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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31 January, 2017

The Climate Wars - No Time for Resting

Viv Forbes

Disarm and Defund the Green Globalists NOW

Napoleon’s Grand Army was defeated in the Battle of the Nations in 1813. The Emperor abdicated and was banished to Elba. But his army was not disarmed and destroyed by the victors – they rested.

Just 2 years later, Napoleon escaped and quickly re-mobilised his army. Only Wellington blocked his path to Brussels, at Waterloo.

After a fierce day of battle, a weary line of redcoats still held the ridge at Waterloo. But Napoleon’s Old Guard had been held in reserve for this decisive moment. Advancing like a spear, three columns wide, “The Invincibles” aimed to pierce the middle of the thin red line.

But a miracle occurred. Withering fire on both sides of the spear from the thin red line sapped their strength - Napoleon’s “Invincible” Old Guard broke and ran.

This was the critical point of that battle (and for the Climate War now). It is at the moment of defeat, with the enemy disorganised and demoralised, that the greatest gains can be made. Too often, however, the weary victors waste this opportunity to pursue and destroy the enemy.

Wellington’s exhausted army was incapable of pursuit, but a miracle occurred – General Blucher arrived at sundown with fresh Prussian troops. The avenging German lancers pursued, captured, disarmed and slaughtered the fleeing French all the way back to Paris. They captured Napoleon. Never again did the Grand Army threaten Europe.

In the global Climate Wars, Trump and Brexit have given us a victory of Waterloo dimensions. But this will be only a temporary setback for the Green Globalists unless they are now ruthlessly disarmed and de-funded. If we rest and relax, we will soon be ground under their green sandals again.

We must immediately deny them funds, tax shelters, manpower and legal support.

Not a cent more for climate conferences – send just one representative whose only power is to “vote no to everything”. Rescind or ignore past climate “agreements”, de-fund all UN/IPCC activities, remove all green energy subsidies and mandates and halve government funding of the ABC, BBC and all other GreenBC’s.
Subtract all “climate aid” from foreign aid budgets, divert all climate research funding to weather-proofing infrastructure, and replace green propaganda with hard science in education agendas.

Starved of public funding and propaganda, and with constant fire at their flanks with bullets of truth, the “invincible” green army will soon falter and run.

Chase them all the way back to Paris. Give them no rest until their infamous Grab for Global Power called the Paris Climate Treaty is rejected, never to rise again.


Change, anyone?

Trump and Prince Charles in climate row

President ‘won’t take lecture’ from prince.  Trump wants to abandon the Paris climate deal; Charles gave a keynote speech at that meeting.  It is Charles who is out of line.  He has no business intervening in politics

Donald Trump is engaged in an extraordinary diplomatic row with the Prince of Wales over climate change that threatens to disrupt his state visit to the UK.

The new president is reluctant to meet the prince when he comes to Britain in June because of their violently divergent views on global warming.

Members of Trump’s inner circle have warned officials and ministers that it would be counterproductive for Charles to “lecture” Trump on green issues and that he will “erupt” if pushed. They want the younger princes, William and Harry, to greet the president instead. Royal aides insist that he should meet Trump.

Senior government officials now believe Charles is one of the most serious “risk factors” for the visit.


North Dakota Senator Calls On Trump For Fed Help With Pipeline Protesters

North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp joined local and state law enforcement officials Wednesday and called on President Donald Trump for federal support for dealing with protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In a letter to Trump, Heitkamp wrote that since he “signaled” his support for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, she is asking for federal help to support the law enforcement agencies who have “engaged in addressing ongoing protest activities.”

According to Heitkamp, “After five months of protests and over 600 arrests related to those protests, state and local law enforcement agencies are in need financial assistance and additional manpower in order to continue to ensure public safety.”

Pipeline protesters brought their activities to Washington, D.C. this week, when one activist climbed a crane and hung a banner reading “RESIST” in response to Trump’s executive order to push forward the completion of the pipeline.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department, Republican North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, North Dakota US Attorney Chris Meyers and congressional delegations have all requested federal support from Trump administration, The Daily Caller learned from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

TheDC reached out to the White House press office for a response, as well as officials at the Department of Homeland Security, and did not receive a response.

Heitkamp says that the “necessity to rely upon law enforcement from across the state had led to personnel shortages statewide, cancelled leave, officers stretched thin, and communities throughout North Dakota wondering when their law enforcement will be returned to full strength.”

“I recognize the First Amendment right of individuals to peacefully protest, however, previous events have concerned local residents and workers about their personal safety and damage to private property,” she wrote.

The Sioux Tribal council officially called on all protesters encamped in its North Dakota reservation to clear out earlier in the week after it decided to dismantle the protest camps on the reservation near the pipeline.


A win for peace and quiet: Judge says ‘No’ to Maryland wind farm

The modern version of an ancient proverb holds that “The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

How slowly do they turn? As slowly as the blades on a wind turbine, perhaps? Some days, in our neck of the woods, the blades don’t turn at all … during what mariners in the age of sail would have described as “a dead calm.”

More than a year and a half after the process began, a Maryland public utility law judge has issued a proposed order that would effectively kill Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC’s plans for a 17-turbine wind farm on Dan’s Mountain.

This is an act of justice that works in our favor because it reinforces Allegany County’s right to exercise self-government.

After each step of the legal process in which permission to build the wind farm was denied, Dan’s Mountain went to the next level.

In a previous editorial, we compared this to the ploy commonly used by youngsters who, when they can’t get permission from Dad, go next to ask Mom if it’s OK with her (See: “End-around: Company wants state approval for wind farm,” Feb. 24, 2016).

The Allegany County commissioners, the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals and Allegany County Circuit Court Judge W. Timothy Finan all said “No” to Dan’s Mountain. Their decisions were based on Allegany County’s codes, regulations and laws.

Dan’s Mountain then turned to the Maryland Public Service Commission, asking for a certificate of public convenience and necessity – basically saying, “Tell us we can do it anyway, even if they don’t like it.”

A public hearing was held last August by the PSC’s chief public utility judge, Terry Romine. Some spoke in favor of the project. Others cited health concerns or said a decision in favor of Dan’s Mountain would be an affront to Allegany County’s right to govern itself.

In her proposed ruling, Romine found that a wind farm’s adverse impacts – the effect noise and shadow flickers would have “on the esthetic of local communities on and around Dan’s Mountain” – would outweigh any benefits.

Dan’s Mountain said it was disappointed by the proposed ruling and is weighing its appeal options.

Plans to install wind farms in this area may have produced more vocal opposition than anything else in recent times. Opposition to hydraulic fracking of natural gas comes close, but protests against wind farms – both in the planning stages and after completion – have gone on for a longer time.

Several years before it was proposed to put a wind farm on Dan’s Mountain, residents in nearby Pennsylvania and West Virginia said they were having problems with wind turbines. They said shadows, noise and vibrations caused mental and physical health problems and led to a decrease in the use, enjoyment and value of their property.

One couple told our reporter Elaine Blaisdell it was like living in the “dark, deep depths of hell.”

Dan’s Mountain predicted its wind farm would generate about $720,000 a year in property taxes for Allegany County over the first 20 years.

That may seem like a lot of money, but the county’s anticipated share of gaming proceeds from the Rocky Gap Casino Resort for the 2016 fiscal year is nearly twice that much: $1.4 million. All the resort does is sit there, out of everyone’s way – attracting people to it, rather than annoying them or driving them off.

Opposition to wind farms is growing elsewhere. The Kokomo, Indiana, Tribune (a CNHI newspaper) reported last year that wind farm developers “were running into resistance from communities that fear those turbines will overrun the landscape.”

CNHI State Reporter Maureen Hayden wrote that “Fears of noise, adverse health effects and worries that home values will plummet as the giant turbines go up are driving the concerns of opponents.

“Residents who live in cozy homes in rural Rush County say their unobstructed views of bucolic farmland will be permanently marred by a proposed development of 65 wind turbines. The bladed turbines will reach 600 feet into the sky, about three times higher than the tallest building in the county, the courthouse.”

Hank Campbell, an avid opponent of the project, asked Hayden, “Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘I want to build my house next to a wind farm?’ ”

Campbell’s counterparts in our area kept the Times-News supplied with letters to the editor and reader commentaries that virtually mirrored the contents of Hayden’s story.

Wind farms have an important role in today’s environmentally conscious world. Surveys repeatedly indicate that most people support wind power and, in some areas, the facilities are welcomed and prove highly productive and successful.

The trick is to make them compatible with their human neighbors.

In our part of the country, where we treasure the natural beauty of our hills and valleys and place a high value on our peace and quiet, that may take some doing


US Scientific Integrity Rules Repudiate the UN Climate Process

The US government says its a violation of scientific integrity for political officials to alter scientific findings. But political revision is central to how IPCC reports get produced.

Mere days before he left office, Barack Obama’s Department of Energy (DOE) introduced a sweeping new scientific integrity policy. This matters because the DOE is the largest funder of physical sciences in America, and because climate change is one of its core concerns.

Elsewhere, I’ve explained that the new policy is a startling departure from the one that prevailed while Obama was in charge. It seems designed to unleash mayhem. In both instances, however, the DOE was adamant concerning one issue: Politicians should not tamper with scientific findings.

The 2014 policy declares: Political officials will not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings.

The 2017 policy says: Under no circumstance may anyone, including a public affairs officer, ask or direct any researcher to alter the record of scientific findings or conclusions.

…personnel will not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings, or intimidate or coerce…others to alter or censor scientific or technological findings or conclusions.

There’s nothing equivocal about these statements. When scientists produce a document that says one thing, but their findings get massaged and manipulated by the people upstairs, scientific integrity has been violated. That is the clear position of the US government.

I am therefore happy to report that this same government has, in no uncertain terms, repudiated the process by which UN climate reports are produced.

In recent years, I’ve written two entire books about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Tasked with producing authoritative climate change assessments, the IPCC recruits scientists to write these documents.

The last major scientific assessment, released in 2013-2014, runs to 7,000 pages. No one has time to read such an opus, so the IPCC also released a Summary for Policymakers approximately 30 pages long for each of the report’s three sections.

These summaries were authored by a subset of the scientists who worked on the main report. But the IPCC considers scientists’ own, unadorned words to be a mere draft. Before each summary became an official IPCC document it was extensively altered. By political officials.

This is how it works: the IPCC convenes a meeting that’s attended by diplomats, bureaucrats, and political representatives from every UN country that chooses to send a delegation. At that meeting, each sentence/paragraph of the summary under discussion is projected onto large screens and debated. Sentences are deleted, phrases are inserted, and graphs and tables are meddled with.

Only when every political delegation in the room consents to the new wording is the sentence/paragraph considered final. Then the next one gets projected onscreen, and the political negotiations begin anew.

In the normal world, a summary is supposed to accurately reflect the longer document on which it is based. But that’s not what happens here. The IPCC goes back, after the fact, and changes the original scientific report so that it aligns with the politically negotiated summary.

The IPCC says it recruits top scientific talent. Those people spend years working on their section of the report, receive feedback from external reviewers, and improve their text accordingly. But what they produce at the end of the day is not, actually, the final word.

After the summaries are haggled over, the IPCC alters what the scientists wrote. That’s the reason the IPCC routinely releases its summaries before it releases the underlying scientific report. In this 2007 news clipping, the IPCC chairman explains: “we have to ensure that the underlying report conforms to the refinements” (italics added).

After one of these summary-rewriting meetings took place in 2013, I pointed out that the IPCC was revisiting nine out of 14 chapters in that part of its report. The list of changes being made to the original report was 10 pages long.

The implications here are explosive. Twice in the past fours years the department of the US government responsible for climate research has released a scientific integrity policy. Both versions of that policy forbid the alteration of scientific findings by political officials. Yet this is exactly how the IPCC operates.

To recap:

The US government says political tampering with scientific findings is a violation of scientific integrity.

IPCC reports are extensively tampered with by political officials.

IPCC reports therefore lack scientific integrity.

People who rely on IPCC reports are basing their decisions on documents that have no scientific integrity.



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


30 January, 2017

Central England Temperatures 1659-2016 show no trend

The great trick in chartmanship is choosing your starting and ending points to show the sort of trend you want to show. Warmists do it all the time.  So that is why a really long record is needed -- to avoid showing a small part of the record as typical of the whole. 

And the Central England Temperature record is the longest we have -- from 1659-2016.  So what trend does it show?  None at all.  Look particularly at the summer temperatures (in red).  Any global warming should certainly be obvious there.  But it is not.  There IS no global warming and there has been none for a long time

The Warmists are probably nutty enough to claim that England was somehow insulated from the rest of the world but I have no idea  how anyone could explain that.  Extra-terrestrials at work?

What they do say is that the record harks back to the beginning of thermometers so the early readings are not as precisely accurate as modern readings.  What that does however is highlight how tiny and hence how trivial are the changes they deal in:  Tenths and hundredths of one degree.  To changes as small as that, the only reasonable response is "Who cares?"

There has been no change in UK average temperatures in summer(JJA) or in Spring(MAM) for the last 367 years. The two hottest summers were 1826 (17.6C) and 1976(17.8C). I remember 1976 as the perfect summer with two months of continuous sunshine, causing a severe drought.  The two coldest winters were 1740 (-0.73C) and 1963 (-0.07C). 1963 was the perfect time to be a small child aged 10, sledging every weekend. These extremes have not been exceeded for the last 40 years.

Monthly averaged temperatures for winter(DJF), Spring (MAM), Summer (JJA) and Autumn (SON). Data curtesy of the UK Met Office


UPDATE:  Comment from a reader.

By the way, thermometers have been very accurate since they were invented....why.......well 0 is the freezing point of water and 100 is the boiling point and God will not allow those to be changed. Everything in between is linear. Anyone can make a thermometer. Put some Mercury in a glass tube, seal it. Place it in an ice bath. Mark the glass tube at the top level of the mercury then place it in boiling water(sea level) and mark the glass tube again. Now add graduations linearly the length between the two and WALAA............a thermometer.  The longer the tube of mercury the more accurate and finer reading one can take.

Homogenisation Used to Embed Artificial Warming Trend in Colorado Temperature Record

After looking at hundreds of temperature series from different locations across Australia, I’ve come to understand that only cities show the type of warming reported by the IPCC, and other such government-funded institutions. Much of this warming is due to what is known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect: bitumen, tall-buildings, air-conditioners, and fewer and fewer trees, means that urban areas become hotter and hotter.

For example, in a recent study of temperature variability and change for south-east Australia it is evident that maximum temperatures in the cities of Melbourne and Hobart are increasing at a rate of about 0.8 degree Celsius per century; while the rate of increase at the nearby lighthouses is half of this.

While the trend of about 0.4 degree Celsius per century at the lighthouses – as shown in Chart 1 – is arguably an accurate record of temperature change, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology changes this. To be clear, the Bureau changes a perfectly good temperature series from Cape Otway lighthouse by remodeling it so that it has Melbourne’s temperature signal – all through the process of homogenisation.

Government agencies in the USA have done exactly the same thing to temperature records for Colorado. This is all explained in detail in this new video by Monte Naylor:

The video runs for about 40 minutes, and is quite technical.

The conclusions from this study have been summarized by Monte as follows:

(1) The USHCN Fort Collins station temperature record was not recognized by NOAA as having the heat bias from expanding UHI which has been easily identified by other researchers.

(2) NOAA’s homogenization program adjusted the USHCN Boulder station temperature history in a fashion that does not match any of the four other nearby rural/suburban long-term temperature histories. Nor does the NOAA-homogenized Boulder temperature history resemble the average temperature trend found by this study.

(3) NOAA’s homogenization program adjusted the Boulder temperature history to resemble the UHI-contaminated temperature history of the Fort Collins station.

(4) The best estimate of the northern Colorado Front Range temperature trend is obtained by using the TOB-adjusted Group of 5 average which shows a warming temperature trend of 1.7 °F (0.95 °C) from 1900 to 2015. The NOAA temperature trend, about 4 °F over 115 years, is more than twice the best estimate of this study.

(5) About 70% of the warming shown in the Group of 5 average temperature trend occurred before 1932. Temperatures trends of recent decades do not show anomalous warming.  Distinct warm temperature events occurred in the 1930’s and 1950’s that were much warmer than those observed since the turn of the 21st century.

(6) The Northern Front Range Group of 5 average temperature trend does not increase in a fashion consistent with increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Irish cow farts are OK under EU emissions deal

Ireland secured an allowance of offsets, such as planting trees, to escape reducing high agricultural emissions

Ireland has been accused of exploiting a new EU emissions agreement to such an extent that the country will have to reduce greenhouses gases by just 1 per cent between 2020 and 2030.

The government won major concessions at the European Commission in July that meant it would avoid billions of euros in potential fines thanks to loopholes that benefit the agriculture sector.

EU member states have agreed to reduce emissions from the agriculture, transport, buildings and waste sectors by 30 per cent by 2030. Effort-sharing regulations set out national targets and made allowances so countries could cover emissions with different flexibilities and carbon trading options to make it less costly to comply with the targets.


Oil ‘will flow for 30 more years’

BP thinks crude prices are unlikely to return to sustained levels above $100 a barrel

The world has access to more than twice as much oil as it will need between now and 2050, which will dampen the long-term outlook for prices, according to BP.

There was an “abundance of oil” globally and it was “increasingly likely” that some resources would be left in the ground, Spencer Dale, the oil major’s chief economist, said. This would prompt competition, keeping long-term prices below $100 a barrel.

BP’s latest Energy Outlook report, published yesterday, estimates that more than 2.5 trillion barrels of oil have been discovered worldwide and technically could be extracted.

Although the company sees continued growth in oil demand into the 2040s, the rate of demand is slowing because of fuel efficiencies and the drive for greener energy.


DOE Employees Scrubbed ‘Climate Change’ From Agency Files To Fool Trump

Department of Energy employees have been scrubbing any reference to “climate change” from internal documents to keep the Trump administration from putting projects on the chopping block.

One DOE employee told the podcast “This American Life” she and others have been “going through all their internal documents that describe ongoing projects and just scrubbing them, deleting the parts where it says ‘and here’s how this can help us combat climate change,’” producer David Kestenbaum said.

The employee, identified as Laura and voiced by an actress in the podcast, said “we already did that” after the election. Laura said she and her colleagues cried after President Donald Trump’s win.

This “renewable energy program, now it’s a jobs program,” Kestenbaum added. “Most federal projects have a reason for their existence, why draw attention to something by putting the words ‘climate change’ in the description.”

Laura’s comments to “This American Life” came out Jan. 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration. But the days following Trump’s inauguration have been filled with media reports that the incoming administration was removing “climate change” mentions from and putting federal scientists on “lockdown.” She told Kestenbaum she didn’t feel bad about scrubbing internal documents because “as long as it’s getting done it doesn’t matter what we call it.”

She has only worked under the Obama administration, but will be staying for at least Trump’s first term. Senior DOE officials have been encouraging lower-level employees to stay in the Trump administration.

Laura says her decision to stay was spurred by a leaked transition team memo asking for all the names of DOE employees who attended the United Nations climate summits and worked on the “social cost of carbon” estimate.

After the leak, activists claimed Trump would delete public climate databases, and some climate scientists started to download databases they don’t want deleted.

DOE refused to hand over the names of any employees working on climate issues. Trump’s team disavowed the memo, and said it was never approved by transition officials.

Another federal employee, using the pseudonym Karen, told Kestenbaum some federal employees may use the bureaucracy to slow Trump down.

“Withholding information is one way you slow things down,” Karen said. “The bureaucracy is large, there’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of steps, and people that have been in government a long time understand those steps really well. So, some of those tactics may be used to make things go a lot slower.”



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


29 January, 2017

The Hockey Stick Collapses (2017)

A collection of 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2016 were displayed here last month in an article entitled, “The Hockey Stick Collapses: 60 New (2016) Scientific Papers Affirm Today’s Warming Isn’t Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable“.

Each paper from the 2016 collection cast doubt on claims of an especially unusual global-scale warming during modern times.

Yes, some regions of the Earth have been warming in recent decades (i.e., the Arctic since the 1990s), or at some point in the last 100 years.  Some regions have been cooling for decades at a time (i.e., the Arctic during the 1950s to 1980s, the Southern Ocean since 1979).  And many regions have shown no significant net changes or trends in either direction relative to the last few hundred to thousands of years.

In other words, there is nothing historically unprecedented or remarkable about today’s climate when viewed in the context of natural variability.

And the scientific evidence continues to accumulate for 2017.  In just the first month of this year, there have already been at least 17 papers published in scientific journals once again documenting that modern warming is not global, unprecedented, or remarkable.  In fact, several of these papers indicate that we are still living through some of the coldest temperatures of the last 10,000 years (just above Little Ice Age levels), and that a large portion of the amplitude of the modern warming trend (if there is one depicted) was realized prior to the mid-20th century, or before the period when human CO2 emissions began to rise dramatically.

Needless to say, these papers do not support the position that human CO2 emissions are the primary drivers of climate.

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

Gore, Others Revive Canceled US Climate and Health Confab

A conference on climate change and health is back on but apparently minus the U.S. government. Several organizers including former Vice President Al Gore have resurrected the meeting set for next month in Atlanta.

The government's top public health agency had planned the conference then canceled it in December without explanation.

The one-day meeting is moving from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Carter Center. Gore will still be one of two keynote speakers, Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said Thursday.

"It's going to be on climate and health and in many ways it's going to be a very different meeting," said Benjamin, the other keynote speaker. Benjamin said he doesn't know if government officials will attend; many had been scheduled to speak at the conference .

An after-hours message to the CDC was not immediately returned.

The decision to hold the meeting was hatched by Benjamin's group, Gore, the University of Washington and the Harvard Global Health Institute. "Climate change is here today and is already impacting our health," Benjamin said.

A recent report by the U.S. government said global warming is a national public health problem . It said climate change is increasing the risk of respiratory problems and spread of disease from insects.

"Some of these health impacts are already underway in the United States," the report said.

In 2015, an international global health commission organized by the British medical journal Lancet said that hundreds of thousands of lives a year are at stake as global warming "threatens to undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health."


The Left and only the Left can control scientific thought. Or so they say

On election night, leftist elites were shocked to learn that a large swath of the country doesn’t think like they do. After all, these self-appointed intellectual rulers deem themselves the sole purveyors of sound political reasoning. Turns out political thought isn’t the only thing the Left wants to dictate. No, these folks also think they hold the trademark on Science™.

Consider, for example, President Donald Trump’s putting the kibosh on the social media accounts of certain federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The restrictions came just as Trump moved to approve the Keystone pipeline — a project the climate change propagandists at the EPA have, of course, viewed none too kindly. It’s not without precedent for incoming administrations to ensure the messaging from federal agencies is consistent with White House messaging. Indeed, as John Sexton notes, “The Trump administration does not want progressives in these agencies joining ‘the resistance’ using government social media accounts.”

That’s just what some government employees have done. And they have allies in the press. For example, Reuters reported it this way: “Employees from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies have established a network of unofficial ‘rogue’ Twitter feeds in defiance of what they see as attempts by President Donald Trump to muzzle federal climate change research and other science.” The @RogueNASA account styles itself the arbiter of “science and climate news and facts. REAL NEWS, REAL FACTS.”

Amidst the hoopla of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” don’t miss the overtones of resistance fighters bravely and nobly opposing the evil empire.

What’s also entertaining here is the apoplectic reaction. Liz Purchia, EPA public affairs head under Barack Obama, wailed, “It’s a dark time now. People are nervous and they are scared about what they can and can’t do.” Another government source said (with a straight face), “The idea of bad stuff being tweeted from EPA was not likely.” Of course, this is because the EPA assumes its opinions of climate change are settled Science™ and not simply theory. After all, if the Left says it’s true, it must be true.

The EPA isn’t alone. Soon after the gag order, the National Park Service took up the climate change mantle, with Badlands National Park posting a series of tweets bemoaning carbon dioxide. Those tweets were subsequently deleted. But in a telling sign that offended leftists within the agency are not confined to one park, staff at several parks are pursuing what the Chicago Tribune calls a “campaign against Trump,” tweeting out messages warning about global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. After all, the Left and only the Left can control scientific thought.

Of course it doesn’t stop with the government. Some in the lofty, ivory towers of academia want to use these unproven scientific theories as the plumb line to determine “fake news.” Next, we’ll use a slinky to draw a straight line.

Social psychologists at Cambridge, Yale and George Mason universities attempted to essentially inoculate individuals against “fake news” by feeding them climate change “facts” as well as “a small dose of misinformation.” Among the conclusions: “False information presented on its own was … shown to have a potent effect at spreading doubt about the veracity of the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-caused climate change.”

That “overwhelming consensus” must be referring to the overwhelmingly overused myth that 97% of scientists believe climate change is man-made and an impending global disaster.

Oh, but government agencies and universities don’t have anything on the press. The Washington Post outdid itself last week with a headline that will almost make you feel embarrassed for the paper — almost. The Post claimed “David Gelernter, fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist, is being eyed for Trump’s science advisor.” Alas! Who is this anti-intellectual Philistine? Well, as the article itself notes, he’s “a pioneer in the field of parallel computation, a type of computing in which many calculations are carried out simultaneously.” Gelernter also developed a programming language that “made it possible to link together several small computers into a supercomputer, significantly increasing the amount and complexity of data that computers can process.” In fact, he’s a genius.

But, as the Washington Examiner’s T. Becket Adams notes, Gelernter is also “a fierce critic of academia” who believes too many universities “promote and support the idea that opposing thoughts should be silenced and expelled.” Hence to the liberal Post, he’s clearly “anti-intellectual.” Because, as we’ve learned, the Left thinks it owns the trademark on Science%trade;, of which academia is a part.

This makes it all so devilishly amusing when anyone on the Left bemoans the spread of “fake news.” Because if there’s one thing leftists are universally experts on, it’s not science, but fakery.


I almost fell out of my chair when I saw Gelernter decribed as "anti-intellectual".  It shows who is anti-intellectual! -- JR

Pruitt Cool under Fire at Senate Confirmation Hearing

On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As expected, several Committee Democrats attacked Pruitt for “litigating against the EPA on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.”

President Trump nominated Pruitt precisely because of his leadership in challenging EPA’s regulatory overreach. In effect, Pruitt’s opponents say the Senate should reject him for the very reasons Trump nominated him. They believe that regardless of who is president, or which issues the winner campaigned on, the EPA administrator must always be a bona fide ‘progressive.’

The ‘EPA is our agency’ crowd implicitly argues that elections don’t—or shouldn’t—matter. Rubbish. Congress created the EPA to be run by political appointees who serve at the president’s pleasure.

Pruitt never lost his cool despite repeated attempts to discredit and fluster him. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) accused Pruitt of planning to act as “defendant, plaintiff, judge, and jury” because he would not commit to recuse himself from matters on which he has sued EPA as Oklahoma attorney general. But Pruitt did not decline to recuse himself. Rather, he repeatedly pledged to follow the advice of EPA’s office of ethics counsel.

Given EPA’s historic recusal policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations, Markey had no reason to assume Pruitt plans to handle the very lawsuits he filed or joined. As for playing “judge and jury,” I have no idea what that means. There are no juries in regulatory litigation. There are judges, to be sure, but the EPA administrator has no seat on the bench.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dinged Pruitt for doing nothing to stop wastewater disposal by hydro-fracking companies, which has caused a “record-breaking number of earthquakes in Oklahoma.” Pruitt pointed out that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate oil and gas underground injection wells, “and they have actually acted on that.” Indeed, though Pruitt did not mention it, Oklahoma earthquakes are down more than 50 percent since January 2016; the problem is being handled. Nonetheless, partly because Pruitt did not act beyond his legal authority, Sanders told him, “You are not going to get my vote.”    

You can watch the full hearing on YouTube. The remainder of this post reviews Pruitt’s questioning by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).

Booker accused Pruitt of shirking his responsibility to protect the welfare of Oklahoma citizens. How so? Pruitt filed or joined 14 lawsuits against the EPA “challenging clean air and clean water rules.” Booker seems to think the word “clean” in the titles of the underlying statutes suffices to ensure EPA’s rules are lawful and have large net benefits.

In fact, Pruitt was acting on behalf of Oklahomans’ welfare. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule imperils the property rights of small landholders and places undue burdens on small businesses. The Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule imposes billions in costs on ratepayers for grossly inflated and even imaginary health benefits. The Clean Power Plan imposes billions in costs for indiscernible climate benefits, and is so legally dubious the Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of staying the rule before a lower court reviewed it.

Citing the American Lung Association, “a very non-partisan group,” Booker went on to sermonize that in Oklahoma, 111,000 children have asthma, more than 10 percent, “one of the highest asthma rates in the United States of America.” He demanded to know why Pruitt had repeatedly sued EPA on behalf of “polluters” but had not filed one brief “on behalf of those kids to reduce the air pollution in your state and help them have a healthy life?”

Pruitt replied that he must have standing in order to sue, and in Oklahoma the attorney general has no parens patriae standing to bring cases on behalf of individual citizens or companies. There must be a “state interest” before he can sue, such as in cases where EPA regulations diminish state tax revenues via their adverse effects on the state’s economy. Other agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Quality and the Water Resources Board, have “front line” authority to enforce environmental protections for Oklahoma citizens.

Had time permitted, Pruitt could also have challenged Booker’s description of the American Lung Association as “very non-partisan” (see here and here). More importantly, with additional time, he could have explained why air pollution is likely no more than a minor contributor to asthma in Oklahoma.

To begin with, all Oklahoma air quality districts are currently in attainment with all National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for the six principal air pollutants, according to the EPA. By definition, when a state is in attainment with the NAAQS, pollution has been reduced to a level “sufficient to protect public health with an adequate margin of safety.”

Second, throughout the United States and several other countries too, asthma rates increased as air quality improved. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of the U.S. population with asthma increased from 3.1 percent in 1980 to 5.5 percent in 1996, 7.3 percent in 2001, and 8.4 percent in 2010. But during roughly the same years (1980 to 2013), U.S. emissions of the six principal air pollutants declined by a whopping 62 percent, resulting in big declines in air pollution concentrations, including a 33 percent reduction in ground-level ozone.

Correlation does not prove causation, but there can be no causation without correlation. Trends in air pollution and childhood asthma are inversely correlated.

Another fact casting doubt on air pollution as a major culprit in current U.S. asthma rates is that hospital admissions for asthma are lowest in the summer—when ozone levels are highest.

Nonetheless, the narrative that air pollution and other environmental problems are always “worse than we thought” leads many people, including some senators, to assume the presence of a large ‘dirty’ energy sector in a state must be making kids sick. Oklahoma ranks third among U.S. states in natural gas production and fifth in onshore oil production, has five petroleum refineries, and generates about one-third of its electricity from coal. So Pruitt of Oklahoma is a natural whipping boy for the greener-than-thou types.

But if dirty energy causes high asthma rates, how is it that states with little-to-no fossil energy production and coal consumption can have asthma rates just as high or even higher?  

Maine and Vermont have no oil and gas production, Maine gets only 0.6 percent of its electricity from coal, and Vermont gets all its electricity from renewable sources. Yet childhood asthma rates in those states (Maine figures, below right) are comparable to Oklahoma’s (below left), and their adult asthma rates are even higher.

Sen. Booker is right, of course, to be concerned about asthmatic children. Numerous factors contribute to asthma, however, and it’s still something of a mystery why asthma rates are increasing. To suggest that kids in Oklahoma have asthma because Pruitt represents “polluters” rather than “citizens” is partisan twaddle.

SOURCE   (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Australia: Man charged with police assault in 'invasion day' march is Green Party organiser

A man arrested for allegedly assaulting police during the flag-burning melee at the "invasion day" march through Sydney is a Greens campaign manager who used to be a paid employee of the party.

He was arrested on Thursday and charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and malicious damage. He has been bailed to appeal in Downing Centre local court on February 14.

In a statement, NSW Police said he was arrested during the anti-Australia Day march from Redfern after a "participant allegedly attempted to ignite a flag".

During the struggle to arrest Mr Williams, a male police officer injured his ankle and a female protester sustained head injuries. Both were taken to hospital.

His alleged involvement in the violent scenes has further polarised the Greens, with party opponents of Left Renewal saying on Friday that the faction has torn up the pacifist ideals of the wider movement.

Hayden Williams, 20, is also part of the anti-capitalist, anti-police, left-wing splinter faction in the NSW Greens, known as "Left Renewal", Fairfax Media can reveal.



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, 2017

Greenies still sympathetic to Nazism: "Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning"

Book by Timothy Snyder. Published in 2015 by the German media conglomerate, Bertelsmann.  Review by William Kay

Black Earth was a collective endeavor. 14 archivists and librarians dug up the data. 30 academics and publishing execs reviewed drafts and submitted recommendations. The book was released simultaneously in every European language. It became a bestseller in four countries and won numerous awards.

Snyder is American-born but is better known in Europe than the USA. Much of his success derives from his involvement with the Vienna-based Institute for Human Sciences which employs 40 academics with funds from the Austrian and German governments. Their mission is to overcome obstacles to Central and Eastern Europe integration through re-writing history with "thematic daring."

While not an outright work of Holocaust denial, Black Earth, forcefully deploys the controversial genres of: Holocaust Obfuscation, Double Genocide Theory, and Holocaust Inversion. 

Black Earth is also a meticulously crafted enviro-propaganda text concluding with a long, preachy chapter on Global Warming. The book devotes more page-space to Climate Change than to Auschwitz. Snyder's opinions about the dangers posed by Climate Change place him among the strident fringe of the Global Warming faithful. He argues future Holocausts can be prevented with carbon taxes.

In 35 separate passages Black Earth affirms the Nazi-environmentalist connection. Professor Snyder claims Adolph Hitler's core ideology consisted of:

a) A profound commitment to ecology;
b) A hostility to free market capitalism;
c) A belief in an overpopulation crisis;
d) A disdain for modern agricultural technology;
e) A deification of Nature; and
f) An overriding phobia that industrial activity was destroying Earth's ecosystem.

In other words, Adolph Hitler was, by today's standards, a typical environmentalist.

As an aside here, Snyder made an astonishing admission in an interview with The Atlantic magazine in 2015. He said that in 2010 he had a vague "intuition" that might be a connection between ecology and Hitler's mindset. Re-reading Hitler's writings convinced Snyder: ".in fact, that Hitler's quite explicitly an ecological thinker, (and) that the planetary level is the most important level."

Snyder obtained his PhD in History from Oxford in 1997. He then taught at Yale and Harvard. His field of expertise is Central European politics circa World War II. Yet somehow, in 2010 he possessed only an intuition of a connection between ecology and Nazism! By 2010 a dozen books describing in expansive and minute detail the ecological orientation of the Third Reich had rolled off the presses at Yale, Cambridge, etc. None of the works of the scholars who uncovered the eco-Nazi link appear in Black Earth's 800-plus text bibliography. This suggest suppression of evidence on Snyder's part and it also suggests Snyder is an intellectual poseur - a celebrity pundit who signs off on texts largely written by underlings.

Uniquely, Snyder's team clumsily and unsuccessfully tries to use Hitler's allegedly idiosyncratic ecologism to exonerate Europe's other fascist dictators (whom he treats favourably) from any guilt for Hitlerite crimes.

The book traffics in anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism; both staples of Euro-fascism. The book overflows with a militant statism seldom heard in the English-speaking world. (To fascists, of course, the state-building project is a manifestation of the divine.)

Black Earth is a battle cry for Pan-German oligarchs and their ultranationalist Polish, Ukrainian, and Baltic clients. Snyder wrote this book while writing reams of articles for the mainstream media defending the 2014 overthrow of Ukraine's lawfully elected government. In those articles, and in Black Earth, the Russians, particularly Vladimir Putin, are demonized. Most critically, Russian (and North American) fossil fuel reserves are deemed an existential threat to Earth's ecosystem.

Tim Snyder is a Benedict Arnold. He's an Ezra Pound. He's a Tokyo Rose. His portrait shall forever hang in that shameful gallery of treasonous Americans whose ideology, vanity, and greed drove them into the arms of foreign reactionaries determined to scuttle the American project.

Via email

Researchers report new understanding of global warming

The first sentence below is false (See here, here and here) so the "explanations" based on it must be false too

Researchers know that more, and more dangerous, storms have begun to occur as the climate warms. A team of scientists has reported an underlying explanation, using meteorological satellite data gathered over a 35-year period.

The examination of the movement and interaction of mechanical energies across the atmosphere, published Jan. 24 in the journal Nature Communications, is the first to explore long-term variations of the Lorenz energy cycle -- a complex formula used to describe the interaction between potential and kinetic energy in the atmosphere -- and offers a new perspective on what is happening with global warming.

"It is a new way to look at and explain what people have observed," said Liming Li, assistant professor of physics at the University of Houston and corresponding author of the paper. "We found that the efficiency of Earth's global atmosphere as a heat engine is increasing during the past four decades in response to climate change."

In this case, increased efficiency isn't a good thing. It suggests more potential energy is being converted to kinetic energy -- energy that is driving atmospheric movement - resulting in a greater potential for destructive storms in regions where the conversion takes place.

"Our analyses suggest that most energy components in the Lorenz energy cycle have positive trends," the researchers wrote. "As a result, the efficiency of Earth's global atmosphere as a heat engine increased during the past 35 years."

In addition to Li, researchers involved in the work include Yefeng Pan, first author and a former doctoral student at UH; Xun Jiang, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at UH; Gan Li, Wentao Zhang and Xinyue Wang, all of Guilin University of Electronic Technology; and Andrew P. Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology.

The researchers used three independent meteorological datasets to track variables including three-dimensional wind field, geopotential-height field and temperature field at points across the globe from 1979 to 2013. They then used the data to compute the Lorenz energy cycle of the global atmosphere. Such an energy cycle in the atmosphere significantly influences weather and climate.

Previous studies have covered only five-year and 10-year periods before 1973, Li said. "Now we can investigate the Lorenz energy cycle of the global atmosphere during the past 35 years, using satellite-based observations," he said.

While the researchers reported that the total mechanical energy of the global atmosphere remains constant over time, there has been a significant increase in what they describe as "eddy energies," or the energies associated with storms, eddies and turbulence.

Li said the positive trends for eddy energies were especially pronounced in the southern hemisphere and over parts of Asia, and the researchers point out that intensifying storm activity over the southern oceans and increasing drought in Central Asia contribute to the positive trends.

"This is a new perspective to explain global warming from an energy standpoint," he said.


Danish Think Tank: $9B Cloud Project Could Prevent All 21st Century Global Warming

Since AGW seems to have stopped all by itself, it might be hard to show this works

Instead of collectively spending $100 billion annually under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to combat global warming, developed nations should consider investing just $9 billion in a marine cloud whitening project that could prevent global warming for the rest of the 21st century, according to Bjorn Lomborg, director of a Danish think tank.

Marine cloud whitening mimics the effects of a volcanic eruption by inserting salt particles into the atmosphere to make clouds denser so they reflect more sunlight back into space.

"Spending just $9 billion on 1,900 seawater-spraying boats could prevent all the global warming set to occur this century," Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, writes in a January 18 column for Project Syndicate, adding that the benefits the project would generate would be worth an estimated $20 trillion.

"This is the equivalent of doing about $2,000 worth of good with every dollar spent," he pointed out.

To put this in context, the Paris climate agreement's promises will cost more than $1 trillion annually and deliver carbon cuts worth much less"To put this in context, the Paris climate agreement's promises will cost more than $1 trillion annually and deliver carbon cuts worth much less - most likely every dollar spent will prevent climate change worth a couple of cents," Lomborg continued.

"Even climate activists increasingly recognize that the lofty rhetoric of the global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, concluded in Paris just over a year ago, will not be matched by its promises' actual impact on temperatures," he said. "This should make us think about smart, alternative solutions."

"All of the global warming for the century could be avoided" by using geo-engineering such as marine cloud whitening, according to a working paper by Americans J. Eric Bickel and Lee Lane for the CCC, which "has commissioned 21 papers to examine the costs and benefits of different solutions to global warming."

Warning that such technology "is not ready for deployment" and "even base case estimates for many important benefit and cost parameters are unknown," Bickel and Lane estimate a 5,000-to-1 direct benefit-cost ratio for a marine cloud whitening project, which would use unmanned GPS-navigated ships to spray seawater into ocean cloud formations.

According to the co-authors, "reflecting into space only one to two percent of the sunlight that strikes the Earth would cool the planet by an amount roughly equal to the warming that is likely from doubling the pre-industrial levels of greenhouse gases."

Pointing to the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines, which "reduced global mean temperature by about 0.5% C," they wrote that "scattering this amount of sunlight appears to be possible."

In addition, the expected research and development costs for a marine cloud whitening geoengineering project "are clearly quite low. Indeed, they appear to be almost negligible," the study's co-authors noted.

"People are understandably nervous about geoengineering," Lomborg acknowledged. "But many of the risks have been overstated. Marine cloud whitening, for example, amplifies a natural process and would not lead to permanent atmospheric changes - switching off the entire process would return the world to its previous state in a matter of days."

Reversability is important because Bickel and Lane point out that one of the negative effects of "changing global temperatures without lowering the level of GHG [greenhouse gas] concentrations.. is the possible lessening of rainfall."

Under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement - which was signed by former Secretary of State John Kerry but not ratified by the U.S. Senate - the U.S. and other developed countries pledged to raise $100 billion a year to help developing nations limit carbon emissions, which the United Nations claims is the chief cause of global warming.

The stated goal of the international agreement is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels while carbon emissions are eventually reduced to zero worldwide.

As part of his promise to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent over 2005 levels by 2025, President Obama pledged $3 billion to the UN's Green Climate Fund, which was set up to help developing countries meet their carbon reduction goals.

To date, the U.S. has contributed $1 billion to the fund, with $500 million transferred just days before President Trump's inauguration on January 20.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to "cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs" during his first 100 days in office.


Trump's Pipeline Approvals Are a Win for the Economy and Environment

In a win for the economy and the environment, President Donald Trump signed executive orders backing the construction of two unnecessarily controversial energy infrastructure projects: the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline.

Getting the green light for the completion of the pipelines is kind of like receiving your appetizer halfway through your meal. You're happy it's finally here but also disappointed it didn't come when it should have, which is much, much earlier.

Politicians often speak of the need to balance economic growth and environmental protection. But energy projects should not be viewed in this manner where a trade-off needs to take place between the two.

Sensible, free-market policies that protect private property rights and respect the rule of law will create jobs while protecting the economy. The approval of Keystone XL and Dakota Access demonstrate that.

For Keystone XL, the Obama administration's own State Department reviewed the project multiple times and concluded that the pipeline would pose negligible environmental risk and not contribute significantly to global warming-a big sticking point and one of the reasons former President Barack Obama rejected the application.

The State Department's final environmental impact statement concludes that Canadian oil is coming out of the ground whether Keystone XL is built or not, so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions is miniscule.

Despite environmental activist fearmongering, the State Department also determined that the project poses minimal environmental threat to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife.

But instead of listening to sound science and technical analysis, support from unions, and the majority of the American people, Obama capitulated to his environmental activist base.

Even Obama's first secretary of energy, Steven Chu, called the debate over the pipeline what it was, saying, "The decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one."

The same disregard for the rule of law and scientific analysis holds true for the Dakota Access pipeline. Despite the protests and opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the federal government completed an extensive, thorough environmental review.

As Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., wrote last year:

The Army Corps consulted with 55 Native American tribes at least 389 times, after which they proposed 140 variations of the route to avoid culturally sensitive areas in North Dakota. The logical time for Standing Rock tribal leaders to share their concerns would have been at these meetings, not now when construction is already near completion.

Together, the two pipelines could carry up to 1.4 million barrels of oil per day, safer and far more efficiently than transporting the product by rail.

The reality is the two pipeline projects shouldn't have been as big of a deal as they were made to be. The U.S. is a spider web of pipelines and many Americans live near a pipeline without even knowing about it.

Our country has more than 500,000 miles of crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas pipelines and another 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines. When it comes to accidents, injuries, and fatalities, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas.

Though the environmental risk is minimal, the pipelines' completion will have significant impact for the economy and for American households and businesses. The projects will result in thousands of construction jobs and lower prices at the pump by delivering more supplies to the market.

Opponents of the pipeline dismissed the job numbers and economic impacts, arguing that pipelines will create only "a handful" of permanent jobs.

But the fact that pipelines only have a handful of permanent workers simply conveys how remarkably efficient pipelines are.

The high output of labor generates value and wealth and frees up Americans to be more productive elsewhere in the economy, in the same way that one man on a backhoe loader increases efficiency and frees up a group of men with shovels to dig a ditch.

The approval of the pipeline should also serve as a guiding point for how the Trump administration moves on infrastructure policy. Remove unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and empower the private sector to drive investment.


President Trump institutes media blackout at EPA

The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch.

The prohibitions came to light Tuesday as the agency moved to delay implementation of at least 30 environmental rules finalized in the closing months of President Obama's term, a potential first step to seeking to kill the regulations.

A summary of the actions posted in the Federal Register includes a long list of regulations that include updated air pollution rulings for several states, renewable fuel standards and limits on the amount of formaldehyde that can leach from wood products. President Trump signed a directive shortly after his inauguration on Friday ordering a "regulatory freeze pending review" for all federal agency rules that had been finalized that have not yet taken effect.

E-mails sent to EPA staff and reviewed by the Associated Press also detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates, or posts to the agency's social media accounts.

The administration has also ordered what it called a temporary suspension of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders were expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide. EPA contracts with outside vendors for a wide array of services, from engineering and research science to janitorial supplies.

Similar orders barring external communications have been issued in recent days by the Trump administration at other federal agencies, including the departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Interior.

Staffers in EPA's public affairs office are instructed to forward all inquiries from reporters to the Office of Administration and Resources Management. "Incoming media requests will be carefully screened," one directive said. "Only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press."

A review of EPA websites and social media accounts, which typically include numerous new posts each day, showed no new activity since Friday.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday he had no specific information on the blackout. "I don't think it's any surprise that when there's an administration turnover, that we're going to review the policies," Spicer said.

Doug Ericksen, the communications director for Trump's transition team at EPA, said he expects the communications ban to be lifted by the end of this week. "We're just trying to get a handle on everything and make sure what goes out reflects the priorities of the new administration," Ericksen said.

Beyond what was stated in the internal email, Ericksen clarified that the freeze on EPA contracts and grants won't apply to pollution cleanup efforts or infrastructure construction activities. The agency later said it would also seek to complete that review by Friday.

State agencies that rely on EPA for funding were left in the dark, with both Democratic and Republican officials saying they had received no information from EPA about the freeze.

"We are actively seeking additional information so we can understand the impact of this action on our ability to administer critical programs," said Alan Matheson, executive director of Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the Trump administration should immediately reverse the media blackout and contracting freeze.

"This decision could have damaging implications? for communities across New York state and the country, from delaying testing for lead in schools to restricting efforts to keep drinking water clean to holding up much-needed funding to revitalize toxic brownfield sites," Schumer said.

The executive director for the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Jeff Ruch, said the orders go beyond what has occurred in prior presidential transitions.

"We're watching the dark cloud of Mordor extend over federal service," Ruch said Tuesday, referring to the evil kingdom in the epic fantasy "The Lord of the Rings."

Ruch noted that key posts at EPA have not yet been filled with Republican appointees, including Trump's nominee for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. That means there are not yet the new senior personnel in place to make decisions.

Environmentalists said the orders were having a chilling effect on EPA staff already suffering from low morale. Trump and Pruitt have both been frequent critics of the agency and have questioned the validity of climate science showing that the Earth is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

Staff at the Agriculture Department's Agricultural Research Service also received orders not to issue any news releases, photos, fact sheets and social media posts. After an email of the order leaked to the media, the agency said it would rescind the memo.

At the Transportation Department, employees received an e-mail message Monday morning that was "broadly worded and hard to interpret," but which appeared to be a directive not to issue any news releases or post to social media, according to a DOT employee who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Everybody's being very cautious," the employee said.

The AP reported over the weekend that staff employees at the Interior Department were temporarily ordered to stop making posts to its Twitter account after the official account of the National Park Service retweeted a pair of photos that compared those gathered for Trump's inauguration with the much larger crowd that attended Obama's swearing-in.



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, 2017

Changing climate has stalled Australian wheat yields (?)

As Warmist articles go, the study below shows unusual statistical sophistication. But the connection to Warmism is tokenistic.  The article would read much the same without reference to Warmism.  And it is refreshing that the model they use has had extensive validation.  Most unusual!  Warmist models normally have no predictive skill whatever.

In the end, however, they find that weather has reduced potential crop yields, not mainly via warming but mainly by reduced rainfall: "lower rainfall accounted for 83% of the decline in yield potential, while temperature rise alone was responsible for 17% of the decline"

And that is a problem.  Warmer seas should usually produce MORE rainfall.  How come the alleged warming was accompanied by LESS rainfall?  The authors do not know, or, if they do, they are not saying.  So the statistics are in fact incompatible with anthropogenic global warming.  A warmer globe should have produced more rainfall.  But there was LESS rainfall. 

All one can reasonably say in the circumstances is that there were poorly-understood local factors at work, not global ones.  From any point of view, what they have to account for is the reduced rainfall and they have not done that

Australia’s wheat yields more than trebled during the first 90 years of the 20th century but have stalled since 1990. In research published today in Global Change Biology, we show that rising temperatures and reduced rainfall, in line with global climate change, are responsible for the shortfall.

This is a major concern for wheat farmers, the Australian economy and global food security as the climate continues to change. The wheat industry is typically worth more than A$5 billion per year – Australia’s most valuable crop. Globally, food production needs to increase by at least 60% by 2050, and Australia is one of the world’s biggest wheat exporters.

There is some good news, though. So far, despite poorer conditions for growing wheat, farmers have managed to improve farming practices and at least stabilise yields. The question is how long they can continue to do so.
Worsening weather

While wheat yields have been largely the same over the 26 years from 1990 to 2015, potential yields have declined by 27% since 1990, from 4.4 tonnes per hectare to 3.2 tonnes per hectare.

Potential yields are the limit on what a wheat field can produce. This is determined by weather, soil type, the genetic potential of the best adapted wheat varieties and sustainable best practice. Farmers’ actual yields are further restricted by economic considerations, attitude to risk, knowledge and other socio-economic factors.

While yield potential has declined overall, the trend has not been evenly distributed. While some areas have not suffered any decline, others have declined by up to 100kg per hectare each year.

The distribution of the annual change in wheat yield potential from 1990 to 2015. Each dot represents one of the 50 weather stations used in the study. David Gobbett, Zvi Hochman and Heidi Horan, Author provided

We found this decline in yield potential by investigating 50 high-quality weather stations located throughout Australia’s wheat-growing areas.

Analysis of the weather data revealed that, on average, the amount of rain falling on growing crops declined by 2.8mm per season, or 28% over 26 years, while maximum daily temperatures increased by an average of 1.05?.

To calculate the impact of these climate trends on potential wheat yields we applied a crop simulation model, APSIM, which has been thoroughly validated against field experiments in Australia, to the 50 weather stations.

Climate variability or climate change?

There is strong evidence globally that increasing greenhouse gases are causing rises in temperature. Recent studies have also attributed observed rainfall trends in our study region to anthropogenic climate change.

Statistically, the chance of observing the decline in yield potential over 50 weather stations and 26 years through random variability is less than one in 100 billion.

We can also separate the individual impacts of rainfall decline, temperature rise and more CO? in the atmosphere (all else being equal, rising atmospheric CO? means more plant growth).

First, we statistically removed the rising temperature trends from the daily temperature records and re-ran the simulations. This showed that lower rainfall accounted for 83% of the decline in yield potential, while temperature rise alone was responsible for 17% of the decline.

Next we re-ran our simulations with climate records, keeping CO? at 1990 levels. The CO? enrichment effect, whereby crop growth benefits from higher atmospheric CO? levels, prevented a further 4% decline relative to 1990 yields.

So the rising CO? levels provided a small benefit compared to the combined impact of rainfall and temperature trends.


