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

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

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

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

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31 July, 2011

Raw climate data finally disgorged after lawsuit

Despite the huffing and puffing below I can see no legitimate reason why it was EVER withheld. Is the weather a secret?

It's going to be interesting to see how "raw" the data is. Some comparisons with independent records will be possible and past such comparisons have revealed huge manipulations. The Warmists below are gearing up for that

Anyone can now view for themselves the raw data that was at the centre of last year's "climategate" scandal.

Temperature records going back 150 years from 5113 weather stations around the world were yesterday released to the public by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. The only records missing are from 19 stations in Poland, which refused to allow them to be made public.

"We released [the dataset] to dispel the myths that the data have been inappropriately manipulated, and that we are being secretive," says Trevor Davies, the university's pro-vice-chancellor for research. "Some sceptics argue we must have something to hide, and we've released the data to pull the rug out from those who say there isn't evidence that the global temperature is increasing."
Hand it over

The university were ordered to release data by the UK Information Commissioner's Office, following a freedom-of-information request for the raw data from researchers Jonathan Jones of the University of Oxford and Don Keiller of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK.

Davies says that the university initially refused on the grounds that the data is not owned by the CRU but by the national meteorological organisations that collect the data and share it with the CRU.

When the CRU's refusal was overruled by the information commissioner, the UK Met Office was recruited to act as a go-between and obtain permission to release all the data.

Poland refused, and the information commissioner overruled Trinidad and Tobago's wish for the data it supplied on latitudes between 30 degrees north and 40 degrees south to be withheld, as it had been specifically requested by Jones and Keiller in their FOI request and previously shared with other academics.
The price

The end result is that all the records are there, except for Poland's. Davies's only worry is that the decision to release the Trinidad and Tobago data against its wishes may discourage the open sharing of data in the future. Other research organisations may from now on be reluctant to pool data they wish to be kept private.

Thomas Peterson, chief scientist at the National Climatic Data Center of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and president of the Commission for Climatology at the World Meteorological Organization, agrees there might be a cost to releasing the data.

"I have historic temperature data from automatic weather stations on the Greenland ice sheet that I was able to obtain from Denmark only because I agreed not to release them," he says. "If countries come to expect that sharing of any data with anyone will eventually lead to strong pressure for them to fully release those data, will they be less willing to collaborate in the future?"

Davies is confident that genuine and proper analysis of the raw data will reproduce the same incontrovertible conclusion - that global temperatures are rising. "The conclusion is very robust," he says, explaining that the CRU's dataset of land temperatures tally with those from other independent research groups around the world, including those generated by the NOAA and NASA.

"Should people undertake analyses and come up with different conclusions, the way to present them is through publication in peer-reviewed journals, so we know it's been through scientific quality control," says Davies.
No convincing some people

Other mainstream researchers and defenders of the consensus are not so confident that the release will silence the sceptics. "One can hope this might put an end to the interminable discussion of the CRU temperatures, but the experience of GISTEMP - another database that's been available for years - is that the criticisms will continue because there are some people who are never going to be satisfied," says Gavin Schmidt of Columbia University in New York.

"Sadly, I think this will just lead to a new round of attacks on CRU and the Met Office," says Bob Ward, communications director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. "Sceptics will pore through the data looking for ways to criticise the processing methodology in an attempt to persuade the public that there's doubt the world has warmed significantly."

The CRU and its leading scientist, Phil Jones, were at the centre of the so-called "climategate" storm in 2009 when the unit was accused of withholding and manipulating data. It was later cleared of the charge.


Do high levels of CO2 PREVENT tornadoes?

The statistics says that they do

As CO2 has increased, the number of F3-F5 tornadoes has decreased. Extrapolating the trend, we can see that at 480 ppm there would be zero severe tornadoes.


Another Radical Enviro at Interior

Believe it or not, something other than the debt ceiling debate is going on in Washington.

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a confirmation hearing for Rebecca Wodder, the Obama nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the Department of the Interior.

While the title may sound small-potatoes, the office is the second most powerful at Interior. Wodder would replace Tom Strickland who resigned in January. As the Assistant Secretary, Wodder would oversee "an empire."

Wodder has a well established record as an environmental left-wing ideologue. According to the Washington Examiner, she is a "former Wilderness Society official and current chief executive officer of Big Green's dam-killing, water grabbing, natural gas enemy, American Rivers Inc."

During the hearing, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski gave Wodder the opportunity to retract her previous statement that hydraulic fracturing (fracing) "has a nasty track record of creating a toxic chemical soup that pollutes groundwater and streams." But, Wodder refused.

Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, an aggressive environmental activist herself, recently testified that there is no confirmed case of fracing contaminating groundwater.

Multiple other EPA officials have confirmed to Congress that there is no evidence to support Wodder's contention that has become the latest mythical attack strategy adopted by the left. But, facts are of no concern to the radical left.
"Ms. Wodder's testimony today has only confirmed my initial concerns about her nomination," Senator Inhofe said. "During the hearing, Senator Murkowski provided an opportunity for Ms. Wodder to retract her previous statement that hydraulic fracturing 'has a nasty track record of creating a toxic chemical soup that pollutes groundwater and streams...' Yet, she refused, proving herself to be beholden to an extremist environmental agenda. Ms. Wodder's statement, of course, counters the testimony of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and several Obama administration officials who have repeatedly said before Congress that there has not been a single confirmed case of groundwater contamination due to the hydraulic fracturing process.

If confirmed, Wodder would join Interior Secretary Ken Salazar who has already established the "most anti-oil and gas record in U.S. history."


Heartland Replies to Nature

Nature, the widely respected science journal, has a feature story and an unsigned editorial in its latest issue addressing The Heartland Institute's contribution to the global debate over climate change. The articles can be read (for free) at the following links: and

These articles are surely a sign that the debate is not over regarding the causes and consequences of climate change and what, if anything, should be done to alter the human influence on climate. But the articles themselves hardly do justice to our efforts, or the efforts of many scientists who are speaking out against the fake "consensus" that Nature itself has done so much to promote in its coverage of climate change.

Turning first to the feature story by Jeff Tollefson, titled "The Sceptic Meets His Match," I've thanked Mr. Tollefson for an article that is, by and large, fair and accurate. He accurately summarizes my position, saying "he does not necessarily deny that humans are having an influence on the climate, but he does question the forecasts of catastrophic impacts and the rationale for curbing carbon emissions." But there are some important errors and omissions we wish to correct.

* Two of the five critics of our efforts he quotes are the world's most notorious global warming alarmists who have made it their business to exaggerate the scientific certainty of climate predictions and the impacts of climate change, and to suppress academic debate and demonize skeptics. It's no surprise they object to our calling them out. The third critic works for an organization started by and still run by President Bill Clinton's former global warming advisor and Kyoto negotiator - no partisan bias there! Al Gore would be no less objective or credible a judge of our work than these three advocates. More about the remaining two critics in a moment.

* The article implies we rely on a 1999 NASA study to argue for the existence of a natural "heat vent" over the tropics that cools the Earth as ocean temperatures rise. In fact, this discovery has been documented in a series of peer-reviewed studies, many of them reported in our 800-page report, Climate Change Reconsidered, and the controversy is being hotly debated in the leading journals today. We summarized and cited research questioning this discovery and its implications as well as seeming to confirm them.

* One of the authors of the 1999 NASA study (the fourth of the five critics) is quoted as disagreeing with our interpretation of his findings. It is good journalism to report this, but it underscores a point I made repeatedly during the interview and make in all my writing on climate change, which is that most scientists working in this field "believe" in man-made global warming even though their own published work punches big holes in the scientific foundations of that belief. This is an important point.

It is easy to cry wolf and make scary predictions in presentations to Congress or even in classrooms, but scholars who do this often publish research that either contradicts basic tenets of alarmism or contains admissions of major gaps in knowledge that would be necessary to predict future climate conditions. Either this is hollow careerism and ought to be subject to public criticism, or it is cognitive dissonance - holding two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time. If the latter, it is probably caused by the complexity of the issue (we must trust the judgment of scientists working in other fields to form opinions on subjects we are not ourselves expert about) and its close association with social and economic agendas (we want to believe something is true even if our own research suggests it is not).

Is this an outrageous claim or an attack on the integrity of working scientists? Absolutely not. It is a standard theme in many books on the history of science, dating back at least as far as Charles Mackay's 1841 classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and as recently as Mike Hulme's 2009 tome, Why We Disagree About Climate Change. Hulme, not incidentally, is no skeptic: He contributes to the alarmist IPCC reports and works at the University of East Anglia (home of the Climategate scandal). Even he admits that his position is based on belief rather than scientific understanding and is inseparable from his partisan political beliefs.

* Roger Pielke Jr., the fifth and final critic quoted by Tollefson, is admirable for his ability to stay suspended in mid-air for years between the two camps of alarmists and skeptics. One of these days, he'll need to plant his feet in one camp or another, and because he's a good scientist, I believe it will be in ours. He is quoted characterizing Climate Change Reconsidered as "a big fat bowl of cherries." The reference is to "cherry picking," or citing only the scientific reports that support one's point of view. But Climate Change Reconsidered has (I am told) 4,235 source citations. How many examples do we need of scientists writing in peer-reviewed journals admitting that the science doesn't support claims of man-made catastrophic warming before we can conclude that skepticism, not alarmism, is the real position of most scientists? I think we passed that threshold hundreds or even thousands of citations ago. Frankly, it's getting boring pointing this out over and over again. Only people who are blinded by ideology or careerism are still defending a hypothesis that has been soundly and repeatedly debunked.

* Finally, contrary to Mr. Tollefson's claim, I do not "dismiss" the findings of Bray and von Storch's latest international survey of climate scientists. In fact, I write about it because it demonstrates once again the extent of disagreement among scientists over the underlying science. Approximately two-thirds of the questions about the underlying science of climate reveal deep uncertainty or outright skepticism, even as 85 percent of the scientists who participated say they "believe" in AGW. So what questions help us get closer to the truth about climate change? Questions about the science, which the scientists actually understand and say is missing or contradicts alarmist predictions? Or questions about how they feel or what they believe about global warming? The right choice should be obvious, but good luck finding a reporter willing to ask these questions and make that choice.

Turning now to the unsigned editorial, titled "Heart of the Matter," the difference in tone and rhetoric from Tollefson's essay could hardly be greater. According to the editorial, The Heartland Institute's conferences - which have drawn more than 2,000 scientists and other experts from some 20 countries - are "curious affairs," "easy to lampoon," "predictable," and "absurdities." Nature deigns to recognize us, we are told, only because "closing our eyes will not make the climate sceptics go away." Well, they at least got that part right.

The editorial admits that Climate Change Reconsidered "is well sourced and based on scientific papers," but complains it "makes many bold assertions that are often questionable or misleading, and do not highlight the uncertainties." The complaint lacks any examples or substantiation, so it cannot be rebutted except to say "prove it." But the irony should not be overlooked that it was Nature's record of publishing misleading editorials and articles that hide uncertainties or make claims that cannot be replicated by other scientists that made publication of Climate Change Reconsidered necessary. If we err on the side of being too skeptical, it is only because we are trying to restore balance to a ship that is listing so far to one side that it is in imminent danger of capsizing.

Finally, the editors declare they are in pursuit of "a theory that can explain observations of the world," whereas the skeptics seem content to point out gaps in that theory. "The Heartland Institute and its ilk," they say, "are not trying to build a theory of anything." Well, where to begin?

I am not a scientist, and it certainly is not my place to tell the editors of such an esteemed publication as Nature what they ought to be about. But it is my understanding of the scientific method that it proceeds by the falsification of hypotheses, not their defense by every means possible, which is what Nature and regrettably other leading science journals have resorted to in the case of man-made climate change. The goal ought not to be to defend a hypothesis, but to test it, and if it fails, to consider competing hypotheses and test those just as rigorously.

Nature, it seems to this nonscientist observer, has lost its way. Until the journal opens its eyes, it will not be a serious voice on climate science.


How We Know That Climate Alarmism Is A Joke

John Cook posted the picture above.

Some minor problems. Over the last decade, winter temperatures have been plummeting

“Nights warming faster than days”

That is known as the Urban Heat Island effect.

Less heat escaping into space.

Not according to NASA satellites.

Pattern of ocean warming

Not according to NOAA buoys

The rest of Cook’s points related to CO2, not warming. What a ridiculous excuse for science.


Warmists are slowly sagging

Big-time Warmist "scientist" Trenberth admits that the sun is a factor in temperature changes. Just the relevant paragraph below.
In addition, I find the whole discussion to be out of touch with reality. The external radiative forcing of the climate system is mostly well known and comes from the changes in atmospheric composition (greenhouse gases) and the sun spot cycle etc. The part not so well known is the pollution (aerosol), but that is small. Nearly all of the variations in water vapor and clouds, except for those affected by aerosol, are a response to the weather and climate variations; they are NOT a forcing. This is a major error that continues in Spencer's work.

Tom Nelson says that professional warmist Joe Romm originally posted the above "naughty" graf on his site but later deleted it!



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30 July, 2011

Indians bucking the "consensus"

In January, India’s Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, said: “There is a groupthink in climate science today. Anyone who raises alternative climate theories is immediately branded a climate atheist in an atmosphere of climate evangelists. “Climate science is incredibly more complex than negotiators make it out to be . . . Climate science should not be driven by the West. We should not always be dependent on outside reports.”

Indian newspaper The Hindu commented: “A key belief of climate science theology – that a reduction in carbon emissions will take care of the bulk of global warming – has been questioned in a scientific paper released by the Environment Ministry.”

Ramesh made his comments in response to a scientific study released by respected Indian physicist Dr UR Rao, a former chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

I was most pleased to see this Indian response, particularly from a Cabinet Minister. Ramesh is exhibiting the courage to listen to his scientists and then take a stand on a most important issue. The issue is also thorny, and many politicians avoid it like the plague.

The fundamental issue is: Is climate change occurring as a result of man-made factors, or is any potential or observable change due to natural factors? I agree entirely with Rao that climate change is probably caused by natural factors.

The report brought out by Rao says that human-induced global warming is much less than is claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and that, in fact, most of the observed temperature fluctuations could be attributed to cosmic rays, in particular Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs).

When nuclear reactions occur in stars, nuclear particles of various sorts are spewed as a consequence of the nuclear reactions. These particles race across the vast distances of outer space.

In our own sun, such reactions occur, producing a spread of nuclear particles, some of which strike our planet. In fact, they give rise to the coloured sheets of light seen in the night skies over the far north and south of our planet, known as the Northern and Southern Lights. All stars are actually ‘suns’ and, so, the galaxy is full of these GCRs, which arrive at our planet all the time.

Our planet has protection, and this is a magnetic field which results from the interaction of the earth’s magnetic field and the magnetic field of the sun. The sun’s field changes from time to time by some mechanism which is not yet fully understood. But one good indicator of the state of the sun’s magnetic field is the number of sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun. The sunspots show up as dark blobs, which are actually huge magnetic storms.

The bottom line of all this is that, when there are few or no sunspots, the protective field around the earth is weak and above-average numbers of cosmic rays reach the atmosphere of the earth. When there are many sunspots, a strong field results and there are less than average GCRs reaching our atmosphere.

What we see, and what Rao pointed out, is that more GCRs mean more cloud cover over the earth and then global cooling results. With many sunspots evident, global warming results. The principle is simple: with more clouds, less heat reaches the earth because it is stopped by the clouds.

In 2009, Ramesh stated that evidence given to him showed that a claim that the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 was wrong. Only a few months later, the IPCC, after a review, stated that it had been wrong about the glacier prediction and that it regretted the error.

When Ramesh released Rao’s findings on GCRs, he noted: “The impact of cosmic ray intensity on climate change has thus far been largely ignored by the mainstream scientific consensus.” He added that a “unidimensional focus” on carbon emissions by most Western countries put additional pressure on countries like India in international climate negotiations and that “international climate negotiations are about climate politics [but], increasingly, science is becoming the handmaiden of politics”.

While the impact of cosmic rays on climate change has been studied before, Rao’s paper quantifies their contribution to global warming and concludes: “The future prediction of global warming presented by the IPCC’s fourth report requires a relook to include the effect due to long-term changes in the galactic cosmic ray intensity.”

What is laudable about the stance taken by Ramesh is that he challenges the entire dogma that mankind is solely to blame for any observed global temperature change. In governments and companies around the world, one finds whole departments working on the ‘mitigation of climate change’ or trying to reduce the rate of global warming.

If the GCR theory is correct, which it seems to be, then there is nothing that mankind can do about global temperatures. Having departments to mitigate climate change would then be like having a department to reduce the influence of ghosts and evil spirits on weather patterns. To Ramesh, I say: “Keep it up; you are on the right track.”

When the next world environment conference, the seventeeth Conference of the Parties, or COP 17, takes place in Durban later this year, GCRs should be well and truly on the agenda.


Windmills bad for bug-eating bats

They are wonderful creatures to see but what they do for us is even more wonderful

The butterfly effect suggests the flapping of a tiny insect's wings in Africa can lead to a tornado in Kansas. Call this the bat effect: A bat killed by a wind turbine in Somerset can lead to higher tomato prices at the Wichita farmers market.

Bats are something of a one-species stimulus program for farmers, every year gobbling up millions of bugs that could ruin a harvest. But the same biology that allows the winged creatures to sweep the night sky for fine dining also has made them susceptible to one of Pennsylvania's fastest-growing energy tools.

The 420 wind turbines now in use across Pennsylvania killed more than 10,000 bats last year -- mostly in the late summer months, according to the state Game Commission. That's an average of 25 bats per turbine per year, and the Nature Conservancy predicts as many as 2,900 turbines will be set up across the state by 2030. This is a bad time to be a bat.

It may seem like a good thing to those who fear the flying mammals, but the wind farm mortality rate is an acute example of how harnessing natural energy can lead to disruptions in the circle of life -- and the cycle of business. This chain of events mixes biology and economics: Bat populations go down, bug populations go up and farmers are left with the bill for more pesticide and crops (which accounts for those pricey tomatoes in Kansas).

Wind industry executives are shelling out millions of dollars on possible solutions that don't ruin their bottom line, even as wind farms in the area are collaborating with the state Game Commission to work carcass-combing into daily operations.

"If you look at a map and see where the mountains are, everything funnels through Somerset," said Tracey Librandi Mumma, the wildlife biologist who led the March commission report on bird and bat mortality. "If I'm out driving ... I wonder, 'How many are being killed at that one?' "

Bats are nature's pesticide, consuming as many as 500 insects in one hour, or nearly 3,000 insects in one night, said Miguel Saviroff, the agricultural financial manager at the Penn State Cooperative Extension in Somerset County. "A colony of just 100 little brown bats may consume a quarter of a million mosquitoes and other small insects in a night," he said. "That benefits neighbors and reduces the insect problem with crops."

If one turbine kills 25 bats in a year, that means one turbine accounted for about 17 million uneaten bugs in 2010. Bats save farmers a lot of money: About $74 per acre, according to an April report in Science magazine that calculated the economic value of bats on a county-by-county basis.

In Allegheny County, bats save farmers an estimated $642,986 in a year. That's nothing compared with more agricultural counties in the region such as Somerset ($6.7 million saved), Washington ($5.5 million) or Westmoreland ($6.1 million). Lancaster County? You owe bats $22 million. In all of Pennsylvania, bats saved farmers $277.9 million in estimated avoided costs.

Initially, the "Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture" article was meant to attract attention to the white-nose fungus virus that is wiping out entire colonies of bats across the country. "We were getting a lot of questions about why we should care about white-nose syndrome," said author Justin Boyles, a post-doctoral fellow in bat research at the University of Tennessee. "Really, it's the economic impact that makes people listen."

The white-nose syndrome is compounding the wind turbine problems, having killed more than a million bats in the northeastern United States since 2006. It surfaced in Pennsylvania in 2008 and has killed thousands of in-state bats.

Meanwhile, the same creatures that save Pennsylvania farmers millions of dollars each year are also costing energy companies some big bucks as they try to stave off a mass execution beneath the blades.

Technology is being developed on sound generators that would deter the creatures from getting too close with a high-pitched noise only heard by bats. Some studies suggest that a slowdown in blade speed would reduce mortality.

But new technology is expensive and a blade slowdown would reduce the number of megawatts produced. "All these options cost money," said Ms. Librandi Mumma, and it can be a tough sell to the private industry handing over the information that helps in the research. "You don't want to penalize the hand that's giving you the data."

Companies that have signed a Game Commission cooperation agreement must foot the bill for the commission's pre-construction reconnaissance and post-construction monitoring. The cost of the process varies, but the research can last several months and involve extensive habitat monitoring.

Under the agreement, each site conducts two years of mortality monitoring, sending a lucky employee out every day from April to November to comb the six meters around each turbine for carcasses. The employees are tested to see "how good they are at finding dead things," said Ms. Librandi Mumma.

"We got a dead snake once, because it was on the road and they were just collecting everything dead," she said. "It wasn't because the wind turbine killed it. The guy was just being thorough."

Some retrievers aren't so good. "The average person finds 30 percent of the carcasses that are under a turbine," said Ms. Librandi Mumma, so the commission has come up with an algorithm that accounts for the missing bodies.

Agents will leave a carcass on the ground and note how long it takes to disappear -- this provides some insight on how many carcasses are unaccounted for because of living animals that have a taste for decomposing flesh.

Some wind companies with Pennsylvania operations have already seen seven-figure expenses on account of the bat problem.

NextEra Energy Resources, which operates the Somerset wind farms visible from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, has five active sites in Pennsylvania but did not participate in the Game Commission study.

The company monitors its mortality rates in house and funds outside research to reduce bird and bat deaths at its sites, said Skelly Holmbeck, environmental business manager at the Juno Beach, Fla.-based firm.

The funding program involving nine different research facilities is "in the millions overall," she said.

Migratory research that precedes any construction can employ bird watchers, nets or tape recorders designed to read the local ecosystem.

PPL Renewable Energy LLC of Allentown had planned on installing four turbines at its Lancaster County wind farm, but went with only two after sensitive avian populations were found nearby.

"There were design aspects that we elected not to use," said spokeswoman Mimi Mylin. "Some construction sites use lattice towers, but those can become roosting sites" for birds.

It's not just bats that are dying around wind turbines. An estimated 1,680 birds were killed by turbines last year, according to the state Game Commission report.

The disparity in mortality stems from biology. Birds typically crash into the blade and die from blunt force trauma, while bats suffer from a condition called barotrauma. It's the bat equivalent of the "bends" that scuba divers can suffer if they surface too quickly. The rapid drop in air pressure around the blades causes the bats' lungs to burst, and they collapse with no ostensible lacerations or scars on the body. "They just look like they're sleeping," said Ms. Librandi Mumma.

Bats must fly very close to the blades for their lungs to burst, and some researchers say the lights around the turbines might attract insects, which in turn attract bats.

Barotrauma in bats was only discovered in 2008, when a Canadian biologist thought to dissect one of the unblemished carcasses turning up at wind farms across North America. "It was an 'a-ha' moment," said Ms. Librandi Mumma.

The turbine problem has yielded some other, unexpected contributions to bat research. One carcass hunter in central Pennsylvania found a Seminole bat felled by barotrauma under the blades. Seminole bats live in the southeastern United States and rarely show up in Pennsylvania. "It's like a double-edged sword," said Ms. Librandi Mumma. "You're excited because it's a new bat, but it's a dead one."

The Seminole specimen was kept on dry ice in a small styrofoam container by a commission employee and handed over to Suzanne McLaren, the collection manager at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's research center in East Liberty. They met in the Ligonier Diamond town square -- home to a postcard-perfect gazebo and lots of sunlight -- for the transfer.

The bat, which may have traveled here from as far as Florida, found its final resting place in a freezer in East Liberty.


Electric vehicles debunked by electric utility researchers

A new report from the Electric Power Research Institute exposes EVs as pointless even under the rosiest scenario.

First, assuming that 35 million EVs are sold by 2030, EPRI estimates that gasoline savings would amount to 7 billion gallons annually. But in 2010, Americans burned 378 million gallons of gas per day. So the 2030 EV gasoline savings amount to a mere 5 percent of 2010 usage. Giving growing world demand for gasoline, a growing US population and (hopefully) a growing US economy, this projected “savings” would likely be meaningless.

Next, the 35 million vehicle-sold scenario is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 90 million tons annually by 2030 — i.e., about 1.2 percent of current U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and about 0.003 percent of current global emissions. So greenhouse gas-wise, EV’s are a trivial pursuit.

Of course, selling 35 million EVs is somewhat of a fantasy to start with as only several thousand EVs have been sold this year at great taxpayer expense. So actual gasoline and CO2 savings are likely to be even less impressive.

EPRI probably didn’t intend to debunk EVs as it is the research arm of the electric power industry, which is understandably salivating at the prospect of the EV boondoggle. So we can safely assume that the facts presented in EPRI’s report put EVs in the best light possible — and they still don’t make sense.

Don’t forget that with the current $7,500 per vehicle tax credit, all this failure would only cost taxpayers $260 billion!


The Global Warming Hoax: How Soon We Forget

Nobody has ever offered a more succinct indictment of the global warming hoax than H. L. Mencken, who said: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

While Americans are rightfully focused on the unemployment situation and the debt limit negotiations, we've pretty much forgotten about global warming as an issue ever since Obama failed to pass his Cap & Trade bill. As a result, we're becoming complacent once again about the huge threat we face from the progressives' attempts to control the world's energy industry based on the greatest scientific hoax in human history. In reality, however, nothing's changed, as Obama is still imposing his will on us through the EPA's regulation of CO2.

This hoax still threatens our economy, while advancing the UN's "Agenda 21" in more ways than one. It's also the foundation of Obama's "green jobs" approach to the unemployment issue, since the very concept of "green jobs" is just as bogus as the idea of a "carbon footprint."

With Fox anchors and conservative bloggers arguing that those "green" jobs are simply far too few to fuel a strong recovery, the fact that they're based on junk science, and aren't economically viable on their own, gets little if any mention.

The truth is that CO2 is a beneficial trace gas that exists in such small quantities in our atmosphere, that the idea of it playing any significant role in determining our climate is simply silly. CO2 comprises less than half of 0.1% of our atmosphere, and only 4% of it comes from human activity. That's 16ppm, or 1 part in every 62,500 parts of our atmosphere. CO2 is plant food, and a key component in all life on earth. Plants need CO2 to grow and produce oxygen. They feed animals (including ourselves). Animals in turn consume oxygen and plant-based foods, and exhale CO2. Without CO2, nothing could be green! This brief video showing the effect on plants of increasing atmospheric CO2 is quite striking.

Ironically, the audacity of their lies about CO2 are overshadowed by the most obvious part of the Hoax. The fact is that warming is good! Throughout history, man, as well as all other living creatures, has thrived during the earth's warm periods, and suffered and starved during the cold ones, a lesson that we're about to be reminded of in the coming years.

The Roman civilization arose when the earth was much warmer than it's been recently. And it's no coincidence that just as the earth was entering the 400-year-long "Little Ice Age," the Roman Empire was overrun by the Huns. The Egyptians also built the pyramids when it was much warmer than today, and the beginning of the industrial revolution coincided with the end of the Little Ice Age. If global warming is such a problem, doesn't it seem odd that mankind has always flourished during the earth's warmest periods?

And if increases in atmospheric CO2 are the primary cause of warming, why, from the 1940's through the mid 1970's, was the earth cooling when increases in our use of fossil fuels were at their greatest?

And why is it that Mars and Jupiter, and Neptune's moon Titan, have all followed the exact same warming and cooling cycles as the earth during the 20th century? Does anyone think that our SUVs and power plants are causing the same climate change on other planets and moons in our solar system, or is it more likely that the changes there were caused by the fact that we're all in the same solar system? I.e., "It's the sun, stupid!"

To me, the most worrisome aspect of this problem is that we simply aren't debating this issue properly.

In 1974, in an article in Time Magazine entitled "Another Ice Age?," the same alarmists suggested that the (then-)coming ice age was being caused in part by the same vehicular emissions that they're now blaming for global warming.
Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. The University of Wisconsin's Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth.

But then it stopped cooling and started warming again. This has been happening throughout history

Now, since the warming stopped 12 years ago, the alarmists are finally beginning to admit that the earth has started cooling again. And what are they telling us is the reason why? In what's got to be one of the most mind-boggling displays of chutzpah ever seen, they're actually saying that the reason that it hasn't been warming for the last 12 years is that China and India are now burning such a massive amount of coal, that it blocks the sun's rays from reaching the earth and warming it. That's right! Our use of fossil fuels is warming the earth, while China's is cooling it?

How stupid and gullible do they think we are? Australia just announced that they're going ahead with a carbon tax on their power companies, rather than a Cap & Trade system. But no matter what they call it, they're still fleecing the same victims, the people, who'll be paying this new tax in the form of higher utility bills, and higher prices on everything they buy. And while this insanity unfolds, we're still paying lip service to this absurd lie by continuing to make reference to the virtues of reducing our "carbon footprint." Every time we hear that preposterous phrase, we should laugh at it, and then explain why we find it so funny if anyone asks. Years of constant repetition is what sold the lie in the first place. It may take years of constant repetition of the truth to counter it.

Our primary argument against Cap & Trade and the EPA's CO2 regulations has been that they would be bad for the economy. Of course they would be, but by attacking them on those grounds, we're granting our sanction to the underlying premise -- that CO2 is dangerous. But it's not. And there never were any benefits to be had from Cap & Trade, regardless of its cost.

There are millions of smart people out there who have been bombarded with this global warming nonsense for so long that they've actually come to believe it. The old adage that if you tell a lie often enough it becomes the truth happens to be true, especially when the people don't get to hear other points of view, something our mainstream media has made sure of over the last few decades.

But even though people are slowly growing skeptical about it, and turning away from the mainstream media, we can't afford to let our guard down about this scam. And we'll never truly defeat it for good by arguing against it based on the enormous costs involved. Whether it's global warming, or global cooling, or ocean acidification, we need to denounce this madness as the outrageous lie that it is, if we're ever going to defeat this hydra in all of its various guises.


Brainwashed kids

Sad to see them being introduced to so many dumb ideas -- such as spending many hours pulling out weeds instead of using pesticides. Weeds are not killed by pesticides anyhow. Pesticides kill bugs and killing them by hand would be a tall order

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez describes himself as an environmental activist. He's appealed to the Boulder City Council, spoken at global warming rallies and campaigned for President Barack Obama.

In his free time, he enjoys being in nature, swinging on rope tires, having sword fights and playing with Legos. This year he will be entering his fifth year at Crest View Elementary School, since Xiuhtezcatl is only 11 years old.

He started activism when he was 6, after viewing the environmental documentary "The 11th Hour." As a lover of animals, Xiuhtezcatl said he became concerned with polar bears and tigers, and felt he was being called to help.

"The state of the planet is really intense -- forests are disappearing, mass extinction of animals, pine beetles are dying due to warmer winters," he said. "We have to snap out of it."

Xiuhtezcatl is a member of the Boulder-based organization Earth Guardians, a youth group centered on environmental activism.

Tamara Roske, 47, Xiuhtezcatl's mother, started Earth Guardians in 1993. At the time, she was living in Maui and noticed several environmental problems plaguing the Hawaiian island -- such as sugar cane burning and endangered species increasing -- and felt like something needed to be done.

Four years later she brought the organization to Boulder.

Roske's said her generation is concerned with having more and making more, and they weren't taught to respect Earth. Her goal now is to show children the state of the planet they are inheriting.

"They hear their parents talking about it, but they're not given an outlet to express that concern they have," Roske said. "It's amazing to see the impact that these kids can have."

The guardians have fans in high places, like Boulder Mayor Susan Osborne, who's been a supporter ever since she saw them at a City Council meeting two years ago.

"When they come to speak at council, they pretty much always get what they want because they're so articulate and thoughtful," Osborne said.

Amaya Baccellieri, 12, an Earth Guardian member for two years, said the youth has a big voice. But she thinks that adults listen to children partly because of their charm. "First of all, it's the cute factor," Baccellieri said. "Then they realize if kids are talking about it, it's important."

The Guardians have assembled on a number of topics, including closing coal operations at the Valmont Power Plant and also filing a lawsuit against the State of Colorado for contributing to global warming by polluting the atmosphere. The active problem-solving is one of the qualities Osborne admires about the group.

Last summer, the Guardians appealed to the City Council for city workers to stop spraying pesticides in community parks. The council listened to the concerns and terminated use of the chemicals. But the Guardians went a step further and adopted Foothills Community Park to "walk the talk," as Xiuhtezcatl puts it. The group maintains the upkeep of the park by pulling weeds and showing that pesticides are not necessary.

It's refreshing for Osborne to see a group step up and fix a problem.

"I love their energy," she said. "It's not just talking and complaining, which we get a lot of. It's raising issues and actively solving the problems."

But not all the youth have been treated with such understanding. Alex Budd, 18, has been involved in activism since he was 13, when he participated in Al Gore's climate project to spread environmental awareness.

He said that, over the years, he's received a lot of negative feedback and feels as though he's running up against a wall.

"I'm still young enough to be called naive," Budd said. "We call it passionate, but people see it as being manipulated."

Roske, as the founder and mother to some of the Earth Guardians, said she's never been accused of swaying the kids.

She said this is because she allows the children to choose the issues important to them, stays behind the scenes and only gives help when needed.

"The kids just do it, and I support them," Roske said. "I help to empower them to find their own voices."

But Roske knows the importance of letting the kids be kids, and she keeps it fun by hosting movies nights and sleepovers. She also encourages the children to incorporate their hobbies into activism, such as her 7-year-old son, Itzcuauhtli, who loves to rap about environmental change.

For most of the Earth Guardians, educating the future generation is their mission. They've presented to several schools and are building a multimedia tool kit for those wanting to get involved.

Budd said he wants to give kids a choice to be active or not by letting them know the issues.

As for Xiuhtezcatl, before he got involved, he said he was having a good time being a kid and wasn't concerned. After he learned about the environmental problems, he chose activism.

"I'm glad when I have kids," Xiuhtezcatl said, "I can tell them I didn't just sit around and do nothing."


Eight million animals face death to test your toothpaste and washing-up liquid

But don't blame the manufacturers, it's all down to "environmental" testing mandated by Europe

Clad in her customary white coat, the scientist carefully pulls the latex gloves up over her wrists and walks slowly towards the cage. Reaching in, she seizes one of the rabbits, cowering near the back and clamps it into a testing harness.

Taking it over to a sanitised laboratory bench, Dr Tamsin Decker supervises as solution is squirted into the defenceless animal’s eyes. She has done this many times before — and will watch as it’s done again until the rabbit shows some side-effects: pain, irritation, bleeding perhaps, and eventually, possibly, blindness.

For what cause must the animal endure such a wretched, tortured existence? Once upon a time, Dr Decker would have imagined it was to find a cure for cancer, or, at the very least, to test a compound which would relieve suffering.

But now the young woman knows that she is verifying the safety of a chemical contained in toothpaste — a well-established brand leader that she had used to brush her teeth that very morning.

‘I felt numb — no, guilty,’ she admits afterwards. ‘It isn’t as if the end justified the means. We weren’t researching some cancer cure here. We were testing a well-known chemical that has been used in household products for more than 100 years.’

On other days, Dr Decker might be required to inject mice, birds or rats with toxins to see how long it takes them to die, or to record what happens to their foetuses.

Contrary to popular belief, scientific testing on animals is not a thing of the past, nor is it in decline. Figures released by the Home Office last week show that 3.7 million ‘procedures’ involving individual animals were carried out in 2010 — a million more than in 2000.

And evidence is emerging that large numbers of animals are dying needlessly, simply because of a new directive from Brussels which demands that 30,000 chemicals are tested.

The project, entitled the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances — or REACH — has at its heart a noble desire to safeguard the environment and limit our exposure to hazardous substances.

But, as a Daily Mail investigation has uncovered, many of these chemicals are already found in household products which we have been using for generations — brands such as Colgate toothpaste, Ajax cleaner, Gillette shaving foam and Fairy washing-up liquid.

Yet, as a consequence of the European Commission diktat, animal welfare groups claim that millions of creatures will die needlessly to test chemicals in products which have already been deemed safe.

Not only that, the European regulations are so far-reaching that it is slowly becoming impossible for consumers to buy ‘ethical’ products whose ingredients have not been tested on animals.

‘I’m from the generation that was determined to do as little harm as we could to animals, and we have come a long way in finding alternative testing methods,’ says Dr Decker. ‘But for some tests you can only use animals — and many of us think that we shouldn’t be using them to test chemicals that we already feel are safe.’

Decker is not her real name, and we cannot disclose exactly what she was testing for fear of identifying her employers. In addition, scientists are being gagged by their employers, who don’t want to be seen to be complaining about REACH in case it makes them look unwilling to do their bit for the environment.

REACH was launched in 2007 and required companies to produce dossiers on all the chemicals in the products that they manufactured, including evidence of their safety — no matter how long they had been in production. The more of the chemical they produced, the more detailed the evidence required.

After lobbying from animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA, which predicted wholesale destruction of animals, companies were encouraged to share information to prevent unnecessary testing, and to find alternatives to animal testing wherever possible.

Earlier this month, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which oversees the REACH project, published its first progress report which said that of almost 25,000 dossiers that had been submitted by companies on chemicals that they used, ‘only’ 1,849 had involved new animal test results.

Geert Dancet, the ECHA’s executive director, argued that this was good news. ‘This report clearly shows that companies have shared data or made extensive use of alternative [testing] methods available so as to avoid the need to test chemicals on animals, which is positive,’ he said.

However, when animal welfare scientists trawled through the long and minutely-detailed report, they came to the conclusion that even though only a small proportion of the data on chemicals had been garnered from animal testing, no fewer than 87 per cent of the animals in those tests had died.

Assuming internationally accepted models for animal studies had been observed, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) claims this amounts to more than 231,000 pointless deaths. ‘It is a completely unnecessary waste of life,’ says Dr Katy Taylor, BUAV’s senior scientific adviser.

Among these ‘unnecessary’ tests were 188 studies on eye irritation carried out on rabbits; 336 skin sensitisation studies on guinea pigs or mice; 254 short-term toxicity tests on fish; and 33 genetic toxicity tests on mice. The number of animals in each study is thought to range from one to 500.

Dr Taylor argues that instead of testing animals to destruction, there are computer models that can predict reactions, while chemicals can be tested on cell cultures and artificially grown skin in the lab.

Under REACH, where companies do need to test on animals, they must first announce their intentions to the European Chemicals Agency to see if any other company or academic centre has already carried out such tests. If no one has, then they are given a licence to test.

So, does this mean that you are buying products with ingredients that have been freshly tested on animals? Probably, yes. I looked at just eight chemicals that had been tested on animals under REACH, and they led to some nasty surprises.

Even though animal testing on cosmetics was banned in the UK in 1997 and across Europe in 2009, I found that Colgate toothpaste and Gillette shaving foam contained ingredients that were tested on animals only recently. This is no poor reflection on these companies, as they may have played no direct part in the testing.

In Colgate’s case, calcium carbonate — a substance used for hundreds of years and found naturally in rocks, eggshells and pearls — had to be tested under REACH. In the case of Gillette, the substance was triethanolamine, a compound used for generations in household cleaners, polishers, paints, inks and detergents.

Again, this doesn’t mean that Gillette commissioned testing on the substance. It just raises questions over why the new testing on animals was necessary at all.

I also found recently tested ingredients in Persil 2in1 With Comfort (triethanolamine); Ajax cleanser with bleach (pentasodium triphosphate and calcium carbonate); Turtle Wax leather cleaner & conditioner (triethanolamine); and Fairy Liquid Green Apple & Lime Blossom (geraniol, a fragrance).

So I asked Wim De Coen, head of unit evaluation at the European Chemicals Agency, why animals are dying to test such apparently commonplace and harmless ingredients. ‘REACH comes historically from the realisation that substances were on the European market that consumers and the environment were exposed to daily, but very little information was known about them,’ he told me. ‘The intention is to protect consumers and the environment from these substances. So manufacturers and importers must now demonstrate their safety.’

Asked whether he understands the frustration felt by some scientists over testing ingredients already agreed to be ‘safe’, he says: ‘If you look at it from a lab or single company’s point of view, to their way of thinking it may be frustrating, but to the broader benefit of all of us there is much to be gained by collecting the information. Animal testing is the last resort.’

I asked Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Colgate and the Turtle Wax Corporations, manufacturers of the affected items, how they felt about their ingredients being tested under REACH.

Only Procter & Gamble replied, saying it tests on animals only where required to by law and when all other options have been exhausted. Diplomatically, it pointed out that it has spent £275 million developing alternatives to animal testing, but it didn’t address my direct questioning about the frustrations of animal testing under REACH.

However, I was able to gain an insight into how the chemical companies view the legislation through the eyes of a scientific consultant who advises them on how to comply with it. Fearful of speaking out openly against the European Chemicals Agency, he refused to be named, but branded REACH ‘an expensive nuisance’.

‘Companies have been producing some products for more than 50 years without any harmful side-effects, and then they have to provide data under REACH,’ my source told me. ‘My clients don’t want to carry out these tests on animals, but they have no choice. They are time-consuming and they can be staggeringly expensive — as much as one million euros over two or three years. It’s a huge responsibility that’s been put on the shoulders of the chemical industry.’ As a result of REACH the animal death toll figure could rise to 50 million

According to Andrew Butler, founder of Lush, the ethical cosmetics company, it is a responsibility that is spilling over into the retail sector and undermining the founding principles of his business. ‘Since our inception, it has been our aim that none of our customers’ money goes to any company involved in any animal testing whatsoever,’ he tells me.

‘Thanks to REACH, it’s impossible to buy ingredients from anyone who hasn’t been involved in animal testing. Every manufacturer is being forced into a position where they are having to pay directly or indirectly for those tests.

‘We have to rethink our policy and come up with a way of campaigning against animal testing in the light of REACH. But it isn’t going to be easy.’

No one is denying that the aims of REACH are admirable, and that it could provide a vital resource in safeguarding the environment and the health of all Europeans. At present, however, it is the health of millions of animals that is exercising campaigners.

‘We want chemicals that are safe for people and our environment, just like everyone else, but animal tests are not required to achieve this goal,’ says Alistair Currie, policy adviser at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). ‘There are lots of ways that companies can avoid using animals: the scandal is that those testing alternatives aren’t being used.

‘Fine words in the legislation about using animals as a last resort are meaningless if companies ignore them. Unless companies are compelled to exploit every opportunity to use alternatives to animal testing, there will be millions of completely avoidable deaths in the future.’

Millions? Surely that’s an exaggeration. Sadly, no. The RSPCA, a calm head in the middle of a heated debate, told me this week that its experts predict an animal death toll of around eight million as a result of REACH. And when unborn foetuses carried by those animals are taken into account, that figure could rise to 50 million.

As Dr Decker says: ‘You might understand it if there was a cure for cancer at the end of all the suffering. There won’t be — but at least you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your Fairy Liquid won’t do you any harm.’ But perhaps your grandmother could have told you that.



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


29 July, 2011

Nature editorial hits IPCC hard: 'It's time for the influential body to uphold its own neutrality standards'

An editorial by Greenie heretic Mark Lynas published in the August 2011 edition of Nature Climate Change is highly critical of the IPCC's use of non-peer-reviewed "grey" literature [such as propaganda from Greenpeace] and that "a Greenpeace campaigner was put in charge of reviewing and highlighting his own work within Working Group III..." leading to the embarrassing and widely debunked claim that 80% of the world's energy could be supplied by renewable energy by 2050.

A second editorial in the same issue states regarding this same conflict of interest, "For a body that represents the state of understanding on one of the most complex and important issues of our time, repeating previously acknowledged mistakes is completely unacceptable."

That such a Green organ as "Nature" has become a platform for Mark Lynas is undoubtedly a big retreat.

The full article is paywall protected but a graphic of the first article below gives you an idea of it.

SOURCE (Edited)

Polar bear scare appears to have been a fraud

A FEDERAL wildlife biologist whose observation that polar bears likely drowned in the Arctic, which helped galvanise the global warming movement seven years ago, has been placed on administrative leave as officials investigate scientific misconduct allegations.

Although it wasn't clear what the exact allegations are, a government watchdog group representing Anchorage-based scientist Charles Monnett said investigators have focused on his 2004 journal article about the bears that garnered worldwide attention.

The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on Mr Monnett's behalf on Thursday with the agency, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. BOEMRE told Mr Monnett on July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending an investigation into "integrity issues".

The investigator has not yet told him of the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, the watchdog group's executive director. A BOEMRE spokeswoman acknowledged there was an "ongoing internal investigation" but declined to get into specifics.

The complaint seeks Mr Monnett's reinstatement and a public apology from the agency and inspector general, whose office is conducting the probe. The group's filing also seeks to have the investigation dropped or to have the charges specified and the matter carried out quickly and fairly, as the Obama policy states.

Mr Monnett, who has coordinated much of BOEMRE's research on Arctic wildlife and ecology, has duties that include managing about $US50 million worth of studies, according to the complaint. The agency spokeswoman said other agency scientists would manage the studies in Mr Monnett's absence.

According to documents provided by Ruch's group, which sat in on investigators interviews with Mr Monnett, the questioning focused on observations that Monnett and fellow researcher Jeffrey Gleason made in 2004.


Deeds speak louder than words: Finland and Russia to modernise their icebreaker fleets

After last winter in the Baltic you can understand why:
More than 60 vessels stuck in ice in Gulf of Finland

"The Baltic Sea currently has the most extensive ice cover that it has seen in 24 years. On Thursday, 310,000 square kilometres of the sea were covered in ice, and the area is growing.
After the severe winter of 1987, the ice cover in the Baltic was nearly 400,000 square kilometres wide, which in practical terms means that the entire surface of the Baltic was effectively covered in ice. The entire sea has been completely frozen over just 20 times since 1720."

The global warming alarmists do not seem to have convinced the Finnish and Russian governments about ever warming winters. Finland´s new government has decided to modernise its icebreaker fleet:
The programme of the new government contains a pledge to undertake replacement of outdated icebreakers. One matter under consideration is who will own the vessels. The present fleet is owned by Arctia Shipping, a state-owned company.

Finland has five traditional-type icebreakers and three multi-purpose icebreakers. The oldest is the Voima that has been in service since 1954. The most powerful icebreakers, the Urho and Sisu have been in service for 35 years and the most recent traditional icebreaker has seen 25 years of service.

The three multi-purpose icebreakers were constructed in the 1990s.
According to Ilmari Aro, an expert on winter shipping at the Transport Ministry, the Voima is to be replaced during the term of the present government. Arctia Shipping's CEO Vauraste says that the rest of the fleet is to be replaced by around 2020. The lifetime of the vessels can be extended with investment in repairs and maintenance.

A new traditional icebreaker carries a price tag of around 100 million euros. Multi-purpose icebreakers are a bit more expensive.
Icebreakers and their services are important because of Finland's heavy reliance on maritime shipping for exports and imports. Estonia and Finland are the only countries in the world where all of the nation's ports freeze over in the winter

Neither is the Russian government trusting the warmists´ predictions:
“A very important decision was made in connection with the situation in the Gulf of Finland this winter, to build icebreakers. Currently all the fleet used to escort ships in the ice, except for two icebreakers, is obsolete. The new icebreakers to be ordered should be built to optimized projects”, stated A.Davydenko.

Both governments are, of course, basing their decisions to modernise the ice breaker fleets on the realities of the northern winter - not the climate scientists´ computers models. One must hope that the Finnish and Russian - as well as other - governments perform the same reality checks with regard to other areas involved in the global warming scam.


Obama's NASA is no longer about space

NASA stands for "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration". You would associate it with astronauts, perhaps pilots, space research, and the Universe. Some young readers may even be ignorant about those things but NASA brought the first men to the Moon and has done lots of other fascinating things. But look at this graph of funding from Nature:

Between 2011 and 2012, the astrophysics budget is expected to drop from $1.1 to $0.65 billion, i.e. by 40 percent. Astrophysics would become almost as small as heliophysics (physics of the Sun) which keeps its $0.6 billion.

Meanwhile, planetary sciences are proposed to grow by one or a few percent to $1.5 billion and the Earth science should only drop by less than 5 percent to $1.7 billion, preserving its dominant position.

Just think how completely insane these ratios are. NASA has always been about the space (well, at least from the times when airplanes became ordinary), about flying away from Mother Earth. However, among these 4 scientific disciplines, astrophysics only has less than 15 percent of the money and astrophysics plus heliophysics have something like 28 percent.

No wonder that the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble's successor, is likely to die.

Meanwhile, the Earth science budget is meant to remain high, for no good reason. There are no projects that would be as important - and not even as well-known - as the James Webb Space Telescope. Still, the Earth science section is scheduled to get 3 times more money than astrophysics. The reasons are clearly ideological, not meritocratic.

Much of this money - $1.7 billion - is paid for the people to spread lies about "global warming" which are convenient to make the government bigger.

These numbers are even scarier if one looks at the evolution over longer periods of time. In 2008, the Earth science budget in NASA was $1.25. So it's meant to increase by 36 percent by 2012. Meanwhile, the astrophysics budget drops from $1.4 to $0.65 between 2008 and 2012.

The Earth_science/astrophysics budget ratio is scheduled to increase, between 2008 and 2012, by the factor (double ratio) of almost three! A factor of three added within three years is a pretty fast change: the (absolute) global mean temperature has increased by 0.2% in the last 100 years.

Would someone dare to claim that this tripling has nothing to do with the global warming hysteria? Would someone dare to claim that the typical people in NASA such as Gavin Schmidt are not affected by (relative) tripling of the money they're receiving? That they don't realize what they are actually being paid for? The likes of Gavin Schmidt get the tripling of the funds instead of life in prison that they deserve.

Needless to say, the tripling of NASA's Earth science budget relatively to NASA's astrophysics budget over 4 years has absolutely no conceivable rational explanation. It's all about the dislocation of resources and wasting of the U.S. taxpayer's money.

The House has its fingers in these nasty modifications of the structure of NASA's funding - and unsurprisingly, that's what Nature focuses upon. But Obama doesn't move a finger to stop this pernicious replacement of high-tech science and technology in NASA by low-brow ideological babbling, propaganda, lies, pseudoscience, and emotions.

These people actively work on the decomposition of the space research, astrophysics research, and cosmology research in the once famous country named America.

In 1966 when it was all about the space, NASA got 4.4 percent of the federal budget. This percentage dropped to 0.5 percent in recent years - by an order of magnitude. The massively high spending for the space research didn't prevent America from running budget surpluses throughout the 1950s and 1960s.


Climate Witchcraft and Post-Normal Science

By Norman Rogers

French philosophers invented deconstructionism and postmodernism, or the theory that nothing means what it says. Followers of these ideas are adept at finding hidden messages of capitalist oppression in the most unexpected places. A related ideological disturbance is post-normal science. Post-normal scientists favor relaxing scientific rigor in order to better pursue political goals. Those goals often involve a reorganization of society that will elevate the importance of scientists. Archimedes supposedly said, Give me a long enough lever and I can move the world. The post-normal scientists think that science is a lever that can be used to rule the world.

Certain important climate scientists are very eager to reorganize society. They proclaim, on weak evidence, that the Earth is doomed by global warming unless we follow a green plan to remake the economy and the social order. We have to give up cars for trolleys. Windmills will become ubiquitous. The most famous climate scientist, James Hansen, wants to put his opponents on trial for crimes against humanity.[i] Implicit in all this is the idea that a central committee of Dr. Strangeloves should rule the world. Instead of prince this and duke that, we will have doctor this and doctor that. These radical intellectuals secretly despise the present system of rule by the rabble, otherwise known as democracy.

Some intellectuals think that they don't get attention and status commensurate with their importance. This is especially true in America, where the cleaning lady or plumber is inclined to treat them as equals. One way to be important is to proclaim a theory that something very bad is going to happen. If the theory has some scientific basis and is backed by other prominent scientists, the claims will be credible.

A lot of this doomsday science, disguised as environmental concern, has been going around during the last 50 years. Global warming is just the latest example of ideologically motivated catastrophe theory. James Delingpole's book, Watermelons, describes the phenomenon in amusing detail. Like radical environmentalists, watermelons are green on the outside and red on the inside.

If it weren't for the prophecies of doom, climate science would be an obscure academic niche. Global warming has made everyone in the field rich, at least in academic currency if not dollars. The wealth has spread to other academic niches that have become more important in light of connections to climate. Global warming is a huge bonanza for the do-good environmental organization industry. Organizations like the Sierra Club or the Environmental Defense Fund[ii] need a perpetual stream of impending environmental disasters. When the public becomes bored with an impending disaster that never materializes, a new impending disaster must be found.

Climate science has embraced computer climate models as the tool it uses to compute the magnitude of the warming effect of CO2. The climate models are riddled with problems. Kevin Trenberth, a noted climate scientist and a prominent promoter of global warming alarmism, said this about the models: "none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate." The effect of CO2 is measured by a theoretical number called climate sensitivity. There are more than 20 climate modeling groups around the world. These groups each spend millions on programmers and supercomputers, searching for the value of climate sensitivity. They all get different answers, differing by a ratio of more than two to one. This failure of consensus would normally be considered a sign that the approach is not working. But if climate science can't make predictions of doom, it will cease to be important and funding will collapse. The climate science establishment had to relax the normal rules of science for its own survival and for the sake of its post-normal-science political goals.

The global warming establishment devised a solution. They decided to take the average of the various disagreeing models and claim that the average is closer to the truth than any of the models incorporated in the average. They call this a multi-model ensemble. The skeptic will ask if averaging together the results from more modeling groups makes the result better, why not spend a few billion dollars more and establish another 20 or 50 modeling groups to still better zero in on the truth? To read the justifications for multi-model ensembles is to enter a reality distortion field.

The climate models make predictions that cannot be tested because you would have to wait 50 or 100 years to see if the predictions are correct. The models are evaluated and calibrated by simulating the observed climate of the 20th century. The entirely unjustified assumption is made that if the models can match the 20th-century climate they must be working well and will be able to predict the future. This is known as backtesting. The problem with backtesting is that models may fit the historical data for the wrong reasons. If a model is complicated, with enough adjustable parameters, it may be capable of fitting almost anything. Many people have devised stock market models that work well when tested against history. If such models could predict the future movement of markets or pick winning stocks it would be far easier to make money in the stock market than it is.

The climate models have dozens of adjustable parameters. Inputs to the models, related to physical drivers of climate, are highly uncertain. For example, one input is aerosols or reflective particles injected into the air from smokestacks and natural sources. These have an effect on climate but the historical aerosol record is difficult to quantify. We don't know very accurately how much and what kind of aerosols there were year by year in the 20th century, and we don't know what the effect on the energy flows was. In order to model the 20th century, you must supply the model with a historical record of the effect of aerosols. Since this is poorly known you might be tempted to fabricate the historical record so as to make the model fit the 20th century better.[iii] This is either a clever strategy or circular reasoning. Climate scientists call this the inverse method of computing the effects of aerosols.[iv] Ocean heat storage provides another example of a necessary but poorly known aspect of climate models. Adjusting the internal model parameters related to this effect provides another lever for making a model fit the historical climate of the 20th century. The unfortunate result is that different climate models treat ocean heat storage quite differently, but the Earth has only one way of treating ocean heat storage.[v]

The International Panel on Climate Change, otherwise known as the IPCC, or perhaps as the Vatican of climate change, has an established procedure for making predictions using multi-model ensembles. Each of the modeling groups is instructed to fit or calibrate its model to the 20th century and then to run the model into the 21st century to get a prediction of the future. Each group is directed to use inputs as it deems appropriate for the 20th-century fitting.[vi] The modeling groups can independently adopt their own set of assumptions about the reality of the 20th-century climate. It's like the parallel Earths, in parallel universes, often seen in science fiction. There is only one Earth. There are no parallel universes.

The net result from these tricks is that fitting the models to the 20th century becomes an exercise in curve-fitting implemented by custom fudging with a different fudge recipe at each modeling laboratory. The result of this exercise in inventing historical data is illustrated by the figure below from the 2007 IPCC report.

The ensemble mean fits the observed temperature history[vii] very well, even taking dips when volcanos erupt and inject cooling aerosols. The only place where the fit fails is the early-20th-century warming from 1910 to 1940. The problem during that period is that there is nothing plausible to explain this early warming that is also consistent with the doctrine that CO2 is the only cause of the late-century warming. Most of the modelers assume that the early warming is due to a change in the sun's output, but they don't dare go too far with that because in general they have to minimize the effect of the sun and maximize the effect of CO2 to avoid giving comfort to the skeptic school that thinks climate is controlled mostly by the sun.

Multiple runs of the same model are included in the graph. Slightly different starting conditions are used for runs using the same model, so the results of different runs by the same model are not identical, and in fact exhibit considerable chaotic variation. The chaotic or random variations average out to a characteristic climate associated with that model, if enough runs from the same model are averaged. The interesting fact about the graph is that the 13 different models, averaged, give an excellent fit to the temperature history even though we know that the models disagree sharply on the effect of the rapidly rising CO2 in the second half of the 20th century.[viii]

The apparent good performance of the models in the graph is a consequence of stacking the deck by adjusting the assumptions about the Earth independently for each model. That adding more models to the mix makes the graph fit the observed climate better, as the IPCC claims, is an elementary result of curve fitting theory. If you use several different curve-fitting methods (e.g., different models) and the errors in the fits are random or uncorrelated, then the errors are reduced proportional to the square root of the number of fits averaged together. This has nothing to do with climate. It is a mathematical and statistical result. Of course all this is well-known to climate scientists.

Why would the IPCC use such an unscientific scheme for predicting the future climate? A better scheme comes easily to mind. Why not have a contest to pick the best model? The conditions of the test against the 20th-century observed climate should be set strictly so that inputs are the same for all models and non-physical or physically inconsistent assumptions internal to the models would be prohibited. Although this scheme would hardly be guaranteed to result in reliable predictions of the future climate, it would surely be sounder than the corrupt scheme currently used.

But, wait a minute. If one laboratory out of 20 was picked as having the best model, what would the reaction of the other 19 laboratories be? After all, one can assume that the other 19 labs have 19 times the political influence that the winning lab would have. Wouldn't the other labs be deeply worried that their funding would be cut or diverted to the winning lab? Suppose the winning lab was an American lab. Might the European labs suspect cheating or bias? Suppose a French lab won. What would the Americans think? Would the Congress support research at a French lab, at the expense of the American labs? Obviously, a climate model shootout would break the unity of the climate science establishment and is thus unthinkable.

Climate models are useful heuristic tools that help in understanding climate. Most of the work done in developing models is honest. But the models are not remotely good enough to make predictions about the future climate under the influence of CO2. The IPCC and its allies have created a bizarre scheme to force doomsday predictions out of the disagreeing models in order to pursue bureaucratic and political goals. The resultant predictions are looking very foolish in the face of 14 years of no general climate warming, and of no ocean warming since a reliable monitoring system was deployed in 2003.

President Eisenhower anticipated post-normal science in his 1961 farewell address when he warned that public policy could become the captive of the scientific-technological elite. We are accustomed to various special interest groups cooking the books to promote their interests in Washington. We don't expect the science establishment to be cooking the science, but that is what is happening. The arrogance and irresponsibility exhibited by the science establishment is quite amazing. It will take a while for the public to adjust to the idea that organized science is as corrupt as the trial lawyers or the teachers' union.


The usual Greenie unrealism in "model" of carbon tax effects

By economist Henry Ergas, writing from Australia

EARLIER this week, Wayne Swan said the results of updated Treasury modelling of the government's proposed carbon tax would not differ much from those already released.

If our Defence planners told us it didn't matter to their modelling whether our next war was with China or with Vanuatu, we would worry about the quality of their planning.

So it is not reassuring that increasing the starting carbon price by more than 10 per cent, closing the Hazelwood generator early, slashing the number of permits that can be purchased overseas, precluding the borrowing of permits from the future and using realistic assumptions about what other countries are doing would have little impact on the policy's estimated costs. That said, many adjustments that should be made will likely not be made. The modelling will therefore remain an exercise in the economics of nirvana: easily assumed, less easily attained. But even were significant adjustments made, there is a technical reason why the model's estimate of costs might change little.

That reason is a quirk in Treasury's modelling. Called the "marginal abatement cost curve" or MAC, it provides abatement like manna from heaven, that is, at no cost. But it is even better: for the more the price of bread rises, the more manna showers from the skies. Or in this case, the higher the permit price, the more abatement we get for free.

The mechanics of this device can be explained as follows. As the carbon price rises producers replace more emissions-intensive processes with less emissions-intensive alternatives. This typically involves some investment costs. For example, a firm might spend an additional $100 on scrubbers to reduce emissions. As the scrubbers must be paid for, the firm's costs and prices would rise, causing, among other things, changes in demand.

But here comes the interesting bit. As the carbon price rises, the MAC kicks in, and provides further reductions in emissions, but without requiring new investment. And the higher the permit price, the more of those reductions it generates. It is as if the scrubber, without needing to be replaced, suddenly eliminated more emissions simply because the carbon price had increased.

And the savings generated by the MAC are not trivial. Indeed, thanks to a parameter in the model, in principle up to 90 per cent of emissions affected by the MAC could be eliminated at no cost. In practice, the reductions are unlikely to approach that ceiling. In the modelling for Australia, for example, the MAC does not apply to some sectors that are large emitters of carbon. But it does apply to other important activities, including mining.

And because the quantity of free emissions reductions increases as the carbon price rises, the model reduces the estimated cost of toughening the policy, as the government has done by (for instance) limiting purchases of permits from overseas.

How can such a mechanism be justified? The best gloss that can be put on it is that higher carbon prices would induce emissions-savings innovation beyond that assumed in the base case. And that could indeed happen. But if that is what the MAC is assumed to be doing, there are at least three problems with the way it does it.

First, induced innovation is highly uncertain and involves long delays: there can be many years between a price change and the successful technical advances it has encouraged. And even once innovations are available, their spread is typically slow. But the modelling assumes a virtually immediate and predictable response.

Second, once emissions are substantially reduced, finding innovations that can reduce them further becomes ever more difficult. But in Treasury's MAC curve, the opposite occurs.

Third and last, the best things in life may be free, but new technologies are not. Innovations are costly and must be paid for. Indeed, it is the prospect of reaping those rewards that ensures innovations occur. That Treasury, of all places, would instead assume a free lunch is truly remarkable.

How big is the resulting error? Without access to the model, no one can tell. It is therefore not surprising that the government refuses to disclose it. But this refusal hardly flatters Treasury's hard work and the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on the model. Has Swan so little confidence in his department that he cannot face the risk of criticism?

Nor is that refusal consistent with a loudly proclaimed commitment to science. For science grows by disclosure and refutation, not secrecy and manipulation.

And it is even less consistent with the pledge of openness on which Labor was elected. But few governments have shown as flexible an attitude to the relationship between principles and practice as that of Julia Gillard. It professes a belief in informed argument but works on the basis that what others don't know can't hurt it. Little wonder it is reduced to selling its policies like bars of soap. And its credibility lies in tatters. A modest step it could take to restore confidence would be to release the Treasury model. Until that is done, Swan's assurances will be little more than wasteful emissions of carbon dioxide.



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


28 July, 2011

New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism

NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is “not much”). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.

The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.

In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.

When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a “huge discrepancy” between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.


More Warmist lies: Sea Level Rising 11mm Per Year In LA!

When saving the planet, you just have to make up all kinds of facts.
A new report says that by the mid point of this decade sea level will be a foot and a half higher. That, in our view, could be devastating to the way-too-close-to-the-beach development in Malibu and to other parts of the L.A. County coastline, like Marina Del Rey and the low-lying community of Venice. (Think of those winter-storm days with high tides, big waves and another foot or so of water level).

But that’s not the half of it. The Natural Resources Defense Council this week made some scary projections about the effects of global warming in L.A. in the coming years

Sea level in LA hasn’t risen for about 30 years. Amazing that LA Times reporters will swallow whatever lies they are fed by green groups.


The Coming Autopocalypse

The Obama administration's proposed CAFE rules declare a war on cars

The thinking behind the Obama administration’s proposed new fuel efficiency standards seems to be: What won’t kill the auto industry will make it stronger. But these standards are the regulatory equivalent of a bunker buster that will, in fact, decimate the industry.

In an effort to bring its global warming initiative back from the dead, the administration has announced that it wants automakers to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, of their fleets from the 34.2 miles per gallon that it mandated in 2009 (which the companies are still scrambling to meet) to 56.2 mpg by 2025. Not a single car—big or small, hybrid or non-hybrid—currently delivers this kind of mileage (with the exception of electrics). But CAFE backers are pooh-poohing industry claims that these standards are unattainable. “Virtually every major improvement in U.S. fuel economy and emissions over the last quarter of a century started as a stringent government standard that automakers ... initially insisted was impossible to meet,” harrumphed a recent Detroit Free Press editorial. “Then the same companies turned their engineers loose and met or exceeded the threshold.”

Did they? Not really. Rather, they unleashed armies of lobbyists on Washington to poke holes in the CAFE regime. For example, companies that don’t meet CAFE standards face fines. But the fines are so low that many luxury brands prefer to pay up rather than comply. Likewise, companies get CAFE credits, the auto equivalent of indulgences, for flex-fuel vehicles built with gasoline as well as ethanol tanks. Fitting them with both doesn’t add much to manufacturing cost, which is why carmakers happily churn them out even though everyone knows that few drivers ever use ethanol.

But to the extent that carmakers have complied with CAFE, it is less through radical innovation and more by simply slashing vehicle weight. In the 15 years after CAFE standards were first introduced in 1974, vehicle weight diminished by 23 percent. But every 100-pound weight reduction results in a 4.7 to 5.6 percent increase in the fatality rate. A 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that CAFE's downsizing effect contributed to between 1,300 and 2,600 deaths in a single representative year, and to 10 times that many serious injuries.

Even ignoring this loss of life, the era of improving fuel economy by slashing vehicle weight is drawing to a close. Indeed, Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Center for Automotive Research, notes that it is technologically impossible to squeeze anything beyond 45 mpg in fuel economy from current vehicles. That’s why Europe’s fuel economy has plateaued at that level, despite $8 per gallon gas. The 56-mpg-mandate will require a total, top-to-bottom overhaul of cars. Every part of a vehicle from its transmission to its engine would have to be replaced. “Even a vehicle’s screws and fasteners would have to be secured with epoxy glue,” McAlinden maintains.

Unless automakers once again manage to write massive loopholes into the proposed CAFE regime, the upshot will be similar to the fiasco created by the light bulb mandate that Congress recently tried unsuccessfully to repeal. The mandate required light bulbs to consume 25-30 percent less energy by 2012. But this effectively outlawed cheap incandescent bulbs while artificially boosting more expensive and annoying fluorescents, triggering a consumer revolt.

Likewise, the Obama CAFE standards will drive out pickups and other large vehicles, American automakers’ biggest profit makers, and usher in hybrids—their biggest money losers. That’s because pickups that are CAFE-compliant will be have to be constructed from aluminum or some equally light material, something that will bump their cost upwards of $80,000 per vehicle while rendering them useless for towing.

Meanwhile, even the Environmental Protection Agency admits that the market share made up by hybrids and electric plug-ins will have to touch 49 percent if the industry is to come anywhere near compliance. Given that these vehicles now occupy only 3 percent of the market despite hefty subsidies, it is a foregone conclusion that expanding their presence will mean massively expanding subsidies to them.

Taxpayers are going to be on the hook for more than just hybrids, however. Indeed, average vehicle prices will shoot through the roof, pricing many car buyers out of the market, shrinking the industry and jeopardizing millions of jobs. But if Washington could not resist showering taxpayer dollars on General Motors and Chrysler to prevent job losses now, it is unimaginable that it will sit back when the entire industry confronts a carmageddon. Indeed, the $100 billion that taxpayers have spent on the current bailout will look like chump change compared to what’s to come. This is making even the UAW nervous, causing it to join ranks with automakers to oppose the standards.

The administration’s proposal in one fell swoop manages to screw over taxpayers, drivers, car buyers and autoworkers. The least it can do is give lawmakers a chance to thoroughly weigh the tradeoffs on the country’s behalf. But the president is trying to impose the new standards through regulatory fiat without Congressional approval. No administration—blue or red—has ever done this before. This is tantamount to declaring war on autos without a formal declaration from Congress.

Someone needs to rein this president in.


‘I’m just quitting’: A scene right out of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ in Birmingham, Ala.

If it had been a scene in “Atlas Shrugged,” the guy would have disappeared into the secrecy of Colorado with a shadowy figure who we would later learn to be John Galt. In real life, the story will probably be more complex. But I wonder how long it’s going to be before businesspeople really do start walking away and deciding it’s not worth doing business in America today. Or it it already happening and we just don’t know it?

The man you see in the picture at the right is named Ronnie Bryant. He operates coal mines in Alabama. I’d never heard of him until this morning, but after what I saw and heard from him, I’d say he’s a bit like a southern version of Ellis Wyatt from Ayn Rand’s novel. What I saw made an impression on me.

I was at a public hearing in an inner-city Birmingham neighborhood for various government officials to get public input on some local environmental issues. There are several hot topics, but one of the highest-profile disputes is over a proposal for a coal mine near a river that serves as a source of drinking water for parts of the Birmingham metro area. Mine operators and state environmental officials say the mine can be operated without threatening the water supply. Environmentalists claim it will be a threat.

I’m not going to take sides on that environmental issue, because I don’t know enough to stake out an informed opinion. (With most of the people I listened to today, facts didn’t seem to matter as much as emotional implications.) But Ronnie Bryant wasn’t there to talk about that particular mine. As a mine operator in a nearby area, he was attending the meeting to listen to what residents and government officials were saying. He listened to close to two hours of people trashing companies of all types and blaming pollution for random cases of cancer in their families. Several speakers clearly believe that all of the cancer and other deaths they see in their families and communities must be caused by pollution. Why? Who knows? Maybe just because it makes for an emotional story to blame big bad business. It’s hard to say.

After Bryant listened to all of the business-bashing, he finally stood to speak. He sounded a little bit shellshocked, a little bit angry — and a lot frustrated.

My name’s Ronnie Bryant, and I’m a mine operator…. I’ve been issued a [state] permit in the recent past for [waste water] discharge, and after standing in this room today listening to the comments being made by the people…. [pause] Nearly every day without fail — I have a different perspective — men stream to these [mining] operations looking for work in Walker County. They can’t pay their mortgage. They can’t pay their car note. They can’t feed their families. They don’t have health insurance. And as I stand here today, I just … you know … what’s the use? I got a permit to open up an underground coal mine that would employ probably 125 people. They’d be paid wages from $50,000 to $150,000 a year. We would consume probably $50 million to $60 million in consumables a year, putting more men to work. And my only idea today is to go home. What’s the use? I don’t know. I mean, I see these guys — I see them with tears in their eyes — looking for work. And if there’s so much opposition to these guys making a living, I feel like there’s no need in me putting out the effort to provide work for them. So as I stood against the wall here today, basically what I’ve decided is not to open the mine. I’m just quitting. Thank you.

I have no idea what Bryant will actually do. He might have made a quick emotional decision based on anger at feeling blamed for things that are frequently just normal health issues of life. He might reconsider and go ahead with his project.

The only thing I’m sure of is that what I saw today is a broken process and a sham. We all want a decent environment in which to live, but when various people at a public meeting — including federal officials and community members — talk about “environmental justice” and make it clear that their intent is to make it harder for businesses to operate, well, I can see why a businessman would decide to quit. I consider myself an environmentalist — because I want to live in a safe, secure, clean world — but what I saw isn’t reasonable concern for the environment as much as it’s an ideological agenda.

We need reasonable people to talk about how to balance various people’s property rights. (You have the right to use your property as you please, but I have a right not to be injured by it.) Even though we need a discussion, the modern equivalent of a kangaroo court that I observed today isn’t the way to go about it. It was more like a prelude to a lynching of business. If I were a businessperson or investor, I wouldn’t put the money or effort into opening new industry in this country today. I’d take my investment and jobs to somewhere they were wanted.

As Ronnie Bryant asked, “What’s the use?” Maybe Atlas really is starting to shrug.


Australian radio host "investigated" for dismissing Warmism

THE Australian Communications and Media Authority is investigating a complaint about alleged inaccuracies in statements on climate change by broadcaster Alan Jones.

