. She says; “What is necessary to sustain the life of the bees is recognition of their role and appreciation of their work and the necessary factors to support their life.”

She went on to say that the bees are in “trauma due to the mistreatment of their species”; explaining that all of these missing bees is a result of a revolt by the bees in “protest they are being captured and made to work for humans”, “and the bees are angry’ and ‘will not remain where they are being mistreated in so many different ways.’”

She reports that they are also upset about Genetically Modified plants and pesticides and will not return to their hives until these “injustices” are fixed, and only those who “support organic, natural and gentle methods will be allowed visits from the bees”. Furthermore, we must appeal “to the angelic rulers of [their] kingdom; the Devic forces who control the comings and goings of various species on this planet. And [they] must have strong assurance that immediate changes are forthcoming.” Isn’t it fortunate that they speak English too?

I also thought it interesting that they were going to stay away from their colonies until they got what they wanted. Isn’t that sort of ….well…..suicidal on their part? So, according to this woman it appears their plan for straightening everyone out is to eliminate themselves from the planet? Wow…..good plan! Now we know who is molding the thinking of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Angels from the Devic Kingdom!

I would imagine that some might think that she might be a bit of a loon, but how can someone question this woman who claims to be in psychic communication with the Delvic Kingdom any more than one questions the sanity of the entire green movement? When you read the greenies demands as to how we need to become one with the biosphere and abandon all that has made our modern well fed lives possible you have to admit; they both are saying the same kind of insane things, only one of them disguises it better.

Colony Collapse Disorder is the official nomenclature for something that is going on in honey bee colonies in many parts of the world; and at the beginning there was a great deal of speculation, but no consistent or verifiable scientific explanation for this.

What was causing bees to simple start dying or disappearing from their colonies? First of all we have to understand that CCD isn’t anything new or unusual. We have had regular occurrences of this forever. This may have been the worst, but it still isn’t unique and there are some common descriptions as to what happens.

Initially the finger of blame was pointed at things being done by and created by…..people! As one “expert” panel stated; this was “The faltering dance between honeybees and trees is symptomatic of industrial disease.”

The reality? This was entirely speculative, and even those who attempted to be open minded on this couldn’t help but throw in the idea that pesticides were a component. After all….we can’t leave those evil pesticides out of any finger pointing. As an example;
“German government researchers have concluded that a bestselling Bayer pesticide is responsible for the recent massive die-off of honeybees across the country's Baden-Württemberg region. In response, the government has banned an entire family of pesticides, fueling accusations that pesticides may be responsible for the current worldwide epidemic of honeybee die-offs.”
Yet in areas of the world where these products were banned the die-offs continued. One ‘expert’ jokingly said;
“My favorite theory, which I throw out, is that the bees are out there creating their own crop circles, working very hard, physically pushing the crops down with their little legs. It fits. It explains the loss of bees and crop circles at the same time. At taxpayers' expense. I want credit for it."
He was joking, but his joke wasn’t much dumber than some things stated seriously by ‘scientists’ and others; including the theory that this was a “plot by Osama bin Laden to destroy American agriculture”. However he went on to say;
“We're the ultimate cause in that we've changed the planet to suit our needs. We're running it to suit our needs and not to the benefit of all the organisms around us.”
I wonder if he has been in contact with the Devic Kingdom also?

We need to get this. Every species that lives and thrives changes the environment around them. The only difference is that when mankind makes changes he can choose the changes; and he can correct any of those changes if necessary; and that is the problem. Who decides what needs changed? My personal view is that we need to give that choice over to the land owners. People who own land and property try to maintain it because it is theirs, and overall they will make the right decisions. This ownership of the commons mentality has always been disastrous.

There were genetically modified food scares, cell phone scares, immune response deficiencies, emotional madness, transportation stress, poor diet causing starvation, global warming and climate change (all attributed to mankind of course), pathogens and parasites. All of these except pathogens and parasites eventually proved to be nonsense as a cause of CCD, but it was all reported as serious “potentials” in various news sources.

This bring us to pathogens and parasites. The wild bee population was suffering as badly as the domestic populations from Varroa mites and tracheal mites. As for pathogens; it was reported “that analysis of honeybee samples collected between 2002 to 2007 showed that the virus, Israeli acute paralysis virus, had been circulating in the US for at least five years.” And in fact one researcher found two kinds of viruses that transformed the shape of wings or caused a disease only affecting queen bee larvae.
“First, it is not true that there has been a mysterious worldwide collapse in honey bee populations. In fact managed hives (which contain the bees which do the vast majority of our pollinating) have increased by a remarkable 45 per cent over the last five years. Lawrence D. Harder from the department of biology at the University of Calgary and Marcelo Aizen from Buenos Aires set about pinning down a couple of myths…….The bee disaster scenario is dependent upon data which is far too regional to take seriously and ‘not representative of global trends’. The truth is that there are more bees in the world than ever. They go on to say; ‘It is a myth that humanity would starve without bees.’ While some 70 per cent of our most productive crops are animal-pollinated (by bees, hoverflies and the like), very few indeed rely on animal pollination completely. Furthermore, most staple foods — wheat, rice and corn — do not depend on animal pollination at all. They are wind-pollinated, or self-pollinating. If all the bees in the world dropped dead tomorrow afternoon, it would reduce our food production by only between 4 and 6 per cent..... ‘Overall we must conclude that claims of a global crisis in agricultural production are untrue.’
It appears that in spite of the fact that bees have probably been to most intensely studied insect in the history of mankind someone just happened to notice that a phorid fly, Apocephalus borealis, was parasitizing bees causing them to become disoriented and abandon the hives; a primary symptom of CCD.
Three years ago, [a]biology professor looked for something to feed a praying mantis. He found some bees outside his classroom, placed them in a vial and forgot about them. When he looked at the vial a week later, he found dead bees surrounded by small fly pupae. A parasitic fly was feeding on the bees and had killed them.”
This fly places its eggs into the bee’s abdomen. Later as the larvae grow inside the bees and they begin to lose control of their ability to “think and walk….. exhibiting zombie-like behavior by walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction. Bees will leave “the hive at night flying blindly toward light…..It eventually dies and the fly larvae emerge.”

One research team"found evidence of the fly in 77 percent of the hives they sampled in the Bay Area of California, as well as in some hives in the state’s agricultural Central Valley and in South Dakota”.

It is clear that CCD has been going of forever. It is clear that pesticides can kill some bees, but that number is insignificant and cannot possibly explain the symptoms displayed by honey bee colonies suffering from this disorder. It is clear that fungi and disease are playing a major role. It is now clear that parasites are the number one major component in their demise, and they execrate the disease problem.

In conclusion it is clear that most of the scare tactics used are meaningless; we won’t starve; pesticides are our friend; the bees will return; the cause is most assuredly ‘all natural’ and the scaremongers will look for another reason to condemn humanity. I just hope we will have the good sense to ignore them.


Irrational Greenie hatred of "chemicals" kills people

Deadly cantaloupe listeria outbreak blamed on non-chlorinated wash

The enviro war against chlorine claims more victims. From the House Energy and Commerce report about the 2011 outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe:
… According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 146 people in 28 states have been infected, 30 people have died, and one person has miscarried as a result of this outbreak. It was the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in over 25 years…

On [sic] precaution that Jensen Farms took in 2010, which it dropped in 2011, was to use an antimicrobial solution, such as chlorine, in the cantaloupe wash water. The front page of the August 2010 audit stated, “[t]his facility packs fresh cantaloupes from their own fields into cartons. The melons are washed and then run through a hydro cooler which has chlorine added to the water. Once the product is dried and packed into cartons it is placed into coolers”…

FDA officials emphasized to Committee staff that the new processing equipment and the decision to use a packing and washing technique involving non-chlorinated water were two probable causes of the outbreak. Both of these significant changes were implemented at the packing facility in 2011.

Here’s another example of the enviros’ deadly war against chlorine. As Michael Fumento And Michelle Malkin pointed out in “Rachel’s Folly: The End of Chlorine” (March 1996):
There is no plainer example of the health benefits of chlorine, and the health risks of its absence, than the cholera epidemic in Latin America. In February 1991, the first cholera outbreak to hit Peru since the turn of the century was reported. According to the journal Nature, U.S. and international health officials blamed the occurrence on Peruvian government officials who made a “gross miscalculation” in not chlorinating the water supply.

Local water officials in Lima had decided to stop chlorinating many of the wells because U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies conducted in the mid-1 980s showed an increased hypothetical cancer risk from trihalomethanes (THM), a chlorination byproduct. One of those studies (based on high-dose experiments on animals exposed over their lifetimes) estimated a risk of up to 700 additional cancer cases per year in the U.S. from THMs; by contrast, however, the Latin American cholera epidemic claimed nearly 4,000 lives in 1991 alone.

EPA administrators denied that risk communication failures on their part could be faulted for touching off the epidemic. Many researchers, however, questioned whether EPA should have given more emphasis to the disaster potential of not disinfecting municipal water supplies. Whatever the actual impact EPA calculations had in Lima, a follow-up study in Peru’s second largest city, Trujillo, pointed to the two bottom-line causes of the outbreak and its rapid spread. Plain and simple, they were lack of chlorinators and a shortage of funds to buy them.

Preliminary data examined by Mintz et al. suggest that intervention costs for point-of-use disinfection in developing countries is low: “The annual cost per family for both a special water storage vessel and (chlorinated) disinfectant, for the shortest estimated useful life of the vessel and the highest cost of hypochlorite, would be between $1.17 and $1.62, an amount affordable almost anywhere in the world.” In the March 1995 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers endorsed the expanded use of sodium and calcium hypochlorite – deemed “relatively safe, easy to distribute and use, inexpensive, and effective against most bacterial and viral pathogens” – to prevent persistent waterborne disease. In addition to cholera, these infectious diseases include typhoid fever, amoebic dysentery, bacterial gastroenteritis, shigellosis, salmonellosis, Campylobacter eteritis, Yersina enteritis, Pseudomonas infections, schistosomiasis, giardiasis and various viral afflictions, such as hepatitis A.

In a campaign to increase access to potable water in poor countries, the World Health Organization declared the 1 980s the “Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation” decade. Access to proper chlorination, however, remains a major barrier and efforts to improve both municipal water treatment and home storage techniques continue. At last count, the WHO estimated that 25 million people – 70,000 per day, mostly children under five – die around the world each year from dirty drinking water. While nonchlorine disinfectants like iodine, ozone and short-lived free radicals have been used to treat water on a limited basis, none has demonstrated the safety and cost-effectiveness of chlorination.

As the Latin American cholera epidemic escalated, environmental activists a world away were building their arsenal against chlorine. Greenpeace, the international environmental advocacy group, launched the first salvo in early 1991 with its call to phase out completely “the use, export, and import of all organochlorines, elemental chlorine, and chlorinated oxidizing agents (e.g. chlorine dioxide and sodium hypochlorite).” As Greenpeace’s Joe Thornton concluded, “There are no uses of chlorine which we regard as safe.”

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Why Doing Nothing Will Save the Environment

Former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus’s conclusion to his book Blue Planet in Green Shackles at first doesn’t seem like it directly pertains to environmental or energy issues at all, but most profoundly does. His argument strikes at the heart of environmentalist arguments for energy regulation, rationing, public planning, and other environmentalist agendas. While he doesn’t deny that environmental problems exist, he answers the question “What to do?” much differently than an environmentalist would.

Blue Planet in Green Shackles was published by CEI in 2008
What to do? The first, and in fact, the only reasonable answer to the question is “nothing,” or rather “nothing special.” It is necessary to let the spontaneity of human activity—unrestrained by any missionaries of absolute truths—take its course, or else everything will get worse. The aggregate outcome of independent actions of millions of informed and rational individuals—unorganized by any genius or dictator—is infinitely better than any deliberate attempt to design the development of human society.

Communism demonstrated that megalomaniac human ambitions, immodesty, and lack of humility always have a bad end. Although the system of human society is to some extent robust, although it has its natural defense mechanisms and can bear a lot (just as nature itself can), every attempt to command the wind and the rain has so far always turned out to be very costly and ineffective in the long term and to have devastating effects on freedom. The attempts of environmentalists cannot lead to different ends. In any complex system (such as human society, economy, language, legal system, nature, or climate), every such attempt is doomed to failure. Humankind has already had this experience and—together with the various “revolts of the masses”—again and again has tried to forget it.

Socialists and environmentalists have usually believed that the more complex a system, the less it can be left to itself and the more it has to be masterminded, regulated, planned, and designed. That belief is not true. Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich A. Hayek, and the whole Austrian school of economics have—for some, perhaps a bit counterintuitively—demonstrated that just the opposite is the case. It is possible to control and design only simple systems, no complex ones.

A complex system cannot be effectively organized through any deliberate human plan (or “human design,” to use Misesian terminology). The only way to build it properly, without tragic mistakes, is through truly free “human action” (the title of von Mises’s most important book)—that is, through aggregation of the behavior of millions or billions of individuals. This basic conceptual guideline also applies to environmental issues, including global warming.

I mentioned “free human action,” that is, freedom. This is not just an empty phrase or an obligatory declaration of faith on my part. I have repeatedly stressed that it is all about freedom, not about nature (or climate). There are deliberate attempts to shut down debate about this. Environmentalists constantly keep imposing the term “environment,” yet nobody speaks about human freedom. A few years ago, I suggested discussing the “environment for life” instead, which would—at least to a certain extent—shift this issues from the exclusive focus on nature toward a focus on society and its organization. I more than agree with William Dennis from the Liberty Fun, who argued that “the best environment for man is the environment of liberty.” I insist it is the only true standard against which all environmental concepts and categorical requests should be measured. Today’s debate about global warming is therefore essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.…

It is not necessary to forcefully limit or prohibit everything from above or—seemingly more liberally—to raise prices prohibitively. It is plain wrong to slow down economic growth, because only economic growth can deal with emerging ecological problems, and in the long run solve them. Through technological progress and possibilities resulting from treating nature more considerately leads to the shift in demand from subsistence goods to luxury goods, among which environmental protection ranks at the top of the list….

So what to do? Instead of striving for the environment, let us strive for freedom. Let us not put climate change before fundamental questions of freedom, democracy, and human wellbeing. Instead of organizing people from above, let us allow everyone to live his or her own life. Let us not succumb to fashionable trends. Let us not allow the politicization of science and let us not accept the illusion of “scientific consensus,” which is always achieved by a loud minority, never by a silent majority.

Let us be sensitive and attentive toward nature, and demand the same from those who speak about the environment most loudly. Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust in its implicit rationality, and let us not make efforts to slow it down or divert it in any direction. Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions into human lives.



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


10 January, 2012

Human carbon emissions could put OFF a lethal new ice age, say scientists

There is no evidence that CO2 causes warming and a lot of evidence against it but it is fun when Warmists admit that warming could be beneficial: Rather a case of being hoist with their own petard

Cambridge University paleoclimatologist Luke Skinner says that even if carbon emissions stopped today, levels would remain elevated for at least 1,000 years, and stored heat could prevent the next Ice Age from happening

Cambridge university scientists say that a new Ice Age is due to start within 1,500 years. But due to human carbon emissions, the lethal 'big freeze' could be put off.

Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere could actually insulate against a catastrophic ice age which would see glaciers advance over Europe and north America.

The scientists admit that we would be 'better off' in a warmer world - but caution that this is 'missing the point'.

In a paper published in Nature Geoscience, Cambridge University paleoclimatologist Luke Skinner says that even if carbon emissions stopped today, levels would remain elevated for at least 1,000 years, and stored heat could prevent the next Ice Age from happening. Instead, things would cool down, but not quite so severely.

Thanks to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the earth would not experience 'glaciation' - periods of severe cold where glaciers advance.

The current level of carbon dioxide is 390 parts per million. Scientists believe that level would need to drop to 240 parts per million to allow glaciation to take place. 'It's an interesting philosophical discussion. Would we better off in a warm world rather than a glaciation? Probably we would,' says Dr Skinner.

'At current levels of CO2, even if emissions stopped now, we'd probably have a long interglacial period,' says Dr Skinner.

'Interglacial' periods are warmer periods between periods of glaciation. The last ice age ended 11,500 years ago, and scientists debate over when the next one is 'due'. The cycle is dictated by tiny variations in Earth's orbit around the sun.

Ice ages are marked by glaciers advancing over continents. At the peak of the last ice age, large areas of Europe, Asia and North America were covered in ice. The effects on human civilisation would be catastrophic.

He says, 'This is missing the point, because where we're going is not maintaining our currently warm climate but heating it much further, and adding CO2 to a warm climate is very different from adding it to a cold climate.'


Insects Outwit French Scientist
Global warming: European species lag in habitat shift

PARIS — Fast-track warming in Europe is making butterflies and birds fall behind in the move to cooler habitats and prompting a worrying turnover in alpine plant species, studies published Sunday said.

The papers, both published by the journal Nature Climate Change, are the biggest endeavour yet to pinpoint impacts on European biodiversity from accelerating global temperatures.

A team led by Vincent Devictor of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) found that from 1990 to 2008, average temperatures in Europe rose by one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

ROFL Even Hansen doesn’t believe that merde. He doesn’t show anywhere in Europe which warmed 1C from 1990-2008.

In order to live at the same temperature, species would have to shift northward by 249 kilometres (155 miles), they calculated.

But during this period, butterlies moved only 114 kms (71 miles), and birds by just 37 kms (23 miles).

Apparently the insects don’t believe the monsieur’s BS. Instead of checking his numbers, he decided that it was the insects who were confused.

In case you are wondering why the good scientist ended his temperature analysis in 2008, have a look at the full 1990-2011 map below. No place in Europe has warmed even half a degree.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Wind power is expensive and ineffective at cutting CO2 says British think tank

Wind power could actually produce more CO2 than gas and increase domestic fuel bills because of the need for "back up" power stations, a think tank has warned.

A study in the Netherlands found that turning back-up gas power stations on and off to cover spells when there is little wind actually produces more carbon than a steady supply of energy from an efficient modern gas station.

The research is cited in a new report by the Civitas think tank which warns that Britain is in danger of producing more carbon dioxide (CO2) than necessary if the grid relies too much on wind.

Wind turbines only produce energy around 30 per cent of the time. When the wind is not blowing - or even blowing too fast as in the recent storms - other sources of electricity have to be used, mostly gas and coal.

However it takes a surge of electricity to power up the fossil fuel stations every time they are needed, meaning more carbon emissions are released.

“You keep having to switch these gas fired power stations on and off, whereas if you just have highly efficient modern gas turbines and let it run all the time, it will use less gas,” said Ruth Lea, an economic adviser to Arbuthnot Banking Group and the author of the Civitas report.

“If you use less gas in a highly efficient gas turbine you use less carbon dioxide than having wind backed up by gas.”

The Dutch report, published at the end of last year by retired physicist Dr C le Pair, also points to the carbon emissions produced in building wind farms, that last a relatively short period of time compared to conventional power stations.

It concludes: “The wind projects do not fulfill 'sustainable' objectives. They cost more fuel than they save and they cause no CO2 saving, in the contrary they increase our environmental 'foot print'.”

The UK Government want to build up to 32,000 wind turbines over the next 20 years, of which at least 6,000 could be onshore.

The report also found that wind is “horrendously expensive”, especially offshore wind, because of the cost of taking the turbines out to sea and installing the structures. The fact that the power source always has to be backed up by fossil fuel stations also increases the cost.

Civitas cite official Government figures that warn green policies will add up to £400 to electricity bills over the next two decades.

The report concludes: “The most cost-effective technologies are nuclear and gas-fired. Onshore, and especially offshore, wind technologies are inordinately expensive.”

But Dr Gordon Edge, Director of policy at the lobby group RenewableUK, said much of the information was gathered from “anti-wind farm cranks”.

He explained that modern gas plants are not required to provide back-up for wind. Instead, wind is "integrated" into the existing system [And how does he think that happens?] to act as a fuel saver, enabling the UK harness a free electricity source from the weather when it’s available. Some additional investment is required, but Dr Edge said “credible analysis” makes clear it will cost less for consumers than relying on fossil fuels, that are rising in price all the time.

“It is surprising that a think tank such as Civitas has published a report based on the work of anti-wind cranks, repeating the same discredited assertions. The UK’s energy policy over the next ten years will play a critical part in our economic success – offshore wind in particular has the potential to revitalise our manufacturing sector, with the promise of over 70,000 jobs," he said. "This report, based on outdated and inaccurate information, does nothing to advance the debate.”


Costly green jobs in Germany

Optimistic predictions that Germany's decision to turn its back on nuclear energy will lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector have met with scepticism.

While renewable energy lobbyists as well as the German government argue one of the upsides of Germany's planned abandonment of nuclear energy by 2022 will be a rosier employment picture, some experts are unconvinced.

Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the so-called 'Energiewende,' the term used to describe both the end of nuclear power and the promotion of renewable energy sources, on being asked about nuclear industry job losses.

"All in all, the new energy policy will create more jobs than will be lost," she told reporters last month after French nuclear giant Areva became the latest of several big energy companies to announce it was axing posts.

But the very same day also saw the first case in Germany of a solar panel manufacturer, Solon, announcing it was going into liquidation, threatening the loss of some 500 jobs.

The company, established in 1998, was the first victim of Germany's crisis-racked solar energy industry, hurting due to a cut in government subsidies and from foreign competition.

Since Berlin decided in March to permanently switch off Germany's eight oldest nuclear reactors and to close by 2022 nine others currently online, job loss announcements have mounted.

The government's surprise about-turn in its nuclear policy came in the wake of Japan's massive March 11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the worst since Chernobyl in 1986.

Partly as a result, Germany's biggest power supplier, EON, plans to cut up to 11,000 jobs worldwide while its rival RWE will shed 8,000, according to press reports.

Both groups however also face profitability problems with their gas- and coal-fired plants as well as with subsidiaries abroad while restructuring by France's Areva will cost at least 1,200 jobs at its German subsidiary.

Opponents of nuclear energy respond to such bleak predictions by pointing to the huge potential for new jobs in renewable energy.

Given that the sector in Germany is still relatively immature, lobbyists from the renewable energy association predict its workforce will swell to 500,000 as a result of the policy change.

DIW economic research institute eyes up to one million jobs, while the government puts the figure at 400,000 by 2020 compared to 300,000 in 2009.

"Just for show," Manuel Frondel, a researcher at RWI institute, said dismissively, arguing the figures did not take into account jobs lost because of the shift to renewable energy. "Renewable energies demand a lot of capital but less manpower" than conventional energy sources, he said.

Hundreds of personnel are needed for the operation of a nuclear or coal-powered plant, while very few are required for the running of a wind or solar park.

Frondel in particular points the finger at "blatant (political) mistakes" in the solar energy sector.

While the installation of solar panels in Germany has jumped in recent years, it is down to a subsidy system financed through levying a surcharge on consumers' energy bills, he said.

At the same time, the system has proved particularly beneficial for Asian producers of solar panels which are less costly than those produced in Germany.

"Every job (in Germany) in the solar (sector) costs 250,000 euros ($318,000)" to electricity consumers, meaning they are "doomed" or already lost jobs, Frondel commented.

According to a study last year by Stuttgart University's Institute for Energy Industry and Efficient Energy Use, the end of nuclear energy by 2022 will have a limited negative impact on jobs in the short term. "But by 2025 job losses of about 185,000 people will be recorded here too," it said.

Additionally some research institutes believe the expected rise in the cost of electricity in Germany will hold back growth and neutralise in the short term any employment benefits reaped from the move to renewable energy.

One recent example underscores their fears -- German company SGL Carbon announced it would build a carbon fibre factory in the United States rather than in Germany since electricity there is cheaper.