Badlands National Park tweets on climate change

There was nothing subversive or awkward about the tweets in question.  They just set out well-known facts, facts that are not in dispute.  What is in dispute is the sensitivity of the climate to CO2 levels -- and the tweets did not address that.  Somebody in the administration may or may not have asked for the tweets to be taken down but it made no difference to anything anyway

Apparently defying the Trump administration’s new social media policy, the Badlands National Park went rogue for a few hours on Tuesday and tweeted several scientific facts related to climate change — but the tweets were deleted as the White House apparently reeled in the wayward park.

The tweets, from the South Dakota park’s official account, came on the same day Mr. Trump signed executive orders reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, signaling he’ll put a priority on developing energy sources over concerns about climate change.

“The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm,” read one tweet on the park’s Twitter feed. “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate.

Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution. “Ocean Acidification.” #climate #carboncycle.”

After its initial tweets around 3 p.m. Tuesday, the barrage continued later in the afternoon. Just before 5 p.m., the Badlands account tweeted more climate change information.
“Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. #climate,” the follow-up tweet reads.

The posts were deleted around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, but not before generating a slew of online stories about who and what was behind the tweets. The tweets on the surface may appear innocuous, but they come at the very instant the new Trump administration has moved to scrub all mentions of climate change from federal websites. The official White House page, for example, no longer mentions global warming, as was the case under President Obama, and instead only discusses Mr. Trump’s energy policy.

Democrats seized on the incident to attack the Trump administration’s climate policy and its attitude toward dissent in the ranks. Name-checking the authoritarian Russian president, Democratic National Committee national press secretary Adrienne Watson said in a statement, “Vladimir Putin would be proud.”

The National Park Service, a division of the Interior Department that oversees all parks, has been at the center of the social media storm, making Tuesday’s tweets all the more noteworthy.

The NPS had its Twitter account temporarily taken off-line over the weekend after tweeting photos showing what appeared to be the disparity in crowd size between Mr. Trump’s inauguration last week and that of former President Obama in 2009. The tweets were quickly deleted.


The Beginning of the End of EPA

At the Republican National Convention last summer, the GOP approved a platform that stated: “We propose to shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states and to transform the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] into an independent bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with structural safeguards against politicized science.” It also says “We will likewise forbid the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide, something never envisioned when Congress passed the Clean Air Act.”

The GOP followed the lead of President Donald Trump, who in a March debate said he would abolish EPA, and in a May speech in North Dakota condemned “the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of totalitarian tactics” that has “denied millions of Americans access to the energy wealth sitting under our feet. This is your treasure, and you – the American People – are entitled to share in the riches.”

Trump and the GOP are saying, finally, what millions of people have been thinking for a long time: EPA has become the cause of, not the solution to, the nation’s major environmental problems. It’s time to end EPA.

A Promising Beginning

In the late 1960s, the United States faced real problems regarding the quality of its air and water, waste disposal, and contamination from mining and agriculture. Pollution crossed borders – the borders between private property as well as between cities, states, and nations – and traditional remedies based on private property rights didn’t seem to be working. The public was overly complacent about the possible threat to their safety.

Many scientists, myself included, lobbied the federal government to form a cabinet-level agency to address these problems. [1] In 1971, EPA was born. During the agency’s first 10 years, Congress passed seven legislative acts to protect the environment, including the Water Pollution Control Act (later renamed the Clean Water Act), Safe Drinking Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Clean Air Act.

At first, these laws worked well, protecting the environment and the health of our citizens. Problems were identified, measured, exposed, and major investments were made to reduce dangerous emissions and protect the public from exposure to them. EPA and other government agencies regularly report the subsequent dramatic reduction in all the pollutants we originally targeted. By the 1980s, nothing more needed to be done beyond monitoring our continuing success in cleaning up the environment. It was time to declare victory and go home.

EPA Is Now an Obstacle

Beginning around 1981, however, radical Leftists realized they could advance their political agenda by taking over the environmental movement and use it to advocate for ever-more draconian regulations on businesses. Environmentalists allowed this take-over to occur because it brought massive funding from liberal foundations, political power, and prestige. [2]

Politicians realized they could win votes by pandering to the environmental movement, repeating their pseudo-scientific claims, and posing as protectors of nature and the public health. The wind, solar, and ethanol industries saw they could use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies.

Today, EPA is a captive of activist and special-interest groups. Its regulations have nothing to do with protecting the environment. Its rules account for nearly half of the $2 trillion annual cost of complying with all national regulations in the United States.

In 2008, The Heritage Foundation estimated the costs of EPA’s first proposal to regulate greenhouse gases in the name of fighting global warming were “close to $7 trillion and three million manufacturing jobs lost.” According to Heritage, “the sweep of regulations … could severely affect nearly every major energy-using product from cars to lawnmowers, and a million or more businesses and buildings of all types. And all of this sacrifice is in order to make, at best, a minuscule contribution to an overstated environmental threat.”

President Barack Obama has routinely used EPA to circumvent Congress to impose severe regulations on farmers, ranchers, other private landowners, fisheries, and the energy sector. Just last week, the agency rushed through approval of new fuel efficiency standards for automobiles more than a year ahead of schedule to thwart any attempts by the Trump administration to stop it. Courts and Congress have objected to and tried to limit EPA’s abuses, but without noticeable success. Once a genuine success story, EPA has become the biggest obstacle to further environmental progress.

Replacing EPA

The solution is to return this authority to the states, replacing EPA with a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.

State EPAs already have primary responsibility for the implementation of the nation’s environmental laws and EPA regulations. With more than 30 years of experience, these state agencies are ready to take over management of the nation’s environment.

Accountable to 50 governors and state legislatures, state EPAs are more attuned to real-world needs and trade-offs. Located in 50 state capitols, they are less vulnerable to the Left’s massive beltway lobbying machine.

The Committee would be made up of representatives from each state. EPA could be phased out over five years, which could include a one-year preparation period followed by a four-year program in which 25 percent of the agency’s activities would be passed to the Committee each year.

Seventy-five percent of EPA’s budget could be eliminated and most of the remainder would pay for national research labs. A small administrative structure would allow the states to refine existing environmental laws in a manner more suitable to protecting our environment without thwarting the development of our natural resources and energy supplies.

Benefits of Replacing EPA

The federal budget for environmental protection could be reduced from $8.6 billion to $2 billion or less. Staffing could be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300. The real savings, of course, would be in reduction of the $1 trillion in annual regulatory costs EPA imposes each year.

This reform would produce a second huge benefit by ending the government’s war on affordable energy. EPA is the principal funder and advocate of global warming alarmism, the myth that man-made climate change is a crisis. That movement would end on the day EPA’s doors shut, allowing Congress to return to taxpayers and consumers a “peace dividend” amount to some of the $4 billion a day currently spent world-wide on climate change.

Dismantling EPA is one part of a comprehensive set of reforms, many of them discussed by Trump and referred to in the GOP platform, to lighten the massive weight of government regulations on the American people. The nation needs a pro-energy, pro-environment, and pro-jobs agenda that recognizes the tremendous value of the natural resources under our feet.

While the rest of the world stumbles blindly in the grip of an anti-energy and anti-freedom ideology, the U.S. can march ahead and regain its place as the world’s economic and technological leader.

The nation’s environment is in terrific shape, thanks to early efforts by EPA and more recent efforts by state governments and businesses. The nation’s economy and environment will be even better if the federal government gets out of the way.

EPA has long outlived its usefulness. Let’s return its powers to the states, where they belong.


Domestic Wood Burning Leads To “Very High Pollution Alert” For London

By Paul Homewood

From the BBC:

"A "very high" air pollution warning has been issued for London for the first time under a new alert system.

Warnings are being issued at bus stops, roadside signs and Tube stations under the new system set up by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The rise has been attributed to cold, calm and settled weather, meaning winds are not dispersing local pollutants.

The mayor said "the shameful state of London’s toxic air" meant he had to trigger the alert.

"This is the highest level of alert and everyone – from the most vulnerable to the physically fit – may need to take precautions to protect themselves from the filthy air," he said.

A spike in pollution on Sunday was the highest level recorded since April 2011……

The last time pollution reached this level was early last month, according to pollution monitoring stations run by King’s College London.

However, a spike in pollution levels on Sunday "when there wasn’t much traffic on the road, was significant" Dr Fuller said.

In recent weeks several "high" alerts have been issued.

The current weather conditions, coupled with an "unusually high amount of domestic wood burning", has led to the highest pollution alert being issued"

I was too young to remember the great London smogs of the 1950s, but they led to Clean Air Acts, which amongst other things introduced smokeless zones where only certain types of coal could be burnt.

Unfortunately because of our obsession with “clean” renewable energy, we appear to be going backwards again.


British government runs dead on climate alarmism

There was probably some awareness that this was just the same-old same-old tripe

The Government has been accused of trying to bury a major report about the potential dangers of global warming to Britain – including the doubling of the deaths during heatwaves, a “significant risk” to supplies of food and the prospect of infrastructure damage from flooding.

The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Report, which by law has to be produced every five years, was published with little fanfare on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) website on 18 January.

But, despite its undoubted importance, Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom made no speech and did not issue her own statement, and even the Defra Twitter account was silent. No mainstream media organisation covered the report.

One leading climate expert accused the Government of “trying to sneak it out” without people noticing, saying he was “astonished” at the way its publication was handled.

In the report, the Government admitted there were a number of “urgent priorities” that needed to be addressed.

It said it largely agreed with experts’ warnings about the effects of climate change on the UK. These included two “high-risk” issues: the damage expected to be caused by flooding and coastal erosion; and the effect of rising temperatures on people’s health.

The report concluded that the number of heat-related deaths in the UK “could more than double by the 2050s from a current baseline of around 2,000 per year”.

It said “urgent action” should be taken to address overheating in homes, public buildings and cities generally, and called for further research into the effect on workers’ productivity.

The Government also recognised that climate change “will present significant risks to the availability and supply of food in the UK”, the report said, partly because of extreme weather in some of the world’s main food-growing regions.

The report also said the public water supply could be affected by shortages and that the natural environment could be degraded.



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

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


25 January, 2017

EPA transition team announced

Typical "ad hominem" Green/Left rant below.  No argument about facts or policy.  Just paranoia about "funding".  The Left are themselves funding slurpers so think that everyone else is too.  They think everybody else is as buyable as they are

US President Donald Trump's administration has drawn heavily from the energy industry lobby and pro-drilling think tanks to build its landing team for the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a list of the newly introduced 10-member team seen by Reuters.

The email lists at least three former researchers from think-tanks funded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch and at least one former lobbyist for the mining industry. Several members of the team have also publicly argued against US efforts to combat climate change, a key function of the EPA under former president Barack Obama.

The team's make-up has reinforced expectations that Trump will follow through on his promise to slash US environmental regulation as a way to promote drilling and mining.

The team, charged with preparing the agency for new leadership, replaces the initial EPA transition group picked by Trump after the November 8 election but before his swearing-in.

Trump's nominee to run the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is awaiting Senate confirmation.

"We are looking forward to working with the career professionals at the EPA to make this transition work as well as possible, and to carry out the Agency's mission to protect public health and the environment," according to the email.

"While transitions are always hard, straight forward honest communication combined with respect for each other will make the process work much better."

Charles Munoz was named in the email as White House liaison on the new EPA team. He was a top organiser for Trump in Nevada during his campaign for the White House and helped set up the state's chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group funded by the Kochs.

Another team member, David Schnare, is a lawyer and environmental scientist who spent 33 years as a staffer at the EPA. More recently, Schnare was legal counsel at The Energy & Environment Legal Institute, which has received funding from the Koch brothers-linked Donors Trust fund. The institute describes itself as seeking to correct "onerous federal and state governmental actions that negatively impact energy and the environment".

Schnare has also worked at the Center for Environmental Stewardship at the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, which has been funded partially by the Charles Koch Foundation.

George Sugiyama, who was part of the initial EPA transition team, is also listed part of the new team. He was chief counsel for Republican senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, a vocal climate change doubter. Before working for Inhofe, Sugiyama lobbied on behalf of the National Mining Association.

David Kreutzer is also staying on from the initial team. Kreutzer was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a group funded by foundations controlled by Koch Industries and other energy firms. He has called Obama's efforts to combat climate change costly and unfair to certain industries, and has advocated for more Arctic drilling.

The new EPA team's communications director is Doug Ericksen, a current Washington state senator who has served as Trump's deputy campaign director for the northwestern state. Ericksen has a degree in environmental science and serves as chair of the state senate's energy and environment committee. He opposes the climate policies of Washington state's Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, including targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Holly Greaves will oversee budget issues on the landing team. She was a senior audit manager at KPMG, and previously worked at Ernst & Young in the firm's advisory services position.

Other team members include Justin Schwab, the EPA team's legal adviser, who used to work at law firm Baker Hostetler.

Washington State senator Don Benton, a Republican who ran a county environmental department, was also listed, along with Patrick Davis, a Republican political consultant, and Layne Bangerter, an Idaho rancher who worked with Republican US senator Mike Crapo on wilderness management bills.


EPA’s Top Priority Should Be to Eliminate Bogus Global Warming Models

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing to head up the Environmental Protection Agency provided a glimpse into how the agency would operate under new leadership.

Critical reforms should rein in regulations that have little scientific backing and environmental benefit. A top priority for the EPA and the new administration should be eliminating the use of the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the last eight years, the Obama administration has relied on a metric known as the social cost of carbon to justify many of its global warming regulations. In addition, the administration recently began to consider similar metrics regarding methane and nitrous oxide emissions.

The social cost of carbon is a monetary value measuring the alleged climate change damages from each ton of emitted carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The EPA also assigns monetary values to other greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.

In this framework, adding the alleged benefits of abated carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide emissions increases the benefits in the agency’s cost-benefit analyses.

As a result, the EPA and other agencies exaggerate the benefits of global warming regulations or deciding on whether or not to build energy projects, whether it is the Keystone XL pipeline or a coal export terminal.

The social cost has nothing to do with spewing pollutants into the atmosphere that are potentially hazardous to public health, but instead has everything to do with politicizing man-made global warming.

At The Heritage Foundation, we have found that these models measuring the social cost of carbon, social cost of methane, and social cost of nitrous oxide might be interesting academic exercises—but they are nowhere near reliable enough to be useful for devising energy and environmental policy.

The social cost of carbon, social cost of methane, and social cost of nitrous oxide are based on three statistical models.

At Heritage, we rigorously looked at two of these models and found that they use outdated assumptions regarding climate sensitivity, ignore the Office of Management and Budget’s recommendations regarding discount rates, and are based on economic forecasts 300 years into the future.

Upon making very reasonable changes to these assumptions, we found that the estimates of the social cost of carbon, and more recently the social cost of methane and social cost of nitrous oxide, drop considerably (in some cases by 60-90 percent).

In fact, under some very reasonable assumptions, the social cost of carbon can even be negative, suggesting some benefits of carbon dioxide emissions.

Moreover, at Heritage we found that if the EPA and other agencies continue to use these models and cost estimates to justify their regulations, it would impose devastating effects on the economy.

The Paris Agreement is one example of the damaging regulations that result from current EPA models.

Ordinary families would suffer as electricity prices would increase all across the country, disproportionately impacting lower-income households. Economic prosperity would decline, as would job opportunities.

Importantly, these regulations would have little to no climate benefit. Our research has also consistently found that reducing the emissions of these greenhouse gases would have a negligible effect on global temperatures and sea level rise.

The Trump administration should ban the use of these integrated assessment models and the social cost of greenhouse gases for EPA regulations and policymaking.

Enabling markets and entrepreneurs to meet America’s energy demands, not the whims of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., will be one of the first steps toward making American energy even better.


Conservation – not  more control

Collusive lawsuits helped control more US lands. Congress must repeal and replace the ESA

Paul Driessen

President Obama’s parting edicts betrayed Israel and commuted prison sentences for terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera and traitor Bradley/Chelsea Manning. Another abused the Antiquities Act yet again, by banning economic use on an additional 1.7 million acres in Utah, where the federal government controls 61% of the state’s land. (This one new lock-up is nearly equal to Delaware and Rhode Island combined.)

The withdrawal was on top of 320 million acres in national park, preserve, wildlife refuge, wilderness and other restrictive land use categories – plus “buffer zones” around many of those areas – nearly all of it in the eleven westernmost states and Alaska. That’s equivalent to virtually all the land in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

Folks in Eastern and Midwestern states have no idea what it is like to have federal bureaucrats controlling 30-87% of lands within their borders, and affecting vast additional acreage – questioning, studying, delaying, blocking and escalating costs for every proposal and project. They’re about to get an inkling.

With yet another last-minute regulation, the Obama Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) designated the rusty patched bumblebee (RPB) an endangered species, because its populations have declined significantly in recent years. It did so in response to a petition and a sue-and-settle lawsuit by the activist Xerces Society, which originally claimed the decline was due to “low population dynamics,” habitat loss, and a nasty parasitic fungal infection that spread to RPBs from commercially raised bees imported from Europe.

Then, out of the blue, Xerces and the FWS suddenly and inexplicably revised their rationales, to argue that most of the blame should be attributed to pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids – the advanced technology, reduced-risk pesticides that farmers love and radical environmentalists have been trying to ban for years. In another nod to green extremists, the agency also blamed herbicides like RoundUp, saying the weeds they kill in farmers’ fields and along highways are important food sources for RPBs.

(Friendly sue-and-settle lawsuits between pressure groups and regulators have been a hallmark of the Obama Administration, and there is good reason to suspect carefully plotted collusion in this case.)

These always rare bumblebees make their nests in the ground. That means any activities that disturb the soil could impact them: road, pipeline, transmission line (for wind, solar or conventional power), housing and other construction projects, and even plowing fields for crops. Ironically, RoundUp-ready crops largely eliminate plowing, which would seemingly increase RPB habitats and populations.

In its rush to beat the January 20 noon deadline, the FWS failed to publish any “survey protocols” for finding RPB nests and avoiding damage to them. All of this means farmers, developers and even homeowners are in murky legal waters and could face fines if they inadvertently harm any nests or bees.

Vast areas are affected. Rusty patched bumblebees were once found from the Dakotas through the Midwest, down to Kentucky and the Carolinas and northward to Maine. Xerces claims the bees have been “sighted” since 2000 in 13 states – including many major corn and soybean producing states, as well as the Upper- and Mid-Atlantic seaboard states.

Having that huge swath of the USA in legal jeopardy – and subject to review, control, delay and penalty by the FWS – is bad enough. But the agency is also pondering endangered status for two more bee species.

The yellow-banded bumblebee has been found all the way from Montana east to New England, and down the Atlantic coast to Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. The western bumblebee’s range includes the entire block of eleven western states plus Alaska: more than a billion acres – nearly half of the entire United States! Just to protect a bumblebee species and its potential habitat.

Put them together, and the Fish & Wildlife Service would regulate nearly three-fourths of the USA. The bumblebee listings would be the highest impact designations in Endangered Species Act (ESA) history – and would rival the EPA’s CO2 endangerment rule, Clean Power Plan and Waters of the US power grab.

Most Americans associate the ESA with prominent conservation achievements, such as reversing the near-extinction of iconic national emblems like the bald eagle, alligator and bison. However, the ESA has increasingly been invoked to “protect” small, obscure creatures like beetles, other bugs and the snail darter of Tellico Dam fame – and often to block energy and economic development.

Three invented spotted owl subspecies ended timber cutting in many states – often resulting in super-hot conflagrations that incinerate forests, soil organisms and endangered species alike. The delta smelt’s 2010 endangered species designation is being used to deny water to farmers and communities in California’s Central Valley, costing thousands of jobs, millions in agricultural damage and numerous bankruptcies – while regulators flushed billions of gallons of water into the sea in unsuccessful efforts to help the fish.

Indeed, it seems only wind turbines are exempted from the ESA’s draconian rules and penalties. Worse, threatened or endangered designation has only rarely been used as a foundation for proactive efforts to restore species populations. In some cases, environmentalists have opposed human intervention: hatching California condors and releasing the grown adults into the wild, or employing fish hatcheries for smelts.

The real activist and regulator goal of ESA designations – and actual result – seems to be land use control.

With regard to neonicotinoid seed treatments, which account for over 90% of neonic usage, even EPA recently concluded that these insecticides pose no threat to honeybees, and careful practices can easily mitigate potential risks from spraying them. In fact, growing scientific evidence is so overwhelming that neonics are safe for domesticated bees and wild bees (native bees) alike that anti-pesticide groups are now focusing on bumblebees, which have declined in numbers and about which much less is known.

The real threats to all bee species continue to be natural and imported mites, fungi and other diseases. There is little evidence that government-mandated efforts to “restore” lost habitat for bumblebees (or other “endangered” species) will actually bring them back.

Many suspect that these last-ditch DC diktats have little to do with conservation – and are primarily designed to expand government control over land use and development. That’s why a 2016 FWS decision to expand its definition of “critical habitat” caused 18 state attorneys general to sue the agency over its asserted authority to “protect” areas where endangered species do not currently live, calling it an unconstitutional “taking” of private property without compensation.

This and countless other Obama Administration actions also help explain why 98% of all US counties voted for Donald Trump, and why Republicans now control the House and Senate, 33 governorships  and 68 state legislative chambers. Hillary Clinton won only in coastal cities, academic enclaves and very poor areas; in fact, without her margins in just five New York City and LA counties, she would have lost both the popular and Electoral College votes, notes John Steele Gordon.

All of this suggests that most of America is tired of being governed by unelected, unaccountable, elitist, illegitimate Washington bureaucrats who don’t understand or care about citizens’ concerns and needs.

The endangered species actions raise vital questions for the new Congress and Trump Administration:

Amid all the other high-priority items, how can we block and defund this last-ditch RPB overreach?

How can we repeal, replace, repair and improve the Endangered Species Act, to prevent future abuses, balance human and wildlife needs, and find ways to recover populations of threatened and endangered species without controlling or shutting down thousands of human activities on hundreds of millions of acres? It’s an essential component of restoring power from Washington to the people.

Via email

How About Those Record Temperatures?

This week, just in time for Donald Trump’s inauguration, the federal government ostentatiously revealed a trifecta in annual global temperature records. It began in 2014, when Earth’s average temperature reached new heights. The trend continued in 2015. But 2016 outpaced even that year, coming in at 0.07 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0.04 Celsius) warmer by NOAA’s calculations and 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0.12 Celsius) by NASA’s estimates (the difference can be attributed to NASA’s taking into account a broader portion of the Arctic). The AP says that “scientists mostly blam[e] man-made global warming with help from a natural El Nino that’s now gone.”

“Help” is a very bereft way of putting it. El Nino, in fact, played the biggest role. Without it, global temperatures almost certainly would not have broken records. But there’s even more to consider, as laid out in a Wall Street Journal editorial: “The underreported news here is that the warming is not nearly as great as the climate-change computer models have predicted.” Nor have temperature trends dating back to the early 1990s directly corresponded with the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. For example, “[M]ore than 40% of the temperature increase since 1900 happened between 1910 and 1945, which accounts for only 10% of the increase in carbon emissions.”

“These nuances are important,” the Journal points out, “because phrases such as ‘hottest year ever’ are waved around as a pretext for political action that usually involves giving more control over the economy to governments.” Which explains why The New York Times didn’t even bother to publish the actual measurements and relied on rhetoric instead. There is more than meets the eye here. So-called skeptics acknowledge global warming but question the underlying reasons. But most climate alarmists can’t even comprehend that something other than man could be the primary driver. They should spend some time in cool reflection, perhaps in the Arctic, which still isn’t ice-free, by the way.


Australia: Greenie policies make Sydney housing world’s second most unaffordable

The "urban containment policies" mentioned below are what American Greenies call "smart growth".  It has for some time now become widely recognized as stunted growth

SYDNEY is Australia’s most unaffordable housing market and the second most expensive city in the world, second only to Hong Kong, according to research firm Demographia.

For the 13th time, each of Australia’s five major housing markets have won the dubious honour of being rated “severely unaffordable” in Demographia’s annual index.

Melbourne came in at six in the study, while Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth were all ranked in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world.

Demographia, which ranks housing affordability in 406 cities with a population over one million, said urban containment policies were the cause of Australia’s affordability crisis.

Urban containment policies aim to curb the growth of the urban sprawl by encouraging greater density in existing housing areas rather than opening up new sites, commonly called “greenfields”.

“Consistent with the basics of economics, this is associated with higher land prices and, in consequence, higher house prices,” the report said.

Sydney’s “median multiple”, or the median house price ($1.077 million) divided by the median household income ($88,000) is 12.2 — the same rating as last year — meaning a typical home costs more than 12 years’ wages.

Hong Kong’s median multiple, by comparison, is 18.1, down from 19 last year. A typical home in Hong Kong costs $HK5.422 million ($920,000), compared to the median household income of $HK300,000 ($51,000).

The overall median multiple for Australia’s major housing markets is 6.6. It comes after UBS ranked Sydney’s property market the fourth riskiest in the world in its global bubble index, behind Vancouver, London and Stockholm.

Overall, Australia’s 54 housing markets have a “severely unaffordable” median multiple of 5.5 — four housing markets are “affordable”, three are “moderately unaffordable”, 14 are “seriously unaffordable” and 33 are “severely unaffordable”.

The four smaller housing markets deemed “affordable” are in former mining boom areas: Karratha (2.1), Port Hedland (2.3) and Kalgoorlie (2.6) in Western Australia, and Gladstone (2.8) in Queensland.

“Australia’s generally unfavourable housing affordability is in significant contrast to the broad affordability that existed before implementation of urban containment policies,” the report said.

“The price-to-income ratio in Australia was below 3.0 in the late 1980s. All of Australia’s major housing markets have severely unaffordable housing and all have urban containment policy.”

The news comes after new NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she would address the NSW housing crisis, declaring it “the biggest issue people have across the state”.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, meanwhile, is looking to the UK’s affordable housing initiatives for inspiration. One of the initiatives he will investigate is the Housing Finance Corporation, an independent body that makes low-interest loans to regulated housing associations through the issue of bonds to private investors.

Oliver Hartwich, director of the New Zealand Initiative, said it was a “social imperative” to make housing more affordable “especially at a time when there is a growing threat of populism to Western democracies”.

“We should not accept extreme price levels in our housing markets. High house prices are not a sign of city’s success but a sign of failure to deliver the housing that its citizens need,” he wrote in the report.

“Of course, if you are an investment banker, a media personality or a sports star, you will always be able to live a decent life, no matter how expensive your city is. And if you are within this group, you will also benefit most from the amenities that global cities provide.

“If, however, you are teacher, a nurse, or shop assistant your experience of city life would be very different. You would then have to put up with all the downsides of extreme price levels without being able to participate in metropolitan life.

“But is this the kind of society we want to live in? And isn’t this kind of social polarisation exactly the breeding ground for populism and resentment we are witnessing?”

Economist Alan Moran wrote that the costs were due to excessive regulation. “A fully finished new house (three bedrooms, two garages) costs as little as $150,000,” he wrote.

“Preparation of the land with sewerage, local roads, water and other utilities costs around $70,000 per block. The land itself is mainly used for agriculture and is intrinsically worth maybe $2,000 a block. Yet that new house in western Sydney costs upward of $700,000.

“The fact is that governments have agreed to an ever-growing set of regulations covering everything from phony endangered species to requirements for set-asides for child care, community centres and so on.

“These compound the shortage of land created by refusals to allow development outside of some designated growth corridors, which means rationing of land available for housing. That rationing’s end product is housing that is increasingly out of the budget reach of younger buyers.”



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


24 January, 2017

Proprietor of far-left Australian webzine "New Matilda" echoes Trump

Chris Graham is proprietor of a far-left Australian webzine called "new Matilda" with rather shaky finances but he seems to be far more rational than most Leftists.  He defends coal below and hints that nuclear power may be the best of all.  Beat that!  He seems to be on the same page as Trump when it comes to the electricity supply so it's a wonder he can stand the embarrassment. 

His main concerns in fact seem to be Aboriginal welfare and Palestinians.  He publishes some pretty one-eyed stuff on those topics.  The Aboriginal stuff probably bores most of his readers.  The Australian Left mostly regards the Aboriginal problem as "too hard", which it is.  Compare the Canadian "first nations" problem or the native American problem.  But Palestinians are red meat to Leftists so that probably keeps Chris's ship afloat

Naomi Klein: Definitely of the left and a powerful advocate for the oppressed; at least when they have two legs and an upright stance. Her first book, No Logo, was a powerful polemic against the branding and bullshit of the modern corporate culture.

Klein is now getting heavily involved in climate change politics, writing one of her characteristically large books on the topic a few years back: This changes everything: Capitalism Vs the Climate.

Here’s a shorter taste of Klein in full flight. It’s an essay adapted from her 2016 Edward Said London Lecture. The essay’s central theme is how Said, a Palestinian born Professor of Literature, thought of environmentalism as a bourgeois playground and missed what Klein thinks is the powerful connection between environmental destruction and oppression.

I think she’s a bit rough on Said; he died in 2003, well before many non-scientists realised the deep gravity of climate destabilisation. The penny hadn’t dropped then with Tim Flannery, for example; or I think, Klein herself. It was 2004 before the penny started falling with me.

But even if Said had realised the seriousness of climate destabilisation, would he have agreed with Klein on the connection between oppression and trashing the climate? Perhaps Klein’s connection is simply the result of moving outside her area of expertise. Science changes everything.

Klein is used to identifying protagonists and telling their stories with events and anecdotes. Science is about numbers, evidence and carefully constructed arguments. Klein’s not comfortable with any of the three.

For example, Klein wants to assert that our fossil fuel problems are the result of our othering of miners and Indigenous peoples. Meaning that we treat them as less than human to justify their exploitation.

Did coal and oil mines displace Indigenous people? Certainly, but were they the biggest driving force or simply a minor footnote in a much more general process?

It’s easy enough to check. I’ll illustrate with some Australian numbers, but they illustrate general principles. We crop about 20 million hectares in Australia and graze another 70 million hectares of improved pasture. Cattle and sheep also graze another 330 million hectares of natural vegetation.

Keep in mind that the entire area of Australia is about 770 million hectares. We also have a couple of million hectares of plantation forests. And our mines? All up, not just coal, they occupy a few tens of thousands of hectares and much of that isn’t the prime area with surface disturbance. So… which activities have done most to dispossess Indigenous people? Mines of any description, or cropping or grazing?

The ratios are similar the world over. Mines are tiny, cropping is big and grazing is huge. Indigenous people have been dispossessed by the sheer weight of numbers of non-Indigenous people and the fact that the latter all eat; with the biggest dispossessors being those who indirectly appropriate the most land… meaning meat eaters… which probably includes both Klein and Said (as far as I can make out).

Now think about the other part of her claim. Coal mining is definitely a filthy business, but a damn site healthier than what it replaced… chopping and burning wood. And what did they use to light the lamps of Europe before oil?

They used whale oil.

Perhaps Klein would like us to return to men in little boats throwing sharp pointy things at whales, but I’d rather drill holes in the ground. And wood isn’t dead yet. Some 3 billion people still cook with solid fuels; mostly wood, but also cow dung or charcoal or even coal itself.

Wood smoke indoors shortens lives and kills children. The death toll from household air pollution is about 4.3 million people a year; and the suffering on top of that is immense. The upside of a coal industry, particularly when it became used to generate electricity, is that by replacing wood, a large number of people benefitted from the toil of a few.

The other great thing about coal mining is that it’s a big compact centralised industry; which means it’s easier to regulate. Think about the difference between a textile factory with a union and regulation compared to people working at home. Highly distributed industries are tough to regulate. Globally between 1990 and 2013, coal production trebled, but deaths from black lung dropped from 29,000 to 25,000.

Black lung is the common name for CWP (Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis). It’s the biggest killer of coal miners and is caused by breathing coal dust. But when you mine coal from big open cut holes while sitting in massive air-conditioned machines, the problem can be eliminated; and the pay is better than many other jobs. But it does take good unions and continued vigilance.

There were 6 cases of CWP in Queensland between May 2015 and February 2016 which prompted calls for action in the Medical Journal of Australia. Science changes everything.

Klein can point to coal mining abuses in various parts of the world, but ignores the benefits of coal over what went before. I don’t know of any studies on how many lives coal has saved in replacing wood, but there are studies on the numbers of premature deaths nuclear power has prevented in replacing coal… about 1.8 million. The number of lives coal has saved by replacing wood would be far greater.

Klein is so closely focused on oppression by big business that she missed the much bigger cause of Indigenous displacement and thus all the subsequent domino progression of problems. She misses that large industries can be regulated and improved and that in many countries that’s exactly what has happened.

Similarly, when she talks about health, she is so focused on laying out her argument that she doesn’t bother to check the facts. Consider:

“Turning all that coal into electricity required another layer of othering too: this time for the urban neighbourhoods next door to the power plants and refineries. In North America, these are overwhelmingly communities of colour, black and Latino, forced to carry the toxic burden of our collective addiction to fossil fuels, with markedly higher rates of respiratory illnesses and cancers.”

Where’s the proof? For females in the US, whites have a higher rate of cancer than blacks, with Latino’s significantly lower again and American and Alaskan native Indians lower still! For men, blacks have the highest cancer rates, with whites a little lower and again Latinos and American and Alaskan native Indians lower again.

There may be pockets around power plants where rates are a little different but where’s the data?

As for respiratory diseases, the biggest most serious of these is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and yes, rates of COPD are higher for non-whites. But what’s the problem, is it mining?

Here’s what a major 2013 US study says: “Because smoking is the dominant risk factor for COPD and contributed to about 80% of COPD deaths in 2000 to 2004 much of this disease is potentially preventable.”

With regard to cancer, Klein makes the same mistake made over many decades by the anti-nuclear movement. They seized on the fact that radiation can cause cancer and entirely ignored more recent findings that radiation is a much weaker cause of cancer than lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, red and processed meat, and being fat and inactive.

Climate science is a little different from some sciences in its emphasis on ranking causes. Plenty of science is focused on tiny details but the climate gurus have to look at a vast array of quite different problems and try to rank them.

Klein cites a paper by Hansen on sea level rise; but when she starts discussing climate science she begins with a faux pas.

“Fossil fuels aren’t the sole driver of climate change – there is industrial agriculture, and deforestation – but they are the biggest.”

Industrial agriculture is a very misleading description of a major part of the climate problem. A more accurate description would be simply “methane from sheep and cattle”.

The 1.4 billion cattle on the planet are unprecedented and have driven a considerable component of the deforestation as well as emitting large amounts of methane as they digest their feed. And what about the “industrial” adjective? Cattle in feedlots generate less methane than cattle eating grass. Industrial methods of animal production are horrid for the animals but far less bad for the climate.


Klein assumes that the cause of the dominance of fossil fuels in our energy supply is otherness, oppression and racism. But I’d rank ignorance very high up on the list of reasons. Klein’s shorter essay illustrates her ignorance about cancer and other health issues and this ignorance very clearly misinforms her narrative.

If you want to take part in charting a course to reduce climate destabilisation, then sympathy with the oppressed isn’t enough. Klein’s essay ignores nuclear power and the obvious role of the anti-nuclear movement in the dominance of fossil fuels.

We could have gotten rid of the fossil fuel industry decades ago, back when climate change was first recognised as a serious issue by the world’s climate scientists; the 1990s. But we didn’t.

The fossil fuel industries thrived because they had no competition and were far better than wood. They were safer, cleaner, and yes, even healthier. They thrive today because people like Klein look at nuclear power without bothering to compare its health and safety record with anything else. Not coal, not wood, not anything.

They just say “Oh gosh, this is scary, radiation can damage your genes and nuclear plants are … well … just plain big and built by big companies!”

As it happens food is also energy and it has an environmental impact and it also damages your genes; meaning that some foods and some diets can cause cancer. Foods can shred DNA … quite literally … causing single and double strand breaks; just like radiation; only they are far more potent.

But ignorance about the big causes of cancer meant that fear of the little causes proliferated in a knowledge vacuum, and any nuclear project was hit by demonstrations and legal challenges and a rolling barrage of increasingly bizarre safety requirements.

So the big energy companies said, “Gosh nuclear is hard, let’s just keep on with coal”. And everybody relaxed and got on with building bigger houses and writing bigger books and going on more holidays and generally having a real nice time. Even the coal miners.


London is not bound in toxic smog

The scaremongering about air pollution is blighting innovation in the capital.

Earlier this month, a spate of news stories suggested that London was experiencing an air-pollution crisis. Just one week into 2017, for instance, the Guardian reported that ‘Brixton Road in Lambeth has already broken legal limits for toxic air for the entire year’.

Funnily enough, this same story was published by the Guardian in January 2016, and by the Evening Standard in January 2015. And beyond the headlines, bad science and stats-abuse abound.

According to the scaremongers, the main pollution problem is nitrogen dioxide, or NO2. NO2 is produced by all vehicles but especially those using diesel engines, which produce four times as much NO2 as petrol engines. The great irony here is that green lobbyists encouraged the use of diesel engines and public transport, which is largely diesel powered, because they believed diesel to be less polluting than petrol. So if there is a major cause of NO2 pollution in London, blame the iconic double-decker bus and hackney carriage.

The consequence of air pollution, campaigners argue, is nearly 6,000 premature deaths in London every year. In a city of nearly 8.5million people, that is indeed a shocking figure. But the claim that almost one in 1,000 people is dying as a result of London’s poor air quality is not as straightforward as campaigners suggest.

A 2004 study estimated that London’s 1952 ‘pea soup’ smog had directly caused as many as 12,000 deaths that winter, and left tens of thousands incapacitated by respiratory diseases. The evident scale of the problem at the time prompted the government to draw up the Clean Air Act, which regulated the use of coal. As a result, London’s air is cleaner today than it has been for centuries.

Today, the tool used to detect the current effect of air pollution on public health is not a mortality rate; it’s a statistical model. And such models are highly sensitive to assumptions. The report, from which the current scare stories spring, was produced, and updated in 2015, by researchers at King’s College London, and commissioned by Transport for London and the Greater London Authority. It acknowledges ‘uncertainty in the evidence’, and warns that ‘figures are considered approximate and need to be used with care’. But these cautions have been quickly forgotten in the search for dramatic headlines.

The researchers claim that, should their recommendations be followed, four million life years will be gained by Londoners over 105 years from 2010, whereas, if no action is taken, 13million life years will be lost by Londoners in that time. Such astronomic figures sound dramatic, but the net benefit per Londoner of any intervention is to extend his or her life by hours, rather than years. The report even admits that the difference their recommendations will make to the lifespan people alive today may be less than a week! But don’t expect the Guardian to let that temper its hysterical headlines.

Furthermore, despite London’s much-hyped urban air pollution, the average Londoner born in 2013 has a better chance of living longer than someone of the same age living elsewhere in England. Life expectancy at birth for Londoners is 80 (male) and 84.1 (female), versus 79.3 (male) and 83 (female) nationally.

Plugging estimates of impact and risk into statistical models only creates superficially plausible arguments for action. The obsession with air pollution speaks to the extremely limited debate about the future of London – and the UK – which has for too long been dominated by quangos, NGOs and academics, vying for attention with scare stories underpinned by intangible benefits and opaque statistical methodologies. A better future won’t emerge from this stale network of misanthropic campaigners and miserable green hacks. After all, this was the same contingent that ordered us out of our cars and on to diesel-spewing buses in the first place.

The outcome of this scaremongering is always regulation. The Guardian reports that ‘by law, hourly levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide must not be more than 200 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) more than 18 times in a whole year’. But these limits are arbitrary, and do not permit, much less take account of, London’s climate, geography and history. In short, the record of certain locations in London exceeding these limits does not give a meaningful picture of London’s environmental health.

The legal NO2 limits are being exceeded because London is low-lying and mostly flat. Its main routes are narrow, winding and seemingly chaotic, and were planned long before the invention of the automobile. This is confirmed by a look at the data produced by air-quality monitoring stations located at kerbsides. What they show, as the graph for Brixton Road below indicates, is that the amount of NO2 in the air varies dramatically day to day, week to week, and minute to minute, as a consequence of many factors. Regulating any form of vehicle out of the equation might make as much sense as banning the people, the layout of the road, or the wintery conditions that contribute equally to the excess NO2 in the air.

Just up the A23, at Streatham Green, a very different picture of London’s air emerges to that provided by Brixton Road (note the difference of scale on the Y-axis below).

What this comparison shows is that NO2 is a highly localised problem, the extent of which cannot be understood by kerbside monitoring. Monitoring stations might just as well be located on the exhaust pipes of buses – as indeed they sometimes are.

The situation in Streatham Green is far less dynamic than on Brixton Road. This shows that even if atmospheric NO2 is a problem, it is a problem that Londoners with particular health vulnerabilities can easily escape – it is as simple as being in a different area, or not being on the high street, at busy times of the day. This may be cold comfort for people with asthma or respiratory problems, but it does show that London is far from being trapped under a layer of toxic smog.

Environmental and public-health campaigners, academics and journalists have their own agendas, which means their claims should not be taken at face value. No doubt London will continue to face interrelated public-health and transport problems. But we should respond to these problems with a vision of better future, not panic over faked statistics that, if acted on, might rob London of its vitality.

Even this climate-change-denying, fossil-fuel-loving petrol-head hopes that by 2115, a better alternative to the fossil-fuel-powered engine and London’s narrow streets will have been developed. As well as cleaner air, why not look at how we can improve travel so that it takes less than two hours to travel across the city? Sadly, such innovations will not emerge from public-health quangos, university departments and their bullshit statistical models.


GOP targets landmark Endangered Species Act for big changes

In control of Congress and soon the White House, Republicans are readying plans to roll back the influence of the Endangered Species Act, one of the government's most powerful conservation tools, after decades of complaints that it hinders drilling, logging, and other activities.
Over the past eight years, GOP lawmakers sponsored dozens of measures aimed at curtailing the landmark law or putting species such as gray wolves and sage grouse out of its reach. Almost all were blocked by Democrats and the White House or lawsuits from environmentalists.

Now, with the ascension of President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans see an opportunity to advance broad changes to a law they contend has been exploited by wildlife advocates to block economic development.

"It has never been used for the rehabilitation of species. It's been used for control of the land," said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop. "We've missed the entire purpose of the Endangered Species Act. It has been hijacked."

Bishop said he "would love to invalidate" the law and would need other lawmakers' cooperation.

The 1973 act was ushered though Congress nearly unanimously, in part to stave off extinction of the national symbol, the bald eagle. Eagle populations have since rebounded, and the birds were taken off the threatened and endangered list in 2007.

In the eagles' place, another emblematic species - the wolf - has emerged as a prime example of what critics say is wrong with the current law: seemingly endless litigation that offers federal protection for species long after government biologists conclude that they have recovered.

Wolf attacks on livestock have provoked hostility against the law, which keeps the animals off-limits to hunting in most states. Other species have attracted similar ire - Canada lynx for halting logging projects, the lesser prairie chicken for impeding oil and gas development, and salmon for blocking efforts to reallocate water in California.

Reforms proposed by Republicans include placing limits on lawsuits that have been used to maintain protections for some species and force decisions on others, as well as adopting a cap on how many species can be protected and giving states a greater say in the process.

Wildlife advocates are bracing for changes that could make it harder to add species to the protected list and to usher them through to recovery. Dozens are due for decisions this year, including the Pacific walrus and the North American wolverine, two victims of potential habitat loss due to climate change.

"Any species that gets in the way of a congressional initiative or some kind of development will be clearly at risk," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife and a former Fish and Wildlife Service director under President Bill Clinton. "The political lineup is as unfavorable to the Endangered Species Act as I can remember."

More than 1,600 plants and animals in the US are now shielded by the law. Hundreds more are under consideration for protections. Republicans complain that fewer than 70 have recovered and had protections lifted.

"That tension just continues to expand," said Jason Shogren, professor of natural resource conservation at the University of Wyoming. "Like a pressure cooker, every now and then, you've got to let out some steam or it's really going to blow."

Congress reconvened last week with two critics of the law holding key Senate leadership positions - Wyoming Senator John Barrasso as the incoming chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski as chairwoman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Spokesman Mike Danylak said Barrasso will seek to "strengthen and modernize" the management of endangered species but offered no specifics.

Barrasso's predecessor, Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, suggested in an interview that one species should be removed from the list every time another is added. Another Republican, Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, said he wants to limit applications for protections to one species at a time.

Trump's position is unclear. A strong advocate for energy development, he has lamented environmental policies he says hinder drilling. But his appointment of Montana Representative Ryan Zinke as Interior secretary was seen by some conservationists as a signal that Trump will support protections for public lands to the benefit of fish and wildlife.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said  it isn't allowed to repay damage claims filed against it following a 2015 mine waste spill in Colorado

In a statement, the agency said it consulted with the Justice Department on the question of the claims, which total more than $1.2 billion.

Attorneys determined that the EPA cannot pay for damages because of a legal principle called sovereign immunity, which prohibits lawsuits against the government.

The agency said individuals and businesses who filed claims against the agency can appeal Friday's decision in federal court. 
"[The law] does not authorize federal agencies to pay claims resulting from government actions that are discretionary - that is, acts of a governmental nature or function and that involve the exercise of judgment," the agency said in a statement.

"The circumstances surrounding the Gold King Mine incident unfortunately do not meet the conditions necessary to pay claims."

According to The Denver Post, the EPA fielded at least 73 claims totaling $1.2 billion following the August 2015 incident in which a team of agency contractors triggered a waste spill while assessing the condition of the shuttered Gold King Mine. The spill sent 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into Colorado's Animas River.

Conditions in the region have since returned to normal. Even so, the spill incensed local landowners, farmers, tourism officials and tribes, who filed for damages against the agency.

In a separate report released on Friday, the EPA listed 10 steps it could take to bolster its response efforts following incidents like the mine waste spill, including establishing a formal response team and developing new emergency training methods.


Australian push: ‘Dump CO2 target when America walks away from Paris agreement’

A growing number of government MPs, including some on Malcolm Turnbull’s front bench, say Australia should dump the Renewable Energy Target and its carbon emissions reduction commitments under the Paris climate agreement if Donald Trump walks away from the deal.

Conservative MPs have told The Australian they believe there is no point in remaining committed to the Paris accord without the US locked into action on climate change, a phenomenon the new President has previously labelled a Chinese “hoax”.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott and South Australian senator Cory Bernardi have both publicly argued for the scrapping of renewable energy targets, saying that would allow the government to campaign more forcefully against Labor on energy policy.

One conservative MP said the view was “getting a lot of traction very quickly”, while another said that opinion was already “widespread” within the Coalition partyroom.

The push comes as many MPs express frustration that the government has made little political mileage out of Labor’s policy to lift the renewable target to 50 per cent by 2030, believing it is a hot-button cost-of-living issue that should dominate the political debate in the lead-up to the next election.

The government has committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. “I think when Trump walks away from the Paris agreement that will be the perfect opportunity to follow,” one MP said.

“We would grandfather any ­existing investments that have been made under the current scheme, but for new investment, it has got to be economic, it has got to stand on its own two feet.”

But MPs said Mr Abbott’s opinion piece published in The Weekend Australian this month advocating a shift in policy was “not helpful”, saying it would make it more difficult to convince the Prime Minister of the merits of the political strategy.

Another said that regardless of the RET target, the government would seek to incentivise the building of new coal-fired power stations, in a move aimed at wedging Labor on job creation and cost-of-living pressures linked to the new investment.

“There was a lot of absolute dismay that we didn’t actually campaign on Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target, because it would impact household budgets and small business and we wouldn’t have had to run a scare campaign on that, it would have been an actual factual campaign,” one MP said.

“Let’s see what Donald Trump does, but it stands to reason that we should not be trying to lead the world on this and if other countries are not going to be playing their part, whether it is right, wrong or indifferent, if we try to sacrifice our economy and household budgets to make no environmental difference we would be doing not only ourselves a great disservice but also the environment.”

But that view is not shared by cabinet, which believes any change to the renewable target would create more policy uncertainty and discourage ­invest­ment. Several senior conservative MPs said there would be no change in position by the Turnbull government, and warned that doing so could create sovereign risk.

They also argued that it would not get through the Senate, and so there was no point advocating the position which could potentially act like a carbon tax given the impact on power prices without new investment.

Another conservative MP said that the RET should be maintained, but other policy levers used to incentivise the next generation of coal-fired power stations to generate more domest­ic electricity.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said last week that new “ultra-supercritical” coal-fired power stations could be used in Australia to generate electricity with a 40 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions.

The parameters of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation could also potentially be changed to allow for low emissions coal technology. Following Mr Abbott’s call to abolish future renewable targets, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government had no plans to change the policy which was settled only 18 months ago, providing investor certainty.



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23 January, 2017

The first fruits

With midnight regulation, Obama Energy Department just outlawed your three-way bulb

In the last full day of the Obama administration, the Department of Energy just issued a final rule that will outlaw even more light bulbs.

The 2007 light bulb ban in effect outlawed most incandescent light bulbs by imposing efficiency standards on ordinary light bulbs. Congress exempted a few types of light bulbs, including bug lights, three-way bulbs, "rough service lamps," and some decorative bulbs, such as globe-shaped bulbs.

But that law gave DOE the right to expand the class of bulbs covered by the mandates. In a new rule published today, DOE redefined the words in the law, "general service lamp," to include a lot more types of light bulb. In short, bulb types that Congress had originally exempted are no longer exempted.

Three-way bulbs, which have two different filaments and thus three different brightnesses, are currently exempted. DOE just ruled that they now need to be covered. The Department's reasoning: "DOE expects these sales will likely increase since these lamps could be used as replacements for other regulated lamp types." In other words: People might start buying these bulbs because they want regular light bulbs rather than expensive LEDs or crappy fluorescents.

DOE also spiked the exemption for globe-shaped bulbs. Many manufacturers make, and many retailers sell, globe-shaped bulbs that met the standards, but consumers were left with the option to buy globe-shaped bulbs of the old type. That couldn't stand.

This rule doesn't go into effect for three years, but it could lead pretty quickly to domestic bulb makers ceasing production.

A few bulb types are still exempt, including bug lights and oven lights.


Key Omission Undercuts Attempted New York Times Expose of EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt

In today's New York Times, Eric Lipton and Coral Davenport dropped what was supposed to be a blockbuster expose of "a series of instances in which [Environmental Protectoin Agency (EPA) administrator nominee Scott] Pruitt put cooperation with industry before confrontation as he sought to blunt the impact of federal environmental policies in his state-against oil, gas, agriculture and other interests." According to Lipton and Davenport, "[Pruitt's] antipathy to federal regulation-he sued the Environmental Protection Agency 14 times-in many ways defined his tenure as Oklahoma's attorney general."

In support of these contentions, the article includes an interactive feature that presents the legal briefs from the 14 suits against the EPA in which Pruitt participated on behalf of Oklahoma. Lipton and Davenport note: "In all but one of these 14 cases, regulated industry players also were parties." The obvious implication is that Pruitt is doing the bidding of the industries that funded his political campaigns.

However, there is a gaping hole in the New York Times story. The reporters make it seem as though Pruitt was waging a one-man war against the EPA. In fact, an unprecedented and diverse number of states have challenged the agency during the Obama administration. For example, both of the EPA's signature regulations-the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States rule-were challenged by more than half of all states. By my count, 206 states (attorneys general, governors, or state regulatory bodies) participated in 12 of the 14 lawsuits against the EPA in addition to Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt. That's an average of 18 states per lawsuit. Nor is it the case that only conservative states challenged the EPA. To wit, Michigan, Ohio, and even Delaware have joined Oklahoma in fighting various EPA rules.

It is remarkable that Lipton and Davenport omitted discussion of how many states joined Oklahoma in challenging the EPA during the Obama era. After all, Pruitt has made federalism the touchstone of his opposition to the agency.

Arguably, the breadth of state opposition to Obama-era EPA rules undercuts the thesis implied by Lipton and Davenport-that industry funding influenced Pruitt's prosecutorial discretion. To buy what the Times is selling, you'd have to believe that more than half the state attorneys general in the country are supplicants of industry. That's a sweeping and ill-founded supposition.

Also, the plenitude of state challenges to Obama's EPA cuts against Lipton and Davenport's evident assumption that the underlying rules were important public health safeguards. It defies reason to claim that more than half of all states are against clean air or clean water when they challenge the Clean Power Plan or Waters of the United States rule.

