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

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

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30 January, 2015

Joe Romm assumes what he has to prove -- and his assumption is wrong

As we all know, ANY weather event proves global warming.  Global warming is unfalsifiable and is, as such, a religious faith, not a scientific finding. So it is no surprise that Joe Romm, the professional Warmist, has put up an argument  -- excerpt below -- to say that the recent winter storms in the N.E. USA are caused by global warming.  But how can they be?  There has been no statistically significant global warming for 18 years or thereabouts.  But Romm writes as if warming were happening.  He assumes what he has to prove. Clearly, all the events he describes are natural and nothing to do with our static climate

Warming-fueled sea surface temperatures provide a boost of moisture for the forecast New England blizzard, just as it has for previous monster East Coast snow storms. Via NOAA.

Another epic blizzard is bearing down on New England. There is a “big part” played by “human-induced climate change,” especially warming-fueled ocean temperatures, according to Dr. Kevin Trenberth, former head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

I asked Dr. Trenberth to comment on the role climate change has on this latest storm, which is forecast to set records. He explained:

    "The number 1 cause of this is that it is winter. In winter it is cold over the continent. But it is warm over the oceans and the contrast between the cold continent and the warm Gulf Stream and surrounding waters is increasing. At present sea surface temperatures are more the 2F above normal over huge expanses (1000 miles) off the east coast and water vapor in the atmosphere is about 10% higher as a result. About half of this can be attributed to climate change".

Before this latest storm, we’ve seen a long-term pattern of more extreme precipitation, particularly in New England winters. Climate scientists had long predicted this would happen in a warming world.

Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. And like a baseball player on steroids, it’s the wrong question to ask whether a given home run is “caused” by steroids. As Trenberth wrote in his must-read analysis, “How To Relate Climate Extremes to Climate Change,” the “answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

One of the most robust scientific findings is the direct connection between global warming and more extreme precipitation or deluges. “Basic physics tells us that a warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture — at a rate of approximately 7 per cent increase per degree [Celsius] warming,” as the U.K. Met Office explained in its 2014 update on climate science. “This is expected to lead to similar percentage increases in heavy rainfall, which has generally been borne out by models and observed changes in daily rainfall.”

This means that when it is cold enough to snow, snow storms will be fueled by more water vapor and thus be more intense themselves. So we expect fewer snowstorms in regions close to the rain-snow line, such as the central United States, though the snowstorms that do occur in those areas are still likely to be more intense. It also means we expect more intense snowstorms in generally cold regions. This may appear to be counterintuitive — and certainly climate science deniers like to play up big snowstorms for that reason. But the fact is that the warming to date is not close to that needed to end below-freezing temperatures during midwinter over parts of the globe like New England, while it is large enough to put measurably more water vapor into the air.


No lamb cutlets for you!  Greenies really hate everything about us -- including our love of good food

The basic Greenie theory behind the assertions below is false.  There is no tendency for  trees to be chopped down to provide more farmland.  Energy-intensive farming methods in countries like the USA have provided huge gains in food production, allowing land to be returned to forest.  The area covered by forest in the USA INCREASED during the 20th century.  The characteristic state of food production in advanced countries is of course glut, not shortage  -- which is why food prices have come way down in real terms. Under capitalism, even China is now a net food exporter

Beef and lamb should be given the chop to help save the planet, the government has warned.

Cutting down on eating red meat in favour of more fruit and vegetables will free up land for forests to absorb greenhouse gases, a new study for the Department for Energy and Climate Change says.

People in Britain must curb their meat intake and travel less to meet emissions targets which would then allow them to have larger, warmer homes.

Ministers claim the report 'Prosperous living for the world in 2050' shows that limiting global temperatures to a 2°C rise can be achieved while improving living standards.

It looks at changes which can be easily made to lifestyles to reduce environmental impacts, allowing other behaviour which is less damaging.

It is claimed the Global Calculator tool will allow to world to 'eat well, travel more, live in more comfortable homes, and meet international carbon reduction commitments'.

But it urges people to reduce beef and lamb consumption, as a key way to prevent deforestation.

In the last decade almost 200 million hectares of native forest land has been cut down, the report says, partly driven by increased demand for agricultural land.

Demand for food around the world is expected to rise by up to 45 per cent by 2050, but forests need to expand by 5-15 per cent to absorb enough carbon dioxide from the atmoshphere.

The report suggests the number of cows grazing on grassland to increase from 0.6 per hectare today to up to 1 per hectare by 2050.

'For example, currently an area the size of a football pitch can be used to produce 250 kg of beef, 1,000 kg of poultry (both fed on grains and residues) or 15,000 kg of fruit and vegetables.

'Decreasing the amount of meat in the global average diet would also have benefits for our climate and human health.'

Swapping from beef and lamb for poultry and pork would require much less land to produce per kilogram.

'This change in the type of meat we eat could free up 290 million hectares of land, otherwise used for animal feed and pasture, to ultimately become land for forests, which acts a carbon sink and reduces the need for abatement elsewhere.'

The World Health Organisation's definition of a healthy diet includes 2,100 calories on average, of which 160 calories is meat.

If everyone stuck to these limits it could reduce emissions by the euiavalenet of a third of total global CO2 emissions in 2011.

'Smart use of our land could ensure we can protect or even expand our forests, produce all the food we need, and increase land for bioenergy from 98 million hectares today to up to 350 million hectares by 2050.'

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: 'For the first time this Global Calculator shows that everyone in the world can prosper while limiting global temperature rises to 2°C, preventing the most serious impacts of climate change.

'Yet the calculator is also very clear that we must act now to change how we use and generate energy and how we use our land if we are going to achieve this green growth.

'The UK is leading on climate change both at home and abroad. Britain's global calculator can help the world's crucial climate debate this year. Along with the many country-based 2050 calculators we pioneered, we are working hard to demonstrate to the global family that climate action benefits people.'


UK: Eco-warrior planted homemade 'stingers' that took out THREE police cars as they answered emergency calls on New Year's Eve

An environmental activist who used nail-filled pieces of plywood to put three police cars responding to emergency calls out of action is likely to be jailed.

Emma Sheppard positioned three of the homemade traps outside a police station near Bristol on New Year's Eve, which led to the police vehicles' tyres being punctured. The devices were similar to those used by police to stop suspect's cars.

The 33-year-old appeared at the Bristol Crown Court yesterday via video-link from Eastwood Park prison in Gloucestershire and admitted damaging the vehicles.

Judge Martin Piction told Sheppard she would inevitably be jailed and said he would consider public protection issues when sentencing her next month. He then remanded her in custody.

Sheppard, who is from Easton, in Bristol, is well known within green activist circles.

In 2009 she was among a group of 18 activists who were found guilty of trying to shut down the Ratcliffe power station in Nottinghamshire. Her conviction and those of her co-accused were later quashed following revelations the group had been infiltrated by undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.

The court heard that Sheppard, of no fixed abode, put the devices outside a police divisional HQ in Emersons Green, Bristol.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Bevan said the 'stinger' devices rendered the police vehicles 'unusable on what is traditionally one of the busiest nights of the year'.

He said Sheppard placed the devices on the road, 'knowing full well what the consequences could be'.

Det. Insp. Bevan said: 'They posed a serious risk to our police officers as well as other road users and formed part of a reckless and dangerous plan.'

Sheppard’s conviction is the first by detectives from Avon and Somerset's police's Operation Rhone. A squad was formed in December after police linked more than 100 arson and vandalism attacks on establishment targets that had occurred in and around Bristol and Bath during the last four years.

The attacks, on police stations, banks and politician's cars, were suspected to have been carried out by anarchists.


Seattle to Fine Residents for Throwing Food in the Garbage

In an attempt to shame residents of their city, a new Seattle law will levy a fine on homes that do not properly sort food out of their garbage.

Emblazoned with a red citation tag, violators will start to be fined anywhere from $1-$50 in July. For now, Seattle residents will be publicly shamed by the ‘Scarlet Letter’-like tags.

"I'm sure neighbors are going to see these on their other neighbors' cans," says Rodney Watkins, a lead driver for Recology CleanScapes, a waste contractor for the city. He's on the front lines of enforcing these rules.  The tags are part of, what the city calls, a “public education campaign.”

In an interview with NPR, Watkins details how he goes about enforcing the draconian statute:  "You can see all the oranges and coffee grounds," he says, raising one lid.” All that makes great compost. You can put that in your compost bin and buy it back next year in a bag and put it in your garden."

The ultimate goal of the law is to boost composting while reducing greenhouse gasses:

Food waste is both an economic and environmental burden. Transporting the waste, especially for distances as far as Seattle does, is costly. So too is allowing it to sit out in the open, where it produces methane, one of the most harmful greenhouses gases, as it rots. The second largest component of landfills in the United States is organic waste, and landfills are the single largest source of methane gas.

The EPA has already begun a campaign to achieve laws similar to Seattle’s.

The outstanding question remains: what purview is it of government to act as people’s trash nanny?


Drilling in the Atlantic? Not So Fast

The Obama administration announced Tuesday that, while it would move to block drilling in significant portions of Alaska, it would seek to open some of the Atlantic Coast to drilling. But lest you celebrate a sane policy shift, The Washington Post reports, “Any drilling would be at least a decade away and likely subject to intense political and legal battles between industry backers and environmentalists worried about the risk of oil spills.”

Furthermore, explained Amy Harder of the Wall Street Journal, “Secretary Sally Jewell of the Interior Department stressed that this is the broadest plan that they’re going to consider. When it goes final in the next couple of years, they may whittle it down to something smaller than what they proposed today. … So I think the plan can only get narrower and given the president’s commitment to climate change,

I wouldn’t be surprised if they ultimately took it out of the final plan, though at this point it’s far to early to say.” Indeed, the Left’s dedication to fighting climate change will derail many economically sound plans in the coming years.



Three current articles below

How a garden pest is slowing Sydney’s progress: Projects stymied by green tape protecting frogs, bats and snails

GREEN tape protecting endangered plants and animals is delaying projects worth billions across the state, with contractors forced to search for snails, count bat colonies and protect pygmy fish.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal green tape delays will impact the north coast’s Pacific Hwy upgrade, while preparations of the Badgerys Creek airport site are likely to be affected by a list of 45 threatened species ranging from eastern bent-wing bat to the red crowned toadlet.

North West Rail Link contractors were told to search for the cumberland plain land snail before construction on the $8.3 billion rail link began.

The snail — which looks similar to the exotic garden snail — has already been identified as a “high risk” threatened species on the Badgerys airport site.

Endangered plants are also afforded high priority on major road and rail projects, with buffer zones put in place, while seeds are being collected on the North West Rail Link for replanting.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt last year slapped 26 conditions on the 155km Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Hwy upgrade that’s already four years behind schedule. Mr Hunt imposed strict conditions to protect the pygmy perch and giant barred frog.

He also ordered the RMS to implement a Ballina Koala Plan despite three separate reports already compiled by experts on fauna, fish and flora. Mr Hunt said the Abbott government was working with NSW to deliver a “one-stop shop for environmental approvals”.

Under the proposed new structure, duplication and red tape would be phased out, but as the months drag on and with no timeline on when the streamlined process will be in place, major projects are expected to be delayed under the old system.

Mr Hunt’s spokesman confirmed the Badgerys Creek Environmental Impact Statement would include threatened species such as birds and bats, which have already been identified as being vulnerable to plane strikes.

NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward said the government was frustrated efforts to “streamline approvals” had been blocked in the Senate.

National Roads & Motorists’ Association president Kyle Loades said the group was concerned the highway upgrade’s 2020 deadline would not be met.

Mr Loades said protecting the environment was important but there was a community “expectation that it is done within reason”. He highlighted the danger of delays to key road projects surrounding Badgerys Creek, saying while it was appropriate to investigate the impact the roads may have on “local colonies of bats and birds”, western Sydney residents should not have to experience the same delays that has slowed down the Pacific Hwy upgrade.

Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said high environmental standards were important but should not “unnecessarily hold up major projects”.

“Governments at all levels need to redouble efforts to reduce overlap and inefficiency in planning approvals laws, including environmental approvals,” Ms Westacott said.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said three North West Rail Link environmental impact statements were approved between 2012 and 2014 and as part of that process there was no change to the route alignment and construction of the rail project was “ahead of schedule”.

A WestConnex spokeswoman said EIS documents for the M4 widening and M5 interchange pledged to conduct “pre-clearing surveys” prior to construction.

The WestConnex project had searched for threatened species including bats and the green and golden bell frog.


Greens slam conservative Qld government's  casino plan

One wonders what this has got to do with the environment.  Just another anti-people push

THE Newman government's decision to green-light three new casinos for Queensland reeks of backward thinking and a "third world" approach to development.  THAT'S according to the Greens, who have slammed the Liberal National Party on the scheme, two days out from Saturday's election.

The state government is fielding expressions of interest from parties interested in securing approval for one of three new integrated resort developments.  One site is slated for the Queen's Wharf precinct in Brisbane, with two more proposed for regional Queensland.  The government announced last year these approvals would come with casino licences.

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said extra casinos would turn Queensland into "the problem gambling state" of Australia, and instead the government should look at creating jobs in fields like renewable energy and eco-tourism. "Let's actually invest in Queensland's brains and capitalise on our natural beauty," Ms Waters said.

She says if Queenslanders want to gamble they are more than welcome to do so at the state's four existing venues.

Ms Waters' federal colleague Richard Di Natale says the Newman government's commitment to casinos and coal industries, rather than new sectors and technologies, has hallmarks of a "third-world dictatorship".

Local candidate Kirsten Lovejoy says art shows, festivals and new parklands - not poker machines - should be brought in to revamp the Queens Wharf entertainment zone.

Expressions of interest for the Integrated Resort Developments close on March 31.


Peer-reviewed study shatters claims that wind turbines are “safe”

Australia’s leading acoustical engineer Steven Cooper found that a unique infrasound pattern, which he had labelled “Wind Turbine Signature” in previous studies, correlates (through a “trend line”) with the occurrence and severity of symptoms of residents who had complained of often-unbearable “sensations”.

These include sleep disturbance, headaches, heart racing, pressure in the head, ears or chest, etc. as described by the residents (symptoms generally known as Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS), or the euphemism “noise annoyance” – ed). (1)

The acoustician also identified “discrete low frequency amplitude modulated signals” emitted by wind turbines, and found the windfarm victims were also reacting to those.

The Wind Turbine Signature cannot be detected using traditional measuring indexes such as dB(A) or dB(C) and 1/3 Octave bands, concludes his study. Narrowband analysis must be used instead, with results expressed in dB(WTS).

He suggests medical studies be conducted using infrasound measurements in dB(WTS) in order to determine the threshold of what is unacceptable in terms of sound pressure level.

The findings are consistent with the official Kelley studies published in the US more than 30 years ago, which showed that infrasound emitted by early, downwind turbines caused sleep disturbance and other WTS symptoms (2). These studies were shelved, upwind turbines were designed, and the regulatory authorities simply trusted the wind industry’s assertion that the new models did not emit dangerous infrasound. The Cooper study now proves they were wrong.

Another conclusion of his study is that the Danish method used for measuring low-frequency “noise annoyance” near wind farms is inadequate. So are the wind turbine noise standards applied to wind farms in Victoria, Australia and New Zealand, known as New Zealand Standard 6808. Just as inadequate are all other standards regulating “annoyance” near wind farms around the world. They simply don’t take infrasound into account.

The Waubra Foundation, Dr Sarah Laurie, Dr Nina Pierpont, Dr Robert McMurtry, Ms Carmen Krogh, Dr Michael Nissenbaum, Dr Chris Hanning, Dr Jay Tibbetts, Dr Sandy Reider, Dr David Iser, Dr Amanda Harry and scores of other medical practitioners and researchers from around the world are vindicated by this benchmark study, as are the residents reporting WTS symptoms themselves, many of whom have had to regularly or permanently abandon their homes.

Regarding the future, Steven Cooper recommends that further studies be conducted in order to establish “a threshold to protect against adverse impacts.” (1)

He also writes: “the vibration surges described by some residents as disturbance during the shutdown could be attributed to wind gusts exciting resonances of the blades/towers and requires further investigation“. (1)

This is a turning point. The wind industry can no longer claim that their machines do not emit enough infrasound to affect residents, nor that health professionals publicising the problems and calling for further research are causing the suffering, nor that wind farm victims are causing their own woes (the often-used argument that “it’s all in their heads” – i.e. the “nocebo effect”). Yet the wind industry and its abettors had clung to that straw despite the numerous accounts of ill-effects on animals. (3)



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29 January, 2015

Obama Administration Moves to Block Drilling in Parts of Alaska

Interior Department Plans to Designate Nearly 13 Million Acres in Refuge as Wilderness

The Obama administration is moving this week to designate areas of Alaska off limits to oil and natural gas drilling in its latest effort to bolster its environmental legacy.

The Interior Department announced on Sunday that it was proposing to preserve as wilderness nearly 13 million acres of land in the 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including 1.5 million acres of coastal plains that is believed to have rich oil and natural gas resources.

Later this week, the department also is slated to propose a draft offshore leasing plan that is expected to include more limits on future oil and gas production in Alaska.

The efforts are drawing a strong rebuke from congressional Republicans.  Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) vowed to fight the administration’s moves from her positions heading both the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Interior Department.

“It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory,” Ms. Murkowski said in a statement Sunday after speaking by phone with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday. “But we will not be run over like this. We will fight back with every resource at our disposal.”

While setting aside lands as wilderness requires congressional approval—something this administration is unlikely to get with both chambers controlled by Republicans—the proposed move puts the area into a state of de facto designation as wilderness and would prevent drilling, an Interior Department spokeswoman said.

Alaska’s oil and gas production has dropped nearly 75% since its peak in the 1980s. North Dakota surpassed Alaska two years ago as the nation’s second-largest oil producer, behind Texas.

The Interior Department is expected to block parts of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the coast of Alaska for oil and gas development as part of the offshore leasing plan it releases every five years, said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Ms. Murkowski.

This proposal, to be presented this week, isn’t expected to affect current plans to drill in the region by Statoil , Shell Oil Co. and ConocoPhillips , though the long-term impacts are unclear, Mr. Dillon said.

According to the Interior Department, more than seven million acres of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are listed as wilderness, which is the federal government’s highest designation of protection. Oil and gas drilling is prohibited in the refuge based on a law passed in 1980, and Sunday’s announcement would provide another layer of protection.

“Pristine, undisturbed, it supports caribou and polar bears, all matter of marine life, countless species of birds and fish,” President Barack Obama said in a video message Sunday. ”And for centuries it’s supported many Alaskan native communities, but it’s very fragile.”

Sunday’s announcement is the latest in a series of steps the Obama administration has taken in the last couple of months to protect the environment, address climate change and regulate the nation’s oil and natural gas industry, particularly in and around Alaska.

In another video message posted in December, Mr. Obama said he was indefinitely blocking any oil and gas drilling in Bristol Bay, in Southwestern Alaska. That announcement was relatively noncontroversial compared with the news this week. Companies aren’t currently drilling in the 32.5-million acre region and don’t have a lot of interest in doing so.

The Interior Department also is expected to propose in the coming weeks new drilling regulations tailored to the harsh weather conditions of the Arctic.

On a broader front, the Interior Department’s five-year plan is expected to offer a window into how supportive the Obama administration will be of new offshore drilling.

The last time the administration issued such a plan, the onshore boom of shale oil and natural gas hadn’t yet fully developed. Experts and lobbyists following the proposal say the administration could open up areas along the East Coast because policy makers from those states, such as Virginia, support such a move.

Also, earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to regulate for the first time methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.


Al Gore: Spend $90 Trillion To Ban Cars From Every Major City In The World

Former Vice President Al Gore and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon are pushing for $90 trillion in spending to ban cars from every major city in the world and make them more dense.

Gore and Calderon presented a report from the Global Commission on the Economy & Climate (GCEC) and argued that fighting global warming will require making cities more compact and wholly reliant on public transit. This is the only way to make sure urban areas don’t contribute to global warming, the two politicians argued.

Calderon and Gore argued that $90 trillion is going to be spent anyways in the coming decades upgrading cities around the world. They argue that it should be spent on making cities more climate friendly.

“The mistake we made in Mexico was to let cities develop however they want, and it’s a mess,” Calderon told Business Insider.

GCEC’s study says that “more compact, better-connected cities with strong mass transit systems will help policy-makers tackle these pressing challenges. Such cities are more productive, socially inclusive, resilient, cleaner, quieter and safer.”

The study says that 70 percent of the world’s energy-use and greenhouse-gas emissions come from cities. Reducing emissions from ever-growing urban areas will show “that the goals of economic growth and climate change can work together,” according to GCEC.

Calderon and Gore made their presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where, ironically (or maybe not, at this point), some 1,700 private jets — which use petroleum — were used to shuttle in conference participants and others to discuss global warming and other pressing global issues.

There was such a big influx of air traffic, reports Newsweek, that the Swiss military had to open an air base for the private jets to land. At last year’s meeting in Davos, some 200 helicopters were used to bring in conference-goers.

Gore also used the conference to announce a massive concert to raise awareness about global warming. He and pop star Pharrell Williams are calling it “Live Earth” and it will be staged in six cities across the globe — not exactly a small carbon footprint.

The concert is supposed to build up support for an international climate treaty ahead of the United Nations summit in Paris later this year. Pharrell says he wants to “have humanity harmonize all at once.”

“It is absolutely crucial that we build public will for an agreement,” Gore told World Economic Forum participants. “The purpose is to have a billion voices with one message, to demand climate action now.”


The EPA's Newest Strategy to Sneakily Restrict Fracking, Drilling

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced major new regulations on the emissions of methane into the air from oil and gas production. It calls methane a “potent” pollutant and its new rules would require a 45 percent reduction by 2025 from 2012 levels. Most Americans support these new rules, according to polling from environmental groups. This isn’t surprising. Methane sounds like a dirty and dangerous pollutant and even deadly if leaked into water or the air.

However, methane is just another term for the main component of natural gas. Drillers have a powerful motive to stop leakage on their own, because they want to sell it, not spill it.

How much of a menace is methane from the oil and gas industry? The amount of leakage into the atmosphere is minuscule, says Dan Kish of the Energy Research Institute. “Cows emit more methane when they pass gas than the natural gas industry,” he notes. Look for the EPA to start regulating cattle.

Green groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund warn that emissions will increase through 2018 and have been claiming that drillers spew more methane into the atmosphere than ever before, that it is “84 times more potent” a pollutant than carbon dioxide, and new regulations are overdue.

Actually, these claims are blatantly false. Not only is methane nontoxic (propaganda notwithstanding), but methane emissions are way down over the last seven years without these new regulations. Furthermore, the reductions correspond with a major increase in oil and gas drilling and increased use of fracking technologies.

The EPA’s own data confirm this. From 2005 to 2012, methane emissions from natural gas systems have fallen by 15 percent while natural gas marketed production from drilling is up by more than 33 percent.

An analysis of EPA data from the energy analytic group Energy In Depth found that in virtually all of the major drilling locations, including the Marcellus Shale and the Permian Basin, emissions continued to fall in 2013, the last year for which solid data is available.

Let me say that again: More fracking has meant lower methane emissions. The methane alarm is a false alarm.

So why is the methane scare so elevated now by Big Green? One reason might be that almost all of the major air pollutants have declined markedly over the last several decades, so environmental groups need to invent new scare tactics to fill up their coffers.

The emissions of lead, sulfur and smog have all fallen by at least half since 1970. The air in major American cities such as Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Chicago are as clean as they’ve been in many decades. Big Green is running out of things to complain about.

A few years ago they decided that carbon dioxide was going to roast the world in heat. But carbon dioxide emissions, as President Obama recently acknowledged, have been falling in the United States and much more than anyone predicted. The U.S. has also reduced its carbon dioxide emissions more than any other nation, despite that we haven’t passed a carbon tax or enacted cap-and-trade policies.

I pointed out this inconvenient truth in recent testimony in one of Sen. Barbara Boxer’s last hearings as chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. I noted that, “The green protesters have it all wrong on fracking and horizontal drilling. These technologies greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make climate change, less, not more probable in the future.” Especially if one considers reducing greenhouse gas emissions a worthy goal, these new regulations are off-base. Still, the liberals on the panel changed the subject to methane emissions — the new bogeyman.

The hidden agenda here is to restrict shale oil and gas drilling, and fracking. This anti-fracking obsession is strange because even EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged that natural gas is a clean substitute for coal and thus lowers greenhouse gases. The Obama administration’s regulatory assault on methane natural gas — at a time when the industry is already struggling with thin profit margins due to the collapse in the global petroleum price — will harm the environment, not save it.

The shale oil and gas revolution imperils the renewable energy industry. Over the last seven years, the price for natural gas has fallen to $4 per thousand cubic feet, down from $12 only a few years ago. Electric cars, solar paneling on rooftops, and windmills have taken a pounding as oil and gas prices have plummeted. Spending $75,000 for a Tesla may have made sense when the price of gas was nearly $4 a gallon, but at close to $2 a gallon in many markets, all of the alternative fads are financially gone with the wind.

The only way that liberal financier Tom Steyer of California can possibly prevent green energy projects from going the way of Solyndra is by pumping back up the price of gas at the pump. The new methane regulations, which may force oil and gas producers to purchase methane credits, are designed to achieve that goal.

Meanwhile, domestic drillers in Texas, Alaska and North Dakota are already starting to lay off workers as the world price of oil falls. The methane regulations — under the guise of averting climate change rather than addressing any direct adverse health effects — will be imposed on these American producers, but not OPEC, Iran or Russia. It’s a policy that empowers our enemies abroad, costs Americans jobs, raises gas prices, and has almost no impact on the quality of the air we breathe. The White House actions remind me of the classic line by Harry in “Dumb and Dumber”: “Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this.”


Methane deceptions

Deception, agenda and folly drive latest Obama EPA anti-hydrocarbon rules. Are farmers next?

Paul Driessen

First they came for the coal mining and power plant industry, and most people did not speak out because they didn’t rely on coal, accepted Environmental Protection Agency justifications at face value, or thought EPA’s war on coal would benefit them.

In fact, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon gave the Sierra Club $26 million, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the Club $50 million, to help it wage a Beyond Coal campaign. The Sierra Club later claimed its efforts forced 142 U.S. coal-fired power plants to close, raising electricity rates, threatening grid reliability, and costing thousands of jobs in dozens of states.

Mr. McClendon apparently figured eliminating coal from America’s energy mix would improve his natural gas business. The mayor likes renewable energy and detests fossil fuels, which he blames for climate change that he tried to finger for the damages “Superstorm” Sandy inflicted on his city.

Now the Obama EPA is coming after the natural gas industry. Hopefully many will speak out this time, before more costly rules kill more jobs and damage the health and welfare of more middle class Americans. The war on coal, after all, is really a war on fossil fuels and affordable energy, and an integral component of President Obama’s determination to “fundamentally transform” the United States.

Proposed EPA regulations would compel drilling and fracking companies to reduce methane (natural gas or CH4) emissions by 40-45% by 2025, compared to 2012. Companies would have to install technologies that monitor operations and prevent inadvertent leaks. The rules would apply only to new or modified sites, not existing operations. However, Big Green activist groups are already campaigning to have EPA expand the rule to cover existing gas wells, fracking operations, gas processing facilities and pipelines.

But companies already control their emissions, to avoid polluting the air, and because natural gas is a valuable resource that they would much rather sell than waste. That’s why EPA data show methane emissions falling 17% even as gas production increased by 37% between 1990 and 2014, and why natural gas operations employing hydraulic fracturing reduced their methane emissions by 73% from 2011 to 2013. The rules are costly and unnecessary, and would bring few benefits.

The Obama Administration thus justifies them by claiming they will help prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.” Methane, EPA says, has a warming effect 50 times greater than carbon dioxide. This assertion is wildly inflated, by as much as a factor of 100, Dr. Fred Singer says. Atmospheric water vapor already absorbs nearly all the infrared radiation (heat) that methane could, and the same radiation cannot be absorbed twice. The physics of Earth’s surface infrared emission spectrum are also important.

More importantly, to borrow a favorite Obama phrase, let me make one thing perfectly clear. There is no dangerous manmade climate change, now or on the horizon. There is no evidence that methane or carbon dioxide emissions have replaced the complex, powerful, interconnected natural forces that have driven warming, cooling, climate and weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history. There is no evidence that recent extreme weather events are more frequent or severe than over the previous 100 years.

Indeed, planetary temperatures have not budged for more than 18 years, and we are amid the longest stretch since at least 1900 (more than nine years) without a Category 3-5 hurricane hitting the United States. If CO2 and CH4 are to be blamed for every temperature change or extreme weather event, then shouldn’t they also be credited for this lack of warming and deadly storms? But climate hype continues.

We are repeatedly told, “Climate change is real, and humans are partly to blame.” The statement is utterly meaningless. Earth’s climate fluctuates frequently, and human activities undoubtedly have some influences, at least on local (especially urban) temperatures. The question is, How much of an effect?  Are the temperature and other effects harmful or beneficial, especially when carbon dioxide’s enormous role in improved plant growth is factored in? Would slashing U.S. CO2 and CH4 emissions mean one iota of difference, when China, India and other countries are doing nothing to reduce their emissions?

Nevertheless, the latest NASA press release asserts that 2014 was “the hottest since the modern instrumental record began,” and again blames mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions. This deliberately deceptive, fear-inducing claim was quickly retracted, but not before it got extensive front-page coverage.

Let me make another fact perfectly clear. The alleged global temperature increase was 0.02 degrees C (0.04 degrees F). It is not even measurable by our most sensitive instruments. It is one-fifth the margin of error in these measurements. It ignores satellite data and is based on ground-level instruments that are contaminated by urban heat and cover less than 15% of Earth’s surface. Even NASA admitted it was only 38% confident of being correct – and 62% certain that it was wrong. Analyses by Dr. Tim Ball, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts and other experts provide more details eviscerating this bogus claim.

In the end, though, all these real-world facts are irrelevant. We are dealing with a catechism of climate cataclysm: near-religious zealotry by a scientific-industrial-government-activist alliance that has built a financial, political and regulatory empire. They are not about to renounce any claims of climate catastrophe, no matter how much actual evidence debunks their far-fetched computer model scenarios.

Their EPA-IPCC “science” is actively supported by most of the “mainstream media” and by the World Bank, universities, renewable energy companies and even some churches. They will never willingly surrender the political influence and billions of dollars that CAGW claims bring them. They won’t even admit that wind and solar facilities butcher birds and bats by the millions, scar landscapes, impair human health, cannot exist without coal and natural gas, and are probably our least sustainable energy option. They want gas prices to rise again, so that heavily subsidized renewable energy is competitive once more.

Meanwhile, polls reveal that regular, hard-working, middle-income Americans care most about terrorism, the economy, jobs, healthcare costs, education and job opportunities after graduation; climate change is always dead last on any list. Regular Europeans want to end the “energy poverty” that has killed countless jobs, and each winter kills thousands of elderly people who can no longer afford to eat their homes properly. The world’s poorest citizens want affordable electricity, higher living standards, and an end to the lung infections, severe diarrhea, malaria and other diseases of poverty that kill millions of children and parents year after year – largely because alarmists oppose nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants.

But federal regulators, climate chaos “ethicists” and “progressives” who loudly profess they care deeply about the poor and middle classes – all ignore these realities. They focus on methane, because they view it as a clever way to inject federal oversight and control into an energy sector that had been largely free of such interference, because the fracking revolution has thus far taken place mostly on state and private lands governed effectively by state and local regulators. (Federal lands are mostly off limits.)

The proposed methane rules would generate more delays, paperwork, costs and job losses, to comply with more federal regulations that will bring no detectable benefits – and much harm, at a time when plunging oil and gas prices are forcing drillers to reduce operations and lay people off.

President Obama devoted 15 lines of his 2015 State of the Union speech to climate fables and propaganda. His goal is steadily greater control over our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties, with little or no transparency or accountability for regulators, pseudo-scientists or activists.

It won’t be long before EPA and Big Green come for farmers and ranchers – to curtail “climate-wrecking” methane emissions from cattle, pig and sheep flatulence and dung, and exert greater control over agricultural water, dust and carbon dioxide. By then, there may be no one left to speak out.


Australia: Wild speculation masquerading as research

No regard for the facts at all below

AUSTRALIA’s two biggest science and weather bodies, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have released new climate change data and information on how it will affect Australia.

“There is very high confidence that hot days will become more frequent and hotter,” CSIRO principal research scientist, Kevin Hennessy said.

“We also have very high confidence that sea levels will rise, oceans will become more acidic, and snow depths will decline.

“We expect that extreme rainfall events across the nation are likely to become more intense, even where annual-average rainfall is projected to decline.”

According to the CSIRO report, in Australia specifically, oceans will become much warmer and more acidic [Impossible.  It's one or the other]. Cyclones will decrease, but when they do occur they will be significantly fiercer and occur further south.  Droughts will become more intense and ‘severe’ bushfire ratings will become more common.

Water temperatures will also continue to rise, which means storms can suck up more moisture resulting in heavier rain and snow fall.

Dr Karl believes there are also two lesser-known phenomenons that we should all get our heads around because of their impact on the future: permafrost and arctic meltdown.

“Permafrost is defined as any ground that has been frozen for at least two years, with one quarter of all the land mass in the northern hemisphere being permafrost,” he says.

The problem with permafrost is that with temperatures rising and more permafrost thawing, enormous amounts of harmful [??] carbon contained within the ice are being released into the atmosphere. About 1.7 trillion tonnes of organic carbon, or four times the amount humans have dumped in modern times, could be released, says Dr Karl.

Since 1980, 80 per cent of the Arctic summer ice has been lost which is resulting in more extreme weather across the world and new areas for oil and gas companies to drill.

How will this affect us?  Homes will be destroyed, food will become more expensive and lives will be lost.

According to the National Climate Council, hundreds of thousands of coastal homes are at risk, with 80 per cent of the Victorian coast and 62 per cent of the Queensland coast at risk of being wiped out by 2100.

One of the hardest hit areas could be the Gold Coast, a massive tourist drawcard and an economy worth $1.5 billion per year.

With droughts intensified, farmers will struggle to grow crops, resulting in them losing their livelihoods. But on top of that, our food will become much more expensive, for everything from meat to Weet-Bix.

The government’s Australian Climate Change Program warns that an increased number of bushfire days could result in more homes and lives lost as they become harder to fight.

Dr Karl points out that in Australia, our biggest issue will come from heatwaves caused by rising temperatures.  “Heatwaves have killed more Australians than all other natural hazards combined,” he says. 

“In the European heatwave of 2003, some 70,000 people died. The Russian heatwave of 2010 killed around 55,000 people.”

“Back in 1961, heatwaves with temperatures significantly above average covered 1 per cent of our planet’s land area. By 2010, this had risen to about 5 per cent. By 2020, it’s expected to rise to 10 per cent — and for 2040, to 20 per cent.”

What can we do about it?

“We have to move to a 100% renewable energy based country,” says Matthew Wright, the Executive Director of Zero Carbon Australia and 2010’s Young Environmentalist of the Year.

“We need more resilience on our buildings so they consume energy more efficiently and also move towards using electricity in its place.”

Our government also has more work to do. “We need to make sure governments put in legislation that make sure energy companies don’t block people from installing solar panels,” says Mr Wright.

“It’s also risky for the Australian people that our government has clearly steered towards an economy for coal producers.”


British Greens are crazy Leftists

Drugs, brothels, al-Qaeda and the Beyonce tax: the Green Party plan for Britain

They are on the cusp of an electoral breakthrough - and an examination of Green Party policy reveals a extraordinary list of demands
Six months ago, they were on the very edges of British politics. Now, they are within touching distance of dictating terms to the future government.

A surge in support has seen the Green Party overtake the Liberal Democrats in the polls, with support at 11 per cent. Membership is now greater than Ukip's.

And, with hopes of winning three seats in the general election, Natalie Bennett believes her party will take part in a "confidence and supply" arrangement, propping up a fragile minority administration in exchange for key policies.

What might they demand?

The party is often dubbed the "Ukip of the left". But an examination of the party's core priorities - in a document called Policies for a Sustainable Society, set at the party's annual conference - reveals they are far more radical in their aims than Nigel Farage's outfit.

In the short term, a Green administration would impose a string of new taxes, ramp up public spending to unprecedented levels and decriminalise drugs, brothels and membership of terrorist groups.

In the long term, they want to fundamentally change life as we know it.


Critics call the party's adherents "watermelons" - green on the outside, deepest red on the inside.

It's not quite right. Karl Marx and his pupils championed economic growth and personal consumption: five year plans, tractor factories and fridges for all. The row, for them, was whether the planned economy was a stronger engine than the free market.

The Greens want something very different.  Caroline Lucas and colleagues regard economic growth as incompatible with protecting the planet and a fulfilling personal life.

While their rivals recognise more trade, more innovation, more competition and more globalisation as an engine for prosperity for everyone on the planet, the Greens argue it is nothing more than a race to the bottom that has made the poor poorer, the rich richer, and pillaged the environment.

The party's manifesto argues for zero, or even negative growth and falling levels of personal consumption. Britain would be in permanent recession; families would become materially poorer each year. After centuries of growing global connectivity, the Greens want to see greater national self-reliance.

Cottage industries, allotments and co-operatives are good. Banks, supermarkets, multi-national companies and resource extraction are very, very bad.

And while Labour and the Tories compete on job creation, the Greens argue that government policy should make paid work "less necessary", with people making their living from the home-based "informal economy".


The flagship policy is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income of £71 a week for everyone living in Britain "as a right of citizenship", regardless of wealth or whether they are seeking work.

Benefits and the tax-free personal allowance will be abolished, and top-ups given for people with children or disabilities, or to pay rent and mortgages. No-one will see a reduction in benefits, and most will see a substantial increase. Parents will be entitled to two years' paid leave from work.

The policy will enable people to "choose their own types and patterns of work", and will allow people to take up "personally satisfying and socially useful work".

It will cost somewhere between £240-280 billion a year - more than double the current health budget, and ten times the defence budget. Those costs will be off-set by some reduction to the welfare bill, through the replacement of jobseekers' allowance.


Under Green plans, inheritance tax - "to prevent the accumulation of wealth and power by a privileged class" - will no longer just tax the dead.

Under radical reforms, it will cover gifts made while the giver is still alive - raising the prospect of levies on cars, jewellery or furniture given by parents to their children. There will be exemptions for some large gifts, "such as those received on marriage".

There will be a threshold for the tax, with receipts calculated over five years - but the party does not set out at what point the levy kicks in. New, higher rates of income tax will be imposed.


VAT will be abolished - and replaced with new levies based on how much environmental damage a product causes. New resource taxes would apply to wood, metal and minerals, and steeper levies imposed on cars.

Crucially, import taxes will be levied on goods brought to Britain reflecting the "ecological impact" of making them - with tariffs reintroduced for trade between Britain and the rest of Europe, ending the free trade bloc.


The trade and cultivation of cannabis will be decriminalised under Green policy, along with possession of Class A and B drugs for personal use. Anti-rave laws would be scrapped.

Higher taxes will be brought in on alcohol and tobacco, and a complete alcohol advertising ban imposed.

All elements of the sex industry will be decriminalised, and prostitutes could no longer be discriminated against in child custody cases.

The Greens also want to see "significantly reduced" levels of imprisonment, with jail only used when there is a "substantial risk of a further grave crime" or in cases where offences are so horrific that offenders would be at risk of vigilantes. Prisoners will be given the vote.


Large schools will be broken up, to have no more than 700 pupils. SATS, early years tests and league tables will be abolished, and "creative" subjects given equal parity to the "academic".

Independent schools will lose their charitable status and pay corporation tax, while church schools will be stripped of taxpayer funding. Religious instruction will be banned in school hours.

Tuition fees will be abolished - but state research funding for universities will increase to reduce a reliance on "biased" commercial research.


Under cultural reforms, the Greens will explore a "a tax on superstar performances" to support "local cultural enterprises".

The BBC will be forced to show educational programming during prime time, giving it "equal precedence" to entertainment shows and not "ghettoised at inconvenient times".

Foreign companies will be stripped of newspapers and television shows if they control too much of the market. The "overall volume" of advertising on TV and newspapers will be controlled and cut, as part of a war on the "materialist and consumption driven culture which is not sustainable".

The England football, rugby and cricket teams would no longer play against countries where "normal, friendly, respectful or diplomatic relations are not possible." Football clubs would be owned by co-operatives and not traded on the stock markets.


The Greens will aim for all energy to be supplied from renewables, with wind the main source of power by 2030.

Under a new hierarchy for transport, pedestrians and bikes come first - and aeroplanes last.

Buses and trains will be electric by 2030, while taxes and regulations will be imposed to force people to buy smaller, lighter and less-powerful cars.

No more new airports or runways will be built, and existing ones nationalised. All new homes and businesses must by law provide bicycle parking. Helicopter travel would be regulated "more strictly". The sale of alcohol on planes and airports will be tightly restricted to prevent air-rage, and the air on inbound flights tested for disease.

Advertising of holiday flights will be controlled by law to halt the "promotion of a high-carbon lifestyle". New taxes would be imposed on carriers to reduce passenger numbers.


Foundation hospitals and internal markets will be abolished, PFI abandoned and prescription charges abolished. A new NHS Tax will be introduced specifically to fund the health service.

Assisted dying will be legalised, and the law on abortion liberalised to allow nurses to carry it out. "Alternative" medicine will be promoted. Private healthcare will be more heavily taxed, with special levies on private hospitals that employ staff who were trained on the NHS.

It will be a criminal offence, with "significant fines", to stop a woman from breastfeeding in a restaurant or shop, and formula milk will be more tightly regulated.

In order to prevent "overpopulation" burdening the earth, the state will provide free condoms and fund research for new contraceptives.


A Green party would impose "research, education and economic measures" to drive a "transition from diets dominated by meat". Factory farming would be abolished, and the sale of fur criminalised and shooting banned. Whips and jumps would be banned from horse racing.


International aid should be increased by nearly 50 per cent to one per cent of GDP under Green Policy.

Merely being a member of al-Qaeda, the IRA and other currently proscribed terrorist groups will no longer be a criminal offence under Green plans, and instead a Green Government should seek to "address desperate motivations that lie behind many atrocities labelled `terrorist'," the policy book states.

Terrorism, it adds, "is an extremely loaded term. Sometimes governments justify their own terrorist acts by labelling any groups that resist their monopoly of violence 'terrorist'."

Britain will leave NATO, end the special relationship with the US, and unilaterally abandon nuclear weapons. A standing army, navy and airforce is "unnecessary". Bases will be turned into nature reserves and the arms industry "converted" to producing windturbines.


"Richer regions do not have the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term," the party's policy book states.

A Green Government will "progressively reduce" border controls, including an amnesty for illegal immigrants after five years.

Access to benefits, the right to vote and tax obligations will apply to everyone living on British soil, regardless of passport. The policy book states: "We will work to create a world of global inter-responsibility in which the concept of a 'British national' is irrelevant and outdated."

Political parties will be funded by the state, and the electoral system changed. The monarchy will be abolished.



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

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28 January, 2015

Giant East Antarctic glacier melting with warmer oceans

I have no reason to doubt that the glacier concerned is melting somewhat.  Glaciers do that from time to time.  They also expand from time to time.  And I don't doubt that there is warmer water in its vicinity.  But what is causing the warmer water?  They offer only assertion about that.  No data. No evidence. No survey of the possibilities.  And, since there has been no statistically significant climate change for 18 years, the cause cannot in fact be climate change.  Sub-sea volcanoes have recently been detected in West Antarctica so I suggest that sub-sea volcanoes will also be found in East Antarctica.  And having a volcano under you definitely warms you up!

Warming ocean water is said to be melting the largest glacier in east Antarctica, underscoring climate change's assault on the continent's ice cover.

Australians scientists returning with the first direct measurements of seawater from the Totten Glacier confirm it ranks alongside others in west Antarctica as a climate trouble spot.

Dr Rintoul said it became a focus of concern after satellite measurements showed it was thinning faster than other glaciers in East Antarctica, losing around 14 gigatonnes each year.

"What we have found is that warm water reaches the base of the Totten," voyage chief scientist Steve Rintoul, of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC said in Hobart on Monday.

The Totten has a 538,000 square kilometre drainage system, more than twice the size of Victoria, and its 70 billion tonne yearly outflow would top out Sydney Harbour every two and a half days.

Dr Rintoul said it became a focus of concern after satellite measurements showed it was thinning faster than other glaciers in east Antarctica, losing around 14 gigatonnes each year.

"It was thought that the glaciers on the east Antarctic ice sheet were relatively immune to the kind of melting taking place on the much smaller West Antarctic ice sheet," he said.

A recent benchmark study by University of California glaciologist Eric Rignot found the west Antarctic ice sheet had gone into an irreversible retreat, and melting would raise sea level by 1.2 metres.

But Dr Rintoul said the Totten system, east Antarctica's largest, contained ice equivalent to a six-metre sea level rise, making understanding of its behaviour critical.

Like the west Antarctic's Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers, the Totten was found to be grounded on bedrock below sea level.

"We didn't know until recently that inland, it sloped downwards, and so was susceptible to melting," Dr Rintoul said.

"Pine Island is melting and thinning more rapidly, but Totten is not too far behind," he said.

"This is a surprise because the warm waters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current get much closer to the Pine Island Glacier in the south-east Pacific."

Earlier this month Australian scientists on Aurora Australis pushed through a narrow sea ice lead to spend three days taking direct measurements of the water below the Totten's ice cliffs.

They also retrieved moored instruments deployed two years ago by US researchers.

"It will take some time to work out exactly how much the water is warming,  but we can say it is sufficient cause the glacier to melt from below," Dr Rintoul said.

Dr Rintoul said the next step would be to send robotic instruments into the water below the glacier front, to find out how far, and how rapidly, it was melting back.


Climategate, the sequel: How we are STILL being tricked with flawed data on global warming

Something very odd has been going on with the temperature data relied on by the world's scientists, writes Christopher Booker
Although it has been emerging for seven years or more, one of the most extraordinary scandals of our time has never hit the headlines. Yet another little example of it lately caught my eye when, in the wake of those excited claims that 2014 was “the hottest year on record”, I saw the headline on a climate blog: “Massive tampering with temperatures in South America”. The evidence on Notalotofpeopleknowthat, uncovered by Paul Homewood, was indeed striking.

Puzzled by those “2014 hottest ever” claims, which were led by the most quoted of all the five official global temperature records – Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) – Homewood examined a place in the world where Giss was showing temperatures to have risen faster than almost anywhere else: a large chunk of South America stretching from Brazil to Paraguay.

Noting that weather stations there were thin on the ground, he decided to focus on three rural stations covering a huge area of Paraguay. Giss showed it as having recorded, between 1950 and 2014, a particularly steep temperature rise of more than 1.5C: twice the accepted global increase for the whole of the 20th century.

But when Homewood was then able to check Giss’s figures against the original data from which they were derived, he found that they had been altered. Far from the new graph showing any rise, it showed temperatures in fact having declined over those 65 years by a full degree. When he did the same for the other two stations, he found the same. In each case, the original data showed not a rise but a decline.

Homewood had in fact uncovered yet another example of the thousands of pieces of evidence coming to light in recent years that show that something very odd has been going on with the temperature data relied on by the world's scientists. And in particular by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has driven the greatest and most costly scare in history: the belief that the world is in the grip of an unprecedented warming.

How have we come to be told that global temperatures have suddenly taken a great leap upwards to their highest level in 1,000 years? In fact, it has been no greater than their upward leaps between 1860 and 1880, and 1910 and 1940, as part of that gradual natural warming since the world emerged from its centuries-long “Little Ice Age” around 200 years ago.

This belief has rested entirely on five official data records. Three of these are based on measurements taken on the Earth’s surface, versions of which are then compiled by Giss, by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit working with the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction, part of the UK Met Office. The other two records are derived from measurements made by satellites, and then compiled by Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) in California and the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH).

The adjusted graph from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies

In recent years, these two very different ways of measuring global temperature have increasingly been showing quite different results. The surface-based record has shown a temperature trend rising up to 2014 as “the hottest years since records began”. RSS and UAH have, meanwhile, for 18 years been recording no rise in the trend, with 2014 ranking as low as only the sixth warmest since 1997.

One surprise is that the three surface records, all run by passionate believers in man-made warming, in fact derive most of their land surface data from a single source. This is the Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN), managed by the US National Climate Data Center under NOAA, which in turn comes under the US Department of Commerce.

But two aspects of this system for measuring surface temperatures have long been worrying a growing array of statisticians, meteorologists and expert science bloggers. One is that the supposedly worldwide network of stations from which GHCN draws its data is flawed. Up to 80 per cent or more of the Earth’s surface is not reliably covered at all. Furthermore, around 1990, the number of stations more than halved, from 12,000 to less than 6,000 – and most of those remaining are concentrated in urban areas or places where studies have shown that, thanks to the “urban heat island effect”, readings can be up to 2 degrees higher than in those rural areas where thousands of stations were lost.

Below, the raw data in graph form

To fill in the huge gaps, those compiling the records have resorted to computerised “infilling” or “homogenising”, whereby the higher temperatures recorded by the remaining stations are projected out to vast surrounding areas (Giss allows single stations to give a reading covering 1.6 million square miles). This alone contributed to the sharp temperature rise shown in the years after 1990.

But still more worrying has been the evidence that even this data has then been subjected to continual “adjustments”, invariably in only one direction. Earlier temperatures are adjusted downwards, more recent temperatures upwards, thus giving the impression that they have risen much more sharply than was shown by the original data.

An early glaring instance of this was spotted by Steve McIntyre, the statistician who exposed the computer trickery behind that famous “hockey stick” graph, beloved by the IPCC, which purported to show that, contrary to previous evidence, 1998 had been the hottest year for 1,000 years. It was McIntyre who, in 2007, uncovered the wholesale retrospective adjustments made to US surface records between 1920 and 1999 compiled by Giss (then run by the outspoken climate activist James Hansen). These reversed an overall cooling trend into an 80-year upward trend. Even Hansen had previously accepted that the “dust bowl” 1930s was the hottest US decade of the entire 20th century.

Assiduous researchers have since unearthed countless similar examples across the world, from the US and Russia to Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, an 80-year cooling of 1 degree per century was turned into a warming trend of 2.3 degrees. In New Zealand, there was a major academic row when “unadjusted” data showing no trend between 1850 and 1998 was shown to have been “adjusted” to give a warming trend of 0.9 degrees per century. This falsified new version was naturally cited in an IPCC report (see “New Zealand NIWA temperature train wreck” on the Watts Up With That science blog, WUWT, which has played a leading role in exposing such fiddling of the figures).

By far the most comprehensive account of this wholesale corruption of proper science is a paper written for the Science and Public Policy Institute, “Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception?”, by two veteran US meteorologists, Joseph D’Aleo and WUWT’s Anthony Watts (and if warmists are tempted to comment below this article online, it would be welcome if they could address their criticisms to the evidence, rather than just resorting to personal attacks on the scientists who, after actually examining the evidence, have come to a view different from their own).

One of the more provocative points arising from the debate over those claims that 2014 was “the hottest year evah” came from the Canadian academic Dr Timothy Ball when, in a recent post on WUWT, he used the evidence of ice-core data to argue that the Earth’s recent temperatures rank in the lowest 3 per cent of all those recorded since the end of the last ice age, 10,000 years ago.

In reality, the implications of such distortions of the data go much further than just representing one of the most bizarre aberrations in the history of science. The fact that our politicians have fallen for all this scary chicanery has given Britain the most suicidally crazy energy policy (useless windmills and all) of any country in the world.

But at least, if they’re hoping to see that “universal climate treaty” signed in Paris next December, we can be pretty sure that it is no more going to happen than that 2014 was the hottest year in history.


The Blizzard That Wasn't

Another failure of prediction.  Those models are just no good

There was no climate change where I live in a suburb of Newark, N.J. if by “climate change” you meant a dramatic blizzard with high winds and several feet of snow. It’s winter and you get the occasional, rare blizzard every few years, but more often you get snowstorms. That’s not “change” by any definition.

Listening to WABC radio follow events with callers from around the Tri-State area calling in with far more accurate reports than the meteorologists was an education in the way those trained in meteorology and the rest of us have been conditioned to believe that something is happening to planet Earth that, quite simply, is not happening.

The meteorologists spent their time trying to figure out the difference between a European computer model and one generated here in the U.S. The former predicted far worse conditions. The latter fell victim, along with the rest of us, to the mindset that the conditions the computers were interpreting did not reflect what was actually happening.

At this early morning hour, it is clear that Long Island, parts of Connecticut, and generally along the coastlines, there has been a heavier snowfall. A few miles inland however it is a far different story. Callers who had been out in the midst of the storm described light, powdery snow and perhaps two to four inches at most.

Why, they asked, did the Governors of New York and New Jersey, along with the Mayor of New York City close down the metropolitan area? They speculated on the millions of lost income for everyone involved in a storm that was not posing a significant traffic or other problems, but who had seen businesses, schools, bus lines, and other public facilities shut down. When a significantly incorrect weather prediction does that, it demonstrates how important it is to correctly interpret the data being provided by the satellites—the best source.

When, earlier in January, NOAA and NASA reported that 2014 had been "the warmest year" it should have raised far more questions and media coverage given the sheer absurdity of such a report. Remember, though, these are two federal government agencies we expect to get it right. They didn’t just get it wrong, skeptical scientists were quick to note how they had deliberately distorted the data on which they based the claim.

That is the heart of the issue surrounding the endless claims of “global warming” or “climate change.”  The planet has not been warming for 19 years at this point because the sun has been in a perfectly natural cycle of low radiation.

Centuries ago, it was noticed that when there are few sunspots, magnetic storms, the Earth got colder. Thus, “climate change” is not an unusual event, but rather a reflection of the well-known cycles of warmth or cold that the planet has passed through for billions of years.

At this writing it is too early in the morning hours to know what the rest of the East Coast looks like, but the indications are that, as one moves westward the “blizzard” has been far less than the one predicted and will likely be downgraded to a standard winter snowstorm.

That’s the good news. The bad news was the over-reaction of meteorologists and politicians. No doubt they wanted to be “safe than sorry” but they inadvertently taught us all a lesson about the way environmental organizations and a government led by a President telling us that “climate change” is the most dangerous challenge facing us have been deliberately lying about the true meteorological record in order to drag us all back to a time in which we burned wood for heat and rode horses for transportation.

The Greens don’t like humans much and that is why they have been lying about “man-made” climate change when the climate has nothing to do with human activities.

Listen to the skeptics, often maliciously called “deniers”, when they tell you the truth about the meteorological science that has been deliberately distorted since the United Nations established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. It has been lying to us ever since.

Depending on where you live in the area in which the snow fell and the winds blew, trust your eyes. Trust your commonsense. Be more skeptical because the blizzard that wasn’t is not a lesson you want to forget anytime soon.



No obvious trend

In more than a hundred years of record-keeping, snowfall in New York City has only cleared the 20-inch mark a handful of times.  Below are the top five recorded snowfall figures for a single storm:

1. February 11-12, 2006:    26.9inches

2. December 26-27, 1947:  25.8inches

3. March 12-14, 1888:         21.0inches

4. February 25.26, 2010:    20.9inches

5. January 7-8, 1996:          20.2inches

The older storms, from 1888 and 1947, were deadly for many and are remembered as disasters in the city, while later storms made less of a dent because of modern technology and greater preparedness.

The 1888 blast coated the boroughs, and caused chaos by disrupting power lines and other utilities, which were later moved underground as a response.

In 1947, the storm came by surprise as it approached from the sea, where there was little infrastructure for weather warnings. Snow was piled up and dumped in the sewers or rivers from Manhattan, but districts further from water struggled for days with the huge pileups.

Storms in the 1990s and 2000s still caused widespread chaos but were handled more deftly. The 2010 storm canceled a third of all flights from New York City. Costs associated with cleaning up after the 2006 storm reportedly hit the tens of millions.


Climate alarmists all choked up without reading the fine print

By MICHAEL ASTEN (Michael Asten is a professor of geophysics at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

LAST week delivered for the global warming debate, the most anticipated data point of the decade. The year 2014 was declared the hottest of the past century, by a margin of 0.04 degC. The news has been greeted with enthusiasm by those who attribute all warming to man-made influences, (notably in the Fairfax press in Australia), but few commentators have qualified their comment with the observation that NASA put an error margin of +-0.05 C on their result.

The figure below shows global surface temperature as compiled by NASA for the past 134 years. Single data points (years) are unimportant. The 5-year moving average in red is a more useful indicator of temperature trends, and its slope shows clearly the steady rising trend from 1980 to 2000, and the temperature pause from 2000 to present. Anyone with a high-school science education can look at such a graph and form their own conclusions, but four of the most important are that

 *  The slope of the rise from 1980 to 2000 is about 0.19 degC per decade (the rate consistent with current warming models for “business as usual” CO2 emissions)

 *  A closely similar rate of rise in global temperature occurred from 1910 to 1940, pre-dating current high CO2 emissions

 *  Pauses in the rate of rise occurred from 1880 to 1910, from 1940 to 1970, and from 2000 to present.

 *  The model trend as computed by the IPCC continues upwards from 2000, but the pause is a clear break of observed earth behaviour away from the models.

The pauses are regarded by the majority of scientists (both within and outside the conventional anthropogenic global warming camps) as being attributable to natural cycles in global climate, although the two groups favour different causative mechanisms.

What is surprising is that, instead of reading the multiple patterns in such a graph, enormous global publicity has followed on that single point of 2014 — even though we won’t know for a decade whether it represents a break from the current “pause” trend. Thus John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute, greeted the 2014 result with the comment “This data shows not only a series of alarming years but decades of warming to make an undisputable trend”, which suggests a lack of awareness on his part of the steep warming trend which occurred from 1910-1940 without significant man-made assistance, and the pause from 2000 which occurred despite current CO2 emissions.

Will Steffen of the Climate Council also finds cause for alarm in the 2014 data point, using the occasion to release a document titled “Off the charts: 2014 was the world’s hottest year on record” in which objective graphical analysis as we teach in high schools is replaced with poetic subheadings personifying the climate as “Angry Summer”, Abnormal Autumn” and “Scorching Spring”.

We can also look back to 2007 for a fascinating morsel of history; the figure shows at that year there is a clear hint of the start of the pause, although not statistically significant at that time. When Bob Carter, a former head of the Department of Earth Sciences at James Cook University, called attention to the discrepancy between the changed temperature trend versus the modelling predictions, Andrew Ash (then acting director of the CSIRO Climate Adaption Flagship), stated “Professor Bob Carter claims that ‘no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998’. This is an unethical misrepresentation of the facts”.

I suggest this is an incredible accusation to make against a scientist who has read (correctly, as history shows) a trend in a global temperature data set. When comparing Carter’s observation with pronouncements prompted by the single 2014 warm temperature point, we see a disturbing double standard in how scientific commentary is received. (In defence of the management of CSIRO I note that CSIRO has not issued a media release related to the 2014 temperature data point).

Some climate scientists will counter my views with claims that 21st century temperatures are cause for great concern because they are “the hottest ever”. Multiple lines of geological and historical data show they are not. Observations of past surface temperatures constructed from chemical composition of clam shells as far apart as Iceland and the south China Sea point to global temperatures of medieval times (800-1300AD) being warmer than those of today, and those of Roman times even warmer. The message is, the Earth can and does cool and warm on time scales of decades to millennia, and CO2 emissions are not the dominant driver. Our grandchildren will be best served if we devote our Direct Action strategies towards robust protection of communities from effects of drought, fire and floods. All have been a part of our history. And history guarantees all will be a part of our future.


Jo Nova comments

"We skeptics get excited about unusual things. The Australian published Michael Asten today in the Op-Ed pages, and took the extremely rare step of publishing a scientific graph (!) with a few error bars and everything. Newspapers publish economic graphs all the time, so it’s nice to see the scientific debate getting a bit more sophisticated than just the usual “deniers are evil, government climate scientists speak the word of God” type of stuff. (In the Enlightenment, data was a greater source of authority than any human; how we pine for those days.) The only thing the story should have added was a note that reminds us that the not only was the “hottest” record not beyond the error bars but that it did not occur in satellite measurements. I’m sure a lot of people mistakenly think that NASA might use satellites, but they prefer highly adjusted ground thermometers next to airport tarmac instead.

The headline on that graph could have been “Climate scientists don’t know what caused most of the big moves on this graph”. Some mystery effect caused the warming from 1910-1940. In ClimateScienceTM it is OK to call that “natural variability” and pretend to be 95% sure whatever it was has now stopped.

Parliament bid to block fracking in Britain fails

A group of British lawmakers failed Monday to block plans for shale gas fracking in Britain, but the government agreed to tougher regulation and a ban on fracking in national parks.

Some 200 protesters including the designer Vivienne Westwood rallied outside parliament as the vote was taking place, holding up placards and shouting slogans.

One sign read "Shut the Frack Up" and a colourful knitted banner read "No to Fracking", an extraction process in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped at high pressure underground to access natural gas reserves.

A committee of lawmakers had demanded a moratorium on fracking, arguing that it would endanger a pledge to cut climate change emissions.

The moratorium was rejected by 308 votes to 52 after the opposition Labour party did not take part.

However, the Conservative-led coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron accepted more regulation and agreed to ban the highly productive, but environmentally controversial technique in protected areas.

The regulations were added in an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, a broad package that includes legislation intended to boost the fledgling shale gas and oil industry that still faces a final vote to become law.

Amber Rudd, junior minister for energy and climate change, argued that a moratorium would be "disproportionate" to the risks of fracking, which opponents fear can cause earthquakes and pollute water supplies.

"We have agreed an outright ban on fracking in national parks, sites of special interest and areas of national beauty," Rudd told parliament during the debate.

Previously, the government had planned to allow shale gas exploration in national parks in exceptional circumstances.

The opposition Labour party said it was "a huge u-turn by the government."

"Thanks to Labour's amendment, the government has been forced to accept that tough protections and proper safeguards must be in place before fracking can go ahead," Labour's shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said in a statement.

