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, 2012

Three Cheers for Scientific Backbiting

Malaria theory debunked

If, as I argued last week, scientists are just as prone as everybody else to confirmation bias—the tendency to look for evidence to support rather than to test your own ideas—then how is it that science, unlike cults and superstitions, does change its mind and find new things?

The answer was spelled out by the psychologist Raymond Nickerson of Tufts University in a 1998 paper: "It is not so much the critical attitude that individual scientists have taken with respect to their own ideas that has given science the success it has enjoyed…but more the fact that individual scientists have been highly motivated to demonstrate that hypotheses that are held by some other scientist(s) are false."

Most scientists do not try to disprove their ideas; rivals do it for them. Only when those rivals fail is the theory bombproof. The physicist Robert Millikan (who showed minor confirmation bias in his own work on the charge of the electron by omitting outlying observations that did not fit his hypothesis) devoted more than 10 years to trying to disprove Einstein's theory that light consists of particles (photons). His failure convinced almost everybody but himself that Einstein was right.

The solution to confirmation bias in science, then, is not to try to teach it out of people; it is a deeply ingrained tendency of human nature. Dr. Nickerson noted that science is replete not only with examples of great scientists tenaciously persisting with theories "long after the evidence against them had become sufficiently strong to persuade others without the same vested interests to discard them" but also with brilliant people who remained wedded to their pet hates. Galileo rejected Kepler's lunar explanation of tides; Huygens objected to Newton's concept of gravity; Humphrey Davy detested John Dalton's atomic theory; Einstein denied quantum theory.

No, the reason that science progresses despite confirmation bias is partly that it makes testable predictions, but even more that it prevents monopoly. By dispersing its incentives among many different centers, it lets scientists check each other's prejudices. When a discipline defers to a single authority and demands adherence to a set of beliefs, then it becomes a cult.

A recent example is the case of malaria and climate. In the early days of global-warming research, scientists argued that warming would worsen malaria by increasing the range of mosquitoes. "Malaria and dengue fever are two of the mosquito-borne diseases most likely to spread dramatically as global temperatures head upward," said the Harvard Medical School's Paul Epstein in Scientific American in 2000, in a warning typical of many.

Carried away by confirmation bias, scientists modeled the future worsening of malaria, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change accepted this as a given. When Paul Reiter, an expert on insect-borne diseases at the Pasteur Institute, begged to differ—pointing out that malaria's range was shrinking and was limited by factors other than temperature—he had an uphill struggle. "After much effort and many fruitless discussions," he said, "I…resigned from the IPCC project [but] found that my name was still listed. I requested its removal, but was told it would remain because 'I had contributed.' It was only after strong insistence that I succeeded in having it removed."

Yet Dr. Reiter has now been vindicated [again]. In a recent paper, Peter Gething of Oxford University and his colleagues concluded that widespread claims that rising mean temperatures had already worsened malaria mortality were "largely at odds with observed decreasing global trends" and that proposed future effects of rising temperatures are "up to two orders of magnitude smaller than those that can be achieved by the effective scale-up of key control measures."

The IPCC, in other words, learned the hard way the value of letting mavericks and gadflies challenge confirmation bias.


No corn? Let them eat ethanol

Here come the corn riots. Climate change policies – much more than the vagaries of climate – are now beginning to create the instabilities that cooler heads have been warning about for years.

Corn prices on the Chicago Board of Trade are now at or near record levels, around $8.30 per bushel for spot delivery. The rise in recent weeks has been dramatic, driven by the perception of declining yields caused by hot and dry conditions mainly in the upper Midwest.

Much of this corn is beyond redemption as grain. High temperatures render corn's pollen sterile, and the narrow pollination season – usually around ten days in a given field – dictates that once this time has passed, there's likely to be very few kernels set on each ear. While rain may allow the plant to recover, its value as feed is dramatically reduced.

The U.S. corn growing region is massive in extent, so that some residual yields are always preserved. The drought of the mid-1950s was a widespread and multi-year event, but it only reduced yields (the amount produced per acre) around 20 percent. The current drought is comparable in extent, but not in magnitude nor in duration. Yet.

Back then, the average yield was around 45 bushels per acre (a bushel is 56 pounds of shelled corn), and rising at a pretty constant rate that began with the large-scale adoption of hybrid corn, which began in the 1930s.

Despite the wailings of Paul Ehrlich and his tiresome compatriots, there were no great famines because of some fantasy "limits to growth" that were forecast to soon to be breached. Instead, corn yields continued their steady climb. A good year now yields around 160 bushels. Between then and now, there have been several bad years caused by drought, heat, and blights, and pretty much every one of them has seen the same percentage toll on yields, about 25 percent of the maximum expected value at the time.

The Department of Agriculture's July 11 projection is for a 9 percent reduction from that nominal 160. But it's been pretty hot and dry since that estimate was made (with data from many days before 7/11), so things are going to drop further, which is why corn prices continue to climb.

Which brings us to ethanol. It comes from corn. The amount to be produced is a mandate, not a choice. It's 13.2 billion gallons this year. Last year we burnt up 40 percent of our crop. This year, given the expected yield reductions, we could easily destroy over half of our corn.

The U.S. is by far the world's largest producer, and our abundant supply is a major factor in keeping the price of the world's most abundant feed and food grain low – generally around $3.00/bushel. That was before George W. Bush decided that the answer to global warming was to produce ethanol from corn. Hence the rise in corn price that commences with the 2007 passage of the ethanol mandates, followed soon by global food riots. $8.00 corn today will likely bring much more of the same.

Bad weather is a fact of life in agriculture. In the last four decades, the time of maximum and increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, there's no evidence of an increase in the number of bad crop-years, nor a change in the magnitude of the percent drop in yields that occurs. 2012 is shaping up like a garden-variety crummy year.

What we have seen is a change in policy, not of the weather. Now, the Saudi Arabia of corn burns up half of its supply, instead of selling it to a hungry world. All of this was brought to you by our greener friends and, yes, Republicans, working the political process hand in hand. Later, the environmental community realized – as some of us had been telling them for years – that corn ethanol results in an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, not a decrease.

Of course, there is little chance that the disproportionately influential farm lobby is going to swallow changing the ethanol mandate when its constituents are making money hand-over-fist because of an artificially induced shortage. It's also an election year. But, isn't it just too bad about those poor people in Mexico and around the world who actually will suffer for the insanity and depravity of our agricultural/environmental policy?


Are environmentalists’ anti-gun policies to blame for wildfires in the West?

The headlines have echoed across the country: “Guns blamed for starting wildfires in parched West” According to the Associated Press, officials believe target shooting or other firearms use sparked at least 21 wildfires in Utah and nearly a dozen in Idaho. Shooting is also believed to have caused fires in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

In Utah, the AP says Republican Gov. Gary Herbert “took the unusual step” of authorizing the top state forest official to impose gun restrictions on public lands after a gunfire-sparked fire.

A gunfire-sparked, you say? How could target shooting start fires? I mean, we’re almost certainly not dealing with flintlock guns here.

The devil is in the details, and an accurate Associated Press headline would read as mine does above:

“Are environmentalists’ anti-gun policies to blame for wildfires in the West?”

From the AP article:

“Utah officials believe steel-jacketed bullets are the most likely culprits, given one shot that hits a rock and throws off sparks can ignite surrounding vegetation and quickly spread…The bullets were recently banned on state and federal lands in Utah. Officials are telling sportsmen to use lead bullets that don’t give off sparks when they hit rocks.”

What the article doesn’t mention, of course, is that environmental extremists have been attempting to ban the use of lead bullets - the very ones Utah officials now say are preferred - in favor of bullets made of materials such as steel, which is blamed for causing sparks when they impact rocks. Many in the West are avid Second Amendment proponents, so most state lawmakers are hesitant to enact any restrictions for fear of a backlash.

“We’re not trying to pull away anyone’s right to bear arms. I want to emphasize that,” said Louinda Downs, a county commissioner in fire-prone Davis County, Utah. “We’re just saying target practice in winter. Target practice on the gun range.

“When your pleasure hobby is infringing or threatening someone else’s right to have property or life, shouldn’t we be able to somehow have some authority so we can restrict that?” she asked.

For weeks, state officials have said they were powerless to ban gun use because of Second Amendment rights, but legislative leaders say they found an obscure state law that empowers the state forester to act in an emergency. The last high-profile time people’s Second Amendment rights were stripped in the name of an emergency, the problem was hurricane-level flooding in Louisiana, not fires.

For his part, Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Sports Shooting Council, told the AP he is skeptical about the placement of blame on target shooters, and estimated that perhaps 5 percent of the wildfires in the state have been caused by target shooters this year. “I don’t know how much of a problem it really is,” he said. Aposhian said his group will conduct tests to determine if the steel-jacketed bullet theory is true. If there are limits, “we want to make sure it is not knee-jerk legislation to ban guns or ammunition,” he said. “If it turns out the problem is with a few types of rounds, we will not be an apologist for them.” There is no need for such tests, Utah state fire marshal Brent Halladay said. With steel bullets, “you might as well just go up there and strike a match,” he said.

And so, yet again, we have to suffer the unintended consequences of extreme environmentalist policies that weren’t based on sound, verifiable data in the first place, just as we are suffering with the whole lead bullet controversy that may very well have caused these fires in the first place.