Without question, the state officials who have sued are more accountable to their constituents than are the unelected civil servants at the EPA. Does it make sense to think that citizens in more than half of all states want dirty air and water? Of course not! Rather, these states are fighting highly politicized regulations that would subject more and more state authority to the EPA, in order to achieve health and environmental benefits that are illusory. To this point, consider the following links to previous posts that tell the true story about the rules being challenged by Pruitt, among many other states: Clean Power Plan, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Ozone NAAQS, Carbon Pollution Standards, Regional Haze, and the Waters of the U.S. Rule.


Can Trump, Congress Undo EPA's Midnight Fuel Economy Regulation?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized-14 months ahead of schedule-its Mid Term Evaluation (MTE) of greenhouse gas emission standards for model year (MY) 2022-2025 passenger cars and light trucks. The EPA was in such a rush to dump a fait accompli on the incoming Trump administration that it apparently forgot to post anything about this multi-billion dollar decision on the agency website's landing page.

The EPA's action locks in greenhouse gas (GHG) standards the agency tentatively adopted in 2012-more than a decade before millions of the covered vehicles are even manufactured. GHG standards are de facto fuel economy standards, because, as the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acknowledge, carbon dioxide constitutes 94.9 percent of vehicular greenhouse gas emissions, and "there is a single pool of technologies ... that reduce fuel consumption and thereby CO2 emissions as well" (75 FR 25372).

On December 8, 2016, the Auto Alliance, representing 12 leading manufacturers of passenger cars and light trucks, asked the EPA to withdraw the proposed Mid Term Evaluation, which the agencies in July 2016 told automakers would not be proposed until mid-2017. The Alliance cautioned that the EPA's proposed GHG standards ignore consumer acceptance and are based on "several technical and modeling errors that lead to an overly optimistic view of both technology effectiveness and cost to manufacturers and ultimately to consumers."

The Alliance additionally noted that the proposed MTE conflicts with the EPA's regulatory obligation to implement a "harmonized single national GHG/Fuel Economy program in which the EPA and NHTSA, along with California's Air Resources Board (`ARB'), would issue their draft TAR [Technical Assessment Report] and subsequent MTE determinations at the same time."

Nonetheless, on this Friday before a three-day weekend, the EPA basically told automakers to go pound sand. The affected industries responded with releases today calling on the incoming Trump administration to yank or at least reconsider the EPA's action.

Global Automakers President and CEO John Bozella stated:

The Environmental Protection Agency has still failed to state a compelling reason for rushing its final determination. It unnecessarily truncated public comment and prevented scrutiny of an important policy decision that will affect consumers, investment, public health, and the environment. This can only undermine confidence in the objectivity of policymaking. It merits a serious look by the incoming administration.

National Automobile Dealers Association President and CEO Peter Welch stated:

The Obama Administration today just made new cars and trucks thousands of dollars more expensive for America's working men and women. Expensive and unaffordable new cars will drive Americans into less efficient, less clean and less safe used cars-undermining the very goals of this policy. We urge the incoming Trump Administration to withdraw today's action, and we look forward to working with the new Administration to ensure that working families can choose the cleaner, safer new cars and trucks they need at prices they can afford.

What is to be done?

The EPA's action is either a rule or it is not. If it is a rule, then it is vulnerable to quick repeal via the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which enables Congress to veto regulations adopted within the previous 60 legislative days. CRA resolutions of disapproval cannot be filibustered, as they require only simple majorities to pass. If both chambers of Congress pass the resolution and the President signs it, the targeted rule is overturned.

The EPA and its allies, predictably, claim the MTE is not a rule, only the evaluation of a rule. However, the CRA definition of rule includes any agency statement of particular or general applicability and future effect that interprets, implements, or prescribes policy or law. The MTE easily fits within that capacious definition.

While denying the MTE is a rule, the EPA and its allies also claim President Trump cannot legally withdraw it. Why? Because it has gone through the public notice and comment process. But isn't that tantamount to saying it is a rule?

But let's assume it is not a rule. How then does it legally bind anyone to do or forbear from doing anything?

Also, how does the EPA's premature finalization of the MTE excuse the agency from fulfilling its regulatory commitment under the 2012 joint rulemaking to coordinate its final MTE with NHTSA's? Either the EPA's action is simply unlawful, or the Trump administration would have an opportunity to modify the EPA's MTE in the process of coordinating it with NHTSA's.

Finally, even if we assume the Trump EPA cannot simply nix the MTE by fiat, it would certainly be within its rights to accept a petition to reconsider the MTE. The Trump EPA could then restore the schedule for proposing and finalizing the MTE that the agencies published in July. And on the basis of those additional public comments and technical reviews, it would have until April 2018 to finalize new coordinated MTEs that the agencies consider more consistent with consumer acceptance, technology costs, fuel prices, and employment impacts.


Incoming EPA Chief Gains Ammo Against CO2 Regs

Imagine for a moment you're applying for an executive position at a prestigious capital firm, and during the course of the interview the assessor asks for your ideas on curtailing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Your internal (if not external) response would probably go something like this: "What does CO2 have to do with my potential role as an investment manager?" Now imagine being the nominee for the CIA or HUD and being subjected to the same question. That's exactly what happened during last week's confirmation hearings.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Sen. Kamala Harris bizarrely tried to corner Mike Pompeo, nominated to head the CIA, on the issue of man-made global warming. To his credit, Pompeo brilliantly deferred, retorting, "I, frankly, as the director of CIA would prefer today not to get into the details of climate debate and science. It just seems - my role is going to be so different." He added, "I do know the agency's role. Its role is to collect foreign intelligence." Bingo.

HUD nominee Ben Carson faced similar consternation. Sen. Elizabeth Warren used a portion of her time urging Carson to lay out "actions . to adapt to or prevent climate change." As entertaining and nonsensical as all this is, none of it provided the kind of fireworks we're bound to witness during EPA nominee Scott Pruitt's hearing this week. Pruitt, of course, is expected to significantly water down the agency by rescinding onerous regulations.

Unfortunately for Democrats, when it comes to the faux war on CO2, Pruitt's job may not be as difficult as they hoped. Cato Institute's Patrick J. Michaels reports on a new paper, "The Art and Science of Climate Model Tuning," that undermines the Obama administration's "finding of endangerment" claim regarding CO2. Because the EPA interprets GHGs as dangerous, Michaels says "any attempt to undo Obama-era EPA regulations will be bitterly contested in court, perhaps for years."

The paper, however, provides strong evidence of EPA gerrymandering, which could negate Democrats' popular legal defense. According to Michaels, it found "that each fiddling of the models . gives a different forecast of how much the earth will warm for doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is called the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS). If the ECS can be changed to a wide range of values, depending upon the `tuning' of the model, then it is the modeler and not the underlying physics that decides this number. And who defines an `acceptable' ECS? In these cases, it is the very same people jiggling the models in the first place."

The Obama EPA gets away with unlawful acts because it fabricates evidence. In fact, the entire Democrat war on greenhouse gases - including off-script "gotcha" questions at confirmation hearings - is nothing but a political farce. The Left is going to be a whole lot more agitated when Republicans put an end to pursuing nonexistent issues.



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, 2017

2016 Global Temperature: The Pause Never Went Away

Interesting to see that someone in the climate establishment has at long last put a number on the influence of the recent El Nino.  And the Met figure of two tenths of a degree is substantial in the context of the very small changes in the climate record. 

Even so, the figure is far too low in the context of the accompanying CO2 stasis, making it difficult to see the figure as anything but a guess.  But David Whitehouse below takes it as read and shows that subtracting those two tenths leaves us with the familiar "hiatus" -- no statistically significant temperature change across this century.  There is NO ongoing global warming.

The [British] Met Office yesterday confirmed that the warm record of 2016 was mainly driven by a very strong El Nino.

Not that you would have heard this fact in the news. But Peter Stott, Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said in no uncertain terms that, “a particularly strong El Nino event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016.”

By removing this temporary El Nino contribution from the Met Office’s 2016 data, it becomes obvious that global average temperatures would be essentially identical to where they were in 2014 (see fig 1). Since the El Nino warming is fading and global temperatures are dropping rapidly, they are close to being back to where they were before the latest El Nino started.

There are two ways to look at the just released global temperature of 2016 and press releases from NASA, NOAA and the Met Office work hard to reflect only one of them.

The emphasis is on long-term warming with the press releases stressing that we are living in the warmest decade of the past 150 years (since instrumental records began) concluding that global warming is continuing unabated. This is one way of seeing the data, but it is not the main lesson which comes out of studying what 2016 adds to the picture of recent warmth.

2016 was clearly among the warmest of years, but what distinguishes it from the previous years in this century? Everyone agrees it is the strong El Nino. But how strong was its influence?

The NASA GISS dataset has the global temperature of 2016 at 0.99 +/- 0.1°C compared to 0.87 +/- 0.1°C for 2015, a difference of 0.12°C. However, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt said that their estimate of the boost to global temperatures given by the El Nino in 2016 was 0.12°C, that is the difference between 2015 and 2016.

The press release from the Met Office says that 2016 is one of the warmest two years on record and that according to the HadCRUT4 dataset it was 0.77+/- 0.1°C above what it calls the long-term average, which is actually calculated between 1961-1990. 2015 was 0.76+/- 0.1°C making 2016 and 2015 statistically indistinguishable from one another.

However, Peter Stott, Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre said, “A particularly strong El Nino event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016.” This means that without the El Nino 2016 would have had a global temperature of about 0.57+/- 0.1°C which is the same as 2014 and within the errors of 2010 (0.56) and 2005 (0.54). It would also have been in the 95% confidence range of 2013, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003 and 2002. In other words, using the Met Office’s 0.2°C El Nino (ENSO) correction 2016 has not been a record warm year but statistically in the same region as the previous 15 years. Gavin Schmidt of NASA disagrees, saying on Twitter, “Oh my. What tosh. In ENSO corrected data-sets 2016 is still record warm.”

According to NOAA 2016 was 0.07°F warmer than 2015, which is 0.04°C. Considering the error in the annual temperature is +/- 0.1°C this makes 2016 statistically indistinguishable from 2015, making any claim of a record using NOAA data specious.

Fig 1 shows the HadCRUT4 data for the so-called “hiatus” period. The recent El Nino years of 2015-16 are prominent. Also on the graph is the 2016 temperature without the El Nino contribution, as calculated by the Met Office. 2015 – a year with an equally strong El Nino effect – is cautiously interpolated – although the 2016 El Nino estimate is the main datapoint, (NASA Giss says that the correction for 2016 is 0.12°C and 0.05°C for 2015. The Met Office has a figure almost twice as much for 2016 which represents a significant difference of opinion between the Met Office and NASA).

However, even with just the 2016 El Nino compensation the data shows that the pause hasn’t gone away. It has simply been interrupted by two very strong El Nino years. Note that there were moderate El Ninos in 2002-3 and 2009-10.

Compensating for those El Ninos as well as the one in 1998 would make very little difference to the graph, and certainly would not invalidate the pause in the data. In fact it would make the temperature flatter.

Time will tell how far global temperatures will drop in the next couple of years. But there is a good chance that the pause will be re-established once the El Nino warmth tails off.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

RSS Satellite Data Confirm 2016 Is Tied With 1998 As Warmest Year

Source of graph

RSS have also now released their temperature data for December, which, as with UAH, shows a big drop from the month before.

Annually, RSS come to the same conclusion as UAH, that 2016 was 0.02C warmer than 1998.

As Roy Spencer has pointed out, the margin of error is 0.1C, so statistically 2016 is tied with 1998 as the warmest year in the satellite record.

The fact that there has been no warming for the last 18 years is a massive blow to the credibility of climate science.


Colder, not warmer, leads to more conflict:

Contrary to what Warmists always claim

Winter is Coming: The Long-Run Effects of Climate Change on Conflict, 1400-1900

Murat Iyigun et al.

NBER Working Paper No. 23033

We investigate the long-run effects of cooling on conflict. We construct a geo-referenced and digitized database of conflicts in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East from 1400-1900, which we merge with historical temperature data. We show that cooling is associated with increased conflict. When we allow the effects of cooling over a fifty-year period to depend on the extent of cooling during the preceding period, the effect of cooling on conflict is larger in locations that experienced earlier cooling. We interpret this as evidence that the adverse effects of climate change intensify with its duration.


Misleading New Republic Hit on EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Demonstrates Ignorance of Subject Matter

In The New Republic today, Abby Rabinowitz predicts that “you can expect to hear a lot about mercury” during upcoming confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. According to Rabinowitz, the mercury push is “part of a larger strategy by Senate Democrats to frame his nomination as the culmination of a cynical, years-long attack on science and reason whose purpose was to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry—and his own.”

That’s a big charge to level! Surely the reporter didn’t merely regurgitate political talking points and instead vetted these accusations. After all, this is The New Republic, which at one point long ago was the in-flight magazine of Air Force One. But in the next paragraph, Rabinowitz demonstrates a profound ignorance of her subject:

Opposing mercury pollution is a no-brainer. Its harms include serious damage to the nervous, pulmonary, digestive, and immune systems and developmental brain defects. In 2011, after years of study, the EPA limited how much mercury oil-fired and coal-fired power plants can emit. The agency’s Mercury and Toxic Air Standards (MATS) will save thousands of lives and prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births a year. Great, right? Not according to Pruitt, who joined more than 20 states in suing to block the rule—an appeal that was ultimately declined by the Supreme Court last summer, leaving the rule in place.

Let’s unpack this paragraph. For starters, Rabinowitz claims that the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will “prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births a year.” She apparently didn’t read the source material for this claim, because the hyperlinked EPA fact sheet doesn’t mention “premature births.” Instead, the fact sheet claims that the rule would prevent “11,000 premature deaths.” I can understand why Rabinowitz would make this mistake, because the term “premature death” doesn’t make much sense. To wit, does it count if death is staved off for one second? So I suspect her mind automatically substituted “birth” for “death.”

Whatever it is, a “premature death” is a lot different from “saving lives,” as the latter phrase is understood in the real world. The upshot is that Rabinowitz is wrong twice—over when she claims that the rule would “save thousands of lives and prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births.” The latter assertion is plainly incorrect; the former is misleading.

But she’s even more wrong! In the first three sentences of the paragraph, Rabinowitz makes clear she’s talking about mercury. She says that “opposing mercury pollution is no-brainer,” and notes that mercury can damage “nervous, pulmonary, digestive, and immune systems and developmental brain defects.” She explains that the EPA promulgated the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to “limit[] how much mercury oil-fired and coal-fired power plants can emit.” After these three sentences, all of which addressed mercury emissions, she botches a claim that the rule would prevent “11,000 premature deaths,” as described above.

Here’s the thing: These supposed “11,000 premature deaths” have nothing to do with mercury! Rather, they are putative “co-benefits” to the rule. As we explain here and here, it is grossly disingenuous for the EPA to trumpet these co-benefits, the existence of which are hotly contested. Suffice it to say for this post, mercury pollution has nothing to do with the alleged benefits of the rule. So Rabinowitz is wrong to connect one to the other.

Again, I can understand why she would make this mistake. “Mercury” is in the name of the rule, and the EPA’s ultra-well-funded public relations shop did its best to mislead the public, media, and policymakers into conflating speculative “co-benefits” with mercury pollution. The reason for all this misdirection is simple: Mercury from power plants did not endanger the public. As I recently noted in the course of debunking a different hatchet job on Pruitt:

EPA’s own analyses demonstrate that the emissions controlled by the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards pose no public hazard. According to EPA, the “benefits” of mercury reductions attendant to the rule were accruable to a supposed population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen who eat more than 200 pounds of self-caught fish from only the top ten percent most polluted bodies of fresh inland water. Of course, no such woman exists. Indeed, EPA never identified such a voracious pregnant angler. Instead, they were modeled to exist.

The illusory benefits of the mercury rule get to the heart of Rabinowitz’s final big error in this short excerpt. In the last sentence of her woebegone paragraph, she notes that Pruitt “joined more than 20 states in suing to block the rule—an appeal that was ultimately declined by the Supreme Court last summer, leaving the rule in place.” Pruitt et al challenged the rule based on, inter alia, the claim that it was inappropriate for the EPA to refuse to consider the costs and benefits when it decided it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury emissions from power plants. For its part, the EPA didn’t want to perform such an analysis because doing so would draw attention to the fact that the mercury “benefits” of the mercury rule were nonexistent.

In a landmark 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court agreed, and ordered the EPA to undertake such a cost-benefit review. However, the Court kept the rule in place (in whas is called a “remand without vacatur”) while the agency did so. For her part, Rabinowitz provides a link to a write-up of a subsequent decision by the Supreme Court that denied a request by the states to pause the rule until their legal challenge (to the reasonableness of EPA’s cost-benefits review) runs its course. By omitting this highly relevant legal context, Rabinowitz misses the mark when she implies that the Supreme Court has vindicated the underlying science of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

All told, there were four big errors in the second paragraph of this hit job of Pruitt. I’d present the remaining errors, but you get the idea. This article is as mistaken or misleading as the previous attacks on Pruitt that I’ve blogged about of late.


Australian Greens pressured over Australia-hating protests

Outspoken Coalition MP George Christensen has called for Greens leader Richard Di Natale to expel party members who are planning a seven day campaign of flag burning and barbecue disruption in protest against Australia Day.

Senator Di Natale has refused to condemn radical NSW Greens faction Left Renewal, which has called upon supported to steal and burn the “Aus rag” (Australian flag), disrupt barbecues, erect protest banners and spray paint walls and roads in a week-long show of “resistance” against Australia Day.

The group includes party members­, candidates and polit­ical staffers. Senator Di Natale yesterday declined to comment. The Australian has contacted his office again today.

Mr Christensen said members of the Greens who wanted to disrupt Australia Day should be expelled from the party.

“The far left faction of the NSW Greens are actively promoting disruption of our national day of celebration and I call on Greens leader Richard di Natalie to show some spine and expel party members who are encouraging theft and acts of desecration of our national flag,” he said.

Mr Christensen put up a bill last year to criminalise burning of the Australian flag.  “That bill will need to be reintroduced as we now have a new parliament,” he said.

“The need for such a bill is being demonstrated yet again as the vast majority of Australians get ready to enjoy a day of celebrating this great country of ours, and we have this pack of ratbags wanting to grandstand and denigrate what we stand for.”

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, whose staffer Tom Raue is a Left Renewal supporter, told the Daily Telegraph the broader party did not support Australia Day anarchy.

However, he said that January 26 was an “extreme­ly controversial day to celebrate Australian nationhoo­d” because “for our first peoples” it ­“commemorates the invasion of their land and two and a quarter centuries of violenc­e, oppression and dispossession”.

Resigning NSW Premier, Mike Baird, condemned Left Renewal’s actions.

“Australia Day is a day for all Australians,’’ he said. “Anybody setting out to disrup­t those celebrations, or promote disrespect for our flag, will be unsuccessful.”

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, whose inner Sydney seat of Grayndler is being targeted by the Greens, said the radical group was “out of touch”.

Fellow Labor MP Nick Champion said Australia Day should be about the Australian values of liberty, justice, mateship and democracy and condemned both the Left Renewal group and far right groups who had lobbied to have a billboard depicting two Muslim girls celebrating Australia Day taken down.

“Both of these groups are really sort of missing out on that basic tenet of Australian life of mateship, giving people a fair go and treating people as you would want to be treated yourself,” Mr Champion said.

He suggested both groups should “take a chill pill”.  “Don’t try and take your extreme politics into a day that should be about national unity,” he said.



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, 2017

Media worldwide report another "hottest year"

The report below is from a major Australian news source.  Once again we have an example of how to lie with statistics. It appears to be true that ON AVERAGE, 2016 was unusually warm.  But my favourite graph below shows that the warm months were all at the beginning of the year during the El Nino weather phenomenon.  By the end of the year and the end of El Nino, temperatures had slumped, with December 2016 COOLER than December 2015 -- with an anomaly of 81 compared to 111 -- According to the NASA raw data here

And how sad for Australia's BOM, that they could only report that the year was only 4th hottest for Australia,  Australia is a rather large lump of real-estate so the warming we are looking at is not exactly global is it?

Two amusing things to note below: 

1). The high temperatures reported are nowhere in the article attributed to "climate change". The BOM know that what was at work was El Nino and not CO2 and have become too embarrassed to lie outright about it. 

2).  The BOM carefully define the record they are dealing with as:  "the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation".  The point of that, of course is to avoid confronting the careful and validated 1790 observations of Watkin Tench, which show that Sydney has had near-unbearable hot temperatures long before the modern era

It's official: 2016 set another record for being the world's hottest. Three international agencies have confirmed today that last year was the hottest on record.

NASA reported that 2016 was 0.99 degrees Celsius hotter than the 20th-century average, while the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) called it at 0.94 degrees Celsius. NOAA also calculated that global land temperatures were 1.43 degrees Celsius higher. The UK Met Office, using its own data, also reported that 2016 is one of the two hottest years on record.

The figures vary slightly, depending on the baseline reference period used.

Heat records don't linger for long any more. 2016 surpassed the 2015 record, which surpassed the 2014 record. Three record hot years in a row sets yet another record in the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation.

For Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology described 2016 as a "year of extreme events" and the fourth hottest at 0.87 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average. The warming trend is clear.
BOM's key 2016 climate facts and events

Australia is already on average 8 degrees Celsius hotter than the average global land temperature, so further warming means our heat risk is far greater than for other industrialised countries.

This dangerous warming trend sends a dire warning, as average warming delivers many more extreme heat events, as we're currently seeing in Queensland and New South Wales. These are the killers.

As Australia lurches from heatwave to heatwave, the message is clear: extreme heat is the new norm - so Australia needs to get "heat smart".

Rising extremes

In Australia the number of days per year over 35 degrees Celsius has increased and extreme temperatures have increased on average at 7 per cent per decade.

Very warm monthly maximum temperatures used to occur around 2 per cent of the time during the period 1951-1980. During 2001-2015, these happened more than 11 per cent of the time.

This trajectory of increased temperature extremes raises questions of how much heat can humans tolerate and still go about their daily business of commuting, managing domestic chores, working and keeping fit.


Richard Muller's "Berkeley Earth" at least mentions El Nino

And they also admit that temperatures dropped in the second half of 2016.

But there's still some very squishy language below if you know what is going on.  They say El Nino was "imposed on top of a long-term global warming trend that continues unabated".  How can something be imposed on a trend?  It can't.  You could impose an El Nino effect on another source of warming, such as an increase in CO2, but the pesky fact is that there was a complete stasis in CO2 levels during the whole of the El Nino period. There was NO  temperature rise traceable to anthropogenic global warming.  The "imposed" claim is bunk.

And, rather hilariously, note the proud boast that Arctic temperatures are "interpolated" in their dataset -- "guessed", in other words.  Their entire data body and claims derived from it are rubbish

2016 was the warmest year since humans began keeping records, by a wide margin. Global average temperatures were extremely hot in the first few months of the year, pushed up by a large El Nino event. Global surface temperatures dropped in the second half of 2016, yet still show a continuation of global warming. The global warming “pause”, which Berkeley Earth had always stressed was not statistically significant, now appears clearly to have been a temporary fluctuation.

Robert Rohde, Lead Scientist with Berkeley Earth, said “The record temperature in 2016 appears to come from a strong El Nino imposed on top of a long-term global warming trend that continues unabated.”

In addition, 2016 witnessed extraordinary warming in the Arctic. The way that temperatures are interpolated over the Arctic is now having a significant impact on global temperature measurements. Zeke Hausfather, Scientist at Berkeley Earth said, “The difference between 2015 and 2016 global temperatures is much larger in the Berkeley record than in records from NOAA or the UK’s Hadley Centre, since they do not include the Arctic Ocean and we do. The arctic has seen record warmth in the past few months, and excluding it leads to a notable underestimate of recent warming globally.”

Headlines that claim storms, droughts, floods, and temperature variability are increasing, are not based on normal scientific standards. We are likely to know better in the upcoming decades, but for now, the results that are most solidly established are that the temperature is increasing and that the increase is caused by human greenhouse emissions. It is certainly true that the impacts of global warming are still too subtle for most people to notice in their everyday lives.”


MIT climate scientist on `hottest year'

Dr. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences ridiculed the media hyped claims that 2016 was the "hottest year" on record. Lindzen was on The Howie Carr Show on January 18 to discuss "global warming" and the latest science and the political motivations behind the movement.

"What happens if your body temp goes up a tenth of a degree, how much do you worry about that? To imply that a rise of temperature of a tenth of a degree is proof that the world is coming to an end has to take one back to the dark ages."

"They are talking about temperature data that is rather uncertain. How do you average? You have to make adjustments. That gives them an opening, you can always adjust it up to a quarter of a degree and you will notice that all of the adjustments that are frequently made, always make the temperature seem steeper. They lower the low, they increase the high. In this case (hottest year) they had to depress the high in 1998 to make this one (2016) look a little larger.

But when you are finished you are talking about 2/10ths of degree. No one can feel it.

"As long as you can get people excited as to whether it's a tenth of a degree warmer or cooler, then you don't have to think, you can assume everyone who is listening to you is an idiot," he added, noting that "the temperature of the last 20 years is way below what any of the models predicted."

As to to 2/10ths of degree or a tenth of a degree, nobody can really feel it, not even the New York Times with their immense sensitivity," Lindzen joked. He also noted that "sea level rise has been going on for 10,000 years, what's the big deal?"

Adjusting data: "The whole point is so crazy because the temperature is always going up or down a little. What is astonishing is that in the last 20 years it hasn't done much of anything. What they don't mention is there has been a big El Nino in 2016 and in recent months the temperature has been dropping back into a zero trend level."

"There is a really simple test. If your data is uncertain, there will be corrections and roughly speaking it will be 50/50, one way the other way. When they are all in one direction, you know something is fishy.

"The hysteria over this issue is truly bizarre. It depends on who you are. If you are interested in big government, this is, they hope this is the easy way to nationalize energy. If you are less attuned to these policy issues, I guess it gives you something to believe in. It's a religion.

How long will "global warming" movement last?

"It's got to come to an end. It's doing so much damage. I mean we are really getting to the point where it's trillions of dollars of wasted money."

"I am surprised it lasted this long. I thought in 1988, when I saw this, I thought `this can't last.' I was mistaken. Between 1988 and 1993, the budget for broadly speaking climate science, went from $300 million to about $3 billion.


Greenland Glaciers putting on weight

Or so the latest data from the Danish meteorological organization show.  The Danes take a close interest in Greenland because Greenland is under the Danish crown.  Check the purple line below.  Warmists usually love Greenland because you can at times see various changes there.  So how awkward that Greenland, like Australia, is not co-operating with their claims of global warming


Obama admin injects another $500M into global climate fund

The Obama administration has made a second $500 million payment into an international climate change adaptation fund, the State Department announced Tuesday.

With the announcement, the Obama administration has now spent $1 billion on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) despite broad GOP opposition to U.S. financing for the fund.

The fund is the driving force behind a United Nations' goal to raise $100 billion to help poor countries adapt to the changing climate and cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama in 2014 pledged $3 billion for the program by 2020, but he couldn't get congressional Republicans to agree to the plan.
Congress never appropriated money for the GCF, but lawmakers didn't explicitly block the State Department from finding funding for the program elsewhere in its budget, which is what the Obama administration did to pay for the two $500 million payments.

"The GCF is the world's largest multilateral finance institution dedicated to advancing low-emission, climate-resilient development," State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement Tuesday.

"The GCF was created to help protect vulnerable populations and drive clean energy deployment, all with a special focus on engaging the private sector and mobilizing private capital."

President-elect Donald Trump opposes President Obama's climate work and has said he would "stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs." Senior Republicans on Capitol Hill also oppose the funding, raising doubts about future U.S. payments to the GCF. 

Democrats on Tuesday, though, praised the State Department's payment to the GCF.

"These funds will help countries mitigate their climate change impacts and adapt to the devastating droughts, floods, and other weather extremes we are already experiencing," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. "In helping to advance this global effort, it will serve our own national security interests."

"The Green Climate Fund is exactly the kind of international partnership we need to tackle this major challenge," Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said.

"I thank President Obama for establishing America as a world leader on the frontlines of climate action and taking another major stride toward fulfilling America's $3 billion commitment to the fund."



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, 2017

Are there enough fossil fuels in the ground to do what Warmists predict?

I had my suspicions about this paper but it has been around for 6 months now so if it is a hoax, I think I would have heard of it by now. The claim is that there is not enough hydrocarbons in the ground to generate the volume of CO2 that would be needed to trigger global warming.  If true that is quite a body blow to Warmism.  Not that Warmists would care.  No facts matter to them.

The authors seem to have taken more or less at face value existing estimates of fossil fuel reserves but that is nuts. New oil and gas reserves are being proven up almost daily. So there is NO known upper bound to the amounts that are in the ground.  Nice try but no cigar

The implications of fossil fuel supply constraints on climate change projections: A supply-side analysis

Jianliang Wang et al.


Climate projections are based on emission scenarios. The emission scenarios used by the IPCC and by mainstream climate scientists are largely derived from the predicted demand for fossil fuels, and in our view take insufficient consideration of the constrained emissions that are likely due to the depletion of these fuels. This paper, by contrast, takes a supply-side view of CO2 emission, and generates two supply-driven emission scenarios based on a comprehensive investigation of likely long-term pathways of fossil fuel production drawn from peer-reviewed literature published since 2000. The potential rapid increases in the supply of the non-conventional fossil fuels are also investigated. Climate projections calculated in this paper indicate that the future atmospheric CO2 concentration will not exceed 610 ppm in this century; and that the increase in global surface temperature will be lower than 2.6 °C compared to pre-industrial level even if there is a significant increase in the production of non-conventional fossil fuels. Our results indicate therefore that the IPCC’s climate projections overestimate the upper-bound of climate change. Furthermore, this paper shows that different production pathways of fossil fuels use, and different climate models, are the two main reasons for the significant differences in current literature on the topic.


All hail Donald Trump: slayer of the Great Green Blob

Middle America doesn’t believe in man-made climate change and it will believe it even less now

James Delingpole

Just before Christmas I popped over to Washington DC to test the waters of the Trump administration. I spoke to key members of his transition teams; I hung out with thinktankers, journalists, scientists, conservative activists; I wangled an invitation to a top-secret lunch hosted by card-carrying members of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy; I drank cocktails, lots of cocktails, from the Four Seasons in Georgetown to the new Trump Hotel in the Old Post Office; I went to that Americans for Tax Reform meeting that Grover Norquist hosts every Tuesday. And I came back feeling very positive indeed.

Why? The fact that I even have to ask this question in a conservative publication speaks volumes about anti-Trump prejudice, even from many right-wing commentators who ought to know better. To read some of my fellow scribes — no, scrub that, most of them — you’d imagine that the world would be a better place if instead of the Donald, the raddled, slippery, mendacious, corrupt, politically correct and hypocritical Hillary were about to be inaugurated as US president.

But they’re wrong. Trump is going to be the best US president since Ronald Reagan and for at least one of the same reasons: he was never the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate, which means he has the attitude, the independence and the leeway to be much more radical — and effective — than any of his rivals would have dared to be.

Nowhere will this become more evident than in the fields of energy and climate change. It’s true that there were other climate–sceptical presidential candidates, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among them, but it’s unlikely that when push came to shove any Republican other than Trump would have had the will to take on the powerful and entrenched green establishment once in office.

Partly it’s down to temperament: Trump relishes confrontation and, unlike most conservative politicians, feels under no pressure to moderate his position on the environment lest he be perceived as nasty or uncaring. Partly it’s because as a property developer he has much personal experience of the way environmental red tape impedes business. Partly, as one admiring DC insider explained to me, it’s because he’s the first US president since Reagan who doesn’t identify with the ‘bicoastal urban elite’.

‘The Democrats have been waging a war on rural America for decades. And the Bushes didn’t do a damn thing to help them. Trump actually promised he would do something and rural America got that. These are his people and he gets their problem. If you dig up stuff, if you make stuff or you grow stuff, then Donald Trump has got your back.’

How does Trump mean to Make America Great Again? He spelled it out in May last year in a speech in North Dakota. As well as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, he would allow fracking on federal lands, ‘save’ the US coal industry, revoke environmental regulations like the ‘Waters of the US rule’ (a massive assault on property rights by the Environmental Protection Agency), revive the Keystone XL pipeline and put all future regulation to a simple test: ‘Is this good for the American worker?’ If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.

To sophisticated centrists this might come across as empty populist rhetoric; and to those on the green liberal-left as something worse: a scientifically illiterate, ideological recipe for unfettered capitalist greed and ecological disaster. In truth, though, it’s probably the most sensible, courageous and well-informed environmental policy plan articulated by any conservative leader anywhere in the world in decades. If that sounds like hyperbole, you can’t have understood the extent to which environmental policy has damaged the global economy in the past few decades. Obama famously boasted that electricity rates would ‘necessarily skyrocket’ under his rule. The very fact that he thought this a good thing shows just how out of touch the world’s governing elites had grown. Why would any sane person — unless presented with an overwhelmingly compelling reason — think it desirable to have their cost of living ramped up by government fiat?

To the ‘bicoastal urban elite’ the answer might have been a no-brainer: duh, climate change. But middle America doesn’t believe in that (not the man-made variety at any rate) and it’s likely to believe in it even less once Trump has had his wicked way with the various US government-affiliated institutions which have done so much to prop up the global warming scare story.

Take Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: both have been caught red-handed doctoring raw data to make 20th-century global warming look more dramatic, for reasons which probably have more to do with ideology than science. Trump simply won’t tolerate this. Nasa will likely be returned to its day job of exploring space, while NOAA and its climate data will be put in the hands of a sceptical scientist: someone, perhaps, like John Christy of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, who has long infuriated warmists by noting that the satellite records show much less warming than the (-rather patchy) surface temperature records do.

Until now, green propagandists have been able to point to their tame scientists at Nasa, NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Science and Technology and so on, and say: ‘Look. All the experts agree…’ With this option off the table the repercussions will be enormous. I’d go so far as to say it’s the beginning of the end of the Green Blob.

Yes, I appreciate some of your squeamishness about Trump, and if you’re on the greenie liberal left or part of the smug elite whose nose was put out so badly by Brexit, then you’ve good reason to be terrified. Not otherwise, though. He’s going to be great.



At a town hall event in Peterborough, Ontario on Friday, January 13, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to a question concerning his Government’s recent decision to approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline by saying it was a matter of trying to balance economic and environmental concerns. He went on to say that, “We can’t shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels but it’s going to take time and in the meantime we have to manage that transition.”

One might be forgiven for wondering about the logic that would lead the Prime Minister of Canada to say that, as a matter of national policy, we should phase out one of the most important sources of economic and industrial development in the country, a source of literally tens of billions of dollars annually in government revenues, business and personal incomes, employment and export revenues. The case, one can only surmise, rests on accepting the thesis that humans are causing catastrophic global warming, that Canada’s actions will remove that threat, and that the commitments that Canada made at the December, 2015 Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris oblige the government to make massive reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Each of those points is highly questionable, but let us follow their logic to see where they lead. The COP21 Agreement contained no commitments with respect to emissions reduction targets. It contained only a loose political expression of support for collective action to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2.0 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels and specific commitments to file periodic reports on the nationally-determined actions that governments were taking to achieve that goal. Separately, the Government of Canada agreed to set targets – a 17% reduction from 2005 emission levels by 2020 and a 30% reduction from 2005 emission levels by 2030. Canada has not yet enunciated a goal for 2050, but the targets set to date are consistent with the view propounded by many environmental lobby groups that emissions in the industrialized countries should be reduced by 60 to 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.

Achieving major emissions reductions will be especially difficult given that normal economic growth would lead to their increase. Environment Canada, in its most recently published review of Canada’s GHG emissions trends in 2014, projected that, after declining from 736 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2 eq) in 2005 to 699 Mt in 2012, emissions would grow to 727 Mt in 2020. The fastest growing source of emissions at the sectoral level is the upstream oil and gas industry, including both conventional and non-conventional (i.e. oil sands) sources.

Looking at the numbers, reducing emissions from the projected 2020 levels to the targeted ones would mean a reduction from 727 to 611 Mt, or 116 Mt; reducing emissions from projected 2020 levels (there are no authoritative projections of 2030 levels) by 2030 would mean a reduction from 727 to 515 Mt, or 212 Mt; and reducing emissions from projected 2020 levels by 2050 would mean reductions ranging from 433 Mt (60% target) to 580 Mt (80% target).

Environment Canada projects the emissions from all oil and gas production in Canada to be 204 Mt by 2020. That includes emissions from not only the oil sands but also the conventional oil and gas production in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and the territories. If that could be done by 2030, it would almost attain the national emissions reduction target for that year. It would not come even close to meeting the much more ambitious targets the environmental lobby seeks for 2050.

But why focus on oil and gas? The logic, one can only presume, arises not only from the fact that present emissions represent a large share of the Canadian total. It is also the fact that, comparatively speaking, the oil and gas upstream industry is considered emissions-intensive.

A great irony is that, viewed on a total fuel cycle (”wellhead to tailpipe”) basis, 80 to 85% of the GHG emissions associated with oil occur at the tailpipe, or point of combustion stage. Yes, it is the downstream use of fossil fuels that causes the most intensive emissions! So, which are some of the other emissions-intensive parts of the Canadian economy? Here’s a list:

Electricity Generation
Freight Transportation
Metal and non-metal mining
Smelting and refining
Fertilizer production
Motor vehicle and parts manufacturing
Pulp and Paper
Iron and Steel

The fact is that governments will not be able to achieve the large emissions reduction now committed to or contemplated unless they address, cut back or “phase out” emissions in all these economic activities.

The next time Prime Minister Trudeau announces in Ontario that, in the national interest, we will have to phase out an emissions-intensive industry, maybe he should substitute “motor vehicle and parts manufacturing” for oil sands. It would only be logical.


'Green guzzler' power plant is blamed after 1,000 fish die at one of Britain's best-loved salmon and trout rivers

A supposedly 'green' power plant has been blamed for killing more than 1,000 fish on one of Britain's best-loved salmon and trout rivers.

Officials are investigating if a fault caused hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic waste to be discharged from an anaerobic digester and into the picturesque River Teifi in West Wales, killing every single fish along an eight-mile stretch.

Two weeks ago The Mail on Sunday highlighted the growing risk to the environment posed by the 'green guzzlers', which convert slurry from dairy herds into methane.

They have been responsible for 12 serious pollution incidents since 2015, but the contamination of the River Teifi just before Christmas could be the worst yet, according to anglers and environmentalists.

Natural Resources Wales confirmed more than 1,000 fish carcasses had been counted following the spillage, and a source told The Mail on Sunday that investigators were focusing on an anaerobic digester in the area.

Local angler Steffan Jones said: 'I don't know what went wrong with the unit but clearly something did for so much effluent to have been discharged. 'This is absolutely tragic.'

The farmers who own the plant have not responded to requests for comment.

Critics of anaerobic digesters claim there is not enough slurry and waste, so thousands of tons of feed, including maize, is used to fuel the digesters as farmers chase massive Government subsidies.


The hypocrisy goes on:  Australian Green party big spenders on air travel

Greens leader Richard Di Natale and the party’s community ­services spokeswoman Rachel Siewert are among the top 10 spenders on taxpayer-funded flights despite loudly condemning excesses by Coalition and Labor politicians.

Senator Siewert claimed more expenses for domestic flights in the first half of 2016 than her fellow West Australians, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Her travel spending was the fifth highest, while Senator Di Natale’s was 10th of the 226 members of both houses of parliament. Senator Siewert claimed $63,934 in travel expenses in six months while Senator Di Natale racked up $56,526.

The Greens leader has sought the moral high ground on expenses claims following the controversy over Health Minister Sussan Ley’s Gold Coast travel claims, and has called for a new national anti-corruption watchdog to identify and punish politicians rorting the system. Ms Ley, who was forced to stand aside from her portfolio on Monday pending an inquiry into her travel claims, could discover her fate as soon as today, with Malcolm Turnbull keen to bring the travel expenses debate to an end.

Senator Di Natale criss-crossed the country in the lead-up to the July 2 election while the long flight across the Nullabor means West Australian politicians generally have higher expense claims. However, Senator Siewert’s claims exceed those of many of her state counterparts, notably Ms Bishop ($51,212), Senator Cormann ($50,683), fellow Green Scott Ludlam ($46,692), and Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt ($46,353).

Her spending was only topped by three West Australians — Justice Minister Michael Keenan ($83,808), Social Services Minister Christian Porter ($77,469), Employment Minister Michaelia Cash ($73,550) — and Labor leader Bill Shorten ($71,182).

Senator Di Natale described the government’s commitment on Tuesday to implement long-promised changes to the parliamentary expense system within the next six months as “anaemic”. “What parliamentarians should recognise is that if they’re going to claim a workplace expense, then they should be working. It’s a pretty basic test,” he told the ABC.

Senator Di Natale told The Australian his flights and those of all the Greens were all work expenses. “They reflect the fact that we have some of the hardest-working senators in the whole parliament,” he said.

“We recognise that it is absolutely critical that expenses are only claimed when members of parliament are doing their jobs, which is why we support much stronger reform measures than those put forward by the government this week.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Siewert, who is overseas, said that as a member for Western Australia, she was required to travel on parliamentary business along the most expensive routes in the country.

“Her work as the Greens’ spokesman for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues often requires her to travel to the country’s most remote and isolated communities,” the senator’s spokeswoman said. Senator Siewert is also chairwoman of the community affairs reference committee and a member of other committees that require travel to attend hearings around Australia.



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, 2017

Greenie climate models fail on a regional scale too

Are General Circulation Models Ready for Operational Streamflow Forecasting for Water Management in the Ganges and Brahmaputra River Basins?

Safat Sikder, et al.


This study asks the question of whether GCMs are ready to be operationalized for streamflow forecasting in South Asian river basins, and if so, at what temporal scales and for which water management decisions are they likely to be relevant? The authors focused on the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna basins for which there is a gridded hydrologic model calibrated for the 2002–10 period. The North American Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) suite of eight GCM hindcasts was applied to generate precipitation forecasts for each month of the 1982–2012 (30 year) period at up to 6 months of lead time, which were then downscaled according to the bias-corrected statistical downscaling (BCSD) procedure to daily time steps. A global retrospective forcing dataset was used for this downscaling procedure. The study clearly revealed that a regionally consistent forcing for BCSD, which is currently unavailable for the region, is one of the primary conditions to realize reasonable skill in streamflow forecasting. In terms of relative RMSE (normalized by reference flow obtained from the global retrospective forcings used in downscaling), streamflow forecast uncertainty (RMSE) was found to be 38%–50% at monthly scale and 22%–35% at seasonal (3 monthly) scale. The Ganges River (regulated) experienced higher uncertainty than the Brahmaputra River (unregulated). In terms of anomaly correlation coefficient (ACC), the streamflow forecasting at seasonal (3 monthly) scale was found to have less uncertainty (less than 0.3) than at monthly scale (less than 0.25). The forecast skill in the Brahmaputra basin showed more improvement when the time horizon was aggregated from monthly to seasonal than the Ganges basin. Finally, the skill assessment for the individual seasons revealed that the flow forecasting using NMME data had less uncertainty during monsoon season (July–September) in the Brahmaputra basin and in postmonsoon season (October–December) in the Ganges basin. Overall, the study indicated that GCMs can have value for management decisions only at seasonal or annual water balance applications at best if appropriate historical forcings are used in downscaling. The take-home message of this study is that GCMs are not yet ready for prime-time operationalization for a wide variety of multiscale water management decisions for the Ganges and Brahmaputra River basins.


Safe and healthy (not pristine) air

Federal air quality rules must be based on science – not used to stifle energy and industry

Paul Driessen

It’s called the Clean Air Act, but it was never intended to ensure pure, pristine air. Congress wanted America to have safe, healthy air, and regulations based on solid scientific and medical studies.

The law says costs cannot be considered where human health and safety are actually at stake. But legislators also understood that efforts to bring emissions to zero are unnecessary, technologically impossible, extremely expensive, harmful to electricity generation, factory output, job creation and retention, and living standards – and thus likely to reduce human health, wellbeing and longevity.

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency ignored these facts and employed highly dubious analyses to justify stringent new emission standards that impose enormous costs for no health benefits. The new Congress and Trump Administration must now restore integrity, rigor and balance to the process.

A good place to begin is with EPA’s rules for fine particulates: PM2.5, soot particles smaller than 2.5 microns (a fraction of the size of pollen and mold spores). EPA claims reducing PM2.5 emissions from power plants, factories, refineries, petrochemical plants, cars, light trucks, and diesel-powered vehicles and heavy equipment will save countless lives. In fact, it says, nearly all the (supposed) benefits from its Clean Power Plan and other recent rules are actually “ancillary benefits” from reducing PM2.5 levels.

Premature mortality is “associated with” fine particle pollution “at the lowest levels measured,” Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said. “There is no level at which premature death does not occur.” If we could further reduce particulate pollution, previous Obama EPA chief Lisa Jackson told Congress, it would be like “finding a cure for cancer” – hundreds of thousands of lives saved.

These assertions have no basis in reality. Even EPA’s own studies show they are predicated on two things: epidemiological analyses that count deaths within normal variations in death rates and attribute them to soot emissions; and experiments that unethically exposed humans to PM2.5 concentrations at levels which EPA says cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancer and people “dying sooner than they should.”

The agency’s air pollution epidemiological studies are compromised by uncontrollable “confounding factors.” No data exist on actual individual exposure levels, so researchers cannot reliably attribute specific deaths to particulates, emergency room physician John Dunn explains. Moreover, PM2.5 particles emitted by vehicles, power plants and factories cannot be separated from particles from volcanoes, forest fires, construction projects, dust storms, agricultural activities, and even cigarettes that send hundreds of times more tiny particles into lungs than what EPA says is lethal if they come from sources it regulates.

Nor does a death certificate determine whether a death was caused by airborne particles – or by viruses, bacteria, dietary and exercise habits, obesity, smoking, diabetes, cold weather or countless other factors.

If particulates are a short-term cause of death, there should be a clear association between bad air and deaths within clusters of similar areas, and effects should be consistent across clusters, notes statistician Stan Young in discussing causation versus association.  However, a recent re-analysis of 1969-1974 data from 533 US counties confirmed the previous conclusion: improved air quality did not reduce mortality.

Similarly, in 2002, Canadian forest fires sent massive amounts of smoke (composed largely of PM2.5 particles) into Boston and New York City. EPA doctrine says deaths should have shot up, but they did not. 2008 forest fires in California engulfed Los Angeles in smoke and PM2.5 soot, but again deaths did not increase. In fact, they were below normal as soot levels soared during the fires.

EPA has not proposed a plausible medical explanation to support its claim that super-tiny particles cause multiple diseases and kill people by getting into their lungs or bloodstreams. It just counts deaths during arbitrarily chosen intervals of days, and says differences in the number dying in relation to air pollution levels represents “premature” deaths – rather than the fact that more people die on some days than others.

People certainly did die during some atmospheric inversions that trapped large quantities of airborne chemicals in urban areas like London in 1952. However those pollutants have been dramatically reduced in America’s air. For example, since 1970 US cars have reduced tailpipe pollutants by 99% and coal-fired power plants have eliminated over 90% of their particulate, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions.

EPA thus sponsored 20 years of lab experiments that exposed human test subjects to high air pollution levels. That raises legal, ethical and scientific problems. US laws, the Nuremberg Code, the Helsinki Accords and EPA Rule 1000.17 make it unethical or illegal to conduct toxicity experiments on humans.

In addition, researchers failed to advise volunteers that EPA claims the pollution they were going to breathe is toxic, carcinogenic and deadly. Moreover, many of the human guinea pigs were elderly, asthmatics, diabetics, people with heart disease and even children – the very people EPA claims are at greatest risk and most susceptible to getting sick or dying from the pollutants volunteers would breathe.

Finally, test subjects were exposed to eight, thirty or even sixty times more particulates per volume of inhaled air – for varying periods of time: up to two hours – than they would breathe outdoors during routine physical activities. And yet, they did not get seriously ill or die. That raises important questions:

* If PM2.5 particulates are dangerous or lethal when emitted by factories or vehicles, and there is no safe threshold – how can those same pollutants be harmless to people who were intentionally administered pollution many times higher, and for longer periods, than they would encounter in their daily lives? Why didn’t those test subjects have seizures, develop lung, cardiac or cancer problems, or die?

* If they did not, how can EPA say there is no safe level, all PM2.5 particulates are toxic, its regulations are saving countless lives, and regulatory benefits vastly outweigh their multi-billion-dollar annual costs?

Simply put, there is no basis for these claims – or for the Obama EPA’s war on fossil fuels and factories.

America’s air is healthy and safe. EPA’s PM2.5 emission standards and regulations are clearly based on bald assertions, rank conjecture, epidemiological studies that provide no scientific support for the agency, and human testing that actually proves small particulates pose no toxic or lethal risk to risk to human health, even at levels dozens of time higher than what EPA claims are dangerous or lethal in outdoor air.

Any computer models based on these assertions and studies are thus garbage in-garbage out game playing that provide no valid basis for claims about lives saved or regulatory benefits exceeding costs.

(A thorough analysis of this untenable situation can be found in director Steve Milloy’s new book, Scare Pollution: Why and how to fix the EPA, which documents the ways EPA uses deceptive tactics to frighten people into believing the air they breathe is likely to sicken or kill them.)

The incoming Trump EPA needs to conduct its own internal review of existing agency PM2.5 claims, documents, emission levels and regulations – and fund an independent review by respected medical experts – to determine whether they are based on honest, replicable science. If they are not, everything based on the fraudulent PM2.5 pollution narrative should be subjected to a total do-over.

While all that is being done, EPA should suspend implementation of all policies, guidelines and rules based on the scheme. It must also inform legislators, journalists and citizens about the facts – and clearly and vigorously address inevitable environmentalist objections and denunciations.

The new EPA and Congress should also require that all past, current and future researchers make their raw data and methodologies available for outside peer review. They should stop funding activist groups that have engaged in collusive lawsuits or rubberstamped EPA actions, including the American Lung Association. Last, they should fully reform the agency’s supervisory panels, board of scientific counselors and Clean Air Act Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) – and repopulate them with experts who do not have government grant or other conflicts, and will bring integrity and rigor to the scientific process.

These steps will help make EPA credible and accountable, and its actions based on solid science.

Via email

In EPA rebuke, judge orders quick evaluation on coal jobs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A judge has ordered federal regulators to quickly evaluate how many power plant and coal mining jobs are lost because of air pollution regulations.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in Wheeling made the ruling after reviewing a response from outgoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

McCarthy had responded to the judge’s previous order in a lawsuit brought against her by Murray Energy Corp. that the EPA must start doing an analysis that it hadn’t done in decades.

According to Wednesday’s order, McCarthy asserted it would take the agency up to two years to devise a methodology to use to try to comply with the earlier ruling.

“This response is wholly insufficient, unacceptable, and unnecessary,” Bailey wrote.

The judge said the EPA is required by law to analyze the economic impact on a continuing basis when enforcing the Clean Air Act and McCarthy’s response “evidences the continued hostility on the part of the EPA to acceptance of the mission established by Congress.”

Bailey ordered the EPA to identify facilities harmed by the regulations during the Obama presidency by July 1. That includes identifying facilities at risk of closure or reductions in employment.

The EPA had contended that analyzing job loss won’t change global energy trends.

The judge also set a Dec. 31 deadline for the EPA to provide documentation on how it is continuously evaluating the loss and shifts in employment that may result from administration and enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

The EPA said it was reviewing the ruling, first reported by the Wheeling Intelligencer and News-Register. A Murray Energy spokesman didn’t immediately offer comment.

Murray Energy and other coal companies have blamed thousands of layoffs this decade on President Barack Obama’s anti-global-warming push that imposes limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. The U.S. Supreme Court has delayed implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan until legal challenges are resolved.

West Virginia’s economy is reliant on coal mining and gets 96 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.

McCarthy has said no administration has interpreted federal law to require job impact analysis for rulemaking since 1977. She said the most that the EPA does is “conduct proactive analysis of the employment effects of our rulemaking actions,” but that has not included investigating power plant and mine closures and worker dislocations on an ongoing basis, according to the order.