Make-believe from official Britain

The Government's latest report on our future energy supply is a tissue of unproved assumptions and wishful thinking

If a ministry were to publish a completely dotty and misleading 220-page report on an issue of the highest national importance, one might at least raise an eyebrow. If it appeared under the names of David Cameron and Nick Clegg, one might even be rather worried. But if one then saw that it was also signed by Chris Huhne, as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, one could become seriously alarmed.

At the beginning of last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published two documents purporting to solve the riddle of how Britain will meet its obligation, under the Climate Change Act, to cut CO2 emissions by 80 per cent before 2050 (the UK being the only country in the world committed by law to do this). One document was a lengthy report entitled Carbon Plan: Delivering Our Low-Carbon Future. The other was an interactive computer model on the DECC website called 2050 Pathway Calculator, produced under the aegis of the DECC’s chief scientific adviser, David Mackay (and with a puff from Friends of the Earth).

After Christmas, various newspapers showed some belated interest in these publications. It was shown, from Government figures, that to meet the statutory target would cost every household in Britain nearly £5,000 every year until 2050. Other analysts then made rather more detailed critiques, led by the blogger Tim Worstall who, under the heading “Lying with numbers”, pointed out what seems a fundamental flaw in DECC’s toy computer model.

Worstall was startled to discover that relying on “renewables” to generate our electricity would, according to DECC, be significantly cheaper than relying on conventional power sources, such as nuclear and fossil fuels. As everyone knows, renewable sources such as wind farms are far more expensive than conventional ones, hence their need for massive subsidies. But the model had been designed on the assumption that, with wind power, Britain would require much less energy, because we would have become more “energy efficient”, by insulating our homes and so forth. Using conventional electricity, on the other hand, would be much more expensive because we would be less “energy efficient” and would therefore need more power. As Worstall put it, the model thus contrives to show that renewables, instead of being twice as expensive as conventional power, would mysteriously cost only half as much.

Another flaw Worstall noticed was that the model nowhere seems to allow for the dramatic effect on the cost of gas already evident in America thanks to the “shale gas revolution” – the new technology that is enabling vast quantities of cheap gas to be extracted from shale and coal beds.

What emerges from reading the DECC report in full is how heavily almost every page of it relies on wishful thinking and unproven assumptions. The report babbles on, for instance, about how we will have “zero carbon homes” and a “zero carbon waste economy” and how we will build “33 gigawatts” of zero carbon nuclear power and “45 gigawatts” of wind power (without, of course, pointing out that 45GW refers to the capacity of the windmills, not the 15GW or less they might actually produce, due to the intermittency of the wind).

The report does recognise that we would still need 28GW of the fossil-fuel electricity which currently supplies nearly 80 per cent of our needs. But this brings us to perhaps the most glaring example of wishful thinking that runs right through the report: its insistence that gas and coal-fired power stations can only be allowed if they are fitted with “carbon capture and storage” (CCS), the immensely costly equipment that is supposed to pipe away CO2 and bury it in the ground.

It cannot be stated too forcefully that, as yet, the technology to do this has not been commercially developed, for the simple reason that, as various scientific studies have shown, it cannot work. There is no way in which vast quantities of CO2 can be injected into rock at the high pressures necessary without fracturing the rock to the point where no more can be injected. Yet it is on this make-believe that the dreams of Cameron, Clegg and Huhne ultimately rest.

It is ironic that the shale gas bonanza, now offering the world its greatest energy revolution since nuclear power, depends on a rock-fracturing process that does work – indeed, it already provides 25 per cent of all America’s gas, cutting its cost to the lowest winter level in a decade. In Poland, the first homes will be heated by shale gas this winter.

Britain too, it seems, is sitting on huge potential reserves of shale gas, which could supply us with cheap energy for centuries to come. Yet because it is a fossil fuel, our Government refuses to take it seriously. When I asked DECC, last week, why all its projections ignore shale gas, I was given the truly astounding reply that, even if we do begin to produce gas from shale, “it will all be exported”.

Nothing in the DECC report is so forlorn as the way its final pages list the hundreds of bureaucratic steps that our Government plans to take in the years ahead – its Green Deal, its Green Investment Bank, its work with our EU partners on “establishing standards for a smart grid”, and how a UK Climate Security Envoy will “engage with the US, Canada, Japan, the African Union and Australia on national and global security risks of climate change”.

I was reminded, after reading the report, of the closing scene of the Marx Brothers’ film At the Circus, where a symphony orchestra is sitting on a raft moored at the end of a Big Top at the seaside. The brothers cut the moorings and the raft begins to drift gently out to sea, with the orchestra playing on regardless.

Messrs Cameron, Clegg, Huhne, Mackay, and their subordinates, blithely saw away at their violins while the raft of our national energy policy is carried away into the sunset. For anyone wondering how we are going to keep Britain’s lights on and our economy running, make-believe on such a scale is truly terrifying.

Does Letwin really hold the all-time regulation record?

There was a time when, if we wanted to know what those who rule us had planned for the year ahead, we would read the Queen’s Speech to Parliament. Nowadays, however, we should attend to the European Commission, which announced, on the day after Boxing Day and quite unreported, 129 “initiatives” it is planning for 2012.

A huge proportion of our legislation now comes, as we know, from this strange system of government centred in Brussels, and is turned into UK law by means of “statutory instruments” (SIs), over which our own elected politicians have no control. There was a time when this column used regularly to report on the rising numbers of SIs. Just over 20 years ago they began to grow inexorably, from an average of 2,600 a year in the 1980s to well over 3,000 a year in the 1990s and more than 4,000 a year in the Blair era. This coincided with a dramatic drop in the number of Acts of Parliament, reflecting just how much of our law was coming from the EU.

Last week, when I checked on the latest figures at the National Archives website, I was startled to see that the whole system has changed. The totals given for SIs issued in earlier years have been revised very drastically downwards – as have the numbers given for Acts of Parliament. When I asked for an explanation of a change which has made it impossible to make historical comparisons, National Archives told me that, since 2010, the figures now show only “those SIs which are published on our website” – so that many of those formerly included in the totals for earlier years have vanished.

They conceded that this change in methodology should perhaps have been explained, and that a statement to this effect may be added to their website. But I also pointed out, as an unfortunate consequence of the change, that the new figures seem to show the numbers of SIs issued in 2010 and 2011 as very much higher than those for any years previously.

Whether Oliver Letwin, our “red-tape czar”, would wish it to be thought that his Government has been responsible for issuing far more regulations than any in history, I doubt. But such is the misleading impression given by the peculiar way in which these statistics are now presented. Perhaps he should look into it.


Reply to an unethical ethicist

Donald A. Brown at Penn State writing in his blog here did the “Climate Skeptics” a big favor by gathering “The Hockey-Stick Team’s” arguments into one article. I am sure that Professor Brown was certain that no skeptic would have the temerity to actually challenge his assertions.

But his assertions beg for challenge. One of his techniques is to make claims about the skeptic side that are in fact much more true for the Team side. These techniques include:


One example of the Team’s use of lying is the assertion that “97% of Climate Scientists agree” that AGW is true. This figure is based on an on-line poll sent to over 10,000 “earth scientists” where the participants were self selected, and the actual numbers were 75 out of 79 answering the poll describing themselves as “peer-reviewed climate scientists”. See here. The actual questions on that poll were:

1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

Nearly all skeptics would answer “have generally risen” to Question 1, and most would answer “yes” to Question 2. This loaded poll proves nothing. The whole argument revolves around “how much”. We don’t know if the above 79 participants were actually “climate scientists” or not. They could just as well have been kids down at the neighborhood Starbucks with laptops. But this assertion has been repeated countless times on the Internet as if it were Holy Writ and Peer Reviewed. (It was not.) The principle used here is that “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth”. this according to one of history’s most infamous propagandist.

Professor Brown says that:

"Some of the claims made by some of those engaged in the disinformation campaign have been outright lies about such things as the claim that the entire scientific basis for human-induced climate change is a hoax or that there is no evidence of human causation of climate change.”

This statement itself is not true. Most skeptics think that there is some human causation, just not the catastrophic kind claimed by the Team. In answer to Professor Brown’s citation of six books for his side, here’s my citation of six books for the skeptic’s side:

1. Evidence Based Climate Science, Dr. Don Easterbrook
2. The Hockey Stick Illusion, A. W. Montford
3. Climategate, The CRUtape Letters, Steven Mosher and Thomas W. Fuller
4. The Great Global Warming Blunder, Dr. Roy W. Spencer
5. The Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming, Patrick J.Michaels (Editor), Dr. Sallie L. Baliunas, Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr , Dr. Randall S. Cerveny, Dr. John Christy, Dr. Robert E. Davis, Dr. Oliver W. Frauenfeld, Dr. Ross McKitrick, Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Dr. Eric S. Posmentier, Dr. Willie Soon (Contributors)
6. Die Kalte Sonne, (The Cold Sun, Why the Climate Catastrophe is Not Taking Place) Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt and Dr. Sebastian Luñing (In Press) For more on this one, read here

Focusing On An Unknown While Ignoring the Known.

The amount of the unknown on climate science is far greater than what is known, and thus impacts the known at every level. For example: although climate sensitivity, (the temperature rise due to CO2 doubling) has yet to be established, a number is used in all the general climate models. The IPCC “consensus” is that it is somewhere between 1.5°C to 4.5°C (IPCC, 2007, pp.798-799). Where do those numbers come from? They come from guesses by Michael Mann and Syukuro Manabe.

Here is the story (from Wikipedia):

"The standard modern estimate of climate sensitivity – 3 °C, plus or minus 1.5 °C – originates with a committee on anthropogenic global warming convened in 1979 by the National Academy of Sciences and chaired by Jule Charney. Only two sets of models were available; one, due to Syukuro Manabe, exhibited a climate sensitivity of 2 °C, the other, due to James E. Hansen, exhibited a climate sensitivity of 4 °C. “According to Manabe, Charney chose 0.5 °C as a not-unreasonable margin of error, subtracted it from Manabe’s number, and added it to Hansen’s. Thus was born the 1.5 °C-to-4.5 °C range of likely climate sensitivity that has appeared in every greenhouse assessment since…”

Many people have tried to develop more accurate estimates. The current range is anything from zero to 10°C, though the latter number is usually dismissed. As time goes by, the number seems to be dropping. Recent ice-age studies don’t change the old estimates by very much, but give a median value of 2.3°C. Even more recently, there have been efforts to calculate climate sensitivity from thermodynamic principles. Find the papers here, here, and here. These all suggest that the climate sensitivity is zero. Measurements from above the atmosphere all suggest that climate sensitivity is less than 0.6°C. See here, here, and here.

Specious Claims of Bad Science

In Dr. Brown’s paragraph here he cites no specific examples; this is a general childish name-calling type of attack. This list is offered as a rebuttal. Tom Nelson offers 250 examples of bad science, or scientists behaving badly, gleaned from the Climategate 2 emails in the Team’s own words.

Creation of Front Groups

Both sides have created “front groups”. What is the IPCC, if not a “front group”? The Center for American Progress is a front group. This is a label intended to denigrate. For the figures on money spent by organizations on both sides see here. A summary is quoted:

"Figure 1.1, I compare the spending of climate action opponents and advocates. As the figure displays, the combined program spending of environmental organizations ($1.4 billion) is almost twice as much as the combined program spending of conservative organizations and industry associations ($787 million). Specific to climate change and energy-related activities, environmental groups appear to have outspent conservative groups and their industry association allies $394 million to $259 million.”

Creation of Misleading Lists of Climate Sceptics [sic]

From Brown’s point of view, any skeptic will have questionable credentials. That’s part of the Team’s tactics to denigrate and marginalize any skeptic. There is a problem though. One of the better-known lists is the Oregon Petition. It currently has 31,487 signatories, over 9,000 of those with PhDs. Contrast this with the poll cited above with 75 anonymous positive poll responders. Also keep in mind that “The Team” has less than 50 people as core members. The Oregon Petition is simply too large to be dismissed. In the end, it only takes a single skeptic scientist.

PR Campaigns to Convince the Public There’s No Scientific Basis

Both sides have used PR firms. This is what you do when billions of dollars are at stake. The University of East Anglia used (and is still using) the BBC to convince the public of the opposite. What larger PR firm could they have used? It is very difficult for skeptics to match these large megaphones. That’s why so many are blogging.

Astroturf Groups

This is right out of the Nancy Pelosi playbook. I’m surprised he used the term. Notice that none are named. It is another dubious attempt to denigrate. His use of the terms “disinformation campaign” is also a handy term for denigration. Without investigation, anything written by a skeptic automatically gets labeled as disinformation, and any conversation between three or more skeptics will be labeled as an Astroturf Group. For Dr. Brown’s information, I am myself a group of one, funded by Social Security.

Cyber-Bullying Scientists and Journalists

Both of these groups have made themselves public figures. James Hansen, for just one example, delights in getting himself arrested on camera in front of the White House. Michael Mann regularly appears on TV talk-shows and news programs making claims that beg a response. When public scientists step outside of the peer-reviewed scientific literature, they are asking for trouble. When their public claims are demonstrably not true, they must be refuted. Here is a link to predictions made in the 1980’s by James Hansen.

Dr. Brown then gives skeptics some advice:
"A few things we are not saying. We are not against skepticism in [sic] but skeptics must play by certain rules of science. That is skeptics should:

a) Publish conclusions in peer-reviewed literature.

b. Stop claiming that anything that is not fully proven is bad science.

c. Not lie about or overstate their scientific conclusions.

d. Not cherry-pick scientific evidence by focusing on what is not known while ignoring what is known.

e. Not repeat scientific arguments that have been fully refuted.

f. Publicly condemn cyber-bullying of journalists and scientists.”

For no. a, Dr. Brown may not realize that peer review has been tightly controlled by the Team. It has been difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get papers published in certain journals with conclusions that the Team does not approve, whether or not those conclusions are scientifically valid. Some discussion of the problem here, here, here, and here.

For no. b: “Stop claiming that anything not fully proven is bad science.” For it to be good science, define “fully”. As Einstein said, “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” The skeptic effort must be encouraged; the alternative is totalitarianism.

As for no. c, lies are easily detected. No skeptic knowingly lies. It is too easily found out. This statement is just another bogus denigration attempt.

No. d: “Not cherry-pick scientific evidence by focusing on what is not known…” This is a strange statement. All scientists focus on the unknown… and should. Only by focusing on the unknown can anything new be learned. New knowledge can overturn what we thought we knew. See Einstein, above.

No. e: “Not repeat scientific arguments that have been fully refuted.” See Einstein, above.

No. f: “Publicly condemn…” This cuts both ways. Stop condemning (cyber-bullying) skeptics. Also stop characterizing any critique of public statements by the Team as cyber-bullying. It all takes place in cyber-space as a matter of course. This is just another attempt to limit free-speech and discourse.

Calling this discourse an ethics problem is suspicious. I would ask Dr Brown to examine his own ethics in writing his piece. Who or what is he trying to protect? Both sides think they are saving the earth. Both sides have their extremists. Neither side has a lock on “the truth”.

Part of the problem is that the public loves a disaster, particularly the media, and the Team has played on that for political and funding reasons. If they are proved alarmist, the money dries up instantly. Here is the first blog article this author wrote on the subject. (Chicken Little was a Calamitologist.)

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


9 January, 2012

Global Warming - A Coolist's View

The article below was received via email from a person who wishes to remain anonymous but who has degrees in the physical sciences

The global warming concept hinges upon the idea that greenhouse gases cause an increase in mean global temperatures. The basis for this concept is that such gases are better radiators than non greenhouse gases and as a result keep the global mean temperatures higher as a result of feeding back radiation to the Earth's surface. Let us investigate this hypothesis:

First of all we need a model upon which all can agree is a good approximation to the real thing. The model I have chosen is familiar to most engaged in the debate and in my view lies closest to the hearts of the so-called global warmists. In this model we are concerned only with radiation from the sun which interacts thermally with the Earth's surface and atmosphere. We are not concerned with radiation that is reflected either specularly or diffusely back into the space from which it came. Neither are we concerned about radiation which is absorbed and re-emitted without intermediate thermal processes. Without such processes there can be no warming of the Earth's surface and atmosphere so such non thermal interactions can be neglected

Removing such non thermal processes from our model leaves us with this: the Earth's surface is treated as an approximation to a black-body, it absorbs radiation from the sun, becomes hotter and then re-emits radiation more typically at longer wavelengths. We also have an atmosphere which is composed of two types of gas: greenhouse gases and non greenhouse gases, both of which may or may not absorb and re-emit radiation or receive thermal input via convection and conduction from the Earth's surface as is their wont. It does not concern us for now as to the nature of these processes.

To further the debate we have the concept propounded by the pro-greenhouse warming lobby that because greenhouse gases are better radiating gases than non greenhouse gases they re-radiate more radiation back to the Earth's surface than do non greenhouse gases. This leads us to an obvious thought experiment:

We replace all greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere with an equal volume of non greenhouse gases. There are then three logical possibilities:

1) Greenhouse gases are less good radiating gases than non greenhouse gases.

2) Greenhouse gases are equally good radiating gases as non greenhouse gases.

3) Greenhouse gases are better radiating gases than non greenhouse gases.

If (1) or (2) are true then the theory of global warming is falsified. If (3) is true then greenhouse gases produce relative global warming. I believe (3) is true.

We now consider the Earth's radiation budget.

Integrating over a sufficient time period to average out the effects of night and day and the seasons then at equilibrium the average energy received by the Earth in the form of radiant energy from the Sun must equal the average energy lost by the Earth in the form of radiation. This is the only significant form of energy capable of influencing global mean temperatures. I take a warmist's view here and do not include such effects as the solar wind, the Sun and Earth's magnetic field coupling lateral flare currents into the oceans, cosmic rays inducing cloud formation or variations in solar energy output or spectrum.

We then consider the Earth's outgoing energy budget. It has three components: that from greenhouse gases, that from non greenhouse gases and that from the black body Earth itself. We then perform the same thought experiment we performed above, and replace the greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere with an equal volume of non-greenhouse gases:

As discussed above, we know that if (1) or (2) are true that the hypothesis of global warming is falsified. If (3) is true then greenhouse gases cause absolute global cooling. This is because they contribute significantly to the Earth's outgoing radiation budget. If they are removed from the Earth's atmosphere the amount of energy radiated away into the absolute zero of space goes down and in consequence the temperature of the Earth and its atmosphere will rise, I neglect here the 4 degrees Kelvin background radiation left over from the Big Bang. It is thus demonstrated that:

A) Greenhouse gases cause absolute global cooling.

B) In order to believe that greenhouse gases produce relative global warming it is first necessary to believe that greenhouse gases produce absolute global cooling.

At first sight the hypothesis of global warming through feedback radiation is self contradictory. Can we simultaneously have the situation in which greenhouse gases produce both relative warming and absolute cooling of the planet? The answer is yes! This is because the so-called feedback radiation is a negative feedback on the absolute cooling caused by greenhouse gases. This means that the presence of the feedback term in the equation of global cooling reduces the rate at which radiation is lost from the Earth by re-cycling energy back to the Earth's surface. This amounts simply to an observation that secondary radiators are not 100% efficient. What this means is perhaps better explained with reference to the analogous system of coupled primary and secondary radiators we find under the hood of a typical auto-mobile:

In the Earth model above we treat the Earth's surface as the primary radiator. We can do this because the amount of radiation fed back to the real primary radiator of the system, the Sun, is negligible. The secondary radiator of our system is the Earth's atmosphere which is closely thermally coupled to the surface of the Earth by conduction and convection as well as radiation. In our auto-mobile engine analogy the primary radiator is the engine block and head with the secondary radiator being not surprisingly, the radiator! (If you like the engine can be treated as being supplied with both gasoline and air through a pipe so it can be run in vaccuum and thus tighten up the analogy).

We now imagine that our engine and radiator are sitting in an auto-mobile on our collective drive and that the engine has been running for some time and has reached thermal equilibrium with the environment. We lift the hood and examine the engine in operation with reference to a manual: The engine generates heat energy some of which it loses directly to the environment. Most heat energy however is removed from the engine by a water based coolant which is pumped though a series of channels in the block and head then via a radiator hose to the radiator. A second feedback radiator hose returns the cooled water from the radiator to the engine and closes the system loop.

We have just concluded that the engine and cooling system is working satisfactorily when our collective neighbour, a Mr. Gore, drops by and with the skilful use of a thermometer amidst all those moving parts demonstrates that the return hose from the radiator is operating above ambient temperature and is thus maintaining the engine at a higher temperature than it otherwise would be. Mr Gore is completely correct of course; feeding warm water into the auto-mobile engine will maintain it at a higher operating temperature. Mr Gore therefore prevails upon us to disconnect the feedback hose from the radiator to the engine block in order to keep the engine cooler.

Would you take Mr. Gore's advice? Your answer to this question will not only determine your position in the global warming debate but whether or not you drive to work next week!

The lessons learned above can be reinforced by considering the black-body Earth and atmosphere in a little more detail. Consider a black-body Earth without any atmosphere whatsoever. Without an atmosphere not only will more radiation get through to the Earth's surface because there are no greenhouse gases to intercept any of this radiation and re-radiate it back out into space without it having first to interact with the Earth's surface, but there will be no conduction and convection into the non-existent atmosphere to keep the surface cool. The job of re-radiating energy into space will fall squarely on the surface of the black-body Earth itself. Increasing the radiation from a black-body can only be accomplished by increasing its radiative temperature.

If we now add an atmosphere of non-greenhouse gases to our black-body Earth we find that heat energy can leave the surface not just by radiation but by conduction and convection as well. If we also include surface water the latent heat of evaporation of water will contribute to this heat loss mechanism too. The situation is now similar to that of a domestic central heating radiator which loses heat to heat a room mainly by conduction and convection with a small component of radiative loss; the central heating radiator would be better described as a convection heater. Of course if the atmospheric gases did not radiate away any energy into space eventually the Earth's surface would rise to the temperature it had before we added any atmosphere. However all gases radiate and the non-greenhouse gases do so too. The reason for this is that all accelerating charges radiate and all molecules in the atmosphere accelerate, often negatively, as they constantly collide with each other. The faster the molecules move the more frequent are the collisions, the greater the accelerations and the greater the loss though radiation. The atmosphere can now be seen for what it is, a secondary radiator which by adding to the Earth's outgoing radiation budget keeps the Earth's surface cooler. The non-greenhouse gases component of the Earth's atmosphere are thermally radiating gases. In other words in order to radiate more they must be at a higher temperature, just like the black-body Earth itself.

Finally we add to the Earth's atmosphere the greenhouse gases. While these gases radiate thermally just like non-greenhouse gases they have a secondary mechanism too based on a form of electronic transition related to quantised states of dipole moments. Greenhouse gases as a result are not only able to radiate much more energy at lower temperature but are also able to pick up thermal energy from both the Earth's surface and non-greenhouse gases and radiate this energy into space as well. Greenhouse gases thus add very significantly to the Earth's outgoing energy budget and thus keep the Earth's surface and atmosphere very much cooler than they would be in the absence of these lower temperature radiating gases.

From consideration of the arguments given above it is very easy to see that the concept of greenhouse gases as a planet warming blanket is completely erroneous. Greenhouse gases are cooling gases, part of a secondary radiator system and in my view the principal mechanism by which the temperatures at the Earth's surface are kept cool enough for life to exist across the globe.

In the face of such obviousness the real question is why has the concept of greenhouse gas induced global warming has persisted for so long in the face of so much entrenched opposition from global warming sceptics? The answer is perhaps surprising: The global warming debate has three factions which can be loosely described as warmists, luke-warmists and sceptics. These factions however all have one thing in common: they all believe in global warming!