Contrary To IPCC Climate Models, Massive Human CO2 Emissions Still Unable To Reverse Nature's Global Cooling Over Last 15 Years

Over the last 15 years, we've been told that human CO2 emissions would cause global warming to accelerate to new dangerous levels, and this "unequivocal" warming would generate fantastic, catastrophic climate change disasters - the IPCC's climate models told us this, and truth be told, they were absolutely and spectacularly wrong

As the adjacent HadCRUT global temperature chart shows, the large growth in atmospheric CO2 levels continues, ad nauseam. Yet the 15-year trend of stable to a slight global cooling remains.

This extended 180-month period of non-warming was not predicted by a single global climate model - nada, zilch, zero.

The IPCC's climate models obviously have very serious, fundamental issues that can't just be 'tweaked' away. The most serious issue is their being CO2-centric, thus minimizing other factors (ie, forcings) that influence temperatures and climate.

From recent experience, it is quite clear that the climate models' sensitivity to CO2 levels is likely to be way overstated - in other words, the climate is not as sensitive to CO2 as the programmers thought.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

We have to keep the message simple

It seems like there’s a new article appearing almost daily on the Internet with new and shocking evidence that the entire manmade global warming story has been a hoax. But is anyone really listening or doing anything about it?

They’re starting to pay attention in Europe, but America, like an environmentalist Don Quixote, just keeps tilting at the climate change windmill. For over three years, residents of the Northeast have been paying for worthless carbon credits in every electric bill they pay. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a cap-and-trade system that’s already bilked citizens of the nine member states out of over a billion dollars, and most people in those states are totally unaware that this is going on. I recently compared my electric bill to a friend’s from NYC and found that he was paying almost four times what I’m paying per KWh.

It’s not surprising because for the most part, when we attack the climate alarmists, we usually do so in the wrong way and mostly for the wrong reasons.

Prior to Climategate, our primary argument against cap-and-trade laws, was that the potential benefits were too meager for the enormous costs involved. But there were no benefits! CO2 is a beneficial trace gas that’s one of the cornerstones of all life on earth. It’s NOT a pollutant. There’s no such thing as a carbon footprint unless you’re a coal miner and still wearing your work boots. You don’t attack a bogus idea by granting the validity of its underlying scientific premise up front. By pandering to the eco-fascists in this way, we’re playing word games that are hurting us in the long run.

None of the new scientific reports and studies that prove global warming is a hoax are ever seen in the major media, and even if they were, they’re above most people’s heads, or at least outside their attention span. Instead we need to keep repeating the basic scientific facts about climate change: 1) That climate change drives CO2 levels, and 2) That the earth in fact is relatively cool right now, and that constantly changing cycles of solar activity are the real reason for climate change. We also need to start mentioning the most ironic part of this farce, the fact that warming is good!. The only type of climate change that’s dangerous to us is extreme cooling. Man and all other forms of life have always thrived during the earth’s warm periods, while every extreme cold period has brought suffering, starvation and death. It doesn’t take an atmospheric physicist to understand why this is true. Crops don’t grow well when it gets cold. Crop failures cause famines, which kill both people and their domestic animals thru malnutrition and reduced resistance to disease.

They demonize capitalism and freedom … and it’s working! Read Brian Sussman’s new book, “Eco-Tyranny: How the Left’s Green Agenda Will Dismantle America”

Drawing any conclusions about long-term climate change based on short term changes in the weather is just silly. A character from a Robert Heinlein novel observed: “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” Climate change is merely the long-term average of all the short-term changes in our day-to-day weather. But no matter how much new evidence we keep producing, the average man on the street isn’t getting the message.

Maybe we need to borrow some strategy from the left and start attacking the messenger. Every 25 to 35 years the same cast of characters starts whining about the coming climate catastrophe, and each and every time they’ve been proven wrong. So why on earth do we even listen to them? For the last 20 years or so, the propaganda has been pretty consistent:

In the ’60s and ’70s, however, the same alarmists were singing an entirely different tune, and it wasn’t motivated by globalism, money and power the way it is today.

A Time magazine article from June 24, 1974, “Another Ice Age,” showed that there was no progressive/globalist political agenda behind it when it correctly identified the real cause of the changing climate:

“Sunspot Cycle. The changing weather is apparently connected with differences in the amount of energy that the earth’s surface receives from the sun. Changes in the earth’s tilt and distance from the sun could, for instance, significantly increase or decrease the amount of solar radiation falling on either hemisphere–thereby altering the earth’s climate.”

They also had a different take on human activity and the greenhouse effect back then: “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.”

These days they’re saying our emissions are trapping the sun’s heat. Back then, they were saying the same emissions were blocking the heat from reaching us in the first place.

But this most recent cooling period is especially important because all by itself, it quite adequately refutes the theory that manmade CO2 causes global warming. The chart below proves the point. As anyone can clearly see, this cooling period, during which our use of fossil fuels was rising at the fastest rate, was one that saw a steady lowering of temperatures at virtually the same rate. Not one advocate of CO2 caused warming has ever tried to refute this clear and direct evidence. Instead they just falsify the data.

Prior to the global cooling scare of the 1950s through 1970s, we had another warming period, and prior to that, another cooling period, and so on, and so on, ad nauseum.

What lessons should we take from all of this? The first and most obvious is that climate is always changing, and it does so quite slowly. It always has and always will. The second is that we can’t control it, and we’re not even that good at predicting it yet. So what should we be doing about climate change? Australian scientist Dr. Bob Carter described it quite simply and eloquently in a short You-Tube video, when he said:

“We don’t try to stop volcanic eruptions, we don’t try to stop earthquakes, we don’t try to stop storms and we don’t try to stop tsunamis because we know that they’re natural hazards that we can neither predict nor control. Climate change is exactly the same with the single difference that it tends to happen over slightly longer periods of time. But our response should be the same. We should adapt to it, and we should help the people, who through no fault of their own, are particularly badly damaged by it.

SOURCE (See the original for graphics)

The Smithsonian makes an exhibition of itself

One of my motives for a fortnight’s stay in Washington DC was to check out the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (MNH). I was one of the museum’s 7 million annual visitors....

At the back corner of the display one gets to the dangerous-global-warming hypothesis per se. There are two graphics asserting the warmist case.

One graph plots, on a 400,000 year time scale, atmospheric CO2 against temperature and sea level rises. This has a strong resemblance to the notorious ‘up on the cherry picker’ graph in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth movie. It has the same vertical rocketing of the CO2 line in the past half-century, although we are actually just viewing a rise from 0.00028 to 0.00039 in atmospheric CO2 content.

The caption reads: "Our Survival Challenge"

"During the period in which humans evolved, earth's temperature and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere fluctuated together. Higher CO2 levels are associated with a warmer planet ..."

The graph’s source is undoubtedly the seminal paper by Petit et al in Nature in 1999, but with sea level changes added.[6] However, new data by 2003 clarified that temperature lagged CO2 changes by 800 years or so.[7]

It is therefore accepted by warmists and sceptics alike that CO2 and temperatures did not “fluctuate together”; temperatures rose and probably caused the later rise in CO2. We even have a UK High Court Judge, Justice Burton, ruling:

"Mr Gore shows two graphs relating to a period of 650,000 years, one showing rise in CO2 and one showing rise in temperature, and asserts (by ridiculing the opposite view) that they show an exact fit. Although there is general scientific agreement that there is a connection, the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts.[8]"

Dr Potts’ graph time-scale is too long to show the lagged relationship, but coupled with the caption, the graph is misleading. Nearby is another placard saying: Rising CO2 levels

"The level of CO2 today is the highest since our species evolved. The projected increase over the next century is more than twice that of any time in the past 6 million years and suggests a long term sea level rise of 6.4 meters (21 ft)."

The placard does not mention that the mid-point of IPCC sea rise projections for 2100 (itself a wild extrapolation), is only about 60cm (2 ft).[9]

From where does Dr Potts get the alarming 6.4m rise? Oceanographers talk in terms of several centuries for a 7m rise, and that’s assuming the Greenland ice sheet melts away entirely.[10] [11] The great-grandchildren of the primary schoolers in the museum now being scared by talk of 21ft sea rises, will be buried long before any problem arises.

The other key graph in the display does what warmists normally run a mile to avoid. It plots CO2 rises over just the past 140 years against temperature rises. Normally, such a graph will show good correlation only for the 1970-1995 quarter-century. The other periods show an ugly lack of correlation.

Dr Potts’ treatment avoids discomfiture by showing a smoothed rising line for CO2 levels but a confusing forest of annual bars for actual temperatures (rather than the normal plotting of temperature variations against a long-term average). The non-correlation is hard to perceive, especially behind glass and two paces away. The graph also halts at the year 2000, ignoring the lack of statistically-significant warming from about 1997 to 2012.[12] Given that the display was launched in 2010, nearly a decade’s worth of inconvenient data was omitted.



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30 July, 2012

Never in the field of human scientific endeavour has so little been so rubbished by so many

That's my summary of what you will read below about the Muller BEST project's latest emission:

It's out! The new Anthony Watts paper on biased surface temperature measurements

Which, inter alia, puts a bomb under the Muller claims also just published

For a private person to undertake almost single-handed such a big task as collating data from all U.S. temperature-measuring stations is a Herculean effort but Watts and his helpers have done so. There are great bureaucracies devoted to the task elsewhere.