Bailey wrote that the EPA can recommend amendments to Congress if it feels strongly enough.

“EPA does not get to decide whether compliance with (the law) is good policy, or would lead to too many difficulties for the agency,” Bailey wrote. “It is time for the EPA to recognize that Congress makes the law, and EPA must not only enforce the law, it must obey it.”

President-elect Donald Trump, who has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA, has promised to overturn many of the EPA’s regulations on coal.

President-elect Donald Trump’s EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt, has repeatedly sued the EPA since becoming Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2011, including joining with other Republican attorneys general in opposing the Clean Power Plan.


Scrutinizing Sen. Carper's Questions for EPA Nominee Pruitt

Yesterday, The Hill’s Timothy Cama reported that Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is unwilling to hold a confirmation hearing on President-elect Trump’s choice for Environmental Protection Agency administrator until the nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, answers a seven-page questionnaire.

Below, I’ve answered 13 representative questions, in no particular order. A few of Carper’s questions don’t make a lick of sense (see questions 2, 3, 10). Others were based on factual inaccuracies or otherwise demonstrate the Senator’s ignorance of how the EPA works (see questions 8, 12, and 13). Some questions served to demonstrate the excesses of the EPA during the Obama era (see questions 9 and 11). Finally, at least one of his questions serves no purpose other than to gum up the nomination process (see question 7).

Question #1: Do you agree with this statement from NASA: “97% or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”? If not, please explain why you do not agree.

Response #1: According to Professor Richard Tol, who has been involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1994, the “97% consensus” claim is a “bogus” number that is based on a statistical manipulation. But assuming for the sake of argument that it’s true, the statement is of minimal utility for policymaking at the EPA. For starters, it tells us nothing about how a changing climate influences human well-being, which must be the primary metric from a policymaking standpoint. In fact, there is great uncertainty regarding the magnitude and effect of projected climate change. Finally, the statement tells us nothing about costs and feasibility of greenhouse gas controls, which must be considered under the Clean Air Act. As such, the nominee’s agreement or disagreement with the statement is immaterial.

Question #2: What is your definition of sound science?

Response #2: Carper is asking Pruitt to define the modifier “sound,” which is inherently subjective. Personally, I believe that there must be at least a 98% consensus before science is “sound”; a 97% consensus is insufficient. But seriously, this question is impossibly imprecise. It’s like asking someone to define the color blue.

Question #3: Prior to your nomination, how have you acquired scientific information relevant to the missions of the EPA? And since your nomination?

Response #3: Again, this is a strangely imprecise question. Does it count when Pruitt watches Shark Week with his kids? I assume Pruitt processes “scientific information” constantly, in addition to “legal information” and “family information” and “sports information.”

Question #4: Please list all undergraduate and postgraduate science courses that you have taken. Please describe any other science education that you have completed over the years beyond high school.

Response #4: Is this some sort of litmus test? If so, does this mean that Janet McCabe, the head of EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation—which is the most powerful public health regulatory body at EPA—is unfit for the job? According to her bio, she went to Harvard Law School and then worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts, which is a very similar background to Pruitt. In a similar vein, does Al Gore’s science-free tertiary education render him unfit to head the EPA?

Question #5: What degree of scientific certainty should the EPA have about a potential health or environmental threat before acting to protect people from that threat?

Response #5: Of course, the answer depends on the statutory provision at question. The EPA only exists to the extent it has been created by Congress through organic laws that empower the agency with its authorities. So the necessary degree of scientific certainty, and whether or not costs factor into policymaking decisions, are determined by the law. I suspect it is Pruitt’s intention as EPA head to follow the law, unlike the current administration, which has expansively interpreted the law so as to grow the agency’s authority at the expense of Congress and the states.

Question #6: Please provide a list of all financial contributors to your attorney general and state senate campaigns, including their total donations and affiliations.

Response #6: I presume the silly logic behind this question is that Pruitt has been bought. Does this mean that Obama was bought by “Big Oil” when he took $900,000 from them in 2008? Better yet, let me see a list of all financial contributors to your campaigns, Senator Carper.

Question #7: Please provide a list of all the cases, briefs and other legal actions that your office has filed while you have served as attorney general.

Response #7: This looks suspiciously like a tactic to bog down the nomination process. After all, why would Carper want the non-environmental “cases, briefs, and other legal actions” filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General? After all, we’re talking about the nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency, and Sen. Carper is the ranking member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Why would Sen. Carper want documents relating to larceny or murder? This would likely entail hundreds of thousands of pages, none of which have anything to do with environmental policy. Does that make sense?

Question #8: Every year during your tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General, the American Lung Association gave Oklahoma counties a failing grade for not meeting ozone air pollution health standards. In fact, your home town of Tulsa is ranked 18th out of 228 metropolitan areas for high alert ozone days. Are you concerned about the impacts of soot and smog pollution on Oklahoma citizens? What efforts have you undertaken as Oklahoma Attorney General to protect Oklahomans from soot and smog pollution?

Response #8: EPA is required to set ambient air quality standards for smog and soot at a level that is “requisite to protect public health” with an “adequate margin of safety.” That is, national standards have to be beyond what is necessary to protect public health. According to the EPA, no counties in Oklahoma fail to attain these stringent health standards. So I don’t have any idea what the American Lung Association is talking about. I should note that the accuracy of ALA’s annual air quality grades was recently challenged by Colorado air quality officials.

Question #9: In your joint brief against the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, it stated “human exposure to methylmercury from coal-fired electric generating units is exceedingly small.” What is the scientific basis for this statement?

Response #9: The scientific basis for this statement is the EPA, according to which it was “necessary and proper” to regulate mercury from power plants in order to protect a putative population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen who during their pregnancies eat more than 200 pounds of self-caught or family-caught fish from exclusively the top ten percent most polluted bodies of fresh inland water, despite all of the signs that say “DO NOT EAT FISH FROM THIS RIVER IF YOU ARE PREGNANT.” I don’t believe these women exist, and EPA did not provide any examples. Instead, they were modeled to exist. While the rule’s “benefits” are indeed “exceedingly small,” its costs--$10 billion annually—are exorbitant.

Question #10: Who serves as your scientific advisor for climate change related issues during your time as attorney general? Please provide their name, their title and when they served as your science advisor.

Response #10: This is a very silly question. Why would the Oklahoma Attorney General have a climate change science advisor? Oklahoma is litigating one case related to climate change—should it have a discrete science advisory for each case it undertakes? What role would such a climate science advisor play? I fail to see how interpreting the limits of EPA’s statutory authority under the Clean Air Act requires knowledge of climate science.

Question #11: In 2013, you argued that the EPA’s decision to impose a Federal Implementation Plan on Oklahoma to address Regional Haze would cost more than $1 billion over 5 years. It is three years later. Do you still agree with this cost assessment? If not, why not?

Response #11: The $1 billion referred to the cost of four sulfur-dioxide scrubbers at four coal-fired power plants operated by the Oklahoma Gas & Electric. Indeed, the primary justification for EPA’s federal plan was that the agency disagreed with the state’s cost estimate of what the scrubbers would cost. In 2014, the utility proposed a $1.1 billion plan for the 4 scrubber retrofits, but the plan was rejected by state regulators. As a result, the utility re-submitted a different plan to spend $500 million on 2 scrubbers, and to spend about $70 million on converting the other two coal-fired power plants to gas-fired plants. Due to these changes, the current cost of the EPA federal plan is about $570 million.

However, the actual costs of the scrubbers aligns with what Oklahoma had estimated—i.e., the basis for EPA’s federal plan was disproved. More importantly, the “benefits” of the rule are literally imperceptible to the human eye. Thus, EPA’s takeover of the Oklahoma Regional Haze program demonstrates much that was wrong with the Obama-era EPA.

After the state of Oklahoma spent countless hours and resources putting together a visibility strategy, EPA rejected the state plan and then imposed a federal plan which cost $570 million more in order to achieve a visibility “improvement” that is literally invisible. Afterwards, events demonstrated that Oklahoma had been right all along.

Question #12: As attorney general, what types of environmental justice cases have you pursued? Please provide a list of cases and outcomes.

Response #12: I can’t find any evidence that Obama’s EPA brought a single environmental justice case. Given that environmental justice is a federal concept, and that EPA hasn’t brought any such cases during Obama’s tenure, I don’t understand why the Attorney General of Oklahoma would have done so.

Question #13: Would you explain your recent challenges to EPA’s finding that it is appropriate and necessary to regulate the emissions of carbon dioxide and hazardous air pollutants from power plants?

Response #13: This question gets the Clean Air Act wrong. Along with more than 20 other states in addition to Oklahoma, Pruitt did indeed challenge EPA’s determination that it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants. He did so based on the EPA’s own science, as I explain in Response #9. Almost two years ago, the Supreme Court sided with Pruitt and the other challengers in determining that EPA was required to take costs into account when it rendered this “appropriate and necessary” determination.

However, contrary to Sen. Carper’s query, the EPA never issued a finding that it is “appropriate and necessary” to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants. Instead, EPA issued a determination at the end of 2009 that tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases from cars and vehicles “endangered” the environment. This was the determination that Pruitt unsuccessfully challenged based, inter alia, on the argument that the structure and design of the Clean Air Act strongly suggests that it was not intended to regulate greenhouse gases.


Australia: Unhinged electricity policy of the Leftist Queensland government

Everyone remembers the slogan: Queensland — beautiful one day, perfect the next. I have to inform you there has been an update: Queensland — beautiful one day, insane the next.

The idea that the state could achieve a target of 50 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030 is bizarre, unachievable and mischievous — in a word, it is insane. And it is not just because such a target would drive up electricity prices for households and businesses to the high levels of South Australia — probably higher. It also would destroy the value of most of the electricity assets held by the Queensland government. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Given Queensland’s extreme level of government debt, there is no doubt that, in due course, most of the government-owned cor­porations will be sold, particularly if the cost of servicing the debt were to escalate. The tragedy is that it is likely the value of most of these assets will have fallen through the floor by then.

In the meantime, the flow of dividends that the government is relying on to create the appearance of fiscal rectitude will dry up, even if the present unconventional directive of ordering a payout ratio of 100 per cent of profits of the government-owned corporations continues.

An important question is: why would the Palaszczuk government opt for such an economically harmful and foolish policy? We should not forget that Queensland has the lowest percentage of electricity generated by renewable energy — at just more than 4 per cent.

So the policy involves an increase of 46 percentage points in the penetration of renewable energy as a source of electricity generation in the space of 13 years. Pull the other one.

To provide cover for this madcap policy, the Queensland government appointed a “renewable energy expert panel” to provide a veneer of credibility to the feasibility of the target.

With carefully chosen panel members, the draft report — unsurprisingly — concluded that there were no problems with reaching the target and that electricity costs to households and businesses in Queensland would probably stay steady. Again, pull the other one, but I am running out of other ones.

We should just take a look at the figures. There will need to be between 4000 megawatts to 5500MW of new large-scale renewable energy capacity between 2020 and 2030, something that has not even been achieved for Australia as a whole across the same period. The consensus view is that 1500MW of additional renewable energy a year is the top of the range for Australia and Queensland is only 15 per cent odd of that total.

And don’t you just love the prediction of the panel that electricity prices will remain steady for households and business in Queensland as a result of the government’s bold, go-it-alone policy? The background to this, as noted by the Queensland Productivity Commission, is that “since 2007, Australian residential retail electricity prices have increased faster than any other OECD country and Queensland prices have increased faster than any other state or territory”.

Mind you, it is clear why the Palaszczuk government didn’t simply ask the Queensland Productivity Commission to analyse the feasibility of the 50 per cent state renewable energy target. That would be because it wouldn’t be seen as “reliable”, having made the wholly rational suggestion last year that the state government withdraw the generous and unjustified subsidies to households with solar panels on their roofs.

Premier Annastacia Palasz­czuk was not having a bar of that idea. How could she continue to conflate small-scale solar panels with large-scale renewable energy, thereby buttressing the support of the public (well, the better-heeled part of the public that can afford solar panels) for anything called renewable energy? If X is good, 2X must be better and 12X must be a blast. Continuing to subsidise households with solar panels is part of the political game, hang other electricity users.

So what does that “independent” panel conclude about the impact of the 50 per cent renewables energy target on electricity pricing? The answer is “broadly cost neutral to electricity consumers where the cost of funding the policy action is recovered through electricity market mechanisms”. (This is code for: we could always skin taxpayers or ask Canberra to chip in.)

But here’s the rub: “This occurs as a result of increased renewable generation placing downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, which is projected in the modelling to offset the payments to renewables.”

Mind you, the point is added that “the pricing outcome is not guaranteed and could differ, for example, if existing generation capacity is withdrawn from the market, especially coal-fired generation”.

Think about this. What the panel is saying is: if existing generators, which are owned by the government in Queensland, are driven out of the market, which is likely because of the renewables energy target — see the South Australian and Victorian cases as live examples — then prices will rise. And the capital value of these withdrawn government-owned generators will be close to zero, having probably experienced years of underinvestment in maintenance.

This leaves the question: why would the Queensland government decide on such a dimwitted, self-defeating and economically damaging policy position?

In keeping with the rule of following the money, it is clear that the lobbying efforts of the clean energy rent-seekers have been directed at the Queensland government, in particular.

After all, the large energy providers generally have a foot in both camps — conventional electricity generation plus renewable energy assets.

But they don’t stand to lose anything in Queensland by virtue of the astronomical state renewable energy target because the conventional electricity generation assets are all owned by the government. If these generators are driven out of business, it’s a big plus for them, not a negative.

Silly estimates of the gains in employment and billions of dollars of investment, mainly in the regions, associated with renewable energy make gormless politicians simply salivate. The sad thing is that it will be lose-lose for Queenslanders down the track.

The challenge for federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to convince state governments to junk their vacuous, go-it-alone renewable energy targets that will lead to even higher electricity ­prices and further threaten the reliability of the grid.



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


17 January, 2017

Vatican Invites ‘Population Bomb’ Hoaxer Paul Ehrlich to Address Biodiversity Conference

The Vatican has invited the most notorious population alarmist in recent history to speak at an upcoming Vatican-run conference titled ‘Biological Extinction.”

The conference, sponsored jointly by the Pontifical Academy of Science and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, will address issues of biodiversity, “great extinctions” of history, population and demographics.

Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich—who has defended mass sterilization, sex-selective abortion and infanticide—will speak on “Causes and Pathways of Biodiversity Losses: Consumption Preferences, Population Numbers, Technology, Ecosystem Productivity.”

To allow women to have as many children as they want, Ehrlich has said, is like letting people “throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.”

Ehrlich became famous through the publication of his 1968 doomsday bestseller, The Population Bomb, which generated mass hysteria over the future of the world and the earth’s ability to sustain human life.

In the book, Ehrlich launched a series of frightening predictions that turned out to be spectacularly wrong, creating the myth of unsustainable population growth.

He prophesied that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s (and that 65 million of them would be Americans), that already-overpopulated India was doomed, and that odds were fair that “England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Ehrlich concluded that “sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come,” meaning “an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity.”

Mankind stood on the brink of Armageddon, the book proposed, because there was no way to feed the exponentially increasing world population. The opening line set the tone for the whole work: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over.”

Despite Ehrlich’s utter failure to predict humanity’s ability to feed itself, his theories will be dusted off and re-proposed in the Vatican in late February.

In its brochure for the upcoming workshop, the Vatican asserts in Ehrlichian doomspeak that “Earth cannot sustain” our desire for “enhanced consumption.”

Humanity is presently using about 156 percent of “the Earth’s sustainable capacity” every year, the text contends, and it is therefore essential to address “the question whether the Earth system is able to support the demands that humanity has been making on it” and “how global inequality and poverty relate to that.”

The conference will also feature a speaker from an environmental advocacy group called the Global Footprint Network (GFN), which each year calculates the day when the year’s available resources supposedly run out and mankind begins overconsuming nature.

“We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester,” the group exclaims on its website.

“On August 8, 2016, we will have used as much from nature as our planet can renew in the whole year,” GFN announced last summer.

In their brochure, the Pontifical Academies make the counterintuitive claim that biodiversity means “everything” for the human race, but then proceed to acknowledge that only 103 species of plants out of an estimated 425,000 species produce about 90 percent of our food worldwide. Moreover, just three kinds of grain, maize, rice, and wheat, produce about 60 percent of the total, the text notes.

Since none of these species are under any danger of extinction, one wonders how biodiversity can mean “everything” for humanity.

Just why the Vatican would wish to showcase the purveyor of debunked, apocalyptic theories is anybody’s guess, but it certainly cannot bode well for the relationship between faith and science.


Where's that food shortage Warmists are always predicting?

A lot of grain silos are so full there is no room for more.  Many grains are in glut (oversupply), driving the prices down -- and causing farmers to switch to other crops

United States farmers have planted their smallest winter wheat crop in 108 years, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Its monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) revealed winter wheat plantings were down 1.5 million hectares to just over 13 million hectares.

The report also contained projections of cuts to US and global soybean production as well as lower-than-expected ending stocks, which sent Chicago Board of Trade March soybean contracts soaring to a three and a half week high.

The USDA's latest report echoes similar reports from global agencies detailing the globe's enormous stocks of grain, with wheat stocks tipped to reach levels not seen in three decades.

"Global wheat supplies for 2016/17 are raised 1.3 million tonnes on a production increase that is only partially offset by lower beginning stocks," the report said.

"The largest increases are for Argentina, Russia and the European Union."

The cuts to soybean production and wheat plantings reflect farmers' moves to plant higher value crops during a period of major over-supply, according to Chicago trader and PRICE Futures Group vice-president Jack Scoville.

"I think a lot of producers are very unhappy with the wheat price here in the United States.

"They're looking for alternatives, and given where the reductions are out in the great plains, I'm sure we're going to hear about more cotton in the coming growing season, this US summer, and also maybe some more soybeans and perhaps a little bit more sorghum."

Mr Scoville said despite a good session on the CBOT, wheat, corn and soybean prices were all trading near four or five year lows.

"That's creating quite a problem for producers, they really need more money than that."


Global Temperature Trend Propaganda Video: Who Needs Peer Review?

Ronald Bailey

I repeat, once again, that I believe that the balance of the evidence suggests that man-made global warming could become a significant problem for humanity as this century unfolds. OK, that is now out of the way. So let's turn to a sleazy attempt by some climate scientists (activists?) to undercut scientific findings by other researchers that call into question their assertions about global temperature trends.

University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientists John Christy and Roy Spencer have been reporting data from NOAA satellites that measure the temperature of the mid-troposphere since 1979. Their data show that global average temperature has been essentially flat for the past 18 years. This is very inconvenient for rival researchers whose climate models have projected that significant warming should have occurred during this period as humans continue to burn more fossil fuels and load up the atmosphere with global-warming carbon dioxide. In addition, there is a significant mismatch between the surface temperature data sets that show higher rates of warming than do the satellite data.

So what to do? What good scientists would do is try to reconcile the datasets and debate the issues in the scientific journals. Well, that's messy, slow, and the results are not pre-determined. So what a trio of climate scientists - Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth, and Ben Santer - have evidently decided to do is participate in a video project funded by an climate activist foundation whose chief aim is to cast doubt on the satellite data.

Why now? Because various government agencies are shortly going to declare that 2015 is the warmest year ever in the historical surface temperature records. The climate scientists in the video evidently fear that "climate deniers" will dismiss these dire declarations by pointing to the satellite data which show a considerably slower rate of warming. Solution: Deny data that contradicts their preferred narrative. This is not science!

Over at Breitbart, Christy responds to the video:

There are too many problems with the video on which to comment, but here are a few.

First, the satellite problems mentioned here were dealt with 10 to 20 years ago. Second, the main product we use now for greenhouse model validation is the temperature of the Mid-Troposphere (TMT) which was not erroneously impacted by these problems.

The vertical “fall” and east-west “drift” of the spacecraft are two aspects of the same phenomenon – orbital decay.

The real confirmation bias brought up by these folks to smear us is held by them.  They are the ones ignoring information to suit their world view.  Do they ever say that, unlike the surface data, the satellite datasets can be checked by a completely independent system – balloons? Do they ever say that one of the main corrections for time-of-day (east-west) drift is to remove spurious WARMING after 2000?  Do they ever say that the important adjustment to address the variations caused by solar-shadowing effects on the spacecraft is to remove a spurious WARMING?  Do they ever say that the adjustments were within the margin of error?

In addition, another group, Remote Sensing Systems, established explicitly to independently evaluate the satellite temperature data finds the same overal temperature trend as the folks at the University of Alabama. See Christy's version of the mismatch between model projections and satellite and weather balloon temperature trends below.

If these researchers have any real arguments showing that the satellite data are wrong, the place to prove that is in the peer-reviewed scientific literature - not a propaganda video.


Venezia ghiacciata per il freddo. Prima volta nella storia (Venice canals freeze for the "1st time in history")

Nelle ultime settimana l’Italia è stata invasa da freddo e neve, persino al sud si sono verificate abbondanti nevicate. Ma questo inizio 2017 verrà ricordato soprattutto per un evento che non ha precedenti nella storia. La laguna e alcuni canali di Venezia si sono completamente congelati [The lagoon and some canals of Venice are completely frozen], l’acqua è diventata ghiaccio e si prevede che questo “congelamento” duri ancora per un paio di giorni. Venezia è solita ad abbondanti nevicate durante l’inverno, tuttavia le basse temperature, insieme a una particolare umidità, hanno creato un totale congelamento dei canali.

I turisti, e anche gli abitanti, sono tanto sorpresi quanto affascinati. Magari dovranno rinunciare a qualche giro in gondola nei canali più grandi (la maggior parte di essi è comunque navigabile) ma lo spettacolo a cui stanno assistendo non ha precedenti. La bassa profondità delle acque e la loro limpidezza ha fatto in modo che il ghiaccio sia dotato di una luminosità incredibile, specie in alcuni punti più centrali della città. Esso appare quasi azzurro con tinte biancastre, e particolarmente lucente. Il meteorologo, Tenente Colonnello Giovanni Piastrucci, ha spiegato che il fenomeno è dovuto alle proprietà igroscopiche delle acque veneziane, che insieme alla temperatura sotto lo zero, creano uno strano effetto di rifrazione dei raggi luminosi.


Whoops! The above pic is a photoshop.  The canals did ice up in 2012 however.  The pic below is from Feb. 6, 2012

Australian energy bills soar in shift from coal power stations

Electricity companies have begun hiking consumer prices around the country, blaming the closure of coal-fired generators and the increased cost of renewable energy for higher-than-predicted increases of more than $130 this year.

EnergyAustralia and AGL have increased electricity tariffs in Victoria by $135 and $132 on average for the year respectively — greatly exceeding state government modelling that concluded bills would rise by $27 to $100.

The Victorian price rises will flow from this week but the companies’ customers in other states, including South Australia and NSW, face a yet-to-be announced price rise in June.

Red Energy, the retailing arm of Snowy Hydro, informed customers in NSW its rates would increase this week because of “increases in the wholesale cost of electricity and the large-scale renewable energy certificates”.

Some tariffs were raised by almost 25 per cent.

The consumer price rises will increase political pressure on state and federal governments to deal with escalating energy costs that have sparked business warnings that rising power charges are undermining competitiveness.

The Australian Energy Council has warned the impact will be greatest in Victoria and South Australia, which face the biggest wholesale price increases.

The South Australian government is under pressure over its heavy reliance on renewable energy, particularly with the closure of the Northern power station and blackouts sparked by severe storms. Queensland, which has a regulated market, is reviewing its energy tariffs with results expected by the middle of the year.

The Energy Council’s corporate affairs general manager, Sarah McNamara, said the Victorian wholesale price increases were a “byproduct of the reduction in the state’s generation capacity by around 20 per cent, a direct consequence of the upcoming closure of the Hazelwood power station in March”. The Energy Council, which represents major electricity and gas producers, has repeatedly called for a national strategy to deal with supply issues and price volatility as older power stations are retired and an increasing amount of large-scale renewable energy is made available.

An EnergyAustralia spokesman said the average $11 a month increase in Victoria reflected “higher generation, general business and government green-scheme costs”. In that state, there was an increase in the cost of buying electricity for 2017 from about $40 a megawatt hour in January to more than $60 a megawatt hour in November, he said.

“The closure of the Northern power station in South Australia, increased demand for gas by large LNG projects in Queensland, reliability issues and … the market’s reaction to the closure of Hazelwood were among the main factors,” he said.

AGL, through a spokesman, said residential electricity prices would rise by $2.59 a week, on average, or a 9.9 per cent increase, while small and medium-size businesses would see costs increase by 13.4 per cent.

Despite the higher charges, the closure of Hazelwood could boost earnings at AGL, which owns the Loy Yang A power station, by up to 10 per cent, according to analysts at investment bank JP Morgan. That analysis, released late last year, assumed the closure of Hazelwood would increase wholesale prices by 15 per cent in Victoria and 10 per cent in NSW.

Victorian coal generators will also face increased royalty costs this year, with the subsidy intended on making renewable energy more attractive rising to 22.8c a gigajoule for companies mining brown coal from 7.6c, netting the government about $250 million over four years.

The Minerals Council’s Victorian executive director, Gavin Lind, said the brown coal royalty increases introduced by the Andrews government were harmful and ignored the practicalities of the electricity market.

“The expected increase in electricity costs will hit Victorian businesses hard, especially the manufacturing sector where uncertain economic conditions are already placing the industry under strain,” he said. “The Victorian government seems intent on increasing the state’s dependence on expensive and part-time energy sources and committing Victorian households and industry to higher energy prices. It will pass the cost of the scheme on to electricity users via their energy bills. In so doing, it will subsidise uneconomic renewable energy projects while driving out affordable, reliable coal-fired energy.’’

A government spokesman defended the increase. “The royalty rate has not changed in a decade, and this will simply bring Victoria into line with the other states. We are ensuring Victorians get a fair return for the use of our state’s natural resources,” he said.

In Queensland, the state’s Competition Authority is in the final stages of setting electricity tariffs for 2017-18, with the Palaszczuk government unveiling a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 that could slash earnings at the government-owned electricity generators.

Renewable energy schemes were blamed by Red Energy for this week’s increase in retail prices, although Snowy Hydro declined to provide details about the increases. “There are a number of factors that can push energy prices higher for consumers and the need to source renewable energy certificates to cover a portion of the energy consumed by customers is one of them,” a spokesman said. “We cover the resulting REC liability through a combination of RECs generated by the Snowy Scheme with the remainder sourced from the market.”

The price of those certificates has jumped in recent months, netting some electricity retailers windfall gains, as concerns grow that Australia will not reach its 2020 renewable energy target.

The spot price of those certificates rose to about $87 at the end of last month compared with an average of $54 in 2015, although the largest retailers can obtain RECs as part of the normal course of business or at lower contract rates.



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, 2017

German Greenies turn German water supply brown

Which has been very vexing. When water comes out of your faucet brown, you know something bad has happened.  You expect that only in poor countries like India. I have seen it in India.  The German authorities do in fact manage to bleach the water before it goes out to households but that's expensive. So why are German streams running brown anyway?

It's because of the German government's hostility to industry.  High electricity prices and other policies have chased a lot of German industry to saner countries and the remaining industries are heaviliy regulated in order to reduce pollution of all sorts.

And one effect of that has been a reduction in the industrial emissions of nitrogen compounds into the air.  But such componds do not stay in in the air forever.  They gradfually fall out into the soil.  And in the soil they react with a lot of other stuff, binding it so that it stays put.  So in the absence of all those nitrates  various other compounds are set free and get washed into the rivers.  And among those are brown plant wastes, "dissolved organic carbon".

So where to now?  Nowhere to go.  They just have to spend more money on treating the water before it is reticulated.  Extensive chemical treatment of the water supply before people drink it doesn't seem very Green, though, does it? Maybe brown drinking water is the way ahead for Germans!  LOL

The abstract below puts what I have just said into more precise scientific terms

An interesting sidelight. Andreas Musolff  has written a book on Hitler which dodges the fact that Hitler's policies were socialist.  How did he get from history into hydrology?

Unexpected release of phosphate and organic carbon to streams linked to declining nitrogen depositions

Andreas Musolff et al.


Reductions in emissions have successfully led to a regional decline in atmospheric nitrogen depositions over the past 20 years. By analyzing long-term data from 110 mountainous streams draining into German drinking water reservoirs, nitrate concentrations indeed declined in the majority of catchments. Furthermore, our meta-analysis indicates that the declining nitrate levels are linked to the release of dissolved iron to streams likely due to a reductive dissolution of iron(III) minerals in riparian wetland soils. This dissolution process mobilized adsorbed compounds, such as phosphate, dissolved organic carbon and arsenic, resulting in concentration increases in the streams and higher inputs to receiving drinking water reservoirs. Reductive mobilization was most significant in catchments with stream nitrate concentrations less than 6 mg L?1. Here, nitrate, as a competing electron acceptor, was too low in concentration to inhibit microbial iron(III) reduction. Consequently, observed trends were strongest in forested catchments, where nitrate concentrations were unaffected by agricultural and urban sources and which were therefore sensitive to reductions of atmospheric nitrogen depositions. We conclude that there is strong evidence that the decline in nitrogen deposition toward pre-industrial conditions lowers the redox buffer in riparian soils, destabilizing formerly fixed problematic compounds, and results in serious implications for water quality.


Coral not dead after all

There have been incessant fake-news proclamations from Greenies about the Northern third of Australia's  Great Barrier Reef being all but dead.  Problem: People who go there find some bleached bits but most of it is fine.  Report below from a very Northerly part of the reef says it is in superb condition

RAINE Island, located about 620 kilometres northwest of Cairns, is the largest green turtle nesting ground on planet Earth.

The 32-hectare coral island is in the far north section of the reef, about 620 kilometres north of Cairns on the way to Cape York.

Cairns local Jemma Craig recently dived at the island for the first time, documenting her experience with a series of incredible pictures.

In October last year, an environmental writer wrote a snarky obituary, declaring the World Heritage Site dead at 25 million years of age.

It was premature, but just one month later a team of scientists wrote an article for saying that two-thirds of coral in the northern part of the reef have died in the worst-ever bleaching event.

Raine Island, however, appears to have escaped with its life.

“I grew up on the Great Barrier Reef, I have worked and dived here for many years and have ventured to the far corners of the Coral Sea in a quest to see more, but nothing; nothing I have ever seen compares to my dive on the reef surrounding Raine Island,” Ms Craig said.

The 24-year-old works as a host on board the MV Spoilsport with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, which operates out of Cairns.

She said she found it hard to comprehend this part of the reef looked so good.

“The reef flat is simply covered in beautiful, colourful hard coral, turtles cruising and marine life from one end to the other. I didn’t know where to look.”


Ontario mother's powerful plea to Justin Trudeau on soaring energy bills

And Pretty Boy just passes the buck

An Ontario mother struggling to pay her hydro bill took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to task in an impassioned plea that captured the plight of many Ontarians overwhelmed by high electricity rates.

In a question-and-answer session in Peterborough, Ont., Kathy Katula said she works 15-hour days and is a single mother to four and grandmother to three in rural Buckhorn, Ont. Trudeau is in the midst of a cross-country tour.

"Something's wrong now, Mr. Trudeau. My heat and hydro now cost me more than my mortgage," she said. "I now not only work 75 hours a week, I stay and work 15 hours a day just so I don't lose my home."

"I make almost $50,000 a year, Mr. Trudeau, and I'm living in energy poverty. Please tell me how you are going to fix that."

Holding her hydro bill, Katula challenged Trudeau on carbon pricing and said her hydro bill is upwards of $1,000 as people in the crowd shouted "shame."

She said at one point in the summer, she went without electricity for five days, despite paying a $680 bill.  "I called and I begged our hydro company. They wouldn't do nothing. Five days, I lived in that heat."

She continued to press Trudeau in the emotional exchange.

"How do you justify to a mother of four children, three grandchildren, physical disabilities and working up to 15 hours a day; how is it justified for you to ask me to pay a carbon tax when I only have a $65 left of my paycheque every two weeks to feed my family?"

"I am asking you to fix our hydro system. I am asking you to fix Canada."

Trudeau said he acknowledged her concern while defending his government's policy on climate change and clarifying that hydro bills fall under provincial jurisdiction.

"We're facing a challenge where we have to change behaviours. It is important that those changes happen in a way that doesn't penalize our most vulnerable; that doesn't make it more difficult for families who are already stretched thin to succeed."

The prime minister noted that carbon pricing revenues would stay with provincial governments to be used at their discretion, adding that the national carbon pricing requirement does not take effect until 2019.

"We are a country, in which anyone with a quarter of your strength, of your drive, should be thriving and focused on how are you going to spoil your grandchildren with all your energy as opposed to how are you going to get through the week or the day," Trudeau told Katula.


Reality-based climate forecasting

Continuing to focus on carbon dioxide as the driving force will just bring more bogus predictions

By Paul Driessen

After diving recently among Key West’s fabled ship-destroying barrier reefs, I immersed myself in exhibits from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the fabled Spanish galleon that foundered during a ferocious hurricane in 1622. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum now houses many of the gold, silver, emeralds, and artifacts that Mel and Deo Fisher’s archeological team recovered after finding the wreck in 1985.

Also featured prominently in the museum is the wreck of a British slave ship, the Henrietta Marie. It sank in a hurricane off Key West in 1700, after leaving 190 Africans in Jamaica, to be sold as slaves.

As Fisher divers excavated the Henrietta wreck, at 40 feet below the sea surface they found – not just leg shackles and other grim artifacts from that horrific era – but charred tree branches, pine cones and other remnants from a forest fire 8,400 years ago! The still resinous smelling fragments demonstrate that this area (like all other coastal regions worldwide) was well above sea level, before the last ice age ended and melting glaciers slowly raised oceans to their current level: 400 feet higher than during the frigid Pleistocene, when an enormous portion of Earth’s seawater was locked up in glaciers.

Climate change has clearly been “real” throughout earth and human history. The question is, exactly how and how much do today’s human activities affect local, regional, or global climate and weather?

Unfortunately, politicized climate change researchers continue to advance claims that complex, powerful, interconnected natural forces have been replaced by manmade fossil fuel emissions, especially carbon dioxide; that any future changes will be catastrophic; and that humanity can control climate and weather by controlling its appetite for oil, gas, coal, and modern living standards.

If you like your climate, you can keep it, they suggest. If you don’t, we can make you a better one.

Not surprisingly, climate chaos scientists who’ve relied on the multi-billion-dollar government gravy train are distraught over the prospect that President Donald Trump will slash their budgets or terminate their CO2-centric research. Desperate to survive, they are replacing the term “climate change” with “global change” or “weather” in grant proposals, and going on offense with op-ed articles and media interviews.

“This is what the coming attack on science could look like,” Penn  State modeler and hockey stick creator Michael Mann lamented in a Washington Post column. “I fear what may happen under Trump. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance.” (Actually, it’s his million-dollar grants that hang in the balance.)

A “skeptic” scientist has warmed to the idea that a major Greenland ice shelf may be shrinking because of climate change, a front-page piece in the Post claimed. Perhaps so. But is it manmade warming? Does it portend planetary cataclysm, even as Greenland’s interior and Antarctica show record ice growth? Or are warm ocean currents weakening an ice shelf that is fragile because it rests on ocean water, not land?

The fundamental problem remains. If it was substandard science and modeling under Obama era terminology, it will be substandard under survivalist jargon. The notion that manmade carbon dioxide now drives climate and weather – and we can predict climate and weather by looking only at plant-fertilizing CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” – is just as absurd now as before.

Their predictions will be as invalid and unscientific as divining future Super Bowl winners by modeling who plays left guard for each team – or World Cup victors by looking at center backs.

As climate realists take the reins at the EPA and other federal and state agencies, the Trump Administration should ensure that tax dollars are not squandered on more alarmist science that is employed to justify locking up more fossil fuels, expanding renewable energy and “carbon capture” schemes, reducing U.S. living standards, and telling poor countries what living standards they will be “permitted” to have.

Reliable forecasts, as far in advance as possible, would clearly benefit humanity. For that to happen, however, research must examine all natural and manmade factors, and not merely toe the pretend-consensus line that carbon dioxide now governs climate change.

That means government grants must not go preferentially to researchers who seek to further CO2-centrism, but rather to those who are committed to a broader scope of solid, dispassionate research that examines both natural and manmade factors. Grant recipients must also agree to engage in robust discussion and debate, to post, explain and defend their data, methodologies, analyses, and conclusions.

They must devote far more attention to improving our understanding of all the forces that drive climate fluctuations, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them. Important factors include cyclical variations in the sun’s energy and cosmic ray output, winds high in Earth’s atmosphere, and decadal and century-scale circulation changes in the deep oceans, which are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to predict or be realistically included in climate models.

Another is the anomalous warm water areas that develop from time to time in the Pacific Ocean and then are driven by winds and currents northward into the Arctic, affecting U.S., Canadian, European, and Asian temperatures and precipitation. The process of cloud formation is also important, because clouds help retain planetary warmth, reflect the sun’s heat, and provide cooling precipitation.

Many scientists have tried to inject these factors into climate discussions. However, the highly politicized nature of U.S., IPCC, and global climate change funding, research, regulatory, and treaty-making activities has caused CO2-focused factions to discount, dismiss, or ignore the roles these natural forces play.

The political situation has also meant that most research and models have focused on carbon dioxide and other assumed human contributions to climate change. Politics, insufficient data and inadequate knowledge also cause models to reflect unrealistic physics theories, use overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques, and fail to account adequately for deep-ocean circulation cycles and the enormity and complexity of natural forces and their constant, intricate interplay in driving climate fluctuations.

Speedier, more powerful computers simply make any “garbage in-garbage out” calculations, analyses, and predictions occur much more quickly – facilitating faster faulty forecasts … and policy recommendations.

The desire to secure research funding from Obama grantor agencies also perpetuated a tendency to use El Niño warming spikes, and cherry-pick the end of cooling cycles as the starting point for trend lines that allegedly “prove” fossil fuels are causing “unprecedented” temperature spikes and planetary calamity.

Finally, the tens of billions of dollars given annually in recent years to “keep it in the ground” anti-fossil fuel campaigners, national and international regulators, and renewable energy companies have given these vested interests enormous incentives to support IPCC/EPA pseudo-science – and vilify and silence climate realists who do not accept “catastrophic manmade climate change” precepts.

The Trump Administration and 115th Congress have a unique opportunity to change these dynamics, and ensure that future research generates useful information, improved understanding of Earth’s complex climate system, and forecasts that are increasingly accurate. In addition to the above, they should:

* Reexamine and reduce (or even eliminate) the role that climate model “projections” (predictions) play in influencing federal policies, laws and regulations – until modeling capabilities are vastly and demonstrably improved, in line with the preceding observations.

* Revise the Clean Air Act to remove the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide – or compel the EPA to reexamine its “endangerment” finding, to reflect the previous bullet, information, and commentary.

* Significantly reduce funding for climate research, the IPCC and the EPA, and science in general. Funding should be more broadly based, not monopolistic, especially when the monopoly is inevitably politicized.

This is not an “attack on science.” It is a reaffirmation of what real science is supposed to be and do.

Via email

It’s the facts the BBC leaves out about climate change that are important

Christopher Booker

Last November, when news that the “climate denier” Donald Trump had been elected president reached the thousands of climate zealots gathered in sunny Marrakech for the UN’s annual dronefest on how to save the planet from global warming, they were reportedly plunged into an almost clinical depression, many bursting into tears.

Last Tuesday, the BBC’s Roger Harrabin picked up on this harrowing scene in a much-trailed Radio 4 documentary, Climate Change: The Trump Card, which was like the BBC’s first major fightback against the horror that was looming up.

The essence of Harrabin’s message was that whatever the dreadful Mr Trump does to reverse President Obama’s world-leading role in keeping global temperatures from rising by more than two degrees, at least we can look for hope to India and China, both now firmly committed to clean, green, “renewable” energy.

His programme began with him enjoying a solar-heated shower in a “backpackers’ camp” on an island off southern India, seguing into India’s prime minister Narendra Modi promising the UN’s mammoth 2015 Paris climate conference “a huge expansion in the power of the sun”.

We heard an interview in Potsdam with one of the high priests of climate alarmism, Hans Schellnhuber, predicting that by 2100 global temperatures could have risen by five or six degrees, with assurances that, whatever Trump does, this will not knock Germany or the EU “off their low carbon course”.

If the US under Trump leaves a “vacuum”, already poised to fill it is China, now the world-leader in producing wind turbines and solar panels. And Harrabin ended back in India, gazing down on “the world’s biggest solar farm”, as “a spectacular monument to India’s energy policy”.

No mention of the fact that, before that Paris conference, China and India formally notified the UN that, to keep their economies growing, they intend between them to build more than 800 new coal-fired power stations; and that by 2030 – as already the world’s first and third largest emitters of CO2 – they plan to double and treble those emissions. Even by the BBC’s standards, as one expert observer put it, this farrago of “deluded groupthink was stunning”.

As always, what was striking was not just what it did say, but how much more it was careful to leave out. How this squares with the BBC’s statutory obligation to report with “accuracy and impartiality” has long been one of the puzzles of the age.  But back in the real world, that dreaded “Trump card” is now fast approaching.



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, 2017

Trump meets with Princeton scientist who called ‘global warming’ fears ‘pure belief disguised as science’

President-Elect Donald Trump met with prominent Princeton University physics professor Dr. Will Happer, an outspoken climate skeptic, on Friday in New York.

Happer, who has authored 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, has testified to the U.S. Senate that the Earth is currently in a ‘CO2 ‘famine.’ Happer explained to Congress in 2009:  ”Warming and increased CO2 will be good for mankind…’CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving ‘pollutant’ and ‘poison’ of their original meaning,” Happer added.

In 2014, Happer ridiculed “global warming” fears. “The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing CO2 will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science,” he noted.

Princeton University also has another prominent climate skeptic. Renowned Princeton Physicist Freeman Dyson: ‘I’m 100% Democrat and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on climate issue, and the Republicans took the right side’

Happer’s meeting with Trump gave rise to speculation about a role in the administration.

The Washington Post reported: “Happer did not answer questions on his way into the elevator to meet with Trump, according to pool reports. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Post.

E&E News, which was apparently first to report on the meeting, noted that it was ‘unclear’ whether Happer might be under consideration for energy or science positions in the administration. There certainly remain many of those to fill.”

Climate skeptics would rejoice at the prospect of Happer joining a Trump administration. Happer served as the former director of DOE’s Office of Energy Research — now the Office of Science — from 1991 until 1993.

Happer has also directed his scientific ire at the United Nations, declaring that policies to combat “global warming” are “based on nonsense.” “Policies to slow CO2 emissions are really based on nonsense. We are being led down a false path. To call carbon dioxide a pollutant is really Orwellian. You are calling something a pollutant that we all produce. Where does that lead us eventually?,” he asked.

“Many people don’t realize that over geological time, we’re really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as it has been in the Holocene (geologic epoch) – 280 (parts per million – ppm) – that’s unheard of. Most of the time [CO2 levels] have been at least 1000 (ppm) and it’s been quite higher than that,” Happer told the Senate Committee. “Earth was just fine in those times,” Happer added. “The oceans were fine, plants grew, animals grew fine. So it’s baffling to me that we’re so frightened of getting nowhere close to where we started,” Happer explained.


Adapting to Warming in Japan: What Has Been Discovered to Date
Paper Reviewed:Ng, C.F.S., Boeckmann, M., Ueda, K., Zeeb, H., Nitta, H., Watanabe, C. and Honda, Y. 2016. Heat-related mortality: Effect modification and adaptation in Japan from 1972 to 2010. Global Environmental Change 39: 234-243.

Writing as background for their work, Ng et al. (2016) state that "excessive heat is a health risk," but they also say that "previous studies have observed a general decline in sensitivity to heat despite increasing temperatures." Noting, therefore, that "conclusive evidence is lacking on whether long-term changes of this sensitivity can be attributed to specific adaptation measures, such as air conditioning [AC], or should be linked to societal adaptation such as improved healthcare systems or socioeconomic well-being," they proceed to analyze "daily total [from natural causes], cardiovascular and respiratory disease mortality and temperature data from 1972 to 2010 for 47 prefectures," using a Poisson generalized linear model to estimate the effect of heat on mortality," along with "a random effects model to obtain the mean national effect estimates, and meta-regression to explore the impact of prefecture-level characteristics." And what did they find in so doing?

Ng et al. report that their data "show a general decrease in excess heat-related mortality over the past 39 years despite increasing temperatures [of approximately 1°C]," demonstrating, in their words, "that some form of adaptation to extreme temperatures has occurred in Japan." More specifically, as illustrated in the figure below, their data revealed a national reduction of 20, 21 and 46 cases of deaths per 1,000 due to natural, cardiovascular, and respiratory causes, respectively, which reductions correspond to astounding respective percentage drops of 69, 66 and 81 percent! Similar percentage declines were also noted when analyzing the number of deaths by age group, with the most elderly population age group experiencing the greatest death rate percentage declines (Figure 1b).

In commenting on these notable health improvements, Ng et al. write that an "increase of AC prevalence was not associated with a reduction of excess mortality over time," yet they note that "prefectures and populations with improved economic status documented a larger decline of excess mortality," adding that "healthcare resources were associated with fewer heat-related deaths in the 1970s, but the associations did not persist in the more recent period (i.e., 2006-2010)." Whatever the cause or causes, one thing is certain; whereas the temperature rose, human death rates declined ... and we would call that a good thing!


Activist Criticism Again Misses Mark on EPA Nominee Pruitt

In a previous post, which has since been discussed by Bre Payton of the Federalist, I wrote about a mendacious television attack ad produced by the Environmental Defense Action Fund. In a nutshell, the ad wrongly accuses Environmental Protection Agency Administrator-designate Scott Pruitt of denying mercury’s hazardous effects on human health.

Yesterday, the Sierra Club opened a new line of attack. After being queried by E&E News’s Benjamin Storrow about Pruitt’s association with a political action committee that received almost $210,000 from energy interests, the Sierra Club responded, “The fact that Scott Pruitt intends to take big cash from the very same big polluters he is supposed to be monitoring as EPA administrator is unprecedented and a clear danger to the health of our families.”

I was struck by the Sierra Club’s averment that Pruitt’s association with a PAC that took more than $200,000 from oil and gas interests is an “unprecedented” threat to “the health of our families.” Of course, President Obama has ultimate authority over the EPA, and he took more than $900,000 from oil and gas companies and their employees in 2008, according to U.S. News & World Report. It stands to reason that he reaped a similar haul when he ran for re-election. The upshot is that Pruitt is associated with a PAC that took in from the oil and gas sector only a fraction of the donations that Obama accepted. So it’s implausible to argue that Pruitt’s actions are “unprecedented.”


UK: The Folly of Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon

If ever there was a textbook example of how to go about Government lobbying and project development, then it is the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project. The developer, Tidal Lagoon Power, has done a frankly incredible job of promoting the project to policymakers and financiers. The project has gone from an interesting idea on paper a few years ago, to being backed financially by investment bank Macquarie amongst others, to garnering significant political support by the likes of the Rt. Hon. Sir Ed Davey (as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change), other Coalition Government Cabinet members, and the Welsh Government.

Tomorrow represents a make or break point for the project. The Government will publish a long-awaited review on the potential for tidal power in the UK, led by former Energy Minister Charles Hendry. Both Hendry and the Government have been tight-lipped about the contents of the review, but the terms of reference are to “assess the strategic case for tidal lagoons and whether they could play a cost effective role as part of the UK energy mix.”

Based on my own knowledge of the project and technology, I suggest that it would be folly for the Government to agree to progress the Swansea Bay project further.

The main reason for this is simply the cost of the technology. The developer’s latest estimates are that the Swansea Bay project would cost £1.3 billion to construct. Interestingly, this headline cost has already increased by more than 40% compared to earlier estimates – a 2014 report to the developers assumed a lower capital cost of £913 million.

In order to get a better handle on the relative cost of the technology, it is informative to consider the cost per unit of electrical output (£/MWh) – often referred to as the ‘Levelised Cost of Energy’. The same report from 2014 put the cost of Swansea Bay at £168/MWh, roughly four times the current wholesale price of electricity. By comparison, the Government’s own estimates show that other low carbon technologies are considerably cheaper:

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon makes wind, solar, Carbon Capture and Storage, and nuclear look cheap. Moreover, if the question is whether tidal lagoons could play a ”cost effective role”, then it is worth considering even cheaper ways to cut carbon emissions, such as improving energy efficiency. It would be far better to spend the £1.3 billion insulating our homes properly (see our recent report on cost effective routes to decarbonise heating). Backing an expensive technology such as tidal lagoons would leave less space within the Levy Control Framework funding envelope to spend on other, cheaper technologies. The Levy Control Framework budget has already been overspent to 2020 – a point exposed in a Policy Exchange report in July 2015.

The project developer has suggested that the headline “strike price” (or subsidy support level) required by the project is far lower than £168/MWh – potentially similar to the £92.50/MWh agreed strike price for Hinkley Point. However this is only possible by tweaking parameters of the Contract for Difference (CfD) subsidy contract such as the term and indexing rate, and assuming some form of Government grant to the project. These tweaks simply obfuscate the true cost of the project. All technologies could achieve a lower strike price if they were given the same treatment.

The project developers (and other proponents of tidal range) claim that subsequent tidal lagoons in Cardiff and Newport will be considerably cheaper than Swansea Bay – potentially cheaper than offshore wind or nuclear. This is due to the larger size of the subsequent projects and resulting economies of scale. In reality this claim is totally untested and purely based on desk-based analysis by the project developer.

The difficulty with tidal range is that it is caught somewhere between being a mature and immature technology. There is already one significant example of the technology – the 240MW tidal barrage at La Rance in France, commissioned in 1959 – but as yet the technology has not been deployed widely. If tidal range is considered ‘mature’, and the Cardiff/Newport projects are so much cheaper than the Swansea Bay project, then surely we progress with them instead? Or conversely, if tidal range is still considered ‘immature’ and a further ‘experiment’ is required, then is it appropriate for this to be a £1.3 billion experiment paid for by bill-payers or taxpayers? Even if the Government wishes to pursue tidal range as a technology, then it is not unreasonable to question whether Swansea Bay is the ‘right’ project to demonstrate the technology, or whether a smaller scale experiment should be undertaken first.

Proponents also make the case for the Swansea Bay project on the basis that it will create jobs, and could help to develop an export industry (for example see another report commissioned by the developer). A group of manufacturers recently wrote an open letter to this effect, which was published in the Financial Times. It is undoubtedly true that building tidal lagoons will create UK jobs – both in civil engineering and in manufacturing components. No doubt this will also be a politically attractive proposition, since many of these jobs will be situated in South Wales – helping to rebalance the economy away from London.

However, the fact that it will create jobs is it itself not a sufficiently strong argument – spending £1.3 billion on any infrastructure project would create jobs. The Government could instead choose to spend the same money on alternative sources of energy, or other forms of infrastructure such as roads, hospitals or schools. All of these projects would create jobs. The relevant question here is: what is the return on investment (for UK plc) in supporting the Swansea Bay project versus alternatives? Which forms of investment would best tackle the UK’s longstanding economic challenges such as sluggish productivity growth (as highlighted in a recent Policy Exchange report, The New Industrial Strategy)?

It should not be forgotten that a tidal lagoon would need to be paid for via subsidies on energy bills, passed on to energy users (households and businesses). Levy-funded policies push up energy bills, which means that households and businesses have less money to spend or invest in other areas. You cannot simply look at the jobs created by building a tidal lagoon – you also need to look at the wider effects across the economy.

It is also not clear that supporting the Swansea Bay project will establish a significant export industry as claimed. One of the reasons that there has been ongoing interest in tidal is that the UK has amongst the best tidal resource in the world. Tidal range resources tend to be highly concentrated in very specific areas. There is interest in developing tidal lagoons and barrages in a number of countries such as Canada and India, but they cannot be developed everywhere. Total global installed capacity of tidal energy devices (tidal range and tidal stream) stands at around 0.5GWs. If the UK wishes to become a market leader in low carbon technologies, then it might be better to focus on technologies with truly massive global potential – such as solar, wind, nuclear, Carbon Capture and Storage, or electric vehicles.