However, Green party lawmaker Caroline Lucas, who had pushed for a freeze on fracking, criticised Labour's abstention from the vote on a moratorium as a "farce".

The government has pledged to go "all out" on developing the shale gas and oil industry, which it argues will create jobs, boost the economy and help Britain rely less on energy imports.

The drive received a blow this month when a council recommended plans by British energy firm Cuadrilla to start fracking in two sites in Lancashire in north-west England should be rejected.

A final decision on permission is expected in the coming weeks.



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

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


27 January, 2015

Seth Borenstein walks back the "hottest year" claim

From a dedicated Warmist like Seth, that shows that we skeptics are getting to them

In a story Jan. 16, The Associated Press reported that the odds that nine of the 10 hottest years have occurred since 2000 are about 650 million to one. These calculations, as the story noted, treated as equal the possibility of any given year in the records being one of the hottest. The story should have included the fact that substantial warming in the years just prior to this century could make it more likely that the years since were warmer, because high temperatures tend to persist.

The story also reported that 2014 was the hottest year on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA, but did not include the caveat that other recent years had average temperatures that were almost as high - and they all fall within a margin of error that lessens the certainty that any one of the years was the hottest.

An earlier version of the story quoted Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis as noting that the margin of error makes it uncertain whether 2014 was warmest, or the second, third or sixth warmest year. She said that regardless, the trend shows a "clear, consistent and incontrovertible" warming of Earth. That reference to the margin of error was dropped in later versions.


Greenpeace pushes veteran activist under the bus

The Greenpeace Nazca lines fiasco only exposes it further. After delaying handing over names of the activists who were involved in the letter-spreading activity, Greenpeace now gives the Peruvian government just 4 names in a secret report. The initial Greenpeace excuse, if you remember, was that it did not know who took part in the activity, and that it needed time to contact each of its 27 subsidiary bodies.

Now the green group has changed tack, submitting the names of only four, claiming the whole activity was a `rouge operation' run by Wolfgang Sadik and his boss Martin Kaiser - an excuse that is wholly implausible and unlikely given that it was fully poised to exploit the action for publicity and fund-raising. Greenpeace further launders such notions as (i) several people in Greenpeace advising against the activity (not impossible but implausible, and immaterial), (ii) Greenpeace decided on the operation after reaching Peru (laughable, considering the logistics and planning including GIS layouts, and such assets as colored bricks and matching t-shirt attire)

The utter untruthfulness involved is evident from what Mark Hertsgaard appears was told by Greenpeace:

    "Sadik and his team went ahead with the action even as others in Greenpeace strongly advised him against it, Townsley confirmed. "The decisions were taken by those responsible while they were in Peru.  At that point, there was no recourse back to Greenpeace International in Amsterdam or Greenpeace Germany in Hamburg. . Certainly there are many people [within Greenpeace] who think that our internal processes weren't followed properly and if they had been, this activity would have been caught and stopped."

Compare the above to what it declared on Greenpeace Netherlands' website:

    "Yellow Colored stones holding the letters in place. Once the aerial photograph is taken, they extract the substances letters away again, without equipment behind. A GIS system enabled them to lay everything on the right place. The preparation of this action lasted about four months. Every step was carefully calculated."

What does one do in the face of such duplicity?

What's worse, of the names submitted, Greenpeace exonerates 3 of the 4 people, shifting all blame on Wolfgang Sadik:

    "Neither Kaiser, Wiedemann nor Fernandez were involved in "the design or the delivery of the Nazca Lines action," Townsley said, adding that Sadik was "the principal architect and coordinator, and he himself has volunteered that information to the prosecutor."

In effect, Greenpeace is pushing one of its veteran activists under the bus. Is Greenpeace trying to protect higher-ups in its renewable energy campaign wing from the fallout and consequences? Absolutely. By its own admisison, this was planned over a long period and it is extremely unlikely none other than Sadik knew about it at Greenpeace.

Young environmentalists should be extremely wary of joining such an organization.


Greenie terrorism afoot?

A climate change advocate, believed to be a Greenpeace activist and Guardian contributor, has called for the beheading of so-called "climate change deniers", arguing the world would be a better place without them. The comments are merely the latest in a long history of warmists advocating the killing of people who question global warming dogma.

On January 21st, in it's `Climate Consensus - the 97%' section, the Guardian published an article entitled "Matt Ridley wants to gamble the Earth's future because he won't learn from the past", which was illustrated with a fake, but nonetheless rather gruesome image of a severed head.

The article drew hundreds of comments, including one from `Bluecloud' on the day the article was posted, reading "Should that not be Ridley's severed head in the photo?"

Further down he added "We would actually solve a great deal of the world's problems by chopping off everyone's heads.

"Why are you deniers so touchy? Mere calls for a beheading evolve [sic] such a strong response in you people.

"Ask yourself a simple question: Would the world be a better place without Matt Ridley?  "Need I answer that question?"

The comment has since been removed by moderators, allowing `Bluecloud' to attempt to deny that he had called for violence. On Sunday morning he commented "Oh dear, it didn't take much for the denial industry to start claiming environmentalists are out to chop off people's heads.

"It's clear that when they have no argument to make, they stoop to misquoting deleted posts"

Others also tried to deflect blame, with commentor `ianhassall' writing "Bluecloud's moderated comment is causing quite a stir, isn't it.

"If warmists can't get their point across with the settled science I've got no doubt they'd resort to the sort of violence he's suggesting."

To which Bluecloud replied: "And what violence would that be? Making false claims is easy in the absence of evidence."

Unfortunately for Bluecloud, the evidence is easy to come by on Twitter. Climateologist Richard Tol has tweeted a screenshot of his original comment in full:

Furthermore, the Bishop Hill blog is reporting that others commenting on the Guardian article revealed Bluecloud to be Gary Evans, a Greenpeace funded "Sustainability Consultant", according to his Linked In profile, who has written for the Guardian in the past.

The comment fingering Evans was apparently deleted by the Guardian moderators far in advance of Evan's comment being deleted.

Bluecloud's comment comes a week after a Professor Emeritus of Physics at Princeton University called climate change activism a "jihad against atmospheric carbon" in a new paper for the Global Policy Warming Foundation.

However, this is not the first time that global warming advocates have threatened violence against those who question the theory of anthropogenic global warming. In 2010 Greenpeace's Gene Hasmi wrote: "Pressuring politicians on climate change is not working. We saw that in Copenhagen. Three months later, we also know why. Which is why the global climate movement now must do course-correction. We need to shift targets and go after the real termites that hollowed out and imploded Copenhagen.

"Emerging battle-bruised from the disaster zone of Copenhagen, but ever-hopeful, a rider on horseback brought news of darkness and light: "The politicians have failed. Now it's up to us. We must break the law to make the laws we need: laws that are supposed to protect society, and protect our future. Until our laws do that, screw being climate lobbyists. Screw being climate activists. It's not working. We need an army of climate outlaws."

"The proper channels have failed. It's time for mass civil disobedience to cut off the financial oxygen from denial and skepticism.

"If you're one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

"We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. "And we be many, but you be few."

2010 also saw the release of the 10:10 Campaign's supposedly comedic `No Pressure' video, penned by Richard Curtis, in which children and office workers who don't want to do their bit to prevent climate change are blown up by hitting a big red button.



CO2 Increases Can Cause Only Minimal Warming

by William M. Gray


The massively funded international global warming movement has grossly exaggerated the threat from CO2 gas increases. This warming scare has been driven by a cabal of international politicians and environmentalist groups using erroneous climate model warming predictions to brainwash an uninformed global public. Their purpose was to scare the public into accepting global government and restrictions on their freedoms and lifestyles to prevent a made-up looming climate catastrophe. Truth of their CO2 warming assertions was of little importance. What mattered was the degree to which the public could be indoctrinated to believe the threat. The many large global warming projections have not and will not be realized in the coming years. The science behind these CO2 induced warming projections is very badly flawed and needs to be exposed to the public. We will see only negligible amounts of CO2 induced global warming in the coming decades. The future temperature changes which do occur will be natural and primarily a result of the changes in the globe's deep ocean circulation patterns of which ocean salinity variations is the primary driver. We can and should do nothing about natural climate change but adjust to it. Economic progress dictates that the US and the world continue with and expands their use of fossil-fuels. Any significant shift to the much more costly wind and solar energy sources should not go forward. Such a shift would greatly lower the US and the world's living standards and do nothing to benefit the globe's climate. This global warming charade cannot long continue. Time and truth are on the side of the warming skeptics.


Increasing amounts of CO2 gas in the atmosphere over the last 18 years have not caused any increase in mean global surface temperatures. Despite voluminous media and scientific claims to the contrary, the global temperature, global sea ice, severe weather, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, tornadoes, etc. are not showing any of the changes predicted by the warming alarmists and the many numerical modeling simulations on which most of these warming cd Truth of their CO2 warming assertions was of little importance. What mattered was the degree to which the public could be indoctrinated to believe the threat.


(Water-vapor feedback and surface evaporation cooling)

There are many flaws in the global climate models. But the largest flaw is a result of the climate model's inability to realistically deal with the small horizontal scale (and model unresolvable) changes brought about by the globe's thousands of individual deep cumulonimbus (Cb) cloud elements (Figure 1). An increase in the totality of these deep Cb convective units adds drying to the upper troposphere (Figure 2). This is in contrast to the assumptions implicit in the General Climate Model (GCM) simulations which increase upper tropospheric water-vapor as a result of enhanced rainfall and Cb convection associated with rising levels of CO2.

Much more HERE

A Warmist troll unmasked

In the beginning, a British academic with an anonymous political blog that no one read attempted to call anyone who mocked climate model validations using "retrospective predictions" as "ignorant" at the world's most viewed climate website - Watts Up With That. After crying about how the honorable Richard S. Courtney treated him, he went back to whine about it on his political blog. But since no one reads it and seeing how he had become "Addicted to Watt" he needed a new strategy. Using his extensive research education and experience he setup a new WUWT troll blog with the original idea to plagiarize the name of another WUWT troll blog.

On April 13, 2013 and only three days out from his pummeling at WUWT by Mr. Courtney the "Wotts Up With That Blog" was born! Yet, after less than 9 months of intense trolling and having the same dismal impact he did with his left-wing political blog, he changed the name of his troll blog to the oh-so-clever, "...and Then There's Physics".

So who is this anonymous academic blogger?  Meet Ken Rice, a Reader of Astronomy and Public Relations Director at the Institute for Astronomy, within the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh (UK).

When not trolling WUWT or whining about posting there, Ken enjoys following, "skeptics are like holocaust deniers" Caroline Lucas and the "Gay-shaded author of romantic M/M short stories and novels" Nick Thiwerspoon.

While after only 20 years as a physicist he finally took off the training wheels and published a review paper all by himself, having it accepted on September 3, 2014. Who would have believed his undoing would be linked to such an accomplishment?

Ken also appears highly obsessed with Dr. Richard Tol, likely due to the fact that Dr. Tol has over 16,000 more citations than he does.

For all those banned and trolled by Ken please feel free to contact him, as I am sure he would love to hear from you.

W. Kenneth M. Rice
Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh,
Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, UK EH9 3HJ
Phone : +44 131 6688384
Fax : +44 131 6688416
Email :


Wind turbines kill up to 39 million birds a year!

Big Wind hides evidence of turbine bird kills - and gets rewarded. Here's how they do it

In 1984 the California Energy Commission said "many institutional, engineering, environmental and economic issues must be resolved before the industry is secure and its growth can be assured." Though it was not clearly stated, the primary environmental issue alluded to was the extreme hazard that wind turbines posed to raptors.

Since the early 1980s, the industry has known there is no way its propeller-style turbines could ever be safe for raptors. With exposed blade tips spinning in open space at speeds up to 200 mph, it was impossible. Wind developers also knew they would have a public relations nightmare if people ever learned how many eagles are actually being cut in half - or left with a smashed wing, to stumble around for days before dying.

To hide this awful truth, strict wind farm operating guidelines were established - including high security, gag orders in leases and other agreements, and the prevention of accurate, meaningful mortality studies.

For the industry this business plan has succeeded quite well in keeping a lid on the mortality problem. While the public has some understanding that birds are killed by wind turbines, it doesn't have a clue about the real mortality numbers. And the industry gets rewarded with subsidies, and immunity from endangered species and other wildlife laws.

Early studies identified the extent of the problem

To fully grasp the wind turbine mortality problem, one needs to examine the 2004 report from the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA). The study lasted five years (1998-2003), and researchers did not have full access to all the Altamont turbines.

This careful, honest effort analyzed turbine characteristics in relation to mortality and estimated mortality from body counts compiled in careful searches. Researchers then adjusted mortality numbers by examining statistical data based on searcher efficiency and other factors, such as carcass removal by predators and scavengers. The report even suggested that the mortality estimates probably erred on the low side, due to missed carcasses and other human errors.

This study stands in marked contrast to studies being conducted today, especially the Wildlife Reporting Response System that is currently the only analysis happening or permitted at most wind farms. The WRRS is the power companies' own fatality reporting system, and allows paid personnel to collect and count carcasses. It explains why mortality numbers are always on the low side and why many high-profile species are disappearing near turbine installations.

Incredibly, the APWRA report actually admitted: "We found one raptor carcass buried under rocks and another stuffed in a ground squirrel burrow. One operator neglected to inform us when a golden eagle was removed as part of the WRRS. Based on these experiences, it is possible that we missed other carcasses that were removed." (Chap. 3, pg. 52) It's easy to see how human "errors" keep bird mortality low.

The APWRA study also documented that raptor food sources, turbine sizes and turbine placement all directly affect raptor mortality. It was thus able to identify many of the most dangerous turbines or groups of turbines - those with a history of killing golden eagles, kestrels, burrowing owls and red-tailed hawks.

Studies worsen as turbines proliferate and increase in size

The study also discussed how higher raptor mortality occurred when smaller towers were "upgraded" with larger turbines and proportionally longer blades. These wind turbines offered what raptors perceived as intermediate to very big windows of opportunity to fly through what looked like open spaces between towers, but were actually within the space occupied by much longer, rapidly moving rotor blades.

The result was significantly more fatalities of golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, burrowing owls, mallards, horned larks and western meadowlarks. Turbines with slower rotations per minute actually made it appear that there was more space and "greater windows of time." This fooled birds, by giving them the illusion that they had open flight space between the rotating blades.

In fact, the illusion fools people, too. The newest turbines move their blades at 10-20 rotations per minute, which appears to be slow - but for their blade tips this translates into 100-200 mph!

All this was very important, because the industry was moving away from smaller turbines and installing much larger turbines, with much longer blades. However, the industry not only ignored the APWRA findings and rapidly installed thousands of these much larger turbines across America, despite their far greater dangers for birds and raptors. It also kept the APWRA out of the public's awareness, and focused attention on new study results that reflected far less accurate (and honest) searches and surveys.

How the wind industry hides raptor mortality

The APWRA report also looked at the placement of carcasses in relation to turbine types. It documented that the distances carcasses were found from turbine towers increased significantly as turbine megawatt ratings and blade lengths increased. Based on sample of about 800 carcasses, the report revealed that birds were found an average of 94 feet (28.5) meters from 100-Kw turbines on towers 81 feet (24.6 meters) high.

Obviously, taller turbines with longer blades and faster blade tip speeds will catapult stricken birds much further. Figure 1 shows how a turbine 2.5 times larger will result in an average carcass distance of 372 feet (113.5 meters) from the tower. The wind industry is acutely aware of this.

That is why it has restricted search areas to 165 feet (50 meters) around its bigger turbines. This ensures that far fewer bodies will be found - and turbine operators will not need to explain away as many carcasses.

Recent mortality studies like those conducted at the Wolfe Island wind project (2.3-MW turbines) and Criterion project in Maryland (2.5-MW turbines) should have used searches 655 feet (200 meters) from turbines, just to find the bulk (75%-85%) of the fatalities. Of course, they did not do so. Instead, they restricted their searches to 165 feet - ensuring that they missed most raptor carcasses, and could issue statements claiming that their turbines were having minimal or "acceptable" effects on bird populations.

*  Exclude certain carcasses. The 2005-2010 WRRS data show that 347 carcasses (primarily raptors) - plus 21 golden eagle carcasses - were excluded from mortality estimates, because industry personnel claimed they were found outside standard search procedures, said the "cause of death was unknown" (even when the birds' heads had been sliced off), or removed carcasses ahead of a scheduled search.

*  Exclude mortally wounded or crippled birds found during searches, even if they display turbine-related injuries. Even though many birds hit by turbine blades die within days, if they are still breathing when found, they are considered mobile - and thus not fatalities.

*  Simply avoid searching near some of the most dangerous and lethal turbines. The industry justifies this exclusion by claiming that "the number of turbines monitored was reduced and spatially balanced for a randomized rolling panel design." That this "reduction and balancing" excluded the most deadly portion of the Altamont facility was presented as coincidental or part of a proper scientific methodology.

The cold reality is that honest, scientific, accurate mortality studies in the Altamont Pass area would result in death tolls that would shock Americans. They would also raise serious questions about wind turbines throughout the United States, especially in major bird habitats like Oregon's Shepherds Flat wind facility and the whooping cranes' migratory corridor from Alberta, Canada, to Texas.

The techniques discussed here help ensure that "monitoring" studies match the facility operators' desired conclusions, and mortality figures are kept at "acceptable" levels.



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

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


26 January, 2015

People Freeze While Climate Alarmists Fiddle

Severe winter weather continues to pound the U.S. and the Middle East, of all places. The Weather Channel reports that one of the worst winter storm in more than a decade hit Lebanon leaving hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in tents with little in the way of heat. At least two Syrian refugees dies from exposure. Snow blanketed much of Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

Britain experienced its coldest night of the year on the 18th as temperatures in the Scottish highlands dropped to -11C as icy conditions resulted in a commuter jet carrying 47 passengers sliding off the tarmac and into the grass in Inverness.

In New Jersey, on Sunday the 18, what had been expected to be a fairly routine rain storm turned into dangerous ice storm as lower than expected temperatures, resulted in as much as a quarter of an inch of freezing rain falling in parts of New York and New Jersey resulting on some road and bridge closures and restrictions. The New Jersey State Police reported 428 accidents and 186 calls for aid through Sunday afternoon. Despite more than enough work in New Jersey, some northern New Jersey ambulance companies were sent units to New York City to deal with a glut of emergency calls due to ice.

Cold air from Canada delivered frigid conditions to much of the U.S. with cold in North Carolina resulting in delayed school openings, and school closings in Minnesota, New England and throughout the Mid-West.

In Chicago, where wind chills were -21 degrees on January 8, firefighters battled blazes while icicles formed on their uniforms.

With wind chill readings between 25 and 45 degrees below zero, and white out’s some areas, conditions on many of the nation’s highways were deadly, for instance, an 18 vehicle pileup in Western Pennsylvania resulted in three deaths.

Looking ahead, the Weather Channel projects that much of the Eastern, Mid-West and Southern U.S. should brace for colder than average temperatures from February through April, while the Western U.S. might experience warmer than average temperatures due to a temporary high temperature ridge over the West Coast.

While climate pontificators blather on about whether 2014 was the warmest year on record, outside of the Ivory Tower, people around the world are shivering in the dark as winter continues its deadly, icy grip.


‘Eco’ bulbs aren’t green enough

Households are being misled over light bulbs that are branded as ‘eco’ but can burn out in a matter of weeks, campaigners claim.

Philips and Osram, two of the biggest manufacturers, are using the term on halogen bulbs that can use ten times more energy than the latest technology.

Consumer groups say the products are being ‘greenwashed’ and are fooling the public into thinking they are getting an environmentally-friendly light source that can cut family bills.

Yesterday campaigners threatened legal action as one firm claimed that eco actually stood for ‘economy’ – a reference to price rather than the bulb’s ability to save on power.

Halogen bulbs, which cost around £1.50 each, are among the least energy-efficient bulbs widely available today and have been surpassed by technologies including LEDs and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs – some of which will burn ten times less energy.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that replacing every halogen bulb with LEDs – which can cost around £7 – will save a family £40 a year in electricity bills.

Yet Philips’s EcoClassic bulb and Osram’s Classic Eco Superstar bulb both carry the word ‘eco’ – even though each has an energy efficiency grade of C or D – the lowest being E.

They will last just 2,000 hours and consume ten times more energy than the latest LED technology, researchers say.

Campaign group Coolproducts is now calling for the ‘eco’ label to be restricted to products which are truly efficient and said it is considering legal action against the companies.

EU law prevents firms using the phrase ‘energy-saving lamp’ when marketing halogens, but does not rule out using the term ‘eco’.

Stephane Arditi of Coolproducts said: ‘Halogens are only eco in comparison to incandescent bulbs that Philips and Osram know were phased out years ago, yet this packaging is modern.

‘Whether greenwash or consumer manipulation, the effect is the same – people think they are getting energy savers when in fact they are buying the worst bulbs on the market.  ‘They would be far better off buying LEDs or CFL bulbs from forward-thinking retailers.’

Halogen bulbs were the most efficient type available when they were invented in the 1960s. But since filament technology was phased out in the last few years, halogen bulbs can no longer be classed as energy efficient, say campaigners.

Osram yesterday admitted its eco branding was a reference to its cheapness compared to newer technologies.  A spokesman for the German-based firm said: ‘ECO is an abbreviation for ECOnomy as well as for ECOlogy.

‘Unlike CFL bulbs and LED lamps, halogen lamps can be disposed of in household waste as they do not contain electronic components and from a health perspective do not emit electronic magnetic fields.’

Philips said shoppers are given enough information on packaging to make an informed decision.

A spokesman pointed out that halogen bulbs would still save more money than traditional incandescent filament bulbs – which are still in some stores because any stocks held at the time of the phase-out in 2011 are allowed to be sold.

The spokesman added: ‘Our packaging contains information so that consumers can make an informed decision when purchasing a Philips light bulb, especially the energy label, which allows consumers to easily compare one product to another and makes very clear what the energy consumption of the bulb is.’

Richard Black, of think-tank the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: ‘This will disappoint Britons who’ve invested in these bulbs believing that they were saving money and doing something to reduce climate change.

‘Both Philips and Osram have made impressive-sounding statements regarding their commitment to tackling climate change, and this news is likely to make some people question how serious the companies are.’


A "Carbon Diet" Would Punish the Poor

The worst metaphor to come out of the global warming debate is “the carbon diet.”

Originally coined in Oregon in 2000, the metaphor didn’t take off until 2005, when David Gershon wrote a workbook titled Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds. Al Gore, among other alarmists, praised it, and in 2006, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) referenced it upon announcing new greenhouse gas emissions restrictions in California.

Schwarzenegger compared Earth to an overweight person who is consuming too much energy (primarily fossil fuels), making the planet unhealthy. The cure: Apply willpower and make changes to our carbon-crazy lifestyles so the planet will avoid an early death – presumably of heatstroke.

The carbon-diet metaphor has seeped into everyday language. Alarmists have convinced world leaders and much of the general public the world needs to “cut back” on fossil fuel consumption in the same way an obese person needs cut back on food consumption.

However, from its inception, the metaphor was flawed. First, the planet is not a living organism with some particular state of existence objectively describable as being “healthy.” The idea there is an ideal temperature or state of the global climate is a human invention.

Second, taking the metaphor seriously leads to perverse, fatal results for billions of the world’s people – primarily the poorest among us. Those who already suffer from poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, and dearth of political representation ultimately suffer the most from climate alarmism. A carbon diet would make the sick even sicker. In the present world, in the words of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, restrictions on fossil fuel use are a “sickness unto death.”

An article in Slate rightly points out “[m]ost of the world does not need a carbon diet.”:

Three-quarters of the global population uses just 10 percent of the world’s energy, 1 billion people lack access to electricity, and 3 billion cook their food over dung, wood, and charcoal, leading to millions of early deaths. These people are energy starved – and they need a feast, not a diet. People in Angola, Bangladesh, and Cameroon, for example, use about 250 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, while people in the U.S. use 12,246.

People in developed countries should not be thrown into poverty and chaos by massive fossil fuel restrictions. Fossil fuel use has allowed humans to adapt the environment to our needs rather than, as we have for the vast majority of human existence, remain dependent upon and in fear of the vicissitudes of nature.

Even clean development mechanisms are misguided; paying the poor not to develop, or to attempt to develop using only renewable energy, will result in developing nations having only enough energy per capita to power a set-top cable box, leaving people cooking over dung and wood without the electricity needed to light a lamp.

In the end:

The carbon diet is a miserable prescription for the world’s future because it contains no vision of a shared future and shared prosperity. Instead, it offers a default vision of a dog-eat-dog world where starving hordes will tank the planet.

The Slate article should sit alongside Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels in our intellectual medical library as a diagnostic manual for the world’s energy ills.


Inhofe Calls Obama’s Climate Agenda A ‘Wealth Redistribution Scheme’

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe criticized President Barack Obama’s doubling down on fighting global warming Tuesday night, arguing that the president’s planned climate regulations were simply “a wealth redistribution scheme.”

“Why the pain for no gain?” Inhofe asked in a rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union speech. ”As The Wall Street Journal put it when reporting on just one of the president’s many climate regulations, this is a wealth redistribution scheme being imposed by the president through the EPA.”

“This is the real climate agenda the president chose not to address tonight. It is no wonder because it would impose the largest tax increase in the history of America,” Inhofe added.

Obama’s second-to-final State of the Union speech Tuesday night focused mainly on his “middle class economics” plan to increase taxes on the wealthy and ramp up social programs. His speech only mentioned the word “climate” four times. But the president warned that doing nothing to fight global warming means “we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.”

Obama also touted his own policies put in place to fight global warming. Though the president did not specifically mention his most contentious policies: proposals to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants.

“That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it,” Obama said. “That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.”

“In Beijing, we made an historic announcement?: The United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions,” Obama continued. “And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.”

Inhofe slammed Obama’s climate grandstanding, arguing that fighting global warming will accomplish little and harm the economy.

“The president’s ‘War on Fossil Fuels’ and nuclear energy is most evident in his unbridled mandates being issued by the EPA,” Inhofe said. “While he markets these regulations as a means to save us from global warming, a recent NERA [consulting company] study predicts the president’s climate agenda would only reduce CO2 concentration by less than one-half of a percent; it would only reduce the average global temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree; and it would only reduce the rise of sea levels by 1/100th of an inch – or the thickness of three sheets of paper.”

Inhofe warned that “the President’s agenda will cost our economy $479-billion dollars; we will experience a double-digit electricity price increase; and tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs over the course of the next decade.”


Envirofascists Deploy 1,700 Jets to Switzerland

As the World Economic Forum gets underway in Davos, Switzerland, this Thursday, the global elite is strategizing on how to best combat global warming and limit carbon emissions worldwide.

But with thousands of private jets ferrying the global glitterati to their alpine retreat this week, perhaps they should start by looking in the mirror.

An estimated 1,700 private aircraft are descending on the Swiss Alps — a record number that drove the Swiss Armed Forces to open up its Dübendorf military airbase to civilian traffic earlier this week.

Private jet operators across Europe are seeing a business boom, with flights on some carriers running from $10,000 to $15,000 an hour. Some companies are even throwing in free helicopter rides — another high-emission aircraft in high demand at Davos.

Climate scientists view air travel as the most costly per-person contributor to carbon emissions, with some estimates saying it accounts for 5 percent of “warming.” A round-trip flight from New York to Europe can emit 2 to 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person — and that’s a commercial flight, where the cost is shared with hundreds of other passengers.

Around 1,500 business executives and 40 heads of state are expected to attend the Forum, where tickets go for about $40,000. Among them are Oxfam director Winnie Byanyima, a World Economic Forum co-chair who is planning a series of Davos events highlighting the gap between the global elite and everybody else.

“Business as usual for the elite isn’t a cost-free option,” she said in a statement, which was issued at the same time Davos attendees jetted in from around the world.


Why is the Senate GOP attempting to thread the needle on climate change?

"Thread the needle" means to make a probably futile attempt to strike a balance between two conflicting positions

“[I]t is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity contributes to climate change.”

That was part of an amendment offered by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to S.1, legislation that will require the Obama administration to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S.

It drew the support of 59 senators, including 15 Republicans: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Bob Portman (R-Ohio), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).

Hoeven voted against his own amendment, which fell one vote short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

Right afterward, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) offered a second amendment that Democrats preferred. It read: “[I]t is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate.”

That version of the amendment only drew the support of 50 senators, including just 5 Republicans: Alexander, Ayotte, Collins, Graham, and Kirk.

This time it was 10 votes short.

Yet, the two votes — just 21 minutes apart — signify very interesting political positioning by Republicans on the issue.

The position for at least 10 of the Senate Republicans — Corker, Flake, Hatch, Heller, McCain, Murkowski, Paul, Portman, Rounds, and Toomey — appears to be that climate change is real, human activity contributes to it, but it is not significant enough to warrant the current regime of regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit carbon emissions.

Or to justify a restrictive climate deal struck between the Obama administration and China — where the U.S. agrees to limit energy consumption long before the Chinese would.

Are Republicans attempting to thread the needle on climate change? Are they succeeding?

Politico ran a story on the series of votes entitled, “Republicans outfox Democrats on climate votes.”

But perhaps a better question is why Republicans are even bothering with these symbolic votes?

A Gallup survey before the 2014 midterm elections found that just 19 percent of Republicans found climate change to be either an extremely or very important priority, compared with 61 percent of Democrats.

In the meantime, 91 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats agreed that the economy was a top priority, and 83 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats said the availability of good jobs was.

Point is, almost all voters are concerned about improving the economy and creating jobs, and comparatively far fewer are worried about climate change. Regardless of the degree to which human activities impact the climate, that is a pretty powerful political message.

Which is, posturing on climate change won’t make a lick of difference electorally if the economy does not improve. So, get to work.



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

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25 January, 2015

Peer-reviewed academic journal article notes Thermostasis

I have been pointing out for years that the piddling temperature changes Warmists agonize about in fact show  thermostasis -- i.e. that we live in an age of remarkable  temperature stability.  My comments were directed at the last 100 years or so but the report below shows that, within broader limits, thermostasis in fact goes way back.  Global warming is a remarkably baseless scare fueled by crooked and grant-hungry Leftist scientists who probably could not lie straight in bed

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley below shows that, even if you asssume that a CO2 increase leads to warming -- which he accepts -- the disasters predicted from that depend entirely on completely theoretical and unproven multiplier effects -- effects not observed in actual known climate systems.

The global satellite dataset shows no global warming for 18 years, 3 months.  The actual warming since the UN climate panel first reported in 1990, compared to the average of all five major global temperature datasets, has been half what the panel had predicted with “substantial confidence.”

Even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) upper-ocean heat content chart, when converted back to the ocean temperature change from which NOAA calculated it, shows ocean warming over the past decade at a rate equivalent to just 5 tenths of one degree Celsius per century.

Global sea-ice extent reached a satellite-era maximum late in 2014. Land area under drought has declined for 30 years. Patterns of flooding, of tropical cyclones, and of extra-tropical storminess show little change. Sea level is barely rising.

Grave Errors in Assumptions

The January 2015 edition of Science Bulletin, a joint publication of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the State Science Funding Council, carries a new peer-reviewed paper by Dr Willie Soon, Professor David Legates, Matt Briggs, and myself revealing the climate concern that’s supposed to lead to an internationally binding treaty in Paris this December is based on a series of elementary but grave errors in climate models. Without the errors, the so-called “climate crisis” melts away.

The errors of the enormously complex climate models are attributable to a well kept secret: Doubling atmospheric CO2 concentrations should result in an average global warming of just 1 degree Celsius, and possibly less than half that, but climate modelers erroneously assume that “temperature feedbacks” —climatic changes triggered by a direct warming such as from CO2— triple warming. Without the assumed tripling, there is no climate problem.

Ice cores show over 800,000 years the absolute mean global temperature has probably varied by little more than 1 percent (or just 3 Cº) either side of the long-run average. This remarkable thermostasis suggests a small increase in global temperature cannot trigger a far larger increase driven by feedbacks. It is more likely temperature feedbacks attenuate the trivial direct warming caused by our sins of emission.

Flawed Models, Flawed Predictions

Models calculate the mutual amplification of distinct temperature feedbacks using a World War II equation from electronic circuit design that is inapplicable to the climate. The misconceived use of this equation is the main reason for scientists’ wild forecasts of 3, 5, or even 10 Cº global warming in response to doubling the CO2 in the air.

In modern conditions the overwhelming thermostatic influence of the two giant atmospheric heat-sinks—the oceans and outer space—dampens the already small direct warming from a doubling of CO2.

Simpler climate models that don’t assume unconfirmed feedback mechanisms calculate even if all the world’s affordably recoverable CO2 were released at once, only 2.2 Cº of global warming would result. This asymptote (a limit that global temperature can approach but never quite reach under modern conditions) has ruled the climate for a billion years. The equation misused by the official climate models to determine what is known as the “system gain”—the factor by which temperature feedbacks were thought to increase any direct warming—does not represent it.

Climate Singularity Assumed

Instead, the equation contains what is called a “singularity”—the very opposite of an asymptote [limit] — that does not exist in the real climate. As the simulated conditions in the models approach the singularity, the incorrect equation suggests sudden, massive global warming. In the real atmosphere, comfortably sandwiched between two great heat-sinks, this imagined “tipping point” is impossible.

The model developed by Monckton of Brenchley et al. in Science Bulletin was also designed to test whether there is unrealized global warming “in the pipeline.” The answer is no.

In blogs, in interviews, and in the learned journals, desperate climate scientists have advanced some 70 mutually incompatible explanations for why the world has not warmed as fast as the general-circulation models had predicted. The truth is the models should not have predicted anywhere near that much global warming in the first place.

Unnecessary UN Deal

Our central estimate shows even if people do absolutely nothing about global warming the world will be less than 1 Cº warmer in 2100 than it is today.

Where does our research leave the UN climate negotiating process? The correct response would be to shut the global climate talks down. Yet, according to a statement by the UK’s Sir David King, to the House of Commons’ Environmentalist Committee early in 2014, only two countries were then opposing global Save-The-Planet government.

One was Canada, but Sir David predicted a convenient change of government early in 2015. The other was Australia, whose prime minister, Tony Abbott, has already swept away the CO2 tax.

All other nations, in defiance of science and the mounting evidence against alarm, are expected to toe the party line.

Since President Obama has unilaterally permitted China to remain part of the climate negotiations even though it will not have to cut its huge emissions, China will sign onto the agreement—even if the Politburo reads the Science Bulletin.


Arctic disappearance: Animation reveals perennial ice melting over 27 years

This is more crookedness.  They consider only one type of ice in  one location.  Including all ice types at both poles shows polar ice levels at a record high.  And even the ice they obsess about is not shrinking overall.  In the second last sentence below they admit that it is now back to normal.  Amazing!

Global temperatures last year were the highest since records began in 1880, according to US scientists.

But as well as the increase of the planet’s average temperature, climatologists are particularly concerned about melting sea ice in the Arctic.

Now a time-lapse animation has been created to show how fast the world's oldest ice is vanishing.

Each winter, sea ice expands to fill the Arctic Ocean basin, peaking in volume in March. Every summer, the ice pack shrinks and is at its smallest in September.

The ice that survives one summer melt or more becomes thicker and is more likely to survive over a longer period of time.

Temperatures across the world averaged 0.8°C (1.4°F) above 20th century averages - making 2014 the warmest year in records dating back 134 years.

The Met Office has also announced that 2014 was the hottest year for the UK in records dating back to 1910.

But since the 1980s the amount of old, hardy ice, known as perennial or multiyear ice, has declined.

The animation charts the vanishing of this ice from 1987 to November 2014.

The dark blue areas in the video depicts first year ice that formed in the most recent winter, while the oldest ice, which is older than nine years old, is shown in white. Dark grey areas indicate open water.

By showing how the colours – the types of ice – change in the region, the animation emphasises how quickly the Arctic is changing as the planet warms up.

It also shows how the Arctic sea ice moves continually and escapes the Arctic Ocean via the Fram Strait, east of Greenland.

Ice lost through the Strait used to be replaced by ice growth in the Beaufort Gyre, northeast of Alaska, where perennial ice used to last for years.

But this changed at the beginning of the 21st century when warmer waters made it less likely that ice would survive its passage though the south of the gyre.

From 2008 onwards, the oldest ice has diminished to a narrow band along the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and in 2012, the ice melt broke all previous records.

After that worrying year, the melt was less severe in 2013 and 2014.

Overall, the amount of perennial sea ice recorded last spring was enough to meet the approximate 1981-2010 median.  [i.e. it was back to the average]

However, experts worry that the increase was a blip and that the long-term trend will continue to be downward.

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

Fascinating Climate Policy PhD of a Member of the European Parliament

She's become pretty skeptical.  Excerpts by the younger Pielke below

Eija-Riitta Korhola is a rare politician. She was a long-serving member of the European Parliament from Finland as a member of the European People’s Party, the largest block in the legislature. She has also recently completed an academic dissertation for a PhD in a policy field that she specializes in – climate policy. I can’t recall ever hearing of another politician completing a PhD while in office. Rare indeed.

Korhola’s dissertation is titled, “The Rise and Fall of the Kyoto Protocol: Climate Change as a Political Process” and can be found here in PDF. It makes for fascinating reading. Below are a few excerpts from the preface.

On her early advocacy for climate policy as a politician:

"I was not the only one, but without doubt,I was one of the first Finnish politicians to knowingly push the issue of climate change and its threats onto the political agenda. In 1994, I published my first effusions in Vihreä Lanka, a weekly green newspaper, to which I had contributed as a columnist for five years. In the 1999 European elections, my main topics were climate change and development issues. “It won’t pay off, these themes will not attract the public”, was the feedback, which I nonchalantly ignored with the thought of not wanting to make calculations about these kinds of issues. I was worried about the effects of climate change on nature and society. I read the warnings issued by various environmental organisations."

On her unique perspective:

"I focus on the problem of climate change, because in this field,I hold, besides the status of a researcher,the position of an expert who has also gained some legislative experience. I start from the assumption that a dual role will not automatically degrade the quality of the research. At least, this dual experience could be utilised and tested as a rare opportunity: my experience of 15 years with an active role in the field of climate policy of the Union – which still perceives itself as a forerunner in combating climate change – constitutes a particular vantage point.I am thinking of the EU’s most important climate instrument, emissions trading, in particular. At its different stages, I have been serving in various key positions, and therefore, I am able to offer an insider’s view from a legislator’s point of view."

Things changed:

"When I entered politics, I wondered why climate change was not discussed at all. The time then came when I began to wonder, if it was possible to talk about anything without being forced to mention climate change."

Her view on EU climate policy:

"In my study I agree with those who regard the UN’s strategy – and the EU’s follow-up strategy – not only as ineffective but also harmful. The reason can be found in both the wickedness of the problem–i.e.the fact that it is hard to intervene in it in the first place – and that the selected problem-solving model has failed, as the problem’s wicked nature has not been recognised. The attempt to resolve it has been based on an assumption that it is a one-dimensional,tame problem. However, as the saying goes, a wicked problem requires wicked solutions. The matter has been worsened by a lack of knowledge and expertise. Because I was present, I can testify that, for instance, when the Members of the European Parliament(at that time altogether 632 MEPs) voted on issue of emissions trading, I could easily count the number of those who knew something about the matter with the fingers of my two hands."

Like many people who have critiqued climate policy, she finds that critique is not welcomed:

"Unfortunately, the political atmosphere is ideological to such an extent that criticism towards the chosen means is very often interpreted as climate scepticism."

She has some hard words for European environmental groups:

"Another conclusion of mine is as scathing as my previous reference to the 20-year delusion [of UN climate policy]. It concerns the environmental movement. I suggest that the movement has, above all, failed in its strategy to combat climate change, but also quite often in its other environmental policies. Again, good intentions do not guarantee a wise strategy. The environmental movement regards economic growth as an enemy of the environment although practice has proven that in precisely those quarters of the world where economic well-being prevails and basic needs are satisfied, people are more interested in taking care of their environment. Poverty, in its turn, is the biggest environmental threat,although it has been romanticised in environmentalist rhetoric."

She includes one of her blog posts in which she offers a view that policy making should be robust to scientific debates:

"I have come to think that a good politician should rather be a ”climate agnostic”. In principle, it does not matter, what conclusion science comes to: if the legislation we make is good enough, one does not have to take sides; except the side of consideration and quality. Climate policy should be so robust, sturdy and of such good quality that it does not struggle with the uncertainty factors and differences of opinion within science."

This is a similar view to that which I express in The Climate Fix.

There is much, much more in the dissertation. For those wanting the bottom line, jump to pp. 291-296 for a concise summary of conclusions.

If you are interested in an insider’s perspective on European climate policy or just interested in how a real-world, elected decision maker grapples with the complexity of climate policy, the entire dissertation is well worth reading.



Stupid stunt

And note that those "emerging technologies in life sciences" (quote from below)  are certainly going to blow us up

The Doomsday Clock’s minute hand has been moved two minutes closer to midnight as experts warn we are closer than ever to a global catastrophe. 

In a live international news conference, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) said that the threat of climate change and nuclear war posed a very serious threat to modern society. 

Their symbolic clock is now set at three minutes to midnight, but while they say it is not too late to avert disaster ‘the window for action is closing rapidly’. 

Key topics discussed included evidence of accelerating climate change and the increasing threat of nuclear war after failed promises from various international governments. 

‘The danger is great but our message is not one of hopelessness,’ Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), said in the announcement. ‘We find conditions to be so threatening that we are moving the hand two minutes closer. It is now three minutes to midnight,’ she continued."

Countries emitting carbon dioxide and other gases are transforming Earth’s climate in a dangerous way, she said, leaving millions vulnerable to rising sea levels, famines and 'killer storms.'

‘Members of the BAS board are today imploring citizens of the world to speak clearly and demand leaders take necessary steps,’ Ms Benedict continued.

The BAS want to see action taken to cap greenhouse gases to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and reduce spending on nuclear weapons.

‘We are not saying it is too late, but the window for action is closing rapidly,’ she added.

‘The world needs to awaken from its lethargy. Moving the clock hand inspires changes to help push the process along.’ 

The BAS was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project.

The physicists set up the Doomsday Clock in 1947 after their atomic bombs hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

Their Clock was created to convey threats to humanity and the planet. Midnight represents Doomsday, or when these threats will peak and cause a global catastrophe.

It was created to convey threats to humanity and the planet, and midnight represents Doomsday, or when these threats will peak and cause a global catastrophe. Click 'The Clock Shifts' on the picture above to see an interactive timeline of the Clock's history

The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.

The Clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in life sciences.

Since it was set up, the hand on the clock has moved 18 times, and each move represents how the scientists view the world's chances of survival in the face of these threats.


Blunt-Inhofe amendment against China climate deal

Jan. 22, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging passage of the Blunt-Inhofe amendment against the China climate deal:

"President Obama's China climate change deal puts the United States economy and our workers at a competitive disadvantage and the Senate is urged to pass a sense of the Senate resolution opposing its implementation without having gone through the full ratification process.

"American workers continue to be hurt by President Obama's extremist environmental policies with stagnant wages and lost job growth opportunities.  Obama's China deal would further escalate the cost of electricity stunting the rebuilding our nation's manufacturing base.The Senate must stand up for America's workforce by making it clear that the President's China climate deal should not be implemented."


Senate Votes 98-1 That Climate Change Is Real but Splits on That Pesky Cause

As "Slate" saw it

Confused by the “science” on climate change? Well, apparently so is the U.S. Senate.

In a series of nonbinding (but potentially embarrassing) votes on Wednesday, the Senate has decided overwhelmingly that global warming exists. Minutes later, in a second vote, senators failed to agree on a root cause.

According to the Hill, the Senate first voted 98-1 in favor of a nonbinding amendment that said “climate change is real and not a hoax.” Republicans read the text of that amendment in such a way as to absolve themselves of taking a stand on the human component of global warming. (Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, of Mississippi, was the lone holdout.) The second vote on an amendment by Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, wasn’t so clear-cut. That amendment read, in part: “It is the sense of Congress that 1) climate change is real, and 2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” Though the vote on the second amendment was 50-49 in favor, it needed 60 votes to pass.

The first amendment was intended to take a swipe at Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, and the new chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He’s also a leading Senate climate denier who’s so sure climate change is a massive conspiracy by the world’s scientists, he wrote a book about it. In a surprise, he actually voted for Wednesday’s amendment, “but he made clear he doesn't believe humans are the primary driver of climate change” said the Hill. Instead, he used the Bible to support his vote:

“Climate is changing, and climate has always changed, and always will, there's archeological evidence of that, there's biblical evidence of that, there's historic evidence of that, it will always change,” Inhofe said on the Senate floor. “The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate. Man can't change climate.”

The debate over S.1 is the first about energy on the Senate floor in eight years, according to the New York Times. Obama is expected to veto the bill, but that didn’t stop the Republican-controlled Congress from taking a stand. “Part of the Democrats’ strategy is to put Republicans on the record about an issue that’s controversial inside the GOP but is much less so with the public and Democratic Party,” says the Wall Street Journal.

Mashable’s Andrew Freedman notes that this isn’t the first time the Senate has attempted to legislate the existence of climate change. In 2005, the Senate approved a nonbinding amendment similar to the second amendment. That the Senate wasn’t able to do the same on Wednesday is telling of how increasingly political the question of human-caused climate change has become in the last decade.

Yet, since 2005, evidence has continued to mount that climate change is driven by human activity. As Obama noted during Tuesday’s State of the Union, 14 of the last 15 years have been the hottest on record globally. More greenhouse gases were emitted into the atmosphere in 2014 than in any other year in human history. In his speech, Obama said “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations.”

Because the votes are nonbinding, there are no real implications beyond the political. But with the 2016 presidential campaign just around the corner, Democrats figure this is a perfect time to put potential Republican contenders on the record. Among them, Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio stands out. Rubio, who isn’t quite sure how old the Earth is, was recently installed as chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, where he directly oversees the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, America’s leading scientific agency on climate. Oh, he’s also polling among the top three Republican contenders for president in 2016.

Inhofe, Rubio, and Ted Cruz, of Texas—another Republican presidential contender—all voted against the second amendment on the cause of climate change. According to National Journal, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were the only Republicans to vote against party lines on the amendment endorsing humans as the primary cause of climate change.

The vote comes after Obama mocked Republicans during his State of the Union speech for using the "I’m not a scientist" defense to justify continued knuckle-dragging on climate change. “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it,” he said.

The Senate is expected to take up the issue again on Thursday, including votes on at least one more amendment regarding the cause of climate change:



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

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


23 January, 2015

Obama: Climate Change is the Greatest Threat

Not radical Muslim terrorism, not an unsecured border, not an ever-growing federal debt that now exceeds $18 trillion, not the fact that 109 million live in households on federal welfare programs. These are not the greatest threats facing us today.
"No challenge--no challenge--poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

Although he referred to it as "climate change" and not "global warming," the president immediately followed his declaration that this was the greatest threat to future generations by stating that fourteen of the hottest fifteen years "on record" have occured since 2000.

"2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record," said Obama. "Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century."

Obama said that he is not a scientist but that the "best scientists" are saying that human beings are "changing the climate" and that "we" need to "act forcefully" in response to this.

"I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act," said Obama. "Well, I’m not a scientist, either.  But, you know what, I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe."

President Obama then said that the U.S. military is saying that "climate change" is causing immediate risks to our national security--although he did not explain exactly what this meant or how the "Pentagon" had arrived at this conclusion.

"The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security," said Obama. "We should act like it."

The president then pointed to things he has done to counter these vague "immediate risks."

"That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it," said Obama.

"That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history," he said. "And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action."

He then cited his work on the issue with the Communist government of the People's Republic of China.

"In Beijing, we made an historic announcement: the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions," said Obama. "And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got."

If global "climate change" caused by human action is indeed the greatest threat facing future generations and it therefore must be stopped, as President Obama argues, it will necessarily take a global authority with the power to stop human beings from engaging in the actions that cause "climate change" to avert that threat.


U.S. light dimmed with Obama energy policy

By Marita Noon

The unity march, following the brutal attacks in Paris, reminded us all of America’s absence on the global stage.

I wondered: “How has the state of our Union gone from being the shining city on the hill, to a country whose light has dimmed?” I thought about the policies and initiatives President Obama — the leader of the free world — has put in place. I could think of none that have increased our international influence, but many that have minimized it by hurting America economically.

At Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address (SOTU), he will likely tick off a list of accomplishments designed to polish up his legacy and make us feel good, while distracting us from reality — a look-here-don’t-look-there tactic.

Within that list he will likely include, as he did last year, America’s growing energy independence — every president’s goal for the past several decades. He will address how America’s energy abundance has lowered gasoline and heating oil costs for consumers. Both are true — though no thanks to his policies, but rather in spite of them. We probably will not hear that while oil production under President Obama is up 61 percent on state and private lands, it is down 6 percent on the federal lands his policies influence.

Expect the SOTU to tout his environmental bona fides, but not to mention that he has committed the U.S. to extreme cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, while the world’s biggest offenders carry on increasing emissions — business as usual.

“The Indian government has launched a crackdown on Greenpeace and other U.S.-linked environmental groups after intelligence officials accused climate activists of harming the country’s economic security,” the Los Angeles Times reports. The story adds: “groups are being targeted for campaigning against India’s coal-based energy industry, the source of 80% of the country’s domestic power production and a linchpin of the government’s economic development plans.” And: “India rejects arguments by green activists that it must move away from coal energy, saying the alternative would be to keep its citizens in poverty.” India’s government has begun “to chip away at the regulations that domestic and foreign industries claim have stifled investment and economic growth.”

India obviously understands that abundant, available, and affordable energy forms the linchpin of economic growth. While India chips away at regulations, the Obama administration continues to pile them on — first against coal-fueled electricity generation, and now aimed at the oil-and-gas industry. His policies, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and the new methane regulations announced on January 14 (just to name two) will kill jobs and raise energy costs. (Both the CPP and the new methane regulations aim to reduce so-called greenhouse gases that alarmists claim are the drivers of climate change. The CPP: carbon dioxide; the methane regulations: methane that leaks from oil and gas wells.)

The CPP, announced in June, will ultimately cause hundreds of coal-fueled power plants to shut down prematurely. These power plants supply America with reliable and cost-effective energy — and our comparatively low-priced electricity helps gives us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

In addition to job losses and higher rates, the CPP poses risks to electricity reliability. In November, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released a review of the CPP which, according to Reuters, states that “such a rapid transition will damage capacity margins, make it harder to maintain aspects of power quality and leave the grid vulnerable to extreme weather.” The review found that due to the planned transition, which would change coal from providing base-load power to a “load-following role,” the CPP “could actually raise emissions” — negating the supposed benefits the CPP claims to create. NERC concluded: the CPP “is pushing too far too fast and does not pay sufficient attention to the question of electricity reliability, pushing up costs and increasing the risk of power failures.”

Karen Lugo, Founding Director of Alliance of Resolute States, told me: “At its core, the Clean Power Plan transfers power over state energy priorities to the federal government and leaves states as mere branch offices. If this is finalized, the states will be subject to the tyranny of federal agency fads like the Social Cost of Carbon index, the pseudo-science that drives the Clean Power Plan.”

Regarding the newly announced methane rules, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) states: “To regulate new oil and gas sources, the EPA is using the same part of the Clean Air Act it already uses to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.”

The new rules, scheduled to be finalized sometime next year, are “designed to help the administration meet a commitment it made in Beijing in November to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” However, even the Energy Information Administration admits that, while domestic oil production has nearly doubled and natural-gas production is up by about 50 percent since 2005, “methane emissions from the sector have dropped roughly 15 percent over that period through 2012.” Because methane is a valuable commodity, innovations in the industry have successfully captured it and ongoing improvements will continue the emissions downward trend.

In response to the EPA’s announced methane rules, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) issued the following statement:

“Studies show that while our energy production has significantly increased, methane emissions have continued to decline. This is something that should be celebrated, not bound by new red tape. Our success has been — and should continue to be — rooted in new efficiencies created through technology and innovation, a commitment to continued safety enhancements, and greater permitting certainty. Our goal should be to modernize our energy infrastructure for the 21st century and continue to welcome successes in reducing emissions and delivering new sources of affordable energy to consumers who need it. These should be the priorities that we focus on, not creating new layers of bureaucracy that could smother such promising innovation.”

Others “argue that the administration has created a solution in search of a problem.”

The Washington Times states: Obama is “once again placing himself firmly on the side of environmentalists and opposite the oil-and-gas industry.” It adds: “The announcement also sets up yet another political fight with Congressional Republicans, who, along with many in the energy industry, panned the proposal as another unnecessary federal overreach that will stunt economic growth and hamper fuel production.” USA Today’s reporting includes: “The oil-and-gas industry has objected to the new regulations, saying they would curb what have become record levels of energy production.” Yet, the EPA claims the new rules “wouldn’t hamper the growth of the oil-and-gas industry.”

The WSJ reports: “In addition to directly regulating methane, the EPA plans to expand a rule it imposed on the oil and gas industry in 2012 that focuses on reductions of traditional pollutants” and  “the administration left the door open for more expansive regulation later on.”

It is expected that the SOTU will push for an increase in the minimum wage — though I doubt he’ll address the loss of quality jobs in the energy sector, as a result of his policies.

While the oil-and-gas industry sheds jobs as a result of the low price of oil (somewhat a victim of its own success), Obama could announce some initiatives that could help stem the losses. In the SOTU, President Obama could offer his support to Congress’ plans to lift the 4-decade-old oil export ban, which would provide additional customers for U.S. oil and give our allies a friendly source to meet their needs. Likewise, he could call on the Department of Energy to expedite approval of applications for liquefied natural gas export terminals — something a new Senate bill proposes.

The SOTU would be a perfect time to address drilling on federal lands. One of the reasons the oil industry is reeling, is that most of America’s new production is “nonconventional” — meaning that it requires expensive technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to extract. But, easy-to-access, i.e. cheap, oil in off-limits federal lands awaits leasing and development. Opening up some of those sites could transfer production to lower-cost locales — saving jobs and increasing our energy security in the process.

Instead, we’re apt to hear about GM introducing new electric cars — despite the high cost and the public’s resistance. Expect to hear a touting of growing implementation of renewable energy, but not about wind energy projects going bankrupt once the government subsidies dry up.

The list of policies that have plunged America into darkness on the global stage could go on and on. I’ve addressed just a few impacting our energy status and security. Being a bright light in the world requires a strong economy — which, as India knows, needs energy.


Private Sector, Not Obama, Created Lower Gas Prices

In President Obama’s State of the Union preview, he touted low gas prices as an example of positive economic results. “America is now in a position to really turn the page,” he said and cited in part the fact that “gas prices have dropped.”

No doubt, the plunge in gas prices from $4 per gallon to just over $2 has benefited the economy. Drivers enjoy the cost savings at the pump each week; many families are saving upwards of $400 monthly in lowered fuel costs. Lower energy costs also bolster employment growth as goods can be produced less expensively. As transportation costs decline, retail prices decline as well.

But can the president claim credit for these savings? Not so much.

Recall that during the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama mocked those who insisted that drilling could alleviate the high cost of energy. “…You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill and step three is keep drilling,” proclaimed the president. His rant continued, “We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years. Well the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan – especially since we’re already drilling. It’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge…. anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about – or isn’t telling you the truth.”

In word and in deed, Obama has made no secret of his abhorrence of the oil, gas and coal industries. Through regulation at EPA, through a virtual drilling moratorium on federal lands, and by not building pipelines, the president has done almost everything imaginable to stop domestic oil production. For him to take credit for cheaper energy is like Brandon Bostick taking credit for the Seattle Seahawks going to the Super Bowl.

Just compare the figures for crude oil and natural gas production on federal lands in fiscal year 2013 (the latest data available) vs. 2009. On federal lands, crude oil production declined more than 6 percent; natural gas production plunged nearly 30 percent. Meanwhile, on private land crude oil production skyrocketed 61 percent while natural gas production increased nearly 33 percent.

And make no mistake. Even these gains in private sector production were realized in spite of the Obama administration’s best efforts. Consider the EPA’s Sue and Settle scheme which puts prime private energy-producing acreage off-limits as a result of giveaways to environmentalist groups.

Don’t expect to see any contemporary natural gas and drilling executives showcased as Obama guests at tonight’s State of the Union.  But in the end, the people most responsible for America’s energy revival have been Floyd Farris (of the Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation) the inventor of hydraulic fracturing and Harold Hamm, the driller in North Dakota who put these new technologies into action creating tens of thousands of jobs.

The private sector delivered the domestic energy boom and lower gas prices—despite attempts by anti-carbon ideologues and misguided bureaucrats.


Is climate change really that dangerous? Predictions are 'very greatly exaggerated', claims study

Since 1990, scientists have used complex models to predict how climate change and manmade greenhouse emissions will affect the world.

But a team of experts - including an astrophysicist, statistician, and geography professor – has claimed these models ‘very greatly exaggerate’ the effects of global warming.

Using a simpler, solar-based model, the researchers arrived at figures that are more than half those previously predicted.

The paper, ‘Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model’, was written by Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, astrophysicist and geoscientist Willie Soon, Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware David Legates, and statistician Dr Matt Briggs.

It has been peer reviewed and is published in the journal Science Bulletin.

Mathematical equations used for large climate model typically require supercomputers that perform calculations quickly - some make more than 80 million calculations an hour.

Sophisticated climate models take into account the amounts of animals and plants, or biosphere, the hydrosphere’s oceans and other bodies of water, sea ice and ice sheets in the cryosphere, and the geosphere, that measures tectonic variations such as volcanic eruptions and moving continents.

By comparison, the team’s simple model looked at temperatures caused by so-called anthropogenic radiative forcings and consequent ‘temperature feedbacks’ over a given timeframe.

Anthropogenic radiative forcings, put simply, are measured by the difference between the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth, and the energy that is radiated back to space.

A temperature feedback is created by albedo - the amount of shortwave radiation from solar energy reflected by Earth.

Ice and snow is highly reflective, so has a high albedo, for example. This means the majority of sunlight that hits snow is sent back towards space.

When ice and snow melts, as temperatures rise, the darker soil or grass lowers the albedo.

This increases the ground’s temperature, causing more snow to melt, leading to a further rise in temperature.

Both of these measurements can be used to suggest global temperatures, radiation and energy levels in the atmosphere and the Earth.

The researchers tested their so-called ‘simple’ model and its global warming predictions against the complex models used by climate scientists.

In particular, those complex models involved in the UN and World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.  They also compared their predictions against real-world temperature changes.

The paper claims that the measured, real-world rate of global warming over the past 25 years, equivalent to less than 1.4° C per century, is ‘half the IPCC's central prediction in 1990.’

In 1990, the UN's climate panel predicted with ‘substantial confidence’ that the world would warm at twice the rate that has been observed since.

According to the study, another error made by the complex climate models, include the assumption that ‘temperature feedbacks’ would double or triple direct manmade greenhouse warming.

The simple model instead found that feedbacks could reduce warming.

Also, modellers are said to have failed to cut their estimate of global warming in line with a new, lower feedback estimate from the IPCC.

‘They still predict 3.3°C of warming per CO2 doubling, when on this ground alone they should only be predicting 2.2°C - about half from direct warming and half from feedbacks,’ said the researchers.

The impact on the Earth could already be considered dangerous, the report claimed.

‘Though the complex models say there is 0.6°C manmade warming "in the pipeline" even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases, the simple model - confirmed by almost two decades without any significant global warming - shows there is no committed but unrealised manmade warming still to come.’

Once these errors are corrected, the researchers predict that the most likely global warming in response to a doubling of CO2 is not 3.3°C, but 1°C or less.

And, even if all available fossil fuels were burned, less than 2.2°C warming would result, they claim.

Author Dr Willie Soon, an solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said: ‘Our work suggests that man's influence on climate may have been much overstated.

‘The role of the sun has been undervalued. Our model helps to present a more balanced view.’

‘A high-school student with a pocket scientific calculator can now use this model and obtain credible estimates of global warming simply and quickly, as well as acquiring a better understanding of how climate sensitivity is determined,’ added statistician and co-author Dr Matt Briggs.

‘As a statistician, I know the value of keeping things simple and the dangers in thinking that more complex models are necessarily better.

‘Once people can understand how climate sensitivity is determined, they will realise how little evidence for alarm there is.’

While Lord Monckton said: 'Our irreducibly simple climate model does not replace more complex models, but it does expose major errors and exaggerations in those models.

‘For instance, take away the erroneous assumption that strongly net-positive feedback triples the rate of manmade global warming and the imagined climate crisis vanishes.’


MIT Climate Scientist: Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’

An MIT professor of meteorology is dismissing global-warming alarmists as a discredited “cult” whose members are becoming more hysterical as emerging evidence continues to contradict their beliefs.

During an appearance on this writer’s radio show Monday, MIT Professor emeritus Richard Lindzen discussed the religious nature of the movement.

“As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical. I think that’s what’s happening here. Think about it,” he said. “You’ve led an unpleasant life, you haven’t led a very virtuous life, but now you’re told, you get absolution if you watch your carbon footprint. It’s salvation!”

Lindzen, 74, has issued calm dismissals of warmist apocalypse, reducing his critics to sputtering rage.

Last week, government agencies including NASA announced that 2014 was the “hottest year” in “recorded history,” as The New York Times put it in an early edition. Last year has since been demoted by the Times to the hottest “since record-keeping began in 1880.”

But that may not be true. Now the same agencies have acknowledged that there’s only a 38 percent chance that 2014 was the hottest year on record. And even if it was, it was only by two-100ths of a degree.

Lindzen scoffs at the public-sector-generated hysteria, which included one warmist blogger breathlessly writing that the heat record had been “shattered.”

“Seventy percent of the earth is oceans, we can’t measure those temperatures very well. They can be off a half a degree, a quarter of a degree. Even two-10ths of a degree of change would be tiny but two-100ths is ludicrous. Anyone who starts crowing about those numbers shows that they’re putting spin on nothing.”