What he has done is to show that a more rigorous measure of the urban heat island effect -- a measurement method embraced by the World Meteorological Organization -- greatly alters the resultant findings. And after that essential adjustment, the 1979-2008 U.S. temperature rise is much REDUCED, halved, in fact.

Its rather a disgrace that the official meteorological organizations have not applied the more rigorous method but they would have seen very early on that doing so would have dynamited their Warmist beliefs. Ideology trumps facts.

Below are three conclusions about the adjusted data used by Muller which I particularly like:

* Poorly sited station trends are adjusted sharply upward, and well sited stations are adjusted upward to match the already-adjusted poor stations.

* Well sited rural stations show a warming nearly three times greater after NOAA adjustment is applied.

* Urban sites warm more rapidly than semi-urban sites, which in turn warm more rapidly than rural sites.

In short, the tiny amount of global warming claimed by the Warmists gets even tinier if you bypass the conventional adjustments. Putting it another way, most of the claimed global warming is an artifact of the analytical method. It is not there in reality.

A quote from Watts about the Muller research: "“I fully accept the previous findings of these papers, including that of the Muller et al 2012 paper. These investigators found exactly what would be expected given the siting metadata they had."

In other words, the Muller paper found what it did only because of the poor data that the authors used.

Much more HERE

Some comments on the Watts and Muller papers from Roger Pielke Sr.

This paper is a game changer, in my view, with respect to the use of the land surface temperature anomalies as part of the diagnosis of global warming.

The new study extends and improves on the study of station siting quality, as they affect multi-decadal surface air temperature trends

Anthony has led what is a critically important assessment of the issue of station quality. Indeed, this type of analysis should have been performed by Tom Karl and Tom Peterson at NCDC, Jim Hansen at GISS and Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia (and Richard Muller). However, they apparently liked their answers and did not want to test the robustness of their findings.

In direct contradiction to Richard Muller’s BEST study, the new Watts et al 2012 paper has very effectively shown that a substantive warm bias exists even in the mean temperature trends. This type of bias certainly exists throughout the Global Historical Climate Network, as well as what Anthony has documented for the US Historical Climate Reference Network.

Anthony’s new results also undermine the latest claims by Richard Muller of BEST, as not only is Muller extracting data from mostly the same geographic areas as for the NCDC, GISS and CRU analyses, but he is accepting an older assessment of station siting quality as it affects the trends.

Indeed, since he accepted the Fall et al 2011 study in reporting his latest findings, he now needs to retrench and re-compute his trends. Of course, for the non-USHCN sites, he must bin those sites as performed by Anthony’s research group. If he does not, his study should be relegated to a footnote of a out-of-date analysis.

In Richard Muller’s Op-Ed in the New York Times (see The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic), he makes far-reaching conclusions based on his sparse knowledge of the uncertainties in multi-decadal land surface temperature record. His comments show what occurs when a scientist, with excellent research credentials within their area of scientific expertise, go outside of their area of knowledge.

Now, with the new Watts et al 2012 paper, Richard Muller’s conclusion regarding the robustness of the BEST analysis is refuted in the same day as his op-ed appeared.

It certainly appears that Richard Muller is an attention-getter, which he has succeeded at, but, unfortunately, he has demonstrated a remarkable lack of knowledge concerning the uncertainties in quantifying the actual long-term surface temperature trend, as well as a seriously incomplete knowledge of the climate system.

The proper way to complete a research study is provided in the Watts et al 2012 article. This article, a culmination of outstanding volunteer support under Anthony’s leadership, shows that Anthony Watts clearly understands the research process in climate science. As a result of his, and of and his colleagues, rigorous dedication to the scientific method, he has led a much more robust study than performed by Richard Muller in the BEST project.

The new Watts et al 2012 paper shows that Muller’s data base is really not a significant new addition for assessing land-side climate patterns, at least until further analyses are performed on the siting quality of the stations he uses in the BEST assessment.

Anthony Watt’s new paper shows that a major correction is needed Muller’s BEST study. Anthony also has shown what dedicated scientists can do with even limited financial support. Despite the large quantities of funds spent on the BEST study, it is Anthony Watts and his team who have actually significantly advanced our understanding of this aspect of the climate system.


Even Warmist David Appell is critical of the Muller claims

He is happy with their picture of temperature rises but points out that their claim of human causation is not established by their research. Even I saw that in my comments yesterday -- JR

It seems BEST is getting into trouble with their claims of attribution [i.e. what causes the observed warming] instead of their reconstruction of the temperature data. What they've done sounds like -- well, like what a bunch of physicists would do, not what climate science needs (and what climate scientists do).

Andrew Revkin quotes Judith Curry (who declined to be a co-author on the BEST results being announced today):
Their latest paper on the 250-year record concludes that the best explanation for the observed warming is greenhouse gas emissions. Their analysis is way oversimplistic and not at all convincing in my opinion.

There is broad agreement that greenhouse gas emissions have contributed to the warming in the latter half of the 20th century; the big question is how much of this warming can we attribute to greenhouse gas emissions. I don’t think this question can be answered by the simple curve fitting used in this paper, and I don’t see that their paper adds anything to our understanding of the causes of the recent warming. That said, I think there are two interesting results in this paper, regarding their analysis of 19th century volcanoes and the impact on climate, and also the changes to the diurnal temperature range.

Attributing climate is more like figuring out the structure of DNA than it is like figuring out the laws of quantum mechanics -- simple curve-fitting ("exponentials, polynomials") doesn't cut it. In fact, it makes you look kind of foolish. If it were that simple climatologists would have done it in the 19th century (and, of course, they've all tried curve-fitting on the second week of their research, then hid those papers in a bottom drawer.) That's exactly why they scratch around for all the clues they can get, and why they ruin their youth building climate models. (Sure, CO2 is one of the big factors, which is already enough to be worried about our large emissions; but there is usually a lot going on.)

BEST did a great job reconstructing the temperature history of the planet (assuming their work passes peer review, at least). Perhaps they should have stopped there.


And, to cap it, even Michael "Hockeystick" Mann says Muller has contributed nothing new:

"My view is that Muller's efforts to promote himself by belittling the collective efforts of the entire atmospheric/climate research community over several decades, though, really does the scientific community a disservice. Its great that he's reaffirmed what we already knew. But for him to pretend that we couldn't trust this entire scientific field until Richard Muller put his personal stamp of approval on their conclusions is, in my view, a very dangerously misguided philosophical take on how science works. It seems, in the end--quite sadly--that this is all really about Richard Muller's self-aggrandizement"


And a big-time Warmist says that Muller's paper might even fail peer review

He would certainly have to drop his completely hollow attribution claims to get it published in any respectable journal -- JR

Benjamin D. Santer, a climate researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a lead author of the 1995 U.N. climate report, said he welcomed the involvement of another research group into “detection and attribution” of climate change and its causes. But he also said he found it troubling that Muller claimed such definitive results without his work undergoing peer-review.

“If you go into the public arena and claim to have generated evidence that is stronger than the IPCC, where is the detailed, scientific evidence? Has he used fundamental new data sets?” Santer said. “Publish the science and report on it after it’s done.”

He added: “I think you can do great harm to the broader debate. Imagine this scenario: that he makes these great claims and the papers aren't published? This (op-ed) is in the spirit of publicity, not the spirit of science.”


"We have no idea" -- Rare but honest admission from a climate scientist

SCIENTISTS say they have unravelled the mechanism by which Earth-warming carbon is sucked deep into the Southern Ocean to be safely locked away.

Wind, currents and eddies (a current running opposite to the main current) work together to create carbon-sucking funnels, said the research team from Britain and Australia in a discovery that adds to the toolkit of scientists attempting climate warming predictions.

About a quarter of the carbon dioxide on Earth is stored away in its oceans - some 40 per cent of that in the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica.

At a depth of about 1000 metres, carbon can be locked away for hundreds to thousands of years, yet scientists had never been sure exactly how it gets there after dissolving into surface waters.

They had suspected the wind was the main force at play, pooling up surface water in some areas and forcing it down into the ocean depths.

Using 10 years of data obtained from small, deep-sea robotic probes, the researchers found that in addition to the wind, eddies - big whirlpool-like phenomena about 100km in diameter on average, also played a part.

"You add the effect of these eddies and the effect of the wind and the effect of prominent currents in the Southern Ocean, you add these three effects, it makes ... 100km-wide funnels that bring the carbon from the sea surface to the interior," study author Jean-Baptiste Sallee told AFP.

The team had also used temperature, salinity and pressure data collected from ship-based observations since the 1990s.

"This is a very efficient process to bring carbon from the surface to the interior. We found in the Southern Ocean there are five such funnels," said Sallee.

The team also found that the eddies counterbalanced a different effect of strong winds - that of releasing stored carbon by violent mixing of the sea.

"This does seem to be good news, but the thing is what will be the impact of climate change on the eddies? Will they stop, will they intensify? We have no idea," said Sallee.

A changing climate could theoretically affect the nature and effect of the Southern Ocean eddies by changing ocean currents, intensifying winds or creating stark temperature spikes.