Finally, the proponents of tidal power claim that it is different from other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar, due to the fact that it is predictable. Whilst that may be true (the timing of tides can be predicted decades in advance), tidal lagoons still do not produce power 100% of the time, and in that sense are not wholly reliable. In any case, the intermittency of renewables can be managed using a range of technologies including thermal power generation, storage, demand response, and interconnection – as discussed in our recent report, Power 2.0.

To summarise, in our view the Government should resist the urge to back tidal range, or the Swansea Bay project, any more than other low carbon technologies. Whilst the project would deliver many jobs and benefits, the same could be said of other energy or infrastructure projects. If tidal range projects can compete on cost terms, then of course they should be supported, but that is not the proposition which is currently on offer. However the developers try and dress it up, the Swansea Bay project is considerably more expensive than other low carbon technologies. If the Government chooses to back this project, then it will have a job to explain why this represents good value for money. Indeed, since the Competition and Market Authority’s report on the energy market, the Government has an obligation to carry out an Impact Assessment and defend any decision to award CfDs on a non-competitive basis.


Australia: The latest Bureau of Meteorology shenanigans

This summer has been very frustrating for the BOM.  As tireless global warming missionaries, they wanted the Sydney summer to be the "hottest yet".  And the headlines they generated have on several occasions claimed just that. 

But the thermometers have in fact been unobliging.  If you read the small print, coastal Sydney has failed to get into the 40s. It was only localities that are normally hot which did that. 

And hanging over their heads is the awful truth that the temperature in coastal Sydney reached 42 degrees (108F) in 1790, long before there were any power stations, SUVs and all the other Greenie bugaboos in Sydney.

So what  to do?  They have had a brainwave (below).  Instead of reporting maximum temperatures they are now reporting MINIMUM temperatures.  They say that various minimum (night-time) temperatures have been unusually hot.  But global warming is supposed to cause high maximum temperatures so it is a pretty desperate bit of fake news

SYDNEY residents sweltered through the harbour city’s hottest January night in recorded history last night.

But the good news for the sleepless masses is relief is in sight, with a cool change on its way.

Temperature records tumbled across Sydney as the extreme heatwave peaked overnight.

Among the new records set were in Observatory Hill, where the temperature dropped only to 26.4C, Bankstown (26.2C), Camden (27.1C), Penrith (28.6C), Richmond (28.2C), Horsley Park (26.2C), and Terrey Hills (26.9C).

But relief is on its way.

Conditions across the southern half of NSW are expected to ease over the weekend but the mercury will likely remain in the low to mid 40s in the state’s north.

After copping temperatures up to 45C on Friday, Sydney’s west is forecast for a milder maximum of 35C on Saturday while in the coastal parts of the city it is due to reach 31C.

But for those in the far north it is expected to remain hot with a predicted high of 41C at Grafton.

Queenslanders who have been in the grip of the same heatwave are set to endure another day of blistering conditions before conditions cool on Sunday.

A top of 34C is forecast for Brisbane on Saturday, which is five degrees above the average maximum for this time of year.

(Rubbish!  The temperature in my anteroom regularly tracks the official observations for Brisbane and at 34.5C yesterday  afternoon it did go higher on my thermometer than the forecast. But it had been right on 34C for a week or so)



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, 2017

EPA Moves To Fine Alaskans For Burning Wood To Keep Warm

Sadly, this is not from The Onion. For satire to work it has to be believable and no one with commonsense would believe that the federal government would intervene to fine people living in Alaska for using wood-burning stoves in the winter. But the advantage that the federal government has is that it does stuff that is so profoundly stupid that no one would ever believe they would do it. And that is their greatest defense mechanism. Just like ‘Verbal’ Kint/Keyser Sose says in The Usual Suspects, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Via The New York Times:

“It’s all one thing — when you most need the heat is when you’re most apt to create a serious air pollution problem for yourself and the people in your community,” said Tim Hamlin, the director of the office of air and waste at the E.P.A.’s Region 10, which includes Alaska.

And forces are now converging to heighten the tension in this seemingly unlikely pollution story. Civil fines by Fairbanks North Star Borough — which includes the cities of Fairbanks and North Pole, with a total population of about 100,000 — could be assessed in coming days against residential polluters. The E.P.A. could declare the entire area to be in “serious” noncompliance of the Clean Air Act early next year, with potentially huge economic implications, including a cutoff of federal transportation funds...

Residents are also trapped, he said, by economics. Natural gas, a much cleaner fuel source, is not widely available in this part of Alaska, and heating oil can be very expensive. Oil also produces particulate pollution, though less than wood. A study for the borough last year said residents here spent, on average, almost four times the national average in annual heating costs...

Mr. Hamlin, the E.P.A. official, said his agency was definitely not trying to take away anyone’s wood stove, or make life more expensive. But he said the Clean Air Act, passed by Congress in 1970, requires a standard of breathable air for all Americans. The E.P.A. was given the job of enforcing that standard.

“We don’t want to be telling people what to do, but the standard is what it is, and we want to work with you to be able to get there,” he said.

And while this Tim Hamlin character is not personally to blame, the EPA, in all its permutations, is to blame for inserting itself into a distinctly local situation and bludgeoning a local governnment into submission with the threat of fines and loss of federal funds. (The Federalist has a good piece on the issue from the viewpoint of an Alaskan native, not a Native Alaskan.) This is how a tyrannical government treats subjects, not how a servant government treats citizens. It needs to stop and only Congress can make it stop.


2016's Biggest Loser: Big Green

The day after the presidential elections, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, glumly called the Donald Trump victory "devastating for our climate and our future." Well, yes, if you're a climate-change alarmist who hates fossil fuels, you're in for a bad four and maybe eight years.

Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard was even more apocalyptic, saying: "I never thought I'd have to write this. The election of Donald Trump as president has been devastating. ... There's no question, Donald Trump's climate denial is staggering. He wants to shut down the EPA, 'cancel' the Paris Climate Agreement, stop funding clean energy research, and 'drill, baby, drill.'" Ah, but if this is so crazy, why did he win?

The short answer is that Americans went to the polls and rejected environmental extremism, among other things. The biggest loser on election night was America's Big Green movement, dedicated to the anti-prosperity proposition that to save the planet from extinction we have de-industrialize the U.S. and throw millions and millions of our fellow citizens out of their jobs.

It may seem an exaggeration to say that the radical leftist green groups want to throw working class Americans out of their jobs -- but it isn't. They openly admit it.

The Sierra Club actually declared "victory" last year when it helped push several of America's leading coal production companies into bankruptcy. Sierra Club spokeswoman Lena Moffit took credit for destroying coal production in America, but she neglected to mention the tens of thousands of miners, truckers, construction workers, and other blue-collar workers who lost their jobs due to the Sierra Club campaign. What humanitarians these people are!

Moffit promised that the Sierra Club will "bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way ... to ensure that we're moving to a 100 percent clean energy future."

There are an estimated 10 million Americans who are directly or indirectly employed by the oil and gas and coal industries. The left wants to put every one of these people out of a job?

Fortunately, we learned on Election Day that voters aren't as alarmed as the alarmists are. Almost none of the voters that I met in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, or Michigan had anything but contempt for the climate-change fanatics. They view this as another attempt by Washington to run their lives and completely ignore their economic plight in favor of grandiose dreams of the government somehow changing the weather.

In so many ways, climate change was one of the primary issues that allowed Donald Trump to crash through the blue wall of the industrial Midwest. The Democrats' preposterous opposition to building the Keystone XL pipeline is emblematic of how the party that is supposed to represent union workers turned their backs on them.

The Paris Agreement puts America last and forces us to stop using cheap, reliable and abundant domestic fossil fuels while the rest of the world -- particularly China and India -- are all in on coal. Nobody in Washington seemed to notice, as the Wall Street Journal reported last month, "China's government will raise coal production by as much as 20 percent by 2020, ensuring a continuing strong role for the commodity in the country's energy future." Does this sound like a country that has any interest in cutting its carbon emissions?

The real surprise this election was that Democrats were at all surprised by mass voter rejection of the radical climate-change agenda. Polls in recent years show that climate change barely registers as a leading concern of American voters. Jobs and the economy were always issues No. 1 and 2, and global warming was usually close to last on the list.

The issue that now confronts Democrats is whether they can reconnect with blue-collar union voters by disassociating themselves from fanatical environmentalists. It won't be easy. Environmental groups are said to be raising record hauls of cash from their millionaire and billionaire donors since the election. Ultra-green environmentalists such as Tom Steyer may call the party's tunes, but he shouldn't be surprised when millions of middle-class workers flee to the Republicans.

Something has to give in the Democratic Party. My prediction is that Democrats will only make a comeback in American politics when they throw crazies like Tom Steyer, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace off the bus and start listening to the everyday concerns of working class Americans again.


Obama Claims Momentum Over Energy Reality

Barack Obama suffers from a condition that infects many on the Left — the belief that one’s ideology has the power to usurp reality. Those who find themselves in this state of being tend not to believe in the absolute and independent nature of truth, but rather believe themselves to be progenitors of truth. In this elitist delusion, they imagine their understanding of the present and vision for the future to be godlike and transcending the rationally understood norms of society. After all, if your aim is to “change the world” you can’t possibly accept the reality that you really don’t have enough knowledge or power to mold it into your own perfect vision of utopia. So, what happens when you find yourself in the seat of power, but people don’t buy the vision you’re peddling? Well, in America you seek to manipulate through political pandering, deceit and impressive speeches.

One of Obama’s major policy platforms has been climate change, and as such he spent significant effort seeking to force his “green” energy policies onto the American public; one of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost in the Rust Belt. The problem is that Donald Trump promised to reverse course on Obama’s restrictive energy policies, by deregulating the energy industry and freeing it to be market driven rather than ideologically controlled.

Of course, Obama knows that in a market driven economy much of his artificially propped up and failed “clean” energy programs such as Solyndra don’t stand a chance against oil, natural gas and the clean coal industry. That’s despite his best efforts to crush those industries. So, rather than acknowledge that his plans just didn’t pan out, he doubles down and claims that his clean energy policies have created so much momentum that they are now “irreversible.” Obama might be right if his clean energy programs were actually producing what was promised, but like so many socialists programs, impassioned speeches don’t create reality. Once again the emperor has no clothes.


Polar bear zoologist blasts Obama’s climate alarmism: ‘Sensationalized nonsense’

The Obama administration warned Monday that polar bears may disappear unless something is done about climate change, despite recent research indicating that the bears are actually thriving.

In its final Conservation Management Plan, the Fish and Wildlife Service painted a grim picture for the future of the massive Arctic-dwelling mammal, warning that its fate will be determined “by our willingness and ability to address climate change.”

“The current global polar bear population is estimated to be 26,000,” said the Fish and Wildlife Service. “If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at the current rates throughout the 21st century, polar bears will likely disappear from much of their present-day range.”

The announcement prompted pushback from zoologist Susan J. Crockford, founder of the Polar Bear Science website, who blasted the service for igniting a rash of “sensationalized nonsense” by fueling alarmist media reports.

Since 2007, “summer sea ice coverage has declined to levels their sea ice colleagues said would not occur until 2050 yet 2/3 of the world’s polar bears did not disappear as [U.S. Geological Service] biologists predicted,” Ms. Crockford said in a post.

The polar bear was listed as threatened in 2008 as a result of declining Arctic sea ice, but its population has proved remarkably resilient, although the Fish and Wildlife Service plan doesn’t mention that, she said.

“They also don’t tell folks that the recent decline in population size recorded for the Southern Beaufort Sea was caused by thick spring sea ice in 2004-2006, not reduced summer sea ice,” said Ms. Crockford, an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature pegs the polar bear population at between 22,000 and 31,000, which she called “the highest estimate in 50 years.”

Studies have shown increases in some of the 19 Arctic polar-bear populations. In 2013, the FWS reported the Chukchi Sea population in Alaska was doing “quite well,” while the Norwegian Polar Institute found in 2015 that the Barents Sea polar bears had risen by 42 percent since 2004.

Meanwhile, wildlife groups criticized the federal plan for failing to mandate large-scale U.S. reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions in order to combat climate change.

“Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that this old hype is being recycled as ‘news’ prior to the inauguration of President-elect Trump?” asked Ms. Crockford, author of “Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change.”


Shell Australia blames Leftist Victorian government for rising natural gas prices

Australia has heaps of natural gas in the ground but the Green/Left want to keep it there for their usual disruptive reasons.  Only one Eastern State has broken through their obstruction

The head of oil giant Shell's Australian multibillion-dollar operations has laid the blame for the east coast gas squeeze squarely with the Victorian government, declaring that rising prices caused by the state's ban on onshore gas will take a direct toll on jobs.

Deflecting criticism that Queensland's LNG industry is to blame for the difficulties being experienced in the east coast gas market, Shell Australia chairman Andrew Smith pointed instead to "short-sighted political decisions" such as Victoria's, which is keeping much-needed gas in the ground.

"Victorian manufacturers have a right to be angry about the gas supply situation, but their anger should be directed toward the Victorian government," Mr Smith told The Australian Financial Review.

"It is the Andrews government's ban on onshore gas production that will lead to price hikes to Victorian manufacturers – and this will cost jobs in Victorian factories."

Victoria's Acting Resources Minister Phil Dalidakis rejected the idea the moratorium is impacting prices.

A surge in demand for gas on the east coast was always expected because of the start-up of Queensland's $70 billion LNG export industry, which shipped its first gas to Asia in late 2014 and is still ramping up production. But at the time those plants were conceived, there was little suggestion that governments including Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory would erect hurdles to the development of plentiful onshore gas resources.

Undeveloped gas

As it is, the squeeze has caused difficulties for industrial gas users to access competitive sources of gas, with some pointing the finger at the Queensland LNG industry. One of the three monster LNG export plants on Gladstone's Curtis Island is owned by Shell, which also holds half of the biggest chunk of undeveloped gas on the east coast, through the Arrow joint venture with PetroChina. Some manufacturers have reported a doubling of prices for their gas supplies within the last 12 months.

Last November the Victorian government introduced legislation to permanently ban all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, and extended a moratorium on conventional onshore gas until 2020. The move triggered a $2.7 billion damages claim from explorer Lakes Oil, which had ambitions to tap the "vast potential" of its acreage in the onshore Otway and Gippsland Basin for conventional gas.

Lakes had loose accords to supply gas from its Wombat field to food manufacturer Simplot and chemical maker Dow Chemical, and Lakes chief executive Roland Sleeman said that were it not for the four years lost through moratoria Lakes believed it could have been in production already.

"There is no justification at all for the actions they are taking," Mr Sleeman said, describing the ban and moratorium as "ridiculous".

But Mr Dalidakis insisted that the moratorium on conventional gas drilling "will not impact on gas prices in the short-term" and the ban wouldn't have any immediate impact either because there were no proven or probable unconventional onshore reserves in the state.

"What has impacted on local gas prices is the east coast Australian gas marketplace, as the domestic market is competing against the LNG export markets to Asia, making it difficult for local gas users to secure new or longer-term contracts," he said.

Infrastructure costs

Yet Mr Smith said Queensland's coal seam gas industry would not even have been developed without the scale of the LNG export market to offset the huge infrastructure costs.

Unless the Victorian drilling ban is reversed, "all Victorian gas customers will be paying the price of gas in Queensland plus the hefty expense of pipeline access to transport the gas more than 1000 kilometres south," Mr Smith said, adding the impact would be felt by Victorian families, manufacturers and small businesses.

Spot prices for gas in the east coast market are increasingly being set by the "netback" cost of gas for LNG production in Queensland plus the cost of transportation, which is understood to be around $3 a gigajoule down to Victoria, about a third of the state's wholesale gas price on Wednesday.

Just one of Lakes Oil's permits in Victoria is thought to hold about 11 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas and Mr Sleeman said that unlocking only several hundred billion cubic feet of that would be "a gamechanger" as producers would be competing, bringing prices down.

"You've seen that happen in Western Australia when there's more gas than the market needs, people compete and they are prepared to compete potentially down to their cost of production," he said.



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, 2017

Forget suing VW. We should all be claiming millions for other 'green' lunacies that literally cost the Earth

Oh, how I wish I’d kept hold of my Skoda Yeti. If only I hadn’t just sold it, I might have stood to make a cool £3,000 in compensation from the class action being brought by motorists against Volkswagen and its sister brands (Audi, Skoda, Seat) as a result of the Dieselgate emissions scandal.

Like many duped motorists, I acquired my diesel car in the naive belief that it would not only be more efficient and cost-effective than a petrol one, but also that it was better for the environment. We now know that this green myth is a nonsense.

The particulate matter produced by diesel engines is toxic, polluting and may be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually across Europe.

Some manufacturers such as Volkswagen have known this for ages, but rather than lose business it rigged emissions tests to make its cars seem more eco-friendly than they actually were.


Clearly, VW deserves to be punished for its duplicity. But in my view, it is not nearly the culprit most deserving of a punitive law suit. What about the successive governments — in Britain and across the EU —which massively increased the growth of diesel through tax breaks and subsidies?

What about the scientists who came up with the dodgy theory that diesel was somehow cleaner and healthier because it supposedly helps combat climate change? What about all the green pressure groups and campaigning eco journalists who pushed for this dangerous and wrongheaded legislation?

The truth is that when it comes to damage, expense and misery caused by woolly-headed green ‘thinking’, the VW emissions scandal is but the tiniest tip of a vast iceberg.

In the name of saving the planet, lives and livelihoods have been destroyed, landscapes blighted, jobs killed, wildlife eradicated, prosperity reduced, science corrupted, kids brainwashed: in fact, forget the class suit against VW, it’s about time we all had some compensation for the deceptions of the green lobby.

Let’s start with the size of the global climate change industry, which on the back of government subsidies and policy-making has grown into a behemoth worth $1.5 trillion (£1.24 trillion) a year, according to the Climate Change Business Journal — similar to what we spend annually on online shopping.

But while we willingly choose to part with our money on Amazon and eBay for stuff we want and need, much environmental spending is forced on us by government diktat and squandered on often pointless, wasteful projects we have no control over.

Consider the latest UK scandal, where in Northern Ireland the Belfast government will cost the taxpayer more than £1 billion because of a mismanaged renewable heat incentive scheme.

For every £100 they spent on eco-friendly energy, businesses were bribed with a £160 rebate.

Because no cap was placed on the incentive, businesses piled in to take advantage — one enterprising farmer even heated a vast, empty warehouse to claim the subsidy — with costs to the taxpayer wildly out of control.

Perhaps we should be grateful that it has now led to the resignation of Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister and former IRA terrorist Martin McGuinness — but it seems a ruinously expensive way to have got rid of him.

Almost anything with the word ‘renewable’ in it means eye-watering expense and intolerable waste. In Wales last week, an experimental tidal energy project, much of its £18 million cost funded by the EU and the Welsh government, went into administration within months after a sonar to protect seals, porpoises and dolphins had failed.

This hardly bodes well for the highly questionable £1 billion tidal lagoon project being mooted for Swansea Bay.

As for solar and wind energy, which produce about 14 per cent of Britain’s power, their costs to consumers are vastly increased thanks to subsidies.

Last October, the National Audit Office stated that Britain’s renewable electricity subsidies would be £8.7 billion a year by 2020-21. ‘This is equivalent to £110 on the typical household dual fuel energy bill,’ the NAO added.

On top of this, we have nuclear — in particular, Hinkley Point C, the white elephant nuclear energy project planned for the Somerset coast that Theresa May inherited from David Cameron and was once described as the ‘worst deal in history’.

The technology is untested. Similar projects in Normandy and Finland have encountered such serious design and construction problems they are running years over schedule and billions of euros over budget.

Yet Britain is committed to spending £24 billion on Hinkley — mostly in subsidies, through increased electricity bills, to the French and Chinese — for the world’s most costly energy.

This makes no commercial sense, but that was never the point: the UK government needed nuclear, at whatever cost, so as to help meet the swingeing carbon dioxide reduction targets to which it is legally bound by Ed Miliband’s disastrous 2008 Climate Change Act.

The Act, dreamed up at the height of the global warming scare, was designed to ‘decarbonise’ Britain’s economy.

Like foreign aid, the measures were more extreme than in other countries. The Act will cost the taxpayer £18 billion every year till 2050 and has since been used to justify all manner of crazy government schemes such as the anaerobic digester scam where developers are paid to convert agricultural waste into gas.

Several major pollution incidents and at least one explosion later, that scheme has cost taxpayers £216 million a year in subsidies.


And you really don’t need to be a climate sceptic to realise it’s all money down the drain.

Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg has done the calculations: even if, from now on, all the countries in the world stick to the very modest carbon reduction targets they agreed in Paris last year, the effect on the world’s temperatures will be to reduce ‘global warming by the end of this century by a total of 0.17c: less than one-fifth of a degree’.

So, according to Lomborg, the benefit of all this expensive renewable energy is minimal compared with the cost. Added to all of this are the damaging side-effects, which are many and varied: vulnerable and elderly people driven into fuel poverty because of energy prices made artificially high by renewables subsidies; plus children brainwashed in schools by being fed scaremongering propaganda such as Al Gore’s discredited movie on global warming An Inconvenient Truth.

Then there’s the corruption and distortion of science by the flood of government research grants for projects that can show a connection, however tenuous, with the magical words ‘climate change’; and the misallocation of resources, whereby money is squandered on state-subsidised industries such as offshore wind turbines.

But maybe the worst thing of all about the bloated creature they call the Green Blob is the huge amount of damage it does to the environment in the name of saving it.


This was what first drew me to the subject: my growing disgust, as someone who loves wildlife and adores the British countryside, that misguided green policies are destroying our planet.

Instead of just burning coal as it was designed to, for example, our biggest power station Drax has been converted at vast cost to run partly on wood chips shipped over from the U.S.

These chips are cut from hardwood forests in North Carolina, and subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £500 million a year, in a process that actually increases carbon emissions.

It’s madness — and it’s happening across Europe, too, with protected forests felled to meet EU renewable energy targets.

Meanwhile, in Asia, Africa and South America, primary rain forest is being felled to grow palm oil plantations to create eco-friendly biofuels.

And what about wind turbines which kill millions of birds and bats every year, including protected species such as eagles and rare migratory birds?

The tide is turning, thank heaven. Whatever you think of President-elect Donald Trump, one thing’s certain: he’s determined to rein in an awful lot of the green lunacy that’s cost the planet so dear for decades now.

And those ‘future generations’ the greens are always banging on about? I don’t think they’ll thank us for the damage we did in their name. They’ll look back on this era of eco-lunacy with astonishment and ask: how could our great-grandparents be so dumb? Why didn’t they sue?


Greenie wisdom about diesel crumbles

Modern diesel cars produce more than twice as much toxic gas as a lorry or bus of the same age, analysis has found.

There is less risk of inhaling dangerous levels of nitrogen oxides from standing beside a new lorry or bus with its engine running than standing beside a car, according to the research. The results strengthen the case for tougher pollution tests for cars, which will be debated this month by EU states.

About 25,000 deaths a year in England can be linked to vehicle emissions, and nitrogen oxides from diesel engines are one of the main pollutants. They inflame the lungs, cause respiratory diseases such as asthma and have been linked to a raised risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer.


That global warming sure is versatile:  For years it was causing drought in CA.  Now it is causing flooding

Bill Nye took to Twitter to blame man-made global warming for flooding across Northern California that claimed at least three lives over the weekend.

Nye, who rarely misses a chance to link extreme weather to human activities, suggested California’s flooding meant we’d be better off not pulling out of the United Nations Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

President-elect Donald Trump promised to “cancel” the Paris agreement the Obama administration signed in 2016. The Senate never voted on the agreement.

Two storms hit California over the weekend due to an “atmospheric river” phenomenon that brought torrential rain and snow to the northern reaches of the Golden State. The atmospheric river plays a bigger role on the U.S. West Coast where it brings huge amounts of rain — sometimes half the rain these states get in a year.

The events are nothing new. California was hit by a string of storms in 1986 that caused massive flooding. The floods killed 13 people, displaced another 50,000 and did $400 million in property damage.

Similar events happened in the 1990s and 2000s. The current flooding has killed at least three people and shut down parts of major highways.

Floods can be devastating, and scientists predict they could become more frequent and intense due to man-made global warming. The data doesn’t seem to suggest flooding is on the rise.

About 60 percent of the locations the EPA measures show a decrease in “magnitude and intensity since 1965,” according to University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke Jr.

Pielke also found that flood damage has been declining as a proportion of the U.S. economy since 1940 — that way you control for population growth and development.

On a global scale, there’s little to no evidence flooding events have been on the rise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found in 2013 that “there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale”


German Green Party pledges to pay for free sex with prostitutes for anyone who needs 'sexual assistance' and can't afford it

Sex with prostitutes will be paid for by the Government for anyone too poor for a hooker and deemed to need sexual assistance under German Green Party plans.  

The party's care spokeswoman Elisabeth Scharfenberg says doctors should have the right to issue the free prescriptions to their patients for ladies of the night.

Prostitution is legal in Germany and carries little of the taboos associated with it in many other countries.

There are brothels in virtually every town and a trend recently began with working girls offering 'sexual assistance' to dementia sufferers, the handicapped and people living in care homes.

Depending on the brothel, the services range from 'affectionate touching' to bondage, fetishism and full sex.

But no law exists for the client to claim for the costs of his or her visit as a medical expense.

The Greens want to change that, based on a law that has been in place in the neighbouring Netherlands for some time.

'I can imagine a public financing of sexual assistance,' Scharfenberg said in an article in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

The Greens' plans consists of patients obtaining a medical certificate confirming that 'they are unable to achieve sexual satisfaction in other ways, as well as to prove they are not able to pay sex workers on their own'.

Scharfenberg said: 'Municipalities could discuss appropriate offers on site and grants they would need.'

Sex coach and author Vanessa del Rae worked for many years as a nurse and later took over the management of a nursing home and holds lectures on sexuality and sensuality in many facilities.

'In Holland, prostitutes are paid by the health insurance fund', she said.

'In Germany in recent years we have seen the advent sexual companion, especially trained in relation to the sexual needs of elderly men and women.  'She knows the handicaps, the shyness and shame which come with old people.'

She said that nursing home staff often react with horror and anger when they catch older residents canoodling - or pleasuring themselves. 

But Professor Wilhelm Frieling-Sonnenberg, a medical care specialist, said the idea is 'contemptuous towards human dignity, a way to placate troublesome patients'.


Trotskyite members (Far Leftists) are causing ructions in the Australian Green party

Internal tensions in the Greens have escalated further with the party's former leader Christine Milne challenging two NSW MPs to condemn members of the party calling for a split in the movement.

Fairfax Media last month reported on the formation of a new factional grouping within the Greens calling itself "Left Renewal" and advocating a radical platform rejecting the legitimacy of the state and calling for the end of capitalism.

That development has been followed by some Greens members calling for the development of a left-wing alternative to the party. Deputy membership officer, Tomas Hamilton, last week called the Greens a "hollow shell" and advocated forming "a proper anti-establishment left populist party".

Ms Milne, who resigned as the Greens' federal leader in 2015, called on two prominent left-wing Greens MPs from NSW to condemn those remarks and for Mr Hamilton to resign.

"These individuals identify with [federal senator] Lee Rhiannon and [state MP] David Shoebridge," Ms Milne said. "They must be confident they have their support. That really puts the onus on those MPs to call them out.

"Seeing an elected office bearer say that they're intending to develop a base for a new party is completely destructive. They should leave now."

Ms Rhiannon and Mr Shoebridge have said they are not Left Renewal members but have defended its members' rights to express their views.

Expelling members not the answer, says Lee Rhiannon. "I don't think the expulsion of Greens members from Left Renewal or the right-wing grouping is a sensible way forward," Ms Rhiannon said. "We need to remain an inclusive party that considers a diversity of views consistent with our four Greens principles."

Ms Rhiannon said the party should use democratic forums to discuss policy proposals.

But Mr Hamilton, a critic of some conservative members of the NSW party, denied he was of the Left Renewal faction and said he should not resign for expressing dissenting views.

Young Greens members of Left Renewal have publicly expressed similar sentiments about developing an alternative to the Greens.

Mr Shoebridge said he was unable to respond because he was on holiday and had not seen Mr Hamilton's remarks.

Ms Milne also partly backed calls from her predecessor, Bob Brown, who called on Ms Rhiannon to move on from politics.

"Lee was democratically elected a year ago but I do think she should think about not running [for another term]," Ms Milne said. "If you're going to call for renewal then you have to lead."

Ms Rhiannon rejected calls by Mr Brown to stand down after last year's election, saying she intended to continue in her job.

The recent divisions represents the escalation of an old battle between the party's left wing, known to detractors as the "Eastern bloc" and more centrist MPs, a group dismissed by opponents as "tree Tories".

Candidates backed by the left have lost out in the two most recent state preselections in NSW.



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, 2017

When researchers won't release their raw data, they are covering up fraud

It's a breach of scientific ethics to start with so you should immediately discount the claimed findings.  Refusal to release data is common among warmists and when Michael Mann's hockeystick data was inadvertently released we saw why. We saw that he was "hiding the decline" in C20 tree ring records.  Below is another instance outside Warmism where researchers fought tooth and nail to hide their data.  When forced to release it, the result was as expected. 

The journal article was "Comparison of adaptive pacing therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, graded exercise therapy, and specialist medical care for chronic fatigue syndrome (PACE): a randomised trial" -- by over a dozen authors  -- all of whom should have been fired by now.  I like my little joke, don't I?

Alem Matthees is sick. He is “housebound” — with an extremely frustrating disease: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).

Lots of people were complaining of similar symptoms — getting sick after an infection and never quite getting better; and being unable to exercise or do activities without enormous physical repercussions.

It is estimated that 0.4 per cent of people are affected with ME/CFS, with the average age of onset being 33, and women affected more often than men. Some later recover, but others don’t. Many people get sick after a sudden virus — as if they got the flu and never got better. Despite the large numbers of patients with similar problems, medical science couldn’t find much in the blood tests to explain it, nor offer much in the way of treatments.

The field of psychology had answers though. Answers aplenty. What is more, it had data to back them up. Or so it seemed.

The psychologists, based at the Queen Mary University of London, had done a major study into treatments for ME/CFS, which was published in 2011. Alem wanted to see the data from the study and filed a request to see it under the UK Freedom of Information Act.

Their study (called the PACE trial), was full of data that showed a lot of ME/CFS patients could be improved by exercise and counselling (cognitive behavioural therapy) was released in a prestigious medical journal called The Lancet.

Around 22 per cent of patients were counted as “recovered”.

The study made a big splash, and contributed to the perception ME/CFS was all in patients’ heads. All around the world, doctors recommended to sick patients that they exercise more.

But the authors were proving rather tight-fisted when it came to their data. They said no to Alem.

They said no to US psychology Professor James Coyne. They received more than 30 requests to see the data under the Freedom of Information Act and still the data was not public.

Rumours were circulating that the trial was not as it seemed, but without the full data, nobody could say for certain the size of the problem.

Eventually the UK Information Tribunal had enough. It told the PACE trial authors they had to release the data. The authors appealed the decision. They claimed confidentiality of the subjects of the study, although, as the tribunal would point out, the data was all anonymous.

By 2016, the professors of Queen Mary University London were running out of excuses. They had spent a quarter of a million pounds trying to prevent their data being released.

And finally in August 2016, it was ruled they must release their data.

When the psychologists finally released the data, what it showed was shocking.

During the study, they had changed the thresholds for what counted as recovery. Patients who were still sick got counted as recovered.

David Tuller, a lecturer in Public Health at the University of California Berkeley, calls the study “not science.”

Another psychology academic Carolyn Wilshire said: “Claims were made regarding the benefits of these therapies that went well beyond what can be justified by the data.”

She worked on a new analysis of the PACE trial data that showed how many people would have been counted as recovered if the academics had not changed the thresholds for recovery. It was between 3 and 7 per cent, instead of 22 per cent.

“Incorrectly claiming that a significant number of CFS patients can actually recover from a treatment can cause real harm,” she said. The treatments the PACE trial found in favour of are risky.

While a small amount of exercise can be good for some ME/CFS patients, for others, any amount risks making their health worse.

You might hope a dodgy study like that is a one-off. But the field of psychology has been plagued recently with revelations that many of its findings are, in fact, not findings it all.

They are calling it the Crisis of Replication. Studies are going down like bowling pins. The one about power posing. The one about female-named hurricanes killing more people. The one about willpower being limited. All now busted.

This crisis has spread from psychology to the rest of science. It is sparking unprecedented soul-searching in the research community.

One of the world’s top medical journals published an editorial suggesting as much as half of all published research could be wrong.

The causes of the crisis of replication are many, but the solutions are well-understood. First among them is being open with your data.


Delingpole has a crow

Meet Dr Phil Williamson: climate ‘scientist’; Breitbart-hater; sorely in need of a family size tube of Anusol to soothe the pain after his second failed attempt to close down free speech by trying to use press regulation laws to silence your humble correspondent.

Williamson – who is attached to the University of East Anglia, home of the Climategate emails – got very upset about some articles I’d written for Breitbart and the Spectator pouring scorn on his junk-scientific field, Ocean Acidification.

In my view Ocean Acidification is little more than a money-making scam for grant-troughing scientists who couldn’t find anything more productive to do with their semi-worthless environmental science degrees. The evidence that Ocean Acidification represents any kind of threat is threadbare – and getting flimsier by the day.

But if, like Williamson, you are being paid large sums of money to conduct a research programme into Ocean Acidification, you’ll obviously want to defend your mink-lined, gold-plated carriage on the climate change gravy train. So first he wrote a long, earnest defence of his income stream in Marine Biologist.

Then, when no one cared, he made a formal complaint about one of my articles to the UK press regulatory body IPSO. And to judge by the punchy tone of this piece he published in Nature before Christmas, he fully expected to win.

Tragically, though, he just lost.

After a long deliberation, IPSO has released its verdict and found that I had no case to answer. Williamson’s complaint was not upheld.

I’m trying hard to be modest here; I’m trying not to gloat. But I’m afraid the facts of the case just won’t allow me.

IPSO’s verdict represents a crushing defeat for the cause of climate alarmism. Seriously, it could hardly be worse for the eco-loons. Just relish the misery in the comments below this report in the Guardian.

Here are some of the comments:

It’s just a passing comment, but Dingopile is an arsehole that knows less than bugger all about climate change! [Do you see what he did with my name there? Comedy genius!]

Nothing written by Delingpole is proper science. The man has a degree in English literature.

So it’s okay to publish outright falsehoods meant to mislead the public, as long as you are of the right?

Delingpole is like a 4 year old child who purposefully defecates in his pants for attention.

Delingpole is not a scientist, certainly not an oceanographer, so why print his ramblings on things he knows nothing about?

James Delingpole is a total arse. He has sunk below the level of Michael Gove or Nigel Farage. He does not deserve this publicity by Damian Carrington. He thrives on the oxygen, and he must not be given any oxygen at all.

Note how very personal it all is. And that’s because, as the last commenter rightly noticed, the Guardian’s Environment editor, the Hon. Damian Carrington, (Winchester and Balliol), decided to make it personal.

His headline read:

James Delingpole article calling ocean acidification ‘alarmism’ cleared by the press watchdog

The article was full of snarky little asides, like:

Delingpole, who writes for controversial rightwing news site Breitbart, was censured by the Australian Press Council in 2012 after he quoted an anonymous source who compared the windfarm industry to a paedophile ring. He has dubbed greens “eco-nazis” and in another article he ended a long list of people and groups supporting action on climate change by writing: “Truly there just aren’t enough bullets!”

[I would like to make it clear if I haven’t already that I apologise profusely to any paedophiles who may have been offended at being linked to the wind turbine industry]

This is because in the eyes of the climate alarmist establishment I am one of the most dangerous people on earth. And I say this not to brag. It is merely an observable fact that there are certain figures – in the field of climate science they include people like Willie Soon, Pat Michaels and Tim Ball; in journalism they include me, Christopher Booker, David Rose and, perhaps notably, Mark Steyn; in politics they include Lord Lawson, Aussie Senator Malcolm Roberts and now Donald Trump –  who drive the Greenies apopleptic with rage. And because the Greenies see us as significant and influential, they seek at every turn to claim our scalps.

Which, of course, was the whole point of this complaint by Phil Williamson to the press regulator IPSO.

Had Williamson been successful it would have been a major blow to the cause of scientific rationalism, honest scepticism and freedom of speech. It would have been cited and crowed about ad nauseam by the usual suspects in the mainstream media – from the BBC to the New York Times – and in the house journals of the alarmist science establishment, such as Nature and Scientific American.

We know that this was the plan because of how closely the case was being followed by the Guardian‘s environment editor Damian Carrington. The first I heard of the IPSO ruling was when Carrington sent an email to my editor at the Spectator Fraser Nelson asking for a comment on the verdict. (The reason Williamson brought his case against the article I wrote in the Spectator, by the way, and not against any of the ones I’d written in Breitbart is because Breitbart doesn’t subscribe to the press regulator IPSO, so he would have been whistling into the wind). You might think this odd: why would a journalist with absolutely no connection with the case get to hear the result before either the journalist named in the complaint or the publication responsible for running the offending article? The answer, one can only presume, is that Carrington was in close touch with the complainant, Phil Williamson – and was waiting to strike the moment the good news came that the Delingpole monster had been slain by Britain’s press regulator.

The knock-on effects, had IPSO found against my article, would have been dire: the publications for which I write (both the Spectator and Breitbart) would have been made to look like sloppy purveyors of what the left loves to call these days “fake news”; my credibility as a reporter on climate science and the environment would have been diminished (not in the eyes of my regular readers, perhaps, but definitely in the eyes of all those undecideds who can’t make up their mind whether they agree with me on climate science or whether I’m talking bollocks); and, perhaps worst of all, the junk science concept of Ocean Acidification would have been given a reprieve it simply doesn’t deserve.

In case I haven’t made my position sufficiently clear on Ocean Acidification – always a danger with me: I’m forever holding back for fear that someone somewhere might be offended – this seems a good moment to restate it:

Ocean Acidification is a scam – the second biggest one in science right now. I’m not saying that it’s impossible or even unlikely that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide may be causing parts of our ocean to become marginally less alkaline. What I’m definitely saying is that it doesn’t matter a toss, to whit:

Ocean acidification – the evidence increasingly suggests – is a trivial, misleadingly named, and not remotely worrying phenomenon which has been hyped up beyond all measure for political, ideological and financial reasons.

It’s much more a political invention than a scientific one. I call it the climate alarmists’ Siegfried Line because that’s what it really is: it’s their fallback position for when man-made climate change theory finally collapses and they need to find some other half-arsed excuse for justifying their global war on the beneficial trace gas carbon dioxide.

I’m by no means the only person to have pointed this out. Matt Ridley (who unlike me has a scientific background) has written about it here, here and here.

Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, has written a paper debunking it.

As has Craig Idso.

So, much as the climate alarmists might pretend otherwise, my scepticism about Ocean Acidification isn’t some weird, lonely, contrarian position I’ve adopted just because I can’t help being an idiot or because I’m instinctively anti-science or because I’m not familiar with the material or because I’m funded by sinister vested interests which want the Ocean Acidification industry to fail or because – if you believe professional greenie Mark Lynas – I’m a “liar” and part of the “alt-right”.

Nope. I’m against Ocean Acidification theory because I’ve done loads and loads of background reading both about the way this marginal phenomenon has been overhyped  and about the lack of credible scientific evidence that it represents any kind of problem worth addressing. And the conclusion I’ve reached is that it’s both a money-making scam for some of the many second-rate scientists the grotesquely overbought climate alarmism sector seems to attract and also a slily dangerous propaganda campaign on behalf of all those anti-free-market greenies who are forever in search of another cod-scientific excuse to impose more tax and regulation on us in their endless war against economic growth.

Needless to say, the Ocean Acidification experts with their snouts in the Ocean Acidification don’t like hearing this point of view, which is why they are so livid about the IPSO decision.

The complainant, Phil Williamson, has written a stroppy piece for the Conversation (a website in which mostly left-wing academics are given space to vent about their pet gripes), denouncing IPSO with a piece titled “Science loses out to uninformed opinion on climate change – yet again.”

But this misrepresents IPSO’s decision.

It’s not “Science” – as Williamson grandly terms it – that was under attack in my various articles on Ocean Acidification. I’m not questioning the achingly trivial points that Williamson and his pals may or may not have alighted upon in the course of their navel-gazing research. What I’m questioning is whether it’s right that taxpayers should have to stump up for this research – and whether its findings are in any way significant or useful.

This, as IPSO rightly decided in its ruling, is a matter of opinion.

At Watts Up With That, Eric Worrall puts his finger on the fatal flaw of Williamson’s case:

In my opinion this entire sorry episode goes straight to the heart of the difference between the way alarmists like Williamson see the world, and the way normal people view the world.

Alarmists seem to want their models, theories and opinions to be accepted as established fact. But the reality is their shaky theories are full of poorly supported conjecture and extrapolation.

Indeed. And it’s by no means the first time Williamson and his crew have tried it on. In 2011 they made a very similar complaint – to what was then known as the Press Complaints Commission – about a piece I’d written on the Climategate scandal.

They objected especially to my description of Phil Jones, the then-head (recently retired) of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia as “disgraced, FOI-breaching, email-deleting, scientific-method abusing”.

What rather scuppered this particular complaint was when I provided the Press Complaints Commission with more than enough evidence to back up the claim.

But the thing that needs to be understood about these complaints is that they are not really designed to sift right from wrong, truth from untruth. Rather, as Mark Steyn says, the process is the punishment. That is, if you’re a publicly funded scientist on a generous grant with plenty of time on your hands in your cosy academic sinecure, then it’s no problem at all to while away a few days preparing your vexatious complaint to IPSO or the Press Complaints Commission.

But if you’re the hapless journalist who has to prepare your defence, it’s a different story: you’re very busy, time is money, and the whole process is so grindingly tedious you’d almost rather lose then have to go through each pettifogging criticism, crossing every T and dotting every I. (That’s why I would have probably lost had it not been for the efforts of the brilliant and indefatigable Ben Pile who has much more of an appetite for kicking irritating, querulous, nitpicking academics into touch by beating them at their own game).

Thank goodness I did win, though – not so much for my own sake but for the far more important causes of freedom of speech, honest and open scientific enquiry and responsible use of taxpayers’ money.

Oh, and also, for the sheer joy of causing some really dreadful, low-grade people endless amounts of teeth-gnashing misery.

Williamson, consider yourself pwned. Now, back into your box, where you belong, you lank-haired pillock.


EPA Undermines the Fight Against Zika Virus

Other than anarcho-libertarians, most agree that government has a role to play in preventing and suppressing epidemics, a classic public-health problem. Viral or bacterial infections are not passed from animal to person, or person to person, by voluntary exchange. Instead, proximity to another’s infection can lead to an individual’s becoming infected, notwithstanding any market interaction.

So, even the most freedom-oriented individuals accept government spending and restrictions on individual choice when the threat of epidemic increases. In 2014, the arrival at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport of a man carrying the Ebola virus caused some lawmakers to seek a ban on air travel from countries where Ebola had broken out.

Indeed, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain twenty quarantine stations at ports of entry, where public-health officials have the power to detain arriving passengers suspected of carrying communicable diseases.

Fortunately, we do not have to worry too much about these risks today. People in the United States no longer worry about contracting malaria or polio when walking near or swimming in still water. So, it is remarkable that the American people are not outraged that the U.S. government has let mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus enter Florida, where they continue to infect people. This has happened while the federal government’s energy has focused on controlling people’s private health choices, such as forcing Catholic nuns to pay for artificial contraceptives.

Worse, the Wall Street Journal reports the fight against Zika is reaching a “dead end,” because there is little financial incentive to develop new insecticides and increasing government regulation is driving out incumbent suppliers:

German chemical conglomerate BASF SE no longer markets in the U.S. a chemical called temephos, which kills mosquito larvae by disrupting their nervous systems. The company and U.S. insecticide makers that were buying temephos let its U.S. registration lapse at the end of 2015 after the EPA requested new studies on its effects, including its potential to interfere with endocrine production in people.

“The cost of the studies was five to 10 times the yearly [U.S.] sales,” said Egon Weinmüller, head of BASF’s public health insecticide business. “We couldn’t find a way that makes it feasible for those costs.” BASF still sells temephos in other countries, he said.

(Jacob Bunge and Betsy McKay, “Fight Against Zika Nears ‘Dead End’,” Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2017.)

The government’s behavior is surely increasing the risk of a Zika breakout in the United States. Rather than driving out current suppliers and inhibiting development of new insecticides, the government should be encouraging innovation. This may be an area where it is appropriate for the government to fund prizes for new insecticides that will eliminate the threat. Or, if we do not want to invest taxpayer dollars, at least get the burdensome environmental over-regulation out of the way so investments by private actors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (cited in the WSJ article), have a chance to succeed.

The government just has shift its focus from “priorities” like rules governing the use of bathrooms by trans-gendered persons to real public-health issues.


Southern Baptist leaders defend Trump’s pick to lead EPA

Four dozen Southern Baptist leaders voiced support for President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, under scrutiny for his views on climate change, in an open letter Dec. 16.

The current and 12 past Southern Baptist Convention presidents, 14 current and former agency heads and executive directors of 17 SBC-affiliated Baptist state conventions said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt “is well qualified” to run the EPA and “deserves the full support of the United States Senate in his confirmation.”

The Southern Baptist leaders said they believe Pruitt, a deacon at First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Okla., and a trustee at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has been misrepresented as denying “settled science” for questioning the evidence linking greenhouse gas emissions to climate change.

Pruitt co-wrote a National Review article in May arguing the policy debate over global warming “is far from settled.”

“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” said Pruitt, a close ally of the energy industry who has filed a lawsuit against the agency he is about to lead. “That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums and the halls of Congress.”

Politico reported Dec. 14 that Senate Democrats would seek to block Pruitt’s nomination by turning the vote into “a referendum on whether Republicans believe humans are causing global warming.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, who led the EPA under President George W. Bush from 2001 until 2003, said she doesn’t recall ever seeing “an appointment of someone who is so disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does.”

“He obviously doesn’t care much for the agency or any of the regulations it has promulgated,” Whitman said in a Dec. 12 article in Grist. “He doesn’t believe in climate change. He wants to roll back the Clean Power Plan.”

The Southern Baptist officials, who include the presidents of all six SBC seminaries, said “every realm of human activity comes with the responsibility to be good stewards of all that is entrusted to us” and welcomed “the progress made in respecting creation, advancing a proper environmentalism and affirming this stewardship.”

“At the same time, we reject any ideology that sees human beings as a blight upon the planet and would harm human flourishing by restricting or preventing the rightful use and enjoyment of creation,” they said.

“We do not deny the existence of climate change nor the urgency of this concern,” the letter said. “We affirm an ongoing debate on the proper balance between the unleashing of human enterprise and the protection of creation.”

They said that instead of denying science Pruitt “has actually called for a continuing debate,” something that is “in the very best tradition of science.”

A complete list of signatories can be seen on the full letter as published by Baptist Press.

One of the signatories, Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler, said recent opposition to Pruitt from the secular left points to “the folly of scientism.”

“At this point I need to make very clear that Mr. Pruitt is a friend and he is a member of the board of trustees of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Mohler said in his daily podcast Dec. 13.

Mohler described the debate over Pruitt’s nomination as “a battle of worldviews” between Christianity and what “can only be rightly described as scientism.”

“This is a worldview that doesn’t merely admire science, it is a worldview that reduces every question of meaning to that which can be ascertained by the science of the hour,” Mohler said.

The Southern Baptist Convention went on record in 2007 with a resolution citing “conflicting scientific research” concerning human-induced global warming and calling on national leaders “to only support cost-effective measures to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and to reject government-mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Some of the signers of the letter defending Pruitt added their names to “A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change” in 2008 dissenting from the denomination’s “too timid” approach on climate change spearheaded by Jonathan Merritt, at the time a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and now a faith and culture blogger for Religion News Service.

“Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed,” the 2008 statement said. “We can do better. To abandon these issues to the secular world is to shirk from our responsibility to be salt and light.”

Other Southern Baptist leaders inked an open letter in 2006 endorsing a document offering “extensive evidence and argument against the extent, the significance, and perhaps the existence of the much-touted scientific consensus on catastrophic human-induced global warming” produced by the Cornwall Alliance, a conservative Christian public policy group formed in 2005 to discourage evangelical leaders from supporting legislation aimed at curbing climate change.


The Anti-Pipeline Anti-Environmentalists

Another day, another pipeline protest by "keep it in the ground" activists.

On Dec. 8, a dozen people swarmed a construction site near the Hudson River in an attempt to halt construction of Spectra Energy's AIM pipeline, which is designed to carry natural gas from New Jersey to Massachusetts. The protesters, who call themselves the HudsonStand12, were arrested and charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest by authorities in Cortlandt, New York.

Those arrests come on the heels of the monthslong protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline project in North Dakota, which, of course, followed the brouhaha over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Climate activists are now hoping to block oil and gas pipeline projects across the country due to their claim that we must keep all hydrocarbons in the ground to avert catastrophic climate change. Those same activists repeatedly claim we don't need fossil fuels because we can rely solely on wind and solar energy.

But while they obsess over our carbon footprint, climate activists don't give a fig about the land-use footprint of renewables. Indeed, the dirty truth about "clean" energy is that it requires shocking amounts of land. In a recent report for the Manhattan Institute, I show that using wind and solar energy to reduce domestic carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050 (80 by 50) will require covering about 287,700 square miles of territory — an area about the size of Texas and West Virginia combined.

I calculated the land-use requirements by examining three decarbonization scenarios that have been published over the past few years including the wind, water, and solar scenario that has been endorsed by the leaders of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and Averaging those three scenarios shows that achieving 80 by 50 with renewables alone will require about 1,958 gigawatts of wind energy capacity and about 2,441 gigawatts of solar capacity.

I then used data from the Department of Energy and published media stories to calculate wind energy's capacity density, that is, its overall footprint. The result: wind energy's footprint is 3 watts per square meter, or 1 gigawatt per 131.3 square miles. I relied on published data for three large California solar-photovoltaic projects to calculate solar's capacity density. The result: solar's footprint is 36.3 watts per square meter or 1 gigawatt per 10.6 square miles.

These land-use figures are relevant because of the growing rural backlash against renewable-energy projects. For instance, while national media focused on protesters who gathered near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to oppose Dakota Access, they ignored the recent rejection of a huge wind project located about 170 miles west of there.

On Nov. 15, Billings County officials rejected the application for a 383-megawatt wind energy project that was to cover some 25,000 acres. Chief among their concerns was the project's visual impact, including the fact that some of the turbines would have been visible from inside Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

In New York, three upstate counties — Erie, Orleans, and Niagara — as well as the towns of Yates and Somerset, are all fighting a proposed 200-megawatt project called Lighthouse Wind. In Vermont, about 160 towns and cities have signed the Rutland Resolution which calls for more local control over the siting of renewable-energy projects.

Renewables are also hammering wildlife. Not only are wind turbines killing significant numbers of eagles and other birds, a recent study by scientists from the US Geological Survey have found that wind turbines are now the planet's largest killer of bats.

For decades, a central tenet of environmentalism has been small footprints in everything from agriculture to urban planning. But now, in the name of climate change, environmentalism has been turned on its head. Rather than advocate for people, landscapes and wildlife, our biggest environmental groups are cheering for renewable energy schemes that disregard all three.

In short, keeping it "in the ground" requires decimating much of what's above ground. That's a lousy trade.



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

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


10 January, 2017

Warming causes cooling -- again

If warming causes cooling, global warming is an unfalsifiable theory.  It is just a religion. But that fazes no Warmist.  The report below is an old chestnut.  It pops up every few years.  Sometimes they claim that the Gulf Stream has already slowed down but that soon gets knocked on the head.  In the latest iteration below, the author plays it safe.  He makes his predictions for 300 years in the future.  No need for us to worry, then.  It's all just modelling anyway.  You can get anything you want out of modelling -- particularly if you are as crooked as a Warmist

Yale University scientist Wei Liu has calculated that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation could collapse within 300 years. The graphic illustrates predicted responses on surface temperature and precipitation.