These three groups all believe that warming is produced by greenhouse gases to greater or lesser degrees with the warmists predicting large increases in global mean temperature with increasing man made emissions of carbon dioxide and the sceptics predicting very small increases in global mean temperatures as a result of these same emissions. The global warming debate has been monopolised by these three groups since the inception of the IPCC. It is a one sided debate in which no voices of opposition are heard.

The simple reality is that greenhouse gases cause global cooling and lots of it. It is only by stepping outside the radiative feedback paradigm foisted upon us by warmists and sceptics alike and then viewing the system as a whole using overarching energy arguments that we begin to glimpse the truth.

Safe driving!

Tornadoes declining

Graphic from NOAA

Himalayan glaciers stable

Discussing: Hewitt, K. 2011. "Glacier change, concentration, and elevation effects in the Karakoram Himalaya, upper Indus Basin". Mountain Research and Development 31: 188-200.

Hewitt (2011) writes that "in recent decades the consequences of climate change for Himalayan glaciers has become of great concern," noting that it has been "widely reported that the Indus basin is threatened with severe losses," although he says that "emerging evidence suggests that such reports are, at best, exaggerated," citing Raina (2009) and Armstrong (2010).

In a review of the pertinent scientific literature, Hewitt "seeks to explain evidence of distinctive late- and post-Little Ice Age glacier change in the Karakoram Himalaya and a recent, seemingly anomalous, expansion," with attention directed to "processes that support and concentrate glacier mass, including an all-year accumulation regime, avalanche nourishment, and effects related to elevation."

The Canadian researcher reports, first of all, that Karakoram glaciers have only declined by 5% or so since the early 20th century, "mainly between the 1920s and 1960s." Thereafter, he notes that "losses slowed in the 1970s (Mayewski and Jensche, 1979), and some glaciers underwent modest advances, as elsewhere in the region (Kotlyakov, 1997)." Retreat then prevailed from the mid-1980s through the 1990s, "but without dramatic losses." And he says that "since the late 1990s we have reports of glaciers stabilizing and, in the high Karakoram, advancing (Hewitt, 2005; Immerzeel et al., 2009)," while "total snow cover has [also] been increasing in the high Karakoram (Naz et al., 2009)."

Hewitt additionally writes that the "sheer extent and sustained high elevations" of the main Karakoram, together with the "all-year accumulation regime," both "help to buffer glaciers against 'warming'." And he says that "with high-altitude precipitation occurring as snowfall in summer and winter, they may benefit from increased moisture transport from warmer oceans." In addition, he notes that "various investigations report cooler summers recently and greater summer cloudiness and snow covers (Fowler and Archer, 2006; Naz et al., 2009; Scherler et al., 2011)," stating that these phenomena "can also reduce average ablation rates or numbers of 'ablation days'."

Considering all of these things together, and compared with "past predictions for the upper Indus," Hewitt concludes that "these observations seem good news."


The Medieval Warm Period in Southern South America

Discussing: Neukom, R. et al., 2011. "Multiproxy summer and winter surface air temperature field reconstructions for southern South America covering the past centuries". Climate Dynamics 37: 35-51.

In order to know how unusual, unprecedented or unnatural the global warming of the 20th century was, it is necessary to do what the eighteen authors of this important paper did, so as to be able, as they describe it, "to put the recent warming into a larger temporal and spatial context."

Working with 22 of the best climate proxies they could find that stretched far enough back in time, Neukom et al. (2011) reconstructed a mean austral summer (December-February) temperature history for the period AD 900-1995 for the terrestrial area of the planet located between 20øS and 55øS and between 30øW and 80øW -- a region they call Southern South America (SSA) -- noting that their results "represent the first seasonal sub-continental-scale climate field reconstructions of the Southern Hemisphere going so far back in time."

The international research team -- composed of scientists from Argentina, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States -- write that their summer temperature reconstruction suggests that "a warm period extended in SSA from 900 (or even earlier) to the mid-fourteenth century," which they describe as being temporally located "towards the end of the Medieval Climate Anomaly as concluded from Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions." And as can be seen from the figure below, the warmest decade of this Medieval Warm Period was calculated by them to be AD 1079-1088, which as best as can be determined from their graph is about 0.17øC warmer than the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period.

Figure 1. Reconstructed mean summer SSA temperatures. Adapted from Neukom et al. (2011)

The findings of Neukom et al. go a long ways towards demonstrating that: (1) the Medieval Warm Period was a global phenomenon that was comprised of even warmer intervals than the warmest portion of the Current Warm Period, and that (2) the greater warmth of the Medieval Warm Period occurred when there was far less CO2 in the air than there is nowadays, which facts clearly demonstrate that the planet's current -- but not unprecedented -- degree of warmth need not be CO2-induced.


Taking Fears Of Acid Oceans With A Grain of Salt

Matt Ridley

Coral reefs around the world are suffering badly from overfishing and various forms of pollution. Yet many experts argue that the greatest threat to them is the acidification of the oceans from the dissolving of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

The effect of acidification, according to J.E.N. Veron, an Australian coral scientist, will be "nothing less than catastrophic.... What were once thriving coral gardens that supported the greatest biodiversity of the marine realm will become red-black bacterial slime, and they will stay that way."

This is a common view. The Natural Resources Defense Council has called ocean acidification "the scariest environmental problem you've never heard of." Sigourney Weaver, who narrated a film about the issue, said that "the scientists are freaked out." The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls it global warming's "equally evil twin."

But do the scientific data support such alarm? Last month scientists at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other authors published a study showing how much the pH level (measuring alkalinity versus acidity) varies naturally between parts of the ocean and at different times of the day, month and year.

"On both a monthly and annual scale, even the most stable open ocean sites see pH changes many times larger than the annual rate of acidification," say the authors of the study, adding that because good instruments to measure ocean pH have only recently been deployed, "this variation has been under-appreciated." Over coral reefs, the pH decline between dusk and dawn is almost half as much as the decrease in average pH expected over the next 100 years. The noise is greater than the signal.

Another recent study, by scientists from the U.K., Hawaii and Massachusetts, concluded that "marine and freshwater assemblages have always experienced variable pH conditions," and that "in many freshwater lakes, pH changes that are orders of magnitude greater than those projected for the 22nd-century oceans can occur over periods of hours."

This adds to other hints that the ocean-acidification problem may have been exaggerated. For a start, the ocean is alkaline and in no danger of becoming acid (despite headlines like that from Reuters in 2009: "Climate Change Turning Seas Acid"). If the average pH of the ocean drops to 7.8 from 8.1 by 2100 as predicted, it will still be well above seven, the neutral point where alkalinity becomes acidity.

The central concern is that lower pH will make it harder for corals, clams and other "calcifier" creatures to make calcium carbonate skeletons and shells. Yet this concern also may be overstated. Off Papua New Guinea and the Italian island of Ischia, where natural carbon-dioxide bubbles from volcanic vents make the sea less alkaline, and off the Yucatan, where underwater springs make seawater actually acidic, studies have shown that at least some kinds of calcifiers still thrive—at least as far down as pH 7.8.

In a recent experiment in the Mediterranean, reported in Nature Climate Change, corals and mollusks were transplanted to lower pH sites, where they proved "able to calcify and grow at even faster than normal rates when exposed to the high [carbon-dioxide] levels projected for the next 300 years." In any case, freshwater mussels thrive in Scottish rivers, where the pH is as low as five.

Laboratory experiments find that more marine creatures thrive than suffer when carbon dioxide lowers the pH level to 7.8. This is because the carbon dioxide dissolves mainly as bicarbonate, which many calcifiers use as raw material for carbonate.

Human beings have indeed placed marine ecosystems under terrible pressure, but the chief culprits are overfishing and pollution. By comparison, a very slow reduction in the alkalinity of the oceans, well within the range of natural variation, is a modest threat, and it certainly does not merit apocalyptic headlines.


Antarctic Temperature Trends

Almost exactly two three years ago, a prominent paper became a media darling as it, according to the alarmist website Real Climate "appeared to reverse the `Antarctic cooling' meme that has been a staple of disinformation efforts for a while now."

The Nature paper, by Eric Steig and colleagues, made the cover on the January 22, 2009 issue.

Despite Real Climate's predictable take on the situation, many long-time students of Antarctic climate change (including usn's here at WCR) yawned. It has been known for decades that there is a net warming in Antarctic surface temperature that began during the International Geophysical Year in 1957. However, what is also well known, is that the vast majority of the observed warming in Antarctica took place from the late 1950s through the early 1970s and that since then-during a period going on 40 years now-there has been very little net temperature change over Antarctica taken as a whole.

What the Steig et al. analysis did do, was to alter the generally accepted spatial pattern of the temperature change across Antarctica. Whereas previous studies showed that the warming was largely limited to the Antarctic peninsula region of West Antarctica with vast areas of cooling occurring distributed across the other parts of the continent, the Steig et al. analysis effectively spread the warming across the entire continent, both during the complete period of record since 1957, as well as during the most recent two-to-three decades

Almost immediately, speculation popped up across the blogosphere that something was seriously amiss with Steig's methodology. Analysts zeroed in on the problems and went on to publish in the scientific literature their own version of the spatial patterns of temperature change across Antarctica using the same data as Steig et al. used (a combination of surface observations and satellite-borne measurements) but employing a new and improved technology.

Surprise, surprise. The "new" map of temperature change across Antarctica produced by O'Donnell et al. wasn't all that much different from the pre-Steig vision of the temperature changes which had taken place. Once again, the warming was primarily constrained to the Antarctica Peninsula, and cooling could be found across large regions of the rest of Antarctica

For those who still question whether or not the O'Donnell et al. methodology is superior to the Steig et al. methodology, there is an independent arbiter-the satellite-derived temperature of the lower atmosphere that has been compiled and maintained by Roy Spencer and John Christy, and which just celebrated its 33rd birthday on December 1, 2011. The Spencer and Christy temperature record employs a different sort of satellite-borne temperature instrument (a microwave sounder unit, or MSU) than the satellite data melded with the surface observations in the Steig et al. and O'Donnell et al. studies, and is as a completely independent temperature data source.

Notice that there is a lot of blue shading on this map indicating regions where the temperature trend is negative (cooling), and that the regions of warming are primarily located along the continental margins.

The Spencer and Christy trends from the lower atmosphere are a decent (although imperfect) match with the O'Donnell et al. temperature trends of the surface. The Steig et al. trend analysis as the odd-one-out.

In the two years since the big flash at Nature, further and better analysis confirms that what has been going on in Antarctica is pretty much what we knew to be happening all along-that during the last 3-to-4 decade period of rapid build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the temperature has changed little at the continental scale, and instead is characterized by a complex pattern of regional warming and cooling. Such changes do not foreshadow a rapid loss of continental Antarctic ice nor an alarming Antarctic contribution to the rate of current and future sea level rise this century as a result of surface ice melt. In fact, measurements from a different satellite data set that begin in 1979 show that the extent of ice in the southern high latitudes is increasingly significantly.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)


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


8 January, 2012

Another Greenie fantasy about species extinctions

I have done a bit of fisking below to show unserious this is as science.
Climate change models may underestimate extinctions

Animals and plants could be on a collision course created by climate change, and our current predictions might be underestimating how many will go extinct

Predictions of the loss of animal and plant diversity around the world are common under models of future climate change. But a new study shows that because these climate models don’t account for species competition and movement, they could grossly underestimate future extinctions.

“We have really sophisticated meteorological models for predicting climate change,” [Except that they have never successfully predicted anything yet and keep getting disproven by events] says ecologist Mark Urban, the study’s lead author. “But in real life, animals move around, they compete, they parasitize each other and they eat each other. The majority of our predictions don’t include these important interactions.”

Plenty of experimental studies have shown that species are already moving in response to climate change [Since there has been no warming for over ten years, this is clearly a false attribution], says Urban, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut. For example, as temperatures rise over time, animals and plants that can’t take the heat are moving to higher altitudes where temperatures are cooler. [So what would be the problem with that? There are lots of VERY cool places on the earth]

But not all species can disperse fast enough to get to these more suitable places before they die off, Urban says. And if they do make it to these better habitats, they may be outcompeted by the species that are already there – or the ones that got there first.

With coauthors Josh Tewksbury and Kimberly Sheldon of the University of Washington, Urban created a mathematical model [Did they validate the model in any way or is it just a computer game?] that takes into account the varying rates of migration and the different intensities of competition seen in ecological communities. The goal was to predict just how successful species within these communities would be at shifting to completely new habitats.

Their results showed that animals and plants that can adjust to climate change will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t.


New paper: IPCC Warming Claim Is “Erroneous…IPCC Projections For The 21st Century Cannot Be Trusted”

A new paper has been published by the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar Terrestrial Physics, authored by Nicola Scafetta, 2012: "Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation models".

It’s not a secret that the IPCC models are all rigged to make CO2 look like the culprit for the last 150 years of warming. We say this because we now know their models completely ignore, or selectively distort, the potency of an array of drivers and amplification mechanisms.

In the paper, according to the abstract, Scafetta compares the performance of a recently proposed empirical climate model based on astronomical harmonics against all CMIP3 available general circulation climate models (GCM) used by the IPCC (2007) and finds that the climate appears to be resonating with, or is synchronized to, a set of natural harmonics that have been associated to the solar system planetary motion. According to the abstract:
…the GCMs fail to reproduce the major decadal and multidecadal oscillations found in the global surface temperature record from 1850 to 2011. On the contrary, the proposed harmonic model (which herein uses cycles with 9.1, 10–10.5, 20–21, 60–62 year periods) is found to well reconstruct the observed climate oscillations from 1850 to 2011, and it is shown to be able to forecast the climate oscillations from 1950 to 2011 using the data covering the period 1850–1950, and vice versa.”

What does Scafetta conclude from this?
We show that the IPCC GCM’s claim that all warming observed from 1970 to 2000 has been anthropogenically induced is erroneous because of the GCM failure in reconstructing the quasi 20-year and 60-year climatic cycles.”

In the conclusion of the paper, Scafetta also writes: "Consequently, the IPCC projections for the 21st century cannot be trusted.”

In light of this new information and all the new findings we’ve seen since 2007, the IPCC has no choice but to recognize and admit that their models are totally inadequate and in need of a complete overhaul.

Should the IPCC continue to ignore new findings and claim their models are accurate and correct (when they know they are not), then it will be de facto entering the territory of scientific fraud. The next assessment report, due in 2013 or 2014, must include the new scientific findings. Anything else would be willful fraud. That’s what it is when there’s intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual.

There’s no way the IPCC will be able stick to its current climate models in its next report without opening themselves up to lawsuits for scientific fraud. No more excuses.


Wrecked by gales again as British windfarms get £300,000 to switch high winds

First there were the wind farms that had to be shut down if it got a bit blowy. Then there was the turbine that burst into flames in a gale a month ago. And now three turbines have been wrecked in the latest bout of rough weather – sweeping away any remaining illusions that strong winds simply mean more electricity being generated.

The damage raises yet more questions about the ability of such machines to cope with serious weather, let alone produce very much electricity. Adding to such concerns will be the revelation yesterday that wind farms in Scotland were paid nearly £300,000 in the first five days of this year to close down because it was too windy.

The three damaged turbines all stand within a mile of one another in the countryside around Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. The one in Windmill Lane in the village of Upper Cumberworth lost one of its three blades, and another in the same village lost two. A third, in nearby Hepworth, lost all three, with debris blown across a road into a neighbouring property.

The damage occurred on Thursday night when, according to the Met Office wind speeds near Huddersfield peaked at 77mph during fierce storms which felled trees, tore off roof tiles and damaged power cables.

Local residents say the falling blades could have injured or killed someone as they were flung to the ground. Frances Barnes, who has ten acres of grazing land for horses nearby, said: ‘It is worrying. People objected to the plans when they first went in – not because it is a windmill but because it is so close to a busy road.

‘It is frightening to think what may have happened had one of the blades flown into the road and hit a car, or indeed if the wind turbine had come down.’

The 10kw turbines were made by Evoco, which says they have been through a ‘four-year period of in-house testing’. The company, which claimed on its website they could ‘withstand harsh winters and wind speeds in excess of 90mph’ has begun an investigation.

The turbines are not part of a wind farm but sold individually to landowners to generate their own electricity and sell any excess back to the National Grid. The company said it had installed 100 turbines in the area and all have been ‘braked’ so that they stop spinning until modifications are made.

A spokesman said: ‘We have recently experienced a series of turbine faults in a localised area of rural West Yorkshire area during record-breaking high winds.

‘Evoco turbines have recently weathered three lots of hurricane force winds, in which the overwhelming majority of our turbines have operated without any problems.

‘No one was hurt in the incidents, which are being investigated thoroughly. Health and safety issues are of primary importance to us, and we work to rigorous standards to maintain our excellent record.’

Christine Smith, a local Conservative councillor said: ‘This shows they can be very dangerous, these blades could have fallen on someone’s car or home. They are lucky someone was not walking nearby.

‘Wind turbines are flawed, they don’t work when it’s too windy, and don’t work when it’s not windy enough. There are much better alternatives to use less energy such as under-floor heating and insulation.

‘These companies are putting in applications left, right and centre, and telling people they can make a lot of money out of them, but I think we need to look at some of these concerns before allowing any more to be built.’

Last month a 300ft turbine in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, erupted in flames during gales of 165mph. It was said to have been switched off, but had a ‘brake system failure’.

In Scotland the £300,000 payments over the first five days of this year were shared by four turbine operators. The controversial ‘constraint payments’ were made because they produced more energy than the National Grid could handle and had to shut down.

Up to 32,000 wind turbines could be built in England and Wales over the next 40 years to meet government targets. Last year 17 wind farm operators were paid £7million to shut down on 40 occasions between January and September.


EPA Attacks on Mercury Will Kill Jobs

Alan Caruba

To understand how the Environmental Protection Agency operates, one must first understand that it lies all the time. Its “estimates” are bogus. Its claims of lives saved are bogus.

It thrives on scare-mongering to a public that is science-challenged, but the science remains and the EPA must be challenged to save the nation from the loss of the energy it needs to function. It must be challenged to unleash the huge economic benefits of energy resources—coal, oil, and natural gas—that can reverse our present economic decline.

The latest outrage is the MACT rule—an acronym for “maximum achievable control technology” intended to reduce mercury emissions and other trace gases. The rule is 1,117 pages long. Its purpose is to shut down coal-fired power plants that generate over fifty percent of all the electricity used daily in the United States of America.

The value of the total benefits asserted by the EPA is alleged to be $6 million. Not billion, but million. The MACT rule would force 14.7 gigawatts—enough power for more than eleven million households—to be “retired” from the power grip in the 2014-15 period when the rules take effect.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works says, “The economic analysis of the Obama EPA’s MACT paints a bleak picture for economic recovery as it will cost $11 billion to implement, increase electricity rates for every American, and, along with the Cross-State rule, destroy nearly 1.4 million jobs.”

MACT is all about mercury in the environment of the nation. On May 25, 2011, the Wall Street Journal published a brief opinion piece by Willie Soon, a natural scientist at Harvard, co-authored by Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. It was titled “The Myth of Killer Mercury.”

Here are a few of the facts it offered.

“Mercury has always existed naturally in the Earth’s environment. A 2009 study found mercury deposits in Antarctic ice across 650,000 years.”

“Mercury is found in air, water, rocks, soil and trees, which absorb it from the environment.”

There is “200,000,000 tons of mercury naturally present in seawater” that “has never posed a danger to any living thing.”

“U.S. forest fires emit at least 44 tons (of mercury) per year; cremation of human remains discharges 26 tons; Chinese power plants eject 400 tons; and volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources spew out 9,000-10,000 additional tons per year.”

“Since our power plants account for less than 0.5% of all the mercury in the air we breathe, eliminating every milligram of it will do nothing about the other 99.5% in our atmosphere.”

This is the same EPA “logic” that insists on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere when all life on Earth depends on it as plant food for all vegetation. More CO2 mean more crops for humans and livestock, healthier forests and jungles, and food for the Earth’s wildlife population.

In a foreword to “Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry”, Dr. Jay Lehr, the Science Director of The Heartland Institute, wrote, “This administration is pushing an unprecedented radical environmental agenda.”

The EPA, along with major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and others, have engaged for decades in a massive propaganda effort to convince Americans they are imperiled by the nation’s air and water. It is a lie. As the author of “Regulators Gone Wild”, Rich Trzupeck notes, “Though our world is actually cleaner than ever, most Americans are convinced it is dirtier.”

“Toxicity,” wrote Trzupeck, “is a matter of dose, as sober scientists have observed since ancient times. A particular compound may kill you if you drink it, but a few parts per billion of the same compound can have no effect at all…one can find toxic air pollutants in the parts-per-billion level in human breath.”

The EPA’s latest rule, which will no doubt be subject to lawsuits, is a killer MACT. It is not about mercury or other trace gases. It is about deliberately depriving the nation of energy which in turn means less jobs, less growth, and a third world lifestyle being imposed on Americans by the radical environmentalists inside the Obama administration.


Shale Gas Abundance Turns the Tables on Petroleum Powers

And undermines Greenie shrieks about future resource shortages

Countries that have always depended on imported oil and gas, like Chile, Paraguay, Poland or Ukraine, and especially heavy consumers such as the United States and China, could become self-sufficient in natural gas in the near future and even start exporting it.

Shale gas - natural gas extracted from shale rock - may well be several times more abundant than the proven reserves of conventional natural gas on the planet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Moreover there are large volumes of natural gas in sandstones, and other non-conventional sources.

But the real news from EIA studies is that shale gas is abundant in territories previously regarded as poor in fossil fuels or dependent on imports: China, the United States and Argentina head the list, but large reserves are also found in South Africa, Australia, Poland, France, Chile, Sweden, Paraguay, Pakistan and India.

"The global energy chessboard is changing, and markets will be realigned. Countries that have never had so much available energy will become self-sufficient, and perhaps even exporters," Luis Alberto Terrero, head of the Venezuelan Gas Processors Association (AVPG), told IPS.

As gas supplies grow, "fossil fuels may become cheaper, the growth of alternative energies will slow down, and new alliances, investments and trade networks will be established," Terrero said.

Global proven reserves of conventional gas total 6,608 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), according to statistics from British-based oil giant BP, and the largest deposits are in Russia (1,580 Tcf), Irán (1,045 Tcf), Qatar (894 Tcf) and Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan (283 Tcf each).

An EIA study published in April 2011 found practically the same volume (6,620 Tcf) of shale gas deemed recoverable in just 32 countries, and the reserves are differently distributed, with China possessing 1,275 Tcf, the United States 862, Argentina 774, Mexico 681, South Africa 485 and Australia 396 Tcf.

Furthermore, some countries long dependent on foreign suppliers would have a huge resource base compared with their consumption: for example France and Poland, which import 98 and 64 percent, respectively, of the gas they consume, are in possession of shale gas reserves estimated at over 180 Tcf each.

In South America, giant oil producer Venezuela is estimated to have only 11 Tcf of shale gas, barely one-twentieth of its conventional gas reserves, while Brazil and Chile, which currently import about half the gas they consume, possess estimated shale gas deposits of 226 and 64 Tcf, respectively.

Paraguay has an estimated 62 Tcf of shale gas, nearly three times the conventional gas reserves of Bolivia, the top exporter of natural gas in South America. Uruguay, which imports all of its oil and gas as it lacks both, has at least 21 Tcf of shale gas.

"So far this century, this is the biggest innovation in energy, in terms of scale and impact," according to U.S. analyst Daniel Yergin, author of a classic history of the oil industry, "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power", who emphasised that one-third of all the gas produced in the United States is already extracted from shale gas reserves.