There is also another carbon capturing process, not covered by this study, of CO2-producing micro organisms that live near the ocean surface sinking to the sea floor and settling there when they die.


Frackin' B.S.

"Even a broken clock is right twice a day” is an adage we’ve all heard dozens of times. Today, it applies to the EPA as even it gets things right now and then. The EPA is well known for its attacks on virtually every kind of industry that might result in economic development—hitting the energy sector particularly hard. Despite the agency's best efforts, it has not been able to match up the science with its desired claims of water contamination from natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing—which has been in use in America for more than 60 years.

In early December 2011, the New York Times ran a story declaring: “Chemicals used to hydraulically fracture rocks in drilling for natural gas in a remote valley in central Wyoming are the likely cause of contaminated local water supplies.” Environmental groups jumped all over the announcement. Amy Mall, a fracking opponent with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the report “underscores the urgent need to get federal rules and safeguards on the books to help protect all Americans from the dangers of fracking.” An NPR story on the EPA’s draft study released on December 8, 2011, stated: “The gas industry and other experts have long contended that fracking doesn't contaminate drinking water. The EPA's findings provide the first official confirmation to the contrary.”

However, just three months later, on March 8, it was announced that the EPA had to backtrack as frequent attacks forced the agency to acknowledge that it had rushed to judgment. The chemicals supposedly found in the drinking water of Pavilion, Wyoming, were chemicals that could have come from a variety of sources—including the plastic piping. The EPA released the data and findings outside of the purview of two “working groups” made up of state and EPA officials, which had been examining the Pavillion pollution for the better part of a year. Following accusations that the EPA rushed the release of the report without peer review, the EPA backed down and agreed to retest. Now, the EPA and Wyoming, as well as U.S. Geological Survey and two American Indian tribes, are working together on further study of the Pavillion groundwater.

On April 1, a lawsuit the EPA had filed earlier this year against a Texas energy company, Range Resources, accusing it of contaminating water through hydraulic fracturing, was quietly dropped. Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that oversees oil and gas development, responded: “By dropping their court case and enforcement actions, EPA now acknowledges what we at the Railroad Commission have known for more than a year: Range Resources’ Parker County gas wells did not contaminate groundwater. This announcement is a vindication of the science-based processes at the Railroad Commission.”

On April 7, 2011, the EPA released test results for Dimock, Pennsylvania, that “did not show levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take immediate action.” Despite the EPA’s test results, Water Defense executive director Claire Sandberg claimed that the “EPA's test results continue to show what Dimock residents have claimed for years: the water is contaminated.”

Dimock became the “symbol of possible threats to water from hydraulic fracturing” through the anti-fracking movie Gasland. While testing was being done, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., the company drilling in the area, had, beginning in 2009, been providing families with fresh water, installed water filters, and offered to pay each affected family twice the value of their home. According to Bloomberg, “The Houston-based company set aside $4.1 million to pay claims stemming from residents’ complaints.” After its testing found the water to be safe and state regulators agreed, Cabot discontinued the fresh water deliveries late last year. However, the EPA stepped in and continued delivering water.

A few days ago, “after months of back-and-forth wrangling,” the EPA finally cleared Dimock’s water and announced it would discontinue the water deliveries saying that it has “no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.” The EPA acknowledged that the substances found in the water were “naturally occurring.”

Thursday’s announcement was a victory for proponents of oil and gas drilling, the economic development that comes with it, and the energy independence it gives to America.

Cabot company spokesman George Stark emphasized: “Cabot's operations in Dimock have led to significant economic growth in the area, marked by a collaborative relationship with the local community.”

One oil and gas official heralded the decision, but called the EPA’s approach part of a “pattern of overreaching, aimed at undercutting job-creating American energy development.”

While the decision, as Marcellus Shale Coalition president Kathryn Klaber stated, provides “closure to the situation,” self-described “fracktivists” gathered on Saturday in Washington D.C. for a “Stop the Frack Attack” rally—billed as the first-ever national protest to stop hydraulic fracturing. Despite their claim that thousands of people would descend on the west lawn of the Capitol building, live video of the event showed that, perhaps, the EPA’s decision took some of the wind out of their sails as a sparse crowd listened to speakers spread fear over “dirty water” and rising global temperatures.

The EPA has had to retreat in these three widely-publicized cases: Wyoming/Encana, Texas/Range Resources, and now, Pennsylvania/Cabot Oil and Gas. What remains to be seen is how the decisions will impact America’s job-creating domestic energy development. Will our energy policy be dominated by the emotion and ideology of “fracktivists” carrying signs such as those seen at the “Stop the Frack Attack” rally: “Stop feeding us bull**** and making us drink gas” or will it be determined by facts and sound science?

Thousands of jobs and billions in economic development are waiting in states such as New York, Ohio, Colorado, and Kentucky—and others with new resource discovery. Supporters of America’s job-creating domestic energy development don’t want to eliminate all regulations, but they need to be reasonable—encouraging responsible resource extraction, not so strident that they stifle progress and kill jobs.

The Dimock decision proves that the efforts of the “fracktivists” are more about a political anti-energy agenda than doing what is best for America.



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, 2012

The new Muller "bombshell" article

A new article by Richard Muller reporting more results of his "Berkeley" temperature project is to be published in the NYT in the next day or two. A copy of it has been leaked to skeptics and Anthony Watts is apparently preparing an exhaustive demolition of it.

So just a few notes: Muller does not dispute the small magnitude of the temperature rise over the last 150 years (though giving temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit rather than the usual scientific custom of using degrees Celsius may create that impression) and has NOTHING to say about the "Tipping point" hypothesis that is crucial to the dire prophecies of Warmists.

He also says some sensible things. I hope that the gods of copyright enforcement won't crucify me if I quote just one sentence: "I still find that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated, or just plain wrong." And he proceeds to give examples.

But his central points are that the observed temperature variations track CO2 levels and do not track solar effects. That is certainly interesting, if true, but one would have to look at WHICH solar statistics he used and WHICH records of CO2 levels he used. Prof. Ernst has shown that CO2 levels inferred from proxies do not track ACTUAL CO2 levels as directly observed over the last two centuries. I don't think I am gambling when I say that Muller did not use Prof. Ernst's figures.

The BIG weak point in Muller's article and a deadly weak point in the whole Warmist faith is one that Muller does tackle head-on. And he ends up admitting that he cannot prove his answer to the question: Are the CO2 rises caused by humans? All he has to offer by way of evidence for his belief is the correlation between CO2 levels and temperature, which completely begs the question. That there is much evidence to show that warming causes CO2 rise (via ocean outgassing) rather than the other way around he does not go anywhere near.

So rather than a bombshell, even this benighted social scientist has to see the Muller article as a damb squib. His faults are as much faults of logic as of science -- JR

Was the Medieval Warm Period Confined to Europe?

That’s what the self-anointed ‘consensus of scientists’ claims. As noted in a previous post this week, right after the IPCC famously declared that the 1990s were likely the warmest decade of the past millennium, they stated: “Evidence does not support the existence of globally synchronous periods of cooling or warming associated with the ‘Little Ice Age’ and ‘Medieval Warm Period’” (Third Assessment Report, Chap. 2, p. 102).

But those remarkable Idsos, Shirwood, Craig, and Keith, keep reviewing studies that find evidence of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) not only in Europe but also in Asia, Africa, Australia/New Zealand, North America, South America, the Oceans, and even Antarctica. What’s more, the preponderance of these studies indicate that the MWP was warmer than the current warm period (CWP). The Idsos divide these studies into two categories, Level 1 Studies, which attempt to quantify the difference between MWP peak temperatures and CWP peak temperatures, and Level 2 Studies, which indicate whether the MWP peak temperatures were higher than, lower than, or the same as CWP peak temperatures.

This week on their Web site, CO2Science.Org, the Idsos review a study, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, that attempts to reconstruct the temperature history of the Antarctic Peninsula from ikaite crystals (an icy version of limestone) in marine sediments. The study, by Zunli Lu of Syracuse University and colleagues, finds that “both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula.” What is more, the researchers find that the “climatic signature” from the most recent crystals is “not yet as extreme in nature as the MWP.”

Prof. Lu cautions that the study “does not question the well-established anthropogenic warming trend” of recent decades and that results from one site “should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe.” Nonetheless, the Idsos reasonably conclude that the study is additional evidence that “the Earth has not yet eclipsed the level of GLOBAL warmth experienced during the MWP.”

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Pachauri Proves He Is Scientifically Incompetent Again

Railroad engineer Pachauri [Head of the IPCC] demonstrates once again that he understands nothing about science

“it’s possible that part of this huge body of ice (Greenland) could collapse, and fall into the ocean which would lead to several meters of sea level rise."

Mindless drivel. The Greenland ice sheet is a 3 km thick chunk of ice spread across a 1000 km wide island. You could visualize it as being a thick piece of paper. Can you imagine a piece of paper lying flat on a table, collapsing?

But it is worse than it seems. The land under the ice sheet is depressed due to the weight of the ice above it, and is bowl shaped. Furthermore, the island is full of mountain ranges buried under the ice – which prevent lateral movement.

Perhaps Pachauri thinks that ice cream can spontaneously jump out of a bowl? What a maroon.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Those Pesky clouds again

Clouds are central to the Warmist "tipping point" theory and I mentioned on July 10 the Laken work on South America which showed clouds not to be behaving themselves according to Warmist doctrine.