Climate change could become so extreme that it might trigger the cataclysmic collapse of a vital Atlantic Ocean current and plunge parts of the Northern Hemisphere into a frigid new reality, a study warns.

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) transports warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic and helps regulate climate and weather patterns all over the world. As it releases the warmth into the air, the cooling water sinks and flows back to the tropics to repeat the process. But researchers fear that as the air in the north warms significantly due to climate change, the AMOC won’t be able to transfer its warmth to the atmosphere and the great circulatory engine of the ocean could stagnate and shut down.

“It is a major player in the climate system, important for Europe and North America. So it’s a big deal,” Tom Delworth, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Verge.

The doomsday scenario is chillingly like the plot of the sci-fi movie “The Day After Tomorrow,” in which the collapse of an ocean current turns North America and Europe into frigid wastelands in a matter of weeks.

The risk was uncovered by Yale University scientist Wei Liu, who has calculated in a study published in Science Advances that the AMOC could collapse within 300 years once atmospheric carbon dioxide increases to 710 parts per million. Last week’s levels were 405 parts per million. There is already evidence that the AMOC has slowed, according to the paper. A shutdown would trigger “prominent cooling” of the northern North Atlantic and a “remarkable sea ice expansion,” according to Wei’s model. In addition, the normal rain belt of the temperate areas would be pushed significantly southward over the tropical Atlantic.

The model also predicts disruptions in other parts of the world. Without cold water moving south again, the new scenario indicates a stronger warming pattern south of the equator, creating far more rain for places like northeastern Brazil and less rain for Central America. The model also predicts a greater reduction in Antarctic sea ice.

Wei warns that this fragility in the life-sustaining AMOC has been overlooked in climate change models. “The significance of our study is to point out a systematic bias in current climate models that hinders a correct climate projection,” he said in a statement.

The concern about AMOC “is a very provocative idea,” said study co-author Zhengyu Liu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “For me, it’s a 180-degree turn because I had been thinking like everyone else,” he added, referring to his earlier perspective that the AMOC would remain relatively stable regardless of the effects of climate change.


Delingpole has a win

A Warmist complained to Britain's Independent Press Standards Organisation that James Delingpole, writing in the Spectator,  had mocked the ocean acidification theory unjustifiably. The committee found that Delingpole had done nothing wrong.  Below is the judgment, followed by an excerpt of the paper by Patrick Moore which Delingpole referred to

Delingpole in sepia

Findings of the Complaints Committee

19. The article was written in the first person, and sought to challenge what it made clear was the consensus view on ocean acidification. Before the article set out its criticisms, it referred to there being an extensive academic literature on the subject, and made clear that the theory had been endorsed by scientists from a number of institutions. The article referred to the author as being one of a group of “sceptics”, and a “denier”, and the final sentence of the article suggested it was “time our supposed ‘conspiracy theories’ were taken more seriously”. The article was clearly a comment piece, in which the author was expressing sceptical views on ocean acidification, and describing sceptical views expressed by others, that were contrary to the academic consensus. The Committee’s role is not to make findings of fact or to resolve conflicting evidence in relation to matters under debate. Rather, it assesses the care taken not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, and establishes whether a distinction is clearly made between comment, conjecture and fact, in determining whether the Code has been breached.

20. The Committee noted the complainant’s position that no experts in the field had expressed concern that ocean acidification could cause a “mass extinction”. However, it was not in dispute that many considered ocean acidification to be a matter of concern, and some believed it posed a serious threat to marine life. In this context, the claims the article made in support of its position that it was a “scaremongering” theory were not significantly misleading. The Committee noted the complainant’s position that the evidence did not “increasingly suggest”, that ocean acidification was “trivial”. The article went on to make clear what this evidence was, which the author was entitled to select in support of his position. In addition, the article made clear that this view was contrary to the consensus. The article was not misleading on this point.

21. The Committee noted the complainant’s position that the article misrepresented the paper reviewing the academic literature on ocean acidification. It was not misleading to claim that the paper was a “review of all the papers published on [ocean acidification]”, in circumstances where the paper described itself as “providing a brief overview of the history of research on [ocean acidification]”. The paper in question did refer to there being a publication bias towards papers which report negative effects of ocean acidification, and referred to a paper which highlighted methodological problems in research in the area. The manner in which the article presented the author’s interpretation of the paper was not significantly misleading.

22. The article reported that two named individuals had omitted historical data on oceanic pH from their research on ocean acidification, but that another named individual had incorporated this data into his own chart. The fact that the article misdated one of the charts referred to in this debate was not a significant inaccuracy in this context. While the Committee noted that the complainant agreed with the decision to omit this data, such that he considered the conclusions derived from its use to be invalid, the article was not a significantly misleading report of this scientific debate. It was not significantly misleading for the article to express the view that the omission of this data represented a flaw.

23. In support of the position that ocean acidification “wouldn’t be a disaster”, the article referred to reasons put forward by Patrick Moore. The Committee noted that the complainant disagreed with these reasons, and referred to research by other scientists which suggested that ocean acidification would harm the marine eco-system. The article had previously made clear that many were concerned by the possible consequences of ocean acidification, and it was not misleading for it to describe the alternative point of view, as put forward by Mr Moore. It was not disputed that this individual had been involved in the early days of Greenpeace movement, and whether or not he was “co-founder” was not significant in the context of the article.

24. It was not in dispute that the ocean acidification research programme had received public funding. Which government department had provided this funding, and whether it was provided directly, or via a research council, was not significant. The article’s claim that it looked “increasingly to be the case” that global warming theory was a “busted flush”, the claims about the reasons why research has been conducted on ocean acidification, and the claim about the ease with which the issue of ocean acidification could have been “resolved”, were matters of comment, and were clearly presented as the author’s opinion. The Committee did not establish that the article failed to clearly distinguish between comment and fact. It did not establish that the article contained any significant inaccuracies or misleading statements, such as to demonstrate a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article under the terms of Clause 1 (i), or such as to require correction under the terms of Clause 1 (ii).There was no breach of Clause 1.


25. The complaint was not upheld.



The scare is a pack of lies



1. The concept of ocean acidification is a recent phenomenon that has resulted in an explosion of journal articles, media reports and alarmist publications from environmental organizations.

2. Many papers on ocean acidification, said to be caused by rising man-made CO2 levels in the atmosphere, predict that it will result in the mass extinction of marine species that employ calcification, including corals, shellfish and many species of plankton, and that this, in turn, will result in the extinction of many other marine species.

3. Assumptions about pre-industrial ocean pH beginning around 1750 and laboratory studies that cannot adequately emulate natural oceanic conditions are the basis for the predictions of the future pH of the oceans.

4. Marine species that calcify have survived through millions of years during which CO2 was at much higher levels in the atmosphere.

5. All species are capable of adapting to changes in their environments. Over the long term, genetic evolution has made it possible for all species extant today, and their ancestors, to survive radical changes through the millennia. In the short term, phenotypic plasticity and transgenerational plasticity allow species to adapt to environmental change in relatively rapid fashion.

6. Seawater has a very large buffering capacity that prevents large shifts in pH when weak acids such as carbonic acid or weak bases are added to it

7. All species, including marine calcifying species, are capable of controlling their internal chemistry in a wide range of external conditions.

8. If the forecasts of continued global warming are borne out, the oceans will also become warmer and will tend to outgas CO2, offsetting to some extent the small increased partial pressure that might otherwise occur.

9. An analysis of research on the effect of lower pH shows a net beneficial impact on the calcification, metabolism, growth, fertility and survival of calcifying marine species when pH is lowered up to 0.3 units, which is beyond what is considered a plausible reduction during this century.

10. There is no evidence to support the claim that most calcifying marine species will become extinct owing to higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and lower pH in the oceans.


Reality-based climate forecasting

Continuing to focus on carbon dioxide as the driving force will just bring more bogus predictions

Paul Driessen

These days, even shipwreck museums showcase evidence of climate change.

After diving recently among Key West’s fabled ship-destroying barrier reefs, I immersed myself in exhibits from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, the fabled Spanish galleon that foundered during a ferocious hurricane in 1622. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum now houses many of the gold, silver, emeralds and artifacts that Mel and Deo Fisher’s archeological team recovered after finding the wreck in 1985.

Also featured prominently in the museum is the wreck of a British slave ship, the Henrietta Marie. It sank in a hurricane off Key West in 1700, after leaving 190 Africans in Jamaica, to be sold as slaves.

As Fisher divers excavated the Henrietta wreck, at 40 feet below the sea surface they found – not just leg shackles and other grim artifacts from that horrific era – but charred tree branches, pine cones and other remnants from a forest fire 8,400 years ago! The still resinous smelling fragments demonstrate that this area (like all other coastal regions worldwide) was well above sea level, before the last ice age ended and melting glaciers slowly raised oceans to their current level: 400 feet higher than during the frigid Pleistocene, when an enormous portion of Earth’s seawater was locked up in glaciers.

Climate change has clearly been “real” throughout earth and human history. The question is, exactly how and how much do today’s human activities affect local, regional or global climate and weather?

Unfortunately, politicized climate change researchers continue to advance claims that complex, powerful, interconnected natural forces have been replaced by manmade fossil fuel emissions, especially carbon dioxide; that any future changes will be catastrophic; and that humanity can control climate and weather by controlling its appetite for oil, gas, coal and modern living standards.

If you like your climate, you can keep it, they suggest. If you don’t, we can make you a better one.

Not surprisingly, climate chaos scientists who’ve relied on the multi-billion-dollar government gravy train are distraught over the prospect that President Donald Trump will slash their budgets or terminate their CO2-centric research. Desperate to survive, they are replacing the term “climate change” with “global change” or “weather” in grant proposals, and going on offense with op-ed articles and media interviews.

“This is what the coming attack on science could look like,” Penn State modeler and hockey stick creator Michael Mann lamented in a Washington Post column. “I fear what may happen under Trump. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance.” (Actually, it’s his million-dollar grants that hang in the balance.)

A “skeptic” scientist has warmed to the idea that a major Greenland ice shelf may be shrinking because of climate change, a front-page piece in the Post claimed. Perhaps so. But is it manmade warming? Does it portend planetary cataclysm, even as Greenland’s interior and Antarctica show record ice growth? Or are warm ocean currents weakening an ice shelf that is fragile because it rests on ocean water, not land?

The fundamental problem remains. If it was substandard science and modeling under Obama era terminology, it will be substandard under survivalist jargon. The notion that manmade carbon dioxide now drives climate and weather – and we can predict climate and weather by looking only at plant-fertilizing CO2 and other “greenhouse gases” – is just as absurd now as before.

Their predictions will be as invalid and unscientific as divining future Super Bowl winners by modeling who plays left guard for each team – or World Cup victors by looking at center backs.

As climate realists take the reins at EPA and other federal and state agencies, the Trump Administration should ensure that tax dollars are not squandered on more alarmist science that is employed to justify locking up more fossil fuels, expanding renewable energy and “carbon capture” schemes, reducing US living standards, and telling poor countries what living standards they will be “permitted” to have.

Reliable forecasts, as far in advance as possible, would clearly benefit humanity. For that to happen, however, research must examine all natural and manmade factors, and not merely toe the pretend-consensus line that carbon dioxide now governs climate change.

That means government grants must not go preferentially to researchers who seek to further CO2-centrism, but rather to those who are committed to a broader scope of solid, dispassionate research that examines both natural and manmade factors. Grant recipients must also agree to engage in robust discussion and debate, to post, explain and defend their data, methodologies, analyses and conclusions.

They must devote far more attention to improving our understanding of all the forces that drive climate fluctuations, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them. Important factors include cyclical variations in the sun’s energy and cosmic ray output, winds high in Earth’s atmosphere, and decadal and century-scale circulation changes in the deep oceans, which are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to predict or be realistically included in climate models.

Another is the anomalous warm water areas that develop from time to time in the Pacific Ocean and then are driven by winds and currents northward into the Arctic, affecting US, Canadian, European and Asian temperatures and precipitation. The process of cloud formation is also important, because clouds help retain planetary warmth, reflect the sun’s heat, and provide cooling precipitation.

Many scientists have tried to inject these factors into climate discussions. However, the highly politicized nature of US, IPCC and global climate change funding, research, regulatory and treaty-making activities has caused CO2-focused factions to discount, dismiss or ignore the roles these natural forces play.

The political situation has also meant that most research and models have focused on carbon dioxide and other assumed human contributions to climate change. Politics, insufficient data and inadequate knowledge also cause models to reflect unrealistic physics theories, use overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques, and fail to account adequately for deep-ocean circulation cycles and the enormity and complexity of natural forces and their constant, intricate interplay in driving climate fluctuations.

Speedier, more powerful computers simply make any “garbage in-garbage out” calculations, analyses and predictions occur much more quickly – facilitating faster faulty forecasts … and policy recommendations.

The desire to secure research funding from Obama grantor agencies also perpetuated a tendency to use El Niño warming spikes, and cherry-pick the end of cooling cycles as the starting point for trend lines that allegedly “prove” fossil fuels are causing “unprecedented” temperature spikes and planetary calamity.

Finally, the tens of billions of dollars given annually in recent years to “keep it in the ground” anti-fossil fuel campaigners, national and international regulators, and renewable energy companies have given these vested interests enormous incentives to support IPCC/EPA pseudo-science – and vilify and silence climate realists who do not accept “catastrophic manmade climate change” precepts.

The Trump Administration and 115th Congress have a unique opportunity to change these dynamics, and ensure that future research generates useful information, improved understanding of Earth’s complex climate system, and forecasts that are increasingly accurate. In addition to the above, they should:

* Reexamine and reduce (or even eliminate) the role that climate model “projections” (predictions) play in influencing federal policies, laws and regulations – until modeling capabilities are vastly and demonstrably improved, in line with the preceding observations.

* Revise the Clean Air Act to remove EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide – or compel EPA to reexamine its “endangerment” finding, to reflect the previous bullet, information and commentary.

* Significantly reduce funding for climate research, the IPCC and EPA, and science in general. Funding should be more broadly based, not monopolistic, especially when the monopoly is inevitably politicized.

This is not an “attack on science.” It is a reaffirmation of what real science is supposed to be and do.

Via email

At last: Work begins at British fracking site

It doesn’t exactly look like a revolution in the making: a set of temporary traffic lights blocking off a small stretch of Lancashire A-road.

But the new traffic control measures, installed on Preston New Road near Little Plumpton by fracking firm Cuadrilla, represent the modest beginnings of a key frontier in the search for shale gas that ministers hope could one day transform Britain’s energy supplies.

In October, the Government granted Cuadrilla planning consent to frack at the site, between Blackpool and Preston, against the wishes of the local council.

On Thursday, the company announced it had now begun initial construction work in a step chief executive Francis Egan hailed as an “important milestone”.

The traffic measures are designed to allow for the construction of a new access road into the field where the exploration will take place. Over the next three months Cuadrilla plans to develop a site roughly the size of a rugby pitch, creating a well pad lined with an impermeable membrane to protect the environment.

In April, it hopes to begin drilling down thousands of feet into the rock to take samples and assess the best trajectory for horizontal wells that will, for the first time in the UK, extend out into the shale rocks beneath nearby homes.

Fracking – pumping water, sand and chemicals into the well to hydraulically fracture the rocks and release gas trapped within them – should follow in the third quarter, enabling the company to test how easily gas can be produced.

Mr Egan said: “Twelve months from now we hope this work will prove the economic viability of this indigenous shale gas resource in Lancashire, which will help improve energy security for the nation.”

Cuadrilla believes that some 200 trillion cubic feet of gas could lie in its Lancashire licence area. If 10pc could be extracted, it would be equivalent to about 7 years’ worth of the UK’s gas needs.

But the private equity-backed company has not undertaken any shale drilling in Lancashire since 2011 when it caused earth tremors attempting to frack a vertical well at Preese Hall, leading to a moratorium.

Indeed, despite the lifting of the ban a year later and enthusiastic Government backing for a UK shale gas “revolution”, no fracking has taken place anywhere in the country since.

This year, however, industry hopes are high with Cuadrilla’s efforts in Lancashire getting underway at the same time as Third Energy prepares to frack an existing vertical well at its site in Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

The Kirby Misperton fracking, which got planning consent from the local council earlier last May, had been held up pending a judicial review challenge which was thrown out in December.

Though there are two outstanding legal challenges against Cuadrilla’s planning consent, the company said they did not represent any impediment to it starting work.

In Lancashire on Thursday, a handful of anti-fracking campaigners gathered with placards on the pavement by Cuadrilla’s new roadworks.

“A record number of people objected to the council, and we were listened to when the council decided to not let fracking happen,” said Gillian Wood, from Blackpool. “It's appalling that this is being forced on us, our countryside and our climate, and we won't stand for it.”

Like the traffic lights, Thursday's small-scale protest is also expected to represent only the modest beginning.



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, 2017

The usual gullibility from Kristoff of the Times

Kristoff has discovered that a lot of Southern Africa is in drought at the moment and has gone there with photographers to savor it.  He rediscovers that drought kills a lot of people in poor countries.  Australia has tremendous droughts but they don't kill anyone.  Kristoff takes no account of that.

Kristoff is just echoing some crooked science from people at AMETSOC who should know better.  They say that the cause of the drought is El Nino -- which may be true -- but their further claim that the effect was amplified by anthropogenic global warming is pure rubbish.  What they say is:

"Anthropogenic warming contributed to the 2015 Ethiopian and southern African droughts by increasing El Niño SSTs [Sea Surface Temperatures] and local air temperatures, causing reduced rainfall and runoff, and contributing to severe food insecurity."

But how could that be?  Warmer seas give off MORE evaporation that comes down as rain.  Their claim defies basic physics.  So why do they say that?  It's just modelling. You can get anything you want out of modelling -- particularly if you are as crooked as a Warmist.

And I suppose I have to point out again that there was no increase in CO2, during the El Nino period so no temperature increase could be due to it.  The AMETSOC claims are hogwash

TSIHOMBE, Madagascar — She is just a frightened mom, worrying if her son will survive, and certainly not fretting about American politics — for she has never heard of either President Obama or Donald Trump.

What about America itself? Ranomasy, who lives in an isolated village on this island of Madagascar off southern Africa, shakes her head. It doesn’t ring any bells.

Yet we Americans may be inadvertently killing her infant son. Climate change, disproportionately caused by carbon emissions from America, seems to be behind a severe drought that has led crops to wilt across seven countries in southern Africa. The result is acute malnutrition for 1.3 million children in the region, the United Nations says.

Trump has repeatedly mocked climate change, once even calling it a hoax fabricated by China. But climate change here is as tangible as its victims. Trump should come and feel these children’s ribs and watch them struggle for life. It’s true that the links between our carbon emissions and any particular drought are convoluted, but over all, climate change is as palpable as a wizened, glassy-eyed child dying of starvation. Like Ranomasy’s 18-month-old son, Tsapasoa.

Southern Africa’s drought and food crisis have gone largely unnoticed around the world. The situation has been particularly severe in Madagascar, a lovely island nation known for deserted sandy beaches and playful long-tailed primates called lemurs.

But the southern part of the island doesn’t look anything like the animated movie “Madagascar”: Families are slowly starving because rains and crops have failed for the last few years. They are reduced to eating cactus and even rocks or ashes. The United Nations estimates that nearly one million people in Madagascar alone need emergency food assistance.

I met Ranomasy at an emergency feeding station run by Catholic nuns who were trying to save her baby. Ranomasy had carried Tsapasoa 12 hours on a trek through the desert to get to the nuns, walking barefoot because most villagers have already sold everything from shoes to spoons to survive.

“I feel so powerless as a mother, because I know how much I love my child,” she said. “But whatever I do just doesn’t work.”

The drought is also severe in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and a related drought has devastated East Africa and the Horn of Africa and is expected to continue this year. The U.N. World Food Program has urgently appealed for assistance, but only half the money needed has been donated.

The immediate cause of the droughts was an extremely warm El Niño event, which came on top of a larger drying trend in the last few decades in parts of Africa. New research, just published in the bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, concludes that human-caused climate change exacerbated El Niño’s intensity and significantly reduced rainfall in parts of Ethiopia and southern Africa.


Renewables investment in UK will fall 95% over next three years – study

A few subsidy cuts and the whole thing falls over in a heap

Investment in windfarms will fall off a “cliff edge” over the next three years and put the UK’s greenhouse gas reduction targets at risk, a thinktank has found.

More than £1bn of future investment in renewable energy projects disappeared over the course of 2016, the Green Alliance found when it analysed the government’s latest pipeline of major infrastructure plans.

Investment in wind, solar, biomass power and waste-to-energy projects will decline by 95% between 2017 and 2020, it added.

While a slowdown in green energy investment had been expected after ministers cut several subsidy schemes over the last 18 months, the figures lay bare the dramatic extent of the decline.

“This cliff edge needs to be avoided if the UK is to meet its world leading carbon budgets and Paris agreement pledge,” Green Alliance said in its analysis.

Shortly after the EU referendum, the government committed to cutting carbon emissions by 57% by 2030 on 1990 levels, but has so far failed to spell out how it will support low-carbon energy, such as offshore windfarms, beyond 2020.

“Renewables will be cheaper than new fossil power stations by 2025 at the latest if we allow companies to build, learn, and cut their costs. But the government has been holding back the final bit of support needed to make renewables subsidy free. It’s also blocked the cheapest renewables from being built,” said Dustin Benton, acting deputy director at Green Alliance, referring to the government ending subsidies for onshore wind. “Unsurprisingly, the result is a 95% fall in investment.”

The thinktank’s analysis found that high carbon infrastructure, which it defines as fossil fuel power stations, airports and road building, was faring little better. For the first time since 2012, high carbon investment had stopped growing, and will be down by two-thirds by 2020.

“The picture of private sector investment is very clear: it is rapidly moving away from high carbon infrastructure. In contrast, public sector high carbon investment is rising, although slowly,” the authors wrote.

RenewableUK, which represents the wind power industry, said the government needed to set out its vision on energy to enable investor confidence.

Emma Pinchbeck, the group’s executive director, said: “The energy sector is changing. The infrastructure pipeline shows that the private sector understands the smart money is on the renewables industry – that is why they are moving from high carbon assets to low carbon ones.”


97% Consequential Misperceptions: Ethics of Consensus on Global Warming

The paper abstracted below sets out the total philosophical inadequacies behind the "97% consensus" claim -- JR

Michelle Stirling


Cook et al (2016) presents a collaborative work by several consensus study authors, who claim a 97% agreement by undefined climate science experts that “humans are causing recent global warming.” The statement illustrates the problem of trying to use a social proof of consensus in place of scientifically defined evidence. The lack of empirical parameters that specifically identify the claimed ratio of human effect versus natural influence, the timescale in question, the level of risk or benefit, and the human activity or causative factor(s) are undefined. The notion of consensus defies the fundamental principle of scientific inquiry which is not about agreement, but rather a continuous search for understanding. This paper evaluates key disparities of Cook et al (2016) and outlines why a claimed consensus is a powerful tool for driving public policy, but an inappropriate and unethical means of conducting scientific inquiry or informing the public.


Media And The Game Of Climate Change Denialism

The recent election campaign brought huge amounts of criticism, disdain and scorn for the so-called ‘main-stream media’ (MSM), split between those with a conspiratorial point of view and others who have (long) complained that the media focuses more on the election as contest rather than discussing policy issues.  Needless to say, part of the problem stems from the public’s love of controversy (Kim Kardashian always gets more clicks than Hillary Clinton), but the complexity of many policy issues has long bedeviled politicians.  Bill Clinton, known as a policy ‘wonk,’ also created the acronym KISS for Keep It Simple, Stupid, while George H. W. Bush, very definitely an intellectual, pioneered the sound bite, that brief comment that could make the nightly news with its short attention span.

Climate change is a perfect example of how the media reduces something complex to “he said, she said” conflict, and discussion of President-elect Trump’s appointees highlight this.  During a recent NPR interview with Christine Whitman, former EPA administrator, about the proposed appointment of Scott Pruitt as the new EPA administrator, she said “He is very definitely a denier of climate change, something that scientists, by and large, overwhelmingly, say is occurring and that humans have a role to play in that.”  The interviewer, David Greene of NPR, remarked that the NPR staff had not been able to find any evidence of him denying climate change (wow, they actually did research!), which fact Whitman waved off.

The next day, there was the reverse.  Former Secretary Abraham remarked, “At this point, no one has the categorical answer to the question of how fast the climate's changing and when we're going to face consequences from that.”  David Greene, oddly, remarked, “I mean, there are a lot of people out there who feel the science is absolutely settled, that humans are causing the climate to change.”  Although he then qualified it with, “there are a lot of questions to be answered as time goes on….”

Abraham’s response to whether or not he ‘believed in climate change science’ was “I believe that the climate is changing. I believe that it is likely that humans are playing a role in that. How fast it's changing is the main issue I think that we have to deduce now.”  To reiterate, this is not climate change denialism, but the media seems to have trouble moving beyond that.

There are many aspects of climate change science which are very important, but hardly discussed by the media.  This is worsened by advocacy groups and websites, which often reduce every question to belief vs denial of anthropomorphic climate change, saying skeptics are like those who don’t believe in evolution.  This is bizarre, since there are numerous debates about evolution, not questioning the underlying science itself but many aspects of it, without being called ‘denialist’.  Nor does anyone think that we can predict the next 50 million years of evolution despite having a good understanding of the last 50 million years.

Yes, those like Senator Inhofe who call climate change a “hoax” are denialists, just like many conspiracy theorists who deny the moon landings, for example.  But applying the ‘denialist’ label to everyone who says parts of the science aren’t settled is the sort of approach taken by religious fundamentalists like the Catholic Church during the Enlightenment, suppressing discussion of scientific theories.

Most mainstream scientists seem to have no problem with acknowledging the uncertainties surrounding climate change science, including the IPCC.  Take this statement from their recent report:   “It is extremely likely that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”  “More than half” is better than less than half, but it’s not the same as saying the science is ‘absolutely settled’.  Again, the focus in the media is on whether or not climate change is being caused by people, when the discussion should be on issues like radiative forcing and feedback effects.

Using the Search Engine Who Shall Not Be Named, looking at news in the last 3 months for radiative forcing turns up about 100 hits, mostly small papers (Firstpost, apparently Indian), science web sites ( and environmental organizations, but except for PBS and CNBC, no major media seems to have covered the question.  This is a question of primary importance and there is some uncertainty, to say nothing of that revolving around feedback effects.

From the latest IPCC:  “Radiative forcing (RF) is a measure of the net change in the energy balance of the Earth system in response to some external perturbation. It is expressed in watts per square metre (W m–2); ….The best estimate for WMGHG ERF is the same as RF, but the uncertainty range is twice as large due to the poorly constrained cloud responses.”  The estimate of RF falls in a range of 2.54 to 3.12 watts per square meter, which is relatively narrow, although some of the components, like O3, have wider ranges (0.3 to 0.7).  (Don’t rely on this for the science, I’m just repeating the Technical Summary of the IPCC latest report.)

But the point is that the range of possible temperature changes remains huge, not just from uncertainty about radiative forcing, but feedback effects, economic growth, future policy approaches and so forth.  This is reflected in both the uncertainties regarding emission levels, with projected CH4 emissions ranging from 200 to 700 TgCH4/yr in 2100, and scenarios of expected effects.  The IPCC shows four Representative Concentration Pathways, which yield temperature increases of 0.3 to 1.7 degrees C (RCP 2.6) to 2.6 to 4.8 (RCP 8.5) in the 2081 to 2100 period.  Not only does this demonstrate the uncertainty, but the IPCC itself says “Many impacts [of climate change] can be reduced, delayed or avoided by mitigation.”

To summarize, climate change is real and human activity is partly responsible.  We don’t know how much temperatures will rise, nor the impact of that rise, with great precision or certainty, but the effects could be very serious.  More research will help reduce that uncertainty.  But everyone who says this should not be labelled a denialist, nor should “the science” be considered “absolutely settled”.  The media needs to reflect this nuance in their reporting.

The public debate seems to focus on the extreme views of ‘climate change is a hoax’ to ‘fossil fuels must be left in the ground’ neither of which is a valuable attitude.  Both sides tend to attack the other as motivated by ideology and money, avoiding serious discussions of either the science or best policy approaches.  Maybe for Donald Trump’s inauguration he should invite Anna Nalick to sing “Breathe, just breathe".


Climate Politics in 2016

by DR. CHRISTOPHER ESSEX, a prominent Canadian physicist

Fake news!? Fake news!? I’ll tell you about fake news! For decades, scientists like me have been drowning in it.
At first, it was funny to read about how kittens, redheads and the Loch Ness monster were allegedly affected by climate transmogrification (CT). (The term “climate change” really doesn’t cut it for true activists, does it?) Eventually even the people at Number Watch stopped keeping track of the more than 800 items on their list of things allegedly caused by CT because they were blown over by the scale of the journalistic baloney storm (BS) that fills human news bandwidth on climate.

Initially, rationally minded people could chalk it up to human confusion and misinformation. But after the recent fake news follies of 2016, weighed against the sheer scale of the past absurdities, only the most earnest boy scouts would not see much of it as pure disinformation instead.

Postmodern journalism maintains that the science of climate is like a toothpaste commercial where a consensus of dentists determines what toothpaste you should use. If you support their commercial’s thesis, you are scientific; if you don’t, then you are an enemy of the state, a Republican, or even a Trump supporter. That’s the climate science of postmodern journalism: 100% pure fake news, top to bottom.

One of the greatest achievements of the postmodern mind is the theory that one can control the weather with taxes. Yes, I know!  It sounds so crazy that you just want it to work. I recall weather control schemes like cloud seeding, and of course there are more elaborate ideas in Star Trek, but controlling weather with public policy and virtue—there are no words. Imagine the cure for cancer being increased library fines!  The true accomplishment was not their baloney storm (BS), but the level of cultural fervor that has been aroused through it, leading to titanic global power plays that have kept this zombie theory animated for a decade or two after it should have collapsed under its own weight.

Even though it is stylish to excoriate conservatives with toothpaste-commercial moralizing about science, there is no science in the toothpaste-commercial science consensus picture. There is only politics, money, and power.  The political events of 2016 make plain that the climate arena is a side show in a much larger political struggle that has nothing to do with science.  Some sort of link between climate and power may have been inevitable because death, taxes and weather are all inevitable. Its such a glorious convergence of inevitabilities that rich and powerful increased-government enthusiasts could not pass it up.

And so they didn’t, making CT the mother of all baloney storms (CTBS) extending back decades before 2016. But the shenanigans of 2016 has made clear that something ugly has been done to us in science by people trapped in a political plane, incapable of comprehending that science is orthogonal to it.



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, 2017

The unfortunate Keith Kloor @keithkloor

Keith Kloor has taken huge criticism for his brave stand that "frankenfoods" (GMOs) are safe and beneficial.  He has a long article outlining that here. It is far too long for me to reproduce on this blog.

Suffice it to to say that he thought his credentials as an established environmentalist would protect him from criticism and cause his arguments and information to be heard.  It did not. He was demonized with all sorts of false allegations and his erstwhile friends on the Green/Left deserted him.  The only friends he ended up with were people at Monsanto, the plant breeders who are arch-villains to most of the Green/Left.  He concludes that you cannot blame journalists for failing to expose  popular anti-science beliefs.  The backlash if you do is too awful.

Something that he uses to cling on to respectability is his criticism of Donald Trump and his support for global warming. Trump is an easy target because of the loose way he speaks so that does not earn Kloor much kudos.  It is global warming that  is his reputational lifeline.  If he rejected that he would be sunk in just about every possible way.  His only friends would be people he has spent much of his life opposing.  Rather awful!

So there are good reasons why Kloor clings to the global warming theory.

But it is nonetheless a wonder that he cannot see that Warmists do exactly the sort of thing that the anti-GMO brigade do. They rely heavily on appeals to authority, "ad hominem" abuse and easily refuted "science".  If he would just read all sides of the debate on the key issue of climate sensitivity, he would see that Warmist claims are at least highly speculative if not built entirely on sand. But he is a journalist so perhaps that is too complex for him.  With climate science, he too relies on appeals to what passes for authority.

Keith is halfway up the hill leading to the broad sunlit uplands of truth.  He should complete the journey.  Global warming is dead anyway.  Trump will see to that.

Satellites show no sustained warming since 1998

Both tabulators of satellite data show that 2016 was 2 hundredths of one degree warmer than 1998 overall.  Since the margin of error was one tenth of a degree, there was no significant difference between the two years.  Both years were El Nino years

RSS Confirm 2016 Is Tied With 1998 As Warmest Year:

(Graph plotted from RSS figures here)

RSS have also now released their temperature data for December, which, as with UAH, shows a big drop from the month before. [Anomaly fell from .391 to .229]

Annually, RSS come to the same conclusion as UAH, that 2016 was 0.02C warmer than 1998.

As Roy Spencer has pointed out, the margin of error is 0.1C, so statistically 2016 is tied with 1998 as the warmest year in the satellite record.

The fact that there has been no warming for the last 18 years is a massive blow to the credibility of climate science.


A good comment on all the official temperature reports that are given to an accuracy of hundredths of one degree:

Where can I buy one of those thermometers that measures in 100ths of a degree? I have a fever thermometer that measures in 10ths of a degree but it only has a range of about 6 degrees. Scientists should be totally ashamed to publish data graphs plotted in 100ths of a degree.

I can get 50 different readings by walking around with a very accurate thermometer and taking measurements at ground level, in the shade, 3 ft above the ground, over grass, over the sand lot, over the drive way pavement, in the wind, shielded from the wind, shielded from the sun.....and on and on and on. If I had submitted a report with such absurd data as found in  these studies I would have been kicked out of the class. Nothing angers me as much as these scam publications.

Received via email from a reader.  The reported 100ths of a degree are just a statistical artifact created by averaging

Massive Decline In The Integrity Of NOAA

The oldest trick in the book about how to lie with statistics is to pick and choose your starting and ending points.  Tony Heller below demonstrates how NOAA have done that recently by comparing their latest claims with data in the 1995 IPCC report.  NOAA are outright frauds

NOAA reports a massive decline Arctic sea ice and snow through late November, and that their satellite records for sea ice began in 1979.

NOAA satellite records actually extend back much further than 1979, but NOAA hides them because 1979 was the peak and the earlier records wreck their scam. Ice extent in 1974 was nearly two million km² lower in 1974 than it was in 1979.

The massive decline in snow reported by NOAA is actually a massive increase. Snow extent  this autumn was the second highest on record.


Slippery Warmist Prof. hilariously fails to name source of 98% ‘consensus’ claim

A college professor claimed that “98 percent of the world’s scientists” agree that manmade climate change is real — but things soon became awkward when Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked the academic to name the source of his information on-air.

“I am interested in the claims you’ve made about climate science, that it’s settled, and that 98 percent of worldwide scientists believe that. How do you know that? Are you a scientist or have you polled other scientists? Where did you get that figure?” Carlson asked California State University-Sacramento professor Joseph Palermo on Wednesday.

Palermo clearly wasn’t prepared to defend his previous assertion.
“Well, see, that’s another one of those interesting kind of questions is that, that wasn’t what the blog was about,” Palermo replied, referencing “right-wing websites” misconstruing science for “catchy headlines” and “clickbait.”

But Carlson was determined to get an answer. So he asked the question a second time.

Palermo dodged the question again, saying, “I didn’t want to get into — are you a climate change denier, or a skeptic?”

That’s when Carlson laid into the academic, reminding him that not taking everything at face value is how science works.
“The essence of science, and of journalism,” Carlson said, “is skepticism, because it seeks to get to the truth.”

“And I’m asking as you as someone who just said, as a statement of fact, that 98 percent of the world’s scientists agree with you, with whatever you believe, I’m wondering how you know that,” Carlson added.

Palermo avoided providing evidence to his claim twice more. At one point, he even urged Carlson to send out his “giant research team” to “find out about it,” a suggestion that prompted a good laugh from the Fox News host. “You just made the claim!” Carlson pointed out.


Obama Seized Enough Land and Water in 8 Years to Cover Texas Three Times

Last week, in one of his final moves out of the Oval Office, Obama executively designated more than 1.5 million acres of land as national monuments, preserving their untouched façade while closing them to human expansion, development, energy use, ranching or state or local jurisdiction.

In a move ignored by the liberal media last week, Obama unilaterally seized more than 1.3 million acres from Utah to establish the Bears Ears Monument, preserving it at the behest of conservationist groups and Native American tribes who claimed the land was sacred. Utah’s state legislature, however, opposed the unilateral land grab across party lines, with many speculating that Obama’s move is the latest in an attempt to limit efforts from incoming President Donald Trump to expand domestic energy production.

Obama also claimed 300,000 acres in Clark County, Nevada, as the Gold Butte National Monument, effectively closing the area off to future development for uranium mining, oil drilling or natural gas production.

While it's certainly nothing new, Obama's habit of unilaterally confiscating land has ramped up heading into the final stretch of his presidency. In the eight years he’s been in office, President Obama has seized more than 553 million acres of land and water (roughly 865,000 square miles) and placed it under federal ownership and control – enough square mileage to cover the entire state of Texas more than three times over. In fact, the self-aggrandizing conservationist-in-chief has placed more land and coastal areas under federal control than any other president in history, shutting off millions of miles of land to energy production or human settlement, along with shifting it outside the scope of local and state jurisdictions.

Just this past summer, Obama bragged about executively creating the nation’s largest marine preserve off the coast of Hawaii, conveniently omitting that the move took a $10 million chunk out of the local fishing industry.

Wielding the Antiquities Act of 1906, Obama has seized vast swaths of land and water for the federal government a total of 29 times, claiming more than 260 million acres as federally-protected spaces in 2016 alone (including a more than 100-million-acre plot in Alaska that amounts to the size of New Mexico).

In fact, of the 154 times the Antiquities Act has been used by a president to seize land over the past 110 years, President Obama’s executive land grabs together make up about 20 percent.

Thanks to executive actions by Obama and presidents like him, more than 80 percent of the state of Nevada and about 65 percent of Utah is now owned by the federal government, according to the National Public Radio.



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, 2017

There was NO "hiatus" in global warming -- but only if you include El Nino

Practically everybody, from Warmists to skeptics, accepts that global temperatures plateaued in C21.  There was a "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming.  Yet in the latest study we have powerful proof that there was NO plateau, no "hiatus' no "pause".  A big upset.  But is it?

The guys behind the new study have no shame.  They have done careful work but made a most convenient and demonstrably false assumption.  It does sounds like they have used a meticulously validated data set.  And they have.  But the study has a couple of old Warmist lags behind it so I knew that a quick look at the raw data would expose fraud.  It took me only minutes to see it but there it is as plain as the nose on your face in their summary graph reproduced below.

They include in their data the whole of the 2015/2016 El Nino episode, a natural climatic fluctuation unrelated to anthropogenic global warming. Have a look at the graph up to 2014 only and there is that pesky plateau again: ups and downs but no trend.  The claims made by the authors are a calculated deception.

Warmists did early on in the El Nino period discount the El Nino influence and claimed that the temperature rise was mainly due to anthropogenic global warming.  But as the figures came in that became untenable. 

1). For a start, the El Nino period just happened to coincide with a flatlining in CO2 levels.  So with no increase in CO2, a temperature increase could not be due to CO2.

2).  My favourite graph below shows a temperature history that is typical of El Nino (a rise followed by a fall) but which is totally unlike what we would expect from an increase in CO2 levels.  Rises of CO2 in the period of interest are permanent.  They don't suddenly go into reverse.  It is the whole Warmist case that CO2 rises are cumulative.

Note that the graph refers to sea-surface temperature, which is  the main focus of the current study. There is just no honesty in these galoots

A new independent study shows no pause in global warming, confirming a set of temperature readings adjusted by U.S. government scientists that some who reject mainstream climate science have questioned.

The adjustments, made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2015 to take into account changes in how ocean temperatures have been measured over the decades, riled a House committee and others who claimed the changes were made to show rising temperatures.

The House Science Committee subpoenaed the agency's scientists and then complained that NOAA wasn't answering its requests quickly enough.

Last year,the NOAA updated its main SST reconstruction, its Extended Reconstruction Sea Surface Temperature, or ERSST, accounting for the recent spike in buoy measurements and incorporating adjustments to ship-based measurements.

NOAA’s latest numbers increased the SST trend estimate over the last 18 years from 0.07° Celsius per decade to 0.12° Celsius per decade, highlighting a notable difference between NOAA’s latest ERSST record and three other commonly-used SST measuring series.

The new international study looked at satellite data, readings from buoys and other marine floats for ocean temperatures.

Each measurement system independently showed the same 20 years of increase in temperatures that NOAA found: about two-tenths of a degree Fahrenheit per decade since 2000, said the study's lead author, Zeke Hausfather of the University of California, Berkeley.

'Our research confirms that NOAA scientists were right,' Hausfather said. 'They were not in any way cooking the books.'

NOAA adjusted past data to take into account old measurements by ships that often recorded temperatures from their engine rooms, where heat from the engines skewed the data.

Buoys and satellite data don't have such artificial warming, Hausfather said.

In 1990, about 90 percent of the ocean temperature readings were done by ships, now it is about 85 percent by the more accurate buoys, Hausfather said.

Scientists Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University and Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who weren't part the original study or the more recent one that confirmed its conclusions, called both accurate.

'This paper further allays any qualms that there may have been scientific errors or any non-scientific agendas,' Trenberth said in an email.

Officials at the House Science Committee did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Hausfather's study was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances .

SOURCE.  The journal article ("Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records") is here

Obama Takes One More Shot in His War on Coal on His Way Out the Door

Last Monday, the Obama administration’s Office of Surface Mining (OSMRE) issued its so-called Stream Protection Rule. This regulation, which the administration has been working on behind closed doors for six years, represents the logical culmination of this administration’s war on coal. This rule, if not overturned, would increase regulatory costs for coal mines to such an extent that candidate Obama’s promise to “bankrupt” coal companies will be largely achieved.

There is a reason this regulation was snuck out the week before Christmas during the last weeks of the Obama administration: the rule is a massive, possibly illegal, regulatory overreach. The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, the very law that gives the OSMRE its regulatory authority, specifically prohibits OSMRE from promulgating regulations which duplicate other environmental rules. Yet this is precisely what the new Stream Protection Rule is designed to do.

Under the proposed rule, coal mines would be required to undertake onerous new permitting requirements related to any streams near the mine. This water, however, is already regulated by the states under state law and the federal government under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The problem for President Obama and his radical environmentalist allies is that the states don’t regulate coal mining as harshly as they want them to. Their solution is to create this new regulation to be the final hammer to destroy what’s left of the coal industry in America.

Initially, the affected states sought to work with the Department of Interior and OSMRE in developing this regulation, with ten states signing on to cooperate. Eventually, though, eight of those ten states withdrew from the discussion because the federal government was so clearly uninterested in state input, rather seeking a route to massively expand federal power.

The effects of this regulation are brutal. According to the National Mining Association about a third of all remaining coal-related jobs could be destroyed. In a laughably tone-deaf response to this, the chief of OSMRE asserted that the rule will actually create twice as many jobs as it would destroy because coal mines would be required to hire legions of workers to comply with this regulation. Only a bureaucrat could say that with a straight face.

This rule is currently set to take effect on January 19, 2017, the day before the next President is inaugurated. While the regulation is final, it is not yet permanent. Congress is readying legislation which could repeal this rule immediately. These is also the opportunity for President Trump to reverse this rule through the regulatory process, though that could take an extended period of time.

This rule must be stopped. President Obama’s war on coal must end with his presidency.


Climate change expert sentenced to 32 months for fraud, says lying was a 'rush'

The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job.

John C. Beale’s crimes were “inexplicable” and “unbelievably egregious," said Judge Ellen Huvelle in imposing the sentence in a Washington. D.C. federal court. Beale has also agreed to pay $1.3 million in restitution and forfeiture to the government.

Beale said he was ashamed of his lies about working for the CIA, a ruse that, according to court records, began in 2000 and continued until early this year.

“Why did I do this? Greed – simple greed – and I’m ashamed of that greed,” Beale told the court. He also said it was possible that he got a “rush” and a “sense of excitement" by telling people he was worked for the CIA. “It was something like an addiction,” he said.

Beale pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade. He perpetrated his fraud largely by failing to show up at the EPA for months at a time, including one 18-month stretch starting in June 2011 when he did “absolutely no work,” as his lawyer acknowledged in a sentencing memo filed last week.

When Huvelle asked Beale what he was doing when he claimed he was working for the CIA, he said, "I spent time exercising. I spent a lot of time working on my house."

He also said he used the time "trying to find ways to fine tune the capitalist system" to discourage companies from damaging the environment. "I spent a lot of time reading on that," said Beale.

Prosecutor Jim Smith said Beale's crimes made him a "poster child for what is wrong with government."

The sentence drew swift reaction from Capitol Hill, including demands from a top Republican for further investigation into the EPA to determine how Beale got away with his fraud for so long.

"The case this morning highlights a massive problem with the EPA," said Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He said Beale had stolen taxpayer money under the nose of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who for years had been his immediate boss.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-Calif.), chair of the committee, sought to defend McCarthy. "I commend the EPA administrator for taking steps to shine a light on the actions of this rogue employee, and her actions helped uncover his crimes," she said.

Boxer also called Beale's sentence "appropriate given [his] outrageous activities."

EPA inspector general Arthur Elkins, whose office investigated Beale’s case, said in a statement Wednesday that his office is “actively looking at the EPA’s sloppy internal controls and management actions that enabled Mr. Beale’s frauds to occur…Expect to see the results of more audits from us in the coming months.”

When he first began looking into Beale’s deceptions last February, said EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan, who spearheaded the Beale probe, “I thought, ‘Oh my God, How could this possibly have happened in this agency? … I’ve worked for the government for 35 years. I’ve never seen a situation like this.”

Until he retired in April after learning he was under federal investigation, Beale, an NYU grad with a masters from Princeton, was earning a salary and bonuses of $206,000 a year, making him the highest paid official at the EPA. He earned more money than the agency’s administrator, Gina McCarthy, according to agency documents.


The constancy of change and the new catastrophism: a personal reflection on crisis-driven science

by Nick Eyles and Andrew D. Miall – Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto

In 2010, we published what is now a best-selling (and award-winning) book Canada Rocks-The Geologic Journey aimed at telling the dramatic story for a public audience of how Canada (and North America) has evolved over the last 4 billion years. It was a milestone in our professional and personal lives as we went on many field trips to fill in gaps in our own understanding and in the process stepped well beyond our own areas of expertise. We learned much about this fantastic country and its geology.

What is patently obvious from reviewing Canada’s ancient history is that scientists still do not have an adequate understanding of Earth’s complex systems on which to base sound economic and environmental policy. From the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans onwards to the deep interior of the planet our knowledge of complex earth systems is still rather rudimentary. Huge areas of our planet are inaccessible and are little known scientifically. There is still also much to learn from reading the rock record of how our planet functioned in the past.

In so many areas, we simply don’t know enough of how our planet functions.

And yet……

Scarcely a day goes past without some group declaring the next global environmental crisis; we seemingly stagger from one widely proclaimed crisis to another each one (so we are told) with the potential to severely curtail or extinguish civilization as we know it. It’s an all too familiar story often told by scientists who cross over into advocacy and often with the scarcely-hidden sub-text that they are the only ones with the messianic foresight to see the problem and create a solution. Much of our science is what we would call ‘crisis-driven’ where funding, politics and the media are all intertwined and inseparable generating a corrupting and highly corrosive influence on the scientific method and its students. If it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead is the new yardstick with which to measure the overall significance of research.

Charles Darwin ushered in a new era of thinking where change was expected and necessary. Our species as are all others, is the product of ongoing environmental change and adaption to varying conditions; the constancy of change. In the last 15 years or so however, we have seemingly reverted to a pre-Darwinian mode of a fixed ‘immutable Earth’ where any change beyond some sort of ‘norm’ is seen in some quarters as unnatural, threatening and due to our activities, usually with the proviso of needing ‘to act now to save the planet.’ Honest scientific discourse and debate is often rendered impossible in the face of the ‘new catastrophism.’

Trained as geologists in the knowledge of Earth’s immensely long and complex history we appreciate that environmental change is normal. For example, rivers and coastlines are not static. Those coasts, in particular, that consist of sandy strand-plains and barrier-lagoon systems are continually evolving as sand is moved by the waves and tides. Cyclonic storms (hurricanes), a normal component of the weather in many parts of the world, are particularly likely to cause severe erosion. When recent events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy cause catastrophic damage, and spring storms cause massive flooding in Calgary or down the Mississippi valley, and droughts and wildfires affect large areas of the American SW these events are blamed on a supposed increase in the severity of extreme weather events brought about by climate change.

In fact, they just reflect the working of statistical probability and long term climate cyclicity. Such events have happened in the past as part of ongoing changes in climate but affected fewer people. That the costs of weather and climate-related damage today are far greater is not because of an increased frequency of severe weather but the result of humans insisting on congregating and living in places that, while attractive, such as floodplains, mountain sides and beautiful coastlines, are especially vulnerable to natural disasters.

Promises of a more ‘stable future’ if we can only prevent climate change are hopelessly misguided and raise unnatural expectations by being willfully ignorant of the natural workings of the planet. Climate change is the major issue for which more geological input dealing with the history of past climates would contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of change and what we might expect in the future.

The past climate record suggests in fact that for much of the Earth’s surface future cooling is the norm. Without natural climate change Canada would be buried under ice 3 km thick; that is it normal state for most of the last 2.5 million years with 100,000 years-long ice ages alternating with brief, short-lived interglacials such as the present which is close to its end.

It is self-evident to us that the public debate concerning environmental change largely lacks an understanding of natural variability. Since the last Ice Age ended, some 12,000 years ago, Earth has been through several periods lasting hundreds of years and possibly longer when it was either warmer or colder than at present.

Several earth scientists have suggested that a study of natural variability over recent geologic time should be completed in order to provide a baseline against which anthropogenic change may be evaluated, but this important history has not been introduced fully into the public debate, and is a long way off.

It has to be said that the natural variability of the last few thousand years or hundreds of years or tens of years has formed almost no part in the ongoing discussion of climate change which in some circles assumes that any change since 1940 is largely man-made. This opinion is uninformed by geologic science.

The way forward it strikes us is for more scientific honesty and less politics, less grandstanding. ‘We don’t know’ is an honourable credo for scientists. In this regard, we need more science to be directed to the environment, particularly toward better planning of the world’s communities to make them more resilient in the face of change.

And it is an increasingly urban face that our planet presents. The many large supercities of the rapidly-approaching future world will be absolutely massive consumers of resources and producers of wastes; they will be the biggest determinants of our global environmental footprint; and it is surely there that much of our effort should be spent.

Today, the rate of change of some parts of the world, especially in regard to urbanization and the ‘rush to the city’ is taxing our abilities simply to map and assess the environmental repercussions of transforming a natural environment to a built landscape. There is no simple technological fix either. Satellite and other monitoring data for example still has to be collected, interpreted, ground truthed, and acted on; steps available only to wealthier countries.

In large areas of the planet the lack of human and financial resources, equality and personal freedoms and political choices trump any global environmental concerns and hobble international co-operation. To these people our obsession with saving the environment must ring hollow. The onus here is on the wealthiest nations with the largest scientific academies to put forward credible notions of how our planet is changing and to discuss the possible origins in an intellectual environment where data gaps are fully acknowledged free of catastrophic overtones.


2016 was the hottest year ever on Australia’s East coast, confirms Bureau of Meteorology

How sad for the BOM!  Only the East coast was very hot on average -- and that's no more than 5% of Australia's land area. And it wasn't even consistent along the East coast.  While Sydney and Melbourne were frying, temperatures in Brisbane were mostly much lower, despite Brisbane being closer to the tropics.  What a nonsense it is to try to extract generalizations about temperature from a system as chaotic as the Earth's weathrer!