Last week, after scoffing at Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ call for a Senate vote on global warming, Lindzen was subjected to another barrage of diatribes. At his listed MIT phone number, Prof. Lindzen received a typical anonymous call:

“I think people like you should actually be in jail,” the male caller told him, “because you must know where this is all leading now… the people you support and take your money from to make these outrageously anti-human comments (also ‘know’)… In other words, you’re a sociopath!”

Lindzen chuckled when the voicemail was replayed.

This writer asked him if, as has been alleged in some of the warmist blogs, he is taking money from the energy industry.

“Oh, it would be great!” he said with a laugh. “You have all these people, the Gores and so on, making hundreds of millions of dollars on this, Exxon Mobil giving $100 million to Stanford for people who are working on promoting this hysteria. The notion that the fossil-fuel industry cares – they don’t. As long as they can pass the costs on to you, it’s a new profit center.”

Lindzen said he was fortunate to have gained tenure just as the “climate change” movement was beginning, because now non-believers are often ostracized in academia. In his career he has watched the hysteria of the 1970’s over “global cooling” morph into “global warming.”

“They use climate to push an agenda. But what do you have left when global warming falls apart? Global normalcy? We have to do something about ‘normalcy?’”

As for CO2, Lindzen said that until recently, periods of greater warmth were referred to as “climate optimum.” Optimum is derived from a Latin word meaning “best.”

“Nobody ever questioned that those were the good periods. All of a sudden you were able to inculcate people with the notion that you have to be afraid of warmth.”

The warmists’ ultimate solution is to reduce the standard of living for most of mankind. That proposition is being resisted most vigorously by nations with developing economies such as China and India, both of which have refused to sign on to any restrictive, Obama-backed climate treaties. Lindzen understands their reluctance.

“Anything you do to impoverish people, and certainly all the planned policies will impoverish people, is actually costing lives. But the environmental movement has never cared about that.”


2014 as the mildest year: Why you are being misled on global temperatures

OR: Why I should have been an engineer rather than a climate scientist

By Roy Spencer

I’ve been inundated with requests this past week to comment on the NOAA and NASA reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record. Since I was busy with a Japan space agency meeting in Tokyo, it has been difficult for me to formulate a quick response.

Of course, I’ve addressed the “hottest year” claim before it ever came out, both here on October 21, and here on December 4.

In the three decades I’ve been in the climate research business, it’s been clear that politics have been driving the global warming movement. I knew this from the politically-savvy scientists who helped organize the UN’s process for determining what to do about human-caused climate change. (The IPCC wasn’t formed to determine whether it exists or whether is was even a threat; that was a given.)

I will admit the science has always supported the view that slowly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels should cause some warming, but the view that this would is any way be a bad thing for humans or for Nature has been a politically (and even religiously) driven urban legend.

I am embarrassed by the scientific community’s behavior on the subject. I went into science with the misguided belief that science provides answers. Too often, it doesn’t. Some physical problems are simply too difficult. Two scientists can examine the same data and come to exactly opposite conclusions about causation.

We still don’t understand what causes natural climate change to occur, so we simply assume it doesn’t exist. This despite abundant evidence that it was just as warm 1,000 and 2,000 years ago as it is today. Forty years ago, “climate change” necessarily implied natural causation; now it only implies human causation.

What changed? Not the science…our estimates of climate sensitivity are about the same as they were 40 years ago.

What changed is the politics. And not just among the politicians. At AMS or AGU scientific conferences, political correctness and advocacy are now just as pervasive as as they have become in journalism school. Many (mostly older) scientists no longer participate and many have even resigned in protest.

Science as a methodology for getting closer to the truth has been all but abandoned. It is now just one more tool to achieve political ends.

Reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record feed the insatiable appetite the public has for definitive, alarming headlines. It doesn’t matter that even in the thermometer record, 2014 wasn’t the warmest within the margin of error. Who wants to bother with “margin of error”? Journalists went into journalism so they wouldn’t have to deal with such technical mumbo-jumbo. I said this six weeks ago, as did others, but no one cares unless a mainstream news source stumbles upon it and is objective enough to report it.

In what universe does a temperature change that is too small for anyone to feel over a 50 year period become globally significant? Where we don’t know if the global average temperature is 58º or 59º or 60º F, but we are sure that if it increases by 1º or 2º F, that would be a catastrophe?satellitet

Where our only truly global temperature measurements — the satellites — are ignored because they don’t show a record warm year in 2014?

In what universe do the climate models built to guide energy policy are not even adjusted to reflect reality, when they over-forecast past warming by a factor of 2 or 3?

And where people have to lie about severe weather getting worse (it hasn’t)? Or where we have totally forgotten that more CO2 is actually good for life on Earth, leading to increased agricultural productivity, and global greening?:

It’s the universe where political power and the desire to redistribute wealth have taken control of the public discourse. It’s a global society where people believe we can replace fossil fuels with unicorn farts and antigravity-based energy.

Feelings now trump facts.

At least engineers have to prove their ideas work. The widgets and cell phones and cars and jets and bridges they build either work or they don’t.

In climate science, whichever side is favored by politicians and journalism graduates is the side that wins.

And what about those 97% of scientists who agree? Well, what they all agree on is that if their government climate funding goes away, their careers will end.



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

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


22 January, 2015

Climate scientists have refuted  skeptics' arguments against 2014 'warmest year' claim?

Below we actually find a fairly encouraging article.  We find some recogniition in the media that there are a lot of people who question global warming and who question the "2014 was the hottest year" claim.

The writer is still in the grip of the Warmists, however, and maybe he has to be to keep his job.  The key point he misses is how small the temperature differences are that lie behind the Warmist claims.  I don't expect a modern-day American journalist  to understand statistical significance, or the fraud implied when a scientist ignores it, but the fact that temperature differences over recent years can only be found in hundredths of one degree should be comprehensible.  I think most people should see that such differences are infinitesimally small and unlikely to mean  anything. That, after all, is what statistical significance tells us in this matter.

So the writer is thrashing about in discussing more minor points and missing the main issue -- that the year to year differences in temperature are too minute to be even worth discussing.  We actually live in a time of exceptional temperature stability

On January 16, two U.S. climate observing agencies jointly announced that 2014 was most likely the warmest year on record worldwide, beating previous record years such as 1998, 2005 and 2010. The announcement signaled the death knell of the argument that global warming "stopped" in 1998, which has been a popular rallying cry for climate change contrarians, from blog posts to speeches on the Senate floor.

With such high stakes, climate skeptics have been vigorously pushing back against the data, saying that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA downplayed the uncertainties in their records and misled the public.

Headlines like "2014: The Most Dishonest Year on Record" have been posted on climate skeptic blogs, such as Watts Up With That, and a commentator for the popular British newspaper The Daily Mail all but accused NASA of lying to the press and the public about global temperatures, despite the open discussion of uncertainties both in NASA's press materials and during a press conference with audio that is publicly accessible.

The skeptics have focused mainly on one table in the temperature report issued on Friday, which explains the uncertainties involved in declaring 2014 the warmest year. The table would appear to indicate that 2014 only has a 38% chance of being the warmest year in NASA's data set, which isn't that convincing at first glance, and a 48% likelihood according to NOAA's data. (Each agency uses slightly different methods of calculating global average surface temperatures.)

Here is how the Daily Mail discussed the temperature record in a story published on Sunday. "The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38% sure this was true." The story portrayed NASA as backing off their claim that 2014 was clearly the warmest year on record according to its data set.

But NASA did no such thing.

NASA and NOAA scientists say they have not changed their tune about 2014, since the data clearly shows that it was most likely the warmest year to date since instrument records began in 1880. Furthermore, they argue that climate skeptics are twisting the meaning of uncertainty ranges and making it seem like there is far less confidence in temperature data than there actually is.

Climate science debates occur every day in the blogosphere and on cable news shows, but this particular fight about a major temperature record (and therefore, major news story) highlights the extent to which many boil down to mere contradiction and rejections of facts, rather than arguments based on competing lines of evidence.

Mashable reached out to Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), who helped make Friday's announcement and has been a target of the vigorous pushback from the climate skeptic community. Schmidt is mentioned several times in the Daily Mail story.

Schmidt told Mashable that NASA is not backtracking from its conclusion that 2014 was the warmest year in its records, and that climate skeptics — (some prefer to call them "climate deniers") — misunderstand the characterization of uncertainty that NASA provided on Friday.

Schmidt says there is, of course, some uncertainty in the global temperature data, which NASA has long acknowledged. But even when these uncertainties are considered, the data still shows that 2014 was most likely the warmest year.

"No-one disputes that there are uncertainties in estimating the global mean temperature anomaly — issues of spatial coverage, measurement practice changes over time, movement of stations etc. and we estimate that any one year's value comes with an uncertainty of about plus or minus 0.05 degrees Celsius, or 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit," Schmidt said in an email.

"2014 *is* the warmest year in the GISTEMP, NOAA and Berkeley Earth analyses," he said [But only the warmest by a few hundredths of one degree], referring to different data sets kept by different groups of scientists, including the one kept by his center and known as "GISTEMP."


Morano on Fox on ‘Hottest Year’ Claims: ‘It’s statistical nonsense’ – ‘NASA’s Gavin Schmidt has egg all over his face with this’

Watch Video here

Partial transcript of interview:

Marc Morano: Their error bars for claiming the ‘hottest years’ are 500% larger than the claimed difference. In other words, they are talking about statically meaningless temperature records that the instrument record can’t even measure. It’s way within the margin of error. It’s statistical nonsense. You asked, Stuart, can we poke holes in this? This is a house of cards, it’s collapsed on its own weight.

They said it was the hottest year on record based on statistically meaningless difference based on hundredths of a degree between hottest years. They admit now that they are only 38% sure 2014 was the ‘hottest year.’  They knew the media would run with this as though the ‘hottest year’ claim meant something but it means absolutely nothing.

It means in reality that the global warming pause continues. And according to the satellite data there has been no global warming for 18 years 3 months. Every kid in high school today has not experienced global warming.

There have been fluctuations, the satellite data uses NASA satellites and has been promoted by NASA as more accurate than ground based thermometers. They constantly adjust the land based data, they cool the past, and they heat the present. There is all kinds of siting issues with land based thermometers. So the global warming establishment now wants to ignore this satellite data which shows the 18 year pause.

We have scientists now using words like ‘misleading’ & ‘lies’ & ‘deception’ against NASA. 

NASA’s lead global warning scientist is Gavin Schmidt. He’s got egg all over his face with this. He knew when the hottest year claims went out to the media that this was something NASA did not have the confidence in– They should have presented that more prominently.

Stuart Varney asks Morano: ‘So you don’t think the earth is warming?’

Morano: The earth is warming since the end of the Little Ice Age in about 1850. Many of the glaciers you see — that people get all excited about about melting —  a significant portion of them had melted by 1900 or 1950 before humans could have possibly had any kind of warming effect on the climate. (More on glaciers here, here, here and here.) And we have actually probably cooled since the medieval warm period that occurred from about 900 AD to 1300AD.

So it depends on your timeframe. We probably been stable or cooled since the Roman warming period of from around zero AD

So it all comes down to where you pick your timeline. Yes, we have warmed since the 1970s global cooling scare when they talked all about extreme weather, consensus, tipping points. In fact, all of the same rhetoric we hear today about warming was being used then about cooling.

Currently, we are at 18 years with no warming and there is no reason to expect any scary scenarios of global warming in the future. In fact, Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry is predicting at least a decade more of stable temperatures — the pause will continue.


State Department moves toward Keystone decision, sets deadline for agencies’ input

The State Department took a big step Friday toward making a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, setting a Feb. 2 deadline for federal agencies to give their views on the controversial project.

Fox News has learned eight agencies have been asked to provide their views. The State Department has been wading through a review process for months and in setting a deadline, signaled it was preparing to make a final decision.

That is important because the White House had said previously that it was waiting for the agency to conclude its probe before President Obama decides whether to support the project.

But the Feb. 2 date does not necessarily mean anything will be announced at that time.

The State Department is involved in the Keystone decision because the pipeline stretches through both the U.S. and Canada.

Last week, the House passed a bill authorizing construction on the pipeline, but the White House said Obama, citing the State Department's pending review, would veto the legislation were it to pass the Republican-controlled Senate. It's not clear if Republicans and a handful of Democrats have the required 67 votes to override a potential Obama veto.

The House vote came on the same day in which the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that three landowners who sued failed to show they had legal standing to bring their case, a victory for pipeline backers.

Also on Friday, opponents of the pipeline in Nebraska filed two new lawsuits over the proposed route after the state's Supreme Court recently tossed a previous legal challenge.

Landowners in Holt and York counties filed the suits against pipeline developer TransCanada to stop the Canadian company from using eminent domain power to gain access to their land.

Their attorney, Dave Domina, says the lawsuits closely resemble the claim the court dismissed. But he says this time all of the landowners have legal standing to bring the case.

That's important, because three judges last time said the landowners lacked standing. Four of the court's seven judges declared the law unconstitutional, but five were required.

The lawsuits seek to overturn a law that allowed former Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the route.


Greenie ignorance

by Dr. Albrecht Glatzle

It’s unfortunate that Pope Francis now also joined the church of climatology [1]. However, many of his followers in the Catholic realm will doubt that this is a command by St. Peter.

A few weeks ago I returned home from attending the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP-20, at Lima, Peru. This mega-event gave me the impression of a clerical synod by a world-encompassing religious community. There were many nice people from all corners of the world whom I had cordial conversations with. They all meant the best for planet Earth.

However, the main problem of this event was that 99.9% of the attendees viewed the most important nutrient for all life on earth (carbon dioxide, CO2) as a hazardous substance. That view was shared even by the attending farmers who should profit from better harvests [2] due to improved CO2 fertilization.

I asked approximately 50 people from 25 countries several questions and talked to many more. Only 5 people (10% of those I asked) knew even the order of magnitude of CO2 in the atmosphere (0.04%). The others answered “I really should know that but cannot answer the question.” None knew that the mean global temperature has remained constant over the last 10 years and has not been increasing for 18 years (in contrast to predictions from models by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC).

Among those I asked, some claimed that the temperature had risen anywhere between 0.1 and 10.0 (!!) degrees – that’s not a lie. None knew that the global sea-ice extent recently reached the same values as have been observed at the beginning of the 1980s (the extent has increased in the Antarctic and slightly decreased in the Arctic).

These were the people that negotiated about the so-called 2 C degree (warming) limit. I concluded that 99% of those negotiating there had no understanding of the matter whatsoever. Instead, they fully trust and follow the “scientific authority” of the IPCC.

The IPCC representatives also claimed that the world had already “used up” two thirds of the carbon budget increase to stay within that 2 degree limit. Unfortunately, the scientific knowledge of the IPCC functionaries and disciples is so limited that they do not even recognize the contradiction with some of their other claims.

According to the IPCC, since the beginning of the industrial era, the global mean temperature has increased by 0.8 C with about one half of that due to human activity. Furthermore, the IPCC claims to have physical evidence that the relative potential for the temperature increase follows a logarithmic function of greenhouse gas concentrations.  If that were true, then we are at most one third along the way to the 2 degree limit (not two thirds).

However, that does not sound the alarmist bell sufficiently loudly. So, the IPCC allows itself such contradictions in several claims to drive home to their believers the message of an impending apocalypse.

It is really regrettable that the Pope and his advisors fall for that perfidious game as well.

What gave me hope and pleasure though was meeting in person with former Apollo-astronaut, physicist Dr. Walter Cunningham. In terms of climate change, the two of us and perhaps another ten out the estimated 25,000 attendees who came to the COP-20 event and/or side events had the same opinion.


Romney has a bet each way on global warming

In an Indian Wells appearance that had the makings of a presidential campaign stump speech, Mitt Romney said poverty, education and climate change are among the major issues the next U.S. president must play a leading role in solving, but he stopped short of definitively declaring he would make another run for the White House.

Romney, though, kept his focus on the issues. He said that while he hopes the skeptics about global climate change are right, he believes it's real and a major problem.

He said it's not enough for Americans to keep their own carbon emissions in check when much of the rise in greenhouse gases globally is coming from countries such as China and India.

Climate change drew little attention from either candidate in 2012, when Romney sought to deny President Barack Obama, a second term. At that time, Romney said he believed global warming was occurring but he was skeptical of its man-made origins and questioned spending to curb carbon emissions.

He said his 2012 campaign faltered by allowing the Obama campaign to define his image early on and he was hurt by campaign laws that limited his ability to spend money before the GOP convention.

Romney's lecture, complete with slides of graphs and maps, began with recognition that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Romney said King's legacy was a reminder that one person can make a difference.

Romney mentioned President Obama and congressional leaders, including Republicans, when he said the nation's leadership is "failing in its most basic mission, which is to solve the problems of today and seize the opportunities of tomorrow."


GOP looks to take a position on climate change, but how?

Republicans are trying to find solutions of their own to climate change instead of just attacking President Obama's environmental policies, but the party hasn't been able to agree on specific plans or policies.

Now in control of Congress, some Republicans are beginning to think that simply throwing bombs at the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama's regulations won't work any longer, staffers on Capitol Hill say. Instead, they believe they must develop their own ideas on how to combat climate change, especially to help moderate GOP senators up for re-election in 2016. Nine Senate Republicans are on the ballot in states Obama carried at least once, and House districts that were safe in midterm races likely will be tighter in the general election.

The plan is still emerging, according to interviews with nearly two dozen people that included lawmakers, lobbyists, strategists and aides, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and evolving subject.

The rough outline is that tactics to reduce emissions should not harm the economy, but what that would entail is not certain.

"They're going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light," said Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist and former adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. And if they have a solution, they want to have one that has the least impact on the economy."

Democrats think climate change can be a winning issue for them, and they plan to put GOP senators on record this week with at least one amendment on a bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline that asks whether senators believe in man-made climate change.

The 2016 map largely favors Democrats. It puts many Republicans in blue states elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave on the ballot during a general election that will bring more Democrats to the polls. That has some incumbent Republicans searching for a message on climate.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they were looking at the electoral map and thinking, 'How am I going to win? I can't leave all these votes on the table," said the Environmental Defense Fund's Tony Kreindler, who works with an environmental group called the Conservation Leadership Council that's stocked with former George W. Bush administration officials.

That has some of the party's most vocal members openly questioning where the party is on climate change, as some believe a change is required if the GOP plans to stay in the majority.

“I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Roll Call in November. “I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.”

In September, communications staff for Republicans accepted a request from Rich Thau, a polling expert with a roster of industry clients, to present them with a strategy on climate change. While staffers routinely hold such briefings, those familiar with the meeting called it "unusual." Policy staff was invited, which was a break with the norm.

Staffers were also incensed that Thau's suggestions — that curbing emissions could spark a "clean energy revolution," for example, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by the Washington Examiner — sounded like they came straight from the Democrats' playbook.

A senior GOP aide downplayed the significance of the meeting, while others spoke of a "responsibility" to put forward a plan now that Republicans are in the majority in both chambers.

"The question is, 'What is a solution that works?' I think that's why fellow Republicans haven't embraced a solution on climate change because they haven't heard a solution they like," said Bob Inglis, a former GOP congressman from South Carolina who now advocates for market-based policies to reduce emissions. "We heard cap-and-trade and it is an awful solution. Then along comes clean air regulation, and that's even worse."

Not all Republicans are convinced the party has an emerging, unified stance on climate change, GOP aides said. And any stance they do take doesn't change the party's game plan of attempting to roll back EPA and other environmental regulations. Rather, lawmakers might find agenda items in which climate or energy might be part of a broader discussion.

"I do think there are those [who] think there is some kind of climate change happening and are tired of fighting the science or just don't want the fight and who would rather focus on the economics — I don't think that means they are ceding the argument that manmade climate change exists, though," said one Republican Senate aide in a comment echoed by several others.

Some of the moderate Republican senators facing potentially stiff competition in 2016 have begun speaking more freely about climate change. There's a bit of awkwardness in how they approach what has been a minefield for conservative lawmakers who fear a primary opponent out-flanking them to the right, as they recall incumbents who backed a sweeping cap-and-trade proposal that fizzled in the Senate getting sacked in the 2010 primaries.

In June, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who is up for re-election, addressed a handful of groups of young conservatives — who, according to polls, are more likely to back solutions to climate change than their older brethren — to discuss market solutions to lowering emissions. He touted legislation he sponsored and helped pass when he was in the House that forgave foreign debt in developing nations if they used that money to replant forests, which helps take carbon dioxide that warms the planet out of the atmosphere.

"I say that to you not just because it sounds fun to protect biodiversity and tropical forests," Portman said.

"[It has] an enormous impact on the environment because that otherwise destruction of those forests is one of the leading causes of what?," Portman says, pausing before answering his own question. "Emissions. And when you look at it, it's probably number two or three in the world, power plants probably being number one."

Sen. John Thune, who is also up for re-election, was named by O'Connell as the leading voice advocating for the GOP to take a position on climate policies that includes the the costs and benefits of certain actions.

The South Dakota Republican, a member of Senate GOP leadership, said on "Fox News Sunday" that, "Well, look, climate change is occurring, it's always occurring... There are a number of factors that contribute to that, including human activity. The question is, what are we going to do about it and at what cost?"

The discussion isn't limited to the Senate, though hard-line conservatives are usually safer in the House. Still, environmental groups have some competitive House races in their sights.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, for example, will be in green groups' crosshairs. The Michigan Republican faced arguably his toughest contest in 2014 since winning his House seat in 1986. Climate change activists sided with his Democratic opponent and, even though he still won by more than 15 percentage points, environmental groups plan to target Upton's seat again in 2016. His office didn't return a request for comment.

Many Republicans acknowledge that human activity contributes to climate change, and even more do so in private. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican on the ballot in 2016, believes that humans contribute to it — though how much is a question "left for science," she told reporters. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who was elected to the upper chamber in 2014, has said he agreed with Murkowski's view and has pledged to support clean energy.

But Democrats and environmental groups say that admission doesn't go far enough, as scientists have said humans are largely responsible for current warming trends, chiefly through burning fossil fuels.

Inglis, who is now executive director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, has said he's seen a noticeable shift since the collapse of cap-and-trade legislation in 2010. Then, Republicans were in outright denial of climate change, he said. Last year, Republicans rebutted arguments by saying, "I'm not a scientist," which he and other GOP operatives have said was a poor tactic.

Now, however, Inglis said Republicans are willing to state plainly that humans are contributing to climate change. But as a casualty of the Tea Party wave in 2010 that he said had much to do with him stating climate change was real — even though he voted against cap-and-trade — Inglis understands why Republicans are being cautious.

"We're in communication with a number of offices that are trying to figure out how this can work. They need to do it better than I did it. I pushed too hard, too fast, and you see what happened to me in the primary," Inglis said.



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21 January, 2015

The Energy Deniers

We hear it all the time from the liberal left: those of us who legitimately question man’s impact on alleged global warming and call out the scandal plagued, phony facts used to support their hypothetical theories, are routinely labeled as, “Climate Deniers.”

Well, I have new term in 2015 for our friends on the left: “Energy Deniers.”

In 2015, the “Energy Deniers” in the White House, the EPA, and the U.S. Senate are out in force. Our misguided President, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and EPA Director Gina McCarthy, are elbowing each other for face time in front of network TV cameras to announce plans to deny the Keystone XL Pipeline, deny access to vast energy resources on federal lands, and deny our potential energy and manufacturing renaissance. And, they’ll do it all by imposing unnecessary and costly new environmental regulations that will surely raise energy prices for all of us while reducing energy production. This makes sense to who? Our “Energy Deniers” pander to the environmental fringe and dream of endless tax revenues that we will all pay for.

Against the backdrop of Sen. Schumer saying we should deny the Keystone Pipeline because it supposedly doesn’t create jobs, and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers' clarion call for a costly new national carbon tax, we now learn of a new move by the White House and the EPA to impose another strict round of environmental regulations that will only drive up the price of energy in the U.S. This latest move by the EPA will have a harmful impact on countless American workers, small businesses, and energy consumers who desperately need affordable energy to make ends meet.

The EPA has already declared carbon a pollutant and ozone a pollutant. So now, EPA is gunning to declare methane gas a pollutant as well. Why? The obvious answer is that taxing methane is a great revenue-booster for the federal government. Unlimited carbon, ozone, and methane mean unlimited taxes on manufacturers and energy producers, but ultimately you and me (the consumer).

The silo mentality of this White House and the Democrat Party is by any description, amazing. How the President, key Democrats in the Senate, and agency heads can happily line up and announce real efforts to stall or completely choke off domestic energy production is unexplainable – especially given the recent election in which the vast majority of voters sided with candidates who support our energy industry and recognize how energy created here at home can lead us out of long term recession. When will the President and Democrat leaders realize that a robust energy industry, coupled with a resurgence in American manufacturing offered by lower energy costs, provide a real path to economic prosperity and job creation?

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won resounding reelection in Kentucky on the promise to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants. Other leaders in the Senate won voter support by announcing they want to delay EPA ozone regulations because they are too burdensome and costly to businesses that will never become compliant with the new rules.

When President Obama was on the campaign trail, he told the head of the United Mine Workers Union that if we (the nation) have the technology to put a man on the moon, we have the technology to develop clean coal. Sadly, that was the last we ever heard of clean coal technology. The President clearly wants to shut down the coal industry and now has empowered his EPA hounds to target the natural gas industry with higher fees for carbon, ozone and methane emissions.

The EPA’s energy-denying agenda will likely remain robust and active throughout the year, with new rules expected in February to reduce methane pollution from oil and gas operations. EPA will also target carbon emissions for existing coal and natural gas power plants in rulings expected this summer. Let’s hope our newly elected GOP majority has the gumption to stand up and firm and push back on these needless and costly new regulations that will only raise energy prices for working families.


Oppressive Greenie land trust’s transgressions draw legal, legislative scrutiny

Revelations that a Virginia land trust inserted language into the terms of a conservation easement on a farm, without informing the state agency with which it shares oversight responsibility, have riled lawmakers in the General Assembly and garnered the attention of the commonwealth’s office of attorney general.

The news is but the latest development in the long-running dispute between Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta and the Warrenton, Virginia-based Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC).  Once considered politically unassailable in Virginia, the PEC now finds itself increasingly isolated, as it tries to explain its conduct toward the farmer.

In 2006, Boneta purchased the 64-acre Liberty Farm from the PEC.  On the day she closed on the property, the PEC filed a conservation easement on the farm.  It was agreed that the PEC would share enforcement responsibility for the easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), a quasi-state agency.  While the VOF and Boneta have enjoyed a cordial relationship over the past eight years, the PEC’s intrusive enforcement of the easement, and Boneta’s spirited defense of her property rights, have drawn national attention and tarnished the PEC’s reputation throughout Virginia.  Among the PEC most egregious acts are the following:

The PEC, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, and the husband and wife real estate team of Phil and Patty Thomas, who are members of the PEC, lobbied a zoning administrator and elected members of the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors to issue zoning citations against Mrs. Boneta’s property.

According to a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Boneta, the PEC entered into a partnership with Phil Thomas to assist him in enforcing the conservation easement, either jointly or under Thomas’s name.  In so doing, the PEC exceeded its authority to act as a qualified holder under the Virginia Conservation Easement Act.

According to a “stewardship contact log” maintained by the VOF, an officer of the PEC contacted the agency on September 28, 2010, saying that “one of its board members runs a security company and could offer the use of security cameras to record visitors” to Boneta’s farm.  The VOF emphatically refused the offer.

During a June 12, 2014, inspection of Boneta’s farm by the PEC, the PEC representative admitted before approximately 20 eyewitnesses, including representatives of the media, that he didn’t know the terms of the conservation easement he was there to enforce.

At a dramatic public meeting of the VOF’s Board of Trustees in Richmond in early November, at which the allegations against the PEC were heard, the board voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to approve a resolution conveying the PEC’s enforcement authority over the easement to the VOF.  It was left to Boneta and the PEC to work out the terms of the conveyance.

But as talks between the two parties got underway, the VOF discovered that the PEC, when it filed the easement in 2006, had inserted language into the conservation easement that rendered parts of the document invalid.  According to the Daily Signal (Jan. 10), the VOF now says that unless the easement language is amended, the agency determined that “it would be imprudent” to assume control of what “may be an indefensible liability.”  Virginia Assistant Attorney General Richard Mahevich agrees with that assessment.

“Bait and Switch”

“The PEC did a bait and switch and filed an easement that both the VOF and the attorney general agree contains erroneous and inaccurate claims,” Boneta told the Daily Signal.  “It is imperative that state lawmakers act decisively to protect property rights and end abusive practices.”

Alarmed by the widely reported abuses by the PEC, members of Virginia’s General Assembly are expected to take up legislation in the coming session to set standards for the oversight of conservation easements, and to limit the amount of land a county can have under easements. Virginia is facing a $322 million budget gap, and conservation easements are estimated to cost the state’s taxpayers $100 million a year.

Who’s the Real Environmental Steward?

When Martha Boneta purchased the farm from the PEC in 2006, the property was a dump.  Trash was strewn all over the place, and a tree was growing in the dilapidated barn.  As far as anyone can tell, the PEC did nothing to restore the farm in the six years that it owned it.  At great personal expense, Martha rehabilitated the property, turning it into the beautiful working farm that it is today.  Instead of applauding Martha’s environmental stewardship, the PEC, which for years had been an absentee owner, has harassed her relentlessly.

There are people who want to drive Martha Boneta off her land.  By forcing her to sell low, they can buy low, sell high, and line their pockets with the proceeds.

It’s not going to work.  Martha is staying put.


The EPA’s “Carbon Rule” Ignores Nuclear Power

Does it strike anyone else as odd that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production slights the single most important emission-free energy technology available?

It strikes me as both odd and unfortunate.

Nuclear power is a key to reducing the environmental impact of energy generation, responsible for preventing some 1.8 million air pollution-related deaths globally and could save millions more lives in the coming decades, according to a study by atmospheric scientist James Hansen. However, nuclear power is not getting the support it deserves in Washington.

I can’t help thinking of the two nuclear plants in Wisconsin and Vermont that were closed recently and prematurely, along with the possibility that as many as 30 more of the nation’s nuclear plants nationwide could also be shuttered by the EPA’s proposed “carbon rule”.

Unless something is done to stop it, the United States could wind up losing roughly a third of its fleet of 100 nuclear plants. Those plants are safe, reliable and environmentally benign, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s zero-carbon energy sources, eclipsing by far the combined contribution from solar, wind, geothermal and hydro power—which are the renewable energy sources most environmentalists champion.

The EPA’s bureaucrats studiously have failed to recognize the seriousness of the threat to nuclear power contained in their recommended “carbon rule”. Regulators in states like California, Illinois, New York and Texas share the blame because they, too, do not assign any value to nuclear power’s record of producing large amounts of electrical energy without polluting the air or loading the atmosphere with carbon emissions.

Nuclear plants are being whipsawed by competition from cheap natural gas and taxpayer-subsidized wind power.

EPA has proposed a regulation requiring states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production by an average of 30% by 2030. The agency balked on the policy question of shielding existing nuclear plants from the rule. Under the agency’s plan, states with at-risk nuclear plants receive a 5.8% “credit” against carbon emissions as an incentive to keep the plants in operation. But the incentive is hardly a credit, because it is added to states’ overall emissions-cutting targets.

The EPA’s rule also shortchanges states with nuclear plants now under construction. Instead of rewarding Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee for proactive efforts to limit carbon emissions by building new nuclear plants, EPA includes those plants in states’ baseline carbon emissions calculations, thus requiring them to take regulatory compliance steps as if those plants were not on the drawing board.

Although the cost of building new nuclear plants is substantial, the costs of operating such plants are relatively low, because nuclear fuel is much cheaper than natural gas. Nationally, the need for nuclear power is projected to increase 29.5% by 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Building more nuclear plants is the best option for large-scale production of clean and reliable electricity. Nuclear power has an important role to play in America’s energy future, provided that misguided public policies do not block it.


UK: Respected eco group slams solar panel farm plans
There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

Nature experts have slammed a decision to allow a solar farm with tens of thousands of panels to be built on protected wildlife-rich grassland.

West Dorset District Council has approved plans for the renewable energy project on Rampisham Down, one of the largest areas of lowland acid grassland in England and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its wildlife importance.

Conservationists fear the installation of more than 100,000 panels will destroy much of the site, which supports masses of flowers such as lousewort and eyebright, as well as wildlife including skylarks and waxcap fungi.

The scheme has been approved despite the council's own planning officers recommending it should be turned down, opposition from government conservation agency Natural England and Dorset Wildlife Trust, and an alternative site being proposed across the road.

The development of a 24 megawatt (MW) solar farm will consist of around 119,280 photovoltaic panels on steel frames installed in the 72-hectare (187 acre) former BBC Rampisham Down Transmitter Station site, following demolition of 34 out of 35 radio masts and towers.

Natural England had warned the plans would "damage or destroy" nationally important lowland acid grassland and heathland, and conflict with the legal protection Rampisham Down had been given as an SSSI.

It would also have "unacceptable and avoidable major adverse impacts" on the landscape of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which it is in, the Government's conservation agency said.

Ian Gardner, chairman of West Dorset District Council's development control committee, said: "In taking this decision we had to balance the economic and environmental benefits of the solar farm and the removal of the 34 redundant masts with the impact of the proposed scheme."

But Paul Wilkinson, head of living landscapes for the Wildlife Trusts, said: "Although the Wildlife Trusts are not opposed to solar farms and renewables in principle, we are shocked at the decision to develop this site which has legal protection for its national wildlife significance.

"This is one of the largest remaining areas of special acid grassland in lowland England. It is an area which supports a range of wildlife from adders to skylarks and waxcap fungi - and the development will result in extensive damage and habitat loss across a large part of this very special place."

He added: "This is simply the wrong place for this development and Rampisham should be protected not destroyed."

Dorset Wildlife Trust's chief executive Dr Simon Cripps said: "With a viable alternative site available, we can't understand why the council has allowed this important wildlife site to be lost to developers.

"Dorset Wildlife Trust supports renewable energy, in the right place.

"These special, legally protected wildlife sites are few and far between and there's no need to destroy them, especially in this case, when there is a perfectly acceptable alternative site nearby, which we support."


Australia:  Conservative government not fond of sharks

And the Greenies are furious.  A Greenie is a type of shark, after all.  They're just as anti-people

The Abbot government has been accused of backing away from its international obligations on animal conservation after it declared it would opt out of protecting five shark species.

Australia is submitting a "reservation" to ensure a recent international listing granting protection status to three species of thresher shark and two species of hammerhead does not take effect in Australian waters.

Humane Society International has described the move as an "unprecedented act of domestic and international environmental vandalism".

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals gave new protection status to 31 migratory species at a conference in November.

The listings were agreed to by consensus, with Australia among the countries present for the talks.

But the government has had a change of heart and is seeking to opt out of co-operating with other countries to protect five of the shark species, arguing that Australia already has sufficient protections in place and the listing would have unintended consequences for fishers.

Alexia Wellbelove, senior program manager at Humane Society International, said the government was responding to complaints from recreational fishers who catch and release the sharks, and commercial fishers who can accidentally trap them while hunting for other fish.

If the five shark species were given international protection status, Australian laws would kick in, making it an offence to kill, injure, take or move the species in Australian waters.

The listings were due to take effect next month.

"We just think it's really unbelievably disappointing because Australia has always led the way on shark conservation and this is really a step backward," Ms Wellbelove said.

"It's a very sad day for protection of the marine environment if we take the easy road and opt of these things, rather than taking steps to protect our domestic waters."

In a letter to Human Society International, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said Australia already had "strong domestic measures in place" for the five shark species in question but this did "not negate our support for international action related to these species, or for shark conservation more broadly".

Nine other migratory species given listings at the convention can be found in Australia and the protection status will apply.

Mr Hunt said Australia was seeking a reservation for the five shark species because a listing would have unintended consequences for fishers as a result of Australia's laws being tougher than required by the convention.

"Not doing so could see recreational fishers being fined up to $170,000 and face 2 years in jail, even when fishing in accordance with their permits," he said.

"There are still strong measures in place to protect thresher and hammerhead sharks in Australia and these will continue.

"The Australian government will continue to actively participate in shark conservation under the convention as a signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks, and through $4.6 million funding for shark research and conservation activities."


Britain's radical Green Party agenda

Six months ago, they were on the very edges of British politics. Now, they are within touching distance of dictating terms to the future government.

A surge in support has seen the Green Party overtake the Liberal Democrats in the polls, with support at 11 per cent. Membership is now greater than the Ukip's.

And, with hopes of winning three seats in the general election, Natalie Bennett believes her party will take part in a “confidence and supply” arrangement, propping up a fragile minority administration in exchange for key policies.

What might they demand?

The party is often dubbed the “Ukip of the left”. But an examination of the party's core priorities - in a document called Policies for a Sustainable Society, set at the party's annual conference - reveals they are far more radical in their aims than Nigel Farage's outfit.

In the short term, a Green administration would impose a string of new taxes, ramp up public spending to unprecedented levels and decriminalise drugs, brothels and membership of terrorist groups.

In the long term, they want to fundamentally change life as we know it.


Critics call the party’s adherents “watermelons” – green on the outside, deepest red on the inside.

It’s not quite right.

Karl Marx and his pupils championed economic growth and personal consumption: five year plans, tractor factories and fridges for all. The row, for them, was whether the planned economy was a stronger engine than the free market.

The Greens want something very different.

Caroline Lucas and colleagues regard economic growth as incompatible with protecting the planet and a fulfilling personal life.

While their rivals recognise more trade, more innovation, more competition and more globalisation as an engine for prosperity for everyone on the planet, the Greens argue it is nothing more than a race to the bottom than has made the poor poorer, the rich richer, eroded pillages the earth.

The party’s manifesto argues for zero, or even negative growth and falling levels of personal consumption. Britain would be in permanent recession; families would become materially poorer each year. After centuries of growing global connectivity, the Greens want to see greater national self-reliance.

Cottage industries, allotments and co-operatives are good. Banks, supermarkets, multi-national companies and resource extraction are very, very bad.

And while the Labour and the Tories compete on job creation, the Greens argue that government policy should make paid work “less necessary”, with people making their living from the home-based “informal economy” of sharing and barter.


The flagship policy is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income of £71 a week for everyone in living in Britain “as a right of citizenship”, regardless of wealth or whether they are seeking work.

Benefits and the tax-free personal allowance will be abolished, and top-ups given for people with children or disabilities, or to pay rent and mortgages. No-one will see a reduction in benefits, and most will see a substantial increase. Parents will be entitled to two years’ paid leave from work.

The policy will enable people to “choose their own types and patterns of work”, and will allow people to take up “personally satisfying and socially useful work”.

It will cost somewhere between £240-280 billion a year – more than double the current health budget, and ten times the defence budget. Those costs will be off-set by some reduction to the welfare bill, through the replacement of jobseekers’ allowance.


Under Green plans, inheritance tax – “to prevent the accumulation of wealth and power by a privileged class” – will no longer just tax the dead.

Under radical reforms, it will cover gifts made while the giver is still alive – raising the prospect of levies on cars, jewellery or furniture given by parents to their children. There will be exemptions for some large gifts, “such as those received on marriage”.

There will be a threshold for the tax, with receipts calculated over five years – but the party does not set out at what point the levy kicks in. New, higher rates of income tax will be imposed.


VAT will be abolished – and replaced with new levies based on how much environmental damage a product causes. New resource taxes would apply to wood, metal and minerals, and steeper levies imposed on cars.

Crucially, import taxes will be levied on goods brought to Britain reflecting the “ecological impact” of making them – with tariffs reintroduced for trade between Britain and the rest of Europe, ending the free trade bloc.


The trade and cultivation of cannabis will be decriminalised under Green policy, along with possession of Class A and B drugs for personal use. Anti-rave laws would be scrapped.

Higher taxes will be brought in on alcohol and tobacco, and a complete alcohol advertising ban imposed.

All elements of the sex industry will be decriminalised, and prostitutes could no longer be discriminated against in child custody cases.

The Greens also want to see “significantly reduced” levels of imprisonment, with jail only used when there is a “substantial risk of a further grave crime” or in cases where offence are so horrific that offenders would be at risk of vigilantes. Prisoners will be given the vote.


Large schools will be broken up, to have no more than 700 pupils. SATS, early years tests and league tables will be abolished, and “creative” subjects given equal parity to the “academic”.

Independent schools will lose their charitable status and pay corporation tax, while church schools will be stripped of taxpayer funding. Religious instruction will be banned in school hours.

Tuition fees will be abolished - but state research funding for universities will increase to reduce a reliance on “biased” commercial research.


Under cultural reforms, the Greens will explore a “a tax on superstar performances” to support “local cultural enterprises”.

The BBC will be forced to show educational programming during prime time, giving it “equal precedence” to entertainment show and not “ghettoised at inconvenient times”.

Foreign companies will be stripped of newspapers and television shows if they control too much of the market. The “overall volume” of advertising on TV and newspapers will be controlled and cut, as part of a war on the “materialist and consumption driven culture which is not sustainable”.

The England football, rugby and cricket teams would no longer play against countries where “normal, friendly, respectful or diplomatic relations are not possible.” Football clubs would be owned by co-operatives and not traded on the stock markets.


The Greens will aim for all energy to be supplied from renewables, with wind the main source of power by 2030.

Under a new hierarchy for transport, pedestrians and bikes come first – and aeroplanes last.

Buses and trains will be electric by 2030, while taxes and regulations will be imposed to force people to buy smaller, lighter and less-powerful cars.

No more new airports or runways will be built, and existing ones nationalised. All new homes and businesses must by law provide bicycle parking. Helicopter travel would be regulated “more strictly”. The sale of alcohol on planes and airports will be tightly restricted to prevent air-rage, and the air on inbound flights tested for disease.

Advertising of holiday flights will be controlled by law to halt the “promotion of a high-carbon lifestyle”. New taxes would be imposed on carriers to reduce passenger numbers.


Foundation hospitals and internal markets will be abolished, PFI abandoned and prescription charges abolished. A new NHS Tax will be introduced specifically to fund the health service.

Assisted dying will be legalised, and the law on abortion liberalised to allow nurses to carry it out. “Alternative” medicine will be promoted. Private healthcare will be more heavily taxed, with special levies on private hospitals that employ staff who were trained on the NHS.

It will be a criminal offence, with “significant fines”, to stop a woman from breastfeeding in a restaurant or shop, and formula milk will be more tightly regulated.

In order to prevent “overpopulation” burdening the earth, the state will provide free condoms and fund research for new contraceptives.


A Green party would impose “research, education and economic measures” to drive a “transition from diets dominated by meat”. Factory farming would be abolished, and the sale of fur criminalised and shooting banned. Whips and jumps would be banned from horse racing.


International aid should be increased by nearly 50 per cent to one per cent of GDP under Green Policy.

Merely being a member of Al Qaeda, the IRA and other currently proscribed terrorist groups will no longer be a criminal offence under Green plans, and instead a Green Government should seek to “address desperate motivations that lie behind many atrocities labelled ‘terrorist’,” the policy book states.

Terrorism, it adds, “is an extremely loaded term. Sometimes governments justify their own terrorist acts by labelling any groups that resist their monopoly of violence 'terrorist’.”

Britain will leave NATO, end the special relationship with the US, and unilaterally abandon nuclear weapons. A standing army, navy and airforce is “unnecessary”. Bases will be turned into nature reserves and the arms industry “converted” to producing windturbines.


“Richer regions do not have the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term,” the party’s policy book states.

A Green Government will “progressively reduce” border controls, including an amnesty for illegal immigrants after five years.

Access to benefits, the right to vote and tax obligations will apply to everyone living on British soil, regardless of passport. The policy book states: “We will work to create a world of global inter-responsibility in which the concept of a 'British national' is irrelevant and outdated.”

Political parties will be funded by the state, and the electoral system changed. The monarchy will be abolished.



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

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


20 January, 2015

Warmist crooks backpedal

Now that they have got the lie splashed worldwide they can afford to do that

The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true.

In a press release on Friday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed ‘2014 was the warmest year on record’.

The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.

Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.

As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond.

Scientists disagree over its significance, but there is little doubt that the rapid warming of the 1980s and early 1990s has slowed – although greenhouse gas emissions have surged.

Bob Ward, of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change, said the new figures showed the notion that global warming had ‘stopped’ was a ‘myth’, although it had ‘temporarily slowed’. Since 1951, he added, the long-term trend was for warming of 0.12C per decade, and in his view, it would ‘pick up again unabated’ if emissions continued to rise.

However, if the long-term rate is 0.12C per decade, this would mean the world would be 1C or so warmer by the end of the century, not 4C-5C as some have claimed.

Climate sceptics insisted that the new figures showed the warming ‘pause’ had continued. Dr David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Forum, said ‘there has been no statistically significant warming trend since 1997’ – because the entire increase over this period was smaller than the error margin.


How Gavin Schmidt Cheated To Create The Required Talking Point

Gavin quietly says that there is a 62% chance that 2014 was not the warmest year on record, but he had to give his boss a talking point for the State of the Union address this week.

So Gavin simply fabricated warm temperatures across huge areas like Greenland, where he had no actual thermometer data in December.

Gavin showed much of  western Greenland 1-2C above normal, when it was actually 2C below normal. It doesn’t take a lot of that sort of cheating to get temperatures up 0.02 globally.

There is only one chance in 27 million that there is a smidgen of truth to the hottest year ever claim.


Tim Ball comments on the fraud

Schmidt knows, after all his years with the CRU gang and participation in creation and naming of the RealClimate web site, that it is all about the headline. He has achieved that, and all the pointing out of errors and deceptions will not alter the impression left with the media and the public. As it is said, the lie is twice round the world before the truth even has its boots on.

The best antidote is the continuance of cold weather, especially in the eastern U.S. and Western Europe. The 2014 claim was pushed out of people's minds in the UK by the cold and snow of this week.

This was the same trend that started the public questioning the global warming fiasco. All the skeptics efforts had little effect, partly because the media did not report properly. It was a couple of cold winters that started the doubts and as usual, cartoonists captured this before most. Here is an early example of the growing cynicism.

As the events contradicted their hypothesis, instead of revisiting the science, as normal science requires, they simply moved the goalposts. The CRU gang's reaction was recorded in the leaked emails,  A 2004 CRU email from the Minns/Tyndall Centre on the UEA campus said:

“In my experience, global warming freezing is already a bit of a public relations problem with the media.”

 To which Swedish Chief Climate negotiator Bo Kjellen replied,

“I agree with Nick that climate change might be a better labelling than global warming.”

 Schmidt has taken on the James Hansen mantle with vigour and purpose and the climate deception continues.

Via email


In a detailed new mathematical study the actual atmospheric effect of infrared-active gases are examined for climatic impact. Principia Scientific International (PSI) researcher, Jef Reynen explores the so-called 'stack model' of earth's climate and finds that it is possible to more accurately model climate without factoring in any 'greenhouse gas effect.' 

His new paper, Lessons from a chicken wire stack on the Moon, re-examines a concept first addressed at PSI three years ago. Back then Reynen considered a finite difference one-stream-heat-flow formulation. More recently, he has employed the more transparent finite element method (FEM).

Due to the recurrent failures of computer simulations to model climate, Reynen's more pragmatic approach employs the concept of a stack of chicken wire in a vacuum environment (that is, where convection is not possible) e.g. on the Moon. In a vacuum, the stack has a temperature and heat flux completely defined by the process of radiation, without convection. Conventional computer climate modeling disavows itself of the dominance of convection (e.g. wind impacts) and applies a far more radiation-obsessed approach; whereas in the reality of planet Earth, it is nearly the other way around. This, says Reynen, has been climate science's great error.

In the Reynen model, a stack of grids represents the IR-active gases. Reynen refuses to talk about“greenhouse gases and their effect” because that's a misnomer according to him and other PSI scientists. What can be described by this innovative new model is an explanation of the atmospheric effect that keeps our planet at a pleasant temperature – strictly in accordance with sound thermodynamic principles. This fits with original concepts from the earlier days of climate research, and the potential temperature already defined by Poisson and more recently by adiabatic lapse rates. That approach was abandoned by conventional climate science in a “wrong turn” made in the 1980's in preference for the now increasingly discredited carbon dioxide-driven 'greenhouse gas' theory.

As Reynen and PSI colleagues insist, greenhouses in nurseries are warmer because the glass roof hinders the convective cooling! There is no enhanced radiative effect achievable in this glass house scenario and the notion of CO2 radiative warming is bogus.

As is shown by the stack model, the evacuation of heat from the planet is rather by convection from the surface of the planet to the upper layers and from thereon by radiation to outer space - thanks to the IR-active gasses with three or more atoms per molecule, like H20 vapor, CO2, CH4, O3, N20...

The stack in a vacuum absorbs nearly the full longwave (LW) radiation from the surface and in steady state emits it immediately. The net result is a temperature that is tens of degrees lower than the measured temperature distribution in an atmosphere of 99% O2 and N2 - on planet Earth. That temperature distribution is described with the environmental lapse rate ELR = - 6.5 K/km being between the dry adiabatic lapse rate DALR = -10 K/km and the saturated adiabatic lapse rate SALR = -5 K/km. These lapse rates follow from sound thermodynamic principles of adiabatic expansion, with or without moisture and the environmental lapse rate in between, from measurements.

What Reynen shows is that when the stack is 'put' in earth's atmosphere, the IR-active trace gases do not cool to what is observed in a vacuum; the trace gases remain at the temperature of the atmosphere. No detailed heat transfer calculations are necessary; the heat capacity of the trace gases is negligibly small compared to that of the bulk of the 99% O2 and N2 of the atmosphere.

The IR-active trace gasses near the surface absorb little heat from the surface since they are at about the same temperature!

The evacuation of heat from the planet is carried out by convection from the surface to higher layers and from there on by radiation from IR-active trace gasses to outer-space.

The validation of the stack model i.e. the question whether a stack of chicken wire can represent the traces of IR-active gases, was carried out in a parameter study by varying the distribution of the thickness of the wires such that results of the analyses coincided with K&T type of studies (Kiehl, J. T. and Trenberth, K. E., 1997), based on the two-stream formulation of Schwarzschild, however ignoring the back-radiation and thereby the non-physical huge atmospheric absorption.

In this fascinating update, Reynen has compared the stack results with recent results of Ferenc Miskolczi, based on the two-stream Schwarzschild procedure, but ignoring the back-radiation and the huge atmospheric absorption. The findings are another mathematical proof against the existence of any supposed 'greenhouse gas effect' in our climate system.



by Viv Forbes

Three centuries ago, the world ran on green power. Wood was used for heating and cooking, charcoal for smelting and smithing, wind or water-power for pumps mills and ships, and whale oil or tallow for lamps. old wind powerPeople and soldiers walked or rode horses, and millions of horses and oxen pulled ploughs, wagons, coaches and artillery.

But smoke from open fires choked cities, forests were stripped of trees, most of the crops went to feed draft animals, and streets were littered with horse manure. For many people, life was “nasty, brutish and short”.Then the steam engine was developed, and later the internal combustion engine, electricity and refrigeration came along.

Green power was replaced by coal and oil. Carbon energy powered factories, mills, pumps, ships, trains, and smelters; and cars, trucks and tractors replaced the work-horses. The result was a green revolution – forests began to regrow and vast areas of crop-land used for horse feed were released to produce food for humans. Poverty declined and population soared.

But new environmental problems emerged. Smoke pollution from burning cheap dirty coal in millions of open fires, old boilers and smelters produced massive smog problems in cities like London and Pittsburgh.The solution was improved technology, sensible pollution-control laws and the supply of coal gas and coal-powered electricity to the cities.

The air was cleared by “Clean Coal by Wire” at the flick of a switch and “Piped Coal Energy” at the click of a gas-lighter. In some places use of hydro, geothermal and nuclear power also helped.In recent years, however, affluent urban alarmists have declared war on the carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil and gas. They claim it is a pollutant and it causes dangerous global warming.

The pollutant claims are easy to refute. The worst air pollution in the world today is the Asian smog. Smog is very visible – but carbon dioxide is a transparent gas that is exhaled by all living creatures.Smog is air polluted with particulates and noxious gases – but there are no particulates or noxious components in carbon dioxide.

Therefore carbon dioxide plays no part in creating smog. Smog consists of ash particles, unburnt fuels and noxious gases produced by the inefficient combustion of anything, usually in open fires or obsolete boilers engines or smelters with no pollution control equipment. Wind-blown dust, bush and forest fires, blue haze from forests and drifting volcanic ash add to the smog.

Modern coal-fired power stations with efficient pollution controls do not release detectable particulates or noxious gases. Bans on dirty combustion and more clean electricity will clear the smog of Asian cities. All gases in the atmosphere have an effect on global climate, usually a moderating one, reducing the intense heat of the midday sun and reducing the rate of cooling at night. But only in theoretical climate models does carbon dioxide drive global warming - real evidence contradicts them.

The unrelenting war on carbon fuels has far greater risks, with some zealots advocating “Zero Emissions”, while also, incredibly, opposing nuclear and hydro-power. They would take us all back to the BC Era (before coal).Already urban environmentalists are polluting city air by burning wood (“biomass”) and briquetted paper in stoves and home heaters; and trying to prevent millions in Asia and Africa from getting cheap clean electricity.

Other misguided nations are clearing forests and transporting low-energy wood chips to burn in distant power stations. And the high costs of green energy are already forcing some poor people to burn old books and strip parks and forests for fire-wood. In addition, crops that once fed people are now making “green” ethanol to fuel cars, and native forests are being cleared and burnt to make way for more fuel crops. Our modern “Iron Horses” are eating the crops again.

The use of carbon fuels in the production, fertilising, transport and storage of food has been a major factor in allowing the world population to grow by several billions since the start of the industrial revolution. If climate alarmists succeed in turning back the clock, food and energy will again become reserved for the rich and powerful, and billions of poor people will die of starvation or exposure.


Blatant Warmist misrepresentation of the facts

An article at CNN now professes that "the climate is ruined. So can civilization even survive?"  Well, if CNN's current quality is any indication, civilization may have already died.  This statement from the CNN piece is worthy of some discussion:

"The burning of coal, oil, and natural gas has made the planet warmer than it had been since the rise of civilization 10,000 years ago. Civilization was made possible by the emergence about 12,000 years ago of the 'Holocene' epoch, which turned out to be the Goldilocks zone -- not too hot, not too cold. But now, says physicist Stefan Rahmstorf, 'We are catapulting ourselves way out of the Holocene.'

This catapult is dangerous, because we have no evidence civilization can long survive with significantly higher temperatures. And yet, the world is on a trajectory that would lead to an increase of 4C (7F) in this century. In the opinion of many scientists and the World Bank, this could happen as early as the 2060s.

What would 'a 4C world' be like? According to Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (at the University of East Anglia), 'during New York's summer heat waves the warmest days would be around 10-12C (18-21.6F) hotter [than today's].' Moreover, he has said, above an increase of 4C only about 10% of the human population will survive.

Believe it or not, some scientists consider Anderson overly optimistic".

Let's get this straight.  The hottest days during a New York summer are headed towards a 22º F increase by as early as the 2060s, and this projection is "overly optimistic" (i.e., the actual increase could be much higher)?

Here are New York's average maximum July and August temperatures since records began in 1895.

After increasing slightly from the late 1800s to the 1930s, the temperatures have not increased whatsoever.  The non-parametric correlation since 1930 is almost a perfect non-correlation (p=0.96).  This isn't cherry-picking.  There are simply no significant increasing trends since 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, or 1990.  In fact, starting in 1950 – and continuing for each decade since – the correlation has turned negative toward cooling, not warming.

The hottest ever day in New York was during July 1936, when the temperature reached 106º F.  As a result, a 22º F increase by the 2060s means annual maximum temperatures reaching 128º F.

For comparison, here is the annual maximum temperature in the Big Apple since 1895.

There has been no significant trend in New York's annual maximum temperature (aka "hottest days during a New York summer") since 1895, 1900, 1910, etc., all the way up to the present.  During the past several decades, the correlation is negative – toward lower summertime extreme maximum temperatures, not higher.

Summertime maximum temperatures in New York predicted to increase by up to 22º F by the 2060s due to climate change, and yet trends are headed in the opposite direction.  Perhaps it is the climate models that are ruined?



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

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


19 January, 2015

The Warmist fraud gets ever more bald-faced -- "Hottest year" bulldust

See the report below from -- where else? -- The Guardian.  I remember The Guardian from the days when it was The Manchester Guardian -- and it hasn't improved.  It is still a purveyor of Leftist deception.

The Japan Meteorological Organization was, I think, the first off the blocks with the claim that 2014 was the world's hottest year -- and skeptics were quick and vociferous in pointing out the holes in that claim.  But NOAA and NASA have learnt nothing. They can't afford to.  If they acknowledged the points skeptics make they would be acknowledging the fragility of their whole Warmist edifice.

A lot of skeptics have been fired up by this latest example of malfeasance and some may already have rebuttals up and running online.  But basically, you need to know only one thing:  That the differences the Warmists are prattling about are so minute as to be statistically non-significant.  Statistical significance is the MINIMUM condition for a difference to have any significance in a larger sense.  When a difference is not statistically significant, it is the sort of difference that arises by chance alone. So there is no basis to say that the difference concerned is anything but random.

And all scientists know that.  It is a basic axiom of science. And the temperature differences recorded for the last 18 years or more have been so minute -- measured in hundredths of one degree Celsius -- that they are crashingly non-significant statistically.  So anybody who parades the temperature differences observed as showing anything is simply not a scientist  He is a crook.  It is rather sad that big organizations heavily remunerated by taxpayer funds are run by crooks but that is the plain truth of the matter. The only scientifically defensible conclusion from the given data is that the temperature has remained unchanged for 18 years.

You can read the actual NASA/GISS press release here.  Nobody is misquoting them. They have nailed their pirate colors to the mast

The numbers are in. The year 2014 – after shattering temperature records that had stood for hundreds of years across virtually all of Europe, and roasting parts of South America, China and Russia – was the hottest on record, with global temperatures 1.24F (0.69C) higher than the 20th-century average, US government scientists said on Friday.

A day after international researchers warned that human activities had pushed the planet to the brink, new evidence of climate change arrived. The world was the hottest it has been since systematic records began in 1880, especially on the oceans, which the agency confirmed were the driver of 2014’s temperature rise.

The global average temperatures over land and sea surface for the year were 1.24F (0.69C) above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) reported. Nasa, which calculates temperatures slightly differently, put 2014’s average temperature at 14.67C – 0.68C above the average – for the period 1951-80.

The scientists said 2014 was 0.07F (0.04C) higher than the previous records set in 2005 and 2010, and the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures.  [NOTE:  0.04C is four HUNDREDTHS of one degree.  We are debating here how many angels can dance on the head of a pin]

That means nobody born since 1976 has experienced a colder-than-average year.

More crap HERE

"There is less than a 1-in-27 million chance that Earth's record hot streak is natural"

The above heading and the excerpt below is another response to the latest NOAA and NASA/GISS announcements.  As such it is false.  There is no hot streak, only a temperature plateau. Statistician Briggs, however, goes to great lengths  to probe the logic behind the claim -- and finds it wanting. He shows that the figure is derived only from the faulty models used by Warmists, not from the actual temperature data.  That two wildly different odds are mentioned below should alert us to the fact that we are dealing with fantasy, not fact

Nine of the ten warmest years have occurred since the year 2000, with 13 of the 15 hottest years on record globally all occurring during just the past 15 years, based on NOAA data.

The odds of this happening by chance — that is, rather than due to a combination of manmade pollution and natural climate variability — are less than 1-in-27 million, according to the climate research and journalism group Climate Central. Without global warming, one would expect warm and cold years to occur randomly over that period.

A separate analysis from the University of South Carolina and cited by the Associated Press found that the odds that nine out of the 10 warmest years would occur in the past decade by chance alone are about 650 million to 1.


NASA Keeps Telling "Warmest" Lies

By Alan Caruba

On January 16 The New York Times reported the lies NASA keeps telling about global warming with an article titled “2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics.”  We have reached the point where neither a famed government agency nor a famed daily newspaper can be believed simply because both are lying to advance the greatest hoax of the modern era.

Remember that 2014 started off with something called a “polar vortex” to describe the incredibly cold weather being experienced and remember, too, that we were being told that it was evidence of global warming! That’s how stupid the “Warmists” who keep saying such things think we are.

The Earth is in the 19th year of a natural cooling cycle based on the reduced radiation of the Sun which is in its own natural cycle. It hasn’t been getting warmer and most people who give it any thought at all know the truth of that.

Enough people have concluded this that, according to a recent CNN poll, more than half, 57%, say that global warming is not a global threat. In addition, the poll revealed that only 50% of Americans believe the alleged global warming is not caused by man-made emissions, while 23% believe it is the result of natural changes, and 26% believe global warming is not a proven fact.

That’s progress. No youngster under the age of 19 has ever experienced a single day of global warming. No computer model that ever predicted it has been accurate. Neither the Pope nor the President, nor any other world leader who repeats the global warming claim is correct.

The latest claim came from NASA and, as I continue to remind readers, it is a government agency whose budget depends on parroting the lies the President keeps telling about global warming.

Astrophysicist, Dr. David Whitehouse, said “The NASA press release is highly misleading…talk of a record is scientifically and statistically meaningless.”  He was joined by climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer who said “We are arguing over the significance of hundredths of a degree.”

Do you believe that a hundredth of a degree makes a difference? Well, it does if you are a government agency desperately trying to keep the global warming hoax alive. Climatologist Dr. Pat Michaels asked “Is 58.46 degrees distinguishable from 58.45 degrees? In a word, NO.”

Marc Morano, the editor of CFACT’s, said, “There are dueling global datasets—surface temperature records and satellite records—and they disagree. The satellites show an 18 year-plus global warming standstill and the satellite was set up to be ‘more accurate’ than the surface records.” As for the NASA claim, Morano dismissed it as “simply a political statement not based on temperature gauges.” Morano, a former member of the staff of the U.S. Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee, is working on an upcoming documentary “Climate Hustle.”