Now a new paper on clouds over Spain is equally awkward for the Warmists. According to them, we should be living through an era of increasing cloudiness. But what do the data show? They show that just when increasing cloudiness was supposed to cut in, it actually stopped and started to decrease!

A paper published today in Climate of the Past finds that Total Cloud Cover (TCC) has significantly decreased over Spain by about 4% since 1960, the same period during which the IPCC claims there is no explanation other than man-made greenhouse gases to account for global warming.....

Until cloud effects are much better understood (as well as a host of other factors such as ocean oscillations), computer climate models will remain computer fantasy games.
Clim. Past, 8, 1199-1212, 2012

Increasing cloud cover in the 20th century: review and new findings in Spain

By A. Sanchez-Lorenzo et al.


Visual observations of clouds have been performed since the establishment of meteorological observatories during the early instrumental period, and have become more systematic and reliable after the mid-19th century due to the establishment of the first national weather services. During the last decades a large number of studies have documented the trends of the total cloud cover (TCC) and cloudy types; most of these studies focus on the trends since the second half of the 20th century. Due to the lower reliability of former observations, and the fact that most of this data is not accessible in digital format, there is a lack of studies focusing on the trends of cloudiness since the mid-19th century.

In the first part, this work attempts to review previous studies analyzing TCC changes with information covering at least the first half of the 20th century. Then, the study analyses a database of cloudiness observations in Southern Europe (Spain) since the second half of the 19th century. Specifically, monthly TCC series were reconstructed since 1866 by means of a so-called parameter of cloudiness, calculated from the number of cloudless and overcast days.

These estimated TCC series show a high interannual and decadal correlation with the observed TCC series originally measured in oktas. After assessing the temporal homogeneity of the estimated TCC series, the mean annual and seasonal series for the whole of Spain and several subregions were calculated.

The mean annual TCC shows a general tendency to increase from the beginning of the series until the 1960s; at this point, the trend becomes negative

The linear trend for the annual mean series, estimated over the 1866–2010 period, is a highly remarkable (and statistically significant) increase of +0.44% per decade, which implies an overall increase of more than +6% during the analyzed period. These results are in line with the majority of the trends observed in many areas of the world in previous studies, especially for the records before the 1950s when a widespread increase of TCC can been considered as a common feature.


Warmists are amusing

They are always talking about "the facts" or "the science" but never mention one single scientific fact in support of their arguments (mainly because there are none)

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who is trying to build support for a carbon tax, said the facts on global warming will “overwhelm” GOP resistance to climate change action and alter the party’s stance.

“What we have been doing so far is sort of shrinking in science denial and holding onto shaky ideology that really will be overwhelmed by the facts,” the former GOP lawmaker said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

“You can hold back the facts only for so long and eventually they overwhelm you,” Inglis said on Platts Energy Week TV. “I think that is happening on climate change. The science is pretty clear.”

Inglis, who was vanquished by a conservative upstart in his 2010 primary, this month launched a new initiative at George Mason University to promote what he calls market-based, conservative solutions to energy and climate challenges.

“I think that eventually the champions of free enterprise, which is who conservatives are, who Republicans generally are, will rise to the occasion and come forward with real solutions here,” he said.

Inglis backs a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax under which taxes on emissions would be offset by reductions in other rates.

“Right now we tax income, labor and industry, but we don’t tax the negative externality associated with the burning of fossil fuels,” he said.

Under his plan, subsidies and tax breaks for various energy sources — including green energy — would go away, but carbon-heavy fuels would see the costs of emissions included in their price.

“If you attach the negative externalities, the hidden cost, to those fossil fuels, then the economics would be set right for the challenger fuels to succeed in a fair competition,” Inglis said.


Voting for Wildlife Extermination

The latest justification for extending the industrial wind electricity production tax credit (PTC) is that we need an “all of the above” energy policy. The slogan falls flat, even when it’s expanded to “all of the above and below” – which is rarely the case with radical environmentalists and “progressive” politicians, who steadfastly oppose “any of the below” (ie, hydrocarbons).

America needs an “all of the sensible” energy policy. If an energy option makes sense - technically, economically and environmentally - it should be implemented. If it flunks, it should be scrapped.

Industrial wind energy mandates, renewable portfolio standards, subsidies, feed-in tariffs and production tax credits fail every test. They flunk environmental standards disastrously. In fact, they are subsidizing the slaughter of countless eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, herons, cranes, egrets, other birds and bats.

The wind PTC epitomizes “you didn’t build it.” If any business “didn’t get there on your own,” or was “successful because, along the line,” somebody (in government) “gave you some help” – it is Big Wind.

Industrial wind energy has been mandated, propped up, subsidized, built and protected by government. Elected and unelected officials at the federal, state and local levels have given it every unfair advantage that taxpayer and ratepayer money, legal favors and exemptions, and crony corporatism could bestow upon it. Meanwhile, in numerous cases, the same legislative, regulatory, environmentalist and industrialist cronies have penalized and marginalized Big Wind’s hydrocarbon and nuclear competitors – often for the same reasons that are ignored with wind energy.

Industrial wind is actually our least sustainable energy resource.It requires perpetual subsidies to survive. The tax revenues it takes from productive sectors of the economy, the insufficient and unreliable nature of wind electricity, and the exorbitant electricity rates that wind turbines impose on factories and businesses, kill two to four jobs for every "green" job created. Wind is a net job loser .

Big Wind also imposes excessive environmental impacts. It requires vast amounts of raw materials and land for turbines, backup power and long transmission lines. The extraction and processing of rare earth metals and other materials devastates large agricultural, scenic and wildlife habitat areas and harms people’s health, especially in China. Worst, the turbines are returning numerous bird and bat species to the edge of extinction, after decades of patient, costly efforts to nurse them back to health.

These are not sparrows and pigeons killed by housecats. They are bats that eat insects and protect crops . They are some of our most important and magnificent raptors, herons, cranes, condors and other majestic sovereigns of our skies. They are being chopped out of the air and driven from numerous habitats.

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC)and other experts estimate that well over 500,000 birds and countless bats are already being killed annually by turbines. The subsidized slaughter “could easily be over 500” golden eagles a year in our western states, Save the Eagles Internationalbiologist Jim Wiegand told me. Bald eagles are also being killed at alarming rates that could soon reach 1,000 per year.

In the 86-square-mile area blanketed by the Altamont Pass wind facility, no eagles have nested for over 20 years, and golden eagle nest sites have declined by half near the actual facility, even though both areas are prime eagle habitat, says Wiegand. Wildlife expert Dr. Shawn Smallwood estimates that 2,300 golden eagles have been killed by Altamont turbines over the past 25 years.

The wind industry keeps the publicly acknowledged death toll “low” and “acceptable” by employing deliberately flawed methodologies, says Wiegand. Companies have crews search around turbines that are not operating; search only within narrow radiuses of turbines, thus missing birds that were flung further by the impact or limped off to die elsewhere; search for carcasses only every 2-4 weeks, allowing scavengers to take most of them away; avoid using dogs to sniff for bodies; not count disabled or wounded birds and bats; and pick up carcasses, under the guideline of “slice, shovel and shut up.”

High security at most wind turbine sites makes independent analysis almost impossible, adds ABC wind energy coordinator Kelly Fuller. Even the faulty (fraudulent?) raw bird kill data are rarely made public and are difficult to access even through the Freedom of Information Act. Amazingly, the US Fish & Wildlife Service does not require that the information be made public. What little does get released is too often filtered, massaged and manipulated – and now the FWS may allow the industry to put even these suspect body counts into private data banks that would not be subject to FOIA.

The FWS and Justice Department prosecuted and fined oil companies for the unintentional deaths of just 28 small migratory birds (no raptors and no rare, threatened or endangered species) over several months throughout North Dakota. They fined ExxonMobil $600,000 for accidentally killing 85 birds over a five-year period in five states. But they have never prosecuted or penalized a single wind turbine company for its eco-slaughter. Now they are going much further.

The Service has proposed to grant “programmatic take” permits that would allow wind turbine operators to repeatedly, systematically, legally and “inadvertently” injure, maim and kill bald and golden eagles –turning what has been outrageously selective (non)enforcement of endangered species laws into a 007 license to kill. While the new rule “is not specifically designed for the wind industry” (as an industry spokesman helpfully pointed out), Big Wind will be by far the biggest beneficiary.

The FWS says it can do this based on illusory “advanced conservation practices” that are “scientifically supportable,” approved by the Service, and “represent the best available techniques to reduce eagle disturbance and ongoing mortalities to a level where remaining take is unavoidable and incidental to otherwise lawful activity.” The Service also claims “mitigation” and other “additional” measures may be implemented where necessary to “ensure the preservation” of eagles as a species.

When its goal is to restrict development, the FWS frequently defines species, subspecies or “distinct population segments” for sage grouse, spotted owls, “jumping mice” and other wildlife – or labels a species “imperiled” in a selected location, even when it is abundant in nearby locations. With eagles, the proposed “take” rules strongly suggest that the Service could easily say the presence of eagles in some parts of the Lower 48 States or even just Alaska would mean their preservation is ensured, even if they are exterminated or driven out of numerous habitats. (Ditto for other species imperiled by wind turbines.)