High volumes of water are used for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the method of extracting shale gas, which can also cause seismic activity. Disposal of the waste water may cause pollution of surface and groundwater. Extracting shale gas from a platform with six wells can use 170,000 cubic metres of water.

Therefore exploration for non-conventional gas must go hand-in-hand with technologies to reduce water consumption and the other harmful effects, including destruction of the landscape.

Terrero noted, for example, that exploitation of extra-heavy crude in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt or under the North Sea used to be regarded as technologically non-viable, yet today production is going full steam ahead, while drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic will proliferate from 2012 onward.

Furthermore, high oil prices of over 100 dollars a barrel encourage operators to explore for, produce and sell not only shale gas but also "tight gas" (trapped in impermeable, non-porous sandstone or other rock formations) as well as shale oil and "tight oil", similarly locked underground.

"We're heading toward greater availability of fossil fuels. Oil, gas and coal represent 80 percent of the global energy mix, and will continue to predominate for decades," Kenneth Ramírez, a professor of geopolitics and energy at the Central University of Venezuela, told IPS.

In 2010, world consumption was 12 billion tonnes of oil-equivalent, including 4.03 billion tonnes of oil (up from 3.57 billion in 2000), 3.56 billion tonnes of coal (2.4 in 2000), 2.86 billion tonnes of gas (2.17), 776 million tonnes of oil-equivalent in hydroelectricity (600), 626 million in nuclear energy (584) and only 159 million in renewable energies (51 million in 2000), according to BP.

In Ramírez's view, "the abundance and new distribution of reserves of shale gas and other non-conventional fossil fuels will affect predictions about the relationship between energy and the economy, and will have major geopolitical effects.

"An initial effect is that the largest and best discoveries are outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)," which will see its influence on the global energy market diminish in the long run, the expert said.

At the same time, Ramírez said, Russia will embark on the race to consolidate its position as a major global actor on the basis of its energy resources; Canada will emerge as a world oil power; and the United States, its supply secure, could feel freer from the vagaries of Middle East conflicts.

The same could be said for emerging nations of the global South, such as China, India, South Africa and Brazil, which will be able to avail themselves of abundant non-conventional gas.

In Latin America, production in Bolivia or Trinidad and Tobago, or the offshore projects in Venezuela, no longer appears so essential for the long term, while in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila and the southern Argentine province of Neuquén, drilling is under way for the first shale oil and gas extractions.

The big disadvantage of shale gas, despite the industry's hopes for developing more eco-friendly technologies, is its impact on the environment during production and transport.

The extraction of shale gas requires large quantities of water mixed with sand and chemical additives. The carbon footprint - the amount of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases emitted by the process - is much greater than for conventional gas production.

Fracking involves injecting this fluid under pressure into drill holes deep in the earth's crust, to create fractures in the rock that increase the rate of recovery of shale gas. This process runs the risk of damaging the subsoil, soils, surface and underground water tables, the landscape and communication routes if the arrangements for extracting and transporting the material are defective or mishandled.

More methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is released during shale gas extraction and use than with conventional methods, and this adds to global warming. But so far, environmental concerns have not abated the global thirst for energy resources like those trapped in shale formations.


Australia: Greenies don't like being watched

Greens leader Bob Brown has accused Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson of turning Australia into a police state, after reports he pushed for increased surveillance of environmental activists.

A report in Fairfax newspapers details documents, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, that show Mr Ferguson requested additional monitoring of anti-coal mining groups and other environmental groups.

Senator Brown claims coal and fossil fuel companies pressured Mr Ferguson into having the federal police spy on environment groups who protest against energy companies.

Senator Brown says tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money is being spent having private contractors monitor activists.

"That paying of private corporations to spy on community groups is an abuse of taxpayers' money," he said. "Martin Ferguson should never have been allowed to promote that and it should be stopped. "The Attorney-General, if not the Prime Minister, should see that it stops immediately."

A spokeswoman for Mr Ferguson says governments are concerned with maintaining energy security. She says this includes maintaining the rule of law and energy supply, where issues-motivated groups seek to engage in unlawful activity.


Australia: CO2 shortage may flatten soft drink supplies

Perhaps they should attach a pipe to Al Gore. He seems to have a huge supply of the stuff

The temporary closure of two key sources of carbon dioxide gas, including Orica's controversial explosives plant near Newcastle, is causing supply shortages of the essential ingredient that makes soft drinks bubble.

The major supermarkets say supply disruptions have been minimal so far, but there could be shortages of soft drink if carbon dioxide production does not return to normal soon.

Orica's Kooragang Island explosives plant, which produces ammonia, makes carbon dioxide as a by-product. The plant has been closed since August following an accident and is only now in the process of slowly being brought back online.

Gas supplier BOC runs a carbon dioxide production facility at Kooragang Island which remains out of action until the explosives plant resumes feeding it raw gas for processing. BOC says it is sourcing alternative supplies from Queensland and Victoria to maintain supply in New South Wales. "BOC is currently maintaining normal CO2 supply in other Australian states," the company said in a statement.

Another major source of CO2, Origin and AWE's Lang Lang processing plant in Victoria, is closed for upgrades for about four months.

The production disruptions are starting to hurt supply to Australia's major soft-drink makers. Schweppes says it has experienced a shortage of CO2 at its largest east coast facilities over the past two months.

"As a consequence of this shortage, we have not been able to produce the volume of soft drinks that we normally would be producing at this time of the year, particularly at our factory in Victoria," the company said in a statement. "This has resulted in product shortages, largely in Victoria. We have put several workarounds in place to minimise the impact to customers."

Schweppes's production is also being cut by a lockout of about 150 staff at a factory in Victoria.

A Coles spokesman says the supermarket giant has seen an impact on the availability of some Schweppes products, but has so far still been able to cover that with supplies from other providers.

A Woolworths spokeswoman says the company is watching the situation closely. "We've not yet experienced notable supply shortages of carbonated products. Having said that, we would be concerned about supply if the CO2 shortage was not rectified very soon," the company said.

Schweppes says its carbon dioxide supplier has advised it will be increasing supplies from the end of next week, allowing full soft drink production to resume.

But Orica says the restart of Kooragang Island is a complex process and there is no firm timeline for the resumption of full production.



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


7 January, 2012

Climate change 'will boost British farmers’

Coming from official Britain, this mention of positives is quite amazing

Climate change will be good for British farming, according to Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, with exotic crops such as melons already thriving.

In a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference, she said that, although problems such as droughts would become more frequent, warmer weather would also mean a longer growing season and less frost damage, allowing the introduction of crops such as peaches, maize and sunflowers. Already 10,000 melons are expected to be harvested in Kent this year.

Mrs Spelman said farmers must “seize the opportunities” of increased production as well as preparing for more droughts and floods by building reservoirs and drains. “Climate change could mean reduced water availability. Also, soil moisture deficits, heat stress on animals, floods, droughts and the loss of some of the best agricultural land,” she said. “It could also bring longer growing seasons, reduced frost damage, and the opportunity to introduce new crops and livestock species.”

An advice service for farmers wll offer tips on how to adapt to climate change such as the kind of crops they can plant and new breeds of sheep and cows that do well in a warmer climate. Farmers are also being encouraged to use water more efficiently through new irrigation methods and produce their own energy through solar power and from animal waste.

A study commissioned by the conference from the Scottish Agricultural College even suggested that the boost from a warmer climate could help Britain compete in the global market as production was reduced elsewhere.

Mrs Spelman warned that British agriculture would struggle in the future against emerging economies such as Brazil and China, but expertise in food safety, technology and adapting to climate change could be exported.

Last year was the second warmest year on record in the UK, with droughts in the South East and Anglia lasting into December. The Met Office predicts that the number of households under “water stress” will increase to almost a quarter of the population by 2100 as the average temperature rises by up to 3C in the South. Over the same period, an estimated 96 per cent of agricultural land will become more suitable for crops.

A presentation by the English Wine Producers association warned that so many vineyards were being planted because of warmer weather that there was a risk that England would lose its reputation for only high quality wine.


In the battle of man vs. nature, give me man

Welcoming the new year contemplating the sunset comfortably ensconced on a cliffside balcony high above the manicured banks of the Miami River, it’s hard not to marvel at the hand of man. Behold as lights defeat the growing darkness, lending sparkle to a condo canyon that was once a malarial swamp. Yes, the pristine wilderness is a wonderful place to visit, but most rational people would rebel if forced to live there.

All living beings transform the environment to suit their needs, but none as thoroughly as man. This virtue is essential to progress and civilization, yet today it is under assault as never before.

The impetus for this assault is fundamentally religious, though its practitioners present a scientific pose. To understand how the new religion is structured one need only replace the deity with Mother Nature, the messiah with Al Gore, the devil with carbon, carnal sin with consumption of non-renewable resources, and blasphemy with global warming denial. The result is a neo-Puritanism that denigrates the accomplishments that separate man from beast. The neo-Puritans yearn for a return to a harmonious Eden where humans are just another animal that knows its place.

How did we get here? The birth of environmentalism is actually quite laudable given the extent to which we despoiled our surroundings on the way to becoming both rich and aware enough to start cleaning up after ourselves. Despite some foot dragging, we’ve done a magnificent job of doing just that over the past 40 years—making our air more breathable, our water more drinkable, and our surroundings less cluttered with the cast-off detritus of our material progress. The Chinese will no doubt do the same over the next 40 years as they grow tired of marinating in their own effluvia.

So just as many elements of Judeo-Christian ethics can be adopted as an aid to virtue without a need to accept the extreme dogmas of organized religion, so can many elements of environmentalism aid us in caring for the planet without having to buy into the original sin that derides man as a form of pollution.

If getting along with these people were only a matter of religious toleration it would be manageable, but it is not, as they have supplanted the real threats posed by water and air pollution with the ineffable mystery of opaque computer simulations forecasting doom. And what is the only way to avoid Judgment Day, according to the high priests of our new world order? Surrender the economy. Now!

The political problem, as stated by British blogger James Delingpole, is that, “Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation.” As progressive polemicist Naomi Klein points out in her recent must-read attack on both capitalism and climate change skeptics in The Nation, the inconvenient truth about critics who warn that global warming alarmism is being used to lay the foundation for one-world socialism is that, “[T]hey are not wrong.”

After an ad hominem attack on several pro-free market organizations—including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, for which I write—Klein describes the progressive master plan quite clearly.
Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency. We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations, relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe even nationalize some of them, cut military spending and recognize our debts to the global South. … In short, climate change supercharges the pre-existing case for virtually every progressive demand on the books, binding them into a coherent agenda.

Indeed, global warming alarmism packs so much power to propel political and economic transformation in a statist direction that if it didn’t already exist, leftists would have to invent it.

So, where does this leave us now? Combine religiously based environmentalism with ideologically driven progressivism, blend in the mindless street agitation of the Occupy movement, use it to slap a fresh coat of paint on a failed president grasping for relevance in the midst of an economic meltdown, and you get a combustible mixture primed to explode some time before November.

The question is: In whose face will this blow up? Will we give a clear mandate to leaders who celebrate man’s exceptionalism, understanding that the incidental problems created as we harness technology to bend nature to our will can be solved using more technology? Or will we cede power over every aspect of our lives to an elite that claims to speak for the inanimate environment and seeks to command us to live with less, redistribute our property, and empower politically appointed central planners to scale down and reshape civilization to appease Mother Nature’s wrath?

The choice will be yours. You have ten months to make up your mind.


Pike Research survey shows decline of consumer interest in plug-in electric vehicles

Yes, contrary to all the green writers and readers out there, and just in time for the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit , Pike Research’s latest survey shows consumer interest in plug-in electric vehicles has declined in the past two years. Question may be, why? Bet you can guess.

Nonetheless, the latest news release by Pike research indicates 2012 will be an important test of the commercial viability of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). Two automakers, Chevrolet and Nissan, ended 2010 with the launch of their first highway-capable PEVs for the mass market; and many other auto manufacturers are working to electrify their lineups with new models. Toyota especially plans to launch the PEV Prius in January 2012 and other manufacturers have plans to launch plug-in electric models in the near future.

However, as public awareness of electric vehicles continues to build with the increase in model launch activity, the new survey from Pike Research finds that consumer interest in purchasing PEVs has gradually declined over the past two years. In late 2011, the cleantech market intelligence firm conducted the third annual edition of its Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey using a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample of 1,051 adults in the United States. In the first edition, conducted in 2009, 48% of respondents stated that they would be “extremely” or “very” interested in purchasing a PEV. In 2010 that number declined moderately to 44% and in 2011 it fell further to 40%.

Can you guess the reasons?

“Price is the most significant barrier to consumer interest in electric vehicles,” says research director John Gartner. “About two-thirds of our survey respondents who stated they would not be interested in purchasing a PEV said that they felt such a vehicle would be too expensive. Others said that they would want to wait a few years until the technology is more proven, and almost half said that a PEV would not have sufficient driving range for their needs. These are all key issues, both real and perceived, that automakers will need to address if PEVs are to move successfully out of the early adopter phase.”


A new "green revolution" in Bangladesh

With floods, droughts and other calamities battering deltaic Bangladesh regularly, farmers need little prompting in switching to climate-resistant varieties of rice, wheat, pulses and other staples.

The crop diversification, actively supported by the government’s research institutions, is already benefitting the 145 million people of this densely populated, predominantly agricultural South Asian country.

Mosammet Sabera Begum, 38, a farmer in Purbadebu village, Rangpur district, about 370 km from the capital, earned Bangladeshi taka 14,000 (177 dollars) last summer selling paddy cultivated on two acres of land leased from a local landlord.

"I’d planted ‘paijam’ (an early maturing rice breed) which is ready for harvest about 30 days earlier than traditional varieties that take 150 days. It is superior in quality, has higher yield and fetches better pric," said Sabera, mother of two teenage girls.

The rice variety that Sabera resorted to, developed last year by the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA,) withstands floods, drought and pest attacks and gives 4.5 - 5.5 tonnes per hectare compared to regular varieties which yield a maximum of three tonnes per hectare.

"The ‘BINA Dhan-7’ variety holds extra benefit for farmers. It can be sown during the monga (lean season beginning September) or while regular varieties are still maturing in the fields. So, in a sense, it is an additional crop harvested in shorter duration," Abdus Salam, head of research at BINA, told IPS.

"BINA Dhan–7 has good economic, social and ecological acceptance. The biggest advantage of this variety is that it takes a shorter time to grow even during extreme drought conditions."

In fact, BINA Dhan–7 combats seasonal food shortages by creating job opportunities for farm labourers who would wait for, on average, two extra months before the regular variety of rice would ripen.

Far in the southwest, 43-year-old Nargis Ara Begum dries harvested paddy in an open courtyard that she and her husband, Mukul Miah, had cultivated on highly saline soil.

"We never expected to get such a good harvest in salty soil," said Nargis who owns the small granary next to her home in the Chaukani village of Satkhira district, located some 320 km southwest of Dhaka.

Nargis and her husband had cultivated a rice variety developed by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) named, ‘BRRI -47’, which survives highly saline and water-logged conditions.

Farmers who had given up hope of growing crops in salty soil are keen to follow Nagis’s example and ready to invest in the new rice variety.

Not very far from Koyra lives Asma Begum, 32, a woman farmer in the Boro Nawabpur village of coastal Bagerhat district, who borrowed 914 dollars from a local non-government organisation to cultivate rice in saline soil, is confident of recovering her investment.

"I trained at the agriculture extension department learning to handle saplings. I heard that farmers in other districts successfully raised BRRI-47 and earned good profits," said Asma, who now trains other local farmers, mostly women, to cultivate BRRI-47 rice.

Last summer, in Raghunathpur village in the Birampur sub-district of north-western Dinajpur district, Raxmi Mayaboti, 39, and her husband, Kailash Sarker, cultivated a new variety of wheat on three acres of land in the arid Barind Tract – a desertified region spread over 8,000 sq km.

The environment here is dry and hot during summer and growing crops in such conditions is considered impossible, except for ‘BARI Gom 25’ a new variety of wheat developed by the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council(BARC).

"We had no problem raising wheat on the dry soil," said Mayaboti. "Unlike traditional varieties of wheat, BARI Gom-25 requires water only in the initial stages and once the plants mature there is no need for further irrigation and nurturing."

Other climate-proof varieties of crops developed in Bangladesh and available in the market include tomatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, pulses, mustard oil and sugarcane.

But Bangladesh’s agricultural institutions have been most successful with cereals. They have developed some 190 varieties of wheat and rice capable of withstanding drought, salinity, flooding or temperature extremes also come up with six salt-tolerant pulses.

Despite such advances, experts feel that Bangladesh needs better cooperation from international agriculture research agencies to help farmers adapt to climate change.

Wais Kabir, executive chairman of BARC, told IPS: "We need more skilled scientists, the latest biotechnology equipment and, above all, better international collaboration to deal with the climate crisis."

The anxiety is understandable. Bangladesh’s ministry of agriculture estimates that about 80,000 hectares of arable land are lost every year due to natural disasters, prolonged floods, saline water intrusion and extended drought.


Nothing new about "extreme weather"

Not even the godfearing could escape the wrath of the storm. The Bishop of Bath and Wells was tucked up in his four-poster bed when the wind blew in the roof of his episcopal palace. He tried to flee but it was too late.

The chimney stacks came crashing down, plunging bishop and wife through the floor, burying both in the rubble.

He was found, it was reported, ‘with his brains dash’d out’ while she had wrapped herself in the sheets out of sheer terror and suffocated. They were the most eminent victims of the most catastrophic and destructive storm ever recorded as hitting the shores of Britain.

The country has trembled this week, rocked by 100mph-plus winds which caused injuries and two reported deaths, but these were relatively endurable conditions compared with the tiger of all tempests, the Great Storm of 1703.

It is often overlooked. Historians acknowledge the bad weather that almost stopped William the Conqueror in 1066 and the ‘protestant wind’ saw off the Spanish Armada in 1588. The epic snow-bound winter of 1947 and the forest- felling ‘hurricane’ of 1987 have both passed into legend.

But the daddy of all these disasters — the one against which this week’s heavy winds can justifiably be measured — was three centuries ago, in the reign of Queen Anne.

As an area of low-pressure tracked its way across the centre of the country on the Friday night and Saturday morning of November 26/27, 8,000 lives were lost, a large swathe of the Royal Navy was wiped out and the Eddystone lighthouse off Plymouth was obliterated.

‘Never was such a storm of wind, such a hurricane and tempest known in the memory of man,’ wrote a chronicler of the times, ‘nor the like to be found in the histories of England.’

Gusts in the English Channel topped 140mph. So fierce was the wind that a ship torn from its moorings in the Helford River in Cornwall was blown helplessly, its cowering crew still on board as mountainous seas tossed it, for 200 miles before grounding on the Isle of Wight eight hours later.

The low pressure system causing all this was astonishing. Daniel Defoe, writer and political commentator (and later the renowned author of Robinson Crusoe) could not believe how low the mercury in his barometer had sunk, and suspected at first that his children had been messing about with the instrument.

What was actually taking place was what historian Martin Brayne terms ‘the most terrifying and catastrophic storm this island has ever known’. The hurricane-force winds caused havoc on land.

Trees were uprooted and reduced to mere matchwood. Hundreds of the windmills that dotted the landscape were destroyed and at least one burst into flames from the friction as the sails whizzed round at extraordinary speed — an uncanny precursor of the modern- day wind turbine that caught fire at Ardrossan in Scotland during high winds last month.

Church spires — which a combination of religious piety and architectural technology had been making ever higher — toppled. A curate in Kent was distraught to see his landmark spire, close to 200ft and the tallest in the county, dashed to the ground.

Lead was stripped from roofs, simply rolled up like scrolls by the unstoppable force of the wind. Tons of it were torn from the roof of Queen’s College, Oxford, and then sent hurtling through the window of the church opposite.

At Cambridge, pinnacles were blown from the top of King’s College Chapel. Gloucester, Ely and Bristol cathedrals took batterings, and the godly were convinced that the biblical proportions of what was happening meant Judgment Day was upon them.

Homes were just as vulnerable,with falling chimneys a widespread hazard. A moralising chronicler recounted the tragic tale of a child asleep in a cradle a foot from its parents’ bed. ‘The fall of a chimney beat out the infant’s brains and mashed the whole body, in the father’s and mother’s sight. ‘From whence we may observe that, in a general calamity innocency suffers with the guilty, and the poor babe is destroyed with a stroke of divine vengeance while the sinful parents are permitted to stretch out their lives.’ ....

Much more here

Green movement out of gas

In 2012, three years into President Barack Obama’s first term, green activists are asking, “What went wrong?” Where are all the new laws and regulations regulating energy use and the natural resource production? Where are the public-private partnerships signalling a new era of enironmentalist problem-solving? Where’s Al Gore? Shouldn’t he be lurking over President Obama’s shoulder, smiling, as the President signs yet another green jobs bill into law?

The question is a good one but one not easily answered. In the decades since the birth of the environmental movement, something’s clearly gone wrong. Other movements pushing for political and social change have altered the national discussion and elected candidates at every level of government.

Look at the Tea Party. Born only in 2009, it’s pushed back against the agenda of Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, forcing Congress to heel and almost sending the federal government into default. But the environmental movement seems dead in the water.

Environmentalism Fails: Legislation

In late 2010 Al Gore offered three reasons why the U.S. Senate failed to enact into law a cap-and-trade bill: Republican partisanship, the recession, and the influence of special interests. He had a point. Despite endorsements from such Republican senators as John Warner, John McCain and Lindsay Graham, every effort to pass comprehensive climate change legislation during the preceding five years had floundered in the Senate.

In 2007 Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman (Independent) and Virginia Republican John Warner introduced a cap-and trade bill called the Climate Security Act. Their Lieberman-Warner bill was approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee and sent to the floor by the committee chairman, Barbara Boxer of California. The bill’s advocates said “prompt, decisive action is critical, since global warming pollutants can persist in the atmosphere for more than a century.”

The Lieberman-Warner bill aimed to cap greenhouse gas emissions, lowering emission levels each year until 2050, when emissions were supposed to be down to 63 percent below 2005 levels. To achieve that goal, the federal government would issue right-to-emit permits to electric utilities and plants in the transportation and manufacturing industries. The bill also provided financial incentives to companies and families to reduce emissions.

The bill was doomed. Full Senate debate took place in the summer of 2008, when the average price of gasoline was well above $4 per gallon. Republican opponents successfully labeled it the biggest tax hike in history, one that imposed an enormous tax and regulatory burden on industries that would pass the cost burden onto consumers already struggling to pay for gasoline at the pump.

Republicans beat the 2007 climate change bill because they argued that it would raise gas and home heating prices, cost jobs and cripple the economy. It didn’t help that 31,000 scientists rejected the notion of man-made global warming in a letter signed and circulated two weeks before the start of the Senate debate.

The Movement Runs Out of Gas

Americans’ interest in taking action against global warming is waning, but environmental groups insist that public opinion plays no role in explaining Congress’s failure to enact comprehensive climate change legislation. Instead, green groups attribute the failure to achieve their goals to the money and power of their opponents. According to their reckoning, environmental groups are stymied by what amounts to a conspiracy of the oil industry, global warming deniers, and the Koch brothers’ vast right-wing network.

In the summer of 2011, Dr. Matthew Nisbet of American University released a pioneering 80-page report, which undermines this argument. Nisbet’s report, “Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate,” rejects the argument that the environmental movement has been outspent by right-wing donors like the Koch brothers. It says the data is inconclusive on how much supporters and opponents of a cap-and-trade bill are spending to affect the outcome. For instance, Nisbet compared the budgets of the conservative movement (think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations) to national environmental organizations. He found that in 2009, major conservative outlets took in a total of $907 million in revenue, and spent $787 million. By comparison, green groups took in $1.7 billion that year and spent $1.4 billion. Another $394 million went specifically to climate-change related programs.