GetUp! had made a complaint, which it believed was not being pursued by the broadcasting regulator, but the Herald has learned ACMA is investigating the GetUp! complaint, and some others, concerning Mr Jones. If the complaint is upheld, Mr Jones may be asked to acknowledge the statement was wrong and promise not to repeat it.

The complaint says the 2GB broadcaster was wrong when he stated human beings produce only 0.001 per cent of carbon dioxide in the air.

Several climate scientists have insisted the claim is inaccurate, and the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air today for which human beings are responsible is closer to 28 per cent. They base this on the difference between the pre-industrial concentration of CO2 (about 280 parts per million) and the current concentration of about 390 parts per million. [But that does not prove any human effect. It is most likely ocean outgassing in RESPONSE to warming]

Climate commissioner and executive director of the ANU Climate Institute Will Steffen said another calculation was the amount of additional carbon, contained in carbon dioxide, that humans contributed to the atmosphere each year. "Every year the earth - land and ocean combined - takes a net five billion tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere, but humans put around nine billion tonnes in, meaning we are accumulating an additional four billion tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere each year," he said.

Under the commercial broadcasting code of conduct, broadcasters are required to make reasonable efforts to ensure that factual material is accurate, and are given 30 days to make a correction after they receive an initial complaint.

GetUp! has also alleged Mr Jones contravenes another section of the code of conduct which requires broadcasters to give "reasonable opportunities" to "significant viewpoints" on "controversial issues of public importance".

An ACMA spokeswoman said the organisation did not comment on specific matters it might be investigating. ACMA usually provides a preliminary report to the broadcaster for comment before a final report is written. Investigations often take several months.

A spokesman for 2GB did not return calls yesterday but, speaking to the Mumbrella website this week, Mr Jones distinguished between being a journalist and being a broadcaster. "Much of my stuff is opinion … I am a broadcaster, I don't pretend to be a journalist, I don't know what that means anyway - they've got a certificate or something," he said.

"… if those opinions lack validity, or if those opinions are extreme, or if they are overly provocative, people won't listen, I've stood the test of time."


Australia: Greenie secretiveness

It seems to be in their DNA

THE Greens have been accused of hypocrisy for demanding a right to privacy while keeping their own party forums hidden behind a shroud of secrecy.

"Parties that talk about open government should practise open governance of their own," Scott Prasser, the executive director of the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University, said yesterday.

Unlike the major parties, the Greens bar the media from their conferences. They do not provide briefings on meetings of the parliamentary party.

News of the challenge to deputy leader Christine Milne after last year's election emerged only when it was reported in The Australian weeks later. "The practices followed by other parties should be followed by the Greens," Professor Prasser said. "If the Greens want to be a grown-up party, they've got to act in grown-up ways."

Greens leader Bob Brown has claimed his parliamentarians back greater openness. "The Greens' conferences are subject to the vote of the membership, who feel sometimes shy about speaking up," he said earlier this month.

"The Green MPs are all in favour of it but if ordinary members of the party vote to say we want to discuss some policy issues in private, that is up to them."

Professor Prasser said the other major parties had opened up their forums. He pointed to Labor's embarrassment in 1963 when it was claimed the party was run by an unaccountable executive of "36 faceless men".

Professor Prasser described the issue of openness as a test of Senator Brown's leadership. "He has set the scene for the Greens for so long," he said. "He shouldn't baulk at this new challenge."



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


27 July, 2011

An Irish view

New study confirms that warming increases marine fish biodiversity

In another blow to the biodiversity eco-scare movement, a paper published last week confirms that global warming results in a net increase in marine fish biodiversity, even in areas of "low connectivity" such as the Baltic Sea.
What is the effect of climate change on marine fish biodiversity in an area of low connectivity, the Baltic Sea?

By Jan Geert Hiddink, Chris Coleby


Aim:  Climate change could result in an increase in species richness because large-scale biogeography suggests that more species could be gained from equatorial regions than may be lost pole-ward. However, the colonization of newly available habitat may lag behind the rate dictated by climatic warming if there exists of a lack of connectivity between ‘donor’ and receiving areas. The objective of this study was to compare how regional warming affected the biodiversity of marine fish in areas that differed in their connectivity in the Baltic Sea.

Location:  North-east Atlantic, Kattegat and Baltic Sea.

Methods:  The total species richness and the mean species richness from scientific surveys were related to changes in temperature and salinity. Changes in the extent of the distribution of individual fish species were related to the latitudinal distribution, salinity tolerance, maximum body size and exploitation status to assess to what extent climate change and fishing impacts could explain changes in species richness in the Baltic.

Results:  Rising temperatures in the well-connected Kattegat correlated to an increase in the species richness of fish, due to an increase in low-latitude species. Unexpectedly, species richness in the poorly connected Baltic Sea also increased. However, the increase seems to be related to higher salinity rather than temperature and there was no influx of low-latitude species.

Main conclusions:  These results do not support the hypothesis that low-connectivity areas are less likely to see increases in species richness in response to warming. This indicates that the effect of climate change on biodiversity may be more difficult to predict in areas of low connectivity than in well-connected areas.


It wasn’t CO2: Global sea levels started rising before 1800

Fans of man-made global warming frequently tell us seas are rising, but somehow forget to mention the rise started 200 years ago, long before our coal-fired electricity plants cranked up, and long before anyone had an electric shaver, or a 6 cylinder fossil-fuel-spewing engine. Something else was driving that warming trend.

Here is the data from tide gauges going back 300 years from a paper by Jevrejeva et al 2008.

[Graphed by Joanne Nova based on data from Jevrejura et al located at this site PMSML]

This graph was calculated from 1023 tide gauge records [Jevrejeva et al., 2006] going back to 1850.The 2008 study extended the record further using three of the longest (though discontinuous) tide gauge records available: Amsterdam, since 1700 [Van Veen, 1945], Liverpool, since 1768 [Woodworth, 1999] and Stockholm, since 1774 [Ekman, 1988]. Obviously since there are only three old records, the error bars are a riot.

The Jevrejeva paper is also useful for portraying the 60 year rolling cycle. The regular ups and downs are obvious when the rate of change is plotted (see below).

Global Sea Level Rise Jevrejeva, 2008

Source: Jevrejeva 2008

But wait… there must be a tipping point?

While the graph itself seems like it was made for skeptics (how can anyone say that linear warming trend was started by CO2?) some back-seat critics will say that Jevrejeva et al claim that “it will be worse than the IPCC thinks” – which they do say. But that’s the name of the game isn’t it, to find “acceleration”. Are sea levels are rising faster because of CO2?

Here’s where Jevrejeva et al make the “it’s worse than we thought” statement. Look closely at the reasoning:

“We show that sea level rose by 28 cm during 1700 – 2000; simple extrapolation leads to a 34 cm rise between 1990 and 2090. The lowest temperature rise (1.8°C) IPCC [Meehl et al., 2007] use is for the B1 scenario, which is 3 times larger than the increase in temperature observed during the 20th century. The IPCC sea level projection for the B1 scenario is 0.18– 0.38 m. Our simple extrapolation gives 0.34 m. The mean sea level rise for B1, B2 and A1T is below our estimate. However, oceanic thermal inertia and rising Greenland melt rates imply that even if projected temperatures rise more slowly than the IPCC scenarios suggest, sea level will very likely rise faster than the IPCC projections [Meehl et al., 2007].”

Have I got this right, it appears they predict that:

a/ Based on the acceleration in the last 300 years, they expect seas to rise by 34 cm this century anyway (without man-made global warming).

b/ That the IPCC reckons it will all get much warmer (frying-hot) on top of that trend, thanks to CO2.

If so, this would be double counting, and they can’t have it both ways. The IPCC assumes that all the warming since 1780 is man-made and then extrapolates that wildly. These authors (between the lines) say the sea level rise (a proxy for warming) was natural, and then extrapolate that trend and add it to the IPCC extrapolation. Both extrapolations are based on the same trend — with opposing assumptions, and added together. No No No.

If the warming so far was natural, then CO2 has little effect, so there would be nothing much to add on top of their extrapolation.

Finding curves in short lines

Part of the problem with calculating acceleration with this data is the 60 year cycle of rises and falls. Basically, if we had a nice long record we could figure out the current cycle and see whether it was accelerating. But given that the cycle is 60 years long; we only have good records going back 160 years, and sparse records going back another 150, we really don’t have much at all to work with. Worse, it’s a multivariate system of which we don’t even know all the factors.

Hence I’ve drawn a straight line trend through the top graph. Jevrejura used a polynomial fit to calculate a small acceleration. When we have such short records, who can say which fit is the winner? Wait 100 years and find out.

Since sea levels rose 19cm in the last century and the trend is linear, so we don’t need an intergovernmental panel, $200,000 grant and 5 year study to project a rise for the 21st Century of… 19cm, more or less.


A Tale of Two Shale States

Pennsylvania's gain vs. New York's missed opportunity.

Politicians wringing their hands over how to create more jobs might study the shale boom along the New York and Pennsylvania border. It's a case study in one state embracing economic opportunity, while the other has let environmental politics trump development.

The Marcellus shale formation—65 million acres running through Ohio, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania and southern New York—offers one of the biggest natural gas opportunities. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, recognized that potential and set up a regulatory framework to encourage and monitor natural gas drilling, a strategy continued by Republican Tom Corbett.

More than 2,000 wells have been drilled in the Keystone State since 2008, and gas production surged to 81 billion cubic feet in 2009 from five billion in 2007. A new Manhattan Institute report by University of Wyoming professor Timothy Considine estimates that a typical Marcellus well generates some $2.8 million in direct economic benefits from natural gas company purchases; $1.2 million in indirect benefits from companies engaged along the supply chain; another $1.5 million from workers spending their wages, or landowners spending their royalty payments; plus $2 million in federal, state and local taxes. Oh, and 62 jobs.

Statistics from Pennsylvania bear this out. The state Department of Labor and Industry reports that Marcellus drilling has created 72,000 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2011. The average wage for jobs in core Marcellus shale industries is about $73,000, or some $27,000 more than the average for all industries.

The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue says drillers have paid more than $1 billion in state taxes since 2006—and the numbers are swelling. In 2011's first quarter, 857 oil and gas companies and affiliates paid $238 million in capital stock and foreign franchise taxes, corporate income taxes, sales taxes and employer withholding. This exceeds by some $20 million the total payments in 2010.

The revenue department also identified some $214 million in personal income taxes paid since 2006 that can be attributed to Marcellus shale lease payments to individuals, royalty income and asset sales. And all of this with no evidence of significant environmental harm.

Then there's New York. The state holds as much as 20% of the estimated Marcellus shale reserves, but green activists have raised fears about the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing and convinced politicians to enact what is effectively a moratorium.

The Manhattan Institute study shows that a quick end to the moratorium would generate more than $11.4 billion in economic output from 2011 to 2020, 15,000 to 18,000 new jobs, and $1.4 billion in new state and local tax revenue. These are conservative estimates based on a limited area of drilling. If drilling were allowed in the New York City watershed—which Governor Andrew Cuomo is so far rejecting—as well as in the state's Utica shale formation, the economic gains would be five times larger.

Consider New York's Broome County, which borders Pennsylvania and from which you can spot nearby rigs. The county seat of Binghamton ought to be a hub for shale commerce, but instead its population is falling as its young people leave for jobs elsewhere.

A study commissioned by the county in 2009 found that Broome could support up to 4,000 wells, but drilling even half that number would create some $400 million in wages, salaries and benefits; $605 million in property income from rents, royalties and dividends, and some $43 million in state and local tax revenue.

The Broome analysis pointed to Texas, where Chesapeake Energy paid Dallas Fort Worth International Airport $180 million for drilling rights on 18,000 acres of airport property—$10,000 per acre. The airport receives a 25% royalty on the natural gas produced by airport wells—more than $28 million in fiscal 2008. The study also noted the boon that rising oil and gas property values have been to Texas landowners, tax authorities and school districts.

Governor Cuomo has said he wants to lift New York's moratorium, and the state's recently released draft rules are a step forward. But they must still undergo legal review and a public comment period that could bar New York drilling for the rest of this year, if not longer. New York will also still ban drilling in about 15% of the state's portion of the Marcellus and impose more onerous rules than other states on private property drilling. Such bows toward the obsessions of rich, big-city greens explain why parts of upstate New York are the new Appalachia.

As they look across their northern border, Pennsylvanians can be forgiven for thinking of New Yorkers the way Abba Eban once described the Palestinians: They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.


Warmists not telling the whole truth about Margaret Thatcher either

Comment from Australia

COULD Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull please stop mischievously misquoting Margaret Thatcher?

Both Gillard and Turnbull like to refer to the views of the former British conservative prime minister to convince us that their views are the only worthy, moral views, that man-made global warming is real and that action must be taken. Perhaps they should read Thatcher's memoirs. The Labor Prime Minister has an army of staff to help her. And what about the Liberal MP? In fact, both know full well that Thatcher said much more about global warming than either of them reveal. Selectively quoting Thatcher does nothing to bolster Gillard or Turnbull's positions. On the contrary, the misleading way they use Thatcher's words suggests some shaky foundations of their own. Unfortunately, Gillard and Turnbull have revealed a willingness to engage in selectively quoting, the same ploy they ridicule their opponents for.

Apart from anything else, it is not good form to effectively verbal a former prime minister who is unable to respond. Thatcher, 85, has suffered a series of strokes and is too frail for public appearances. It's bad enough that political desperation is driving the Labor Prime Minister to misrepresent Thatcher's view on global warming by failing to mention Thatcher's rethinking of the issue years later. It's worse that the Liberal MP chooses to do the same, effectively legitimising Gillard's misleading efforts. Neither deserves to win arguments by selectively quoting Thatcher.

By all means, retell Thatcher's message about global warming. Not just the fact that in September 1988 the former British prime minister told the Royal Society that enormous changes to population, agricultural use and the burning of fossils fuels might have started a "massive experiment with the system of the planet". Not just that, in November 1989, Thatcher told the UN General Assembly that global climate change affected us all and "action will only be effective if it is taken at the international level". Or that Thatcher warned of the dangers of global warming at the second World Climate Conference in 1990. All of that is true.

But there is also much more to Thatcher's views about global warming. The reticence from Gillard and Turnbull to complete the Thatcher picture suggests an intellectual dishonesty from them that, ironically and hypocritically, they claim is missing from those on the other side of the debate.

In the first volume of her memoirs, The Downing Street Years, published in 1993, Thatcher records her belief that Britain was too beholden to coal and the then power of the coalminers unions. She lamented that more money had not been spent on nuclear power to provide cheaper electricity and to ensure more secure supplies. And she made the rational observation that nuclear power was a cleaner source of power than coal as it did not produce carbon dioxide.

In the second volume of her memoirs, Statecraft, published in 2002, Thatcher titles a chapter Hot Air and Global Warming, in which she talks about climate change as the "doomster's favourite subject" and records that she was "sceptical about the arguments about global warming" even though she said they should be taken seriously. In other words, Thatcher's mind was open to new developments in the science. And she said that the science was "much less certain" than many politicians and global warming alarmists such as Al Gore would have us believe. She records that at that time "there was, in fact, very little scientific advice available to political leaders from experts who were doubtful of the global warming thesis".

What would Thatcher think now? You won't hear that question asked by those who selectively quote her. In fact, there are plenty of reputable scientists who reject the notion that man-made climate change is responsible for wrecking the environment.

For Gillard and Turnbull, the science is settled. Public debate is no longer required. At the inaugural Virginia Chadwick Memorial Foundation lecture last week, Turnbull rejected other views as "less reliable". By contrast, Thatcher embraced public debate. In The Downing Street Years, she wrote that economic progress, scientific advance and public debate "which occur in free societies themselves offered the means to overcome" the threats. She wrote that since her time in Downing Street, the science had moved on. "As is always the way with scientific advance, the picture looks more rather than less complex."

Turnbull said "if Margaret Thatcher took climate change seriously, then taking action and supporting and accepting the science can hardly be the mark of incipient Bolshevism". In fact, the former British prime minister also had plenty sensible to say about socialists too. She warned: "For the socialist, each new discovery revealed a 'problem' for which the repression of human activity by the state was the only 'solution'." She said global warming provided a "marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism". Have Gillard or Turnbull mentioned that?

Most importantly, Thatcher was willing to expose the anti-capitalism agenda of "campaigners against global warming". She wrote: "There is now, as always, nothing the liberal intelligentsia liked to believe more than 'we are guilty'. But are we?" she asked. "The facts are unclear," she concluded, citing the fact that less than 5 per cent of carbon moving through the atmosphere stemmed from human behaviour and the fact that we have seen periods of warming before, during the Dark Ages and the early medieval period.

If Gillard and Turnbull want to tell the Thatcher message, they would reveal she said: "The evidence [the world is facing a climate catastrophe] does not so far exist." They would tell us Thatcher said that "the world climate is always changing and man and nature are always, by one means or another, finding means to adapt to it".

When deriding those opposed to taking action to cut emissions, last week, Turnbull said "many [do so] because it does not suit their financial interests". Australians on an average wage aren't likely to be won over by that argument. But they may be interested to learn Thatcher refused to deride the economic concerns of countries, companies or individuals when she talked about finding solutions to environmental problems. She unashamedly believed economic growth and industry inventiveness were crucial to the equation.

Thatcher's early views about global warming were intrinsically linked to her rational pursuit of nuclear power to prevent the coalminers unions holding the nation to ransom.

And, as she acknowledges in her memoirs, when the facts about global warming became less certain, so did her own views. But you may not have heard that from Gillard or Turnbull either.


Signs the world is NOT running out of food

Introduction: A few days ago, this was published: “Twelve Signs the World is Running out of Food”.

Mama Liberty (Lady Susan, KNA) had this immediate reaction: “Such c***. Not a single indication of the real problems, just another indictment of the "greedy" capitalist pigs" of America. Meanwhile the picture they choose to make their point shows boxes of food supplied by Americans! Insane.

The picture painted is a bad one, but they are using a warped view of the world: warped by a mindset sometimes called “left-libertarian” which exhibits itself in a rabid and instinctive hatred of capitalism (of any kind, not just “crony capitalism” or “global capitalism”), Americans, and usually religions (predominantly Western religions) and with a strong streak of Luddism. This can be seen in the article, which is more an attack on concentration of wealth and the “unfair” life style of Americans and Europeans than a sound argument for world starvation.

For centuries, millennia, most people of the world lived FAR closer to starvation on a daily and annual basis than almost anyone in Africa or Asia does today. It is the United States, closely followed by the British Commonwealth, Europe, and some of South America, that in the last 200 years has ended that situation virtually worldwide. Thence, thirteen reasons, a Baker’s Dozen ™ that we are NOT running out of food in 2011 and 2012. I am not supplying references or citations for these; if someone wants to challenge me, I’ll be glad to look up the specific support for my thirteen rebuttals.

Supposedly, Americans are getting more obese by the second.

In Western countries, including the US, the most obese portion of the population consists of those who are the poorest and on welfare, such as food stamps (excuse me, SNAP). The same is true of the elite populations and their clients in Third World states.

Each year, Western governments pay billions of dollars to farmers and corporations NOT to grow certain crops which produce food.

Environmentalists in Western countries work each year to reduce the amount of land (both government and private) that can be used for crops or livestock, and millions of acres of land lie vacant as a result with the amount growing each year.

Other environmentalists spend millions each year fighting against genetic engineering and traditional breeding and hybrid programs that have, in the past 50 years, quadrupled the efficiency of crops and livestock in producing food, and could continue to do so.

Multiple governments have prohibited the use of horses for human consumption, consigning millions of pounds of meat to be buried or placed in landfills.

Liberals and other environmentalists advocate for the government purchase of land in rain forests and other climates to prevent its conversion into cropland by farmers.

Multiple governments promote the use of millions of TONS of food crops such as corn, soybeans, and sugar crops (cane, beets, etc.) for fuel production rather than food production.

For a century or more, governments have encouraged people to stop farming and instead move into cities to work or go on welfare, either directly or indirectly (through war, especially).

Many governments are encouraging or requiring that wetlands previously converted to use as cropland or grazing land be returned to wetlands and therefore to produce only a very tiny fraction of food compared to the past. At the same time, dams and levee projects and urbanization continue to destroy massive amounts of cropland.

More and more cities use codes that criminalize vegetable gardens, small animal production, bee keeping and so forth in their jurisdictions.

Criminalization of crops such as hemp that would provide a great deal of good food for both man and animal.

Bureaucratic rules criminalize selling substandard fruit and vegetables, and require them to be destroyed, while other bureaucratic rules make food packing and distribution either far more expensive than necessary, or impossible.

If we were so close to famine and starvation as the writers at “economic collapse blog” and other doom-and-gloom sites claim, surely the peoples of the world would rise up and do more than protest, vote, and write letters – all worthless occupations.

Isn’t it time we stopped predicting disaster and started taking responsibility for our own lives and fortunes?

Are we going to get used to no food?

About the same time as the article “Twelve Signs the World is Running out of Food” was published on Lew Rockwell (and the Economic Collapse Log), another article was published: “Getting Used to Life Without Food, Part 1, Wall Street, BP, Bio-Ethanol and the Death of Millions.”

In this article, greedy capitalists, free markets, and do-nothing governments are blamed for an upcoming food disaster which will hit the entire world. Whether this happens before or after we all drown from the rising oceans of global warming or freeze from the sudden global cooling of reduced sun activity, or before incandescent light bulbs or the destruction of water supplies or the deforestation of the world’s jungles occur, I’m not sure. But I think the article is a load of dingo’s kidneys.

First, isn’t it lovely how they accuse the free market, when the free market does not exist for all intents and purposes? What we have is just a sick government-run pretense, even here in the US.

I've done the calculations in the past, and still think that they are valid: converting corn or other food products to ethanol may be enough to affect the price, but does NOT reduce food production significantly. We have millions of acres of uncultivated land, mostly land which has been taken OUT of production over the past decades, that can be put back into production. If…

Food shortages are almost always related to governmental policies and failures. Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Haiti all come to mind. Of course, government policies and failures cause war, which in turn leads to all sorts of shortages, and thus hunger and starvation.

That really is what the article is talking about: all the government policies changing the way things were done and triggering cataclysmic changes in food supply and distribution, not just on a national, but on a global scale. Exactly the OPPOSITE of their rhetoric; their mental sickness helps them think that MORE government intervention can reverse the results of decades of government intervention.

I don't doubt that changing government policies and the endless rounds of GATT and WTO and the rest of the bogus "free-trade" stuff have impacted on food supplies, reserves, and the like. But these are NOT part of a free-market, just a perversion of the word to describe the current government -micromanaged economy that we are watching die. But this socialist website (and many more) seems to delight in confusing the two.

However, they can't get their data straight. Either global agribusiness is pricing the food out of the reach of billions or they are dropping the price of food so much that local farmers in various countries can't compete; they are either poisoning us all with genies or increasing food production or not.

The writer refused to make any reasonable correlations. Example: he claims that the various governments in North American and Europe have stopped their "wise" practice of having years (he claims seven years - funny, doesn't that number show up in Genesis with Joseph as Prime Minister?) of grain reserves, which he sees as a bad thing. He then laments that private business has not picked up the slack as expected.

But he fails to note that it would be insane from a business point of view to create and maintain such supplies, since as soon as demand rose due to crop failures or other problems and the companies tried to sell their stocks at a free market price, government would step in and either force price freezes, or just steal it. At the same time, government has trashed the value of "money" and so created an inflationary spiral, while politicians - to prove that they care - have destroyed the ag sector of nations around the world.

It appears that the bottom line is much simpler than they claim. In the last 50 years, as the world population more than doubled, the total number of people who have died of starvation (for whatever reason) has pretty steadily dropped, so as a percentage of total population, the death toll is going down even if inflation and other shenanigans are continuing.

It makes me suspect that if we could get government OUT of the food business, that we WOULD come pretty close to eliminating starvation, hunger, malnutrition and "food security" problems (except for those people who do it to themselves or whose parents do it to them), with the exception of war. And the more that we could get government out of our lives, the closer we'd come to eliminating war and tyranny as causes for hunger as well.

Going back again and reading both articles, virtually ALL of their issues are socialist-type economic issues and their statistics are slanted. Some have NO basis in any study that I can find, just a bald claim made in an obviously-biased website.

Among other things, a lot has to do with percentage of ownership of wealth and similar issues, or with inflation, and inflation - even in the world of Lew Rockwell - is a purely government-caused headache. These sound like Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) sort of mad ravings; although given the current administration's sudden panic about "food security" and "food deserts" this may be part of a much wider effort to push massive socialist programs.

For example, they claim one death from starvation every 3.6 seconds, and the reference is to a web site which simply makes that statement (and that 3/4 of those are children) but NO reference at all. That amounts to 8,760,000 people per year, of which 6,570,000 are children. But a Wikipedia article on causes of death, which does provide SOME citations, claims that 58% of all deaths are related to hunger and malnutrition, and that about 6 million children die each year:

Jean Ziegler"The Right to Food: Report by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Jean Ziegler, Submitted in Accordance with Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2000/10".United Nations, February 7, 2001, p. 5.

"On average, 62 million people die each year, of whom probably 36 million (58 per cent) directly or indirectly as a result of nutritional deficiencies, infections, epidemics or diseases which attack the body when its resistance and immunity have been weakened by undernourishment and hunger.".

Food and Agriculture Organization, Economic and Social Dept."The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2005: Eradicating World Hunger - Key to Achieving the Millennium Development Goals".Food and Agriculture Organizationof theUnited Nations, 2005, p. 18.
"Hunger and malnutrition are the underlying cause of more than half of all child deaths, killing nearly 6 million children each year – a figure that is roughly equivalent to the entire preschool population of Japan.

Relatively few of these children die of starvation. The vast majority are killed by neonatal disorders and a handful of treatable infectious diseases, including diarrhoea, pneumonia, malaria and measles. Most would not die if their bodies and immune systems had not been weakened by hunger and malnutrition moderately to severely underweight, the risk of death is five to eight times higher."

The numbers do not add up, and being weakened by malnutrition and succumbing to some disease is NOT STARVING to death, however bad it might be. Of course, other web sites are even MORE extreme: claims that 38.6 million people have died of starvation (not malnourishment and other diseases) SO FAR THIS YEAR: That amounts to nearly 70 million per year, or about 8 times what this LRC article claims.

Nor do the various articles identify the other circumstances that have an influence on hunger and malnutrition and starvation in these countries. No just wars and rebellions and raids by enemies, but government policies that both work to reduce food production and then steal it from those who produce it, along with other government policies which limit essentials: uncontested land ownership, water supplies, availability of equipment and materials (including fuels and fertilizers), and of course, the flooding of many countries with food aid which is proven, paradoxically, to reduce the supply of food available.

So these lists of “why we is all gonna starve” are essentially bogus.

But that is NOT the reason that horror-mongering stories like this are written. And we know it: it is to JUSTIFY more government power and theft, more control, more limits. Fear breeds acquiescence to rule by governments. And for that, and that alone, these stories are very successful. And Lew Rockwell, and Financial Sense, among other sites and organizations, should be ashamed of republishing them.



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


26 July, 2011

Warmists are the real deniers

“We are very energized and enthusiastic about millions of people coming together and making this the biggest day of climate action ever,” said a young German activist wearing a T-shirt at Berlin’s 10/10/10 demonstrations on Sunday. Campaigners around her, and indeed, “people at 7,347 events in 188 countries,” according to organizers, danced, sang, planted trees and picked up garbage as part of the massive worldwide 10/10/10 Global Work Party.

What’s that all about? And what is so special about 350?

Bill McKibben, founder of, explained: “It’s the boundary condition for a habitable planet. We’re already past it. We’re at 390 parts per million [of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere]. That’s why the Arctic is melting. That’s why Australia is burning up … . If we put very much more carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll pass the kind of tipping points … that mean we’ll never be able to get back there, even if we stopped driving every car and powering every factory. …We’re fighting to keep real collapse at bay.”

Mr. McKibben asserts that only misguided “climate change deniers” disagree with the urgent need to reduce humanity’s CO2 emissions to avoid climate catastrophe.

But he is wrong.

First, no rational scientist denies that climate changes. As professor Tim Patterson of the Department of Earth Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa testifiedbefore a parliamentary committee, “Based on the paleoclimatic data I and others have collected, it’s obvious that climate is and always has been variable. In fact, the only constant about climate is change; it changes continually.”

Scientists such as Mr. Patterson obviously would deny that they deny climate change - they are denial deniers.

If anyone could rationally be labeled a climate-change denier, it would be one of those who hold the absurd view that our climate was tranquil until we started to emit significant amounts of CO2.

The “denier” label is simply an attempt to equate those of us who question political correctness on climate change to Holocaust deniers. It is trying to discredit a message by discrediting the messenger, a logical fallacy referred to as ad hominem - against the man. It’s also irrational to put the questioning of forecasts of future events on a par with denying what has happened already.

Climate activists claim there is a consensus among experts that humanity’s CO2 emissions are causing a climate crisis. In reality, there has never been a reputable worldwide poll of the thousands of experts who study the causes of climate change. Assertions that the multitude of scientists who worked on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports agree that our CO2 emissions are taking us to a planetary crisis are unfounded. Climate data analyst John McLean of Melbourne, Australia, has demonstrated repeatedly that only a few dozen scientist participants in the IPCC process even commented on the issue.

Most climate statements by national science academies are quite meaningless, as well. They are simply proclamations from academy executives or select panels, not their scientist members, because no national science body that has spoken in support of schemes to “stop climate change” have demonstrated that a majority of their members agree with the academy statements.

We cannot forecast climate decades from now any better than we can predict the weather two weeks ahead. The system is simply too complex and our understanding of the science too primitive. Chris Essex, professor of applied mathematics at the University of Western Ontario, explains, “Climate is one of the most challenging open problems in modern science. Some knowledgeable scientists believe that the climate problem can never be solved.” Not only are today’s computerized climate models (the primary basis of the alarm) not known to properly represent the climate system, they cannot be programmed to do so, because we do not know the underlying science well enough to know what to program the computers to compute.

Many scientists who work with the IPCC know this. They even stated in their Third Assessment Report: “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) chief science adviser Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia writes in his new book, “Climate: The Counter Consensus” (Stacey International, 2010) that “science provides no unambiguous evidence that dangerous global warming or even measurable human-caused global warming is occurring … despite the expenditure since 1990 of many tens of billions of dollars searching for it.”

It is no secret that many experts in the field agree with Mr. Essex, Mr. Carter and Mr. Patterson. ICSC’s recently launched Climate Scientists’ Register already has attracted the endorsement of 139 leading climate experts from 21 countries. The register states, “We, the undersigned, having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming.”


The New Green Economy Is Bleeding A Great Deal Of Greenbacks

The New Green Economy goes “thump.” That thumping noise is the sound of countless failed companies, temporarily and hopelessly propped up with mountains of other people’s money, hitting the ground and imploding as the foreseeable result of government claiming it is smarter than its citizens.

Salinas, Calif.-based Green Vehicles is the latest proud symbol of the New Green Economy to financially implode, leaving taxpayers high and dry after eagerly soaking up taxpayer money before failing to produce any marketable product. The City of Salinas had invested over $500,000 dollars in the company, which intended to manufacture electric plug-in vehicles, claiming Green Vehicles would simultaneously save the environment and bring economic prosperity to the city. Not to be outdone, the cash-strapped state government had given the company nearly $3 million.

Green Vehicles promised to create 70 jobs and pay $700,000 in taxes each year to the City of Salinas. City officials rushed to take credit for having the vision to invest taxpayer dollars in a company that curiously couldn’t attract private investors. Green Vehicles, city and state officials claimed, was the face of America’s new economic and environmental future.

Sadly, they may be right.

Three hundred million people live in the United States of America. Each of us is free to pursue whatever career we like. We are also free to spend our money as we like, with millions of Americans spending their money on investments such as stocks and seed money for new companies. Make a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door.

The beauty of a free market is products succeed or fail based on merit rather than government whim, and no third party is forced to invest his or her hard-earned money in inferior companies or products. People like to make money, and investors therefore are always on the lookout for good companies and products in which to invest.

There is no more noble or economically productive system than the free market. Nations with free market economies generate more wealth and a higher standard of living for their citizens than nations that suppress the free market. The free market not only facilitates societal wealth, it also encourages the development – through economic reward – of new goods and services that meet societal needs or desires. These new goods and services improve people’s lives.

Yet in the name of environmental activism, and most particularly global warming, government is squandering billions of dollars each year giving taxpayer money to companies that have no hope of producing a marketable product. Companies like Green Vehicles pocket the money and then go bankrupt. Other companies, like wind and solar power companies, perpetually maintain their station at the government pork trough, yet never produce products at a remotely competitive price. As a result, money that could have and would have been invested in goods and services that actually improve people’s lives is instead flushed down the big green toilet.

You would think that, in America of all places, we would have learned our lesson. But this is unfortunately not so.

How did the Salinas Californian write up the collapse of Green Vehicles and government’s colossal waste of taxpayer dollars? According to the lead sentence in the newspaper’s write-up of the story, the city’s failed investment was “a noble experiment by Salinas municipal leaders.”

So when private citizens wisely decide not to invest their own hard-earned money in a poorly formulated plan to sell an unmarketable product, it is a “noble experiment” for government to tax them heavily and force them to invest in the doomed product anyway?

Worse, politicians appear to have learned nothing from the debacle.

“New jobs don’t happen by themselves. You got to participate, you have to help make it happen,” said City of Salinas Community and Economic Development Director Jeff Weir in the wake of the Green Vehicles failure.

Actually, Jeff, people can and do create jobs by themselves, without the intervention of government. They in fact do so much more efficiently and productively than when government forces them to waste money on the Green Vehicles of the world.

America became the great and prosperous nation it is by not infringing upon people’s rights to decide for themselves how and where to invest their money. There is nothing “noble” about turning us into a Green version of Venezuela.


Challenges of Corals Living in the World's Warmest Reefs

Discussing: Bauman, A.G., Baird, A.H. and Cavalcante, G.H. 2011. Coral reproduction in the world's warmest reefs: southern Persian Gulf (Dubai, United Arab Emirates). Coral Reefs 30: 405-413.


The authors write that "coral assemblages in the Persian Gulf (24-30°N) experience the highest annual variability in water temperatures of any coral reefs (Kinsman, 1964; Sheppard, 1988; Sheppard et al., 2000)," noting that sea surface temperatures there "can fluctuate annually from winter lows <12°C to summer highs >36°C (Sheppard et al., 1992; Sheppard, 1993)." And they thus suggest that "understanding coral reproductive biology in the Gulf may provide clues as to how corals may cope with global warming."

What was done

Bauman et al. examined six locally common coral species on two shallow reef sites in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2008 and 2009, in order to investigate their patterns of reproduction, focusing primarily on the timing and synchrony of spawning.

What was learned

The three researchers report that the reproductive biology of the six coral species in the southern Persian Gulf "appears to be well adapted to extreme annual environmental fluctuations" and is "remarkably similar to conspecifics elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific (Baird et al., 2009a,b)," adding that "the adaptive capacity of corals in the Persian Gulf is likely facilitated by a combination of short-term acclimation in individuals during acute environmental conditions (e.g., recurrent bleaching events) and long-term adaptation among coral populations to chronic environmental conditions (e.g., extreme temperatures)."

What it means

In concluding their analysis of their data, Bauman et al. say their work "confirms that corals are capable of reproductive activities under extreme environmental conditions," as has also been found to be the case by Coles and Fadlallah (1991) and Coles and Brown (2003). Hence, they state that "coral populations can survive and proliferate in extreme conditions that are projected to occur in many other regions of the world by the end of this century," buttressing their claim with the statement that "the recovery of these coral assemblages following mortality induced by a number of recent temperature-related bleaching events (1996, 1998 and 2002) suggests these assemblages are also resilient to extreme fluctuations in water temperature," additionally citing in this regard the work of Riegl (1999, 2003) and Burt et al. (2008).


Prof Condemned for Not Teaching IPCC Reports

I hear that New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful country, full of fascinating people. But since I began researching the global warming debate I admit my view of it has become more nuanced.

You see, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) devotes a chapter in its large assessment reports to the effects global warming might have on human health. The current head of that chapter is a medical doctor and public health professor from New Zealand named Alistair Woodward.

In 2009 Woodward authored three overtly political diatribes on the topic of climate change that were published, rather unbelievably, in the New Zealand Medical Journal. You may read them here, here, and here. (Backup links are here, here, and here.)

The first of these papers declares that climate change must be controlled by “timely central government means” (the italics are mine). The second urges doctors to educate their patients “in climate change action.” The last one speaks darkly of climate deniers and asserts, rather hilariously, that:

Change is not necessarily normal…

Another New Zealand contributor to the IPCC is atmospheric scientist Martin Manning. As head of the Working Group 1 Technical Support Unit for the 2007 edition of the Climate Bible, he was a powerful insider. But I lost a great deal of respect for him after reading an article he authored in Scientific American that rather unscientifically refers to climate models as crystal balls.

If the above weren’t enough to convince me that New Zealand is hardly a bastion of critical thinking a recent article in the New Zealand Herald cinched it (backup link here).

It’s a long piece by investigative reporter Chris Barton. But rather than asking what in God’s name political treatises are doing in the New Zealand Medical Journal, it instead criticizes climatologist Chris de Freitas because he doesn’t include 3,000-page IPCC reports on his university course reading lists.

Really. Here are some quotes from the article:

The Geography 101 lecture workbook confirms the lack of such information. There seems little, if any, reference to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its landmark 2007 reports were not listed in the course reading material.

…Asked about the lack of information in Geography 101 regarding IPCC reports and anthropogenic climate change [de Freitas] said: “In several of my courses I focus on these.”

…”If Chris has not mentioned the IPCC, that is regrettable because the IPCC process is very important,” says [Professor Glenn] McGregor.

There’s a name for an article like this one. It’s called a hatchet job. Nowhere does it mention that de Freitas has been Deputy Dean of Science at Aukland University, that he has served as Vice President of the Meteorological Society of New Zealand, or that he is the author of dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers. In other words, it leaves the impression that de Freitas is a marginal scholar when this isn’t the case at all.

While this article gives Manning lots of room to criticize de Freitas, it conveniently neglects to mention Manning’s senior role with the IPCC.

Rather than alerting readers to the fact that people who specialize in examining natural disasters and human-caused climate change say that, currently, no link can be found between the two (see here), the journalist seems to think this link is beyond dispute.

In fact, he devotes the first three paragraphs of his article to this faulty premise. Later, he backs up this position by reporting the views of insurance companies – without pointing out that that industry gains financially if people believe such a link exists since premium hikes then seem justified. (In May, American journalist Paige St. John won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series of articles that explored those sorts of issues – more here.)

On the one hand the article slams de Freitas for presenting his students with “a minority view” on climate-related issues. On the other it ends with quotes from Kevin Trenberth.

Remember him? He’s the gent who participated in a press conference that implied a link between global warming and more intense hurricanes – even though he has no hurricane expertise and even though his view was not shared by a single hurricane expert (see here). In other words, Trenberth is notorious for expressing a minority view of his own.

Whether or not the IPCC perspective on the world will turn out to be correct remains to be seen. My own research tells me its processes are so flawed that would be truly remarkable.

But Barton, the journalist, has appointed himself judge and jury. He has written an entire piece that implies that the IPCC view of the world is accurate and that de Freitas is shortchanging his students by not toeing the IPCC line.

This is ugly stuff – and it is an example of why many scientists choose to keep their heads down rather than publicly voicing their skeptical views.

I think de Freitas is a brave man who has been savaged by a journalist who brings shame on his profession. If you’d like to send this professor a kind word, he can be reached at c.defreitas AT


Junk Greenhouse Gas Theory Numbers Turned Earth into a Star

by John O'Sullivan

Astrophysicist, Joe Postma's new paper, 'The Model Atmospheric Greenhouse Effect' (July 22, 2011) is touted by skeptics as the definitive debunk of the faux science that props up the man-made global warming scare industry.

The paper highlights and then dissects the “night & day flaw” in standard greenhouse gas effect (GHE) equations plus the spurious concept of “back radiation heating” that is increasingly dismissed by experts as unphysical.

Night and Day Differences Ignored by Doom-Saying Theorists

Postma proposes a more realistic atmospheric model based on the fact that our earth is made up of two thermodynamically opposite hemispheres: one hemisphere continuously being heated by all of the solar energy, the other hemisphere receiving no solar energy at all and continuously cooling, yet both hemispheres together, the sphere that is our earth, radiate energy to the vacuum of space.

Although it has commonly been assumed that 12 hours of intense solar heating, followed by 12 hours of cooling down, can be mathematically represented as 24 hours of frigid solar heating, Postma shows that this assumption is fallacious and that it leads people to imagine that a 33°C disparity must owe to an atmospheric “greenhouse effect” caused by radiating trace gases. Fitting the earth-atmosphere system to an actual 12-hour insolation period, however, obviates such an explanatory mechanism, likewise removing any rationale for alarm about additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Computer Models Illogically Fudged

In clearly written language, Postma shows how a basic equation of radiative physics, and the modelling techniques used for stellar atmospheres, have been applied incorrectly to our earth, and how in actuality, the bottom of the atmosphere is supposed to be warmer than the radiative average of the entire ensemble.

To compensate for these inherent flaws, rather than correcting them, most climatologists have argued for the existence of a radiation-enhancing “greenhouse effect”, a postulate that Postma demonstrates to be devoid of logic and coherent meaning since it contradicts (and even reverses) the laws of physics.

Skeptics hope that Postma’s alternative thermal model will lead to the birth of a new climatology, one that actually follows the laws of physics and properly physical modeling techniques.

This is Postma's follow-up paper to his earlier 'Understanding the Atmosphere Effect' (March 2011) and becomes the latest and most compelling of a series of science papers undermining the credibility of a clique of UN government-funded climatologists.


Australia: Cuddle your dog to beat global warming?

Primitive tribes do this -- and have very short lifespans. But that suits the Greenies, obviously

WANT to save money on power bills this winter? Despite a 2009 study finding the average dog has an environmental footprint twice that of a large 4WD, the government's Living Greener website claims you will save money and feel "chuffed" by following its pet-friendly advice.

With power bills expected to jump by 10 per cent when the carbon tax begins next July, other tips include using leftovers in soups and casseroles, ditching the second family car, playing board games or going to the library to get warm.

Even having a hot shower is a no-no, with the government urging you to get out sooner and stand under a heat lamp or warm a bathrobe.

But if you do use electricity and watch TV, hugging a pet or family member to keep warm is recommended. "To reduce the energy you use watching TV, take another tip from grandma and share the warmth," the site says. "Snuggle up under a rug, snuggle with your family or cuddle your favourite pet. You could avoid the TV and snuggle up in bed with a good book or with someone who's read one lately."

A photograph of children cuddling a dog and cat accompanies the advice on the site.

The recommendations come after New Zealand architects Robert and Brenda Vale calculated a medium-sized dog had twice the emissions of a 4WD once the amount of land required to feed the pet was taken into account.

"Families are already doing all they can to save electricity but these suggestions are making a joke of a very serious issue for families and pensioners," opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt said.



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


25 July, 2011

'Record-breaking' US heat wave breaks records at less than 1% of stations during past week

The news media is saturated with headlines about the "record-breaking" US heat wave over the past week. However, the NOAA database of all-time Max Temperature for the entire US from over 6000 weather stations shows that there were no records broken on July 17, July 18, July 19, or July 20th. A total of 4 stations broke records on July 21, 20 on July 22, and 10 on July 23, 2011, for a grand total of less than 0.4% of stations breaking a temperature record sometime during the past week. More than 99.6% of stations failed to break records sometime over the past week.

More HERE (See the original for links & graphics)

The World Is Not Overpopulated

By Alex B. Berezow

An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times declared the world to be overpopulated and even compared humanity to a cancerous growth. This reasoning is not only disturbing, but is almost certainly incorrect, as well.

The world, indeed, has a lot of people. By the end of 2011, there will be nearly 7 billion people living on the planet. But population growth rates will not sustain at those levels. An analysis by The Economist describes how each subsequent billion will take longer and longer to achieve, until population growth eventually plateaus at around 9 billion people by 2050.

A 2003 assessment by the United Nations concurs. The UN projects, under its medium-growth scenario, that the human population will remain relatively stable at 9 billion until the year 2300.

The reason is that birth rates are naturally falling around the world. The current growth in world population exceeds the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman, but there are good reasons to believe that growth will slow down in the future. As countries become more technologically and economically advanced, people naturally choose to have fewer children. Also, there is a link between increasing female education and a declining birth rate.

Europe is the poster child for this phenomenon, where the total fertility rate is below 2.1 in all 27 EU nations. The problem is so bad in Russia, which may shrink by 25 million people in the next 40 years, that demographers are referring to a population crisis. This will put an enormous strain on Russia's economy as the government struggles to care for its aging population.

The authors also contend that "reproductive freedom" benefits all of humanity. But does it? Research shows that families around the world, particularly in Asia, selectively abort female infants. This "gendercide" distorts natural male-female ratios in the population. In some provinces in China, the ratio is perversely skewed in favor of boys, with 130 male births for every 100 female births. Obviously, this will have dire consequences for society.

If population poses a problem, it is likely due to distribution, not to growth. After all, only so many people can fit on the coasts of China, India, and the United States. There are many wide-open spaces for the population to expand. The trick will be to figure out a way to incentivize responsible growth, not to discourage it entirely.

Finally, the authors claim that poverty results from overpopulation. While this might be partially correct, many other factors contribute to poverty. China, with a population of approximately 1.3 billion, has entered a period of skyrocketing economic growth. India, with a similarly sized populace, is also slowly working its way out of poverty.

Instead of focusing on controlling population growth, a better way to tackle poverty is to help solve humanity's basic problems. Infectious disease, corrupt governance, and lack of access to global markets are Africa's biggest problems. When these devastating issues are corrected, African countries could experience rapid economic growth in the same way as did the Asian Tigers.

When the world becomes a more prosperous place, the "problem" of population growth will largely take care of itself.


Why we should give the cold shoulder to a BBC Trust Review that argues the broadcaster should ignore global-warming 'deniers'

Whether the staff of the BBC, facing budget cuts and the loss of 3,000 jobs, will consider last week’s BBC Trust Review of the corporation’s science coverage as money well spent is doubtful: according to a spokeswoman, it cost £140,000. Unfortunate as this is, the Review’s wider impact is rather more pernicious.

On a superficial reading, the Review, by the London University biologist Steve Jones, looks dull and bureaucratic. But beneath the surface it is an attempt to shut down debate and impose ideological conformity on a highly controversial issue – the extent and likely consequences of man-made global warming.

Why Professor Jones was thought a suitable person to conduct the Review at all is not a trivial question. Having long toiled in obscurity on the genetic makeup of snails, Jones owes his sudden metamorphosis into a ‘media tart’ (to use his own phrase) entirely to the BBC, which chose him to deliver the Reith Lectures in 1991.

Numerous further radio and TV appearances followed, and with them book sales of which he could not previously have dreamt.

It is also worth asking why the Trust decided to blow its money (a little under half of which went on Jones’s fee) on examining its science reporting: there are surely other areas of public policy significance – immigration, for example – where a casual viewer might conclude that BBC coverage can be self-censoringly selective.

Such subjects are uncomfortable, and for that very reason, an objective analysis of the way the corporation handles them is arguably overdue.

But the real problem with the Jones Review is its bewilderingly misleading content. Jones writes that his own knowledge is ‘remarkably broad, but fantastically shallow’.

Presumably he meant this as a joke and yesterday the BBC Trust spokeswoman insisted it is ‘a major piece of work, involving extensive research, consultation and content analysis’. If that is what the Trust believes, it has been fooled.

For its first 65 pages, the Review attains a tedium so intense it might be self-parody, and is mainly focused on the Byzantine BBC hierarchy. Then, under the heading ‘Man-made global warming: a microcosm of false balance?’ the document wakes up, and Jones’s previously anodyne prose is suddenly flooded with passion.

Interviewed last week when the Review was published, this was the subject on which Jones dwelt, and it seems clear he sees this as the main point of the exercise.

The report contains a startling statistic: 46 per cent of all BBC science news stories deal with global warming, although, as Jones writes, this massively over-represents the tiny number of researchers who work on it compared to the thousands working in other fields.

But this grotesque skewing of emphasis is not Jones’s beef. His problem is that the BBC gives far too much space ‘to the views of a determined but deluded minority’ – those he terms climate change ‘deniers’, whose views, he writes, should be seen as on a par with the conspiracy theories that claim 9/11 was a ‘US government plot’.

Such individuals Jones sees as victims of a psychological ‘syndrome’. Unfortunately, he goes on, awareness of the anathema such heresy represents has not yet ‘percolated’ throughout the BBC.

With disgust, he cites a Panorama broadcast in one of last year’s bitter freezes, which had the temerity to ask whether the science that predicted an imminent warm Armageddon was any longer valid.

In Jones’s view, this is ‘an exhausted subject’, where only ‘the pretence of debate’ remains.

The Beeb must now accept that ‘the real discussion has moved on to what should be done to mitigate climate change’ – by which, one presumes, he means vastly expensive energy taxes and investment in ‘renewables’ such as wind-farms.

Not the least surprising aspect of this thesis is the rarity with which BBC news correspondents do challenge warmist orthodoxy. Panorama may have subjected the science to scrutiny but I recall a TV news piece shown in the same cold snap by David Shukman.

Filmed in the snow at Kew Gardens, he solemnly informed viewers that however cold they were feeling, this was merely ‘weather’.

Climate, he warned, was quite different, and was still warming inexorably. There was no real news story – merely the reinforcement of a familiar BBC message: that without drastic measures, future generations will fry.

Meanwhile, Jones is highly selective with the data he cites to support his position. Yes, as he says, the past decade has been the warmest globally in recent history (though the early Middle Ages and the Roman era may have been as warm).

It is also true CO2 levels have risen since the start of the industrial revolution, a phenomenon that has probably caused warming by half a degree.

But the problem for the warming catastrophists, which despite a recent spate of peer-reviewed papers Jones totally ignores, is that the world temperature trend since 1995 has been flat, with no evidence of warming at all.

The computer models in which he evidently places his faith did not predict this, and cannot account for it.

According to Jones, the ‘pessimists’ who believe the world will warm by up to five degrees this century – ten times as much as in the past 200 years – are ‘in the ascendant’, something the BBC should reflect.

But who is the ‘denier’ here? Finally Jones resorts to an argument that is truly laughable: ‘To bring matters up to date, 2011 saw the warmest April in Central England for 350 years.’

Maybe it did. But January and December 2010 were exceptionally cold and July 2011 has been pretty chilly too. To draw a conclusion from one month’s weather in a single place is, as he must know, simply dishonest.

But this is not the only dishonesty in his Review. The only ‘deniers’ he names are Lord Lawson and his colleagues from the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

To be sure, Lawson and his colleagues are sceptics – they do not accept doom is round the corner if we don’t enact self-impoverishing emission cuts. But they make their arguments with reference to peer-reviewed literature – something notably absent from Jones’s Review.

And they are in no sense ‘deniers’, as their writings make clear. ‘It’s scandalous to claim we deny that there has been global warming due to man-made carbon dioxide,’ says Foundation director Benny Peiser. ‘What is this really about? Is it simply an attempt to get us off the air?’

A few weeks ago, I listened to an eloquent speech by the Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who spent much of his life under the ideological yoke of communist repression.

Now he saw old patterns re-emerging: ‘The arrogance with which global warming activists and their media allies express themselves is something I know well from the past.’

The attempt to insist on an iron ‘consensus’ was undermining democracy and free debate.

Running through the Jones Review is a bizarre and anti-scientific assumption: that there is an orthodox scientific truth which the BBC should strive to reflect, and which – at least in the case of global warming – is no longer subject to revision.

As a scientist of four decades’ standing, Jones surely knows this to be false. Science is a process, not revealed dogma, and indeed, Jones’s Review even describes the way in which almost 100 years ago the laws of Newtonian physics were suddenly swept aside by Einstein, relativity and quantum mechanics.

Yet when it comes to climate, he seems to want BBC coverage to be subject to the kind of quasi-Stalinist thought-policing to which Klaus so strongly objects. To let that come to pass would be to confirm the Czech president’s worst misgivings.


UK Minister: Denying Climate (Hoax) Deal Like Denying Hitler

William Teach

We could probably term this as a jumping the shark moment, yet, the anthropogenic global warming movement/cult jumped the shark about a decade or so. Unfortunately, the show hasn't yet been cancelled
LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) - World leaders who oppose a global agreement to tackle climate change are making a similar mistake to the one made by politicians who tried to appease Adolf Hitler before World War Two, a British government minister said on Thursday.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne said governments must redouble efforts to find a successor to the United Nations Kyoto Protocol on emissions, although it was unlikely that a breakthrough would be made at a conference later this year in Durban in South Africa.

Holding the conference in yet another sunny vacation spot? How much CO2 and methane will be generated from all those private jets, limo's, and running air conditioners (they are wisely holding it in a place that is supposed to be hot this year.)
In a speech urging countries to keep pressing for a climate deal, Huhne evoked the memory of British wartime leader Winston Churchill and the fight against Nazi Germany led by Hitler.

"Climate change is getting less political attention now than it did two years ago. There is a vacuum, and the forces of low ambition are looking to fill it," he said. "Giving in to the forces of low ambition would be an act of climate appeasement.

"This is our Munich moment," he added, referring to the Munich Agreement, a 1938 pact that gave Hitler land in the former Czechoslovakia as part of a failed attempt to persuade him to abandon further territorial expansion.

First, if you have to call it climate change because you want to blame mankind for everything that happens, then your science has already lost. Second, if you refuse to practice what you preach, you shouldn't be surprised that your pet cult is dying a painful death. Third, if you have to evoke the memory of a liberal giving Hitler what he wanted to prop up your failed cult, you should probably have a good lie down, because I have an unused slap in my pocket with your name on it. (a few British sayings I get from Simon Green books) Fourth, if you have to use fear, rather than rational, well thought out, well researched, scientific facts, you might just be part of a cult.

And there's still nothing but supposition that mankind, as opposed to 4 billion years of empirical evidence from nature, has caused the warming which started in 1850.


Tea Party Republicans Who Challenge Green Policies Rile the New York Times

Republican Lawmakers are standing up to green pressure groups at the state level and The New York Times is getting nervous. The action in Maine, Florida and North Carolina has attracted media scrutiny because it demonstrates that Tea Party activists are exerting influence in an area that was previously dominated by leftists. Property owners and business owners who have been back on their heels fighting environmentalists have allies in government for the first time in recent memory.

The headline on the front page reads “Push in States to Deregulate Environment.” This is not meant to be complimentary. In fact, it suggests that Republicans elected with Tea Party support in 2010 have struck a raw nerve by rolling back anti-business practices.

In Maine, Tea Party-backed Republican governor Paul LePage is rolling back environmental regulations with support from new Republican majorities in both houses of the state legislature. He faces a “green iron triangle” that is deeply entrenched, lavishly funded and closely aligned with state and federal government agencies.

In an interview, Ron Arnold, the executive director of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, had this to say: “The Big Green disaster that’s destroying Maine has been gnawing away at every state for years. The influence and reach of green pressure groups has gone unchecked and unchallenged far too long, crushing private citizens and business owners nationwide. The Iron Triangle, as I describe it in Maine, shows rank collusion between the Maine Audubon Society and the DEP [Dept. of Environmental Protection], jointly concocting false ‘science’ to justify catastrophic regulations.”

Gov. Page and incoming lawmakers need to show some guts and throttle these cabals so they can never hurt anyone again. There is no reason to let fictitious ‘ecological concerns’ continue to overwhelm the state’s economy. It’s time to strip Maine of its anti-business regulations and regulators, restructuring the bureaucracy to promote economic development and force environmental protection to help growth, not demolish it.”

LePage has a 63-point plan to cut environmental regulations and open up 3 million acres of the state’s North Woods to development. But the governor has a long road to travel. Erich Vehyl, a local free market activist and landowner, notes that environmental groups have collaborated with state officials for decades in framing laws and in staffing agencies devoted to regulating land use and prohibiting natural resource development. An umbrella organization known as the Northern Forest Alliance, which operates throughout New England, coordinates many government takeover efforts, Vehyl said. Other key players include the Maine Audubon Society, the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT).

There’s a long road ahead for free market activists, but at least the battle has been joined.
In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, another Tea Party favorite, has proposed cutting millions of dollars for various environmental projects that he views as being too costly to business. Meanwhile, Republicans who won control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time in 140 years are aiming their arrow against Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They intend to cut the agency’s funds by 22 percent, according to the NYT.

The report laments: “The strategies have been similar across the affected states: cut budgets and personnel at regulatory agencies, prevent the issuing of new regulations, roll back land conservation and, if possible, eliminate planning boards that monitor, restrict or permit building development.”

Robin Edwards, a co-founder of the Louisiana Tea Party Federation and president of the Baton Rouge Tea Party, has watched in frustration as environmentalists in the Gulf Coast have held their conferences and organized their coalitions. There is a certain logic to having Tea Party activists go local where they can burrow in and push against special interests that are out to impose costly restrictions on business and private citizens, she said.

“Budgets are on everyone’s minds these days,” Edwards noted. “The Tea Party has become a growing force and there is no reason for us to play defense.”


Greenie versus Greenie in Australia

FOR most of architect Robert Marshall's working life he has prided himself on doing his bit for the environment by designing and building mudbrick homes. Sometimes humble and sometimes sprawling, the dwellings have served their owners well over many years.

The handmade mudbrick -- natural subsoil mixed with straw and water, and dried by the sun -- symbolises Earth's sustainability, green values and a low carbon footprint. From hippies putting up bush huts, to the well-off building impressive mansions, most agree on the insulation quality and energy efficiency of mudbrick.

"It's a beautiful way to live and nowadays everyone has to be thinking about the environment," says Julie McKellar, who will move into her new mudbrick home in December.

But her architect, Marshall, whose creations had previously achieved compliance with Australian building codes, and many others in the earth building industry, are now at their wits' end. Some are on the verge of admitting defeat to federal and state bureaucracies, which do not recognise the environmental value of the mudbrick.

Over the past eight years the rollout of increasingly stringent and mandatory energy-efficiency ratings for new homes has made it significantly harder for "muddies", some of Australia's most passionate environmentalists, to get building approval.

But since the adoption two months ago of the even tougher six-star rating, designed to limit carbon emissions by reducing the amount of heating and cooling required by homes, the earth building industry says it may be doomed. Marshall said the McKellar home could not be built under the new six-star regime. New rammed-earth houses are similarly affected.

Builder Stephen Dobson, of the Earth Building Association, told The Australian that the previous ratings made compliance difficult but that the new six-star rating was "decimating the industry".

"The star ratings have been a disaster for earth building and it is getting worse," he said. "Earth builders say now that the regulations make it too hard. The energy ratings are biased and based on models that do not assume real life -- they don't reflect the actual behaviour of people in these homes. As a result, the earth building industry is in serious decline."

The difficulty is ironic. According to independent studies, "muddies", and those who build with rammed earth, are often people with "eco-centric attitudes, values and behaviours". They use less power and have correspondingly lower carbon footprints.

While mudbricks have been a sustainable building material for thousands of years, they cannot readily satisfy energy-efficiency standards. Part of the problem is that the solid mudbrick wall, which is 25cm thick, does not rely on additional insulation, so it scores poorly when measured by official energy rating tools.

By contrast, the ratings tools give the green light to most new houses built with modern materials which have a much higher carbon footprint, having required large amounts of energy during manufacture.

"It is utterly frustrating because we know how environmentally friendly mudbrick homes are," Marshall said. "The carbon issue does not make sense -- making a mudbrick requires very little energy, unlike the manufacture of conventional building materials like a kiln-fired house brick, which require a huge amount of energy.

"In my view the bureaucrats have this all back-to-front. Their energy ratings do not consider the lifestyles and attitudes of mudbrick people, who are low-carbon emitters. Most mudbrick people are very concerned about the environment. They are as gobsmacked as we are that with the new six-star rating it is almost impossible to build their home unless we make significant design changes."

Sigmund Jurgensen, who lives in a mudbrick home built in the 1930s by his father, a founder of the iconic artists' community of Montsalvat, near Eltham, in Melbourne, described the situation as "absurd".

"We know that quite often the people who choose to live in mudbrick homes are much more anxious and aware of the environmental problems the world faces than people living in conventional homes in the cities," Jurgensen said. "I think it goes with the territory -- you want to build a mudbrick home because you care. I'm always concerned when the bureaucrats want easy and simple answers to difficult questions.

"To say that mudbricks do not achieve proper energy ratings is nonsense. What about the tiny amount of energy used to build mudbrick homes compared with the energy used in making house bricks and other materials?"

The Australian has previously revealed evidence of major flaws in the energy ratings system. The Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Australia, scientists and builders have raised concerns that the system is fundamentally flawed, potentially wasting billions of dollars to achieve compliance with no evidence of carbon reduction. The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, which has publicly rejected much of the criticism, acknowledged to industry figures earlier this year that the system might need an overhaul.

The department is now commissioning a study to determine if its star ratings have ever been effective in reducing energy use. Its tender document states that the key objective of the study "will be a report that ascertains the actual benefits and costs resulting from the introduction" of the star energy-efficiency ratings. Intrinsic to the operation of star ratings as a measure of a house's performance is a belief that human factors -- primarily, how people use their heating and cooling -- can be standardised.

Terry Williamson, a thermal energy expert at the University of Adelaide, says the federal government's star ratings do not work while driving up the costs of more than 100,000 new houses a year.

"People who live in mudbrick houses use a lot less energy because they are more enviro-centric, but the building regulation looks at the physics of the building material, not the behaviours of the occupants," Williamson said. "The policy reflects a narrow concern about reaching objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it means the mudbrick house, which is environmentally friendly, will be all but impossible to build."

Eltham resident Jenni Mitchell and her husband, Mervyn Hannon, believe it is ridiculous that their 26-year-old north-facing mudbrick house would not be compliant if built today.

"The notion that mudbricks are not good enough in terms of energy efficiency is a farce; it is bureaucracy gone mad," she said.

Richard Provan, who makes mudbricks near Kinglake in Victoria, hopes Australia's peak scientific body, the CSIRO, will retest mudbricks for their thermal qualities in a bid to achieve a higher rating. His business has "dwindled to the point of extinction" as a result of the regulations. "All the trades associated with it are being hurt because the interest is not there any more. Mudbricks are a good insulating product with a very small carbon footprint."


Play board games to prevent global warming??

AUSTRALIANS are being urged to play board games and snuggle up under a rug with a pet or their families to help cut power bills. On its LivingGreener website, the federal government urges switching off the TV and heater and finding old-fashioned ways of keeping snug and occupied.

"There are heaps of ways to have fun 'unplugged' - go retro and break out the board games or visit your local library and share the heating and computers with your community," the site says.

"To reduce the energy you use while watching TV, take another tip from grandma and share the warmth. Snuggle up under a rug, snuggle with your family or cuddle your favourite pet. You could avoid the TV and snuggle up in bed with a good book (or with someone who's read one lately)."

A spokesman for the Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, defended the advice, saying many households were seeking tips on how to save energy. "Improving energy efficiency is a way households can help lower carbon pollution while saving money," he said.

However, the opposition climate change spokesman, Greg Hunt, branded the government's advice farcical.



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


24 July, 2011

Even people living in rural simplicity (the Greenie and Nazi dream) rely on the machines of civilization and the evil oil that powers them

It is one of the most perilous air routes in the world. Colombian pilots fly through storms in decrepit planes over dense forests to deliver food and goods to villagers isolated from the rest of the world.

Jumping off point is Villavicencio, a city in the foothills of the Andean Cordillera. The destination is any one of the number of native Indian villages scattered throughout the jungle, cut off from civilisation.

The plane's arrival in the villages is a major event. It stops here only once or twice a month, its cargo comprising vegetables, beds, dogs, chicken, TV sets.

Somewhere over Colombia, high above the Amazonian rainforest near the borders with Brazil, an old DC3 prop plane is caught in a violent tropical storm. No visibility. Radio silence. Undoubtedly flight 30-37 is in trouble. Captain Raul tries to stabilise the twin-engine plane to bypass the worst of the storm.

But the greatest danger is not the storm or mechanical faults. It's the jungle 2,000m below: the Amazon. A green hell. There is no space for emergency landings in the Amazon, an impenetrable jungle twice the size of Texas. That is also the pilot's greatest fear. Any breakdown means the plane could crash. Several dozen planes have vanished into the dense jungle, swallowed up by the vegetation.

Either divine intervention or Captain Raul's skills has successfully steered the plane clear of the storm. The passengers arrive as scheduled at Acaricuara, a small Indian village.

The runway, or what passes off for one, is in view. There is no control tower here. Everything is done the old-fashioned way as it was back in the 1920s and 30s – on intuition, judgement and experience. The landing zone is slippery and pitted with holes. And it's also way too short. Pilots need to be able to land virtually where the runway begins.

About 100 people live in Acaricuara. Without the DC3, the village would be completely isolated and getting enough food would become a problem. There are other alternatives like the river, but it is too complicated and would take a much longer time.

"If the plane didn't come here people starve to death," says Camargo.


Maher Proves Limbaugh's Point About Hyped Heat Wave Reports: 'It Was 123 In Minnesota'

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday mocked news outlets hyping the heat wave gripping much of the nation by reporting the heat index rather than the actual temperatures.

On Friday's "Real Time," host Bill Maher proved Limbaugh's point by falsely telling his audience, "It was 123 in Minnesota" (video follows with transcript and commentary, vulgarity alert):

BILL MAHER: No, I know why you're happy. It’s because you're indoors. It's hot outside. Not as hot here as it a lot of places in the country. Do you know that 29 states are under what they call a heat advisory? When I was a kid this used to be called, “Get the f--k inside.”

But, I mean, they’re triple-digit temperatures. It was 123 in Minnesota. How far is Al Gore going to take this global warming hoax? A hundred?


Before we get to the stupidity and/or dishonesty on display, Maher followed this up by making another tasteless joke about Marcus Bachmann:

MAHER: 123 in Minnesota? Minnesota? Michelle Bachmann's husband went in the closet just for the shade.

[Cheers and applause]

Oh, I kid Michelle Bachmann.

Hysterical, isn't it?

Not so funny was how Maher was doing exactly what Limbaugh spoke about Wednesday:

RUSH LIMBAUGH: They're playing games with us on this heat wave again. Even Drudge is getting sucked in here, gonna be 116 in Washington. No, it's not. It's gonna be like a hundred. Maybe 99. The heat index, manufactured by the government, to tell you what it feels like when you add the humidity in there, 116. When's the last time the heat index was reported as an actual temperature? It hasn't been, but it looks like they're trying to get away with doing that now. Drudge is just linking to other people reporting it, he's not saying it, I don't want you to misunderstand, but he's linking to stories which say 116 degrees in Washington. No. It's what, a hundred, 97, 99. It's gonna top out at 102, 103. It does this every year. There's a heat dome over half the country, the Midwest, it's moving east. And it happens every summer.

Indeed. Maher likely got this 123 figure from a piece reporting such a heat index in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Tuesday.

If folks like him were honest, they would first make clear that heat index is not temperature. It's temperature including the impact humidity has on it.

And that's the real news this week that global warming obsessed media members have downplayed - record humidity.

As Conservation Minnesota reported Wednesday:

Tuesday evening, around the dinner hour, the dew point at Moorhead reached 87.8 F, making this the most humid reporting station on the planet. The heat index peaked at an almost incomprehensible 134 F. at Moorhead.

Yet, as Minnesota Public Radio reported Wednesday, it was only 93 F when that record-breaking heat index was recorded in Moorhead.

What was responsible then? As the Bemidji Pioneer reported Saturday, it was the unprecedented humidity:

Meteorologists have determined that large fields of corn raise the dew points in surrounding areas because corn “sweats” on hot days. When the humid air mass that originated over the Gulf of Mexico passed over the sea of green that is Iowa, sweating corn likely added to the humidity levels.

Of course, it's also been a very rainy season throughout much of the upper Midwest adding to the high humidity levels.

But folks like Maher aren't concerned with such things.

Heat indices skyrocketed last week, and that must mean Nobel laureate Gore is right about global warming regardless of all the other factors involved.


Sherlock would have been proud -- unremarked facts

REMEMBER the Sherlock Holmes story, Silver Blaze…

Gregory (of Scotland Yard): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

And so an outraged commentator at Steven Goddard’s blog asks why we can’t observe the effects of increasing infra-red radiation…

Roger Taguchi

“WHAT you have is a bunch of people claiming ever more heat in the atmosphere in form of infra-red, but the infra-red telescopy field says not one word for multiple score of years about ‘rising infra-red destroying our viewing and here’s the analysis over time’

You hear NOT ONE WORD from optical telescopy – the field that helped Einstein cement relativity’s place in history by measuring the bending of a beam of starlight by galactic gravitational bodies – not ONE WORD from the optical telescopy field which effectively holds up a microscope to the atmosphere’s heat distortion – remember the DEFINITION of HEAT on GAS is – what kids? it’s M.O.T.I.O.N.

Not ONE WORD of increased atmospheric distortion, also known as ‘The Stars Twinkling Over Their Twink Heads’ also known scientifically of course as Atmospheric Scintillation — this Star Twinkling is a D.I.R.E.C.T F.U.N.C.T.I.O.N. of the amount of heat in the atmosphere: if there’s more heat there HAS to BE more MOTION meaning more days per year when optical telescopes can’t function well enough to view.

Why is it that not ONCE in the HISTORY of all this not ONE STUDENT or ONE PROFESSOR looking for that DEVASTATING PAPER, or that EASY A, has gone and simply gotten photos of sections of the sky through time, around the same date, showing the MANDATORY EVER CLIMBING ATMOSPHERIC DISTORTION as VIEWED THROUGH OPTICAL INSTRUMENTATION?

Because there IS no increased distortion because there IS no such thing as a G.H.G. Effect. Period. Care to check up on me? No need to even crack a book still.

There are assemblies built by people to flex the mirrors of telescopes to COMPENSATE for this ATMOSPHERIC MOTION-created DISTORTION.

Why is it that not ONE WORD has ever come out about how “our mirror flexing assemblies used to have to apply X, Y, Z, flex to the mirror overall to compensate during a period of time, for the HEAT DISORTION called Atmospheric Scintillation. Now though, the amount has risen as ATMOSPHERIC HEAT HAS INCREASED.”

Why? Because THERE IS NO ADDITIONAL ATMOSPHERIC HEAT or THEY WOULD ALL – the INFRA-RED telescopy field, the OPTICAL telescopy field, and the field of instrumentation where the people flex telescope mirrors to compensate for HEAT in the ATMOSPHERE – they’d ALL be SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER about the impending doom due to balmy weather.

There IS no such thing as A.N.Y. G.H.G. Effect or these fields WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO HIDE IT as manmade gases have RAGED ever upward through passing decade after decade.”


It's Just a Heat Wave‏

By Alan Caruba

The most surprising thing about the current heat wave affecting much of the United States is that no global warming charlatan is claiming that it is the result of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Since the late 1980s, Americans were assailed with the global warming hoax until, in November 2009, the release of emails between the trolls ginning up false “climate models” were exposed.

These days the term “climate change” is used as a substitute for “global warming”, but fewer of us are fooled by this. Al Gore is planning a last-ditch effort in September to revive the hoax, but that will fail.

Even those in the mainstream media are too embarrassed to report the absurd notion that CO2, a trace gas in the Earth’s atmosphere (0.0380%) vital to all vegetation on the planet has anything to do with climate cycles. A new cooling cycle that kicked in around 1998 is the predictable result of less solar activity.

This is not to say it’s not hot. Heat waves are as common to summer months as blizzards are to winter ones. For those who possess the memory of fungus, there was a heat wave that engulfed the East Coast from July 4 through 9th in 2010. Weather records reflect that heat waves are a natural event, often following or preceding record setting cold waves.

While Al Gore and the last holdouts of the global warming hoax continue to tell us that CO2 emissions (the use of fossil fuels for energy to produce electricity, drive anywhere, and manufacture anything) will destroy the world, the world’s most sophisticated particle study laboratory, CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, will soon announce a finding that will blow the CO2 nonsense to bits.

Dennis T. Avery of the Hudson Institute, reports CERN has demonstrated “that more cosmic rays do, indeed, create more clouds in the earth’s atmosphere.” Cosmic rays are subatomic particles from outer space. More clouds means that less of the sun’s warmth reaches the Earth’s surface.