Attempts to “mitigate” impacts or establish new population segments will almost certainly mean imposing extra burdens, restrictions and costs on land owners and users outside of turbine-impact areas.

Another vital, majestic species being “sliced” back to the verge of extinction is the whooping crane, North America’s tallest bird. Since 2006, installed turbine capacity within the six-state whooping crane flyway has skyrocketed from 3,600 megawatts to some 16,000 MW – and several hundred tagged and numbered whooping cranes “have turned up missing and are unaccounted for,” says Wiegand. And yet, another 136,700 MW of new bird Cuisinarts are planned for these six states!

The Service knows this is happening, and yet turns a blind eye – and Big Wind is not about to admit that its turbines are butchering whooping cranes, bald eagles, Peregrine falcons, bats and other rare species.

This subsidized slaughter and legalized carnage cannot continue. Every vote to extend the PTC, or approve wind turbines in or near important bird habitats and flyways, is a vote for ultimate extinction of majestic and vital species in numerous areas all over the United States.

Wind energy is not green, eco-friendly, sustainable or sensible. Extending the subsidized slaughter is not something any members of Congress, state legislatures or county commissions – Republican or Democrat – should want to have on their conscience.



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, 2012


27 July, 2012

Britain's brainless Met Office

An interesting correspondence below -- forwarded to me. Among other things, they can't even spell such simple words as "truly" or "huge". I start with an email to them:

Dear Met Office,

You may know of the late Mr Norman Holdsworth, who was a senior Met Office weather forecaster for decades. He served at Cyprus ; Aberporth, Wales and Bracknell.

Norman was a lovely man.... a real gentleman of high intellect. He always used to tell me that he never believed in the twin falsehoods........"global warming" and "climate change".

Since he's died, we have had four successive winters in the UK, with long spells of severe weather.

So where is the EVIDENCE for anthropomorphic "global warming" ........ now dubbed "climate change" to try and dupe people even further?

Could you please supply PROOF that there has been global warming over the last 10 years ?

Yours faithfully,

L J Jenkins,

The Met reply below

Dear L J Jenkins,

The evidence for climate change is vast and if you wish to truely understand the physical forces at work you will need to be prepared to do a certain amount of reading to gain this. There are hugh amounts of scientific research available in the public domain. However as a good overview, I would refer you to the web site of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at and the Met Office Hadley Centre publications which can be found here (in particular the one titled "Evidence"):

The Met Office Hadley Centre is the UK’s national centre for climate change research. Partly funded by DECC (the Department of Energy and Climate Change) and Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the Hadley Centre provides in-depth information to the Government and advise them on climate change issues using expert scientific evidence. Our climate scientists undertake studies of the global climate using similar, though more extensive, models of the atmospheres, as are used for the prediction of weather conditions.

In its Fourth Assessment Review, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that there is unequivocal evidence from observations that the Earth is warming. It further stated and that most of the observed warming since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in man-made greenhouse gas concentrations. By “very likely”, the IPCC means a 90% probability or greater. This broad climate change message has also been strongly supported by the world’s top Academy of Sciences, including the Royal Society in the UK and the National Academy of Sciences in the USA.

In view of this, the Met Office firmly believes that climate research has captured the essential aspects of what is causing our planet to warm. It is now time to look at strategies for adaptation and mitigation; better defining uncertainty and improving regional detail in climate models. This is where our efforts will and should be directed.

Trish Lamb,

Climate Science Enquiries Coordinator

If Trish had another brain, she'd be lonely

Another broken hockey stick: New paper finds ocean temps were warmer during multiple periods over past 2700 years & current warming within natural variability

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters finds that sea surface temperatures [SSTs] in the Southern Okinawa Trough off the coast of China were warmer than the present during the Minoan Warm Period 2700 years ago, the Roman Warm Period 2000 years ago, and the Sui-Tang dynasty Warm Period 1400 years ago.

According to the authors, "Despite an increase since 1850 AD, the mean [sea surface temperature] in the 20th century is still within the range of natural variability during the past 2700 years."

In addition, the paper shows the rate of warming in the Minoan, Roman, Medieval, and Sui-Tang dynasty warm periods was much faster than in the current warming period since the Little Ice Age. The paper finds "A close correlation of SST in Southern Okinawa Trough with air temperature in East China, intensity of East Asian monsoon and the El-Niño Southern Oscillation index has been attributed to the fluctuations in solar output and oceanic-atmospheric circulation," which corroborates other papers demonstrating that the climate is highly sensitive to tiny changes in solar activity.

The paper adds to the peer-reviewed publications of over a thousand scientists showing that the current warm period is well within the range of natural variability and is not unprecedented, not accelerated, and not unusual in any respect.


Sea surface temperature variability in southern Okinawa Trough during last 2700 years

By Weichao Wu et al.


Most of the temperature reconstructions for the past two millennia are based on proxy data from various sites on land. Here we present a bidecadal resolution record of sea surface temperature (SST) in Southern Okinawa Trough for the past ca. 2700 years by analyzing tetraether lipids of planktonic archaea in the ODP Hole 1202B, a site under the strong influence of Kuroshio Current and East Asian monsoon. The reconstructed SST anomalies generally coincided with previously reported late Holocene climate events, including the Roman Warm Period, Sui-Tang dynasty Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period, Current Warm Period, Dark Age Cold Period and Little Ice Age. However, the Medieval Warm Period usually thought to be a historical analogue for the Current Warm Period has a mean SST of 0.6–0.8°C lower than that of the Roman Warm Period and Sui-Tang dynasty Warm Period. Despite an increase since 1850 AD, the mean SST in the 20th century is still within the range of natural variability during the past 2700 years. A close correlation of SST in Southern Okinawa Trough with air temperature in East China, intensity of East Asian monsoon and the El-Niño Southern Oscillation index has been attributed to the fluctuations in solar output and oceanic-atmospheric circulation.


IPCC seeks to influence UK FOI laws

For much of the year, the House of Commons Justice Committee has been conducting a post-legislative review of the Freedom of Information Act, its work taking place in the face of a concerted effort by the bureaucracy to push it into accepting the idea that the Act should be neutered.

The review has now ground to a conclusion, and the news is, on the whole quite good. For example, from the recommendations comes the welcome news that the committee favours a tightening of the legal ramifications for breaches of the Act.
The summary only nature of the section 77 offence means that no one has been prosecuted for destroying or altering disclosable data, despite the Information Commissioner’s Office seeing evidence that such an offence has occurred. We recommend that section 77 be made an either way offence which will remove the limitation period from charging. We also recommend that, where such a charge is heard in the Crown Court, a higher fine than the current £5000 be available to the court. We believe these amendments to the Act will send a clear message to public bodies and individuals contemplating criminal action.

However, one of the other recommendations is less obviously welcome, with the committee concluding that England and Wales adopt the Scottish approach to research data. This allows exemption under two different grounds - a narrow one and a broad one. The narrow exemption is for data held for future publication, the narrowness coming from the requirement that the publication date cannot be more than 12 weeks in the future. The broader, and therefore much more worrying, exemption is for data held as part of an ongoing research programme. I'm not sure that this doesn't allow those who would rather their research was not examined by outsiders simply to say that they are still using the data and that it cannot therefore be disclosed.

The whole of the university sector seems to have been keen to get a much broader exemption in place. One submission of evidence, from Universities UK is a particularly interesting case in point, which shows that those champions of openness, the IPCC, have also been taking an interest.
[...] evidence of commercial partners being put off working with UK institutions is largely anecdotal. However, in a case involving the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) recently settled by the Information Commissioner for drafts of a published paper, the University of East Anglia highlighted that:

In another matter, we recently received exactly such representations from the IPCC TSU [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Technical Support Unit] based in Geneva, Switzerland in which they explicitly noted that release of such material would “[...] force us to reconsider our working arrangements with those experts who have been selected for an active role in WG1 AR5 [Working Group One, Fifth Assessment Report] from your institution and others within the United Kingdom.”


US Green Building Council: An unchecked taxpayer-supported monopoly

Something called the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) enjoys de facto authority over government green building standards. Many would be surprised, however, to learn that it is not a government agency.

Rather, the USGBC is a non-profit environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that sets the standards for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. For those unfamiliar, LEED is the dominant certification program used for measuring building sustainability and energy efficiency.

Technically, LEED is a voluntary program. But because a reported 400 U.S. cities and localities, 39 states and virtually the entire federal government currently require builders to meet LEED standards, USGBC effectively operates as a taxpayer-subsidized monopoly – one whose standards increasingly seem driven by ideology and influence rather than sound science and economic common sense.

For evidence of that, look no further than LEED v4, the USGBC’s proposed fourth generation changes to its green building standards.

Representing a dramatic departure from the USGBC’s stated goal of promoting energy efficiency through “consensus-based decision-making” that includes all affected stakeholders, LEED v4 seeks to discourage the use of commonly used building materials and products that ironically are utilized today in energy-efficient buildings. On the proposal’s chopping block? Literally hundreds of proven and prevalent building products that include most PVC piping, foam insulation, heat reflective roofing and LED lighting, just to name a few.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) mandates that all new federal buildings and renovations to existing buildings be certified to LEED “Gold" standards at a minimum. Therefore, if approved and adopted in its current form as the sole green building standard by GSA, LEED v4 could lead to an outright ban on manufacture of those products as builders, architects and others would be coerced into avoiding their use altogether.