Nisbet also looked at lobbying. In the aggregate, conservatives spent a bit more: $272 million vs. $229 million. But in election spending, they far outspent environmentalists in 2010. For instance, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $33 million, the Karl Rove-advised American Crossroads spent $22 million and its affiliated Crossroads GPS spent $17 million in political contributions. By contrast, the League of Conservation Voters spent $5.5 million, Defenders of Wildlife spent $1 million and the Sierra Club only $700,000.

However, state ballot initiatives tell a different story. California’s Proposition 23 is a case in point. The 2010 initiative, heavily funded by Texas-based oil companies, would have halted California regulations on greenhouse gas emissions until there was a decline in the state’s rate of unemployment. Supporters of the measure raised about $10.6 million. But opponents raised $25 million, with significiant sums from environmental groups. The National Wildlife Foundation reported spending $3 million, the National Resources Defense Council $1.67 million, and the League of Conservation Voters $1.1 million.

Nisbet also looked at foundation funding for climate change projects. What he found confirmed a 2007 study, “Design to Win: Philanthropy’s Role in the Fight Against Global Warming,” which noted that philanthropists are strategic funders of environmental causes and seek to achieve specific policy goals.

It’s clear that overall, the environmental movement does not have a money problem. So what’s the problem? One prominent environmentalist, Daniel J. Weiss of Center for American Progress Action Fund, argues that the recession has played an outsized role in thwarting environmental goals. “It makes people more sensitive to the argument that various proposals will cost jobs,” says Weiss. “Oil and coal industries have made these arguments every time…but they’re falling on more receptive ears now.”

Tom Borelli, a climate-change skeptic at the National Center for Public Policy Research, agrees that a weak economy explains environmentalism’s downward spiral. “All along they were riding the wealth of our nation,” says Borelli. “Now the whole green bubble is exploding.” He points out that the movement’s energy agenda—the war on fossil fuels and the push for renewable energy—have always been unsustainable. “That’s where they failed.”

Much more here


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


6 January, 2012

Environmentalists are bad for the environment

Matt Patterson applies their own "logic" to Greenies themselves

A few weeks ago, I was walking the streets of Washington, D.C. when I happened to look up and catch the eye of a red-faced young man wearing the two things which cause me dread -- the naive optimism of youth and a shirt that read "Go Green!"

He had a clipboard, too. Never a good sign. Nor was he alone -- his green-shirted cohorts swarmed the sidewalk, accosting every passersby whose attention they could capture with: "Do you have a moment for the environment?"

Fortunately, I speak fluent liberalese, so I understood this request to really mean, "Can I try and convince you the Earth is warming even as we stand here and shiver, and that you could do something to stop it by handing over money to a complete stranger on the street?"

Frankly, I was appalled by the obliviousness of these seemingly well-meaning do-gooders. Do they know how many trees died to produce the pamphlets and flyers they were distributing will-nilly?

I'm sure they communicated with each other via email and text as they planned their eco-harassment campaign .... don't they know that computers use electricity, and that electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, which puts dangerous amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere?

And I'm quite sure that these environmentalists came from homes heated by, you guessed it, fossil fuels!

So you see, by their own measure these apparent green warriors are actually the worst sort of climate criminals -- why, the very breath puffing from their mouths, visible and vaporous, was bursting with poisonous CO2, even as it carried honeyed words of environmental concern. Imagine!

It just goes to prove what I have said all along -- environmentalists are terrible for the environment. For another example just look at the green movement's desperate effort to kill TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The 1,700-mile pipeline, which would run from Hardisty, Alberta, to Port Arthur, Texas, would help liberate untold millions of barrels of dangerous fossil fuels from Canada's tar sands -- yet enviros are bound and determined to keep this poison in the bosom of Mother Earth. Terrible, really.

I will give the environmental movement credit for one thing that did actually help the Earth: In 1972, thanks to the tireless activism of the Environmental Defense Fund, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a ban on all domestic uses of the chemical pesticide DDT.

The result, as noted by the American Council on Science and Health: "The banning of its domestic use led to its diminished production in the United States -- and less availability of DDT for the developing world. The results were disastrous: at least 1-2 million people continue to die from malaria each year, 30-60 million or more lives needlessly lost since the ban took effect. This is especially tragic since there was hope of eradicating the disease altogether when DDT was first introduced and its potential was recognized."

So thanks to the environmentalists who pushed for the DDT ban, there are millions of fewer people on the planet, and we all know how bad for the environment people are. Way to go green!

But as for the pretender who shoved a flyer in my face that cold December morning, I passed him right by. I can't imagine whatever he was hawking could be as effective as the DDT ban.

Besides, if I'm going to give my money to a complete stranger, I'd just as soon give it to the very nice homeless man I see most days in DuPont Circle. At least I knew where his Christmas bounty was going; the same place as mine: Booze.


Global cooling hits sea turtles

Cold-stunned turtles washing ashore in NC

The cold snap plaguing large areas of the Tar Heel state is causing problems for sea turtles, who have begun washing up on shore in large numbers after being stunned by quickly-dropping water temperatures.

As of Thursday morning, 19 marine reptiles – three loggerheads, 16 green turtles – had been found on regional beaches, mostly in the Cape Lookout area.

Twelve of the green turtles died Wednesday night, but Jean Beasley, director of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Beach, said the rest of the group was showing some signs of life. “I think within 72 hours we should have a pretty good idea,” Beasley said late Wednesday. “It's going to take us a while to warm these turtles up.”

Because reptiles, including turtles, can't regulate their own body heat, they're susceptible to sudden, drastic shifts in water temperature. “If it's a gradual lowering of temperature, they can survive and do pretty well,” Beasley said. “But if they've been at 78 degrees and it drops into the lower 60s, they are probably going to stun.”

Cold-stunned turtles appear extremely lethargic and in some cases will stop moving entirely as more of their blood supply diverts to the core of their bodies, a condition Beasley said is a relatively common occurrence in North Carolina during the winter months.

“Last year, we had up over 150, and we had quite a few that died,” she said. “The longer they're exposed to the severe cold, the bigger impact it's going to have on their basic systems, their core body and their vital organs, so the sooner we can get them the greater chance they have.”

To recover from a cold stun, sea turtles must be warmed gradually. Raising their core temperature too quickly can result in a reverse shock, which can kill them, Beasley said. And though the extreme cold weather has passed, turtles may continue to wash up on shore in the coming days.


China airlines refuse to pay EU carbon charge

And Europe loses a big aircraft order as a warning shot

Chinese airlines will not pay a charge on carbon emissions imposed by the European Union from January 1, a national aviation industry group said Thursday.

The cap-and-trade scheme, which has angered the US and Chinese governments and airlines worldwide, came into force on Sunday after the European Union's highest court rejected a challenge brought by US carriers last month.

"China, of course, will not cooperate with the European Union on the ETS (emissions trading scheme)," said Chai Haibo, deputy secretary-general of the China Air Transport Association, which represents the country's airlines. "The CATA, on behalf of Chinese airlines, is strongly against the EU's improper practice of unilaterally forcing international airlines into its ETS," Chai said from Beijing, where the group is based.

He said the Chinese government was considering "counter-measures" against the European Union, but gave no details.

Airlines that refuse to comply could be fined with the possibility of being denied the right to land in the 27-nation EU in extreme cases, according to the Europeans.

State media has previously warned the EU scheme "infringes on national sovereignty, violates international aviation treaties and will lead to a trade war" in the sector.

The EU launched the ETS in 2005 in a bid to reduce carbon emissions of power stations and industrial plants. It decided to include airlines, responsible for three percent of global emissions, in the system in the absence of a global agreement to cap aviation emissions.

Under the EU scheme, airlines will have to pay for 15 percent of the polluting rights accorded to them in 2012, the figure then rising to 18 percent between 2013 and 2020.

China has said it fears its aviation sector will have to pay an additional 800 million yuan ($125 million) a year on flights originating or landing in Europe, and that the cost could be almost four times higher by 2020. The tax would affect all of China's major airlines -- including Air China, China Eastern and China Southern, the CATA previously told AFP.

China reportedly blocked an order by Hong Kong Airlines for billions of euros' worth of Airbus aircraft earlier this year in retaliation for the EU move, underscoring the potential for a significant trade row.

The Airlines for America association grudgingly indicated that its members would abide by the EU law, but "under protest" while pursuing legal options.

Chai said that Chinese airlines will not pass any additional costs to passengers for now, since they are not participating in the scheme. "We're not cooperating with them (EU countries), how could we charge customers such fees?" he said.


When Graft Won't Save You, It's Called Green Energy

John Ransom

The proof of the failure of solar power isn’t in the Solyndra bankruptcy, but in potential BKs by industry leaders like First Solar (FSLR), the largest solar company in the world.

Since May of 2008, when First Solar reached its all-time high of $311, the company has lost 90 percent of its value, falling to $31-$33. The company has been selling assets tied to government loans, insiders have been cashing out the stock and the number of short-sellers- those investors who are betting the stock will go down- now amounts to about 43 percent of the shares in public hands as of December 15, 2011. In the meantime CEO Robert Gillette exited stage right, with $30 million thank you from the company in October of 2011.

But he didn’t leave before First Solar received federal loan guarantees and other consideration to the tune of $3.5 billion.

Today, FSLR stock is worth about $3 billion in market capitalization even after federal, state and local largesse.

First Solar Stock Chart by YCharts

Thank you Robert Gillette. Between 2008 and 2011 Gillette and First Solar spent a little over $2 million on various lobbying activities along with $300,000 to various “green-friendly” candidates. That’s investment that Democrats at least can believe in. The market however isn’t as gullible.

When Obama was elected in the fall of 2008 several publications reached out to me to write about investments that would be “hot” and those that would be “not” with the new administration. The suggestion was that solar and other green technologies would be places that would be “hot.”

It was tempting at the time to put solar and other green technologies into the “hot” column because everyone knew that the Democrats were going to throw money at the “green” job industry.

In fact, the Western states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada- largely controlled by Democrats- were already throwing money at solar companies touting the jobs that would be created in the green energy field.

However, basing an investment philosophy on government intervention makes about as much sense as basing it on non-monetary gains like, oh, I don’t know, lowering carbon emissions.

Sounds great in theory, but return on investment isn’t a theory; it’s a prerequisite to successful investing.

Here’s what I wrote at the time for Hard Asset Investor:
Without these state mandates, solar power might still remain an interesting, but uneconomical alternative to all but the most dedicated environmentalists.

That's because the price per kilowatt hour for solar power electrical generation at the largest scale still hovers around $.21 per kilowatt hour, according to the website Old-fashioned coal-fired electrical generation only cost an average of $.0821 to $.1648 per kilowatt hour in 2007 depending on region, according to figures compiled by the Energy Information Administration. And competing alternative energy sources - like wind energy - are lower cost in most regions than solar, too. Solar's costs have to still come down substantially for a long-term boom to take hold.

But three years later, the economics of green energy make as little sense as they did back then even with generous government subsidies. Gone are many of the Democrat-controlled governments at the state level that championed green energy and the job creation benefits they were supposed to confer. They’ve been replaced by gaping state budget deficits that have little sympathy for green energy theory and a lot of room for common sense.

The big breakthroughs in cost-savings that have been predicted for solar haven’t come- solar still costs over $.20 per kilowatt hour, although devotees are still making brave promises of future cost savings. And while many blame oversupply in solar panels for the troubles plaguing the industry, oversupply generally isn’t a problem with industries that have actual demand.

In a piece by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), it was revealed that First Solar recently laid off half of its workforce at the Antelope Valley solar project. According to the NLPC, the company made a round of additional layoffs in December, trimming research and development staff.

That’s because the sales arrow is pointing in the wrong direction. Sales estimates have plunged from around $3.5 billion for 2012 to $2.8 billion and could deteriorate further. Earnings estimates have plunged as well.

In the past trailing twelve months the company has chewed through close to three-quarters of a billion dollars in levered cash-flow. Just three months ago analysts thought the company would generate earnings per share of around $10.48 according to estimates provided by Yahoo Finance. After revisions, earnings have been slashed to a consensus estimate of $4.19 for 2012.

“’I’m a little shocked’ by the cuts to forecasted per-share earnings, said Mark Bachman, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC in Boston who has a ‘positive’ rating on First Solar,’” according to “’They severely handicapped next year’s numbers.’”

For the solar industry as a whole it’s looking less and less like a handicap and more like a terminal disease.

And if First Solar can’t make it after all the subsidized loans, state incentives, money spent on lobbying and political donations, then someone ought to ask for their money back.
Taxpayers ought to be first in line for a refund.


Stand up and be counted for science

This morning, I noticed someone had visited and commented on an old thread from last year about the Republican vote to defund the IPCC. The comment showed a strong belief in science, and condemnation of the way politics and other non-scientific forces have tried to turn science into a tool of propaganda. What impressed me the most was that this is a person of good standing in the science community, who was prepared to put his full name and list his qualifications and institutional affiliation at the bottom of his comment.
IPCC should not only be defunded, it should be deleted as an agency. The reason is its misuse of the concept of science. It has never been meant to rely on correct science and uses science for one simple reason. People believe in science, since people have seen the result of powerful applications of it during 100 years.

IPCC uses this fact to “sell” its political message to get support from ordinary people. Science is a “brand” for selling propaganda. The only way to keep the IPCC is for it to skip any claim of being scientific at all and clearly declare what it really is: a political organization.

My tutor when writing my exam paper in meteorology was Bert Bolin, the founder of IPCC. He was for sure a screwed influential politician and a dishonest and ordinary scientist.

Hans Jelbring, BSc, meteorologist, Stockholm University, Civil engineer, electronics, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, PhD, institution of Paleogeophysics & geodynamics, Stockholm University.

We have been through a dark time when blacklists of scientists who disagree with the IPCC climate orthodoxy have been drawn up, editors have been threatened with being forced out of their jobs for allowing dissenting papers to be published in journals, correct science which disproves the orthodoxy position has been ignored and witch hunts on skeptical scientists and bloggers have been promoted.

The way the IPCC pursues its objectives is for me summed up by this quote from Sir Robert Watson who instructed the IPCC lead authors and core team to supply him with the material he needed for the Summary for Policy makers :
The key to success for the Synthesis Report and the SPM will be punchy take home messages, and thoughtful tables and figures.

Would you please send me comments by Friday, February 2. I think that the key to success will be a few well-crafted tables and figures. As soon as I receive your comments, I will write a 5-7 page SPM.

If you believe as we do, that science must be defended for its universality, honesty and open-ness, and those who misuse and subvert it as a tool to promote a narrow agenda must be prevented from calling themselves a scientific organisation, don’t be afraid to say who you are and what you believe.


Australia: Greenie fanaticism destroys crops

THE State Government has taken aim at a council's "stupid rule" banning hail nets after tonnes of farmers' fruit were destroyed in the Christmas Day storms.

Minister for agriculture and food security Peter Walsh slammed Yarra Ranges Council's "silly" rule stopping farmers putting hail nets over all of their crops, allowing more damage to be done in the Christmas Day hailstorms.

"It is wrong that Yarra Ranges Council thinks it more important to give people in passing cars an unblemished green vista than to protect farmers crops from destruction," he said. "What makes it more disappointing is that the damage could have been minimized except for stupid Yarra Ranges Council policies restricting use of protective hail nets."

"For many growers, hail netting provides the best form of protection against hail, yet council policy limits orchardists in green wedge zones to covering a maximum of only 60 per cent of their trees in hail nets, meaning almost half their orchard is left exposed to storms."

Yarra Ranges Mayor Graham Warren said the council was the first to develop a green wedge management plan focusing on "sustainable farming, a healthy biodiversity and valued landscapes".

He said a review of the current scheme was planned. "Council supports the use of hail netting by businesses in the Yarra Valley to protect their crops. All applications for hail netting are considered on their merits, including the business needs of applicants," he said.



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


5 January, 2012

Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake!

S. Fred Singer

In discussing the recent release of some 5,000 Climategate e-mails, blogger Anthony Watts uses the clever headline “They are real—and they’re spectacular.” He credits Jerry Seinfeld as the source. Following his example, I choose the headline “Fake! Fake! Fake! Fake!”—also taken from a Seinfeld episode—in discussing the surface temperatures generally reported for the latter part of the 20th century; they form the science basis for prosperity-killing international climate policy.

Here I am using the word “fake” as an adjective, and not as a verb. I mean to say that the scientific conclusions derived from such temperatures are not real, but I don’t imply that the values themselves have been purposefully altered or adjusted. We simply don’t have any information to support such an accusation.

But I do claim that the commonly reported and accepted warming between 1978 and 2000 is based only on thermometers from land surface stations and is not supported by any other evidence that I could find. Specifically, ocean data (from 71% of the earth’s surface) and global atmospheric data (as recorded by satellites and independent balloon-borne radiosondes) do not show such a warming at all. In addition, most proxy data, from non-thermometer sources such as tree rings, ocean sediments, ice cores, stalagmites, etc., show no warming during this same crucial period. (One has to be careful in this analysis since the year 1998 shows a major warming spike caused by a Super-El Niño. But by 1999 and 2000, temperatures had returned to pre-1998 values.)

Now, I am well aware of the fact that the recent release of the temperature data from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project does show a warming trend from 1978 to 2000. Many would jump to the conclusion that this represents confirmation of the existence of global warming—or even of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). However, that would be an error in logic.

What the BEST result shows is that surface thermometers from the land area of the globe (about 29% of the earth’s surface) show a warming trend. But this is not global warming. And BEST director Professor Rich Muller explicitly disclaims that his trend results indicate a human cause.

He also correctly points out that many of the weather stations used are badly distributed, mostly in the U.S. and western Europe, and possibly subject to local heating effects, such as urban heat islands. He cautions that a third of his monitoring stations show a cooling, not a warming. And that 70% of the U.S. stations are poorly situated and don’t satisfy the requirements of the U.S. Weather Service. It is likely that stations elsewhere have similar problems.

While we can applaud the fact that the BEST results agree with other analyses of weather station data, we still need to explain why they don’t agree with atmospheric trends that are close to zero, or with ocean data that show no appreciable warming.

As a first step, the BEST data are ideally suited for a number of internal checks. For example, one would like to see if the number of stations changed appreciably between 1970 and 2000, and if their “demographics” changed—which might lead to the formation of artificial trends.

There are many other such tests that can be performed. They might help us discover why land surface data disagree with all other data; thereby, we may get a better handle on whether the planet is really warming. We note here that the BEST results do not show any warming trend in the 21st century—even though carbon dioxide levels have been rising more rapidly than before.

Note again: Professor Muller and his colleagues do not claim that their results indicate a human source for warming—unlike the IPCC, the U.N. Science Panel, which has claimed to be 90-99% sure that the late-20th century warming is anthropogenic. But if there is no warming between 1978 and 2000, then IPCC’s case collapses—and so do all policies built on the IPCC conclusion.

But this whole matter has really moved beyond any academic discussion. Industrialized nations that signed the Kyoto Protocol (including the U.S., which did not ratify) have already wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on policies based on the acceptance of the IPCC claim that greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide from the burning of oil, gas, and coal) are responsible for a reported warming—which may not even exist.

(By now it should be obvious that [1] the enshrined temperature limit of +2 deg C [beyond which climate disasters are supposed to set in] is based on fiction and has no scientific basis. As an annual global average temperature, so climate models tell us, it would mean warmer winter nights in Siberia and Canada—perhaps -35 degrees instead of -40—and little warming in the tropics. [2] It should also be obvious that even strenuous and economy-killing efforts at mitigation will have little effect on atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, let alone on climate. If a demonstration is needed, just look at the lack of warming since 1998, in spite of rapidly rising levels of greenhouse gases.)

As is evident from the Climategate e-mails, a small group of scientists, mainly in the U.K. and U.S., have managed to freeze out contrary evidence from being published in the scientific literature or in IPCC reports. The self-described “Team” members brazenly discuss strategies and action plans to further “The Cause.” Unfortunately, they have largely succeeded—and continue to influence publications, thanks to some key journalists and editors. In consequence of this evident conspiracy, it is hardly surprising that politicians, the media, and the general public are receiving entirely wrong information about supposedly catastrophic effects of a future warming.

The just-concluded Durban conference, the 17th in an annual series, demonstrates clearly that the whole discussion is no longer about science, but instead is all about money. (1) How to assure continuing government careers for nearly 200 delegations, with annual vacations paid by taxpayers. (2) How to transfer $100 billion a year from industrialized nations to LDCs (or more precisely, to their kleptocratic rulers), using “climate justice” or "climate guilt" (depending on who is doing the talking). (3) How to gain a national advantage by setting differential emission limits of CO2—supposedly to keep the planet from reaching a “dangerous” level of warming.

Durban did succeed in extending Kyoto till 2015—presumably to allow time to fashion a successor protocol to include all nations. But it is a hollow victory. Russia and Japan have already announced that they are not continuing—and Canada is formally withdrawing from Kyoto. In the U.S., the White House has never submitted Kyoto to the Democrat-controlled Senate for ratification. Instead, as promised, Obama is using indirect ways to "skin the cat" and make "electricity prices skyrocket”—relying on EPA regulations to destroy domestic coal as a boiler fuel.

Yet hope springs eternal in the hearts of true warmistas that China, by far the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, will join a future protocol in 2015. In Durban, China’s chief climate negotiator Xie Zhen Hua dropped all kinds of hints that China might be willing to join a second commitment period of emission targets—provided certain conditions are met. Not surprisingly, a number of environmental activists have taken the bait and really believe that China is willing to sacrifice economic growth to satisfy the elusive goal of controlling global warming.

Within the United States, and also elsewhere, global warming scares have become a means of transferring taxpayer money to politically influential cronies. There is now so much “crony capitalism” that it would be difficult to reverse or even stop the ongoing subsidies, outright grants, tax breaks, and other transfers to privileged groups.

Time is becoming short. We’re reaching a tipping point—not of the earth’s climate, but of the financial schemes that permanently divert funds from productive activities into wasteful ones, all in the name of “saving the climate.” The results are evident: higher levels of spending, deficits, or taxes; higher prices for energy and electricity and therefore for all manufactured goods; less productive activity; less employment; and more misery.

It seems odd that all of this is essentially based on a fake—the data that seem to show a (nonexistent) warming. It will be difficult to overturn this notion, but we must keep trying.


Nearly Half a Millennium of Antarctic Temperatures show the same very slow rise as that claimed for the 20th century

Discussing: Thamban, M., Laluraj, C.M., Naik, S.S. and Chaturvedi, A. 2011. "Reconstruction of Antarctic climate change using ice core proxy records from coastal Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica". Journal of the Geological Society of India 78: 19-29.

What was done

Working with an ice core (IND-22/B4) that had been extracted during the austral summer of 2003 from the coastal region of Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica (70°51.3'S, 11°32.2'E) -- which activity was part of the 22nd Indian Antarctic Expedition -- the authors developed 470-year histories of ?18O and ?D that "showed similar down core fluctuations with [an] excellent positive relationship (R2 = 0.9; n = 216) between the two." And based on a ?18O vs. surface air temperature (SAT) relationship developed for this region by Naik et al. (2001), they derived the regional temperature history depicted below.

Figure 1. Surface air temperature (SAT) as derived from ?18O data vs. time in years AD. Adapted from Thamban et al. (2011).

What was learned

In the words of the four Indian researchers, "the estimated surface air temperature at the core site revealed a significant warming of 2.7°C with a warming of ~0.6°C per century for the past 470 years."