This completely overturns the torrent of lies that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been churning out for decades. The IPCC’s scientists went into full panic mood as a new cooling cycle asserted itself in 1998.

As Avery points out, the IPCC scientists had deliberately ignored “the Medieval Warming (950-1200 AD), the Roman Warming (200 BC-600BC) or the big Holocene Warmings centered on 6,000 and 8,000 BC.” There was also a Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1850 to account for as well.

While the global warming crowd has been telling everyone that they must stop burning coal, using oil or natural gas, and “reduce our carbon footprint”, a recent volcanic eruption in Iceland, in just four days, negated every government-mandated effort to control or reduce CO2 emissions worldwide for the past five years! When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it put so much smoke and other gases in the atmosphere that it cooled the Earth’s temperatures for a few years until they dissipated.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is frantically issuing new rules and regulations to reduce the CO2 emissions from utilities and manufacturing facilities before the public realizes that its actual goal is to kill the U.S. economy by increasing the cost of electricity and everything else. It is insanely trying to shut down the mining of coal, while other elements of the Obama regime are trying to stop any drilling for oil.

Unable to scare everyone with the global warming hoax, new horrors are being invented, from ocean acidification to the claim that the atmosphere is being overloaded with nitrogen. Relax, there’s four times more nitrogen in the atmosphere than oxygen and it’s no big deal.

The Greens think you’re stupid

Americans need to be aware that major environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth are desperate to maintain the fictions required to deprive the U.S. of the energy it needs to function.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg just gave $50 million to the Sierra Club to support its “Beyond Coal” campaign. Bloomberg actually thinks it’s a good thing the Sierra Club has managed to stop 150 coal-burning plants from being built. Meanwhile, during the current heat wave, providers of electricity are worrying whether they can continue to meet the increased demand for it. Coal provides 50% of all the electricity we use in America.

How stupid or evil do you have to be to stop building the plants that provide electricity at a time when the population and the demand for it is rising? Must America become a third world nation with rolling blackouts and brownouts?

Friends of the Earth are in a panic that Republicans might actually get the U.S. government to cut back on the insane spending that has put the nation on the edge of sovereign default. Lately they’re claiming that Majority Leader, Eric Candor (R-VA) “is threatening to sink the American economy and undermine environmental protections so that his wealthy friends, including big oil corporations, can keep sitting on their cushions.”

That’s the same Big Oil that hasn’t been able to build a single new refinery in the U.S. since the 1970s. That’s the same Big Oil that has seen ten oil rigs leave the Gulf of Mexico since the May 2010 Obama “moratorium” for drilling sites in Egypt, Congo, French Guiana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Brazil. They took a lot of jobs and revenue with them,

If you wanted to destroy America, all you have to do is make it impossible to access several century’s worth of its own huge reserves of coal and the billions of barrels of oil inland and offshore that would, indeed, make America more energy independent.

The next time anyone speaks about “sustainability”, they are talking about turning out the lights and emptying the highways of America. The next time anyone talks about “the environment”, they mean the same thing.

So, remember, it’s just a heat wave. It will end just like all the others and, in a few months, we will all be talking about the blizzards.


1921 : Earth Had A “Fever”

Record heat, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, typhoons, volcanoes, millions starving, drought, floods. March was 11 degrees above normal. Temperatures for the year were 3.4 degrees above normal.

Prior to Hansen’s 2000 data corruption correction, 1921 was the second hottest year on record in the US – after 1934.


Do stratospheric aerosols mask global warming?

Lubos Motl

In recent months, it has become popular among the climate alarmists to "explain away" the lack of warming in recent 10-15 years.

Aerosols have become their best ally in these efforts. A few weeks ago, we discussed this question: "Did the Chinese coal cause the cooling since 1998?"

It was no fluke but an example of a whole new fad. Phys Org, among many others, promoted a new article by Susan Solomon et al.: "NOAA study suggests aerosols might be inhibiting global warming"

The article itself is in Science and it's called :The Persistently Variable “Background” Stratospheric Aerosol Layer and Global Climate Change"

What they're obsessed by is -0.1 Watts per square meter by which the energy flows may have dropped between 1960 and 1990.

When they evaluate the impact, they decide that the predictions of global warming should be reduced by 1/3 to be more realistic.

Fine. It's enough to publish one more paper and reduce the alarmists' prediction by an additional 1/2 and they will be consistent with the observations - and with the climate skeptics.

You may see that the assumption that there is a big warming to start with is treated as a dogma by these would-be scientists. A big warming is the "default assumption" and "dirty corrections" have to be added in order to get to the reality. Only a blind person may fail to see the bias of the authors.

Their science resembles the science of the chieftain of a terrorist training camp. He believes in the Tooth Fairy and designs an amazing method to earn some money for his terrorist hobby. He punches away the teeth of all the mujahideens in his group, puts the teeth under the pillow, and expects that the Tooth Fairy will replace them by millions of dollars during the night, when he sleeps.

Instead, he still finds the teeth in the morning. So he is totally puzzled: what miraculous, unexpected, supernatural power could have prevented the Tooth Fairy from replacing the teeth by the money? Of course, he is as clever a chieftain as the IPCC scientists so he finds an explanation that satisfies him: the Tooth Fairy asked the Bone Fairy for a permission and didn't get it.

So the chieftain breaks all the bones of his men and puts them under the pillow. It must be different this time, he is confident, and he is waiting for the Tooth Fairy to replace the teeth and bones by millions of dollars. His belief in these laws of physics remains perfect - well, up to the moment when this man is finally shot by a NATO soldier.

It's very similar with the global warming nuts. Instead of admitting that their could have made a wrong assumption, they always prefer to add dozens of other wrong assumptions.

Sources of aerosols in the stratosphere

But what I really want to do is to compare the quality of this portion of science as it is being done today - when these disciplines are contaminated by tons of junk and corrupt scientists with an agenda - with what the science looked like 45 years ago - when you would expect that it had to be much more primitive.

Compare the abstract of the Solomon et al. paper with another paper that is fully available: "On the meteoric component of stratospheric aerosols"

J.P. Shedlovsky and S. Paisley wrote it in 1965, i.e. 46 years ago! Let me represent this paper as an average paper about these issues from the 1960s. Nevertheless, you may see that their science was much more advanced, rational, impartial, and systematic. Fine, let us make some comparisons of the broad ways of thinking inherent in the 1965 and 2011 papers.

Background: aerosols, stratosphere

First, some background. We are talking about aerosols - suspensions of fine solid particles within a gas or liquid droplets - that are located in the stratosphere. The stratosphere is the layer of the atmosphere, approximately between heights 10 and 50 kilometers, defined by the property that the temperature increases with the height. It's warmer as you're getting closer to the Sun, if you want to formulate it in an extreme way.

(But this bizarrely sounding sentence is essentially right because what matters is that the solar radiation is being absorbed so its amount is decreasing as you go deeper into the atmosphere from outside, at least at some frequencies.)

Consequently, there is no substantial circulation of the air in the stratosphere: warmer (less dense) air is higher which is how it should be: we say that this layer is "stratified", therefore the name of the "stratosphere". In this respect, the stratosphere is the opposite of the troposphere - the part of the atmosphere between the surface and the stratosphere (they're separated by the tropopause) which we know and where the "weather" takes place. In the troposphere, the temperature decreases with the height (think about the flights with United: the adiabatic lapse rate is a zeroth-order approximate way to see why it is so) and the air circulates all the time (because the warmer air is less dense and therefore wants to get up).

So in the stratosphere, there are also aerosols. I want to mention the very methodology how to look at two questions: whether and how the composition changes with time; and how the aerosols got there.

Time dependence

If you read the 2011 paper by Solomon et al., you must be sure that the authors are stunned that things can be changing in Nature. How is that possible? Only humans are the nasty animals who introduced change to the Earth, they still essentially think. Before the human sins, things in Nature were not changing with time. Isn't the very purpose of time to guarantee that nothing changes? :-)

On the other hand, the Shedlovsky-Paisley 1965 paper has no problems with the concept of time. It discusses various changes that influence the chemical compounds - especially the atmospheric residence time.

They also have no problem to acknowledge a huge uncertainty about various numbers. For example, on the last page, they say that the estimates of the accretion of extraterrestrial particles by the Earth ranged from 8 to 3.6 million tons per year.

These scientists, much like any genuine scientists, knew that every effect of this sort or any other sort may be relevant for your questions unless it has been shown to be irrelevant. On the other hand, the climate alarmist hacks always start with the opposite approach. They assume - without any evidence and often in a direct contradiction with the evidence - that every effect is irrelevant and the only moment when they start to abandon this utterly preposterous and clearly invalid assumption is when their models based on random assumptions disagree with the observed data by an order of magnitude or more.

If someone has been making the assumption that none of these things - such as the aerosols in the stratosphere or the water vapor in the stratosphere (Solomon's previous papers) - matters for questions they care about (for no good reason), such as the "climate change", then one of the following things must hold: they have just had a big party, remembering a recently deceased colleague, they had gotten drunk and they still suffer from some hangover. Or they are assholes. Solomon et al. is the latter case who deliberately want to lie and distort the empirical facts.

Chemical composition

The IPCC admits that their uncertainty about the overall effects of the aerosols on all things such as the climate is comparable to the whole effect of global warming. But they worship a key dogma that everyone has to believe - namely that the aerosols (and everything else) must be less important than the carbon dioxide.

Consequently, this dogma inevitably suppresses the scientific research of pretty much everything that matters in the atmosphere - and the aerosols in the stratosphere are no exception. That's why the quality of the scientific research in this discipline has actually plummeted since the 1960s.

You may see this striking decline in every detail. For example, ask the simple question where the aerosols come from etc.

Today, aerosols are among the dozens of "inconvenient and dangerous" players that could threaten the exceptional, divine (or devilish) status of the carbon dioxide. Worshiping the bad effects of the carbon dioxide is what these assholes are all about and what their whole criminal income is based upon so they make sure that no one studies e.g. aerosols too carefully, and if he does, he never interprets the results so that the aerosols may still be treated as one of those irrelevant Cinderellas whom no one really knows. This research - pretty much any research unrelated to CO2 - has been dangerous for these assholes since the very beginning so they do everything they can to marginalize it.

So because it's not possible or allowed to rationally talk about the aerosols, the knowledge of most people - including those who should know them - has gone down from the 1960s. In particular, those people only talk about "volcanos" and "chimneys" as the sources of the aerosols - which may also get to the stratosphere. This is how the popular media think about the aerosols and the "scientists" in that field don't know much more that would go beyond the pop science in the media.

Things couldn't be more different in the 1960s. The average 1965 paper analyzes the concentration of 8 elements and many other things in the aerosols and tries to pinpoint their origin because the relative concentration of various elements and compounds differs among the sources, too.

Let me copy and paste the whole introduction to the 1965 paper:

The chemical composition of stratospheric aerosols has been shown by JUNGE et al. (1961) and JUNQE & MANSON (1961) to consist primarily of sulfate, presumably a mixture of ammonium and sodium sulfates. In addition, aluminum, silicon, chlorine, calcium and iron were reported as being detected.

There are several different possible source materials which can contribute to stratospheric aerosols. These include atmospheric H2S and SO2 which are photochemically oxidized to sulfate, erosion products of continental surfaces, oceanic salts, volcanic debris and extraterrestrial material accreted by the earth. These sources are all significantly different as regards their chemical composition. Thus, it may be possible to determine the relative importance of such sources to stratospheric aerosols from a more thorough knowledge of the aerosol chemical composition. The purpose of this paper is to report some air concentrations of a number of elements in the low stratosphere and to relate these data to the extraterrestrial component.

You see that the scientific approach is perfectly sensible. They don't make any unjustified detailed assumptions that they would be trying to hysterically and dogmatically defend - which is what the alarmist assholes are doing all the time. Moreover, they also appreciate - and it's the main point of the paper - that the aerosols in the stratosphere may have not only terrestrial but also extraterrestrial origin. Chemistry is the bulk of this research and it has to be: calculating the absorption by a particular component of aerosols is a relatively simple added result in comparison. But you can't get the right results if you don't know the chemistry and how much it changes with time and why.

Make no mistake about it: a volcano eruption emits a greater amount of aerosols. But a big majority of it remains in the troposphere. To get aerosols into the stratosphere, you must work hard and relatively small meteorites etc. that are often burned over there may arguably be more important.

The point I want to make is that these difficult and technical questions were studied rationally in the 1960s; but they are no longer studied rationally today. The contemporary authors such as Solomon et al. have neither the expertise nor the scientific integrity to figure out where the aerosols are coming from and what's happening with them. Consequently, they can't make any justifiable predictions about the future evolution of the concentrations of these aerosols, either.

Instead of analyzing hundreds of numbers describing various elements etc. in the aerosol samples - which is what the 1965 paper is made out of - Solomon et al. are only interested in one, scientifically unimportant number - the average forcing that aerosols may be adding or subtracting from the energy fluxes that determine the global mean temperature.

Needless to say, they usually want to show that this number is low because aerosols shouldn't threaten the "climate monopoly" that has been assigned to the carbon dioxide by all these assholes. On the other hand, when they're running into real trouble - e.g. when they predict a huge warming for a decade but they get a cooling - they want the aerosols to "explain" the discrepancy. They beg for a while, hoping that the aerosols will be erased from the science again in the future.

But if one only works with one number, such as the change of forcing caused by the stratospheric aerosols, it's easy to adjust the arguments so that you get the number you wanted to get in the first place. It's not robust science. To do robust science, one has to work with lots of numbers - such as the concentrations of the elements in various samples etc. in the 1965 paper. A theory can't be scientific if it just "explains" one number - such as the global warming rate - by one parameter (and usually many more). A scientific theory must explain and/or predict many more numbers than the number of parameters. Using words of Feynman:

"When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition."

The alarmists are violating this rule all the time. The main problem is that they're not really interested in explaining Nature and the immense wealth of interesting patterns and unexplained numbers. They're interested in making one ideologically chosen quantity, the global warming rate, high and seemingly believable - so that it may be worshiped by the brainwashed society. But that's not science.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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


23 July, 2011

Cows are now good guys

Their farts have been forgiven apparently

In reports of rising CO2 levels, it's easy to get the impression that the carbon-and-oxygen molecule is a kind of toxin, some alien vapor coughed up by a century-plus of heedless industrialism now coming back to haunt us. But on closer inspection, it seems that the problem isn't the carbon itself—it's that there's too much in the air and not enough in the ground.

When we consider our CO2 predicament, we tend to fault our love affair with the car and the fruits of industry. But the greater culprit has been agriculture: since about 1850, twice as much atmospheric CO2 has derived from farming practices as from the burning of fossil fuels (the roles crossed around 1970). Over the past 150 years, between 50 and 80 percent of organic carbon in the topsoil has vanished into the air, and seven tons of carbon-banking topsoil have been lost for every ton of grain produced.

So, how do we get that carbon out of the air and back into the soil? Some suggest placing calcium carbonate or charcoal (aka "biochar") directly into agricultural soil (see "Black Is the New Green," Conservation, Summer 2010). But a growing number of soil and agricultural scientists are also discussing a low-tech, counterintuitive approach to the problem that depends on a group of unlikely heroes: cows. The catalyst for reducing CO2 and restoring soil function and fertility, they say, is bringing back the roving, grazing animals who used to wander the world's grasslands. The natural processes that take place in the digestive system and under the hooves of ruminants might be the key to turning deserts back into grasslands and reversing climate change. In other words, a climate-friendly future might look less like a geo-engineered landscape and more like, well, "Home on the Range."

Perhaps the most steadfast advocate of this future is Allan Savory. A 76-year-old native of Zimbabwe, Savory has the relaxed, weathered look of a lifelong outdoorsman more attuned to the etiquette of the bush than that of the boardroom. In the 1960s, as a young wildlife biologist in what was then called Southern Rhodesia, he noticed that, when livestock were removed from land set aside for future national parks, "almost immediately, these wonderful areas suffered severe loss of both plant and animal species." Cattle, he began to realize, could play—if properly managed—the crucial role in grassland ecology that used to be occupied by herds of wild herbivores. They could help prevent and even reverse land degradation and the desertification of grasslands, combating in the process both human poverty and the disappearance of wildlife. Over the course of several eventful decades—during which he was elected to the parliament, served as an opposition leader against Rhodesia's white-minority government, and spent four years in political exile—Savory developed a program to put these ideas into action.

Savory's singular insight is that grasslands and herbivores evolved in lockstep with one another. This means that to be healthy, grasses need to be grazed. Animals eat plants and stimulate their growth; they cycle dead plants back to the surface, which allows sunlight to reach the low-growing parts; their waste provides fertilizer. When a predator—say, a lion—comes into this bucolic scene, the animals bunch together and flee as a herd, their hooves breaking up and aerating the soil. Then, on a new patch of land, the process starts again. This way all plants get nibbled, but none are overgrazed. And none are overrested, which leads to accumulated dead plant material that blocks sunlight and hinders new growth.

Much more HERE

Former Greenpeace boss now a big player in the doomsday business

Throughout the history of mankind, doomsday prophesies have fascinated people. In this age of fast communications and world wide audiences clever manipulators - think of Al Gore - have realized that scaremongering is a huge business opportunity.

One of the newest entrants into the exclusive club of top doomsday entrepreneurs is Australian Paul Gilding, former head of Greenpeace International.

Gilding, whose "merits" include being arrested five times, now has a private consultancy with several major companies "from BHP Billiton to Dupont" as his customers. (Business contracts are now clearly much more appealing than Greenpeace stunts for this former activist ).

Lucrative book contracts offer another business bonanza for climate change scaremongerers, which is why Gilding has written a book, "The Great Disruption". The former activist is now busy touting his literary "masterpiece" to warmist mainstream media, most of which willingly agree to spread his message of gloom.

Recently the NYT climate change hypocrite Thomas Friedman did his best to to promote Gilding´s book:
“One of those who has been warning me of [a coming crisis] for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment-when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once-’The Great Disruption.’ “

Reuters is the next one to promote the book:
Gilding, author of a new book "The Great Disruption", has a simple message: We have left it too late to avoid serious impact from climate change and ecological damage after trying to drive global economic growth far beyond system and resource capacity.

As a consequence, we risk an environmental crash, triggering a sudden collapse in the global economy, and need to be ready to respond to the ensuing "social and economic hurricane", he says.
"If you thought the financial situation in 2008 was a crisis, and if you thought climate change was a cultural, economic and political challenge, then hold on for the ride," writes Gilding, a former head of Greenpeace International.

"We are about to witness humanity deal with its biggest crisis ever, something that will shake it to the core -- the end of economic growth," added the 52 - year-old Australian, who as an activist was arrested five times during protests....

He sees a series of ecological, social and economic shocks driven by climate change, including extreme weather, melting polar regions and agricultural output changes boosting prices.
Financial markets will see big drops, while the resulting economic and political crises will be massive in scale and last for decades....

So what are we supposed to do? Gilding says the stark view that it's too late now to avoid a crisis at first caused him despair -- he recalls breaking down sobbing during a 2007 presentation on the issue to a business audience in New York.

However, after 2007 things have improved for Gilding. No more sobbing and breakdowns for the hard working business entrepreneur. There is money to make in the doomsday business.

Although the doomsday prophesy is the one that is supposed to sell his book, Gilding obviously has realized that his consultancy business would suffer, unless there is a happy ending:
But despite the turmoil and geopolitical strife he says we could face he is optimistic that humanity will quickly respond once it wakes up to the scale of the threat.


1958 : Arctic Ice Same Thickness As Today

Some amazing gems in this article. A fascinating explanation of what causes ice ages.

Ice was the same thickness in 1958 as today, and “steadily thinning.”

Arctic Ocean is ice free during ice ages. This is plausible. We know that the Bering Strait was ice free when people crossed from Asia to North America.

This is what I have been saying. In situ melt is not the cause Arctic ice loss over the last 20 years. The whole summer extent game is a mindless distraction.

Rising sea levels trigger ice ages

Scripps used to do actual climate science!


EVs: Not so green after all

The Australian has reported the results of a fascinating British study. It turns out that electric cars (EVs), those holy icons of the Green religion, may actually produce more atmosphere-destroying emissions over their lifetimes than regular, gasoline fueled cars — when you do the commonsense thing and factor in the energy it takes to produce the necessary batteries.

To be precise, the study (which was funded by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, a group that is, in turn, supported by both the British government and the British car industry) showed that the average EV would have to be driven over 80,000 miles for it to produce a net savings in carbon dioxide over the standard internal combustion engine. Considering that EVs have limited ranges (they average about 90 miles per charge), it is not clear that many EVs will last that long.

This study was the first to look at the whole lifecycle emissions of EVs, including their manufacturing, driving, and — please note — the tricky matter of disposal of their used batteries. These batteries are the culprits. They contain metals that are expensive to produce, and they have to be replaced every few years.

The study found that a mid-size EV produces about 23.1 tons of carbon dioxide during its lifetime, scarcely less than the 24 tons produced by a regular, gasoline powered car. This is in part because the emissions from manufacturing EVs are about 50% higher than those from manufacturing regular cars.

What the British Department for Transport will make of the report it called for is anyone’s guess. The Department is currently lavishing $7,700 grants on people who buy the damn things.


British Energy Policy Unravelling

Builders of nuclear reactors sitting on their hands until some more of that lovely government money comes their way

As energy companies put projects on hold, government plans for new nuclear reactors are in danger of unravelling. Experts expect that EDF will demand even more generous subsidies.

EDF Energy has indicated that it will not build the first of Britain’s new nuclear reactors by 2018, despite earlier promises.

Vincent de Rivaz, the energy group’s chief executive, told The Times that the reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset would be ready “when the UK needs it”. Mr de Rivaz said that Britain no longer needed the reactor to be ready by that date because the financial crisis of 2009 and energy efficiency measures had reduced long-term electricity demand.

He said that a delay in building the reactor, which will push back his company’s intention to build a second reactor on the site by 2020, will not threaten Britain’s energy security. “It’s not a gamble at all. I will not let down the country,” he said. [...]

It will be operational in 2016, four years later than planned, the company said, and will cost €6 billion (£5.3 billion), almost twice its original price. Mr de Rivaz said that the delays were “quite normal” because it was the first of a new generation of reactors to be built in France.

The Government’s plans for new nuclear reactors are in danger of unravelling. The Times revealed in May that E.ON and RWE, the German companies that have formed the Horizon new-build consortium, have put their plans on hold because of financial pressures and Germany’s anti-nuclear stance after the Fukushima disaster.

The Government is keen not to be reliant on one company to deliver its nuclear policy, but industry executives fear that EDF Energy will extract even more generous subsidies.


Admit it: environmentalism was an ugly experiment

Mark Lynas has converted from eco-alarmist to pro-growth rationalist. But he still doesn’t get the problem with green thinking

by Ben Pile

Since becoming an advocate of genetic modification (GM) and nuclear power, Mark Lynas has drawn increasingly hostile criticism from his erstwhile comrades in the green movement. In turn, he has sharpened his criticism of environmentalists for their hostility to technological and economic development. In his new book, The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, he attempts to reformulate environmentalism to overcome the excesses that have so far prevented it from saving the planet. This book will no doubt provoke debate, but what is this transformation really about, and is it really based on new ideas or merely the revision of old ones?

Last November, Channel 4 aired What the Green Movement Got Wrong, which featured prominent environmentalists, including Lynas, reflecting on the failures of environmentalism. The film claimed that environmentalists’ opposition to technologies that offered environmentally benign methods of energy and crop production had impeded their aim of creating an ecologically sustainable society. Since then, the debate between pro- and anti-nuclear environmentalists has deepened, exposing the many divisions that exist within the green camp.

That said, the green movement has never really been united by a coherent perspective that could withstand criticism with confidence. Instead, it has been more easily characterised as intransigent, its critics simply dismissed as ‘deniers’ funded by big business. Environmentalism, ignorant to criticism, has thus developed inside an insular, self-regarding bubble. Perhaps only someone from within it could prick that bubble, revealing to its members what those outside it have been telling them for decades.

However, the object of Lynas’s criticism is not the substance or ends of environmentalism but merely its means. The environment has not been saved by green hostility to development, he says. Environmentalism’s uncompromising demands that we accept lower living standards make green politics unpalatable. Accordingly, he attempts to locate the basis for an environmentalism characterised by realism and pragmatism: what the science really tells us and how it can be most effectively acted upon.

As a result, there is much to agree with in The God Species. Most importantly, Lynas makes a clean break from deep ecology – the idea that ‘nature’ has intrinsic moral value and a ‘right’ to be protected from our ambitions. He rebukes the environmentalism that imagines a return to a pristine nature, and that shows contempt for development as an attempt to ‘play god’ over nature. We should ‘play god’, he says, for the planet’s sake as well as our own comfort. There is a convincing criticism of green demands for austerity and environmentalists’ unrealistic expectations that people should make do with ‘happiness’ rather than material progress. These are the conceits of well-off, middle-class and self-indulgent whingers, Lynas explains. Some of us have been making similar arguments for a very long time.

In spite of some of his accurate criticisms, Lynas fails to get to the substance of environmentalism. We do not find out what takes environmentalists to their bleak view of the world and their low view of humanity. This is a shame, because Lynas is in a unique position to reflect on it, having once thrust a custard pie into Bjorn Lomborg’s face, with the words: ‘That’s for everything you say about the environment which is complete bullshit. That’s for lying about climate change. That’s what you deserve for being smug about everything to do with the environment.’

A decade on, Lynas now emphasises science and pragmatism rather than… erm… pies. It’s worth remembering that Lomborg started out on mission similar to Lynas’s: as an environmentalist, keen to establish the sensible limits of our interaction with the natural world. Before writing The Skeptical Environmentalist, Lomborg aimed to debunk the works of the economist, Julian Simon, but ended up sympathetic to many of his arguments. Lynas, too, now finds himself sympathetic to many of the ideas from the economic right (he calls for the privatisation of all publicly owned water companies, for instance). And like Lynas, Lomborg never ended up ‘denying’ climate change, but instead sought to bring a sense of proportion to the problem, and to put it into context with other problems in the world. That is all it takes to find oneself called a ‘denier’: merely seeking a sense of proportion about environmental problems will put you in the lowest moral category, as Lynas, the ‘Chernobyl death denier’, has now discovered.

Lynas’s transformation shows few signs of self-reflection. Yet this would surely be the most interesting thing he could discuss. Why did ‘denial’ provoke such incomprehensible rage to the younger Lynas? And now that he finds himself accused of it, why is he not more cautious about the word ‘denier’, which he still uses with abandon? Instead, he puts his past eco-zeal down to mere ‘ideology’. Ideology it may have been, but there is no discussion about its character, its origins and context, or how he came to be vulnerable to it. His metamorphosis from long-time anti-GM campaigner to advocate came about, he explains, after he read some scientific literature in 2008. Lynas’s conceit is that he has freed himself from ideology simply by reading ‘the science’.

But doesn’t every green campaigner believe himself to be armed with the science against the dark forces of ideology? Lynas would only have to watch the studio debate that followed What the Green Movement Got Wrong to recall that it was a pantomime, in which each green side claimed to represent pragmatism and science against the other’s ideology. Clearly, the coordinates of the environmental debate are not easily determined as ‘science’ and ‘ideology’, and a deeper reflection on both concepts is necessary to understand it. Lynas, in spite of his claim that ‘science’ has helped him overcome ‘ideology’, fails to provide that insight.

So what is this science which has allowed Lynas to eschew ideology?

Lynas takes his inspiration from the work of Professor Johan Rockström, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, which aims to offer ‘research for governance of social-ecological systems’. According to Lynas, Rockström and his associates – referred to by Lynas as the ‘planetary boundaries experts group’ – believe that they have identified nine fundamental measures of the planet’s ecological health that human development must not interfere with, if ecological catastrophe is to be avoided.

There is a chapter on each of these nine ‘boundaries’. For example, Lynas argues that we must observe the ‘biodiversity’ boundary by ensuring that fewer than 10 species per year are lost to extinction (against a current rate of over 100). The climate-change boundary means we must maintain atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide below 350 parts per million (ppm). (It’s already higher than that, meaning that society must become carbon negative.) The nitrogen boundary means we must remove no more than 35million tonnes of nitrogen from the atmosphere per year. And so on.

Anyone familiar with environmentalism’s history will recognise that this idea of ecological boundaries owes something to the Club of Rome’s 1972 report, The Limits to Growth. Noting the similarity himself, Lynas insists that boundaries are not limits to growth. Growth can exist and continue within these boundaries, he says, adding a fairly convincing argument that he does indeed at least believe that economic growth, technological development and social progress can and should continue within them. But if a boundary isn’t a limit, what is it?

Although Lynas claims that this idea is both new, and founded on new science, the premise of this idea is the same as many other eco- centric perspectives: we live on ‘Spaceship Earth’, ‘Gaia’, in a ‘web of life’. The biosphere, says Lynas, comprises an ecosystem ‘characterised by near infinite complexity: all their nodes of interconnectedness cannot possibly be identified, quantified or centrally planned, yet the product as a whole tends towards balance and self-correction’. In the chapter on biodiversity, Lynas says: ‘By removing species, we damage ecosystems, collapse food webs and ultimately undermine the planetary life-support system on which our species depends as much as any other.’

In the late 1960s, Paul Ehrlich famously made dire predictions of doom, based on his attempts to model the biosphere and our relation to it, which failed to materialise. Nonetheless, his predictions helped to kickstart the contemporary environmental movement. In answer to Ehrlich’s failure to turn ecology into a predictive material and social science, environmentalists have claimed that what Ehrlich - and Malthus before him - got wrong was simply the ‘when’, not the ‘if’, in the familiar ‘not if, but when’ mantra. The failure, in other words, was merely in underestimating the resilience of ‘the system’, which in spite of Ehrlich’s failures is still presumed to exist. Lynas and his experts have merely sought to better estimate that resilience.

The possibility that that there is no ‘self-regulating system’ of the kind they have imagined does not seem to have occurred to Lynas. He claims that there exists an abundance of evidence for it, but his reasoning that it exists is deductive, rather than based on empirical science actually locating it. Contemplating the endurance of life – or ‘self-regulating systems’, on his view – on Earth for four billion years, through several catastrophic events, Lynas deduces unsoundly that ‘the only plausible explanation is that self-regulation is somehow an emergent property of the system; negative feedbacks overwhelm positive ones and tend to push the Earth towards stability and balance’. There must be a ‘self-regulating system’ producing ‘balance’ merely because Lynas can’t consider an alternative.

But rather than demonstrating that there is a self-regulating system, isn’t there an equally plausible argument that the endurance of life on Earth demonstrates that no such ‘self-regulating system’ exists at all? Life is enduring with or without stasis. Perhaps, rather than occupying sensitive niches, organisms simply survive when they are not pelted by rocks from the cosmos, frozen under ice sheets, buried under molten lava or suffocated by ash – that is, when and where conditions are not hostile to life. Perhaps the ‘balance’ and ‘self-regulation’ witnessed by Lynas and ecologists are merely artefacts of the scale at which they perceive nature: a human life in contrast to geological epochs. Why should it surprise us that life and its seemingly similar conditions endure? Maybe Gaia seems to be at the same time so resilient and so sensitive because she does not exist.

According to Lynas, Gaia is a metaphor for a ‘universal scientific principle’: the emergent property of self-organisation in complex systems. But the metaphor looks far more like those who invoke her than ‘nature’. The preoccupation with ‘self-regulating systems’ seems to coincide with a desire for the regulation and systematisation of human life. We have to presuppose a great deal to take this account of life on Earth at face value, and even more to start organising society around the principle. Indeed, we might now be able to call this ensemble of presuppositions about ‘balance’ and ‘self-organisation’ environmental ideology. Lynas, like many environmentalists, presupposes both balance and the system which produces it. They claim evidence for it in science, but the claim precedes the science. Scientists have looked for Gaia, but they have not found her. Perhaps scientists and science are not so immune to ideology, after all.

Reading each of the chapters on planetary boundaries puts one in mind of an attempt to use the concept of irreducible complexity to make an argument for ‘intelligent design’. Rather than being an attempt to digest scientific research, it seems more an attempt to bombard the reader with endless salvoes of facts. The problem with using science in this way is that it is presented without its caveats, its context or the limitations of its design. Rather than developing a critical understanding of the issues, the reader is encouraged to sit passively through tales of tragic environmental degradation, followed by the remedy.

This has been the environmentalist’s device of choice, because complex technical ideas hide political and ethical ideas - the remedy - behind scientific authority. And this is the biggest problem of the environmental debate. To take issue with the ethics or politics of environmentalism or its interpretation of science is seen as equivalent to denying scientific evidence. To point out that science requires interpretation is seemingly to suggest that there is no such thing as material reality. Environmentalists seem to imagine that science is a direct conduit from pure objectivity to humanity – it issues instructions about how we ought to live.

Lynas does not escape these problems. The God Species is littered with complaints about ‘deniers’ and their ideological motivations. In one section, Lynas complains about ‘the [political] right’s tendency to downplay or deny the environmental consequences of this human great leap forward’, and asks, why they do not ‘just admit candidly that whilst the human advance has been amazing and hugely beneficial, it has also had serious environmental impacts’. And it is perhaps this question that most reveals Lynas’ naivety about ideology, and his failure to reflect on his own position.

Nobody is ‘denying the environmental consequences’ of human progress. Nobody could look at a river oozing with toxic sludge and say that it wasn’t pollution. What would be at issue is what kind of problem that pollution is. For a population that depended on the river for sustenance, its contamination would indeed be a huge problem. For a population which has no real use for the river, it is less of a problem. (Indeed, it may even be a convenient solution to the problem of what to do with all that toxic sludge, until some better means of disposal is developed.) What differs between perspectives is not necessarily assent to or denial of ‘facts’, but priorities, values and ways of interpreting them. If you believe that the planet is a highly sensitive self-regulating system that produces balance, it follows that you’d be more concerned about pollution than somebody who felt more confident about the world’s resilience.

Never mind environmental science’s failures to produce proof of Gaia’s existence and failure to predict ecological Armageddon, we only need to look at environmentalism’s political failures to understand Lynas’s reformulation of environmentalism. On the street, environmentalism has comprehensively failed to become a mass movement. At the level of regional government, ideas about saving the planet by ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ have only antagonised relations between the public and officials while degrading local services. At the level of national government, the political establishment’s environmentalism only serves to reflect the gulf that exists between the public and themselves – their various planet-saving initiatives looking more and more like desperate and self-serving attempts to legitimise their functioning in an era of mass political disengagement. At the supranational level, environmentalism has failed to unite nations in fear of Gaia’s revenge.

The attempt to locate planetary boundaries is equally an attempt to locate boundaries for humanity – to put it in its place within a supposed natural order. And within that order is a design for political institutions that are not legitimised by the public contest of values and ideas, but by the claim that they are necessary for ‘saving the planet’ and ourselves. Environmentalism is an ugly political experiment. That experiment failed, but not simply because its material science was flawed. Just as it was environmentalism’s political failure that preceded Lynas’s revision of its scientific basis, environmentalism’s political idea - its ideology - precedes the science. Rewriting the science won’t make the experiment any more successful for Lynas than it was for Ehrlich.



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


22 July, 2011


I normally put my Australian roundup at the end of the day's postings here but I am leading off with it today because all three articles have general relevance and the first article in particular is about as destructive to Warmism as I can imagine

Pesky! Sea-level rises are SLOWING, tidal gauge records show

Once again, reality defies the so-called "models": Models of what? These findings hit right at the heart of the Warmist scare. The spectre of rising sea levels has been their most dramatic claim

ONE of Australia's foremost experts on the relationship between climate change and sea levels has written a peer-reviewed paper concluding that rises in sea levels are "decelerating".

The analysis, by NSW principal coastal specialist Phil Watson, calls into question one of the key criteria for large-scale inundation around the Australian coast by 2100 -- the assumption of an accelerating rise in sea levels because of climate change.

Based on century-long tide gauge records at Fremantle, Western Australia (from 1897 to present), Auckland Harbour in New Zealand (1903 to present), Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour (1914 to present) and Pilot Station at Newcastle (1925 to present), the analysis finds there was a "consistent trend of weak deceleration" from 1940 to 2000.

Mr Watson's findings, published in the Journal of Coastal Research this year and now attracting broader attention, supports a similar analysis of long-term tide gauges in the US earlier this year. Both raise questions about the CSIRO's sea-level predictions.

Climate change researcher Howard Brady, at Macquarie University, said yesterday the recent research meant sea levels rises accepted by the CSIRO were "already dead in the water as having no sound basis in probability". "In all cases, it is clear that sea-level rise, although occurring, has been decelerating for at least the last half of the 20th century, and so the present trend would only produce sea level rise of around 15cm for the 21st century."

Dr Brady said the divergence between the sea-level trends from models and sea-level trends from the tide gauge records was now so great "it is clear there is a serious problem with the models".

"In a nutshell, this factual information means the high sea-level rises used as precautionary guidelines by the CSIRO in recent years are in essence ridiculous," he said. During the 20th century, there was a measurable global average rise in mean sea level of about 17cm [7"] (plus or minus 5cm).

But scientific projections, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have suggested climate change will deliver a much greater global tide rise in mean sea level this century of 80-100cm.

The federal government has published a series of inundation maps based on the panel's predictions showing that large areas of Australia's capital cities, southeast Queensland and the NSW central coast will be under water by 2100.

Without acceleration in sea-level rises, the 20th-century trend of 1.7mm a year would produce a rise of about 0.15m by 2100.

Mr Watson's analysis of the four longest continuous Australian and New Zealand records is consistent with the findings of US researchers Robert Dean and James Houston, who analysed monthly averaged records for 57 tide gauges, covering periods of 60 to 156 years.

The US research concluded there was "no evidence to support positive acceleration over the 20th century as suggested by the IPCC, global climate change models and some researchers".

Mr Watson cautioned in his research and again yesterday that studies of a small number of northern hemisphere records spanning two or three centuries had found a small acceleration in sea-level rises. He said it was possible the rises could be subject to "climate-induced impacts projected to occur over this century".

Mr Watson's research finds that in the 1990s, when sea levels were attracting international attention, although the decadal rates of ocean rise were high, "they are not remarkable or unusual in the context of the historical record at each site over the 20th century".

"What we are seeing in all of the records is there are relatively high rates of sea-level rise evident post-1990, but those sorts of rates of rise have been witnessed at other times in the historical record," he said. "What remains unknown is whether or not these rates are going to persist into the future and indeed increase."

He said further research was required, "to rationalise the difference between the acceleration trend evident in the global sea level time-series reconstructions (models) and the relatively consistent deceleration trend evident in the long-term Australasian tide gauge records".

With an estimated 710,000 Australian homes within 3km and below 6m elevation of the coast, accurate sea-level predictions are vital for planning in coastal areas anticipating predicted sea-level rises of almost a metre by 2100.


Another "secret" Greenie model

Warmists keeping details of their calculations secret is a normal modus operandi for them. That of course tells its own story. And leaked details of the carbon tax modelling show amply WHY they want to keep it all secret. Their assumptions are absurd. Henry Ergas has a few chuckles below

I WAS wrong. Treasury's modelling doesn't assume the US has an emissions trading scheme in place by 2016. It merely assumes its economy operates as if it did. Unnamed government sources have told the Fairfax press that Treasury assumes the US will "reach emission reduction targets at a cost no higher than the international price", that is, at least cost, without having to bother with a market-based mechanism.

That would not be a mere accomplishment: it would be a miracle. At least if you take Climate Change Minister Greg Combet seriously who has repeatedly said imposing a carbon tax is "essential" for "achieving emissions reductions at cheapest cost". As have Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan.

But Treasury apparently knows better. If those government sources are to be believed, its officials have discovered a way of getting the benefit of a carbon tax without actually having one.

Yet, oddly, that miracle cure doesn't seem to have been around when Treasury wrote its modelling report. Rather, Treasury assumes that from 2016, under the auspices of a "co-ordinated international policy regime", industrial countries, including the US, would "trade, either bilaterally or through a central market" delivering a "harmonised world carbon price".

How the US will trade if it doesn't have some form of permit system is a mystery worthy of Hercule Poirot. And the mysteries don't end there. If the US can achieve least-cost abatement without an ETS in 2016, why put one in place later? Indeed, why would anyone bother with such a scheme?

Answering these questions would be easier if the government opened the kimono on the actual model. Given access to the model itself, we would know exactly what it assumes. And the implications of changing those assumptions could be tested.

It would be possible to assess the costs to Australia if we adopt a carbon tax and our major competitors don't: the scenario Treasury's report fails to detail. And it would also be possible to examine the effects of other crucial features of Treasury's modelling.

For example, the model does not provide for the mandated decommissioning of the Hazelwood and possibly Yallourn power stations in Victoria. These generators have low operating costs and even with a rising carbon price would operate until at least 2025. Replacing them sooner requires substantial investment in generating plant and transmission. That will need to be paid for. But when?

Although the government is talking of decommissioning those generators now, Treasury's modelling seems to defer the cost until at least 2025 and maybe until 2040. That conveniently reduces the estimated hit to electricity prices.

The model also assumes unlimited access to permits overseas. Those permits provide two-thirds of our mitigation to 2020, "resulting in lower economic costs". But the government has now said it will cap purchases of foreign abatement at far less than that. So here, too, the policy's costs are underestimated.

And the model also unrealistically assumes the government's policy is revenue neutral (so that other taxes don't need to be raised to finance any shortfall), with all revenues returned to taxpayers as lump sum payments, so the compensation does not distort any decisions.

But here's the best bit, tucked away in a technical annex. The modelling assumes emitters can borrow permits from the future. And borrow they do, on a scale that puts Greece to shame.

By 2050, emitters worldwide have borrowed four years' global permit allocations from the future. Using Treasury's estimate of future carbon prices, that is equivalent to a net debt of $10.7 trillion in 2011 dollars, or 10 times Australia's current national output. And the total value of those net borrowings would rise at 6 to 8 per cent a year, far exceeding the growth rate of world incomes.

Why assume debt accumulation on such a plainly unsustainable scale? Because it postpones the pain, shifting emissions reduction to beyond the modelling period. The problem, however, is no current or likely scheme allows such net borrowing, much less on the scale Treasury envisages. So that further underestimates the policy's costs, probably greatly.

But without access to the model no one can say by how much. And that suits the government. For Treasury's modelling presumably reflects assumptions determined by the government, such as that all industrial countries have carbon taxes in place by 2016 or behave as if they did.

The government also presumably determined what was not to be disclosed: most importantly, the consequences if we tax our mineral exports and our competitors don't. Treasury then modelled and explained those scenarios as best it could.

Fair enough; that is the government's prerogative and Treasury's job. But when caught out, spare us the contorted denials. Rather, when the facts come home to roost, have the good grace to make them welcome. Or as Gillard put it: "Don't write crap. It can't be that hard."


Bootleggers hijack climate change debate

Bjorn Lomborg

AUSTRALIA'S carbon tax is being sold to the public with government-funded ads in which representatives from renewable energy companies make the case for the government policy.

Their arguments range from, "it's got to be better to put wind turbines up", to "other countries around the world are doing it". One cites the example of Germany, which has led the world in subsidising solar panels.

Yes, Germany has spent more than $75 billion on inefficient solar technology delivering a mere 0.1 per cent of its total energy supply. And this will postpone global warming by how much? A whole seven hours by the end of the century.

The ads give the impression that solar and wind are ready to take over from fossil fuels. Yet, even in a very optimistic scenario, the International Energy Agency estimates that by 2035, solar and energy will contribute only about 1.6 per cent of global energy.

They also suggest that carbon pricing will lead to new green jobs popping up, as if by magic.

Yet the most comprehensive research into "green jobs" shows that a similar number of people are put out of work because of increased energy costs.

The Australian government is not alone in touting renewable energy as a solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In May, the UN's International Panel on Climate Change made media waves with a new report on renewable energy. As in the past, the IPCC first issued a short summary; only later would it reveal all of the data.

The IPCC press release declared, "Close to 80 per cent of the world's energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies." That story was repeated by media organisations worldwide.

Last month the IPCC released the full report, together with the data behind this startlingly optimistic claim. Only then did it emerge that it was based solely on the most optimistic of 164 modelling scenarios researchers investigated. And this single scenario stemmed from a single study that was traced back to a report by the environmental organisation Greenpeace. The author of that report, a Greenpeace staff member, was one of the IPCC lead authors.

The claim rested on the assumption of a large reduction in global energy use. Given the number of people climbing out of poverty in China and India, that is a deeply implausible scenario.

When the IPCC first made the claim, global-warming activists and renewable-energy companies cheered. "The report clearly demonstrates that renewable technologies could supply the world with more energy than it would ever need," boasted Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the Global Wind Energy Council.

This sort of behaviour, with activists and big energy companies uniting to applaud anything that suggests a need for increased subsidies to alternative energy, was famously captured by the so-called "bootleggers and baptists" theory of politics.

The theory grew out of the experience of the southern US, where many jurisdictions required stores to close on Sunday, thus preventing the sale of alcohol. The regulation was supported by religious groups for moral reasons, but also by bootleggers, because they had the market to themselves on Sundays. Politicians would adopt the Baptists' pious rhetoric, while quietly taking campaign contributions from the criminals.

Of course, today's climate-change "bootleggers" are not engaged in any illegal behaviour.

But the self-interest of energy companies, biofuel producers, insurance firms, lobbyists, and others in supporting "green" policies is a point that is often missed.

Indeed, the "bootleggers and Baptists" theory helps to account for other developments in global warming policy over the past decade or so. For example, the Kyoto Protocol would have cost trillions of dollars, but would have achieved a practically indiscernible difference in stemming the rise in global temperature. Yet activists claimed that there was a moral obligation to cut carbon-dioxide emissions, and were cheered on by businesses that stood to gain.

During the ill-fated Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009, Denmark's capital city was plastered with slick ads urging the delegates to make a strong deal. They were paid for by Vestas, the world's largest windmill producer.

Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, a famous convert to environmentalism, drafted a "plan" (which he named after himself) to increase America's reliance on renewables. Of course, he would also have been one of the main investors in the wind-power and natural-gas companies that would benefit from government subsidies.

Traditional energy giants like BP and Shell have championed their "green" credentials, while standing to profit from selling oil or gas instead of environmentally "unfriendly" coal. Even US electricity giant Duke Energy, a big coal consumer, won green kudos for promoting a US cap-and-trade scheme. But the firm ended up opposing the draft legislation to create such a scheme, because it did not provide sufficient free carbon-emission permits for coal companies.

Elsewhere in the world, dubious claims by faithful activists gave rise to the biofuels industry (with supporting lobbyists).

Biofuel production likely increases atmospheric carbon, owing to the massive deforestation that it requires, while crop diversion increases food prices and contributes to global hunger. While environmentalists have started to acknowledge this, the industry received a lot of activist support when it began, and neither agribusiness nor green-energy producers have any interest in changing course now.

Obviously, private firms are motivated by self-interest, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. But too often we hear commentators suggest that when Greenpeace and big business agree on something, it must be a sensible option. Business support for expensive policies such as the Kyoto Protocol, which would have done very little for climate change, indicate otherwise.

The climate-change "Baptists" provide the moral cover that politicians can use to sell regulation, along with scary stories that the media can use to attract readers or viewers.

Businesses see opportunities for taxpayer-funded subsidies, and to pass on inevitable cost growth to consumers.

Unfortunately, this convergence of interests can push us to focus on ineffective, expensive responses to climate change. Whenever opposite political forces attract, as activists and big business have in the case of global warming, there is a high risk that the public interest will be caught in the middle.


Show us the bodies, EPA

Green agency uses phony death statistics to justify job-killing rules

By Steve Milloy

The House will soon vote to (slightly) rein in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency. But this much-needed baby step by Congress will only happen if Republicans have the knowledge and muster the courage to withstand a final bare-knuckles assault by EPA’s enviro allies.

The House Appropriations Committee passed last week the fiscal 2012 EPA budget that would cut the agency’s budget by $1.7 billion - 18 percent - and delay for one year several of its new and/or planned regulatory programs targeting coal-fired electric utilities. It’s hardly landmark legislation but it’s a start.

Troubled by the agency’s high-cost-for-imaginary benefit programs covering emissions of greenhouse gases, mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, the committee’s bill calls for a timeout on the EPA’s rules pending a study of their impacts.

But the EPA and its allies aren’t taking such reasonableness lying down. Leading their pushback is the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which is making utility giant American Electric Power (AEP) the whipping boy example for Republicans and businesses that dare question - let alone rise against - EPA oppression.

The EDF is running a billboard and TV ad campaign accusing AEP and, by extension, anyone else that opposes EPA overregulation, of pushing a “dirty air bill” that will kill 17,000 people per year in the name of “polluter profits.”

The TV ad for this theme features a young girl in a hospital bed supposedly having an asthma attack. She’s wearing a nebulizer face mask and chest compression device that is rhythmically but disturbingly squeezing the child, giving the appearance that she is in severe respiratory distress, by implication from air pollution.

But like the EPA’s 17,000-lives-saved statistical fabrication, the ad is a fake.

If you look closely at the girl, as opposed to what is being done to her, she is, in fact, calmly sitting up in bed and not in any respiratory distress whatsoever. The ad is a total put-on. Moreover, asthma attacks aren’t treated with chest-compression devices, which are instead more typically used for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The apparent reason the EDF used the chest compression device in the commercial was to fabricate pulsating drama for its false message that efforts to rein in the EPA threaten children’s health.

Another EDF commercial features a sonogram of a fetus with beating heart and a voiceover that asserts, “The developing fetus and young children are thought to be disproportionately affected by mercury exposure. …” The voiceover then asks, “How many lives will be damaged? How many lives is OK?” by AEP’s effort to block EPA regulation.

But there is no evidence that ambient levels of mercury or mercury emissions from U.S. power plants have harmed anyone. In any event, nature is responsible for the vast majority of mercury emissions (70 percent), while U.S. power plants are responsible for less than 1 percent of global emissions.

So what can Republicans and industry do to defend themselves from these groundless and scurrilous attack ads?

To paraphrase cinematic sports agent Jerry McGuire, “Show me the bodies.”

While that may sound harsh, given that the EPA is about to kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and cost our crippled economy countless billions of dollars, Republicans must demand some sort of proof that the alleged harms are indeed happening.

The EPA says air pollution kills tens of thousands of people annually. This is on a par with traffic accident fatalities. While we can identify traffic accident victims, air pollution victims are unknown, unidentified and as far as anyone can tell, figments of EPA’s statistical imagination.

It ought not to be too much to ask the EPA to produce some tangible evidence that air pollution is causing actual harm to real people. The EPA should have to demonstrate that its ever-tightening air quality and emissions standards are producing actual benefits.

Consider that the EPA and its enviro-buddies are essentially accusing coal-fired utilities of killing and injuring hundreds of thousands of people annually. Have you ever wondered why there are no class-action lawsuits against utilities for billions of dollars in damages?

Apparently, even trial lawyers have no confidence that EPA science holds up to scrutiny.

In the past two weeks, EPA chief Lisa Jackson and the chairman of EPA’s clean air advisory committee have both indicated that there is no limit to EPA’s clean air regulatory authority. In the name of public health, for example, the EPA could regulate ground-level ozone to below naturally occurring levels without regard to cost.

That situation, as well as what the EPA is doing today, are not what Congress intended when it amended the Clean Air Act in 1970, 1977 and 1990. We can no longer afford the EPA’s clean air charade. The EPA has no clothes - if only congressional Republicans would open their eyes and notice.


Global warming causing poor education, forced marriage, forced labor, and sexual violence

Amazing what a 0.7C change in temperature over the past 161 years can do. Some more items to add to the list:

Plan International’s Weathering the Storm: Adolescent Girls and Climate Change highlights the need to better integrate the specific needs of adolescent girls in climate change and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes.

The findings presented in the report are based on interviews with girls involved in Plan International’s programmes in Ethiopia and Bangladesh. We were particularly keen to hear stories from girls themselves in relation to how climate change is impacting on their lives and what they feel that policy makers should do differently. [what specific qualifications do adolescent girls have to assess impacts of climate change and determine policy?]

The impacts of climate change, whether they are gradual changes in agriculture and living conditions or the more cataclysmic effects of a cyclone or flood, are different for different populations. Whilst inevitably children everywhere are badly affected we illustrate how girls, in particular, bear the greater burden. The report evidences how, as a result of climate change, adolescent girls face increases in household responsibilities and are more likely to be forced into work resulting in less time for them to attend school or study at home.

It also emphasises the policy and funding gap to address these issues by policy makers. The girls themselves were clear on where they felt that policy priorities should be targeted. They wanted greater access to quality education where they can learn skills to improve their adaptive capacity; greater protection from violence especially early forced marriage, sexual violence and forced labour and they wanted their concerns to be heard and acted upon by policy makers.


Uproar As BBC says it will not cover Climate Sceptics

So what else is new?

THE BBC was criticised by climate change sceptics yesterday after it emerged that their views will get less coverage because they differ from mainline scientific opinion.

In a report by its governing body, the BBC Trust, the corporation was urged to focus less on opponents of the “majority consensus” in its programmes. It said coverage should not be tailored to represent a “false balance” of opinion if one side came from a minority group.

The report was partly based on an independent review of coverage by Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College, London.

Although he found no evidence of bias in BBC output, he suggested where there is a “scientific consensus” it should not hunt out opponents purely to balance the story. He highlighted climate change as an example along with the controversy over the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine potentially leading to autism.

On climate change, Professor Jones said there had been a “drizzle of criticism of BBC coverage” arising from “a handful of journalists who have taken it upon themselves to keep disbelief alive”.

The report says: “In its early days, two decades ago, there was a genuine scientific debate about the reality of climate change. Now, there is general agreement that warming is a fact even if there remain uncertainties about how fast, and how much, the temperature might rise.”

But critics accused Professor Jones of using the report as a cover to “push the BBC’s green agenda”. Among them are former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson, who was accused by the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir John Beddington, of making “incorrect” claims in An Appeal To Reason, the peer’s book on climate change.

Lord Lawson, chairman of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said the fact that carbon dioxide levels were rising leading to global warming was not under dispute. However, he added, its extent and effect could not be explained by majority scientific opinion alone.

He said: “The BBC is already extremely one-sided on this issue. They have a settled view which is politically correct. “The idea that because scientific opinion falls largely on one side you can’t have a debate is outrageous. Because there’s a strong majority in basic science doesn’t mean the issue is off the table, yet the BBC says it should be.”

The foundation’s director, Dr Benny Peiser, said the report would lead to biased coverage of climate change and stifle any real debate. He said: “This is nothing the BBC has not been doing for the past 10 years, however. They are completely biased on the issue of climate change and this is nothing more than an effort to push their green agenda.”

Dr David Whitehouse, the foundation’s editor and a former BBC science correspondent, said the corporation had “lost the plot” when it came to science journalism. He said the corporation was “grouping sceptics with deniers” which would result in a lack of valid scientific input to its reports. He said: “A sceptic is not a denier, all good scientists should be sceptics. The BBC has got itself into a complete muddle. “In seeking to get the science right it has missed the journalism which is about asking awkward questions and shaking the tree.”

But the BBC Trust defended the report. A spokesman said: “The report is not suggesting that climate change sceptics will not have a place on the BBC in future. “The point Professor Jones makes is that the scientific consensus is that it is caused by human activity. Therefore the BBC’s coverage needs to give less weight to those who oppose this view, and reflect the fact that the debate has moved on to how to deal with climate change.”


NASA’s Inconvenient Ruse: The Goddard Institute For Space Studies

The next time you read that NASA declares this or that day, month or year the hottest since yadda, yadda, yadda — you might want to check the source. It’s a pretty safe bet that it came from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and probably quotes its director, James Hansen.

One would imagine that if you can trust any organization regarding reliable climate information, it would be NASA, right? Particularly a NASA organization named after Dr. Robert H. Goddard, widely recognized as the “father of American rocketry.” Think how important it is to get weather information right when launching people into space, and consider all those satellites and other high-tech stuff they have at their disposal. One would certainly believe that they could be relied on to give us the real scoop. Unfortunately, one might be very wrong, at least regarding the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

First of all, GISS is actually only a climate modeling shop that relies on surface (not satellite) data that is mostly supplied by others. And even some top NASA scientists consider the dataset produced by GISS inferior to data provided by two other principal organizations, the National Climate Data Center’s Global Historical Climatology Network and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) — home of the “ClimateGate” scandal.

As reported in a NASA memo to USA Today’s weather editor from Reto Ruedy at GISS: “My recommendation to you is to continue using NCRDC [NOAA] data for U.S. mean [temperatures] and Phil Jones’ [CRU] data for the global mean…We are basically a modeling group…for that purpose what we do is more than accurate enough [to assess model results]. But we have no intention to compete with either of the other two organizations in what they do best.” He clarified this point, saying, “…the National Climate Center’s procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate.”

And just how good is that CRU data? One ClimateGate log posted by database programmer Ian “Harry” Harris doesn’t provide much public confidence, reporting: “[The] hopeless state of their [CRU] database. No uniform data integrity. It’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found…There are hundreds if not thousands of pairs of dummy stations…and duplicates…Aarrggghh! There truly is no end in sight. This project is such a MESS. No wonder I needed therapy!!”

CRU Director Phil Jones, in an interview with BBC, admitted to big problems, confessing that “…surface temperature data are in such disarray they probably cannot be verified or replicated.”

Jones also acknowledged that CRU mirrors U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data. “Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same as in the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) archive used by the NOAA National Climate Data Center.” NASA GISS also uses NOAA data, applying its own adjustments. While all three databases suffer from the same flaws, NASA “tuning” tends to show the warmest trend anomalies, with CRU’s generally the lowest. Such differences result from various assumptions regarding unknowns such as changing urbanization and other land use influences that contaminate surface temperature recordings.

Dr. Ruedy of GISS confessed in an email that “[the United States Historical Climate Network] data are not routinely kept up-to-date, and in another that NASA had inflated its temperature data since 2000 on a questionable basis. “NASA’s assumption that the adjustments made the older data consistent with future data…may not have been correct”, he said. “Indeed, in 490 of the 1,057 stations the USHCN data was up to 1 C degree colder than the corresponding GHCN data, in 77 stations the data was the same, and in the remaining 490 stations the USHCN data was warmer than the GHCN data.”

Anthony Watts, a meteorologist who has conducted extensive surveys of NOAA temperature recording posts, told in February 2010 that “…90 % of them [surface stations] don’t meet the [government's] old, simple rule called the ’100-foot rule for keeping thermometers 100 feet or more from biasing influence… and we’ve got documentation”.

NOAA and NASA have both received legal Freedom of Information Act requests for unadjusted data and documentation of all adjustments they have made in order to assess the reliability of their reports in keeping with a Data Quality Act requiring that any published data must be able to be replicated by independent audits. And both have resisted these requests despite promises of transparency and the fact that together they receive nearly a billion dollars in direct annual government climate research funding. They are to also receive up to $600 million more from the Recovery Act of 2009.

Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute has sought NASA GISS records through the FOIA for three years, including documents related to human-caused global climate crisis theory promotions undertaken by federal employees such as those of Gavin Schmidt, a principal blogger with the aggressively global warming activist website. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in August of 2007 and January of 2008, the CEI vs. NASA suit specifically seeks documents related to temperature records that NASA was forced to correct in response to criticism from a leading climate watchdog and nemesis Steve McIntyre. NASA released some documents, arguing that those associated with were “agency records”, and then ceased to comply after admitting that 3,500 emails had been found on Schmidt’s computer.

The American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center also filed a FOIA lawsuit in the federal district court in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on June 21, 2011 to force NASA to release records that pertain to James Hansen’s outside income-producing activities which have brought him at least $1.2 million in the past four years alone. ATI is seeking documents revealing possible noncompliance with applicable federal ethics and disclosure regulations, and with NASA Rules of Behavior. Hansen’s high profile global warming alarmism and related energy policy statements fall far outside his official Civil Service job role.

Hansen first gained worldwide attention in 1988 following testimony before then-Senator Al Gore’s Committee on Science, Technology and Space when he stated with 99 % certainty that temperatures had in fact increased, and that there had been some greenhouse warming, although he then made no direct connection between the two. This observation was consistent with concerns about a particularly warm summer that year in some U.S. regions.

Over time Hansen’s pronouncements became ever more dramatic. In a Dec. 6, 2005 presentation to the American Geophysical Union he stated that the Earth’s climate was already reaching a tipping point that will result in the loss of Arctic ice as we know it, with sea levels rising as much as 80 feet during this century (40 times higher than even the upper end of the most recent alarmist U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change summary report has projected), thus flooding coastal areas. He warned that this could be halted only if greenhouse gas emissions were reduced within the next 25 years.

In a Jan. 29, 2006, New York Times interview Hansen charged that NASA public relations people had pressured him to allow them to review future public lectures, papers and postings on the GISS website. Yet in January 15, 2009 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works-Minority Committee, his former boss John S. Theon, retired chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program, took issue with the interference charge, stating: “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind’s effect on it). Hansen has embarrassed NASA by coming out with his claim of global warming in 1988 in his testimony before Congress.”

Dr. Theon also testified that: “My own belief concerning anthropogenic [man-made] climate change is that models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit”. He observed: “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modeled in the observations, nor explain how they did it…this is contrary to the way science should be done.” He then went on to say “Thus, there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy”.

Many members of the newly reconstituted U.S. Congress who are determined to cut non-essential government spending are very likely to agree. Perhaps this circumstance will substantially chill the overheated atmosphere surrounding NASA GISS operations.


Not buying it

By Walter Cunningham, astronaut, Apollo VII, Houston. He has degrees in physics

Regarding "Texas is vulnerable to warming climate" (Page B8, July 10), some opinions are just too over-the-top to resist responding. Professor Andrew Dessler's essay falls in that category.

He makes the point that we had better begin to accept that we are responsible for Texas' very hot summer, and we should get our legislators to begin taking steps to control our temperature.

Typical of these alarmists of human-caused global warming, he cites the opinions of those colleagues who agree with him while not citing one bit of data to support this unproven and unaccepted hypothesis of global warming, first dreamed up about 20 years ago.

Dessler would like for us to stop arguing about the science. That is because the "science" does not support this hypothesis of humans causing global warming. Dessler would rather restrict discussion to the political arena.

One of the strategies climate alarmists now use in their attempt to gain acceptance for an unproven hypothesis is semantics. They have usurped a term that has been used and accepted by everyone for millennia: "climate change." Yes, the climate has been changing forever, sometimes up and sometimes down, and life on our planet has been adjusting to those changes for billions of years, with varying degrees of success.

Dessler maintains "the uniformity of expert opinion that reductions of emissions make sense." What uniformity of opinion? As the historical record shows, our climate is always changing, and on many occasions more than it is today.

Those interested in the truth about human-caused global warming should not just accept the opinions of others (including mine); they should look at the historical data themselves. We can either adjust to the climate as it changes, as we have always done, or we can adjust after wasting billions — no, trillions — of dollars in a hopeless attempt to control the temperature of the Earth.



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


21 July, 2011

Giving environmental puritans free rein

Comment from Britain

For such a basic part of the economy and people’s lives, energy is a remarkably minor topic, politically speaking. The hacking scandal is interesting, but won't affect people's lives in a decade. Energy policy might.

Sadly, environmentalists have been given nearly a free rein in the field of energy policy, without much input from people concerned about the impact of anti-carbon regulations on the economy or poor people’s ability to pay. Note the constant lumping together of energy and climate change policy, as if these are just two sides of the same coin. This is a big mistake. As the “Rational Optimist” Matt Ridley argued in a superb piece for the Times last week (now on his blog, free for the world to read), the price of energy is fundamental to our economic wellbeing:
Cheap energy is the elixir of economic growth. It was Newcastle’s cheap coal that gave the industrial revolution its second wind — substituting energy for labour drove up productivity, creating jobs and enriching both producers and consumers. Conversely, a dear-energy policy destroys jobs. Not only does it drive energy-intensive business overseas; according to Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, the average British medium-sized business will face an annual energy bill £247,000 higher by 2020 thanks to the carbon policy. That’s equivalent to almost ten jobs it must lose, or cannot create.

Let's accept that a low carbon economy is a desirable thing, but reject the apocalyptic hysteria that some push (without much scientific basis for doing so). That’s one desirable objective out of three or four others – including growing richer, making sure poor people can afford to heat their homes, and encouraging innovation in all sorts of fields. Is there a tension between the low carbon goal and the other ones? A bit, yes, but environmentalists are protesting a little too much when they emphasise carbon reduction over all other priorities.

A decent compromise already exists, and Britain is fortunate enough to have quite a lot of it: shale gas. Shale gas is cheap, efficient and low carbon compared to other fossil fuels. Conservative estimates say that there’s enough shale gas in the US to last at least fifty years. This video from explains some of the process by which shale gas is extracted from the ground – a process known as “fracking”. In this case we really can have our cake and eat it too: everybody should be happy.

But they’re not. Environmentalist groups have condemned fracking, on largely spurious grounds. Indeed, many were for it before they realised that it was an alternative to renewable energy, not a suppliment. Why? Because many in the environmentalist movement, particularly the more politically active ones, are more interested in controlling people's lives than in promoting a “clean” atmosphere. They are the new puritans, who want us to live "good" lives instead of rewarding ones. As a consequence, heavy-handed environmental regulations are making shale gas unviable in Britain. This needs to change so we aren't left behind.

Shale gas is a get-out clause for people who want cheap and clean energy, but it doesn't include the lifestyle changes that hardcore environmentalists want us to make. This is a point that’s been made plenty of times before. But the environmentalist movement's ludicrous opposition to shale gas exploitation underlines its true aims. Many of them don’t really care about the environment, they care about pushing people around. What a shame that, for political expediency, they’re being allowed to.


Population boon

by Jeff Jacoby

DAVID AND VICTORIA BECKHAM were overjoyed by the birth last week of their fourth child, a baby girl they named Harper. "We all feel so blessed and the boys love their baby sister so much!!!" the former Spice Girl exulted to her vast following on Twitter. A few days later she posted a picture of her husband cradling his new daughter, with the tender comment: "Daddy's little girl!"

What heart wouldn't be warmed by the Beckhams' delight in their newborn?

The Observer's wouldn't. In a remarkably churlish article on Sunday, Britain's influential left-leaning newspaper (The Observer is The Guardian's sister Sunday paper) pronounced Harper's parents "environmentally irresponsible" for choosing to bring her into the world. Headlined "Beckhams a 'bad example' for families," the piece was a sour blast at parents who raise good-sized families. "One or two children are fine but three or four are just being selfish," Simon Ross, executive director of the Optimum Population Trust, told reporter Tracy McVeigh. "The Beckhams . . . are very bad role models with their large famil[y]."

McVeigh also quoted natural-history broadcaster David Attenborough, who recently "made a passionate speech about how the world's baby-making was damaging the planet." Fifty years ago there were 3 billion human beings, Attenborough had lamented. "Now there are almost 7 billion . . . and every one of them needing space. There cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed."

Has there ever been a more persistent and popular superstition than the idea that having more kids is a bad thing, or that "overpopulation" causes hunger, misery, and hopelessness? In the 18th century, Thomas Malthus warned that human population growth must inevitably outstrip the food supply; to prevent mass starvation, he suggested, "we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction," such as encouraging the spread of disease among the poor. In the 20th century, Paul Ehrlich wrote bestsellers with titles like The Population Bomb, in which he described the surging number of people in the world as a "cancer" that would have to be excised through "many apparently brutal and heartless decisions." (His list included sterilization, abortion, and steep tax rates on families with children.)

Just last month, Thomas Friedman avowed in his New York Times column that "The Earth Is Full," and that "we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth's resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished."

Thomas Malthus got it wrong on population growth more than two centuries ago. His intellectual heirs continue to get it wrong today.

For more than 200 years the population alarmists have been predicting the worst, and for more than 200 years their predictions have failed to come true. As the number of men, women, and children in the world has skyrocketed -- from fewer than 1 billion when Malthus lived to nearly 7 billion today -- so has the average person's standard of living. Poverty, disease, and hunger have not been eradicated, of course, and there are many people in dire need of help. But by and large human beings are living longer, healthier, cleaner, richer, better-educated, more productive, and more comfortable lives than ever before.

The Malthusians are wrong. When human beings proliferate, the result isn't less of everything to go around. The planet doesn't run out of food and fuel, minerals and metals. On the contrary, most resources have grown cheaper and more abundant over the past couple centuries -- in tandem with rising population.

The explanation is no mystery. Yes, more babies mean more mouths and therefore more consumption. But more babies also mean more minds and arms and spines -- and therefore more new ideas, more energy, more ingenuity, more initiative, more enterprise. "Human beings do not just consume, they also produce," writes George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan in a new book. "The world economy is not like a party where everyone splits a birthday cake; it is more like a potluck where everyone brings a dish."

It is a beautiful and uplifting insight, but the population misanthropes never seem to grasp it: Human beings, on the whole and over time, usually create more than they destroy. With more people tend to come more progress and more prosperity. That's why the birth of virtually any baby is cause to rejoice, and why parents who decide to raise another child bestow a gift on all of us. To be fruitful and multiply, says Genesis, is to be blessed. The parents of Harper Beckham know that, even if The Observer doesn't.


Warmists Go Harold Camping On Us

As the entire country finds itself mired in the grip of heat patterns associated with a bizarre and unpredictable weather phenomenon known as "summer," the global warming crowd has launched yet another media offensive in its desperate attempt to keep its money-making, power-consolidating scam alive. These neo-Marxists of the so-called climate change movement, while careful to keep their "Green is the New Red" t-shirts hidden in the closet, are unabashedly employing the timeless strategy of all radical revolutionaries to never let a crisis go to waste.

Seizing upon every natural disaster that occurs as proof that their High Priest of Doom, Al Gore, is indeed the oracle that the media has declared him to be, these Warmers shamelessly exploit death and destruction like it's their spiritual gift.

Former Democrat Senator Tim Wirth, now heading up a lovely little left-wing operation started by Ted Turner called the UN Foundation, said, "The flooding and forest fires in the United States this year are evidence of 'the kind of dramatic climate impact' climate change models have predicted." Now, I suppose that would be pretty compelling if it weren't for the fact that those climate change models have been designed to predict any conceivable weather eventuality, thus producing a circular, self-validating illogic that only numbskulls and the petulantly dishonest would tout.

In other words, Tim, when your climate change models predict floods and droughts, aggressive hurricane outbreaks and no hurricanes, tornadic winds and breezeless calm, mild to hot summers and mild to cold winters, you have concocted a phony charade where you can claim you were right regardless of what occurs. That isn't science. It's snake oil. And it's one of the major reasons why the global warming movement has become such a joke.

Al Gore and his band of merry men, once championed as the clarions of contemporary science, now seem better-suited for a cartoonish YouTube video set to Katy Perry's anthem "Hot and Cold." And that reality doesn't seem to be sitting too well with them. Just weeks after avowed Warmer, and Sydney Morning Herald columnist, Richard Glover suggested that conservative climate realists who don't believe in destroying industrial economies simply to benefit Al Gore's retirement fund "have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies," Wirth went a step further, calling for "an aggressive program to go after those who are among the deniers." Given their increasing hostility and choice to flood their language with Holocaust imagery, how long will it be until one of these eco-fascists proposes a "final solution" to the denier problem?

In their defense, I suppose branding or exterminating climate realists may be the last hope this flailing movement has of holding its membership. After all, their commitment to honest science certainly won't help that cause. It is becoming increasingly known that manipulating data to support a political end is a favorite pastime of the Warmers. The most recent example of this unseemly habit surfaced when the University of Colorado's Sea Level Research Group was caught adding 0.3 millimeters of height to its sea level calculations every year. When called on this flagrant abuse of the data, Steve Nerem (the group's director) explained that they pad the numbers because "land masses, still rebounding from the ice age, are rising and increasing the amount of water that oceans can hold."

But wait a minute...if land masses are rising, why does it matter if the oceans hold more water? Even if it increases their depth, it doesn't bring on the cataclysmic concerns of drowning coastlines, engulfed cities, and receding ocean fronts that the Goreian prophecies entail. That inconvenient truth was noticed by climate scientist John Christy, from the University of Alabama, who commented, "To me...sea level rise is what's measured against the actual coast. That's what tells us the impact of rising oceans."