To add insult to injury, the arbitrary changes to the LEED standards, some of which are based on regulations put forth by the European Union, are being made without sound science to support them and without any substantive input from leaders and experts in the manufacturing and building industries that would be most affected. The costs of the changes would be felt in the form of good-paying U.S. jobs, American competitiveness and increased costs to taxpayers at a time when our nation’s struggling economy can least afford it.

With LEED certification per building costing up to $27,500, it’s easy to see how the USGBC took in over $100 million in revenue in 2009 - much of that coming from the pockets of taxpayers. Due to LEED’s existing standards and short-sightedness, consumers and taxpayers already pay as much as a 20 percent premium on wood certified by the program, with dubious environmental benefits. Given those alarming costs, it’s high time for Congress to use its influence over the GSA to put an end the USGBC’s stranglehold on the market.

Fortunately, LEEDv4 has begun to raise the ire of bipartisan groups in Congress. Some 56 members of the House, led by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R–KS) and 18 Senators led by Mary Landrieu (D–LA) and David Vitter (R–LA), recently wrote GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini objecting to the changes and stating the agency should reconsider the USGBC’s LEED rating system should the proposed changes occur. In addition, at a July 19 House Government and Oversight Committee hearing, Congressional leaders raised concerns over the restrictive and arbitrary LEED process and the high costs the proposed changed will impose on American manufacturing and other sectors vital to U.S. economic recovery.


Making the nation’s buildings “greener” or more energy-efficient may be a worthwhile goal, but any effort to do so must be driven by the free and competitive market. We already witness too many government policies picking winners and losers in the marketplace. Remember Solyndra? For the federal bureaucracy to allow a third-party environmental group to do so is appalling.

Given USGBC’s agenda and arbitrary actions, it is reckless to empower that organization to dictate a government-sanctioned standard.

The process for the adoption of the proposed LEED v4 standards is not scheduled to conclude until next year. But with the GSA and other federal agencies currently reviewing which building standards to adopt moving forward, Congress must turn up the heat now to force GSA to replace LEED with a building certification system that is fair, open, based on unimpeachable science and uses consensus-based standards. In other words, one that is cognizant of its impact on jobs, the economy and taxpayers.

The era of the taxpayer-supported USGBC monopoly must end.


Skeptic Magazine Needs to be More Skeptical of Man-Made Global Warming

I have been taking potshots at "Skeptic" for years, including writing to them -- but their Leftism overwhelms critical thought. All that they are skeptical about is magic and superstition -- in which they include religion -- JR

A quarterly magazine called Skeptic published a cover story a few weeks back by Donald Prothero titled “How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human-Caused.” That struck us here at The Heartland Institute as rather strange.

Our work for years has been skeptical of the idea that human activity is causing catastrophic climate change, which is the conventional wisdom of the mainstream media. And we have two immense volumes of peer-reviewed literature and the videos of many conferences to prove it.

So if the very name of your magazine is Skeptic, shouldn’t readers expect you to carefully examine the spoon-fed doctrines of the likes of Al Gore, Michael Mann, the UN’s IPCC, etc., and be … well … skeptical of “doctrine”especially in light of the Climategate scandal? Alas, no.

Skeptic magazine, as the headline of the cover story makes clear, is not skeptical of global warming. Like the Roosters of the Apocalypse who allow group-think and ideology to trump their scientific judgment, Skeptic refuses to take serious the mounting and even overwhelming scientific case against man-made global warming. It’s amusing and ironic, then, that the Skeptic article begins with a quote from Nobel Laureate physicist Richard Feynman:

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

Yet the fact is: Reality, and scientific observation of nature, tells the truth about the climate — and man is not causing a climate catastrophe. Skeptic Magazine is the one regurgitating public-relations lies disguised as a hard-boiled look at the climate debate and grounded in real science.

Feynman has posthumously become a bit of a YouTube star for his one-minute explanation of the scientific method. The video below, from a lecture at Cornell in 1964, blows up Skeptic magazine’s idea of what science is.


In one minute, Feynman lays out how the scientific method works: Theories are constantly proposed, questioned and tested. Only after a theory goes through many exhaustive rounds of scientific examination — using observational data — can a “guess” become a “law” of science. And even then, a well-founded scientific “law” laid down by the smartest people in history is temporary. Just ask Newton.

Men and women who couldn’t hold Feynman’s briefcase have for years told us that the science is “settled”: Human activity is causing a catastrophic climate disaster — no matter that their computer model predictions haven’t come true, violating the scientific method and becoming the decades-later butt of Feynman’s presentation.

Yet Skeptic magazine, of all publications, dedicated a nine-page cover story to carrying water for public-relations hacks — propagandists — and not the kind of real, observable science that should be its hallmark. But let’s not completely condemn Skeptic. It still has the fact that there is no solid evidence for Bigfoot in its favor.

Christopher Monckton — Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, good friend of Heartland, advisor to Lady Thatcher, and one of the most learned “laymen” experts on climate science — gives that Skeptic article a hearty vivisection. Skeptic refused to publish it, so we share it here. There’s a short version and a long version of his reply, and they are both devastating.

Lord Monckton starts it off with his typically cheeky and refreshing in-your-face style:

Be skeptical, be very skeptical, of Skeptic magazine’s skepticism of climate skeptics. The latest issue has, as its cover story, a Climate Change Q&A, revealingly subtitled Climate Deniers’ Arguments & Climate Scientists’ Answers.

The article, written by Dr. Donald Prothero, a geology professor at Occidental College, opens with the bold heading How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human-Caused.

Anyone who starts out by using the hate-speech term “Climate Deniers” – laden with political overtones of Holocaust denial – cannot expect to be taken seriously as an objective scientist.

Despite this promise of “Climate Scientists’ Answers”, only four peer-reviewed papers by climate scientists are cited among the 41 references at the end of the article.

And the implicit notion that “Climate Deniers” are non-scientists while true-believers are “Climate Scientists” is also unreasonable. Many eminent climate scientists are skeptical of the more extremist claims made by the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC. We shall cite some of their work in this response to the Professor’s unscientific article.

His reply to the Skeptic article contains tons of scientific research — with no fewer than 42 citations in the footnotes. A taste of the truth:

1. Is “global warming” occurring at anything like the predicted rate?

No, it isn’t, say the skeptics. Predictions of doom have repeatedly failed.

Sea level: Aviso Envisat data show sea level rising in the eight years 2004-2012 at a rate equivalent to 1.3 inches (3 cm) per century. What is more, sea level in 2011-2012 was lower than in each of the previous seven years:

Sea-ice extent: Growth in Antarctic sea-ice extent almost matches the decline in the Arctic over the past 30 years, so that global sea-ice extent shows little change since the satellites have been watching:

When the data doesn’t match the hypothesis, it’s not science. It’s propaganda.


Environmental justice: A new movement to restrict your movement

When most people talk about President Obama's influence on America, they mention reforming health care, repealing "don't ask, don't tell" or ending the war in Iraq.

But a nearly unknown executive order could have a greater impact on the future of America than all of those things combined, potentially giving the federal government power to control every project in the country.

The obscure memorandum of understanding, based on a long-forgotten executive order signed by President Clinton in 1994, marries the issues of environmentalism and social justice. The federal government can use the laws from one to control the other.

Seventeen federal agencies signed the Aug. 4, 2011, memorandum — a clear indication of its widespread implications. By signing it, “Each Federal agency agrees to the framework, procedures, and responsibilities” of integrating environmental justice into all of its “programs, policies, and activities.”

This integration was the topic of the State of Environmental Justice in 2012 Conference held April 5 in Crystal City, Va. The low-key conference featured speakers who are key players in the movement, offering a rare glimpse into how the federal government intends to use this new tool as an instrument of power and control over the lives of every American.

Environmental justice has already stopped transportation projects in their tracks by using Title VI, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial "discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Mr. Obama explicitly suggests using Title VI to achieve environmental justice in his memorandum.

“This is all about integrating environmental justice into the transportation decision-making process,” said conference speaker Glenn Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice in Transportation Project at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

The president had taken steps to integrate environmental justice into transportation even before he wrote the memo. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency joined with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation to create the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

This partnership, according to the "Environmental Justice and Sustainability Reference Deskbook," “marks a fundamental shift in the way the federal government structures its transportation, housing, and environmental policies, programs and spending” to include environmental justice concerns.

James Cheatham, director of the Office of Planning at the Federal Highway Administration, is listed as an environmental justice contact in this book, which EPA published in December 2010. At the conference, he explained that the movement's early focus on transportation was no accident.

“Transportation is that vital link that moves our economy one way or another,” he said.

But what do civil rights have to do with transportation projects? When combined with environmentalism, they can stop almost anything.

Last year, an environmental justice claim prevented the state of Virginia from installing express toll lanes to help alleviate traffic congestion on Interstate 395 in Arlington County. The county alleged that the state had violated a series of laws that Mr. Obama suggested as enforcement tools for environmental justice.

First, emissions from vehicles operating in the toll lanes would have violated the Clean Air Act. And, since the lanes would have run mostly through a low-income minority community, they also violated Title VI by discriminating against residents who live there.