What it means

Climate alarmists have long predicted that CO2-induced global warming -- which they claim has (1) accelerated significantly over the course of the 20th century and is (2) unprecedented with respect to the past millennium or more -- should be (3) greatly amplified in earth's polar regions. However, Thamban et al.'s results clearly indicate that all three of these climate-alarmist claims are false in regard to this portion of the planet's southern polar region.


Perhaps Britain's Dept. of Energy & Climate Change would like to do their sums again?

There's been various amounts of head scratching around the place as DECC says that renewables will be cheaper than fossil fuels in the future. Even though we know that each of the individual elements that make up the renewables path are more expensive than each individual unit in the fossil fuel path. Which is really very puzzling indeed, that the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

Over and above the various problems that I and others have noted elsewhere, there's this that has me confused too:
Natural gas for February delivery settled Friday at $2.989 per million British thermal units, the lowest closing price for the commodity since September 2009. It closed below $3 in the winter for the first time in nearly a decade.

This is the result, of course, of the US practice of fracking for shale gas. And we know that the UK has vast reserves of this, underneath and around Blackpool. Decades at least of supply, if not a century or more.

Now, I've looked around the DECC spreadsheet trying to find the price assumptions they make about natural gas and other fossil fuels. And I'm afraid I just can't find it, just can't find it at all. Cannot see what prices they have assumed, whether they've got a version that deals with the implication of having lots and lots and lots of very cheap natural gas or not.

And I have a very strong feeling that that is one of the possibilities that they should tell us the results of. For they are telling us that whatever we do is going to cost £200 billion or more in the coming years, £5,000 per year per household. And we know that building gas fired power stations is cheaper than almost any other form of energy generation. So if we are floating on that much gas and we can get it for something like the American price, might that not reduce the costs per household?

Don't you think we ought to be told? After all, yes, fracking causes earthquakes, small ones and this might be vaguely detrimental to life as it is lived in Lancashire. But what if it saved us, say, £100 billion?

Well, what is Lancashire worth then?

I can't prove or show anything because I cannot find the crucial assumptions. But I do have a feeling in my water that if we were to rerun these calculations with reasonable assumptions, like, say, that we've as much if not more natural gas than the US does, then we might find that renewables really aren't an option that anyone would go for. Which, if I were cynical enough, might be why that calculation isn't presented to us.


British Minister slams 'environmental Taliban'

Energy & climate change minister Greg Barker has rejected criticism by green campaigners of government efforts on the low-carbon agenda.

Mr Barker said he was “fed up with the environmental Taliban” criticising ministers’ efforts to address legitimate industry concerns.

He told the Financial Times measures such as the £3bn Green Investment Bank, sweeping electricity market reform, a carbon price floor and a “Green Deal” encouraging household insulation were all evidence the government’s enthusiasm for green action was undimmed.

But he acknowledged that there had been a shift in focus in recent months. He said: “There is a change, and that is towards better value for money and greater financial rigour,” he said.

“We recognise that in tough times the green economy doesn’t fit in a silo on its own, as some in the green lobby seem to think it should. It’s entirely right we should be mindful of the impact on consumer bills.”

The comments followed chancellor George Osborne riling green activists in the November autumn statement, when he unveiled a £250m package to help ease the impact of climate policies on heavy electricity-consuming companies, saying “we are not going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills”.

At the same time, ministers infuriated the solar energy industry by hastily moving to stem a rush on household solar panel installations by halving the subsidies paid for such systems sparking criticism from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace

”I was quite shocked about how some in the environmental lobby were so scathing about [the £250m industry support package],” said Mr Barker.


Britain's Shift In Green Rhetoric Signals End Of Green Consensus

Article from the Financial Times

As the new year begins, imagine how different Britain’s political landscape might be if it had a chancellor talking about “the fierce urgency of now” needed to tackle the “environmental crisis” of climate change.

Or if that same minister censures the Treasury for being “at best indifferent, and at worst obstructive” on green policies, and says it “simply isn’t good enough” for the UK to lag behind every major European country when it comes to using renewable energy such as wind power.

As incredible as this scenario may sound these words are all from a speech George Osborne, now chancellor, made to London’s Imperial College in November 2009, when he was shadow chancellor.

Six months and one election later, Mr Osborne was in what David Cameron, prime minister, said he wanted to be “the greenest government ever”.

It is a measure of how much that government has changed that it is hard to imagine many of its ministers making such a speech today. To the relief of many of the country’s biggest manufacturers and industries, there has been a distinct shift in the government’s tone on green issues.

Even Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron’s chief policy adviser, and the man credited with coining the phrase “vote blue, go green”, appears to have had some serious second thoughts. Referring to global warming he reportedly told officials a few weeks ago “I’m not sure I believe in it”, a remark he declines to confirm or deny.

The result is a growing debate among employers, investors and environmental groups about whether this adds up to a mere change in rhetoric, or if it presages a more substantial policy shift.

Either way, there are already some signs the government has prompted a change in investor sentiment about renewable energy.

“It has shifted where we are placing the emphasis,” says Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, explaining the group has already reduced its solar investments since the move to reduce subsidies, but was pressing on with ventures in biomass, heat pumps and energy efficiency services.

“There has not been a major policy shift but the change in rhetoric is a sign that we must look at the costs more closely,” Mr Laidlaw said. “Affordability has risen up the agenda.”

At the other end of the debate, David Nussbaum, chief executive of the WWF-UK environmental campaign group, and a former finance director at the Field Group packaging company, argues the shift in tone could put clean energy investment at risk.

He said: “I was talking to a senior business person in a FTSE 100 company who said ‘Our company had to raise between £2bn and £3bn in the last year on international markets for investment in the UK, but since the chancellor’s speech, I don’t know if I could do that now’.”

Several renewable energy investors contacted by the Financial Times said they had not detected a substantial shift in the government’s fundamental environment policy framework. But some said Mr Osborne’s comments in the autumn statement had made them uneasy.

Even investors who agree contentious solar subsidy cuts, announced last year, are necessary question the government’s handling of the issue. “More than anything in recent months, the solar debacle has added to the cost of capital by increasing the risk perception of those investors the government needs to deliver its low carbon vision for the economy,” says Richard Nourse, a former banker at Merrill Lynch who heads Novusmodus, a €200m clean energy venture capital fund.

Precisely what lies ahead is unclear. Pressure is still building among heavy-energy-using companies eager to see the government do more. “The mitigation measures announced in the autumn statement are a good sign that government is now listening to the needs of energy intensive industries, but they are only a start,” says Tom Crotty, director at the Ineos chemicals group, whose Merseyside chlorine plant alone uses nearly as much electricity in a day as the city of Liverpool.

Karl-Ulrich Köhler, head of Tata Steel’s European operations, says uncertainty about who will qualify for the new support package, plus the green policies that prompted it, still “make investment decisions in a long-term industry like steel very difficult and reduce the UK’s attractiveness as an investment destination”.

To some, this means the government is bound to scale back its environmental actions in future. “There is a clear disintegration of the green consensus,” says Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a critic of many climate policies. “We’re still at the stage of rhetoric rather than really strong rollback of policies, but it normally starts with the rhetoric before you start with policies.”


Australia has the coldest autumn since at least 1950

But in its usual Warmist way the BOM is downplaying it

AUSTRALIA did its best for global cooling in 2011 but it had nothing to do with the federal government's carbon tax.

Rather, back-to-back La Nina weather systems that caused widespread flooding and ended the 10-year drought also pushed temperatures below the 30-year average for the first time since 2001, resulting in the coldest autumn since at least 1950.

As with the economy and this year's start to summer, last year's weather was a two-speed affair.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate statement for 2011, cooler temperatures in Sydney, the sub-tropics and tropics offset above-average conditions in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

And for those looking to the figures to disprove climate change, the Bureau of Meteorology says Australia was the only continent to record cooling and the nation's 10-year temperature average trend was still up.

"In 2011, the La Nina and heavy rainfall acted like an evaporative cooler for Australia," said bureau climate change spokesman David Jones. "The year 2010 was relatively cool in recent historical context and 2011 was cooler again." [But the trend is still up? Balderdash!]

Mr Jones said there was no evidence to link the strong La Nina weather systems with changing global temperatures. "We have had this regular cycle of La Nina and El Nino," he said. "The strongest El Nino on record was in 1997 and we have seen one of the strongest La Ninas on record in 2010-11." [I wonder why? Would the sun have anything to do with it?]

Mr Jones said the climate science was not very clear on what would happen with El Nino and La Nina patterns, particularly at this early stage of global warming. "We have only seen one degree of warming so far but we will see substantially more as we move through the century [He's a prophet!], but it is probably too early to draw any concrete relationship between hotter temperatures and La Nina," he said.

"One simple thing we can say is we know La Nina are historically cooler for Australia but there is a big difference between variability and climate change."

The BOM climate statement said Australia's mean rainfall total for last year was 699mm, which was 234mm above the long-term average of 465mm, making it the third-wettest year since comparable records began in 1900.

The Australian area averaged mean temperature was 0.14C below the 1961-1990 average of 21.81C. Last year, maximum temperatures averaged 0.25C below normal across the country, while minimum temperatures averaged 0.03C below normal.

"Despite the slightly cooler conditions, the country's 10-year average continues to demonstrate the rising trend in temperatures, with 2002-2011 likely to rank in the top two warmest 10-year periods on record for Australia, at 0.52C above the long-term average," the bureau said.

"If you are interested in determining whether the planet is warming, you look at the global temperature," Mr Jones said. "Australia follows the global trend closely, but it can vary."



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


4 January, 2012

Carefully-reasoned new paper finds no support for any global warming theory

Natural Science, Vol.3 No.12, December 2011

Scrutinizing the atmospheric greenhouse effect and its climatic impact

by Gerhard Kramm, Ralph Dlugi


In this paper, we scrutinize two completely different explanations of the so-called atmospheric greenhouse effect: First, the explanation of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) quan- tifying this effect by two characteristic temperatures, secondly, the explanation of Ramanathan et al. that is mainly based on an energy-flux budget for the Earth-atmosphere system. Both explanations are related to the global scale. In addition, we debate the meaning of climate, climate change, climate variability and climate variation to outline in which way the atmospheric greenhouse effect might be responsible for climate change and climate variability, respectively.

In doing so, we distinguish between two different branches of climatology, namely 1) physical climatology in which the boundary conditions of the Earth-atmosphere system play the dominant role and 2) statistical climatology that is dealing with the statistical description of fortuitous weather events which had been happening in climate periods; each of them usually comprises 30 years.

Based on our findings, we argue that 1) the so-called atmospheric greenhouse effect cannot be proved by the statistical description of fortuitous weather events that took place in a climate period, 2) the description by AMS and WMO has to be discarded because of physical reasons, 3) energy-flux budgets for the Earth-atmosphere system do not provide tangible evidence that the atmospheric greenhouse effect does exist. Because of this lack of tangible evidence it is time to acknowledge that the atmospheric greenhouse effect and especially its climatic impact are based on meritless conjectures.


A revealing email from a dendrochronologist who refuses to make unproven assumptions

Climategate email 1738:

My aim is not to kill dendrochronology, and it is not with an air of superiority that I dare to examine its weaknesses. However, there are bounds to dendrochronology, as there are to every field of investigation, and the discipline has spilled over way outside of those bounds, to the point of absurdity.

There is uncertainty associated with estimating an accurate age for even a living tree that you cut down today, and much more when you try to make chronological sense out of pieces of trees of uncertain origin.

What troubles me even more than the inexactness attending chronological estimates is how much absolute nonsense -- really nothing but imaginative speculation -- about the environment of the past is being deduced from tree rings and published in dendrochronology journals.

You wrote that "But honestly, Ron, we also practice quite a lot of rigor, reflection, questioning etc." I don't doubt that, but dendrochronology has persistently rejected walking the hard road, that of understanding the fundamental genetic and environmental factors controlling wood formation.

As I see it, the peer review process in dendrochronology must be fundamentally flawed to allow such publications. Physiologist remain to build any real confidence in their ideas of how environmental factors influence tree ring formation, and dendrochronologists therefore are not at all justified in pretending that they do.

The bounds of dendrochronology will be extended, as will confidence in dendrochronological reports, when your group stops pretending that it knows the answers before it has done the needed research. Again, I am troubled by your group that it shows little humility, no genuine desire to discover the truth.

Hal, in response to my challenge (below) to dendrochronology to begin doing some scientific research based on experimentation rather than simple observation, you wrote: "We think these kinds of questions are equally important, if not more important as we are likely to destroy our planet unless we learn quickly what the trees have to say about our past."

Well, if that's what you really think, why isn't anyone, at all, in your large community that has received huge funding allocations doing it? However, I don't buy your negativistic justification for doing such research. If your referring to the impact of climate change on earth, you're overlooking the geological record that clearly indicates climate change has occurred frequently and is normal to our planet.

You may also want to consider that trees have been around for several hundred millions years, and that those of the Carboniferous lived on a globe much warmer than ours.


Unhiding the decline

The CRU has just got a grant for a project headed "The Dendroclimatic Divergence Phenomenon: reassessment of causes and implications for climate reconstruction".

The description of the project below describes what Michael Mann "hid" in his hockeystick graph. The simple explanation of their "problem" -- that trees are useless as thermometers -- is still being resisted, however. Interestingly, they admit that there may be "systematic bias" in existing chronologies

Palaeoclimate reconstructions extend our knowledge of how climate varied in times before expansive networks of measuring instruments became available. These reconstructions are founded on an understanding of theoretical and statistically-derived associations acquired by comparing the parallel behaviour of palaeoclimate proxies and measurements of varying climate.

Inferences about variations in past climate, based on this understanding, necessarily assume that the associations we observe now hold true throughout the period for which reconstructions are made. This is the essence of the uniformitarian principle.

In some northern areas of the world, recent observations of tree growth and measured temperature trends appear to have diverged in recent decades, the so called "divergence" phenomenon. There has been much speculation, and numerous theories proposed, to explain why the previous temperature sensitivity of tree growth in these areas is apparently breaking down.

The existence of divergence casts doubt on the uniformitarian assumption that underpins a number of important tree-ring based (dendroclimatic) reconstructions. It suggests that the degree of warmth in certain periods in the past, particularly in medieval times, may be underestimated or at least subject to greater uncertainty than is currently accepted.

The lack of a clear overview of this phenomenon and the lack of a generally accepted cause had led some to challenge the current scientific consensus, represented in the 2007 report of the IPCC on the likely unprecedented nature of late 20th century average hemispheric warmth when viewed in the context of proxy evidence (mostly from trees) for the last 1300 years.

This project will seek to systematically reassess and quantify the evidence for divergence in many tree-ring data sets around the Northern Hemisphere. It will establish a much clearer understanding of the nature of the divergence phenomenon, characterising the spatial patterns and temporal evolution.

Based on recent published and unpublished work by the proposers, it has become apparent that foremost amongst the possible explanations is the need to account for systematic bias potentially inherent in the methods used to build many tree-ring chronologies including many that are believed to exhibit this phenomenon.


‘Spaceship Earth’: A new brand of environmentalism?

by Steve Milloy

Meet the new central planning; the same as the old central planning. The Washington Post reports:
Spaceship Earth enters 2012 belching smoke, overheating and burning through fuel at a frightening rate. It’s feeling pretty crowded, and the crew is mutinous. No one’s at the helm.

Sure, it’s an antiquated metaphor. It’s also an increasingly apt way to discuss a planet with 7 billion people, a global economy, a World Wide Web, climate change, exotic organisms running amok and all sorts of resource shortages and ecological challenges.

More and more environmentalists and scientists talk about the planet as a complex system, one that human beings must aggressively monitor, manage and sometimes reengineer. Kind of like a spaceship.

This is a sharp departure from traditional “green” philosophy. The more orthodox way of viewing nature is as something that must be protected from human beings — not managed by them. And many environmentalists have reservations about possible unintended consequences of well-meaning efforts. No one wants a world that requires constant intervention to fix problems caused by previous interventions…


DDT - Lets Have Another 10,000 Studies!

By Rich Kozlovich

Every time you turn around you will see that the government is funding another study to find out if ______________(fill in the blank) happens! Funding studies and forming committees to ‘study’ issues is a great way for so-called leaders to defer decisions that could be politically uncomfortable. Then there are the studies that are actually nothing more than conclusions in search of data. Those of us who have been around for a while have now had the opportunity to observe the realities and outcomes of what was, and in many cases still is, conventional wisdom.

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 (although an outsider) I had the opportunity and privilege of being a part of a group formed by Dr. Rutledge Taylor that produced a film documentary about DDT called 3Billion and Counting. My contributions were mostly via phone calls and e-mail, however the Doc added me to the credits so I think that my small offerings were of some value.

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. Since I am not formally trained, and for the most part I am an autodidact, I really didn’t feel qualified and told him so. He asked if I would at least try. Very reluctantly I agreed.

That was one of the best and most enlightening things that ever happened to me.

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?

Why has millions been spent on DDT studies after it was banned if the science was clear in the first place? What is this overwhelming need to continue demeaning a product that has been banned? Why do they keep attempting to convince everyone that DDT caused all the things the Rachel Carson claimed they did in her book? Why? Because Carson’s book was filled with lies, speculation, incorrect conclusions and little of no references to some of her health claims. And over the years there have been a great many respected scientists who have said so. The issue never goes away because those who know the truth refuse to be quiet, and they have made headway with a great many people, especially the decision makers in countries with serious malaria problems. So then….what is this all about.

It is about the worth of studies and their effect on people’s thinking. Just because it is a “study” doesn’t make it factual!

In the book Fluoride Wars by R. Allan Freeze and friend Dr. Jay Lehr, outline the value of studies. There have been THOUSANDS of studies on fluoride because of it being added to our water supplies to ward off tooth decay. At one point someone decided that they needed a standard to determine which studies really had any scientific worth. On page 194 they state:
“The question of experimental design deserves further mention. You may recall that many methodological flaws identified by critics of the original fluoridation trial. Those who designed these early studies were taken to task for failing to keep track of the oral health history of their subjects, failing to control for confounding factors such as socioeconomic status of dental hygiene practices, and falling to use examiners who were blind to the exposure status of each subject. Many of the same problems crop up on many of the studies that were put under review by the various review teams listed in Table 7.5. (You will have to get the book to see Table 7.5) The Ontario and York University reviewers were the only ones who tried to establish a minimum acceptable set of standards for the inclusion of a study in their assessments. Both sets of acceptance criteria were based on establishing a hierarchy of studies, giving greater weight to those with the most careful controls. Those that took care to eliminate examiner bias received greater weight than those that didn’t. Those that tracked individual subjects longitudinally through time received greater weight than those that sampled the population statistically without tagging individual subjects. Those that recorded careful histories for their subjects and used them to control for confounding factors received greater weight than those that did not. It is instructive to note that the York University review found only 214 studies out of the thousands that have appeared in print during the period 1951-1999 that met their acceptance criteria, and of these, only 26 provided a defensible analysis of the direct impact of fluoridation on dental caries.”

Normal people would think that this was a noble effort. After all - once again - isn’t the search for “truth” the real purpose behind doing studies? No; not to the activists! The goal of the activist movements is to only have “their” truth appear, and they don’t care how many lies it takes to do it!

So, what was the reaction to this study from the anti-fluoride activists? Some went ballistic and one even wrote most demeaningly by saying:
“I guess the York study wasn’t actually a study as studies go”….."because this study didn’t study animals or people, it simply studied studies. Although this was touted to be the study to end all studies, almost immediately both the Green Party and the Fluoride Action Network published their studies of the York study. These were then studies of the study that studied studies. The studies of the study that studied the studies pointed out that this study that studied the studies had left some 3000 studies unstudied, and they called for further study of the study of the studies as this study and done.”

What should have drawn “kudos for their careful selection process…..all they got were brickbats for their ‘unstudied studies’” and a call for more studies.

So why do scientists tolerate this? Because money has turned science into politics! The “holy grail” of science is no longer truth, but grant money, and the universities and scientific communities are addicted to it. As for those scientists who refuse to bend to this corruption; they are shuttled aside by those bringing in the money to these research institutions, even those who held prestigious positions within the scientific community. As for the younger scientists with no credentials and no accomplishments; they will become part of the system or they will be out. Western science has turned into a Lysenkoian cesspool, starting with DDT and continuing with Global Warming.

Over the years I have had people demand that I produce studies to prove my views about DDT. I don’t bother to do so, or for that matter to even answer them any longer. Why? For two reasons! One, the information is now available to everyone who wants to know the truth and two, because it doesn’t matter what I say, what I do or what I produce they will cling to their fallacies no matter what…..they are nothing more than intellectually dishonest “time wasters”.

The studies that show that DDT was one of the greatest discoveries in mankind’s history isn’t from a study group or a lab. It is in ……reality. Everything we are told should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality. In ‘reality’ untold millions of lives were saved because of DDT and untold hundreds of millions were prevented from being sickened because of DDT. Those who were the most heavily exposed worldwide to DDT didn’t show effects they attempt to show in so many of these “studies”. It didn't wipe out whole eco-systems, it didn't cause egg shell thinning, it didn't do any of the things they claim. The claims by Carson and her acolytes, including these modern day Lysenkoians, about the evils of DDT just aren’t true.

We really need to get this. The green movement is irrational and misanthropic. Once that is understood everything else falls into place. DDT was the green movements bridge to money and power and they will never give up on their claims because DDT is foundational to their existence. If DDT’s ban can be overturned then everything they stand for must be questioned.

If someone cannot, or refuse to get that, then they have become lost in the fever swamps of environmentalism, and I don’t care what they think.


Double whammy from green taxes: British families will have to pay more for fuel and flights

Britons face soaring costs for fuel and family holidays as a result of green taxes, experts warn today. A leading energy analyst has predicted that one in three households will face fuel poverty if the Government does not back a new era of nuclear power.

In a separate report, think-tank Civitas says that environmental charges imposed on airlines by Brussels from this week mean that a family of four will have to pay an extra £130 for return flights to the U.S. by the end of the decade.

The fuel poverty claim is made by Tony Lodge, a former adviser to the Conservatives, in a report from the Centre for Policy Studies.

He warns that failure to build new atomic plants will leave the country reliant on expensive foreign gas; the expense of importing this would then be passed on to customers through higher fuel bills.

Britain’s existing nuclear power plants are due to close within a few years. As a result, the country’s nuclear capacity will fall by 75 per cent. A number of coal-fired plants are also set to shut, as the Government strives to meet EU targets for reducing carbon emissions.

Wind farms – funded by green taxes on homes and businesses – will not be able to cover the resulting energy shortfall, Mr Lodge warns. He says that without more nuclear power plants, the UK will be dependent on gas for over 80 per cent of its electricity by 2025. Most of this would come from Russia and the Middle East.

Mr Lodge, a CPS research fellow, argues that the cost of the imported gas, and the electricity it would produce, would be so high that more than 8.5million families would be forced to choose between heating and eating as energy bills rise.

Government plans to penalise power firms that use coal to generate electricity – by imposing minimum prices – will effectively make it uneconomic to continue mining in the UK.

This ‘will result in over one billion tonnes of economically recoverable UK coal reserves becoming stranded’, Mr Lodge says. He adds that the Government is doing too little to either promote new nuclear plants or give firms interested in building them guarantees about future income.

The CPS study, titled ‘The Atomic Clock – How the Coalition is Gambling with Britain’s Energy Policy’, is released today. It warns: ‘Britain risks becoming yet more dependent on foreign gas and unmanageable renewable energy to generate electricity.

‘Consequently, Britain’s 26million households, who spend around £20billion a year on energy, will face higher bills at a time of falling household income.’

The director of the CPS, Tim Knox, described the current policy of adding hefty green taxes to bills to fund a move to wind energy as ‘incoherent’. ‘Unilateral energy taxes, delays to new generating plants and a lack of generation diversity will drive up costs,’ he added.