How does this affect you? The lie that carbon dioxide and methane emissions, dubbed “greenhouse gases”, are causing global warming is the basis for the Obama administration’s attack on the nation’s energy sector and, in particular, the provision of electricity by coal-fired plants. In the past six years many of these plants have been shut down or will be. The result is less electricity and higher prices for electricity. The other result is an attack on the oil and natural gas industry that drill to access these resources.  There is not a scintilla of truth to justify what is being done to Americans in the name of global warming.

There is yet another result and that is the loss of jobs in the energy sector and the reduction in revenue to the nation and states it represents. The nation’s economy overall has been in sluggish state which the word “growth” doesn’t even begin to describe. That hurts everyone.

Most of us don’t have a lot of time to get up to speed and stay there regarding the facts surrounding global warming or climate change. An excellent source of information is the Environment & Climate News, a monthly publication by The Heartland Institute, a thirty year old non-profit free market think tank that will sponsor its tenth annual International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, D.C. in June.

NASA has been allowed to degrade to the point where the agency that sent men to the Moon no longer has the capacity to even transport them to Mir, the space station built by the Russians. We have gone from the world’s leader in space exploration to an agency that has been turned into a propaganda machine asserting that a hundredth of a degree “proves” that global warming is happening.

The U.S. and the rest of the world are setting records, but they are records for how cold it has become everywhere. There was snow recently in Saudi Arabia from a storm that swept across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Does that sound like global warming to you? For an excellent source of information on the cooling of the planet, visit

You have an obligation to yourself, your family, friends and co-workers to not just know the truth but to denounce entities like NASA, the EPA, and The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, and others that keep repeating the lies about global warming.


Wind energy’s bluster peters out

By Marita Noon

windmill shredding moneyTouted as “America’s first offshore wind project,” Cape Wind became one of America’s most high-profile and most controversial wind-energy projects. Fourteen years in the making, estimated at $2.6 billion for 130 turbines, covering 25 square miles in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts, the Cape Wind project has yet to install one turbine—let alone produce any electricity. Now, it may be “dead in the water.”

On January 6, the two power companies, National Grid and Northeast Utilities, that had agreed to purchase most of the electricity Cape Wind was to generate, terminated their contracts with the developers due to missed milestones. Under the terms of the contracts, Cape Wind had to secure financing and give notices to proceed to its suppliers to start work by December 31, 2014. Neither happened and both companies filed to cancel power purchase agreements. “The project is in cardiac arrest,” according to Amy Grace, a wind-industry analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Cape Wind has faced stiff opposition since it was first proposed in 2001. Senator Edward Kennedy’s efforts, and those of his wealthy friends, to fight Cape Wind have been the most publicized, but Native Americans, fishermen, and local communities have also battled the industrialization of Nantucket Sound. The town of Barnstable has been particularly active in the fight. The Cape Cod Times reports that Charles McLaughlin, Barnstable’s assistant town attorney, said: “The town’s concerns include the possibility that a collision between a boat and the large electric service platform the project requires could spill thousands of gallons of oil into the sound.”

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) positioned Cape Wind as the centerpiece of his renewable energy goals and invested significant political capital backing the proposal—including tying the NStar power purchase agreement to approval of the NStar and Northeast Utilities merger (given the unfavorable terms of the agreements, the companies may have been looking for any exit ramp). Yet, Ian Bowles, Patrick’s first energy and environment chief who, according to the Boston Globe, “helped shepherd the offshore project,” acknowledges that the loss of the power purchase agreements “may have spelled the end for Cape Wind.”

The announcement came two days before Patrick left office. While he claims: “We’ve done everything as a state government to get them over the regulatory lines,” Patrick concedes it is now “up to the market.” According to the Cape Cod Times, the former governor doesn’t know “if the project could survive without the contracts in place.”

Even the Department of Energy (DOE), which seems to indiscriminately throw money at any politically favored green-energy project, was tepid in its support for Cape Wind. DOE’s loan guarantees generally average about 60 percent of the project’s costs, but the $150 million offered to Cape Wind made up a mere 6 percent—and that, only after the project received commitments for about half of its financing. In most cases, the government guarantee comes before the private financing and signals a go-ahead for investors.

While both supporters and detractors believe the project is in jeopardy, environmentalists and Cape Wind Associates LLC have not yet waved the white flag. According to Kit Kennedy, director of the energy and transportation program at the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Cape Wind may be down, but it is not out.” The Boston Globe reports that Cape Wind’s president, James Gordon, believes the perpetual litigation “triggered a clause in the contracts that allows for more latitude in Cape Wind’s ability to meet the deadlines.” However, after the company already spent $50 to $70 million on the project, the fact that Gordon opted not to pay the utilities the mere $2 million needed for a six-month extension signals that he doesn’t have confidence that they can continue.

Additionally, the political winds have shifted. While Governor Patrick championed Cape Wind, Massachusetts’ new governor, Charlie Baker (R) is on record as being staunchly opposed to it—even calling it Patrick’s “personal pet project.” While campaigning, Baker “dropped his opposition to Cape Wind” because he believed it was a “done deal.” Now that the deal may well be undone, Baker says he “will not try to influence the outcome of the legal process surrounding the Cape Wind project.”

The cancellation of the contracts is “a near fatal blow” to Cape Wind according to Audra Parker, president of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, a Cape Cod based group which has led the fight against cape wind.

Wind energy’s future faces problems beyond Massachusetts.

While Massachusetts’ utility companies filed to cancel power purchase agreements, two Minnesota wind farms, operating as Minwind Companies, were filed for bankruptcy because the eleven turbines needed extensive repairs and the 360 farmers and landowners who invested in the projects can’t afford the maintenance. Minwind CEO Mark Willers explained: “Minwind Companies have enjoyed relative prosperity in recent years, but the April ice storm last year took a toll on equipment—and on the budget.” At a December 17 meeting, he told shareholders: “We were 200 to 300 percent over budget to make those repairs.”

Minwind’s nine separate limited-liability companies allowed investors to take advantage of federal wind-energy credits, USDA grants, and the now-discontinued state assistance program for small wind projects. The Star Tribune reports: “The owners stand to lose their investment, and the wind farms eventually may have to shut down.”

On the national level, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has continued to lobby for a retroactive extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy that expired at the end of 2013. Disappointing AWEA, the lame-duck Congress did approve a ninth extension—but just through the end of 2014. AWEA’s CEO Tim Kiernan groused: “Unfortunately, the extension to the end of 2014 will only allow minimal new wind development and it will have expired again by the time the new Congress convenes.” In response to the “bare-minimum extension,” Luke Lewandowsi, Make Consulting research manager, said it “casts doubt on the willingness or ability of Congress to revisit the PTC in 2015.”

Adding insult to industrial wind’s injury, wind turbine installation placed number three in the list of 10 dying U.S. industries—following only computer and recordable media manufacturing.

All of this news doesn’t bode well for the wind energy business, but for ratepayers and those who believe in the free market and who believe that government shouldn’t pick winners and losers, current wind conditions are a breath of fresh air. Governments, both state and federal, have given wind energy every advantage, to quote Governor Patrick: “It’s now up to the market”—and even Warren Buffet admits the tax credits are the only reason to build wind farms.


A Bolt of Enlightening

One might think that with the phenomenal “success” of the Chevrolet Volt gas-electric car – for the record, that’s sarcasm – we wouldn’t see another General Motors (GM) foray into the quicksand of failed eco-car ventures for quite some time. Unfortunately, in the Kafka-esque world wrought by Barack Obama, one would be wrong.

The perverse system of incentives and penalties set up by the economic rubes within the current regime is simply too strong for automakers to ignore. Witness GM’s buffoonerific redux of its electric Edsel, the Volt, recast with a new, totally-thinking-out-of-the-box name, the … … “Bolt.” Yeah. That’s what we thought, too.

To be sure, the Bolt promises to deliver a 200-mile-per-charge range, considerably better than the anemic 38-mile range of its impotent older brother. But at a time when gas prices have plummeted, putting another government-subsidized (to the tune of $7,500 per vehicle) eco-pipedream on the road doesn’t seem to make sense – or does it? We’ve lamented on numerous occasions this administration’s willful disregard of economic reality in lieu of Pollyanna visions of zero-fuel-emission tomorrows and social-engineering agendas. This mindset is what brought GM to its knees before Obama’s $10 billion auto industry bailout, resulting in its cynical renaming by the public as “Government Motors.” But it gets worse: This delusion is also the reason domestic auto companies like GM produce things like the Volt and its progeny in the first place.

Let’s review: The reason GM created the Volt was to help reach absurd federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for automobiles sold in the U.S. Team Audacity, leveraging its recycled “save-the-planet” politics, then upped the ante, mandating a thermodynamic-law-defying 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) fleet average. (That number is based on zero scientific or engineering support, according to an in-depth congressional investigation on the subject.) The full force and effect of that mandate is conveniently set to trigger in 2017, after the man inflicting that damage has conveniently jumped ship from the smoldering remains of the executive branch. He and his cronies can then point fingers at follow-on administration officials for having abandoned such “worthy” – and utterly unreachable – goals.

Meanwhile, automakers earn “credits” to offset this other-worldly mpg target to the extent they produce electric vehicles (EVs) that lower overall mpg values per manufacturer. Hence, the Dolt – er, Bolt EV. Markets will respond to incentives, no matter how skewed the outcomes or how loaded the dice. In this case, those dice have been loaded by central planners promising a “better tomorrow” – the same ones who somehow always manage to escape accountability for yesterday’s abject failures or today’s stark realities.

Setting aside the abysmal failure of the Volt and its ilk, the more fundamental, chronic, systemic failure is that of this administration to acknowledge the reality of Economics 101. Witness, for example, that while Obama postured and preened even as he bad-mouthed Republicans' “drill, baby, drill” game plan, gas prices roughly halved overnight thanks to drilling. His response? Why, taking credit for the incredible drop, of course!

“America is the number one producer of oil, the number one producer of gas,” Obama boasted. “That’s helping to save drivers about $1.10 a gallon at the pump over this time last year.”

Never mind that oil production on government-controlled land dropped 16% since 2009, or that private production increased 61% over the same period – facts are irrelevant when you have a great smile, after all. No, the “important” takeaway was that the Obama administration brought cheaper gas prices to the pump through its standard acts of miracle-working and hand-waving.

Notwithstanding these charlatans, in a better world, the free market itself would establish how many SUVs, sport cars, EVs and the like would compose the U.S. auto market, and what the value of each auto would be. Unfortunately, we do not yet live in such a world, and will not until at least 2017. In any case, as long as the American public can be snowed by such thinly cloaked, self-serving political posers as Obama, we will continue to get what we deserve: Talking heads instead of true leaders.


Australia: The no-compromise Greenies

Wilderness areas must not be made accessible to visitors

THE Tasmanian government is on course to "trash" the state's wilderness world heritage area if proposed tourist development goes ahead in the region, former Greens leader Bob Brown says.

"TASMANIA'S unique status in having the only world heritage area on Earth actually labelled 'wilderness' should be thrown out if this selfish land-grab goes ahead," Dr Brown said in a statement on Sunday.  "This will trash decades of community commitment to Tasmania's wilderness pre-eminence.  "The brigade backing the government ... has dollar signs in its eyes."

The comments come as the Hodgman government is said to be pushing ahead with moves to allow tourist development in the previously off-limits World Heritage wilderness.

Large swathes of the 1.58 million hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area will reportedly be opened to development under a new draft management plan released last week.

The tourism industry is backing the changes, but conservationists say the plan has the potential to allow damaging large projects.

Dr Brown said the area would have to change its name if the plan went ahead.

"Wilderness fame, more than anything, is the factor raising Tasmania's visitor numbers and tourism jobs by 10 per cent per annum," Dr Brown said.  "Let our beautiful island at least retain its integrity. It could be renamed the Tasmanian Once-Was-Wilderness World Heritage Area."



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

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18 January, 2015

Low Gas Prices Not an Argument for a Carbon Tax

Almost before consumers began to reap the benefits of lower gasoline prices after a decade of pain at the pump, climate humbugs and their political lackeys started hinting now would be a good time for carbon or gasoline taxes.

My response: There is never a good time for bad public policy!

Astute political observer Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explains the benefits of lower fuel prices and why carbon taxes are both unnecessary and harmful to people and the economy.

Fuel prices are down largely because of the fracking revolution. Prices are currently below $50.00 per barrel for the first time in six years, with gasoline selling for less than $2.20 a gallon, one-third below its price in January 2014. As to the benefits, Lewis reports:

    "AAA: Americans saved $14 billion on gasoline in 2014 compared to 2013, with many drivers saving $15–$30 every time they fill up, compared to a year ago.

    Bloomberg: “Plunging fuel prices will free up as much as $60 billion over the next year that the consumer can spend on a fall jacket, a movie ticket or just more groceries.” That was in October, when gas prices were still north of $3.00/gal.

    WSJ: Falling gas prices will give consumers the equivalent of a $75 billion tax cut. The tax cut is progressive because low-income households pay a larger share of earnings on energy. “Households earning less than $50,000 annually spent around 21% of their after-tax income on energy in 2012, up from 12% in 2001, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.”

    NPR: If current gas prices continue, the typical household will have an extra $1,500 to save or spend in 2015. Already, “The average American is seeing a much bigger boost from falling gas prices than from pay raises. Cheap energy could finally put the U.S. economic recovery over the top.”

Good news? Not for climate alarmists. Low gasoline prices are the goose that laid the golden egg for the economy, so naturally climate alarmists and their fellow travelers want to kill it.

In The Washington Post, Harvard economist Lawrence Summers argued, “Oil’s swoon creates the opening for a carbon tax.” What!!!???

Lewis points out companies mining, drilling, processing, refining, delivering, and using carbon-based energy already pay lots of taxes: “ExxonMobil, for example, paid $31 billion in corporate income taxes in 2012 and more than $1 trillion in total taxes during 1999–2011, paying $3 in taxes for every $1 in profits.” Those companies also pay tens of billions of dollars in backdoor taxes via their compliance with various regulations specific to energy exploration, production, and distribution.

The majority of these taxes and regulatory costs are passed on to consumers. Federal and state gasoline taxes alone account for 49.28¢ per gallon on average, equivalent to nearly $50 per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Taxes are a drag on the economy in two ways. First, by raising the cost of production, they reduce the capital available for productive activities – in general, as the cost of an activity rises, businesses (and people) do less of it. Second, these taxes leave less disposable income in consumers’ pockets – and when they spend less, the economy declines.

Even worse, low-income people and those on fixed incomes suffer most from energy price hikes, like those that would result from carbon taxes. They spend a greater share of their incomes on fuel, foods, and medicines – essentials made possible and accessible by energy – than do the relatively well-off. It’s almost funny – not in a “ha, ha” way – how regularly progressives propose policies that hurt the poor the most. With the way energy poverty is robbing the future of the poorest people in the world, we should be encouraging more oil and gas use, not less.

There is no good case for a carbon tax and Lewis sums up why:

        American energy is not undertaxed or under-regulated.

        Carbon taxes are regressive and would be piled on top of existing taxes and regulations rather than replace them.

        Even a very aggressive carbon tax imposing trillion-dollar costs on the economy would have no discernible climate impact.

        Consumers are finally getting a break from high gasoline prices. Having endured years of energy-price windfall losses, they should now be allowed to enjoy windfall gains.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


Resist EPA’s ‘Clean Power Plan,’ Coalition Urges States

In the latest challenge to the Obama administration’s intensifying regulatory actions, a coalition of free-market and conservative organizations is calling on state governments to resist the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

In a December letter to state legislators, attorneys general, and governors, the coalition’s 37 organizations blasted EPA’s attempt to “coerce states into adopting expensive, destructive, and unlawful regulations, possibly including cap and trade, on greenhouse gas emissions—under the threat of even more draconian federal regulations.”

“When Congress enacted and amended the Clean Air Act, it did not authorize EPA to restructure state electricity policies,” the coalition wrote. “If at any time in the past six years, a senator or a congressman had introduced the CPP’s emissions-reduction requirements, the bill would have been dead on arrival.”

Among the organizations signing the letter are 60 Plus Association, American Energy Alliance, American Family Association, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Energy & Environment Legal Institute, Maryland Taxpayers Association, National Center for Public Policy Research, National Taxpayers Union, Rule of Law Institute, and The Heartland Institute, which publishes Environment & Climate News.

Sidestepping Congress

The letter points out the Obama administration was unable to get Congress to enact a cap-and-trade plan covering greenhouse-gas emissions. Absent legislation, the administration is seeking to curb greenhouse-gas emissions (referred to as “carbon pollution”) administratively by issuing new regulations under the Clean Air Act.

On June 2, 2014, EPA unveiled its Clean Power Plan (CPP). Under the CPP, the nation’s existing power plants are required to cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The CPP designates the states as the instrument to carry out EPA’s mandates, with the agency setting a CO2 emission target for each state. The states are then required to enact laws to meet the targets, subject to EPA approval.

To meet the targets, states may employ EPA-approved options such as: renewable energy mandates, increased energy efficiency standards for homes and appliances, and instituting carbon taxes or a cap-and-trade regime.

On its website, EPA justifies the CPP by claiming, “Our climate is changing, and we’re feeling the dangerous and costly effects right now.” The agency goes on to assert average temperatures “have risen in most states since 1901” and climate and weather disasters in 2012 “cost the American economy more than $100 billion.”

EPA’s Authority Questioned

Calling EPA’s move “an affront to both federalism and the separation of powers,” the coalition letter says the CPP “is unlawful and almost certain to be overturned” by the courts.

The letter continues, “EPA stretches the pertinent statutory authority, section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act, beyond all recognition. This obscure, seldom-used provision was designed to set technology-based emissions standards for ’particular sources,’ aptly defined as ‘designated facilities’ in EPA’s 1974-1975 implementing regulations. In the CPP, EPA illicitly treats the entire electric power sector of a state as a ‘particular source’ and illicitly sets emissions standards based not on technologies specific to coal power plants but on the agency’s wish list for ‘green power’ policies.”

The fate of the CPP is uncertain, as the rule will likely be challenged in court, a process that can drag on for as much as two years. Furthermore, the new, Republican-controlled 114th Congress may attempt to block the regulation.

Jay Lehr, science director of The Heartland Institute, said, “The Obama effort to end coal energy in our country is an egregious attempt by his administration to make him a messiah to the greens. It sits on a crumbling foundation of falsehoods. First, that carbon dioxide is causing the planet to warm, which cannot be true as the temperature has been stable for 18 years while CO2 has continued to increase. Second, that CO2 is a pollutant, when we know life would not exist without it.

“There is no case of administrative overreach more deserving of resistance than this one.”


UK: The Greens are pro-immigration? Pull the other one

In recent times, it has been the Labour Party that has presented itself as the champion of immigrants in the UK. Of course, there was always very little truth in Labour’s pro-immigration posturing, but now even it has given up trying to pretend it wants any more foreigners coming to the UK. So is there any party in British politics that is pro-immigration?

The Green Party certainly claims to be. It says that it is the only party that truly stands up for the interests of immigrants. In 2014, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said she wanted to stop the ‘race to the bottom’ in the immigration debate, as the main parties vied with each other to see who could out-UKIP UKIP in the anti-immigration stakes. On International Migrants’ Day last month, the Green Party tweeted ‘Today is #InternationalMigrantsDay. But we stand up for migrants’ rights every day.’ An attached graphic read: ‘Wherever you hail from, you have a home in the Green party.’ So are the Greens really pro-immigration? Well, if their immigration policy document is any indication, no, not really.

The Green Party has pledged to liberalise some of the more draconian aspects of immigration policy, from scrapping arbitrary caps on immigration to declaring an amnesty for those who have lived in the UK illegally for more than five years (presumably those here illegally for less than five years would still be booted out).

Yet the Green Party is ultimately still in favour of immigration controls. It is just that, unlike the other main parties, it is very vague as to what those controls should be. Indeed, I asked the Greens’ spokespeople who exactly they would turn away from the UK, but didn’t receive a satisfactory answer. They just insisted that there was a recognition that ‘immigration controls were needed’. Whether this vagueness is deliberate or because the Greens just haven’t thought that far ahead is unclear, but, whatever the reason, their need to put major restrictions on the number of people entering the UK is inevitable.

In recent years, the Green Party has done its best to distance itself from its Malthusian, pro-population-control roots, claiming that the UK’s problems are problems of overconsumption not overpopulation. Until 2003, it was still saying that the UK was suffering from overpopulation problems and that we had to make sure we didn’t exceed our natural ‘carrying capacity’. The Green Party has since stopped using such arguments, perhaps because the British National Party adopted near identical language in order to claim the UK needed to deport all immigrants to make room for Proper Brits. However, no matter how much the Greens try to distance themselves from the stigma attached to Malthusianism, there is no escaping the fact that arguments about consumption and population are inextricably linked. If you believe that all of the UK’s resources are finite, and that we must all temper our consumption to live within those limits (as the Greens do), then having to deal with more people is obviously going to be seen as a problem.

That is why the Greens Party can never be pro-immigration, let alone in favour of open borders and true freedom of movement for all. In fact, the Greens’ ideology is completely at odds with the idea of allowing people to come freely to the UK. Their view of our resources as being finite, the idea that there is just one big pie we must all share, means that more people coming to live in the UK would mean less pie for each of us already living here. This would make the Greens’ strange claim that they will be able to improve people’s living standards while simultaneously striving to have ‘zero or negative growth’ even more absurd than it already is. For a party obsessed with the idea of sustainability, allowing people to just come in and consume is about as unsustainable as it gets.

Central to Green ideology is an aversion to growth, both economic and infrastructural. The arrival of large numbers of migrants to the UK both causes and necessitates growth. Not only do more people require more schools and hospitals; they will also require other things Greens despise, like more houses, roads and lots more energy production. In reality, of course, such growth is nothing to be feared. In fact, it improves things for everyone. But Greens are terrified of growth, because growth goes hand in hand with the expansion of the dreaded ‘human footprint’. The Green Party can continue claiming to be a champion of immigration because it hasn’t told anyone how many people it intends to let in and how many it intends to kick out. At least the likes of UKIP aren’t afraid to tell the public what they really think.


The Keystone Catechism

George Will

Not since the multiplication of the loaves and fishes near the Sea of Galilee has there been creativity as miraculous as that of the Keystone XL pipeline. It has not yet been built but already is perhaps the most constructive infrastructure project since the Interstate Highway System. It has accomplished an astonishing trifecta:

It has made mincemeat of Barack Obama’s pose of thoughtfulness. It has demonstrated that he lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the most basic economic realities. It has dramatized environmentalism’s descent into infantilism.

Obama entered the presidency trailing clouds of intellectual self-regard. His carefully cultivated persona was of a uniquely thoughtful, judicious, deliberative, evidence-driven man comfortable with complexity. The protracted consideration of Keystone supposedly displayed these virtues. Now, however, it is clear that his mind has always been as closed as an unshucked oyster.

America built the Empire State Building, then the world’s tallest office building, in 410 days during the Depression. We built the Pentagon, still the world’s largest low-rise office building, in 16 months while waging a war across two oceans. Keystone has been studied for more than six years. And Obama considers this insufficient?

Actually, there no longer is any reason to think he has ever reasoned about this. He said he would not make up his mind until the Nebraska court ruled. It ruled to permit construction, so he promptly vowed to veto authorization of construction.

The more he has talked about Keystone, the less economic understanding he has demonstrated. On Nov. 14, he said Keystone is merely about “providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. That doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.” By Dec. 19, someone with remarkable patience had explained to him that there is a world market price for oil, so he said, correctly, that Keystone would have a “nominal” impact on oil prices, but then went on to disparage job creation by Keystone. He said it would create “a couple thousand” jobs (the State Department study says approximately 42,100 “direct, indirect, and induced”) and said, unintelligibly, “those are temporary jobs until the construction actually happens.” Well.

Obama revealed his economic sophistication years ago when he said that ATMs and airport ticket kiosks cost jobs. He does not understand that, outside of government, which is all that he knows or respects, all jobs are “temporary.”

John Tamny, editor of RealClearMarkets and an editor of Forbes, notes that Borders had 10,700 employees and 399 bookstores until it had none of either, thanks in part to Amazon, whose 150,000 employees have probably participated in enough creative destruction to know that permanence is a chimera. Blockbuster – remember that? remember late fees? – had 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores until rivals such as Netflix appeared.

To oppose the pipeline is to favor more oil being transported by trains, which have significant carbon footprints, and accidents. To do this in the name of environmental fastidiousness is hilarious. America has more than 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines and approximately 175,000 miles of pipelines carrying hazardous liquids, yet we are exhorted to be frightened about 1,179 miles of Keystone?

Or about the oil itself? Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., objected that if Congress authorizes construction of Keystone this “would take consideration out of the hands of the administration,” and “out of the current administration process.”

Leave aside the question of how much of this process-that-proceeds-nowhere Coons considers enough. And ignore the peculiarity of a legislator dismayed that the legislative branch might actually set national policy. But note the following, not because Coons is eccentric but because he is representative of Democratic reasoning: “Keystone means unlocking the Canadian tar sands, some of the dirtiest sources of energy on the planet and allowing those tar sands to go across our American Midwest and then reach the international economy and our environment.”

No jury would convict Coons of sincerity. Anyone intelligent enough to express that nonsense is too intelligent to believe it. Coons cannot believe that, absent Keystone, Canada will leave vast wealth – the world’s third-largest proven crude oil reserve, larger than Iran’s – untapped. The Canadian oil is going into the international market, and much of it into internal combustion engines around the world, even if this displeases Democratic senators who have demonstrated a willingness to look ludicrous rather than deviate from an especially silly component of today’s environmental catechism.


Obama to Further Tighten the Noose on 'Big Awl'

I am guessing you don't know one of the major things President Obama was doing while snubbing France and world leaders who convened in Paris to express solidarity in the civilized world's war against radical Islamic terrorism.

I assure you it was something close to his heart — as opposed to fighting Islamic jihad. It was something that will thrill the anti-business, anti-energy extreme environmentalists but will not warm the hearts of American businesses and energy producers, and it is not good news for America's currently overhyped economy.

Yes, you heard me right; despite all the faux euphoria projected by the administration and the media, this economy is not bouncing back. According to Gallup CEO Jim Clifton, for the first time in 35 years, the United States is no longer first but 12th (12th!) among developed nations in business startup activity. More businesses are closing than opening. Four hundred thousand businesses are being born each year in America, but some 470,000 are closing. That's because America, under this president, is a business-hostile zone.

What is President Obama planning on doing about this disturbing problem? Two things. First, he will deny the problem even exists as he continues to fraudulently proclaim that America's businesses are smoking-hot. Second, he will exacerbate the problem with yet new business-killing, energy-killing lawless executive regulations honoring earth goddess Gaia with an involuntary sacrificial offering from the American energy industry. His regulations will dramatically cut methane emissions over the next decade.

Based on his record in office and his continuing with these new regulations, it's hard to tell whether he's more motivated by his allegiance to environmental cultism or a visceral aversion to business. Or perhaps those interests are so interlocked that we needn't quibble over which is dominant on Obama's priority list.

Obama's fellow pseudo-scientists, convinced that methane — the primary component of natural gas — traps heat in the atmosphere even more than carbon dioxide, are determined to target it to prevent global warming, I mean climate change. The regulations will require the oil and gas industry (which leftist enviro-wackos regard as double evil because they are both "big awl" and "big bidness") to cut methane emissions by between 40 and 45 percent by 2025.

But not to worry; the implementation and monitoring of these draconian regulations will be quarterbacked by the power-mad, self-righteous and unaccountable Environmental Protection Agency. What could go wrong?

What the administration isn't telling us is that regardless of how efficient methane is at trapping heat in the atmosphere, there is far less of it in the atmosphere than the evil, dreaded carbon dioxide. What the administration also forgets to emphasize, though it is on record acknowledging it, is that methane admissions have already been reduced by more than 16 percent since 1990, even though natural gas production has risen by 37 percent during that time period. One might think that a priorities-balanced administration would be a bit more concerned with the current rise of Islamic jihad than with the significant and demonstrable decline of methane emissions, but here I go digressing again.

Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, said: "EPA's proposed methane regulation is redundant, costly and unnecessary. Energy producers are already reducing methane emissions because methane is a valuable commodity. It would be like issuing regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream."

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, were more pointed in their criticism. "Studies show that while our energy production has significantly increased, methane emissions have continued to decline," they said in a statement. "This is something that should be celebrated, not bound by new red tape. Our success has been — and should continue to be — rooted in new efficiencies created through technology and innovation, a commitment to continued safety enhancements, and greater permitting certainty."

American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard noted that these new regulations threaten to shut down energy development by raising costs on producers.

You would think that a president who is always urging others to compromise and work together might at least pretend to be conciliatory on these energy issues, especially after he has been so duplicitously destructive in opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But you would be wrong. It's as if Obama rejoices in provoking the newly elected Republican congressional majority.

Instead of trying to justify why these new regulations are even needed — and in any event how they could be needed urgently enough to justify the damage they will do to the energy industry and the economy — the White House simply expects us to accept its "Twilight Zone" version of reality. Actually, according to the administration, these new regulations will benefit the economy.

Isn't it wonderful to have a pro-business president who is staying so focused on the rising global threat of radical jihad?


The EPA's Methane Madness

The EPA thinks cow flatulence is a serious problem

By Alan Caruba

The Obama administration’s attack on America’s energy sector is insane. They might as well tell us what to eat. Oh, wait, Michelle Obama is doing that. Or that the Islamic State is not Islamic. Oh, wait, Barack Obama said that.

Or that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about protecting the environment. It used to be decades ago, but not these days.

There was a time when the EPA was devoted to cleaning up the nation’s air and water. It did a very good job and we now all breathe cleaner air and have cleaner water. At some point, though, it went from a science-based government agency to one for which science is whatever they say it is and its agenda is the single minded reduction of all sources of energy, coal, oil and natural gas, by telling huge lies, citing junk science, and generating a torrent of regulation.

Americans have been so blitzed with global warming and climate change propaganda for so long one can understand why many just assume that these pose a hazard even though there hasn’t been any warming for 19 years and climate change is something that has been going on for 4.5 billion years. When the EPA says that it’s protecting everyone’s health, one can understand why that is an assumption many automatically accept.

The problem is that the so-called “science” behind virtually all of the EPA pronouncements and regulations cannot even be accessed by the public that paid for it. The problem is so bad that, in November 2014, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced a bill, HR 4012, the Secret Science Reform Act, to address it. It would force the EPA to disclose all scientific and technical information before proposing or finalizing any regulation.

As often as not, those conducting taxpayer funded science studies refuse to release the raw data they obtained and the methods they used to interpret it. Moreover, agency “science” isn’t always about empirical data collection, but as Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, noted in 2013, it is “a ‘literature search’ with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports by others that merely summarize results and give opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field.”

The syndicated columnist, Larry Bell, recently noted that “Such misleading and downright deceptive practices openly violate the Information Quality Act, Executive Order 12688, and related Office of Management and Budget guidelines requiring that regulatory agencies provide for full, independent, peer review of all ‘influential scientific information.’” It isn’t that there are laws to protect us from the use of junk science. It’s more like they are not enforced.

These days the EPA is on a tear to regulate mercury and methane. It claims that its mercury air and toxics rule would produce $53 billion to $140 billion in annual health and environmental benefits. That is so absurd it defies the imagination. It is based on the EPA’s estimated benefits from reducing particulates that are—wait for it—already covered by existing regulations!

Regarding the methane reduction crusade the EPA has launched, Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, says “EPA’s methane regulation is redundant, costly, and unnecessary. Energy producers are already reducing methane emissions because methane is a valuable commodity. It would be like issuing regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream.”

“The Obama administration’s latest attack on American energy,” said Pyle, “reaffirms that their agenda is not about the climate at all—it’s about driving up the cost of producing and using natural gas, oil, and coal in America. The proof is the EPA’s own research on methane which shows that this rule will have no discernible impact on the climate.”

S. Fred Singer, founder and Director of the Science and Environmental Policy Project as well as a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institute says “Contrary to radical environmentalists’ claims, methane is NOT an important greenhouse gas; it has a totally negligible impact on climate. Attempts to control methane emissions make little sense. A Heartland colleague, Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, says “Obama is again avoiding Congress, relying on regulations to effectively create new laws he couldn’t legally pass.”

As Larry Bell noted, even by the EPA’s own calculations and estimates, the methane emissions limits, along with other limits on so called greenhouse gases “will prevent less than two-hundredths of a degree Celsius of warming by the end of this century.”

That’s a high price to pay for the loss of countless plants that generate the electricity on which the entire nation depends for its existence. That is where the EPA is taking us.

Nothing the government does can have any effect on the climate. You don’t need a PhD in meteorology or climatology to know that.



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

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


16 January, 2015

Irish warned of doomsday sea levels if climate change continues

The article below is pure assertion, with no scientific data to back it up.  So let me provide some scientific data.  Below you will see that there has been NO sea level rise going on in Ireland.  So the article below is not based on any known actual trend.  It is sheer speculation

Irish scientists have warned that large areas of Ireland could disappear into the ocean with rising sea levels due to climate change.

In a global warming special on RTE’s environment series Eco Eye, experts warned about the catastrophic dangers of climate change, predicting significant coastal damage and the extinction of many plant and animal species, the Sunday World reports.

“Climate change is a reality. It’s here. That’s something as a society we haven’t bought into. It will be a very difficult problem for Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast,” said Professor Robert Devoy, from the Coastal Marine Research Centre (CMRC).

“What is coming down the tracks is a significant warming of the planet. The last time it warmed of this order, 88 per cent of life on earth disappeared.

“Given the nature of politics being short-term, it’s the last thing on our politicians’ minds. 

“I have five grandchildren. Whatever time is left to me it doesn’t matter, but for them at the age of four and five I can see we have significant problems to solve,” said Devoy, one of Ireland’s leading experts on global warming.

“We can’t wait any longer for reducing carbon emissions and making significant changes.”

He estimates that it will cost at least €5bn to protect Ireland’s largest cities and critical areas of the Irish coastline.

During the show, Eco Eye presenter Duncan Stewart travels to Iceland to show how melting glaciers due to climate change are contributing to a rise in sea levels.

Dr Barry Dwyer, as environmental scientist with the Coastal Marine Research Centre at the Irish Naval Headquarters, said that two percent of Dublin could be swallowed by the sea, along with more than three percent of northern counties.

“The big problem is storm surges that we have in Ireland with sea level rises, and then add another storm surge on top of that and that becomes a two-meter storm surge.

“In the more northerly counties we are looking at up to 3.5 per cent of the entire land area being inundated, and that doesn’t account for the big wash that would come off the storm surge and the destruction from that.”

Cathal O’Mahony, a Coastal research scientist with the CMRC, said: “We’ve concentrated a lot of things along our coastline. Be it our urban centers, our road or rail networks and even our leisure time.

“The strategy is really going to involve a lot of agencies working side by side. “No one organization is going to have the answer to climate change.

O’Mahony cautioned that certain areas of the coastline may have to be sacrificed.  “We need to make decisions on where perhaps we can defend and where we can retreat.”


India cracks down on greens

Hot on the heels of its decision to crack down on foreign funding for Greenpeace, the government of India has started what looks like a full-scale crackdown on green groups:

"Authorities over the weekend barred a Greenpeace staff member from traveling to London to speak to British lawmakers about alleged legal and human rights violations in India by Essar, a British-registered energy company."

I'm uneasy about this. Greenpeace is certainly an organisation that has engaged in criminal behaviour in the past but not, to the best of my knowledge, in India. They certainly have a policy of using dishonesty as a tool in their campaigning. Their hypocrisy is beyond dispute. But travel bans look a bit over the top to me.

The argument of the Indian government seems to be that the greens are threatening the economic security of the country, and in some ways you can see their point. In a country with an energy supply that is far from secure and far from regular, any threat to that supply is quite possibly a matter of life and death for the people who depend on it. But does this justify travel bans and funding freezes?


Friends of the Earth are the Enemies of Mankind

Back to the past with Friends of the Earth

By Alan Caruba

It’s such a benign sounding name, Friends of the Earth. This multi-million dollar international organization is a network of environmental organizations in 74 countries. If its agenda was adopted and enacted much of mankind would lose access to the energy sources that define and enhance modernity or the beneficial chemicals that protect food crops from insect predators and weeds.

I am on FOE’s mailing list and the most recent email informed me and the thousands of others who received it that “the oil lobby and the Republican leadership in Congress are plotting a full frontal assault on our environmental protections…” I bet you didn’t know that the Republican Party was an enemy of the environment. That’s curious because it was a Republican, Richard M. Nixon, who created the Environmental Protection Agency with an executive order!

FOE was upset by the $1.01 trillion bill to fund the U.S. government for the coming year through to September. “What’s more, in a surprise giveaway to the super-rich, the bill raised the maximum contribution limit from individuals to political parties—opening the door for billionaires like the Koch Brothers to purchase even more seats in government.”

The sheer hypocrisy of FOE defies the imagination. No mention was made of the secretive “billionaires club” that was revealed in August in a report by Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It was titled “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.”  Didn’t read about it in the mainstream press? That’s because it was hushed up.

You may, however, have heard of San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer who in February pledged to spend up to $100 million, half his own money and half from other billionaire donors, to get candidates who promised to pass anti-global warming legislation elected in the midterm elections. Steyer has been a leading opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, but for sheer hypocrisy, Steyer made his fortune by investing in fossil fuel companies!

As far as FOE is concerned, only conservative billionaires are evil.

“At Friends of the Earth, we’re working to protect people and the planet from Big Oil and its profits.” Translation: We don’t want oil companies to provide the source of energy that fuels our cars, trucks, and other devices that improve our lives. We don’t like profits because they are the result of capitalism.”

For good measure, FOE tells its supporters the “future would be great for companies like Dow, Syngenta, and Monsanto -- but terrible for bees, butterflies, and people like us. Take away pesticides and all you have left are the pest insects that spread disease and harm food crops.

According to Wikipedia, “Originally based largely in North America and Europe, its membership is now heavily weighted toward groups in the developing world.” It’s the developing world that has been the focus of the United Nations greatest hoax, global warming, now called climate change, as a means to transfer money from wealthy nations to those less well governed, often because there is a despot or larcenous group in charge.

It is little wonder that FOE is upset by the decision of millions of American voters to elect candidates who want to rein in the excesses of the Environmental Protection Agency and take steps to improve the economy. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is denounced as “a climate denier with close ties to the coal industry.”  He has made it clear that getting the Keystone XL pipeline approved by Congress will be a priority.

FOE’s email even named the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as “a policy group that helps develop anti-environmental state laws across the country. Right now they’re focused on plans to erode the President’s Clean Power Plan and EPA’s ability to carry out its mission.”

What FOE’s email decrying Big Oil and Republicans doesn’t mention is that, among the elements of the 1,603 pages of the omnibus appropriations bill, is a reduction in the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency which received $60 million less than last year. At $8.1 billion, the EPA is operating on its smallest budget since 1989.

I would like to see the EPA eliminated as a federal agency and that funding go as grants to the individual state environmental protection agencies to address problems closer to those responsible to do so. As it was, the omnibus bill put a variety of limits on EPA “greenhouse gas” programs, some of which verge on the totally idiotic such as permits for gas emissions—methane from cows!

The bill also disallowed President Obama’s promise to give $3 billion to the United Nations Climate Fund, a means to take our money and give it to nations for “environmental” programs that are more likely to end up being something else entirely.

With its anti-energy, anti-capitalism agenda, Friends of the Earth are in fact enemies of mankind. They would happily return the planet to the Dark Ages. That’s why people like me shine a very bright light on them so you will not be duped in the way far too many others are.


America’s Best Climate Prediction Expert Finally Gets Noticed

In Orlando, Florida is a lone climate researcher who, for almost eight years, has been putting the U.S. government’s best scientists and science agencies to shame, when it comes to accurately making major climate predictions. This is especially true when compared to Al Gore-style global warming politicians, government funded university Ph.D. climate scientists and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-IPCC).

The UN-IPCC is the UN’s climate research arm that historians may someday remember best for unreliable climate models and associated wildly exaggerated, and erroneous temperature and sea level rise predictions. The “climategate’ scandal at the UN will likewise be prominent for the disclosure that its supposed ‘best climate scientists” falsified or manipulated climate data to fit the politically motivated manmade global warming storyline.

In March 2013, while I was the Florida Editor for the online conservative journal, I had the chance to review the track record of this maverick in the field of climatology. When I was done I put my name on a column naming him “America’s best climate prediction expert.” I added to it in April 2014 updating his list of predictions he had made. He is Mr. John L. Casey, a former White House and NASA space program consultant, Space Shuttle engineer, and high tech start-up company executive.

His first important climate research findings were issued in a press release in spring 2007. Later his only, yet seminal, peer reviewed paper with its associated theory on climate change driven by the Sun, was published on line for all to review. It is called the “Relational Cycle Theory.”

Despite a sterling background in the space program at the highest levels of the US government, in 2007 and 2008 he was nonetheless without a PhD or any climate research papers. Thus, when he issued his first climate predictions he was immediately labeled by left wing media global warming zealots and even some publicity seeking conservatives as a “scam artist,” “hoaxer,” and a “fraud.” His pronouncements of the end of global warming within a few years and the start of a new cold climate, was a message no one wanted to hear including both Republican and Democrat presidential candidates (McCain and Obama) and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore, who were all saying manmade global warming was a real threat. The timing on John’s first predictions could not have been worse.

Many would have given up on this financially ruinous and personally punishing quest to tell the truth about the climate. Fortunately for all Americans, John did not. Over the years, John started the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC), wrote a leading climate book, and in 2013, began to publish the bi-annual Global Climate Status Report (GCSR). He has made well over one hundred radio and TV interviews and public presentations across the United States. He is now the most referenced climatologist on the internet regarding the next potentially dangerous cold climate.

In September 2013, the CEO of influential Newsmax Media, Chris Ruddy, was captivated by John’s first book “Cold Sun.” He decided to throw all of his rapidly growing media company’s resources behind John’s research. John’s first climate book “Cold Sun” was updated and recast as “Dark Winter.” Under “The Cold Truth Initiative” as Newsmax calls it, “Dark Winter” is now being promoted nationwide.

Three months after publication, and “Dark Winter” has reached number four on Amazon’s 100 “Best Sellers” list of climate books! See the list at by clicking here.

The books ahead of him are the typical manmade global warming books one of which is fictional. That makes John’s “Dark Winter” the number 1 best selling global cooling, and I dare say best selling ‘truthful,’ climate book in the USA. Of the top four, his is the only book written by a proven climatologist.

America’s best climate prediction expert is at last receiving the credit he is due. When will the rest of the media, the scientific establishment, and our leaders in Washington recognize this one man’s courage, skills, and his selfless mission to help our people prepare for the new long cold climate?

Congratulations to John L. Casey, a man who understands climate and climate policy better than anyone, period.


Irish Wind objectors secure massive victory in vote 

Wind farm protestors in north Kerry secured a massive victory on Monday when councillors voted to block companies from developing new turbines in the area.

As a result of Monday’s vote, no new wind farm development applications for locations within the Tralee and Listowel municipal areas will be considered until 80 per cent of the outstanding windfarm plans already obtained for the region are developed.

The council decision, voted for unanimously by the 27 councillors present, is a massive victory for a group that was founded over a year ago to oppose plans for a ten-turbine farm in the Finuge area.

The North Kerry Wind Turbine Awareness Group was set up to lead local protests against the Finuge windfarm plan.

But the campaign reached far beyond Finuge, as the group warned about the potential for largescale future windfarm development across the whole region.

The campaign was undertaken amid fears the massive turbines planned for Finuge would affect people’s health, devalue homes and dominate the entire area by their sheer scale.

Protestors also shone a light on council policy over windfarm development in the area, pointing out how a previous elected council had voted to designate much of north Kerry as being of ‘no scenic value’ and, hence, open to consideration for windfarm development.

Councillors were lobbied intensely by the group in recent months.

“We’re delighted with the outcome of Monday’s vote and it’s a real example of democracy in action to see the 27 councillors voting unanimously on it,” NKWTA chairperson Gerry Doyle said.

North Kerry (Tralee and Listowel areas) currently has 114 wind turbines, with ‘ live’ planning granted another 133. But not until 80 per cent of these ‘ live’ turbines are erected will any new plans be considered.

Stacks Mountain Windfarm Ltd’s plan to develop the ten turbines in Finuge will not be affected by the vote as it was initiated prior to the new County Development Plan (2015 – 2021).

The plan was refused by Kerry County Council, but appealed to An Bord Pleanála which is expected to make a decision in two months’ time.

“We would be hoping now that An Bord Pleanála would take cognisance of the fact that the council and local residents don’t want these kinds of developments,” Mr Doyle added.


WV Board of Education removes controversial climate standards

The West Virginia Board of Education voted to remove controversial changes to its science standards after a lengthy meeting Wednesday morning. Tempers flared at the state capitol as students, professors, and parents clashed over how climate change should be taught in schools.

Last month, the board adopted the "Next Generation Science Standards". While reviewing those standards, a board member requested to alter the language, adding changes to the curriculum that cast doubt on the verity of human-influenced climate change.

School board member Wade Linger said the changes are meant to encourage more student debate. But critics say the revisions undermine years of research and were drafted by people with little scientific backing.

“They don't say, well let's debate evolution or let's debate physics,” said Jim Probst, a state coordinator the Citizens Climate Lobby. “For some reason they've singled out this one kind of science and say it's alright…when really there is no debate.”

Dozens of people crowded into the meeting, several lining up at the podium to speak. Many supporters of the changes believe that global warming is still up for debate, and students should be provided with all viewpoints before forming their own opinion.

"Global warming is far from settled science,” said Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot. ”Every day more and more scientists are speaking out…scientists who used to believe that are changing their view."

At the end of the meeting, the board voted 6 to 2 to withdraw the controversial changes. A 30 day public comment period follows before the board votes on the original version of the standards in March. The changes will go into effort during the 2016-2017 school year.



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

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


15 January, 2015

Will climate change give you worms? Study shows that parasites could become more common as temperature and sea levels rise

What's this about it being warmer 9,600 years ago?  Did they have SUVs and power stations then?

Parasitic flatworms that can cause liver and blood diseases in humans could become more common as global temperatures rise, according to a new study.

Palaeobiologists at the University of Missouri have found evidence in ancient shellfish fossils from around 9,600 years ago of high levels of parasite infestations.

These trematode flatworms spend part of their life cycle in molluscs like clams, snails and mussels before then infecting fish, and later fish-eating birds and mammals.

The scientists found that during the Holocene, when temperatures were about 2.5°C warmer than they are today and sea levels were higher, molluscs suffered from far greater levels of infection.


Botched environmental predictions for 2015

You’ve heard the warnings: Global warming could doom humanity. Overpopulation and deforestation will destroy the planet. We’re going to run out of energy.

It isn’t happening right now, experts say, but it could happen in a few decades.

Yet, decades ago, experts warned that many catastrophes would happen now – by the year 2015. Yet they have not. found five predictions that went astray.

1) UN overestimated global warming by 2015

Two decades ago, the UN came up with several models that all predicted that by 2015, the Earth would have warmed by at least a degree Fahrenheit. Yet in the last two decades, there has instead been virtually no warming according to satellite temperature measurements.

Most climate scientists say this is just a temporary pause and that warming will soon pick up again, though some say they now expect to see less warming in the future due to the pause.

2) All Rainforest Species Will Be Extinct

Dr. Paul Ehrlich, the President of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University, got famous for his 1968 book “the Population Bomb” which predicted that increasing human populations would spell doom.

One part of that doom, he warned in his 1981 book “Extinction,” was that all rainforest species would likely soon go extinct due to environmental destruction.

“Half of the populations and species in tropical moist forests would be extinct early in the next century [the 2000s] and none would be left by 2025,” he warns on page 291. He added that that his model indicated that, on the upper bound, complete extinction would occur as soon as 2010.

Elsewhere in the book, he also wrote that his model’s assumptions were “more realistic” than those typically used and that “unless appropriate steps are taken soon… humanity faces a catastrophe fully as serious as an all-out thermonuclear war.”

Ehrlich did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

3) Oil will run out by 2015

A Pennsylvania state government “Student and Teacher Guide” reads: “Some estimates of the oil reserves suggest that by the year 2015 we will have used all of our accessible oil supply.”

Yet the Earth still has oil: at least 1.6 trillion gallons of proven reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration, a US government agency. In fact, proven reserves have more than doubled over the last couple decades, as technological innovation made more oil accessible.

The guide is on the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Department spokesman Eric Shirk told that the prediction was “obviously wrong” but added that the guide mostly consists of practical information on how to recycle oil that is still current.

4) Arctic sea ice will disappear by 2015.

“Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge… believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015,” Yale Environment 360 reported in 2012.

Yet government data shows that arctic sea ice has increased since then. At its lowest point during 2014, sea ice covered about 1.7 million square miles -- an area nearly half the size of the United States.

Wadhams did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

Update: Wadhams responded Friday and said he stands by his prediction that Arctic ice will have disappeared between 2015 and 2020.

“The observed trend of ice volume in the summer Arctic is strongly negative, and leads to a high probability that there will be an ice-free September by or before 2020,” he said, adding that the recent increase would likely be temporary.

“The volume is subject to random weather-based fluctuations which may cause a temporary rally, as has happened in 2013 and 2014."

5) Looking to the future: A billion people could die from climate change by 2020

Dr. John Holdren, who currently serves as the White House Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, made dire predictions about global warming in the 1980s.

Paul Ehrlich cites Holdren in his 1987 book “The Machinery of Nature”, noting that: “As University of California physicist John Holdren has said, it is possible that carbon dioxide climate-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020.”

Holdren told that he does not view that as a prediction.

“As accurately reflected in the quoted passage, my statement in the 1980s about potential impacts of climate change on food production by 2020 was not a ‘prediction’ or a ‘forecast.’ It was, precisely, a statement about what ‘is possible,’ ” he wrote in an email to

There are also still five more years left for the scenario to occur.

“It is a bit too soon, on the eve of 2015, to make any firm pronouncements about what will or will not happen by 2020,” Holdren wrote.

He added that new regulations are the best way to avoid catastrophe.

“I very much hope, of course, that nothing as dire as a famine killing a billion people will happen as a result of climate change by 2020, or ever. But the prospects for permanently avoiding such an outcome… will be greatly improved if this country follows through on the sensible measures in the President's Climate Action Plan,” he wrote.


US Senate moves on Keystone despite veto threat

Senate Republicans steered legislation to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline toward an initial test vote on Monday, intent on forcing a quick veto showdown with President Barack Obama over the long-stalled project.

The measure has sparked intense debate over the Canada-to-Texas pipeline's potential impact on employment and the environment, yet there was little or no doubt that it would overcome Monday's hurdle. Republicans said they hoped it could win final approval and be sent to the White House by the end of next week.

"President Obama has every reason to sign the jobs and infrastructure bill that we will pass," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky. He noted that the Nebraska Supreme Court had recently rejected a legal challenge brought by opponents, an obstacle the White House had cited.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, made the case for the opposition. He said that if constructed, the pipeline would carry "some of the dirtiest, most dangerous and most polluting oil in the world." He called the project "anti-clear water, anti-clear air, anti-public health."

The proposed 1,179-mile pipeline would begin in Canada, enter the United States at Morgan, Montana, cut across South Dakota and connect with an existing pipeline in Steele City, Neb., that, in turn, reaches refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. It would carry an estimated 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The White House has repeatedly threatened a veto, and if Obama follows through, it will become the first of what are expected to be numerous clashes with the Republican majorities now in control of both houses of Congress.

The House passed pipeline legislation last week, as it often has in recent years. This time, for the first time since the project was proposed six years ago, the Senate is in Republican hands and the legislation commands enough bipartisan support to assure its approval -- if not enough to override a veto.

By bringing the legislation to a vote one week after taking over the Senate majority, Republicans hope to achieve two goals at once.

Passing the measure is the first, and ushering in a new era of open Senate debate with the opportunity for lawmakers to seek votes on proposed changes is the second.

"It's the latest example of Congress getting back to work under a new Republican majority," said McConnell, in a jab at Democrats who have generally blocked votes on amendments over the past few years.

Democrats said they welcomed that, and some readied proposed changes that would try and put Republicans on record concerning climate change.

The pipeline project has unanimous support from Republicans in Congress, but it divides Democrats. Environmentalists generally oppose the legislation, while several unions support it for the jobs it would create.

In fact, there was significant debate over both the proposed project's impact on the environment and on the economy.

An environmental impact statement prepared by the State Department estimated that construction spending "would support a combined total of approximately 42,100 jobs throughout the United States for the up to 2-year construction period."

It added that not all the employment would be newly created, though. It said some of the jobs would be "continuity of existing jobs in current or new locations," a distinction often overlooked by the bill's supporters.

Once the proposed project opens, it will require "approximately 50 total employees in the United States: 35 permanent employees and 15 temporary contractors," the State Department estimated.

The project would have a bewildering range of possible impacts on the environment. They range from the effect on the Great Plains Aquifer under southern Nebraska to the fate of the American Burying Beetle, one of 14 species that could be affected that are proposed or currently receiving protection.

The review also said other options for extracting the oil and moving it toward refineries by rail or tanker ship would have a worse impact on climate change, in some cases far worse.


Rejecting Keystone XL Pipeline Will Backfire on Democrats

With the holidays over, the stage is set for the Keystone XL pipeline to be the first political battle of 2015, pitting the lame duck President Obama against the new Republican-led Congress.

The political posturing over approval of the pipeline that would bring oil sand crude oil from Canada to refineries in Gulf Coast states began shortly after the midterm elections.

During his end of the year press conference last month, Obama downplayed the economic benefits of construction of the pipeline saying it would not benefit consumers at the gas pump and job creation would be limited to a few thousand temporary construction jobs and some additional employment in the refinery industry.

Obama followed those comments by saying in an interview with NPR that he would use his veto power to block the Congressional bills that threaten his accomplishments in areas including the environment.

As new members of Congress were being sworn into office, word came from the White House that Obama would not sign a bill approving the pipeline.

Meanwhile, the new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), promised to put a vote on the Keystone pipeline on the fast track. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee had scheduled a hearing on the Keystone approval bill on January 7 but the hearing was blocked and by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Despite the last minute gymnastics by anti-fossil fuel Democrats, a bill approving the pipeline will pass Congress but be met with an Obama veto.

The truth is Obama never had any intention to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Obama’s obsession with his climate change agenda and the money flowing from radical environmentalists such as billionaire Tom Steyer to Democrats will serve as motivation to use his veto pen.

Additionally, Obama’s arrogance would not allow him to yield to the first bill coming from the Republican led Congress.

Republicans should seize on the veto by Obama as an opportunity to educate the public, especially middle class voters, on the consequences of the president’s climate change agenda.

Properly positioned and communicated, the new Congress can expose how climate change regulations benefit billionaire elites while harming the lower and middle class Americans.

In fact, the economic consequences of Obama’s energy policy offers an amazing opportunity to reach traditional Democrat voters including labor union members and blacks.

Labor unions support construction of the pipeline. Last month James Hoffa, President of the International Teamsters Union wrote a commentary in the Detroit News urging Michigan’s elected officials to support construction of the pipeline.

According to Hoffa, construction of the Keynote pipeline would result in about a $3.4 billion boost to the country’s gross national product and approximately a total of 42,100 jobs including construction and supplier jobs.

The Laborers’ International Union of America (LIUNA) also supports the Keystone pipeline. LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan has criticized Obama for ignoring the indirect economic benefits of the pipeline that would occur from communities that would support the construction project.

By rejecting Keystone, Obama would be siding with the environmental lobby over union jobs, inviting a union backlash.

Keep in mind that voter reaction in Kentucky and West Virginia to Obama’s war on coal, which cost thousands of coal miner jobs, helped elect Republicans in those coal dependent states to the Senate.

Republicans must also communicate the adverse economic impact of EPA regulations that reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Higher energy costs from climate change regulations preferentially harms lower income families.

A study by Dr. Wayne Winegarden from the Pacific Research Institute on EPA’s proposed Clean Power rule in Ohio shows the greatest burden of increased electricity costs falls on black households. While higher income families in Ohio would pay 1.1 percent of their yearly spending on electricity, the average black household would spend 5.8 percent.

Lower income black households could spend a much greater amount with some spending more than 20 percent of their household income on electricity. Such outrageous utility bill increases would drive more black families to government dependency.

As the last election shows Obama’s policies harmed the Democrat brand with voters. By using his veto pen against the Keystone pipeline Obama could cause labor union members and blacks to break away from the traditional Democrat coalition.


Atheists and the Pope: Climate Ideology Unites the Left

            Pope Francis is wading into the "climate" debate. And while his language poses as spiritual, the subject and his approach are purely secular. He is thus subject to the same kind of analysis as would be rendered on the pronouncements of any other pundit in the political arena. Indeed, the Pope's argument is even less about the pseudo-science of "global warming" (or, as this has become a suspect claim, "climate change") than is common among other sectors of the Left. He embraces explicitly the socialist roots of the environmental movement which was spawned from the New Left agitation of the 1960's. This should not be surprising since the Argentine Pontiff is the product of a Latin American Catholicism that has been corrupted by "liberation theology", an explicit attempt to give Marxism the cover of a religion its atheist theorists reject. 

            In October, Pope Francis denounced, "An economic system centered on the god of money [that] needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it." He told the diplomatic corps a year ago:

"I wish to mention another threat to peace, which arises from the greedy exploitation of environmental resources. Even if ‘nature is at our disposition', all too often we do not respect it or consider it a gracious gift which we must care for and set at the service of our brothers and sisters, including future generations." And at an audience in May, his words were even more an expression of socialist themes, "Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few."

            Consider the similarity with a recent screed by the hate-filled Naomi Klein in the left-wing monthly In These Times. Her title: "Can Climate Change Unite the Left? To Avoid Catastrophe, We Must Seize Corporate Polluter's Wealth." The article is illustrated with a photo of Green protesters waving signs that read "Flood Wall Street" and "Capitalism Versus Climate." Green has truly become the new Red. Klein opens her article recounting a presentation from Brad Werner, a geophysicist at the University of California, San Diego whom she notes has pink hair. Werner mixes his computer model of climate change with a call for "environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous people, workers, anarchists and other activist groups." The target of this violent movement is not just capitalism, but the entire modern civilization of the West which has built the society with the highest standard of living.

            The practical failure of socialism is that it cannot produce economic growth. Two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia still cannot manufacture anything the world market wants. It has a classic third world economy based on the export of oil, gas and raw materials. Mikhail Gorbachev tried to initiate reforms to increase output and efficiency, but the communist system could not adapt; it collapsed. The People's Republic of China has abandoned communism in all but name in favor of a mix of state and private capitalism to avoid the Soviet fate.

            In Europe, democratic socialism failed in the United Kingdom and Sweden. French Socialist President Francois Hollande has purged the more extreme members of his party to push through a modest "pro-business" agenda in an attempt to revive a stagnant economy. And, most galling to the Left, was the Reagan Revolution which sparked a boom that in a single generation (1980-2010) increased American real GDP per capita by some 70 percent.

            So the Left's counter is to make capitalism's strength into a liability by denouncing economic progress as a danger to "the planet." As Green protesters put it, "global warming is a result of an economic system that is based on endless extraction, endless growth, and ceaseless exploitation of the earth and people." The Left's argument is that the by-products of growth are worse than the benefits of growth; and that those who champion material progress are "selfish and greedy."

            The Green movement was born from the New Left agitation during the 1960's. The first attempt to turn young people away from materialism failed miserably. Hippie communes and alternate lifestyles sitting in the mud had very limited appeal. Indeed, the "flower power" generation became the most affluent and acquisitive in history. And their tech-obsessed children are even more dependent on massive energy consumption.

            If people could not be convinced to adopt less abundant lives, the choice would have to be imposed on them. So the next ploy was to argue that there were "limits to growth" based on finite resources. It didn't matter how much progress was desired, it could not be attained. Papers, conferences, and expert testimony bolstered the case for the rapid exhaustion of nature's bounty, especially fossil fuel sources. That campaign of false science was dispelled not by debaters but by innovators. The Greens are now trying to put the cap on the new flood of oil and gas from fracking, as they did earlier on the expansion of "inexhaustible" nuclear power, and continue to do with the "war on (abundant) coal." The strategy now is to create artificial shortages since real shortages never occurred. Harking back to earlier failed arguments, Klein claimed we must live "within planetary boundaries, ones based on intricate reciprocal relationships rather than brute extraction."

            This is why the Keystone XL Pipeline has taken on such symbolic importance. It draws the line between those who favor continued economic growth, prosperity and abundant living against those who want to turn back the clock to a lower level of civilization where (artificial) shortages have to be managed by socialists to assure "fairness." As Naomi Klein put it in her article, "After all, changing the building blocks of our societies---the energy that powers our economies, how we move around, the designs of our major cities--- is not about writing a few checks. It requires bold long-term planning at every level of government." She proposes an array of taxes, not just on carbon emissions, but on financial transactions and income because she argues that wealth is related directly to pollution, so the rich should pay to fix the problem.

            This is the agenda at the United Nations where not just affluent individuals and profitable corporations are to be punished, but entire "rich" societies. In September, Pope Francis will address the UN General Assembly to promote the drafting of a new treaty to be adopted at the December 2015 international Climate Change Conference in Paris. Like the previous Kyoto Accord, the new agreement is to be based on punitive mandates on the "developed" countries to force them to cut back their economic activity while the "developing" countries (including China) will remain free to advance as full speed. This line brings together the "anti-imperialist" and socialist creeds of the Left. Whether at home or abroad, the Left considers success a badge of dishonor in the West.

            The United States rejected Kyoto because it was based on an inequality of obligation. President Obama kept to this policy in his first term, but has now accepted the UN framework. Point two of the US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change issued in November states, "They are committed to reaching an ambitious 2015 agreement that reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances." Those differences mean that the West is to blame for everything; an allegation to which Vice President Joe Biden pled guilty when he addressed the 2014 UN climate conference last month in Lima, Peru.