Growing awareness of these types of manipulations, coupled with the outrageous hypocrisy of the global warming crowd's leading voices, have caused more and more rational minds to understand how little this movement has to do with the environment, and how much it has to do with controlling energy -- the key to achieving the Marxist goal of controlling people, businesses, economies, and therefore countries.

For the true eco-warriors (those named Skye or Storm, who live in grass huts, chain themselves to trees and drink only the dew that accumulates in leafy vegetation), the reality that their cause has been hijacked by a bunch of usurping globalists has to be disappointing. But while they can't count on liberals like Al Gore or the New York Times' resident Warmer Tom Friedman to practice what they preach, they can at least count on them coming up with fantastic forecasts of doom that scare the ignorant into submission.

It's oddly humorous that the same radical leftists who mock religious fundamentalists for their prophecies of an impending Armageddon rely on the same tactics to generate their own converts. After all, the line separating Harold Camping's prediction of Jesus' time-zone-compliant Second Coming in May, and Tom Friedman's hysterical hyperbole that "we never know when the next emitted carbon molecule will tip over some ecosystem and trigger a nonlinear climate event -- like melting the Siberian tundra and releasing all of its methane, or drying up the Amazon or melting all the sea ice in the North Pole in summer" is razor-thin.

If one's a nut, so is the other.


Green jobs again: Electric Car Maker Folds, town Loses $500,000

A Salinas car manufacturing company that was expected to build environmentally friendly electric cars and create new jobs folded before almost any vehicles could run off the assembly line.

The city of Salinas had invested more than half a million dollars in Green Vehicles, an electric car start-up company. All of that money is now gone, according to Green Vehicles President and Co-Founder Mike Ryan.

The start-up company set up shop in Salinas in the summer of 2009, after the city gave Ryan a $300,000 community development grant.
When the company still ran into financial trouble last year, the city of Salinas handed Ryan an additional $240,000. Green Vehicles also received $187,000 from the California Energy Commission.

Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue said he was "surprised and disappointed" by the news. City officials were equally irked that Ryan notified them through an email that his company had crashed and burned.

Salinas Economic Development Director Jeff Weir said Green Vehicles flopped because of a lack of investors. Donohue said he will work with the state to try to get at least $240,000 back from the now-defunct company.

Last year, Salinas city officials said they were excited about Green Vehicles moving from San Jose to Salinas because they wanted to turn Salinas into a hub for alternative energy production. City leaders wooed Green Vehicles to jump-start the sputtering local company and turn Salinas into an "electric valley." Donohue and Weir both voiced their high hopes for Green Vehicles.

The start-up company promised city leaders that it would create 70 new jobs and pay $700,000 in taxes a year to Salinas. Green Vehicles was supposed to be up and running by March 2010 inside their 80,000-square-foot space at Firestone Business Park off of Abbot Street.

Ryan had lofty goals, listing his company's mission as: "To make the best clean commuter vehicles in the world; To manufacture with a radical sense of responsibility; To engage in deep transparency as an inspiration for new ways of doing business."

Green Vehicles designed two vehicles, the TRIAC 2.0 and the MOOSE, which it planned to manufacture.

On July 12, Ryan wrote a blog post announcing that his company was closing. "The truth is that not realizing the vision for this company is a huge disappointment," Ryan wrote.

Ryan outlined three mistakes he made while steering his company into a brick wall. All three reasons boiled down failing to generate enough capital.


Vermont Yankee bid to stay open denied

Owner fights state over plant’s future

A federal judge said yesterday he would not order that Vermont’s only nuclear plant be allowed to remain open while a lawsuit to determine its long-term future plays out.

The state is moving to close the Vermont Yankee plant, with both the governor and the state Senate on record as wanting it to close when its initial 40-year license expires next March.

The plant’s owner, New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., got a 20-year license extension for Vermont Yankee from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and filed a lawsuit arguing that the federal action preempts the state’s effort to close the plant.

Last month, Entergy went to court asking for a preliminary order allowing it to stay open while the underlying lawsuit works its way through the courts, possibly all the way to the US Supreme Court. In Monday’s order, Judge J. Garvan Murtha said there was no need for such an order because the main trial in the case is scheduled for mid-September, only eight weeks away.

“The motion is denied, because Entergy has failed to show that any irreparable harm it may incur between now and a decision on the merits’’ of its lawsuit, Murtha wrote.

During two days of hearings in late June, Entergy lawyers and witnesses told Murtha that they needed a decision on the preliminary injunction by July 23 so the company could order the specially fabricated nuclear fuel it needs to load into the reactor core during a refueling outage set for October.

Entergy lawyer Kathleen Sullivan told the judge the plant would be likely to close, rather than spend $60 million on fuel while facing an uncertain future.

After Murtha’s decision yesterday, the company would say only that it was disappointed and would be considering its options in the coming days.



Iemma predicts carbon calamity

FORMER NSW premier Morris Iemma has become the most senior Labor figure to oppose Julia Gillard's carbon tax. Mr Iemma says the carbon tax that forms federal Labor's platform for re-election in 2013 is environmentally marginal, economically costly and likely to lead Labor to a historic electoral train wreck. "One thing is sure -- it won't change the world, but it could change the government," Mr Iemma told The Australian.

Mr Iemma accused the Gillard government of betraying the Hawke-Keating legacy of economic reform, instead embracing the environmental policies of the Greens' agenda. "We embraced economic growth, and the benefits of economic growth, in the Hawke-Keating era, but we're fighting this battle on the Greens' turf, not our turf. Bob Brown wants to replace the Labor Party as a major party."

Mr Iemma accepted the science of climate change. "Yes, we should take action, but we should not get so far out in front that we injure ourselves," he said. He rejected the government's view that Australia's carbon tax was similar in scope to actions being taken by other countries. "Every day there are reports of growth and development in China, its growth in emissions will far outstrip our total emissions," Mr Iemma said. "The carbon tax at best reduces the rate of increase of emissions slightly."

Mr Iemma said the Greens had wielded excessive influence on the government's policies, pointing to the $10 billion Clean Energy Fund, which excludes carbon capture and storage. "We ought to be fighting the Greens on the Left with Labor environmental policies and Labor economic policies, not on the Greens' terms. We've adopted a policy which is part of the Greens' agenda. "And the Greens' agenda is anti-growth and anti-investment. Lower growth and lower investment lead to lower incomes and fewer jobs."

Mr Iemma said the sidelining of federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson was "quite disgraceful". "We should always be standing shoulder to shoulder with steelworkers and miners and factory workers before we stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Bob Brown and Christine Milne," he added. "One of the reasons previously rusted-on Labor voters are parking themselves somewhere else is that we've confused our identity."

Mr Iemma said that NSW would be particularly hurt by the carbon tax in smelting, steelworks and manufacturing in western Sydney. "Voter reaction ranges from unease and uncertainty to outright hostility. I went down a coalmine myself recently and all the guys I spoke to were uncertain of their futures."

Mr Iemma said the NSW Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme, instituted by his predecessor Bob Carr and extended while Mr Iemma was premier, offered federal Labor a far more effective, practical and reasonable template than the carbon tax.

The scheme has resulted in 80 million tonnes of carbon abatement at relatively little cost and without substantial economic dislocation. "The NSW government started with a policy to constrain emissions, not an ideological position to constrain growth."

Mr Iemma's comments reflect the growing dismay of many Labor politicians in private. It also demonstrates a particular bitterness in NSW that Ms Gillard's February announcement of a carbon tax -- breaking an election promise -- made NSW Labor's March election defeat much heavier than it would have been.

He is the most senior Labor figure to come out publicly against the carbon tax and his comments represent a devastating setback for the government.


Carbon price battle is lost, say experts

Political experts believe the battle to sell the carbon tax to the Australian public has been lost and the Prime Minister can do nothing to change voters' minds on the issue.

A poll by ReachTel has shown a week of public campaigning on the climate change reform by Julia Gillard has failed to sway voter opinion on the tax in the past seven days.

Despite the issue dominating the news cycle for the past week, support for the carbon tax (32.4 per cent) remained 28.6 points behind support against the reform (61 per cent) over the past seven days.

Reader in politics at the University of Queensland Ian Ward said the public had made their minds up on the issue and any effort to sell the tax was "a lost cause".

"This is an issue that voters have made their minds up on and even if a significant chunk of the electorate moved in favour there is still going to be substantial antagonism and opposition to the government and its policy," he said.

"So a government advertising campaign and some explanation in the media, it's really not likely to fundamentally change the government's position in the polls."

Dr Ward said the tax was being used as a fulcrum for wider resentment and anger towards the Labor government over failures to manage past problems such as the asylum seeker issue.

"It's not as if the carbon tax issue has damaged the government, the government was damaged when it took up this issue," he said. "This is an issue on which opinion is entrenched, it's an issue which is a touchstone for much wider resentment of the Labor government. "Some advertising about the carbon tax, some explanation that it is not as threatening as its opponents have made it out to be is not going to placate more than a small percentage of the electorate."

Political communication lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology Wayne Murphy said the prime minister had been most effective selling the tax in the past week by providing everyday examples of the tax's effect for audience members on Q&A.

He said if the government could put up another politician, such as former ACTU secretary Greg Combet, to simplify the issue for the public, they may be able to make inroads.

"Generally people don't want to think too much about complex issues, they'd rather try and boil things down into simple terms which is what Tony Abbott has been able to do with his 'great big new tax' line," he said. "This is an issue where if you do want to understand it, you do need to understand the sorts of detail that people just don't want to know."

The poll also revealed 58.3 per cent of people said they were less likely to vote for the government on the basis on the carbon tax announcement.

Mr Murphy said the government would likely be relying on the opposition to make costly mistakes in the lead-up to the next election to make up ground on the Coalition. "The best luck the ALP could have is Tony Abbott reverts back to his old form and implode at some stage by making a big gaffe or really contradicting himself," he said.

Dr Ward said the government's only option was to 'tough out' the opposition to the tax. "When it is passed as an issue I think some of the steam will come out of it and the government will move on to other things," he said.


Respect the science and don't call CO2 a pollutant

By Ziggy Switkowski (Ziggy Switkowski is chancellor of RMIT University)

WHY do we allow our political leaders and the commentariat to refer to carbon dioxide as a pollutant instead of a greenhouse gas? Some time ago, politicians or their advisers decided a clever way to frame the climate change debate was to label carbon dioxide as a pollutant: hence the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Of course, in 2015 our government proposes to move to an emissions trading scheme, which has a better resonance than a pollution trading scheme, were they to be consistent. I believe in the science of climate change and the role of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2, from household and industrial use of fossil fuels. But I am offended by the manipulation of the argument by deliberately coding CO2 as a pollutant, which it is not, and implying some environmental agenda where there is none.

When fossil fuels such as coal, gas and petrol are burned, there are a number of by-products.

Particulate matter that is not filtered from exhausts and escapes from smokestacks is polluting and contributes to smog and serious respiratory and other community health problems, such as widely experienced in China with its many coal-fired power stations and old technology. Paradoxically, particle emissions contribute to global cooling but are definitely pollution.

Gases such as nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide arising from the combustion of coal can cause acid rain; they also are pollution.

Water vapour, as seen billowing from the hyperboloid cooling towers much favoured by photo editors, is not pollution unless we include clouds and rain in that definition, which few do.

Carbon dioxide, which is produced in great quantities also, but is colourless and normally benign, is not a pollutant. It is a greenhouse gas which, as its concentration increases in the atmosphere, contributes to the warming of the planet. It is a greenhouse gas, not a pollutant, in the context of climate change.

CO2 is necessary to plant life and in regulating our temperature and climate. The level of CO2 prior to the industrial revolution in the 1700s was about 280 parts per million in the atmosphere and no one believes that level was excessive. Today that level is about 390ppm and CO2 has become a pollutant. At what level did this change of status occur and in which decade or generation?

Many cold regions in the northern hemisphere welcome global warming. Think of Scotland, parts of Scandinavia, Russia, Canada. To them, increasing CO2 is not a problem. Is it possible for CO2 to be a pollutant in the southern hemisphere but beneficial in large parts of the north? What previously unknown principle of chemistry is at work here, which changes the character of a molecule depending on location?

Here is another matter that unsettles me. Why are smelters where aluminium is refined labelled as dirty polluters? One doesn't see chimneys or stacks at a smelter. Few emissions arise from the industrial site and no atmospheric pollution.

The answer appears to be that smelting is a very high user of electricity: at present about 11 per cent of national electricity consumption. Aluminium is known as congealed electricity.

There is an argument that energy intensive industries helped supercharge our economy and standard of living through the decades. But they are now unfashionable because of the pollution label, and because of a political ideology that affordable energy will not be the basis of our modern economy. But is it right, fair or sensible that input electricity is demonised with the pollution brand?

Do we label pharmaceutical companies as drug dealers because some of their pain killers are made from heroin, a nasty product if abused?

Is my granddaughter an environmental vandal because she "contaminates" eight nappies a day destined for landfill. Who dares call babies polluters?

If your energy hungry plasma television is bigger than mine, are you a polluter?

Finally, our 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target smoothly and uncritically has shifted from -60 per cent to -80 per cent. I guess one fanciful goal is as good as another. But now we have the Greens talking about -100 per cent, that is, taking all carbon out of our system. With goodwill, I assume this is hypothetical, a conversation starter perhaps?

So why stop there? Let's aim for -150 per cent by 2050. That means taking out more greenhouse gas than we produce, perhaps remedying generations of excessive emissions by our reckless ancestors and righting a historic wrong. The techniques to do this are being developed. Early on we can dedicate more acreage to planting more trees and so on, perhaps reclaiming land from people and putting pressure on us to reduce our habitat and population. Eventually, technology will arrive to remove greenhouse gas from the atmosphere and oceans and, as a (temporarily) rich country we've the means to fund such efforts and do even more than our fair share.

Of course, if half of our planned greenhouse gas reduction arises from purchasing carbon credits offshore, then it's just a question of money. Why stop at half?

Here's my simple summary of our present energy strategy: no coal, no gas, no nuclear -- no clue.


Alarmism a danger to democracy: Vaclav Klaus

FALLS in European carbon emissions can be attributed to an economic slowdown rather than the EU's emissions trading scheme, Czech President Vaclav Klaus says.

Mr Klaus arrives in Australia today to talk on climate change in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in a tour organised by the Institute of Public Affairs.

"The relationship between economic activity and carbon emissions is very strong and very stable," the former economist told The Australian.

Mr Klaus believes some slowing down of carbon emissions trends in Europe was more influenced by the global financial crisis than the European ETS.

The President applies economic reasoning to put climate change in perspective. "Any rational economist must always stress the standard cost-benefit analysis instead of precautionary principle used by global warming alarmists. The costs of fighting the climate will be much higher than the costs of potential global warming -- if there will be any -- in the foreseeable future."

Mr Klaus, who entered public life in 1989 when he and colleagues volunteered their services to the leaders of Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution against the communist regime imposed in the aftermath of World War II, warns that climate change is being used as a political weapon by the Left. "I do not believe in the innocence of global warming alarmists," he said. "They do not care about the environment, they just misuse it in their crusade, which aims at limiting our freedom and prosperity.

"I don't want to make cheap comparisons of their ideology with communism, but I do see many similarities . . . It is a new variant for the activist political Left, and I spent all my life fighting such a political thinking because I lived in such a political system."

Mr Klaus fears the climate change debate is leading to the politicisation of science.

And he is amazed at the comment by activist Clive Hamilton that climate change may demand "the suspension of democratic processes". "We have heard many times in the past, especially in the tragic moments of the 20th century, words like 'suspension of democratic processes' in the name of 'higher values, goals, ideas'." Communism was a typical example, he said. "We have to insist there is no trade-off between democracy and concrete goals."



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


20 July, 2011

The Sun Kings by Stuart Clark (Princeton University Press 211 pp )

A useful Book Review by Dr. Alick Dowling, originally written a few years ago for the Bristol Med Chi website

This book has an unwieldy but helpful subtitle The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began. It tells the story of a forgotten Victorian Astronomer from the perspective of the present, i.e. what we know with hindsight. The Prologue explains how it was impossible for Carrington to understand the significance of the extraordinary phenomena he witnessed in 1859. There were too many unknowns. He and his colleagues persevered in recording data they knew was important, despite ridicule and animosity from colleagues, and personal tragedy, to try and understand the true nature of the Sun.

Why should this be relevant for members of the Bristol MedChi Society? This year s theme is Saving lives . Most of us are unaware of the hazard from exposure to high levels of radiation to passengers and crew flying when solar flares are active. In October 2003 when a severe solar storm was imminent, airlines instructed pilots to reduce altitude in the hope that the Earth s atmosphere would protect the passengers and crew from higher than usual doses of radiation. They also directed them away from polar routes most vulnerable to high radiation doses during solar storms. Flying below 25,000 feet with increased fuel consumption from ploughing through the thicker atmosphere, and longer routes to avoid Polar Regions caused both delays and increased fuel costs. This information is not publicized, but airlines incur these costs knowing it is vital to protect their aircrew (and passengers) from excessive radiation. These hazards only occur every eleven years or so, as Stuart Clark explains clearly in this book.

In the Prologue he tells us the first solar flare and magnetic storm recorded with modern equipment was in August 1972. He can summarize complex information with clarity and brevity. An example:
The Sun is the heart of our solar system. It is an enormous sphere of gas, over a hundred times the diameter of the Earth. Its surface temperature is 6,000 degrees Celsius; its centre is at well over 10 million degrees. Its gravity guides Earth and the other planets through their orbits; its warmth provides the lifeblood of energy for plants and animals on Earth. Also like a heart, the Sun pulsates. This is not a visible movement but rather a gradual buildup of strength and subsequent weakening of the giant magnetic bubble that emanates from within the Sun and surrounds all the planets. As befits a celestial body of some 4.6 billion years in age, each one of these magnetic heartbeats takes a leisurely eleven years, or thereabouts, to complete. So, in the average career of a scientist, he or she can expect to see this happen four times. This makes understanding the Sun as difficult as a biologist trying to deduce the life cycle of an unknown creature by observing it just long enough to witness four beats of its heart. As a result, solar astronomy is a multigenerational science. Each new cohort works to build a finer legacy of observations for those yet to come.

A further eruption recorded in September 1972 caused yet greater pollution. Fortunately this explosion was not directed at Earth, but even the side wash was potentially dangerous. Earth had had a lucky escape; the importance of the Sun s variability puts the worries we are encouraged to have about moderate global warming in a different perspective.

At the end of the book a brief Epilogue Magnetar Spring, has an even more alarming account of a completely different phenomenon to balance the lucid description of solar activity in the Prologue. On 27 December 2004 the largest burst of gamma rays ever recorded cut through the solar system. As it bounced off the moon and struck Earth again, astronomers could triangulate the blast and calculate it came not from the Sun but from deep space from the supposed dead heart of a star, a Magnetar (containing the most powerful magnetic fields known in nature) only 20 kilometres in diameter but some 50,000 light years away. The magnetar eruption had released more energy into space in a tenth of a second than the Sun shines into space in 100,000 years, dumbfounding astronomers. The gamma rays were far more powerful than anything released by the Sun and ripped atoms apart from the entire hemisphere of Earth facing the blast. Not much chance that switching off light bulbs would protect us from this. We have no hopes of influencing the Sun s leisurely cycles, there is even less chance of countering gamma rays from distant dying stars, or even from collisions with asteroids.

Forget these controversies and enjoy the beautifully written book describing the Victorian events surrounding Richard Carrington. Written in a style reminiscent of Dava Sobel s Longitude she commends it on the cover, as it is by others. Owen Gingerich, for instance writes:
undoubtedly the most gripping and brilliant popular-science history account that I have ever read. This remarkable book is informative, accurate and relevant. Clark s ability to write so vividly makes me seethe with jealousy.
It has been well reviewed by specialist journals but has had few reviews in the serious press could this be because it does not fit in with consensus views on global warming ?

What happened, then, in September 1859, when the entire Earth was engulfed in a gigantic cloud of seething gas, and a blood-red aurora erupted across the planet from the poles to the tropics? Around the world, telegraph systems, fairly recent at that time, crashed, telegraphic machines burst into flames, and electric shocks stunned their operators. Compasses and other sensitive instruments reeled as if struck by a massive magnetic fist. For the first time, people began to suspect that the Earth was not isolated from the rest of the universe. However, nobody knew what could have released such strange forces upon the Earth nobody, that is, except an amateur English astronomer, Richard Carrington. In this riveting account, Stuart Clark tells for the first time the full story behind Carrington's observations of a mysterious explosion on the surface of the Sun and how his brilliant insight that the Sun's magnetism directly influences the Earth helped to usher in the modern era of astronomy. Clark vividly brings to life both the scientists who scornfully rejected the significance of Carrington's discovery of solar flares, and those who took up his struggle to prove that the Earth could be affected by influences from space. Clark also reveals new details about the sordid scandal that destroyed Carrington's reputation and led him from the highest echelons of science to the very lowest reaches of love, villainy, and revenge.

Richard Carrington has been largely forgotten no portrait or photograph has survived, but his meticulous observations of the 1859 solar storms that coincided with magnetic storms affecting the primitive telegraphic systems of the time are fascinating. The data from astronomers in the 1850s showed the correlation between magnetic storms here and solar sunspot activity; but there was no credible explanation because everybody accepted Newtonian theory and nobody looked for forces other than gravity to describe the fixed orbits of the planets. X-rays were undiscovered; stellar magnetic forces were undreamed of. No one could imagine how the Sun could transmit more than radiant heat.

Lord Kelvin, the scientific colossus of the time, said There is nothing more to be discovered in Physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement a typical expert prediction . When electrons and protons were discovered Einstein and others knew that a totally new type of physics was needed. Fifty years after Carrington s flares , the astronomer William Ellis in 1904 realised that most of the sun s magnetic salvos missed the small target of Earth and complained that earthbound observers were effectively peeping through a keyhole and trying to describe the room beyond. If we could plant observatories on other planets he suggested much could be learnt about the forces that surround us. A century later in 2003, on the occasion of the so-called Halloween flares, this was effectively achieved with roving robotic probes in space the Mars Odyssey watched a large chunk of the tenuous Mars atmosphere being torn off and carried into the oblivion of deep space. Only the Earth s inherent cloak of magnetism saved us from a similar assault. The Sun has its own cloak of magnetism; its magnetic field extends to some 12 billion miles, well beyond all the planets. Deep space in turn is a realm of individual stars widely scattered, each with its vast magnetic domain pulsing in time to the beat of the star s magnetic heart.

The particle experimenters of Cambridge in the 1920s, looking into the analogous world of the very small, used the same mathematical equations that described planetary forces, to develop the new quantum theory. As a result what had been thought of as the vacuum of space was found to contain the masses of beams of magnetism and particles in gusts driven from the Sun from sunspots at enormous speed, now known as the solar wind. These are known to be associated with sunspots. It only takes 8 minutes for the radiation from a solar flare (which includes a torrent of X-Rays) to travel at the speed of light the 93 million miles to Earth, but the bulk of billions of tons of electrons and protons expelled in a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun takes over 17 hours to arrive. It is this time-lapse that provides sufficient warning for airlines to divert their flights. CMEs produce auroras, magnetic storms, and enormous surges of current: Stuart Clark is drawing our attention to the hazards created by their impact, in eleven-year cycles, upon today s electronic systems (SATNAV springs to mind). We, medical and lay alike, should reflect on the degree of our dependence upon these systems in the twenty-first century.

In the concluding chapter Stuart Clark draws the threads together from William Herschel (1738-1822), famous for having discovered the planet Uranus and infrared radiation, who observed that sunspots coincided with low wheat prices. Dr Jack Eddy s paper in Science in 1976 opened a debate (that continues) about the role of the sun in past and present climate change. In 2003 Israeli scientists Pustilnik and Yom Din confirmed Herschel s wheat prices claim from beryllium in ice cores. Clark compares the Carrington solar storm of 1859 with the large number of frighteningly large storms in the later decades of the 20th century, and concludes that the Carrington was much larger than any of them. Stuart Clark makes a gentle point on page 186:
Unfortunately, the waters are muddied because climate investigations are often politically charged. Some industrial lobbies and governments seize upon any hint of natural warming as a means of avoiding pollution control. On the other hand, environmental pressure-groups can sometimes be philosophically opposed to admitting even a small solar effect on climate.

A book that considers a bewildering number of unsolved problems, including what can we expect in the future, and discusses them with moderation and good humour deserves to be welcomed. It is also a rattling good read. Enjoy! The book is well produced, with an extensive bibliography for each of the 13 Chapters and an excellent index.

Via email from the author

Rising CO2 "causes" unprecedented decrease in worldwide drought

A plot of the worldwide data for the Palmer Drought Severity Index shows that there has been an unprecedented decrease in world drought severity over the past 30 years.

Nobody knows what the actual causal chain is but the frequent Warmist claim that rising CO2 will cause drought is clearly contraindicated by the data


Trees gobbling up anthropogenic CO2

A new study in Scienceexpress (Science magazine’s pre-paper-publication outlet) by Yude Pan of the U.S. Forest Service and colleagues finds that the net carbon sink in terrestrial forest systems across the globe has been expanding, taking up ever more carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere. (A “sink” is a place where something—carbon dioxide, heat, water, etc…winds up.)

The net carbon sink in the world’s forests is made up of carbon uptake less carbon loss. Carbon (C) uptake is expressed as bigger trees and more dense forests, storage in leaf litter, dead wood, wood products, and in the soil. Carbon loss occurs through deforestation and burning. By analyzing “recent inventory data and long-term field observations coupled to statistical or process models” Pan et al. conclude that “the global net forest C sink was 1.0 ± 0.8 and 1.2 ± 0.9 PgC yr–1 for 1990-1999 and 2000-2007”—indicating that the terrestrial forest sink has been at least consistent, if not expanding, over at least the past 18 years (1990-2007). A “Pg” is a Petagram, which is 1 followed by 15 zeroes worth of constant grams. For comparative purposes, our federal deficit is 14 followed by 12 zeroes worth of inflating $$$.

In fact, if it were not for tropical deforestation, the world’s forests would be taking up a huge percentage of the carbon dioxide emitted from anthropogenic activities. Pan et al explain:

"Notably, the total gross C uptake by the world’s established and tropical regrowth forests is 4.0 PgC y–1, equivalent to half of the fossil fuel C emissions in 2009. Over the period studied (1990-2007), the cumulative C sink into the world’s established forests was ~43 PgC, and for the established plus regrowing forests was 73 PgC; the latter equivalent to 60% of cumulative fossil emissions in the period (i.e., 126 PgC). Clearly, forests play a critical role in the Earth’s terrestrial C sinks, and exert strong control on the evolution of atmospheric CO2."

The researchers find that even though the greatest annual carbon flux is occurring in tropical forests, those fluxes nearly balance out with the result being that tropical forests are largely carbon neutral. That’s because the annual carbon sink from tropical forest growth and regrowth (after logging), is offset by continued deforestation. Temporal and boreal forests, on the other hand, prove to be net carbon sinks

Pan et al. describe the situation in the United States as follows:

"The U.S. forest C sink increased by 33% from the 1990s to 2000s, caused by increasing forest area, growth of existing immature forests that are still recovering from historical agriculture, grazing, harvesting, and environmental factors such as CO2 fertilization and N deposition. However, forests in the western United States have shown significantly increased mortality in the past few decades, related to drought stress, and increased mortality from insects and fires."

Basically, the bottom line is that the world’s forests systems are subject to a number of difference influences, many of which are rooted in human activities (logging, CO2 emissions, nitrogen emissions, climate change), but overall, are expanding their carbon reserves...


Monckton on the "precautionary principle

BRITISH climate change sceptic Christopher Monckton says cutting carbon emissions is as necessary as buying a giant cricket bat to whack a wayward asteroid for six.

Lord Monckton argued the world did not need an insurance policy against global warming during a debate at the National Press Club in Canberra today. "Just in case there might be a risk of a giant asteroid hitting us, we should spend 150 per cent of global GDP from now until forever to try to make sure we have a large cricket bat to knock it out of the way," he said.

In the London insurance market there was a saying, he said: "If the price of the premium exceeds the cost of the risk - don't insure."

Lord Monckton urged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to dump his "direct action" climate change policy, which includes storing carbon emissions in soil and planting trees instead of a carbon tax. "There is no need to take any action at all," he said.

Lord Monckton parodied Prime Minister Julia Gillard's accent when he spoke about her carbon tax. "The carbon tax is the wrong solution to a non-problem," he said, adding people should just sit back and enjoy the sunshine.

"If you were to apply the Gillard method all over the world ... it would take $60,000 per head of the world population ... to (stop) a 0.23 Celsius of global warming."

Lord Monckton's debate opponent, economist Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute, argued Australia could "bet the house" that the peer was right or "insure the house in case he's wrong".

He used the purchase of 12 new submarines to replace the six Australia hasn't used yet to make a point. "No one is certain who we need them to protect us from," Dr Denniss said. "But when it comes to making decisions about national defence and our health, when the consequences are catastrophic, what sensible people do is take a conservative path."


Doorstep lectures on travelling without your car as army of British "advisers" teach families about 'sustainable travel'

Hundreds of thousands of families are to be visited by travel advisers who will tell them to stop driving their cars. Armed with bus timetables and cycle route maps, they will knock on doors and lecture on the need for ‘sustainable travel’.

The doorstep campaign by the army of taxpayer-funded ‘personal travel advisers’ is part of a £156million effort by ministers to persuade people to leave their cars at home when they go to work or the shops, or take children to school.

Of 39 councils who will share the ‘sustainable transport’ money, 32 have said they will use some of it for advising individuals on how they can get around without their car. About 300,000 families are liable to get a visit.

Darlington has already run trials using paid advisers to go door to door. It will now get £375,000 for a scheme to visit all 45,900 homes in the area.

In Hereford, the 74,282 homes in the city will be visited twice, once for advisers to give information on public transport and cycling, and three months later to check whether the advice is being followed.

Blackpool has offered its residents a questionnaire on the way they travel, which asks for personal details, information about journeys made, and asks questions such as ‘what prevents you from cycling?’ and ‘do you know where your nearest bus stop is?’

Ministers have told MPs that the spending is good value for taxpayers. Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker said in a statement to MPs that the money will ‘support authorities in delivering local economic growth while cutting carbon emissions from transport.’ He added: ‘The Department is confident that the overall package of proposals included in this first round represents high value for money.’

John O’Connell of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘Schemes like these represent poor value for money for taxpayers. They don’t address the real issues facing commuters on congested roads or packed trains. ‘With tighter budgets, silly schemes should be consigned to the scrapyard.’

On the streets of Darlington last week travel advisers said they were meeting mixed success. With trolleys full of pamphlets in tow, Alex Clarke, 21, and Chris Chance, 28, who were on contract for the council, said some members of the public were more receptive than others.

Mr Chance said: ‘Some people we’ve spoken to have never considered using any other form of transport than a car.


Safe? Not solar vehicles

Nick Sitts was driving a solar vehicle north along 15th Street toward the formation area of the da Vinci Days parade shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday when he heard a pop. Moments later there was an explosion, and soon the $100,000 vehicle was engulfed in flames.

Sitts got out just in time - right after he heard that initial pop, said Hai Yue Han, co-captain of the Oregon State University Solar Vehicle Team, which constructed the vehicle from 2008 to 2010. "If it had been a few moments later, he may have not made it out alive," Han said.

Sitts had first- and second-degree burns to his arms and face and some singed hair. "He looked like he had a bad sunburn, she said. "He lost a shoe; it disintegrated."

Han believes the explosion was caused by a short in one of the battery cells. Each of the 28 battery packs contains 20 small cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells - a total of 568. Some of the battery cells landed in the OSU parking lot on the east side of 15th. The explosion occurred about 50 yards south of the Kerr Administration Building.

In the rubble, the titanium frame was still intact but warped. "We recovered nothing from that car," Han said. The heat from the fire also caused minor asphalt damage a few feet away in the southbound lane of 15th.

What worked Saturday was the solar vehicle team's recently upgraded egress system. "With every solar vehicle, you have to be able to get out in 10 seconds," Han said. He and others estimated that Nick Sitts made it out in two to five seconds.


An old time revival hour for Warmists

The Stephen H. Schneider Symposium, being held in late August in Boulder, Colo., will reflect on his approach to the climate problem and culminate with a session on this question: “The challenge of climate change mitigation and adaptation: How do we translate sound climate science into sound policies?”

Speakers include Santer and Oreskes and Romm and Oppenheimer and Teresa Heinz-Kerry. [Oh my!]



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


19 July, 2011

Greenhouse Gas Theory Trashed in replicated Lab Experiment

by John O'Sullivan

Professor Nahle of Monterrey, Mexico backed by a team of international scientists has faithfully recreated a famous experiment from 1909 to confirm that the greenhouse effect cannot cause global warming.

Astonishingly, the 1909 greenhouse gas experiment first performed by Professor Robert W. Wood at John Hopkins University hadn’t been replicated for a century. This despite over $100 billion spent by the man-made global warming industry trying to prove its case that carbon dioxide is a dangerous atmospheric pollutant.

The analogy had been that greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2) act like the glass in a greenhouse trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere and if they build up (due to human industrial emissions) the planet would dangerously overheat.

At the Biology Cabinet laboratories Professor Nahle was able to confirm the astounding findings: Wood was right all along. After peer-review the results confirm that the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’ is solely due to the blockage of convective heat transfer within the environment in which it is contained i.e. as in this case, a lab flask.

Indeed, it is the glass of the lab flask (or ‘greenhouse’) that caused the “trapped” radiation all along. The flask (or greenhouse) being what scientists refer to as a ‘closed system’; while Earth’s atmosphere isn’t closed at all but rather open to space allowing heat energy to freely escape.

Nahle’s findings shoot holes in claims of Professor Pratt of Stanford University whose own replication of Wood’s experiment was touted as the first official reconstruction of Wood’s test for a century. Pratt claimed he had disproved Wood’s findings.

“This is the reason that I decided to repeat the experiment of Professor Pratt to either falsify or verify his results and those of Professor Wood,“ says the Mexican professor at the Biology Cabinet.

The Monterrey science research institute also recreated Wood’s test into the effect of longwave infrared radiation trapped inside a greenhouse. Unlike Pratt it found that Wood’s findings were correct, absolutely valid and systematically repeatable. The Bio Cab man affirms, “ the greenhouse effect does not exist as it is described in many didactic books and articles.”

Put simply, one of the aforementioned professors has their reputation perilously on the line and Nahle is gunning for an explanation from his U.S. Rival. A clue to the outcome: Pratt isn't even qualified in science - he's a (warmist) mathematician specializing in computers.

Much more HERE

More global warming propaganda from WWF and Reuters; they find that polar bear cubs can die of hypothermia when hit by storms during long-distance swims

"Climate change is pulling the sea ice out from under polar bears' feet, forcing some to swim longer distances to find food and habitat," said Geoff York of World Wildlife Fund, a co-author of the study....

To gather data, researchers used satellites and tracked 68 polar bear females equipped with GPS collars over six years, from 2004 through 2009, to find occasions when these bears swam more than 30 miles at a time.

There were 50 long-distance swims over those six years, involving 20 polar bears, ranging in distance up to 426 miles and in duration up to 12.7 days, according to a paper for presentation on Tuesday at the International Bear Association Conference in Ottawa, Canada.

At the time the collars were put on, 11 of the polar bears that swam long distances had young cubs; five of those polar bear mothers lost their cubs during the swim, representing a 45 percent mortality rate, the study found.

Cubs that didn't have to swim long distances with their mothers had an 18 percent mortality rate, the study said....

"They're a lot like us," York said in a telephone interview. "They can't close off their nasal passages in rough waters. So for old bears or young bears alike, if they're out in open water and a storm hits, they're going to have a tough time surviving." ...

"Young bears don't have very much fat and therefore they aren't very well insulated and cannot cope with being in cold water for very long," Amstrup said in the same telephone conversation.

1. It looks like this study was carefully set up in an attempt to find drowning polar bears for propaganda purposes, but from their perspective, it was a failure.
After studying 68 adult females over six years, apparently zero of the adults drowned, but they did document that polar bears can swim for 426 miles and/or 12.7 days!

2. I'm not convinced that even the five missing cubs actually died during the swims. They don't tell us that the cubs were very young during the swims; how do we know that one or more of the uncollared-but-missing cubs didn't survive? Out of 11 total swimming cubs, the difference between a 45% and 18% "normal" mortality rate is only three total cubs.

3. How do we actually know that "more" polar bear cubs die as Arctic ice melts? What percent of polar bear cubs died when swimming one hundred, one thousand, or ten thousand years ago? How do we know that carbon dioxide made these bears decide to swim?


Switching off airconditioners kills

Heatstroke deaths quadruple as Japan shuns air conditioners

Deaths from heatstroke quadrupled in the early part of summer as temperatures rose and air conditioners were switched off in line with government appeals to curb electricity usage to avoid power blackouts.

From June 1 to 10, 26 people died from heatstroke, compared with six in the same period last year, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The number of people taken by ambulance to hospitals for heatstroke more than tripled to 12,973, with 48 percent in the most-at-risk group aged 65 years or older.

"There's a risk the number of patients will continue to rise if people stop using air conditioners at home," said Yasufumi Miyake, associate professor at Showa University Hospital, who led a nationwide study of heatstroke. "Elderly people are the most vulnerable as they try to tough it out."

Temperatures in eastern Japan, including Tokyo, were 3.8 degrees higher than the 30-year average in the last 10 days of June and the highest since at least 1961, according to Hajime Takayama, a forecaster at the Meteorological Agency. The average temperature in Tokyo in the 10 days was 26.4 degrees, and temperatures in the coming weeks are forecast to be above average, he said.

Japan has shut 35 of its 54 atomic reactors for safety checks after the March 11 earthquake triggered the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, reducing total power capacity by 11 percent. Conservation efforts amid hotter temperatures are raising concern of a repeat of last year, when a record 1,718 people died of heatstroke as the summer heat broke records.

In Yamagata Prefecture, the government asked businesses and families to either switch off air conditioners or raise the temperature settings for two hours between 1 and 3 p.m. on July 7 to conserve power. The government also warned of the risks of heatstroke.

Families were encouraged to stay in one room to cut the number of air conditioners being used and to close their curtains to block sunlight, according to the government website. Consumption on that day dropped 19 percent from a year earlier, exceeding the target of 15 percent, the government said.

"Power-saving also requires sensitivity to heatstroke risk," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said July 8 in the Diet.

Heatstroke is an escalation of heat cramps and heat exhaustion and becomes life-threatening when body temperature reaches 40 degrees or higher, according to the Mayo Clinic's website. It can lead to brain damage, organ failure and death.


Romney backpedalling

Mitt Romney says he doesn’t think carbon pollution threatens human health and would not green light EPA climate regulations if he were in the White House.

The GOP presidential candidate signaled the reversal to one of the Obama administration's top environmental policies during a town hall meeting Thursday in Derry, N.H. This came about six weeks after he acknowledged during a campaign stop that global warming is real, a statement that won him praise from Al Gore.

"I think we may have made a mistake," Romney said Thursday in response to a voter's question about EPA regulating air pollution from coal plants under the Clean Air Act. "We have made a mistake is what I believe, in saying that the EPA should regulate carbon emissions. I don’t think that was the intent of the original legislation, and I don’t think carbon is a pollutant in the sense of harming our bodies."


British jobs gone with the wind

Crippling new taxes proposed by Chris Huhne to subsidise green energy could force key employers out of business.

In the film Billy Elliot, a boy strives to be a dancer against the backdrop of the miners’ strike. Now, the place where they filmed it is the focus of another defining industrial struggle, with hundreds of thousands of jobs at stake.

It’s not workers versus management this time: they’re on the same side. It is workers versus wind farms. The enemy is no longer hard, Thatcherite Right-wingers. It is well-intentioned, impeccably progressive environmentalists: the very people, no doubt, shaking “Coal not Dole” collection tins in north London, circa 1984. The battleground now is not coal. It is electricity.

In the Billy Elliot village of Lynemouth, on the North East coast, all the pits have closed. But it is still home to the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminium plant.

In the last few years, the price of aluminium has more than doubled, and there are plenty of customers. Your mountain bike, your drinks can and parts of your Nissan car could well have started out here.

The Lynemouth plant is profitable. It is fairly modern, only 35 years old. It is almost at full production. It is the biggest private employer left in the entire county of Northumberland, contributing £100 million to the local economy.

Yet it is now at serious risk of closure, the first of dozens of potential victims of what one business spokesman calls Britain’s industrial “suicide”.

Last week, the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, announced further massive subsidies for wind farms, nuclear and other forms of low-carbon electricity – all part of Chancellor George Osborne’s ambition to make this the “greenest” country in Europe.

There was already going to be a “carbon floor price”, effectively a tax on CO2 emissions, to subsidise wind and other renewables. Now Mr Huhne’s further subsidies will be funded by consumers, through much higher electricity bills.

Lynemouth’s problem is that it is probably the UK’s single largest user of electricity. Producing just one ton of aluminium uses more power than the average family does in 15 years.

The new wind farm taxes will cost Lynemouth £40 million a year, a third of its entire operating costs, effectively wiping out its annual profits. Last month, John McCabe, a spokesman for the company, said it was examining “how we cope with the huge cost implications of incoming legislation. A number of options are being discussed, one of which is the closure of the plant.”

Lynemouth’s 650 workers, and the hundreds of others it supports indirectly, are only the most exposed of the vast number at risk. Britain is still home to huge amounts of energy-intensive heavy industry, employing millions.

But Stan Higgins, chief executive of the North East Process Industry Cluster, which represents the region’s chemical and pharmaceutical companies, says current government energy policies are “suicidal” and could end up destroying entire sectors of manufacturing.

“Four or five years ago [in pharmaceuticals], energy was the twelfth most expensive element of manufacturing a tablet,” he says. “Now it is second or third. “We are trying to be the first country in Europe to introduce [a carbon floor price], but it’s crazy to do this independently. Our energy costs are six to seven per cent higher than the European average and that’s not sustainable.

Most of our big companies are not UK-owned – they have no allegiance to the UK whatever. They will go where they get the best deal. We can compete with the world, but we just need a level playing field.”

Aluminium isn’t even the most energy-intensive manufacture. For the chlorine industry, electricity is up to 70 per cent of its costs. And if British chlorine-making collapses, it takes with it thousands of jobs in other sectors that are wholly dependent on chlorine production. Some people have started talking of a “domino effect”.

Jeremy Nicholson, of the Energy Intensive Users Group, says: “Employment in the sectors that are most directly affected by rising green taxes is 225,000. "And if you look at the Government’s projections, their CO2 proposals will hit even firms that are less electro-intensive – paper, glass, ceramics – with a further 600,000 jobs. Factories may not close immediately, but investment won’t come here.

“The issue for us is the cost of electricity here compared with the rest of the world. Britain has the most ambitious targets for renewable energy growth in Europe and is introducing several measures which will only affect UK users.”

The new green taxes will fund several forms of low-carbon electricity, including nuclear. But it is ministers’ attachment to wind farms, increasingly offshore, that is causing industry the greatest pain.

“We don’t take issue with the need to decarbonise energy,” says Mr Nicholson. “But, for goodness’ sake, let’s do it cost-effectively. Offshore wind is one of the most expensive ways of reducing our carbon emissions, and one of the least cost-effective ways of generating electricity.”

Last week, Mr Huhne scoffed at such claims. But, as is now widely known, wind farms’ biggest problem is that for about three-quarters of the time, the wind does not blow at the right speed to turn the turbines.

Electricity cannot be stored – you have to generate it at the moment you need it – and the wind might not oblige when 10 million viewers want to switch the kettle on at the end of Coronation Street. So, at the same time as building new wind farms, you must build new conventional power stations as backup.

The Government does not include the costs of building these backup stations in its figures for wind. Nor does it include the cost of the thousands of miles of extra powerlines needed to collect electricity from wind farms, much more widely scattered than conventional power plants.

The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) and The Sunday Telegraph asked Colin Gibson, former power network director at the National Grid, for an estimate that takes into account these production costs.

His figures suggest that across its whole life, onshore wind will cost as much as £178 per megawatt hour of electricity generated, three times nuclear (£60). Offshore wind, with its much higher construction cost, is more than four times dearer, at £254 per megawatt hour.

Mr Gibson stresses that, though most of his calculations are based on official data, some have to be based on his best judgment, and aren’t definitive. But the broad picture is clear. “If you take the costs of a mixture of on and offshore wind, it is very roughly £140 per megawatt hour higher than a mixture of nuclear and gas turbines,” he says.

“Multiply that by the number of megawatt hours we use, and you get a figure in the order of maybe £11 billion a year, which is about £550 per customer per annum [extra] for wind power. That is quite frightening.”

Until now, the main controversy about electricity prices has been to do with consumers. Last week, new figures showed that rising bills have driven another 700,000 people into “fuel poverty”. But the impact on manufacturing could deliver a double whammy: not only costing you money, but also costing you your job.

John Constable, director of the REF, says: “The emphasis on expensive and uncontrollable renewables such as wind, when there are better and cheaper alternatives that could do the same job, is discrediting the green agenda. We are loading very heavy burdens onto viable industries in order to subsidise immature and costly energy technologies.”

“This is a major threat to the UK,” warns Nicholson. “I sometimes think that the Department for Climate Change doesn’t care if we de-industrialise Britain, so long as we meet our climate targets.”


We love prophecies but are unwise to believe them

The most interesting thing I’ve read all year about the climate-change debate is a book that has nothing directly to do with it.

Dan Gardner’s Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail and Why We Believe Them Anyway explores, well, the title pretty sums it up. Gardner runs through a laundry list of culture-shaping fears and hopes and points out that they were almost always wrong.

Capitalism didn’t end up on the ash heap of history. World War I didn’t turn out to be the war to end all wars. Society wasn’t plunged into anarchy by the Y2K bug. The nightmare scenario of overpopulation Malthusians have been banging on about since 1798 is yet to play out.

That’s despite the likes of Paul Ehrlich (the Al Gore of the ‘70s) predicting in 1968 that: “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundred of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

It’s 2011, and somehow I still don¹t have a robot maid to clean my house or a jetpack to fly me to work.

There are solid evolutionary reasons humans are desperate to know what is likely to be coming around the corner. And there’s a class of experts who make good coin by pandering to our desperate need to glimpse the future. The only problem with this arrangement is that the experts almost never deliver on their side of the bargain.

In 1984, The Economist asked four former finance ministers, four chairmen of multinational companies, four Oxford economics students and four London dustmen to provide a 10-year forecast of what was going to happen to things like inflation, unemployment and oil prices.

A decade on, it was discovered that while nobody¹s predictions had been particularly accurate, the garbos had done as well as the corporate chairmen and considerably better than the students or former finance ministers.

The likely reason the garbologists did better than the economists probably relates to what might be labelled the paradox of prognostication. Those humble types who accept the future is very difficult to predict do much better at forecasting it than those who are supremely confident of their seer-like capabilities - usually because they’re in thrall to One Big Idea That Explains Everything.

Guess which type of expert is most likely to get media attention, research funding and political backing?

Of course, given the marketplace of ideas is filled to bursting with predictions of mankind’s imminent doom, if some course of action is or isn’t taken, there’s still the issue of which apocalypse you choose to fear.

More here


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


18 July, 2011

Warmists finally acknowledging the influence of the sun

They have always denied any influence from the sun but the temperature stasis of the 21st century is making them desperate. And now that the Chinese aerosol explanation has been sweepingly debunked, the sun is all that they have got left

During the summer months, it's both difficult and remarkably easy to forget how dangerous the sun can be. Sometimes it takes a space weather event to reinforce the point. Last month, the Solar Dynamic Observatory recorded a massive eruption on the sun's surface that produced a mushroom cloud of ionized particles. Had the resulting solar winds struck the Earth's magnetic field directly, the damage to our electrical grids might have proven catastrophic. If you think our politicians have a tough time agreeing on debt ceilings, just imagine how much difficulty they'd have figuring out how to finance trillion-dollar repairs to our country's infrastructure.

As astronomy author Bob Berman's new book reveals, storms like these are actually a common byproduct of the Sun's 11-year cycle of pulsing, dimming and brightening. "The Sun's Heartbeat," which takes its title from this phenomenon, offers a compelling and surprisingly playful history of our solar system's most famous star -- from the alternately brilliant and misguided theories of the ancient Greeks, to the modern-day discoveries that would make Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick blush. Along the way, Berman, a columnist for Astronomy magazine and the science editor of the Old Farmer's Almanac, examines how solar cycles can offset global warming and how mankind has, by its own ambitions and neuroses, devolved into a collection of sun-starved troglodytes.....

There are three major factors that affect the planet's temperature and, by extension, its agricultural development: volcanic activity, the presence or absence of El Niño and, finally, the heartbeat of the sun. If the latter slows down for long periods of time, the Earth gets colder. During the Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1715, the sun effectively lost its heartbeat entirely. The result was unbearably cold winters and incredible hardship around the world.

Carbon emissions have warmed the planet dramatically, but we happen to be entering a new sunspot [i.e., heartbeat] cycle -- the 24th in our recorded history. Many experts believe that not only will it have weak maximum temperatures, but very deep minimums. If this is true, it's the best thing that can possibly happen. The sun would effectively buy us time to switch over to non-fossil fuels. If we end up having strong or even normal maximums, temperatures in 2015 could be hotter than humans have ever seen before.

More blah blah HERE

Demand for transparency is a "threat" to Warmists

That tells its own story, of course

The recent meme being propagated by global warming alarmists is that they are under siege by skeptics, physically at risk for their selfless service to science, and to the world. So far as I can tell, the very serious claim as advertised either speaks more about those making facially misleading assertions, or otherwise remains not fully baked. That is, the specific bandied about is some Larouchie outburst in Australia about "the British Empire", or something, according to the source... though the recipient gravely intones that, to our surprise, the US is the epicenter of threats to climate scientists. That darn media, covering for climate skeptics!

As with AAAS's panic over our FOIAs [Freedom of Information Act requests] -- who wouldn't see them as akin to death threats? I mean, other than those who don't confuse death-by-transparency of a movement with the real thing -- this is clearly prompted out of desperation over our transparency campaign (see, e.g., the successful effort to compel production of University of Virginia 's "Hockey Stick" and other Michael Mann records here, and seeking the ethics file -- if it exists -- governing James Hansen's lucrative extracurriculars here).

In execution, this is also rather pathetic.

More disturbing is the hypocrisy, including among the warming industry's media cheerleaders. Remember, these people said nothing as the (now-)supposed horrors of FOIA requests, and actual intimidation and assault were visited on those who dared continue plying science -- that is, skeptical, critical analysis -- to anthropogenic global warming theory. I wrote a book about it, it was so pervasive in the global warming industry's modus operandi (a book that also detailed what was affirmed, not 'revealed', in ClimateGate, a year before there was a ClimateGate). Not quite as pervasive as their default plays of no time to discuss! and argumentum ad Hitlerum. But far too common.

For example, consider the following excerpts, aptly titled Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed. (citations omitted; if you want 'em, buy the book).
CHAPTER 6. Fear and Loathing: Alarmist Scare Tactics, Demonization, and Threats

At various Kyoto Protocol negotiations that I have attended, Greenpeace posted around the convention hall a "Field Guide to Climate Criminals" with photographs of me and a few others on the enemies list, so that the unwashed children of privilege flocking to these meetings couldn't miss us [NB: I admit to suffering only stalkers, and having Greenpeace steal my trash each Sunday night]...

Take this one from "environmental author" Mark Lynas who describes his blog as "something of a debating hall about climate change."

I wonder what sentences judges might hand down at future international criminal tribunals on those who will be partially but directly responsible for millions of deaths from starvation, famine and disease in decades ahead. I put this in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial-except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don't will one day have to answer for their crimes.

David Roberts, writing for the popular green website Grist went into more detail:

When we've finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we're in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards-some sort of climate Nuremberg. ...

Academic and activist Ross Gelbspan (who for a long time portrayed himself as a Pulitzer Prize winner, which he isn't) has attacked scientists (which he also is not) as "criminals against humanity" for questioning his apocalyptic future scenarios. One cowardly green-activist website calls a Harvard astrophysicist an attempted mass murderer for discussing the Sun's role in the earth's historical temperature record, and labels other dissenters "felons." ...

Canada's first PhD in climatology, Dr. Tim Ball, relates that he's received death threats for his apostasy [NB: Ball is also being sued by two alarmists so, using their logic, there's two more death threats]. Yet the threats of an early grave (when not acted upon) have big shoes to fill living up to the rhetoric of the premier darlings of the alarmist industry. Consider the comments from George Monbiot , star columnist for The Guardian, that "every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned," and Gore advisor James Hansen, that "a certain shock treatment is needed, but it would best be delivered with a two-by-four as a solid whack to the head of politicians who remain oblivious to fundamental physical facts." Referring to these gems, climate scientist Roger Pielke Jr. [NB: who also went public with a crystal clear professional threat for his apostasy] opined:

Allusions to murder and beatings kind of puts a chill on discussing options for climate policy, doesn't it? Maybe that is the point. It certainly makes me think.

... It is all too easy for leaders to incite people to actual violence on issues that they are passionate about. Mr. Monbiot and Dr. Hansen (and others, again on all sides) may not have that outcome in mind as they write such statements, but if they don't watch out, that may be what they get.

The Wheels Come Off

Pielke is right. Noted skeptic, physics professor, and former head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo Tom Segalstad related to me an annoying series of pizzas delivered to his home which, although he did not order them, did ensue once he came out in criticism of the environmental alarmists. Oh, those clever greens. Or, maybe not so clever. It seems that, subsequently, the wheels of Segalstad's automobile up and fell off on two separate occasions, including once while his young daughter was in the car. Apparently the lug nuts had been loosened. Of course, his claim is anecdotal [NB: though the incidents later resumed]. Sort of like the global warmists' purported harbingers of catastrophic climate change.

I then detailed the vastly more numerous professional threats, or implicit admissions of having received or known of them (just like all of those global warming alarmists whose funding and advancement has suffered as a result! I kid.). How one terrified citizen beat another to death for supposedly violating a restriction on lawn watering (he was wrong). Of UK schoolchildren widely exhibiting signs of having been terrorized by their educators, and a teenager committed to psychiatric care in Australia, refusing even water, having been convinced he was contributing to an extant environmental catastrophe. All the logical outcome of alarmist rhetoric.

This wretchedness comes with leading, or letting one's self to be led by, a cadre seeking a political agenda and/or to preserve a gravy train, or otherwise their professional futures, all first secured on exaggeration and ideological abuse of a scientific credential, perpetuated by bullying, threats and often dishonesty. Now claiming to be victimized. Please, cut your losses and stop laboring to construct a moral high ground for yourselves.


Some Common Global Warming Fallacies

by statistician W.M. Briggs

The level of debate on global warming is shriekingly poor. Not that I have any hope of convincing the world to reject bad logic, but here are some of the more common fallacies making the rounds.

* The Consensus Appealing to “the” consensus is a form of the appeal-to-authority fallacy, but it is more so a stacking-the-deck fallacy. It works thusly: the IPCC goes out among the credentialed and asks, “Doest thou agree with me?” If the answer be “Aye”, the person is added to the Nice list; if it be “Nay”, the unfortunate is entered into the Persona Non Grata ledger. The IPCC then reports that there is a consensus among its membership, and that because this consensus is a consensus, its conclusions are beyond question.

But “the” consensus is not a consensus of all climatologists. Your own author, for example, despite offering his services repeatedly—to be remunerated at the same rates as the rest of the Aye-sayers: he has to eat, after all—has never had his offer accepted. “The consensus” is therefore not a consensus in the plain English meaning of the word.

Actually, of course, even some who say Nay make it onto the Nice list, but their views are not accorded equal weight with those of the leadership. See Judith Curry’s interesting post on “the” consensus for more on this (suggested by an anonymous reader).

* You’re no climatologist! The grandfather of all fallacies, the appeal to authority. This one generates more hilarity than any other. This fallacy occurs when a point made by a person outside “the” consensus is said to be invalid because the person making the point is not a “genuine” or “real” climatologist.

First, if this fallacy was not one, then how can we explain that the IPCC could include so many non-genuine, un-real climatologists? A great chunk (even a majority?) of its members are economists, biologists, etc. Should we disbelieve what they say because these people are not genuine climatologists?

An example of hilarity: musing on climate-gate, academic philosopher Gary Gutting writes in the New York Times: "Some non-expert opponents of global warming have made much of a number of e-mails written and circulated among a handful of climate scientists that they see as evidence of bias toward global warming. But unless this group is willing to argue from this small (and questionable) sample to the general unreliability of climate science as a discipline, they have no alternative but to accept the consensus view of climate scientists that these e-mails do not undermine the core result of global warming."

But, Gary, dear boy, just think: if you’re dismissing the claims of critics because they are “non-expert”, how then could you, as non-expert as they come, judge the IPCC’s claims to be valid? How can any non-expert “accept the consensus view”? I am an expert: I do not accept “the” consensus view. My expertise surely trumps yours. Therefore, you must believe what I say. If you retort that more experts take the opposite view than mine, and that therefore you choose to believe that what they say is true, then you have reduced truth to a vote. (Via Bishop Hill, via Randy Brich).

This fallacy is pervasive and almost always used in Gutting’s form by civilians anxious not to learn any physics, but who are keen to shut up the other side.

A person’s lack of credentials can be, and often is, relevant to why that person uttered a falsity, but it is irrelevant to proving the fallacy.

* The asinine comparison Technically known as the non sequitur, this one is most popular with politicians and pundits, and even the occasional academic philosopher. Examples here are legion. This is usually evidenced by calling somebody a “denier,” as pathetic a ploy as exists.

It has also been used, in peer-reviewed publications, to compare disbelief if global warming as comparable for support of slavery. Whenever you hear we must not listen to the nay-sayers because we must “Save the planet,” or its many variants, you are hearing this fallacy.

* The economic fallacy See this post for complete details. The gist: the source of funding to the person who makes a statement is irrelevant to whether that statement is true or false. The source of funding could be, and often is, relevant to understanding why the person uttered a falsity, but it is irrelevant to proving the falsity.

* What you say hasn’t been peer reviewed! Yes, the appeal-to-authority in disguise. A statement is not true because a busy editor and two reviewers (who first look if their own papers are quoted in the paper under review) have said it is. Similarly, a statement is not false because it appears on a web site (and only reviewed in the comments).

Again, a person’s failing to submit a statement to “peer approval” is, and often is, relevant to why that person uttered a falsity, but it is irrelevant to proving the fallacy.


Big Green Pharaohs want copper but obstruct the mining of it

Who is Gordon Moore and what does he have against copper? He's the multibillionaire co-founder of computer chip giant Intel, and he has pledged $2.7 million against a planned mine in the largest known ore body of copper on the planet, Alaska's Pebble Mine -- even though Intel uses tons of copper.

As chairman of his private foundation, Moore gave $1.1 million to the Alaska Conservation Foundation for "Pebble mine campaign coordination;" $1 million to the Renewable Resources Coalition for "Pebble mine education and outreach"; and $624,000 to the Nature Conservancy's Alaska office for "Pebble mine science and risk assessment."

Moore gave the money and marching orders at the same time in 2008. The mine developers, Pebble Limited Partnership, hadn't released their proposal at that time and still haven't released their detailed plan to build and operate the most environmentally sensitive mine in history, careful of the vast salmon runs from Bristol Bay, cognizant of earthquake fault lines, wildlife habitat, native village subsistence hunting, the whole book.

It's not just Moore. The war against Pebble is already one of the largest and most expensive Big Green campaigns ever -- Natural Resources Defense Council ($96.9 million revenue) runs a circuslike Stop the Pebble Mine crusade, replete with jeremiads of salmon doom, aging actor Robert Redford demanding that development partners Anglo American and Rio Tinto withdraw from the project, and gloats that they already chased away Mitsubishi.

Dozens of Big Green groups operate anti-Pebble fights. Environmental Defense Fund ($151 million in assets) runs a petition drive, the National Wildlife Federation ($98.4 million annual revenue) enlists native groups and fishermen, and so on into a coalition of hundreds.

They're even recruiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to wield an obscure and inappropriate section of the Clean Water Act as brute force to kill the mine project.

It shows, if nothing else, that environmentalism is no longer a movement. Counting its foundation funders, it's an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And it's a strange, alien industry that absolutely opposes any development anywhere.

Hard to believe, but Big Green Inc. is afflicted with a peculiar schizophrenia that shows most clearly in President Obama's clean energy economy campaign. "Clean energy economy" sounds so promising -- wind farms, solar panels, electric cars, biofuels, wonderful products -- all set in a pristine Eden, an untouchable paradise like Bristol Bay.

They want all those wonderful products, but they don't want anybody developing anything to get the stuff necessary to make them. Like mental patients or mystics, from their moral high throne, true believers can't perceive their own contradictions, can't grasp the biblical "more bricks, no straw" analogy.

The Obama administration, with all its agencies, is the definitive true believer, stopping all development everywhere.

The result? Goods production is vanishing in America. There is no recovery from this recession because Washington is killing it. Industry isn't hiring because regulators won't let developers develop. With no development, there's nothing to work on and so no jobs.

I asked Pebble Limited Partnership Chief Executive Officer John Shively what he thought of this outsize opposition. "To try stopping this project before we've even announced what it will be is to deny us the due process people in this country are entitled to."

True, but why is the opposition to the Pebble Mine so ferocious, so hugely funded, so desperate? What's so terrifying about this mine that other mines haven't aroused?

"I can only think of one reason," Shively said. "They don't know what we have in mind, only rumors that we've been constantly working to make it the perfect environmentally sensitive mine. I think they're trying to stop it before it starts because we might actually do it and do it right."

Imagine the consequences.


The nightmare of Greenie rubbish rules in Britain

One of the army of bin policemen employed to make sure households are recycling properly has been sacked after complaints about his over-zealous approach. Lester Murphy was paid £20,000 a year to help homeowners understand the new recycling rules, but his ‘full-on’ approach resulted in chaos.

Mr Murphy, a 50-year-old Army veteran, used a camera to collect ‘evidence’ against householders confused by the new rules. He engaged in doorstep slanging matches about the definitions of recyclable and landfill waste and in one day ordered bin men not to empty 122 bins on an estate because residents had put rubbish in the wrong ones. In many instances, bins stacked with rubbish were left to rot.

Residents of Test Valley in Hampshire complained to the council following disagreements with Mr Murphy, from Froxfield near Marlborough in Wiltshire.

His sacking makes him one of the first casualties of the Town Hall recycling strategy which is costing taxpayers up to £20 million a year in jobs and initiatives that many believe are unnecessary.

Test Valley operates a two-bin system using a black wheelie bin for food waste, glass bottles, plastics and other waste destined for landfill. A brown bin is supplied for recyclable materials such as paper, cans, cardboard and plastic bottles. However, many households assume glass bottles can be recycled and put them in the brown bin, which led to disputes.

Businessman Paul Ashton, 45, from Eastleigh in Hampshire, said his 21-year-old daughter Sam was reduced to tears in October when Mr Murphy said he found a plastic carrier bag containing rotting food in the recyclable brown bin. ‘He was so aggressive it was unreal, and all over a plastic bag,’ said Miss Ashton, a swimming-pool lifeguard. ‘I didn’t even put it there. My dad was furious because this guy was a bit of a jobsworth and really upset me. Enough was enough.’

In July last year, Mr Murphy, who served in the first Gulf War campaign in 1990, also ticked off Malcolm Rolls from nearby Romsey after he found a stale loaf of bread in the recyclable waste bin and ordered bin men not to empty it. Mr Murphy was hauled before a disciplinary hearing at the council’s Andover offices in April, and sacked after 11 months in the job.

In the letter of termination, Test Valley Council said his ‘pattern of behaviour’ had attracted a ‘disproportionate level of complaints’.

Mr Murphy, a married father of two who served as a corporal in the Army’s Royal Logistic Corps for 15 years and prides himself on self- discipline, said: ‘They sacked me because people were complaining about me doing my job.

‘They told me I was taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. But if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. ‘As far as I’m concerned, I was doing my job well and that job was to inform people what waste went in what bin. ‘If they kept getting it wrong, I was empowered to tell them and have their rubbish collection stopped until they sorted it out. ‘I don’t see how I could have done anything different. I only started keeping the photographic evidence to cover my back when the complaints started flooding in.’

Ben Alcock, 29, a lift engineer from the Cricketers Way estate in Andover, where Mr Murphy red-tagged 122 bins in one day for non-collection, said: ‘People do their best with all these new rules but it is confusing and no way should this guy have been going around doing what he was doing. He was a bit full-on.’

Hundreds of jobs similar to Mr Murphy’s have been created up and down the country over the past five years. Nearly all the 410 councils in England and Wales employ at least one full-time official with responsibility for recycling, landing council taxpayers with an estimated bill of £20 million a year.

A spokesman for Test Valley Borough Council said: ‘The circumstances surrounding the departure of anyone leaving council employment are confidential. ‘The council has an excellent employment record and has robust procedures in place to ensure that employment-related matters are dealt with appropriately. ‘We would, however, say that the circumstances in this particular case were not related in any way to recycling.’

It is understood Mr Murphy has been replaced by another inspector.



Students 'brainwashed' over climate change in Queensland schools

(The LNP is Queensland's conservative party)

The Liberal National Party president has blasted the Queensland education system for "brainwashing" students about climate change.

Speaking to LNP members at the party's state conference today, Bruce McIver said he was discouraged about how children were being taught about climate change in schools. Mr McIver said he was shaken by the way issues were being taught when he and his wife visited their grandson's school. "We were shocked at the way the climate change debate on one side is being pushed in the classroom," he said. "And not balanced perspectively. Our kids are being brainwashed under this Labor education system."

Mr McIver's comments received loud applause from more than 700 delegates from throughout the state.

"Why aren't they being told that if you go to Quilpie and you drive to Windorah - [Liberal National Party MPs] Vaughan Johnson's country, Howard Hobbs' country - you will see these sand hills that have been blown up years ago," he said. "When the droughts were much bigger than the ones we have just had. "And why aren't we being told that Brisbane has had floods in the 1890s of over eight metres.

"[LNP leader] Campbell [Newman] tells me that back in the 1820s - even before white man even came here - there were floods that could have been over 12 metres at the post office at the bottom of Elizabeth Street. "So, things change. Climate is constantly changing. Is man having an effect? Well I will leave it for you to judge."

Queensland Education Minister Cameron Dick said Mr McIver’s comments were an “outrageous slur” on the professionalism of the state's 38,000 teachers. “The curriculum taught in Queensland state schools is developed and delivered by educational experts, not politicians, nor backroom political party operatives like Mr McIver," he said. "Quite simply, students studying science in Queensland state schools are taught scientific facts.

"We all know that Mr McIver and the LNP are climate-change deniers, and his comments are not only wrong and insulting, but an attempt to push the party’s ‘head-in-the-sand’ beliefs on Queenslanders."

Mr McIver described Labor's carbon tax as a "socialist" policy would have a devastating effect on Queensland business and on Queensland jobs. "It is a direct threat to our economy. I believe it is a redistribution of wealth," he said to cheers of "hear, hear" among delegates. "It is a direct threat to Queensland jobs."

Mr McIver also challenged Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to install more Queenslanders onto his shadow front bench. The LNP won 21 of Queensland's 30 Federal seats at the August 2010 election.

Mr McIver said the LNP had added an extra 4000 members since it formed in July 2008.


Conservative leader opens fire on huge Greenie bureaucracy in Qld.

CAMPBELL Newman has launched a personal attack on Premier Anna Bligh's husband as he threatens to shake up a ballooning green bureaucracy captive to "environmental ideology".

Mr Newman was yesterday given a thunderous welcome to the LNP's annual conference in Brisbane, where he outlined a vigorous plan of attack to take power from Queensland's "tired 20-year-old Labor Government".

Despite fighting a cold that made his voice hoarse, Mr Newman delivered a lengthy barrage at Labor. He saved his sharpest barbs for the Department of Environment and Resource Management, recently revealed to employ the equivalent of a medium-sized township.

Mr Newman said DERM would come under a powerful spotlight and be swiftly re-engineered if he won government. "It's a department without true leadership, a department that is more about ideology than science," he said. "It's more about politics than outcomes."

He also singled out Ms Bligh's husband, Greg Withers, assistant director-general in the Office of Climate Change in DERM, for special mention. "Let's face it, when you have a climate change policy in Queensland decided by the Premier's husband, not science, then you know there's a problem," Mr Newman said.

Environment Minister Vicky Darling hit back immediately, saying Mr Newman was showing his true colours. "Campbell Newman's promise to wreck one of the state's most important regulators should send shivers down the spine of any Queenslander who values the protection of our precious environment and natural resources," she said.

With more than 5600 public servants, DERM is now one of Australia's largest bureaucracies, dwarfing even the number of federal public servants assigned to green schemes (2254).

DERM was designed to protect waterways and wildlife and ensure prime agricultural land was not developed, Mr Newman said. "(But) under Labor, Queenslanders have lost confidence in DERM."

Mr Newman also attacked the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. "Many people from business, the community and even government simply do not understand how this department works or which of its six ministers is in charge," he said.

Mr Newman said Labor was too focused on Green preferences.

Ms Darling said the Bligh Government had a strong, nation-leading record on protecting precious environment and natural assets. "The LNP has never cared about protecting the environment, and this is a clear indication that Campbell Newman is a very real risk," Ms Darling said.


Carbon tax to hit schools

STRUGGLING schools will be hit by an annual $200 million rise in power bills - costing about $57 per student - under the carbon tax. Parents will have to foot the bill by paying more in voluntary contributions or less money will go into vital teaching resources.

Federal opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne said the carbon tax would add 10 per cent to electricity bills and 9 per cent to gas bills.

With schools already struggling with rising power costs due to the digital education revolution, which has meant classrooms become increasingly reliant on computers and digital technology, the NSW Department of Education has told them they will not automatically be given supplementary funding once they exceed their budget for utility bills.

Mr Pyne said yesterday: "There are only two places schools can get the money: they can either increase their fees, or in the case of government schools, it can come out of the state government coffers."We all know the state governments aren't flush with funds so that is going to be difficult for them to find those funds."

School Education Minister Peter Garrett responded by calling the claim a Coalition scare campaign. "The fact is that the government's contribution to school funding is indexed," he said. "So as costs rise, funding to schools is increased."

However, a memo late last week from the NSW Education Department called on public school principals to "identify and develop strategies" to help reduce the money spent on casual teachers and utilities. "In 2008, schools sought supplementation for $13 million to cover the costs of short-term casual relief and utilities," the memo said.

"Last year that number doubled to $26 million. This is a 100 per cent increase for roughly the same numbers of students, teaching staff and teaching spaces. It means that we have less money to spend on other teaching and learning programs."

President of the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW Helen Walton said parents were continually being called upon to support basic programs because schools' money was going on bills. "The computers and whiteboards that come with the digital education revolution are great teaching resources but they come at great expense," Ms Walton said. She said many P&Cs paid for air- conditioning and heating units but their use was adding to schools' bills.

Premier Barry O'Farrell said the power bill rises would cost parents. "The impact of Labor's carbon tax reaches into every corner of life and schools will be adversely affected," he said. "It will push up costs for schools and for parents. The NSW Government is seeking talks with the Prime Minister to discuss the impact of her carbon tax, and schools will be included in that. "We are deeply concerned (about) the impact it will have on schools."

Mr Pyne has also written to Mr Garrett to ask if there would be compensation and what other costs of schooling would rise under the carbon tax. "There are many costs related to a school's operations that could potentially increase as a result of the tax, including increases in electricity and gas," he wrote.



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


17 July, 2011

IPCC "consensus" was manufactured

The authority of the IPCC First Assessment Report and the manufacture of consensus


It is widely perceived that "manufactured controversy" has become a serious problem for contemporary civic deliberations. Advocates for special interests have been able to delay, or even derail, much-needed policies by creating an appearance of scientific doubts where there are in fact none. "Denialists" in controversies over policies towards AIDS or towards teaching biology tread a path first laid down by advocates for Big Tobacco, who famously proclaimed "doubt is our product" (Ceccarelli; Michaels; Weinel; Paroske).