And note how humble the BOM now are over El Nino.  The old triumphalism is gone.  They now admit that 2015/2016 temperatures were much influenced by El Nino and make no claims of anthropogenic global warming for the years concerned. They now see anthropogenic global warming only in "long term trends"! A Trump effect?

A RECORD breaking year of scorching heat and driving rain on Australia’s east coast meant that climate-wise, many of us have "shifted a few hundred kilometres north," a weather expert has said.

Australia’s average national mean temperature rose 0.87C above average to make 2016 the fourth-warmest year on record, according the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement, released on Thursday.

But the residents of Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart sweltered through their hottest year ever.

The report comes as a heatwave punishing south eastern Australia shows no sign of ending.

Melbourne and Sydney will have highs in the mid-thirties in the coming days but it’s South Australians really in the firing line with a string of 39C days heading into the weekend.

Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the weather bureau, told the El Niño weather system and climate change combined to send the mercury soaring.

"Australia’s climate in 2016 was certainly consistent with long term trends over the last century which has seen Australia warm to the same degree as the rest of the world and all the indications are these warming trends will continue into the future."

The only years in Australia that were warmer than the past 12 months were 2013 followed by 2005 and then 2014. The past four years have all been in the top six hottest years in Australia.

Globally, 2016 is likely to be confirmed as the world’s hottest year ever.

"It was a year of two halves with a relatively dry first four months and then from May onwards it became very wet with late autumn to early spring the wettest such period on record," said Mr Trewin.

"The contrast was especially clear in Tasmania with drought conditions earlier in year and then they had so much rain is was the sixth wettest year on record."

The higher than normal temperatures and increased rain along much of the east coast led to weather conditions more usual for cities much further north.

Sydney verged on the tropical with highs in the city more like coastal towns on the NSW mid-north coast, such as Nelson Bay and Forster.

Climate wise, Brisbane was effectively pushed even further into the tropics experiencing rain and heat more standard for towns like Gympie and Maryborough beyond the Sunshine Coast.

"Along the east coast it was about a degree above normal and while that doesn’t equate to the whole difference between Sydney and Brisbane, that level of warming is equivalent to shifting a few hundred kilometres north," said Mr Trewin.

Some of the notable climatic events in Australia last year were bushfires in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia and a nationwide heatwave from late February to mid-March. That added up to the warmest Australian autumn on record.

Then in May, drought-breaking rains led to flooding in multiple states and the wettest ever late autumn to early spring period.

For the country as a whole, annual rainfall was 17 per cent above average.

Sea surface temperatures around Australia were the warmest on record in 2016, and were 0.77°C above average.

The warmest year on record for the east coast contrasted with South Australia which pretty much hit the average in terms of temperature.

Inland parts of south west Western Australia was one of the few places globally to come in cooler than usual.

Across the globe, climate change has seen temperatures continue to rise over the long term.

However, this is exacerbated in El Niño years such as 2016. The El Nino weather system is caused by warmer sea temperatures in the Pacific sucking warm air over North America while leaving Australia hot and dry.

The opposing La Nina system usually brings wetter conditions across the continent.

"El Niño years tend to be warmer and La Nina tend to be cooler so if you look at handful of years in last 30 that have come in below average they are La Nina years."

Looking ahead, Mr Trewin said the lack of El Niño would mean 2017 would probably be a cooler year overall than 2016. But it certainly won’t be cold.

La Nina never really got started depriving the east coast of the wet weather it brings.

"Our outlook for the early part of this year is relatively dry conditions in Eastern Australia, particularly NSW and southern Queensland, but conversely relatively wet conditions in much of Western Australia.

"It’s unlikely 2017 will be as warm as 2016 globally but it’s likely to be warmer than all years prior to 2015."


5 January, 2017

Al Gore eat your heart out: Another example of a sea-level FALL

Moreton Bay borders Brisbane.  A Brisbane reader emailed me as follows:

I thought you might be interested in this photo of our old family home site at Cleveland Point, Moreton Bay. That old jetty is one I helped build in 1946. And in the years from '46 to '53 the fine weather king tides [~ normal BP] just covered the decking on that jetty [decking now missing but 30 mm higher than remaining bearers]. This photo was taken at the top of the highest king tide of this summer [15/12/16] and as you can see this tide is at least a foot lower than the top of the jetty. I have been doing this check regularly for the last 6 years and it is always the same. Around a foot lower.

Not only is there no acceleration in SLR in this isostatically stable part of the world but there is NO SLR at all. There have been no hydrodynamic changes anywhere near this very exposed part of the bay to possibly influence tides.

The new owners have wisely built a mezzanine wall and filled the site because apart from being at king tide height the lawn would be under water by up to a foot with cyclonic storm surges which happened quite often in the past though rarely nowadays.

It is interesting when you talk to council engineers and others in authority who should know -- like university professors advising on coastal city planning etc. -- just how little they really know about the true sea level situation.

There is no continuous tide gauge data and they all believe in the satellite altimetry  -- JI

Comment: To those who have been fed Greenie propaganda, this must seem inexplicable but it is in fact a common finding.  The very carefully set (in 1841) Isle of the Dead gauge in Tasmania also shows a mean sea-level fall of about a foot 

And because Australia is remarkably stable geologically, Australian data is of particular interest.  Rising and falling of the land can mostly be ruled out in Australia.  So, contrary to the IPCC, the sea level has NOT risen as a result of the slight C20 temperature rise.

There are many sea-level records showing falling in the Northern hemisphere too. So how come we haven't heard of them?  Because the commonly published records are ADJUSTED ones.  We rarely get to see the raw data. The theory is that the ground is rising as a rebound from the weight of ice that vanished after the last ice age (isostatic rebound).  So the Warmists have a formula to "correct" for rising of the ground.  And that highly theoretical formula turns a sea-level fall into a slight rise.

But the last ice age went away thousands of years ago.  Surely any rebound effect would have completed long ago.  So it is pure theory and quite improbable theory which tells us that sea levels have been rising over C20 and earlier.  It is not only the temperature readings that have been adjusted.  The sea level data has been adjusted too.

Even if we allow the possibility that there is still some isostatic rebound going on, can we believe a rise of a foot in very recent times?  It's just another fraud. With an acceleration like that, most of Europe and North America should be as high as the Himalayas.

So where has the missing water gone?  It's confirmation of the  "Simpson Effect".  Simpson predicted that warming would cause water to be trapped in glacial ice at the poles.  And Antarctic ice has in fact been increasing overall.

Read the late John Daly on the matter.  He knew where all the skeletons are buried.  There's a whole graveyard of them

Rescinding EPA electricity rules key to making America competitive again

The EPA has helped to strangle U.S. economic growth for the last eight years with its 2009 carbon endangerment finding and subsequent rules against new and existing coal power plants, dubbed the Clean Power Plan. But regulatory policy has not just represented significant government overreach, it has also undermined U.S. competitiveness globally.

Now, with the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump on Jan. 20, the U.S. could be poised to reclaim its mantle as the world’s foremost economic power — by stopping further job-killing regulations from being implemented and rescinding the Obama regulations either under the terms of the Administrative Procedures Act, a process that can take a couple of years, or via Congress’ Article I power of the purse.

As the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce noted in July 2016, since President Obama took office the EPA has published just under 4,000 final rules in the Federal Register, which caused significant “Legal, cost, and practical implementation issues; effects of the rules on the electricity and oil and gas sectors; impacts on the affordability and reliability of energy supplies; impacts on American households and consumers; and, impacts on American workers, jobs, and economic growth.”

These regulations have cost the American companies hundreds of billions in compliance costs, and under the Obama administration cost more than $50 billion in annual costs each year. Hill contributor Jason Pye explained in Dec. 2016, the Clean Power Plan alone is estimated to cost the energy sector between $41 billion and $73 billion simply to comply. This is making electricity more expensive in the U.S., increasing the cost of doing business and killing jobs particularly in the coal sector, with an estimated 126,000 jobs expected to be lost as a direct result to the Clean Power Plan.

Even Democrats know this is a mistake. Resource-rich states such as North Dakota have consistently urged for looser EPA regulations in order to remain economically efficient. In Aug. 2015, Democratic Senator North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp fought increased regulations of greenhouse gas emission standards under the Clean Power Plan. Heitkamp complained to the administration that, “The Administration claims to support an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but has provided no viable path forward for coal and now seems to be going after natural gas as well — a fact this EPA rule makes resoundingly clear — and that will only hurt consumers, businesses, and our economy.”

Heitkamp explained that coal supports 13,000 jobs in North Dakota, and mining has an economic impact of $3.5 billion. The Democrats’ own EPA regulations are strangling their own states, as well as Americans’ opportunities across the country.

As taxpayers and state governments seem to bear the brunt of these overreaching regulatory policies, the national economic problems these regulations have caused is become more and more evident. Industry Week of March 2016 explains that based on the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index developed by Deloitte and the Council on Competitiveness, China remains the most competitive place in the world to manufacture goods.

Which is little wonder. China has increased global market share of manufacturing goods exports from 3 percent in 1994 to over 16 percent in 2014, according to data compiled by the World Bank, while the U.S. has dropped to less than 8 percent.

The United States has the potential to become competitive again, but not with the EPA continuing to cripple the economy. U.S. manufacturers surveyed by Industry Week complained that excessive taxation and costs work against their aims to expand manufacturing in the U.S. Reducing EPA regulations on the other hand could diminish their economic burden.

One thing that is hurting U.S. competitiveness is not our industry, but some of the excessive regulations the Obama administration has put into place by the EPA. U.S. companies have the potential to earn billions back once these rules are rescinded, and if we hope to reclaim our place as the number one economy in the world, it is a necessity.


Obsolete Calculations of Cost of Carbon

The incoming Trump administration has promised dramatic transformations on many vital domestic issues. The best gauge of this development is the fierce level of opposition his policies have generated from Democratic stalwarts. One representative screed is a New York Times Op-Ed by Professors Michael Greenstone and Cass Sunstein, who lecture the incoming president on climate change: “Donald Trump Should Know: This is What Climate Change Costs Us.”

Greenstone and Sunstein have a large stake in the game: During their years in the first Obama administration, they convened an interagency working group (IWG) drawn from various federal agencies that determined that the social cost of carbon (SCC)—or the marginal cost of the release of a ton of carbon into the atmosphere—should be estimated at about $36 per ton (as of 2015). Choose that number and there is much justification for taking major policy steps to curb the emission of carbon dioxide. Greenstone and Sunstein hoped that the working group process would draw on the “latest research in science and economics,” and establish the claimed costs by “accounting for the destruction of property from storms and floods, declining agricultural and labor productivity, elevated mortality rates and more.”

Their effort should be dismissed as a rousing failure, and as an affront to the scientific method that they purport to adopt in their studies. The first error is one of approach. The worst way to get a full exchange of views on the complex matter of global warming is to pack the IWG entirely with members from the Obama administration, all surely preselected in part because they share the president’s exaggerated concerns with the problem of global warming. The only way to get a full and accurate picture of the situation is to listen to dissenters on global warming as well as advocates, which was never done. After all, who should listen to a “denier”?

This dismissive attitude is fatal to independent inquiry. No matter how many times the president claims the science is rock-solid, the wealth of recent evidence gives rise to a very different picture that undercuts the inordinate pessimism about climate change that was in vogue about 10 years ago. The group convened in the Obama administration never examined, let alone refuted, the accumulation of evidence on the other side. Indeed, virtually all of its reports are remarkable for the refusal to address any of the data at all. Instead, the common theme is to refer to models developed by others as the solid foundation for the group’s own work, without questioning a word of what those models say.

The second major mistake in the government studies is the way in which they frame the social costs of carbon. As all champions of cost/benefit analysis understand, it is a mistake to look at costs in isolation from benefits, or benefits apart from costs. Yet that appears to be the approach taken in these reports. In dealing with various objections to its reports, the IWG noted in its July 2015 response that “some commenters felt that the SCC estimates should include the value to society of the goods and services whose production is associated with CO2 emissions.” Their evasive response has to be quoted in full to be believed: "Rigorous evaluation of benefits and costs is a core tenet of the rulemaking process. The IWG agrees that these are important issues that may be relevant to assessing the impacts of policies that reduce CO2 emissions. However, these issues are not relevant to the SCC itself. The SCC is an estimate of the net economic damages resulting from CO2 emissions, and therefore is used to estimate the benefit of reducing those emissions."

In essence, the benefits from present or future CO2 emissions are not part of the story. Yet a truly neutral account of the problem must be prepared to come to the conclusion that increased levels of CO2 emissions could be, as the Carbon Dioxide Coalition has argued, a net benefit to society when a more comprehensive investigation is made. The entire process of expanding EPA regulations and other Obama administration actions feeds off this incorrect base assumption. The most striking admission of the folly of the entire EPA project comes from EPA Chief Gina McCarthy, who has stated that she would regard a decrease of one one-hundredth of a degree as enormously beneficial, notwithstanding its major cost, because its symbolism would “trigger global action.” No cost/benefit analysis would justify wasted expenditures solely on symbolic grounds. After all, human progress on global warming will only suffer if other nations follow our false siren on CO2 emissions, while ignoring the huge pollution that envelops major population centers like Delhi and Beijing.

Unfortunately, support for regulating CO2 emissions relies unduly on a Regulatory Impact Analysis that is worth no more than the faulty assumptions built into the model. These include the EPA’s hugely complicated Clean Power Plan, temporarily enjoined by the United States Supreme Court, that relies once again on the flawed social costs of carbon estimates.

The weakness of the EPA approach is shown by the data that Greenstone and Sunstein cite to support the contention that global warming has reached dangerous levels. They refer, for example, to a Geophysical Research Letter of 2014 that notes the retreat of ice in the West Antarctic between 1992 and 2011. But that one finding has to be set in context, as is done in the 2016 State of the Climate Report  prepared by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and sent to the U.N. Climate Conference in Morocco. This more complete account notes that the mass gain in East Antarctica has been at 200 billion tons per year on average, compared to the 65 billion tons, which was offset by substantial gains in ice in West Antarctica, generating a net gain of roughly 82 billion tons per year in Antarctic ice between 2003 and 2008. The upshot: “The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away.” Overall, the temperature over the Antarctic has been constant for the past 35 years.

No analysis that looks at the minuses can afford to ignore the larger pluses and maintain its credibility. Indeed, for what it is worth, the CFACT report notes that the ice mass in the Arctic is now about 22 percent greater than it was at its low point in 2012. This fact helps explain why there has been no recent change in the rise of sea levels, and certainly none that can be attributed to the relatively modest level of temperature increases in the past 100 years. Recent trends suggest the rate of increase in ocean levels has been decelerating over the last 18 years, during which time there has been a substantial increase in carbon dioxide levels. Yet the 102 different models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are all high in their estimates, by roughly four-fold. As documented in the 2016 CFACT report, there has been substantially no change in overall global temperature over the past 18 years, and the record highs reported are by tiny fractions of degrees that are smaller than the margin of measurement error. Yet the government’s methodology is to look at the models and ignore the data.

Just that was done by the now anachronistic 2009 EPA Endangerment Findings for Greenhouse Gases, which reported on the overall shrinkage of Arctic ice and claimed that the “elevated CO2 levels” were expected to result “in small beneficial effect[s] on crop yields.” The good news on this point seems to be that the increase in CO2 has led to about a 14 percent increase in green vegetation on earth over the past 30 years, as Matt Ridley reported in a 2016 lecture. It is the best of all possible CO2 worlds if the level of arable land increases with minor temperature changes and there are no appreciable changes in ocean levels. Put these numbers together and a revision of the SCC must be made, as it now appears that the net costs of carbon are negative. Further, the revised projections have only strengthened the lower estimates of global warming from elevated CO2 levels.

This basic conclusion is reinforced by other data, easily accessible, that addresses other concerns raised in the Greenstone and Sunstein article. For starters, there has been no recent increase in the level of storms and floods, or the damage that is said to result from them. To the contrary, the trend line has been unambiguously favorable, as the number of extreme events like floods and storms has declined steadily over the past 100 years. Indeed, the last major event in the United States was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, followed by eleven years of relative tranquility in the United States and around the world. This point is critical because one of the constant claims on global climate change is that the system-wide instability has increased these extreme events, even if overall temperature levels have remained constant.

The overall picture with respect to the SCC, then, is the exact opposite of that described by Greenstone and Sunstein, and that change in direction has a serious effect on the success of various legal challenges. Greenstone and Sunstein note that a legal decision in 2008 held that ignoring the SCC makes an administrative rule “arbitrary and capricious” and thus requires its reformulation by the applicable agency. They also reference another 2016 decision that upheld an administrative decision of the Department of Energy that explicitly took into account the SCC. But these judicial decisions have a surreal aura about them. The key statute for these cases was the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), which was passed in the aftermath of the 1973 Mideast Oil Embargo that followed in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. The EPCA’s chief finding was that “the fundamental reality is that this nation has entered a new era in which energy resources previously abundant will remain in short supply, retarding our economic growth and necessitating an alteration in our life’s habits and expectations.”

It was on the strength of this 41-year-old statute that the Court in 2008 required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to reissue its rules for the average fuel economy standards for light trucks because they failed to take into account the SCC. The ruling is wholly anachronistic today because the revolution in energy technology has obviated the entire factual premise on which the so-called CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) rules rest. Given fracking, energy is abundant. Thus, the SCC has to be reevaluated in light of evidence collected outside the EPA, and summarized above, none of which was taken into account when working within the closed universe of the current set of environmental and energy laws. At this time, it appears that virtually all the EPA rules rest on outdated science.

Greenstone and Sunstein are not alone in their refusal to deal with evidence that undermines their claims. But if the SCC looks to be negative, the Trump administration should act to eliminate the current endangerment finding for carbon dioxide, and dismantle the regulatory apparatus that rests upon its highly questionable estimation of the positive value of SCC. The sorry truth is that the EPA and the regulatory process in the Obama administration show no respect for the scientific method they claim to rely on.


Sweden Denies Permit for World’s Largest Wind Project, Due to its Military Interference

Sweden denied permission for developers to build the Blekinge offshore wind project, saying it would interfere with the Nordic nation’s army.

The project was planned to have 500 to 700 turbines. This would have resulted an installed capacity of about 2.5 gigawatts and investment valued at 50 billion kronor (CAD$7.4 billion), according to an e-mail from majority owner Eolus Vind AB.

The project company, Blekinge Offshore AB, is owned by Swedish developers. Hassleholm-based Eolus has 56 per cent, Vingkraft AB took 34 per cent and Vindin AB the remainder.

Sweden has set a target to generate all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040. Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said in September that his government will spend $1.9 billion from 2017 to 2020 on climate initiatives. It generated 64 per cent of its power from clean sources last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“The fact that this interfered with the military in some way was probably the final nail in the coffin,” said Keegan Kruger, wind analyst at BNEF. “They just don’t have the incentive right now with an abundance of cheap hydro. Also, they consider nuclear as a renewable power source for their 100 per cent renewable target by 2040 and have recently removed a tax on nuclear generation.”

The Blekinge project was being developed about 17 km off the southern coast of Sweden in Hanoebukten, an identified area of national interest. The government said that the turbines could not coexist with the operations of the armed forces in the same area.

“It is with disappointment we receive news that a social democratic and green-party government does not take advantage of the opportunity that could result in the creation of renewable electricity and jobs,” said Per Witalisson, chairman of Blekinge Offshore AB. “We think it is reasonable that even the armed forces could be prepared to be flexible for a project that could significantly enhance the security of domestic energy supply in southern Sweden.”

The government said the armed forces need the area to practice maneuvers.

“Parliament has made it clear that Sweden’s defence ambitions will increase. The armed forces need to be able to practice. Hanoebukten is one of the strategically most important defence areas Sweden has,” said Environment Minister Carolina Frost. “The government has considered this issue carefully and have concluded that in this case it is not possible to combine the defence operations with wind turbines.”



Three current reports below:

Big split in the Greens

The far-left Trots (Trotsky-ites) infesting the Greens drop the mask

The partner of Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has at­tacked the federal party and defended the far-left, anti-capitalist faction Left Renewal, further ­exposing turmoil within the Greens after leader Richard Di Natale suggested the new group should consider options outside the party.

Geoff Ash, Senator Rhiannon’s partner of more than 25 years and a founding member and registered officer of the NSW Greens, has written a Facebook post suggesting the formation of the group could be a “wake-up call” for the party establishment.

Formed last month, the group aims to bind its members in a formal faction system and end capitalism, which it describes as the “violent and antagonistic relation between workers and those who exploit them”.

“As workers, whether or not we are waged, we experience perpetual violence and this violence must be brought to an end. We therefore fight to bring about the end of capitalism,” its online manifesto says.

Senator Di Natale described the overthrow of capitalism as a “ridiculous notion” and suggested members unhappy with Greens policies “consider finding a new political home”.

In a post last week on the “Australian Greens politics, news and discussion” public Facebook page, which has more than 8600 members, Mr Ash said although he was not a member of Left Renewal, he was not at all surprised the group had formed.

“Not only is our suite of economic justice policies underdeveloped, some existing positions are soft,” he wrote, citing the axing of a “moderate policy” of inheritance tax on wealthy estates, funding private schools and ­ac­cepting corporate donations.

“The formation of Left Renewal is, I think, also a response to the position of the dominant Right grouping within the Greens, with its support for some undemocratic party structures and processes, and its vilification of some Left NSW figures in the party who have campaigned against that,” he wrote.

He accused the Right of the party of enabling a lack of grassroots democracy and the federal Greens partyroom of “making up its own rules, with the party having no say even though some of those rules are undemocratic”.

He cited the allocation of portfolios, the election of the leader “by just a small number of MPs”, a failure to define the powers of the leader and the constitutional right of Greens MPs (except in NSW) to defy party policy and decisions when voting in parliament “through the exercise of a highly elitist and undemocratic so-called conscience vote”, as showing the partyroom’s lack of democracy.

“Maybe the formation of the Left Renewal group will provide a wake-up call,” he wrote.

Senator Rhiannon could not be contacted for comment.

No state or federal MPs have joined the new group but Brigitte Holly, due to take up a position in Senator Rhiannon’s office soon, and Tamara Ryan, who until recently was on Senator Rhiannon’s federal parliamentary liaison committee, are supporters.

Tom Raue, a self-described anarchist, former Socialist Alternative member and staffer with NSW MP David Shoebridge, has called on Greens to join Left Renewal. Mr Shoebridge is not a member but defends its existence.

A spokesman for Senator Di Natale, who is on leave, said he had no further comment. Federal Greens sources are playing down the issue as a NSW matter.


Victoria's duck hunt given green light

Animal activists are preparing for another war on the wetlands after the Victorian government announced the 2017 duck hunting season.

The season will run for 12 weeks from March 18, with a bag limit of 10 birds per person per day, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said on Tuesday.

Coalition against Duck Shooting's Laurie Levy told AAP that activists were again preparing to keep watch across the state's wetlands for hunters shooting threatened species.

Rare and endangered freckled ducks and a swan were among birds killed on the opening weekend of the 2016 season.


Renewable energy goal could cost Queensland $19bn

The Palaszczuk government has been accused of leaving Queensland at risk of a $19 billion price tag to help reach its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

Opposition energy spokesman Michael Hart said the government’s independent expert panel had adopted “heroic assumptions” in failing to accommodate a federal government that opposed a carbon price or emissions trading scheme.

In its draft report released in October, Mr Hart said the panel assumed a national carbon emissions scheme of between $25 a tonne and $80 a tonne of CO2 across three scenarios.

He said the panel’s suggestion that the impact of a 50 per cent renewable energy target on electricity prices would be “broadly neutral” was based on flawed ­calculations.

The Gold Coast MP said the Palaszczuk government’s plan would put Queensland’s energy security at risk and trigger higher electricity prices for households, businesses and industry.

“Labor’s modelling to justify its extreme renewable energy scheme is fundamentally flawed,” Mr Hart said.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to come clean to Queenslanders about the $19bn price tag of this extreme renewable energy scheme — the cost to be borne by taxpayers in subsidies and lost income from electricity generators.”

He said a Queensland Productivity Commission report showed that $10.8bn would be required by 2030 to subsidise large and small-scale investment. The QPC report also raised concerns about revenue reductions at government-owned corporations.

“Generators in Queensland would experience a decrease in total earnings of around $6.2bn or 15 per cent,” the report said.

“The Queensland government, as owner of the majority of carbon generators in Queensland, would incur the largest financial cost.”

The report also stated there would be increases in residential, commercial and industrial consumer bills.

“The Palaszczuk government needs to explain to Queenslanders why (it) continues to push this extreme scheme which has failed in other states,” Mr Hart said.

Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey described the LNP’s stand on his government’s 50 per cent target as “obsessive opposition to renewable energy and resistance to climate change”.

He also rejected claims the expert panel had used flawed methodology to reach its conclusions.

“The independent expert panel’s draft report factors in policy flexibility by giving Queensland three different credible pathways to 50 per cent renew­ables by 2030 to adjust to federal policy changes or the absence of federal policy,” Mr Bailey said.

He received the independent expert panel’s final report before Christmas and said it would be “a priority”.

He rejected the QPC report findings.

“The QPC desktop $10.8bn estimate figure referred to by the LNP has been superseded by the more detailed economic modelling by the independent renewable expert panel, which estimates a maximum cost of $900 million over the next 13 years,” he said.

“The modelling found the transition to renewable energy would be broadly cost-neutral to consumers in stark contrast to the 43 per cent electricity price surges inflicted on Queenslanders by the LNP during their brief three years under Campbell Newman.”



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4 January, 2017

Crumbling ‘Consensus’: 500 Scientific Papers Published In 2016 Support A Skeptical Position On Climate Alarm

We are told that there is an overwhelming agreement, or consensus, among scientists that most weather and climate changes that have occurred since the mid-20th century have been caused by human activity — our fossil fuel burning and CO2 emissions in particular.  We are told that natural mechanisms that used to dominate are no longer exerting much of any influence on weather or climate anymore.  Humans predominantly cause weather and climate changes now.

For example, we are told that extreme weather (hurricanes, droughts, floods, storms) frequencies and intensities have increased since about 1950 primarily due to the dramatic rise in anthropogenic CO2 emissions since then.  Humans are now melting glaciers and ice sheets and (Arctic) sea ice at an alarmingly accelerated rate — reminiscent of an impending “death spiral“.  Humans now  heat up and acidify the oceans down to depths of thousands of meters by burning fossil fuels.   Humans are now in the process of raising sea levels so that they will catastrophically rise by 10 feet in the next 50 years.   Because of our CO2 emissions, humans are now endangering the long-term survival of 100s of thousands of animal species (especially polar bears), and climate models say we will cause a million species extinctions over the next 33 years with our CO2 emissions.   The Earth is even spinning slower, or faster, no, slower, well, faster — due to human activities.  Again, this is all settled science.  Only those who possess the temerity to deny this science (“climate deniers”) would disagree, or refuse to believe.

But what if much of what we have been told to believe is not actually true?   What if scientists do not overwhelmingly agree that humans have dominated (with ~110% attribution) weather and climate changes since about 1950, which is what we have been told by the UN IPCC?   What if scientists do not overwhelmingly agree that natural factors exert effectively no influence on weather and climate changes anymore — now that humans have taken over?

These are compelling questions.  Because in 2016 alone, 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in scholarly journals seriously question just how settled the “consensus” science really is that says anthropogenic or CO2 forcing now dominates weather and climate changes, and non-anthropogenic (natural) factors no longer exert much, if any, role.

Instead of supporting the “consensus” science one must believe in (to avoid the “climate denier” label), these 500 papers support the position that there are significant limitations and uncertainties inherent in climate modeling and the predictions of future climate catastrophes associated with anthropogenic forcing.  Furthermore, these scientific papers strongly suggest that natural factors (the Sun, multi-decadal oceanic oscillations [NAO, AMO/PDO, ENSO], cloud and aerosol albedo variations, etc.) have both in the past and present exerted a significant or dominant influence on weather and climate changes, which means an anthropogenic signal may be much more difficult to detect in the context of such large natural variability.  Papers questioning (and undermining) the “consensus” view on paleoclimate (Medieval) warmth, ocean acidification, glacier melt and advance, sea level rise, extreme weather events, past climate forcing mechanisms, climate sensitivity to CO2, etc., are included in this collection.

Because of the enormous volume of new papers available that support a skeptical position on anthropogenic climate change alarm, the list of 500 scientific papers with links has been divided into 3 sections, each with its own page (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).   There are 68 graphs included in the volume, most of which are used to demonstrate that “hockey-stick” reconstructions of past temperatures and sea levels relative to today are not supported by available evidence.

Despite its size, this list will hopefully be user-friendly and easy to navigate as a bookmarkable reference volume due to its outline (below) and organized categorization.  Each paper has an embedded link under the authors’ name(s).

Finally, there are 132 papers linking solar activity to weather and climate change (in addition to another ~90 that link natural oceanic/atmospheric oscillations [ENSO, NAO, etc.], clouds, volcanic activity . . . to climate change).  This is of special note because the IPCC has, since its inception, insisted that solar factors play almost no role in modern climate change.  Apparently scientists agree less and less with that “consensus” position.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

Biggest Fake News Story: Global Warming and Phony 97% Consensus

We have all heard the smug Al Gore line, repeated innumerable times by condescending media scribblers and talking heads, that "the science is settled," that 97 percent to 99 percent of climate scientists agree there is a global warming crisis and man’s carbon footprint is responsible for it. (Never mind that a few years ago, when it became evident the global temperature data weren’t showing significant warming, the mantra had to be changed from "global warming" to "climate change.")

Professor Oreskes, together with Australian global warming activist John Cook, will play an important role in the upcoming battle with Trump over the UN’s climate pact, which is a radical, job-destroying, economy-destroying, multi-trillion dollar tax-regulate-transfer scheme that would do nothing to improve the environment or stop climate change.

President Barack Obama was citing John Cook when he tweeted on May 16, 2013: "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous."

The New American has repeatedly reported on the fraudulent methodology used by Oreskes and Cook to arrive at their ludicrous near-unanimous consensus claims. Prof. Richard S. J. Tol and Dr. Benny Peiser are but two of the experts who have called out Oreskes and Cook, showing that only one percent of climate research papers — not 97 percent — support the "consensus" view claimed by the AGW alarmists. (See here, here, and here.)

Cook’s most damning exposé, though, was self-inflicted. In a series of e-mails, he let the cat out of the bag that, far from being a dispassionate scientific undertaking, his tabulation effort, called The Consensus Project (TCP), was actually a marketing and propaganda scheme calculated to convince the public that a non-existent consensus among scientists did in fact exist.

However, no amount of debunking, and no amount of evidence, will change the "crisis" mindset that grips many of the media commentators. CNN’s Chris Cuomo is a prime example of the arrogance of ignorance among the committed AGW mediameisters.

In a combative "interview" on December 12, CNN’s Chris Cuomo went after Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci, repeatedly citing the false claim that the science is settled and that "science" has declared we must accept vast new global governance and controls to avert planetary catastrophe.

Unfortunately, the Trump spokesman did not challenge Cuomo’s bogus consensus assertions, but merely argued that scientific consensus has often been wrong in the past. This is true, but as an argument it fails terribly by allowing the AGW alarmists to coopt "science" and make it appear that only a few crackpot "deniers" and scientists in the pay of Big Oil disagree with the alarmist CO2 thesis.

Since so many of the frightful scenarios in the global-warming scare campaign involve complex geophysical and chemical processes, as well as data gathering and measuring beyond the grasp of most of us mere mortals, there is a tendency of many laymen to lean in favor of "science" — if the claims of "overwhelming consensus" are true.

In the case of anthropogenic global warming, the consensus claims — very definitely — are not true. But that won’t stop AGW alarmism banshees from shrieking their fake news consensus even louder, in the days and weeks ahead.


Wind Turbines Crashing Down In Germany Amid Brisk Opposition And Even Sabotage!

Wind turbines are ugly, litter the landscape, endanger wildlife, generate erratically, destabilize power grids and even cause health problems. They also have a habit of coming apart and self destructing — thus creating a hazard to persons and property.

The Saxony online daily Sächsische Zeitung (SZ) here reports how a wind turbine collapsed near Leisnig just days ago. An investigation revealed how one of three blades failed catastrophically, thus creating a huge imbalance that caused the tower to buckle 15 meters above the ground and led to the structure to come crashing down. The site reports:

Through the force of the impact, the gearbox unit was driven almost 2 meters into the earth.”

Earlier in December, Germany’s BILD daily reported how in the Mecklenburg Pommeria town of Süderholz a wind turbine tower snapped in half and crashed to the ground. An investigation is now underway. Süderholz mayor Alexander Benkert ordered the other remaining turbines to be thoroughly inspected. Bild reports the tower simply snapped 25 meters up but that no one was injured.

Collapsing even when not in operation

In neighboring Denmark one wind turbine shows us that turbines can come apart even when they are not operating. Danish television site here reports how the blade of one turbine simply “tore off” during a recent storm.

Also here the English Manchester Evening News here reports how a recent storm ripped off all three blades from a turbine one afternoon in England, almost killing a man who happened to be taking his dog for a walk.

Mounting opposition to ugly, unreliable wind power projects

The seemingly collapse-prone turbines are likely yet just another reason on a long list why people now resist them. Once welcome and viewed as a source of clean energy, huge protests are now organizing and mobilizing against wind park projects. Germany’s online here reports how an online survey found only 15% were in favor of installing more turbines in the Uckermark region.

In the Rhine-Main region, the Frankfurter Neue Presse (FNP) reports on how authorities in Darmstadt recently rejected the building of wind turbines on the Taunuskamm mountain, citing “groundwater protection” needs. The local Green Party, of all people, fumed at the rejection.


The resistance to wind energy in Germany has grown to such an extent that some people are now sabotaging them. In Fulda a person, or persons, broke into a tower and destroyed the electrical gear, causing the unit to halt. The wind park operator suspects wind energy opponents.

First the suspect(s) had on two earlier occasions stopped the turbine by simply pressing the emergency STOP button. In the third attempt on December 26 the switchbox was opened and its contents destroyed. The online Fuldaer Zeitung writes at the end of the article:

Indeed the opposition against further wind turbines in the Eiterfeld area was large in the past.”

Wind energy in Germany is no longer welcome.


Skeptical Climate Scientists Coming In From the Cold

In the world of climate science, the skeptics are coming in from the cold.

Researchers who see global warming as something less than a planet-ending calamity believe the incoming Trump administration may allow their views to be developed and heard. This didn’t happen under the Obama administration, which denied that a debate even existed. Now, some scientists say, a more inclusive approach – and the billions of federal dollars that might support it – could be in the offing.

"Here’s to hoping the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma, and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives in climate science and our policy options," Georgia Tech scientist Judith Curry wrote this month at her popular Climate Etc. blog.

William Happer, professor emeritus of physics at Princeton University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is similarly optimistic. "I think we’re making progress," Happer said. "I see reassuring signs."

Despite harsh criticism of their contrarian views, a few scientists like Happer and Curry have pointed to evidence that global warming is less pronounced than predicted. They have also argued that this slighter warming would bring positive developments along with problems. For the first time in years, skeptics believe they can find a path out of the wilderness into which they’ve been cast by the "scientific consensus." As much as they desire a more open-minded reception by their colleagues, they are hoping even more that the spigot of government research funding – which dwarfs all other sources – will trickle their way.

President-elect Donald Trump, who has called global warming a "hoax," has chosen for key cabinet posts men whom the global warming establishment considers lapdogs of the oil and gas industry: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to run the Energy Department; Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma to run the Environmental Protection Agency; and Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

But while general policy may be set at the cabinet level, significant and concrete changes would likely be spelled out below those three – among the very bureaucrats the Trump transition team might have had in mind when, in a move some saw as intimidation, it sent a questionnaire to the Energy Department this month (later disavowed) trying to determine who worked on global warming.

It isn’t certain that federal employees working in various environmental or energy sector-related agencies would willingly implement rollbacks of regulations, let alone a redirection of scientific climate research, but the latter prospect heartens the skeptical scientists. They cite an adage: You only get answers to the questions you ask.

"In reality, it’s the government, not the scientists, that asks the questions," said David Wojick, a longtime government consultant who has closely tracked climate research spending since 1992. If a federal agency wants models that focus on potential sea-level rise, for example, it can order them up. But it can also shift the focus to how warming might boost crop yields or improve drought resistance.

While it could take months for such expanded fields of research to emerge, a wider look at the possibilities excites some scientists. Happer, for one, feels emboldened in ways he rarely has throughout his career because, for many years, he knew his iconoclastic climate conclusions would hurt his professional prospects.

When asked if he would voice dissent on climate change if he were a younger, less established physicist, he said: "Oh, no, definitely not. I held my tongue for a long time because friends told me I would not be elected to the National Academy of Sciences if I didn’t toe the alarmists’ company line."

That sharp disagreements are real in the field may come as a shock to many people, who are regularly informed that climate science is settled and those who question this orthodoxy are akin to Holocaust deniers. Nevertheless, new organizations like the CO2 Coalition, founded in 2015, suggest the debate is more evenly matched intellectually than is commonly portrayed. In addition to Happer, the CO2 Coalition’s initial members include scholars with ties to world-class institutions like MIT, Harvard and Rockefeller University. The coalition also features members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorology Society, along with policy experts from the Manhattan Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute and Tufts University’s Fletcher School.

With such voices joining in, the debate over global warming might shift. Until now, it’s normally portrayed as enlightened scholars vs. anti-science simpletons. A more open debate could shift the discussion to one about global warming’s extent and root causes.

Should a scientific and research funding realignment occur, it could do more than shatter what some see as an orthodoxy stifling free inquiry. Bjorn Lomborg, who has spent years analyzing potential solutions to global warming, believes that a more expansive outlook toward research is necessary because too much government funding has become expensive and ineffective corporate welfare. Although not a natural scientist, the social scientist Lomborg considers climate change real but not cataclysmic.

"Maybe now we’ll have a smarter conversation about what actually works," Lomborg told RealClearInvestigations. "What has been proposed costs a fortune and does very little. With more space opening up, we can invest more into research and development into green energy. We don’t need subsidies to build something. They’ve been throwing a lot of money at projects that supposedly will cut carbon emissions but actually accomplish very little. That’s not a good idea. The funding should go to universities and research institutions; you don’t need to give it to companies to do it."

Such new opportunities might, in theory, calm a field tossed by acrimony and signal a détente in climate science. Yet most experts are skeptical that a kumbaya moment is at hand. The mutual bitterness instilled over the years, the research money at stake, and the bristling hostility toward Trump’s appointees could actually exacerbate tensions.

"I think that the vast ‘middle’ will want and seek a more collegial atmosphere," Georgia Tech’s Curry told RealClearInvestigations. "But there will be some hardcore people (particularly on the alarmed side) whose professional reputation, funding, media exposure, influence etc. depends on cranking up the alarm."

Michael E. Mann, another climate change veteran, is also doubtful about a rapprochement. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State and author of the "hockey stick" graph, which claims a sharp uptick in global temperatures over the past century, believes ardently that global warming is a dire threat. He concluded a Washington Post op-ed this month with this foreboding thought: "The fate of the planet hangs in the balance." Mann acknowledges a brutal war of words has engulfed climate science. But in an e-mail exchange with RealClearInvestigations, he blamed opponents led by "the Koch brothers" for the polarization.

Mann did hint, however, there may be some room for discussion.

"In that poisonous environment it is difficult to have the important, more nuanced and worthy debate about what to do about the problem," he wrote. "There are Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bob Inglis and George Shultz trying to create space for that discussion, and that gives me hope. But given that Donald Trump is appointing so many outright climate deniers to key posts in this administration, I must confess that I – and many of my fellow scientists – are rather concerned."

Neither side of the debate has been immune from harsh and sinister attacks. Happer said he stepped down from the active faculty at Princeton in part "to deal with all this craziness." Happer and Mann, like several other climate scientists, have gotten death threats. They provided RealClearInvestigations with some of the e-mails and voice messages they have received.

"You are an educated Nazi and should hang from the neck," a critic wrote Happer in October 2014.

"You and your colleagues who have promoted this scandal ought to be shot, quartered and fed to the pigs along with your whole damn families," one e-mailed Mann in Dec. 2009.

Similar threats have bedeviled scientists and writers across the climate research spectrum, from Patrick Michaels, a self-described "lukewarmer" who dealt with death threats at the University of Virginia before moving to the Cato Institute, to Rajendra Pachauri, who protested anonymous death threats while heading the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Putting such ugliness aside, some experts doubt that the science will improve even if the Trump administration asks new research questions and funding spreads to myriad proposals. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences who has long questioned climate change orthodoxy, is skeptical that a sunnier outlook is upon us.

"I actually doubt that," he said. Even if some of the roughly $2.5 billion in taxpayer dollars currently spent on climate research across 13 different federal agencies now shifts to scientists less invested in the calamitous narrative, Lindzen believes groupthink has so corrupted the field that funding should be sharply curtailed rather than redirected.

"They should probably cut the funding by 80 to 90 percent until the field cleans up," he said. "Climate science has been set back two generations, and they have destroyed its intellectual foundations."

The field is cluttered with entrenched figures who must toe the established line, he said, pointing to a recent congressional report that found the Obama administration got a top Department of Energy scientist fired and generally intimidated the staff to conform with its politicized position on climate change.

"Remember this was a tiny field, a backwater, and then suddenly you increased the funding to billions and everyone got into it," Lindzen said. "Even in 1990 no one at MIT called themselves a ‘climate scientist,’ and then all of a sudden everyone was. They only entered it because of the bucks; they realized it was a gravy train. You have to get it back to the people who only care about the science."


Pruitt’s confirmation as EPA chief essential to restoring balance of power

The early days of the 115th Congress will see a focus on a regulatory reform, as the House of Representatives seeks to reestablish Article I of the Constitution, which delegates lawmaking authority solely to the legislative branch. Passage of legislation to rein in the regulatory state, however, is only one part of this important effort.

Bills like the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act, and the Midnight Rules Relief Act are likely to see quick passage out of the House. Each of these worthy measures passed the House in the 114th Congress only to languish in the Senate.

While procedural hurdles could continue to stall these bills in the upper chamber, a proxy battle in the war against the regulatory state will come by way of the confirmation process for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Regulatory overreach is not a new threat to the constitutional separation of powers and the prosperity of the American people. President George W. Bush, as explained by Veronique de Rugy in January 2009, “was the biggest regulator since Nixon.” According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Wayne Crews, the Bush administration issued 390 “economically significant” regulations -- those with an annual cost of $100 million or more -- over eight years.

But the Bush administration’s regulatory agenda pales in comparison to that of President Obama. In less than two terms, Sam Batkins of the American Action Forum explained in August, the Obama administration had issued 600 economically significant regulations, with a cost of $743 billion.

“President Obama could easily top 650 major rules by the time the next president takes the oath of office (31 percent more than his predecessor),” Batkins wrote. “What will the final tally be for major regulations? To date, the administration’s major rules have cost, on average, $1.4 billion. With the possibility of 50 more rules, the lame duck tally could push this regulatory cost figure to $813 billion ($743 billion base plus $70 billion in future rules).”

Promulgating nearly 4,000 rules since 2009, the EPA is one of the worst offenders of this regulatory avalanche. Among the most controversial rules the EPA has issued is the Clean Power Plan, which, through purported authority claimed under the Clean Air Act, requires states to develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent of 2005 levels. The rule, which is aimed at the coal industry, is estimated to avert a fraction of a degree of temperature increases by 2100.

The annual cost to the energy sector to comply with the Clean Power Plan is estimated to be between $41 billion to $73 billion. These costs, of course, will be passed off to consumers in the form of higher energy prices. For states like West Virginia and North Dakota, this could mean average price increases of 43 percent and 33 percent. Missouri and Montana could see an increase of 24 percent, while Pennsylvania and Ohio may see increases of 17 percent and 15 percent. Interestingly, these states are represented by vulnerable Senate Democrats who are up for re-election in 2018.

States dependent on the coal industry have already been ravaged by the Obama administration’s policies. But the Clean Power Plan, could cost the industry nearly 126,000 jobs. This is an alarming reality for labor unions dependent on coal, which is why the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and United Mine Workers of America have joined the 27-state lawsuit against the EPA to halt the rule.

Pruitt, who also sued the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, will have the opportunity to reverse the trend of over-regulation. Unlike most bureaucrats, the Oklahoma attorney general believes that states should have the power to regulate industries based on their own needs, not have bureaucrats in Washington dictate rules to them. He also believes in a balance between regulation and prosperity, one that has been absent during the Obama administration.

Those in the Senate -- Democrat or Republican -- who vote against Pruitt’s confirmation will be siding with radical environmentalists who are actively seeking to undermine prosperity and opportunity for all Americans.



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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3 January, 2017

PROOF of global warming(!)

A delightful article below by Thomas Levenson, a professor of science WRITING.  He applies his writing profession to explain and prove global warming.  It's a long article with a lot of initial  throat-clearing but rather than bother with the superficialities there, I reproduce below just his attempt to get down to tintacks in a 3-part argument.  But that argument is very simplistic and in fact falls at the first hurdle.

1). He begins by harking way back to the original Arrhenius experiment to prove that CO2 does cause warming.  I could argue with that but I won't.  As is usual with Green/Left writing, far more important is what Levenson omits. 

He omits to tell us that Arrhenius gives us no figure on HOW MUCH warming a given amount of CO2 will cause.  That figure is called the climate sensitivity and what the figure is, is a matter of great dispute.  There are both theoretical and empirical grounds to believe that the figure is small and that global warming is therefore of trivial importance and may even be undetectable.   That is my position and the position of most climate skeptics.  So the whole Warmist argument falls at that hurdle.  Without a solid figure for climate sensitivity, the baneful effect of CO2 is mere speculation.

2). Levenson goes on to tell us that CO2 has risen a lot in the last century.  It has.  But so what?  We cannot conclusively tie any degree of warming to it

3). His third point is that human beings emit a lot of CO2.  But again, so what?

Levenson points to various climate facts but ignores the one crucial issue.  So he proves nothing.  Amusing that he tried though.  That's more than most Warmists attempt

Here are some key facts about humankind’s impact on the earth’s climate. Taken together they form a bedrock of understanding for which any attempt to dispute the global warming picture must account.

The founding insight can be traced back to a precise place and time: Stockholm, Dec. 11, 1895, when Svante Arrhenius stood before the Swedish Academy of Science to present his paper "On the Influence of Carbonic Acid upon the Temperature of the Ground." (Carbonic acid is now better known as carbon dioxide.) Arrhenius began by recalling how his predecessors had shown that the gas is transparent to visible light — the sun shines perfectly happily through all the CO2 between it and the earth’s surface — but absorbs energy at longer wavelengths of light — infrared radiation, what we feel as heat.

Arrhenius then took this basic physical insight and used it to build a picture of a planetwide process. He showed that "if the quantity of carbonic acid [in the atmosphere] increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature [at the earth’s surface] will increase nearly in arithmetic progression" — which is to say, more carbon up there leads directly to more heat down here. He went on to discuss a possible link between CO2 levels and the ebb and flow of ice ages — and he even noted the possibility that burning coal or other fossil fuels might affect the carbon content of the atmosphere.

There it was: One hundred and twenty years ago physicists and chemists already knew that atmospheric CO2 molds global climate. There was and is no disagreement on this. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. It allows visible light to penetrate the atmosphere, and it acts as a blanket, keeping heat from radiating back out into space. This knowledge does not depend on any indirect measurements, assumptions, or elaborate numerical analysis. Rather, it emerges directly from the extremely well established basic understanding of the behavior of atoms and molecules.

The second piece of the puzzle is equally solid. We know how much carbon is in the atmosphere; we know that its concentration is going up; we know by how much. This isn’t a case of argument-by-proxy, an attempt to reconstruct a record through pollen deposits or tree ring data or what have you (though such methods are powerful tools to extract information from the past). There is no question about these facts — because, more than 50 years ago, a guy climbed a tall mountain to find out.

In the mid 1950s, Charles Keeling was a postdoc in geochemistry at Caltech. While there, he built the first instrument that could accurately measure CO2 concentrations in atmospheric samples. He tried his new device out on trips around California, but it was only when he moved to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography that was able to begin an experiment that has outlived him. Beginning in 1956, Keeling and his successors have measured atmospheric CO2 at an observatory high on the flanks of Mauna Loa, one of the two giant volcanoes that dominate the Big Island of Hawaii. There is nothing there to confound the work — no smokestacks, cars, anything. The graph that records what they’ve found over six decades is now called the Keeling Curve — and it is unequivocal.

One of the first things Keeling saw was a jigsaw trace tracking the change of the seasons. As plants grow in the land-rich Northern hemisphere in spring and summer, they grab CO2 out of the air. In winter, as leaves die and fall, some of that carbon gets released back into the atmosphere. As one of the obituaries that followed his death in 2005 put it, Keeling "had discovered that the earth itself was breathing."

But such small fluctuations can’t hide the overall trajectory. When Keeling first began his measurements, carbon dioxide accounted for 310 parts per million of the atmosphere. Since then, each year has seen an increase, drawing a curve that is pretty close to a line pointing ever upward. As of April 13, 2016, the Mauna Loa observatory counted 408.70 parts per million of CO2.

That’s just the way it is: a number that corresponds to a real quantity out there in nature. Like the figure for acceleration due to gravity at the earth’s surface (about 9.8 meters/ second squared) or the chemical composition of water (two atoms of hydrogen bound to one of oxygen), it’s not subject to debate. It’s not an article of Trump’s (or anyone’s) belief. We live on a planet that until recently sported 310 parts per million of carbon dioxide as a thermal blanket — and now has more than 400. Any debate about global climate begins from that unvarnished, unchallengeable reality.

The third beyond-dispute fact about climate change concerns who’s responsible for that rise in atmospheric CO2.

It’s us.

Human society excretes a lot of carbon. The numbers are somewhat less precise than the Mauna Loa measurements — but they’re still based on direct observation. A number of different agencies and research centers collect the various data sets on industrial activity, power generation, deforestation, and the like. In 2014, all that work put together tallied 35.9 billion tons of CO2 produced by burning of coal, oil, and gas, plus or minus a small variance. Land use changes added another 3.3 billion tons of the gas per year over the last decade, though here the uncertainty is larger — plus or minus 1.8 billion tons. (There are other greenhouse gases for which good estimates of human production exist — notably methane — but CO2 remains the single largest culprit in the climate change story.)

From Arrhenius’s first musings about the impact of human action on climate, the key question was whether any possible carbon sinks — especially the oceans — could absorb both natural sources of CO2 (volcanoes, forest fires, and the like) and that released by everything people burn. Now we know — thanks to Keeling’s observations — that the answer is no. The oceans do absorb some of the annual production of CO2 from both natural events and what we produce, but the way we live now creates an excess of carbon that overflows all such natural reservoirs.

These three facts: Atmospheric carbon dioxide regulates temperature at the earth’s surface, its levels have been and are continuing to rise, and human beings are behind that increase — lead directly to a simple conclusion. All else being equal, human action is driving a global process that will create and likely already is leading to a warmer world.

Everything else isn’t equal, of course. The global climate system is intricate, difficult to untangle, tricky to measure, and home to plenty of uncertainties. But here’s the nub: Any claim that the world isn’t getting hotter now and won’t warm in the future can’t rely on just one scrap of information or another. It has to make a bigger argument — some coherent account of why ever increasing amounts of carbon produced directly by human activity won’t end up where at all our basic understanding of how nature works suggests it should.

So, when Ted Cruz argues that all of climate science is a hoax because one piece of information — squinted at just right — suggests a gap in the warming record, he’s not thinking like a scientist. Instead, he’s making a lawyer’s case, pounding the table for the defense. That’s fine work as rhetoric; we’re trained through cultural understanding and uncounted hours of TV courtroom drama to see cases turn on each individual piece of evidence. "If the carbon don’t fit, you must acquit" and all that.

But that’s not how science works, not when studying climate or anything else. A century ago, Albert Einstein produced his General Theory of Relativity, a radical conception of gravity that displaced Isaac Newton’s version. Yet Einstein’s theory didn’t erase all the successes the older idea had in explaining the motions of everything from the moons of Jupiter to tides here on Earth’s tides. That’s why one of the first calculations Einstein performed to test his new idea was to see if it could reproduce Newtonian results at the appropriate scales. Even the greatest discoveries don’t invalidate older knowledge. Rather they frame such prior ideas within their newly emerging picture.