            The Catholic Church has been a pillar of Western civilization, and its savior on numerous occasions. It is thus alarming when Pope Francis promotes a political line that strikes at the very core of Western success and which would lead to systemic decline if the policies being proposed from the Green ideology were to be implemented. The Left has used "the planet" and now the Pope has introduced "Creation" as a supposed trump card to overcome centuries of the Left's defeat in philosophical debate and real world experience. Nothing short of a rejection of the Left's gambit as illegitimate in every detail can save us from the true catastrophe of a diminished future.


What Terrorism? Kerry Still Obsessing Over 'Climate Change'

While the attention of much of the world Sunday was focused on the massive unity rally in France in response to the recent terror attacks in that country, Secretary of State John Kerry was in India for a "global business" summit where he spoke of, among other concerns, the "one enormous cloud hanging over all of us which requires responsibility from leaders. Global climate change." Kerry said that climate change is "violently affecting communities" worldwide, but that the silver lining in his view is that responding to climate change offers an "unprecedented number of plusses, and frankly, almost no downside." His full remarks on the subject came during his speech at the opening ceremony of the summit

"I am convinced, as we look to the relationship of the future though, just as Ban Ki-moon mentioned a few minutes ago, there is one enormous cloud hanging over all of us which requires responsibility from leaders. Global climate change is already violently affecting communities not just across India but around the world. It is disrupting commerce, development, and economic growth. It’s costing farmers crops. It’s costing insurance companies unbelievable payouts. It’s raising the cost of doing business, and believe me, if it continues down the current trend-line, we will see climate refugees fighting each other for water and seeking food and new opportunity.

So this is a relationship between India and the United States where we believe very deeply that we could turn sustainable economic growth opportunities into a prosperity we have ever seen before. And it means one very [simple] thing: Unlike many problems in public life where you struggle sometimes between the plusses and minuses of a particular choice you make – and leaders here all know and business leaders all know what I’m talking about – the choices of climate change offer an unprecedented number of plusses, and frankly, almost no downside. If we make the choices that are staring us in the face, the fact is that a solution to climate change is already here. It’s called energy policy. Sustainable energy policy. And in a sustainable energy policy comes a whole set of benefits to our economy, something many countries of the world are screaming for today."

While the bulk of Kerry's talk centered on economic and business issues, he did pay tribute to the rally in France:

"We may all come from different walks of life, but we stand together this morning with the people of France as they march in tribute to the victims of last week’s murderous attack on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. And we stand together not just in anger and outrage, but in solidarity and commitment to the cause of confronting extremism and in the cause that extremists fear so much and that has always united our countries – freedom. We stand together in freedom and together we make it clear that no act of terror will ever stop the march of freedom."



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

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


14 January, 2015

Kerry Gets It Wrong on Climate’s Impact on New Zealand’s Dairy Farmers

Facts are irrelevant to a Leftist.  They just KNOW

In a speech in India on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry cited as an example of the global impact of climate change a recent drought in New Zealand that was so dire, he said, farmers had been forced to kill “all of their dairy cattle and sheep.”

It’s not true.  New Zealand did experience a severe drought in 2013 – the worst in nearly 70 years in some regions, according to the country’s climate research center – but it did not result in the wholesale slaughter of dairy herds.

In fact the 2013/2014 season accounted for a record level of milk production in New Zealand, surpassing the 20 billion liter mark for the first time, according to a new report by the industry body, Dairy NZ.

Moreover, 2013/2014 also saw a small increase in the number of dairy herds, with milking cow numbers rising by 138,600 animals to 4.92 million.

In his speech in Gujarat, Kerry cited floods in India two years ago, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, drought in southern Africa, and then raised the New Zealand example.

“New Zealand recently experienced a drought that was so bad that farmers had to slaughter all of their dairy cattle and sheep because they didn’t have enough food and water to be able to keep the animals alive,” he said.

“So these are the problems that global climate change is already causing,” Kerry continued. “And there isn’t a scientist worth his or her salt who won’t tell you that the problem is going to grow more severe.”

Federated Farmers of New Zealand spokesperson Penny Clark-Hall said Monday that Kerry’s statement was incorrect.

“It is normal farming practice in the drier parts of the year and especially in drought to destock – but I haven’t heard of any farms who have rid of 100 percent of their stock,” she said.

Graphs based on New Zealand Meat Board figures on the annual slaughter of all cows (both dairy and beef) show no marked rise in the 2013/14 season above that of the previous one.

“Total dairy cattle numbers increased to 6.6 million head for the year to 30 June 2013, up 2.3 percent on the previous season,” the industry group Beef and Lamb New Zealand said in a report released around midway through the 2013/2014 season.

A subsequent report by the group said, “Total dairy cattle numbers increased slightly (+0.7 percent) to 6.53 million head at 30 June 2014 on the previous season.”

Clark-Hall noted that the 2013 drought was severe – in some regions, the worst since the mid-1940s, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

Last year, by contrast, was “generally a mild year with near normal rainfall and near average temperatures for most of the country,” says a NIWA summary of the 2014 climate, released on Friday.

“Farmers are pushing for more water storage in NZ to capture the excess rain fall we get in the winter and autumn to tide us over in the drier months,” Clark-Hall said.

New Zealand produces three percent of all the milk in the world, and the dairy industry is small Pacific island nation’s biggest export earner. About 95 percent of New Zealand’s milk production is exported to more than 150 countries.

With a population of just 4.47 million, New Zealand has more cows (4.9 million dairy and about four million beef cows) and many more sheep (around 30 million), than it has people.

The sheer number of cows and sheep prompted a Labor government in 2003 to propose introducing a tax on flatulence – methane emitted from both ends of the animals is considered a “greenhouse gas” – but it backed down in the face of a farmer-led protest campaign under the slogan Fight Against Ridiculous Taxes, (FART).

A longstanding advocate of the campaign against global warming during his almost three decades in the U.S. Senate, Kerry as secretary of state has prioritized the issue, which he says is at least as serious as other major global threats, including terrorism, epidemics and nuclear proliferation.


Not the ‘hottest’

Global warming campaigners have a tough sell on their hands.  They claim that climate science is “settled” and beyond discussion, yet the computer models the whole thing depends on have called for warming which has not occurred since before the turn of the millennium.

Now they’re trying to claim that 2014 was the “hottest ever.”

This is absurd. There was not very much warming during the second half of the 20th century and none since then.  Only a few years managed to come in around 1/2 a degree Celsius above baseline — Not enough to cause extreme anything.

Now team warming is trying desperately to cobble together a few hundredths of a degree above 1998, while they know full well that a few hundredths are meaningless.  Measurements are not that accurate.  Hundredths are too small to matter.  We’re still way under what the computer models project.  Hundredths warmer is like pennies richer.

More importantly, for them to make even this shallow claim, they have to cherry pick their data and completely ignore the U.S. and U.K. satellite data which they know full well is the best available.

Why ignore the best available world temperature data?  Because it does not show any warming. That’s where science ends and propaganda begins.

The next time a global warming campaigner tries to tell you that 2014 was the “hottest ever,” tell them to cool off — And stick with the satellite data they based the models on (the one’s with no warming).

No switching umpires in the middle of the game.


Upton: Obama ‘Out of Excuses’ after Court Okays Keystone Pipeline Route

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement on Friday after news broke that the Nebraska Supreme Court has approved the course of the Keystone XL Pipeline through the state.

Upton said President Barack Obama can no longer say no action should be taken ahead of the court’s decision.

“The president has been hiding behind the Nebraska court case to block this critical jobs project,” Upton said in the statement. “With that contrived roadblock cleared, the White House is now out of excuses, and out of time."

After Upton issued his statement, the House passed Keystone legislation in a bipartisan vote of 266 to 153. According to the Houseroll call, 28 Democrats voted with 238 Republicans to pass the bill.

According to the Omaha ABC affiliate KETV, the court overturned a Lancaster County District Court ruling, although a majority of the justices have said the law that allowed a governor to determine the route of the pipeline was unconstitutional.

In 2013, then-Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, approved the Canadian TransCanada’s purposed route through the state to transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Four members of the seven-member court concluded the Lancaster County District Court ruling was correct when it sided with landowners who challenged LB 1161 -- the law that allowed the governor to sign off on a path for a pipeline, according to KETV.

But under the Nebraska Constitution, only a super majority (at least five members) can declare a legislative act unconstitutional, so the law allowing the governor to approve the route stands.

Upton included in his statement a link to 21 letters supporting the construction of the pipeline, which the State Department has said will almost immediately create more than 40,000 American jobs.

Organizations submitting a letter of support include the American Iron and Steel Institute, Caterpillar, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhoods of Teamsters, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the Western Energy Alliance.


Democrats launch first filibuster of the year on Keystone

Democrats launched the first filibuster of the new Congress on Thursday, objecting to the GOP’s effort to try to bring the Keystone XL pipeline bill to the floor early next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to schedule action early next week on the bill, and promised an open process, including allowing both sides to offer amendments to the bill — an attempt to break with the previous few years, when Democrats controlled the floor and kept a tight lid on amendments.

But Democrats objected to Mr. McConnell’s request, forcing him to begin the procedure for breaking a filibuster.

“We’ll work through this because we’re determined to get bipartisan jobs legislation on the president’s desk as soon as we can,” Mr. McConnell said.

The proceedings represented a role-reversal from the last Congress, when Democrats tried to push bills to the floor only to face a GOP filibuster. In many of those cases, however, Republicans said they were filibustering because Democrats — led by Sen. Harry Reid — blocked out all amendments. This time around, Mr. McConnell promised to allow amendments from all sides.

Keystone has bipartisan support, but President Obama has vowed a veto. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, said he thinks there could be enough Democrats willing to support the pipeline that the Senate could overturn an Obama veto, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said her troops in the lower chamber would sustain Mr. Obama’s veto.


Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) describes global warming as natural phenomenon

Four and-a-half years ago, Illinois Republican Mark Kirk voted for a sweeping House bill that would have imposed nationwide restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

What a difference a couple of elections can make.

Kirk, who was serving in the House at the time but is now running for reelection in the Senate, described global warming Wednesday as a largely-natural phenomenon.

"We had the previous warming period, which was called the global optimum, and the best way to talk about that is when Leif Erickson went west from his home, he discovered a landmass that he called Greenland, because it was," Kirk told a reporter from E&E News. "And that was called the global optimum, because the planet was much warmer. By calling Greenland 'green land,' we know that the climate has been changing pretty regularly within recorded memory."

Long considered a moderate, Kirk had received favorable ratings from environmentalists early in his career. In 2010, Kirk received a 70 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters for his House record, one of the highest percentages given to a Republican. Kirk was one of just eight Republicans who voted in favor of the 2009 climate bill authored by then-Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

In a statement Thursday, Kirk said he believes human activity plays a role in climate change but policymakers need to be measured in how they address it.

"Climate change is real and human beings definitely play a role. As I have said since 2010, I will not support a carbon tax or similar attempts which hurt the Illinois or American economy. The vote this week is another desperate attempt to derail Keystone," he said.

Kirk, who beat his Democratic opponent in 2010 by less than 60,000 votes, has since questioned his previous climate stance. In an August 2009 radio interview with WIND's "Big John & Cisco In The Morning," Kirk said that while he believed the House climate bill would stall in the Senate — which is what happened — if he had to revisit the issue, "I will be going through every detail and thinking about all of my constituents who got a hold of me on this issue. Because there has been an issue that I've heard nothing else about in the last couple of weeks."

That same month, he told "Fox News Sunday" that he had gotten significant feedback from Illinois voters on his Waxman-Markey vote, and when he considered the issue in the future he would keep in mind that "The energy interests of Illinois are far broader and deeper than my North Shore district."

Now facing reelection in a Democratic-leaning state, Kirk must weigh the views of conservative Republican primary voters against a more liberal general electorate. His recent climate comments have infuriated some national environmental groups.

“We are baffled by Senator Kirk’s comments," said Environmental Defense Fund spokesman Keith Gaby. "This sounds more like something Senator Inhofe or Rush Limbaugh might say. His supporters in Illinois must be scratching their heads. Unfortunately, his record in the Senate has also been disappointing, including co-sponsorship of Senator McConnell’s resolution to block" an Environmental Protection Agency proposed rule on existing power plants.

"When he was in the House, he was a forward-thinking moderate on climate and energy issues – our hope is that he can return to that approach and be the kind of leader Illinois sent to the Senate," Gaby added. "His reversal on environmental protection has been very disappointing."


A Time to Act on Energy Security

With the new year comes a new Congress, and, as always, energy policy will be a major priority for this 114th session. Now that Republicans have regained control of both the Senate and the House, and with President Obama looking to establish his legacy, there is a unique opportunity to build positive momentum on energy security and reduce America’s vulnerability to the historically volatile oil market.

Oil prices are at their lowest in years, and Americans may be tempted to think we are entering a new era of stable, cheap fuel. Indeed, we find ourselves in a phase of temporarily low prices on the oil market rollercoaster. Unfortunately, those easily forgotten high prices will inevitably return, shocking the economy in the process and damaging U.S. productivity. This scenario will replay itself again and again, unless we take steps to avoid it.

Moving forward requires a new approach, one that focuses on addressing the national and economic security challenges that result from our near-exclusive reliance on oil to power American transportation.

We must begin by acknowledging that as the world’s biggest oil consumer – we use one fifth of global supply – the United States is dangerously dependent on petroleum. It composes more than a third of our primary energy demand, more than any other fuel, and we rely on it to power 92 percent of our transportation sector. As a result, the price of oil wields incredible influence over our economic health.

The wild oscillations of the global oil market make this dependence all the more hazardous, and there is little we can do to stop them. Although the United States now claims the position of top global oil producer, 90 percent of all proven reserves still remain under the control of national oil companies, many within the OPEC cartel. This fact alone illustrates how little control we have when we let the oil market determine our economic fate. And widespread geopolitical instability in oil producing countries like Libya, Iraq, and Nigeria will continue to threaten supply disruptions that could send crude prices skyrocketing.

Surging American production has helped us lower oil imports, created hundreds of thousands of jobs, and has facilitated today’s drop in oil prices. However, increased production alone cannot produce true energy security. We must create a strategy that continues to encourage expanded domestic energy production while also diversifying the fuels that power our transportation sector.

Breaking America’s oil dependence will require policies that fuse supply-side and demand-side initiatives. Policymakers must craft legislation that tackles our dependence in order to move forward, and the clock is ticking.

One way to accomplish this is through the creation of an Energy Security Trust Fund, designed to facilitate expanded North American energy production while driving investments in technologies that can make the American economy less vulnerable to the whims of the global oil market. With the aim of using oil more efficiently and diversifying the transportation sector altogether, these investments would support basic research and development in cutting-edge components such as longer-lasting batteries and high-capacity storage tanks for natural gas trucks – not costly boondoggles on unproven technology or expensive “green” alternatives.

This R&D funding would originate from some of the revenues generated by new production in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and other federal lands and waters currently not available for development. For conservatives, this is an opportunity to open new areas of production that otherwise would remain inaccessible due to government restrictions, while incorporating demand-side policies that would reduce American oil consumption and increase American national security in the process.

We have a unique opportunity to act quickly during this period of lower oil prices. Historically, we have moved on energy policy only in times of crisis, reacting after the damage has already been done. This was the case during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, and it will be the case again when the next oil price spike inevitably arrives.

We should seize this moment, working from a position of strength to lay the foundations for real, lasting U.S. energy security. We have a chance to pass effective supply-side and demand-side legislation that both sides can rally behind, putting us on the path towards an America that is more economically resilient and better protected from its enemies – and that’s a good deal for all of us.



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

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


13 January, 2015

GM food: time to devour the benefits

GM food doesn't need labelling; it needs celebrating

One of spiked’s people of the year for 2014 was Kenya’s Florence Wambugu, a pioneering and tireless supporter of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and biotechnology in food production in the developing world. Sadly, support for GMOs is singularly lacking in the developed world.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the battle currently being waged over GMOs in a courthouse in the US state of Vermont. In this case, federal judge Christina Reiss is deciding whether or not to dismiss the state’s mandatory labelling laws for GM food, which are due to be introduced in 2016. The first question she must consider is whether consumers should be made aware that the food they are eating ‘may be produced with genetic engineering’.

Labelling advocates say it is necessary to provide information, but this is disingenuous. The underlying goal of this legislation is to cast ‘evil’ GM foods aside in favour of ‘natural’ products. If the labelling law goes ahead, it would amount to the stamping of GM-food packaging with a suggestive warning label. It would imply that GM foods are unsafe.

Under the proposed law, producers and manufacturers of GM foods won’t be able to label their food as ‘natural’. But what is a ‘natural’ food? As Reiss wryly observed, ‘I can’t imagine any food that doesn’t have human intervention’. Reiss is right, but the notion that ‘natural’ is somehow better is ubiquitous today. Like the anti-vaccine movement, the anti-GM movement seeks to gain support by claiming that foods are ‘unnatural’ when what they really mean is ‘manmade’.

And they are correct; GM foods are ‘unnatural’. But this is precisely why we should be praising them as triumphs. No matter how much ‘nature’ goes in to developing a new strain of disease-resistant cocoa bean, a nutritionally beneficial Golden rice or a new ebola vaccine, we rely on complicated science, thousands of hours of advanced research and sheer human inquisitiveness to come up with a viable solution. Mother Nature is just not cutting it in the twenty-first century.

In keeping with the ever-more-cautious outlook of our time, the anti-GM movement has gained in strength in the US. It appears to be on the cusp of joining the increasing list of new ‘liberal’ orthodoxies. If you believe the claims of The Letter From America, nearly 60million people have signed an open letter to warn the citizens of the UK and Europe of the dangers of letting GMOs into their communities. Such fearmongering not only seeks to shut down sensible debate, it also rides roughshod over the wishes and needs of the people of the UK, Europe and the developing world. And it ignores the desire of farmers to increase their yields, raise their productivity and improve their livelihoods.

Those calling for us to stop using GMOs until they are proven safe often cite quotes such as this from the British Medical Association: ‘Safety concerns cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information currently available.’ Not exactly a solid statement of anti-GM opposition. If, as the anti-GM movement suggests, we adopt the ‘wait until it is proven 100 per cent safe’ level of precaution in all human pursuits, progress in any field would become near impossible. Never mind that the US Department of Agriculture estimates that 90 per cent of US corn and soy is already produced using GMOs without any noticeable side effects. And Gaia forbid that anyone should dare suggest that it might be worth the risk if it increases crop yields, adds nutritional value or saves some malnourished kids’ lives.

The development of GMOs for our food sources is an amazing and wonderful human achievement. Science doesn’t ‘just happen’, and revolutions in food, agriculture and medicine are not born of a maleficent desire to cause harm on the part of Big Pharma or Big Food. Rather, it is a genuine desire to improve our lives that leads us to develop these meaningful, lifesaving innovations. GMOs can potentially transform our world for the better – and that is something worth devouring.


Vetoing bipartisan energy, job and economic growth

President Obama makes it clear that the only “common ground” he respects is his liberal turf

Paul Driessen

New Republican members were still being sworn in and expressing their desire for bipartisan initiatives, when President Obama said he would veto the Keystone pipeline, ObamaCare fixes and other bills that run counter to his agenda. Washington’s new “common ground” will be a tricky, dangerous swamp.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil prices are below $50 per barrel, for the first time since 2009, and natural gas has dropped below $3 per million Btu (or thousand cubic feet). That’s bad news for Iran, Russia, Venezuela and ISIS, but great news for energy users. Motorists will save billions of dollars in gasoline costs; families, factories, hospitals, schools and malls will save billions on heating and electricity bills; and industries that are energy-intensive or use hydrocarbons as raw materials will reap huge benefits.

However, drilling and oilfield service companies are being squeezed by high production rates, low prices and excessive loans; some overcapitalized companies may go bankrupt. Slow global economic growth is reducing demand for American goods and services, and investors are pulling out of “emerging markets.”

Thankfully, most fracking companies are agile and creative. Their technological innovations have driven completion and production costs steadily downward, allowing them to produce oil, gas liquids and natural gas (methane) from many formations at costs low enough to make a profit even at today’s prices (or lower). When demand picks up and prices again rise, companies can drill and frack new wells or reopen old ones in shale regions within mere weeks, to meet increasing energy needs.

But now EPA is proposing new rules for conventional and fracked wells. The White House claims the rules are needed to reduce emissions of methane, which it calls a “potent greenhouse gas” that contributes to “dangerous climate change.” The real goal is to put federal bureaucrats in charge of fracking and production on state and private lands, now that they have made most federal lands off limits to drilling.

The proposed rulemaking ignores reality. Total U.S. methane emissions have already plunged 11% since 1990, and companies constantly implement technologies and procedures to reduce emissions of valuable natural gas from wells and pipelines. That has caused emissions related to drilling and transportation to plummet, even as natural gas drilling, fracking, production, pipelining and use have skyrocketed.

Mr. Obama’s fossil fuel obstructionism will further harm blue-collar families. His own State Department concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline project alone would create 50,000 jobs: 10,000 in construction; 16,000 providing pipe, valves, heavy equipment, hotel rooms and other goods and services directly related to the project; and 26,000 “indirect” jobs supported by primary and secondary workers spending their KXL wages in other sectors of the economy. Some 70% of Americans support building it.

These jobs may only be what the President derisively calls “temporary.” But that is the nature of all such jobs. You just need a steady stream of new projects to keep construction and factory workers employed for decades – versus the “permanent” jobs the President seems to prefer: for bureaucrats who stifle other job creation or decree that only “renewable energy” jobs merit creation via taxpayer or borrowed money.

Blocking Keystone will also increase shipments of U.S. and Canadian oil via RR cars owned by Mr. Obama’s friend, Warren Buffet. That could mean more rail accidents and deaths. Proposed rules for retrofitting rail tankers for crash and puncture resistance will take years to implement, forcing oil to be shipped in trucks on our crowded highways in the meantime. Congress needs to approve Keystone.

The President may now favor allowing some processed U.S. oil to be exported. But his agencies are preparing numerous new rules that will undermine bipartisan energy, job and economic growth initiatives. The Competitive Enterprise Institute says they are considering 2,375 new rules this year – on top of 3,541 regulations approved in 2014. The total price tag for complying with federal rules: $1.9 trillion per year!

EPA has delayed its latest climate change regulations until summer, but they will likely require that coal-fueled power plants slash carbon dioxide emissions by 30% or close down. Since no affordable or proven technology exists to achieve this, the rule will shutter numerous power plants and cost some 600,000 jobs in states that rely on coal for reliable, affordable electricity. Moreover, as my Climate Hype Exposed report makes clear, the rules will do absolutely nothing to “stabilize” Earth’s always fickle climate.

President Obama’s determination to lock the United States and other countries into a binding new climate change treaty will magnify the damage many times over. First, developing nations like China and India must merely agree to try at some future date to make some efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Other countries can walk away from treaty obligations that become too burdensome. That will penalize the United States as almost the only nation required to abide by its suicidal climate agreements.

Second, few (formerly) rich countries will ever honor their supposed commitments to provide billions of dollars a year for climate change “adaptation” and “mitigation” – and those contributions will never come anywhere near the $100 billion per year that poor developing countries are demanding as their price for signing a treaty. Third, most of this money will end up in Swiss bank accounts of kleptocratic African, UN and other dictators, bureaucrats, politicians, activists and corporatists. The poor will get nothing.

Fourth, most of this promised aid – as well as OPIC, World Bank and other loans and grants – comes with the proviso that the money be used only for wind, solar and biofuel projects. Poor countries will be prevented from building coal or gas power plants to lift billions out of poverty via reliable, affordable electricity. Billions of people will remain trapped in poverty, misery, disease and early death – with improved education, healthcare, jobs, food, clean water and sanitation remaining largely out of reach.

What can the new Republican Congress do in the face of the President’s ideological intransigence?

* Pass Keystone pipeline legislation and bills promoting expanded leasing and drilling on federal lands.

* End abuses detailed in the Senate Staff Report, Chains of Environmental Command, and other studies that reveal how Big Green colludes with federal agencies to impose job-killing policies and regulations.  Hold hearings and question agency heads under oath. Root out collusion between agencies and activists, sweetheart sue-and-settle lawsuits, and other agency misconduct, deceit and fraud in devising regulations. Apply the same ethics and integrity rules to them that they impose on us.

* Employ budget reductions, budget restrictions and specific legislative language to: block regulations that do not pass Information Quality Act standards of transparency, integrity and scientific analysis; end payoffs to advisory panels and pressure groups; and prohibit EPA from expanding its mission and personnel by launching sustainable development, “environmental justice” and climate programs.

* Require that EPA and other agencies fully and honestly assess the potentially harmful effects that their regulations are likely to have on jobs and human health and well-being – and subject proposed rulemakings to review by industry and other independent outside experts – before rules can be implemented. Alleged benefits of rules must clearly exceed their monetary, job, health and welfare costs.

* Require congressional approval of any “major” regulatory actions likely to cost $100 million or more – and periodic assessments of the cumulative costs of all federal regulations.

* Prohibit the Executive Branch from spending taxpayer funds on climate change “adaptation/mitigation” payments to developing countries, until all other countries make binding pledges and we have proof of manmade climate change. Ban requirements that grants be used solely for renewable energy projects.

* Use vetoes and Democratic obstinacy to underscore the need for more pro-growth and environmental-balance candidates in 2016 congressional and presidential elections – by showing leadership and responsible alternatives to eight years of Reid, Pelosi and Obama obstruction and job destruction.

State governors, legislatures, courts and AGs should do likewise – and voters should demand nothing less.

Via email

How Many Of World's Poor Will Climate Alarmists Let Die?

'How many people do you want to kill or let die?" That's how I'm going to respond from now on to anyone who argues we should end or sharply restrict fossil fuel use to prevent global warming.

Arguing the science has no effect on global warming alarmists. They are immune to facts and stick to models and fallacious arguments from biased, unscientific authorities.

Climate models say temperatures should climb right along with the rise in CO2 emissions, yet emissions rose from the 1940s through the 1970s, when scientists were warning of a coming ice age. And for the past two decades, CO2 emissions have continued to rise while temperatures have been in a holding pattern for the past 18 years.

Models say we should see more intense hurricanes, yet for nearly a decade the U.S. has experienced below-average hurricanes making landfall, and they have been no more powerful than previously experienced.

Sea-level rise has slowed, polar bear numbers have increased, the Antarctic ice sheet has set new records for expansion month after month and even the Arctic is back to average ice levels for the decade.

None of these trends is consistent with models' predictions, yet alarmists ignore the facts because controlling human lives is their underlying goal, and their failed models are the only thing that enables them to claim disaster is in the offing if humans don't change their ways.

Arguing economics is equally ineffective. Multiple analyses show the best economic response to the challenges posed by global warming is to use fossil fuels to grow peoples' wealth globally and adapt to climate changes as they come — basically doing what humans have done throughout history.

In "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels," author Alex Epstein makes a key point:

"Climate is no longer a major cause of deaths, thanks in large part to fossil fuels. ... The popular climate discussion .. . looks at man as a destructive force for climate livability, one who makes the climate dangerous because we use fossil fuels. In fact, the truth is the exact opposite; we don't take a safe climate and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous climate and make it safe."

Humans have long fought a war with climate, and where we've won it has been through the use of technology, most recently including the use of fossil fuels.

Although there are many distinctions between developed economies and developing ones, a critical difference is the widespread availability and use of fossil fuels to improve living conditions.


Pelamis Wave Power—Another Alternative Energy Bust

 by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser

If you ever walked along an ocean shore you’ll have seen the constant waves rolling in. wave powerAccording to Wikipedia, the idea to harness that wave energy has been proposed as early as 1799. Over the last 15 years several technologies have been proposed. Among them, the Pelamis wave power system is one of a couple of dozens of ocean wave energy extraction schemes.

As many (or all?) “alternative” energy schemes, they all sound good on paper. In reality, though, they do not live up to the expectations. The Pelamis system, developed and deployed in Scotland, is just one example.
The Pelamis System

The Pelamis system consists of a string of large steel tubes that bob up and down along the wave contour on the ocean surface. The semi-submerged tubes are partially filled with water that sloshes back and forth inside and drives small turbines within the tubes.

The Pelamis Problem

Despite the company’s claims of “Since 1998, the Pelamis development programme has covered all aspects of the design from the fundamental concept refinement through to accelerated cycle testing of individual components for reliability,” there is always a “weak link.” As you can imagine, the constant push and pull by the ocean waves does cause wear and tear on all parts that connect the tubes along the string and tether the leading tube edge to the ocean bottom.

In November 2014 the company essentially declared bankruptcy with a statement by its board that reads “The directors of Pelamis regret to announce that they have been unable to secure the additional funding required for further development of the Company’s market leading wave energy technology. As a result of this the board has reluctantly moved to appoint an administrator to assess the options for securing the future for the business and employees of Pelamis….”

Obviously, the claim that “Pelamis is the world’s most advanced wave energy technology and company” does not guarantee any reliable, sustained, and competitive alternative energy generation. Of course, these types of problems are common to all floating ocean wave power generator schemes. In order to avoid them, recently engineers became more interested in stationary wave power devices.

Stationary Wave Power Schemes

Stationary Wave Power Schemes use fixed support structures that extract the wave energy with movable parts of one sort or another. The Blue Power Energy Co. has a short video with some design principles. When watching it, just remember, they are concepts only. Statements like “The concept involves converting the linear heaving motion of a wave energy buoy into rotational kinetic energy using our innovative linear/rotary gear box. The gear box drives a flywheel which then drives a standard Permanent Magnet electric generator” do not harness any energy at all. They just want you to buy into their idea to support the development cost.

Of course, you are always welcome to dream up another ocean wave power generation system next time you hike along the ocean shore. Perhaps you may even be able to persuade a bureaucrat or politician to fund a prototype.

However, when it comes to delivering all the promised energy, more likely than not, it’s going to be just another alternative energy generation bust.


In October 2014, a report  appeared that provides additional support to my claim of the preponderance of natural CO2 emissions. That report describes the additional seamounts recently discovered by more detailed mapping of the ocean floor. As a result, the number of such ocean volcanoes and vents quadrupled overnight, from 5,000 to 20,000. Though many of these seamounts sprang up in pre-historic times and may not be showing any current activity whatsoever, a good portion likely does. The sheer number of such newly discovered structures is certainly surprising.


White House Climate Lunacy

By Alan Caruba

As January 2014 arrived with a blast of cold air ominously dubbed the “polar vortex”, the White House released a video in which the Chief Science Advisor to President Obama, Dr. John Holdren, managed to get on both sides of it, declaring the “extreme cold” to be “a pattern that we expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.” How the Earth is getting both colder and warmer at the same time defies reality, but that is of little concern to Dr. Holdren and, indeed, the entire global warming—now called climate change--hoax.

Earlier, in November 2013, the White House made Dr. Holdren available to social media saying he would answer “any questions that you have about climate change…”  As noted by Jim Lakely, Communications Director of The Heartland Institute, the invitation welcomed questions “but only if they conform to the notion that human activity is causing a climate crisis, and restricting human activity by government direction can ‘fight it.’” The answers would have to wait “because the White House social media experts are having a hard time sifting through the wreckage of their ill-conceived campaign and finding the very few that conform to Holdren’s alarmist point of view.”

Sadly, in addition to the United Nations where the hoax originated and any number of world leaders including our President and Secretary of State, Pope Francis has announced that he too believes the Earth is warming. Someone should tell him that it has been in a natural cooling cycle going on twenty years at this point!

Of course, such facts mean nothing to Dr. Holdren and even less to the President. That is why we are likely to not only hear more about climate change from him, but also discover that the White House intends the last two years of Obama’s term in office to be an all-out effort to impose restrictions and find reasons to throw money at the hoax. Dr. Holdren was no doubt a major contributor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy initiative announced on December 3rd.

This “Climate Action Plan” called the “Climate Education and Literacy Initiative” is primarily directed at spreading the hoax in the nation’s classrooms and via various government entities as the National Park Service so they can preach it to the 270 million people who visit the nation’s 401 parks each year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will sponsor five regional workshops for educators and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, along with the American Geosciences Institute and the National Center for Science Education will launch four videos likely to be shown in schools.

Joining the White House will be the Alliance for Climate Education, the American Meteorological Society, the Earth Day Network, Green Schools Alliance, and others. It adds up to a massive climate change propaganda campaign, largely paid for with taxpayer funding.

The “science” that will be put forward will be as unremittingly bogus as we have been hearing and reading since the late 1980s when the global warming hoax was launched.

When Dr. Holdren faced a 2009 confirmation hearing, he moved away from his early doomsday views on climate change, population growth, and the possibilities of nuclear war. Though warned by William Yeatman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute that Dr. Holdren had “a 40-year record of outlandish scientific assertions, consistently wrong predictions, and dangerous public policy choices” that made him “unfit to serve as the White House Science Advisor”, the committee voted unanimously to confirm him. They should have read some of his published views.

Regrettably Congress generally goes along with the climate change hoax. Dr. Holdren noted that “Global change research (did) well in the 2013 budget. One can look at that as a reaffirmation of our commitment to addressing the climate change challenge. There’s $2.6 billion in the budget for the United States Global Change Research Program.”

Let me repeat that. $2.6 BILLION devoted to “research” on global warming or climate change. One must assume it is devoted to finding ways for mankind to cope with the non-existent global warming or the threat of a climate change about which mankind can do nothing. It is comparable to saying that humans can get the Sun to increase or decrease its radiation.

In June 2014, Ron Arnold, the executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise and Washington Examiner columnist, noted that Dr. Holdren has long held the view that the U.S. should “de-develop” its “over-developed” economy.

That likely explains the Obama administration’s attack on the use of coal, particularly in utilities that use it to generate electricity. In the six years since the policy has been pursued by the EPA, coal-fired utilities have been reduced from providing fifty percent of the nation’s electricity to forty percent. Less energy means less investment in new business and industrial manufacturing, less jobs, and less safety for all of us who depend on electricity in countless ways.

Arnold reported that “Holdren wrote his de-development manifesto with Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the scaremongering authors of the Sierra Club book, ‘The Population Bomb.’” Aside from the fact that every prediction in the book has since proven to be wrong, but it was clear then and now that Dr. Holdren is no fan of the human population of the planet. Like most deeply committed environmentalists, it is an article of faith that the planet’s problems are all the result of human activity, including its weather.

In December 2014, Dr. Holdren expressed the view that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions should be reduced to “close to zero”, adding “That will not be easy.”  This reflected the deal President Obama agreed to with China, but carbon dioxide plays no discernable role whatever in “global warming” (which isn’t happening) and is, in fact, a gas essential to all life on Earth, but particularly for all vegetation that is dependent on it for growth.

Dr. Holdren’s continued presence as the chief Science Advisor to the President encourages Obama to repeat all the tired claims and falsehoods of global warming and climate change. It is obscene that his administration devotes billions of dollars and countless hours to spreading a hoax that is an offense to the alleged “science” it cites.

The North and South Poles are not melting. The polar bear population is growing. The seas are not dramatically rising. Et cetera!

One can only hope that a Republican-controlled Congress will do what it can to significantly reduce the money being wasted and reverse the EPA war on coal and the utilities that use it to produce the energy the nation requires.

For now, Dr. Holdren will continue to use his influence in ways that confound and refute the known facts of climate science. How does it feel to be the enemy of an environment that Dr. Holdren and others regard as more important than human life?


It’s Time to Endanger the Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act has become a gold mine for liberal activists and a barrier to our nation’s infrastructure. It is time for it to go. The Heartland Institute's Taylor Smith reports for the January issue of Townhall Magazine.

“The real wealth of the Nation,” Rachel Carson wrote in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, “lies in the resources of the earth—soil, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife.”

That letter was published in 1953, about nine years before she published her seminal work, “Silent Spring,” a 400-page treatise on synthetic pesticides and their effect on wildlife, particularly birds. “Silent Spring” is largely credited for launching the modern environmental movement, a movement that greatly restructured the American political landscape, culminating in the passing of several major new pieces of environmental legislation in the 1970s and a whole new federal environmental agency to enforce them.

In her book, Carson argues the use of pesticides to kill crop-destroying insects is dangerous because the chemicals invariably accumulate, make their way up the food chain, and kill birds and fish. As the book’s title suggests, continuing such practices would lead to a future in which spring arrives and no birds can be heard singing, due to the devastation caused by pesticides, particularly DDT.

The book developed a widespread following both among the public and in Congress, which called for much greater federal involvement to protect wildlife. This is ironic because it was a federal agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that had subsidized DDT-spraying programs all over the United States, leading to its abuse. To her credit, Carson was extremely critical of such federal programs, but she nonetheless supported an expanded government role for wildlife protection.

The Creation of the Endangered Species Act

In 1964, Carson got her wish. The Department of Interior appointed a new Committee on Rare and Endangered Wildlife Species. The Secretary of Interior at that time was Stewart Udall, a staunch supporter of Carson who became an environmental icon in his own right after his 1963 book, “The Quiet Crisis,” also became a bestseller.

Udall publicly requested Congress pass a bill allowing the DOI to buy land to protect endangered species habitats. After a fierce debate over states’ rights, Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act, authorizing land acquisition to conserve “selected species of native fish and wildlife.” The bill also authorized the secretary of DOI to list such species as endangered, which he did in 1967.

The law was amended in 1969 and subsequently renamed the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. It extended protection to include species “threatened with worldwide extinction”and banned the interstate transport of listed species. The bill also added mollusks and crustaceans for protection.

That law would remain in effect for only four years. After such landmark environmental bills such as the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972 were passed, President Nixon demanded the 93rd Congress revise the Endangered Species Conservation Act to increase protection further. Congress responded with the Endangered Species Act of 1973, a complete rewrite of the law.

The new law’s provisions included a repeal of the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969, and it enacted federal protection for all threatened species and subspecies. A species can be listed as “threatened” if it is believed to be under the threat of becoming endangered soon, and is listed as “endangered” if it is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”

The law also prohibits “takings” of listed species, and makes it an offense to “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” The Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service were charged with administering most of the law, but other federal agencies are also required to coordinate their actions to protect identified species.

Lack of Clarity, Immediate Problems

In his book “Noah’s Choice,” Paul Lenzini, head council for the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies at that time, claims no one who voted for the Endangered Species Act had the “foggiest idea” of what they had voted for.

One possible reason that no one understood the law could be that no commercial interests testified against the bill. The law passed by overwhelming margins, 390-12 in the House and 92-0 in the Senate. Even the prominent conservative James Buckley, brother of William F. Buckley, voted for the most restrictive environmental law on the nation’s books.

As with the Affordable Care Act, only after the law was passed did Congress find out what was in it. This realization occurred when the snail darter, a two-inch fish, was discovered swimming in the Little Tennessee River, the site of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s proposed Tellico dam. In 1975, with the dam 70 percent complete and having already cost $50 million, the Fish and Wildlife Service received a petition to have the snail darter listed as endangered, which it approved.

Afterwards, Hiram Hill, a University of Tennessee law student, filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority claiming the project violated the Endangered Species Act. The case, Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill et al., made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. TVA counsel Griffin Bell challenged the Endangered Species Act by holding up a small glass jar, containing a single snail darter, and asked how a two-inch fish could be valued above the completion of a multimillion dollar dam.

In response, the plaintiffs argued the language of the law is clear and construction of the Tellico dam would destroy the snail darter’s habitat. The Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Hill et al. Chief Justice Warren Burger, in the majority opinion, affirmed the plaintiff’s’ argument by saying, “One would be hard pressed to find a statutory provision whose terms were any plainer than those in Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. Its very words affirmatively command all federal agencies ‘to insure that actions authorized, funded, or carried out by them do not jeopardize the continued existence’ of an endangered species or ‘result in the destruction or modification of habitat of such species.’”

Congress immediately sought legislation to rein in the law. Lynn Greenwalt, who served as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife from 1973 to 1980, reported, “During rounds of Congressional hearings, many witnesses from Congress came forward to say they did not know this new act could prevent everything. They thought they were voting for legislation to protect eagles, bears, and whooping cranes. They professed not to understand at the time of passage that this law might raise questions about irrigation projects, timber harvests, the dredging of ports, or the generation of electricity.”

Seeking an alternative strategy, Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker attached a “rider” to the Energy and Water Development Appropriation Bill that exempted the Tellico Dam from any federal laws prohibiting its construction. The dam was completed in November 1979. The nearby snail darter population did not survive, but through careful transplantations its population recovered enough for the Fish and Wildlife Service to downgrade the species’ status from “endangered” to “threatened.”

Good Intentions, Poor Results

Despite its recovery, the snail darter is still on the “threatened” list today. That underscores the ultimate failure of the law. Although Fish and Wildlife Service states the law’s “ultimate goal is to ‘recover’ species so they no longer need protection under ESA,” only 56 species have been delisted in the 40-year history of the law. Of those, 10 are extinct and 18 were mistakenly listed in the first place. Regarding the remaining 28, the government hasn’t presented any evidence showing the Endangered Species Act specifically led to their recovery.

Protecting each listed species also comes at significant cost. For example, the threatened desert tortoise received nearly $190 million in taxpayer support from 1996 to 2009, yet its population has increased only marginally.

The law is intend to protect endangered species by enforcing a $100,000 fine and/or one year prison sentence for harming a single listed species or even an unoccupied yet suitable habitat. Such severe punishment effectively turns any endangered species into a financial liability. The most publicized outcome of these distorted incentives is what landowners call the “Three S’s,” standing for “shoot, shovel, and shut up.” It refers to a landowner shooting an endangered species, using a shovel to bury the carcass, and shutting up about the incident for fear the federal government will find out.

Far more common than “shoot, shovel, and shut up,” however, is what is known as the “scorched earth” strategy. “Scorched earth” refers to landowners degrading their own land to the extent that it becomes unsuitable for endangered species habitat.

The ‘Scorched Earth’ Strategy

To understand such perverse incentives, consider the case of Ben Cone of North Carolina. Cone and his father had spent decades rehabilitating some 8,000 acres of land his father originally purchased in poor condition. The land was eventually upgraded enough to produce some ecological and financial value. Cone sold pine straw, fallen pine needles that can be useful mulch for landscapers. He also sold hunting licenses and allowed a small portion of his land’s trees to be harvested for timber.

Although the total income generated was not enough to completely offset the cost of managing the land, Cone was more interested in the value his land brought to wildlife and the nearby community than financial profit. He proved this by cutting only a selective amount of trees that didn’t disturb wildlife, and he did so on 70-80 year rotations rather than the industry norm of 30-40 years. Cone also allowed the local Boy Scouts to camp free of charge on his land and sold deer hunting licenses to the locals only to reduce the likelihood of trespassers hunting illegally on his land.

Cone’s environmental conscientiousness backfired, however, when in 1991 he discovered endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers on his land. As soon as the Fish and Wildlife Service found out, the agency strictly prohibited 1,121 acres—about 20 percent of Cone’s property, and worth about $1,425,000—from most commercial and personal uses. Adding insult to injury, the IRS later informed Cone his tax burden would not be reduced based on the reduced value of the land and he would still have to pay taxes at pre-prohibition rates. This was especially troubling for Cone, who had hoped to help his two sons avoid as much of the federal estate tax as possible. Cone had cut down numerous trees for the sole purpose of paying the tax after inheriting the land from his father.

Among the first actions Cone took to remedy this problem was notifying adjacent landowners of his predicament and asserting he would not be liable if red-cockaded woodpeckers inhabited their land. The result: those landowners clear-cut approximately 500 acres of nearby forest.

Cone followed with his own clear-cutting, speeding his 70-80 year rotation to a 40-year pace. Cone, who had always valued environmental sanctity over financial gain, was forced to clear-cut his forests in order to prevent woodpeckers from inhabiting any more of his land and to acquire the funds his heirs would need to pay the large estate tax bill that would assess his land at pre-woodpecker rates despite allowing only the financial resources of devalued, post-prohibition land. Despite the great financial losses Cone and other landowners like him suffered, the red-cockaded woodpecker has yet to recover and be removed from the endangered species list.

Environmentalists Stymie Reform

Despite the well-publicized harm the Endangered Species Act inflicts on the environment and on landowners, and the failure to remove species from endangerment, mainstream environmental groups largely oppose reform of the law. They fear any reform would jeopardize the law’s usefulness as a powerful litigation weapon they can readily use to halt major project development, seize property from private owners, convert it to public control, and to milk the federal government for taxpayer funds.

Perhaps the group taking the most advantage of the Endangered Species Act is the Center for Biological Diversity, which has cashed in on the broken law by inundating the Department of Interior with petitions to list several hundred additional species to the endangered list. After DOI fails to respond to each one within the statutory 90-day deadline, the Center gets to sue the Interior and collect attorney fees from the Justice Department.

Amos Eno, founding president of the conservation group Resources First Foundation, told High Country News the Center for Biological Diversity is “one of the reasons the Endangered Species Act has become so dysfunctional.”

Central to that dysfunction is the heavy burdens the law places on landowners. Some two-thirds of listed species depend on private land for habitat. By imposing pain with no possible gain, the law pits landowners against the very endangered species whose recovery requires their assistance.

Endangered Species Reserve Program

Landowners, and even some environmentalists, have been expressing increasing interest in fundamental reforms of the law. Analysts and policymakers have offered numerous proposals to repeal and replace the Endangered Species Act with a program that would reward landowners for saving endangered species instead of merely punishing them for developing land on which such species are found.

One such proposal, which already has proof of concept, is the Endangered Species Reserve Program, modeled on the successful Conservation Reserve Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Proposed by Brian Seasholes, director of the Endangered Species Project at the Reason Foundation, the program would compensate landowners with annual payments in exchange for agreeing to sign 10-15 year contracts promising they will conserve endangered species habitat.

This is similar to the Conservation Reserve Program in which such contracts are used to incentivize landowners to address soil erosion and other natural resource-related concerns on environmentally-sensitive land. Contracts would be short, to accommodate changing ecological conditions and because landowners strongly dislike long-term agreements. The program, Seasholes argues, is proven, flexible, and simple, and most importantly, it would restore landowners’ constitutional right to “just compensation” and change endangered species’ status from financial liabilities to creatures of value.

After all, if Rachel Carson was right and wildlife truly is the “real Wealth of the Nation,” isn’t it about time a law recognized them for their value instead of turning them into financial catastrophes?



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

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


12 January, 2015

Climate change: Why some Australians won't believe it's getting hotter

Peter Martin, Economics Editor of the Leftist "Age" newspaper  presents below an argument with all the usual Warmist holes in it.  Once again we find an argument from authority, with not a single actual climate datum mentioned.  It is his central contention below that  climate skeptics are ideologically motivated but it apparently has not occurred to him that Warmist scientists might be ideologically motivated!  Typical one-eyed Leftist reasoning. Awkward facts, such as the disablingly high temperatures reported in Sydney in 1790 (Yes. 1790, not 1970) don't swim into his view  at all.  But he would have to be an unusual economist to know anything about climate, of course.  He is just gullible -- and only the gullible would believe him

What is it about the temperature that some of us find so hard to accept?

The year just ended was one of the hottest on record. In NSW it was the absolute hottest, in Victoria the second-hottest, and in Australia the third hottest. Doesn't that tell us that it is regional variations we are looking at, not something global?

The measure is compiled by the Bureau of Meteorology. It dates back to 1910. A separate global reading prepared by the World Meteorological Organisation has 2014 the hottest year since international records began in 1880. Not a single year since 1985 has been below average and every one of the 10 hottest years has been since 1998.

That it's getting hotter is what economists call an empirical question – a matter of fact not worth arguing about, although it is certainly worth arguing about the reasons for the increase and what we may  do about it.

But that's not the way many Australians see it. I posted the Bureau of Meteorology's findings on Twitter on Tuesday and was told: "Not really". Apparently, "climate-wise we are in pretty good shape".

If the bureau had been displaying measures of the temperature on a specific day or a cricket commentator had been displaying the cricket score, there would be no quibbling. The discussion would centre about the reasons for the result and its implications.

But when it comes to the slowly rising temperature some of us won't even accept the readings. And that says something about us, or at least about those of us who won't accept what's in front of our faces.

I am not prepared to believe that these people are anti-science. Some of them are engineers, some mining company company executives. Like all of us, they depend on science in their everyday lives.

Nor am I prepared to believe they've led sheltered lives, although it's a popular theory. In the United States a survey of six months of coverage on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel found that 37 of its 40 mentions of climate change were misleading.

The misleading coverage included "broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, disparaging comments about individual scientists, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and cherry-picking of data".

Fox News called global warming a "fraud", a "hoax" and "pseudo science".

Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal fared little better. 39 of its 48 references were misleading.

In Australia it's not as bad. Rupert Murdoch's The Australian gives more space to climate change than any other newspaper. Its articles are 47 per cent negative, 44 per cent neutral and 9 per cent positive, according to the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.

It's impossible to read The Australian's articles without feeling at least a bit curious about climate change.

Another theory is that it's to do with psychology. Some people are more threatened by bad news than others, making them less able to accept that it's real.

And now a more sophisticated theory suggests that it's not about the facts at all. It's really a debate about the implications, disguised as a debate about the facts. Troy Campbell and Aaron Kay, a researcher and associate professor in neuroscience at Duke University in North Carolina find that belief in temperature forecasts is correlated with beliefs about government regulation and what those forecasts would mean for government regulation.

They assembled a panel of at least 40 Republicans and 40 Democrats and asked each whether they believed the consensus forecast about temperature increases. Half were told that climate change could be fought in a market friendly way, the other half that it would need heavy-handed regulation. Of the Republicans, the proportion who accepted the temperature forecast was 55 per cent when they were told climate change could be addressed by the free market and only 22 per cent when they were told it would need regulation.

(Democrats were about 70 per cent likely believe the temperature forecast and weren't much swayed by how climate change would be fought.)

The finding is important. It means that the first step in getting people to at least agree that it's getting hotter is to stop talking about how to prevent it. Muddying the two, as we do all the time, gets people's backs up.

It is getting hotter. Seven of Australia's 10 hottest years on record have been since the Sydney Olympics. Last year was 0.91C hotter than the long-term average. Last year's maximums were 1.16C hotter than long-term average maximums.  Warming is a fact. The Bureau of Meteorology accepts it, the government accepts it and it shouldn't be beyond our abilities to accept it.

Then we can talk about what to do.


AGW Forecast: More of the Same

By forecaster Joe Bastardi

In the wake of another year of useless energy spent, another year of claims and rebuttals to anthropogenic global warming is already beginning.  I find myself at odds with both sides of the debate, for I am coming to the uneasy conclusion that this is one of the greatest wastes of time and energy in which I have ever been involved.

As far as what I do for a living, the argument really means nothing. If it goes away tomorrow, I won’t change what I have researched and used climate for one iota. The only reason I got involved was because a lot of people who never make forecasts decided they were going to tell other people why something was happening after the fact. To an operational meteorologist, you have no business dictating to the guy that is taking a stand beforehand why something happened. You want to do that, get out in front and be right.

You see folks, one of the big problems I see is that, for years, climatologists were not given the same status as were meteorologists. Twenty years ago, the television mets were already rock stars, but did you know one climatologist? The joke at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) when I attended was that, if you can’t forecast, do climatology. I loved climatology. To me as a kid, it was weather history, and I loved history. So when my dad was in school, I dug into the only thing I could really understand at that young age – climatology. I actually memorized the monthly averages at different cities around the world so I could identify them if you just gave me the data! Years later, in my climatology class, we would get tested with the same data I memorized as a kid. I loved it!

But as a forecaster, we’re always looked down upon by the dynamists in the field who dealt with a lot of the high-powered math and physics. I was always reminded by my professors that the part of the atmosphere the weather takes place in is only 10%. Meteorology is the study of the whole picture. So the pecking order was dynamists, synopticians (forecasters), climatologists.

It’s like the Three Stooges – Moe smacks Larry, Larry smacks Curly.

Interesting interpretation, eh? I see people labeled heroes and villains in a climate war with dispatches, etc. I would suggest those people know nothing about real war, or even severe physical challenges. Then you have me who has never been to war, so I can’t know. But I wrestled at PSU under a guy that was one of the first men on the beach of Normandy who believed that wrestling was meant to test you to prepare you for life. Wondering if I would catch my next breath was pretty challenging. So this is not a war to me, and, with all the silly things going on, it’s more like a Three Stooges routine, except $185 billion down the drain in 21 years is no laughing matter. At least not to me. C'est la vie.

But there is so much cross motivation here on both sides, it is in the interest of both sides to keep it going! What happens if it stops? A lot of people aren’t going to be rock stars anymore. (I was in a rock band, for a couple of years anyway, so I have had my rock stardom.) Me? Could care less about that. My job depends on getting the weather right, but I have used climate as a foundation because that is what I was taught. It has always been about the search for the right answer, not my answer. I can see the test in front of me, and will have the truth revealed by what actually happens (like any forecast). There is no real dog in the fight. It’s not what I do, but it is a strong means to the end of what I do!

You need to know and understand the past, for it forms the foundation you stand on today to reach for tomorrow. But to know the past, you can’t sit on the sideline and tell people after the fact. You must do to truly know. My obvious distaste for this is that I am being told by a bunch of people in the stands what is happening based on what they see … from the stands. They aren’t out fighting every day, where right and wrong can be determined in real time.

Perhaps it’s the leftover attitude from my college days.

Sea ice is classic. It goes the other way, and there is an excuse that is then repackaged to say it was expected. Or the heat hiding in the ocean, when Dr. Bill Gray wrote about it 40 years ago. So why do we run to the guys that says it after the fact, rather than the guy who talked about this 40 years ago?

It goes on and on, and it’s now 2015. The AGW side has an interest in it. With $185 billion dollars now since 1993 spent on climate change and related interests, wouldn’t you?

In the end, there is nothing we as humans can do about the climate. That is not to say we cannot help the environment; I mean be good stewards. But the AGW agenda has really hijacked the environmental movement, at least the one I spent a lot of time and effort on when I was younger and one I still think is worthwhile. But each person reading this, pro or con, has to ask themselves the same question I do all the time. In relation to the myriad of problems that face us a people today, is this what we want to be occupied with?


EPA Punts Major Emissions Rule

Just one day before its Jan. 8 deadline, the Environmental Protection Agency delayed its highly anticipated rule that will require a significant reduction in fossil fuels emitted by new coal-fired plants. The purpose, they claim, is to wed the release with other rules scheduled for later this year. “[T]he Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it would wait until midsummer, and issue the new power plant rules with a separate regulation aimed at cutting the pollution blamed for global warming from the existing coal-fired power fleet,” the Associated Press reported.

EPA Air and Radiation Administrator Janet McCabe remarked, “This is all about the best policy outcome, and the appropriate policy outcome. That is what we are talking about here, and that is why we think it is important to finalize these rules in the same time frame.”

Actually, there’s a better explanation. With Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress threatening to overhaul the EPA, Democrats are waiting for NOAA’s forthcoming announcement that 2014 was the “hottest year ever,” which will provide Democrats with much-needed leverage. We need to “do something”! But Republicans are being obstructionists! The same strategy will be employed at the pivotal UN climate assembly later this year. It’s quite clever, really. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bode well for Liberty.


Dem. Governors Chair on Keystone: ‘This Needs To Go Forward’

 The Democratic Governors Association Chair is continuing to support the development of the Keystone-XL pipeline saying, “this does need to go forward.”

During an appearance on CSPAN’s Newsmakers late last month Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) was asked about his support for the pipeline.

“I think - done right, that’s ensuring essentially the safety of the pipeline, ensuring that private property rights are protected, this does need to go forward and it only makes sense for our country,” Bullock said.

“By and large, I think there has been some frustration overall, in some ways the Keystone has become a proxy battle for the thinking that we should be doing more on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.”

At the White House press briefing Tuesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced that President Obama would not sign a bipartisan bill authorizing the construction of the Keystone-XL Pipeline.

If approved, the pipeline would transport crude oil from Canada and from two U.S. states to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Gov. Bullock has long supported the construction of the pipeline and has written the president in the past urging for the permitting for the project.


Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Renewable Portfolio Standards

More than half the states have renewable portfolio standards in place requiring certain and growing percentages of electricity to come from specified sources. Are these policies providing society with measurable benefit? Are they too costly for what they provide? In an attempt to answer this fundamental question, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory published a survey of estimates from the state regulatory agencies and utilities entitled A Survey of State-Level Costs and Benefits of Renewable Portfolio Standards.

Unfortunately, the Survey failed to assess the quality of the estimates and ends up potentially misleading policymakers. The Survey has a number of structural and conceptual problems:

Cost estimates include only direct costs to utilities. Other market participants and non-participants carry much of the cost of renewable portfolio standards. Further, the Survey counts the costs for only two years (2010–2012), while counting the benefits for 30 years or more.

Neither costs nor benefits occur in a consistent manner over time. The Survey’s selection of the time-frames magnifies the false impression that benefits are near equal to, or exceed, costs.

The Survey is incomplete with respect to the cost of integration of intermittent and volatile generation sources. Specifically it ignores the cost of backup capacity and the lost efficiency of power plants required to balance the output of intermittent and volatile generation. (With wind energy, “backup” is required to operate during periods when the wind is not blowing; “balancing” is required during periods when the wind is blowing but not at a very constant speed.)

The Survey does not include environmental impacts that create non-monetized costs, such as noise pollution and avian mortality. Increased noise pollution, in addition to its own health impact, reduces the aesthetics of neighborhoods with renewable installations, thus reducing property values and property taxes to local governments.

Higher electricity rates caused by RPS lead to reduced discretionary income for ratepayers, which in turn may lead to premature mortality. This phenomenon is especially regressive (that is, it harms poor people more than wealthy people).

The Survey ignores the cost associated with causing prematurely “stranded” assets in the existing fleet of power plants due to lowered capacity factors. RPS effectively wastes useful and serviceable power plants (and the embodied energy and emissions that went into building them), because they will no longer be used at the capacity for which they were designed.

The Survey ignores costs for backup and balancing of intermittent and volatile renewables that are shifted to neighboring states.
Similarly, the Survey ignores the very expensive Production Tax Credit that shunts almost half of the cost of wind installations onto taxpayers (many of whom realize zero benefit from wind installations) made even worse by special tax depreciation available only to certain renewables.

The Survey is silent on lost opportunity. There are commercially available technologies that can achieve the same or better primary objectives (price stability, environmental improvements, etc.) than the specified favored renewables included in RPSs.

The Survey assumes that all renewables installed during the period in which RPSs have been in place were the result of the RPSs and that without the RPSs there would have been zero new renewables. This is clearly an error, as renewables were in fact installed prior to any RPS, when market participants found specific installations cost-effective. In some states, there was as much renewable generation, in percentage terms, prior to imposing the RPS as there was after.

Some benefits noted in the Survey, including inflated benefits and incomplete netting, are speculative and self-fulfilling rather than meaningful. For example, one RPS benefit claimed is an increase in diversity, even if that supply diversity provides no price hedging, reduction of emissions or other actual benefit. It presumes diversity is a goal and benefit in and of itself.

The benefit estimates also suffer from double counting. Double counting is especially prevalent with emission reductions, as those benefits (and their costs) have already been accounted for in such regulatory programs as Clean Air Act Regulations. The majority of the dollar benefits from emission reduction cited in the Survey are from reductions of carbon dioxide “priced” at the EPA’s highly controversial “social cost of carbon.”

Some renewable energy technology installations conserve resources and some don’t: some are efficient and some are not. Renewable portfolio standards (further exacerbated by various federal tax treatments and local subsidies) fail to recognize this distinction and foster the development of inefficient installations, thereby discouraging the use of more efficient and environmentally effective facilities.

For example, most of the compliance with state-level RPSs has come in the form of wind energy. Wind energy is unpredictable and volatile, leading to lower value and imposing significant costs on others. Advocating for RPS reveals the belief by proponents that the market would not otherwise embrace cost-effective, resource-conserving installations of renewables. History proves otherwise.

Even more unfortunate is that some advocates are citing the Survey in efforts to extend or expand such policies. The Survey has already been inappropriately cited, such as in congressional testimony, to justify extending and expanding renewable portfolio mandates, including at the national level. Doing so would further harm our economies and negatively impact public health. The Survey should not be used to formulate or justify policy in any state or federal legislation.


English farmers could grow commercial GM crops for first time

A landmark ruling by the European Parliament is this week expected to give ministers the power to approve genetically modified crops

Genetically modified crops could be grown commercially by English farmers for the first time following a landmark ruling in Europe next week.

On Tuesday the European Parliament is expected to approve a deal which will let countries decide for themselves whether they want to plant GM crops.

The new legislation, which will be in place by Spring, could mean that commercial GM crops including maize and oil seed rape are grown in Britain.

The crops, which have been genetically modified to produce higher yields and withstand higher concentrations of weedkiller, would be sold for animal feed or to produce energy.

It raises the prospect that genetically modified fruit and vegetables could ultimately be grown for sale in Britain's supermarkets.

Lord de Mauley, the environment minister, told MPs that genetically modified produce are a "key agricultural technology for the 21st century".

He told the science and technology select committee that it will help "undo the logjam" in approvals for genetically modified crops at European Union level.

However, he said he was "disappointed" that the legislation will allow other European nations to make decisions to ban GM crops which are "not based on scientific evidence".

It is feared that could lead the industry simply to write off the whole of Europe.

He said: "GM offers the potential to increase production and maintain it when it might otherwise be reduced with crops that resist disease or pest damage, or which can thrive in difficult climatic conditions.

"As GM production continues to expand outside Europe and the range of beneficial GM traits is increased it should become increasingly difficult for the EU to set its face against widespread acceptance of the technology. We will continue to engage with them.

"Regardless of the EU situation, we have a world-class plant science base which could provide commercial opportunities for the development of new GM crops.

"It will be a key agricultural technology for the 21st century, and it is important that we maintain UK research in that area."

At present, the European Union has banned the use of a large number of genetically modified crops because of opposition across Europe.

The new legislation will mean member states will be able to decide at a national level whether to plant GM crops.