In this environment, the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seems a remarkable achievement. Through a series of (up to now) four reports starting in 1990, the IPCC has managed to establish as a political "given" that the earth is warming, and that human activity is a significant cause. The fourth report was the occasion for the Bush II administration's shift from statements like this: We do not know how much effect natural fluctuations in climate may have had on warming.
We do not know how much our climate could, or will change in the future. We do not know how fast change will occur, or even how some of our actions could impact it.

in 2001, with it's typical assertions of "uncertainty" as a reason for inaction, to statements like this:
[The IPCC report] reflects the sizeable and robust body of knowledge regarding the physical science of climate change, including the finding that the Earth is warming and that human activities have very likely caused most of the warming of the last 50 years.
in 2007. How did the IPCC manage this feat? In opposition to those who would create an appearance of doubt, the IPCC has made evident a broad and deep agreement among scientists— they have "manufactured consensus."

My first goal for this paper is to give an account of the long-term work of rhetorical strategy or design which resulted in the "manufacture of consensus."

My second goal is to critique it. Now, it may seem unwise to cast doubt on a strategy that managed against all odds to achieve a result that many of us agree with. Further, it has been proposed that it is just such a scientific consensus—and not unobtainable "proof"—that can provide the basis for sound public policy (Oreskes "Science and Public Policy: What's Proof Got to Do with It?").

Nevertheless, I hope to sketch an account of the IPCC's rhetorical design which suggests that its success came at a price—a price which included contributing to the decades of political controversy over anthropogenic warming which it finally (at least for now) put to rest.

Much more HERE

John Cook : “observed sea level rise is already above IPCC projections and strongly hints at acceleration”

Actually, recent sea level rise is below IPCC projections and is clearly decelerating. Why does someone who calls himself an “evangelical Christian” intentionally mislead his readers? How much does Cook get paid to promote this BS?


Deadly New York heat wave kills 50 people a day

July 15th, '11: The New World has been hit by a modern counterpart of the plague of Egypt in the form of a deadly heat wave. This phenomenon ultimately poured over to Europe as well and it began to plunder the Czech lands, too.

In the wake of the tropical weather, the New York City has been completely crippled.

The New World was struck by a new-age plague of Egypt. "The commercial activities have largely come to a halt. The thermometer is climbing to breathtaking heights. Some people are grovelling on the shadowy side of the sidewalks and one can't find any humans on the squares. Who doesn't have to, doesn't leave his house and is looking for the coldest places of the buildings and their basements"

Just to be sure, it was 1911.

The fight for ice:

It was a literally murderous heat wave. "As a consequence of the huge heat wave, additional 50 people died on the day before yesterday,"

New Yorkers were therefore trying to escape from the overheated city en masse. "Next to New York, two refugee camps have been built out of tents which attracted tens of thousands of people. One of them is near Pelham Bay, in the proximity of the sea, and another is on the Hudson River. It's relatively better in those areas."

New York has also felt a shortage of ice and near one of the ice houses, a heartbreaking fight has erupted. According to "National Politics", one could also hear the people whining in this way:

"My husband is lying on his bed and he will die unless I will bring him a piece of ice."

"My child is sick because it couldn't have been given a piece of ice by me."


Arctic Species Prefer Warmer Climate?

Let us imagine someone who suddenly gets interested in climate change and the Arctic. They conduct an internet search on “Climate Change and Arctic” and over 11,000,000 sites are identified. If a person spent one minute looking at each site, it would take them 20 years to visit every site. Of course, over the next 20 years, millions of sites will undoubtedly be added – no person could ever get to the end of these sites proclaiming that the Arctic is ground zero for climate change, the ice is melting, permafrost is being destroyed, habitats of everything and anything living there are highly sensitive to even the smallest change in climate, the whole place is fragile beyond belief, and on and on.

Several articles have appeared recently in leading journals with news that fails to get coverage in the millions of sites assuring us that our actions are destroying pristine Arctic regions.

The first article was generated by six scientists from leading institutions in the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, France, and South Africa; the White et al. team received funding from agencies in these various countries to conduct the research.

The team turned their attention to the Great Cormorants of Greenland; these are large black birds found throughout the Arctic. The birds live mainly on coasts nesting on cliffs or in trees, and they can dive to considerable depths to catch fish and eels Because of their amazing fishing skills, many were hunted to near extinction by fisherman, but thanks to conservation efforts, their numbers have increased in recent decades. In northern Norway, Great Cormorants are traditionally seen as semi-sacred with locals who believe it is good luck to have Great Cormorants gather near their village or settlement.

White et al. begin their article noting that “During recent decades, the Arctic has warmed and sea ice has retreated. While this has resulted in range contraction and negative population trends in some Arctic species, climate change is a potential boon for others.”

Given this suggestion that climate change could be beneficial to some species in the Arctic, we knew this could get good.

White et al. continue stating “For example, the recent warming of the Arctic may be associated with increasing populations and a northerly expansion of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo, which are now breeding north of the Arctic Circle in Greenland. While a reduction of hunting pressure is likely to have contributed to this population trend, it is possible that the trend is enhanced as a direct effect of increasing temperatures or an indirect effect of temperature on the distribution of prey.”

The authors note that data for the number of breeding pairs present in 67 Cormorant colonies in the Disko Bay, Greenland and adjacent areas are available from surveys taken intermittently between 1946 and 2005. They also gathered sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the same time period. You guessed it as they report “Rates of population change of Great Cormorant colonies near Disko Bay, West Greenland, were positively correlated with winter SST. On average, populations increased during relatively warm years and decreased during relatively cold years and the highest rates of population change correspond with periods of relatively high SST in recent years and during the 1960s. This suggests that the abundance of Cormorants in this region is likely to increase as the climate warms.” They conclude “Taken together, the positive relationship between rates of population change in Cormorants and SST, the likely positive impact of Arctic warming on the preferred prey species of Cormorants, and the flexible food preferences and foraging strategies of Cormorants suggest that Cormorants are likely to benefit from a warming Arctic.” Enough said.

Our next article appeared recently in the Canadian Journal of Zoology dealing with higher air temperatures and responses of moose. The three authors are all from agencies in Canada; Lowe et al. reveal that “Funding for this project was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Trent University, and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.”

The story with moose is similar to the story we hear for so many other species. Lowe et al. review the extensive literature on climate change and the response of moose, and generally others have found that moose may experience stress with higher temperatures. Others have found “moose heat stress thresholds of 14ºC in summer and -5 ºC in winter with increased respiration rates, and open mouth panting at 20ºC in summer and 0 ºC in winter.” Based on findings of others, Lowe et al. expected to observe any number of responses of the moose to higher winter and summer temperatures.

Well, it didn’t happen! Lowe et al. conclude “Our results did not fully concur with these findings, as we failed to detect a clear relationship between habitat use and high temperatures in our study area in summer or winter at the thresholds that we tested.”


Deeply Concerned Chris Matthews Fears Climate Change Will 'Create Trade Routes Across the Arctic Circle!'

Appearing on fellow MSNBCer Ed Schultz's radio show yesterday, Chris Matthews waxed apocalyptic about what he believes will be a dire consequence of climate change.

Matthews told Schultz of an unidentified friend in Alaska, presumably not Sarah Palin, who warned him of what's to come from warming temperatures --
And to say there's no issue with climate? You know, a friend of mine is talking about, she lives up in Alaska, she says we're going to be able to, maybe this is good for shipping, we're going to start having trade routes across the Arctic Circle! We're going to start having, you know what I mean?, people are going to be going to Norway in boats and we're going to have shipping lanes doing it. Don't tell me we don't have a climate thing going on. There's something strange going on.

Yikes, trade routes through the Arctic! Next thing you know there'll be commerce, profits! Worse still ... boats going to Norway. Oh the humanity ...

Just what would an allegedly unfortunate outbreak of capitalism in the Far North resemble? A May 2009 National Geographic article titled "Arctic Landgrab" described the "former fishing town" in Hammerfest, Norway, home to the world's northernmost liquefied natural gas facility, Snohvit --
... I expect to see the start of production -- but it is a false start, one of many. The gas field is in the Barents Sea, 800 feet underwater, connected by 90 miles of pipes to an ultramodern plant. The plant, on a grassy island abutting the beautiful 9,400-person town, is northern Norway's largest ever industrial project. Viewed from the Hammerfest shopping mall, it is a tangle of smokestacks, lights, and tubes, backed by a fjord and a row of snowy peaks.

For now, StatoilHydro, the operator, will move gas up the pipes, process it, and export it by tanker -- half of it to Cove Point, Maryland, half to Bilbao, Spain. But soon carbon dioxide, separated from the natural gas, will travel the other direction down the pipes: StatoilHydro will inject it into the seabed to combat global warming. Snohvit promises to be one of the world's cleanest petroleum projects. During one test run, however, the winds blew ash from Snohvit's flares -- chimneys burning off excess gas -- that turned cars and homes black. StatoilHydro brought in doctors to test for carcinogens and handed out reparations checks to angry residents.

It is a measure of petroleum wealth's appeal that I find only one local politician opposed to the plant: a 19-year-old from the revolutionary-socialist Red party. Snohvit pays Hammerfest $22 million a year in property taxes. The town is awash in new projects: renovated schools, a bigger airport, a sports arena, a "full-digital," glass-walled cultural center. Strollers are everywhere in the snow-covered streets. It is easy to forget that Hammerfest was recently a dying town, shrinking in population, the most violent place in Norway. In his bay-front office, a local official named Snorre Sundquist is circumspect about Snohvit. "People didn't like the soot," he says, "but they accepted it.

That sole Hammerfest politician opposed to Snohvit -- also a prime candidate for future MSNBC contributor.


67% Oppose Upcoming ‘Ban’ on Traditional Light Bulbs

One-in-five Americans (20%) say they or someone they know has bought large quantities of traditional light bulbs to use when those bulbs disappear off store shelves next year under new federal light bulb regulations.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 70% of Adults aren’t doing that themselves or don’t know anyone who is, but another 10% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The new government regulations provide for the manufacture of similar-looking bulbs that will last longer and be more energy-efficient – but also more expensive. Critics view the regulations as unnecessary government intrusion in the free market and see them as effectively banning the kind of light bulb Americans have used for decades.

Just 20% of adults think the sale of traditional light bulbs should be banned. Sixty-seven percent (67%) oppose such a ban. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.

However, 57% think it is at least somewhat likely that the new light bulbs, while they will cost more up front, will save money in the long run, as the federal Energy Department claims. Thirty-six percent (36%) think long-term savings are unlikely. These findings include 29% who think the savings are Very Likely and just nine percent (9%) who say they are Not At All Likely.

Two years ago, only 18% of adults thought it was the government’s job to tell Americans what kind of light bulb they should use. Seventy-two percent (72%) say it’s none of the government’s business.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on July 13-14 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.



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


16 July, 2011

Warmist logic

Germany between a Green rock and a hard place

Germany is facing the prospect of power shortages and a winter blackout unless it restarts a mothballed nuclear plant, raising doubts over the government's plans to move the country away from atomic energy in the next decade.

The German Federal Network Agency, the body responsible for power supply, warned the country could face power shortages come the winter unless there is sufficient power generating capacity in reserve.

In the wake of the Fukishima nuclear disaster, Germany shut down seven ageing reactors and committed itself to phasing out all of its 17 reactors by 2022 in a move that would make it the first major industrial power to turn its back on nuclear energy.

But Matthias Kurth, head of the network agency, said one of plants now closed may have to be brought back on line. “The numbers that we currently have indicate that one of these nuclear energy plants will be needed,” he said in Berlin while giving details on a government-commissioned report into energy supply, although he added that it would only be a “temporary solution”.

The news will come as an embarrassment to the German government, as well as cast fresh doubts over the country’s ability to replace the 23 per cent of energy production currently accounted for by atomic power with renewable energy and greater efficiency.

Although Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to invest millions of euros in scaling up renewable energy supply and improving efficiency, the industry has already voiced fears that power shortages might hamper Germany’s economic growth and increase costs.

Critics of the move have also argued that going nuclear free will just increase German dependency on fossil fuels, enlarge its carbon footprint and derail national targets to cut carbon emissions.

This criticism gained extra credence this week after reports disclosed that the government has earmarked £143 million to subsidise the construction of new coal and gas fired power stations in 2013 and 2014.

Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of industrial titan Daimler, said “Germany was turning its back on cheap energy” and uncertainty over energy supplies and costs will cloud decision making. He also issued a grim warning, saying that higher energy costs could force some industry to follow the lead of energy intensive sectors and leave Germany. “The question is whether in the future, production that is less energy intensive will also have to be relocated abroad,” he said.

Adding to the government’s woes were further comments by Mr Kurth, who explained a fossil-fuelled energy reserve “was not a viable option” when it came providing winter cover as the decommissioned plants that could be reactivated were too old.

Further complicating the issue were statements from the Green Party questioning the viability of using a nuclear power plant to generate extra capacity in winter. Green politician Barbel Hoehn said it would cost £40 million to restart the reactor and that all that all it would only provide “high risks, high costs and no benefits.” He also questioned “whether a nuclear plant can provide power precisely because it takes several days to start.”

“To make up for the shortfall in energy, money should be concentrated on energy efficiency,” she added. “Saving electricity is the cheapest and most sensible way to replace nuclear power." The Green Party insists there is enough energy in the current system to stave off power cuts as long as efficiency is improved.

The network agency explained that the risk of winter power cuts was highest in southern Germany due to the higher number of reactors taken offline, strong industrial demand and a lack of wind power capacity.

In response to the agency’s report Sabine Heimbach, a spokesman for the federal government, said it would assess the findings “and deal with the issues”.


Cats, Not Cars, Cause… Climate Change?

Greenies hate people so people's pets are an obvious next target

Well, you can save your money and forget about buying that Prius. Because apparently cats, not cars, cause “climate change.” That’s the latest according to some research studies.

The problem is reportedly due to a cat “epidemic” in the U.S., where the entire feline population has tripled in the last four decades to some 600 million furry critters. The studies report that “global warming” prompts cats to breed like, well, rabbits, and once there’s an “overpopulation,” our furry feline friends start killing off eco-saving birds en masse.

Sounds like a lose, lose. Right? MotherJones reports:
Domestic cats, officially considered an invasive species, kill at least a hundred million birds in the US every year—dwarfing the number killed by wind turbines. (See “Apocalypse Meow,” below.) They’re also responsible for at least 33 avian extinctions worldwide. A recent Smithsonian Institution study found that cats caused 79 percent of deaths of juvenile catbirds in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

Bad news, since birds are key to protecting ecosystems from the stresses of climate change—a 2010 study found that they save plants from marauding insects that proliferate as the world warms.

But wait, the theory is about to get a little more whacky.
An earlier report from LiveScience says prominent pet adoption groups also believe the spike in the cat population is due to global warming:
Droves of cats and kittens are swarming into animal shelters nationwide, and global warming is to blame, according to one pet adoption group.

Several shelters operated by a national adoption organization called Pets Across America reported a 30 percent increase in intakes of cats and kittens from 2005 to 2006, and other shelters across the nation have reported similar spikes of stray, owned and feral cats.

The cause of this feline flood is an extended cat breeding season thanks to the world’s warming temperatures, according to the group, which is one of the country’s oldest and largest animal welfare organizations.

So, cats cause global warming, but global warming causes more cats. Either way, cats aren’t taking the news lying down.


How Britain's green politicking will deepen fuel poverty

British consumers will pay a high price for Chris Huhne’s desire for moral grandstanding on climate change

The ‘dithering’ is over, declared UK energy secretary Chris Huhne. After years of handwringing and indecision, Britain has an energy policy - and it is perhaps surprisingly pro-nuclear. However, in its efforts to promote low-carbon energy, the policy promises a continuation of rising fuel bills, which will make life harder both for companies and householders.

The past couple of decades have been relatively easy for UK energy planners. Most of our electricity has come from coal, gas and nuclear power. Energy has been fairly cheap. By shifting the balance from coal towards gas, greenhouse gas emissions have gone down quite a bit, which looks good when lecturing other countries.

But global warming fears and the need to replace those ageing nuclear power stations have meant that politicians have had to get round to making some tricky decisions, something that the modern, principle-lite politician isn’t really cut out for.

Slowly but surely, ministers have come to the realisation that renewables simply can’t replace fossil fuels or nuclear power except as a small proportion of the mix of energy we use. Wind and solar are intermittent and unreliable. We can get power from them, but it is relatively expensive and must always be backed up by other, more reliable, sources of energy.

So, for example, in the first quarter of 2011, UK electricity supplies broke down as follows (according to statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change):

Gas - 38.2 per cent
Coal - 34 per cent
Nuclear - 17.9 per cent
Renewables - 8.1 per cent

It should be noted that the ‘renewables’ category includes things like landfill gas (from rotting rubbish), ‘biomass’ (which includes such mad ideas such as power stations importing timber to burn), and old hydropower stations. There isn’t much more where that came from. Wind, which would be the main source of renewable energy in the future in the UK, still only meets a small proportion of British energy needs, even if it is growing quite quickly.

But the problem is compounded because these figures only reflect electricity production. To meet the vision of a far-off, carbon-neutral future, the fuel for transport - currently almost entirely from oil - and the heating of our homes and hot water, much of it done by gas, will need to be replaced by electricity from low-carbon sources. But renewables currently only produce 3.3 per cent of Britain’s total energy needs. No wonder some high-profile erstwhile anti-nuclear campaigners have become converts to the idea of new nuclear power stations as an alternative to burning more and more coal: renewables just aren’t up to the job and won’t be for a long time.

Developments in technology may eventually make renewables much more viable. But for now, if we want reliable power at a reasonable price, we need such old favourites as gas and nuclear.

What does the energy White Paper propose, then? Basically, the government wants to create a framework so that energy companies can build nuclear-power stations and windfarms with confidence, knowing that they can rely on a certain price for that power. To that end there will be a ‘feed-in’ tariff that will guarantee a certain minimum price for nuclear and wind power. But wind power will still need back-up, so the plan also allows for incentives - a ‘capacity mechanism’ - to build new gas-powered stations that will cut in when conditions are not windy or when demand surges.

On the other side, the White Paper also proposes new emissions standards that will make building coal-fired power stations impossible unless they are fitted with a mechanism for carbon capture and storage (CCS). So that rules out pretty much the cheapest source of power until such time as an unproven technology becomes commercially viable. Existing gas and coal generation will also be made more expensive by creating a ‘floor price’ that will have to be paid for every unit of carbon emitted.

Nuclear power companies gave the proposals the thumbs up. Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, the UK subsidiary of the French energy giant EDF, told the Financial Times: ‘This package is going to deliver for the future the right balance between what the investors want and what the customers need… We need to rebuild Britain’s energy infrastructure. We need to do it and we all know it will have a cost. The White Paper is designed to keep that at a minimum.’

Others were lukewarm, with supporters of wind energy concerned that the particular form of feed-in tariff would help nuclear more than it would help wind. However, Huhne - once apparently a staunch opponent of nuclear - rejected the alternatives on the grounds of price.

What is absolutely crystal clear is that energy in the UK is getting more expensive and it will continue to get more expensive in the future. These new policies will only be one factor in those rising prices. Demand for energy is rising both in Britain and worldwide. As Michael Pollitt notes in the Guardian, past UK policy has focused on delivering low prices (which may surprise those facing eye-watering energy bills now). With the emphasis on delivering the new generating capacity - at an estimated cost of £110 billion over the next few years - the pressure will be off on squeezing prices.

But the decision to favour low-carbon technologies will exacerbate the problem; the cost of all those feed-in tariffs will have to be passed on to businesses and consumers. By promoting wind, for example, and thereby having to build gas-fired power stations to provide back-up, two lots of generating capacity have to be built.

As critics like Matt Ridley have pointed out, much of the emission-reduction benefits could have been achieved at a lower price by simply building the gas-powered stations alone and promoting the development of shale gas resources (see Shale gas: a welcome ‘energy shock’). Energy-intensive businesses will have a greater incentive to relocate to areas where power is cheap and commitments to reducing emissions are non-existent.

Rather than trying to force through renewables technology that isn’t competitive yet, it would be better for the government to support further research and development while continuing to encourage a broad mix of different energy sources - including coal. The world isn’t burning up, there’s no need to panic - particularly when much bigger countries than Britain will carry on burning massive quantities of cheap coal for decades to come. At least the White Paper has finally put forward a serious policy to support new nuclear power after years of technophobia in the corridors of power.

Setting out a low-carbon policy in the UK will have next to zero effect on climate change, whatever the effect of manmade greenhouse gas emissions will be. It will make UK business less competitive and it will push more people into fuel poverty. It may even cost jobs if some firms quit Britain altogether. But never mind, eh? At least British politicians will be setting a ‘moral lead’ on climate change to the rest of the world.


African drought not tied to climate change

The worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in more than 60 years is likely the result of strong seasonal weather phenomenon in the region, scientists say.

U.N. officials are warning that those living in the region, particularly in Somalia, are facing starvation because of lingering drought that is expected to last for much of the year.

The United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN notes, however, that global climate change isn't the likely culprit.

Philip Thornton, a scientist splitting his duties between Kenya's International Livestock Research Institute and Scotland's Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, said the idea that parts of Africa are drying up is wrong.

"Some people think that East Africa is drying and has dried over recent years," he told the news agency. "Currently there is no hard, general evidence of this and it is very difficult as yet to see where the statistical trends of rainfall in the region are heading but these will of course become apparent in time."

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration notes that as pools of warm water trigger more rain events in the Pacific Rim, western winds over the Indian Ocean tend to draw moisture out East Africa.


BIG GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA -- where the sh*t is currently hitting the fan

Global Warming - Worse than Hitler

An absurd letter in today's Melbourne Age:
When sacrifice is the right thing

HOW many of us are so selfish that the first questions we ask when confronted with change, are along the lines of: why should I have to pay a carbon tax? Why do I have to look for another job? Who's going to look after me? Why isn't my compensation higher? Who says $150,000 a year makes me so rich that I should have to pay this tax? Why should I change my lifestyle?

Obviously, these people are unwilling to make any kind of sacrifice. Did our forefathers question why they should fight Nazism and fascism? No, they put aside petty arguments and self-serving questions and went off to fight the enemy. Not because they wanted to, but because it was the right thing to do. Today, we are fighting a different and infinitely more dangerous enemy - global warming. This enemy will kill millions of people through famine, flood, drought and other disasters, unless we start fighting it now.

Tony Abbott is like Neville Chamberlain, who refused to believe that there was an enemy who must be defeated until it was too late. Abbott is just as blind when he says we shouldn't have a tax on carbon. Abbott will go down in history as being just as foolish and misguided as Chamberlain.

Chris and Jacki Burgess, Port Melbourne

Meanwhile, in the Sydney Morning Herald, a letter argues:
If a demonstration outside a chocolate shop, and a crucifix appearing in an anti-Abbott advertisement, are the worst examples of anti-Semitism and sectarianism that the ever-vigilant Gerard Henderson can garner, we should rejoice in Australia's tolerance ("Jews know acceptance still has its exceptions", July 12).

Jack Sumner Eastwood

So there you have it. Global warming is a bigger threat than the Nazis, yet a bunch of antisemites forming a violent mob outside a Jewish business is no big deal.


The sad, sad demise of Greenpeace

GREENPEACE WAS ONCE a friend of science, helping bring attention to important but ignored environmental research. These days, it’s a ratbag rabble of intellectual cowards intent on peddling an agenda, whatever the scientific evidence.

It was once the most active, independent and inspiring civilian group for the environment. Whether riding zodiacs alongside boats carrying barrels of toxic waste to be dumped in the open sea, or campaigning against CFCs and HFCs that were depleting the ozone layer, Greenpeace did admirable work.

But in the last decade or so, Greenpeace abandoned the rigour of science. When the science has been inconvenient, Greenpeace chooses dogma. Which is why it has a zero-tolerance policy on nuclear energy, no matter how imperative the need to remove coal and gas from electricity production. Or why it is adamant organic farming is the only way forward for agriculture, when organic could not feed the world’s population today.

And why, in the early hours of July 14, a group of Greenpeace protesters broke into a CSIRO Plant Industry experimental station at Ginninderra, north of Canberra, and destroyed an entire crop - half a hectare – of genetically modified wheat.

Greenpeace has always been media savvy, but over the past decade this has become an addiction, leading it to launch campaigns that generate lots of publicity, but have doubtful merit: witness its attacks in 2007 on Apple’s iPhone as being toxic and hazardous. It later admitted these had been exaggerated, and that it had targeted the iPhone in order to grab headlines.

The CSIRO break-in was also a stunt, complete with hazmat protection suits and the ever-present video camera to record the action.

No GM wheat has been approved for human consumption in Australia, but the CSIRO did have permission to conduct trials. And what was so ‘toxic’ about this wheat strain it had to be destroyed? Its genes had been modified to lower its glycemic index and boost fibre content, creating bread and other wheat products that would improve bowel health and nutritional value.

Greenpeace has lost its way. Its former glory rested on the righteousness of its actions in support of real evidence of how humanity was failing to care for the environment. Now it is a sad, dogmatic, reactionary phalanx of anti-science zealots who care not for evidence, but for publicity.


Green bureaucrats galore now

A GREEN brigade of bureaucrats assigned to environmental programs around the country has grown by 20 per cent since Labor won power four years ago.

And the commonwealth public service has breached some of its own energy-saving targets, with the Canberra headquarters consuming 25 per cent more electricity than a decade ago.

The number of public servants employed by the federal, state and territory environment departments has risen to 23,466, as green agencies recruit new staff at the rate of 1000 a year.

The green workforce has grown by 75 per cent in the key federal environmental agencies, which have almost 4000 permanent staff.

The bureaucratic blow-out will intensify as the Gillard government creates six new federal agencies to administer 20 new programs tied to the introduction of a carbon tax next year.

At least 200 more public servants will be recruited by the new Clean Energy Regulator. Staff numbers at the existing Climate Change Authority have already risen tenfold, to 1027, since its establishment less than four years ago.

Companies to be slugged by the carbon tax demanded that governments cut the "green tape". "The growing green bureaucracy is a concern for our members," Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said yesterday.

Staff numbers have soared by one-third in the federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, which has 2549 permanent staff on the public payroll -- excluding 264 working in the national parks division.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has more than doubled its workforce, to 295 staff.

New green programs, ranging from solar power schemes to greenhouse reporting laws and waste reduction schemes, have also swollen staff numbers in the states and territories.

In NSW, the number of employees in the Department of Environment and Climate Change -- recently renamed the Office of Environment and Heritage -- has risen by 23 per cent, to 4321, in the past four years.

Staff numbers have risen by 18 per cent in Western Australia, where the Department of Environment and Conservation has 1235 employees -- not counting those working in national parks and forestry management.

The biggest bureaucracy is in Queensland, where 5630 public servants work for the Department of Environment and Resource Management. The figure excludes 3000 "Green Army" jobs, which the state government boasted yesterday it had delivered a year ahead of schedule.

The federal government's latest report on energy use in the public service reveals that greenhouse gas emissions fell almost 6 per cent in 2007-08. However, the intensity of emissions grew 3 per cent in the year, and 16 per cent over the decade, due to soaring electricity use.

The Environment Department was one of the worst performers, with its emissions rising more than 5 per cent in a year. Energy use in public buildings rose by 17 per cent between 2000 and 2008, while central offices used 24 per cent more power.

Excluding the Department of Defence, energy use in the federal public service rose by almost 6 per cent in 2007-08, and 17.5 per cent between 2000 and 2009.


Carbon tax a 'get rich scheme for foreigner traders', says Tony Abbott

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Julia Gillard's carbon tax is "a get rich scheme for foreign carbon traders".

Mr Abbott vigorously attacked the Prime Minister and the Government's "failings" at the Liberal National Party's annual conference in Brisbane today.

He said the only way the Government can reduce emissions under this tax plan is to buy carbon permits abroad. "I'm all in favour of doing the right thing by the carbon traders of equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan," Mr Abbott told the conference. "And all the other places Kevin Rudd likes to visit. "I am sure they are very decent honest people. I'm sure the last thing they want to do is rip off Australian business."

Mr Abbott said government documents show $57 billion will be sent abroad under this scheme. "Whatever else this thing is, it is a get rich scheme for foreign carbon traders," Mr Abbott said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Julia Gillard is meeting workers from Victoria's Hazelwood Power Station, which will probably close under the Government's carbon tax plan. With the Latrobe Valley set to feel the biggest impact from the plan, locals had called for Ms Gillard to personally explain the package to them.

After selling the package around the country since it was unveiled last Sunday, Ms Gillard today went to Morwell, 150km east of Melbourne.

The Federal Government's carbon tax plan states that 2000 megawatts of the nation's dirtiest power generators would close by 2020. Hazelwood, which employs more than 800 workers, produces about 1600 megawatts of electricity - about 25 per cent of Victoria's power supply.

Ms Gillard is meeting workers at the CFMEU's office in Morwell, next to Hazelwood.


Dinky toy modelling behind carbon tax

THE government has been accused of being unrealistic about global action on climate change, with critics declaring it is banking on the United States and other key countries to take significant action despite evidence those countries will only make limited efforts.

The opposition will today demand that Treasury be asked to prepare new modelling on Julia Gillard's clean energy plan, arguing the modelling released with Sunday's carbon plan is unrealistic in expecting Australia's major trading partners the US, China and India to join in global action.

An internal analysis for Tony Abbott's office, obtained by The Australian, criticises the government for "evidently rushed" modelling that fails to consider the impact of the $10 billion clean energy fund or the impact of the government's plans to strip 2000MW of dirty brown coal power generation from the electricity grid.

The document, expected to be released today, also warns that some of the modelling is at odds with details of the package struck with the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee.

While the modelling assumes the carbon price starts at $20 a tonne, the government has set a starting price of $23 a tonne.

The Coalition analysis also claims that some changes made since the 2008 modelling produced for Kevin Rudd's carbon pollution reduction scheme result in the modelling showing a lower cost to the economy for emissions abatement for most fuels.

"The implication is that Treasury is now assuming that a given carbon price will achieve much more 'bang for the buck' in terms of reducing emissions intensity, for all of gasoline, diesel, LPG, air fuels and other fuels," the note says.

On global action, economist Henry Ergas writes in The Australian today that the modelling implies that the US will act by 2016 and China by 2021, and there will be no backsliding on the promises at the Cancun summit.

"Why these assumptions are plausible, much less compelling, is never explained in Treasury's report," he writes. The modelling states that "global co-ordinated action emerges from 2016".

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the government should reissue the modelling in full. "There are some extraordinary assumptions about the development of the international systems in the next decade," he said.

But government sources insisted that the modelling was based on the commitments made by nations at the Copenhagen and Cancun climate change summits, and denied they had been too bullish on global action.

Sources said the modelling assumed that major countries met their commitments and that there would be a global market by 2016.

It was assumed that the US met its Cancun commitments but the US was not necessarily required to join a global market as there was a market within the European Union, the source said.



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15 July, 2011

Don't laugh! Germany to fund new coal plants with climate change cash

The German government wants to encourage the construction of new coal and gas power plants with millions of euros from a fund for promoting clean energy and combating climate change.

The plan has come under stiff criticism, but the Ministry of Economics and Technology defended the idea. A spokeswoman said it was necessary as the government switches from nuclear to other renewable energy sources and added that the money would promote the most efficient plants possible.

Funding for the initiative is limited to five percent of the energy and climate change fund’s annual expenditure between 2013 and 2016.

Annual funding for the new plants could total more than €160 million per year between 2013 and 2014 alone, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The fund was first established to encourage nuclear plant operators to develop new, renewable forms of energy production. Now that nuclear power is to be phased out by 2022, the fund will pay for research into reducing carbon dioxide emissions from buildings, developing renewable energy sources and storage technologies for them.

Opposition politicians and environmental groups said the plan was wrong because it would promote what they argued were climate-damaging plants. They also worried that money earmarked for other valuable projects could be reduced as a result.

Oliver Krischer, a member in the Bundestag of the Green party, told the Berliner Zeitung that the country would do better to encourage more investment in energy efficiency

And the environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) said additional coal-fired plants were entirely unnecessary.

The Economics Ministry spokeswoman said that in any event, that Germany’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020, would not be damaged by the new initiative.


Global oil supplies are healthier than they seem

Many of the world’s oil consuming nations, led by the US, shocked oil markets this week as the International Energy Agency agreed to release 60m barrels of oil from strategic reserves over the coming month. The move was intended to offset price pressures brought about by Libya’s supply cut and comes in response to Opec’s recent inability to formally endorse new supply increases. The IEA action is also an example of growing concern over higher oil prices in Washington, where the White House is managing political fallout from high gasoline prices as next year’s presidential elections loom just over the horizon.

Yet, a year from now, we’re likely to look back on this moment and find that fears for supply have diminished. There are three reasons.

First, the most substantial fallout from the Arab world’s recent upheaval is behind us. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad continues to fight for survival and Yemen continues to flirt with failed-state status, but the Gulf’s major oil-producing states are quite stable. So are other major producers. Even in Iran, with its leaders infighting, the green revolution has moved off the streets for now. While there are plenty of long-term structural challenges for many major economies – just ask China – for the moment there are no more Libyas left to explode. IEA action and the ongoing Saudi supply increases will neutralise what remains of the oil price’s political risk premium.

Second, big additional supply is coming, and it’s not all priced in. Offshore Brazil and Canadian oil sands are no longer new stories, but their collective impact has not yet been fully felt and is often undervalued. Iraq still draws undue scepticism but production there is showing serious promise. The country could add up to 300,000 barrels this year, with more contracts, more exploration and more drilling already in the works. Barring an unlikely and total implosion of the government, it is hard to see production slowing down this decade. The same is true for “tight oil” coming from unconventional sources. We are seeing this begin to play out in North American fields such as the Bakken in North Dakota. As technology and investment are dispersed over the coming year, oil supply should positively surprise.

Third, Saudi supply increases are not dependant on Opec. The country’s oil minister Ali Naimi left the cartel’s Vienna meeting earlier this month with complaints that the organisation had just endured one of its most contentious and least productive gatherings in many years. But that is only because the major oil players were not prepared to pretend that there was agreement on output quotas. With Iran chairing the meeting, an annoyed Venezuela in attendance and an embattled Libya looking on, it was much harder to get the group to put aside their differences and smile for the cameras. The Saudis have the most influence on price-moving output decisions and they increased production just as they had planned before the meeting proved so difficult. Economically stressed oil producers such as Iran and Venezuela always want higher oil prices. But the Saudis and other Gulf Co-operation Council producers maintain a longer-term moderating outlook and they are the ones with the spare capacity to make the difference.

Add that to your favourite economist’s projection on the softness of the global economy, and we may soon be asking whether or not this latest IEA move was worth it.


Greenies don't like hydroelectricity either

Climate change must receive serious consideration as officials contemplate whether to relicense hydroelectric projects throughout California, advises a watershed scientist at UC Davis.

"Given the rapidity of climate warming, and its anticipated impacts to natural and human communities, future long-term (typically 30-50 years) fixed licenses of hydropower operation will be ill prepared to adapt if possible hydrologic changes are not considered," wrote Joshua Viers, associate director of UC Davis' Center for Watershed Sciences, in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. (The paper is available online here

Viers warns that shifts in precipitation, combined with an increase in energy demands as temperatures rise, could dramatically impact hydropower production.

According to the California Energy Commission, hydropower — predominantly fueled by Sierra Nevada snowmelt — provides approximately 11 percent of California's in-state energy production.

But while hydropower is considered a source of cleaner energy — one that could help reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions — it is vulnerable to climate warming.

For example, if annual temperatures rise 4 degrees Celsius (about 7 degrees Fahrenheit), summer seasonal hydropower production is projected to decrease by up to 30 percent for hydropower facilities in the American, Bear and Yuba watershed, according to a study led by the Stockholm Environment Institute and co-authored by UC Davis scientists. (The paper is available online here

This vulnerability was not taken into account when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently approved study plans for relicensing of the Yuba-Bear Drum-Spaulding hydroelectric facilities in Northern California.

Failing to consider climate change research is "poorly reasoned and risky," says Viers.

The western Sierra Nevada currently has 54 hydropower projects licensed by the commission. These projects include dams, powerhouses and 826 kilometers of water conveyances such as ditches, canals and tunnels. More than 1,800 kilometers of rivers run downstream from these projects, representing 53 percent of all regulated rivers in the western Sierra Nevada.

This hydropower infrastructure not only represents a huge economic investment, but also highlights the need to consider adaptive solutions to water and ecosystem management, hydropower generation and climate warming as snowmelt flowing through hydroelectric plants diminishes.

"If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is to establish conditions of operation for 30-50 years," Viers says, "licensees should be required to anticipate changing climatic and hydrologic conditions for a similar period of time."

Funding for this study was provided by California Energy Commission.


Doom postponed again

It’s like they expect us to have forgotten their last dud scare:
SEA ice in the Arctic is melting at a record pace this year, suggesting warming at the north pole is speeding up and a largely ice-free Arctic can be expected in summer months within 30 years.

The area of the Arctic ocean at least 15 per cent covered in ice is this week about 8.5 million square kilometres - lower than the previous record low set in 2007 - according to satellite monitoring by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.

As well, data from the University of Washington Polar Science Centre shows that the thickness of Arctic ice this year is also the lowest on record. In the past 10 days, the Arctic ocean has been losing as much as 150,000 square kilometres of sea ice a day, NSIDC director Mark Serreze said....

‘’There will be ups and downs, but we are on track to see an ice-free summer by 2030. It is an overall downward spiral.’’

By 2030?
But this same Serreze in 2007 was warning of an ice melt by as early as .. 2013 - just two years from now:
Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice.

Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss. ...

“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC.

“So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.” ...

Dr Mark Serreze ... added: “I think Wieslaw is probably a little aggressive in his projections, simply because the luck of the draw means natural variability can kick in to give you a few years in which the ice loss is a little less than you’ve had in previous years. But Wieslaw is a smart guy and it would not surprise me if his projections came out.”

So what happened to all those earlier predictions, of a total ice-melt by possibly 2012 - as aired on the ABC’s Four Corners? See here

The US National Snow and Ice Data Centre once even claimed the North Pole could be ice-free in 2008.

Al Gore believed it, and then had to readjust his own prediction to 2013, when the ice refused to do what the climate models predicted. But then, after yet another refusal of the Arctic to behave as predicted, he adjusted again, predicting the ice could vanish by 2014.

And now we must panic again?



Climate cops coming

HUNDREDS of "carbon cops" will police compliance with the carbon tax and will have the power to inspect premises, take companies to court and impose financial penalties.

Yet the 200 workers employed at the new $256 million Clean Energy Regulator might actually contribute to climate change, like the government's Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

The government arm responsible for the implementation of the carbon tax yesterday admitted it was not carbon neutral and it was too early to say if tax enforcement would add to the department's pollution output.

A spokesman for the Department of Climate Change said it used green power but its emissions were still 12.5 tonnes a year - about the same as a family home. The figure was an underestimate as it does not include staff plane travel and taxis.

Staff at the Clean Energy Regulator will allocate carbon permits to businesses for the $23 per tonne carbon charge and will also hand out the free permits to big polluting industries scheduled to receive assistance.

The spokesman said the regulator would be responsible for educating companies on administrative arrangements, assessing emissions data to determine liability and operating a registry of emissions.

"The Clean Energy Regulator will be a statutory authority with substantial powers to enforce the carbon pricing mechanism," the spokesman said. He said the regulator would have the power to initiate audits of emissions, inspect premises, impose penalties and initiate court proceedings.

The government's carbon tax documents, released on Sunday, showed companies would face an emissions charge if their "emissions obligations were not met through the surrender of eligible emissions units".

Emissions charges will be $29.90 a tonne next year and $31.40 and $33 in following years.

Carbon permits will be considered financial products and will have a unique identification number.


The real winners of Gillard's carbon price plan

BIG banks, accountants and lawyers are among the big winners to cash in on the carbon plan, as companies wrestle with reporting requirements arising from the tax.

Research by IBIS World shows the demand for accountants will surge by 3.4 per cent in the next year because of the Government’s clean action plan, The Australian reported.

The research shows that demand for accounting and business advisory services will boom over the next five years, as businesses try to adapt their practices to “mitigate the downside - or capitalise on the upside of the new legislation".

Financial services firms are also likely to profit from the overhaul of the tax system announced as part of the carbon plan.

Banks will be involved in trading carbon permits when emissions trading starts in 2015, and will develop new products to help polluters reduce their carbon exposure.

Australian Bankers' Association chief executive Steven Munchenberg said the Government's carbon price was "essentially creating a new market".

"We would therefore expect to see a range of instruments developed to help companies manage their carbon exposure," he said.

Lawyers will also benefit from the boom, with Ibis predicting demand for services to rise by 3.8 per cent.

Big law firms are set to be major winners if energy-intensive companies try to challenge the legislation.


Barking mad - a nation howling at fireflies

Australia's carbon tax

You don’t need to study any numbers to know it doesn’t add up. The statistical chicanery in a patchwork tax, with a complex compo plan, and offsets, subsidies, and a$10 billion renewable energy* Christmas wish list is as complex as a climate model. But this time no one is saying “it’s settled”, and is seriously expecting to get their extra 20 cents a week.

Lost among the bedazzling array of numbers are one pair of figures that put the central dumbness of this plan on display.

Australians will pay about $10 billion* a year in carbon fees, overachieving their European competitors who only paid $2.6 billion over, wait for it, six whole years. On a per capita basis the numbers are stark. While Europeans chip in 96 cents a year, Australian’s will be told to pay $500.

The bottom line — figure this — is that we as a nation have “decided” to voluntarily^ pay somewhere from 2 – 5 times as much for our energy, and there are no cheap “technologies” on the horizon unless someone somewhere discovers them (and they’ve been looking for decades). Julia Gillard tried to compare this to other major economic moves like floating the dollar. But those big moves had selling points known as “benefits”.

Let’s list all the advantages, both of them, from this masochistic macroeconomics move:

* It will reduce global man made human emissions for the next eight years from 64,000 mt to just 63,840 mt (roughly). (I can’t see people opting to pay much for that).

* It will rocket Australia to the top spot on the IPCC’s Miss-Popularity National Rankings.

Yes, we have earned the death-defying Kamikazee-Sovereign-Economy award for 2011. (Competition closed early. There’s no point waiting til Dec 31. ) This will come in handy for some ALP personnel wishing to move onto UN unelected positions after the next election, but otherwise be generally a source of mirth for non-Australians.

The Australian share market took the news of the economic suicide gracefully, losing only $7 billion dollars in the first day. (And that tallies up only the top 25 companies which are going to cop the big carbon-speeding-ticket.)

Julie Novak explains the rise of the Carbonocrats (also known as the Green Police).

Michael Stutchbury, Economics Editor, The Australian, thinks it will be a miracle if the package survives.

Labor’s support falls again in the polls. And while I’ve generously pro rata’d the total revenue estimate to be $10b, Wong guessed $18 b, Pyne guessed $21b and apparently, the number is really $25 billion. Who knew? Not the ALP finance minister eh?.

Don’t forget to keep reminding those Labor Marginal Seats of their new favourite piece of legislation. There are groups forming in Greenway and La Trobe, so let us know if you want to join them, or start a new group elsewhere.

Me, I just wish we were spending $25 billion on medical research instead. What would you rather have? A cure for cancer or second hand windmill made in China?


Buried under the snow the Warmists said wouldn't fall

March 2000:

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

May, 2008:

Scientists say Australian skiers should prepare for shorter ski seasons because of global warming… CSIRO climate change expert Dr Penny Whetton says Australia’s mountain snow cover could be reduced by up to 54 per cent by 2020.

July 2011:

THE deepest snow in 21 years has been recorded by Snowy Hydro at Spencer’s Creek. The 158.9cm-deep snow promises plenty of powder this season. The last time there was snow this thick early in July was in 1990.


Rooftop panels penalise poor

THIS week I signed off on a cheque for several thousand dollars (yes, I'm trying to use up my old chequebook before being forced to a paperless bank account) and I felt just a little grubby as a result.

Yet, in answering the greatest moral challenge of our time, I'm supposed to feel a warm inner glow at the thought of helping global greenhouse gas emissions and my grandchildren, Grace, Paddy and Fred.

My cheque wasn't for some grubby purpose; it was the final payment for putting a mini, greenhouse-gas friendly electricity generator on my roof, a series of photovoltaic cells.

In Canberra -- as elsewhere in Australia -- households with PV cells producing solar energy for their own use and for feeding back into the electricity grid get reductions to their electricity bills and even cash dividends.

Some people have seen the opportunity to do much more than offset their own electricity bill and have vast shiny seas of cells on their suburban roofs in expectation of generous income in the years to come.

For myself, the outlay, while sizeable, was more modest than many and was directed towards ameliorating my electricity bills in the years ahead when I become a self-funded retiree.

So why should I feel grubby about such a transaction, such a global-friendly decision and something that is going to save me money?

Well, the truth of it is I wasn't acting to save the planet and it was arguably against the interests of my grandchildren, who have to have heating during Canberra's chill winters.

Like China "acting on climate change", the actions I have taken will contribute to cutting greenhouse gas emissions from coal or gas-fired power stations, but it's not the reason I'm doing it. I'm doing it to save myself money.

There is no doubt that my actions, like China's investment in renewable energy sources -- and yes, the solar panels on my roof were all made in China although the inverter box is German -- is directed at saving money.

My actions, and China's, will be listed in the positive column for fighting climate change and some may say the motivation doesn't matter.

Others will point out that taking self-serving action is not the same as taking steps that cost a lot of money and don't have a positive personal return or economic saving.

But, as with most people and most economies, there is a finite limit, and it's pretty low, as to how much you are willing to spend without getting a financial return or tangible dividend.

For years I had signed up to planet-saving measures that added only a few cents to a bill here or there, but the thought of forking over thousands of dollars in a big lump and not getting a return is daunting to say the least.

In reaction to this natural human response, governments across the world, starting in Europe where Germany is the home of roof-top power generation, have offered incentives to technological developers, manufacturers, installers and households to buy green-friendly technology. These incentives take the form of renewable energy credits and guaranteed returns on renewable energy.

Governments have gone further to legislate MRETs -- mandatory renewable energy targets -- of varying sizes to be reached by various target dates. They were introduced as a measure independent of an emissions trading scheme or carbon tax. Indeed, when Labor was still in opposition and advocating an ETS and the level of the renewable energy target was an issue in contest with the Howard government, then frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon, who is still the member for the coal-rich seat of Hunter in NSW, made the point that the MRET should be scrapped when an ETS came into force.

The valid reason for this was that artificial or mandatory targets for renewable energy distort the carbon market and the ability of the national energy supply market to deliver an orderly and cost-effective system for power.

This point is of such concern to Australia's energy ministers that they have requested the Australian Energy Market Commission to conduct a review of the RET schemes to assess their influence on power supply and costs.

The AEMC agrees with the government's chief climate change adviser Ross Garnaut that the RET schemes need to be reassessed in light of a carbon price.

In a previously confidential response to Garnaut's recommendations on the electricity industry, the AEMC said: "Careful consideration should be given to the overall impact on energy customers of a carbon price and the other measures that directly or indirectly provide incentives to reduce carbon emissions such as RET.

"The review of these policies should consider whether the existing policies are still required following the introduction of a carbon price and the potential for unintended, but foreseeable, consequences for energy customers from continuing a range of different measures. The overall aim should be to find policy settings that achieve the government's policy objectives as efficiently as possible, including minimising costs to consumers."

The report also noted the RET would have an effect on electricity prices, carbon emissions and the security of the electricity supply. On the latter point there have been other warnings that South Australia's highly successful achievement of a target of 20 per cent renewable energy raises questions about the extent of the sustainable contribution of renewable sources and where those sources can be concentrated in the national grid.

This brings us back to the point of why I don't feel comfortable about making the perfectly acceptable, socially admired and financially advantageous decision to spend several thousand dollars now to save money when I am thrown back on my own resources, which governments have been telling me to anticipate for years.

Because the feed-in tariffs are guaranteed by governments and new governments, such as Liberal Barry O'Farrell's government in NSW, seem incapable of rescinding the deals, then the distortion in the market, recognised by those framing the climate change response and trying to ensure energy security, is permanent.

What's more, I can afford PV cells to offset my electricity bills but, through the years, the little old lady across the street, the university students renting flats around the corner and my grandchildren's parents, none of whom could afford the cells, will be paying higher prices to offset my offset. That's why I feel grubby doing something legitimate, legal, encouraged, green-friendly and financially helpful for me. It distorts the market and is inequitable.



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


14 July, 2011

Climate Models yield results that are wildly inaccurate in accounting for the known past

Most people fall into one of two categories when it comes to predictions of future climate calamities: they either do not realize that the predictions are predicated on computer models or they unquestionably trust the models to reveal the future. A clear and lucid online article in Nature Geoscience addresses the current state and limitations of climate modeling. The article points out that State-of-the-art climate models are largely untested against actual occurrences of abrupt change. “It is a huge leap of faith to assume that simulations of the coming century with these models will provide reliable warning of sudden, catastrophic events,” the author states. To counter claims of predicted “tipping points,” incidents of abrupt climate change from the past are examined—incidents that current models get wrong.

As all honest scientists know, predictions by experts of future climatic events are highly subjective. Human intuition fails when confronted with complex, non-linear systems like Earth's climate system. It is reasonable for climate scientists to turn to computer based climate models to provide some insight into how the Earth system might respond to various future changes. “Climate model simulations are the only other means for gaining advance knowledge of sudden climate change,” states Paul Valdes of the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. “It is therefore crucial to assess whether the available models are capable of investigating these phenomena.”

Motivation for modeling is simple—knowing what our planet's climate will do in the future would be very useful in developmental planning. In particular, the ability to predict sudden, possibly harmful changes in climate could drive policy, save money and even save lives. There have been a number of predictions of catastrophic future events, supposedly based on model output, but the question remains—are they credible? Such changes have undoubtedly occurred in the past. As Valdes states:

Critical thresholds may be inherent to the climate system. If so, they could lead to abrupt, and perhaps irreversible, changes to the Earth system. This possibility has caught the imagination of the public — often under the emotive term 'tipping points' — and has led to a huge growth in media and scientific publications on the topic in the past few years. If we are about to cross such a critical threshold, the implications for climate adaptation strategies could be significant. Likewise, knowledge of thresholds would have a strong influence on mitigation policy, not least by helping to define the meaning of the term 'dangerous climate change'.

In the face of wild predictions of impending climate mayhem what is the public to think? How should such critical thresholds be defined, do they even exist and, if so, are we close to one? Because the climate system is so complex, and direct experimentation is untenable, the author discusses four examples from the past and examines current modeling technology's ability to predict them based on paleodata.

It is hard to identify sudden, dangerous climate excursions from historical data going backs thousands, even millions of years. Nonetheless, scientists know of several dramatic events in the distant past. In “Built for stability,” the four well-documented examples of past rapid climate change and the associated modeling shortcomings are:

* The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. A rapid warming event about 55.8 Myr ago started with warm climate conditions with a smaller difference between temperatures at the Equator and the high latitudes. Complex climate models do not adequately simulate the warm climate before the abrupt change set in.

* The desertification of northern Africa. Between about 9,000 and 5,500 yr ago, the region that is now the Sahara was much wetter and supported a steppe-type vegetation. The transition to the current desert state occurred in decades to centuries. Complex climate models fail to simulate the vegetated state, and can not therefore capture this event of rapid change.

* Collapse of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. During the glacial period between about 120,000 and 12,000 yr ago, the meriodional overturning circulation in the Atlantic Ocean collapsed during six Heinrich events, most probably in response to fresh water entering the North Atlantic. Complex climate models simulate such a shut-down — but only in response to a freshwater injection as much as ten times the magnitudes estimated for the past.

* Dansgaard–Oeschger rapid warming events. Between Heinrich events, 25 incidences of rapid warming, by up to 8 °C within a few decades in Greenland, are consistently recorded in the ice cores. We don't even fully understand the mechanisms for such changes and simulating the final one of these events required an injection of fresh water into the ocean that was large and many thousand years longer than is thought realistic.

The author examines the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum in some detail. Around 55.8 million years (Myr) ago, a rapid warming event was accompanied by a significant release of carbon into the environment. In the course of a few thousand years, temperature rose by 5°C in the tropics and by up to 20°C at high latitudes. The event has attracted much interest as an analog for current human GHG emissions though, as I have discussed in previous a post, the analogy is more than a little strained.

But the discussion here is centered on modeling, and according to Dr. Valdes current modeling of the period has a fundamental problem. According to reconstructions, temperatures in the continental interiors rarely dropped below 0°C, even in winter. And geological data suggest that the background climate state of the late Paleocene and early Eocene was characterized by an extremely flat temperature gradient between the Equator and the poles. Problem is, climate models have been unable to simulate the extent of this warming in the higher latitudes.

Simulated and reconstructed early Eocene temperatures

At high latitudes, the differences between the model and proxy data can exceed 20°C, as shown int the figure above. “Not being able to start from a realistic global temperature distribution for the late Palaeocene makes it unrealistic to simulate the further abrupt warming associated with the Palaeocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum,” states Valdes. “More worryingly, similarly flat latitudinal temperature gradients are a common feature of extreme warm climates of the past, suggesting that IPCC-type, complex climate models may not be well suited to simulating climate dynamics during these past, extremely warm periods.”


The end of the world is nigh? Schellnhubris admits that's "cloudy"

Professor Schellnhuber, the director of the Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and chairman of the German Scientific Advisory Council, conjures up the future with a selection of graphs and tables composed from observations and modelling.

Around each of the lines on the graphs - plotting the dramatic rises in atmospheric CO2 since the pre-industrial era, the upward trend of surface temperatures, the downward spiral of Arctic sea ice - are the shadows of scientific uncertainty, drawn into the graphs to calculate the outside extremes of the various models.

Such uncertainties are often seized on by people urging against action, or to cast doubt on the authority of the science, but Professor Schellnhuber argued to the "Four Degrees and More?" conference that scientists ought to be very proud of such publications.

"This is the body of evidence. It's clumsy, it's cloudy, but millions of hours of work have gone into producing this hazy picture, and we're very proud of presenting that in all its uncertainty," he told the mostly scientific audience.


Warming causes floods -- Al Gore says so

FORMER US vice-president turned climate crusader Al Gore has used footage of the Queensland floods from earlier this year as proof of climate change, contradicting the findings of the Gillard government's Climate Commission.

A new video posted on YouTube, narrated by Mr Gore to promote his Climate Reality Program, opens with footage of the wall of water that swept through Toowoomba in January. In the video, Mr Gore says "big oil and big coal are spending big money" to distort debate on climate change.

Yet he has ignored the findings of the Climate Commission, which says the Queensland floods were probably not a product of climate change but instead a natural part of climate variability.

Commissioner Will Steffen wrote in the May report The Critical Decade: "The floods across eastern Australia in 2010 and early 2011 were the consequence of a very strong La Nina event and not the result of climate change."


Warming causes droughts -- "Salon" says so

That good ol' warming sure is versatile!

Much of the southern U.S. is currently suffering through one of the most severe dry spells of the past century. It's impossible to say with certainty that this particular drought -- caused by a lingering La Niña event in the Pacific -- is a direct result of global warming. But, as we noted yesterday, scientific consensus is overwhelming that shifting weather patterns drastically increase the probability of devastating droughts from Texas on west. Yet, in spite of this, many GOP politicians from some of the worst afflicted Southwestern states maintain that man-made global warming is an elaborate hoax. We've compiled a list of 10 such prominent climate change deniers and compare their statements against their constituents' current climate woes.


Two comments on the matter from correspondents:

"Kind of mysterious; there are at present heat advisories in parts of East TX, OK; flood advisories in NM, AZ river basin areas"

"Here in Colorado we are having one of the wettest springs and summers on record. The Poudre River broke its all time flow record for this late in the summer today"

British Families face £1,000 bill for green energy: Huge annual levy to appease the climate lobby

Families face punishing increases in energy bills of up to £1,000 a year to fund a switch to green energy and build new nuclear power stations.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne yesterday outlined a new regime that will encourage firms to build thousands of wind turbines, tidal power stations and nuclear plants. The scheme is part of a government plan to shift away from fossil fuels, particularly coal, and so dramatically cut carbon emissions to meet UK and EU targets.

There is a fierce dispute between the Government, green campaigners, academics and industry analysts over the true cost of the programme.

Ministers claim the impact on bills will be £160 a year by 2030, based on the need to spend £110billion on the complete transformation of Britain’s power network. However, this relies on an assumption that families will cut their annual energy use in the home by 30 per cent over the same period.

Industry regulator Ofgem calculates that the work will cost more than £200billion by 2020. It has also talked of a rise of 52 per cent in bills – which equates to around £600 a year.

But analysts at the UniCredit bank believe the true cost will be even higher, with energy bills set to rise by around £1,000 a year – to £2,000.

Billions will be spent on wind farms and wave power, while there will also be massive investment to replace existing nuclear power stations, which are coming to the end of their useful life.

Mr Huhne has outlined plans to guarantee a minimum price for the electricity produced in this way. This inflated figure would ensure the companies involved get a good profit.

Separately, there will be a carbon tax regime to raise the minimum price for power generated from gas and coal to ensure it is not cheaper than wind and nuclear power. Money raised from this regime, estimated at £1.4billion a year by 2014, would go straight into Treasury coffers.

Billions of pounds will also have to be spent on a vast new network of cables, pylons and sub-stations to connect the wind farms and other power stations to the National Grid.

There are also plans to spend more than £11billion on installing so-called ‘smart meters’ in every home. It is claimed people will ration energy use when they can see exactly how much they are using – as they are using it.

The official customer body Consumer Focus described the Government’s claims of an increase in annual bills of £160 a year as ‘optimistic’.

Mike O’Connor, its chief executive, said: ‘We recognise the need for reform. However, consumers can’t be expected to write a blank cheque to decarbonise electricity generation.’ The Climate Change Act requires the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared with 1990 levels.

The Government also has to meet EU targets, under which 15 per cent of the UK’s energy demand must be supplied from renewable sources by 2020.

The rise in bills will result in a dramatic increase in ‘fuel poverty’, which is when a household spends more than 10 per cent of its income on energy bills to stay comfortably warm. It used to affect mainly pensioners and single parents, but official figures show 4.5million households are now in fuel poverty in the UK – compared with just 2million in 2004.

Consumer Focus says the true current figure is a shocking 6.3million households – equal to almost one in four – and could soon rise to 12million.

Critics say the expensive shift to green energy is based on a false premise of man-made global warming. Dr Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, rejected the Coalition’s figure of a £160 rise in bills, saying: ‘This is fanciful, it has just been plucked out of the air.’

Dr Peiser said there is no global shortage of gas and that Britain itself could be sitting on a gas gold mine, which would power homes for decades.

Justifying the proposals, Mr Huhne said they are all that stands between the country and power cuts. He insisted bills would rise substantially even if ministers did nothing. ‘This is the best possible solution for the British consumer,’ he said. ‘We have had 25 years of dithering on energy investment. Decision day is coming. ‘You can have blackouts or you can have investment. Which do you want?’

Dr Robert Gross, director of the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College, rejected the warnings of a £1,000 rise in energy bills, saying: ‘I have not seen any credible analysis that suggests bills will double unless a complete mess is made of the financing.’



Four articles below. Any other country considering a carbon tax might do well to consider the reaction in Australia. The public opinion polls indicate that the Warmist government is facing a complete rout at the next election

Carbon trading hoax will mean $57bn will disappear overseas by 2050, says Tony Abbott

FOREIGN carbon traders would take $57 billion out of the Australian economy by 2050 under the Government carbon tax, Opposition leader Tony Abbott said today.

Visiting the Nolans Transport depot a Gatton, Mr Abbott said the scheme would end up being a "get rich quick scheme" for foreign carbon traders. "The more that the costs of this scheme tehat become apparent the less Australians like it," he said.

Mr Abbott fended off claims that former leader Malcolm Turnbull did not support the Liberals direct action policy to tackle climate change. "Every single member of the shadow cabinet supports our policy," he said before shutting down further questions on the issue.

Mr Nolan, who believes the carbon tax will cost his trucking business $300,000 a year, said the flood had dealt a big financial blow to the Lockyer Valley. "Farmers could not afford the tax, I can't afford it and I think Tony is right. It should go a vote."


Carbon tax could 'bugger' Australia, says top businessman

A LEADING businessman has warned that the government's carbon policy could "bugger the country", joining a chorus against the tax, as consumer sentiment sinks.

University of Queensland chancellor and former Suncorp chairman John Story said yesterday the government's carbon package relied on a "huge leap of faith", because the technology to manage a cost-effective transition to a low-carbon economy did not yet exist, reports The Australian.

His warning followed this week's criticism of the carbon tax by media and mining mogul Kerry Stokes and fellow West Australians, resource heavyweights Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart.

Mr Stokes warned this week that Australia was at risk of imposing too many extra costs on industry and pricing foreign investors out of the market.

Mr Story said the carbon tax also presented a huge challenge for research institutions to develop clean energy technology. "If the research institutions fail to work with government and industry on a creative and productive basis, and fail to produce realistic and cost-effective solutions within a limited time frame, then there is every chance that . . . the country will be buggered," Mr Story told a university business function.

The chancellor's warning came as the Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer confidence slumped in May to a two-year low, its biggest one-month fall since October 2008 - around the time of the Lehman Brothers collapse.

The survey was conducted shortly before the government's announcement of its carbon pricing plan last Sunday.

Also yesterday, Visy executive chairman Anthony Pratt flagged a deep 10 per cent cut to the packaging group's energy use to offset an initial $12 million annual impost from the planned tax. Mr Pratt said in a notice to all staff that the annual cost of a $23-a-tonne carbon tax would more than treble to $37 million if exemptions granted to emissions from Visy's recycling and Tumut paper-making activities were removed in future years.


Bizarre impost will damage economy

IF ever there were a single country in the entire world spectacularly unsuited to be the sole imposer of a vast, unprecedented carbon tax, which no other country in the world is remotely duplicating, it is Australia.

Isolated from our strategic friends, far distant from our biggest markets, a member of no natural trading bloc or customs union, we have just one serious, competitive advantage in the global economy.

That is the abundance of our fossil fuel endowments. If ever there were a nation well advised to move slowly and carefully on policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions, we are it.

As Productivity Commission head Gary Banks commented: "It will not be efficient from a global perspective [let alone a domestic one] for a carbon-intensive economy, such as ours, to abate as much as countries that are less reliant on cheap, high emission, energy sources . . . Modelling aside, it's common sense that achieving any given level of abatement is likely to be costlier in a country with a comparative advantage in fossil fuels."

Banks here did something extremely dangerous. He pitted common sense against economic modelling. Part of the economics profession has gone weak at the knees because the government has labelled its bizarre new amalgam of vast new taxes, huge new bureaucracies, massive expenditure churn, endless new regulation, huge government subsidies for preferred companies and wildly unrealistic targets, a "market-based mechanism".

The government's carbon tax does not pass the commonsense test at any point. To call $8 billion in new taxes in the first year, and new government expenditure so great that it exceeds even the new tax intake, a "market-based mechanism" and economic reform just illustrates George Orwell's insight that if you control the language, you can convince people that black is white and up is down.

The whole enterprise is built on a falsehood, the supposition that nations around the world are taking comparable economy-distorting actions to that proposed by the Gillard government.

There is no really polite way of putting this but it is simply, utterly and comprehensively untrue. This is critically important. Even if you accept that all the science about climate change is true, that does not indicate what the best response for Australia is. If the science is true, then the problem can only be tackled by global action. If global action is impossible, then nations should do their best to cut greenhouse gas emissions in ways that don't hurt their economy too much, prepare for adaptation when it's needed and work to produce technological breakthroughs that allow lower emissions technologies to work and become affordable. This is broadly what other nations are doing. None is doing anything remotely like our carbon tax.

In the US, cap and trade, their name for an emissions trading scheme, is dead and buried. Far from approaching the official US target of reducing 2005 level emissions by 17 per cent by 2020, US emissions grew by 4 per cent last year. I lived in Washington in August and September and read three newspapers and watched a lot of news bulletins each day. I cannot remember a single mention, ever, of the US greenhouse reduction target. It has no traction in US politics.

According to the third Garnaut report, which engaged in every propaganda trick possible to pretend the world was as seized of this religion as Garnaut himself is, China's greenhouse gas emissions will increase from 2005 levels of five billion tonnes a year to 12 billion tonnes by 2020. That's an increase of seven billion tonnes a year. Australia, notionally, in that time might cut emissions by 70 million tonnes. So China's increase will be 100 times greater than Australia's decrease. Our contribution, for which we are turning our economy and politics upside down, will be too small to measure.

Japan has not only rejected an ETS approach but is likely, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, to make renewed investments in coal. Canada has elected a government committed to no carbon tax or ETS. The remaining ETS schemes in a couple of states in the US are falling apart. South Korea has put off action until 2015 at the earliest. The European ETS raises $1 a person and has very little effect on economic activity. India has no interest in a carbon tax approach. It levies a tax on coal of $1 a tonne and its carbon emissions will grow almost as quickly as China's.

So Australia is going to impose a huge cost on itself for no benefit to the environment. That's not an argument to do nothing. It is an argument to move very carefully with minimum disruption to our economy. There is a further central paradox. Given that the biggest emitters -- China, the US, India and most other nations -- do not have anything like the Australian carbon tax, it is clear that what abatement has occurred in the world has taken place mainly through "direct action". Press gallery commentators' dismissal of Tony Abbott and opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt's arguments on this demonstrate not policy sophistication but intellectual laziness, and an inability to move beyond the government's endless, admittedly very confusing, propaganda publications.

It is also the case that the Gillard government's own big tax will not actually reduce Australia's emissions. Instead, the government will spend many billions of dollars on its own direct action efforts. More than that, even if everything the government promises comes to pass, which is substantially less likely than my winning the US Ladies Professional Golf Championship, Australia's actual emissions will still rise and we will have to spend many billions of dollars buying carbon credits from overseas.

But the history of these credits so far is one of rorting and malpractice. Moreover, to believe the purchase of such credits will help the physical environment, you have to make the fantastic leap of faith to the conclusion that these credits represent real physical actions which, if we had not purchased them, would otherwise not have occurred. That is, it is not only that we pay a higher price for these credits than any other bidder but that if we didn't bid for them they wouldn't exist. Otherwise we are just trading in fairytales.

Yesterday the government also announced that it will be illegal for businesses to claim the carbon tax is causing them to put up prices. This is a bizarre, profoundly anti-democratic, environmentally useless and economically damaging period we are passing through. It's not market based and it's not economic reform.


Carbon tax the last straw for battlers as cost of living spirals out of control

THE micro effects of the macro-economic decisions are being felt disproportionately in the most sensitive parts. In short, we are hurting out here - again. No matter how well we have done what we were told to do, how proud we are to have pulled together, the punches keep coming. The carbon tax is the last straw. Enough is enough.

We endured a horror summer of disasters, have picked ourselves up or are helping our neighbours to their feet, and then were told last month that because we had sweated through the summer instead of whacking on the airconditioner, our power bills were being put on steroids to make up for the shortfall in projected power company profits. What? Hey? How does that make sense in a fair and equitable world?

But wait, there was more. Fresh fruit and veg prices have been high all year and were up a bit extra this month, partly as an after-effect of that horror summer. Eating well is far more expensive than eating poorly.

Public transport price rises early in the year mean it is often cheaper to drive to a destination (although it is debateable because petrol prices are also high), and the population boom and poor timetabling mean people often have to stand through the public transport journey after shelling out more than people in other states.

Water prices went up, even though it rained like it would never stop (see horror summer, above). So contributing to getting the region through the tough times was rewarded with more hip-pocket pain.

Well, enough with the big stick. Enough of the increased financial pain, even when we do all we are told to do.

Enough of telling us short-term pain will bring long-term gain. Queenslanders, more than others, have experience that shows short-term pain has meant a long-term price gain in the past. We know better than to fall for it again. By the start of the new financial year, there was a palpable cynicism and resentment over all of this. We were tired and stressed from the endlessness of rising bills.

The cynicism and resentment have made us behave in ways that are unlike our pull-together, believe-the-best selves.

We are far from school children, seeking the gold star, but we have shown we respond very well when a crisis or required action is explained rather than have threats and charges imposed. We feel empowered in helping to rectify the problem.

Consumer researcher Deborah J. MacInnis, in her study Why and How Consumers Hope: Motivated Reasoning and the Marketplace, found the most powerful motivator for behaviour was pride, not punishment or shame.

We are a proud people. Very few people were fined for using too much water in the bad old days of drought. Very few did the wrong things during the horror summer.

The carbon tax will not solve the carbon emissions problem, but uses money as punishment to - hopefully - change behaviour that causes environmental damage.

When the answer the governments reach for is to create a price, the drip-drip effectively becomes water torture for those who ultimately have to pay. There are many in our community who are trying hard to help out the ol' planet. It doesn't matter if they were the ones who were regarded as hippy twerps in the 1970s and 1980s. When they heard the warnings and believed them enough, they modified their behaviour in an effort to help.

Nope - no matter how much or little we have done in our lives to help the Earth stay cool or heal its ozone hole, more pain is on the way. We have been given fair warning to brace ourselves.

But just how much more pain are we prepared to cop? And how much can we afford before the house of cards falls down? We have been continually told we are the lucky country and our nation escaped the worst of the global financial crisis. But retail sales are abominable and have been for a year or more. I have not heard of a tradie who currently feels like they are sailing along financially, let alone living in luxury's lap. Charity donations are down.

Financial observers have noted rising petrol prices, higher school fees and healthcare bills, among other things, have effectively sent consumers to the safety of their homes. They have stopped spending.

How times have changed. Seven years ago, financial people tell us, people were spending every cent they had and then some. Now we are trying to save for the rainy day, which already appears to be here.

The problem we have is the Government, economists, retailers and companies see us as consumers. We are simply people who use things, buy things and dispose of things when we are finished. But we are so much more than that. Enough!



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


13 July, 2011

The 2010 Summer Heat Wave of Western Russia

Discussing: Dole, R., Hoerling, M., Perlwitz, J., Eischeid, J., Pegion, P., Zhang, T., Quan, X.-W., Xu, T. and Murray, D. 2011. Was there a basis for anticipating the 2010 Russian heat wave? Geophysical Research Letters 38: 10.1029/2010GL046582.


The authors write that "the 2010 summer heat wave in western Russia was extraordinary, with the region experiencing the warmest July since at least 1880 and numerous locations setting all-time maximum temperature records." And as a result, they say that "questions of vital societal interest are whether the 2010 Russian heat wave might have been anticipated, and to what extent human-caused greenhouse gas emissions played a role."

What was done

In broaching this question, Dole et al. used both climate model simulations and observational data "to determine the impact of observed sea surface temperatures, sea ice conditions and greenhouse gas concentrations."

What was learned

The nine U.S. researchers determined that "analysis of forced model simulations indicates that neither human influences nor other slowly evolving ocean boundary conditions contributed substantially to the magnitude of the heat wave." In fact, they say that the model simulations provided "evidence that such an intense event could be produced through natural variability alone." Similarly, on the observation front, they state that "July surface temperatures for the region impacted by the 2010 Russian heat wave show no significant warming trend over the prior 130-year period from 1880-2009," noting, in fact, that "a linear trend calculation yields a total temperature change over the 130 years of -0.1°C." In addition, they indicate that "no significant difference exists between July temperatures over western Russia averaged for the last 65 years (1945-2009) versus the prior 65 years (1880-1944)," and they state that "there is also no clear indication of a trend toward increasing warm extremes." Last of all, they say that although there was a slightly higher variability in temperature in the latter period, the increase was "not statistically significant."

What it means

"In summary," to quote Dole et al., "the analysis of the observed 1880-2009 time series shows that no statistically significant long-term change is detected in either the mean or variability of western Russia July temperatures, implying that for this region an anthropogenic climate change signal has yet to emerge above the natural background variability."

This, they say their analysis "points to a primarily natural cause for the Russian heat wave," noting that the event "appears to be mainly due to internal atmospheric dynamical processes that produced and maintained an intense and long-lived blocking event," adding that there are no indications that "blocking would increase in response to increasing greenhouse gases."


Lighting Industry Tones Down Light Bulb Ban Support

The lighting industry largely backed a 2007 move to phase out incandescent light bulbs. But amid a consumer and political backlash, that support seems far more tepid now.

The House planned to vote Tuesday on a bill by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, to repeal parts of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Those sections didn't ban incandescents explicitly, but set efficiency standards that they can't meet. The 100-watt bulb phases out Jan. 1.

General Electric (GE) and Royal Philips Electronics (PHG), two of the biggest light bulb producers, helped Congress develop the de facto incandescent ban.