The Civitas report, also released today, focuses on the EU Emissions Trading System, which is designed to curb carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft engines. The directive came into force on January 1. The think-tank found that related charges will cost airlines £1billion a year – most of which will be passed on to businesses and consumers through higher prices.

Airlines are now required to buy a ‘permit to pollute’ to cover the cost of their carbon emissions – with extra fees for those who exceed their emissions limit.

But in a damning assessment, Civitas researcher David Merlin-Jones says the scheme will line the pockets of energy bosses and banks while doing little to help the environment.

The report states that the emissions trading scheme ‘fails on both counts: it provides only marginal emissions reductions and at a high cost to businesses and consumers’.

It continues: ‘The EU ETS pushes up energy bills, increasing fuel poverty, while power companies make billions in windfall profits. ‘Vested interests have all but paralysed the effectiveness of EU ETS, with banks making billions out of playing the carbon credit market.’



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


3 January, 2012

It's all about money

Bangladesh's foreign minister has revealed the real impetus behind the developing world's participation in climate talks: the carrot of billions from the rich countries that was dangled in front of them to get them to agree. Now the money is still not materialising, the threats have started to get less and less veiled

Efforts by developed countries to redistribute promised funds to help poorer parts of the world avoid environmental disasters have been described as "dismal" by the foreign minister of Bangladesh.

Dipu Moni said wealthier nations must begin immediately delivering the billions of pounds' worth of aid they have earmarked for climate change projects. "Our achievements – social, economic, environmental – of the past decades will be reversed if [rich countries] take away the funds promised for adapting to climate change," she said in an interview. "The disbursement of the financing has been dismal so far. We are not seeing the funds."

A total of $30bn has been promised by the end of this year but, after three years of delays in channelling promised money, only $2.4bn has been made available.

Moni said the world's most vulnerable countries were being "marginalised", even while the danger of disasters related to global warming was increasing rapidly. Bangladesh is among the countries most at risk from climate change, and its low-lying lands and agriculture-dependent people are already frequently prey to devastating floods and storm surges.

She said it was essential for developed countries to make good on their funding promises if their commitments made at recent UN climate change talks in Durban were to be believed: "This is the litmus test for the big emitters, the developed countries, the test of whether they mean it."

Smaller developing countries, such as Bangladesh, could no longer be expected simply to follow the lead of China, India and other rapidly emerging big economies in the climate change negotiations. In a distinction that will reverberate through world capitals as leading nations discuss the next steps towards a legally binding global agreement on climate change, Moni insisted Bangladesh and similar nations would forge their own path, independently of the lead given by countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

"We have been lumped along with big emitters in the same category [as other developing countries that are much bigger economies]," Moni said. "But we and the most vulnerable countries and the least developed countries should be in a different category. India and China have their development challenges, but we are not big emitters so our challenges and demands are different."

Green technologies such as solar power remained too expensive for small developing countries, Moni added. "For us, it's hugely expensive and that has to be understood by the west."


Bald eagles still not saved by DDT ban…

No matter how many times the myth is repeated

by Steve Milloy

Today’s hapless echo of the DDT-bald eagle myth is reporter Scott Richardson of Bloomington, IL’s, who wrote:
Bald eagle numbers were plummeting when I was growing up not far from Starved Rock State Park.

The birds were listed as endangered until after the feds banned DDT. The agri-chemical had found its way into the food chain, first into the fish, then into the eagles that ate them. Egg shells were weakened so much they broke when mature eagles tried to keep them warm.

Today, the birds have rebounded. It’s a joy to see them wintering on the eagle refuge on Plum Island across from Starved Rock State Park. Many can be found there during the cold months when they are forced southward from Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada to find open water to feed. The colder the winter, the more eagles turn up there…

But as readers know from “100 Things You Should Know About DDT“, DDT had nothing to do with the near demise of the bald eagle, and DDT’s ban had nothing to do with the rebound in bald eagle population:

66. Bald eagles were reportedly threatened with extinction in 1921 — 25 years before widespread use of DDT. [Van Name, WG. 1921. Ecology 2:76]

67. Alaska paid over $100,000 in bounties for 115,000 bald eagles between 1917 and 1942. [Anon. Science News Letter, July 3, 1943]

68. The bald eagle had vanished from New England by 1937. [Bent, AC. 1937. Raptorial Birds of America. US National Museum Bull 167:321-349]

69. After 15 years of heavy and widespread usage of DDT, Audubon Society ornithologists counted 25 percent more eagles per observer in 1960 than during the pre-DDT 1941 bird census. [Marvin, PH. 1964 Birds on the rise. Bull Entomol Soc Amer 10(3):184-186; Wurster, CF. 1969 Congressional Record S4599, May 5, 1969; Anon. 1942. The 42nd Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Magazine 44:1-75 (Jan/Feb 1942; Cruickshank, AD (Editor). 1961. The 61st Annual Christmas Bird Census. Audubon Field Notes 15(2):84-300; White-Stevens, R.. 1972. Statistical analyses of Audubon Christmas Bird censuses. Letter to New York Times, August 15, 1972]

70. No significant correlation between DDE residues and shell thickness was reported in a large series of bald eagle eggs. [Postupalsky, S. 1971. (DDE residues and shell thickness). Canadian Wildlife Service manuscript, April 8, 1971]

71. Thickness of eggshells from Florida, Maine and Wisconsin was found to not be correlated with DDT residues.


Warmist Armageddon prophet has the "Mother of All Hockey Sticks"

Katharine Hayhoe, a research associate professor at Texas Tech University and expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, gave a presentation on climate science to REP members via conference call on March 9, 2010. REP members from across the U.S. participated in this call. Katharine previously spoke to REP members at our annual conference in San Antonio, in September 2007.

A PDF of Katharine's March 9, 2010 presentation is available. From page 49 of the PDF we see The Mother of All Hockey Sticks:

It's just a prophecy so there is no way you can prove it or disprove it -- so Ms Hayhead no doubt thought she might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. From a scientific point of view however, the prophecy is absurd. A gross and sudden departure from nature's regularities is most unlikely. Real scientists predict the future from what has happened regularly in the past but the Hayhead wants none of that.

More HERE. (See the original for links)

Embarrassed Warmist

He contributed to all five IPCC Assessment Reports but says: "I feel rather unconfortable about using not only unpublished but also un reviewed material as the backbone of our conclusions (or any conclusions)...I feel that at this point there are very little rules and almost anything goes"

A ClimateGate email:

From: GIORGI FILIPPO To: Chapter 10 LAs -- Congbin Fu , GIORGI FILIPPO , Bruce Hewitson , Mike Hulme , Jens Christensen , Linda Mearns , Richard Jones , Hans von Storch , Peter Whetton Subject: On "what to do?" Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 16:58:02 +0200 ???(MET DST)

...First let me say that in general, as my own opinion, I feel rather unconfortable about using not only unpublished but also un reviewed material as the backbone of our conclusions (or any conclusions). I realize that chapter 9 is including SRES stuff, and thus we can and need to do that too, but the fact is that in doing so the rules of IPCC have been softened to the point that in this way the IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results. The softened condition that the models themself have to be published does not even apply because the Japanese model for example is very different from the published one which gave results not even close to the actual outlier version (in the old dataset the CCC model was the outlier). Essentially, I feel that at this point there are very little rules and almost anything goes. I think this will set a dangerous precedent which might mine the IPCC credibility, and I am a bit unconfortable that now nearly everybody seems to think that it is just ok to do this. Anyways, this is only my opinion for what it is worth.

Who is Filippo Giorgi?

Filippo Giorgi obtained a Laurea in Physics from the University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy in 1982 and a Ph.D. from the School of Geophysical Sciences of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 1986. From 1986 to 1998 he was a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Since 1998 he is at ICTP, where he is the head of the Earth System Physics (ESP) section.

Giorgi is an international expert in climate modeling and climate change research. He authored or co-authored over 200 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is included in the list of most highly cited scientists in the geosciences (which places him in the top 0.5% of this category). He has been PI or co-PI of over 25 research grants in Europe and the U.S. From 2002 to 2008 Giorgi was one of the vice chairs of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He contributed to all five IPCC Assessment Reports to date.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Everything is caused by climate change

They give no reasoning for their claim below. It is just a reflex twitch. A hundred years ago they would have said: "It's the Jews" -- with equal lack of logic

SCIENTISTS have found the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters. Leading researchers in marine biology discovered 57 animals along a 2000 km stretch from Queensland to NSW.

The predators are a cross between the common blacktip shark and Australian blacktip shark, two related but genetically distinct species.

The scientists say interbreeding between the two shark species is a sign the animals are adapting to climate change. They also warn that hybridisation could make the sharks stronger.

Dr Jennifer Ovenden, of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, said: "Hybridization could enable the sharks to adapt to environmental change as the smaller Australian black tip currently favours tropical waters in the north while the larger common black tip is more abundant in sub-tropical and temperate waters along the south-eastern Australian coastline."

She added: "Wild hybrids are usually hard to find, so detecting hybrids and their offspring is extraordinary. To find 57 hybrids along 2000km of coastline is unprecedented."

Dr Jess Morgan, a researcher at the University of Queensland researcher, told The Australian that it was unusual for sharks to breed in this way. "Sharks physically mate, which is usually a good way to make sure you don't hybridize with the wrong species," she said.

Colin Simpfendorfer, of James Cook University's Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, said: "The results of this research show that we still have a lot to learn about these important ocean predators."


Australia: A real environmentalist thinks the Greens are clueless

When the Bureau of Meteorology releases its annual data this week, it will probably announce that Australia has just had the second or third wettest year in its recorded history. No surprise. The most miserable summer in Sydney in 50 years. The coldest autumn nationally in more than 50 years. Record flooding in Victoria. A Christmas Day in Melbourne with hailstones the size of eggs. Massive floods in south Queensland. Cyclone Yasi in north Queensland. Heavy rainfall across the desert inland. Extreme rainfall and cold in Darwin.

Multiple-choice question: what's it all mean?

(a) Onset of global warming impact.

Advertisement: Story continues below
(b) Latest cycle of El Nino - Southern Oscillation.

(c) Combination of global warming and El Nino.

(d) Monumental mishandling of the landscape.

The most interesting explanation I have heard for the extreme weather comes from a landscape restorer, Peter Andrews.

He chooses (d).

"Our landscape is still on a dramatic downward spiral," he told me. "When the heavy rains came recently I saw the Goulburn River was running brown. The river was thick with soil. About one farm an hour was being carried down that river. "

He discounts the argument that we are seeing the impact of global warming. "The whole global warming argument misses the point. Yes, we are facing an environmental disaster. Yes, it is urgent. Yes, it is caused by our own activities. But we have misdiagnosed the problem … In terms of dealing with Australia's problems, the global warming industry is a giant con."

His philosophy, boiled down to its essence, is that our landscape was working brilliantly at retaining water and soil until European settlement began making "improvements".

By changing the landscape, we changed the weather. Transforming the land by cropping, herding and irrigation created a cycle of heating and cooling on the land, a cycle of boom and bust, that could only grow more extreme.

Peter Andrews? We wrote about him several years ago. Since then he's been on the ABC's Australian Story, written two books and gathered a following for his land restoration technique called Natural Sequence Farming. His great calling card is the one landscape he has been able to shape and control, the Baramul Stud in the upper Hunter Valley, owned by the retail magnate Gerry Harvey.

During the long drought, I visited Baramul and it remained watered, retaining moisture in the soil. During the big wet of the last two years, Baramul has gained soil, not seen it washed away.

"While other properties have been eroding around us, in the last five years we've gained about 10 million tonnes of soil and sand," he told me. "The reed beds in the creek are now functioning as the system functioned in the millions of years before settlement. The reeds slow the flow of water and help store water in the landscape. The extensive presence of reeds we have now is the same pattern that [Charles] Sturt described when he made his journey down the Darling River."

Gerry Harvey is happy. His wealth may be taking a beating as the share price of Harvey Norman slides thanks to a structural decline in traditional retailing, but Baramul is thriving.

Andrews, like Harvey, is a businessman, not some anti-farming zealot. He's been a farmer, and thinks farming can be done so much better. Even cotton farming could be transformed into a practice less alien to the landscape and more productively.

He believes most of the agricultural sector has misread its own lifeblood, the landscape, causing a massive build-up of heat on the land, which then draws cool air from the ocean.

"As soon as all the crops ripen, there is a build-up of heat on the land that is not managed by plants. This heat joins the weather system, causing a massive increase in thermal build-up. This causes extreme weather …"

It is a big theme to consider on the first Monday of the year, especially with the linkages Andrews sees between the wet Sydney summer, the storms in Melbourne, and the rainfall across northern and central Australia.

It's all linked, he says, and the accelerating cycle of extreme weather is a challenge made by our own hand.

He regards the global warming debate, and the government's responses via a carbon tax, as an exercise of expensive irrelevance on a massive scale, compared with the immediate challenge of soil and water loss and the build-up of salinity in the landscape. He sees the threat to the nation's long-term productive capacity as more immediate than the threat posed by higher global temperatures.

Andrews is also disenchanted by the attempts to restore the Murray-Darling river system, a process that has so far pleased no one, and led to the federal government's purchase of water rights for billions of dollars.

"Cattle are the main reason why the Murray-Darling is in a mess," he said. "It used to function perfectly. The amount of evaporation today is a disgrace. It is about 54 per cent. It used to be zero. Water was recycled many times after rainfall."

On the other great issue facing farmers, coal seam gas mining, and the practice of extraction by hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, Andrews also has strong views. "Fracking is exceptionally dangerous. Groundwater is the most critical thing in the landscape and coal seam gas is a real threat to groundwater."

All this should make him a hero to the Greens, but he is appalled by the thought. "The Greens have no idea. They are clueless."



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


2 January, 2012

Some interesting correspondence

Marcia Turnquist writes:

I sent an email to NOAA a few days back, calling their arctic report card video propaganda and I got an inquiry back from a Jana Goldman, asking why I thought so. My response is below. You HAVE to watch the video I referenced. It's priceless.

To: 'Jana Goldman' Subject: RE: arctic report card is...

Jana, Where do I start? The following statements in the video are either in dispute or, worse, blatant advocacy and fear mongering:

*Changes in the arctic are starting to amplify each other. I seriously doubt that. The evidence is weak.

*Warm temperatures continue. Yes, and they've been in the arctic before. Check records for the 1920's and 1930's.

*Loss of ice impacts sea level. Of course it does, but nothing dramatic is happening. No cities are drowning, Vanuatu is not under water. Al Gore still buys lovely beach houses.

*Polar bears are losing habitat. There's still plenty out there and their numbers are fine, even growing in some regions. Polar bears have lost habitat before, much more drastically, and they survive today.

*The shellfish pictures. I'll bet they had nothing to do with REAL ocean water. What did you do, stick them in acid to get those pictures? Absolutely ridiculous and you should find out and get rid of those pictures. The ocean remains alkaline last time I checked.

*The wind has shifted and now the warm is in the arctic and the cold is in the US and Europe. This is a blatant attempt to explain why "global warming" has called cooling and it only comes off as desperate. The likelihood that CO2 had anything to do with this is laughable.

*And finally, the last sentence, which is priceless: Taken together, these interconnected shifts are indicators of continuing arctic change relative to the previous decades at the end of the 20th century. First, what the bonzai does that MEAN? It says NOTHING! Second, the language shows another sneaky attempt at advocacy science and fear mongering. In other words, it's baloney. And please don't tell me that all of this is backed by peer-reviewed science, because I know it's really pal-reviewed science among people of like minds getting paid for like results.

Good luck with your PR job... You're on a sinking ship.

Sincerely, Marcia

Physicist Dr Gordon Fulks then wrote a congratulatory letter to Marcia:

Dear Marcia,

You are certainly correct that the video from NOAA Director of Communications & External Affairs Ms. Jana Goldman has all the earmarks of propaganda and no scientific content. This video is designed to reinforce the prejudices that earlier propaganda has introduced, without the caveats that are necessary in science. For instance, any legitimate scientist would have to indicate that many scientists do not agree with the standard rubbish about carbon dioxide. Please see the attached letter to President Obama from many senior scientists, probably none of whom are on the NOAA payroll and subject to NOAA restrictions. Did you know that scientists working for the National Weather Service are prohibited from disagreeing with NOAA's political stance in public?

But what do you expect from a US government agency headed by Professor Lubchenco who hails from our own Oregon State University? She has always advocated the heavy involvement of politics in science and is surprisingly ignorant of basic science. When at OSU she promoted the "Dead Zones" she found in the Pacific ocean off of Oregon as an indication of a dying planet. It is good that she left for service in the Obama Administration when she did, because her "science" was collapsing. The poor ocean conditions characteristic of the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) were changing back to their cold and highly productive phase. We have had great crab and salmon seasons of late. Should Lubchenco have known? Sure! The work of Mantua at UW and Russian scientists long ago established the reasons for the cyclic behavior of salmon runs. And the PDO is now known to be highly important to the earth's climate.

I remember a conversation that my father had about 50 years ago with the world-famous meteorologist Sverre Petterson at the University of Chicago. They were aware that the "Southern Oscillation" (El Ninos and La Ninas) was important to the world's weather and were hoping that the coming satellite era would allow them to better measure what we now call the PDO. My father was a high level administrator in NOAA's predecessor agency, ran the National Weather Service in the Midwest, and was a professional meteorologist.

But Public Relations people like Ms. Goldman who have no background in science can hardly be expected to do better than their boss who has credentials in biology but not in the physical sciences, let alone physics or meteorology. It is as H. L. Mencken said long ago: "A man cannot be expected to see the flaws in something if his income depends on his not understanding it." That is especially true of those without requisite credentials.

Why is it so important for someone who is purveying "science" to the public to have an adequate background in it? To answer that ask yourself why it is so important for someone who is purveying medical advice to have an adequate background in medicine. Working for an organization that has paid scientists on staff, all of whom are required to support the Anthropogenic Global Warming orthodoxy, is hardly a legitimate fallback.

The underlying issue that Director Goldman may recognize but is intentionally ignoring is the cyclical nature of weather, climate, the oceans, ice ages and so on. All of these very well known and very well documented phenomena are largely due to the fact that we live on a fluid planet with vast oceans and atmosphere that are never in complete equilibrium, a variable star that we call the Sun, and a planetary system that involves a big brute called Jupiter. These produce the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Thermohaline Circulation, the Arctic Oscillation, the solar cycles and Galactic Cosmic Ray effect on clouds, and the Milankovitch Cycles. And that is just the beginning.

Ignoring all of these in favor of a little man-made carbon dioxide is just plain stupid. Running an effort that promotes the stupidity for political control, as in George Orwell's '1984,' is worse.

Received via email

Another false prophecy

There was a big melt in the Arctic in 2007, which gave lots of Warmists erections. Below is one such, from National Geographic of 2007. The Arctic ice has since then substantially bounced back

An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer—a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point.

One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years ago, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by the Associated Press (AP).

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado.

Just last year two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.

This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."


Warmist climatologist considers faking sick rather than debating

Email 3183:
date: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 16:18:40 +0000 from: Gabi Hegerl subject: Re: Press coverage of polar detection paper to: Phil Jones

Hi Phil, I managed to back myself into a debate after all and am agonizing over it. Pat Michaels wants to go after the historical context ie a ice free arctic not being unusual. should I just fall ill? do you know about ice free arctic in paleoclimatic context? do we have arctic proxies? Gabi


Pat Michaels confirms that she did not in fact turn up. Warmism just can't stand informed scrutiny

NYTimes sings budget blues for climateers

If only Michael Mann got more money to waste. The New York Times editorializes today:
Is there a connection between last year’s extreme weather events and global warming? The answers might be a lot clearer if the Republicans in Congress were less hostile to climate change research.

So what happened to the $50 billion or so spent over the past 15 years?

And then, precisely what sort of research would be conducted?

After all, everyone agrees weather is not climate. A corollary to this reality is that bad weather is not climate change.

If all we would get from more spending is yet another trumped up conclusion that manmade greenhouse gas emissions are the root of all weather misfortune, we’d rather just concede the inevitability of that conclusion and save the money.


The Keystone XL pipeline—a line in the sand for America's future

Ask people about the future of energy, and you’ll probably hear mention of “solar,” “wind,” and “ethanol.” These developing energy technologies have been invested in, loaned to, subsidized, and mandated—yet they’ve repeatedly fallen short.

If the vaunted renewables aren’t yet ready for prime time, what will we do if, for example, Iran makes good on its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz and blocks a significant supply of the world’s energy? Just the fear of a supply disruption bumped up the price of oil.

The geopolitics provide a perfect backdrop for pushing the pipeline that will boost the economy through more jobs and price stability, provide energy security, and help balance the trade deficit. Opponents see building the Keystone XL pipeline as a flashpoint for the struggle between old and new energy paradigms—yet with the failure of so-called future energy, the pipeline is representative of our energy future.

Untold billions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent trying to force renewables into an unnatural economic timeline with the expectation that the laws of nature will bow to the laws of politicians. Yet, not one of them produces a significant percentage of our energy needs. If we lost 20% of our renewable energy, we’d never feel it. If we lost 20% of our oil supply—the amount that goes through the Strait of Hormuz, we could be back to the rationing and gas lines that are reminiscent of the Carter administration.

“President Obama repeatedly assured the American public that a slew of taxpayer-funded projects in his 2009 stimulus package were ‘shovel-ready.’ Yet few of these projects ever got off the ground, and the jobs they produced were negligible,” says National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow, Bonner Cohen. “By contrast, the Keystone XL project really is shovel-ready. And even though it would produce jobs and energy quickly, he refuses to give it the green light.”

In a time of economic war, the Keystone XL pipeline is a job creator that requires no new technology or research, no taxpayer funding while generating new tax revenues, and no new infrastructure—all with virtually no risk (financial or environmental).

Harold McGowen, President and CEO of Navidad Resources in Tyler, TX, explains it this way: “There is nothing new about pipelines. We already have over 2.3 million miles of pipelines in the United States, including about 55,000 miles of crude oil trunk lines. These crude oil pipelines have safely and efficiently transported the crude oil that is required to sustain the food supply, transportation, and quality of life of every American for decades. Pipelines continue to be the safest mode of transporting the lifeblood of the nation. They are safer than trains—which can derail; sea-going tankers—which can rupture, sink and run aground; and trucks—that can crash.”

The Keystone XL pipeline, and the tens of thousands of true shovel-ready jobs it can provide, isn’t just about moving oil from Canada to the US, it will allow for safer transport of new oil discoveries like North Dakota’s Bakken Field that produces more than 400,000 barrels per day. Because there is not enough pipeline capacity, Bakken oil is currently being taken to refiners in Louisiana via rail with the Bakken Oil Express’ capacity at only 100,000 barrels per day. Increased capacity, provided by the pipeline, would encourage additional oil development in the West, benefitting production in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

With the Keystone XL pipeline able to safely transport approximately 500,000 barrels of oil per day, the US could reduce oil imports from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait by 25% (or more)—making us less vulnerable to inevitable Middle Eastern unrest.

For the past sixty years, the US has been a net importer of petroleum products—meaning we’ve been sending our dollars to foreign countries and adding to our trade deficit (more money goes out than comes in). New discoveries, like the Bakken Field, have reduced the amount of crude oil we import, but, as previously illustrated, we still use more than we produce domestically. However, the US is now a net exporter of refined petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel—making fuel the top single export in 2011.