Lord de Mauley said that that are no genetically modified crops awaiting for approval which are suitable for growing in England.

Experts said that genetically modified maize and oilseed rape were the most likely crops to be grown in this country, alongside potatoes which require lower levels of pesticides. They are likely to take several years to gain approval from regulators.

Genetically modified fruit and vegetables are not currently available for sale in British supermarkets. However, meat from livestock which has been fed using genetically modified crops is sold.

Supermarkets have previously said that they are only prepared to change their policy and sell genetically modified food if there is demand from customers.

Genetically modified crops are being trialled in Rothamstead, Hertfordshire and Norwich in Norfolk, but they are not be sold commercially. Wales and Scotland are opposed to the use genetically modified crops and will not be growing anyway.

Lord de Mauley said: "It could provide an easier route to market for GM crops that pass the EU safety assessment process, albeit the market will be limited to those member states or regions that are open to GM cultivation. We will be pressing for the outstanding applications for EU approval to be authorised as soon as possible."

Peter Melchett, policy director at the Soil Association, said: "I hope that England will learn from the lessons of Scotland and Wales and think about what's in the interests of the farming industry rather than the chemical companies.

"The biggest risk is that England gets the reputation of being a GM country. It wouldn't be a surprise. It could damage exports from England and if you get a reputation for being an unreliable supplier people look elsewhere. "

Meurig Raymond’s, President of the National Farmers Union, said: "If the European Parliament adopts the text currently tabled, it is supporting unscientific, emotional and politicised arguments and justifications for banning an agricultural technology within a single market.

“GM could provide UK farmers with the potential for expanding markets and meeting the challenge of feeding an ever growing population in a sustainable way. Restricting ourselves from doing this is an outdated and backward step.”

Genetic modification involves taking existing plant strains and genetically engineering them with DNA from other species to produce useful traits, such as higher yields or resistance to pesticides.

But there has been vociferous public opposition to so-called “franken-foods” in the past.

Critics have raised fears of possible environmental damage if GM strains spread and have argued that they allow chemical companies to “own” plants as the GM strains are protected by intellectual property law.

The prospect of England growing GM crops commercially prompted concern from organic farmers last night.



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

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


11 January, 2015

Amusing:  Another "hottest" year

If 27 HUNDREDTHS of one degree floats your boat, good luck. Your boat will still probably sink, however, when you note that it is only the fiddle-prone terrestrial measurements that show "hottest".  All the satellite data show no such thing. The fact that neither NCDC, GISS nor JMA have acknowledged the disagreement with satellite data reeks of collusion and fraud. Not that there is anything new about that.  The way the Warmists contantly act as if statistically insignificant differences of hundredths of a degree meant something is scientific dishonesty in itself.

Graph from JMA.  The differences in the the leaping line above are expressed in tenths of a degree.  If the line were drawn in terms of whole degrees, it would be dead-flat horizontal.  It is only the application of a statistical magnifying glass that makes it look as if something is going on

And here's some fun:

What's the difference between the two graphs?  A great leaping line now looks very flat, does it not?  Yet it is exactly the same graph from the same source, displaying the same  information.  I have just altered the html that dictates how it is displayed.  And it now gives a picture closer to reality. It gives a better impression of how flat the temperatures have in fact been.  Warmist graphs are essentially exercises in chartmanship -- how to lie with graphs.  The figures on the graph are not the main problem.  The problem is picturing tiny changes as huge -- using wide calibrations down the side of the graph.

The Japan Meteorological Association (JMA) has become the latest organisation to claim that 2014 was the hottest on record.

They say it was 0.27°C warmer than the average from 1981 to 2010, and 0.63°C warmer than the 20th century average - without the help of an El Niño weather event.

And according to their data, ten of the hottest years on record have come since 1998. And none of them differ from one another to a statistically significant degree

The JMA joins Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) in the US, and the UK Met Office, as one of four major global temperature 'keepers' to reveal 2014 was the hottest ever.

All four make their readings separately to one another - and they have all individually come to the same conclusion that last year was the hottest since records began in the late 19th century.

Experts say the rate at which it is warming is alarmingly quick.  What is quick about 7 tenths of a degree per CENTURY? (See the trend figure at the top of the graph)

According to the JMA, the average temperature last year was 0.27°C warmer than the average from 1981 to 2010, and 0.63°C warmer than the 20th Century average.

And it is by far the hottest year in 120 years of keeping records.  Many records go back further than that -- the Central England dataset, for instance

The findings also reveal there has been no warming slowdown in the past decade, despite claims to the contrary by skeptics. No change in 18 years is not a slowdown?  It's a dead halt!

Some believed there was a slowdown because of an abnormally extreme El Niño weather effect in 1998 which was the second hottest year on record.

As seen in the graph above, years after 1998 were seen to be cooler, leading some to suggest climate change had been slowing.

However, this data shows that, although cooler than 1998, the top ten hottest years on record all came in the last 16 years - showing there has been no climate slowdown. It shows nothing of the sort.  It shows that temperatures have plateaued

Before 1998, no year came close to approaching these top ten in temperature.  How close is close?  Is two tenths of one degree not close?

Various organisations are preparing to release data, or have already, which shows that 2014 was the hottest year on record across the globe.

While some places, like the US, may have experienced a variation that caused some places to get very slightly colder, overall the global trend is a worrying increase, far faster than any natural phenomenon could cause.  Absurd.  The geological record shows previous rapid warming.  And this isn't warming.  It's stasis

It heavily suggests humans are driving climate change through the emissions of CO2.  Stasis suggests warming?

More crap HERE

German Physicist Sees Dangerous Return To “Medieval Scholasticism"

At EIKE distinguished German physicist and climate expert Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke writes how we are witnessing a notable paradigm shift in climate research today: the resurrection of medieval scholasticism. In plain language: the science of the Dark Ages.

Scholasticism dominated medieval western Europe and was based on the writings of the Church Fathers, with strict adherence to traditional doctrines. To say the least, it was effective in stifling enlightenment.

The breakthrough from this crusty, dogmatic approach, Lüdecke writes, came with Galileo, who gave highest priority to systematic and numerical measurement, which today remains the standard method of science. With Galileo’s approach hypotheses or theories that are not confirmed by measurements get discarded and are no longer pursued. The method led to giant leaps and bounds in technology, medicine and science, from which today humanity is benefitting immensely.

Richard Richard Feynman summarized Galileo’s approach beautifully, saying that if a hypothesis disagrees with observations, then it’s wrong.

This fundamental approach, the Lüdecke writes, is no longer in use in climate science and, what is worse, the old medieval scholastic method is even now dangerously invading other fields of science.

According to Lüdecke, the key question today: Is the climate change witnessed since 1850 unusual, and thus due to man, or is it well within the range of natural variability the planet has seen throughout its history? The German physicist says a hypothesis’s burden of proof is clearly not on its skeptics, but on the one proposing the hypothesis. He writes:

"It is senseless to favor a certain hypothesis – senseless according to our still valid scientific paradigm – when no confirming measured data can be shown to support it. One can occupy himself with a hypothesis, put it at the center of his research, and even have complete faith in it. However one cannot use it as a basis for taking rational action without first having confirmed measurements. In summary: If we cannot observe any unusual climate activity since 1850 compared to the times before that, then we have no choice but to assume natural climate change.”

In order to assume there has been “unusual activity”, Lüdecke says, it would be necessary to have comprehensive data about the oceans before 1850. This doesn’t exist, and so a comparison is not possible. Lüdecke reminds: “It is mandatory to prove that the climate data since 1850 are indeed unusual when compared to the period before that.” A comparison is already very difficult to do with atmospheric temperatures. With ocean data: “Who today can tell us what temperature distributions the oceans had back during the Medieval Warm Period?” Lüdecke writes. Assuming that today is unusual without being able to compare it to anything from the past is not science at all, he tells us.

When it comes to extreme weather events, there are plenty of paintings and recorded accounts showing that they too existed earlier on, and that today’s events are nothing new, Lüdecke writes. Even the IPCC has reached that conclusion. The German climatologist puts the assumptions of more future extreme weather events in the category of “crystal balls” and not modern science.

Prof. Lüdecke also blasts the over-emphasis on climate models, writing that “the models fail already for the past” and that they cannot even predict the next El Nino correctly or the missing tropospheric hot spot. He writes:

"Using the R. Feynman yardstick these climate models are not only inaccurate or a bit false; they are totally false. […] Anyone selling climate forecasts from climate models as scientific is using a medieval paradigm. He is conducting moral sciences instead of physics.”

Ouch. Lüdecke also then calls the alliance between the IPCC and policymaking “dubious” and one that was set up with the target of reaching an already predetermined result. He calls the manner in which policymaking is moving ahead “embellished nonsense”.

In his conclusion the German professor advises those engaged in a discussion with alarmists, or listening to a presenation by an alarmist, to not go easy on them. There are three points, he advises:

1. The modern science paradigm of priority on measurement over theoretical model remains valid. The climate alarmist must prove that his hypothsies is confirmed by observations and measurements. It is not up to you to prove his hypothesis is false.

2. When the climate alarmist “starts beating around the bush” insists that he name a peer-reviewed paper that proves, based on measurements, that the climate change since 1850 is unprecedented compared to earlier times (there isn’t any).

3. Don’t let yourself be drawn into the discussion over climate models. That the models are unable to describe the climate development means they are false, as to point no. 1.”

The distinguished professor ends by blasting climate policymakers, warning they are bordering on “criminal activity” in their conscious misuse of science to formulate policy:

"We are allowing hundreds of thousands of people in the poorest developing countries to starve in order to be able to finance climate protection and energy transformation that are not based on today’s valid science paradigm. That is not only idiotic, but also borders on criminal activity by the politically responsible persons.”


Record CO2 Coincides With Record-Breaking Crop Yields, 'Greening of Globe'

Eight years after the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of mass starvation from global warming caused by high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), emissions of the greenhouse gas are at record levels. But so is worldwide crop production.

The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, which was edited by then-chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri and released in 2007, predicted with “virtual certainty” that crop yields would plummet in some areas unless industrialized nations immediately adopted stricter limits on CO2, which the IPCC said was causing “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

“By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%,” the report predicted. But last year, even a record level of atmospheric CO2 did not keep farmers from reaping record-breaking harvests worldwide, including a record opium crop in Afghanistan.

The monthly CO2 average in November 2014 was 397.13 parts per million as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which maintains “the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The level of atmospheric CO2 was 315.97 ppm in 1959, when it was first measured, and is now about 40 percent higher than it was during the pre-industrial era.

However, according to a report also released in November by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “world cereal production in 2014 is forecast at a new record of 2,532 million tonnes… 7 million tonnes (0.3 percent) above last year’s peak.”  That includes a record level of wheat production worldwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Atmospheric CO2 increased 14 percent between 1982 and 2010, coinciding with a “5 to 10 percent increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments,” according to a June 2013 study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Geophysical Research Letters. The study stated that the CO2 “fertilization effect is now a significant land surface process” and has created “a greening of the globe over recent decades.”

That greening effect includes a growth spurt among redwoods and giant sequoias in California.

“Since the 1970s we’ve seen an increase in wood production and that’s making these trees get even bigger than they were growing earlier in the 20th century,” said Emily Burns, director of science at Save the Redwoods League, who added that the accelerated growth winds up naturally sequestering the additional carbon.

That’s not a coincidence, says Dr. James Taylor, senior fellow for environmental policy at the Heartland Institute. “For virtually every crop that’s grown in the United States and globally, we see record crop production on just about a yearly basis,” he said. This is happening at the same time that CO2 levels have been rising because plants use the greenhouse gas to make food in a process called photosynthesis.

“Claims that global warming and more atmospheric carbon dioxide are harming crop production are simply preposterous, and they’re proven preposterous by the real-world, objective data,” Taylor told

“We know that in recent decades, we’ve seen an actual tripling of production of the most important staple crops: corn, wheat, and rice. There’s been a record production of wheat in the past year in the United States, in India, in much of Africa, and throughout the world where the wheat harvest is important."

Instead of diminishing crop yields, high levels of CO2 actually help to increase them, he said.  “As we add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, it can be expected that that’s going to benefit crop production because carbon dioxide is aerial plant fertilizer. That’s what people pump into greenhouses to facilitate plant growth,” Taylor told

“Just as people have demonstrated in greenhouses, where plants that are growing in greenhouses - with more atmospheric carbon dioxide there, those plants grow more rapidly and are more productive - such has been the case also in the natural environment when we’ve had more atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Taylor explained.

“So whether it be redwoods in California, tropical rain forests around the globe, [or] boreal forests in the polar region, we see that as carbon dioxide has increased in the atmosphere, there is greater growth for these trees, and not just trees, but all plant life. This is something to be welcomed.”

“Any time that we have more atmospheric carbon dioxide, we’re going to see plant life benefit spectacularly,” he added. asked Taylor whether the link between high levels of CO2 and record crop yields worldwide was discussed at the UN’s climate change conference in Lima last month.  “No, it never came up,” he replied. “To the extent that crop production was discussed at the United Nation meetings, it was in the context of claiming that global warming is wreaking havoc on crops. And that’s simply not the case.

“What you have to understand is that this is the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These are government bodies. These are government appointees. Some of them are scientists, but many of them are not. And even those who are scientists tend to be scientists who work for environmental activist groups such as The Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, etc. They have an agenda to push. It’s very little objective science. It’s 99 percent politics from an environmental activist agenda.

”And unfortunately in that environment, the facts simply don’t come out if people aren’t doing their own research. If we’re just listening and reading the UN press releases, we’re going to believe that a world exists that is exactly opposite from what the real world really is.”

Despite the "greening of the globe," the IPCC and environmental groups are still pushing for steep worldwide reductions of carbon dioxide. Last month, White House science adviser John Holdren said he’s like to get CO2 emissions “close to zero by 2100.”


Climate Change's Instructive Past

We know, because they often say so, that those who think catastrophic global warming is probable and perhaps imminent are exemplary empiricists. They say those who disagree with them are “climate change deniers” disrespectful of science.

Actually, however, something about which everyone can agree is that of course the climate is changing – it always is. And if climate Cassandras are as conscientious as they claim to be about weighing evidence, how do they accommodate historical evidence of enormously consequential episodes of climate change not produced by human activity? Before wagering vast wealth and curtailments of liberty on correcting the climate, two recent books should be considered.

In “The Third Horseman: Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century,” William Rosen explains how Europe’s “most widespread and destructive famine” was the result of “an almost incomprehensibly complicated mixture of climate, commerce, and conflict, four centuries in gestation.” Early in that century, 10 percent of the population from the Atlantic to the Urals died, partly because of the effect of climate change on “the incredible amalgam of molecules that comprises a few inches of soil that produces the world’s food.”

In the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), from the end of the ninth century to the beginning of the 14th, the Northern Hemisphere was warmer than at any time in the last 8,000 years – for reasons concerning which there is no consensus. Warming increased the amount of arable land – there were vineyards in northern England – leading, Rosen says, to Europe’s “first sustained population increase since the fall of the Roman Empire.” The need for land on which to grow cereals drove deforestation. The MWP population explosion gave rise to towns, textile manufacturing and new wealthy classes.

Then, near the end of the MWP, came the severe winters of 1309-1312, when polar bears could walk from Greenland to Iceland on pack ice. In 1315 there was rain for perhaps 155 consecutive days, washing away topsoil. Upwards of half the arable land in much of Europe was gone; cannibalism arrived as parents ate children. Corpses hanging from gallows were devoured.

Human behavior did not cause this climate change. Instead, climate warming caused behavioral change (10 million mouths to feed became 30 million). Then climate cooling caused social changes (rebelliousness and bellicosity) that amplified the consequences of climate, a pattern repeated four centuries later.

In “Global Crisis: War, Climate Change & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century,” Geoffrey Parker, a history professor at Ohio State, explains how a “fatal synergy” between climatological and political factors produced turmoil from Europe to China. What he calls “the placenta of the crisis” of that century included “the Little Ice Age” (LIA) between the 1640s and the 1690s. Unusual weather, protracted enough to qualify as a change in climate, correlated so strongly with political upheavals as to constitute causation.

Whatever caused the LIA – decreased sunspot activity and increased seismic activity were important factors – it caused, among other horrific things, “stunting” that, Parker says, “reduced the average height of those born in 1675, the ‘year without a summer,’ or during the years of cold and famine in the early 1690s, to only 63 inches: the lowest ever recorded.”

In northerly latitudes, Parker says, each decline of 0.5 degrees Celsius in the mean summer temperature “decreases the number of days on which crops ripen by 10 percent, doubles the risk of a single harvest failure, and increases the risk of a double failure sixfold,” For those farming at least 1,000 feet above sea level this temperature decline “increases the chance of two consecutive failures a hundredfold.”

The flight from abandoned farms to cities produced “the urban graveyard effect,” crises of disease, nutrition, water, sanitation, housing, fire, crime, abortion, infanticide, marriages forgone, and suicide. Given the ubiquity of desperation, it is not surprising that more wars took place during the 17th-century crisis “than in any other era before the Second World War.”

By documenting the appalling consequences of two climate changes, Rosen and Parker validate wariness about behaviors that might cause changes. The last 12 of Parker’s 712 pages of text deliver a scalding exhortation to be alarmed about what he considers preventable global warming. Neither book, however, supports those who believe human behavior is the sovereign or even primary disrupter of climate normality, whatever that might be. With the hands that today’s climate Cassandras are not using to pat themselves on the back for their virtuous empiricism, they should pick up such books.


"Renewable" investment down in Australia

Investments in renewable energy rose to record levels globally in 2014 but fell sharply in Australia because of uncertainty triggered by the Abbott government's review of the industry, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Worldwide investment in wind farms, solar photovoltaics and other clean energy sources jumped 16 per cent last year to $US310 billion ($383 billion), or more than five times the tally of a decade earlier. Solar investments accounted for almost half the total.

China led the way, with investment soaring almost one-third to $US89.5 billion, while US investment gained 8 per cent to $US51.8 billion, and Brazil's almost doubled to $US7.9 billion.

Australia, though, went the other way, with investment sinking 35 per cent to $US3.7 billion. BNEF said the amount was the "lowest since 2009, as wind and solar project developers delayed decisions while they awaited the government's response to its Renewable Energy Target review".

The Australian tally in fact masks a much steeper dive for large-scale renewable plants as small-scale solar PV largely held its own in 2014 even as state-based support schemes were wound back further.

"Four wind farms are currently under construction, but these signed contracts before the last RET review," said Darren Gladman, the acting policy director for the Clean Energy Council.

"No more projects in the country have imminent construction plans.

"Australia is not just at risk of falling behind the rest of the world on renewable energy, we have already slipped off the back of the wave. We have some of the best sun, wind and waves in the world, but this new research shows that we are squandering some of our huge natural advantages."

Fairfax Media sought comment from Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who has sought to cut the country's renewable energy target from the current goal of 41 terawatt-hours annually by 2020 to as low as 27tWh.

So far, the Senate has blocked such a move but uncertainty over whether and when the goal will be reset has made it almost impossible to raise financing for new projects.

"Labor has offered to reopen negotiations around the RET in the interest of returning the policy to the bipartisanship that saw jobs in the industry triple while Labor was in government," said a spokeswoman for Mark Butler, the opposition spokesman for the environment.

"However, our negotiating principles remain the same – Labor will not support any proposal that decimates the industry, including reducing the RET by 40 per cent."



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

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


9 January, 2015

More Greenie fraud: The Green/Left just hates mining

It disturbs Gaia, or something

In a recently released report the US Geological Survey admitted a mercury researcher was a member of an environmental group which lobbied for the California suction dredging ban.

Following a request for an investigation by the Western Mining Alliance (WMA), the Department of Interior released their final report looking into allegations of scientific misconduct by one of their scientists.

The WMA challenged the findings of a 2011 report prepared by Dr. Charles Alpers, of the US Geological Survey (USGS), which concluded suction gold dredging equipment increased mercury levels in streams. The WMA alleged the scientist withheld five years of data and was also a member of an environmental group which was lobbying for a prohibition on suction dredging equipment.

The final report acknowledged Dr. Alpers was not only a member of the environmental group, The Sierra Fund (TSF), but was also on the Board of Advisors of TSF, a position which determined policy and strategy for the group.

The Sierra Fund, based in Nevada City, California, lobbied the California legislature for a permanent ban on suction dredging equipment citing the results of Alper's report as evidence there was a significant threat to the environment.

"There's just one problem," said Craig Lindsay, president of the WMA, "He claimed there was only one year of data available, but we did a Freedom of Information Act request and it turns out he withheld an additional five years of data. The inclusion of the additional data shows no linkage whatsoever, but shows a strong linkage to the size of the spring floods."

The controversy surrounding the use of suction gold mining equipment has led to a six year ban on the equipment which miners are challenging in court. The miners won their first legal victory from a California Appeals Court in September and appear poised to win a second victory later this month, effectively overturning the ban.

"We were shocked by the deliberate withholding of the data", said Lindsay. "That Alpers belonged to an environmental group which was lobbying for the ban seemed a little too convenient. The full data set shows no evidence of linkage. The data shows mercury levels in insects have increased significantly since the ban was imposed."

Despite his membership in the environmental group, and withholding the data the US Geological Survey investigation concluded there was no conflict of interest.

".the research chemist's membership in TSF was authorized and complemented USGS interests." The investigation concluded. The report further justified Alper's actions by stating "There is a growing trend for people to file scientific integrity complaints in an effort to change legislative decisions they do not like."

"All we wanted was honest research, not science based on advocacy," said Lindsay, "Three consecutive California Water Board studies over ten years have shown no linkage between California gold miners and increased mercury. The Alper's Report was a bit of an outlier to those studies which made us wonder why."

You can read the publically available USGS report here.  You can read the WMA article on the report here.

Via email

Activist Dana Nuccitelli Starting To Sweat? Satellite Data Show Current Decade Running COOLER Than The Previous!

Many readers will recall the climate bet for charity this site and its readers (the coolists) entered into against the climate alarmists, principally climate loudmouth Dana Nuccitelli and Rob Honeycutt, back in January 2011.

The coolists maintain that the 2011 – 2020 decade will be the same or cooler than the 2001 – 2010 decade. The alarmists of course are absolutely convinced that the current decade will be warmer.

Listening to the media lately, one might think that the coolists are getting trounced. Nothing could be further from the truth. The bet is based on the RSS and UAH satellite data, and they tell us a different story. Nuccitelli and his buddies can cite NOAA, GISS or NCDC all they want, but those datasets are not going to matter come 12/31/2020.

Robin Pittwood of the Kiwithinker has been so kind to tabulate the race so far as it develops. The first four years of the decade are now behind us, and Robin tells the coolists are maintaining a slight lead. Yes, this decade so far is running COOLER than the previous one! Hardly a good development for the Nuccitelli & Co. The dang oceans must have eaten up all the heat.

Chart shows this decade continues to be cooler than the previous one. Source: Robin Pittwood of the Kiwthinker

With the current CO2 emissions trajectory running at the IPCC’s worst case scenario, this decade so far theoretically should have been at least a good 0.2°C warmer, and certainly not cooler. Something must have gone terribly wrong for the cocky climate boy-wonder in California.

More HERE 

Coolists winning in Chicago: Bitter cold closes schools again

Parents of Chicago Public School students will have to find someone to look after their kids for a second day Thursday after frigid forecasts forced CPS to again order schools shut.

CPS announced at 6 p.m. that the cold weather means Wednesday’s system-wide closure will be repeated Thursday.

Forecasters say temperatures will still be frosty, but with another round of snow, as an extreme cold spell continues to grip the Chicago area.

A wind-chill advisory remains in effect until noon Thursday, which will be slightly warmer but windier than Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. The high of 13 degrees will feel like minus 25 to minus 35 with the wind chill.

Plenty of kids were happy to get a second day off school.

The parents?  “I was like OK, now what?” said mom Edna Navarro-Vidaurre, of Portage Park.

Three of her kids go to Inter-American Magnet School. On Wednesday, she stayed home.

On Thursday, her husband will.  “It’s a little bit of an inconvenience but we were able to work it out,” she said.

Her children, ages 5, 8 and 11,  did homework Wednesday and burned off steam by jumping on the bed and hanging out in their playroom.

On Thursday, baking and crafting will be on the table.

If school stays shut on Friday, Navarro-Vidaurre, 41, says she’ll ”have to go into the reserves and probably ask family to help.”

The extreme chill isn’t budging until at least then, when single-digit highs will feel more like minus-10 to minus-20. Saturday morning will be sunny with  slight warm up, when highs could reach the mid-teens.

More snow is likely to arrive Thursday afternoon. More than an inch could fall by Thursday night, when lows will drop to between 1 and 3 degrees, forecasters said.

If this all seems familiar, it’s because it is. This week last year the polar vortex roared into town, teaching Chicagoans their new least-favorite phrase and pummeling us with wind chills of 40 below.

“Last year was so awful that dealing with this might seem less awful” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ricky Castro, who added that temps will seesaw a few degrees above and below zero for the next several days.

On Wednesday, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was racking up the largest number of delays in the nation, at 724, and the second-largest number of cancellations, at 91.

O’Hare was being affected, at least in part, by rough weather in New York, where flights into LaGuardia and JFK airports were being delayed 1 to almost 2 hours.

The weather could also delay Metra riders, as trains operate under speed restrictions in weather this cold, the rail agency said. On the roads, Illinois State Police are urging drivers to slow down and carry emergency supplies in their vehicles.

The Red Cross is also on “high alert,” concerned that house fires could leave people with no place to go in this extremely cold weather, the agency said. Roughly three to four house fires happen every day this time of year, and the agency has already provided disaster relief to more than three dozen local residents since Tuesday.

“We know it’s going to be a busy couple of days,” said Harley Jones, a regional disaster officer for the local chapter of the Red Cross. “Our primary concern is finding a warm place for people to stay, getting them out of the bitter cold to begin work on recovery plans for each family.”


Owners of two Minnesota wind farms file for bankruptcy court protection

Power to people on the prairie — it’s the idea, born in Minnesota, that farmers should own some of the wind turbines spinning above their fields.

But that idea has turned into a financial loser for about 360 farmers and other landowners who invested in two small wind farms more than a decade ago near Luverne, Minn., in the windy southwest corner of the state.

The companies that collectively own the two Minwind Energy projects filed for reorganization this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota. The owners stand to lose their investment, and the wind farms eventually may have to shut down, according to regulatory filings.

It is the first of the state’s approximately 100 operating wind power projects to seek bankruptcy protection, and the case is raising questions about whether the small-scale wind farm model still works in an era of ever-larger wind-generating projects.

“The wind business is not for the faint of heart,” Beth Soholt, director of the St. Paul-based trade group Wind on the Wires, said in an interview. “These are big energy facilities … It is a long-term contract with utilities that expect you to produce. A lot of things can go wrong.”

The Minwind wind farms, with 11 turbines that went on line in 2002 and 2004, made a profit until 2012, and are still operating, according to its financial reports. The electricity is sold to Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy and Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Alliant Energy under long-term deals. Some of Minwind’s power is fed into a giant battery built by Xcel near Luverne to store electricity for when the wind doesn’t blow.

Minwind has told federal regulators that the turbines have needed extensive repairs, including main bearings, and the company no longer can afford the upkeep. To make things worse, Minwind got into a jam with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for not filing certain paperwork since 2006. The result is a $1.9 million regulatory liability that has left a potential buyer uneasy about signing a deal to acquire the wind farms.

Minwind’s attorneys have told the government that the owners were “unsophisticated” in regulatory matters, and should be excused from the filing lapse. Some of the owners also had invested in the former Agri-Energy ethanol plant in Luverne, which was sold in 2010 to another biofuel company.

“None of the owners has had any experience in the power sector, except through ownership and operation of the facilities,” the company’s Washington-based legal team led by Margaret Moore said in a regulatory filing.

But federal regulators didn’t buy the lack-of-sophistication argument. Indeed, the company led by President Mark Willers, Luverne businessman and farmer, has long been credited with creating an innovative business structure with nine separate limited-liability companies allowing investors to take advantage of federal wind energy tax credits, a now-discontinued state assistance program for small wind projects and USDA grants.

Willers declined to comment in detail, but acknowledged that the company was tripped up by a rule change that FERC made eight years ago — a time when the company didn’t have a Washington attorney on retainer to watch for such things.

In its bankruptcy case, the Minwind companies filed for reorganization, a process that allows companies to shed liabilities. That potentially could clear the way for a sale to a turbine repair company. Under a proposed deal, the wind farms would be sold for the cost of the remaining debt with no additional return to investors, Moore told regulators.

It is unclear how much individual investors will lose.


Obama kicks oil and gas industry while it is down

For the past six years, the oil and gas industry has served as a savior to the Obama presidency by providing the near-lone bright spot in economic growth. Increased U.S. oil-and-gas production has created millions of well-paying jobs and given us a new energy security. The president often peppers his speeches with braggadocio talk about our abundant supplies and decreased dependence on foreign oil.

So now that the economic powerhouse faces hard times, how does the Administration show its appreciation for the oil-and-gas industry boon to the economy over the past six years?

By introducing a series of regulations — at least nine in total, according to the Wall Street journal (WSJ) — that will put the brakes on the US energy boom through higher operating costs and fewer incentives to drill on public lands.

WSJ states: “Mr. Obama and his environmental backers say new regulations are needed to address the impacts of the surge in oil and gas drilling.”

U.S. oil production, according to the Financial Times: “caught Saudi Arabia by surprise.” The kingdom sees that US shale and Canadian oil-sand development “encroached on OPEC’s market share” and has responded with a challenge to high-cost sources of production by upping its output — adding to the global oil glut and, therefore, dropping prices.

Most oil-market watchers expect temporary low-priced oil, with prediction of an increase in the second half of 2015, and some saying 2016. North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness believes “We’re in an energy war.” He sees “the price slump could last 16 months or even one to two years as U.S. supply stays strong, global demand remains weak and OPEC continues to challenge U.S. production.” However, Ibrahim al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, recently said: “We have the ability to endure low oil prices over the medium term of up to five years, even if it means delving into fiscal reserves to cover a large deficit.”

While no one knows how long the low-price scenario will last — geopolitical risk is still a factor.

Many oil companies are already re-evaluating exploration, reining in costs, and cutting jobs and/or wages. “In the low price circumstance like today,” Jean-Marie Guillermou, the Asian head of the French oil giant Total, explained: “you do the strict minimum required.”

In December, the WSJ reported: “Some North American companies have said they plan to cut their capital spending next year and dial back on exploring for new oil.” It quotes Tim Dove, President and COO for Pioneer Natural Resources Co.: “We are seeking cost reductions from all our suppliers.”

Last month, Enbridge Energy Partners said: “it has laid off some workers in the Houston area” — which the Houston Chronicle (HC) on December 12 called: “the latest in a string of energy companies to announce cutbacks.” The HC continued: “Other key energy companies have also announced layoffs in recent days as oil tumbles to its lowest price in years. Halliburton on Thursday said it would slash 1,000 jobs in the Eastern Hemisphere as part of a $75 million restructuring. BP on Wednesday revealed plans to accelerate job cuts and pare back its oil production business amid crumbling oil prices.” Halliburton said: “we believe these job eliminations are necessary in order to work through this market environment.”

Civeo, a lodging and workforce accommodation company for the oil-and-gas industry has cut 30 percent of its Canadian workforce and 45 percent of its U.S. workforce. President and CEO Bradley Dodson said: “As it became evident during the fourth quarter that capital spending budgets among the major oil companies were going to be cut, we began taking steps to reduce marketed room capacity, control costs and curtail discretionary capital expenditures.”

I have warned the industry that while they have remained relatively unscathed by harsh regulations — such as those placed on electricity generation — their time would come. Now, it has arrived. The WSJ concurs: “In its first six years, the administration released very few regulations directly affecting the oil-and-gas industry and instead rolled out several significant rules aimed at cutting air pollution from the coal and electric-utility sectors.”

According to the WSJ: “Some of the rules have been in the works for months or even years.” But that doesn’t mean the administration should introduce them now when the industry is already down — after all, the administration delayed Obamacare mandates due to the negative impact on jobs and the economy.

Greg Guidry, executive vice president at Shell, recently said that he doesn’t want the EPA to “impose unnecessary costs and burden on an industry challenged now by a sustained low-price environment.”

Different from Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets it. Under pressure from the environmental lobby to increase regulations on the oil-and-gas industry, he, during a question session on the floor of the House of Commons in December, said: “Under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy — it would be crazy economic policy — to do unilateral penalties on that sector.” He added: “We are not going to kill jobs and we are not going to impose a carbon tax.”

Introducing the new rules now kick the industry while it is down and shows that President Obama either doesn’t get it, or he cares more about burnishing his environmental legacy than he does about American jobs and economic growth.


API Chief: Obama's Claim on Keystone Pipeline 'Factually Incorrect'

Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, says President Barack Obama is “factually incorrect” to say that the Keystone XL Pipeline will not benefit Americans.

At the press conference in Washington Tuesday, asked Gerard about Obama’s remarks in November about the pipeline, which, if approved, would transport crude oil from Canada and from two U.S. states to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Obama said at the time that the pipeline would only benefit Canada and would not have any impact on domestic gasoline prices. asked Gerard: “In November, President Obama said at a press conference – he was asked about the Keystone Pipeline and he said, quote, 'Understand what this project is. It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land down to the Gulf where it will be sold everywhere else.' Quote: 'It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.'"

“Let me say first and foremost, what the president said is factually incorrect,” Gerard responded, citing the U.S. State Department’s report on the pipeline, which states that, among other benefits, the project would generate more than 42,000 jobs in the U.S. during the estimated two-year construction time frame.

Gerard also said the pipeline would not only transport Canadian crude oil but crude from the Bakken Formation of oil and natural gas deposits in North Dakota and Montana – all bound for refineries on the Gulf Coast.

“That’s why the Keystone XL Pipeline is built to the Gulf Coast,” Gerard said. “It’s built there, because we have the world-class largest refinery sector to be able to produce that in a clean and environmentally safe way -- to refine product, if you will, for the U.S. and global market.”

Gerard added that all crude oil in the U.S. – including that from Canada – is banned from export, a ban API is in favor of lifting.

Gerard also said it was a “misstatement” by Obama to say that crude oil production does not have an impact on domestic gas prices.

“Frankly, that’s just factually a misstatement, because what happens - as I mentioned earlier - all the reports … have concluded crude oil exports will actually lower the cost of domestic price of gasoline,” Gerard said. “As I mentioned earlier – it’s seems a little counter intuitive to some – but the reality is the No. 1 driver on the price of gasoline is the cost of crude oil,” Gerard said. “The more supply brought to the global marketplace continues to put downward pressure on the price of that crude oil.”

Because the pipeline would originate in Canada, its construction must be approved by the State Department. The project has been under review by the Obama administration for six years.

On Tuesday, Sens. John Hoeven (R-S.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) introduced S. 1, the first Senate bill of the 114th Congress, to authorize construction of the pipeline.

“This is about building the infrastructure that we need to build a comprehensive energy plan for this country,” Hoeven said at a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday.

But the White House is already saying Obama will veto any bill that reaches his desk.

“I can confirm for you that if this bill passes this Congress, then the president wouldn’t sign it,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the daily briefing on Tuesday, according to Roll Call. “The pipeline route has not even been finalized yet.”



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

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


8 January, 2015

Study: Cap-and-trade kills jobs

Cap-and-trade programs kill manufacturing jobs, according to new research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study says that manufacturing jobs were reduced by 1.3 percent in affected areas after the EPA implemented a cap-and-trade program in 20 eastern states in the 2000s. Cap-and-trade cost over 110,000 jobs total in the affected states. Manufacturers in the top quartile of energy-users cut jobs by 3.9 percent more than low energy-users in the bottom quartile.

The job cuts primarily affected young workers, while newly hired workers saw their earnings fall. Rather than firing workers, most of the employment reductions came from reduced hiring — which is why older workers fared better than new ones.

There are several possible causes for the manufacturing job losses caused by cap-and-trade. Many firms were affected by higher energy costs. But large manufacturing plants that produce their own energy were directly regulated under the cap-and-trade program. “Direct regulation may have led existing firms to decrease employment and discouraged new firms from locating in the regulated region,” the study speculated.

The EPA implemented cap-and-trade in 20 states under the NOx Budget Trading Program starting in 2003.

The study acknowledged that cap-and-trade programs are preferable to command-and-control style environmental regulations. While the program added “substantial costs to energy producers,” the study acknowledged emissions from power plants were “dramatically decreased.”

The paper was authored by Mark Curtis, an assistant professor of economics at Wake Forest University, and published by the NBER Working Paper Series.

In addition to the regional scheme in the east, California implemented its own cap-and-trade program in 2012. Nine northeastern states established a cap-and-trade program under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2005.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, proposed a state cap-and-trade program in December 2014 that would cost the economy $1 billion a year. Inslee’s own advisers say the program would raise fuel costs by 7 to 15 percent by 2035, compared to baseline estimates.


Pope Francis, the Climate and Leftism

By Dennis Prager

One of the rarest and most important things a pope does is issue encyclicals. In the eight years of Pope Benedict’s papacy, he issued three encyclicals. In the 27 years of Pope John Paul II’s papacy, he issued 14 encyclicals.

Since his ascendancy to the papacy in March 2013, Pope Francis has issued one.

But Pope Francis is about to issue an encyclical to the world’s 5,000 bishops and 400,000 priests that tells us a great deal about him, about Latin America and, most of all, about the influence of what has been the most dynamic religion in the world for the last hundred years.

Hint: It isn’t Christianity or Islam.

This year, the pope will use an immense amount of papal moral influence to address global warming, or as it is now called, in light of the small amount of warming actually taking place, climate change. In a few weeks, he will visit the Philippine city of Tacloban, which was devastated by the super typhoon Haiyan in 2012. Then he will present his encyclical, and in September he will address the United Nations General Assembly on the subject. This will all be done in order to influence the December 2015 international Climate Change Conference in Paris.

The world’s left is ecstatic with this pope. As the Guardian reported:

“In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting … ‘An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.

”'The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

“'The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness,” he said.

“The god of money needs to plunder nature.”

“Cash commands.”

“[Ecological] evils that tear man from the land of his birth.”

That is left-wing, even radical left-wing, language.  How are we to explain this?  How are we to explain that at the very moment that the oldest Christian communities in the world are being violently destroyed; that while Christians are murdered, raped and tortured in Africa and the Middle East; and while horrific barbarities are committed daily in the name of God, the pope issues an encyclical and travels around the world to talk about climate change?

It is happening because leftism has taken over much of Catholicism, most of mainstream Protestantism, increasing numbers of evangelicals and most of non-Orthodox Judaism. Not to mention the secular worlds of the news media, entertainment media and academia.

It is happening because the default philosophic, moral and political position in Latin America is leftism. Support for big government and the redistribution of income, and condemnation of capitalism and corporate profits – these are givens in Latin America. And Pope Francis is Latin American to the core.

His leftism was the primary reason he worked so diligently to get the United States to normalize relations with the Castro brothers in Cuba – instead of using his moral authority to condemn a brutal tyranny that has crushed and impoverished the Cuban people for 55 years.

Senator Marco Rubio, a practicing Catholic, put it succinctly: “I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy.”

In the long run, this will bring down the Church – just as it has mainstream Protestantism and non-Orthodox Judaism – as well as diminish decency on earth.

It is, moreover, clear that the pope has been so influenced by leftism that he appears to know only the propaganda, not the science. For example, the typhoon in the Philippines had nothing to do with global warming. The leading science journal, Nature, wrote as much:

“Did climate change cause Typhoon Haiyan? There is limited evidence that warming oceans could make superstorms more likely.”

Defenders of Pope Francis note that Pope Benedict, too, spoke eloquently about man’s obligations to protect nature. That is true. And it is irrelevant. First, he issued no encyclical on the issue; his encyclicals were, like almost every papal encyclical, non-political. Second, everyone knows we have an obligation to care for the planet. But caring for the planet has as much to do with left-wing environmentalism as protecting workers had to do with Communism.

By all accounts, Pope Francis is a wonderful man. Conservatives understand that good people can hold left-wing positions. If only bad people held left-wing positions, leftism wouldn’t be the world’s most dynamic religion.

Unfortunately, however, being a wonderful person doesn’t mean you will be a wonderful pope. Any Catholic who tweets, “Inequality is the root of social evil,” as Pope Francis did last March, should be a socialist prime minister, not a Christian leader. The moral message of every Bible-based religion is that the root of evil is caused by poor character and poor moral choices, not by economics. The pope’s tweet is from Marx, not Moses.


The Nature of the “Scientific Consensus” on Climate Change

My previous post discussed a little-known UN poll that has so far attracted seven million voters from all over the world and which despite being totally unscientific nevertheless provides some interesting insights about public attitudes towards climate change. Here I discuss another little-known climate change poll that also provides some interesting insights but which is otherwise about as different to the UN poll as it’s possible to get. Why? Because there were only 286 respondents, not seven million, and they aren’t just anybody. They’re all climate scientists.

I refer to the Bray & von Storch poll entitled A survey of the perceptions of climate scientists 2013 . It’s quite a poll. It doesn’t ask just a few questions. It asks no fewer than one hundred and thirty-one, some of them highly technical (“The current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable estimate of the effects on climate of surface albedo?”). Yet 286 of the 4,491 people to whom the poll was sent responded, and most of them to all 131 questions – a respectable level of response to an internet poll considering the time it would have taken to fill it out.

The poll is weighted towards the “consensus” viewpoint. The invitees included “authors of climate related papers in peer reviewed climate related journals …. authors who contributed to Oreskes’ (2004) published conclusions concerning consensus in the climate change issue …. the IPCC list of contributors” and those on “readily available email lists from institute web sites (i.e. NCAR (US National Center for Atmospheric Research), MPI (Max Planck Institute), AMS (American Meteorological Society)) etc”. Almost all the respondents were affiliated with universities or government-funded research organizations and almost half of them had been involved as authors or reviewers of IPCC reports.

But the poll contains a graphic that is arguably the best illustration yet published of what the climate change “scientific consensus” really looks like. We find it on page 59:

268 of 272 climate scientists think that humans have caused at least some of the warming since 1850, representing a 98.5% consensus. But if we use the IPCC’s claim that “most” (i.e more than 50%) of the warming  was human-caused as the criterion the number drops to 81.2%, and if we insist on all of the warming being human-caused, which is essentially what the IPCC’s climate models show, it drops to only 6.3%. Clearly the “scientific consensus” on climate change can be quantified only if we put a hard number on what percentage of observed warming has to be caused by humans before climate change becomes “significant”. (A 12.5% human-caused warming threshold gives a 97.5% consensus among the respondents, incidentally. The oft-quoted 97.5% number seems to have originated in the 2009 Doran poll.)

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

Why the population of Easter Island really died out: Study finds arrival of Europeans brought disease that wiped out inhabitants

As Benny Peiser has always maintained, it was NOT caused by ecological collapse
The collapse of Easter Island's civilisation is often used as a cautionary tale to show the folly of humans who over-exploit their surroundings.  But a group of leading U.S scientists now believe the tale - which documents how the population collapsed due to deforestation - is completely false and 'misleading'.

Legend says the island's landscape was washed away by the destruction of the palm forests, which ruined the fertile soil and forced the population to descend into cannibalism.

But research published yesterday says the population was actually decimated by the arrival of Europeans - who brought syphilis, smallpox and slavery onto the land.

The scientists believe that many inhabitants survived perfectly well after the final tree was cut down, which goes against the wide belief that the island's inhabitants caused their own downfall.

The academics reached their conclusion by looking at tools used by the islanders for farming, which were scattered around the land.

They found that, instead of there being a sudden collapse in farming, there was a much more gradual decline in some areas.

The findings by the Virginia Commonwealth University have now been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study will come as welcome news to the Rapa Nui - the indigenous name for the islanders - who have never been keen on the narrative about how their own stupidity ruined Easter Island.

Speaking about the concept of 'collapse', Professor Sue Hamilton - who was not directly involved in the study - told The Times: 'It is a terrible presumption to say there was a food shortage.'She added: 'Starvation is not an automatic result of tree removal and neither is warfare.' 

Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited island in the world, more than 2,180 miles away from the coast of Chile and 1,289 miles from the nearest inhabited island.


Doubts in India

Two of three scientists at a session on climate change and society at the Indian Science Congress on Tuesday felt fears of man-made global warming were greatly exaggerated. Their presence at the conference was particularly significant in light of the current 'development-versus-envir- onment' debates.

While I agree that glaciers are melting because of global warming, if this is because of man, then what was the reason for the melting of the glaciers in the Gondwana period long before man arrived on the planet?" asked Dhruv Sen Singh, Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, University of Lucknow.

"Climate change is a natural phenomenon while pollution is caused by man. We are definitely accelerating the process of climate change, but we cannot predict the rate or extent of climate change that can be attributed to man," Singh said.

According to him, fears of climate change amount to propaganda and "unnecessarily cause panic".

"The Cretaceous period 65 million years ago was the hottest in the history of the earth. Man was not around at the time," he added.

Singh said that if climate change was the cause of glaciers retreating, they should all be retreating at the same rate. "But in reality they are retreating at different rates, and some were advancing," said Singh. "Despite the melting of glaciers, only at some places the sea level is rising, whereas at others it is constant, possibly due to the sinking of land," he added.



Even Republicans And GMO-Friendly Executives Are Caving To Insane Anti-GMO Demands

Instead of fretting over Sony’s sheepish release of a movie depicting the assassination of Kim Jong-un, consider how your grocery bill will look in 2015 if we accede to the anti-scientific demands of Europe, China, Russia, and Japan.

Long before every American household had a car, most American farmers owned tractors. The radio, GPS, handheld computers; farmers embrace new technology because they work harder and possess a profound appreciation for risk. This is why American, Canadian, Australian and Indian farmers have all embraced genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), crops that address these risks, while using less fossil fuel.

This bothers urban organic activists who claim efficiency on the farm threatens the environment and makes us all fat. They’ve launched 67 initiatives to label or ban GMOs in half the states across America, much to the delight of their comrades in Europe, China, Russia and Japan. In response, pro-GMO executives will spend massive amounts of money fighting these initiatives, only to quietly cave in in the end.

Take for instance the recent decision by McDonald’s Restaurants to reject GMO potatoes; a repeat of what happened back in 2001. Organic activists failed to scare American potato farmers away from growing GMO potatoes the way they scared wheat and flax farmers; so they went after the fast-food industry instead, and McDonalds collapsed like a Happy Meal driven over by an 18-wheeler. And rather than counter with a science-based offensive, the CEO of the U.S. National Potato Council (NPC), John Keeling, decided instead to do nothing.

It gets worse. The future for GMO farming now rests on a tenuous plan to try to magically sweep away all of the organic movement’s anti-GMO initiatives by agreeing to allow GMO foods to be labelled at the national level, voluntarily. If bipartisan support for the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” bill didn’t convince you of the dangers of bipartisanship in Washington, just wait ‘til you see how this “magical” bill being championed with bipartisan support by Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo plays out.

Never mind that federal law already trumps state law in the food biz, and that federal law already fully supports the science of genetic engineering. Executives at Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, The American Farm Bureau, and every commodity group (including the NPC) have decided to write more law, and in essence go for a Hail Mary pass. And they’re not the least-bit worried about the possibility of an interception.

Not only does Pompeo’s bill cave in by allowing GMOs to be labelled – admitting in essence that there might be something wrong with GMOs – it also includes a threshold limit on GMOs. And this plays right into the hands of organic activists. Guess who’s going to sue American GMO farmers when organic crops are found to be above that level, and can no longer be labelled GMO free?

According to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) – a set of federal standards written by the very-same organic stakeholders who now seek to ban GMOs – there is, currently, no threshold limit on GMO content in organic food. Yes, there are strict threshold limits on synthetic pesticides in organic foods. Pesticides are known to cause health problems above certain levels. GMOs meanwhile have NEVER caused any health problems at any level. As such, organic farmers are only prevented from making use of GMOs; they do not lose organic status due to GMO contact, comingling or cross-pollination.

In fact, no organic farmer anywhere in the world has ever lost certification due to GMOs. Not one. As anyone can plainly see, Pompeo’s GMO labeling bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist; an attempt to silence organic activists here in America while reassuring our trading partners that we’re willing to see things their way (i.e. non-scientifically) by labeling GMOs even though they’re perfectly safe, and worse, setting a threshold limit on them.

Rest assured, GMO labelling is not the end-game for organic activists. Neither is forcing crops like GMO potatoes onto the back burner, or keeping a crop like GMO Golden Rice from being approved even though it will prevent a half-million kids from going blind and dying every year due to Vitamin-A deficiency in the Third World. These are all mere skirmishes.

The real goal for organic activists is to ban GMOs outright the way DDT was banned in 1972, a terrible move by these very same activists which resulted in more deaths from mosquito-borne malaria in the Third World than were caused by both world wars.

GMO executives and politicians in Washington need to do their homework. Putting limits on GMO content in organic food will act like a restraining order on the most-promising field of agricultural science since Fritz Haber’s discovery of the ammonia synthesis process. There are already more GMO crops on hold than are approved. And if Pompeo’s bill passes, it will put us in line with Europe where no GMO crops are being developed, while also needlessly delaying the approval of life-saving GMO crops like Golden Rice, all based on the false assumption that GMOs pose some sort of threat to organic crops.



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

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


7 January, 2015

David Attenborough tries to use his authority as a substitute for evidence and reasoning

The last paragraph below outs him as a Malthusian -- an economic and demographic ignoramus.  He is talking way outside his field and his comments on both population and global warming show how little he knows outside his field

Sir David Attenborough is calling on global leaders to step-up their actions to curb climate change, saying that they are in denial about the dangers it poses despite the overwhelming evidence about its risks.

The TV naturalist said those who wield power need to use it: “Wherever you look there are huge risks. The awful thing is that people in authority and power deny that, when the evidence is overwhelming and they deny it because it’s easier to deny it – much easier to deny it’s a problem and say ‘we don’t care’,” Sir David said.

In terms of climate change, “we won’t do enough and no one can do enough, because it’s a very major, serious problem facing humanity; but at the same time it would be silly to minimise the size of the problem,” he told Sky News.

Later this year a crucial UN climate summit will be held, at which world leaders have pledged to agree to tough cuts in their carbon emissions, to ensure the increase in global warming does not exceed 2°C – beyond which its consequences become increasingly devastating.

Although that meeting is not scheduled to take place until December, the scale of the task ahead is huge and world leaders are already working towards the summit.

However Sir David is concerned that, despite the increasingly obvious scale of the threat climate change poses, leaders are not taking the matter as seriously as they should.

“Never in the history of humanity in the last 10 million years have all human beings got together to face one danger that threatens us – never.  “It’s a big ask, but the penalty of not taking any notice is huge,” he said.

Sir David’s comments come two days after a separate warning – on the dangers posed by the booming human population.  “It’s desperately difficult, the dangers are apparent to anybody,” he told The Independent.  “We can’t go on increasing at the rate human beings are increasing forever, because the Earth is finite and you can’t put infinity into something that is finite.  “So if we don’t do something about it – the natural world that is – we will starve,” Sir David said.


Climate Deniers, Like Big Tobacco, Thrive Behind a Smoke Screen of Doubt

By Amy Goodman

At least she's better looking than Naomi Oreskes

I was going to ignore the tired collection of evidence-free accusations below but I received a few comments on it from the good Cook (Russell).  So I reproduce those comments, including evidential quotes, following the hackneyed rant below

Today, the fossil-fuel industry creates a smoke screen of doubt, just like Big Tobacco. Greenpeace USA published a report in 2013, “Dealing in Doubt,” that maps out the history of the climate-denial industry, with its key participants and its funders. Interestingly, there is a direct link between Big Tobacco and the climate deniers. Many of the older climate science denialists got their start as hired guns for Big Tobacco, arguing against the threats posed by secondhand smoke.

These climate “skeptics” are scattered throughout an assortment of so-called free-market think tanks, including Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and The Heartland Institute. Guided by global public-relations firms like Hill and Knowlton, these groups mount media campaigns to challenge respected climate-change reports, with little or no scientific backing to their claims.

While fossil-fuel giants like ExxonMobil traditionally funded these denial groups, negative publicity has driven the funders into the shadows. For example, the Koch brothers, Charles and David, who make their billions of dollars from fossil fuel and aggressively fund efforts to block regulation, in addition to directly funding groups, also mask donations. They and others make charitable contributions to a nonprofit shell called Donors Trust and its partner organization, Donors Capital Fund, which then pass the funds on to the denial groups, giving anonymity to the original donors.

The Kochs and other fossil-fuel interests also pour money into our elections, which is one reason why the U.S. Senate shifted to Republican control last November. Consequently, one key Senate committee that deals directly with climate change will now be chaired by Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe. Inhofe claims human-induced climate change is a hoax, and has compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo.

Like tobacco’s impacts on health, climate science is settled. Close to 2,000 scientists who sit on the U.N.‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have produced volumes documenting the grave threat to the climate from the current rate of human-generated carbon emissions. The world’s leaders will gather in Paris next December, hoping to commit to a binding agreement that will lower emissions and limit the average global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

The climate-denial industry will be working full speed to derail any progress, marketing its primary product: doubt.  Denialists were just blowing smoke back then for Big Tobacco, as they are now for Big Oil and Coal. This time, the consequences of their professional lying on climate could easily spell death and disaster for billions of us here on planet Earth.


Russell Cook writes:

When I see such a collected string of worn-out talking points, it makes me wonder if some central figure churns 'em out and distributes 'em to assorted trustworthy AGW disciples. Amy Goodman goes all the way back with Ross Gelbspan and his 'big tobacco expert shills' parallel to August 7, 1997, where she had this toward the end of the radio interview:  

ROSS GELBSPAN: This issue of disclosure is extremely important, these scientists I'm talking about, these dissidents who have been used by industry, have received large amounts of money from the government of Kuwait, from OPEC, from coal and oil interests, they have not disclosed this money until they were compelled to do so under oath about a year and a half ago... today no editor or reporter would give the same weight to a tobacco company scientist as they would to a world class expert on lung disease specialist, but unfortunately that learning curve hasn't caught up in the area of climate...

AMY GOODMAN: And just ending on this comment, that Ross points out in his book The Heat is On, relentless stream of news reports about record setting weather extremes in the last several years reflects the new period of climatic instability we've entered, unfortunately the media doesn't talk about these natural disasters as related to global warming. For example in the summer of 1995, the midwest experienced its second 100 year flood in just three years, and shortly thereafter, at least 300 people died in a brutal heat wave in Chicago. We gotta rethink these things and talk about them, put them in the context they should be put....

Useful idiot, Amy Goodman is.

A tale from a Green future

“I’m cold, Mummy.”

Dawn looked down at her daughter. “Shush, Willow. It’s only for a few more minutes. Stay silent and respect the trees.”

It was hard enough for Dawn to endure an hour of tree-respect while the snow fell around them. Willow was only seven. She must be freezing by now.

It had never made any real sense anyway. Why go out to the trees at midwinter, when they are dormant? It would be so much easier, and so much more pleasant, if Earth Day was in the summer. Oh, Dawn knew the reason. She just dared not say it aloud.

“Mummy. Please.” Willow tugged at Dawn’s gloved hand.

“Hush. We can’t leave until the klaxon sounds or Santa will put us on his naughty list.” Dawn pressed her lips together. Six years ago, Willow’s father had been put on the naughty list. Willow probably wouldn’t remember her father.

Dawn bowed her head and held tight to Willow’s trembling hand. The cold was intense this year. It felt as though her eyes might freeze. Willow sobbed softly, her face buried in the folds of her mother’s coat.

The klaxon blared through the woods. Willow grabbed hard at her mother. Her shaking might now be cold or fright, or maybe both.

“Come on, it’s time to get home and get warmed up before sunset.” Dawn put her arm around Willow’s shoulder and led her on the long trudge back to the set of boxes, among many identical sets of boxes, they called home.

Around them, others emerged from the woods. Some single, some couples, some with children. All made their way home in silence. A careless word, a joke, even a called-out ‘Hello’ could be seen as disrespectful on this solemn occasion and that would mean a night of fear. A night of hoping not to hear the bells.

Dawn pressed her hand to the door-plate and the door swung inwards. She glanced over her shoulder as she ushered Willow indoors. The sun was already low in the sky and they would need to be warm before nightfall. Earth Day’s Eve was nearly over, and the darkness would be total this night.

“Hurry, Willow. Get out of those wet clothes and into a hot shower. I’ll have warm things laid out for you when you’re done.” She closed the door and locked it – not that that would make a difference. “And be quick. Mummy needs to warm up too.”

While Willow ran to the shower room, Dawn rushed to the kitchen, filled the kettle and turned it on. They would need their hot water bottles as well as hot soup to keep them alive tonight. The Thermos flasks were already lined up on the kitchen table.

Dawn turned the heating to maximum and went to her bedroom to get out of her sodden clothes. A quick rub with a towel and, clad only in her dressing gown, she returned to the kitchen. The first kettle of water went into flasks and the kettle was refilled and boiling again before the soup on the stove warmed up.

It was insane, of course, but Dawn knew that all over the country, the same thing would be happening in every home. Power usage would peak to unprecedented levels and there might well be a brown-out or even a cut. It happened every year. The trick was to get as much of your own preparations done before someone overloaded the circuit breakers. In the name of ‘saving power’, everyone used as much as possible for a few hours.

Willow appeared, wearing a thick woollen jumper. “I’m too hot now, Mummy. Can I take this off?”

“Yes, you weren’t supposed to put it all on anyway. That’s for when the power goes off.” Dawn poured the second kettle into two hot water bottles then refilled it and turned it on again. She gave one of the bottles to Willow. “Here. Put this in your bed so it’ll warm up for later.”

While Willow did that, Dawn spooned soup into a bowl and turned off the heat under the pot. On Willow’s return, she sat her daughter at the table with the soup and rushed off to the shower.

The water was only lukewarm, but it took the chill from Dawn’s body. It would have to be enough. Tonight was going to be a bad one. As she dried her hair, she thought back to that Earth Day’s Eve, six years ago. Martin, her husband, was late home. The sun had already set and he had missed tree-respect. That would put him on the naughty list but he’d have been okay because he had a reason.

Martin maintained the windmills and one had stopped working. He would be excused tree-respect in order to repair it, but he had done something else.

Dawn bowed her head at he memory of the bells. She had gone to look for him, leaving one-year-old Willow alone. A dangerous act, one that could get Willow reparented, but she had to risk it. She never found Martin but she heard the bells. A happy, rhythmic jingling that stirred ancient joy while bringing modern terror to her heart.

She did not find Martin. She found his phone. It was on. Dawn turned it off at once. Holding a live phone on that night would certainly mean the naughty list and she had a child. Dawn ran home, her eyes streaming tears, knowing she would never see Martin again. She never did.

The curtains darkened. Dawn pulled them open enough to peek through. There was not enough light left to throw clear shadows. She dressed in a hurry and ran to the kitchen. Through the kitchen window, the sun was halfway behind the horizon. There were only minutes left.

Willow looked up from the table. “Is there more soup, Mummy?”

“Yes. Yes, of course, but we’ll have to eat it by LEDlight.” Dawn refilled Willow’s bowl. There was enough in the pot for a half-bowl for herself but only because she had already diluted their ration to make it go a little further. Dawn switched on a LEDlight and placed it on the table.

“We have to turn the house off now.” Dawn wished there had been time to boil the kettle once more, but the dimming lights meant a brown-out had started. The kettle would not boil in time. She opened a panel on the wall, decorated with the five-pointed star of Earth Day, and pulled down the lever inside.

The heating system’s grumble fell silent at once, as did the rattle of the refrigerator. All lights apart from the solar-charged LEDlight extinguished. The house started to cool at once. Dawn shivered, and wondered what the pensioner toll would be in the morning. It was not something to talk about with her daughter but Dawn knew, just knew, that a big part of Earth Day involved clearing out the unproductive of society. Unlike most of her neighbours, she had realised that all of them, one day, would become those unproductive pensioners. The young cheered the deaths of the old but never considered their own mortality. Never thought their turn might one day come.

Dawn turned to Willow and forced a smile. “Soon be time for bed. Tomorrow we’ll have presents and we’ll have heat and light again.” She poured the last of the soup into a bowl and sat opposite her daughter.

Willow put her spoon down and reached for her discarded jumper. “Why do we have to turn everything off? It’s hardly four o’clock. It’s stupid.” She pulled the jumper on. “It’s too cold to turn off the heat.”

“It’s serious. We don’t want to be on the naughty list.”

“Oh, mummy. I’m not a baby any more. I don’t believe Santa brings presents and takes away bad people. The presents are already here anyway. They’re in your wardrobe.”

Dawn froze with the spoon halfway to her lips. “Willow,” she said, slowly. “Believe it. Santa is real and if you hear his bells, he’s coming. It’s just one night of the year. Just one. Tomorrow, at sunset, we can get back to normal. For tonight, the only power in this house is LEDlights and they won’t last all night. There hasn’t been enough sun to charge them right up.”

Dawn sipped at her now-lukewarm soup and narrowed her eyes at Willow. “What do you mean, the presents are in my wardrobe? You’re not supposed to go in there.”

“Yeah, well, like I said, I’m not a baby any more. Besides, April told me that Santa is fat and smokes and drinks. She says she saw him on some old pictures her parents have. So he must be dead.”

Dawn placed her spoon into her soup and stared at it. “That’s the old Santa. He’s dead. The new Santa wears green and is lithe, fit and fast. The old one was jolly, the new one is not. The old one wasn’t real but the new one is.” Dawn sniffed. “The old one was just one. The new one is many. I’ve heard the bells.”

Willow giggled. “Don’t be silly, Mummy. The story is that anyone who hears the jingle of Santa’s bells is never seen again.” Her face took on a schoolroom-serious expression “Send not to ask for whom the bells jingle. They jingle for thee.” Her mirth returned. “So you can’t have heard them.”

Should I tell her? No, not yet, she’s too young. Dawn placed her hands flat on the table. “Willow, please, whether you believe it or not. Just for this one night, do as I say. Please?”