"The purpose of the rules is to create greater savings for consumers," said Kyle Pitsor, vice president of government relations for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. "It was also to standardize efficiency requirements. At the time there were quite a few different state government standards for light bulbs."

California banned the sale of 100-watt incandescents this year.

But Myron Ebell, president of the libertarian Freedom Action, replied, "The whole point was to twist government rules so light bulb makers will be guaranteed a much bigger profit. They can't make much money selling bulbs at 25 or 50 cents a pop. They can make money on bulbs that cost $2, $3 or even $25."

Compact fluorescent lamps and light emitting diodes cost considerably more than standard incandescents. LEDs aren't quite ready for prime time. Meanwhile, concerns over CFLs — they contain mercury, many people hate the light they give off and doubts as to whether they are really money savers long-term — have mounted.

Those complaints have had a receptive audience in the new, Tea Party-inspired House GOP majority. It may also be reaching the upper levels of corporations.

From 'Huge' To Whatever

Back in 2007, GE senior counsel Earl Jones said, "It's huge. Literally, the amount of energy that's being saved by the light bulb standard alone is more than has been achieved since 1986 for all appliances combined."

Pitsor told the Senate in March that the industry still backs the legislation. He told IBD that NEMA's "Lamp" subgroup, which includes GE, Philips and most other U.S. light bulb makers, remain committed to higher energy standards. He also noted that Barton's bill repeals commercial lighting efficiency standards and could thus harm investments that light bulb makers began in 2008 and 2009.

But GE signaled in a Monday statement to IBD that the bulb ban itself isn't that important: "With or without the new energy standards for light bulbs, GE Lighting's business strategy will not change."

Records show that Philips lobbied Congress this year over Barton's legislation, but would only tell IBD, "We support legislation that saves Americans money, delivers increased choice, while lowering energy consumption."

What legislation that might be is unclear, because those goals could be mutually exclusive. Indeed, Energy Secretary Steven Chu defended the ban last week, saying, "We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."

Nevertheless, a GOP staffer said, "Certainly we have heard from the light bulb industry, but their opposition (to congressional bulb ban repeal efforts) "hasn't been as strong as you might think."

House leaders fast-tracked Rep. Barton's bill, meaning it needs a two-thirds majority to pass. Assuming it clears the House, the bill's future may be dim. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has not scheduled a vote on companion legislation in the Senate. President Obama would likely veto the bill anyway.


Hard Times Hit Carbon-Trading Markets

Once seen as a potential bonanza by governments, investment bankers, and alternative energy proponents, carbon dioxide credits have become close to worthless in trading exchanges and are now being shunned by investors.

Few Bidders for RGGI Credits

A June 8 auction by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade consortium of 10 northeastern states, was a bust. Carbon dioxide permits auctioned by RGGI fetched $1.89 each, the minimum allowable bid. More than two-thirds of the 43.9 million carbon dioxide permits put up for auction went unsold. The June 8 auction was by far the most unsuccessful of the 12 sales held since RGGI began operation in 2008.

In three of the past four RGGI auctions, bidders failed to buy all the allowances offered. Unsold allowances revert to the participating states, where they will be put up for bid in the next two auctions scheduled in the current three-year program. RGGI now has 81 million unsold allowances. Roughly 30 million RGGI permits are purchased in a typical year.

Under RGGI, each allowance gives a power plant the right to emit one ton of carbon dioxide. RGGI is currently composed of the six New England states—Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island—plus New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

New Jersey Leads the Way

RGGI received more bad news recently when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced his state would be leaving the group at the end of the year. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is currently 9.3 percent, and Christie is trying to create a more business-friendly climate in his state. RGGI does not fit into those plans.

“Americans for Prosperity has exposed the RGGI cap-and-trade scheme as nothing less than a devious and immoral scam that will make the mortgage-backed derivatives scheme look like child’s play,” said Steve Lonegan, New Jersey state director for Americans for Prosperity. “This is a regressive, stealth tax on electricity that destroys jobs, does nothing whatsoever to address so-called global climate change, and is being exploited by insiders and speculators who see the potential to make massive profits on the backs of ratepayers. Thankfully, we are beginning to see this scheme unravel.”

New Jersey’s withdrawal from RGGI and the failed auction in June are unmistakable signs RGGI’s days are numbered, Lonegan says.

“I believe this signals the beginning of the end of RGGI and the end of cap-and-trade here in the United States. It’s just a matter of time until the entire RGGI scheme collapses of its own weight,” Lonegan predicted.

Lawsuit Filed in New York

New York’s participation in RGGI has been called into question by a lawsuit filed June 28 in a state court in Albany. The citizen suit, filed by private attorney Mark Smith and backed by Americans for Prosperity and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), claims then-New York Gov. George Pataki acted improperly in 2005 when he committed his state to join RGGI without obtaining legislative approval.

“The [RGGI] plan increases taxpayers’ electric bills for the sake of an expensive, ineffective compact that, worst of all, is illegal under New York law,” says CEI general counsel Sam Kazman .

Among other things, the lawsuit states, “The authority to raise massive tax revenues is confined to the legislature because it is well understood that the ‘power to tax’ is the ‘power to destroy.’”

International Prices Plummet

Last November, the Chicago Climate Exchange, North America’s only voluntary greenhouse-gas trading system, ceased trading carbon credits after the price of a metric ton of CO2 had plummeted to between 5 and 10 cents. Carbon markets are also taking a beating overseas.

The price of European Union Allowances (EUA), a carbon-linked investment instrument, dropped 22 percent in one week in late June. Investors are also shunning UN-backed Certified Emissions Reductions (CER), which are offsets generated by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism. The Clean Development Mechanism is one of several schemes created under the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012 and will not be renewed.


Wicked Dutch drivers squash bugs

Dutch motorists kill about 133 billion insects a month, splattering bugs on their vehicles and eliminating important members of the food chain, according to a study released this week.

Biologists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands enlisted the help of 250 drivers for a "splash teller" study. Each motorist had to wipe his or her car license plate clean then tot up the bug body count at the end of their drive.

"They are by far the richest species groups in all countries, and therefore play an essential role in the food chain," biologist Arnold van Vliet, one of a team working on the project, told Reuters.

"Many birds such as swallows, who hunt for insects, depend on insect density. If insect numbers are low they inevitably face severe problems finding food for their young," he said.

Insects are not only important pollinators of commercial and wild plants, but also form a crucial part of the diet of many animals including birds and bats.

The study showed the most dangerous parts of the country for a flying insect are the coastal provinces of Zeeland, Friesland and Groningen -- which Van Vliet said was possibly a reflection of the fact the human inhabitants are more likely to drive longer distances in these less densely populated areas.

Van Vliet said the scientific study was inspired by a similar project in the United Kingdom, carried out in 2004.


Gore (Re)Sells A Lie

Al Gore is going to "connect the dots" between climate change and severe weather. Given that the former vice president has been coloring outside the lines for years, there's no reason to believe what he'll say.

Gore launched Tuesday the latest phase of his attempt to save man from himself. Through the Climate Reality Project, he intends "to reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis."

Earth's most famous global warming alarmist, whose selection as a Nobel Laureate lowered the bar for that prize, expects that on Sept. 14 the world will listen raptly to his group's narrative on the "climate crisis."

During this 24-hour slice of "reality," the Climate Reality Project's website says, the world will focus "on the full truth, scope, scale and impact of the climate crisis. To remove the doubt. Reveal the deniers. And catalyze urgency around an issue that affects every one of us."

Busybody Gore hasn't done too little. But he is too late. The global warming scare that he's helped gin up is growing as cold as a morgue slab.

Rather than being so fixed on the Sept. 14 event, Gore should have been keeping up with the news. Had he done so, he would have learned that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. This isn't the claim of some crackpot "denier," but of Phil Jones, a credentialed alarmist who is director of research at East Anglia University's Climatic Research Unit.

And it's not exactly fresh news, either. Jones, who played a major role in the climate-gate email scandal, made the statement, which was resurrected last week by James Delingpole in the London Telegraph, in 2010.

Mentioned by Delingpole in the same piece is the academic paper "Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008," which shows there's been no warming since 1998.

Facts don't mean much to the global warming alarmists, even though they claim to have them on their side.

They're more concerned about emotional responses to their hysterical appeals, and how they can use those responses to further their agenda, which has everything to do with social control, political strength and influence, and nothing to do with the environment.

Gore wants people to use his new campaign to "discover for themselves the truth about climate change." But he doesn't want them to know the truth — he wants them to buy his propaganda. He knows the truth will make them the "deniers" he ridicules without reason.


Australians demand carbon tax vote

AUSTRALIANS have given the carbon tax the thumbs down, with 68 per cent saying it will leave them worse off and 63 per cent calling for Julia Gillard to bring on an early election.

The exclusive Galaxy Poll for the Herald Sun - the first major survey since the release of the carbon tax package on Sunday - also found 60 per cent of voters opposed the tax, 29 per cent were in favour and 11 per cent undecided.

The nationwide telephone poll of 500 people conducted on Monday night suggests voters believe the personal cost of the carbon tax outweighs the environmental benefits.

Voters have not accepted Ms Gillard's promise that more than six out of 10 households would be fully compensated or better off after compensation for the rise in the cost of living.

Only 10 per cent of voters said they would be better off and only 28 per cent believe Ms Gillard has a mandate to introduce the tax without holding another election.

The poll reveals 62 per cent of people think the Greens, who negotiated the package with Labor and the independents, have too much influence over the Government, while 30 per cent say the Greens are working effectively.

It finds 81 per cent believe the carbon tax will have little or no impact on the environment and 67 per cent believe it will be bad for the economy compared with 22 per cent who think it will be good.

The poll comes as Ms Gillard rejected suggestions she might step down as PM or be replaced after Labor's primary vote in the latest Newspoll plunged to a record low of 27 per cent. It was 35 per cent when she toppled Kevin Rudd last year.

"I will be leading this country to a clean energy future, that's what I'm determined to do," Ms Gillard said yesterday as she campaigned in Melbourne. "I'm absolutely convinced what I'm doing is right. "There's a very simple proposition here: do you want your kids to grow up in a country that's generating more pollution or less? ... By putting a price on carbon we will generate less pollution."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who was in Dandenong South, predicted Labor MPs might move to replace Ms Gillard because of the carbon tax. "They may well remove this Prime Minister," he said.

Ms Gillard said under a $23 carbon tax the economy would continue to grow with more jobs and she cited a $4.7 billion takeover bid by the world's biggest coal miner, Peabody Energy, for Australia's Macarthur Coal as proof the coal industry had a strong future.

"Tony Abbott was predicting Armageddon for the coal mining industry yesterday. The future of the coal mining industry is bright and it's not the first thing he's got wrong," she said.

Ms Gillard rejected claims by food and housing groups in yesterday's Herald Sun that prices would rise by more than predicted by Treasury.

She said the same experts who modelled the GST and got it right had estimated the carbon tax would add just 0.7 per cent to the cost of living.



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


12 July, 2011

The wind turbine backlash: Growing public opposition thwarts Britain's green energy drive

Plans to cover Britain with wind farms are being thwarted by a growing tide of public opposition. Nearly half of all onshore wind farms in England and Wales are being refused planning permission, figures reveal. The percentage of such developments being refused planning permission has risen sharply over the last five years.

According to data obtained by law firm McGrigors, in 2005 29 per cent were turned down by planners – rising to 33 per cent in 2009 and 48 per cent last year.

The increase in objections is partly the result of the volume of wind turbine applications being proposed by energy companies. Under European climate change targets, around a third of all Britain's electricity will have to be generated by renewable energy sources by 2020. The majority of that green power will come from 10,000 new wind turbines at sea and on land.

But according to McGrigors, 32 out of 66 applications for onshore wind farms were rejected in 2010. Britain has 305 onshore wind farms and 3,360 turbines.

McGrigors, a leading commercial law firm which represents wind farm developers, claims energy companies will become increasingly frustrated with local planners refusing to give the go-ahead to money-spinning turbines.

However, Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is sceptical of the Government's climate change policy, including its plans for building wind farms, said: 'The public backlash against wind farms is not surprising.

'It is the inevitable and inexorable consequence of a costly, unpopular and completely pointless policy that is butchering Britain's green and pleasant landscape without having any effect on the climate. 'These green projects are only viable because of multi-million subsidies supporting a few hundred wealthy landowners and a handful of energy companies.

'By opposing wind farms, a growing number of neighbourhoods and communities are protecting both their local environments and their purses from blind exploitation.'

Jacqueline Harris, a partner at McGrigors, said wind farm developers believe they are not getting a 'balanced hearing' at local level. She said: 'The feeling is that local authorities are too often prioritising local concerns. 'There is little willingness to consider the benefits of renewable energy generation in context.'

She added: 'Objections based around the visual impact of wind turbines are overriding the wider need to deliver energy security and mitigate the impact of climate change. The visual impact of wind turbines is a common complaint and often successful grounds for objection.

'This applies even where the benefits of the development greatly outweigh the downsides to a small but vocal minority. 'Even single turbines, which can generate enough electricity for a few thousand houses, are being rejected because of the visual impact on a handful of properties.'

The Government's Localism Bill – which gives more power to local communities over planning decisions – could make it even more difficult for the wind farm developers to push through planning permission. According to Mr Peiser, the Bill has 'helped to empower individuals, councils and communities to oppose and halt wind farms'.

A spokesman for Renewables UK, which represents the wind farm industry, claimed: 'Wind farms bring real economic benefits to local communities. 'Every refused wind farm planning application is a missed opportunity to secure employment and business benefits at a local level, and further deliver on our energy security and climate change targets.'


A World Food Crisis?

S. Fred Singer

Forecasting world famines has become a favorite pastime for some: from the Reverend Thomas Malthus 200 years ago and more recently Paul Ehrlich to the Club of Rome and the Paddock brothers in the 1970s—and of course, to Lester Brown, about once every decade. The latest catastrophic forecast comes to us from climate alarmists who focus on a world food crisis, supposedly as a consequence of global warming (GW). While there may well arise problems about world food, it is more than likely that a global warming—if it does take place—will increase food production rather than lower it. So rest easy: another crisis averted.

The main cause cited for a decrease is loss of soil moisture; but it should be obvious that any increase in global temperature will also increase evaporation from the oceans and therefore the total amount of global precipitation. GW is a perfect recipe for creating more fresh water, which according to the alarmists is badly needed. Of course, we cannot be sure where this precipitation will come down—but neither can the alarmists. Sadly, our climate models are inadequate to handle regional problems—and particularly bad when it comes to predicting precipitation.

Another reason for increased food production stems from the warmer temperatures themselves. Again, according to climate models, an increase in average global temperature points toward only a slight increase in the tropical zone—with the major increases in higher latitudes, where climates tend to be more severe. (That of course is a common problem when one deals with ‘averages.’) So it may turn out that Canada and Siberia will see increases in crop production because of longer growing seasons, warmer growing temperatures, and fewer frosts—but there will be little change at lower latitudes.

The final reason for improvements in agriculture stems of course from the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide—irrespective of its putative effects on climate. Carbon dioxide will continue to increase because of the burning of fossil fuels to create energy. The rate of future increase is not known with any degree of certainty; it depends on population growth, changes in economic activity, technology, and other factors.

But C02 is plant food and a natural fertilizer. Countless experiments conducted by agriculturalists in different nations have established that increased C02 levels not only speed up plant growth, of crops and forests, but enable plants to do better under stressed conditions of drought, pollution, and attacks by insects and fungi.

Economists tell us that the problem of world hunger has to do mostly with the distribution of food resources rather than the total amount of production. Ultimately, it becomes a problem of having money to buy the food that is needed and having money to establish the transportation systems necessary to bring food from farms into the urban areas that people have moved to and will be moving to in the future.

Economics also tells us that there is a considerable cushion: consumption of meat. As grain prices rise because of scarcity, so will the price of grain-fed animals. But a higher price of meat will dampen the expected growing demand and so release more grain for direct human consumption.

But aside from these economic factors, the total amount of food available to hungry people can also be increased by better protection of the resource itself. Genetic Modification (GM) is developing food varieties that are resistant to water shortages and resistant to pests; but some nations are still resisting even while their people go hungry. (Kenya has fortunately just dropped its ban against GM crops.) In the meantime, the judicious application of chemical pesticides can help in preserving the food resource. Of great importance also is the use of fumigants, like methyl bromide, to protect grains against vermin and fungus. Improper storage and spoilage in shipping imposes huge losses and creates economic inefficiencies.

The world has done quite well in avoiding the anticipated Malthusian catastrophe for the past 200 years—as population increased manifold—from about one to more than six billion. All indications are that population growth is slowing down and that levels will peak well below ten billion within the next few decades. There is every reason therefore to view the world food problem with optimism.


Poll: Warmist faith fading among Americans too

Three-quarters of Americans say natural disasters are on the increase, but fewer than ever believe the climate is heating up, a new poll finds.

And only half say they have prepared for calamity by stockpiling three days worth of food and water, Harris reports.

Seventy-six percent say hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes are becoming more frequent, and 31 percent say much more. Only 2 percent perceive a decline and 23 percent no change.

In the Northeast, 77 percent say a snow or ice storm is most likely to affect them, while 79 Midwesterners agree and 89 percent of them fear tornadoes.

In the South, 66 percent worry about tornadoes, 54 percent hurricanes and 50 percent drought. In the West, earthquakes are a concern for 66 percent. Only 11 percent across the country think a nuclear power accident would affect them.

Only 44 percent say they "believe the theory" that carbon dioxide emissions are warming the Earth, down from 51 percent in 2009 and 71 percent in 2007, but most movement has been into the "not sure" column.

The online poll of 2,163 adults was conducted June 13 through 20. Harris does not give margin-of-error figures.


The founding philosopher of the deep green movement was a Nazi

Most of the Green thinkers of Nazism are now forgotten but Heidegger is still honored -- as is his authoritarian proclivities

One of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, foundational to the academic left and deep ecology of the greens, was committed to Nazism.

The green Nazi/deep ecology connection in the life and works of Martin Heidegger have been routinely given a pass over the years by many western scholars who love his existential philosophy.

According to French professor Emmanuel Faye's latest book on Heidegger, the days of viewing his commitment to Nazism as something incidental to his life are now officially over.

In his book Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars 1933-35, French Professor Emmanuel Faye has exposed the real Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).

Western scholars have been so enamored with his existentialist philosophy that it has been very difficult for them to accept the fact that he was a real Nazi. Too many have been more than willing to overlook his Nazi past as something incidental to his worldview.

Environmental historians have been quick to cover for Heidegger because he is such a critical figure in modern green philosophy. Many of his views are consistent with what is today called deep ecology. Heidegger is known among environmental thinkers for later advocating an anti-technology "let it be" attitude toward nature after his so-called 'turning' from National Socialism.

However, Faye clearly shows that Heidegger's 'turning' from National Socialism is a modern myth built on outright lies and the later redaction of his earlier materials hidden under dense language and opaque existentialism.

Martin Heidegger is an unrepentant Nazi. Even years after the war, he spoke of the "inner truth and greatness" of National Socialism.

The idea that Heidegger temporarily strayed into Nazism only to recover himself later with a much more mature philosophy is simply untenable. According to Faye, it is far more likely that Heidegger managed to infiltrate much of the post-modern world with a more developed Nazi political 'philosophy.'

Although Faye does not discuss in detail the environmental leanings of Martin Heidegger, his brand of green existentialism is much more at the heart of the issue than most people realize. Heidegger has certainly hidden some of his Nazism in the modern green movement.

Existentialism is fertile ground from which to develop a deep ecological worldview. Existentialism often uses natural existence or 'being' to trump idealistic or religious thought that heightens itself above the natural world. Nature and its holistic interrelatedness is used to neutralize both philosophy and religious faith as incongruent to the existential realities of the real world. This also allegedly leads to a false, dominating view over nature, which has become especially superficial and unsustainable in the modern mechanized world.

Truth is not a matter of abstract doctrinal statements that unnaturally detaches people from the real world, but is self-defined according to one's own natural existence rooted in his particular environment.

For Heidegger, what needs to be done is to destroy western philosophy and its Judeo-Christian handmaid. Even after the war, Heidegger's philosophy was aimed point blank at the overthrow of traditional western philosophy/religion in order to save the planet.

With its transcendental emphasis upon mind, thinking and thought, both western philosophy and the Judeo-Christian worldview elevate 'rootless' rationalism and/or faith over the reality of natural existence.

As far as Heidegger was concerned, this has led modern, western man into an inauthentic lifestyle contrary to the natural world grounded in what Heidegger calls 'being.'

The main thrust of Heidegger's thought is thus to reduce all metaphysics or philosophy to the question of 'being' or existence, particularly German 'being.' [Dasein] In so doing, western man's alienating and destructive dominance over nature can be arrested.

Indeed, Heidegger went so far as to say that the motorization of the Wehrmacht in Nazi Germany's victory of France in 1940 was a "metaphysical act." This, of course, reduces philosophy to the realm of politics and power -- the epitome of Nazi existentialism.

Nazi Germany's conquest over France represented the victory of National Socialist ideology over the international values of the French Enlightenment that exaggerated human reason over Nature.

Heidegger is also important in understanding the ideological basis for Nazi technology even though National Socialism was a secular religion of Nature. Martin Heidegger did not become anti-technology per se until after the war when the Allies were in charge of the atom bomb. In the 1920's and 30's he spoke of the 'natural powers' of German technology that grows out of and is limited by Nature.

He thus believed in an Aryan sustainable technology rooted in the soil of Germany. Technology based on the globalist forces of the Enlightenment is inauthentic and locally destructive to the native German peoples (das Volk) since it has been uprooted by the 'liberal' Jewification of society.

That modern environmentalism has swept in behind the collapse of classic western philosophy and the fading of the Judeo-Christian worldview is thus no accident. It is part and parcel of the whole post-modern outlook that denies any transcendental truth or God that exists independent and outside of the natural world. Without such transcendental truths, all that is left is an amoral nature and its factual existence, and Martin Heidegger has been leading this particular charge since his early days in the camp of National Socialism.

Although Heidegger did not join the Nazi Party until 1933, he was very supportive of the movement from its inception. Heidegger's wife, Elfride, was a Nazi enthusiast going back as far as the early 1920's. She was very involved in the naturist Nazi youth groups of the time.

With inheritance money, she also purchased Heidegger's chalet in the upper reaches of the Black Forest called Todtnauberg. The chalet had beautiful nearby valley views topped off by the Alps in the distance. From this very chalet would come the inspiration for much of Heidegger's green existentialism.

Ironically enough, Todtnauberg means "mountain of death." In 1934, Heidegger signed an environmental petition called the "German Landscape in Peril." Other Nazi greens who signed the petition included Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Walther Schoenichen, Hans Schwenkel, Konrad Guenther, Werner Haverbeck, and Fritz Todt.

In those days, many German greens got caught up in what was called the Nazi "blood and soil" ideology developed by Himmler's SS where German blood rooted in German soil became the basis for protecting the homeland (Heimat) -- culturally, militarily and environmentally.

Former students of Heidegger also confirmed that he was a Nazi blood and soil environmental enthusiast throughout the much of the 1920's. Heidegger bragged about the Nazi naturist youth movement as one of the keys to a successful future.

Heidegger also believed that universal reason as practiced by modern philosophy since the Renaissance is contrary to the existential realities of blood and soil. Another student claimed that Heidegger was convinced that only a National Socialism dictatorship could oppose Marxism properly.

Heidegger advocated that violence, if not liquidation and assassination, against opponents was an acceptable solution to political problems. He openly proclaimed the Fuhrer principle, German racism and eugenics, Nazi collectivism, and was even promoted as rector to the University of Freiburg when Jewish professors were forcibly removed from their posts.

He was also anti-Semitic. He considered the Jews in the East unnatural nomads unworthy of their living space (lebensraum). Shockingly, many dead German soldiers on the battlefields of the Second World War possessed Heidegger's books in their rucksacks. Heidegger also proclaimed that the people of Germany should have an 'erotic' love for the Nazi state.

In June of 1933, Heidegger gave a speech at the Freiburg university stadium when a symbolic bonfire of un-German like books were burned. Even much of his later existentialism was specifically designed to do away with all inauthentic thought that elevated itself above its own natural environs.

The antipathy that radical greens have toward the foundations of modern culture -- whether religiously, philosophically, or even economically -- has become increasingly perilous. What is worse? Burning books or tearing down dams and choking off energy supplies and burning corn in cars? The latter may turn out to be far worse than the former if continued unchecked.

More than a few environmental historians have pointed out that since Heidegger did not believe in biological racism, he cannot be considered a genuine Nazi. Faye, however, strongly points out that in place of a fundamentalist view of Nazi blood, Heidegger taught a racial rootedness in the German soil that was ontologically or existentially based rather than biologically based.

This ontological en-rootedness only deepens the issues further. It provides a philosophical justification for German racism without it being tied to the fundamentalism of Nazi scientism. This, in turn, provides a broader foundation for Nazi doctrines to rest upon, pollinate and grow.

That such nuances have been used by scholars to disassociate Heidegger from National Socialism needs to be corrected and abandoned. Heidegger's fascism is built on environmental existentialism rather than biological scientism.

Indeed, in his Heidelberg courses he enlightened his audiences by saying that, "the Fatherland is being itself."


Australia: Greens 'derailing' resource projects that would help REDUCE CO2 emissions

Their kneejerk hostility to mining trumps all else

THE gas industry has demanded the Greens stop trying to derail coal-seam gas projects, which are crucial if it is to build up to $60 billion worth of new gas-fired power stations to meet Julia Gillard's plans for a clean energy future and back up unreliable wind energy.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, representing firms such as Santos, said coal-seam projects in Queensland and NSW would provide a "great deal" of the gas needed to meet the expected 200 per cent rise in gas due by 2050 because of the price on carbon.

"The biggest constraint is ironically going to be the opposition to the development of coal-seam gas by the Greens," association chief executive Belinda Robinson said. "This is the party which has established itself on the moral high ground on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "But it's also the party that poses the greatest threat to the development of the one fuel type that provides the greatest opportunity for significantly reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions."

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne has described coal-seam gas as a "disaster" for Australia, while protests from residents have flared in inner-western Sydney and the Hunter Valley, and legal action looms over a project in Queensland's Darling Downs.

The warning comes as figures compiled by the Australian Energy Market Operator for The Australian reveal it would cost about $2.4bn to build the gas plants required to replace the 2000 megawatts of energy production from high-polluting coal plants that will be closed. There would also be annual running costs ranging from $585 million to $1.46bn by 2030.

The government plans to buy out and close high-polluting coal-fired plants, with the "polluting dinosaur" Hazelwood power station in Victoria expected to be among those to close. As well as replacing coal, gas will be crucial to backing up wind, which is notoriously intermittent.

When demand for power rocketed to its highest level in South Australia last summer, the state's 1150MW of installed wind power generation was only able to contribute 60MW of supply.

Treasury modelling forecasts that under a carbon price system, between $50bn and $60bn of gas electricity generating plants will be needed by 2050, with between $1bn and $9bn needed in the next nine years.

More gas will be used to generate electricity as it will become more profitable when the carbon price starts. But there are fears that although Australia has ample gas reserves, electricity generators will struggle to secure long-term contracts for gas supplies because of the surging Asian demand for liquefied natural gas.

On top of this, domestic gas prices are expected to rise as LNG is exported from the east coast after 2015, while the gas transmission industry has warned that its costs will rise because a carbon tax is likely to increase the costs of operating the compressors that move large amounts of gas over long distances.

While there have been 9420MW worth of gas generation projects publicly announced, new figures from AEMO show none has moved to the advanced or committed stage that means a project can proceed.

Ms Robinson said coal-seam gas supplies would have to grow if more gas-fired power stations were to be built. But she said the approvals processes for the projects were becoming more complex, despite previous criticism from the Productivity Commission about convoluted approval requirements.

She said the approvals process was "often a reflection or a response to the level of political opposition being brought to bear". "If we are going to do this, the Greens must be accountable and responsible for the decisions they take and the extent to which they oppose the coal-seam gas industry," Ms Robinson said.

The switch from coal-fired power to gas is expected to require investments in upgrading the pipelines that transport the gas from the south to the north of the country, and can transport gas back down from the coal-seam projects in the north.

Extra capacity will also be needed for the pipelines that feed gas to the big cities.


Filipinos swallow the bullsh*t whole

Couples required to plant trees before tying knot

Engaged couples in Gloria town in Oriental Mindoro are required to plant trees before they get married. Tree planting as a prerequisite to getting a marriage license is contained in an ordinance adopted by the municipal council beginning January this year, Councilor Rimando Recalde, the measure’s author, told the Inquirer.

Recalde said he thought of the ordinance because of the “alarming issue of climate change and global warming and many couples are not even aware of the need to keep a balanced ecology.”

He said the ordinance supports the municipal and provincial environment code as well as Republic Act No. 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The ordinance provides that the couple must attend the lecture on tree planting and solid waste management which is incorporated in the pre-marriage counseling (PMC) seminar undergone by couples seeking to secure marriage licenses at the municipal hall of Gloria, 65 kilometers from this city.



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


11 July, 2011

Sieg Heil, Stephen Chu!

Steven Chu was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. That he developed methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light does not mean he understands economics, consumer choice, or politics. A Nobel Prize does not even guarantee common sense. Often it guarantees the opposite.

In a Friday conference call with reporters, Chu argued against a House bill that would repeal a 2007 federal law outlawing incandescent bulbs. Many Americans object to being told that must buy the fluorescent, halogen, and LED bulbs starting in January of 2012 as dictated by federal law.

Chu argued the more-efficient bulbs mandated by Congress save consumers money over the bulb’s life even though the up-front price is higher. Chu defended Congress’s right to dictate what kind of light bulb Americans buy because:

“We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."

There are many things that cost more up front and “pay for themselves” in terms of longer life or lower operating costs. Think of insulation which costs a bundle but lowers utility bills, or electric cars that costs $10,000 more but save on gas. So far, we have allowed the people themselves to decide: More money now, but less later? Or: Less money now and more later? That is my or your decision.

The choice of light bulb is a classic problem of economic choice over time. Consumers, who place a high value on money now, do not buy insulation, electric cars, or fluorescent lights. We have different time preferences. People who pass on insulation, electric cars and fluorescent light bulbs are by no means wasting their money. They are making choices that are perfectly rational for them.

This basic point of economics escapes Nobel laureate Chu.

Which light bulb is better for you is not an easy calculation. The compact fluorescent costs about six times more and contains hazardous mercury, but lasts six times longer and saves energy. There are also matters of taste and aesthetics. Some will find the new light bulb shape ugly. Others will not like the light it emits, but there will no longer be any choice. Just like we lost Freon in 1995, we will lose Edison’s light bulb in 2012.

Chu says the state should make the choice of light bulbs for you, but why should he stop there? Why not insulation or which car to buy?

Welcome to the Nanny state.


Green Projects Are Hogging Resources

The environmental left has been relentless with their efforts to shape public policy and opinion in favor of renewable energy sources while waging all out war on the oil, natural gas, and coal industries. Over the last several decades, the radical left has convinced politicians as well as the voters to support vast amounts of taxpayer funded research, direct subsidies of green technology, and more recently mandated use of green energy sources.

But green projects, proposesd in the name of conserving resources, are really resources hogs.

It seems that whenever the smart guys in government implement policies to save us from ourselves and make the world a better place, we get stuck with the bill as well as a whole new set of problems that they created. As time passes, the body of evidence continues to mount that much of the radical left's claims were overstated, half-truths, and in some cases outright lies.

Just in the last few days, we came across the following four reports that show yet again that all the homage paid to the green gods has not resulted in the benefits promised, and often creates a whole new set of problems.

Outsourcing Carbon Emissions

The global warming alarmists have long promoted government policies designed to reduce a given nation's total greenhouse gas emissions. That was an objective of the Kyoto Accord, and indeed, considerable hoopla surrounded a claim that since 1990 developed nations had reduced emissions by 2 percent. But, as is often the case, there is more to the story.

H. Sterling Burnett of the Heartland Institute reports on the findings of a study conducted by the Centre for International Climate and environmental Research in Oslo, Norway that "emissions from increased production of internationally traded products have more than offset the emissions reductions achieved under Kyoto Protocol."

As developed nations began manufacturing less and importing more of the goods they consumed they were effectively outsourcing emissions to foreign countries; typically nations with environmental standards below the participants in Kyoto. China alone accounts for 75 percent of the world's outsourced emissions and 75 percent of the growth in global emissions during the past decade. With an export-based economy, China produces far more emissions that any other nation.

When the emissions from the manufacture and transport of imported goods are figured into the equation, the study found that total global emissions from the developed nations actually increased as much as 12 percent since 1990, rather than the 2 percent decline often cited. "This shows the difficulty in reducing emissions overall," according to Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "It's like squeezing a balloon – squeeze on one end, and the other end blows up."

Economic Benefits Outweigh Environmental Impacts of Shale Drilling

The radical environmentalist's favorite new target is the technology called hydraulic fracturing (fracing) that has been around since the 1940s and used on millions of oil and gas wells to unlock trapped energy reserves. Radical leftists claim fracing could pose grave environmental risks, particularly to water. However, several exhaustive studies by the EPA determined that the fracing poses "little or no threat to (underground drinking water)." Further, the EPA could find "no confirmed cases" of water well contamination or underground movement of the fracing fluid. None of that has stopped the lefties who aren't about to let the facts get in their way. Their objective is to shut down the whole fossil fuel industry.

As with virtually any human activity, there is some degree of environmental surface impact and the occasional accident does happen when wells are drilled. Three researchers at the Manhattan Institute in New York decided to analyze the real amount of risk compared to the backend reward for increased domestic production.

The scientists studied the Marcellus shale region in Pennsylvania where fracing has been used extensively for over 60 years. They found that the "typical Marcellus shale well generates about $4 million in economic benefits while generating only $14,000 in economic damages from environmental impacts." That is a ratio of 1:285. Almost anybody would jump at the opportunity for that kind of return on investment. But, then, the anti-oil and gas crowd is also the anti-free market capitalism crowd. They pretty much just dislike everything that makes sense for America.

Renewable Energy Sources Require Vast Amounts of Natural Resources

What's wrong with this picture? Green energy was supposed to purify us of our decadent ways and make us more responsible stewards of our natural resources.

For sure, the two most obvious renewable energy resources available are wind and sunlight, and they are free and continuously replenished. But, the conversion of them into large amounts of energy requires vast amounts of natural resources, most notably land.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute analyzed ramifications of California's highly ambitious mandate that will require one-third of all the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Bryce put a pencil to the challenge.

One third of California's electricity is about 17,000 megawatts. Bryce supposed that California's mandate might be split evenly between solar and wind. That's a bunch. Already under construction in the Mojave Desert is the $2 billion Ivanpah solar plant. It will cover 3,600 acres of land; about 5 ½ square miles. When complete it will provide just 370 megawatts. To meet just half of the mandated requirement of the new legislation – 8500 megawatts – 23 Ivanpahs would have to be built covering 129 square miles, about five times the size of Manhattan.

The enormous land requirements for a renewable energy facility create additional environmental concerns. For example, in April, the Bureau of Land Management ordered a halt to construction at Ivanpah out of concern for the desert tortoise, which is protected by the Endangered Species Act.

If the other half of energy required by California's renewable mandate comes from wind generation, the land requirements are even greater. The Roscoe wind farm in Texas covers 154 square miles and has a capacity of 781.5 megawatts. At that rate, California would need 1,675 square miles covered with wind turbines. That's considerably bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island.

In addition to California, 28 other states (including my Colorado) have adopted mandated requirements for renewable energy sources. "In the rush to do something – anything - to deal with the intractable problem of greenhouse gas emissions, environmental groups and policy makers have determined that renewable energy is the answer," Bryce says. But, he adds, in doing so they have "thrown in the ditch" was the deeply held essence of environmental protection advanced by the economist E. F. Schumacher; "Small is beautiful."

To be true to the stated objective of reducing greenhouse gases and true environmental stewardship, Bryce says policy makers and activists "must exploit low-carbon energy sources" – natural gas and nuclear power. "They have small footprints," he concludes.

Biofuels Responsible for Surge in Food Prices

Food prices are escalating in the U.S. and that's a problem, particularly for the increasing number of families that are cash strapped. However, globally the price escalation of basic commodities has international agencies like the United Nations warning of a food crisis. Analysts are trying to figure out what is behind the rapid surge in prices.

According to Timothy Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University, supply isn't the problem. In the July 2011 issue of Scientific American, Searchinger says the spike in prices is almost totally due to demand created by government mandated use of biofuels.

Since 2004 biofuels from crops have almost doubled the rate of growth in global demand for grain and sugar and pushed up the yearly growth in demand for vegetable oil by around 40 percent. When crops like corn and soybeans utilize more acreage, it restricts acres normally dedicated to other crops driving up those prices, too. In the U.S. about 40% of all corn is used for ethanol production.

"Our primary obligation is to feed the hungry. Biofuels are undermining our ability to do so," Searchinger determined. "Governments can stop the recurring pattern of food crises by backing off their demands for ever more biofuels."

We've dedicated numerous columns to the problems and myths surrounding the false promises and unintended consequences of chasing the renewable energy gods and ethanol, in particular. Government mandates have artificially raised the price of food, farm land, and fuel. When the bubble finally bursts, it won't be the politicians and environmentalists who get burned, it will be the innocent families that got stuck with the bill and farmers left holding the bag when the inflated prices collapse.


Stuck On "Stupid Liberal" Mode


My dad builds custom homes in California and the regulators at all levels routinely give him new, maddening impediments to practicality. The example that I remember most had to do with toilets.

In response to the apparent public outcry about excessive tank capacity, sales of toilets that exceed 1.6 gallons per flush have been banned throughout America. United States Senator Rand Paul recently told a senior bureaucrat at a Senate hearing, “Frankly, my toilets don’t work in my house, and I blame you.”

If you are like Senator Rand and don’t think that it makes sense to have to flush twice to make up for a deliberately insufficient vortex, you can buy a Canadian-made 3.5 gallon toilet on the black market. Can you imagine having that crime on your rap sheet?


The government’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at the Energy Department also thought it would be really swell if Americans would use less electricity to match their new toilets. So, they made some suggestions, through nationwide mandates, that we replace our bright, warm, inexpensive light bulbs with compact fluorescent lighting (CFL).

CFLs don’t lend as much ambience, they are vastly more expensive, and they take a while to warm up before they can perform their singular purpose in our lives. But, they do provide an element of mercury for you to deal with when they burn out or break.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that, if your CFL light bulb breaks, first get all people and pets out of the room, shut down your air conditioner for several hours (another excellent suggestion for saving energy), and thoroughly collect every bit of glass and powder into a sealed container.

The government’s Energy Star program argues that this mandate actually reduces mercury emissions in American households because CFLs demand less electricity from mercury-generating coal plants that poison the fish we eat.


About a year ago, I called the manufacturer of our dishwasher with a performance complaint. The 10-month-old appliance was simply no longer getting the dishes clean. The repair guy approached the situation like the main character on the TV show House.

His assessment was that all three name-brand detergents we had on hand were too low on phosphates to get the job done. It turns out that ours is one of millions of households victimized by the latest regulation - low detergent phosphates. We now dump in twice the normal amount of detergent and set the cycle to “stupid liberal mode” which runs the dishwasher for nearly three hours, using 50% more water and electricity.


It is hard to believe that these busybody bureaucrats are simply trying to improve the environment. Evidence to the contrary includes the results of an investigation by the Government Accountability Office. They received an Energy Star label for their application of a gas-powered clock radio (really).

With a full staff of uniformed gropers at every airport, Obamacare and government controlled thermostats on the horizon -- I mean, if one were to undertake the goal of listing the most personally intrusive acts that a government could commit against its people, I think this list would just about be it.

With their hands in my pants, my physical health, my home, and even my toilet, I have never felt so uncomfortably close to my government.


British power bills to soar by 30% in 'green’ reforms

Household electricity bills will soar by 30 per cent to pay for “green” measures being announced this week by Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, according to experts.

Costly new incentives to encourage energy companies to invest in renewable power sources such as wind farms will put an extra £160 a year on the average household bill over the next 20 years.

The huge rise is on top of drastic increases in bills being faced already by consumers. Last Friday British Gas, which posted profits of £742million last year, announced gas price rises of 18 per cent, which followed Scottish Power saying it would increase rises of 10 to 15 per cent.

Mr Huhne is expected to announce on Tuesday that energy companies, such as Centrica and EDF, will get a fixed price for electricity generated from nuclear power and wind farms, which will be higher than the market price.

The financial incentives will be funded by consumers, who will see their electricity bills rise by 30 per cent over the next 20 years from an average of £493 per year to £655 per year.

Experts predicted that single pensioners will be the hardest hit by the changes, because power bills represent a higher proportion of their income than for any other group.

The price-rise calculation does not include the effect of power companies’ recent charging announcements which have seen electricity bills soar to their highest ever levels for millions of customers.

Dr Michael Pollitt and Laura Platchkov, experts from the University of Cambridge and the Energy Policy Research Group, said in a report: “A 47pc increase in electricity unit costs, envisaged under the electricity market reform, would send UK electricity prices towards being the highest in the European Union.”

Their research for the Consumers’ Association concluded that the worst hit sector of society will be single pensioners.

The costly package due to be outlined in full this week is designed to reassure generation companies that Britain is an attractive place to build nuclear power stations and wind farms.

Mr Huhne admitted in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph last year that there was no money available for direct state subsidies for a new generation of nuclear plants, so this week’s announcement sets out how consumers will shoulder the cost of incentives directly.

The changes to be outlined by Mr Huhne this week will hand billions of pounds in subsidies to the energy companies and kick-start a construction programme creating thousands of jobs.

But combined with further green taxes, such as the European emissions trading scheme, and upgrades to Britain’s national grid the measures could see Britain’s gas and electricity bills rise by 50 per cent - or £500 per average household bill - according to Ofgem, the energy regulator.

It is understood the Government will not set the exact level of the subsidies on Tuesday. But it will confirm the mechanism is likely to be a “contract for difference” model which effectively imposes a surcharge on bills to make market prices attractive for new investment in wind and nuclear power.

But opponents claim wind farms are blighting the countryside while failing to deliver a reliable supply of electricity.

It is also understood that Mr Huhne’s long-awaited announcement on energy policy will delay a separate subsidy for power station owners, known as capacity payments, while there is further consultation.

It is understood there have been disagreements in government over whether the incentive should be given to all technologies, including coal and gas, or just low-carbon ones like nuclear and wind farms.

The Government last night insisted that leaving the electricity system as it is would be more costly in the long run. It believes switching to nuclear and wind makes sense because European Union-led taxes on gas and coal power generation will increase the costs of fossil fuel generation.



Just announced in Australia. It's just a particularly destructive class-war tax with millions of above-average earners hit. That's a lot of votes to risk. And every price-rise henceforth will now be blamed on it! There will be opportunistic price-rises everywhere. Epic fail!

Five current articles below

Hardest hit by carbon tax is Australia's largest city

As Julia Gillard begins her campaign across western Sydney this morning to sell her plans for the new emissions trading scheme, the Prime Minister has told Australians petrol and agriculture will never be included in the cost of carbon tax.

"The only plan to add an additional piece to who pays for carbon pollution is to bring the heavy vehicles into the scheme," Ms Gillard said on Sunrise today. "There will be no carbon tax on petrol or agriculture ever."

Struggling Sydney families will bear the brunt of the tax, which will increase electricity bills by 10 per cent, gas by 9 per cent and the cost of food and groceries by almost $1 a week.

The government will embark on a $15 billion spending spree today to compensate low-income earners but almost 2 million households will still be out of pocket. "We are asking those families to do their bit to combat climate change," the Prime Minister said.

"Overwhelmingly Australians believe in climate change...and overwhelmingly they want the government to act. "Putting a price on carbon is the cheapest way of cutting pollution and that's why we have designed the scheme the way we have."

Despite the increases, families have been promised they will "forever" be safe from paying more for petrol because of the new tax.

Eight million Australian households will receive cash assistance under a carbon tax - but middle-income Sydney families will bear the burden. Ms Gillard admitted yesterday about 700,000 households would receive no compensation or tax cuts to cover an average $10-a-week rise in the cost of living.

It came as the Prime Minister announced an ambitious new target to reduce Australia's carbon emissions to 80 per cent below 2000 levels by 2050.

The major reform to the marginal tax rates will be to cover an estimated 10 per cent price rise in electricity bills, a 9 per cent rise in gas, and food and grocery rises of less than $1 a week as a result of a $23 charge for every tonne of carbon produced by the country's top 500 polluters. Airfares will also rise, with the aviation fuel excise to be increased.

The overall compensation package will end up costing more than the revenue from the tax for the first four years.

There are clear winners. Amid a complex arrangement of changes to the tax and family payment systems, a new clean energy supplement will provide pensioners with a 1.7 per cent rise, or $338 a year extra.

And $1.5 billion in payments will be made before the tax even kicks in on July 1 next year. Families who qualify for Family Tax Benefit Part A will receive an extra $110 per child. About 280,000 self-funded retirees who are Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card holders will get the same amount of help as age pensioners.

The tax changes will come by tripling the tax-free threshold from $6000 a year to $18,200 a year [Itself a long overdue reform], which will mean almost four million low-income earners come out in front with the addition of a 20 per cent buffer payment over and above the tax rises.

But the sting comes for almost two million households which will end up out of pocket, being only partially compensated for a 0.7 per cent increase in the cost of living - or receiving no assistance at all.

The compensation package will leave a double-income family in Sydney with two children earning $120,000 of combined income $400 a year out of pocket after tax cuts due to cost of living rises of about $700 a year.

Dual-income $150,000 families with two kids will be $506 worse off under a carbon regime. A single-income family on $65,000 a year with a child under five will also end up worse off.

"We have made choices based on who needs assistance the most. Tax cuts and assistance have been pitched at families earning less than $150,000," Ms Gillard said. "What that means is there is no money tree ... there is no endeavour to try and pretend that everybody will be better off or everybody is in the same position.

"There are some Australians who are not getting tax cuts and family assistance sufficient to compensate them for the likely impact of carbon pricing on them. "We have structured it deliberately so we are assisting lower-income families and middle-income families ... putting assistance where it is needed the most."

The carbon tax will begin at $23 a tonne from July 1, rising to around $25 a tonne by 2015 when the tax converts to an emissions trading scheme (ETS). The government admitted the price could hit $50 a tonne under an ETS, depending on world prices.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the environmental benefit would see more than 50 million tonnes of carbon cut by 2020 - the equivalent of taking 45 million cars off the road.

To achieve its long-term goals, the government will have to buy 100 tonnes of carbon abatements from Europe to meet its targets.

About 500 businesses will be forced to pay for their pollution, from which more than half of the revenue raised will be spent helping Australian households.

The government said it would also negotiate the closure of some of Australia's worst polluting electricity generators before 2020 and replace them with cleaner energy.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said millions of Australians would be worse off under the tax: "You have to ask yourself, what is the point of all of this? It will drive up prices, threaten jobs and do nothing for the environment."


Carbon tax: Heat rises as voters reject Julia Gillard's plan

Online polls are not very reliable but it's a straw in the wind -- JR

ANGRY Australians have vowed to vote Julia Gillard from office at the next election after yesterday's controversial carbon tax announcement.

Scores of voters rejected the plan soon after details of the $24.5 billion package to tackle climate change were revealed, with more than 80 per cent who voted in a national News Limited online poll saying Australia shouldn't have a carbon tax.

Almost 100,000 people voted across four polls in the national plebiscite by 5pm yesterday, with 87.1 per cent saying they planned to change their vote at the next election in light of the tax.

More than 70 per cent of voters, or 15,866 people, said they now planned to vote for the Coalition at the next election while just 8.51 per cent said they would support a Labor government. Just 13 per cent of voters said they wouldn't change their vote at the next election.

Despite government claims that 90 per cent of Australians would receive compensation, and that 40 per cent of households would be overcompensated, voters said Julia Gillard had signed her fate at the polls. "They're calling it 'Carbon Sunday' but I like to refer to today as 'Suicide Sunday' for a PM and three independents," one reader wrote.

"I cannot wait until the next election. The Labor Party the Greens and the Independants will answer to the Australian people for what they are inflicting upon us. Revenge is a dish best served cold," wrote another.

Eighty per cent of voters described the tax as "disgraceful" while others said it was "inadequate". Just eight per cent of voters said they were confident it wouldn't affect their hip pocket.

An anti-carbon tax group said its website crashed after being overwhelmed with people trying to sign up to a campaign rejecting the tax. The organisers of the site,, said the site crashed because of the "sheer numbers of people signing up."


Tony Abbott slams 'veiled socialism'

TONY Abbott has accused Julia Gillard of using her carbon tax plan as a cover for a redistribution of wealth, savaging the new policy as "socialism masquerading as environmentalism".

The Opposition Leader also insisted the package would cost jobs, demanding the Prime Minister visit factory floors and mines to face workers whose jobs he said she had put at risk.

"We're against this," Mr Abbott said. "This is a bad tax. It can't be fixed. It has to be fought."

In the four months since Ms Gillard announced her plan to price carbon, Mr Abbott has travelled the nation, visiting factories, petrol stations and shops to warn of the tax's impacts on the cost of living and its risk to jobs.

The government yesterday produced Treasury modelling pointing only to "modest" impacts and Ms Gillard prepared a national tour to promote her plans. Mr Abbott said he stood by his previous statements and planned to intensify his own campaign.

"I am extremely confident in the statements that I have been making over the last four months," Mr Abbott said. "This is a bad tax based on a lie."

Mr Abbott said Ms Gillard's announcement of the tax was laced with "pollie speak" used to hide the fact it would drive up consumer prices and threaten jobs, with little effect on the environment.

Noting that "no other country on the face of the earth" had an economy-wide carbon tax, Mr Abbott said 10 per cent of households would get no compensation, while 60 per cent would be worse off or "line ball". "This is a redistribution pretending to be compensation, it's a tax increase pretending to be an environmental policy," he said. "It's socialism masquerading as environmentalism."

Mr Abbott's challenge in opposing the tax, to be implemented from July 1 next year, will be its link to tax reform through the lifting of tax-free thresholds.

Asked whether he would be prepared to dismantle such changes, Mr Abbott repeated earlier assurances that the Coalition would take a tax cuts package to the next election, due in 2013.

He refused to outline his plans but vowed they would be made public "well before" the next election and the Coalition would offer "tax cuts without a carbon tax".

Mr Abbott said he was also worried the government proposed to spend $3 billion buying carbon abatement from overseas, where, he said, carbon schemes were often rorted.

And he said that when asked about job losses yesterday, Ms Gillard had "dodged the question". "I think that's because she knows the answers are bad answers," he said.

"I really hope the Prime Minister will go to motor manufacturing plants, to steel plants, to coalmines, to aluminium works, to cement factories because these are the places where jobs will be in jeopardy as a result of this," he said.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said the tax would lead to the creation of six new bureaucracies and 22 individual programs.


You are paying a high price for a government con

Andrew Bolt

JULIA Gillard's carbon dioxide tax is the most brazen fraud to be perpetrated by an Australian government. Warming believers should be outraged that the tax is so useless. Sceptics should be outraged it's so pointless.

It offends the intelligence of everyone and threatens the jobs of thousands. For nothing.

The Prime Minister yesterday claimed "the science is in" and man's gases were heating the planet dangerously. But not even Gillard dares to claim the tax she's finally unveiled will stop any of that warming, or change the climate in any way. Never has she said by what amount her tax would change the temperature - because it won't. It can't.

Even the Greens' deputy leader, Christine Milne, admits this $23-a-tonne price on carbon dioxide emissions "will not be high enough to drive the transition to renewable (energy)".

No wonder. From sheer gutlessness, the Government has exempted many of the worst "polluters". There's no tax on petrol, no tax on farmers and their gassy animals, and huge handouts to keep some of our coal mines, smelters and power stations going.

And, of course, the tax is just half what global warming adviser Professor Ross Garnaut said was needed, and less than a third of what the Greens wanted. So what's the point of it?

If you really think man's emissions are heating the world catastrophically, you should be outraged - unless you're hoping the sneaky Government is just softening us up for the full whammy, after the election. But even then our sacrifice would achieve nothing, because there is no way anything Australia does can change the climate.

Yesterday Professor Richard Lindzen, arguably the world's finest climate scientist and dubbed "credible" even by professional alarmist Tim Flannery, scoffed at Gillard's tax.

"There's no disagreement in the scientific community that this will have no impact on climate," said Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "It would be nothing for practical purposes and it would be nothing if the whole world did the same."

Of course, the rest of the world is not doing the same. Not a single other nation has a national carbon dioxide tax, so either we're smarter than every other country ... or Gillard is dumber than every other leader. You choose.

Oh, and Prof Lindzen also added that since 1995 there had been no global warming that could be distinguished from natural variability. The theory man's gases are heating the world dangerously is falling to bits.

The idea a whole economy is being deliberately slowed down for an utterly useless gesture seems so unimaginable, a folly perhaps, explains why few analysts even dare to ask if this tax will do a single thing for the planet.


Jobs in coalfields threatened by carbon tax

DESPITE all the rhetoric about saving the barrier reef and protecting the environment for our heirs, the future for at least 500 coalminers in the NSW Hunter Valley may look bleaker now than it did before Julia Gillard announced her carbon tax.

At the Drayton mine near picturesque Muswellbrook, plans are in place to move all staff and equipment to a new project, Drayton South, when the existing mine closes in 2015.

But predictions by the mine's owner, global giant Anglo American, that a carbon tax would cut Drayton South's value in half have thrown the project into doubt.

General manager of the Drayton mine, Clarence Robertson, said he feared for his employees' jobs as well as his own. "We are planning to invest $500 million in Drayton South, and the value of that project will be halved if this carbon tax goes through," he said. "The project would employ 500 people, so all those jobs are at risk."

Mr Robertson said the biggest obstacle was "fugitive emissions", which Anglo American claimed would account for 75 per cent of the revenues raised from the coal industry under the carbon tax, or $13 billion over the next nine years. Fugitive emissions are leaks from pressurised industrial equipment while mining.

"We've got no way at the moment to capture and reduce emissions from open-cut mining," Mr Robertson said. "So if the tax comes in it's really just going to be a cost to us, and we can't do anything to curb that." Mr Robertson said Anglo American expected to pay more than $2 billion in carbon tax in the coming decade.

One of Mr Robertson's employees, dragline supervisor Rod Vaughan, fears the effect of losing mining investment on the local community -- even if households receive compensation for the rising cost of living associated with the carbon tax. "It would definitely have a huge impact on my family and on a lot of families in the district," he said. "We all rely on mining, even the guys that aren't directly working in the mines." Half of Mr Vaughan's friends worked in the mines, he said.

Mr Robertson fears the tax will hurt Australia's competitiveness. "If you look at companies in Mozambique, Indonesia and Colombia, we are not going to be competitive with them if this carbon tax comes in," he said.

Federal MP for the Hunter region, Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon, argues the coal industry's own modelling shows it will continue to grow and Drayton South has yet to receive planning approval.

"Given current and projected high coal prices and the strength of the investment pipeline, there can be no doubt there will be plenty of work for Hunter miners after the planned closure of Drayton, with or without Drayton South," he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon claims the majority of his constituents want action on climate change and that the proposed level of assistance to the mining industry is sufficient.

Asked about his concerns on climate change, Mr Robertson replied: "do we need to do better? Sure. But to just say we've got to pay this tax that nobody else has got to pay is not going to work."



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


10 July, 2011

Does The Sea Surface Temperature Record Support The Hypothesis Of Anthropogenic Global Warming?

This post is an expansion on my earlier post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies – East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World. In that post, I broke the satellite-era Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly data for the global oceans into two subsets. The volcano-adjusted East Pacific SST anomaly data (90S-90N, 180-80W) shows no rise for the past 30 years and the SST anomalies for the Rest-Of-The-World (90S-90N, 80W-180) rose in two easily discernable steps. I used period average SST anomalies to highlight the steps.

This post is also similar in content to the post How Can Things So Obvious Be Overlooked By The Climate Science Community? But in this one, I provided a better way to divide the decade-plus periods that run from the end of the 1986/87/88 El Niño to the beginning of the 1997/98 El Niño and from end of the 1997/98 El Nino to the beginning of the 2009/10 El Niño. This allows for a more consistent way to illustrate the actual Rest-Of-The-World SST anomaly trends between those significant ENSO events.


The satellite-era Sea Surface Temperature record indicates they rose only in response to significant El Niño events. In other words, the Sea Surface Temperature data contradicts the IPCC hypothesis that most of the rise is caused by an increase in Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gases.

The fact that the satellite-era SST anomalies do not support AGW is very easy to illustrate with two graphs, Figure 1. They show the satellite-based sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies for two subsets of the global oceans, using Reynolds OI.v2 SST data that runs from November 1981 (the start of that dataset) to the current month of May 2011. The graph on the left illustrates the volcano-adjusted Sea Surface Temperature for the eastern Pacific from pole to pole (90S-90N, 180-80W). That area represents about 33% of the global ocean surface area. There are major variations from year to year caused by El Niño and La Niña events, but the linear trend is basically flat at +0.003 deg C per decade.

In other words, there has been no rise in the volcano-adjusted Sea Surface Temperatures for that portion of the global oceans in almost 30 years. The graph on the right illustrates the volcano-adjusted SST anomalies for the rest of the world from pole to pole (90S-90N, 80E-180). The SST anomalies for this portion of the globe show two distinct upward steps with periods of relatively little (if any) rise between those steps.

The upward steps are highlighted by the average SST anomalies for the periods between the upward shifts caused by El Niño-Southern Oscillation events. There is an upward step in 1987 that occurs in response to the 1986/87/88 El Niño, and there is an upward step in 1997, which is a response to the 1997/98 El Niño. Note how the Rest-Of-The-World SST data appears to be in the process of another upward step in response to the 2009/10 El Niño.

Fig. 1

Much more HERE

Light Bulb Ban Legislation May Hit House Floor Next Week, Shows Why Gov’t Barely Works

William Teach

Looks like the GOP is going to attempt to make it so that those evil incandescent light bulbs won't be banned starting in 2012
House Republicans plan to bring to the floor next week legislation that would water down a provision in a 2007 energy law that requires light bulbs to be more energy efficient.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has been working behind the scenes for weeks with other Republicans on the panel on compromise legislation to reel in the light bulb efficiency law. The lawmakers used a bill introduced by Rep. Joe Barton as a baseline, but the details of the final agreement were not immediately clear Wednesday night.

“Chairman Upton announced in June that he was working closely with members of his committee on a legislative solution,” committee spokeswoman Charlotte Baker told The Hill in a statement. “He plans to bring a bill to the House floor next week.”

This legislation would repeal the provisions that did away with the use of incandescent bulbs, allowing consumers to have freedom of choice in which bulb to purchase. Obviously, Liberals are against choice
A coalition of environmental and energy efficiency groups are mounting a campaign to defend the light bulb efficiency law.

The groups are running advertisements in Capitol Hill newspapers that say, “Phasing in energy efficient light bulbs means more choices and more savings and that’s good for families, the country and the environment.”

Huh what? Making it against the law to manufacture and sell incandescent light bulbs in the United States creates more choice? Apparently, the groups have been snorting something that is also banned.

But, this does show Why Government Doesn't Work. This is easy and simple legislation. You do away with the provisions that banned incandescent bulbs. Simple. Yet, this is taking weeks of working behind the scenes? Perhaps Upton, who pushed the bulb ban law in the first place, was going around and groveling to his colleagues.


Pressure grows for British green tax to be axed to ease burden of soaring fuel bills

Ministers were under pressure last night to ease the burden of hidden green charges on soaring fuel bills.

According to energy regulator Ofgem, the UK’s climate change policies add £100 – or nearly 10 per cent – to a typical household fuel bill.

Consumer groups and MPs say all energy suppliers should be forced to reveal on bills how much hard-pressed families are forced to pay to subsidise green energy and end Britain’s dependence on dirty coal, oil and gas.

Benny Peiser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, called for hidden climate change levies to be slashed. He said: ‘If Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has his way, Britons will be forced to subsidise renewable energy by approximately £100billion in the next 20 years.

‘Electricity prices are likely to double as a direct result. Enough is enough.

‘The Government has to force energy companies to make electricity bills fully transparent so that the ever-increasing level of hidden green taxes are clearly listed for families and households

‘The Government should now consider a complete moratorium on green energy legislation that threatens to impose huge additional costs on all those who are already facing spiralling power bills.’

Last month, former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson warned that the Coalition’s obsession with climate change was damaging Britain’s recovery from recession.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Lord Lawson said: ‘The Government’s highly damaging decarbonisation policy, enshrined in the absurd Climate Change Act, does not have a leg to stand on. It is intended, at massive cost, to be symbolic: To make good David Cameron’s ambition to make his administration “the greenest government ever”.’

His comments came after former Civil Service chief Lord Turnbull accused ministers and officials of pandering to global warming ‘alarmists’ and piling huge, unnecessary costs on ordinary families.

Under the Climate Change Act, the Government is legally bound to cut Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and by 50 per cent by 2025. Ministers want the UK to meet the targets by building 10,000 wind turbines in the next decade.

They also want power companies to install £7billion worth of smart meters in homes to reduce demand, and to create a new generation of nuclear power plants. Most of the cost for the ‘decarbonisation’ is being passed on to consumers through their fuel bills.

None of the hidden climate change charges on bills is a conventional tax paid to the Treasury directly. Instead, they are additional costs passed on by power companies.

They include the Renewable Obligation – a scheme that forces power suppliers to buy a proportion of their power from renewable sources such as wind.

Bills are pushed up further by the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target – which forces energy suppliers to subsidise home insulation and new boilers – and by Feed In Tariffs, which encourage homes to install wind turbines and solar panels by guaranteeing a fixed, high price for electricity they sell to the National Grid.

Consumers also pay more for electricity under the European Emissions Trading Scheme, which forces energy companies and industries to pay for the right to burn fossil fuels.

Climate change levies are expected to be reviewed next week in the Government’s energy White Paper. Labour MP Graham Stringer called for greater transparency. ‘Many of the climate levies on our bills are regressive taxes,’ he said. ‘They are not reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

‘The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is a scam – it just transfers emissions from Britain to China and India where they don’t have to follow the same pollution laws. ‘We are not stopping CO2 and then we have to transport the goods here, emitting even more carbon dioxide. ‘These policies have to be re-examined. And we have to work out why we are the only country in the world that has a legal obligation to cut CO2 by 80 per cent of its 1990 target. We are putting ourselves at a huge disadvantage.’

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: ‘These levies are about developing new energy sources in the UK so we’re not hostage to the price of imported gas. ‘Put simply, scrapping them would be shooting ourselves in the foot and short-sighted in the extreme.’


The House Must Stop the EPA

With unemployment unacceptably high and a new onslaught of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations about to crash into a stumbling economy, now is the time for the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives to end the EPA’s regulatory madness.

In the face of our daunting economic challenges the EPA is advancing new rules under the Clean Air Act that will dramatically increase the compliance costs for coal burning utilities.

The costs of the EPA’s actions against industry and the economy are real. In anticipation of the EPA’s new requirements, American Electric Power (AEP), an Ohio based utility, announced in June it was closing five power plants and will be scaling back operations at six additional facilities. AEP estimated that its actions will cost about 600 jobs that generated approximately $40 million in annual wages.

Naturally, AEP will pass on the additional compliance costs to its consumers, who will bear the brunt of EPA’s burden through higher electricity prices.

AEP had already made great strides in reducing its environmental impact. According to the company, the $7.2 billion it spent since 1990 to reduce emissions from its coal fired power plants cut the annual release of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide by 80 and 73 percent, respectively.

Keep in mind the impact outlined above is only for one utility. The total cost for our nation’s utilities will obviously be far greater.

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) recently estimated that two new EPA rules would cost utilities $18 billion per year and lead to job losses of an estimated 1.44 million job-years by 2020 and boost the average electricity bills by 11.5 percent and about 24 percent in certain areas of the U.S.

Importantly, it’s not just conservatives or industries that are challenging the EPA. Even nanny state New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now challenging the EPA over the agency’s water regulations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Bloomberg administration sent a 15 page letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson detailing the tremendous regulatory burden the agency is putting on New York City.

The Journal reports the letter states the EPA is forcing the city to implement federal mandates that is “unnecessarily driving up” water costs, resulting in a 134% increase in water rates since Bloomberg became mayor in 2002.

The story highlights a regulatory requirement to cover a reservoir in Yonkers, New York that will cost $1.6 billion, of which the commissioner of the city's Department of Environmental Protection said the public health benefit would “essentially be nil.”


Telling Climate Hysterics The Truth Is Like Salting Slugs: Necessary, But Fun

William Teach

James Delingpole reminds the Warmists of a simple fact: there has been no statistical warming since 1998: There has been no global warming since 1998
The headline of this post really shouldn’t be controversial. It chimes perfectly with what Kevin “null hypothesis” Trenberth wrote in that notorious 2009 Climategate email to Michael Mann:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

And it’s what Phil Jones admitted in a BBC interview when he said that there had been no “statistically significant” warming since 1995.

Liberals really hate when their own words are used in context.
Why then am I mentioning it now? W-e-l-l, because just as ze war is to the Germans, Chappaquiddick is to the Kennedy family and that Portland masseuse incident to Al Gore, so the recent lack of warming is to the, er, Warmists. They hate it. It’s an affront to everything they believe in. Damn it, if the world isn’t warming with the alacrity they’d prefer, how are they going to keep the funding gravy train going, and how are they going to persuade an increasingly sceptical populace that the “science” is “settled”, the debate over and the time for action is now? That’s why they can’t reminded of the truth often enough. It’s like salting the slugs that are ruining your garden: necessary, but also kind of fun too.

Heh, heh. Slugs. Of course, slugs can't be indoctrinated. Which is why, since the notion of anthropogenic global warming is dying out, the leaders of the cult come up with other ways to push for more gravy. They usually do this after long fossil fueled flights on private jets, followed by rides in limos to conferences which use massive amounts of electricity, and include lots of great food. They've tried changing the name to climate crisis, climate change, abrupt climate change, and are trying a resurgence of climate crisis again. Over the past few years, they've tried out biodiversity and food security. They've invented a myth in which greenhouse gases make it cold and snowy. Everything that happens in the natural world is no longer part of nature (and Darwin's theory of evolution? Right out the window), but caused by Mankind.

Then there is this one, which is what Delingpole was leading up to
No global warming since 1998? Simple. All you’ve got to do – as Kaufmann et al have done – is apply the Even Though We’re Wrong We’re Right Panacea Get-Out Formula. In this instance the ETWWWRPGOF (as it’s snappily known) involves Blaming The Chinese. Yep, it turns out all that pollution that Chinese are pumping into the air thanks to their unhealthy obsession with economic growth and giving better lives to their children is actually counteracting the effects of Man Made Global Warming.

I mentioned that story Tuesday morning. It is just another overwrought and hysterical attempt to keep the cult going. As Michael R. Fox, PHD points out
Since the proponents of global warming are being caught without providing supporting evidence, the theory of man-made global warming is being destroyed before our very eyes. With no hardnosed physical evidence, measurable, observable, replicable evidence, the fiction has been sustained by non-science methods. These include appeals to authority, existence of an elitist scientific consensus, computer models none of which produce physical evidence.


Global cooling! Australia has just experienced the coldest Autumn since at least 1950

And it's the BOM that says so

Australia has experienced its coldest autumn since at least 1950 for mean temperatures (average of maximum and minimum temperatures across the nation) with an Australian average of 20.9ºC. This was 1.15ºC below the historical average and 0.2ºC below the previous coolest autumn in 1960. It was also the coldest autumn since at least 1950 for Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Large parts of the country recorded temperatures more than 2ºC below the autumn average (figure 1) with about half the country ranking in the coldest 10% of years (figure 2).

The season was marked by consistent below-normal temperatures in most areas, with only a few individual areas recording their coldest autumn on record. These areas were in northern and central Australia including the east Kimberley, the central Northern Territory and small parts of northern Queensland.

The cool conditions experienced in autumn 2011 are largely a result of the strong 2010/11 La Niña event which brought heavy rainfall and cool daytime temperatures to Australia, before decaying in late autumn.

Of particular significance was March 2011 – Australia’s coldest and wettest March on record for maximum temperatures and third wettest month on record (for any calendar month).

Historically La Niña events result in above average rainfall and cooler than average daytime temperatures over large parts of Australia with the historically cold autumns of 1917, 1949, 1955, 2000 and 2011 all occurring at the end of, or during, a La Niña event.



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


9 July, 2011


Warmists prophesied that snow would steadily fade away

32 Inches Of Snow Falls In Driest Place On Earth!

One of the driest spots on earth has experienced its heaviest snowfall in almost two decades, according to the Chilean Directorate of Meteorology (DMC).

A cold front brought up to 80 centimetres (31.5 inches) of snow to the Atacama desert region of South America forcing emergency services to close local roads and rescue dozens of motorists from their vehicles. The temperature in the Chilean capital, Santiago, dropped below minus 8c on Wednesday. Neighbouring Argentina and Uruguay are also experiencing subzero temperatures.

Located in the north of Chile, the Atacama Desert records less than 50mm of rain on average each year. Some weather stations in the region record only 1-3mm of rain each year. The desert is, according to NASA, National Geographic and many other publications, the driest desert in the world, due to the rain shadow on the leeward side of the Chilean Coast Range, as well as a coastal inversion layer created by the cold offshore Humboldt Current.

According to the website, the current wintry conditions are unusual in the region: "In winter (June, July and August) the average daytime temperature is 22°C (72°F) and by night 4°C (39°F), descending to -2°C (28°F) in extreme cases. During summer (January, February and March) the temperature fluctuates between 27°C (81°F) and a minimum of 16°C (61°F) at night, reaching maximums of 32°C (90°F)".


Snow: Typical "L.A. Slimes" wisdom on display
"And we do know that Montana’s flooding was caused by record rainfall and by runoff from heavy snowfall. Though climate deniers (some of them funded by Exxon) love to point to freak snowstorms as “proof” that the planet isn’t warming, the opposite is often true: In some places, the warmer the air, the more water vapor accumulates in the atmosphere and the more moisture comes down in the form of rain or snow"

L.A. Times

So it's warming that caused the big snowfall? Big problem: There was no recent warming! In an amazing turn of events, more snow actually fell when it was colder! Who'd a thunk it?

Brilliant research on the part of the LA Times. The entire Pacific Northwest has been far below normal temperatures this year, and the last three months was the coldest April-June in over 50 years.


It's snowing heavily in Southern Australia too

Best Australian snow depth since 1990

As you can see from the pic which is from the Perisher snowcam today there is a lot of snow in the Australian snowfields at the moment.

Perisher Blue snowfields reports this morning that “The Spencer’s Creek snow depth reading is 158.9cm, the best it’s been since 1990 for this time of the season!”. What are the other resorts saying?

Thredbo says “Superb snow conditions from top to bottom. There is a mountain of light, dry snow, even a few little wind-blown stashes to rip into“.

Charlottes Pass says “More than 1 METRE of fresh snow has now fallen across the resort since Monday“.

Falls Creek says; “Incredible conditions at Falls Creek. Falls Creek is a winter wonderland today receiving 72cm snow in 3 days“.

Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Mt Selwyn etc are all likewise experiencing excellent conditions. Tasmania also got a big dump of snow. If you think this is an anomaly then the forecast is as follows;

And there is a lot more snow in store. Froggies snowatch says; “The following week should see a high pressure system bring more stable conditions before a mositure band arrives around the 17th that should bring some intitial showeres before light snowfalls across the 18th-20th. There is a chance this could build into another large snow bearing system (should know more by Monday).

Looking further ahead there are more snow bearing systems to follow this with the great season of 2011 set to continue “.

As most of the farmers along the great divide are saying – we are returning to the climate of the 60s. This is to be expected as scientists tell us we are now in a cold wet pattern as part of a cold PDO for at least another two decades if not longer. Can someone please tell the green corporates in the global warming industry as they are still pushing a warming tax, you know the one to protect us from their belief that snow will be a thing of the past!


Harvest problems in India - the real world vs the alarmist dream world
The Earth will be 2.4 degree Celsius warmer by 2020 if the world continues with the business-as-usual approach to climate change and India would be one of the hardest hit countries witnessing upto 30 per cent reduction in crop yields, a new study has claimed.