Much of contemporary science has accumulated into a deep understanding of the natural world that is inconvenient for the leading Republican candidates for president. Willed ignorance is a disaster for climate policy in particular. It is worse as an approach to science in the public sphere. For centuries, human curiosity led us to the point where we know so much; it would be good — more, it may well be a matter of survival — to put all that knowledge to use.


The war against climate alarmism is over, and we won it

It just needed one person in a position of power to declare that the emperor had no clothes for the whole fantasy to fall apart -- and Trump has done that

There won’t be a formal surrender, there will be no armistice or cease-fire, there will be no shell-shocked soldiers staggering out of bullet scarred bunkers with their hands raised high waving white kerchiefs and there will be no trials for crimes against humanity for the genocide committed in the developing world, but it’s over.

They’ll just continue to melt away as the murderous craze drifts further into political irrelevance and what will be looked back on as yet another moral aberration of the it’s all about my feelings generation and the politics that pandered to it.

Politically, the whole thing is dead in the water and has been for some time. Global warming is at the bottom of everyone’s list of concerns even if it makes an appearance on the list at all, and we’ve just been through a year-long presidential campaign where it was barely mentioned. Trump being elected as president will be its long overdue coup de grâce, though not in the form of a bullet through the head but rather a knife cutting through its financial umbilical cord down which flow the government grants, concessions and loan guarantees that keep it alive.

For me, being a small part in stopping the harm it was doing if only by a week or two was always the modest ambition, and any idea of punishing those responsible for inflicting needless cruelty on the most vulnerable people on the planet I always knew was never going to happen. I always hated them, always wanted to beat them but at the same time always knew they’d escape any sort of punishment, and that is the way things have worked out. My anger towards them still burns incandescent, but I will not allow it to overrule my reason.

No ending of war is ever that neat and tidy, and any notion of just deserts or some kind of balancing out of cruelties in the real world is a self-indulgence reserved only for those innocent of its callous realities. Punishment, if it ever occurs, will be in their afterlives, if perchance there should be such a thing.

I’ve done the best part of a decade in it, doing in recent years some things above the waterline like this blog and some other stuff well below it, not one of which I regret. For me, it was initially intended to be a quickie, my last war, because in one form or another, I’d seen too many of them but you do get sucked in, and once you go over a certain event horizon, you’re committed and have to see the thing through.

Like most skeptics, that event horizon was when you reached a point where you knew that by going any further off the orthodoxy reservation, you were going to lose friends and be disappointed in people you formerly respected as they hurriedly distanced themselves from you in fear. You were about to learn all about being shunned, both professionally and personally, and that when it came to a “climate criminal” like you, all the rules of civilised behaviour didn’t apply.

You’d become some sort of new age nigger of a freshly unenlightened twenty-first century, of whom anything could be said and to whom anything could be done, just short of actually lynching us though some of them would if they’d the guts to go further than anonymous verbal threats. To compound the jollies, you quickly found out you were going to be adopted as some sort of Saul on the road to Damascus convert by a variety of fringe loonies, all of whom were a bit higher up the insanity scale than a Grand Wizard of the KKK and just as unpleasant.

In the face of that amount of hate, you needed to cultivate not only some fortitude but a pretty robust sense of humour.

On the plus side, you made some new friends who were also engaged in the same push back against what was presented as a massive consensus. Though different in their own approaches to the conflict, they’d all passed over their own particular event horizon, and for the grand reward of not a penny but a lot of pretty vile abuse, soldiered on through the hard years. As Churchill said, when you’re going through hell, keep going, and they did.

It’s when you see people under that amount of stress and still doing the lonely courage thing, you’ll see the worst or the best come out of them. The abiding thing I’ll always take away from my time in the climate wars is I had the honour to serve in the company of heroes and heroines. They were and still are the right stuff.

We’re now in better years, times have changed and alarmism is in various stages of implosion around the world. In some like the USA and UK, it’s a corpse on the receiving end of copious amounts of makeup larded on with a trowel by the legacy media in an effort to kid people there’s still life in the thing, in others such as Europe and the Antipodes the alarmists are aware that though it’s not quite over, the writing is on the wall. They’re busy stuffing their pockets with as much cash as they can get their hands on before the big cleaver comes down on the easy money that used to flow from government coffers.

For some time it’s seemed plain to me that we were engaged in the endgame, they were in a self-destruct spiral downwards and it was just a matter of not interrupting its progress to a satisfactory conclusion, since the passing of time and the momentum of the forces that favoured our side have been irresistible for some years, and are by now unstoppable.

We were certainly a factor in its demise, but not as big a one as some people in the daily fray of the thing might think. After what was a hard start nearly a decade ago, it was just a matter of letting it play itself out.

The big learning to take away from the skeptic campaign was that it was waged primarily on the internet. The legacy media had not only bought into climate alarmism because it offered a non-stop stream of dramatic headlines, but the supposed cure for the non-problem was in essence a social re-engineering of western society along lines that agreed with their overwhelming liberal or outright socialist leanings.

It was information war posing as journalism and as with all infowar, any viewpoint opposing the official line had to be denied any means of expression. No platform for deniers, so we created our own ones.

The response by skeptics scattered around the world was to use the only means of communicating their message that wasn’t under the control of government or hostile media conglomerates – the internet. The elements of what was a diffuse and disconnected opposition independently came up with that way to break the information blockade that there was an alternative narrative available on the dangers or not of global warming.

An unexpected but in retrospect an obvious product of what I suppose you’d have to call the emergent behaviour of the internet, was the gradual creation of a skeptic community centered about a few blogs, their contributors, commenters and readers. A lot of mainline science and technology practitioners gravitated anonymously into that community, but you’d have to nail them to a cross before they’d ever admit it. Certainly in some quarters we were the furtive equivalent of science porn in the early years.

As it turned out, we played the infowar game a lot better than the opposition, helped in no large part in that our content had an element only rarely present in theirs – the truth, and a truth which could genuinely be argued about by the commentators under the blog piece. When you’re paid absolutely nothing for your efforts, there’s no way to exert pressure on you by the legacy media and its owners, so you can just tell it as you see it.

What’s vital though, is that without a free and unrestricted internet, our views would never have been heard.

We pioneered campaigning using primarily the internet because we had to, and Trump presented with the same problem of an overwhelmingly hostile media, did in essence the same with very little usage of a legacy media which could be guaranteed to distort his message.

We merely bypassed the legacy media, but he’s practically made it obsolete. Since people no longer trust them, they’re now the walking dead.


“Hottest Year Evah” Update

Supposedly 2016 was the banner year for global warming. So what has it brought?

Arctic sea ice extent finishes the year at the level of the last few years:

NH snow extent was at the second highest on record this autumn:

Greenland’s ice sheet has been growing at a phenomenal rate:

Hurricane activity for the last 12 months has been normal:

The US tornado season has been one of the quietest on record:

US wildfires have been below the 10-year average:

The decline in Central England temperatures since the peak a decade ago continues:

Rainfall in Australia continues to defy the drought doomsters:

Sounds pretty much like any other year to me!

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

UK: The great green guzzler con

Shortly before midday on March 16, 2016, Richard Whittemore opened the gate of a 20-acre field near Plaistow in West Sussex to find a scene of devastation.

The babbling stream that flows through it had become a glutinous slick of black, toxic sludge.

He knew exactly what it was. The same thing had happened nine months earlier: a massive chemical spillage from the huge ‘green’ energy plant at the neighbouring Crouchland Farm, subsidised each year with millions of pounds from taxpayers.

In all, the spill, rich in poisonous ammonia, contaminated 70 of Mr Whittemore’s acres. In the following days, 28 of his pregnant ewes perished, along with 35 lambs and the fish and other wildlife in the stream for a distance of several miles. The Environment Agency warned that children and animals should stay well away from the polluted water.

‘Part of my reason for farming is to enjoy the countryside, and to work with animals,’ Mr Whittemore said yesterday. ‘To have this happen twice in a year was shattering. I felt like giving up.’

The toxic spill came from an anaerobic digester (AD), one of a fast-growing fleet of industrial machines that turn food and agricultural waste into methane, which is then fed into the national gas grid.

Their supporters claim they are a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way of producing gas to heat homes while curbing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Anaerobic Digester and Bioresources Association (ADBA), the industry’s lobby group, they will lead to ‘stable energy prices, fewer carbon dioxide emissions, and a financial saving for homes and businesses across the country’.

But the reality is this supposedly green energy source comes at a heavy cost to taxpayers and to the environment it is supposed to protect. An investigation by this newspaper has revealed that:

There is a massive shortage of food and farm waste, which ADs were originally supposed to use as ‘feedstock’. They rely increasingly on specially-grown crops from prime arable land, such as maize and sugarbeet.

New Government figures show that in June 2016, a staggering 131,000 acres of UK land were being used to grow maize for ADs – an increase of 50 per cent in one year. Environmental experts say maize is extremely destructive, permanently damaging soil.

Toxic spills from ADs are common and fast increasing. According to the Environment Agency, ADs caused 12 ‘serious pollution incidents’ in 2015 – a rise of more than 50 per cent on the previous year.

ADs don’t just leak, they sometimes explode. In 2014, an AD blast at Harper Adams University in Shropshire destroyed a huge containment tank and the building housing it, showering the surrounding land with tons of toxic slurry.

ADs making gas for the grid suck up £216 million a year in taxpayer-funded subsidies, making their gas more than three times as expensive as that from conventional sources – money that could be spent on the NHS or schools.

The Plaistow AD has been operating without planning permission since 2013 and faces a planning demolition order – yet in that time has received some £5 million in subsidy.

A Government ‘Impact Assessment’ warned last March that ‘agricultural crops are … not a cost effective means of biomethane production’. Crop-fed ADs might reduce emissions – but only at a cost many times higher than that of burning equal quantities of fossil fuel.

Ecotricity, owned by green multi-millionaire Dale Vince, says it wants to increase the number of ADs producing gas for the grid tenfold, by building 1,000 new plants. Construction of the first, at Sparsholt in Hampshire, is imminent.

The burgeoning AD gas industry is a relatively late addition to the ‘green’ energy scene. The first, small-scale plants, fed mainly by farm waste, did not ‘inject’ gas into the grid but burnt it to generate small amounts of electricity. About 400 of such plants have been built.

However, in 2011, the Coalition government introduced the Renewable Heat Incentive – a subsidy that made it profitable to build much bigger ADs to make gas for the grid, despite their enormous running costs. The first gas-to-grid plant came on-stream that year.

They rapidly took off. In December 2015, there were 70 gas-to-grid ADs, and now there are 86, prompting ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton to comment: ‘Green gas has gone mainstream… Biomethane-to-grid is a real success story for the Renewable Heat Incentive.’ According to Ms Morton, AD gas heats 170,000 homes.

Others have long been more critical. Before his untimely death in 2016, the chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Professor David MacKay, warned: ‘Biofuels can’t add up.’

Farming and processing their feedstock took up so much energy that it almost cancelled out the energy they might produce, so that overall, ‘biofuels made from plants deliver so little power I think they are scarcely worth talking about’.

The AD planned for the Agricultural College in Sparsholt illustrates what he meant. According to Ecotricity, the gas it makes will have an energy output of 49,000 megawatts per year – enough to heat 4,000 homes.

But this, according to the firm’s calculations, will require 60,000 metric tonnes of feedstock from grass and rye to be grown on 3,000 acres of farmland and transported to the site. The AD will occupy 13 acres – an industrial site in the middle of exquisite countryside, the size of seven football pitches.

Growing and harvesting the feedstock, and shipping it to the plant, will consume vast quantities of fossil fuel, mainly diesel.

As well as gas, ADs produce ‘digestate’, which weighs 85 per cent as much as the original feedstock. (Diluted, this can be used as a fertiliser.) To keep the Sparsholt AD operating, every year loads totalling 60,000 tons must be shipped in, and 50,400 tons shipped out.

According to Sparsholt campaigner Stewart Wooles, the 110,400-ton total is the same weight as two ships as big as the Titanic – ‘all being driven through the lanes of Hampshire every year’.

In its planning application – fiercely resisted by residents – Ecotricity admitted that the AD would trigger 12,792 separate vehicle movements a year, mainly tractors pulling trailers, on the narrow local roads – a recipe for traffic chaos.

Mr Wooles said: ‘Ecotricity claims it can get all its feedstock from a 15km (nine mile) radius. I very much doubt that, because they do not yet have a single contract with local farmers for supplying it, and another nearby AD is having to source its feedstock from many times that distance.

‘But even taking them at their word, transporting loads to and from the AD will consume 220,000 litres of diesel a year. That much in a family car would get you the distance to the moon and back five times.’

Yet still the plant is officially classed as ‘green’. John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said that provided it is ‘registered’ by April, Ecotricity can expect to receive £2.43 million a year from taxpayers, on top of about £1 million from selling its gas to the grid. The subsidies mean AD gas costs about three-and-half times as much as that from fossil sources.

Ecotricity and Sparsholt College declined to comment to the MoS, claiming all these issues had been dealt with by the planning process.

Critics say ADs cause problems other than traffic. According to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), they can provide some local employment, but overall do damage to the local economy: ‘Pubs, hotels, stables, shoots, B&Bs, campsites, wedding venues and any parts of the tourism sector are adversely affected by the smell, the unsightliness and the traffic of a large-scale AD.’

A CPRE report on crop-fed digesters in the West Country added: ‘The countryside around the digesters is becoming an extension of the industrial nature of the AD sites themselves to the detriment of public amenity, the environment and the long-term welfare of the soil.’

In 2016, the Soil Association told the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee that the area of land being diverted into growing AD feedstock would be enough to produce two billion loaves of wholemeal bread. Growing maize, it added, was ‘subsidised soil destruction’.

In December, the new department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that from April the subsidy per unit of gas would increase. But henceforth, it added, it would only be payable on half a new AD’s output if all its feedstock came from crops. The new policy may jeopardise Mr Vince’s plans to build 1,000 new ADs, although ADs that register before it comes into force will not be affected. Here again, Ecotricity declined to comment – although it continues to trumpet its ‘green gas’ campaign on its website.

Elsewhere, those who live near existing plants must continue to grapple with their consequences. Richard Whittemore farms rare breeds of grass-fed mountain sheep and Highland cattle. On the day of the March 2016 toxic spillage, caused by a flood of liquid digestate from one of the AD’s several open lagoons, he had 500 ewes due to give birth in a fortnight, and had been relying on the field’s lush grazing to feed them.

He was forced to sell almost 400 at knockdown, ‘fire sale’ prices, along with several bull calves. In all, the leak cost him £54,000 – for which he has not been compensated. The earlier leak in June 2015 also forced him to sell 400 animals and the cost was even higher, about £60,000.

Yet the Plaistow AD, run by Crouchland Biogas, has been refused planning permission and is currently subject to an order to demolish it – a decision the firm intends to appeal against in April. It is also covered by a separate order saying it must not truck in feedstock maize – which it still continues to do, in loads that sometimes total hundreds of tonnes per day.

Astonishingly, neither this nor the spillages have affected its subsidy. According to a BEIS official, the subsidies were still being paid ‘because biomethane is being produced’.

The fact that the plant did not have planning permission was a matter for the local authority.

Crouchland’s spokesman insisted the plant was ‘lawful’, saying its planning status would finally be determined at a public inquiry in April. He claimed it was opposed only by a ‘handful of our neighbours who continue to campaign against our farm’. In fact, the planning inspector has so far received 450 individual submissions opposing the plant and a 1,050-signature petition – and just five letters supporting it.


Australia: Big storm in June 2016 in Sydney area

Some extensive excerpts below from an end-of-year climate report by shifty Peter Hannam, environmental reporter for the Leftist Sydney Mourning Harold. In a possible example of a Trump effect, Peter for once mentions "climate change" not once!  Is he losing the faith?

Out of all the weather in the whole vast continent of Austraila, the only extreme weather event Peter could find to mourn in the whole year was a big mid-year storm in Sydney that caused a lot of beach erosion. But storms that cause beach erosion are old hat in Eastern Australia, including places just North of Sydney  like Byron Bay.  Note the following quote

"Since settlement, the Byron Shire coastline has endured a long history of large coastal storms and coastal erosion and as a result suffered major losses to its dunal system. The properties that lie along Belongil Beach have lost significant portions of their land as the relentless effects of the ocean have eroded away its foredune."

So beach erosion proves nothing. It's routine.

Peter then goes on to temperature, heading his subsection:  "Record breaking heat".  And Peter goes on to give a careful selection of statistics about temperature.  And its all laughs from then on.

The one thing he does not give is the actual maximum temperature for Sydney 2016.  He just says vaguely: "40-degree readings".  But those readings were all in Western Sydney, far from the sea, where it is always hotter.  From what I can gather, coastal Sydney stayed BELOW 40.

He then goes on to say: "Sydney will notch its highest readings since reliable data gathering began in 1858 for each of the main measures: for minimum, mean and maximum temperatures"

Note that date, 1858.  Convenient. You can prove almost anything by choosing your starting point. Watkin Tench in 1790 was at least as good a scientist as many modern meteorologists -- he didn't "interpolate" [guess], for instance -- and he recorded a maximum temperature in coastal Sydney of 108F (42C).  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

See here and also here for a confirmation of Tench's observations

But the funniest bit of all is Peter's link to a study by dear little Acacia Pepler. I have for many decades had the habit of going back to the origial text of anything quoted. And it has been my impression previously that Acacia has got more honesty in her than most BoM personnel -- maybe because she is still a student. And she did not disappoint this time.  She was just using rubbishy models -- as they all do -- but reported a run that others -- I suspect -- would have quietly hidden away.

I give the Abstract at the foot of Peter's eructation.  She actually predicts a DECREASE in big storms!  Pesky! And big East Coast storms are actually Acacia's area of expertise.  So Peter certainly gave me a few laughs today.

The storm was generated by a monster east coast low, arguably the state's most significant weather event in 2016, if not Australia's.

In its special climate statement on the event, the Bureau of Meteorology list the tempest's remarkable features. For NSW, it dumped an average of 73.11 millimetres of rain along the state's coastline, the most ever for a single day for any month, beating the previous high set on January 19, 1950, of 68.89mm.

The scale of this mid-latitude cyclone also stretched further, from Queensland to Tasmania, where it broke the Apple Island's drought with record rains.

Also, to underscore the tropical features of the event, all previous storms approaching the amount of rain dumped on eastern NSW had occurred during summer rather than the start of winter, and were linked to tropical cyclones or former ones.

As with other big natural events, social, economic and environmental impacts have lingered long after the storm. Insured losses alone were about $250 million. It has also laid bare vulnerabilities, particularly for coastal communities, of the more intense storms expected as the climate warms. The challenges facing governments include trying to boost resilience and adaptability for residents in a manner that's fair and foresighted.

While major east coast lows have hammered the coastline previously, such as in 1974 and 1978, impacts are likely to worsen with climate change, researchers including Acacia Pepler, a bureau climatologist and UNSW scientist, have found.

For one thing, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture – 7 per cent more per degree of warming – and therefore dump more rain. The impact of storms on coasts will also likely be made worse by rising sea levels, with storm surges riding on a higher base.

Record-breaking heat

For Sydney, 2016 had other noteworthy weather, perhaps none more so than the outstanding warmth even if heatwave peaks weren't as frequent as the summer of 2013-14.

As parts of Sydney closed out 2016 with their first 40-degree readings of the summer, the year's last burst of heat was a fitting end to the city's hottest year on record, Weatherzone says.

Sydney will notch its highest readings since reliable data gathering began in 1858 for each of the main measures: for minimum, mean and maximum temperatures.

For day-time temperatures, the city's average day in 2016 will come in at about 23.8 degrees, and nights about 15.5 degrees, Weatherzone estimates. The bureau will release its assessments next week.

For perspective, it's as if Sydney's average year-round conditions matched those of a typical November.

Compared with long-run average, days were about 2 degrees warmer than normal and nights 1.5 degrees. Should similar anomalies by overlaid on 2016 in future years – an increase within the bounds of projected climate change – year-round temperatures would start to feel like a typical December.

'Persistent warmth'

Looking back over the year, Sydneysiders might be forgiven for thinking 2016 was not a remarkably hot year – the last few days notwithstanding.

The city did set a few high marks, including the hottest April day on record with 34.2 degrees set on the 6th. December 14 was another standout with its warm minimum of 27.1 degrees, the hottest overnight temperature for the month but the second for any month.

But generally few months set new high marks and autumn was the only season to do so for mean, minimum and maximum temperatures. The average of day and night temperatures easily eclipsed the previous high set in 2014 by 0.4 degrees, the bureau says.


Projected changes in east Australian midlatitude cyclones during the 21st century

Acacia S. Pepler et al.


The east coast of Australia is regularly influenced by midlatitude cyclones known as East Coast Lows. These form in a range of synoptic situations and are both a cause of severe weather and an important contributor to water security. This paper presents the first projections of future cyclone activity in this region using a regional climate model ensemble, with the use of a range of cyclone identification methods increasing the robustness of results. While there is considerable uncertainty in projections of cyclone frequency during the warm months, there is a robust agreement on a decreased frequency of cyclones during the winter months, when they are most common in the current climate. However, there is a potential increase in the frequency of cyclones with heavy rainfall and those closest to the coast and accordingly those with potential for severe flooding.



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, 2017

What does Greenland's Petermann glacier tell us?

Warming evangelist Chris Mooney below focuses on a glaciologist, Andreas Muenchow, who studies the Petermann glacier and notes that Muenchow has become more convinced that, over time, the glacier has been shrinking.  It probably is.  Glaciers advance and retreat all the time.  As some melt, others will be advancing -- usually in response to movements in precipitation.   So you can make no valid generalizations from what one glacier does.

And the amusing part is that the Petermann is a SHELF -- floating ice -- and we have known since Archimedes that the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level.  Mooney indirectly acknowledges that by saying that the Petermann is "holding back" other ice.  Maybe.  But if the other ice is grounded why should anything move it other than its own internal processes?

Mooney is just a teller of tall tales

So let us look at what Mooney does NOT tell us.  I have long said that volcanic heat at both poles stands behind a lot of occasional ice melts.  So let us see what Muenchow says about that.  Below is a recent (2016) abstract from an article by him:

Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet represents a major uncertainty in projecting future rates of global sea level rise. Much of this uncertainty is related to a lack of knowledge about subsurface ocean hydrographic properties, particularly heat content, how these properties are modified across the continental shelf, and about the extent to which the ocean interacts with glaciers. Early results from NASA’s five-year Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission, based on extensive hydrographic and bathymetric surveys, suggest that many glaciers terminate in deep water and are hence vulnerable to increased melting due to ocean-ice interaction. OMG will track ocean conditions and ice loss at glaciers around Greenland through the year 2020, providing critical information about ocean-driven Greenland ice mass loss in a warming climate.

Muenchow explicitly admits that subsurface heat might cause the melting, not anthropogenic global warming.  Need I say more?

As one of Greenland’s largest ice shelves shrinks, a once-doubtful scientist has come around to the role of climate change in melting it.

Half a decade before he took this trip to the farthest reaches of the north, Andreas Muenchow had his doubts about whether warming temperatures were causing one of the world’s great platforms of ice to melt and fall apart.

He even stood before Congress in 2010 and balked on whether climate change might have caused a mammoth chunk of ice, four times the size of Manhattan, to break off from this floating, 300-square-mile shelf. The University of Delaware oceanographer said he wasn’t sure. He needed more evidence.

But then the Petermann Ice Shelf lost another two Manhattans of ice in 2012, and Muenchow decided to see for himself, launching a project to study the ice shelf intensively.

He was back again in late August, no longer a skeptic. It was hard not to be a believer here at 81 degrees north latitude, where Greenland and Canada very nearly touch. The surface of the bumpy and misshapen ice was covered with pools and puddles, in some cases frozen over but with piercing blue water beneath. Streams carved through the vast shelf, swelling into larger ponds or even small lakes.

The meltwater was a sign the ice shelf was growing more fragile, moving closer to the day when it might give up more city-size chunks of ice.

The Petermann Ice Shelf serves as a plug of sorts to one of Greenland’s largest glaciers, lodged in a fjord that, from the height of its mountain walls down to the lowest point of the seafloor, is deeper than the Grand Canyon. There’s enough ice piled up behind Petermann to raise oceans globally by nearly a foot someday.

The question for Muenchow is no longer whether Petermann is changing — it’s how fast it could give up still more ice to the seas.


Update: Honest scientist rehired after legal threat

In the eyes of the law, lying to Congress is a crime. In the eyes of liberals, NOT lying to Congress is a crime.  Dr. Noelle Metting learned that the hard way.

She was fired by Obama administration officials for honestly answering questions from members of Congress, instead of reading from a lobbying script prepared for her.

Dr. Metting, a scientist and manager in the Energy Department, met with members of the U.S House Committee on Science and Technology in 2014 to discuss a research program into how low doses of radiation effect humans.

Representatives wanted to learn more about the program before voting on a bill to officially codify it and require a report to Congress.  Energy Department officials secretly opposed the bill. They wanted to spend that money on "global warming" programs.

In an effort to sabotage the vote, a prepared script was provided to Dr. Metting and the other Energy Department officials, which was intended to hide information from Congress and mislead Members.

"DOE management developed a scheme to withhold information from congressional staff," a newly-released congressional report read. "Dr. Metting was directed to omit information from a presentation to congressional staff given during the briefing."

Rather than read from the script, Dr. Metting fully and honestly answered questions.

Not only did the Obama administration ask Dr. Metting to lie to Congress, they also asked her to illegally lobby. They prepared the script in an effort to dissuade Congress from passing the legislation.

However, it’s illegal for government employees to lobby Congress in their official capacity, which the Obama administration asked Dr. Metting to do.

The Energy Department fired Dr. Metting after the meeting.

They eventually re-hired her after she threatened legal action.

While Dr. Metting was eventually exonerated by her re-hiring, rogue Energy Department officials must still be held responsible for illegal lobbying and lying to Congress. The House is now investigating the matter and has released a report.


MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen urges Trump: "Cut the funding of climate science by 80% to 90% until the field cleans up’

Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences who has long questioned climate change orthodoxy, is skeptical that a sunnier outlook is upon us.

"I actually doubt that," he said. Even if some of the roughly $2.5 billion in taxpayer dollars currently spent on climate research across 13 different federal agencies now shifts to scientists less invested in the calamitous narrative, Lindzen believes groupthink has so corrupted the field that funding should be sharply curtailed rather than redirected.

"They should probably cut the funding by 80 to 90 percent until the field cleans up," he said. "Climate science has been set back two generations, and they have destroyed its intellectual foundations."

The field is cluttered with entrenched figures who must toe the established line, he said, pointing to a recent congressional report that found the Obama administration got a top Department of Energy scientist fired and generally intimidated the staff to conform with its politicized position on climate change.

"Remember this was a tiny field, a backwater, and then suddenly you increased the funding to billions and everyone got into it," Lindzen said. "Even in 1990 no one at MIT called themselves a ‘climate scientist,’ and then all of a sudden everyone was. They only entered it because of the bucks; they realized it was a gravy train. You have to get it back to the people who only care about the science."


The Climate Science Challenge

I keep hearing people say that 97% of climate scientists are on the same side of the issue. Critics point out that the number is inflated, but we don’t know by how much. Persuasion-wise, the "first offer" of 97% is so close to 100% that our minds assume the real number is very high even if not exactly 97%.

That’s good persuasion. Trump uses this method all the time. The 97% anchor is so strong that it is hard to hear anything else after that. Even the people who think the number is bogus probably think the real figure is north of 90%.

But is it? I have no idea.

So today’s challenge is to find a working scientist or PhD in some climate-related field who will agree with the idea that the climate science models do a good job of predicting the future.

Notice I am avoiding the question of the measurements. That’s a separate question. For this challenge, don’t let your scientist conflate the measurements or the basic science of CO2 with the projections. Just ask the scientist to offer an opinion on the credibility of the models only.

Remind your scientist that as far as you know there has never been a multi-year, multi-variable, complicated model of any type that predicted anything with useful accuracy. Case in point: The experts and their models said Trump had no realistic chance of winning.

Your scientist will fight like a cornered animal to conflate the credibility of the measurements and the basic science of CO2 with the credibility of the projection models. Don’t let that happen. Make your scientist tell you that complicated multi-variable projections models that span years are credible. Or not.

Then report back to me in the comments here or on Twitter at @ScottAdamsSays.

This question is a subset of the more interesting question of how non-scientists can judge the credibility of scientists or their critics. My best guess is that professional scientists will say that complicated prediction models with lots of variables are not credible. Ever. So my prediction is that the number of scientists who ***fully*** buy into climate science predictions is closer to zero than 97%.

But I’m willing to be proved wrong. I kind of like it when that happens. So prove me wrong.


The California Gathering That Hatched Plan to Prosecute Skeptics of Climate Change

Environmental activists meeting in this seaside cottage in June 2012 strategized on how to prosecute corporations, institutions, and individuals that don't agree with the Obama administration's view that man-made climate change threatens the world. (Photo of the Martin Johnson House: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Just before joining climate change activist and former Vice President Al Gore for a press conference in New York City, seven state-level attorneys general huddled with a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The political activist, Peter Frumhoff, called for them and other elected officials to move decisively against major corporations and institutions for "denying" climate change.

The seeds of that call to action in March were planted four years earlier at a gathering of environmental activists, trial lawyers, and academics across the country in San Diego.

The Daily Signal found this and other revealing bits of information among material produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against Virginia’s George Mason University, home to six academics who urged the Obama administration to prosecute individuals and organizations for not agreeing that man has caused climate change.

The detail is important because Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, demanded that 17 state attorneys general who call themselves "AGs United for Clean Energy" provide documents on interactions among their offices—and with various environmental organizations.

Such details obtained through the lawsuit "reveal the incestuous relationship between climate change activists and partisan state attorneys general," Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. He added:

They are subverting our democratic system by using the courts to silence the opposition to their economically costly, unneeded policy solutions for an unproven scientific theory. Americans should be outraged by this abuse of governmental powers by the chief law enforcement officials of these states.

Smith’s letters to the attorneys general refer to the meeting held in June 2012 in California and billed as a Workshop on Climate Accountability, Public Opinion, and Legal Strategies.

A total of 23 environmental activists, trial lawyers, and academics came together in the seaside San Diego neighborhood of La Jolla to devise a "strategy to fight industry in the courts" over climate change, the House committee chairman says in the letters.

Another goal of the meeting was to find ways to confront what attendees described as a "network of public relations firms and nonprofit front groups that have been actively sowing disinformation about global warming for years."

According to a summary of the La Jolla gathering, the activists came up with the idea of using the federal law known as RICO—the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—against the fossil fuel industry.

Congress passed RICO in 1978 for the purpose of prosecuting mob crimes. In recent months, though, climate change activists have sought to use it against organizations, corporations, and scientists that aren’t convinced human activity is responsible for catastrophic climate change.

Early on in the workshop, Richard Ayres, a Washington lawyer who is a co-founder and trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, first mentioned the RICO tactic as a possible weapon against fossil fuel.

Ayres’ environmental organization is a well-endowed, tax-exempt advocacy group headquartered in New York City. Public records show it had financial assets of $268.1 million as of 2013.

Reached by telephone Tuesday by The Daily Signal, Ayres said the meeting "was a long time ago" and declined comment.

Other workshop attendees included Frumhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, who met with the attorneys general in New York in March, and Matthew Pawa, an environmental activist and trial attorney who founded the Global Warming Legal Action project.

More HERE 


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, 2017

How To Tell Who's Lying To You: Climate Science Edition

If you are a reasonably intelligent person, and you are willing to spend a few hours on an issue, there is a very workable method to discern which side of a debate is not playing straight with you.  This method is the same method generally used by judges and juries in deciding which side is going to win a trial.  The method is this:  look to which side has and provides the best answers to the hard questions posed by the other side.  If one side refuses to answer hard questions, or is evasive, or refuses to provide the underlying methodology by which it came up with its answers, then that side has a problem.  And rightfully so.

I'll give just a few examples of this phenomenon relevant to the climate change issue.

(1) The Hockey Stick graph.  The so-called Hockey Stick graph first appeared in a paper by Mann, Bradley and Hughes that was published in Nature magazine in 1998.  It purported to show a reconstruction of worldwide temperatures from the year 1000 to present, in which the temperatures had remained almost completely stable for the first 900 years (the "shaft" of the Hockey Stick), and then suddenly shot up in the twentieth century in the time of human CO2 emissions (the "blade").  This reconstruction effectively repealed the prior accepted version of climate history, in which temperatures had been warmer than the present at least in the so-called Medieval Warm Period of about 1000 - 1300, and probably also in the Roman Warm Period around the year 0.  When the UN's climate-evaluation body, the IPCC, issued its next Assessment Report in 2001, the Hockey Stick graph had suddenly become the icon of the whole endeavor, appearing multiple times in the Report.  The Hockey Stick seemed like the perfect proof of the proposition that global warming must be caused by humans, because anyone could see from the graph that the warming had all occurred in the era of human use of fossil fuels. 

Unfortunately for Mann et al. and the IPCC, numerous people -- those nefarious "skeptics" --promptly began to ask questions about the source of the information behind the "shaft" of the stick.  Thus these skeptics were questioning the ideas that temperatures had remained essentially stable for a millennium and that there had been no Medieval Warm Period.  The most famous of the skeptical researchers was a Canadian named Stephen McIntyre.  McIntyre began a blog called Climate Audit, and started writing many long posts about his efforts, all unsuccessful, to replicate the Mann et al. work. 

Requests to Mann et al. for their data and methodologies were met with hostility and evasion.  Over time, McIntyre gradually established that Mann et al. had adopted a complex methodology that selectively emphasized certain temperature proxies over others in order to reverse-engineer the "shaft" of the stick to get a pre-determined desired outcome.

The coup de grace for the Hockey Stick graph came with the so-called Climategate emails, released in 2009.  These were emails between and among many of the main promoters of the climate scare (dubbed by McIntyre the "Hockey Team").  Included in the Climategate releases were emails relating specifically to the methodology of how the graph was created.  From the emails, skeptical researchers were then able to identify some of the precise data series that had been used by Mann et al.  Astoundingly, they discovered that the graph's creators had truncated inconvenient data in order to get the desired depiction.  A website called Just the Facts has a detailed recounting of how this was uncovered.  As a key example, consider this graph:

The bright pink represents data that was deleted from the Mann et al. reconstruction because, obviously,  it would have thrown off the nice, flat "shaft" of the stick, while also revealing that this particular "proxy" had totally failed at predicting the twentieth century rise in temperatures.  Most would call this kind of data truncation "scientific fraud."

Note that the revelations that came out of the Hockey Stick controversy do not prove that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is wrong.  However, those revelations did show beyond doubt that the leading promoters of the hypothesis had resorted to fraud in the effort to get the public to accept their position.  Once that was established, why would you believe anything else they say?

Even today, the Wikipedia write-up of the Hockey Stick controversy takes a position favorable to Mann et al.  If you are willing to devote some time to this issue, read that article next to the write-up at Just the Facts linked above.  I would call the Wikipedia article evasive in the face of highly credible allegations of fraud.  See if you agree.

(2) Adjustments to the instrumental temperature record.  World temperature records based on ground-based thermometers date back to about the late 19th century in most cases.  These records are far more accurate than what we have from earlier times (which are mostly "proxies," like tree rings and ice cores); but the ground thermometer records still have plenty of problems.  As examples, the location of a ground station could have been moved over time, sometimes multiple times in over 100 years; the physical surroundings of a station could have changed (trees could have grown up, or an adjacent parking lot could have been built); the type of instrument could have changed; and so forth.  Most would agree that some sorts of adjustments to the record, known as "homogenization," are appropriate to make the earlier data comparable to the more recent data.  However, here the adjustments are in the hands of small numbers of people who are committed to the global warming cause.  Most of the adjusters are government employees working for weather agencies like NASA and NOAA in the U.S., and comparable agencies in other countries. 

As with the Hockey Stick graph, independent researchers interested in the topic have gone to work at their own expense to try to understand the government's adjustments and evaluate if they are appropriate.  Notable among these researchers are Tony Heller at the website Real Climate Science and Paul Homewood at Not a Lot of People Know That.  What these researchers find is that, in literally every case, earlier temperatures have been adjusted downward, and to a lesser extent, later temperatures adjusted upward.  Obviously, such adjustments can create warming trends where they do not exist in the raw data, and enhance what otherwise might be small warming trends to make them look significant and even scary.  Here at Manhattan Contrarian, I have covered this issue in a now ten part series called The Greatest Scientific Fraud of All Time.  All ten articles are collected, along with others, here.

And literally every time anyone looks at raw temperature data, and compares it to current "final" version temperature data, the same phenomenon is found.  Just this week at Watts Up With That, an Australian meteorologist named Brendan Godwin reports that Australia is subject to the same pervasive corruption as other places:

The Australian Climate Observations Reference Network–Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) Technical Advisory Forum released a report in 2015 confirming that the Surface Air Temperatures were being adjusted, confirming the process is called Homogenization, confirming that other weather monitoring institutions around the world are making these same adjustments and purporting to justify why the adjustments are being made. Observing practices change, thermometers change, stations move from one location to another and new weather stations are installed. They refused to release their complex mathematical formula used to make the adjustments.

Go to the link to see how a slightly declining temperature trend at Rutherglen, Australia, has been turned into a more-than-one-degree-C-per-century increasing trend through supposed "homogenization" adjustments.  Huh?

But the most important part of this story is not the suspicious nature of the adjustments themselves, but rather the flat refusal of the adjusters to reveal the methodology by which the adjustments have been made.  Real, honest scientists would gladly provide the full, unedited computer code that made the adjustments, and would answer any questions that would help an independent researcher to replicate the results.  Yet read through posts of people reporting on the adjustments, and you will universally find that they have been rebuffed in their attempts to find out what is going on. 

For example, as I reported in this post in July 2015, a heating consultant in Maine named Michael Brakey, who was just trying to get accurate temperature data to inform his business, stumbled on major recent downward adjustments of earlier temperatures in that state.  Attempting to get the details of the adjustments, the best that NOAA would give him was this vague and preposterous statement:

"…improvements in the dataset, and brings our value much more in line with what was observed at the time. The new method used stations in neighboring Canada to inform estimates for data-sparse areas within Maine (a great improvement)." 

All you need to do is read my series of posts on this topic, and/or some of the many links found in those posts, and you will know that what is going on is not remotely honest.  You don't need any specialized scientific training to figure this out.

(3) Hottest [week/month/year] ever.  Readers of my series on The Greatest Scientific Fraud of All Time are aware that our government bureaucrats at NASA and NOAA regularly put out breathless press releases announcing that some given month, or series of months, or year, was the hottest such period on record.  For example, in this post from August 2015, I reported on government press releases as to March, May and July 2015, declaring them each to be the "hottest ever" on some or another criterion.  That post also reports on how the press releases are then picked up and repeated, more or less word for word, by every news source going under the banner of "mainstream": CNN, Bloomberg, Washington Post, USA Today, BBC, AP, LA Times, CBS News, and many, many more.

But does any one of these press releases, or any one of these news sources, so much as mention that these so-called "records" are based on temperature records that have been "adjusted" to enhance warming trends?  Given how widespread is the information on unexplained warming-enhancing "adjustments," it is almost incomprehensible that not one of these news sources would even ask the question, "How much of the warming is in the raw data and how much is in the adjustments?"  But if such a thing exists, I can't find it.

I could give many more examples, but undoubtedly you are getting the picture.  A reasonably intelligent person who investigates the situation will quickly find that the promoters of the global warming scare refuse to reveal their detailed methodology, refuse to allow independent researchers to try to replicate their work, and refuse to answer any and all hard questions.  (By contrast, when, for example, skeptical scientists a few months ago released a major Research Report claiming to invalidate all the bases for the EPA's Endangerment Finding, all data and methods were released simultaneously.)  This is all you need to know to make up your mind.


A Republican snake in the grass

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill pushed by Republican lawmakers to extend a freeze on the state’s green energy mandate on electric utilities.

Kasich, who failed to win the GOP presidential primary in 2016, said delaying Ohio’s green energy mandate another two years would be bad for jobs and investment. Ohio law forces utilities to get 12.5 percent of their energy from green sources, like wind and solar.

"It is apparent that Governor Kasich cares more about appeasing his coastal elite friends in the renewable energy business than he does about the millions of Ohioans who decisively rejected this ideology when they voted for President-elect Trump," Republican State Sen. Bill Seitz said in a statement.

Republicans have been trying for years to get rid of the state’s green energy mandate, only to be vetoed by Kasich. Republican’s latest bill would have delayed the law another two years and made complying with it voluntary.

"Ohio workers cannot afford to take a step backward from the economic gains that we have made in recent years," Kasich said in a veto statement.

The law was passed in 2008 by a Republican-controlled state legislature, but it has been scaled back in recent years as Ohio underwent a natural gas boom due to hydraulic fracturing. Natural gas production in Ohio has increased 1,000 percent since 2006.

The mandate first required utilities to get 25 percent of their energy from green sources by 2025, but that was decreased to 12.5 percent by 2027 by lawmakers in 2013. Republicans voted to freeze the law in 2014.

The green energy freeze ends this year, and utilities will be required to meet 2017 goals. Utilities will still have to get 3.5 percent of their energy from green sources or buy green energy credits to comply with state law.

Nearly two-thirds of Ohio’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, while another 23 percent comes from natural gas and 14 percent comes from nuclear energy. About 1 percent of Ohio’s electricity came from green sources in September 2016, according to federal data.

Environmentalists have backed green energy mandates in dozens of states to boost wind and solar power.

Proponents of so-called "Renewable Portfolio Standards" (RPS) say they’re necessary to diversify energy portfolios, but opponents say such policies force high-cost electricity onto residents.


What Rick Perry Could Do to Prevent Future Solyndras

Departing Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz has announced a conditional loan guarantee for a fossil fuel project—a blatant, taxpayer-backed subsidy of up to $2 billion for Lake Charles Methanol, LLC.

Such federal government meddling in the energy sector is the exact wrong approach to America’s energy policy. By contrast, incoming Energy Secretary Rick Perry has called for the abolition of the Department of Energy. A good place to start would be the abolition of the loan guarantee program.

The Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program provides taxpayer-backed loans to politically favored clean technologies that are "typically unable to obtain conventional private financing due to high technology risks."

Lake Charles Methanol, for example, is building the world’s first methanol plant using carbon capture technology for enhanced oil recovery.

The risk involved is likely a factor increasing their financing costs. Too much risk is often a reason why projects do not receive financial backing. Or, companies may have better options for their investment dollars.

There’s a long list of reasons why projects do or don’t receive investment funding, but it’s not a legitimate function of government to fill the void for projects that do not.

The Department of Energy’s loan program is a double-edged sword for the American economy. Either the government subsidizes likely-to-fail projects, thus throwing away taxpayer dollars, or they provide corporate welfare, keeping politically favored activities alive while diminishing the innovative role of the entrepreneur and private investment. It’s a lose-lose proposition.

In the first case, the federal government has lent out taxpayer dollars to projects that could not survive even with policies trying to prop up favored technologies.

Solyndra is the poster child for the government’s failure as an investment banker, but the loan program has several other black eyes with other currently struggling companies.

In the second case, the Department of Energy has awarded money to very profitable, well-established companies. In fact, some of the more successful projects in the agency’s loan portfolio have backing from some of the largest companies and financiers in the world.

Neither these nor any other companies should be allowed to hedge their bets on the backs of taxpayers. If they’re willing to risk some of their own money, they should pony up the full amount if they truly believe the technology is promising and worth the risk.

In almost every instance, the company receiving the loan guarantee also stands to benefit from the plethora of federal, state, and local subsidies at their disposal. Their current and long-term success depends on more subsidies. Whether the company ultimately succeeds financially or goes belly up, the policy itself is a loser.

At the bottom of the heap are American entrepreneurs competing against the gargantuan federal government for investment. Because capital is in limited supply, a dollar loaned to a government-backed project will not be available for another project.

This means that the higher-risk, higher-reward companies that drive innovation and bring new services and technologies into the marketplace may not get support, while companies with strong political connections or those that produce something that politicians find appealing will get support.

During his eight-year tenure in office, President Barack Obama railed against fossil fuel subsidies, some of which weren’t even subsidies but broadly available tax credits.

In discussing the elimination of oil subsidies in his 2012 State of the Union speech, Obama said, "It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable."

But now he’s risking taxpayer dollars for a fossil fuel project as he walks out the door.

The next administration should do as Obama said, not as he did—the federal government shouldn’t be dolling out taxpayer giveaways to the fossil fuel industry, or any energy technology for that matter.

We have a robust energy market that efficiently supplies Americans with their energy needs. If we want to drain the swamp, Congress and the next administration need to drain the Department of Energy’s investment bank account.


Doing the right thing at EPA

The boss-to-be says he’s against federal overreach, not for dirty air and water

Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma and Donald Trump’s nominee for director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, calls himself "a national leader in the cause to restore the proper balance of power between the states and the federal government." He established a first-ever Federalism Unit in the Office of Solicitor General in Oklahoma to combat "unwarranted regulation and overreach" by the federal government. Federalism is the new shorthand for "states’ rights."

That’s what commended him to the president-elect, because nowhere else in the vast federal bureaucracy is overreach so out of control as in the Environmental Protection Agency. Nowhere else is the panic in the Washington swamp so pervasive. "At the risk of being dramatic," says Dan Pfeiffer, a onetime senior adviser to President Obama and a man willing to take the risk, "Scott Pruitt at EPA is an existential threat to the planet."

Mr. Pruitt and his fellow state attorneys general, who have gone to court to stall the EPA’s regulatory excesses, have rejected the childish slander that because they question the EPA’s excesses they’re for "dirty air and dirty water." This is odd, because the attorneys general drink the water and breathe the air everybody else does, and have never shown a taste for suicide.

But what they actually oppose is the bureaucracy at the EPA doing things they know they have no legal or statutory mandate from Congress to do. They think the ends, sometimes good and sometimes not so good, justify the means. The left tried that argument, with all the accompanying pressure they could muster, to harass the Electoral College to abandon its moral and legal obligation to vote for the man who fairly carried their states.

Mr. Pruitt earned the enmity of the radicals by organizing the coalition of state attorneys general to block the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s costly and cumbersome policy to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions, so called, in the electricity sector, and to block the EPA’s scheme to curtail the emissions of methane in oil and gas production.

"What concerns the states is the process, the procedures, the authority that the EPA is exerting, that we think is entirely inconsistent with its constitutional and statutory authority," he told The Washington Post. "The overreach is that the statutes do not permit [EPA officials] to act in the way they do."

The 1970 Clean Air Act, under the auspices of which the EPA claims to be acting, is long overdue for an overhaul by Congress. If Congress wants the EPA to have the authority it clearly covets, it could expressly and explicitly say so.

Contrary to the hysteria on the left, Mr. Pruitt, who is from a major oil- and natural gas-producing state, is not pro-pollution. "Some people believe we don’t need an EPA, that they don’t have any role at all," he told an interviewer for National Public Radio three years ago. "I’m not one of those folks. I think the EPA can serve — and has served, historically — a very valuable purpose." But he wants to hold the EPA to do the right thing in the right way.

That’s a big difference, one lost on Gina McCarthy, the current EPA administrator whom Mr. Pruitt is poised to replace. She promised after the election to make the transition as difficult for her successor as she could, reminding her agency: "We’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency." But in less than a month there will be another finish line.


Obama Couldn't Win a Third Term, Because He Would Have To Own His Global Warming Policy

In March 2010, the New York Times reported that President Obama "dropped all mention of cap and trade from his budget." That summer, after a cap-and-trade bill died in the Senate, several sources in the Senate and in the environmental community privately complained to ClimateWire’s Evan Lehman that the Obama administration "failed to take a leadership role." During his 2012 re-election campaign, President Obama ran to the right of Mitt Romney on energy policy, and he studiously avoided talk of climate change on the campaign trail.

The message was loud and clear: climate change is loser electoral politics.

After gaining re-election, upon which he no longer faced electoral accountability, President Obama pivoted hard to climate change. It became his legacy issue. In July of 2013, Obama announced his "Climate Action Plan." In the speech, the president struck a far different tone than he did during the re-election campaign. When he was trying to win a popular vote, the President wouldn’t touch climate change policy with a ten foot pole. However, at the announcement of his signature climate plan, Obama presented global warming as an existential threat to our children. At one point, he asked whether "we will have the courage to act before it’s too late." In August 2015, President Obama unveiled his marquee climate policy. It’s called the Clean Power Plan, and it is a cap-and-trade program. That is, it’s the very policy that died in the Senate in 2010, reportedly due Obama’s reluctance to lead.

The upshot of all of this is that I strongly doubt that President Obama would win a third term, as he claimed yesterday. This is in no way an endorsement of Donald Trump. It is, rather, a statement of my belief that Obama took electoral poison when he made climate change his big legacy issue.



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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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. Scientists are Warmists for the money it brings in, not because of the facts

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

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

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

And when it comes to "climate change", I know where the skeletons are buried

Antarctica is GAINING mass

Warmists depend heavily on ice cores for their figures about the atmosphere of the past. But measuring the deep past through ice cores is a very shaky enterprise, which almost certainly takes insufficient account of compression effects. The apparently stable CO2 level of 280ppm during the Holocene could in fact be entirely an artifact of compression at the deeper levels of the ice cores. . Perhaps the gas content of an ice layer approaches a low asymptote under pressure. Dr Zbigniew Jaworowski's criticisms of the assumed reliability of ice core measurements are of course well known. And he studied them for over 30 years.

The world's first "Green" party was the Nazi party -- and Greenies are just as Fascist today in their endeavours to dictate to us all and in their attempts to suppress dissent from their claims.

Was Pope Urban VIII the first Warmist? Below we see him refusing to look through Galileo's telescope. People tend to refuse to consider evidence— if what they might discover contradicts what they believe.

Warmism is a powerful religion that aims to control most of our lives. It is nearly as powerful as the Catholic Church once was

Believing in global warming has become a sign of virtue. Strange in a skeptical era. There is clearly a need for faith

Climate change is the religion of people who think they're too smart for religion

Some advice from the Buddha that the Green/Left would do well to think about: "Three things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, The Moon and The Truth"

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

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

Pope Francis is to the Catholic church what Obama is to America -- a mistake, a fool and a wrecker

Global warming is the predominant Leftist lie of the 21st century. No other lie is so influential. The runner up lie is: "Islam is a religion of peace". Both are rankly absurd.

"When it comes to alarmism, we’re all deniers; when it comes to climate change, none of us are" -- Dick Lindzen

The EPA does everything it can get away with to shaft America and Americans

Cromwell's famous plea: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken" was ignored by those to whom it was addressed -- to their great woe. Warmists too will not consider that they may be wrong ..... "Bowels" was a metaphor for compassion in those days

The plight of the bumblebee -- an egregious example of crooked "science"

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 a major 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. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

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."


"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." --- Richard P. Feynman. 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

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.“ – Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Leftists generally and Warmists in particular very commonly ascribe disagreement with their ideas to their opponent being "in the pay" of someone else, usually "Big Oil", without troubling themselves to provide any proof of that assertion. They are so certain that they are right that that seems to be the only reasonable explanation for opposition to them. They thus reveal themselves as the ultimate bigots -- people with fixed and rigid ideas.


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.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Today’s environmental movement is the current manifestation of the totalitarian impulse. It is ironic that the same people who condemn the black or brown shirts of the pre WW2 period are blind to the current manifestation simply because the shirts are green.

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

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

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

David Brower, founder Sierra Club: “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license"

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.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

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"

Medieval Warm Period: Recent climatological data assembled from around the world using different proxies attest to the presence of both the MWP and the LIA in the following locations: the Sargasso Sea, West Africa, Kenya, Peru, Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Idaho, Argentina, and California. These events were clearly world-wide and in most locations the peak temperatures during the MWP were higher than current temperatures.

Both radioactive and stable carbon isotopes show that the real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years, and that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is maximum 4%.

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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