Willow’s sigh was a masterpiece of exaggeration. “Yes, Mummy. I promise.”

Dawn managed a tight smile. “You’ll understand one day. When you’re all grown up with your own family. Then you’ll understand.”

“Yeah, sure.” Willow rose from the table. “Might as well go to bed. There’s nothing else to do.”

“Good idea Get in while the hot water bottle is still warm. If you get cold in the night you can refill it from those flasks beside the sink.” Dawn glanced at the flasks. She had filled four. Two each, or three for Willow and one for her… if it came to it, four for Willow.

“Yeah, okay. Thanks, Mummy.” Willow started to leave.

“Wait, I have to be sure.” Dawn wore an expression she hoped was an apology. “It’s not me being a mean Mum, really. It’s for your safety.”

“Whatever.” Willow led the way to her room, where Dawn took her phone, her tablet computer, anything that connected to the internet, and left her a LEDlight beside her bed.

“It’s not that I don’t trust you. I do. I love you. It’s just that for this one night of the year, these things are really dangerous.” Dawn cradled the electronic toys in her arms.

“Mummy, they are battery powered and not even connected to the mains. They can’t be tracked through the smart meter and anyway, you turned off the mains.” Willow sat on her bed with arms folded.

“I know, but they can be tracked through the internet. Santa’s elves are everywhere.”

“Oh, Mummy…”

“Just one night, Willow. Just one. Please, do this for me.”

“Oh all right.” Willow slumped sideways and shuffled under the covers. Dawn leaned over and gave her a kiss then left the room with her electronic haul.

The kitchen was very cold now, as was the soup. Dawn finished it anyway since there was no longer any way to reheat it.

Wrapped in all the clothes she could fit onto herself, she blew a breath of steam into the cold air. Martin had known. He had told her, taught her, and she and Willow were still here because she had told nobody else.

It was all about control. Getting everyone to stand for an hour in the freezing cold and then making them turn off the power for a night and a day. The smart meters could just do that but that wasn’t control. Making people turn the power off themselves – that was control.

It had to be enforced by fear. As with all religions before them the Cult of the Green God overwrote the old festivals with their new ones. The Sun God’s Rebirth, the Winter Solstice, Pagan and Druidic ceremonies through millennia, were overwritten with the Christian birth of Christ and now with the Green God’s Earth Day. Pushed by the New Santa who rewarded the faithful by letting them enjoy the presents they bought themselves and removing those who failed to observe the Green God’s declarations. Especially on Earth Day.

So now Santa was not the jolly fat smoky-drinker of old who liked a mince pie and a bit of ham. Santa was now vegan and trim and hateful and intolerant of others who did not share his way of life. The bearded red chubby was now a clean-shaven green ghoul.


The sound brought Dawn out of her reverie. Those were Santa bells. She bowed her head. Someone was on the naughty list tonight.


The bells drew closer and stopped. Dawn frowned. They must be coming for a neighbour. If only she had bothered to get to know any of them, she might be able to guess which one.


The cry cut Dawn like a razor. She surged to her feet. Santa could not be here for Willow. All her electronics were on the kitchen table. She could not have transgressed.

Dawn ran to Willow’s room and shoved the door open. The LEDlight gave its faint orange glow, enough to see Willow’s bed rumpled and empty.

There was another light. On the bed, just below the pillow. A small rectangular blue glow. One Dawn had seen before, a long time before. Six years before. In the snow.

Martin’s phone. Willow must have taken it in one of her hunts through Dawn’s room. Her only connection to her father. Her last toy. Her final Christmas gift from the father she never knew.

Dawn fell to her knees and covered her face with her hands. In the distance, through the crisp air of a frozen night, a mocking ‘Ho ho ho’ sealed her mind into the raging darkness.


Popes have been "green" for a long time

But have usually been ignored

I made the mistake of reading an article, "Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches," written by John Vidal for The Guardian (Dec. 27th), and now feel obligated to clear the air a bit from all of the pollutants released by the ill-informed, sensationalistic bit of punditry. The overarching problem is that Vidal, like so many others in the media, wishes to use the pontiff as a political tool with which to bludgeon those he deems ill fit to lead or be taken seriously in the public arena. So, for example, Vidal writes,

"However, Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US – where Catholic climate sceptics also include John Boehner, Republican leader of the House of Representatives and Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate.

Cardinal George Pell, a former archbishop of Sydney who has been placed in charge of the Vatican’s budget, is a climate change sceptic who has been criticised for claiming that global warming has ceased and that if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were doubled, then “plants would love it”."

But, really, how radical is Francis’s environmental radicalism? Is it this radical?

"In 1990 John Paul II had spoken of an “ecological crisis” and, in highlighting its primarily ethical character, pointed to the “urgent moral need for a new solidarity”. His appeal is all the more pressing today, in the face of signs of a growing crisis which it would be irresponsible not to take seriously. Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions? Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of “environmental refugees”, people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources? All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development".

Benedict XVI made those remarks just five years ago, on January 1, 2010, on the occasion of the World Day of Peace. A search of the Vatican website turns up several such remarks by the Pope Emeritus. In an August 26, 2009, general audience, to give just one more example, Benedict stated that he wished to "offer my support to leaders of governments and international agencies who soon will meet at the United Nations to discuss the urgent issue of climate change." And:

"The Earth is indeed a precious gift of the Creator who, in designing its intrinsic order, has given us guidelines that assist us as stewards of his creation. Precisely from within this framework, the Church considers that matters concerning the environment and its protection are intimately linked with integral human development. In my recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, I referred to such questions recalling the “pressing moral need for renewed solidarity” (no. 49) not only between countries but also between individuals, since the natural environment is given by God to everyone, and so our use of it entails a personal responsibility towards humanity as a whole, particularly towards the poor and towards future generations (cf. no. 48).

How important it is then, that the international community and individual governments send the right signals to their citizens and succeed in countering harmful ways of treating the environment! The economic and social costs of using up shared resources must be recognized with transparency and borne by those who incur them, and not by other peoples or future generations. The protection of the environment, and the safeguarding of resources and of the climate, oblige all leaders to act jointly, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the world (cf. no. 50). Together we can build an integral human development beneficial for all peoples, present and future, a development inspired by the values of charity in truth. For this to happen it is essential that the current model of global development be transformed through a greater, and shared, acceptance of responsibility for creation: this is demanded not only by environmental factors, but also by the scandal of hunger and human misery."

Vidal also writes, "In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation." He would do well to read Caritas in Veritate, because there he will find that Benedict was just as "radical" as Francis when it comes to insisting on an authentic "human ecology":

"The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere. In so doing, she must defend not only earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to everyone. She must above all protect mankind from self-destruction. There is need for what might be called a human ecology, correctly understood. The deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence: when “human ecology”[124] is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits. Just as human virtues are interrelated, such that the weakening of one places others at risk, so the ecological system is based on respect for a plan that affects both the health of society and its good relationship with nature.

In order to protect nature, it is not enough to intervene with economic incentives or deterrents; not even an apposite education is sufficient. These are important steps, but the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect for the right to life and to a natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and, along with it, that of environmental ecology. (par 51)"

Of course, Benedict is usually presented as being "right-wing" and "reactionary" and "traditional," and so his statements about ecology and the environment are often ignored, especially when they indicate that Francis' remarks and positions on those topics is not nearly as "radical" and unique as is often claimed. I suspect that Vidal has not read the expected encyclical by Francis, so his piece, on one hand, is simply a way of stirring up the waters—or, rather, polluting the waters.

Questioning the nature, extent, and exact status of "climate change" is not, it should be noted, anything at all like supporting the killing of the unborn and the aged, actions that more than a few American, "Catholic" politicians support—and with religious zeal (a zeal they fail to display for their claimed religion). Benedict's warning that "the deterioration of nature is in fact closely connected to the culture that shapes human coexistence" should be taken far more seriously; I suspect that Francis will repeat it—and I am confident it will be largely ignored.


Catholicism and Environmentalism

What are Catholics to make of the big environmental questions: climate change, deforestation and habitat loss, water quality and water shortages, the extinction of species, fossil fuels? How compatible is environmental activism with Catholicism? What does it mean to be responsible stewards of creation? These are important questions, made even more timely in anticipation of Pope Francis releasing an encyclical in 2015 on environmental and ecological issues.

Christians believe it is necessary and good to show "respect for the integrity of creation" (CCC, 2415) and to use the Earth’s natural resources prudently, but these beliefs don’t tell us whether specific environmental initiatives are morally compelling.

Environmental activism is often a matter of science and ideology. Not infrequently, when someone disagrees with a tenet fervently held by environmental activists, they are labeled “science deniers”. Ironically, many of those who blithely label opponents “science deniers” do not themselves understand the underlying science.

As an engineer/scientist who has worked in the trenches for over 30 years, taught environmental engineering subjects, and loves to explore history, I have seen my share of bad science and bad data (sadly, guilty myself on occasion). I’ve learned that while we need to rely on data, an honest skepticism of data is an important aspect of the scientific method. On many occasions, scientists—experts—have reached a consensus on something that was subsequently proven to be false. As Matt Ridley wrote in a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “Science is about evidence, not consensus.” I’m with Mr. Ridley. I don’t care about consensus, no matter how passionate or morally indignant. I want to see the data and the evidence.

Objective criteria, clean data

Here’s an example. With hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and advisories warning us that our environment is under assault and deteriorating, how can anyone claim that America’s environment is cleaner than it’s been for over 100 years? I can, and I do, and here’s my evidence based on these criteria: waterborne illnesses, levels of pollutants in water and air, habitats, technological innovation, and sensory evidence.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, and even into the 1920s, typhoid epidemics annually sickened thousands in American cities. Waterborne illnesses have been practically eradicated in the United States, to such an extent that most Americans take safe water for granted. Now that we can detect and measure pollutants in parts per billion, or even parts per trillion, many think that we are releasing more pollutants. On the contrary, the quality of treated wastewater and storm water discharged to rivers, lakes and streams has been steadily improving, as measured by significantly lower levels of pollutants. Some wastewater treatment plants discharge water of higher quality than their receiving streams.

As to air quality, there are more efficient combustion processes, fewer polluting products of combustion, and better air pollution abatement technology. Then, there are habitats for fish and wildlife. A 2010 Detroit News article reported: “From bald eagles to lake sturgeon, native wildlife is making a dramatic return in what might be considered the unlikeliest of places—the waters and shores of the Detroit River…After decades of struggling to overcome the Detroit River’s polluted past, a variety of fish and bird species have re-established themselves in the watershed. The budding osprey population is joined by increasing numbers of walleye, lake sturgeon and whitefish as well as bird species like the bald eagle and peregrine falcon.” We’re talking about Detroit, at one time the manufacturing capital of the world, and still a gritty manufacturing center. This is happening all over the country.

In a 2014 Wall Street Journal article, “The Scarcity Fallacy”, Matt Ridley identifies many instances when ecologists predicted the world’s resources would run out, though technological innovation has since broken through these limits again and again. Against the evidence of history, many believe that if we can’t solve a problem today, then it will still be a problem next year and next decade. Dire predictions are often based on this misconception.

Fact: we have the technology to go from toilet to tap, if the psychological barrier can be surmounted. Oil and gas reserves that were supposed to have already run out are now projected to last far into the future due to fracking and shale oil technology innovations. Trenchless technologies now allow us to repair and replace infrastructure with minimal disruption of the surface environment. There is also abundant sensory evidence that the environment has been steadily improving. Some can remember the days when oil sheens covered rivers and lakes, when coal-fired home furnaces produced black palls over our cities, when industrial and municipal wastes were dumped on empty sites or in unsecure pits. These environmental scars have been virtually eradicated in America. Many of these improvements came about because of the efforts of dedicated environmentalists.

The reason these science-based assessments are important is that a good environmental end may not be morally compelling when evaluated in relation to other—conflicting—good ends: thousands of jobs; products to keep us well-nourished, healthy, and safe; property rights; or even another good but conflicting environmental end, such as zero water discharge versus lowest carbon footprint.

Rejecting ideology, finding balance

The ideology of many in the environmental movement also bears examining. There is a quasi-religious and especially virulent element in the environmental movement for whom, as the Journal puts it, “climate change has become a totemic cultural issue, like abortion and gay marriage…What matters is that they are on the right side of the cultural and political symbolism.”

Without weighing in on the complex issue of climate change, I am suggesting that environmentalism has become a moral lodestone to many, one in which facts, data, evidence are of secondary concern. Among these vocal activists, you will find the themes that man—exerting an unsustainable carbon footprint—is a threat rather than a transcendent creature; that man should have no more legal or ethical standing (and maybe less) than any other animal; that messy free markets are environmental threats; that states or intergovernmental organizations with people who know better ought to be establishing economic, environmental, and energy policy; in short, a materialistic interpretation of the relationship between man and the planet. And lest we think that these themes are limited to the radical fringe, some of these tenets are seeping into mainstream environmentalism.

Given a free hand, these movement activists’ energy and industrial policies could return us to the days of freezing in the winter, roasting in the summer, and perishing from lack of food and the pharmaceuticals that keep diseases at bay. More importantly, the Catholic concept of man undergoes violent deconstruction with this ideology, or quasi-religion. Man's work and dignity should not be subordinated to the natural world, which is far different from saying man should be able to rape the world to satisfy his appetites. The right balance is achieved when man is properly formed in relation to virtue and reason so that he behaves responsibly in relation to the environment. Sadly, the materialistic dogma that many of these activists espouse views virtue, and even reason, as mere human or societal constructs.

It’s important to recall that Catholics have done groundbreaking work in the sciences. In a recent Magnificat article, “The Church and the Beginning of It All”, Anthony Esolen writes about the Jesuit priest, George Lemaitre, who first espoused the Big Bang Theory (convincing Einstein), and the monk, Gregor Mendel, who is considered the father of the science of genetics. I worked with a faithful Catholic engineer with a balanced environmental perspective who is more knowledgeable than anyone in the world on the subject of automotive water/wastewater treatment. Many Catholics may be unaware of the number of highly esteemed Catholic scientists. Serious and committed Catholics, far from being anti-science, embrace honest and ethical scientific inquiry, while recognizing that the competency of science does not extend to the ultimate philosophical questions.

Certainly, there are environmental issues of concern today, even in a cleaner America: invasive species, occasional outbreaks of pathogens and toxic algae in water supplies, spills, failing and leaking infrastructure. But considering our track record in the past century, these threats are solvable, or at least manageable.

Catholics with an interest in the environment should attempt to separate legitimate science from ideological noise and organizational self-interest; not an easy task these days, and recognize that the environmental scare of the month may not be morally compelling, but this rational approach to the environment should be governed by an awareness that though man was given dominion over the Earth—women and men are more than just intelligent animals—we are also expected to be good stewards of this world and its resources.


What fun! A prominent Communist who is a climate skeptic

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff  has repeatedly claimed international leadership for Brazil on climate change in international forums, based on successes in reducing Amazon deforestation.

But days before the start of the new year, Rousseff appointed two ministers who cast doubt on Brazil’s leadership and bode ill for the atmosphere – especially given increases in Brazil’s deforestation rates from 2012–2013 and signs that deforestation may be once again be on the increase.

President Rousseff’s recent statements on climate change

Just three months ago in her address to the UN General Assembly in New York, President Rousseff discussed the challenge of climate change and lauded the Secretary General for convening a leaders' summit, which she said would strengthen the negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change:

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our times. To overcome it, we need a sense of urgency, political courage and the understanding that each of us should contribute according to the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities…

The Brazilian Government will strive to ensure that the outcome of negotiations leads to an agreement that is balanced, fair and effective.

President Rousseff went on to highlight Brazil’s success in the last decade in reducing Amazon deforestation nearly 80% below the 1996–2005 annual average.

Brazil’s actions to control Amazon deforestation (conceived and put into action under the previous administration), and President Rousseff’s assuming international leadership on climate change are good signs for the global struggle to avert disastrous climate change. But her late-December selections for the ministries of Agriculture and Science seem to tell a very different story.

Bad choice #1: Katia Abreu, Minister of Agriculture

The new Minister of Agriculture Katia Abreu was the president of the National Confederation of Agriculture (the national association of large and middle-size landowners and ranchers). As senator, she led the Congress’ powerful anti-environmental, anti-indigenous “bancada ruralista”, or large landowners’, caucus and earned the title among environmentalists of “chainsaw queen.”

The choice was clearly aimed at shoring up precarious support for Rousseff’s Workers’ Party (PT) in the Congress, but at the potential cost of both indigenous rights and the environment. In the polemical 2012 revision of Brazil’s Forest Code, Abreu vehemently promoted radical weakening of forest protection legislation, which was opposed not only by environmentalists but the National Academy of Sciences and Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science.  She also supports proposed Constitutional Amendment 215, strongly opposed by indigenous peoples since it would effectively halt the legal recognition of indigenous territories.

Bad choice #2: Aldo Rebelo, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation

Rebelo is clearly out of touch with modern science on climate change.

The new Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Aldo Rebelo is a long-time Communist Party of Brazil congressman and vocal anti-environmental advocate, and the principal author of the divisive and controversial Forest Code revision.

Rebelo is also on the record rejecting climate science. Note his frankness in a July 2014 letter to his former colleague in the Congress and current policy director for the Brazilian NGO Instituto Socioambiental, Márcio Santilli, in response to Santilli’s critique of his proposed revision to the Forest Code. (Note: I’ve translated part of the fourth paragraph from Portuguese, broken up the paragraph for ease of reading online)

"The positivist scientism that you call natural science and contrast with my devotion to dialectical materialism is not magical enough to convert me to the article of faith that is the theory of global warming, which is incompatible with current knowledge.

Science is not an oracle. In fact, there is no scientific proof of the projections of global warming, much less that it is occurring because of human action and not because of natural phenomena. It is a construct based on computer simulations.

In fact, my tradition links me to a line of scientific thought that prioritizes doubt over certainty and does not silence a question at the first response. Parallel to the extraordinary advances and conquests that Science has bequeathed to the progress of Humanity, come innumerable errors, frauds or manipulations always spun in the service of countries that finance certain research projects or projections.

I am curious to know whether those who today accept the theory of global warming and its alleged anthropogenic causes as unshakeable dogma, are the same ones who some years ago announced, with identical divine certainty, global cooling.

Interestingly, old-line Communist Rebelo is on exactly the same page on climate science as the hardest of the hard-core tea partiers in the United States: it’s all speculation – “scientism” – not real science."

I wonder what he does with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its 2,000+ climate scientists and experts, its ever-increasing certainty that climate change is mostly caused by human beings and will, if not urgently addressed, lead to catastrophic consequences? Or the clear evidence, rehashed at every climate conference for at least the last decade, that the poorest countries that have contributed the least to the problem are those that are already suffering the most drastic consequences in the form of sea level rise, floods and droughts?



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

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6 January, 2015

Is Antarctica melting?

The article below says it is but is surprisingly reticent about attributing it to global warming.  Why?  I think it's because the writer knows what is actually going on.  There has indeed been  some melting in Western Antarctica -- exactly where subsurface vulcanism is now known to be occurring.  You would melt too if you had a volcano under you!  There is extensive vulcanism around both the North and South poles. They appear to be earth's most active volcanic regions in fact.  The Gakkel ridge in the Arctic is particularly active. The icecaps normally hide our view of such activity, however

“THIS IS really happening,” NASA’s Thomas P. Wagner told the New York Times in May, describing the collapse of ice formations in western Antarctica. Since then, the news has only gotten worse.

According to a new paper in Geophysical Research Letters, the ice loss in a particularly vulnerable Antarctic region has accelerated over the past two decades — to 18 billion tons a year, three times the 20-year average. A Mount Everest’s worth of ice has slipped away every couple of years, researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California at Irvine found, comparing data from four different sources.

A second paper elaborated on the culprit: Warm water from deep below the surface is lapping up higher than before, undermining a massive frozen shelf that traps ice on land. This effect could mean trouble elsewhere around Antarctica, undermining the huge glaciers covering the continent.

All of these findings are bad news for sea levels, which could rise on the high end of scientists’ estimates over the coming decades if Antarctica continues down the path it seems to be on. That would inundate coastal communities in the United States and elsewhere.

As with so many alarming natural hazards, directly attributing some or all of western Antarctica’s ice loss to climate change is still a difficult business. But that is not a reason for comfort. Even in the surprising circumstance that there is no connection in this particular case, humans have no interest in policies that risk raising sea levels further.


Negligible Climate Sensitivity to CO2

by Dr Vincent Gray   

Most scientists would agree that carbon dioxide and other trace gases cause a warming of the global climate as a result of absorption of the infra red radiation from the earth by their spectral bands. spectrum

Weather forecasting meteorologists measure the many properties of the climate, and provide a daily presentation of their influence on the global climate. But they have never found evidence that trace gas concentrations are sufficiently important in forecasting even to require regular measurement.

Scientists involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argue that carbon dioxide and other trace gases are not only important, but even the only cause of climate warming since 1750 and responsible for further warming as the concentrations rise.

They characterise the extent of this warming by the Climate Sensitivity. which is essentially the additional temperature change, modified by feedbacks, of a doubling of the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. It may be defined thus:

?TCS = ?TT x ?FCS /?FT

?TCS is the Climate Sensitivity
?TT is the temperature change since 1750
?FCS is the radiative forcing from doubling carbon dioxide
?FT is the radiative forcing since 1750.

The earth does not possess a temperature and there is no procedure whereby its average temperature could be measured.

As a substitute, the IPCC has promoted a global temperature anomaly based on weather station and sea surface measurements. This suffers from several violations of mathematical and physical principles, well exposed in the early paper by Hansen and Lebedeff (1997) who launched it.

They assumed that the unreliable mean of the maximum and minimum temperatures from a weather station applied over a circle of 1,200 km.  The globe was divided into 5º x5º squares, the weather stations from each area averaged once more and subtracted from the average temperature for a reference period.

The measurements are not from representative samples and even this absence of representativity changes with time. The number of stations varies and the entire sequence lacks acceptable uniformity and estimates of accuracy and bias.

It is assumed that apart from solar change or effects of volcanoes, all other temperature change since 1750 was caused by changes in 'greenhouse gas'  concentrations. This assumption derives from the Framework Convention on Climate Change which stated:

"Climate change" means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

This definition assumes that the natural climate properties measured by meteorologist are merely variable so that over a long period, such as that from 1750 to 2000, they could be assumed not to change at all but just vary.

Appendix II The IPCC 2013 Report lists figures for their temperature anomaly for every decade from 1750 to 2000. These are used with the table of figures for radiative forcing to calculate climate sensitivity.

The claimed temperature rise from 1750 to 2000 of 0.773ºC is below the accuracy of the daily weather forecast (±2.0ºC and ±1.0ºC bias) and well below any plausible estimate of accuracy or bias from the derivation of the record. The figure is simply without statistical significance.

Geologists know that there are changes of climate from natural reasons in every geological period, short or long, whether or not human influences existed. There have been several where carbon dioxide concentrations were not related to assumed temperatures.

The FCCC assumption that all natural climate properties are merely variable may not be true. Perhaps some or all of the claimed temperature change since 1750 had natural causes.

The First IPCC Report (1990) suggested that recent temperature increases could have been a recovery from the Little Ice Age (1550 -1850). Some increase was due to urban development and some to the persistent attempts to manipulate the record, as summarized by D’Aleo and Watts (2010).

The Mean Global Annual Surface Temperature Anomaly is now incompatible with all the current models, as shown by this diagram from Chapter 2 of IPCC 2013:

Comparison between the IPCC Mean Annual Global Surface Temperature Anomaly and the current IPCC climate models (IPCC 2012 Chapter 2).

Because of this failure and the fact that the IPCC Mean Annual Global Temperature anomaly has not changed for the past 17 years, they have decided to treat it on a decadal basis instead, as follows:

This irregularity is simply not compatible with a theory that it is caused by a steadily increasing concentration of 'greenhouse gases.'

There is a much more plausible temperature anomaly record from measurements in the lower atmosphere since 1978 by Microwave Sounder Units (MSU) on NASA satellites, measuring the microwave spectrum of oxygen. Their results are confirmed by weather balloons which have been providing a record since 1958. Since 2000 all of the records are beginning to resemble one another.

They provide further evidence that IPCC models are currently incapable of predicting climate properties. These results show that IPCC figures for climate sensitivity are far too high, and the opinion of the meteorologists that its value is negligible is confirmed.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Aren’t they supposed to be able to handle a bit of wind? 260ft turbine buckles and collapses in 15mph breeze

A large wind turbine worth £500,000 mysteriously collapsed on an Irish mountainside during light winds.

The 262ft tall structure was found buckled and destroyed at Screggagh wind farm on Murley Mountain in County Tyrone, Fintona.

An investigation has now been launched into what caused the huge structure to collapse amid the sound of grinding metal, which could be heard as far away as seven miles.

It remains unclear why the turbine fell on Friday, during a period of light winds which reached around 15mph - the equivalent of a breeze.

The wreckage of the turbine was a mass of twisted and buckled metal.

Debris from the large mechanical structure was scattered across the mountain in northern Ireland, where it stood with eight others.

It is understood the rotor blades spun out of control and the sound of the mechanical structure crashing to the ground was compared to an explosion.

Others said they heard grinding metal and a sound like thunder as the huge structure fell.

Doreen Walker, director of the wind farm, said: 'There were fortunately no injuries and no personnel on site at the time. We are currently investigating the circumstances that led to the collapse of the turbine at Screggagh wind farm.

'We are however satisfied that the site's precautionary health and safety alert processes worked well with local emergency services in attendance within minutes of the incident taking place.

Ms Walker said they were 'working closely' with Nordex UK, the supplier of the wind farm turbines, to ensure the site is safe.  'A further statement will be made once the investigation has been completed and the reasons for the failure confirmed,' she added.

In January last year a 115ft tall turbine was felled by gales in Bradworthy in Devon.

Months later three turbines - built to withstand winds of  up to 115mph fell when speeds barely reached 50mph in Devon.

The Health and Safety Executive found the cause of the crashing turbines was due to faults in the way they had been put together, which could have affected hundreds of others 


Weather Service: Fewest Tornadoes on Record in Oklahoma in 2014

Just 16 tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma in 2014, which the National Weather Service says is the fewest on record.

Oklahoma state climatologist Gary McManus says a combination of factors led to the relative lack of tornadoes, The Oklahoman reported,

The first five months of the year were among the driest on record, and tornado outbreaks are not common during dry conditions because there are few thunderstorms to produce them, McManus said. When rain did come, it tended to be from warm air masses that brought moisture but little severe weather.

“There really wasn’t a lot of severe weather at all in 2014,” McManus said.

The year’s strongest tornado was an EF2 on April 27 that cut an 11-mile path through Ottawa County and Cherokee County, Kansas. One person died in Quapaw, and at least five businesses and 15 homes were destroyed. Dozens more buildings, including the city’s fire station, sustained damage.

Meanwhile, rebuilding continued in areas affected by devastating tornadoes in 2013.

Moore’s Plaza Towers and Briarwood elementary schools, which were destroyed by the deadly EF5 tornado on May 20, 2013, reopened in August.

Construction began in June on Norman Regional Medical Center’s new location in Moore, on the site of the former Moore Medical Center, which was also destroyed by the tornado.

Canadian Valley Technology Center officials broke ground on the center’s El Reno campus in November, which will replace the previous one that was in ruins after the May 31, 2013, EF3 tornado.


Australia: Green-left ruining living standards

GINA Rinehart has hit out at “haters” and the left-wing “propaganda” she says will stop at nothing to “ruin” the mining operations that keep Australia wealthy.

The West Australian, our nation’s richest person with an estimated fortune of about $20 billion, has also criticised the “notoriously expensive” bur­eaucracy and “time consuming over-regulation” holding back crucial business opportunities.

And she said she doesn’t agree with a recent move by the Barnett Government to offer an assistance package to the state’s junior iron ore miners struggling because of the price crash.

“The haters are quite happy to take all the benefits of mining – and spend all the tax revenue from the industry, but in the next breath they want us closed down. It’s just plainly irrational,” Ms Rinehart told The Sunday Times.

“I cop a lot of the flak for being pro-mining and pro-free enterprise, both necessary to raise living standards in our country.

“When the green-left can’t win on facts, they get personal. “They will try at anything to ruin those people and companies they see as those who don’t support their propaganda.

“The mining and related ­industries need to speak up for themselves and that responsibility shouldn’t fall to just a few.”

She said mining created jobs for about 250,000 Australians “in places where there may otherwise not be work”.

Ms Rinehart spoke to The Sunday Times after her Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara was named the Asia-Pac­ific Deal of the Year by Project Finance International.

“Despite what many in the media seem to believe, getting a mega project like Roy Hill this far takes enormous risk, personal effort, and perseverance,” she said.

“Roy Hill is one of the largest mainland construction projects anywhere in Australia.  “There’s been many years of work, studies and investment to get to here but some still think you just get a tenement and, presto, it all happens, and money starts to roll in. Nothing could be further from reality.”

Ms Rinehart said Roy Hill was the “last of the big projects in the immediate pipeline for WA”. She said it was on track to complete its first iron ore shipment in September, but the biggest problem would be the cyclone season.

“We are ahead of our already aggressive schedules,” she said. “Australian projects are not renowned for making their schedules so our achievements are sending a strong message to Asia that Aussies can do it.”

The falling iron ore price, which recently hit a five-year low of $US68 a tonne, doesn’t concern Ms Rinehart.  But, she said Australia must act “urgently” to cut bureaucracy costs.

“Roy Hill is better placed than many with our low-cost business model,” she said.  “We are a project for a generation as well, so we look to the long-term iron ore pricing.

“There will always be a market for iron ore but like everything – at a competitive price, and Australia needs to recognise this and act to lower its costs, starting with urgently and significantly cutting the costs of bureaucracy.

“Everyone talks about our declining productivity, but too few consider the time wasted and productivity loss caused by very costly and time consuming over-regulation.”

Ms Rinehart said all levels of government “must wake-up and give Australia a chance”.

“People are not going to buy our resources just because they love Aussies,” she said.  “We face competition from emerging nations who can supply sometimes higher-grade ore at lower prices.  “Common sense tells you what is going to happen unless governments wise up and act.

“Just to get to here today, my team at Roy Hill has had to navigate more than 3000 regulatory hurdles. Some of them require thousands of pages of paperwork taking months and years to comply.”

Ms Rinehart said governments “shouldn’t be bailing out businesses”; instead they “should be getting out of the way”.

The Barnett Government recently said it would provide a 50 per cent rebate on iron ore royalties for up to 12 months, subject to the iron ore price remaining below an average of $US73 a tonne over the period.


A sweeping triumph for Greenies in Australia -- with cyclist liberation in Queensland

This is dream legislation for Greenies.  They hate cars (except their own, of course) and this facilitates an alternative to cars.  But it goes way too far.  Cyclists should always be obliged to use cycle lanes where they are available.  I wouldn't be surprised if angry motorists knocked a few of them down over unnecessary but now legal obstruction.  Whoever put this legislation through must have bypassed all consultation

Since January 1, cyclists have been allowed to ride in any lane on a multi-lane road, ride across pedestrian crossings without dismounting and are no longer required to ride inside designated cycle lanes.

Cyclist Stewart Moore of Tarragindi said riders and drivers needed to learn how to better share the road.  “As soon as people start getting aware (of the rules) the whole road culture changes, and that has to happen over a period of time where we learn to better share the road,” Mr Moore said. “Cyclists have to understand their role, and it goes the same for cars.”

Mr Moore said many cyclists were not clear on the previous road rules, and the new changes have helped to formalise the situation.

Cyclist Tony O’Brien of Sunnybank Hills said the changes to cycling rules were “common sense”, including allowing cyclists to ride their bikes across pedestrian and children’s crossings.

“We don’t make people get out of their car and push it across the road,” he said.

However, RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said the rules had cleared up common misunderstandings about what cyclists were allowed to do.

“The new rules have made it clearer to understand what cyclists can do,” Mr Roth said.

“But it’s important for the government to educate the public on the cycling rules.”


* Cyclists are NOT obliged to ride in the bicycle lane, and can ride on the road instead.

* A cyclist is able to ride across a zebra or children’s crossing as long as they come to a complete stop before doing so.

* Cyclists can choose to take up the whole lane at a single-lane roundabout.

* Cars must give a minimum passing distance of at least 1m in a 60km/h zone, or 1.5m in a speed zone of above 60km/h.



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

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


5 January, 2015

Naughty Naomi gives us a lesson in statistics

Naomi Oreskes works in a similar way to the tyrants who claim that they "won" an election in which 99% of the population voted  for them.  Naomi goes one better than that.  She has claimed that 100%
But that is all old hat now so let us look at her latest effusion below.  She says a number of broadly correct and reasonable things about statistical analysis and seems to hope that we won't notice her going off the rails after that.

She starts to go off the rails when she defends the indefensible EPA verdict about secondhand smoke.  But I won't go into that here.  Fred Singer once pointed out the statistical realities there and has ever since been branded a pawn of the tobacco industry.  As usual, the Left substituted abuse for the facts. If you really want to know the facts, See here and here and here and here and here and here and here, for instance.

And after that point dear Naomi simply substitutes assertion for facts.  He entire screed about statistics might as well not exist for all the relevance that it has to what she says from that point on.  She simply says that "We know" that CO2 is warming the planet.  She gives no facts or argument to support that.  Not surprising, I guess, seeing that CO2 is NOT warming the planet.  Even many warmists (e.g. Hansen, Pachauri) now concede that there has been a warming "pause" for 18 years.

And she really gets hilarious in her final paragraph.  She says:  "We are now seeing dangerous effects worldwide, even as we approach a rise of only 1 degree Celsius"

So how long have we been "approaching" that one degree rise?  Only 150 years!  She speaks as if we could get there any minute. The fact that it took 150 years to get only two thirds of the way there she does not mention.  And what are the dangerous effects worldwide?  She does not say.  She certainly does not mention that extreme weather events have declined in frequency in recent years.

So what are we to make of this strange screed?  It is simply propaganda aimed at uninformed people and willing believers.  And the screed appears in the modern day Goebbels: The New York Times.  So that explains it all, I think

SCIENTISTS have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.

Science is conservative, and new claims of knowledge are greeted with high degrees of skepticism. When Copernicus said the Earth orbited the sun, when Wegener said the continents drifted, and when Darwin said species evolved by natural selection, the burden of proof was on them to show that it was so. In the 18th and 19th centuries, this conservatism generally took the form of a demand for a large amount of evidence; in the 20th century, it took on the form of a demand for statistical significance.

We’ve all heard the slogan “correlation is not causation,” but that’s a misleading way to think about the issue. It would be better to say that correlation is not necessarily causation, because we need to rule out the possibility that we are just observing a coincidence. Typically, scientists apply a 95 percent confidence limit, meaning that they will accept a causal claim only if they can show that the odds of the relationship’s occurring by chance are no more than one in 20. But it also means that if there’s more than even a scant 5 percent possibility that an event occurred by chance, scientists will reject the causal claim. It’s like not gambling in Las Vegas even though you had a nearly 95 percent chance of winning.

Where does this severe standard come from? The 95 percent confidence level is generally credited to the British statistician R. A. Fisher, who was interested in the problem of how to be sure an observed effect of an experiment was not just the result of chance. While there have been enormous arguments among statisticians about what a 95 percent confidence level really means, working scientists routinely use it.

But the 95 percent level has no actual basis in nature. It is a convention, a value judgment. The value it reflects is one that says that the worst mistake a scientist can make is to think an effect is real when it is not. This is the familiar “Type 1 error.” You can think of it as being gullible, fooling yourself, or having undue faith in your own ideas. To avoid it, scientists place the burden of proof on the person making an affirmative claim. But this means that science is prone to “Type 2 errors”: being too conservative and missing causes and effects that are really there.

Is a Type 1 error worse than a Type 2? It depends on your point of view, and on the risks inherent in getting the answer wrong. The fear of the Type 1 error asks us to play dumb; in effect, to start from scratch and act as if we know nothing. That makes sense when we really don’t know what’s going on, as in the early stages of a scientific investigation. It also makes sense in a court of law, where we presume innocence to protect ourselves from government tyranny and overzealous prosecutors — but there are no doubt prosecutors who would argue for a lower standard to protect society from crime.

When applied to evaluating environmental hazards, the fear of gullibility can lead us to understate threats. It places the burden of proof on the victim rather than, for example, on the manufacturer of a harmful product. The consequence is that we may fail to protect people who are really getting hurt.

And what if we aren’t dumb? What if we have evidence to support a cause-and-effect relationship? Let’s say you know how a particular chemical is harmful; for example, that it has been shown to interfere with cell function in laboratory mice. Then it might be reasonable to accept a lower statistical threshold when examining effects in people, because you already have reason to believe that the observed effect is not just chance.

This is what the United States government argued in the case of secondhand smoke. Since bystanders inhaled the same chemicals as smokers, and those chemicals were known to be carcinogenic, it stood to reason that secondhand smoke would be carcinogenic, too. That is why the Environmental Protection Agency accepted a (slightly) lower burden of proof: 90 percent instead of 95 percent.

In the case of climate change, we are not dumb at all. We know that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, we know that its concentration in the atmosphere has increased by about 40 percent since the industrial revolution, and we know the mechanism by which it warms the planet.

WHY don’t scientists pick the standard that is appropriate to the case at hand, instead of adhering to an absolutist one? The answer can be found in a surprising place: the history of science in relation to religion. The 95 percent confidence limit reflects a long tradition in the history of science that valorizes skepticism as an antidote to religious faith.

Even as scientists consciously rejected religion as a basis of natural knowledge, they held on to certain cultural presumptions about what kind of person had access to reliable knowledge. One of these presumptions involved the value of ascetic practices. Nowadays scientists do not live monastic lives, but they do practice a form of self-denial, denying themselves the right to believe anything that has not passed very high intellectual hurdles.

Moreover, while vigorously denying its relation to religion, modern science retains symbolic vestiges of prophetic tradition, so many scientists bend over backward to avoid these associations. A vast majority of scientists do not speak in public at all, and those who do typically speak in highly guarded, qualified terms. They often refuse to use the language of danger even when danger is precisely what they are talking about.

Years ago, climate scientists offered an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as the “safe” limit or ceiling for the long-term warming of the planet. We are now seeing dangerous effects worldwide, even as we approach a rise of only 1 degree Celsius. The evidence is mounting that scientists have underpredicted the threat. Perhaps this is another reason — along with our polarized politics and the effect of fossil-fuel lobbying — we have underreacted to the reality, now unfolding before our eyes, of dangerous climate change.


The Great Pause lengthens again

Global temperature update: the Pause is now 18 years 3 months

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Since October 1996 there has been no global warming at all (Fig. 1). This month’s RSS [1] temperature plot pushes up the period without any global warming from 18 years 2 months to 18 years 3 months.

Figure 1. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the RSS satellite monthly global mean surface temperature anomaly dataset shows no global warming for 18 years 3 months since October 1996

The hiatus period of 18 years 3 months, or 219 months, is the farthest back one can go in the RSS satellite temperature record and still show a sub-zero trend.

As the Pope unwisely prepares to abandon forever the political neutrality that his office enjoins upon him, and to put his signature to a climate-Communist encyclical largely drafted by the radical Prefect of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Mgr. Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the Almighty continues to display a sense of humor.

We are now less than a year away the Paris world-government conference. Yet the global warming that the IPCC had so confidently but misguidedly predicted 25 years ago has stopped altogether.

Figure 2. Near-term projections of warming at a rate equivalent to 2.8 [1.9, 4.2] K/century, made with “substantial confidence” in IPCC (1990), January 1990 to November 2014 (orange region and red trend line), vs. observed anomalies (dark blue) and trend (bright blue) at less than 1.4 K/century equivalent, taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH satellite monthly mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.

A quarter-century after 1990, the global-warming outturn to date – expressed as the least-squares linear-regression trend on the mean of the RSS [1] and UAH [2] monthly global mean surface temperature anomalies – is 0.34 Cº, equivalent to just 1.4 Cº/century, or a little below half of the central estimate in IPCC (1990) and well below even the least estimate (Fig. 2).

The Great Pause is a growing embarrassment to those who had told us with “substantial confidence” that the science was settled and the debate over. Nature had other ideas.

Though approaching 70 mutually incompatible and more or less implausible excuses for the Pause are appearing in nervous reviewed journals and among proselytizing scientists, the possibility that the Pause is occurring because the computer models are simply wrong about the sensitivity of temperature to manmade greenhouse gases can no longer be dismissed, and is demonstrated in a major peer-reviewed paper published this month in the Orient’s leading science journal.

In 1990, the IPCC’s central estimate of near-term warming was higher by two-thirds than it is today. Then it was 2.8 C/century equivalent. Now it is just 1.7 Cº equivalent – and, as Fig. 3 shows, even that is proving to be a substantial exaggeration.

On the RSS satellite data, there has been no global warming statistically distinguishable from zero for more than 26 years. None of the models predicted that, in effect, there would be no global warming for a quarter of a century.

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

Figures 'prove Scotland has enough wind farms already'

Interesting that the WWF is coming down on wind farms.  Long overdue considering what the turbine blades so to bats and birds
Nicola Sturgeon is under pressure to stop the spread of wind farms across Scotland’s countryside after environmentalists claimed existing turbines are already meeting the country’s electricity needs.

WWF Scotland published figures claiming that wind power generated enough power to supply the electrical needs of 98 per cent of the country’s households on average in 2014.

According to its data, wind farms generated the equivalent of more than 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs during six of the last 12 months, including a “record” amount in December. This dipped to only 37 per cent in June when the weather was relatively still.

But the annual average suggests that the SNP’s target of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of the country’s electricity was all but met in 2014, six years ahead of the party's 2020 deadline.

Despite some councils complaining they have reached “saturation point”, SNP ministers have prevented them from declaring a temporary ban on the construction of more wind farms even where the National Grid would struggle to carry the electricity they generate.

Separate figures showed a record £53.2 million was paid out to wind farm companies in 2014 to switch off their turbines because their electricity was not needed or would have overloaded the Grid.

This was 63 per cent higher than the 2013 total of £32.7 million. The Whitelee wind farm in East Renfrewshire, the UK’s largest, accounted for more than £12 million.

The Scottish Conservatives last night urged Ms Sturgeon to reconsider a moratorium on more wind farms and called for “far more emphasis” on conventional methods of generation.

Murdo Fraser, the party’s energy spokesman, said: “These figures show that, since the Scottish Government is so close to meeting its target, there is no need whatsoever for any new developments to be agreed.

"The SNP may trumpet these numbers, but it doesn't change the fact that we still need a balanced energy portfolio for those many, many days when the wind doesn't blow."

The Scottish Government’s updated planning policy for turbines said it was “not appropriate” for local authorities to introduce moratoriums despite some warning they have already reached “saturation point”.

The transmission network lacks the capacity to transport some of the electricity generated by wind farms in rural Scotland to urban centres in England where it is most needed.

This has led to wind farm companies being handed millions of pounds a year in "constraint payments" – which ultimately come from household bills – to switch off their turbines when the National Grid is unable to cope with the power they produce. This can happen during periods of stormy weather.

According to the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), Whitelee, which has 215 turbines and is operated by ScottishPower Renewables, was paid more than £638,000 on New Year’s Day alone.

The WWF Scotland research said wind farms provided enough electricity to power all Scotland’s homes in January, February, March, October, November and December last year.

The top two months were December and February respectively, when turbines generated 164 per cent and 163 per cent respectively of Scottish households’ electricity needs.

However, in June this figure dipped to 37 per cent and in September only 41 per cent. The highest total was reached on December 10 when wind farms generated 262 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs.

The same day the UK’s wind farms were paid £385,142 to switch off their turbines, according to REF, with Whitelee accounting for more than £144,000.

Lang Banks, WWF Scotland's director, said: "Without doubt, 2014 was a massive year for renewables, with wind turbines and solar panels helping to ensure millions of tonnes of climate-wreaking carbon emissions were avoided.

"With 2015 being a critical year for addressing climate change internationally, it's vital that Scotland continues to press ahead with plans to harness even greater amounts of clean energy.”

Rob Gibson, a senior SNP MSP, said: “These are very welcome figures which demonstrate that the Scottish Government's commitment to and investment in renewables are paying dividends.”

A ScottishPower Renewables spokesman said: “We don’t ever want to be constrained, but we are told occasionally that we need to reduce output, so the wider grid system isn’t adversely affected.

“The constraints system has been in place for electricity generators of all types for many years. Generators pay substantial fees to connect to the electricity network, and receive compensation when they are instructed by National Grid to stop or reduce production for a period.”


Naomi again:  We Greenies are not NIMBYs

Now that she is opposing development in her own backyard, she is at pains to say that her opposition is not merely based on personal convenience.  I agree with her.  I think her opposition is deeply ideological. She says at length that her opposition is based on a love of natural beauty but that is almost certainly just camouflage.  An interesting test of that would be to hear what she says about wind farms.  They GROSSLY despoil naturally beautiful landscapes.  Is she against them too?  I'm guessing not.

She opposes the building of a power line that will bring much-needed electricity to New England.  Power is already so scarce there that the price mechanism has pushed up electricity bills for residents to unprecedented heights. 

So what is her solution to that problem?  She has none. She simply says airily: "There are other ways to address future energy demand".  No details.

I guess she is so well paid that electricity bills don't worry her.  They are only of concern to the unimportant "little people" who need Greenies to make them behave properly.

By Naomi Oreskes

The term NIMBY – “not in my back yard”– has long been used to criticize people who oppose commercial or industrial development in their communities. Invariably pejorative, it casts citizens as selfish individualists who care only for themselves, hypocrites who want the benefits of modernity without paying its costs.

Communities and individuals who oppose fracking, nuclear power, high voltage power lines, and diverse other forms of development have all been accused of NIMBYism. It’s time to rethink this term.

A recent example close to my home is the Northern Pass power development, a proposal to bring hydroelectric power from Quebec to consumers in southern New England via a high-voltage power line that would trace the spine of New Hampshire.

Its sponsors tout it as an investment in New Hampshire’s future, stressing the tax revenues and jobs that the project will bring, characterizing hydropower as a clean and renewable energy source, and arguing that the project will help to address an emerging energy crisis in New England.

Opponents note that the lion’s share of the jobs created will be temporary, that the power will be delivered to customers south of the power line, that hydropower is not actually renewable, and that there are other ways to address future energy demand.

They also question the promise of economic benefit, noting that chambers of commerce along the proposed route believe it will hurt tourism and damage real estate values. But the key issue at stake for the opponents is not jobs or money, but beauty.

The project is opposed by the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, The Conservation Law Foundation, and the N.H. Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. All agree that the key issue is the project’s impact on the natural beauty of New Hampshire.

Is natural beauty out of fashion?

It’s a strange comment on our times that we have to make the case for the value of beauty, but perhaps a good sign that increasingly we realize that we needn’t translate it into monetary terms.

People who have chosen to build their lives in New Hampshire – a state with a tough climate and poor employment prospects but miles upon miles of gorgeous natural forests – clearly value it to a high degree. And so do the millions of others who visit them every year. And not just in New Hampshire.

A recent study by the U.S. Forest Service counted more than 160 million visits to the National Forests over a five-year period, and another 300 million occasions when visitors driving scenic highways “appreciated the beauty of the National Forests from their vehicles.”

The primary effect of these visits, Forest Service data indicates, is an improved sense of well-being. Since a majority of these visits involve physical activities (hiking, walking, downhill skiing, fishing, hunting) they contribute to our physical health as well. And the people who make these visits are men and women, adults and children, from all walks of life.

Of course these visits generate tourist revenue, but that isn’t their main value. Tourist revenue is the effect: the cause is that we visit forests, and other beautiful places, because having beauty in our lives is important. It is part of living the good life. It makes us feel better to walk or ski or hunt in the woods. Just think for a moment of autumn leaves. Forests make people happy.

By dismissing opponents as NIMBYists, proponents of Northern Pass and other projects shut down conversations that we should be having about the things we value, including quiet, safety, security, and peace of mind.

We all want energy to light and heat our homes, but at what cost? Would anyone want to live in a warm, well-lit house surrounded by a nuclear waste site?

True democracy calls for open discussion

The pejorative term NIMBY also shuts down key questions about our democracy: Who gets to decide? Who has the burden of proof? And how should citizens be compensated if a collective decision to drill, frack, or burn has apparently injured them, but it can’t be proven because no one did the baseline studies that should have been done but weren’t?

If legal fracking contaminates a private well in a community where there is no public water supply, then what? What if a family find the value of their home diminished, or they can’t sell it at all?

These issues should be discussed and debated, not dismissed. In a democracy, government exists to serve the needs of people, and those needs are not only economic.

NIMBY name-calling also intimidates by provoking what psychologists call stereotype threat. Those of us who care about the natural environment and the health of our communities are often afraid of being labeled NIMBYs, so we bend over backward to insist that we are not anti-business, not anti-technology, and not anti-modern.

Not in anyone’s backyard

There’s nothing wrong with standing up for our own communities, and standing with our fellow citizens who want to preserve their quality of life. Not everything about modernity is worth embracing. We have the right to protect and defend the things we care about. Indeed, it’s defeatist not to.

Most supposedly NIMBY arguments are not NIMBYist at all – they are NIABYist: not in anyone’s backyard. They are about preserving beauty, safety and integrity of communities.

They are about solving problems (like climate change) without creating serious new ones (like nuclear waste and proliferation). They are about finding technologies that enrich our lives, support our health, and increase our prosperity, and not ones that threaten our safety, harm our health, and destroy our natural beauty.


Nuclear power is the greenest option, say top scientists

Environmentalists urged to ditch their historical antagonism and embrace a broad energy mix

Nuclear power is one of the least damaging sources of energy for the environment, and the green movement must accept its expansion if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, some of the world's leading conservation biologists have warned.

Rising demand for energy will place ever greater burdens on the natural world, threatening its rich biodiversity, unless societies accept nuclear power as a key part of the "energy mix", they said. And so the environmental movement and pressure groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace should drop their opposition to the building of nuclear power stations.

In an open letter to be published next month in the journal Conservation Biology, more than 65 biologists, including a former UK government chief scientist, support the call to build more nuclear power plants as a central part of a global strategy to protect wildlife and the environment.

The full gamut of electricity-generation sources, including nuclear power, must be used to replace the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas if the world is to have any chance of mitigating severe climate change, their letter says.

The letter is signed by several leading British academics including Lord May of Oxford, a theoretical biologist at Oxford University and former chief scientific adviser; Professor Andrew Balmford, a conservation biologist at Cambridge; and Professor Tim Blackburn, an expert in biodiversity at University College London.

As well as reducing the sources of carbon dioxide, the chief man-made greenhouse gas implicated in climate change, the expansion of nuclear power will leave more land to support biodiversity and so curb the extinction of species, they say.

Recognising the "historical antagonism towards nuclear energy" among environmentalists, they write: "Much as leading climate scientists have recently advocated the development of safe, next-generation nuclear energy systems to combat climate change, we entreat the conservation and environmental community to weigh up the pros and cons of different energy sources using objective evidence and pragmatic trade-offs, rather than simply relying on idealistic perceptions of what is 'green'."

It is too risky to rely solely on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power for replacing fossil fuels because of problems to do with scalability, cost, materials and land use, they explain.

Along with nuclear power, wind energy has the highest benefit-to-cost ratio Along with nuclear power, wind energy has the highest benefit-to-cost ratio (Getty)
"Nuclear power – being far the most compact and energy-dense of sources – could also make a major, and perhaps leading, contribution …. It is time that conservationists make their voices heard in this policy area," they say.

A golf-ball-sized lump of uranium would supply the lifetime's energy needs of a typical person, equivalent to 56 tanker trucks of natural gas, 800 elephant-sized bags of coal or a renewable battery as tall as 16 "super" skyscraper buildings placed one on top of the other, they said.

The letter was organised by Professor Barry Brook of the University of Tasmania and Professor Corey Bradshaw of the University of Adelaide. The two co-authored a paper in the January issue of Conservation Biology outlining the scientific case of nuclear power in terms of environmental protection. Of seven major technologies for generating electricity, nuclear power and wind energy had the highest benefit-to-cost ratio, they concluded.

"Trade-offs and compromises are inevitable and require advocating energy mixes that minimise net environmental damage. Society cannot afford to risk wholesale failure to address energy-related biodiversity impacts because of preconceived notions and ideals," they said.

Professor Corey told The Independent on Sunday: "Our main concern is that society isn't doing enough to rein in emissions… Unless we embrace a full, global-scale assault on fossil fuels, we'll be in increasingly worse shape over the coming decades – and decades is all we have to act ruthlessly.

"Many so-called green organisations and individuals, including scientists, have avoided or actively lobbied against proven zero-emissions technologies like nuclear because of the associated negative stigma," he said.

"Our main goal was to show – through careful, objective scientific analysis – that on the basis of cost, safety, emissions reduction, land use and pollution, nuclear power must be considered in the future energy mix," he explained.

The letter aims to convince people of the potential benefits of nuclear power in a world where energy demand will increase as the climate begins to change because of rising levels of greenhouse gases, Professor Corey added.

"By convincing leading scientists in the areas of ecological sustainability that nuclear has a role to play, we hope that others opposed to nuclear energy on purely 'environmental' – or ideological – grounds might reconsider their positions," he said.


Carbon tax could be tough sell on Beacon Hill

Massachusetts: Environmentalists got what they wanted last month with the release of a state study that lays the intellectual groundwork for a multibillion dollar “carbon tax” on gasoline, heating oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels blamed for accelerating climate change.

Using the study’s findings, environmentalists are planning to renew a push this year to pass a carbon tax in Massachusetts, after previous attempts faltered on Beacon Hill. State Senator Michael Barrett, Democrat of Lexington, said he will file carbon tax legislation later this month.

Then comes the hard part: Persuading skeptical lawmakers and residents that increasing gasoline and heating oil prices by a minimum of 27 cents per gallon and monthly natural gas bills by 12 percent is the politically and economically right thing to do.

Keep in mind, the Legislature only reluctantly approved a 3 cents per gallon increase in the state’s gas tax two years ago and voters two months ago repealed a measure that tied future gas-tax increases to the rate of inflation.

Add skyrocketing electricity prices, and it’s not exactly a friendly climate for those wanting to tax fossil fuels into near oblivion in Massachusetts.

“The idea of a ‘carbon tax’ opens up a huge public policy question involving hundreds of moving pieces,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed fiscal watchdog group. “It won’t happen overnight. It will take a lot of time and a lot of debate to convince people.”

The carbon tax is considered by policy analysts as a blunt but effective instrument to discourage the use of fossil fuels, which emit so-called greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that contribute to global warming. Supporters of such a tax concede that heavily taxing gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas would by itself spur fierce opposition, but they propose offsetting the costs with tax breaks or direct rebates to taxpayers.

Such a plan, supporters say, would cut carbon emissions by as much as 5 to 10 percent a year while minimizing the potential economic harm.

This “revenue neutral” approach is modeled on British Columbia, Canada, which in 2008 implemented a carbon tax while deeply cutting individual and corporate income taxes. The province today has the lowest personal income tax in Canada and one of the lowest corporate income taxes in North America — and it has cut fuel consumption by 16 percent, according to published reports

“We really see a revenue-neutral carbon tax as a transformative policy,” said Rebecca Morris, spokeswoman for Climate XChange, a local environmental advocacy group.

The state study, which cost $150,000 to produce, recommended direct rebates to residents. It estimated a carbon tax, based on pricing carbon emissions at $30 per metric ton, would raise about $1.75 billion a year, which translates into a 27 cents per gallon jump in gasoline and heating oil prices, a 12 percent rise in natural gas prices, and unspecified increases in electricity rates.

Revenues would soar even higher if carbon emissions are priced above $30 per metric ton, as is the case in Sweden, which has a $168 per ton tax and keeps the revenues for other government programs. A total of 14 countries have variations of a carbon tax, some with offsetting tax cuts and rebates, others without.

No state in America has an economywide carbon tax.

The Massachusetts study — conducted by a team of energy and economic consulting firms hired by the state Department of Energy Resources — projected that the state might experience small job and income gains as a result of revenue-neutral carbon taxes, largely through consumers and businesses buying less energy produced in other states and countries. That would mean more money staying in the Massachusetts economy and spent on goods and services from local firms, the report concluded.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, an economic research firm in West Chester, Pa., said it’s possible to craft a revenue-neutral carbon tax that minimizes harm to an economy. “A carbon tax is a great idea to reduce carbon emissions and cut your dependence on foreign oil, assuming it’s done right,” said Zandi.

But the state report also noted that energy-intensive industries, such as transportation, manufacturing, construction, and utilities, would probably see job and income losses. Michael Ferrante, president of Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association, a trade group for heating oil dealers and wholesalers, said it doesn’t make sense to impose a new tax on fossil fuels when Massachusetts consumers and businesses already pay some of highest energy prices in the nation.

He added that he believes lawmakers would ultimately abandon carbon tax offsets and spend the revenues on other programs.

“That’s the most laughable aspect of this entire thing,” he said. “The ‘revenue neutral’ idea is just a Trojan horse to get the tax passed. They want to tax [fossil fuels] out of existence.”

Governor-elect Charlie Baker, whose inauguration is Thursday, has yet to take a position on the findings of the carbon tax study. During the recent gubernatorial campaign. Baker was asked at an environmental forum if he would support an “economywide,” revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Baker praised efforts to lower carbon emissions, but said he didn’t want to “do anything that profoundly disadvantages the economy, the citizens, the businesses of Massachusetts relative to other states.”

It wasn’t an outright rejection of a carbon tax — but not an endorsement either.



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

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


4 January, 2015

Vineyards are ditching grape varieties that can't cope with rising global temperatures (?)

Amusing:  Wine wisdom from Sweden.  An unusual domaine, surely.  I suppose you could grow grapes in glasshouses there but then how would you describe the terroir? Risibly, I guess.

Sarcasm aside, however, the whole thing is demonstrable nonsense.  The thermometers tell us that global temperatures have changed by only hundredths of one degree over the last 18 years  -- not remotely enough to affect anything.  Grapes are grown over a far wider temperature range than that.  They even grow them in Townsville, in Australia's tropical North. And they are lush grapes from there too -- "red globes" is their variety if I am not mistaken. So if  ever global warming does come, it won't bother grapes.  The changes described below are either totally imaginary or some overgeneralized local phenomenon

I don't generally see the point of beating a dead horse but the sheer stupidity of the article below astonishes me.  Let's concede that their alarm over the Pinot noir grape is fully justified and that warming is bad for it.  There are wine grapes grown in many places cooler than France -- like Germany.  If the world DID get warmer, what is to stop vignerons in places like Germany planting Pinot noir?  Nothing. The area suitable for Pinot noir might move slightly Northward but in a free market environment that move would be accomplished without a murmur. Profit-seeking German farmers would see an opening and grab it. And Germans make very good wine.  Pinot noir fanciers can rest easy.  I prefer Merlot myself

And where white wines are concerned, my favourites at the moment are Alsatian wines.  And Alsace is of course in the cooler North of France.  If there was money in it, the Alsatians would no doubt gradually root out their
Gewuertztraminer vines and plant Pinot instead -- all within the confines of the Hexagon (Metropolitan France!)

If global temperatures continue to rise, the taste of your favourite wine could either drastically change, or the drink could be off the menu completely.

A wine expert has warned that fine wines in particular, such as Pinot Noir, are having their flavour significantly altered due to climate change.

And, as a result, vineyard owners are ditching these grape varieties in favour of those that are better equipped to handle the increases in global temperature.

The effects are said to be most prominent in France, Italy and Spain - although parts of America, including California, would also be affected.

The primary reason is that the grapes are growing faster than before due to increased temperatures - an effect more prominent for wines such as Pinot Noir.

Experts also said that grapes lack colour when they ripen faster.

This is making it hard for vineyard owners to know when to pick the grapes at the right time to maintain a wine’s particular taste.

In her study, wine industry consultant Kimberly Nicholas, associate professor of sustainability science at Lund University in Sweden, wrote: ‘Climate change is beginning to affect the singular flavours that people expect from different wines - the experience you come to know and trust from your favourite reds and whites.’

She continued: ‘As the atmosphere warms, the desired ratio of acid to sugar occurs earlier in the season.’

‘The optimal flavour moment may occur earlier too - but not as much - leaving a gap between the ideal sugar-to-acid ratio and the ideal flavour.’

She also said that grapes lack colour when they ripen faster.

According to the Telegraph, the wine industry has already begun adapting to the problem, with vineyards dropping Pinot Noir in favour of grapes that can tolerate higher temperatures.

Earlier this year, researchers also warned that climate change could increase the chances of wine becoming corked.

The bark of the trees might be being chemically changed by increased exposure to ultraviolet light as a result of climate change.

The genetic study was led by Dr Rita Teixeira of the University of Lisbon and shows how the £1.2 billion ($2 billion) cork industry is at risk.

While cork struggles to maintain its consistency, plastic and metal wine stoppers are on the rise.

To produce a good product, cork producers need bark at least one inch (25 millimetres) thick. If the cork is too thin, it will let air into the bottle and ruin the wine.

But the trees, called Quercus suber trees, have undergone a drastic decrease in quality to the point where there bark is now as little as 0.1 inches (three millimetres) thick - just 10 per cent the optimum level.

The reason for this dramatic drop in just two decades was unknown but now Dr Teixeira and colleagues think the blame can be pointed at climate change - although she said there could be other culprits.


"Healthy" eating is not enough.  Now it has to be "Green" as well

For years, the government has been issuing guidelines about healthy eating choices. Now, a panel that advises the Agriculture Department is ready to recommend that you be told not only what foods are better for your own health, but for the environment as well.

That means that when the latest version of the government's dietary guidelines comes out, it may push even harder than it has in recent years for people to choose more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and other plant-based foods — at the expense of meat.

The beef and agriculture industries are crying foul, saying an environmental agenda has no place in what has always been a practical blueprint for a healthy lifestyle.

The advisory panel has been discussing the idea of sustainability in public meetings, indicating that its recommendations, expected early this year, may address the environment. A draft recommendation circulated last month said a sustainable diet helps ensure food access for both the current population and future generations.