The Keystone XL pipeline will play an important role in America’s position as an ongoing fuel producer and exporter. Rather than counting on tankers crossing the ocean with crude, it will bring domestic and friendly foreign oil to refiners along the Gulf Coast. Many refiners are located on the coast because the tankers coming from the Middle East dock there. The crude oil is then unloaded and refined. Once refined, the fuel, as always, gets distributed throughout the US, but is now also sold and shipped to countries worldwide. An available and abundant fuel supply drops the price, and all sectors of the US economy benefit.

Economist Ben Stein says, “This country runs on energy, it doesn’t run on the hot air spewed out by environmentalists.”

The debate is not about a simple pipeline; it is really about development in America. It is a literal line in the sand. Polls show that the majority of Americans support the Keystone XL pipeline, yet a visible minority standing in front of the White House (and the White House standing with them) is able to stall or stop it. Similar efforts put forth by professional environmentalists and their “could,” “maybe,” and “might,” tactics, have been able to block or delay long-overdue road projects (that would create jobs), mineral extraction (that would create jobs), and new or expanded shipping ports (that would create jobs).

The Keystone XL pipeline is symbolic of the importance of the 2012 election. If the Keystone XL pipeline goes through—as every other previous trans-border pipeline has—America’s energy future will be taken from the hands of the protester and placed back into the hands of “we the people.” American ingenuity, industry, and exceptionalism will win.

Will the majority wake up, show up, stand up and speak up?

We should, we can, and we will.


Obama's War on U.S. Energy

By Alan Caruba

The Iowa caucuses tell us that the campaign season is now upon us. While we focus on the Republican candidates, there will likely only be one Democratic candidate for president. If you still need a reason to defeat Obama in 2012 consider his administration’s intense effort to deprive America of the energy it needs to function and compete in the world.

If a foreign nation had launched an attack on America to destroy its coal-fired plants, to shut down its coal mines, and to thwart its ability to drill for oil and natural gas, we would be at war with it.

Obama is at war with America. Between the waste of billions squandered on “Green” energy and the attacks on all aspects of the energy industries in America, the one reason to defeat Obama is your ability to turn on the lights, turn on your computer, and ensure that American business and industry has the energy necessary to exist and compete.

Just try to imagine what your life would be without adequate, reliable electricity.

As a Wall Street Journal editorial recently warned, “Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission convened a conference on the wave of Environmental Protection Agency rules that are designed to force dozens of coal-fired power plants to shut down…despite warnings from expert after expert, including some of its own, the FERC Commissioners refuse to do anything about this looming threat to electric reliability.”

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned that “Environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years.”

The editorial noted that “For the first time in U.S. history, net coal capacity is in decline. On top of 38 gigawatts of generation that is already being run below normal levels or slated for early retirement, NERC predicts another 36 to 59 gigawatts will come offline by 2018, depending on the ‘scope and timing’ of EPA demands. That could mean nearly a quarter of all coal-fired capacity.”

It is coal-fired plants that currently provide fifty percent of all the electricity generated in America! The EPA is feverishly trying to force a quarter of that capacity offline. Why? Because the EPA claims that these plants are “polluting” the air. The air in America has never been cleaner. The EPA demand for cleaner air is a bludgeon being used to deprive America of its ability to function.

America has more than 497 billion short tons of recoverable coal (not counting Alaska) or nearly three times as much as Russia, which has the world’s second largest reserve. According to the Institute for Energy Research, “America’s recoverable coal resources are bigger than the five largest non-North American countries’ reserves combined,” i.e., Russia, China, Australia, India and the Ukraine.

The Obama administration delayed the proposed Canadian Keystone XL pipeline that would provide more oil for America’s needs. It imposed an illegal moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. While China drills for oil off the coast of Cuba, access to offshore oil is restricted on both the East and West coasts of America and, of course, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. According to the Department of Interior's 1987 resource evaluation of ANWR's Coastal Plain, there is a 95% chance that a 'super field' with 500 million barrels would be discovered.

Meanwhile, when combined with resources in Canada and Mexico, the total recoverable oil in North America exceeds 1.7 trillion barrels! That is more than the entire world has used in the past 150 years and sufficient to fuel the present needs in the United States for the next 250 years!

The same holds true for natural gas, often accessed by “fracking” a safe process that has been in use for sixty years. The total amount of recoverable natural gas in North America is approximately 4.2 quadrillion (4,244 trillion) cubic feet. That’s enough to last for the next 175 years at current rates of consumption.

In Durban, South Africa the enemies of the United States and all industrialized Western nations recently gathered at yet another United Nations conference on climate change. Its major objective was to deter energy use by Western industrialized nations or, more accurately, to require that the UN receives billions in return for allowing it.

The global warming claim on which the EPA is basing its horrendous rules and regulations is a complete and total lie. There is no human-caused global warming.

The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) attended the conference to monitor its mischief and reports that “Obama and his fellow climate travelers are trying to do an end run around the Senate and stick America with the bill. They are creating side agreements that give them much of what they want from a treaty. These side agreements will not come home for a vote in the Senate or other national legislatures. Previous U.S. Senates have refused to ratify UN climate treaties such as the Kyoto Protocols that called for limits on greenhouse gases.

Global warming claims, the basis for EPA rule-making regarding emissions, have all been refuted and debunked.

Antarctic sea ice is at a near-record extent and is expanding; so too for Arctic ice. The polar bear population is thriving. Sea levels are actually dropping. Global temperatures have been holding steady for a decade and the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1998. The frequency of U.S. hurricanes has declined along with the frequency of tornadoes. There is no evidence the Earth is experiencing unusual weather. This list of climate lies is a very long one.

It is all connected, from the halls of the United Nations to the EPA and other U.S. departments working ceaselessly to deprive America of the energy it needs for its very survival.

Obama and his administration must be decisively defeated in November 2012 if the republic is ever to be empowered to pull back from the brink of its destruction.



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


1 January, 2012

Pesky ozone hole blamed on COOLING

Despite the Montreal Protcol banning "ozone destroying" CFCs now having been in force for many years, the Antarctic ozone "hole" has not been playing ball. Instead of shrinking, it just waxes and wanes each year as it always has, with some very large holes recently.

But what about the Arctic hole? It is even more pesky. It has been at its biggest extent recently. How to explain that? Somebody must be desperate as they are now explaining it by recent COOLING. Cooling in the Arctic? It is a Warmist item of faith that the Arctic is WARMING! It looks like you can't have your hole and your warming too!


Arctic winter 2010/2011 at the brink of an ozone hole


The Arctic stratospheric winter of 2010/2011 was one of the coldest on record with a large loss of stratospheric ozone. Observations of temperature, ozone, nitric acid, water vapor, nitrous oxide, chlorine nitrate and chlorine monoxide from the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) onboard ENVISAT are compared to calculations with a chemical transport model (CTM). There is overall excellent agreement between the model calculations and MIPAS observations, indicating that the processes of denitrification, chlorine activation and catalytic ozone depletion are sufficiently well represented. Polar vortex integrated ozone loss reaches 120 Dobson Units (DU) by early April 2011. Sensitivity calculations with the CTM give an additional ozone loss of about 25 DU at the end of the winter for a further cooling of the stratosphere by 1 K, showing locally near-complete ozone depletion (remaining ozone <200 ppbv) over a large vertical extent from 16 to 19 km altitude. In the CTM a 1 K cooling approximately counteracts a 10% reduction in stratospheric halogen loading, a halogen reduction that is expected to occur in about 13 years from now. These results indicate that severe ozone depletion like in 2010/2011 or even worse could appear for cold Arctic winters over the next decades if the observed tendency for cold Arctic winters to become colder continues into the future.


New Paper finds significant cooling of Atlantic Ocean over past millennium

A paper published today in the journal Paleoceanography finds that Atlantic Ocean surface temperatures have significantly cooled over the past millennium, since the Medieval Warming Period from about 950-1200 AD.
PALEOCEANOGRAPHY, VOL. 26, PA4224, 11 PP., 2011

Multidecadal variability and late medieval cooling of near-coastal sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical North Atlantic

By Henning Kuhnert et al

Multidecadal variations in Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SST) influence the climate of the Northern Hemisphere. However, prior to the instrumental time period, information on multidecadal climate variability becomes limited, and there is a particular scarcity of sufficiently resolved SST reconstructions. Here we present an eastern tropical North Atlantic reconstruction of SSTs based on foraminiferal Mg/Ca ratios that resolves multidecadal variability over the past 1700 years. Spectral power in the multidecadal band (50 to 70 years period) is significant over several time intervals suggesting that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) has been influencing local SST. Since our data exhibit high scatter the absence of multidecadal variability in the remaining record does not exclude the possibility that SST variations on this time scale might have been present without being detected in our data. Cooling by 0.5°C takes place between about AD 1250 and AD 1500; while this corresponds to the inception of the Little Ice Age (LIA), the end of the LIA is not reflected in our record and SST remains relatively low. This transition to cooler SSTs parallels the previously reconstructed shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation toward a low pre-20th century mean state and possibly reflects common solar forcing.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

CBS Hosts Guest Who Implicates Climate Change in Disasters of 2011

Since even Warmist scientists admit that there has been no climate change for over 10 years, nothing can be blamed on it so the pundit is plainly and irrevocably wrong. Something that doesn't exist can't cause anything

On Thursday's The Early Show, CBS hosted a guest who implicated climate change as one of the factors contributing to many weather disasters in 2011, and he ended up warning of more droughts in the future. After asserting that 2011 was an unusually active year for natural disasters, Dr. M. Sanjayan of the Nature Conservancy including climate change in the list of influences:

There's a perfect storm of events. We had a La Nina year, we had this thing called Arctic oscillation that drifted further South, but then we also have this underlying factor of climate change that makes everything warmer and supercharges the atmosphere, plus people today are living in places that sometimes puts them in harm's way.

As he recounted the heat waves of July, he intoned: "You only have to say Texas, 100 days of above 100 degrees in Texas. Can you imagine living through that? And that wasn't just a U.S. phenomenon. That was a global phenomenon. That's only going to get worse."

As he dismissed the likelihood of more tornadoes in 2012, he ended up predicting that there would be more droughts caused by climate change in 2012:

It's not going to be as bad because it's a La Nina year again, but a weak La Nina year. That's what people are saying. Now, that said, climate change is continuing, so you're going to continue to see droughts, but I don't think we're going to suffer from as many tornadoes and things like that like last year. So that's the positive news. Droughts are going to continue probably.



In a remarkable example of human-centeredness, Stanford University geochemist Richard Nevle blames Christopher Columbus for a sharp reduction in atmospheric CO2 during the 16th and 17th centuries. It seems that man-made warming believers never tire of telling us how powerful humans are, usually for the worse, in our ability to change nature.

Nevle claims that the deaths of American Indians, due to the sudden spread of European diseases after Columbus landed, would have stopped the Indians from burning so many forests to enhance their hunting. He says this would naturally lead to re-forestation of a land area at least as big as California. He estimates the billions of tons of CO2 withdrawn from the atmosphere as the new trees grew should just about explain a sudden drop in atmospheric CO2 during the years from 1500 to 1700 AD—as measured in the Antarctic ice cores.

If Dr. Nevle can “read” the deaths of the American Indians in the Antarctic ice record, has he checked for the impact of the Black Death in Europe and the Near East during the 14th century? Roughly half the population of Europe died then, along with vast numbers of people across the Near East. It is on the record that huge tracts of European land were allowed to revert from farm to forest during this period. The Near East got 300 years of persistent drought in the same time frame. Even the scruffy environment in North Africa and Syria is capable of changing the earth’s reflectance of sunlight if its people die of plague and the vegetation dries up.

I would think a geochemist, especially one from Stanford, would understand that the oceans hold about 70 times more CO2 than does the atmosphere. He would also understand that when water gets colder, it absorbs more gas from its surroundings. Thus, if a weakening sun suddenly put less heat into the earth’s oceans, the oceans would take more CO2 from that air. That CO2 reduction would register in the Antarctic ice cores and in temperatures around the globe.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the middle of the Little Ice Age, the sun had two extremely long “quiet periods” with very few sunspots. During these minima, the earth’s temperatures were slammed down to their lowest levels since the last big Ice Age. The Sporer Minimum lasted from 1460 to 1550, and dropped the temperatures in the subtropical Sargasso Sea by 2 degrees C. The Maunder Minimum lasted from 1645 to 1715 and dropped the Sargasso temperatures by 3 degrees C. In all, it meant nearly 200 years of declining temperatures in zillions of tons of water around the world, which then dutifully sucked CO2 out of the Antarctic air.

We’ve known about the Dansgaard-Oeschger 1500-year solar cycle of warming and cooling since 1984, and we’ve now found its evidence in ice cores, cave stalagmites, seabed sediments and fossil pollen—worldwide. The cycle is so strong that it persists even during the big Ice Ages that hit every 100,000 years and drops Antarctic temperatures by nearly 10 degrees C.

Could it be that Dr. Nevle is again over-estimating humanity’s importance? Should we be paying more attention to our currently very quiet sun? Maybe the lack of warming over the past 15 years is trying to tell him that CO2 is a minor trace gas—whose correlation with our temperatures over the past 160 years is a puny 22 percent.


Putting Extreme Weather Into Perspective

According to Heidi Cullen, “2011 is further proof that a new era of extreme weather is dawning — and it’s about to get much, much worse “. But is there any truth in such claims?

We need to put this year’s weather into some sort of proper perspective. A few months ago, I put together a record of extreme weather events in 1971. Nothing special about that year, it just happened to be 40 years ago. So how does 2011 compare?

Droughts in Texas, Africa and China? Droughts of equal severity occurred there in 1971, as well as in many other places. Floods? Queensland’s flood 40 years ago was much worse than this year’s, while 100,000 died in North Vietnam’s Red River Flood. India, Malaysia, Brazil and many parts of the US all suffered badly too.

Irene, the Hurricane that never was? 1971 saw Tropical Storm Doria leave far worse flooding all the way from North Carolina up to Canada, while Typhoon Rose devastated Hong Kong. Blizzards, Tornadoes? 1971 certainly had its fair share.

But don’t take my word for it, have a look at the list below.


In the US there were several notable droughts in 1971:-

* Florida – The worst drought on record resulted in 400,000 acres of the Everglades burned by fires. (1)
* Texas – Worst drought since the 1950’s. (2)
* Maryland – The 1958-71 drought produced the largest recorded annual departures from average stream discharge. (3)
* California – The summer of 1971 was “extra hot and long. Rainfall did not completely wet the (tree) root zones the winter of 1971-72 (sic)”. The same report in 1978 stated “the rate of development (of dieback of tree limbs) has been accentuated in recent years”. (4)
* Hawaii – The drought on Maui was described as the worst in 22 years. (5)
* North Carolina – The Air Force Bombing Range Fire destroyed 29300 acres of forest. (6)
* Minnesota – The Little Sioux Fire destroyed 14000 acres following “a period of abnormally dry weather”. (7)
* In total there were 108398 wildfires in the US in 1971 affecting 4.2 million acres. ( Figures for 2010 were 71971 fires and 3.4 million acres). (7a)

In the rest of the world there many more:-

* Australia – In Victoria what was described as a severe drought began that would last to 1973. (8)
* Ethiopia – 1971 saw the start of a 2 year drought that would claim 300,000 lives. (9)
* Kenya – 150,000 people were affected in what was described in 2006 as even worse than the 2005 drought, itself one of the worst on record. (10)
* Sahel – Mali, Chad, Nigeria and Burkina were in the middle of a drought that lasted from 1967-88 and which was described in Nigeria as the worst since 1913. (11)
* Okinawa – Experienced the worst drought in history. (12)
* China – Much of Northern China was in the grip of what in Beijing was on record as the worst drought ever (before or since). (13)
* Afghanistan – This was the worst in the country’s history. (14)
* Iraq – This severe drought led to the mercury poisoning tragedy. Iran was also affected. No drought there has been as bad since. (15)
* India – The 1971-72 drought affected many states and ranked as the 5th worst since records began in 1876. (16)
* Argentina – The 1971 drought was worse than anything since. (17)


* North Vietnam – The Red River flood was an absolutely terrible disaster leaving 100,000 dead. It was listed by NOAA as one of the century’s top weather events and described as a 250 year event. (18)
* India – Orissa was hit by a cyclone which left 10,800 dead. (19). Also, in Central India the Bundelkhand district was hit by floods (which were followed in 1972 by droughts). (20)
* Malaysia – 32 people were killed and 180,000 affected in the Kuala Lumpur floods in the worst floods since 1926. (21)
* Australia – In January the Canberra flood claimed 7 lives followed a month later by floods in Victoria which were called a 100 year event. In Queensland every month from January to May saw major floods and significant flooding returned in December. (22) (23) (24)
* New Zealand – The New Plymouth area was hit by their worst ever flood after 11.4 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.(25)
* Brazil – 130 dead in Rio de Janeiro floods. (26)
* Quebec – Heavy rainfall caused a massive landslide at the village of Saint-Jean-Vianney, leaving 31 dead. (27)
* Spain – 19 died in floods in Barcelona after 308mm of rain in 24 hours. (28)
* USA – Alaska suffered a major flood, only exceeded by the 1986 flood in the last 50 years. (29)
* USA – In February significant flooding occurred in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.(30)
* USA – In March Southeastern States were affected with Georgia recording record levels in some areas. (30)
* USA – May and June brought significant flooding to Utah, Idaho, Nebraska and Wyoming. The discharge from the Bear River in Utah was considered a 75 year event. (30)
* USA – Significant flooding hit Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia in June and July. (30)
* USA – In August Baltimore was struck by one of the most damaging thunderstorms in 50 years and 14 died from the resulting floods. (30)
* USA – Widespread flooding followed Tropical Storm Doria up the coast from North Carolina to Maine in August. Some streams in New Jersey and Pennsylvania registered record floods. (30)
* USA - Extended flooding occurred in September and October affecting Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. (30)
* USA – More significant flooding hits Oklahoma and Arkansas in December. (30)


* The Atlantic hurricane season was a “fairly active” one with several notable storms.(31)
* The strongest was Edith, a Category 5, which killed dozens in Nicaragua before turning north and hitting Louisiana. (31)
* Ginger is on record as the longest lasting Atlantic hurricane ever, or at least until the 1899 San Ciriaco hurricane was retroactively discovered to be longer. (31)
* An unnamed storm in August attained hurricane status further north than any other North Atlantic tropical cyclone. (31)
* Canada was unusually on the receiving end of the tail ends of 2 hurricanes, Beth and Doria which both caused huge amounts of damage from flooding. Both were listed by Natural Resources Canada among the 18 major hurricanes of the 20thC. (32)
* In the Pacific the hurricane season was above average with 18 named storms, 6 of which made landfall. This latter number is still the record for a season. (33)
* The typhoon season was also a busy one with 24 typhoons of which 6 were super typhoons. This compares to 7 typhoons including 2 super typhoons in 2010. The season had an extremely active start with a record number of storms before August. (34)
* Typhoon Rose left 130 dead in Hong Kong plus many more at sea. It was described by the Hong Kong Observatory as “one of the most intense and violent” to have affected Hong Kong. (34)
* Cyclone Althea hit Queensland as a Category 4 cyclone in December. Damage was extensive but would have been worse if it had not arrived at low tide. (35)
* The tornado season in the USA was also above average with 58 F3+ tornadoes ( compared to 39 in 2010). (36)
* The worst tornado outbreak occurred in the Mississippi Valley during 2 days in February. 19 tornadoes were spawned claiming 123 lives across 3 states. (37)


* The highest ever UK January temperature was recorded in Gwynedd at 65F. (38)
* In Canada the snowfall record for one season was set on Mount Copeland in British Columbia in the winter of 1971/72. (39)
* In the same winter Mount Baker in Washington broke the US record when 1122 inches fell. (40)
* Montreal’s “snowstorm of the century” left 17 dead with 70mph winds producing second storey drifts. (41)
* Texas and Oklahoma were hit by a giant blizzard which set the state record snow depth in Oklahoma of 36 inches. The National Weather Service in Amarillo lists this blizzard as one of the top 20 weather events in the Panhandle. (42) (43)
* Columbia suffered its worst winter in years resulting in economic losses of $150 million. To make matters worse heavy rains caused the two biggest rivers, the Magdalena and Cuca, to flood vast regions in the Central and Western parts of the country. (44)
* Most of the USA was colder than normal. 1971 nationally was the 36th coldest in the 20thC. (45)

Just suppose that this was the record for this year and not 1971, would Heidi be saying anything different?


Energy Makes Christmas Great

Marita Noon

In November, I boarded a flight, heading to a speaking engagement later in the day. The flight attendant commented on my attire. I told her that I was a “speaker” and therefore could dress with a bit more bling than the average person. “Oh, what do you speak on?” “Energy,” I replied. “Great, I used to be a nutritionist.” She responded. I told her that it wasn’t that kind of energy.

With Christmas just passed, you may think you need lots of her type of energy—and you’d be right. But without my kind of energy, you’d need a whole lot more of her kind of energy to create the “old fashioned” Christmas that so many of us picture when we think of the holiday.

One of the big traits of Christmas is the entire multi-generational family gathered around the table. Back in the day of the picture perfect holiday, travel meant hitching up the horse and wagon. Today, to accomplish this, family members often have to travel great distances to get to the site of the big meal. Christmas is reported as one of the busiest travel seasons—whether by auto or air. But even before the travel takes place, energy is a big part of the picture.

The travel has to be planned. Air travel takes a visit to one’s favorite travel website. Travel by land often requires a Mapquest search for the best route. Both need energy to function. Then when the actual travel takes place, regardless of the method or distance, fuel is needed to make the trip possible.

Even the big meal takes more energy than one might assume. First the turkey (or ham or beef) has to be raised (I’ll not belabor each phase of energy used there). Then to get it to the store in a safe and sanitary manner, requires refrigeration and transportation—both are energy dependent. Once at the store refrigeration is, again, important. To go to the store to make your selection demands fuel.

Let’s jump to the big day. Most people stuff the bird and cook it in the oven—though the fried turkey has increased in popularity. Either way, energy is required for cooking—natural gas, electricity or propane. And, that does not include the veggies, the mashed potatoes (that need a mixer), or the freshly baked rolls. The feast typically includes some sort of salad. At my great aunt’s home in Massachusetts, salad was green Jello with chopped celery and a dollop of mayonnaise. In modern homes the salad is usually lettuce based. Either way, energy is needed to keep things fresh and cool.

Once the meal is ready, many people use an electric knife to cut the turkey and a hot plate to keep things warm while the final preparations are made. Both need energy.

Around the table, the ambiance may be created the “old fashioned” way with candles and a flickering wood-fueled fire. But even fire is energy—the first used in civilization. But maybe you have music playing on the stereo—downloaded from iTunes (thanks to energy).

Post meal, fat and happy, many households will retire to the sofa to watch the big game of the day. Once again energy is a central feature. It gets all the on-site participants to the stadium. Energy lights the stadium and powers the television cameras. Perhaps the image gets to your home via satellite or cable. Neither is possible without energy. Once in your home, that flat screen TV needs electricity and rare earth to give you that great picture. The beer you’re drinking is nice and cold, or the cider nice and hot, thanks to energy.

But it is not over yet. In most homes, while the men watch the game, the women clean up. Whew! The dishwasher makes it so much easier. And the hot water coming straight from the tap is expected. Once again, energy.

If you are the cook, by the end of the day, you are ready for all of those people to head home. You are lacking energy and are ready to crawl under your electric blanket—all warm and snuggly.

One you start thinking about it, you can see myriad other ways that energy makes your Christmas the picture-perfect event of which you’ve dreamed. Maybe your digital camera was used, your computer to view the shots, your printer to print out copies for everyone. You get the picture.

When you come to the table and bow your head to give thanks for the family, friends and food—don’t forget the energy that made it all possible.



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)