The rising temperatures will adversely affect the world’s food production and India would be the hardest hit, according to the analysis by the Universal Ecological Fund (FEU-US), the US subsidiary of FEU founded in Argentina in 1990.

The report titled ‘The Food Gap -- The Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production: A 2020 Perspective’ predicted that crop yield in India, the second largest world producer of rice and wheat, would fall up to 30 per cent by the end of this decade.

While the global warming hoax establishment continues its scaremongering about the huge reductions of India´s crop yields, the situation in the real world of Indian agriculture is somewhat different - and sad (but not in the way the warmists maintain):
In a country where millions go hungry every day and where food prices are breaking the back of the common man, a bumper harvest is rotting in godowns [warehouses]. Headlines Today correspondents across the country found the shocking truth.

Instead of trying to solve the problem, the government plans to increase procurement and has also disallowed exports to meet the projected requirement of grain under the proposed Food Security Act.

Estimates are that foodgrain production including wheat, rice, pulses and coarse cereals will go up to a record 235.88 million tonnes this year compared to the earlier record of 234.47 million tonnes in 2008-09.

Hundreds of tonnes of wheat and rice are rotting in godowns across the nation - the reason being there is simply no space. So, while paddy sacks are dumped inside classrooms in Andhra Pradesh, wheat is left to rot on the roadside in Kurkshetra and sacks can be seen lining up parking lots of residential areas in the fertile wheat belt of Punjab and Haryana.

The current storage capacity is 62.8 million tonnes, which is proving inadequate. India had record rice and wheat stocks of 65.6 million tonnes in its godowns in early June. Officials say the problem will only get worse after the kharif harvest arrives by September-October.

Would it be too much to ask that a miniscule amount of the enormous EU "climate change" aid would be converted to support for building adequate storage facilities for bumper harvests in India!

I am afraid that is wishful thinking. The EU global warming believers live in their own dream world - all messages from the real world are immediately removed from their sight.


Obama Undermines Hope for Energy Independence

Deliberate sabotage of domestic power couldn’t be more successful

In an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” protagonist and “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David is flustered when a homeless man declares he’s hungry and needs money but is picky enough to refuse leftovers. This comedic exchange is reminiscent of the not-so-humorous state of our nation’s economy, weighed down by $14 trillion in public debt while Washington refuses to take advantage of the fossil-fuel “free lunch” under our collective feet.

In May alone, Americans forked over $41 billion to import enough crude oil to meet growing energy demands here, just 37 percent of which was supplied domestically. The payments to close that “energy gap” ended up in the treasuries of foreign governments, many of which are hostile to U.S. interests, unstable politically or both.

In an ideal world, it would make economic sense to acquire fossil fuels from least-cost producers no matter where on the globe they are located. But this is not an ideal world. What makes no sense in such a climate is continuing to rely on unreliable foreign energy suppliers, especially when Congress‘ own research service estimates that the United States has more proven energy reserves—coal, oil and natural gas—than any other nation on the planet.

Rather than exploiting these abundant domestic resources, the Obama administration (1) all but shut down expansion of energy production in the Gulf of Mexico for more than a year, (2) failed to follow through on promises to open areas in Alaska and on the Eastern and Western seaboards for drilling permits and (3) plans to slow and possibly halt development of the nation’s hundred-year supply of natural gas, some of which has been discovered only recently in Pennsylvania and neighboring states.

Such policies have sacrificed billions of dollars in unrealized economic growth, unnecessary job losses and deficits larger than they would be otherwise in our international trade balance.

As a matter of fact, mesmerized by his vision of a “green” economy and apparently unfazed by losses of nearly $100 million in taxes paid to the federal government daily by the domestic oil and gas industry, President Obama wants to punish “Big Oil” even more.

The president and his congressional allies are pushing for $61 billion in new energy taxes, a proposal that if it passes will add to pain at the pump, raise utility bills and increase the cost of doing business nationwide. Such a counterproductive policy may enlarge federal revenue in the short run, but it surely will reduce it in the long run as a larger tax bite lessens the oil and gas industry’s incentives to invest in finding more energy deposits and delivering them to energy consumers.

Unlike the private sector, which lives or dies on the profitability of decisions to bet on new products or new markets, large public “investments” in politically correct projects, such as corn-derived ethanol, add to government spending but offer little or no return to taxpayers, now or in the future.

Although Congress recently and rightly voted to deny taxpayer-financed subsidies to corn farmers, President Obama has proposed regulations requiring automobile producers to double the fuel economies of new cars and trucks two decades hence.

If you are old enough to remember Jimmy Carter’s promise to develop a synthetic replacement for fossil fuels or Bill Clinton’s pledge of a public-private partnership to produce an automobile averaging 100 miles per gallon, you should be skeptical of the current administration’s energy policies.

Politicians score cheap electoral points by promising to reduce the federal debt and promote energy “independence.” Denying access to domestic resources while helping Brazil and other nations develop their own reserves is proof positive of the Obama administration’s anti-American mindset.

Actions speak louder than words.


Environmental Activism

Eco-activists claim they want to save the world, but their methods are manipulative, anti-business, and ultimately anti-democratic.

Despite all the talk about energy independence emanating from Washington DC, this government and its allies in the environmental movement do whatever they can to thwart this goal. Based on reliable discoveries in Utah, Arizona and Colorado there may be enough fossil fuel from shale and natural gas to avoid any reliance on foreign oil. Why then is nothing happening to mine these resources and bring them to market?

The answer very simply is that extremist elements in the environmental movement have supplied sufficient pressure to make any drilling and mining impossible in these areas.

Using an array of tactics to challenge companies and impose their agenda, the environmentalists have been quite successful in hindering and preventing oil drilling and exploration. No doubt groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace want to elect politicians sympathetic to their cause, but they are also adopting guerrilla tactics designed to stop corporations from making contributions to causes they oppose.

The green campaign against Koch Industries illustrates how environmentalists harass privately owned companies that are impervious to social pressure and unwilling to appease their foes. From television to magazine accounts the Koch brothers have been featured as “monsters” without regard for the environment. That these charges have little foundation is of no consequence to environmentalists playing to win.

In the wake of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision permitting unlimited corporate contributions, activists have heightened their efforts to undermine corporate interests. One of the overarching areas targeted for propaganda purpose is environmental matters. Pull the curtain from shareholder proxies and you find a network of environmental advocacy groups promoting their agenda of “alternative” and “renewable” energy.

The goal of environmental activism is clear: attempt to curtail political contributions to candidates who oppose the extremist agenda. Getting companies on their side is the tactic and remarkably when companies feel the heat, they often concede. Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, is a prime example of a business leader who has been converted into an environmental activist. He now makes it appear he is on the side of the angels, even though his position militates against the development necessary to deal with foreign oil dependency.

Immelt, among others, contends that the nation should pursue electric cars and solar panels, innovations that cannot possibly eliminate the need for oil driven cars, home heating oil and other fossil products, despite rhetoric that suggests clean technology will solve our energy woes.

So deeply embedded is this propaganda that it defies the scientific knowledge well known to officials in the Energy Department. When grants are given for the so-called clean energy technologies, opposition voices are often silenced.

Activists realize that if you can get government agencies and corporate leaders on your side using propaganda and intimidation as tactics, an effective alliance for environmental positions can be created.

For those who are scientific realists, this propaganda effort is discouraging. Not only does it place the United States in a disadvantageous economic position, not only does it force our government to expend blood and treasure defending foreign oil fields, but it challenges scientific verities and destroys corporate integrity.


A big scare from a British Liberal

Global warming will threaten Britain's security by triggering wars, food shortages and mass migration, Energy Minister Chris Huhne warned today. Although the UK may escape the worst physical impacts of rising temperatures and sea levels, the UK will still be exposed to 'alarming and shocking' consequences of climate change elsewhere, he said.

The warning comes as Ministers are preparing a White Paper that will usher in a new wave of nuclear power stations and a massive expansion of wind farms to cut Britain's greenhouse gas emissions.

In a speech to the Royal United Services think tank, Mr Huhne warned that climate change was a 'systemic threat' 'With luck, the UK may well escape the worst physical impacts,' he said. 'But in a connected world, we will be exposed to the global consequences. And they are both alarming and shocking.'

Mr Huhne said global warming will undermine food, water and energy security, and affect health and political stability. He added: 'Political solutions will become harder to broker; conflicts more likely. A world where climate change goes unanswered will be more unstable, more unequal, and more violent.

'The knock-on effects will not stop at our borders. Climate change will affect our way of life – and the way we order our society. It threatens to rip out the foundations on which our security rests.'

He warned that the coming decades will bring higher temperatures, rising seas, droughts, heat waves, floods and variable rainfall unless carbon emissions are tackled by 2020.

The changing climate will add to the pressure on farming, which is already expected to face a 70 per cent rise in the demand for food by 2050 because of the rising population. "For developed economies, this will mean higher prices; for agrarian economies in the developing world, it could be catastrophic,' Mr Huhne said.
The world has already seen riots and revolts caused by soaring food prices, he said.

In 2008 the price of cereals hit a 30 year peak, trigging riots in Bangladesh and Egypt. Food inflation contributed to revolutions in North Africa earlier this year.

Climate change will also put pressure on scarce water supplies and have a direct effect on the health of people facing rising temperatures and more frequent, severe heat waves. The 2003 European heat wave caused 35, 000 excess deaths – including 2,000 deaths in Britain.

Etc. etc. ...

More here

PROBLEM: Mr Huhne's climate bill has been dropped anyway. The scare didn't work

Australian children are being terrified by climate change lessons

PRIMARY school children are being terrified by lessons claiming climate change will bring "death, injury and destruction" to the world unless they take action.

On the eve of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's carbon tax package announcement, psychologists and scientists said the lessons were alarmist, created unneeded anxiety among school children and endangered their mental health.

Climate change as a "Doomsday scenario" is being taught in classrooms across Australia. Resource material produced by the Gillard government for primary school teachers and students states climate change will cause "devastating disasters".

Australian National University's Centre for the Public Awareness of Science director Dr Sue Stocklmayer said climate change had been portrayed as "Doomsday scenarios with no way out".

Dr Stocklmayer said she was not a climate-change sceptic but worried that "too much time was spent presenting scary scenarios, especially to young people". "(Children) feel incredibly despondent and helpless in the face of all this negative information," she said. "To put all of this before our children ... is one of the most appalling things we can do to (them).

Child psychologist Kimberley O'Brien also said the language of climate change should be "toned down". "(Educators) should stick to the facts," she said. "They should be aware that kids do have nightmares."

Psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg called on educators to be "more circumspect and present both sides (of the climate-change debate)". "When you repeat things over and over to young people who don't have the cognitive maturity and emotional maturity to process this stuff, you end up creating unnecessary anxiety," he said.

Federal Schools Minister Peter Garrett said the government would not stop the teaching of climate science, despite moves in Britain for the subject to be withdrawn.

In a video on climate change funded by the state government, one teacher from a public school in Sydney's southwest explained: "Students are being bombarded from all sides about climate change ... it can be a very scary thing (for) a child."

The school activities are championed by the Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.



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


8 July, 2011

How green were the Nazis?

The above is the title of a recent scholarly book. It quite properly points out things that we ought to know anyhow: That the Greens today are not exactly the same as the Nazis; that the Nazis, like all political parties, were much bigger on promises than performance; that there was infighting over priorities among the Nazi leadership and that the Nazis did not spring out of the blue but were a continuation of influences that were already strong in Germany, including a great German tradition of nature protection and back to nature sentiment.

None of those caveats however takes away the fact that the Nazis had many policies that would be recognized today as "Green" and that they imposed their ideas in a non-democratic way. Like "Green" parties today, the Nazis had policies stretching beyond nature protection but "Green" ideas were nonetheless a central part of Nazi ideology. They were in fact the world's first electorally successful "Green" party and just as elitist and authoritarian as the Greens of today -- notably in the committment of both movements to population reduction.

A few sentences from the introduction to the book: "The Nazis created nature preserves, contemplated sustainable forestry, curbed air pollution, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature. Environmentalists and conservationists in Germany welcomed the rise of the Nazi regime with open arms, for the most part, and hoped that it would bring about legal and institutional changes. The "green" policies of the Nazis were more than a mere episode or aberration in environmental history. "

There is an extensive excerpt from the book available here and here.

I also add below an excerpt from an interesting Israeli review of the book
"In July 1935, Germany's Nazi regime headed by Adolf Hitler passed the Reich Nature Protection Law. It was one of the most progressive laws of its time. First of all, it was a federal law that applied to the whole country and not just a local ordinance, as had been customary in the past. It was also unprecedented in scope: The law protected nature and the environment in the name of the German people and for their sake, and prevented damage that might have been caused by economic development in undeveloped areas. Anyone whose actions were liable to harm nature or alter the landscape in any significant way, such as developers and building contractors, had to obtain permission from the Reich nature protection office. This legislation also protected bridges, roads, buildings and other landmarks perceived as having German historical-cultural value. It imposed restrictions on advertisements that marred the landscape and, in some cases, banned them altogether. In Britain, legislation of this scope was only introduced after World War II, and in France, as late as the 1960s.

Above all, the phrasing of the Reich Nature Protection Law allowed for various enforcement options. It included a clause, for example, that denied legal recourse to people who could be harmed by the law - such as those who had lost the right to build on private land. After all, in Nazi Germany, the good of "the public" always came before the good of "the individual." Also noteworthy is the fact that the Reich's law, which sounded progressive, included clauses that were unmistakably Nazi in tone. It claimed that the landscape of Germany was the foundation for the superiority of the Aryan race. The law was clearly permeated with a "blood and soil" ideology.

The Reich Nature Protection Law was only one of the pinnacles of Nazi "ecological" and "green" legislation. There were laws and ordinances that protected forests and animals, laws against air pollution, and more. The Nazis banned slaughter without stunning the animal, restricted hunting and experimentation on animals, and introduced wildlife study and conservation programs.

A few months after the Nazis rose to power, Hermann Goering threatened over the radio that anyone found guilty of torturing or conducting experiments on animals would be sent to a concentration camp. The Nazis' attitude toward animals, and what appears to be the paradox (although it may not be) between their approach to animals and their approach to human beings, is a worthy subject on its own.

So were the Nazis really "green" and "ecologically minded"? First of all, it must be emphasized that they were not, in the sense that we use those terms today. Until the 1960s and 1970s, there were no "green" parties or movements of the kind that imposed a "green agenda" on everything from politics to the economy. You will not find an "ecological agenda" in the platform of the Nazi party - neither in "Mein Kampf," nor any other programmatic Nazi text. But there was, indeed, green legislation. So what was its significance?

One could argue that there is no connection between the two movements, and the fact that green and ecological laws were passed by the Third Reich is coincidental. In practice, however, many individuals, political lobbies and nature-loving societies sought to promote such legislation from the early 20th century. There were some local successes, but none on the federal level. The realization that the enlightened Weimar Republic was politically impotent was a tremendous source of disappointment. The establishment of the Third Reich was perceived as an excellent opportunity to move this kind of national legislation forward - not because it was a Nazi regime, but because it was totalitarian. In a totalitarian regime, getting things done is always easier than in liberal parliamentary regimes. In this respect, the connection between the German "ecology " movement and the Nazi regime may be seen as opportunistic.

But it takes two to tango: Without the cooperation of the Nazi administration, this kind of legislation would not have come about. The Nazis were interested in promoting green laws, but more for propaganda purposes than anything else. It was a way of enhancing the status of the new regime in the eyes of the German public. But that is not all. The Nazi movement was not "green" or "ecological" in itself, but as an ultra-nationalist movement; it was sensitive and open to ideas for safeguarding and conserving die Heimat, or the homeland. Germany's natural resources, landscape and soil were part of that. When you think about it, is there any modern nationalist movement that has not sanctified nature and land as a symbol of the people's inner spirit?

Is this claim that the Nazis were greens trivial and anecdotal at best? Is it not merely an outgrowth of contemporary public interest in ecology, inflating an issue that was marginal in the Nazi era in a totally disproportionate way? I would like to suggest a different way of looking at the issue that not only allows a connection between Nazism and "ecology," but reveals another facet of the criminal nature of the Nazis - on condition that the term "ecological agenda" is expanded beyond flora, fauna and the natural landscape, to include human beings: The Nazi obsession with Lebensraum, or "living space," was an ecological project that extended to the proper "handling" of people.

In December 1942, Heinrich Himmler issued a "General Directive on the Shaping of the Landscape in the Annexed Eastern Territories." Ostensibly, this was a "green" order par excellence. Himmler offered guidelines on how to deal properly with flora and fauna, and how to conserve the landscape while building streets, villages, cities and even industrial zones. At the same time, he asserted that the countryside and natural surroundings had been largely destroyed by local, nonnative populations. Settling the "living space" with ethnic Germans, on the one hand, and getting rid of these foreign populations, on the other, was thus an integral part of Nazi "ecology." It was no coincidence that the Nazis sought to "cleanse" and "purify" their Lebensraum first and foremost of Jews. It was no coincidence that Jews were identified as a genuine environmental threat, and called "polluted," "diseased" and "parasitic."


Germany today is in the grip of the enviro-fundamentalists

There were great expectations, in Germany and internationally, when Angela Merkel took over as Chancellor of Europe´s most powerful country. However, things did not turn out so well for Frau Merkel: A growing number of Germans - as well as international observers - are frustrated with her lack of leadership. The main source of frustration is probably Merkel´s total cave in to the "green" enviro-fundamentalists, who now appear to have taken over Germany.

One of Merkel´s former supporters, conservative essayist Cora Stephan, a regular contributor to Die Welt and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, finally lost her patience with the Chancellor, and wrote a book "Angela Merkel. Ein Irrtum" (Angela Merkel. A Mistake), which has been quite well received and reached the top lists for political books in Germany.

P. Gosselin describes what Stephan has to say about Merkel´s top climate change adviser:
Ms Stephan is concerned about Schellnhuber’s extreme views and has good reason for that. She begins by quoting Schellnhuber on freedom of science and democracy:
Core questions such as these, and questions on human rights, deserve a place in the Constitution. That would mean there would be judges who would vote against the majority when it is right to do so in regards to our constitutional consensus. This would require a very few ethical elites.”

Stephan puts Schellnhuber’s dictator-speak in plain language:
On the subject of climate change, democracy has to be switched off in favor of control by ethical elitists because most people are too removed from the long-term future (and its possibly dying children with whom Schellnhuber likes to threaten us.”

Schellnhuber claims that a few select elites (like his bozos at the PIK) can see 100+ years into the future and to assess the impacts that our actions today will have. The guy is way beyond megalomania. Either we do as he tells us, or millions of future children will die. (Ironically, much of what Schellnhuber proposes means millions of children would be denied birth, so I’m not sure how unborn lives could be saved).
Ms Stephan calls Schellnhuber’s type of climate activism an attempt at creating an “above the law state of emergency”, and involves a new climate religion operated by “high priests”:
The new religion promises the Last Judgement already today – that is we endeavour one last huge and dramatic effort to save humanity from a well-deserved downfall. As is the case with other religions, the best is repentance, humility and self-restriction – preferably through emission payments without end.”

Unfortunately, Merkel appears to be deaf to the growing criticism. During the weekend she was again busy preaching the climate change agenda for a group other climate religion believers in Berlin:
"We are determined to move forward boldly," she said, noting that the current voluntary reductions of carbon dioxide were insufficient. Climate-damaging emissions were a worrying development and talks had so far been progressing at a snail's pace, Merkel said.


The latest silliness

Since there has in fact been no global warming for 13 years and no net Antarctic ice loss, any changes observed are NOT due to global warming

After 12,000 years of sticking to its diet, our planet is stacking on the pounds again - and it's not even its fault. In fact, the Earth has lovehandles. Measure a cross section through its centre from the Equator and you'll find it's roughly 40km wider than if you measured it pole-to-pole.

If you were the Earth, you'd blame a poor work-life balance and the Ice Age, which squashed you at either end under billions of tonnes of ice for a couple of million years.

But you'd also secretly enjoy it, because you'd know that when Ice Ages end, you start slimming down again, something that began most recently 12,000 years ago.

Since then, our planet had shed an impressive seven millimetres a decade from its waist as ice melt drifted down from the poles, releasing the weight at either end crushing the Earth's mantle.

Which was great news, because the 1990s turned out to be a great time for the Earth to show off its new bikini bod, being so warm and all.

Unfortunately, it's turned out to be a long summer. "There's something else going on that offsets (the slimming)," John Wahr, a geophysicist at the University of Colorado, told National Geographic.

Professor Wahr's study of the phenomenon will appear in the next issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Analysing data from the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, which takes readings of Earth's gravitational field, Prof Wahr and his colleague Steve Nerem estimate that Greenland and Antarctica are losing some 382 billion tonnes of ice annually. The melt is being pulled toward the Equator by the same forces that created the bulge in the first place, according to Prof Wahr.

Coincidentally, it's now adding almost the exact same seven millimetres a decade to Earth's waist that the planet's been losing for the past 11,000 years. Stalemate, in other words.

So it seems Earth's only hope for returning to its weight-loss regime lies in its inhabitant's ability to stop global warming.


New paper finds temperatures and precipitation were higher 1000 years ago

A paper published last week in the journal Climate of the Past examines the climate of central China over the past 1800 years using two different types of proxies. The paper finds higher temperatures and precipitation were present during the Medieval Warming Period (960-1100 AD) than at the end of the 20th century.

This paper adds to the published work of 986 scientists who have documented that the Medieval Warming Period was as hot or hotter than the present and was a global phenomenon. This study also shows both the rate and magnitude of the rise in temperature from the year ~ 700- 880 AD were much greater than over a comparable period including the 20th century.

Blue line in top graph shows temperature proxy and red line precipitation proxy. Green line in bottom graph shows another temperature proxy and the same precipitation proxy. Horizontal blue, red, and green lines were added to show the levels at the end of the 20th century.


A curious prophecy

United Nations leaders will demand "concrete results" from the looming Cancun climate summit as global warming is accelerating, a top UN organizer of the event said Monday.

Robert Orr, UN under secretary general for planning, said the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming will be much worse than the last one.

Representatives from 194 countries are to meet in the Mexican resort city of Cancun from November 29 to December 10 for a new attempt to strike a deal to curb greenhouse gases after 2012.


This would seem to be a bit of foot-shooting, however you look at it. I fully expect that, as bad as past reports have been, the next one will be yet worse. Even the IPCC has not QUITE yet plumbed the depths of dishonesty. But give them time.

On the other hand, the intent may be to say that the disasters predicted to befall the earth will be even worse than those that have been predicted before. But how does he know what the next report will predict? Is what is predicted the outcome of scientific calculations or an outcome of political needs? Unless he has a crystal ball, how can he predict the outcomes of scientific research? I think he has just admitted that science is not what drives IPCC predictions.


Five current articles below

Green intimidation

Fortunately, the threat is a fairly empty one. They count anyone as a member but in reality they are just a small group of Left activists

A POWERFUL consumer lobby group has threatened a mass boycott of major grocery companies if they oppose the carbon tax.

Activist group Get Up has been accused of blackmail after sending a warning letter to 150 companies including Coca-Cola, Heinz, Kraft, McDonald's, Schweppes and Nestle. Get Up says it will urge its 570,000 members to "boycott goods and services that are linked to the scare campaign".

Get Up confirmed it was prepared to mount a national boycott of the products of any company that was "holding our climate to ransom" by supporting a multi-million-dollar anti-tax advertising campaign by business.

Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Kate Carnell claimed the letter was blackmail and bullying. "There is no doubt this is blackmail," she told the Herald Sun. "Threatening a boycott is really bullying."

Boycotts are commonly used by activist groups in confrontations with major corporations such as PETA fighting US Gap clothing over animal cruelty issues and perhaps most famously, the Nestle Boycott, started as a grassroots movement against the Swiss giant after it was found selling dangerous baby formula to third world countries

Ms Carnell said some of her smaller members who received the letter were worried the boycott could cost jobs. "They are saying to our members if you support the Australian Food and Grocery Council taking a position against the carbon tax then we will encourage our members to boycott your goods and services," she said.

Other companies who received the letter include Arnott's, Colgate-Palmolive, Foster's, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Sanitarium, Unilever, Patties Foods, Jalna and Eagle Boys Pizza.

Ms Carnell said her members were not climate change deniers but they did have concern about the carbon tax harming competitiveness and the 300,000 jobs in the food and grocery sector.

Get Up national director Simon Sheikh, who has led campaigns to ban live animal exports, improve financing for mental health and support for gay marriage, wrote to the companies this week.

"It is our intention in the next few days to provide easy to use product information to our membership such that they can boycott goods and services that are linked to the scare campaign that the Australian Food and Grocery Council are about to sign up to," the letter said. He wrote that the public "may see your company as being supportive of the scare campaign" and he was writing to give them the chance to denounce it and resign from the Food and Grocery Council.

Mr Sheikh said Get Up had used its power to pressure banks to stop supporting environmentally destructive investments and believed individual food companies did not share the view of their lobby group. "We're not just going to roll over and allow industry to hold our climate to ransom, which is why we're clarifying individual companies' positions and seeking to hold them accountable," he said.

"We've asked company CEOs to answer a series of questions, including whether they accept the science of climate change, whether they back a carbon price, and whether they would consider resigning from the industry body, and we intend to make that information public. "Australians will then be able to take that information into account when they enter the supermarket."


Hypocritical gas-guzzling Greens - they're still using their Comcars

THEY want to tax regular Australians out of their cars but the Greens are still being chauffeur-driven in their tax-payer funded Comcars.

Senator Christine Milne, who accrued $7527 in Comcar expenses in the past 12 months, this week said that ordinary people needed to "drive less and drive more efficiently". The party is pushing for extra excise on petrol or to extend the carbon tax to fuel to curb motorists.

But the tough-on-driving approach did not appear to apply to Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young yesterday. Her Greens colleagues are also still using the Comcar chauffeur service, with leader Bob Brown leaving taxpayers with the biggest bill of $20,673 for the past 12 months.

Senator Hanson-Young, who accrued $17,260 in Comcar expenses, gave no response when asked if she thought the Greens should give up their cars in light of Senator Milne's comments.

A spokeswoman for Greens senator Scott Ludlam, who was this week unsuccessfully nominated for president of the senate, defended his decision to take advantage of the Comcar service. "There's not much to say, everybody has a job. The senator doesn't own a car. People occasionally need a car," she said.

The spokeswoman said Senator Ludlam occasionally used a car in Canberra, at a cost of $5433, but rode a bike between his home and office in Western Australia. He also spent $927 on cab charges.

Senator Milne's office did not respond to questions about her use of Comcars and if she would lead by example and stop using them. Greens leader Bob Brown's office also did not reply to questions.

Only a few cars in the taxpayer-funded fleet are hybrid Toyota models, with most gas-guzzling family-sized sedans.

Earlier this week, Senator Milne undermined Prime Minister Julia Gillard, warning that the promise to exclude fuel from the carbon tax could become like former prime minister John Howard's promise to never introduce a GST.

Senator Milne boasted this week that the Greens had already won a change earlier this year on a fringe benefits tax concession, which encouraged people to drive further, and would now turn to excise.

The Greens only supported the government leaving petrol for family cars and small commercial vehicles out of the carbon tax in return for Productivity Commission examination of fuel excise.

Ms Milne said the Greens want dirtier fuels taxed more and clean fuels taxed less and said electric cars were the way of the future.


Renewable energy projects to cost extra $97 a head

EVERY Australian will contribute $47 next year towards the cost of the federal government's policy of mandating large-scale renewable energy projects and a further $50 to fund rooftop solar panels and hot water systems, irrespective of Julia Gillard's carbon deal.

The modelling, previously secret and obtained exclusively by The Australian, shows the nation will pay almost $2.2 billion in 2012 for the federal government's scheme to ensure 20 per cent of national electricity is produced from renewable sources.

The state-based schemes that pay households feed-in tariffs to produce power from their solar panels will cost even more next year -- ranging from $4.90 a person in Victoria to $14.20 in Queensland, $12 in Western Australia and $23.30 in the Australian Capital Territory.

The National Generators Forum, which commissioned the modelling by Frontier Economics, is armed with the report as it prepares to fight any new imposts when the carbon reduction plan is outlined on Sunday.

The Greens have pressed support for renewable energy measures in the carbon deal, and electricity generators are anxious. "The industry is concerned that the market-based solution of a carbon price may come with a raft of new regulation and complementary programs, adding to the price pressures on consumers but may deliver little abatement," forum executive director Malcolm Roberts said. "The shift to a carbon price was once meant to eliminate the need for these ad hoc policies."

The government has split the large and small renewable projects into two markets because of a flood of solar panel installations.

The modelling shows the large-scale renewable energy target -- covering windfarms and hydroelectric schemes -- will cost more than $1bn next year, while delivering 13.1 million tonnes of carbon abatement.

By contrast, the small-scale renewable energy scheme for residential solar photovoltaic panels and hot water systems will cost $1.1bn but reduce carbon by just 1.4 million tonnes next year. However, the costs of the small scheme fall in subsequent years as the subsidies wind down.

The modelling finds the scheme will cost almost $27 per person in 2020 as it is designed to impose a higher initial cost.

Next year, it will cost $88 for every tonne of carbon abated under the large scheme and $302 for every tonne under the small scheme -- several times the expected $20-$25 a tonne expected carbon price. The costs of the large scheme would fall if a price were put on carbon, but the report finds this is simply cost-shifting, as consumers would be paying higher electricity prices under a carbon price system.

Treasury briefings released under freedom of information laws in April urged that a review of the policies be carried out as a carbon price was introduced. "Such complementary measures would need to be reviewed in conjunction with the introduction of a carbon price, or shortly after its introduction," the briefings said.

The schemes were also criticised by the Productivity Commission, which warned they were very expensive and made any form of carbon market less efficient.

But Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has stated the government's policy is to have the carbon tax and the renewable energy tax.

The analysis of the costs of the scheme per person included the impact on residential power bills as well as the costs to businesses and industries.


Faults found in NSW home solar systems

STARTLING figures out of NSW last week have confirmed what the public has suspected for months - that there are widespread faults in solar panel installations. And while many of these faults are minor, some are serious.

The issue extends nationwide, with no clear picture of the extent of installation problems across the states, and authorities are afraid that the public could panic and try to interfere with their own systems.

In an audit of 658 household solar systems in western Sydney, just one in five were installed correctly, and some 18.5 per cent had "major" defects posing safety risks.
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Most of the serious problems involve the incorrect wiring of a DC circuit breaker. This does not impact the running of the unit but does pose a "very low" risk of starting a fire.

There have been immediate claims that the federal government, whose solar panel rebates helped fuel a nationwide rush for the roof-top systems, has kept the problem quiet to avoid the sort of bad publicity sparked by the home insulation and Green Loans schemes.

"They have tried to keep this away from the public as much as possible - that's clear," says one solar panel industry operator. "They didn't want it to be seen as another home insulation debacle."

The federal government, through the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, last week denied it has tried to avoid releasing information to the public, saying that solar panel safety is the responsibility of state and territory governments.

But it is true that the Clean Energy Council, the agency contracted by the federal government to accredit solar panel installers, has known about the extent of the problems since October, and was alerted to them by the Department of Climate Change. The director of strategy at the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, told BusinessDay that the figures released in NSW last week were "probably consistent with what we understood to be the case".

Mr Thornton says the council made "no secret of the issue" and was working to fix the problems. Yet he says the council did not seek to widely publicise the extent of the defects because it did not want to cause unnecessary alarm.

Mr Thornton said that because householders cannot fix the faults themselves, the council feared that alerting the public could lead to some people panicking and trying to interfere with, or switch off, their systems. This would be a problem, because the safety risk with the circuit breaker is only triggered when the solar panel is switched off.

The Clean Energy Council says for a spark to form, it would need to be a sunny day - thus pushing the panels towards full capacity - and the panels would need to be "shut down in an incorrect manner". "Our concern was that there was a greater risk in alerting people to a potential issue that they couldn't do anything to solve themselves, but could increase the risk … if they become alarmed about it," Mr Thornton says.

But the federal opposition, as well as some in the industry, suspect there is more to the story. Last week, the opposition's environment spokesman, Greg Hunt, suggested a national audit had uncovered similar results to the NSW audit, and that the government was "sitting on" the figures.

The Department of Climate Change did conduct a nationwide "random and targeted sample of inspections" from last October to June 30. Yet it denies it has sought to keep the information secret, saying it referred any problems to the householder, the state or territory authority and the Clean Energy Council.

However, it did not answer questions about what the results of the inspections were or whether they revealed a similar number of defects to those uncovered in the NSW Fair Trading audit.


Anti-human Greens won't usurp the Labor Party

HOLD fast comrades, Greens leader Bob Brown's boast that one day his party will displace Labor is idle. Labor's brand may be tarnished, but it is not terminal. The times conspire to give the appearance that Labor is terminal. The cycle of state governments is running against Labor, its membership is dwindling and its standard bearer, the federal government, is weak.

For Labor, minor omissions have had major consequences. Had NSW Liberals elected a better leader than Peter Debnam, Labor would have suffered a mild defeat at the 2007 election and be on the way back.

Labor is not alone in losing members. Candidate selection, campaigning and policy-making have been outsourced from the ranks in the other main parties.

The electorate is more responsive to offers than to ideology, which is not a good thing, but it is not a peculiarly Labor problem.

And had senior members of Labor's federal caucus got to Kevin Rudd before Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan, Labor today would have had an emissions trading scheme in place (hopefully in mothballs waiting for the rest of the world's) and been returned in its own right at last year's election.

Despite these travails, Labor remains essentially humanist, concerned with the needs, wellbeing and interests of people.

The Greens, by contrast, will never defend humanity against nature. Brown regards humans as tellurians, inhabitants of the earth, along with plants and animals. The Greens care little for our most important gift, our intelligence, or for our most important human achievements, such as our families and our nations. On these grounds, the Greens can never be a mainstream party.

Picture Brown's address to (his recently mooted) United Nations of all People. "Tellurians of the world unite!" He gets no further because a Chinese guard drags him off stage as a dangerous environmentalist and gay activist. Bob, in the parliament of the world, China has the numbers.

The Greens will consume the good upbringing that family brings, the immense wealth, health and comfort that human ingenuity brings, and the political stability that nation states bring, but they will never defend them.

They may support wind, wave and solar technologies, but when tough decisions have to be made about more people and the energy and resources they will require, the Greens always duck for cover and wish there were fewer people.

Brown rails that Australia's uranium may "turn up as deadly radioactive materials in Japanese fish and lettuce" and that "80,000 people have been evacuated from [Brown's demented construct] the Fukushima-Australia uranium contamination zone". He seems to forget that 10,000 people were killed by nature, none so far by the human-created radioactivity.

The Greens are always against war, but some wars are necessary. When push comes to shove the Greens will never defend democracy against fascism or communism, Islamism, or indeed a resource-hungry foe. They will never make the required investment in defence. Theirs is an undergraduate debate about "guns or butter".

The Greens delight in the threat of global warming. They delight in stopping the genius of capitalist economic development in the service of humanity. In the face of environmental threats they retreat and hope they can turn off the machine.

Each and every homosexual man or woman understands the family is the best known means for heterosexual couples to procreate and raise children. Without it, there is no humanity. The family as a human institution is under enormous pressure in the face of the great and positive forces of women's equality, but its purloining by homosexual couples in the name of equality is a step too far. The Greens will choose niche equality over family every time.

Brown says, "Here we are, the most resource-rich nation in the world, with serial governments failing to take the political lead which this country and the whole world wants." But he wishes to lock up our resources, forever. Coal, gas, and every mineral that requires liquid fuels to power its extraction, which for the foreseeable future is all of them, will cease to be available to the poor humanity of the world.

Labor (and indeed the Coalition) at times has been slow to devise environmental policies, often forced by the Greens and environmental groups, but they have never made the mistake of becoming anti-humanist.

Labor toys with population policy, it toys with gay marriage, it toys with euthanasia and it toys with animal rights. But if, at the margin, there is a choice to be made between people and nature, it will, if it knows what is good for it, remain wedded to a human conception of history.

If it wanders down an anti-humanist path in search of green votes it risks its major-party status. Be wary, comrades: environment in the service of humanity, yes; the rest of the Greens' anti-humanist agenda, never.



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


7 July, 2011

Study Finds Higher Educated Less Concerned About Warming

Warmists very frequently claim that skeptics are dummies and that if only they understood "the science", they would become Warmists. These results shoot that down. The authors waffle on in an attempt to explain the finding in ways that preserve Warmism but the parsimonious explanation is simply that Warmism is wrong. In science, the most parsimonious (simplest) explanation is normally the one chosen


The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: Limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.

More importantly, greater scientific literacy and numeracy were associated with greater cultural polarization: Respondents predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence became more dismissive, and those predisposed by their values to credit such evidence more concerned, as science literacy and numeracy increased. We suggest that this evidence reflects a conflict between two levels of rationality: The individual level, which is characterized by citizens’ effective use of their knowledge and reasoning capacities to form risk perceptions that express their cultural commitments; and the collective level, which is characterized by citizens’ failure to converge on the best available scientific evidence on how to promote their common welfare. Dispelling this, “tragedy of the risk-perception commons,” we argue, should be understood as the central aim of the science of science communication.


Commentary on the above paper here

A desperate lie

As most people know, I am a lukewarmer -- somebody who accepts carbon dioxide's full greenhouse potential, but does not accept the much more dubious evidence for net positive feedbacks on top, and who therefore thinks that a temperatuire rise of more than 2C in this century is unlikely.

This view just got a strong boost. Nic Lewis, the indefatigable mathematical sleuth who helped expose the mistakes in a paper about Antarctic temperature trends has been looking at how the IPCC estimates climate sensitivity -- that is, the warming expected for a doubling of CO2. He finds that the one study that estimated sensitivity entirely from experimental data -- Forster and Gregory 2006 -- was distoted by the IPCC when it came to present their results.

The distortion was the imposition of a Bayesian "uniform prior" in a way that statisticians say is wholly inappropriate, because it effectively assumes a priori that strong warming is more probable than it is. Yet you don't even have to know that the use is inappropriate to know that it's inappropriate to take a published result and alter the graph from it, adding an obscure footnote to say you have done so. A published result is a published result.

The effect was to fatten the tail of the graph, making a warming of more than 2C look much more probable.

The probability peaks very sharply at about 1.5 degrees Celsius (meaning that more extreme temperature increases are very unlikely) and even the IPCC tricks couldn't change that much. They just increased other probabilities slightly -- JR

I defy you to look at that graph -- the green one -- and tell me that a temperature rise oif more than 2C is not "unlikely" according to that study. I defy you to look at the graph -- the blue one -- and not conclude that whoever drew it had better have a very good argument for fattening the tail compared with what the authors had originally published.

NIc has found that the IPCC did much the same to most of the other estimates of climate sensitivity, which rely mostly on models. This mistake is central to the IPCC's case, not peripheral. It undermines the credibility of the case for urgent action against climate change and strongly supports the argument that, other things being equal, CO2 doubling will not cause more than a mild and net beneficial warming.

Here's Nic's first paragraph:

"The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report of 2007 (AR4) contained various errors, including the well publicised overestimate of the speed at which Himalayan glaciers would melt. However, the IPCC’s defenders point out that such errors were inadvertent and inconsequential: they did not undermine the scientific basis of AR4. Here I demonstrate an error in the core scientific report (WGI) that came about through the IPCC’s alteration of a peer-reviewed result. This error is highly consequential, since it involves the only instrumental evidence that is climate-model independent cited by the IPCC as to the probability distribution of climate sensitivity, and it substantially increases the apparent risk of high warming from increases in CO2 concentration."


California’s long-term cooling trend cited as evidence FOR global warming

The un-disproveable theory

Want to know why global warming alarmists and climate scientists in general have lost credibility with the American public? Consider a new study released today — and the unintentionally hilarious weasel words of its author — as Exhibit A.

As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle today, a meteorologist did a 30-year survey of temperature and precipitation data for most of the largest cities up and down the state of California. Conclusion? In 75% of the sites, the weather has grown colder and rainier than it used to be:

Of course, this “inconvenient truth” was not what either the study’s author nor the Chronicle‘s reporter wanted to see, so the spin cycle goes into overdrive right from the headline, which manages to use the word “warmer” first despite there being only two warmer cities in the entire study: “CA climate: inland warmer; coast cooler and wetter.” Uh-huh. But that’s just the aperitif. How does the author, a meteorologist named Jan Null [Well-named!] who also happens to be on the global warming bandwagon, explain away the trend he uncovered? Behold:
"The data may appear to bolster the arguments of global warming skeptics, but Null said the findings actually fit in with the predictions of scientists who believe the climate is changing as a result of human-caused carbon emissions.

“People say, ‘Wait a minute, what about global warming? Shouldn’t it be warmer?’ ” Null said. “Well, if you have more warm days in the Central Valley, you are going to have a stronger sea breeze so you will cool off the coastal areas. That certainly does not contradict any of the models about global warming. This is what is to be expected.”

They always say that: Whenever evidence of cooling is found in the data, it somehow magically becomes confirming proof of global warming, because cooling is “expected” in the forecasts. Of course, whenever localized warming trends are found, those too are cited as evidence of global warming.

Which leads me to my Global Warming Spin Axiom: Hot we win, cold you lose!

What’s most astounding is that Null, who claims to be a world-class expert on California meteorology, uncorked the whopper “if you have more warm days in the Central Valley, you are going to have a stronger sea breeze so you will cool off the coastal areas,” which as anyone who lives in Northern California knows is complete balderdash. Hot days in the Central Valley are generally caused by high-pressure systems settling over the area, which also cause off-shore (i.e. reverse of normal) winds and higher temperature at the coasts. Incoming low-pressure fronts cause cold temperatures at the coasts and cooling inland. To say that warm temperatures inland somehow induce cold and rain on the coast is wrong in more ways than I can count. And Jan Null knows that, so he must be purposely obfuscating to undermine the conclusions of his own unfortunate study.

One thing I will say in Null’s favor, though: At least he released the stats he uncovered, rather than burying them once he realized that they undermined his favored thesis (as other researchers have done, we now know). But he would have been wiser to just release them and make no further comment, because every time a climatologist cites cooler temperatures as proof of global warming, another angel dies in heaven and another thousand Americans lose faith in the global warming mania.


Global warming? A new ice age? The only certainty is that YOU'RE paying for the hysteria of our politicians

Comment from Britain

Who would possibly have thought it? The latest news is that the world may be threatened by a sharp drop in temperatures, possibly so severe that it could herald a new mini ice age. And one reason being put forward for this is that all the pollution being chucked out by thousands of coal-fired power stations may be blocking the sun's heat from the Earth.

Dr Robert Kaufman of Boston University blamed China this week. 'During the Chinese economic expansion there was a huge increase in sulphur emissions,' he said. And this was the cause of global cooling.

But hang on a moment. Aren't these new climate scaremongers the very same people who only a few years back were telling us that the planet was in danger of being fried to a crisp by runaway global warming?

And wasn't it on their say so that the world's politicians, led by our own here in Britain, were committing us to spending hundreds of billions of pounds to save the planet from the catastrophic warming caused by those same evil power stations?

The question this extraordinary turn of events raises is whether any of these supposed experts actually have the faintest idea what they are talking about.

But perhaps the most bizarre thing about this latest twist in the ongoing climate scare story is the way it takes us precisely back to where it all started 40 years ago.

All of us today have become so accustomed to the notion of global warming that it is hard to believe that in the Seventies, U.S. scientists began to warn us the world was heading for a cooling so severe it might even herald a new ice age. This was because for 30 years, after a sharp rise earlier in the 20th century, global temperatures had markedly dropped.

And the cause of this cooling, it was argued by the U.S. scientists, led by climatologists Stephen Schneider and James Hansen, was all the sulphur dioxide and other particulates being chucked out by burning fossil fuels — notably those from coal-fired power stations.

Fifteen years later, the very same scientists were at the forefront of the great panic over global warming. Schneider, who became Professor of environmental biology and global change at Stanford University, argued this time that the damage was being done not by soot and sulphur preventing the sun's heat reaching the earth, but by carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gases', which were trapping heat.

It was men such as Schneider and Hansen who, at the end of the Eighties, so terrified the politicians with their theory that CO2 equalled global warming that, within a few years, the world's leaders were gathering in vast conferences in Rio and Kyoto to sign treaties that committed us to massive cuts in the CO2 emissions on which the global economy depended.

For a while it seemed that the theory they had programmed into dozens of computer models was being confirmed by the evidence. CO2 levels continued to rise and temperatures appeared to follow suit.

But then, more recently, it became obvious that something had gone seriously awry with the theory. Sure, CO2 in the atmosphere was still continuing to rise. But no longer were temperatures rising in synch, as the computer models predicted they should.

By 2007, as temperatures temporarily plummeted by as much as their entire net rise in the 20th century, experts were beginning to question the global warming orthodoxy. An increasing number of breakaway climatologists were saying the cause of that late 20th century rise in temperatures might not be CO2 at all.

Perhaps, they suggested, there were other factors responsible for shaping the earth's climate — such as fluctuations in radiation from the sun and shifts in the world's major ocean currents.

So, some of those on the warm-ist side of the argument came up with a compromise theory. Maybe, they agreed, the world was now heading for a period of cooling, but the effect of these natural factors was only to 'mask the underlying warming trend'. Within a decade or two, the warming produced by man-made CO2 would come back worse than ever.

In the past few years, as much of the world has endured three of its coldest winters for decades, it has become almost comical to see how, whatever our weather does to us, the warmists still manage to cling on to their pet theory.

Whatever happens now, whether it is hot or cold, whether we get heatwaves or record snowfalls, floods or droughts, sooner or later we hear those familiar little voices piping up to tell us that the blame for all these 'extreme weather events' still lies on 'disruption' to the climate caused by the sinful activities of mankind.

They're all at it — from the environmental activists of Greenpeace, the WWF and their allies in the BBC and the Met Office, to those thousands of scientists across the world who have received billions in funding from governments investing in climate change research and prevention — all still battling to keep in being the greatest scare story in the history of the world.

The truth is that it becomes ever more obvious that none of them really has a clue as to what is responsible for the changes in our climate. They can't even tell us what global temperatures will be next month or next year, let alone what they will be in 100 years' time, as they like to pretend their computer models can predict. But the really terrifying thing about all this is that our politicians have become so locked into the scare story that there is not yet the slightest sign they are prepared to notice the reality now crowding in on them on every side — that global warming is by no means a certainty.

Three years ago, when the hysteria over global warming was still at its height, our own British politicians voted almost unanimously for the Climate Change Act committing us, uniquely in the world, to cut our CO2 emissions by 80 per cent within 40 years. Even on the Government's own figures, showing that this will cost us up to £18billion every year until 2050, it is by far the most expensive law ever passed by Parliament.

We are also committed to meet an EU target that, within a mere nine years, we must generate a third of our electricity from 'renewables' — mainly by spending £200 billion on building thousands more windmills so useless that, last weekend, they could produce only half a per cent of the power we actually needed.

As our politicians continually impose on us ever higher taxes and other costs supposedly in the cause of 'fighting climate change' — costs that have already helped to increase every family's energy bills by an average £200 a year — they have been carried away by a collective fantasy that has no parallel in history.

And all this is happening in the name of a theory so fraudulent that the same people who told us the world is about to fry unless we close down all those power stations are now telling us the same power stations may be heading us into a new ice age.

Truly, the lunatics have taken over the asylum. And short of some massive injection of common sense from the British people, it seems the rest of us are condemned to live in it.


British energy experts slash estimates on household savings from using solar panels

Solar panels that cost up to £16,000 will knock just £70 a year off household bills, which is almost half the original estimate, energy experts have admitted.

Environmental advisers the Energy Saving Trust (EST) has cut its estimate on how much households could save on their electricity bill using solar panels from the previous £120 a year. The EST had estimated that about 50pc of the energy produced by solar panels is used in the home. It now says the figure is more like 25pc.

This is because solar panels work only during the day, when most people are out. The admission comes as solar panel salesmen have been criticised for misleading many households over the benefits of these panels, which can cost as much as £16,000.

The Government has also come under criticism for its controversial green taxes, which are levied on all households via their energy bills to pay people with solar panels to generate their energy.

Every home in Britain could be paying £300 a year through gas and electricity bills by the end of this decade to fund climate change schemes. These schemes have resulted in 300 million energy-efficient lightbulbs being sent in the post to households.

Now an undercover investigation by consumer champion Which? has found many firms selling solar panels were overestimating how much energy the panels would produce.

Jenny Driscoll, energy campaigner with Which?, says: ‘Consumers must really be on their guard when it comes to solar panels. There is a massive amount of exaggeration about the benefits from salesmen. ‘Remember the households that will benefit the most from solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels are those with sunny, south-facing gardens who are in all day.’

PV panels convert sunlight into electricity. They are being advertised by many big names, including Sainsbury’s and British Gas.

Which? found that homeowners can pay between £7,000 to £15,600 for them to be installed on their roof. Around 45,000 homes in the UK have had solar panels installed.

Many of these were convinced to make the investment by a salesman who boasted of huge savings. A big attraction is that householders are actually paid for the energy they generate, regardless of whether or not it is used.

But the actual savings homeowners can make are vague, as much depends on where their property is, which direction the roof faces, and the weather. Working out the benefits is also a complicated sum.

For example, the EST says a typical household pays £560 a year for their electricity. They might pay £12,000 to install solar panels. If only 25pc of the energy generated by the panels is used in their own home, they would save £70 a year on electricity bills — reducing their bill to £490.

The homeowners are also paid about 35p per kWh for the energy they use. The remaining 75pc of unused energy that has been generated will be sold back to the grid for about 41p per kWh. A typical family makes about £800 a year from doing this. However, most solar panels do not store energy — to do this homeowners must install expensive batteries.

So at night, in the evening and on cloudy days — when the solar panels cannot produce any energy —the homeowner must buy electricity from their supplier at a rate of about 20p per kWh. Although this is still a saving, it is not nearly as much as the saving they would make if they simply used their own energy.

These green, so-called ‘feed-in’ tariffs, are paid for by other homeowners by a levy on their energy bills.

By 2020 every household will be paying about £11 a year to fund the scheme. Rosalyn Foreman, of the EST, says: ‘While these are typical estimates, it’s quite possible that someone could save more than £70 if they were at home in the day or set all their appliances to run in daylight hours.’

Which? says there is still a lot of confusion regarding how much energy is produced by solar panels and how much money people can make. This is partly because some salesmen are giving people misleading information.

Solar panels need to be installed on a building with a roof or wall that faces within 90 degrees of South, without being overshadowed by other buildings or trees. Yet seven out of the 12 salespeople in the Which? investigation recommended installing solar PV panels on a shaded part of the roof.

Also, under Government rules installers are not obliged to take into account where people live when calculating how much energy can be produced. In fact, this will depend on your home’s location and the weather.

Virginia Graham, chief executive of solar panel trade body the REAL Assurance Scheme, says: ‘We have always been clear that the people who will benefit most from panels are those who are in during the day. ‘We are also working with charities to ensure that vulnerable consumers are protected from mis-selling. We would like to see doorstep mis-selling banned because it is a unsuitable way to promote this technology.’


Australian Warmist cuts off interview when science is raised

His only stock of wisdom was "ad hominem" accusations

ABC radio presenter Adam Spencer has been told to "shut up" and stop being childish during a heated on-air exchange with climate change sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton.

In what was more a debate than an interview, Spencer hung up on his guest before calling back to resume the interview.

The tension began when Spencer asked Lord Monckton about his claims that he is a Nobel Laureate. Lord Monckton said he was given a pin by a US professor who felt he deserved one for his work and he sometimes wore it as a joke.

"That's what we on the centre right would call a joke, it's something you on the left and the ABC might not perhaps fully understand."

Spencer replied by saying he wasn't on the left or the right or in the centre. "I'm trying to establish your credentials ... because there seems to be a consistent pattern, sir, when you speak publicly and analyse climate science," he said.

"It's my understanding you've never held any academic position at any university or any research institute attached to any science connected with climate science." Spencer then pursued Lord Monckton about alleged misrepresentations in his work.

Lord Monckton replied, "You say you're not taking a position, it's clearly a position which is deliberately hostile, you're entitled to do that, it's what the ABC is infamous for on this debate."

Spencer said he was simply putting out questions. "I apologise if you're detecting hostility."

Then after several minutes of arguing about his work, Lord Monckton said Spencer had been unable to raise a single scientific point on which he was wrong.

The interview was then terminated by Spencer



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


6 July, 2011

Wind farm's 'whoom, whoom, whoom' noise drove us mad, British farmers claiming £3m tell High Court

A couple driven out of their home by noise from a wind farm launched a landmark battle in the High Court yesterday over their inability to get a peaceful night’s sleep.

Jane and Julian Davis say the low- frequency hum of the 320ft tall turbines, which they liken to the sound of a helicopter, kept them awake even with earplugs and their double glazed windows closed.

They claim it became so intolerable they were forced to move from their home in Deeping St Nicholas, Lincolnshire, six months after the eight-turbine wind farm began operating just over half a mile from their home in 2006.

Mr and Mrs Davis are challenging the turbines’ owners in a case which, if they win, could lead to operators of up to 50 wind farms across the country having to stop their turbines or compensate hundreds of residents living near them.

Speaking yesterday outside the London court before the start of the case, Mrs Davis, 55, a former nurse, described the noise as a ‘whoom whoom whoom’. ‘I want to stop the noise so we can go back home and relax and sleep and live like we did five years ago,’ she said. It is a horrible noise. 'It is unpredictable but occurs mainly in the course of the night, and there is no assurance that you can stay asleep.

‘I’m not against wind farms or what they look like. I just want the industry and Government to recognise that some wind farms have unexpected adverse effects.’

The couple could face ruin if they lose the case and are forced to pay the defendants’ legal costs.

The case will focus on ‘amplitude modulation’, the swishing noise made by the blades in certain conditions. Research suggests many complaints about wind farms relate to this, and the industry admits it is not properly understood.

The couple, who have two grown-up children, would ideally like to be able to move back to the farmhouse, which Mr Davis, 46, bought in 1993.

They say the problem could be resolved if the owners and operators, Fenland Windfarms Ltd and Fenland Green Power Co-operative Limited, limited the hours of operation of one of the turbines and removed two others. Their lawyers are seeking an injunction to bring about these changes.

But in the event that the modifications are not made, they are seeking £400,000 damages for their extra housing costs to date and to buy an equivalent home elsewhere. There is currently no legal limit to how near a wind farm can be to someone’s home.

Opening the case yesterday Peter Harrison QC, representing the couple, said: ‘For Jane and Julian Davis, wind farms have emphatically not been the source of trouble-free, green renewable energy which the firms promoting and profiting from wind energy would have the general public believe.’

Mr Harrison added that the operator’s approach has been ‘to attack the credibility and reasonableness’ of Mr and Mrs Davis.

William Norris QC, for the defendants, said an injunction should not be granted given the operators’ willingness to find a solution to the noise.


Britain on brink of 'nuclear renaissance'

Britain is on the brink of the "biggest nuclear renaissance since the 1950s", the Government has claimed, despite fears over the recent disaster in Japan and questions over radioactive waste.

Days after Germany announced it was going nuclear-free, Charles Hendry, the Energy Minister, said the UK will build a new generation of power stations.

He said that the eight sites earmarked for new reactors will could offer 5,000 jobs, as well as supplying a cheap form of low carbon electricity as coal-fired power stations close down.

Addressing a nuclear industry association conference in London, he will also hit back at criticism that Government officials conferred with the nuclear industry over how to deal with the public relations fall-out from the crisis at Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima reactor.

According to emails released under Freedom of Information, one official warned the disaster threatened to "set the nuclear industry back globally" and said it was vital not to let anti-nuclear campaigners use it to gain a publicity coup.

There is also renewed concern about nuclear following an explosion at a French nuclear power station. The blaze at the Tricastin plant in Drôme in the Rhône valley came just two days after the authorities found 32 safety concerns at the plant.

In his speech, which comes after the Government confirmed eight sites where new nuclear plants could be developed adjacent to existing reactors, he will say the reaction to Fukushima was "sensible, proportionate and based on the facts".

He will tell the industry: "I want people inside and outside of this room to be in no doubt - the Government's response during and after Fukushima has been based on solid evidence and the advice of the chief nuclear inspector."

He will also say: "The UK has everything to gain from becoming the number-one destination to invest in new nuclear. "Nuclear is the cheapest low-carbon source of electricity around, so it can keep bills down and the lights on.

"The wider economic benefit cannot be over-emphasised - around 5,000 jobs could be on offer at each of the eight sites we listed as suitable for development, and as we develop a domestic supply chain, all parts of the country could gain from a nuclear resurgence."

He will add: "We are on the brink of the biggest nuclear renaissance since the 1950s. "The 16 gigawatts of new nuclear generation planned by industry equates to investment of around £50 billion with the construction of each reactor delivering investment equivalent to that for the 2012 Olympics."

The coalition Government is backing a new generation of nuclear power, despite previous Liberal Democrat opposition to the technology, with ministers insisting it will not be subsidised by tax-payers.

But the Government has been accused of bringing in hidden subsidies, for example in proposals to reform the electricity market which could favour nuclear but not other forms of low-carbon energy such as renewables.

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change minister, faces a rebellion from his own party over the issue. A large group of backbenchers are gearing up to rebel against a key section of the government’s finance bill which focuses on the so called 'hidden subsidies' like the carbon floor price.


A review and summary of The ClimateGate Whitewash

Scientific scandals revealed by leaked e-mail exchanges among prominent climate researchers within the U.K.’s University of East Anglia-Climate Research Unit network prompted three inquiries with transparent damage-control overtones. Two were “independent” internal self-investigations that were launched by UEA. The third was a cursory, narrowly-focused inquiry conducted by the British House of Commons’ Science and Technology Select Committee.

The scientific misconduct charges against key Climate Research Unit (CRU) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change participants are serious. They include: failures to provide a full and fair view to policymakers and all available evidence to the U.N.’s IPCC; deliberately obstructing access to data and methods to those with opposing viewpoints; failures to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements; and coordinated efforts to influence review panels of prestigious journals to block papers presenting rival scientific findings from being published.

The “Parliamentary Inquiry” undertaken by the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Select Committee was conducted by eight Labour, three Conservative and two Liberal Democrat MPs, plus one independent under the chairmanship of Liberal Democrat Phil Willis (now Lord Willis). An in-depth investigation was out of the question because of severely constrained time due to an upcoming election. The committee recognized that it would not “be able to cover all of the issues raised by the events at UEA.” Questioning of witnesses was limited to a single day.

Soon after the inquiry was announced, Phil Willis made an announcement that raised questions about his objectivity regarding the merits of CRU criticism: “There are a significant number of climate deniers who are using the UEA e-mails to support the case that this is poor science. We do not believe this is healthy, and therefore we want to call in UEA so that the public can see what they are saying.” The term “denier” is broadly seen as an analogous and pejorative reference to those who deny the historical fact of the Holocaust, implying that UEA/CRU scientific methods and integrity should be beyond question.

The inquiry scope was limited to three key areas: freedom of information issues; accuracy and availability of CRU data and programs; and the independent reviews. Written evidence collected from 57 different groups was limited to 3,000 words per submission, allowing little opportunity to make full cases or to provide details.

While the committee took no direct testimony from those who challenged CRU activities, methods or errors, they nevertheless determined that there was essentially nothing wrong with the organization’s basic science. They mistakenly assumed that important investigations they had no time or expertise to conduct would be fully covered by the other “independent” reviews which never occurred. And they concluded that global warming is human-caused, endorsing IPCC representations as facts.

The first UEA-sponsored investigation called the “Scientific Assessment Panel Inquiry” was headed by Lord Ronald Oxburgh, an ardent global warming believer with strong green energy business ties. He served as chairman of U.K. Shell (a major biofuel player), chairman of the wind company Falk Renewables, and a board member of Climate Change Capital, a major investor in carbon credits. In a 2005 interview with the Guardian, Oxburgh advocated that all possible government incentives be used to promote alternatives to carbon-based energy, stating that “what we don’t want to see is in two years’ time the government becoming bored with climate change after we’ve invested a lot of our shareholders’ money.”

The Oxburgh panel did not assess the reliability of CRU’s science. Its scope of inquiry was limited to reviewing papers provided to it only for evidence of deliberate misconduct. Many of those papers selected for examination by UEA were obscure, never having been challenged by critics—while others that had been criticized were not presented for review at all. Lord Oxburgh’s final report stated that the papers were chosen “on the advice of the Royal Society”, however this was apparently untrue. In fact many or all of those papers were reportedly selected and cleared by CRU’s director, Phil Jones, a central figure in the ClimateGate controversy.

Although at least one committee member voiced serious concerns about how the CRU science had been conducted and incorporated into IPCC documents, no word of this was reported in the proceedings. And contrary to strong recommendations from committee members, no public interviews were conducted, no formal notes were taken, and no recordings or transcripts of interviews were made available to the public.

The remarkably short five-page Oxburgh report generously concluded that it found CRU scientists to be merely an innocent “small group of dedicated, if slightly confused, researchers.” It also mildly criticized IPCC for failing to cite reservations those dedicated and confused researchers attached to their work describing scientific uncertainties.

Another CRU-sponsored inquiry called the “Climate Change Emails Review” headed by Sir Robert Muir-Russell hurriedly looked at more than 1,000 selected communications within a period of two and one-half weeks. Two evidence-collecting interviews were conducted with CRU staff, which the majority, including the chairman, didn’t attend. No CRU critics were interviewed.

Muir-Russell emphasized the independent selection of his five panelists, stating: “None have any links to the Climate Research Unit, or the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” and “They were selected on the basis that they had no prejudicial interest in climate change and climate science and for the contribution they can make to the issues the Review is looking at.”

Yet one of the panelists, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Boulton from the University of Edinburgh, had previously signed a petition in the wake of the ClimateGate scandal expressing confidence that global warming was caused by humans. He was also a former University of East Anglia employee, having worked in its School of Environmental Sciences for 18 years … therefore also a previous colleague of Phil Jones and other important ClimateGate figures.

The panel failed to question Jones about an email entitled “IPCC & FOIA” he sent to Michael Mann requesting “Can you delete any emails you have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4? [the IPCC's 2007 Summary for Policymaker's Report]. Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment-minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene [Wahl] and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. Will be getting Casper [Ammann] to do likewise.”

Muir-Russell’s report concluded that the “rigour and honesty” of the CRU scientists were not in doubt, that they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism, and that key data was freely available and could be used by any “competent” researcher. Yet the panelists admitted that the scientists’ responses to “reasonable requests for information” had been “unhelpful and defensive”, that “emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them”, and that there had been “a consistent pattern of failing to display a proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA.”

Did the Climate Change Emails Review accomplish the goal Muir-Russell called for : “a concerted and sustained campaign to win hearts and minds” to restore confidence in the [CRU] team’s work” ? The Lancent scientific journal’s editor, Richard Horton, doesn’t think so. Testifying before the inquiry, he said: “The Muir-Russell review has rejected all claims of serious scientific misconduct. But he does identify failures, evasions, misleading actions, unjustifiable delays [in releasing information], and pervasive unhelpfulness- all of which amounts to severely sub-optimal academic practice. Climate science will never be the same again.”

Hans von Storch, a professor at the Meteorological Institute at the University of Hamburg and director of the Institute of Coastal Research at the GHSS Research Centre in Geestacht, Germany believes Dr. Horton’s appraisal applies this assessment to all three inquiries: “Nothing ought to be swept under the carpet. Some of the inquiries — like in the U.K. did exactly the latter. They blew an opportunity to restore trust.”


More on the "Chinese aerosols" explanation for global temperature stasis

The research concerned has been found wanting in a number of ways, some of which I mentioned yesterday. Below is another stake through its heart

A media summary of the paper:
The lull in global warming from 1998 to 2008 was mainly caused by a sharp rise in China’s coal use, a study suggests.

The absence of a temperature rise over that decade is often used by “climate sceptics” as grounds for denying the existence of man-made global warming.

But the new study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concludes that smog from the extra coal acted to mask greenhouse warming. China’s coal use doubled 2002-2007, according to US government figures.



China is one of the few places that hasn’t cooled since 1998, but why let actual data interfere with climate propaganda?

New paper on hurricane frequency says that they have not increased in frequency in recent years

The paper: “Estimating Annual Numbers Of Atlantic Hurricanes Missing From The HURDAT Database (1878-1965) Using Ship Track Density” By Vecchi and Knutson 2011. Journal of Climate, 24(6), doi:10.1175/2010JCLI3810.1.


“This study assesses the impact of imperfect sampling in the presatellite era (between 1878 and 1965) on North Atlantic hurricane activity measures and on the long-term trends in those measures. The results indicate that a substantial upward adjustment of hurricane counts may be needed prior to 1965 to account for likely ‘‘missed’’ hurricanes due to sparse density of reporting ship traffic. After adjusting for the estimate of missed hurricanes in the basin, the long-term (1878–2008) trend in hurricane counts changes from significantly positive to no significant change (with a nominally negative trend). The adjusted hurricane count record is more strongly connected to the difference between main development region (MDR) sea surface temperature (SST) and tropical-mean SST than with MDR SST. These results do not support the hypothesis that the warming of the tropical North Atlantic due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions has caused Atlantic hurricane frequency to increase.”


EU Parliament Votes Down The 30% Emissions Proposal

Roger Helmer

The Eickhout report proposed to raise the EU's emissions reduction target from the current 20% by 2020 to 30%. The Conservative MEP delegation takes the view that it would support 30% only if the rest of the world signed up to the same figure -- and that won't happen.

For myself, I oppose 30% absolutely (and 20% as well), as it will have no effect on climate, but will make energy more expensive, and drive energy-intensive businesses offshore to jurisdictions with lower environmental standards. So we could well end up with two tons of CO2 in India or China to save one ton in the UK.

Higher emissions targets will force up energy prices even more quickly than Chris Huhne's current plans will do, driving more households into fuel poverty and putting thousands of pensioners at real risk of harm from winter cold.

The Guardian has tried to talk up a "rift" between Tory MEPs and the Party in Westminster. In fact, we've agreed to differ (and many Conservative back-benchers in Westminster would support our opposition to 30%).

I am delighted to record that the whole report was voted down today (July 5th) by a substantial margin. It's difficult to predict what will come next, but I can't see the Commission coming forward with legislation based on the 30% target after the parliament has decisively rejected it.



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


5 July, 2011

Germany's alternative to nuclear power

And it's only One And Half Years Old!

Story HERE

A most interesting new paper

It does two things that most Warmists avoid or deny: Admit that there has been no global temperature rise in the 21st century and that natural factors play a big role in global temperature variations -- as big a role as their theorized CO2 effect. Excerpt only below. Key point: They say that aerosols from coal burning have cancelled out the CO2 effect. Yet the data show NO rise in global aerosols

A new paper has been published in PNAS entitled “Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008.”


Given the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008. We find that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings. Declining solar insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations. As such, we find that recent global temperature records are consis- tent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.

The key argument in their paper is that an increase in coal burning (primarily in China) has increased atmospheric sulfate concentration with a resulting global cooling effect.

Aerosol forcing

Sulfate from coal burning is but one source of atmospheric aerosol. AGW Observer provides a recent list of papers on aerosol forcing observations. See especially the Remer et al. paper, Fig 5, which shows no trend in global aerosol optical depth during the period 2000-2006. A plot for East Asia also shows no trend regional aerosol optical depth.

I also checked to see what CMIP5 is using for aerosol forcing, see here, but there doesn’t seem to be any simple way to visualize whatever is being used. I found a paper by Jones et al., see Fig. 10, that appears to be the CMIP5 aerosol forcing. Looking at the black curves (historical, to 2005), it is seen that sulfur dioxide emissions peaked during 1960-1980, and then have steadily decreased (a tiny uptick after 2005 is seen in some of the future scenarios). Fossil fuel black carbon has shown a stead increase since 1950, as has fossil fuel organic carbon. I don’t seen any signal in the total aerosol emissions that resembles the coal emissions with a flat trajectory since 1985 and an uptick after 2004 (although the historical data ends in 2005).

Judith Curry comments: Their argument is totally unconvincing to me. However, the link between flat/cooling global temperature and increased coal burning in China is certainly an interesting argument from a political perspective. The scientific motivation for this article seems to be that that scientists understand the evolution of global temperature forcing and that the answer is forced variability (not natural internal variability), and this explanation of the recent lack of warming supports a similar argument for the cooling between 1940 and 1970. The political consequence of this article seems to be that the simplest solution to global warming is for the Chinese to burn more coal, which they intend to do anyways.

And finally, with the civil heretic discussion fresh in my mind, I checked the personal web pages of each of the co-authors: Robert K. Kaufmann, Heikki Kauppi, Michael L. Mann (not Michael E. Mann, of hockeystick fame), and James H. Stock. These authors (individually and collectively) apparently know a heck of a lot less about atmospheric aerosols (i.e. pretty much nothing) than Freeman Dyson knows about climate change. The authors don’t seem to know much about attribution, either.


Scottish government signals end to nuclear power opposition

Energy minister says SNP is 'perfectly open' to extending the life of existing nuclear power stations

The Scottish government has shifted away from its hardline opposition to nuclear power after the energy minister said there was a "rational case" for extending the life of Scotland's two nuclear plants.

Fergus Ewing, the energy minister, told MSPs on Thursday that the Scottish National party (SNP) government was "perfectly open" to the continued use of Hunterston and Torness power stations, to ensure there was security of supply.

The Conservative opposition and environmental campaigners said this was a marked change in the government's stance, as the SNP has been opposed to the entire principle of nuclear power, a policy long regarded as a strict article of faith for its activists and many backbenchers.

Environment campaigners were stunned by Ewing's statement, claiming it undermined his statements last month that nuclear energy had no future after the Fukushima disaster and after Germany's announcement it was to phase out nuclear power.

They added that Alex Salmond had led the SNP to a landslide victory in the Scottish elections in May partly on a promise that 100% of Scotland's domestic electricity needs would be met by renewable energy by 2020.

Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland, said the minister's statement was "deeply disturbing and utterly disappointing."

He added: "Fergus Ewing's statement to the Scottish parliament that the SNP is now 'perfectly open' to extending the life of Scotland's nuclear power stations can only be interpreted as a significant policy shift. The SNP has always been viewed as anti-nuclear and I'm sure many SNP voters will feel quite misled when they learn that this is not the case anymore."

In a joint letter they only recently sent to Ewing, FoE Scotland, WWF Scotland and Nuclear Free Local Authorities Scotland urged the minister to oppose plans to extend the life of two reactors at Hunterston B until 2021 or 2026 which are now being drawn up by its operator EDF.

They said that Hunterston B, on the coast of Ayrshire, will be 40 years old when its current licence runs out in 2016. It was already the focus of safety concerns, and the campaigners urged Ewing to commission an independent review of the risks of continuing to operate its reactors.

Scotland's newest nuclear power station at Torness near Edinburgh, which had to be shut down this week because of sudden influx of jellyfish around its water intake pipe, is due to operate until 2023.

Ewing's statement implied the SNP would also accept extending Torness's life further until the late 2020s or beyond, making the SNP's opposition to new nuclear power stations largely meaningless.

Jackson Carlaw, the Conservative climate change spokesman, said: "This is an unexpected yet welcome U-turn from the SNP government. Coming after years of uncompromising anti-nuclear rhetoric, I suspect it is one they will not wish to be reminded of too often.

"For so long the SNP has repeatedly set its face against any on-going role for nuclear to secure both a low carbon solution and a continuity of energy supply throughout this decade, voting against a Scottish Conservative amendment to achieve just that only a few weeks ago."

Ewing, speaking in a Holyrood debate on his government's new "route map" for achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2020, said his government was still opposed to building any new power stations.

The minister, appointed to the energy post after Salmond's landslide victory in the May Scottish elections, said: "Turning to the question about the extension of the life of nuclear power stations, that is something which we accept should be considered rationally.

"We are perfectly open to an extension of the life of the existing nuclear power stations provided that case is justified on economic and environmental grounds and therefore we recognise that that case exists and it exists because of the need to secure security of supply. "That is something that we have always recognised whilst we are opposed clearly to building new nuclear power stations."

A Scottish government spokesman denied there had been any change in policy. He said the SNP government had always accepted that the life of Hunterston and Torness could be extended, and had said so when the plans for Hunterston were outlined in 2007.

He added that the devolved parliament at Holyrood had no power to prevent the licence of an existing nuclear station from being extended, as that authority rested with the UK government. It could only block new nuclear plants through the planning process.


Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity

During the past 6-years since Hurricane Katrina, global tropical cyclone frequency and energy have decreased dramatically, and are currently at near-historical record lows. According to a new peer-reviewed research paper accepted to be published, only 69 tropical storms were observed globally during 2010, the fewest in almost 40-years of reliable records.

Furthermore, when each storm's intensity and duration were taken into account, the total global tropical cyclone accumulated energy (ACE) was found to have fallen by half to the lowest level since 1977.

In his new paper, "Recent historically low global tropical cyclone activity", Dr. Ryan Maue, a meteorologist from Florida State University, examined the last 40-years of global hurricane records and found strikingly large variability in both tropical cyclone frequency and energy from year-to-year. Since 2007, global tropical cyclone activity has decreased dramatically and has continued at near-historical low levels. Indeed, only 64 tropical cyclones were observed globally in the 12-months from June 2010 - May 2011, nearly 23-storms below average obliterating the previous record low set in 1977.

On average, the North Atlantic including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea accounts for about 1/8 of total global tropical cyclone energy and frequency. However in 2010, the Atlantic saw 19 tropical storms, of which 12 became hurricanes as expected (and forecasted) due to the intense La Nina event and continued positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The Atlantic Ocean's accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) corresponded to about 1/3 of the global calendar year output while the Western North Pacific typhoon season experienced a record few number. Seasonal forecasters of Atlantic hurricanes expect a similar but somewhat tempered outcome for the 2011 season, which has yet to get underway.

While the North Atlantic continued a 16-year period of above-normal activity in 2010, the North Pacific including the warm tropical waters from China to Mexico experienced the quietest tropical cyclone season in at least 40-years of historical records. Similarly, the most recent Southern Hemisphere cyclone season, except for the disastrous impacts of Yasi, was also notably below average. All told through June 27, 2011, overall global accumulated cyclone energy and frequency has settled into a period of record inactivity.


Proof that the British Government is tilting at windmills

The policy on which our national energy strategy is now centred is a ludicrously expensive, self-defeating joke, says Christopher Booker.

In the week when it was reported that 20 per cent of the EU's fast-soaring, trillion-euro budget may soon be spent on "fighting climate change", it was timely that Britain's energy companies should have met with the Department of Energy and Climate Change to raise one of the best-hidden secrets of our Government's obsession with wind power.

Centrica and other energy companies last week told DECC that, if Britain is to spend £100 billion on building thousands of wind turbines, it will require the building of 17 new gas-fired power stations simply to provide back-up for all those times when the wind drops and the windmills produce even less power than usual.

We will thus be landed in the ludicrous position of having to spend an additional £10 billion on those 17 dedicated power stations, which will be kept running on "spinning reserve", 24 hours a day, just to make up for the fundamental problem of wind turbines. This is that their power continually fluctuates anywhere between full capacity to zero (where it often stood last winter, when national electricity demand was at a peak). So unless back-up power is instantly available to match any shortfall, the lights will go out.

Two things make this even more absurd. One, as the energy companies pointed out to DECC, is that it will be amazingly costly and wildly uneconomical, since the dedicated power plants will often have to run at a low rate of efficiency, burning gas but not producing electricity. This will add billions more to our fuel bills for no practical purpose. The other absurdity, as recent detailed studies have confirmed, is that gas-fired power stations running on "spinning reserve" chuck out much more CO2 than when they are running at full efficiency – thus negating any savings in CO2 emissions supposedly achieved by the windmills themselves.

Is there no longer anyone around at DECC who is familiar with these very basic practical points? The policy on which our national energy strategy is now centred is a ludicrously expensive, self-defeating joke, which will achieve no benefits whatever – even if you are among the diminishing number of people who still believe that man-made CO2 is causing catastrophic climate change.

Unfortunately, among those still in the grip of these fantasies are David Cameron, Chris Huhne and the EU, who between them are now responsible for Britain's energy policy. I'm afraid we are in the hands of very dangerous children, upon whose deranged wishful thinking a large part of our country's future depends.


'Petty thief' lifts LNP climate stance

The headline above and the text below are a classical example of the Green/Left playing the man and not the ball -- what logicians call an "ad hominem" fallacy.

President Klaus obviously did NOT steal ANYTHING under the glare of the TV lights. He assumed the pen was swag -- as pens are in fact the most common form of swag. I have some myself. The other vague accusations are equally poorly founded

Note that not one word of anything that Klaus has ever said was quoted. The article is pure schoolboy sniggering

Background: The LNP is the main conservative party in my home State of Queensland. Campbell Newman is its leader

AN EASTERN European President accused of having sticky fingers, being a serial adulterer and having had links to secret police is now the Liberal National Party's latest weapon against climate change scientists.

Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus will address an audience in Brisbane next month about the scientific flaws behind global warming.

Queensland LNP Senator Ron Boswell will introduce the colourful President at the $160-plate lunch hosted by conservative think-tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.Queensland LNP leader Campbell Newman said he would not attend the event, but Treasurer Andrew Fraser pounced on the revelations, labelling the LNP as "environmental Neanderthals".

Brochures obtained by The Sunday Mail show pictures of a smiling Senator Boswell, who has questioned man-made climate change, and a stern-looking President Klaus.

Hailed as "the world's leading critic of global warming ideology", President Klaus became an internet sensation earlier this year when he was spotted pocketing a jewel-encrusted pen during a press conference with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Footage went viral when Czech TV broadcast the video of their leader, who was clearly taken with the pen. The station put red circles and arrows highlighting the pen as it was taken from the case and shuffled to both hands behind his back until it reached his pocket. It was posted online with a "crime scene" soundtrack, media reports said.

Overseas newspapers have revealed his affairs with younger women and his alleged former job with the secret police.

President Klaus's visit will come just weeks after UK climate change denier Lord Christopher Monckton likened Australian economist Ross Garnaut to Hitler for his views on implementing measures to tackle climate change. He later apologised.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet refused to attack the Czech Republic President but he took a swipe at Coalition MPs who refused to accept the science.

Mr Fraser said Mr Newman only believed in climate change when he was in Brisbane. "As soon as he steps west of the Great Dividing Range, the man channels (LNP Senator) Barnaby Joyce and becomes a sceptic," he said. "People are entitled to their views on climate change but it's hard to cop when the LNP has more than one."

Mr Newman said he welcomed all debate about climate change.



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


4 July, 2011

260 Years of "Warming" in S. America

The oldest thermometer record in S. America is Lima:

It shows a steady median temperature of about 23°C.

The forecast this week for Lima on shows a steady temperature of 22°C.

That's 260 year of S. American "warming."

Warming Ocean Could Melt Ice Faster Than Thought

This is a big stretch. Who cares what sea ice does? It CAN'T raise the sea level. The authors below know that but say that melting the sea ice could affect glacial ice at the margins. And so it might, very marginally. But for that to happen ALL the sea ice would have to melt and there is no sign of that

Warming air from climate change isn't the only thing that will speed ice melting near the poles – so will the warming water beneath the ice, a new study points out.

Increased melting of ice in Greenland and parts of Antarctica has been reported as a consequence of global warming, potentially raising sea levels. But little attention has been paid to the impact of warmer water beneath the ice.

Now, Jianjun Yin of the University of Arizona and colleagues report the warming water could mean polar ice melting faster than had been expected. Their report was published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

While melting floating ice won't raise sea level, ice flowing into the sea from glaciers often reaches the bottom, and grounded ice melted by warm water around it can produce added water to the sea.

"Ocean warming is very important compared to atmospheric warming because water has a much larger heat capacity than air," Yin explained. "If you put an ice cube in a warm room, it will melt in several hours. But if you put an ice cube in a cup of warm water, it will disappear in just minutes."

In addition, Yin explained, if floating ice along the coastal areas melts it will allow the flow of glaciers to accelerate, bringing more ice into the seas.

"This mean that both Greenland and Antarctica are probably going to melt faster than the scientific community previously thought," co-author Jonathan T. Overpeck said in a statement.


Sea to be 83 Feet further Inland by 2020?

Just another example of how you can make any ridiculous prediction of doom, providing it’s far enough in the future that everyone will have forgotten about it amidst the kerfuffle of the latest, updated predictions. Here’s a 1988 news report on the findings of the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, the forerunner to the IPCC:
WASHINGTON – A group of scientists is offering a sober weather forecast for the year 2020: the planet’s average temperature hitting a 10,000 year high, and the world’s oceans surging an average of 83 feet inland.

Actually, the prediction that the sea would soon be swallowing up a massive 83 feet of shoreline around the world came not from the WMO, but was an extrapolation of its findings by that sober and well-respected scientist and environmental campaigner, Michael Oppenheimer. “Things are going to change too fast” Oppenheimer is reported to have said, in a comment typical of the cautious, non-hysterical manner he is widely famed for.

Michael Oppenheimer is currently a lead author with the IPCC. It is not known whether he still expects the world to lose 83 feet of coast within the next nine years or not.


Climate fraudster Made Top UN Weatherman

Jim Salinger, one of the scientists suspected of criminal misconduct in the Climategate scandal has been elected to the prestigious role of President of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Climate skeptics are aghast at the news.

Salinger remains a suspected accomplice in the tight knit international clique of climatologists involved in the data corruption scandal at the University of East Anglia (UEA), England. Commenting on that ongoing criminal probe, Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Detective Superintendent Julian Gregory said:

“This has been a complex investigation, undertaken in a global context and requiring detailed and time consuming lines of enquiry. Due to the sensitivity of the investigation it has not been possible to share details of enquiries with the media and the public and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time.”

Pointedly, Salinger had been an employee of the UEA before his appointment at the New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). But was fired after the Climategate scandal hit the headlines. In an ironic twist it’s the Kiwi government department now trumpeting his new WMO appointment on the NIWA website.

Joe Olson of the Slayers group of skeptics was quick to comment, “This is how the greens recycle their 'waste' – it gets turned into valuable 'compost.’ Can he possibly be embarrassed into retirement? ”

Legal Defeat for Global Warming in Kiwigate Scandal

After the UEA scandal broke Salinger was named and shamed by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) in its article ‘NIWA Challenged to Show Why and How Temperature Records Were Adjusted’ (February 7, 2010) in a second climate data-rigging calamity dubbed ‘Kiwigate.’ Anomalies in the NZ temperature records appear eerily similar to those in Climategate.

NZSSC took NIWA to court and exposed Salinger and his accomplices for creating a warming trend for that nation’s climate that is not borne out by the actual temperature record.


Despite a marked increase in California grape production, alarmist study predicts collapse of wine industry

This is utter nonsense. As Brits and Swedes particularly know, Australia is a major supplier of good quality wine to the rest of the world and wine production in Australia has moved both much further South and much further North in the last 20 years -- indicating the wide climatic range that can produce good wine. Grapes are now being grown even in the tropics

A study released today from Stanford University, aka Global Warming Central, claims the California wine industry will collapse due to global warming, despite the marked increase in California grape production of approximately 400% along the North Coast, 2500% along the Central Coast, 1500% in the Central Valley, and 800% in the Southern Valley of California over the past 30 years of global warming.

In the next 30 years, high-value vineyards in Northern California could shrink by 50% because of global warming, according to a new Stanford University study released Thursday.

Applying scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, scientists used a climate system computer model and found that Napa and Santa Barbara counties could experience very hot days during the growing season, with temperatures reaching 95 Fahrenheit or higher. The number of hot days will be greater, they say, with about 10 more sweltering days than usual.

As a result, the amount of grape-growing land is projected to decline over the next three decades, the authors wrote. "There will likely be significant localized temperature changes over the next three decades," said Noah Diffenbaugh, coauthor of the study and a center fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. "One of our motivations for the study was to identify the potential impact of those changes, and also to identify the opportunities for growers to take action and adapt."

High-value growers in California may need to take into account warmer weather and integrate climate information into their cultivation and practices, Diffenbaugh said. Two counties that he found would have cooler temperatures, Yamhill County in Oregon and Walla Walla County in Washington, can prepare for more optimal growing seasons.

"It's risky for a grower to make decisions that consider climate change, because those decisions could be expensive and the climate may not change exactly as we expect," Diffenbaugh said. "But there's also risk in decisions that ignore global warming, because we're finding that there are likely to be significant localized changes in the near term."

The peer-reviewed study, which has yet to undergo the scrutiny of the larger scientific community, is based on the Copenhagen Accords greenhouse gas target of 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline, or about a 23% increase in atmosphere gases by 2040. This could raise the average global temperature by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, a conservative scenario, said Diffenbaugh.

Researchers compared the computer model’s simulations with actual weather data collected between 1960 and 2010 to see if their model could accurately replicate past temperatures. They combined new and historical data and found that all four counties were likely to experience higher average temperatures during growing seasons.
Certain varietals, such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, grow at average temperatures of 68 F, with fewer than 30 hot days. But with temperatures projected to rise by 2 degrees and 10 more hot days, hospitable conditions for growing would decrease.


German Rapper mocks Corrupt Climate Science – Skeptic Video becoming popular

I expected this video to have a few dozen, or maybe a few hundred viewers at most, but surprisingly already more than 25,000 have watched it so far – not bad.

Too bad there isn’t an English version, or at least English subtitles. (I’ve provided a translation of the lyrics below).

It is titled: "Climate Change (Climate Lies, Climate Swindle…)"

This video is the work of Kilez More, see The politically misfitted rapper in the video tells us that warmist climate science is a hoax, is all about money and control, and that the science is cooked up at the CRU and other institutes. I don’t know who is behind the video – could even be some renegade fringe types, who knows.

So are the youth turning against the Great Hoax? Looks that way.

I took a shot at translating the German lyrics in English below (first 2 parts only!). Of course you lose some doing that, and you can’t get the rhymes in. My English version below is only to give non-German readers and listeners the gist of the lyrics. Readers are welcome and urged to improve it.

Kilez More – Climate Change Lyrics in English)
You thinking of climate change and you’re screaming for laws
You’re thinking about CO2 and saying “let’s stop it”
Global catastrophes happening all because of man
We did too much driving, now the planet is too warm
If we don’t do something soon then the ice will melt
A flood is gonna kill us and the future’s gonna fall
No it aint…I’m telling you you’re off the wall
Man aint causing climate change, yeah you
think I’m crazy and making no sense
But just look at the climate institutes and you’ll see
what they do, they’re fudging the data making it hot
We just found out…their studies are made up
A hacker got in the computer and the database
Now read the mails from the CRU - they’ll make you laugh
They’re cooking the numbers, the temperature is up
Listen to me! It’s all a fraud and enough is enough

Climate change was not made by man
No… It’s only to keep the world in fear
All those who are pimpin it are being called experts
And the brothers who diss it are getting labelled sick
Climate change was not caused by man
No…it’s only to keep the world in fear
But I don’t believe it, and so I’m getting labelled sick
But it’s the price you pay when you think for yourself

Climate change is normal, it’s always been around
We aint done a thing, history shows us so
History books show in 1100 the planet was warm
In North England people were pickin grapes and making wine
And that wasn’t because of factories run by knights and
The shield industry driving the climate up
Then in sixteen hundred the Baltic froze over and it
Wasn’t because they stopped CO2 with ‘reform’
That’s pure arrogance when man thinks he’s got the power
To control the whole climate on the entire globe
Truth is only 1 to 3 percent comes from man
Comes from processes that are natural – so they’re lying
Inside the brainless walls of these fear-mongering crackpots
They want more power, more money, more control, more global tax
And every skeptic is getting branded by them
Being defamed and compared to Holocaust deniers

Climate change was not made by man
No… It’s only to keep the world in fear
All those who are pimpin it are being called experts
And the brothers who diss it are labelled sick
Climate change was not caused by man
No…it’s only to keep the world in fear
But I don’t believe it, and so I’m getting labelled sick
But it’s the price you pay when you think for yourself



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


3 July, 2011

The Muir Russell inquiry was in the pocket of the UEA -- whom they were supposed to be investigating

And in the best Green/Left tradition, the UEA lied about that. A short excerpt below

More developments from Bishop Hill on the strange relationship between the University of East Anglia and the supposedly “independent” Muir Russell review. On yet another occasion, the University gave untrue answers in order to avoid FOI disclosure, an untrue answer that led to several follow-up FOI requests that they were unable to subvert, but which ultimately showed the mendacity of the original refusal.

In this case, the original request from David Holland in December 2010 (see CA post here) was for the documents, that “in the view of the University, comprises the contractual basis under which Sir Muir and his team operated and under which the University was contractually obliged to pay the sums that you have disclosed”. The request was not limited to Muir Russell, but included, for example, the retainer of professionals, including Luther Pendragon and lawyers.
Please provide me copies of the Correspondence between the University and Sir Muir Russell that, in the view of the University, comprises the contractual basis under which Sir Muir and his team operated and under which the University was contractually obliged to pay the sums that you have disclosed of what, I assume, is taxpayers money.

Please advise me as to how the disbursements were made. For instance, were the fees of the legal advisors paid directly by the University? If not who paid and how were they reimbursed.

In its response, the University denied the existence of relevant documents:
The University does not consider that there was a contractual relationship with Sir Muir Russell or the inquiry team; it was by way of a public appointment (as is commonplace in these circumstances). Nonetheless, it may be helpful to you in understanding the terms on which the appointment was made if we refer you to the agreed terms of reference (see:, p.22)


In the past, we’ve speculated on what the Climate Change Email Review was as a legal entity – most of which has resulted from disinformation from the University of East Anglia.

After examining the invoices, invoice approval process and invoice payment process, I don’t think that there can be any serious doubt as to the legal status of the Climate Change Email Review: that it was nothing more than a university committee with outside members.

We now know (and while we may have suspected this, we did not “know” this) that the Review did not have a bank account nor did it invoice the university for interim payments nor did it pay its members according to invoices and then re-invoice the university. It bore no marks of independent legal existence.

As a comparison, consider the Investigation Committee formed by Penn State in respect to Mann. Let’s suppose that such an Investigation Committee established a mailing address in a separate building. That wouldn’t establish a legal existence for the Investigation Committee separate from the University. Suppose now that the Investigation Committee included members from another university or from a professional society. It still remains a university committee with outside consultants. Same thing applies here even when all the members are outside consultants.

The invoices show that the Muir Russell Email Review was a university committee with outside members. Muir Russell was nothing more than a consultant to the university with a fee agreement. The university directly paid all invoices sent to the committee and, in many cases (as shown above) the invoices were directly approved and paid within the registrar’s office.


Has Warmism lost its way

Even The Guardian (below) seems to think so: "Anti-nuclear, anti-capitalist, anti-flying: the green movement may have alienated more people than it has won over, and there are now calls for a new kind of environmentalism"

In 2008 prizewinning environmentalist author Mark Lynas experienced a "eureka moment". Reading the hostile comments underneath an article outlining his objections to GM foods on the Guardian website, he decided his critics were probably right.

A couple of years later, Lynas had another eureka moment when he read Stewart Brand's book, Whole Earth Discipline, in which the American writer tore up the green rulebook and came out in favour of urbanisation, nuclear power and genetic engineering. A few months ago, Lynas appeared in a TV documentary, What the Green Movement Got Wrong, alongside Brand – and inside the ruins of Chernobyl which, he argued, had not been nearly as devastating a disaster as most people think.

Next week Lynas publishes a new book, The God Species: How the Planet Can Survive the Age of Humans, in which he takes his argument with the green movement a step further. The book accuses the greens of having helped cause climate change through their opposition to nuclear power, and calls this a "gargantuan error, and one that will echo down the ages".

"Anyone who still marches against nuclear today," he writes, "as many thousands of people did in Germany following the Fukushima accident, is in my view just as bad for the climate as textbook eco-villains like the big oil companies."

The idea for Lynas's new book came to him in another "moment of revelation" two years ago. Lynas, who is a part-time climate adviser to the Maldives government (he is also a visiting researcher at Oxford university), was invited to sit in on the meetings of a group of scientists in Sweden. The group were aiming to flesh out the concept of "planetary boundaries", coined by sustainability expert Johan Rockström.

The best-known of these so-called boundaries is the climate-change one – the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But there are boundaries too for biodiversity, nitrogen, and ocean acidification. The idea is that, beyond these limits, Earth's systems will begin to break down.

Lynas's revelation was that these new rules about how to live on Earth should immediately replace many older green ideas, and over drinks he and Rockström agreed that Lynas would write a book with the aim of popularising them. But the most attention-grabbing passages in the book come in Lynas's denunciations of the green movement, and when we talk he makes no attempt to play them down. Instead he draws my attention to his blog, where over the past fortnight he has enthusiastically joined in attacks on a recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report on renewable energy. And he argues that "the green movement in itself is dying – I'm an environmentalist but not a green".

Lynas, who describes himself as a "recovering activist", was involved in direct action in his student days. He joined protests against the Newbury bypass and Manchester airport, and was heavily involved in the anti-GM movement of the 1990s, ripping up sweetcorn and sugarbeet crops from fields in East Anglia, and on occasion being chased by police and police dogs.

But is he a maverick iconoclast, stirring up controversy for the media by turning on his old allies? Or are the views expressed in his book symptomatic of broader divisions?

Eighteen months after the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit, there are signs of wider frustration. With no sign of progress in setting global emissions limits, a steady stream of reports gives cause for alarm to those who are already worried. Last week it was the turn of the oceans, with a warning about pollution and overfishing, last month a sudden upsurge in Amazon deforestation. This week climate sceptic Michele Bachmann launched her bid to become the next US president, while the EU was forced to put off a vote toughening emissions targets following reports that Tory MEPs were planning to reject it.

"People think that getting some publicity, having some tea with a minister and civil servants, lobbying parliamentarians, is making a difference, but it's not," says Charles Secrett, the former Friends of the Earth director who two weeks ago wrote an article accusing the organisation of being bureaucratic and out of touch. "Protest ain't going to win the day. Nor is a sort of incremental engagement with government and industry. The movement as a whole has got to collaborate more, pool resources – money, staff, ideas – and generate real cross-party pressure."

Novelist Ian McEwan spent years researching renewable energy for his 2010 novel, Solar, and says when he began "there was a positive mood for action, a public awakening. Now I think everyone has fallen back to sleep. Copenhagen was something of a fiasco, and the UEA emails didn't help. And the ideological deniers are well organised. At this point I don't see change coming from a bottom-up process, from a kind of peasants' revolt. I think the consumer moment has passed and people have got bored."

This feeling of a missed opportunity, and of 2009 as a high-water mark in public engagement with the issues, finds many echoes. Though activists trumpet their recent successes in having seen off the third runway at Heathrow and a new fleet of coal-fired power stations, as well as helping persuade David Cameron to commit the UK to a strict timetable for cutting emissions, they admit that disappointment after Copenhagen, and uncertainty about the future, have been difficult to manage.

Tamsin Omond of direct action group Climate Rush remembers this is a heady time. "2009 was the year we said we would do one action a month, and we did. Everyone saw this as the one chance and the feeling of momentum – that we only had to work really hard until December, and then we could have a rest – was really present. Everything we did would get in the papers and journalists were phoning up all the time. I was completely caught up in it."

I was caught up in it myself: in 2009 I joined the Green party and stood as a candidate in a council byelection a few months before Caroline Lucas was elected Britain's first Green MP. It was the year Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong had the idea for 10:10, on her way to a debate with Ed Miliband, and launched the campaign at Tate Modern and in a special issue of G2. And it was the year newspapers around the world, led by the Guardian in an unprecedented gesture of editorial solidarity, printed the same leading article demanding action on global warming on their front pages.

Post-Copenhagen, consensus is harder to find. The recent ructions boil down to three issues. The first is nuclear power, with Guardian columnist George Monbiot, former Greenpeace director Stephen Tindale and McEwan among those to agree with Lynas that atomic energy is vital if we are to wean the world off fossil fuels.

Another disagreement is summed up by Charles Secrett's complaints about Friends of the Earth. Some activists believe that the big, long-established NGOs need to get better at mobilising their supporters and achieving a greater degree of focus and coordination, as well as building up links with nimbler and more dynamic direct-action campaigns.

But the biggest issue of all is the nature of environmental politics. Is the green movement a leftwing, anti-capitalist movement? Mark Lynas believes it is, and that those who style themselves as greens should be marginalised and allowed to die off so that they can be replaced by a new breed of market-friendly environmentalists like him. "If it becomes a culture war like the debate over abortion or something, you can't win," he says. "I want an environmental movement that is happy with capitalism, which goes out there and says yes rather than no, and is rigorous about the way it treats science. The green movement needs a clause-four moment – the Labour party had to go through that."

Those within the green mainstream reject this analysis outright. Jonathon Porritt argues that social justice is intrinsic to the sustainability agenda, while Greenpeace director John Sauven points out that the charity has worked closely with all the main political parties in Britain and with multinational corporations abroad. "It's a very broad camp, isn't it? On the one hand you've got the anti-capitalists, and then you've got quite a strong body within the Conservative party that takes the environmental agenda very seriously – John Gummer's quality of life report was an excellent piece of work."

He believes Lynas over-eggs the nuclear point, and that the power of the economic and political interests aligned against change – above all the US fossil fuel lobby – must be understood. Others point out that there is already a strong emphasis on green growth and development, and the economic opportunity represented by the new industrial revolution that we need to carry us into a post-carbon world.

But Lynas is not alone in believing that the intense focus on aviation has been offputting, and there is general agreement that Britain must learn from the US, where many Tea Party supporters believe climate science is a socialist conspiracy. This week energy minister Greg Barker suggested that a debate started by Margaret Thatcher had been hijacked by the centre left.

Campaigners cite the Heathrow and forestry protests as examples of what a broader coalition of interests can achieve if they go about it in the right way. Climate Rush's Tamsin Omond coordinated a "Saving the Forests" letter to the Daily Telegraph with The Lady editor Rachel Johnson, and says: "If we haven't been good enough at appealing to people across the board then we are missing a trick. We are all on the same planet, we have a ballooning population, diminishing resources and a changing climate, and we really need to grow up and see the situation for what it is. You can say these things to people who have never voted anything other than Tory. I have said them and I don't think it's impossible at all. We need to be talking to everyone."

McEwan says the green movement is not to blame if climate change has slipped down the agenda. "I think it's got a lot to do with human nature. Most issues have a narrative, with the sense of an ending or resolution – the referendum is passed, the government falls – but this really is a lifetime story, and not just our lifetime, but our children's and their children's. We are decades away from the point where we say, 'We've finally deflected the rising curve of Co2 emissions, so let's have one last push to fix it for good.' We've made no impact on this rising curve as yet, and it's hard to keep interest and optimism alive."

And he adds: "I've never voted for the Tories, but I'd make my judgments at the next general election based entirely on the respective parties' attitudes and intentions in matters of climate change. This is the overwhelming issue that encloses all others. If Cameron and friends came up with a more feasible and effective plan than Miliband, then I would have to vote for it. I think that's all we, as citizens, can do."


Global Warming And Global Food Security

Almost every major American daily newspaper picked up an article published earlier this month by New York Times scribe Justin Gillis entitled “A Warming Planet Struggles to Feed Itself.”

How many times have we read, in the last 50 years, that this or that environmental apocalypse is going to starve the world? I got my doctorate on the wings of one; at that time it was called “global cooling,” after a 1974 CIA report leaked to the Times said that rapidly cooling planetary temperatures could usher in an era of heightened global instability caused by food shortages.

In my lifetime there have been a large number of predicted nutritional apocalypses, caused by overpopulation, lack of biological diversity in our food supply, genetic engineering run amok, acid rain, too little ozone, too much ozone and, finally, global warming. If there were futures on the end of the world, I’d go short. The wrong bet won’t matter anyway.

Facts: Global surface temperature rose about three-fourths of a degree Celsius in the 20th century. U.S. corn yields quintupled. Life expectancy doubled. People got fat. Global warming didn’t cause all of this, but increased atmospheric carbon dioxide directly stimulated plant growth. Further, greenhouse warming takes place more in the winter, which lengthens growing seasons. With adequate water, plants then fix and yield more carbohydrate.

While doing my dissertation I learned a few things about world crops. Serial adoption of new technologies produces a nearly constant increase in yields. Greater fertilizer application, improved response to fertilizer, better tractor technology, better tillage practices, old-fashioned genetic selection, and new-fashioned genetic engineering all conspire to raise yields, year after year.

Weather and climate have something to do with yields, too. Seasonal rainfall can vary a lot from year-to-year. That’s “weather.” If dry years become dry decades (that’s “climate”) farmers will switch from corn to grain sorghum, or, where possible, wheat. Breeders and scientists will continue to develop more water-efficient plants and agricultural technologies, such as no-till production.

Adaptation even applies to the home garden. The tomato variety “heat wave” sets fruit at higher temperatures than traditional cultivars.

However, Gillis claims that “[t]he rapid growth in farm output that defined the late 20th century has slowed” because of global warming. His own figures show this is wrong. The increasing trend in world crop yields from 1960 to 1980 is exactly the same as from 1980 to 2010. And per capita grain production is rising, not falling.

Gillis more rightly could have blamed any loss in per capita consumption on the stupid (I choose my words carefully) global warming policy that greens once touted: ethanol production from corn.

Even Al Gore now admits that corn-based ethanol produces more carbon dioxide than it saves. But as a result of recent ethanol policy, we are the first nation in world history to burn up its food supply to please a political faction.

Indur Goklany, a much-published scholar on the consequences of global warming policies, recently calculated that in 2010 alone, diversion of grain to biofuels (like ethanol) caused nearly 200,000 excess deaths in the developing world because of increased prices.

Roger Pielke, Jr., another noteworthy student of global warming science and policy, concurs. Regarding Gillis’ piece, he says: “The carbon dioxide-centric focus on the article provides a nice illustration of how an obsession with ‘global warming’ can serve to distract attention from factors that actually matter more for issues of human and environmental concern.”

Ever since people noticed how robust the increase of crop yields is, others have been saying that it must soon stop. This “limits to growth” argument is as tired as a farmer at the end of harvest. Two weeks ago, it was announced at the Global Wheat Rust Symposium that scientists are now producing “super varieties” of pathogen-resistant grain, which will tack another 15% onto yield. As the new strain is adopted, it will continue the linear upward trend in wheat yield for at least another decade.

I continue to be amazed at how little the facts are checked on global warming, even when writing for the so-called newspapers of record. Crop yields have increased at a constant rate despite changes in global temperature. Per capita grain production is going up, and stupid policies — not global warming — are putting people’s food security at risk.


Note: News just in provides graphic confirmation of the points made above: U.S. farmers have already reacted to government-produced corn shortages by producing lots more of it
The U.S. corn supply is far larger than thought and a bumper crop could be on the way, the Agriculture Department said on Thursday in a report that shocked traders and shoved grain markets sharply lower.

Farmers defied expectations by planting significantly more corn acres despite rain and floods, and sky-high prices curbed demand which left June 1 stockpiles 11 percent larger than traders had predicted.

The dramatic turnaround from fears of bare-bones supplies could signal comfortable supply levels for the coming year and ease fears about high world food prices.


British Government invests £670,000 trying to create strawberry resistant to climate change

Wouldn't it be simpler to let strawberry cultivation move further North? And Florida strawberry growers will be amazed to hear that strawberries don't grown in warm climates. I kinda think that importing a few cultivars from Florida would cost a lot less than £670,000

Scientists are trying to create new types of strawberries which are resistant to climate change to ensure the fruit stays at the top of Britain's summer menu. Consumer demand for fresh strawberries in the UK has been growing since the early 1990s and at Wimbledon alone, tennis fans consume an estimated 60,000lb during the fortnight-long tennis tournament.

Now scientists at East Malling Research are attempting to develop new varieties of strawberries which are better able to cope with the predicted impacts of rising temperatures in the UK, including hotter, drier summers. It is hoped the new types of strawberry will need less water and chemicals to grow, reducing their environmental impact.

The Environment Department, which is funding the research, said varieties were being bred by crossing UK and foreign types of strawberries with traits such as being more disease resistant, producing a large amount of fruit or tolerance to higher temperatures. The new strawberries are being grown in field trials and assessed in the £670,000 research project.

Dr David Simpson, from East Malling Research, said: 'Consumer demand for fresh strawberries in the UK has been growing year-on-year since the early 1990s. 'The British growers have done a great job of increasing their productivity to satisfy demand between April and October.

'The future will be challenging due to the impacts of climate change and the withdrawal of many pesticides, but the breeding programme at EMR is using the latest scientific approaches to develop a range of varieties that will meet the needs of our growers for the future.'

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: 'Strawberries are quite simply the taste of the summer, as inherently British as Wimbledon itself. 'Innovative research such as this may revolutionise the way we grow the nation's favourite berry.'


Why do Warmists run from debate?

Andrew Bolt reports from Australia

Tom Switzer, editor of the Spectator, is the latest to suffer from the warming lobby's deliberate strategy to refuse a debate:
Allow us to do some selfpromotion: on 3 August at Tattersalls Club in Sydney, this magazine is holding a debate on the proposition, `A carbon tax is needed to combat global warming.' On the affirmative side will be former opposition leaders Mark Latham and John Hewson, as well as the distinguished University of NSW climatologist Benjamin McNeil; against the resolution will be Margaret Thatcher's Chancellor of the Exchequer and bestselling author Nigel Lawson, former Keating government minister Gary Johns and scientist and author Ian Plimer.

It promises to be a lively evening, though The Spectator Australia can reveal that it was a struggle to fill the affirmative slate - something that seems curious to say the least. Despite sending invitations months in advance, it was very hard to attract the leading climate authorities and activists to argue in favour of the tax. Among those who declined the invitation were ... Greg Combet, Christine Milne, Tim Flannery, Ross Garnaut and Clive Hamilton.

This is odd, given that two are prominent warmist politicians (Climate Minister Combet and Greens climate spokeswoman Milne) bound to vote for a carbon tax, and two more, Professors Garnaut and Flannery, are bought-and-paid-for government advocates for `action' on climate change. Professor Flannery, in fact, is contracted to receive $720,000 in taxpayer dollars for his four-year part-time gig.Perhaps the debate was scheduled for one of his nights off.

Other examples of this tactic? The following warmists have all refused invitations to come on The Bolt Report: Julia Gillard, Greg Combet, Tim Flannery, Ross Garnaut, Simon Sheikh, Cate Blanchett, Drew Hutton, Michael Caton, Don Henry, Jill Singer and more. Lord Monckton has also been refused a debate by many of our warmist activists, and academics have demanded he be banned from speaking at Notre Dame University.

The warmists' strategy is two-fold: first, to deny there's a debate by refusing to actually have one; and, second, to avoid subjecting their ludicrous claims to scrutiny by the informed.

In fact, you can generally assume that if Garnaut or a Gillard discuss global warming with a journalist, they have judged that journalist to be a propagandist, a dupe or otherwise harmless. Chris Uhlmann would be a rare exeception, but only because he's with the ABC's 7.30, which Labor does not dare boycott. Hence attempts by some on the Left to drive him off.

This fear of debate should tell you everything about the warmists and their theory. But give credit to those few that do dare meet their critics.


Australian conservative leader: The Government's planned carbon tax is "socialism masquerading as environmentalism"‏

Trade in international pollution permits will be strictly limited under the Gillard Government's climate change package to prevent so-called "carbon cowboys" from scamming the multibillion-dollar scheme.

In a significant departure from Labor's abandoned carbon pollution reduction scheme, international permit purchases are likely to be restricted to high quality sellers such as the European Union and the US State of California. The concern under the CPRS was that low-quality carbon abatement could be bought by Australian polluters from places such as equatorial Africa and South-East Asia through hard-to-verify and dubious projects such as tree plantations.

It is understood the Government agreed to "qualitative and quantitative controls" under its emissions trading scheme at the insistence of the Greens who opposed unlimited access to international permits under the CPRS.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, who yesterday blasted the Government's planned carbon tax as "socialism masquerading as environmentalism", said the possibility of the ETS being corrupted was great.

"Without a dependable carbon cop, Australian businesses might easily end up spending vast amounts on permits generated overseas for abatement that's never actually happened," he said. "This is a market based on the non-delivery of an invisible product to no one, and is almost certain to be scammed."

Mr Abbott also took an extraordinary swipe at economists who supported a market-based mechanism to reduce carbon emissions. "It may well be that most Australian economists think that a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme is the way to go," he said. "Maybe that's a comment on the quality of our economists rather than on the merits of the argument."

Former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, who crossed the floor in support of the CPRS, yesterday expressed faith in economist Ross Garnaut, the Government's climate change adviser. "I don't agree with everything Ross says but he's one of our great public intellectuals, great economists, thinkers and he's done a lot of work on climate change," Mr Turnbull said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the price of carbon would be fixed for the shortest time possible - about three years - before the ETS started. "The carbon tax is temporary, the emissions trading scheme is permanent," she said.



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


2 July, 2011

Climate models fail to agree with 5 decades of oceanic observations

Could the findings of Zhang et al. mean that the projections of "almost all state-of-the-art climate models" are just plain wrong? They sure could...

Discussing: Zhang, D., Msadek, R., McPhaden, M.J. and Delworth, T. 2011. "Multidecadal variability of the North Brazil Current and its connection to the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation". Journal of Geophysical Research 116: 10.1029/2010JC006812.

Writing as background for their study, Zhang et al. (2011) report that "almost all state-of-the-art climate models project significant slowdown of the AMOC [Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation] during this century in response to the increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere," citing the studies of Schmittner et al. (2005), Meehl et al. (2007) and Hu et al. (2009). And because the North Brazil Current (NBC) is, as they say, "primarily responsible for the AMOC upper branch return flow which crosses the tropical Atlantic (e.g., Hazeleger and Drijfhout, 2006)," they examined this projection via a new study of the NBC.

Working with historical hydrographic data they obtained from NOAA's World Ocean Database, Zhang et al. calculated the NBC geostrophic transport time series based on five decades of observations made off the coast of Brazil, while they also assessed the suggested connection between the NBC and AMOC via "a 700-year control simulation of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory's CM2.1 coupled climate model."

As a result of their analyses, the four researchers determined that the AMOC's "anticipated slowdown," as they describe it, "has not occurred yet, even though global temperatures have been significantly higher since the 1970s." They note, for example, that "while the AMOC might have been weakened from the 1960s to the early 1970s, it has been strengthening since then to the end of the last century," and they write that "analyses of subsurface temperature and salinity anomalies in the subtropical and subpolar north Atlantic (Zhang, 2008; Wang et al., 2010) also suggest a strengthening of the AMOC from the 1970s to 1990s." In addition, they report that their CM2.1 model results are also "in agreement with observations."

Could the findings of Zhang et al. mean that the projections of "almost all state-of-the-art climate models" are just plain wrong? They sure could, for real-world observations always win out over theoretical projections if they differ; and so far, at least, that's what the observations are doing -- they're winning.


Peter Gleick exhibits the closed mind one expects of the Green/Left

Prominent climate change skeptics gathered at the Heartland Institute's sixth international conference on climate change on Friday to take on the body of scientific evidence showing that human emissions are contributing to global warming.

Heartland’s conference, held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel, featured presentations from scientists skeptical of climate change, including Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, who argued humans are either having a limited impact on climate change or no impact at all.

Heartland Institute communications director Jim Lakely said it's a “myth” that only skeptics are invited to the conference.

President of the Pacific Institute Peter Gleick, a scientist who supports the findings behind man-induced climate change, said he wouldn't consider attending.

"I go to many meetings as it is, and the interesting science is being done elsewhere," he said on a "pre-buttal" conference call hosted by the Center For American Progress. "This is not a science conference, it's a political conference. It's a way for a small community -- and I would argue a diminishing community -- to get together in a self-support kind of way. There is no science that's going to be discussed there that's new or that's interesting ... it's just not worth a real scientist's time."


Concerted efforts to squash research that threatens Warmism

THE editorial of June 25th reveals the level of misinformation being promoted by human-caused global warming advocates in trying to convince the public there is a problem.

The concept that sceptics have no reviewed and published scientific evidence is utterly false. The thousands of pages I have read constantly refer to reviewed and published papers from different scientific journals (page 11 of the 2010 Senate Minority Report), some even from the favoured science journals Salinger and Renwick refer to. A cursory glance through the resources I have mentioned previously will reveal this. has over 900 peer-reviewed and published papers rebutting the accepted theory of AGW.

Over recent years there has been a concerted effort by globalwarmists to squash any research that threatens their position. The Climategate emails showed this. It is confirmed by Dr Judith Curry who was considered to be the “High Priestess” of the global warming fraternity. She has stated that “the global warmists will tolerate no dissent and seek to trample anyone who challenges them. The IPCC assessment process had a substantial element of schoolyard bullies, trying to insulate their shoddy science from outside attacks by sceptics . . . the IPCC and its conclusions were set on a track to become a self-fulfilling prophecy”. She is now a sceptic.

Global warming guru James Lovelock stated in March 2010: “The sceptics have kept us sane. They have kept us from regarding climate science as a religion. It had gone too far that way.” In May 2010 he said, “the science of global warming is in its infancy and we haven’t got the physics worked out yet”.

In other words the science is not settled. Why do we need an insurance policy for something that even global warming advocates admit is far from certain.

As to the science, physicist Walter Cunningham of NASA, a colleague of James Hansen, says: “Hansen is a political activist who spreads fear even when NASA’s own data contradicts him.” He goes on to say that NASA should be at the forefront in the collection of scientific evidence and debunking the current hysteria over human-caused warming. Unfortunately, he says, “it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicised science”.

Hungarian scientist Dr Ferenc Miskolczi, while working for NASA, ran into political interference when he tried to publish his research which showed that the “runaway greenhouse theory contradicts energy balance equations”. Here was legitimate climate research being stymied because it questioned the prevailing politically-correct dogma being propagated.

Exactly as Judith Curry stated.

All the above information has come from the 2010 US Senate Minority Report, and is a fraction of the information it contains. This report has the views of over 1000 scientists all stating that human caused global warming is bogus and fraudulent. The vast majority of these scientists were formerly believers of the theory but have reversed their stand purely on the scientific evidence which categorically refutes human impact on global climate.

I challenge the editorial staff to read this document. The information it contains will shock them and all who subscribe to the global warming theory.

I have read some of the material Renwick advised. I found it to lack quality and scientific substance compared to material from sceptical scientists. The writings by sceptics of human-caused warming contain more scientific evidence than any writings I have read by warmists.


Jeff Masters says there’s not going to be any more snow and there’ll be more snow..

Wondering what the weather might be like this winter? Why not ask Warmist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground for a no-nonsense prognosis based on the science of man-made global warming?

As Masters cautioned us in 2006, we should expect more “brown winters” characterised by a lack of snow. As he mournfully told his young nephew, snow is now pretty much a thing of the past, thanks to global warming:
When my nephew Cody eagerly unwrapped his new snow board this Christmas and asked me when he might get a chance to use it, I told him, “What are you thinking? This is Michigan in the 21st century! There’s not going to be any more snow.” I exaggerate slightly, but I don’t recommend that anyone invest in the winter sports equipment industry this year. The latest 2-week forecast from the GFS model shows no end in sight for the warm conditions in North America. I’m guessing that our next outbreak of cold Arctic air in the U.S. won’t come until mid-January.

According to theInternational Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University (IRI), January through March should be warmer than average across virtually the entire globe.

This lack of snow, Masters lectured us, could be attributed to the melting of the Arctic ice, which was leading to warmer winters and preventing snow from falling:
All this exposed water provides a huge source of heat and moisture in the Arctic that retards the formation of the usual cold air masses over the adjacent regions of Canada and Siberia. It’s impossible to know how much of an effect this has without doing some detailed model studies, but I think the record low sea ice in the Arctic is probably a significant contributor to this winter’s record warmth.

All quite clear, and explained with copious references to various graphs, data, and citations. Global warming means melting Arctic ice, means warmer winters and less snow. The science is settled.

Fast forward to 2011, and the series of record-breaking freezing winters and snowfalls across much of the world. Reporting on what he termed “snowmaggedon” Masters breathlessly detailed some of the freezing winter conditions the world had been experiencing:
A series of remarkable snow storms pounded the Eastern U.S., with the “Snowmageddon” blizzard dumping more than two feet of snow on Baltimore and Philadelphia. Western Europe also experienced unusually cold and snowy conditions, with the UK recording its 8th coldest January. A highly extreme negative phase of the NAO and AO returned again during November 2010, and lasted into January 2011.

Exceptionally cold and snowy conditions hit much of Western Europe and the Eastern U.S. again in the winter of 2010 – 2011. During these two extreme winters, New York City recorded three of its top-ten snowstorms since 1869, and Philadelphia recorded four of its top-ten snowstorms since 1884. During December 2010, the extreme Arctic circulation over Greenland created the strongest ridge of high pressure ever recorded at middle levels of the atmosphere, anywhere on the globe (since accurate records began in 1948.)

What possible explanation could there be for these freezing conditions and record snowfall? Why, global warming of course. Master’s tentative explanation for all of this was that melting Arctic ice was affecting atmospheric circulation:
New research suggests that major losses of Arctic sea ice could cause the Arctic circulation to behave so strangely, but this work is still speculative.

Of course it is. Makes perfect sense when you subscribe to the notion of man-made global warming. It’s only skeptics that can’t see the logic in this. Global warming means no more snow, and lots more snow. As Orwell put it:
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.”


Climate change policy is 'dead'

There will be no successor to the Kyoto Protocol and the EU should stop pretending otherwise, claims Holger Krahmer MEP

The climate policy of the European Union is now stuck in a dead end. Europe wanted to be the leader – showing the world the way. It wanted to export the "market-economic" instrument of emissions trading as a new standard of regulation. The climate summits in Copenhagen and in Cancun were supposed to herald a successor treaty for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

But both summits yielded zero results. Today it is clear that there is going to be no successor agreement. Also, the option of simply extending the existing Kyoto Protocol was thrown overboard by the main countries at the last G8 summit. The situation in global climate politics can be summarised in short as - there is no policy.

The emerging economies of Asia, especially, are refusing to allow their possibilities for growth to be curbed by obligatory CO2 reductions. Everywhere across the world, climate laws are being buried for good or put on ice. The once ballyhooed instrument of the emissions trading scheme is becoming obsolete. China, India and Australia are waving goodbye. In the US, the Chicago Climate Exchange was closed just after the last mid-term Congressional elections. Just before that, the self-anointed climate pope Al Gore cashed in by selling his shares.

"Climate politics is a dead project" is the buzz-phrase in Washington today. Yet, the EU is still clinging to all the measures and even discussing making them stricter than they already are. As a result, we are now left alone with the political costs of carbon reduction. We are ignoring international reality with an amazing level of tenacity.

As always - we continue to stick to the naive, worn-out argument: "Someone has to start the process." That start is a go-it-alone move. And if we do not wake up to that, then we will ruin our market economy with one-sided massive costs. Regarding industry, this process is happening slowly – almost as a creep. The Emissions Trading Scheme distorts competition to the disadvantage of European companies. As production in Europe becomes more and more costly, sooner or later industry will move to third countries - which do not have such a restrictive and costly climate policy. China and India, for example.

The consequences of the European solo mission become visible with the inclusion of airlines from third countries, into the ETS, in 2012. The row is just beginning to surface now. Since the EU wants to force airlines from third countries to participate, they are constantly taking action against it. Several third countries, such as America and China, went to court to fight this. But it is not just a question of law. A trade war recently started. China just blocked its order of the Airbus A380, in order to display its hostility against the ETS.

There is no way out of the dilemma. With the example of the inclusion of airlines in the ETS, the dimension of this problem becomes obvious. We are completely standing alone regarding the internationally non-enforceable climate measures and the costs are arising. The world is not a carbon market. It will never be one. The inclusion of airlines in ETS either ends in "war in the air", instigated by the EU or it will only be a factual Intra-European Emissions Trading Scheme - with clear disadvantages for European Airlines.

The latter situation is most likely. One of the only ways the European Commission can offer an olive branch is to meekly accept any reforms to the ETS, suggested by the third countries. The EU does not have any scope for negotiations. We have less pull than ever. And the consequences for the European aviation industry will be dramatic. The other option would be the modification of the ETS law. But then the commission would lose face



Three current articles below

Carbon tax dying

IT'S a long way from the comrades in Sydney's Sussex Street to sitting with relatives of royalty courtside at Wimbledon.
Fading public support spells doom for carbon tax

ON Friday, February 25, this year, the day after Julia Gillard had announced she would be introducing a carbon tax, she was interviewed by Alan Jones. He asked her to explain how she could say "I rule out a carbon tax" before the election and then rule it in.

She said: "Well, Alan, let me answer that. In the last election campaign I talked consistently about how climate change was real, it was caused by human activity, that we needed to cut down on carbon pollution and that the best way of doing that was to price carbon through a market-based mechanism, and that's what I announced yesterday." For good measure she added: "Rather than play any semantic word games, I was frank enough with the Australian people to say that the first few years would work effectively like a tax."

Note the tactics. First there's an undertaking to answer the question. Second, there's a very long, sly sentence that evades the question and never acknowledges she has reversed a policy. Finally she congratulates herself for her frankness in likening the mechanism to a tax, when she might instead have engaged in semantic bluster.

It makes you wonder whether her life before politics involved telling a lot of whoppers and getting away with them. It's hard to imagine her straitlaced parents, Moira and John, putting up with that sort of thing, but perhaps they were so protective of their physically frail younger daughter or so besotted with her that they just turned a blind eye.

Fortunately, the public instinctively know when a politician is telling them bare-faced lies and they tend to take it personally. Gillard's polling numbers plummeted almost immediately and have never looked like recovering. You'd think she might have learned from the experience, but as recently as Thursday she was engaging in more verbal fudging on the same subject.

She said: "Now, what Tony Abbott likes to refer to as a carbon tax, a fixed-price period for an emissions trading scheme, is a period I believe should be as short as possible. So people have heard a lot of debate about a carbon tax and today can I say to Australians the debate that they are hearing about a carbon tax is a debate about what Tony Abbott calls a carbon tax."

As the opposition and print media were quick to point out, in April she hadn't shied away from the word tax repeatedly, let alone attempted to insinuate that the term was a rhetorical feint from Abbott. She said then: "Oh, look, I'm happy to use the word tax. I understand some silly little collateral debate has broken out today. I mean, how ridiculous. This is a market-based mechanism."

The most charitable gloss that could be put on this is that some dopey spinmeister thought it would be a good idea to blunt the attack on the tax by rebadging it a carbon price and had put the word out to ministers that they should try to associate the phrase carbon tax with the Opposition Leader. However, it has the too-clever-by-half hallmark of the Prime Minister - it's a transparent ploy that takes us all for fools - and since no one else tried the same tactic it's reasonable to conclude it's all her own work. It gave Abbott a perfect opportunity to describe her as "untrustworthy and tricky".

There are some within the Gillard government who imagine that, with an announcement of the details of the carbon tax expected next week, the going will get a little easier. A careful reading of the Lowy Institute's new polling on climate change should disabuse them on that score.

Of the sample, 75 per cent described the government's overall handling of the issue as poor and 39 per cent described it as very poor. Only 3 per cent said it was very good. Obviously on such a contentious issue it's not possible to please everyone, but to have left such a substantial majority disaffected takes some doing.

Support for the most aggressive response to climate change fell four points from last year, down to 41 per cent.

This option now enjoys a similar level of support to the milder option of taking a gradual, low-cost approach, at 40 per cent.

This is dramatically different from the polling in 2006 when 68 per cent supported an aggressive response and only 24 per cent favoured a gradual approach.

The most sceptical option, doing nothing until we're sure there's a problem, is up six points from last year to 19 per cent and has nearly tripled since 2006, when it was just 7 per cent. Support for this option is strongest among the 60 and older age group, at 28 per cent.

The sample was also asked how much extra it was prepared to pay a month on power bills to help address climate change.

The most popular option, paying nothing extra, attracted 39 per cent support, up six points from last year and nearly double the 21 per cent who opted for nothing when the question was first asked in 2008.

Those who said they were prepared to pay between $1 and $10 a month extra fell from 32 per cent in 2008 to 25 per cent last year to 19 per cent this year. Those prepared to pay between $11 and $20 a month fell from 20 per cent in 2008 to 15 per cent last year and 13 per cent this year.

Those true believers who said they were prepared to pay more than $20 a month slightly increased, from 19 per cent in 2008 and 2010 to 22 per cent this year.

With the single exception of that three-point increase, the trends in the Lowy polling are all pointing in one direction.

Clearly the last time to take an aggressive policy to an election in Australia with any hope of winning was back in early 2009, when Kevin Rudd got cold feet about a double dissolution.

The next federal election will inevitably be a referendum on an uncovenanted carbon tax that in three short years will morph into the world's first economy-wide ETS.


Sending profits abroad is a good thing: A basic economics lesson for Australia's chief Greenie

Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich

On Sunday, Senator Bob Brown was interviewed on ABC 1's Insiders program. The Greens leader admitted that putting a price on carbon would ultimately mean shutting down the coal industry. But never mind, Brown explained. Since the big mining companies were largely `foreign-owned, multinational corporations,' their profits would only `line the pockets of millionaires elsewhere in the world.'

Then on Wednesday, the Greens published a new report claiming that 83% of Australia's mining industry was in fact foreign, and therefore, it should be taxed more heavily for the benefit of all Australians. So as it turns out, Brown wants to squeeze the mining industry financially before finishing it off to save the planet.

Brown's argument about exporting Australian profits is not new. `Buy Australian' campaigners also claim that purchasing goods only from Australian-owned companies keeps profits in Australia. They claim that every time you buy products of a foreign-owned company, the profits will somehow disappear from Australia and harm Australia's prosperity.

It is amazing how easily people are convinced by this `sending profits abroad' argument, when it is just a protectionist fallacy.

Let's say the Australian branch of a US company is very profitable. What happens to these profits?

First, the profits might stay in Australia to expand the business of the US company, creating more jobs and extra economic activity here. Even ardent nationalists would find it hard to argue against this.

If the parent company however decided to transfer the profits from its Australian branch to America, it would soon find out that Australian dollars are pretty useless outside Australia and change them into US dollars.

But what happens to the Australian dollars? Since Australian dollars don't buy anything abroad, they will return to Australia to buy Australian goods and services. Maybe a US company will use them to buy Australian minerals. Perhaps US tourists will come here to spend their holidays. Or the US might import Australian-made cars.

In any case, Australian dollar profits transferred abroad return to Australia sooner rather than later because outside Australia, our dollars are just printed paper that will not get you a cup of coffee.

This is where the `Australian-owned' argument falls to pieces. For Australia's wealth and prosperity, it does not matter where the profits from Australian businesses end up. All that matters for the Australian economy is that Australia remains a place where business transactions take place - irrespective of who owns the business.

In Bob Brown's Australia, national ownership matters more than creating domestic prosperity. For a party that on its website proclaims to `eliminate racism' and promote `diversity,' it is odd how these commitments do not extend to trading with foreigners.

Perhaps the Greens only like foreigners when they come as refugees, not as businesspeople.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 1 July. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

Wallabies battle cattle farts

The Tamar Wallaby's digestive system is getting agricultural researchers excited, after researchers from Australia's science agency CSIRO found its gut generates far lower methane emissions than cattle.

Methane poses a greenhouse conundrum for policy makers: our dependence on livestock for meat means we keep lots of ruminants around, which generate lots of methane. Since most countries are reluctant to impose a state-sponsored vegetarianism, researchers are working hard to cut down the world's vast cloud of ruminant methane.

Enter the Tamar Wallaby: it generates 80 percent less of the gas per unit of digestible energy than livestock animals. Mark Morrison, an Ohio State University animal sciences professor who is also science leader in metagenomics at CSIRO's Livestock Industries division, says the efficiency of the macropod's digestive system offers another payoff - better nutrient retention.

The key lies in a bacterium in the wallaby's gut, which Morrison's group sequenced and isolated and believe could be used to augment the microbes normally present in livestock digestive systems.

Marsupials and ruminants share a "pre-digestive" fermentation process to break down plant food, and this fermentation produces methane. However, it's been known for some time that while cattle and sheep turn as much as 10 percent of their food into methane, the Tamar Wallaby produces only 1 percent to 2 percent.

The CSIRO researchers have identified the key bacterium in the marsupial: a member of the Succinivibrionaceae called WG-1, which produces succinate rather than methane as a by-product of fermentation. The succinate locks up hydrogen and carbon that would otherwise by grabbed by methane-producing bacteria.

Morrison says that Succinivibrionaceae also exist in ruminants, but have not been a focus of study in the past. "Our findings with the Tammar wallaby were a bit of a surprise, but we think they provide an important clue for how rumen fermentation might be directed away from methane formation."



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


1 July, 2011

Copper and the Hybrid Hypocrites

Joseph Moser at The Daily Caller highlights the one of the bigest condundrums for environmentatlists. The technology they're counting on to rid us of our on foreign oil requires a lot of copper - a veritable crapload of the stuff.
Recently, the EPA declared a new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard of 34.1 mpg by 2016. Going a step further, the NRDC is demanding Obama administration officials set even stronger global warming pollution and fuel-efficiency standards to ensure cars and trucks average at least 60 mpg by 2025. The hope is that higher standards and government "incentives" will encourage automakers to produce more fuel-efficient hybrid and electric cars.

One problem: the more electric a vehicle is, the more copper it contains. Each hybrid contains about 100 pounds of copper -- most of that is in the electrical cables and the electric motor. A conventional car only contains about 50 pounds of copper.

Other "green" technologies also contain lots of copper. A five-megawatt wind turbine is made of nearly five tons of copper and solar panels are up to 60 percent copper. Blocking future mine construction effectively jeopardizes the very technology greens want to power their vision of a "clean-energy future."

Turns out there's a major discovery of said copper (and gold) near Bristol Bay, Alaska, about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage, that if unearthed, would produce over 80 billion tons of copper. Even though it's still in the planning stages, the Pebble Mine appears to hold some of the largest natural reserves of copper and gold in the world.

Environmental groups are fiercely opposing the proposed mine. As noted at Resourceful Earth, environmentalists want to massively scale up development of electric vehicles, solar panels, windmills, etc but don't want to approve of projects that will extract these minerals need to build these new green products from the earth. They'd much rather that the messy business of producing "green" be done overseas...


Future of federal solar programs in doubt

The solar power industry is facing a double threat from a Congress that may turn off the flow of federal subsidies and take a pass on mandating renewable-energy standards that would increase demand.

The Republican-led House, focused on cutting spending and philosophically opposed to subsidizing solar power and clean energy, has targeted federal grant and loan guarantee programs to reduce or eliminate.

One is a U.S. Treasury grant program, set to expire at the end of this year, that solar companies say has kept them alive through the recession. The other is an Energy Department loan guarantee program, part of which would end Oct. 1, that has provided nearly $35 billion in loan guarantees for solar, wind, geothermal and other clean energy projects that have generated more than 68,000 U.S. jobs, according to the department.

Meanwhile, hopes for a national clean energy standard that could boost demand for solar power also are dimming in a Congress that doesn't support government mandates about what kind of energy Americans should use.

"Is the solar industry going to die if we lose these programs? No, but we're going to stall," said Roger Efird, managing director of Suntech America. Its parent company, Suntech Power, which has offices in San Francisco, China and Europe and a manufacturing plant in Arizona, is the world's largest producer of solar panels. "We'll certainly lose a lot of jobs. There's no doubt about that," Efird said.

The solar power industry grew 67% last year — faster than any other U.S. industry — and employs about 100,000 people nationwide, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Critics say it's time for the industry to stand on its own and compete in the free market without any help from struggling American taxpayers. "If you take a gun and force taxpayers to hand over their earnings to a solar company, that solar company is going to do very well, but the taxpayers end up getting screwed with nothing to show for it at the end of the day," said Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. He has led efforts by House conservatives to end loan guarantees and grants for the solar industry and other renewable energy industries. "We've spent billions on technology and research and subsidies, and it's still the most expensive way of generating electricity."

Solar power and offshore wind power are the costliest methods of generating electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, solar's cost is dropping as the technology becomes more efficient and the industry expands, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The average price of an installed solar system in a home, business or power plant fell more than 20% nationwide from the beginning of 2010 to the end of the year, the association said.

Solar advocates say it's unfair to talk of solar standing on its own, as the federal government has been subsidizing oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries for decades. Those subsidies include tax incentives to drill for oil, federally financed dams to generate hydroelectric power, and research funding for nuclear power and clean-coal technologies.

"The government has always played a role in the energy mix through providing incentives to certain technologies or making it easier to use certain technologies," said Richard Caperton, an energy analyst with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "Transmission lines to coal-fired power plants were built with taxpayer subsidies. If we stop spending money on some very cost-effective programs for clean energy, all it's going to do is put clean energy at an even bigger competitive disadvantage."

A better solution may be to get rid of all federal energy subsidies, said Nicolas Loris, an energy analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation. "Given the financial situation of our government, energy subsidies is not an area where we need to be spending money," he said.

Solar advocates argue that the government's investment is paying off in new jobs. "We need to be fiscally disciplined as a country, but we shouldn't be foolhardy by eliminating programs that create jobs," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The solar industry has an ally in President Obama, who has called for a national clean energy standard that sets the goal of the nation generating 80% of its electricity from clean sources by 2035. Although it's unlikely Congress will approve that ambitious goal, the administration could take steps to help the solar industry by allowing federal agencies to enter into long-term agreements to buy solar power, Resch said.

Solar programs also remain popular in the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., fought off House efforts early this year to end the loan guarantee program that helps solar companies secure financing for their projects. Reid last month announced that the Energy Department will provide conditional guarantees for the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Tonopah, Nev., creating nearly 5,000 jobs in his struggling state, which has the nation's highest jobless rate.

Solar lobbyists said they believe the loan guarantee program will survive, although it's not yet clear how much funding it will get this year.


Dim bulbs and Congress

Quotes of the Day:

"I'm deeply, deeply disappointed with CFL bulbs. I replaced pretty much every regular bulb in the house with CFLs, but they've been failing at about the same rate as ordinary long-life bulbs, despite the promises of multiyear service. And I can't tell any difference in my electric bill." - Glenn Reynolds

"And the dim fluorescent lighting is meant to emphasize the general absence of hope." - New Yorker Cartoon (Hat tip: Sam Kazman)

The federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 would have effectively banned the sale of 100-watt incandescent bulbs on Jan 1, 2012, and phased out incandescents between 40 and 100 watts by 2014.

We understand concerns about energy consumption and the environment which motivated this ban. But as the letter below shows, this ban will do more harm than good.

That's why we're glad that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton has agreed to support a bill that would repeal this ban.

Please tell Congress to pass a repeal bill using's Reduce Regulations campaign. You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .

"Regulations may have good intentions. But doesn't it seem like they always produce unintended consequences?

This is true of the ban on incandescent light bulbs that will begin on January 1. Please support legislation to repeal this ban.

I share the concern about air pollution or carbon-dioxide emissions. But, as Virginia Postrel notes, "banning light bulbs is one of the least efficient ways imaginable to attack those problems" and "gives electricity producers no incentive to reduce emissions."

Sam Kazman tells the story of an Iowa town that persuaded residents to trade in their incandescents for free fluorescents -- and electricity use increased by nearly 10 percent! For whatever reason, they kept the lights on longer.

Kazman also points out, CFL's . . .

* often burn out long before their much-touted 10,000-hour lifetime

* may take a minute or more to reach full brightness

* can't be used with timers or outdoors in cold weather or in recessed downlight fixtures

* can't fit in some of the most ordinary of fixtures, such as the three-bulb sockets on many household ceilings with glass fixtures

* are simply not very bright and are hated by many people, who find CFL light "depressing, color-draining, sickly, headache-inducing"

Even more disconcerting, CFL's appear to be a health hazard . . .

* They contain minute amounts of mercury which raises disposal concerns

* The EPA advises that the first step in cleaning up a broken CFL is to "Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more."

And finally, there's the perception that CFL's are a rip-off. Virginia Postrel notes that "a basic CFL runs about three times the initial price of the equivalent incandescent" and that only 25% of Americans so far have switched to them.

Plus, as Henry Payne notes, CFLs are at this point almost entirely produced in China.

We can't afford regulations that destroy jobs, create health hazards, that gouge and inconvenience consumers, and that do nothing for the environment. Repeal the incandescent light bulb ban!"


Pupils banned from British school playground after seagull builds nest in the middle of it

Pupils have been banned from their school playground after a seagull built a nest in the middle of it. The bird has moved into the yard at Millom Infant School, Cumbria - and after previous experiences with aggressive gulls, staff have declared the playground out of bounds.

A schoolboy spotted the nest during a lunch hour last week and told his parents, who in turn notified the school. The nesting area has now been fenced off to allow the bird to raise any chicks unharmed.

Jan Procter, reception teacher, said: 'We have a little outcrop in our playground and the seagull has spotted this and decided to make a nest and has laid two eggs. 'One of the parents told us after a pupil told them about it. 'We rang the RSPB for advice and they told us seagulls are protected.

'We've not been able to use the playground and so we have to use our grassy area instead.' Mrs Procter said the children have not been too disappointed as they are still able to play outside.

However, their play equipment cannot be used for at least one month while the bird eggs hatch. She added: 'We have had seagulls at our school before and we're now waiting with interest to see what happens next.

'The children can still go outside but we are keeping them out of the playground. 'Because the children are not anywhere near the nest, the seagull hasn't been too bad but I'm sure it wouldn't have been if we let them loose in the playground.'

A spokeswoman for the RSPB said: 'All nesting birds are protected by law and some do pick weird and wonderful places to nest. 'A playground might not be the obvious choice but we have heard of birds under car bonnets and on Ministry of Defence tanks so they can't use them. 'It's lovely to hear the school sought advice and haven't disturbed it.

'Hopefully the children can learn from it and track the progress - they will get to see some lovely fluffy seagull chicks. 'We'd urge everybody to keep their eyes open for nesting birds and hopefully everyone would be as considerate as the school.'


UK needs new nuclear plants says Liberal minister as he completes U-turn on power stations

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne completed his spectacular U-turn yesterday when he backed a new generation of nuclear power stations. The Liberal Democrat minister said new nuclear plants were needed to keep Britain’s lights on and would have an essential role in tackling climate change and curbing soaring fuel bills.

Mr Huhne, who once described nuclear power as a ‘failed technology’, now says it is an essential part of getting Britain ‘off the oil hook’.

Speaking ahead of the launch of new electricity market reforms which will make nuclear power more attractive for business investors, he praised the example of France, where 77 per cent of electricity is generated by nuclear power stations, arguing that it provides the French with both better energy security and lower bills.

And, putting himself on a potential collision course with the rest of his party, he warned that Britain is in danger of falling behind if it delays the dash for new nuclear power stations.

Mr Huhne said: ‘Some countries already have a head start. ‘Electricity prices in France are set to rise by around three per cent this year; compare and contrast with Britain, where prices are rising by three times as much. ‘It is no surprise that less than ten per cent of France’s electricity comes from fossil fuels.’

Mr Huhne’s new enthusiasm for nuclear power leaves him open to charges of hypocrisy. In 2007 he described it as a ‘tried, tested and failed technology’ and said it had no future. He has since claimed that these comments were ‘misunderstood’ and that he was not opposed to nuclear power provided it did not involve large state subsidies.

The Lib Dem manifesto pledged to ‘reject’ plans for new nuclear plants. Mr Huhne’s comments will infuriate MPs in his party who want the Coalition to follow the lead of Germany and Italy and scrap nuclear in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The Coalition Agreement allows Lib Dem MPs to abstain on the issue but many are now expected to vote against. Some 19 Lib Dem MPs – one third of the Parliamentary party – have signed a Commons motion warning that events in Fukushima ‘underline the extreme dangers inherent in nuclear power’, and calling for it to be abandoned. Signatories include former leader Charles Kennedy and party president Tim Farron.

Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood accused ministers of pushing through secret subsidies for the nuclear industry – in breach of the Coalition agreement.

He called for a windfall tax on the nuclear industry to claw the money back. Mr Horwood said: ‘There are going to be some pretty frank discussions about nuclear. ‘There is growing unhappiness at the level of subsidies creeping in for the nuclear industry – they are being given millions of pounds for no change in behaviour whatsoever.’


Australian Greenie leader's economic xenophobia will cost Australia dearly

FOR a man who so warmly embraces every foreigner seeking asylum in Australia, Bob Brown is strangely xenophobic when it comes to foreigners who want to lend us money or invest here.

Yesterday, at the National Press Club, Brown did his best to stoke up anger against investors from "Switzerland, London, Calcutta, Beijing" and foreigners who, according to a study commissioned by the Greens and released yesterday, own 83 per cent of Australian mining companies. It was not a pretty sight.

Economic debate in Australia will take a turn for the worse once the Greens hold the balance of power in the Senate. Brown may have good intentions but he is economically illiterate. That illiteracy is likely to cost ordinary Australians dearly; many will lose their jobs and their standard of living is likely to fall. It is surprising given their well-developed economic policies that the Greens have managed to avoid careful scrutiny of their party platform. Their industry policy should worry many Australians.

The Greens have long run a campaign against the mining industry and particularly the coal industry. In fact their stated party policy is no new coalmines and no expansion of existing mines. They fully intend to close down the Australian coal industry. Sooner rather than later.

Brown makes two arguments in defence of this policy. First, that renewables would replace coal. Second, that the Australian mining industry is largely foreign owned. Presumably that means the Australian government can destroy foreign investments with impunity.

Economic illiterates make several mistakes in their analysis. Because of his anti-foreign bias, Brown overlooks the benefits of interaction with foreigners. Unfortunately, he is not alone in exhibiting "capital xenophobia".

Australia has long had to borrow money from the rest of the world to finance our economic prosperity. The local economy has grown and foreign investors got their money back. This arrangement has benefited everybody; Australian savings are simply too small to finance our economic growth and standard of living. Foreigners invest in those economies with good prospects and low levels of sovereign risk.

Australia has a good reputation as an investment destination. But Brown is placing that hard-earned reputation at risk. Suggestions by a major political party, in a formal partnership with government and holding the balance of power in the Senate, that foreign investment can be taxed with impunity, or even shut down, raises perceptions of sovereign risk. What's worse, he is not alone. The ill-fated resource super-profits tax also raised serious concerns about sovereign risk.

Remarkably, Brown admits that Australia gets "jobs, export income, royalties and company tax" from mining. But that is not enough; he wants it all. He seems to object to foreigners, in return for their loans and investments, getting "profits, dividends, [and] capital appreciation". There is also a bit of double counting going on; dividends and capital appreciation amount to profits. Or perhaps Brown doesn't know that.

Brown is worried that foreign investors will earn $265 billion from their Australian investments over the next five years and, of that, $50bn will leave the country and $205bn will be reinvested.

Putting those figures into context, the Australian Taxation Office reports for the 2008-09 financial year that the mining industry paid $13.3bn in corporate tax. Of that amount coalmining paid nearly $3.6bn. So the industry paid more in tax in one year than the $10bn Brown suspects will leave the country in dividends each year.

What Brown imagines is that all that money going to foreigners could be diverted into a Norwegian-style sovereign wealth fund. It's not clear what he thinks will happen to the jobs and export income once foreign investment has been withdrawn because it no longer earns any profits, but Brown imagines that Australia could then be like Norway. However, unlike the Norwegian government, the Australian government does not hold large ownership stakes in the minerals industry. So the establishment of a minerals sovereign fund would not mean the diversion of existing government revenue into a fund but rather higher levels of taxation, discouraging work, saving and investment. After all, why do these things if the government is just going to tax away your money?

Economic illiterates believe that with some tweaking the world can be made a better place. In Brown's case the existence of a carbon tax and the demise of the coal industry would make the world a much better place. Yet he has given little thought to how that world would be powered. It's all very well talking about "renewables", but which renewables and how much would they cost?

As the Productivity Commission recently flagged, renewables are expensive; wind power costs $150-$214 a megawatt hour, solar costs $400-$473 a megawatt hour. By contrast, coal-fired electricity costs less than $100 a megawatt hour.

A coal-free Australia would be a lot more expensive, with lower standards of living.

Brown quoted the UN statistic that for every year of delay on climate change $1 trillion of costs will be incurred. What he hasn't explained is how undermining the Australian economy would reduce that cost and why Australians should bear that cost when the UN hasn't managed to convince its members to act in concert on climate change.

The biggest problem Brown faces is that you can't intervene in the economy on the scale he desires without a massive reduction in our economic wellbeing. The problem Australia faces is that Brown doesn't understand that point.



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

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

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

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!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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.