A dietary pattern higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is "more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet," the draft said.

That appears to take at least partial aim at the beef industry. A study by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year said raising beef for the American dinner table is more harmful to the environment than other meat industries such as pork and chicken.

The study said that compared with other popular animal proteins, beef produces more heat-trapping gases per calorie, puts out more water-polluting nitrogen, takes more water for irrigation and uses more land.

As the advisory committee has discussed the idea, doctors and academics on the panel have framed sustainability in terms of conserving food resources and also what are the healthiest foods. There is "compatibility and overlap" between what's good for health and good for the environment, the panel says.

Once the recommendations are made, the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments will craft the final dietary guidelines, expected about a year from now. Published every five years, the guidelines are the basis for USDA's "My Plate" icon that replaced the well-known food pyramid in 2010 and is designed to help Americans with healthy eating. Guidelines will also be integrated into school lunch meal patterns and other federal eating programs.

The meat industry has fought for years to ensure that the dietary guidelines do not call for eating less meat. The guidelines now recommend eating lean meats instead of reducing meat altogether, advice that the current advisory committee has debated. A draft discussed at the panel's Dec. 15 meeting says a healthy dietary pattern includes fewer "red and processed meats" than are currently consumed.

In response, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association sent out a statement by doctor and cattle producer Richard Thorpe calling the committee biased and the draft meat recommendations absurd. He said lean beef has a role in healthy diets.

The American Meat Institute issued a statement calling any attempt to take lean meat out of a healthy dietary pattern "stunning" and "arbitrary."

Objections are coming from Congress, too.

A massive year-end spending bill enacted last month noted the advisory committee's interest in the environment and directed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack "to only include nutrition and dietary information, not extraneous factors" in final guidelines. Congress often uses such non-binding directions to put a department on notice that lawmakers will push back if the executive branch moves forward.

Environmentalists are pushing the committee and the government to go the route being considered.

"We need to make sure our diets are in alignment with our natural resources and the need to reduce climate change," said Kari Hamerschlag of the advocacy group Friends of the Earth.

Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said the idea of broader guidelines isn't unprecedented. They have already been shaped to address physical activity and food safety, he said.

"You don't want to recommend a diet that is going to poison the planet," he said.


Gore Champions Dark Money in Global Warming Debate

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is promoting dark money to spread alarmist global warming propaganda. In a mass email sent Dec. 30, Climate Reality Project president Ken Berlin proudly announces an anonymous donor will match all Climate Reality Project donations through the end of the year. Berlin explicitly invokes Gore’s name, calling attention to a previous email from Gore announcing the same dark money promotion.

“I wanted to make sure you saw Vice President Gore’s email yesterday,” writes Berlin in his email. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss this limited time opportunity to double your support for climate action! When you make your year-end contribution right now, your gift will be matched, dollar for dollar, helping us reach our critical year-end goal of $250,000.”

The Climate Reality Project posted a similar dark money appeal on its webpage.

Despite Berlin’s claim that this dark money opportunity is a limited-time opportunity, the Climate Reality Project frequently launches dark money promotions promising an anonymous donor will match all donations to the activist group.

Ironically, alarmists frequently claim dark money is particularly pernicious in the global warming debate because activists cannot hold dark money donors accountable for their charity. Also, as I documented earlier this year in a column, alarmists grossly exaggerate the dark money supporting climate realists.

The next time a global warming activist claims dark money is tainting the global warming debate, feel free to enthusiastically agree with them and show them this article.


Wheat Crops Grow Despite Climate Alarmists’ Lies

Environmentalists delivered a dire report this Christmas season: Human-caused global warming is causing wheat harvests to fall. The message was repeated uncritically by much of the mainstream media.

Had they bothered to check the facts, the media would have discovered climate alarmists were lying once again. Wheat yields are rising dramatically in the U.S. and internationally – due in part, no doubt, to the fertilizing effect of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

In his regular column at, James M. Taylor – a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute, which distributes Climate Change Weekly – refutes alarmists’ claims concerning wheat production by going directly to the data. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports global wheat yields have risen by 33 percent since 1994. In addition, there has been a 4 percent increase in land acreage growing wheat. Combined, the 33 percent increase in per-acre wheat yield and the 4 percent increase in land harvested for wheat equal an almost 40 percent increase in the global wheat harvest since 1994. Rather than slowing, yields set records in 2013 and again in 2014.

Alarmists and media lied both about general wheat trends and wheat production in specific countries and continents. For instance, Reuters cited a single report to claim wheat yields had fallen in hotter regions such as in Africa, Australia, Brazil, and India. The real data, highlighted by Taylor, tell a quite different story:

    "Wheat production in Egypt, the only significant producer of wheat in Africa, has quadrupled during the past 30 years, “with the past 10 years producing the 10 highest wheat crops in Egyptian history.”

    In addition, “Africa’s second largest wheat producing country, Morocco, produced its highest wheat crop in history in 2013,” and South Africa produced record wheat yields in 2014.

    Brazil also produced consecutive years of record wheat yields in 2013 and 2014, 2014’s wheat crop being 30 percent larger than 2013’s record yield.

    India appears likely in 2014 to surpass its previous wheat production record, set in 2012.

    Of the countries cited by Reuters as having falling wheat production, only Australia failed to produce a record crop in 2013 or 2014. However, as Taylor points out, “its 2014 wheat crop was the eighth largest in its history,” with the record yield set just three years ago in 2011. Australia’s wheat production has risen steadily for four decades, with 2014’s wheat crop being four times larger than the yield in 1972."

For far too long, environmentalists and their willing dupes in the media have been allowed to make false claims unchallenged. Once the facts are checked, global warming-related food fears should fade, like darkness before the light of day.


Yet another windmill down  -- in Scotland

And they are installing them in or near school yards, despite the risk of them flying apart

A homeowner near the north-east village of New Deer was left bewildered yesterday after a wind turbine crashed to the ground through the night.

The structure is one of three 72ft turbines near the former Cairnorrie Primary School on the B9170 Methlick to New Deer road.

David Richards, who lives in view of the toppled turbine, described last night how he had first noticed that it had fallen over in the early morning of yesterday.

He said: “I don’t know when it happened. It was there – fine – on Wednesday afternoon when I went out to feed the animals. Then I came downstairs this morning and looked out the window and saw it was lying flat and sort of bent. It was a bit of a shock.

“We’ve not had it too bad around here. In fact, for a windy place, it’s actually been quite calm.”

“The people who put it up came and chopped it up and took away the top.”

Mr Richards, who has lived at his property near the B-road for nine years, said that he had originally objected to the plans when they were first submitted to the local authority.

“I just don’t like wind turbines. I think they’re a blot on the landscape. When we came, there weren’t any turbines. Then a new power line was put up, then the application for those went in. There were quite a few objections.

“They’re closer to us than they should be, and they’re closer to us than we want them to be. Some people love them, some people can’t be bothered by them, and some people don’t like them very much at all. I fall into that last category.

“The place is becoming a bit like ‘turbine alley’,” he added.

Brenda Herrick penned this letter published by her local rag, The John O’Groats Journal, in response to the local Council’s  indifference to the risks to little lives and limbs

It is interesting that the Council responded to your article on the safety of school turbines last week by emphasising that they are ensuring they get value for money. It is unlikely these turbines will ever pay for themselves but that’s not the point. The Council did not consider the risks of installing fast spinning machines where children at school are forced to play until I alerted councillors to the danger and others became involved. No risk assessments were carried out at individual schools prior to installation.

Following publicity the Council braked the turbines and engaged the Building Research Establishment to produce a risk assessment process. The actual assessments were carried out by Council personnel. At installation each turbine had been surrounded by a small wooden fence, easily climbed by children. Following the assessment these were replaced by higher metal fences, which prevent children climbing in but do not protect them from falling parts, and maintenance intervals were halved. I am not sure what the Council’s “robust risk assessments” are designed to achieve but they cannot guarantee the safety of children.

The BRE report recommended “turbine siting safety zones” consisting of a Fall zone, a wider Topple zone and a wider still Ejection zone (parts flying off).

When I asked the Council “What is the actual diameter of an ejection zone as referred to in the reports, say for a 15m tower turbine?” the reply was “The Council’s approach has been on prevention of risk, thereby negating the need for exclusion.” So having commissioned a report they decided to ignore parts of it, presumably because in most school playgrounds there is no room for an ejection zone.

A blade flying off at speed can travel a considerable distance. They have apparently forgotten the incident on Skye in 2009 when a Highland school turbine started shedding springs and had to be taken down by the Head Teacher. The Council’s own sensible recommendations in its report of that incident included “Ensure that there is an adequate buffer zone from the main pathways and occupied area, in schools this should include entrance and regularly used pathways and playground areas.” There are no “buffer zones”.

The following are examples of school turbine failures I am aware of from press reports, so by no means a complete record:

The school’s wind turbine collapsed December 8 about 7 a.m., knocking down a power line and causing school to be cancelled for the day.

Last month the revolutionary eco-friendly school lost its green energy supply after a damper, used to control the blades, came off when bolts broke. The three-inch-square part, weighing several kilos, plunged to the ground, luckily outside school hours when there were no children around.

But soon after being installed the wind turbine became faulty and after a few months seized up – showering the school’s playing field with debris.

A wind turbine at a school in Flackwell Heath has been repaired after part of it fell off into the school playground.

School wind turbine at Akron-Westfield school reported to be running out of control, suspected braking failure. School Superintendent described it as “life threatening”.

The turbine then collapsed, landing in the school’s playground, although no one was hurt.

Stunned students watched as a 40ft wind turbine crashed to earth during its installation on Fakenham High School playing field this lunchtime.

Within two years after installation, one of the three Proven 35-2 Wind Turbines installed at our Local High School came loose and crashed to the ground. It landed outside of the fenced off “Fall-Zone” behind the school.

A wind turbine came crashing down near Western Reserve High School.

Blade on the turbine at Seascale School blown off and landed 200m away in a field.

A FAMILY were left traumatised after a 4ft blade broke from a wind turbine in the grounds of a Rowley Regis school and spun out of control narrowly missing their house.

It is only luck that no-one so far has been injured at school.

There is a general denial of risk, presumably based on ignorance of the number of turbine failures occurring world-wide. One reason for this is that Renewable UK, the industry body, guarantees confidentiality to its members when reporting incidents.

Even the Health & Safety Executive cannot access their records and stated recently: “Consequently the HSE do not currently have a database of wind turbine failures on which they can base judgements on the reliability and risk assessments for wind turbines.” This is a disgraceful situation when turbines are so frequently close to people and buildings. Parents have a right to believe their children are not exposed to unnecessary risk in school grounds.


Global Sea Ice Hits Record, Warming 'Pause' Continues; Alarmists and Their Media Friends Hardest Hit

The Associated Press is obsessed with global warming. It currently has seven items at its national site containing that term.

Two of them relate to how the U.S. is allegedly exporting more pollution, and therefore more global warming, to other countries even as it supposedly is cleaning up its act. These are the kinds of stories which the rest of the press would eagerly jump on if a Republican or conservative were in the White House, but they're basically getting the silent treatment (AP's Monday afternoon before Christmas publication may also have dampened interest).

But the item I want to pick on predictably comes from the wire service's "Science Writer" and chief global alarmist Seth Borenstein, who two weeks ago set out to convince readers, with the help of a ginned-up federal report, that "The ice is melting! The ice is melting!"

"The Arctic and its future are looking dimmer every year, a new federal report says.

In the spring and summer of 2014, Earth's icy northern region lost more of its signature whiteness that reflects the sun's heat. It was replaced temporarily with dark land and water that absorbs more energy, keeping yet more heat on already warming planet, according to the Arctic report card issued Thursday.

Spring snow cover in Eurasia reached a record low in April. Arctic summer sea ice, while not setting a new record, continued a long-term, steady decline. And Greenland set a record in August for the least amount of sunlight reflected in that month, said the peer-reviewed report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies.

... The report illustrates instead a relentless decline in cold, snow and ice conditions and how they combine with each other. And several of those have to do with how the Arctic reflects sun heat

The Arctic's drop in reflectivity is crucial because "it plays a role like a thermostat in regulating global climate," Jeffries said, in an interview. As the bright areas are replaced, even temporarily, with dark heat-absorbing dark areas, "That has global implications."

The world's thermostat setting gets nudged up a bit because more heat is being absorbed instead of reflected, he said."

Somehow, while all of this alleged "nudging" has been going on, global warming has been at a standstill, or "pause" (the alarmists' preferred term) for over 18 years, as Christopher Monckton noted earlier this month at Climate Depot

What will the chart look like this time next year, at the beginning of the Paris world-government conference, at which the Treaty of Copenhagen will be dusted off and nodded through by the scientifically illiterate national negotiating delegates of almost 200 nations, ending the freedom and democracy of the West and putting absolute economic and political power in the hands of the grim secretariat of the UN climate convention?

I don't know, but I guess we had better figure out how to stop it, don't you think, folks?

Meanwhile, Steven Goddard at Real Science noted today that the fear of disappearing sea ice about which Borenstein has repeatedly written are unfounded:

"The area of Arctic sea ice is nearly identical to 30 years ago.

Arctic sea ice is cyclically returning to the NSIDC (National Snow & Ice Data Center) cherry-picked date of 1979.

... When it was declining, they blamed it on global warming. Now that it is increasing, they blame it on global warming.

... All of these things are the exact opposite of what experts forecast.

Look for them to continue to lie about this for as long as they can get away with it."

Given the Paris meeting cited above, one certainly hopes that the lying can't sustain itself much longer. The liars' cause is certainly helped by the press's contrary information blockade in these matters.

Thus, December has been a particularly rough month for the alarmists.  May the rough patch continue, and worsen.



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

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


2 January, 2015

Climate change caused the AirAsia crash

You knew it, didn't you?

The AirAsia jet in which 162 people lost their lives this week behaved in ways "bordering on the edge of logic" according to Indonesian aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman citing leaked information from the air crash investigation team.

The Airbus 320-200 climbed in a way that was impossible to achieve by the pilot, adding that it subsequently "didn't fall out of the sky like an aeroplane", he told Fairfax Media.

"It was like a piece of metal being thrown down. It's really hard to comprehend … The way it goes down is bordering on the edge of logic".

But Australian aviation expert, Peter Marosszeky, from the University of NSW, disputed some of the figures cited, saying the descent figures particularly were "highly unlikely".

Mr Soejatman said that at least as baffling was "the extremely low ground speed" which was as low as 61 knots during the descent. This would suggest the plane was heading almost straight down, explaining why it was found in the water just 10km from its last point of radar contact.
Leaked information on AirAsia flight QZ8501 from the air crash investigation team, provided by Indonesian aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman.

Leaked information on AirAsia flight QZ8501 from the air crash investigation team, provided by Indonesian aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman.

The new claims lend weight to the impression that the plane was subject to extraordinary forces from the weather. AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said earlier this week that preliminary investigations suggested the jet encountered "very unique" weather on its flight last Sunday morning from Surabaya to Singapore.

Mr Soejatman, a respected analyst in Indonesia, said the extremity of the forces on the plane meant the "black box" flight recorder would be of less use in explaining what happened than forensic examination of the pieces of wreckage currently lying in about 50m of water in the Karimata Strait between Borneo and the Belitung Islands off Sumatra.

"We are fortunate that it crashed in shallow water so we can find physical evidence outside the black box. It puts great emphasis on the importance of recovering pieces of the wreckage," he said.

Navy and search and rescue divers were at the scene for the first time on Thursday.

Mr Soejatman said the plane was equipped with a Mode S radar, a relatively new piece of equipment which sends more comprehensive information, in real time, from aircraft to ground.

Leaked figures show the plane climbed at a virtually unprecedented rate of 6000 to 9000 feet per minute, and "you can't do that at altitude in an Airbus 320 with pilot action".

The most that could normally be expected would be 1000 to 1500 feet on a sustained basis, with up to 3000 feet in a burst, he said.

The plane then fell at an even more incredible rate: 11,000 feet per minute with bursts of up to 24,000 feet per minute.

He said the Air France A330 Airbus that crashed in 2009 killing 228 passengers also reached dizzying ascent and descent rates, but some of the figures cited by Mr Soejatman are higher.

"We can't rule out that the data is wrong," he said, but added that they came from the aircraft itself, transmitted over the Mode S radar.

As for an explanation, he said it was a "mystery".

"One possibility is a strong updraft followed by strong ground draft, or structural failure of the aircraft."

Mr Marosszeky, a Research Fellow at the University of NSW School of Aviation, said a climb rate of 6000 feet per minute would indicate "a severe weather event", because that rate of climb was "a domain for jet fighters". It was possible at this height in the tropics, he said.

He said the black box flight recorder would still provide investigators with "very useful data", and that it was unlikely that the Mode S radar would give misreadings.

He was sceptical, however, that the figure cited of up to 24,000 feet per minute descent was possible, saying that terminal velocity is nowhere near that speed.

In the Air France case, an investigation revealed that pilot error had compounded difficult weather conditions to cause the crash.

In the AirAsia case, Captain Iriyanto, the pilot, was a respected former airforce pilot and pilot trainer with 23,000 hours flying experience, 6000 of them for AirAsia. His plane was six years old and had last been through routine maintenance in November.

AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes said earlier this week he had "full confidence in my fleet and crew". Without giving details, he steered blame towards the weather, saying his airline would continue business as usual, but suggesting that climate change was making weather worse and flying riskier, particularly in the tropics.


UK: Offshore wind farms drawing electricity from grid to keep turning in icy conditions

Offshore wind farms are drawing power from the National Grid to keep turning and prevent them icing up in subzero temperatures, it has emerged.

The turbines need to idle slowly when temperatures plunge in calm conditions to stop ice forming and to power hydraulic systems that turn the blades into the wind.

Critics of wind farms, which cost three times as much as conventional power stations per unit of energy produced, said it was “another example of why wind farms are difficult and expensive to manage”, but industry bodies pointed out that all power stations use electricity as well as generating it.

The phenomenon was pointed out in the Telegraph’s letters page by Brian Christley, of Conwy, who said that “over the weekend just gone, the coldest of the year so far, all 100-plus offshore wind turbines along the North Wales coast were idling very slowly, using grid power for de-icing”.

Rob Norris, a spokesman for the industry body RenewableUK, confirmed that wind farms used electricity to keep their systems running, but said it was a “tiny fraction” of the amount of power they generated.

He said: “The best comparison is to think of how much electricity you’d use to boil a kettle compared to how much an entire village would need to power everything. All generators, including gas and nuclear plants, use some electricity as well as producing it.”

John Constable, of the Renewable Energy Foundation charity, said: “We know that in Denmark there are days when their wind farms are net consumers of electricity, so in some ways this is not surprising.  “It’s another example of how wind power is difficult and expensive to manage.”

The energy firm RWE, which owns 30 turbines off the North Wales coast, said that on the days in question they were net contributors to the National Grid.

A spokesman said: “All energy generators use a small amount of electricity to keep their systems running smoothly, in the case of wind farms drawing power from either an adjacent operating turbine or the grid.”

Wind power makes up around 10 per cent of the electricity used in the UK, with coal and gas making up around 30 per cent each and nuclear another 20 per cent.


Ethanol policy reform: The rare place where environmentalists and energy advocates agree

We all expect to pay a price for missing deadlines — fail to pay a parking ticket on time, and you may find a warrant out for your arrest. People have lost their jobs when they can’t get the work done on schedule. Students, who turn in papers late, get lower grades—maybe even fail the class.

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can apparently miss deadlines (many) with impunity. For the past two years, the EPA has failed to meet the statutory deadline under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requiring the agency to tell refiners how much ethanol to blend into the nation’s motor fuels.

In November 2013, the EPA did make an attempt to announce the proposed 2014 blend levels — which by then were already months past the legally mandated deadline. The EPA surprised and pleased the RFS opponents when it utilized its authority to adjust the mandate and took market conditions into consideration. The EPA set the proposed 2014 standard to a level lower than 2013’s, even though the law requires increasing amounts. Ethanol producers, who were expecting the usual uptick, loudly opposed the reduction. They made so much noise, the EPA agreed to reconsider. To date, the 2014 standards have not yet been announced.

Then, on November 21, 2014, the EPA announced it would make a decision next year (2015) on how much ethanol refiners had to add to gasoline this year (2014) — yet, if refiners don’t meet the unknown requirement, they get fined. That’s akin to handing out the class syllabus after the students have failed the final exam.

With the goal of a reduction in foreign oil imports, Congress enacted the RFS in 2005 and revised it in 2007 — which also provided incentives to America’s fledgling ethanol industry. At the time, gasoline demand was rising to an all-time high and oil imports comprised more than 58 percent of U.S. oil consumption. No doubt Congress believed it was saving American consumers from their addiction to oil.

Then the world changed. The U.S. economy plunged into its worst recession ever, unemployment soared, and gasoline demand fell sharply. Meanwhile, advanced drilling technologies, including the long-used hydraulic fracturing and newer horizontal drilling, began producing oil and natural gas from U.S. shale formations — which were previously uneconomic to develop — leading to America’s 21st Century energy boom.

Today the U.S. is the world’s largest natural-gas producer and is projected to pass Saudi Arabia as the number one oil producer. With crude oil supplies flooding the market, prices have been cut in half. Although fears over foreign-oil dependence have abated, the U.S. remains stuck with an ethanol mandate that is outdated, unworkable, and even harmful to vehicles, engines, and the environment.

Consider just some of the RFS’s flaws.

The law requires refiners to cap their blending of corn ethanol and use more cellulosic biofuels. Never mind that very little cellulosic biofuel has ever been produced — even according to EPA’s own data. But that fact hasn’t prevented the EPA from levying millions of dollars in fines against refiners for failing to use the phantom fuel, without any assurance that enough cellulosic biofuel will ever be available. It’s kind of like receiving a bill for something you cannot buy because it doesn’t exist, but you’re being charged anyway.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports cellulosic biofuels are: “complex, capital-intensive, and costly.” Given the difficulty of producing them, capacity will “fall far short of what would be necessary to achieve the very rapid growth in the use of cellulosic biofuels required” under the RFS.

Then there is the “blend wall” problem. With less gasoline being sold than Congress anticipated, refiners cannot add ever-rising amounts of ethanol to gasoline without exceeding E10 — the fuel consisting of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline sold virtually everywhere in the country today. To get around the blend wall issue, the EPA granted a “partial waiver” allowing the sale of E15, a fuel blend containing up to 15 percent ethanol for model-year 2001 and newer vehicles.

The EPA’s quick fix made a bad situation much worse, and all at the taxpayers’ and consumers’ expense. Ethanol levels higher than 10 percent can damage or destroy vehicle engines, according to a study conducted by the well-respected Coordinating Research Council. Automakers are voiding warranties and refusing to be held responsible for mechanical problems caused by fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol. And the marine industry warns of potential engine failures on various types of watercraft powered by the industry’s most common engines.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is so concerned about safety hazards that it has launched a campaign telling consumers to “Look Before You Pump.” OPEI says equipment ranging from lawn mowers to “jaws of life” devices could be damaged by ethanol’s corrosive properties if used in concentrations above 10 percent. Do want your expensive new lawn mower to quit the third time you use it? You certainly want life-saving devices to work on demand.

And that’s not all. Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, forcing motorists to fill up more often, thereby causing more consumer expenditures. Ethanol production has driven up food prices here and abroad. Additionally, some studies indicate ethanol usage increases greenhouse gas emissions. Politico reports: “Some green groups have vocally abandoned their support for corn ethanol, blaming the crop for polluting water supplies, wiping out conservation land and even increasing carbon emissions.” According to Craig Cox, director of the Ames, Iowa, office of the Environmental Working Group, an environmental group that opposes the mandate as it is now structured: “Corn ethanol’s brand has been seriously dented in the last 18 months. …it certainly doesn’t occupy the same pedestal that it occupied two years ago.”

But then, despite the fact that the EPA says decisions are made on merits, politics entered the scene. Rumors flew that the announcement of the 2014 blend levels was delayed to help Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-D) in his Senate bid. Braley was pushing for an increase in the proposed levels and was hoping that he would be able to influence the White House to raise the targets. Additionally, a Republican-controlled Senate would be more likely to pass legislation to reform or repeal the RFS. Braley was quoted in Politico saying: “Voters in Iowa look at where I stand on this issue and where my opponent stands, who’s supporting me in this campaign and who’s supporting [Ernst].” The Politico story states: “Iowans say wavering on corn ethanol once would have been certain political suicide in a state where 90 percent of the land is farm acreage. So Braley sought to capitalize on Ernst’s expressed qualms about big government, portraying her as someone Iowans can’t trust to fight for them.” Yet, Ernst, a Republican, won the Senate seat formerly held by Democrat Tom Harkin by 8.5 percentage points.

The EPA’s unwillingness to do its job by setting ethanol volumes — along with ethanol’s loss of “political heft” —  should provide the impetus for ending the complex and wasteful RFS program. Ethanol is a rare topic where environmentalists and energy advocates agree. Now is the time to get our elected officials all on board. As soon as the new Congress convenes in January, it should give the RFS an “F” and reform, revise, or even repeal it.


Biblical in Scale: Guess How Many Pages It Takes to Print Obama’s Environmental Rules

Americans will find few books that rival the number of pages of regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency since President Obama took office, not even the Gutenberg Bible.

Obama made protecting the environment a cornerstone of his administration early on, and during his tenure the Environmental Protection Agency has sought to cut vehicle emissions, regulate coal ash from power plants and subsidize “green energy”companies.

According to a review by, the EPA has issued more than 3,100 final rules — totaling close to 28,000 pages in the Federal Register — since Obama entered the White House in January 2009.

The Federal Register gives Americans access to all documents published by federal agencies.

“Even such immense page counts fail to convey the real damage overregulation imposes on Americans,” James Gattuso, a senior research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “We don’t need just shorter rules, but less burdensome rules.”

The most recent final rule from the EPA involves management and disposal of coal ash. The regulation, not yet published in the Federal Register, totals 745 pages.

In comparison to the 28,000 pages of rules from the EPA, the Gutenberg Bible has just 1,282 pages.

Gattuso and other advocates of limited government have criticized the Obama administration, like previous ones, for imposing too many regulations on American life. Before Thanksgiving, the Obama White House quietly announced it had 3,400 regulations in the pipeline for next year.

Over the six years of Obama’s presidency so far, the average cost of complying with new government rules hovers around $16 billion per year.

This year’s announcement of 3,400 regulations to come isn’t a record for the Obama administration. The White House had more than 4,000 regulations in the pipeline in 2012, Gattuso told The Daily Signal. The number decreased in 2013.

Obama issued 157 major federal regulations from 2009 to 2013, according to a report by Gattuso and a Heritage Foundation colleague, Diane Katz. By contrast, President George W. Bush issued 62 major regulations in the first five years of his presidency.


The Greenpeace ‘archaeologist’

When the Nazca lines fiasco broke, Greenpeace's response was to assure the world it worked with an archaeologist, taking every possible precaution.  Questions arose immediately:

The archaeologist was eventually identified in a New York Times report of the incident. It named Wolfgang Sadik, an 'archaeologist-turned activist' who we were told had 'set aside his studies to work for Greenpeace'. The NYT relied on a Reuters video to relay how Sadik seemed to be directing 'some of the other activists'. It quoted photographer Rodrigo Abd:

    “The archaeologist explained where to walk and where not to walk... There was a great concern not to even leave a mark of your shoes on the ground, and if a rock was moved put it back in its place.”

The article further quoted Wolfgang Neubauer of the University of Vienna who informed Sadik was his doctoral candidate and had 'put off his studies to work with Greenpeace.'

This blog will show there's more than what the New York Times let its readers in for. Far from being an archaeologist, Wolfgang Sadik is a committed long-time Greenpeace member and activist, who has conducted several campaigns for the organization including some in leadership positions.

Sadik's recorded Greenpeace activism appears to begin over a decade ago in 2003 when he appeared in Tuwaitha, Iraq near Baghdad as a 'Greenpeace spokesman'. Sadik was part of a 6-member Greenpeace team that measured radiation and radiation sickness at sites where looted material from the Tuwaitha nuclear facilities had made their way.

In 2007, Greenpeace planned for a symbolism-laden stunt at Mount Ararat near Turkey. Sadik was the leader. Battling skepticism within Greenpeace ('too sentimental, too American, not serious enough') Sadik pushed plans for building a boat-shaped 'Noah's ark' structure on the slopes of the mountain to coincide with a G8 summit at Heiligendamm.

In one respect, similarities between the Nazca stunt and Greenpeace's Ark are striking. Sadik the team's 'action coordinator' reasoned: "The Ark was an available and widely-known symbol, so why not use it?"

Sadik's ark project was successful in attracting month-long 'international media attention' (Greenpeace criterion for success); he is reported to have said the stunt 'had had the biggest impact of any campaign Greenpeace had ever created in that part of the world'.

In the period afterward, Sadik appears to have shifted to archaeology, working with Wolfgang Neubauer on archaeological excavations in Hallstatt, Austria. A 46-page glitzy pamphlet produced in 2008 highlights his work on the site. It is not clear when he stopped in archaeology.

In February 2011 Sadik surfaced in Fukushima, Japan, once again measuring radiation levels. This time, Der Speigel was laundering Sadik's views as a 'Greenpeace expert' as it warned of a possible reactor meltdown. Sadik was already back with Greenpeace earlier in the year: in January he was in a round-table discussion with host Reinhard Ueberhorst in his capacity as Greenpeace's 'Energy 2010 campaign manager'. Last year Sadik was part of another ark building project 'Arche2020' as 'project coordinator' from Greenpeace Germany.

From the above, it is evident Greenpeace performed little to no archaeological due diligence in planning their Nazca act. Instead of employing external and independent expertise, it went with what was available inside, using wrong advice from an activist member as cover for its actions. These are things one frequently finds Greenpeace criticizing corporations and governments for.


Australian conservative politician promotes natural gas rather than coal as the future for developing nations

NSW Liberal MP Angus Taylor, who was elected the member for Hume in the 2013 election, says gas is the better way to reduce carbon emissions and supply countries such as China and India with the energy they need to continue their rise.

Mr Taylor, a Rhodes scholar and former partner at McKinsey, told Fairfax Media that the fastest way for the world to reduce carbon emissions while containing energy prices "is to build new natural gas generators, instead of coal generators, in the developing world".

"This is an enormous economic and environmental opportunity for Australia – as a supplier of relatively cheap, secure, lower-emission natural gas," he said.

"The IPCC itself accepts that gas can drive sharp reductions in emissions," he said.

Mr Taylor said Australia's impact on reducing global emissions through encouraging gas-fired power in the developing world would "dwarf any domestic emissions reductions efforts".

Economist Frank Jotzo said Australia is uniquely placed to exploit all changes in global energy demand. "Australia is not just rich in coal, Australia is rich in gas, Australia is rich in uranium, Australia is rich in renewable energy potential," he said.

He said natural gas was an option but not the end game for the developing world.  "Gas is about half the carbon intensity for coal for electricity generation so it can be a useful transition fuel on the way to a low-carbon energy system," he said.

However he said because gas is expensive, developing countries were investing in renewables and also coal.  "India is the standout, where expansion of power generation is happening in coal or solar," he said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in December that Australia's natural gas exports increased by nearly 20 per cent last year, making it the third largest exporter of LNG in the world.   But natural gas is Australia's fifth largest export item behind iron ore, coal, gold and education services.

Australian company Origin Energy will begin exports of natural gas to China and Japan in mid-2015.  When both its production plants are fully operational, it will be capable of producing 9 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

Under existing supply contracts, 7.6 mtpa will be sold to China's Sinopec and 1 mtpa to Japan's Kansai Electric.

A company spokesman said: "Each tonne of emissions produced in Australia as part of LNG production reduces emissions in China by four tonnes when it's used in place of coal to generate electricity."

Recently, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said any honest conversation about reducing Australia's domestic emissions had to include a debate about nuclear power, describing it as an "obvious direction" for a country blessed with uranium supplies.



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

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


1 January, 2015

Green Prospers Because None Dare Call it Treason!

By Rich Kozlovich

The title of this article is based on a quote from Sir John Harington who said “Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason[?] "For if it prosper, none dare call it treason”.  It seems to me that Harington was explaining how important it is that treason must be defined and called to account for what it is in order to prevent the success of traitors.  Because if their treason should proper - none can dare risk calling it treason any longer – that opportunity would have passed because the traitors are now in charge!

But what if everyone stood up and called treason for what it is?  Would it prosper in the end?  Possibly, but the first stepping stone to clarity is the ability to properly define what constitutes treason.  Can we recognize treason when we see it?  And that’s the key isn’t it?  Defining treason – for without definition there’s no clarity, and there’s so much of it these days it’s hard to separate treason from opinion.  Let’s explore this!

Normally we associate treason with “the betrayal of allegiance or acts of disloyalty or treachery toward one's own country or its government” in an “attempt to overthrow the government”, especially by "committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts”.   It also involves efforts to “impair the well-being of a state to which one owes allegiance”.   But the very foundation of what constitutes treason reaches far beyond that.  It’s a betrayal of  trust, confidence or faith.   We’ll expand on that later.

Treason is such an ugly word.  It imputes so many ugly negative qualities to a person.  It means being a collaborator with the enemies of one’s society, embodying qualities such as cowardice, disloyalty, subversion, dishonesty, double crossing, being a sellout, knavery, a lack of fidelity and moral character.  Traitors work against the common good of the people whose habits, language and garb and common culture they share, while slyly working what is harmful to their associates, friends and even family.

Treason is an ugly word - but it fits for what it means to be green.

History is the fountain head of truth, and truth once spoken remains truth forever, we just have to keep making ourselves acquainted with it – regularly – or we forget what it is and can be easily swayed by every new philosophical flavor of the day!   I’ve used this quote often in the past attrituted to Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 -43 BCE) , which is unendingly profound, even after 2000 years.

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

Can any crime be feared more? 

People typically need some sort of intellectual justification to support and explain their actions, and yet often times the positions they take has nothing to do with intellectual reasoning.  Very often they do what they do because it makes them feel good, or enhances their position in society.  But what are the underlying forces the makes so many – from all over the world - want to embrace "going green”?

This is a multi-faceted problem requiring a multi-faceted answer.  There is a growing alliance between the media, the wealthy left,  academia, environmental activists, activist bureaucrats, unscrupulous politicians and people who believe they can “do business” going green.  Viv Forbes stated years ago that, "The public has been misled by an unholy alliance of environmental scaremongers, funds-seeking academics, sensation-seeking media, vote-seeking politicians and profit-seeking vested interests."

This cabal has become a hegemony that’s linked to instruments of state power all over the world, undermining the health and welfare of human societies with the theme “they’re saving the planet” and they're doing what they do because "it's for the children".  When we hear those kinds of emotional appeals we had better start looking deeper into the subject because it probably means the intellectual foundations for their views are shallow. 

Unfortunately for society this anti-human green hegemony is foundationally and functionally  anti-job creation, anti-industrialization, anti-technology and absolutely opposed to economic growth, (the Keystone pipeline vote is one such example of the influence they exert) which they claim is a threat to the environment and a lifestyle they wish society of follow, i.e., a return to nature, which makes me wonder at their sanity.  This puts them squarely at odds with working people and the most economically deprived people on the planet, especially in the third world where their policies and initiatives have had a devastating impact on their health and well being.  Fortunately that’s becoming more and more clear thanks to the internet, but it’s important to understand what all that means.

The green movement’s foundation is firmly rooted with the nature worshipping religion of the Druids in the ancient dark mist covered forests of Germania.  As Gary Jason pointed out in his article, “Death by Environmentalism”, “I would suggest that there is a major strain of pagan or secularist religion, Gaea worship, that informs the movement. This strain of thought, a weird sort of neo-Romantic pantheistic nature cult, has been prevalent since Rousseau in the Enlightenment era, but it exploded throughout the culture in the 1960s. Not all environmentalists share this worldview, but it is the one that drives the movement. And it is one that often downplays the value of people — devalues them and, indeed, de-animates them. That is a topic I would love to see explored in depth.”

In the 1800’s German philosophers created an intellectual framework to explain all of this as “Weltanschauung”, which is a “comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity's relation to it, or literally, world-view”.  This ‘green’ world view became codified in Nazi Germany, the world’s first green government.

One the concepts that emerged from this is what is known as the Precautionary Principle.  Sonja Boehmer Christiansen points out in the book, “Interpreting the Precautionary Principle”, “the precautionary principle evolved out of the German socio-legal tradition, created in the heyday of democratic socialism in the 1930’s, centering on the concept of good household management.  This was regarded as a constructive partnership between the individual, the economy and the state to manage change so as to improve the lot of both society and the natural world upon which it depended for survival. This invested the precautionary principle with a managerial or programmable quality, a purposeful role in guiding future political and regulatory actions”.

What could sound more reasonable?  The problem is –as always - in the application of these concepts.  The Precautionary Principle is absolutely the structural foundation for every bit of junk science and speculatory challenge to modern economic advancement  - whether it’s pesticides, genetically modified organisms, or the building of dams, roads, power plants, or mining and logging.  There are a great many areas of the world where people are suffering from poverty so dire these efforts are the difference between living decent lives versus living in dystopia with disease, squalor, early death and a high rate of child mortality as their standard of life.

The green movement is filled with irrational, misanthropic and morally defective people like "population guru" Paul Ehrlich, who has a “not-so-hidden agenda of stopping people from having children, viewing children as a kind of pollution”.  The most moderate among them want to eliminate between four and five billion people from the planet.  The “radicals” among them feel mankind is a virus and a plague on the planet and want humanity eliminated.

Forrest M. Mims III wrote about a speech at the Texas Academy of Science,  where “the speaker, a world-renowned ecologist, advocated for the extermination of 90 percent of the human species in a most horrible and painful manner……many of the Academy members present gave the speaker a standing ovation. To date, the Academy has not moved to sanction the speaker or distance itself from the speaker's remarks. If the professional community has lost its sense of moral outrage when one if their own openly calls for the slow and painful extermination of over 5 billion human beings, then it falls upon the amateur community to be the conscience of science.”

These “radicals” are never condemned by the rest of their cabal because they must represent a large and prominent minority.

“Walter Williams, the founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome, Alexander King, wrote in 1990: “My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guayana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” 

"Another charming quote comes from Dr. Charles Wurster, a leading opponent of DDT, who said of malaria deaths": “People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any.”

"Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring that about?" -- Maurice Strong, head of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and Executive Officer for Reform in the Office of the Secretary General of the United Nations.

“Fact is, we all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.” Sir-David-Attenborough

"The common enemy of humanity is man. 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, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself."-Club of Rome

“The present vast over population, now far beyond the world carrying capacity cannot be answered by future reductions in the birth rate due to contraception, sterilization and abortion, but must be met in the present by the reduction in the numbers presently existing. This must be done by whatever means necessary” - Initiative for the United Nations, Eco 92 Earth Charter.

"Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs." John Davis, editor of the journal Earth First!

Are all these statements about overpopulation and worldwide devastaton nothing more than insane misanthropy or are they justified?  In the real world overpopulation is a myth!  This view is also substantiated by Bjorn Lomborg in his book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist", Part 11. 

Wendell Krossa’s article Crimes Against Life, states the following: “Based on numerous empirical studies,(actually observable, not models) the 100ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 content over the past 150 years has increased mean crop yields by the following amounts:

wheat, 60 percent;
other C3 cereals, 70 percent;
C4 cereals, 28 percent;
fruits and melons, 33 percent;
legumes, 62 percent;
root and tuber crops, 67 percent;
and vegetables, 51 percent.[103]”

“Were it not for the extra CO2 put into the atmosphere by fossil fuel combustion, either many people now living would not exist, or many forests now standing would have been cleared and turned into farmland—or both. CO2 emissions are literally greening the planet, enhancing biodiversity and global food availability. Continuing CO2 enrichment of the atmosphere will be necessary to feed a global population expected to increase by 3.3 billion over the next 50 years—and limit pressures to convert forests and wetlands into cropland.”

Yet we see the green movement staunchly defending their Anthropogenic Global Warming position that the world is doomed if we don’t “act now” and get rid of all CO2 emissions.  Virtually ending modern life.  They continue to cling to the global warming litany despite the fact that the world stopped warming officially 18 years ago, and all the computer model predictions are failing or have failed, and the Hockey Stick Graph has been shown so flawed it's considered fraudulent by a growing number.  Yet the green movement wants the world to abandon a culture that has caused more people to live healthier longer lives than ever in history, in favor of dystopia.

The Global Warming movement is a religious movement without God.  It’s a religion of death whose proponents have been successful in “creating a suicide cult, which — if followed to its logical conclusion — will lead to human extinction. Ultimately, the Global Warming crusade is a frontal assault on procreation, the family and the future of mankind.”

How can this be construed as anything except a “betrayal of trust or faith" that’s nothing short of disloyalty to humanity, which supports impairing the well-being of the societies to which they belong.  How can this be construed as anything except treachery in support of treason?

There really is good and evil in the world.  There really is such a thing as right and wrong.  We need to come full face with the fact there are some very real bad guys out there.  They’re not boogey men hiding under the bed that will go away when you cover your head with a blanket.  Throughout human history bad guys have devastated whole societies all over the world, and they were all totalitarians of one sort of another.  They’re weren’t “just wrong”, they really were, and are, evil human beings who were more than willing to sacrifice untold millions to paganism or the neo-pagan secular religions of socialism and it's stepchild - environmentalism.  The green movement is an evil totalitarian movement that perpetrates mass murder, and when you side with them you become an enabler of mass murder.  That’s history.  Those are the facts, and those facts are are incontestable. 

If you think going green gives you a warm fuzzy feeling of self-righteousness – get over it because you’re dancing with the Devil and when you dance with the Devil, you won’t call the tune, you won’t pick the dance and you may not be able to leave the dance floor.  And you will be party to treason - not to any government - but to the human family itself.  A family to which we're all a part.  A family we owe loyalty to from birth.   

Government officials take an oath in the United State to "support and defend the Constitution", which means supporting the concepts as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, which are the logical foundation of our "unalienable rights".

Everything the green movement stands for is antithetical to those rights and concepts and any public official supporting the green movement is guilty of treason against this nation, and against humanity, and if public officials are guilty of treason for supporting this movement can we be any less culpable? 


Biofuels - just bad or really bad?

I believe that nature has an inherent value and that the preservation of ecological diversity is a duty of humanity. A pragmatist would point out that some of our most important medical advances were based on compounds refined from ecological inputs but I would argue that even if we never got another drug from the rainforests, preserving their existence and genetic diversity is a duty humankind owes the planet.

My initial education was in the field of ecology and I recognize that the preservation of habitat is one of the most important ways of protecting ecosystems and genetic diversity. So while I readily admit that on the surface biofuels sound promising "fuel that grows itself" "a great use for wood wastes" etc.. as I will describe herein, biofuels place too much stress on our environment for the gain they may provide in fighting climate change, their production pulls too many calories from the human food chain resulting in human misery and in many cases the productions of these biofuels actually exacerbates climate change. 

The sad part is that in almost every case biofuels start out sounding like a good idea. The argument goes that biofuels made from waste biomass can give power without incurring an environmental cost and would be carbon neutral. The problem is that there is only so much waste biomass out there and power plants need a steady source of fuel. So in almost every case power producers need to rely not only on waste biomass but on virgin materials. As described in the linked Economist article, in Poland  and Finland, wood meets more than 80% of renewable-energy demand and in Germany, wood makes up 38% of non-fossil fuel power consumption.So where is this wood coming from? As described in the web posting at FSC-Watch in the southern US, NGOs have shown that the biggest US pellet producer, Enviva, is sourcing a high proportion of wood from the clear cutting of bottomland hardwood forests – some of the most biodiverse temperate forests and freshwater ecosystems worldwide.

As for Canada we export about 1.3 million tons of wood pellets, most of it from boreal forests, to Europe every year. As for being "carbon neutral", boreal forests grow slowly and model simulations reported in the journal Climate Change indicate that harvest of a boreal forest will create a "biofuel carbon debt" that takes 190–340 years to repay. So boreal forest wood is carbon neutral as long as you wait 3 centuries or so. To put it in perspective, in order to provide power for the factories and electric cars in Europe, Canadian and US forests are being cut down, often at an unsustainable rate, resulting in the destruction of valuable habitat and loss of ecosystem diversity.

What is most ironic is that the power used by Greenpeace in Europe to fight the "tar sands" theoretical destruction of boreal forests is provided by the cutting down and grinding up of actual Canadian boreal forests.   

So we have now established that power from biomass is a case of good intentions gone awry let's look at ethanol in fuel. So much has been written on the topic that I will only present some highlights here. In the US they have a requirement for ethanol in fuel. This has resulted in pulling corn (the biggest source of US ethanol) out of the food chain. Specifically, as recounted in Forbes, in 2000 over 90% of the U.S. corn crop went to feed people and livestock, many in undeveloped countries, with less than 5% used to produce ethanol. In 2013, however, 40% went to produce ethanol, 45% was used to feed livestock, and only 15% was used for food and beverage. Put another way, enough calories to feed 500 million people were pulled out of the human food chain to run our vehicles? Let me say that again so it sinks in, the ethanol the US burns in its cars each year would feed 500 million people.

The same Forbes article points out that Brazil is clear-cutting almost a million acres of tropical forest per year to produce biofuel and shipping much of the fuel all the way to Europe. The net effect is about 50% more carbon emitted by using these biofuels than using petroleum fuels. As for the argument that the ethanol helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a recent article in Science disputes that point. The article points out that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings in greenhouse gases, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years (so it will be carbon neutral in 167 years or so). The same article indicates that biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. Another article in Science indicates that converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food crop–based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a “biofuel carbon debt” by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas reductions that these biofuels would provide by displacing fossil fuels.

I don't have the space to discuss palm oil here but suffice it to point out that an article at Ensia reports that in 1985, Indonesia had less than 2,500 square miles of palm oil plantation, 20 years later, they covered 21,621 square miles, and by 2025 the Indonesian government projects plantations will cover at least 100,000 square miles. As reported in another article at Ensia a typical palm oil lagoon (a necessary component of the oil palm extraction process) has the same annual climate impact as driving 22,000 passenger cars. Since there are upwards of 1000 of these plantations in Indonesia we are talking the equivalent of 220,000 passenger cars a year, this is in addition to the palm oil plantation's biofuel carbon debt of almost a century.

Going back to my introduction, I care about maintaining the integrity of our shared ecological inheritance. Biofuels, when used in the manner they have been used to date, are destroying that inheritance. Each year hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests in South and Central America and Southeast Asia are being clear-cut or burned in order to free up space for the production of these supposedly "carbon neutral" fuels. Yet these fuels can only be considered carbon neutral if you look at them in century timescales. Unfortunately, very few organisms live lives marked by century timescales.

In order to survive climate change, ecosystems need resiliency and the destruction of habitat reduces resiliency and increases the likelihood of ecological collapse in degraded ecosystems.

Moreover, moving the calories used in biofuels out of the human food-chain has resulted in food scarcity, increased costs for food and a reduction in the availability of inexpensive food available for food aid. Once again well-meaning, but science-blind, activists need to be educated on what their slogans are actually accomplishing, because it is neither ecologically sustainable nor does it decrease Tyndall gas concentrations in our atmosphere.


More on the Pope and the Greens

The press, fond as they are of reporting wild speculation as actual news, has been speculating and reporting-as-news that our Holy Father is going to release an encyclical—a “rare” document carrying the force of “the highest levels of a pope’s authority”—which will tell the world that global warming will doom us all unless we cede the authority of all things to world government.

The uber-left Guardian speculates “Pope Francis’s edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches“. Edict? As in legally binding command? Denier? As is one who still holds to the scientific precept that consistently bad and busted forecasts imply a bad and busted theory?

Since the pope has not yet released his encyclical, if indeed he is writing one, I can’t find myself being angry. And if he does write one, I don’t think I’ll feel anything besides mild bemusement. Popes do curious things and who am I to judge? So the Guardian got that one wrong. Of course, that’s just speculation on my part about my part, so be sure to check back if and when the pope makes his move and I’ll give you the inside scoop about my inner turmoil, if any.

Why chatter on about my emotions? Good question, that. Why does the Guardian center its efforts on the emotional state of its enemies? Could it be—we’re speculating here—that all this climate frou-frou is not, as we have been told, a mere (and dull) branch of scientific investigation, but is instead an enormous political lever wielded by leftist politicians in an effort to be granted more power?

Only the Lord knows the answer to that difficult question. But I’ll tell you this. Whenever I’ve met an activist, concerned citizen, politizen, or any other person suffering angst over the world’s impending heat-doom, I ask them a few questions. Like, “What is the omega equation? Can you describe CAPE? Would you please tell me everything you know about radiative transfer?” This will shock you, but none know the answers.

Now isn’t that odd? This is supposed to the end-of-the-world, ooggly-boogly, what-about-the-children stuff, the science of which is settled. Facts so sure that only deniers would deny them. You would have guessed, therefore, that those most vigorously wringing their hands would have boned up on the subject which is so dear to them. Best anybody can do, though, is to point to something some scientist said, a statement about which they are in no position to judge. To these folks science just is another branch of politics, subject to majority-rules vote.


I’m only speculating, but the Guardian has surely condemned “the Vatican” before, using terms like “medieval”, “patriarchal”, “controlling” and so forth, none of which (strangely) they mean as compliments. Nothing the writers there (and at Think Progress, etc.) would like better than to see this ancient institution busted up or forced to bow to modern fetishes. (True-as-vote yet again.) So what are we to make of the strange glee of the perpetually “outraged” reporter who wrote that the pope’s yet-to-be-written encyclical “will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners”?

Obviously, this reporter (who also saw fit to liken Francis to Superman) is hopeful that Catholics must and will obey the Holy Father and start to believe there is no more worse problem than global warming.

Boy, is this guy in for awakening (if the pope really does release an encyclical stating global warming is the Most Important Problem Ever). Western Catholics aren’t well known for toeing the line. Many turn a cold shoulder to dogma, so it’s not likely that something as minor as an encyclical about environmental science will be compelling.

Switching gears, I was surprised-and-then-not-surprised to read “a strong majority of white evangelicals in the U.S. believe that worsening natural disasters are a sign of the apocalypse, not climate change, and other conservative evangelical sects will likely oppose Francis’ efforts.”

That makes no sense. If “white evangelicals” believe “the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of what the Bible calls ‘the end times'” you think they’d be on board with the pope’s imagined encyclical. Bring on the heat, baby, and end this thing!

But then the question itself is flawed. Natural disasters are decreasing not increasing, both in frequency and severity. The reduction in frequency is a result of the climate changing (for the better), and the lessening of severity is because of inter alia the wise use of fossil fuels and technological increase.

God bless the pope.


Cause of the Pause in Global Warming

S. Fred Singer points out that the explanations offered for the "pause" are all unproven theory

There has been essentially no global warming since 1998.  Some would choose 1997, others would more conservatively use 2002 as the proper starting date, based on satellite data.  Of course, this is quite unexpected, since CO2 -- a leading GHG, which climate models presume to cause anthropogenic global warming (AGW) -- has been increasing rapidly in the 21st century.

Even if we cannot readily find the cause for the “pause” -- as it is sometimes called -- we can be absolutely sure that it was not predicted by any of the dozens of the UN-IPCC’s General Circulation Models (GCMs).  Therefore, logically, such non-validated GCMs cannot, and should not, be used to predict the future climate -- or as a basis for policy decisions.

Here I would like to discuss some of the possible causes for the GW “hiatus.”  Its existence is creating a scientific challenge for climate skeptics -- and a real crisis for alarmists; it can no longer be ignored by any who consider themselves to be scientists -- nor, indeed, by responsible politicians.

One possibility, of course, may be that the pause is simply a statistical fluctuation, like tossing a coin, with 15 to 18 heads in a row.  Such an explanation cannot be dismissed out of hand, even though it has a very low probability -- which becomes even smaller with each passing year of no GW.  Obviously, climate alarmists like this possibility -- although the number of such ‘true believers’ is shrinking.  Most have started to look for a physical cause for the pause -- an explanation of why current GCMs are failing to match observations.

Internal and external causes

When we look at possible causes, we should first of all distinguish between internal and external ones that might offset the expected GW from CO2.  Internal causes rely on negative feedbacks from either water vapor (WV) or clouds; they act to decrease the warming that should be attributed to increasing CO2.  The problem with internal effects is they can never fully eliminate the primary cause -- almost by definition.  So even if they diminish the CO2 effect somewhat, there should still be a remaining warming trend, though small.

It is quite important to obtain empirical evidence for a negative feedback.  In the case of water vapor, one would look to see if the cold upper troposphere (UT) was dry or moist.  If moist, as assumed implicitly in current IPCC-GCMs, one gets a positive feedback -- i.e., an amplification of the CO2-caused warming.  On the other hand, if the upper troposphere is dry, then most emissions into space take place from WV in the warm boundary layer in the lower troposphere.  This leaves less energy available to be emitted into space from the surface through the atmospheric ‘window,’ and therefore produces a cooler surface.

[NB: To avoid the vexing issue of the effects of the down-welling infrared radiation, it is easiest to think of long-term zero energy imbalance, as measured by satellites at the top of the atmosphere -- after the underlying atmosphere adjusts.  Imbalance = incoming less reflected solar radiant energy minus the heat energy from surface and atmosphere escaping to space.]

The physical model I have in mind for this negative WV feedback is based on a proposal of Prof. William Gray (Colorado State University), who pictured cumulus clouds carrying moisture into the UT, but occupying only a small area; the remaining (and much larger) area experiences descending air (“subsidence”) -- hence drying.  In principle, it should be possible to measure this difficult-to-explain effect fairly easily, using available satellite data.

Negative feedback from increased cloudiness is easier to describe but more difficult to measure.  The idea is simply that a slight increase in sea-surface (SST) temperature (from the GH effect of a rising CO2) also increases evaporation (according to the well-known “Clausius-Clapeyron” relation), and that this increased atmospheric moisture can also increase cloudiness.  The net effect is a greater (reflecting) albedo, less sunlight reaching the surface, and therefore a negative feedback that reduces the original warming from increasing CO2.

Unfortunately, establishing the reality of this cloud feedback requires a measurement of global cloudiness with an accuracy of a small fraction of a percent -- a very difficult problem.

We now turn to external effects that might explain the existence of a global warming pause; the principal ones are volcanism and solar activity.  The problem here is one of balancing; the amount of cooling by volcanism, for example, has to be just right to offset the warming from CO2 during the entire duration of the pause.  It is difficult to picture why exactly this might be happening; the probabilities seem rather small.  Still, the burden is on the proponents to demonstrate various kinds of evidence in support of such an explanation.

Similarly, atmospheric aerosols, generally human-caused, can increase albedo and cool the planet -- especially if they also increase cloudiness by providing condensation nuclei for WV.

Hidden Warming?

Note that all the explanations mentioned so far act to reduce ‘climate forcing’ -- defined as the energy imbalance measured at the top of the atmosphere (TOA)

There is an important school of thought that does not rely on offsetting the forcing from increased CO2; instead it assumes that there really exists an imbalance at the TOA and that GW is taking place somewhere, but is not easily seen.  Many assume that the “missing heat” is hiding in the deep ocean.  It is difficult to see how such a mechanism can function without also raising surface temperatures; but an oscillation in ocean currents might produce such a result.

Still, if measurements could demonstrate a gradual increase in stored ocean heat, one would be forced to consider possible mechanisms.  Its proponents might be asked, however, why the storage increase started just when it did; when will it end; and how will the energy eventually be released, and with what manifestations?

There is yet another possibility worth considering:  The missing energy might be used to melt ice rather than warm the ocean.  Again, quantitative empirical evidence might support such a scenario.  But how to explain the starting date of the pause -- and how soon might it end?

Yet another explanation

It is generally accepted that the warming effect from CO2 increases roughly as the logarithm of CO2 concentration.  The reason has to do with the broadness and shape of the CO2 absorption lines -- as is well known among molecular spectroscopists.  But even the log of CO2 would show a steady rise, albeit smaller than that of CO2 itself; so that this simple explanation does not work.

But CO2 is an interesting and complicated molecule.  Its climate-forcing effect might actually decline to zero -- albeit for only a number of years.  The reason is that part of the CO2 absorption and emission takes place in the stratosphere, where the temperature gradient is positive, i.e. there is warming with increasing altitude, instead of cooling.

But until someone does the necessary work, by analyzing available satellite data, one should not put too much faith in this hypothesis.

So after all, the global warming pause still remains somewhat of a puzzle.  The simplest description is that the climate sensitivity is close to zero -- as demonstrated empirically.  But why?  How then to explain the reported surface warming from 1975 to 2000?


Regardless of any unsettled science details, it seems sure that current climate models cannot represent what is actually happening in the atmosphere -- and therefore one should not rely on predictions from such unvalidated models that are based simply on increases of carbon dioxide.  It should be obvious that this discussion has important policy consequences since so many politicians are wedded to the idea that CO2 needs to be controlled in order to avoid “dangerous changes of the global climate.”


Special interests influence costly EPA regulations

Sue-and-settle lawsuits exclude the public from participating in the regulatory process

Collusive relationships between the EPA and powerful special interest Green organizations are producing regulatory policies and rules, imposing enormous penalties upon our constitutional freedoms, living and business costs, and national free market competitiveness.

Revolving-door employment exchanges between private lobbies and government facilitate these incestuous collaborations. An important tactic involves use of wink-and-nod lawsuits whereby environmental lobbying entities are secretly encouraged to sue the agency for remedies desired by both sides, then quietly settle out of court.

Although such practices are not new or limited to a single federal agency, those involving the EPA are nevertheless very much on the rise. Many target fossil fuel industries, coal in particular, commonly applying ever-expanding rulemaking claims premised under authority of its Clean Air Act. Two major inside players are the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club.

Two watchdog organizations, the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal) and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (FMELC), recently sent a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins requesting an investigation into collusive deals whereby the agency allowed the NRDC and the Sierra Club to help write regulatory policy for its war on coal. E&E Legal and FMELC have pieced together evidence taken from hundreds of e-mails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The New York Times reports that the NRDC is also the subject of an ongoing congressional inquiry, based upon other e-mails indicating that EPA has stocked its senior positions with politically appointed officials from various Green groups. This arrangement afforded those groups unprecedented access to former colleagues — leading to unlawful influence toward shared ends to the detriment of due process constitutional rights of other parties.

E&E Legal’s attorney Chris Horner commented, “EPA’s hostility toward transparency is now well established.” As of now, the EPA uses every tool at its disposal to delay FOIA responses. Accordingly, Horner observes that, “The Inspector General even recently sent letters to Congress complaining that EPA bureaucrats were obstructing his investigations” . . . and evidence shows that “EPA’s Inspector General must now pursue conflicts of interest and collusion and how they influenced EPA’s most controversial and expensive regulatory agenda ever.”

E-mail exchanges between former EPA head Lisa Jackson and the NRDC’s Frances Beinecke reveal the organization’s long and powerful influence, provoking the LisaEPAjaCKSONHouse Oversight and Government Reform Committee to investigate what lawyers and economists refer to as “regulatory capture.”  This is a cozy relationship where a regulatory agency becomes so beholden to special interests it no longer acts in the interests of the rest of us.

As reported by the Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and NRDC President Beinecke stating:L “It appears that NDRC’s unprecedented access to high-level EPA officials allowed it to influence EPA policy decisions and achieve its own private agenda.”

The letter went on to say, “Such collusive activities provide the NRDC, and their financial backers, with [an] inappropriate opportunity to wield the broad powers of the executive branch.”

New York Times climate and energy writer Coral Davenport reported that NRDC lobbyists David Doniger, David Hawkins, and Daniel Lashof crafted the EPA plan “aimed at slashing planet-warming carbon pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.”  This, she believes, served as the inspiration, if not the blueprint, for the EPA’s new rules.

issa1The sue-and-settle approach, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits” or “regulation through litigation,” obtains consent decrees from cherry-picked courts based upon prearranged settlement agreements — collaboratively crafted together behind closed doors.

Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action they and the litigants both want. More than 60 such EPA agreements have been reached with the NRDC and other environmental groups in just the past 4 years with little or no Congressional input or oversight.

While the environmental group is given a seat at the table, outsiders who are most impacted are excluded, with no opportunity to object to the settlements. No public notice about the settlement is released until the agreement is filed in court — after the damage has been done. On top of all that, generous government taxpayers typically pay the legal fees of both colluding parties.

No responsible person wants polluted land, air and water. While government has important roles to ensure responsible environmental safeguards, protections are also needed to ensure responsible and accountable regulatory processes.

 This will not occur as long as unelected bureaucrats in concert with ideological zealots and special interest cronies are free to craft and impose back-door regulatory rulings with sweeping impacts upon the rest of us.


First coal-seam gas loaded for export from Australia

The world's first coal-seam-gas to LNG facility starts up.  Greenies hate coal seam gas, of course, but both the Queensland and Federal government support it

BG Group began loading the first cargo of LNG from its Queensland Curtis LNG (QCLNG) facility to the vessel Methane Rita Andrea December 28. The second cargo of LNG from the facility will be loaded onto the Methane Mickie Harper, which is expected in Gladstone in the first week of January.

QCLNG is the world's first LNG project to be supplied by coal seam gas. The start of production from the plant's first LNG train is the result of more than four years of development and construction on Curtis Island.

The project will expand further with the startup of the second train in the third quarter of 2015. At plateau production, expected during 2016, QCLNG will have an output of around 8 million metric tons of LNG a year.

Andrew Gould, interim Executive Chairman, said, "This is an immense achievement which demonstrates the company's ability to deliver a highly complex LNG project. The start-up of QCLNG is testament to the hard work, skill and dedication of all our employees, partners and customers including the thousands of individuals who have been involved in physically building the plant.

The ongoing support from both the State Government of Queensland and the local councils of our upstream region and in Gladstone has also been pivotal in this development. We thank them all."



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

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


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By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which the primary constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust.

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

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"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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