The lanes also would have violated the National Environmental Policy Act, according to Arlington County Attorney Stephen A. MacIsaac.

“What NEPA requires is a study of traffic impacts, air quality impacts and impacts on disadvantaged and minority communities … and we felt like that wasn't an adequate review,” Mr. MacIsaac said.

Mr. MacIsaac insisted that the county's lawsuit did not allege racial discrimination, even though traffic studies projected that mostly affluent white people would use the HOT lanes, which he referred to as “Lexus lanes.”

But conference speaker Sharlene Reed, community planner at FHWA, suggested conferees adopt exactly that strategy for filing project-stopping lawsuits.

“If environmental justice is looking at minorities and low income," she asked, "can you actually afford to utilize this road, or are you being disadvantaged as a result of them having a price associated with it?”

Like Mr. Cheatham, Ms. Reed is listed as an environmental contact in the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership. She helped develop "EPA's Action Development Process: Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action," published in July 2010.

All told, the HOT lanes lawsuit cost Arlington County taxpayers about $2 million, Mr. MacIsaac said. Fearing a long, expensive court battle, the Virginia Department of Transportation dropped Arlington from the project and began an intensive environmental review.

Arlington County government considers this a victory, but James Corocan, head of the chamber of commerce in neighboring Fairfax County, has a different take on it.

“It's businesses and citizens that are going to pay for this government's decision not to move forward with the HOT lanes,” Mr. Corocan said. “It's a shame for Arlington, because other areas are going to leave them behind when it comes to moving traffic around. … When businesses are looking at where do they want to locate, obviously access is key.”

He said he had talked to several Arlington business leaders who would have welcomed HOT lanes in their county.

Paul Driessen, senior policy fellow at the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise, said one of the dangers of environmental justice is that it gives the federal government power to make decisions that should be made by the people affected by them.

“There's a huge element within the environmental community, … within the various government agencies and so forth, of desire to control what people can or can't do,” Mr. Driessen said.

Mr. Driessen said he lamented the fact that environmental regulations placed “so many controls” over “free markets that have advanced us in so many ways. We're really holding back entrepreneurship. People are not investing because they don't know what the next round of regulations is going to do.”

But conference speakers lauded the use of Title VI in this way.

“File a complaint under the Title VI Administrative Enforcement Process if you cannot get the results that you want in other ways,” advised Marc Brenman, a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Mr. Brenman recounted how he did just that to stop a train route from being extended from downtown Oakland, Calif., to Oakland International Airport. He alleged that the project violated Title VI because it better served whites than minorities since the trains would pass by so many low-income minority neighborhoods along the way.

And, as environmental contractor Alexander Bond reminded the group, there are plenty of other laws people can use the same way as Title VI.

“The American Disabilities Act, the National Restorative Preservation Act for some visually impaired people, … [there is] lots of room built into this process for bringing environmental justice to the table,” said Mr. Bond, a senior associate at energy and environmental contractor ICF International in Fairfax.

Mr. Corocan disputed environmentalists' claims that HOT lanes would worsen air quality in Arlington, since the same number of cars will be on the road anyway, only now they will travel at a slower pace. That, if anything, will increase pollution.

David Almasi, executive director of the National Center for Public Policy Research, did not find this surprising at all. Environmental justice claims very rarely have anything to do with actually helping anyone, he said.

“They're not thinking about economic consequences to the everyman, but they're pushing environmental justice not in my opinion as a way to help a minority community but as a way to play the race card and make their arguments harder to fight,” Mr. Almasi said.

Another thing that makes environmental justice hard to fight is the vague terms EPA uses to define it, according to Mr. Driessen.

“The EPA's agenda is so broad, it's used to advance any new regulation that they have conceived of over this little bit in the past administration,” he said.

Conference speaker Eloisa Reynault, transportation, health and equity program manager at the American Public Health Association, described public health and transportation as issues married by environmental justice.

Ms. Reynault said the combined cost of four chronic problems — traffic deaths and injuries, obesity, lack of physical activity, and air pollution — cost taxpayers an estimated $478 billion per year. She assured conferees that environmental justice could offset those costs by addressing health and safety issues "connected to transportation."

She said that while "car travel is sedentary travel," getting to the bus or train stop often requires walking. She also asserted that a lack of public transit in low-income communities causes greater air pollution and, in turn, more lung disease. Another example? Car accidents, since minorities are often "overrepresented" in traffic fatalities and injuries.

Under these definitions, members of a low-income or minority community could file a Title VI complaint by claiming that lack of access to public transportation made them fat and sick — and win.

The wide scope of environmental justice also makes it easier for government offices to share funds to achieve 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


26 July, 2012

Transient Greenland warming excites Warmists

Yep! FOUR WHOLE DAYS days that were warmer than anything else in 30 years. They tell us that 10 years is too short a period upon which to base generalizations but for them just 4 days is enough! Anthony Watts has a more detailed assault on this latest bit of malarkey

The Greenland ice sheet is melting at an "unprecedented" rate, according to NASA satellite data that shows 97 per cent of the vast mass is undergoing some form of melting.

"This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: Was this real or was it due to a data error?" a NASA researcher, Son Nghiem, said.

About half of the ice sheet usually shows signs of melting in a northern hemisphere summer, but the satellite data shows that between July 8 and July 12 the melt extended to cover almost all of Greenland.

It follows the breaking off this month of a giant chunk of ice from Greenland's Petermann Glacier. This formed an iceberg about twice the size of Manhattan, about 120 square kilometres in area.

"For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations," NASA researchers said in a statement.

"Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile [3.2-kilometre] thick centre, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analysed by NASA and university scientists."

They described the event as being without precedent, because such a massive loss of ice has not been observed by humans, although estimates derived from studying old, compressed ice suggest that melts on this scale happen about once every 150 years....

The NASA statement said the huge melt had been driven by an unusual "heat dome" of relatively warm air that travelled across Greenland this month. The warm patch spiked just before July 18, and has now dissipated, they said.


Hilarious logic

They conceded that Arctic warming and cooling is cyclic and then ran some computer simulations to figure how much warming was due to the cycle. The found only 30% and then concluded that the other 70% must be due to "something else". And, Hey Presto! that has to be CO2. No thought that the influence might be solar or that their models might be a poor reflection of the great complexity of Arctic temperatures

The radical decline in sea ice around the Arctic is at least 70% due to human-induced climate change, according to a new study, and may even be up to 95% down to humans – rather higher than scientists had previously thought.

The loss of ice around the Arctic has adverse effects on wildlife and also opens up new northern sea routes and opportunities to drill for oil and gas under the newly accessible sea bed.

The reduction has been accelerating since the 1990s and many scientists believe the Arctic may become ice-free in the summers later this century, possibly as early as the late 2020s.

"Since the 1970s, there's been a 40% decrease in the summer sea ice extent," said Jonny Day, a climate scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, who led the latest study.

"We were trying to determine how much of this was due to natural variability and therefore imply what aspect is due to man-made climate change as well."

To test the ideas, Day carried out several computer-based simulations of how the climate around the Arctic might have fluctuated since 1979 without the input of greenhouse gases from human activity.

He found that a climate system called the Atlantic multi-decadal oscillation (AMO) was a dominant source of variability in ice extent. The AMO is a cycle of warming and cooling in the North Atlantic that repeats every 65 to 80 years – it has been in a warming phase since the mid-1970s.

Comparing the models with actual observations, Day was able to work out what contribution the natural systems had made to what researchers have observed from satellite data.

"We could only attribute as much as 30% [of the Arctic ice loss] to the AMO," he said. "Which implies that the rest is due to something else, and this is most likely going to be man-made global change."

Previous studies had indicated that around half of the loss was due to man-made climate change and that the other half was due to natural variability.

Looking across all his simulations, Day found that the 30% figure was an upper limit – the AMO could have contributed as little as 5% to the overall loss of Arctic ice in recent decades.

The research is published online in the journal Environmental Research Letters.


British government backs 10pc cut in wind farm aid and says gas is the future

Conservative ministers have backed down on big cuts in subsidies for wind farms in exchange for another review next year and the prospect of a bigger role for gas in Britain’s future energy mix.

The Coalition will today announce that subsidies for onshore wind turbines will be cut by 10 per cent this year, as proposed by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary. That will disappoint Conservative backbenchers, many of whom had called for much larger cuts in subsidy, with some Tories backing a 25 per cent reduction.

Today’s announcement, which follows negotiations between the Coalition parties, will be some relief to the renewable energy industry, which has warned that uncertainty about government support has been putting off investors.

However, more cuts could yet be made following a formal review of the costs of renewable energy to be held in the financial year 2013-14.

In another concession to George Osborne, the Chancellor, today’s statement will contain a clear commitment that “unabated” gas supplies will form a major part of Britain’s energy mix.

Mr Osborne has angered environmentalists by pushing for gas-fired power stations to produce more of Britain’s electricity. Advocates of gas say it is more reliable and cost-effective than renewable sources, but critics say it could leave the UK dangerously dependent on an imported energy source.

Mr Osborne has also opposed the imposition of any new targets for reductions in Britain’s carbon emissions, which he says are “inefficient.”

New planning laws could also make it easier for residents to oppose new wind turbines, and to receive a financial benefit from those that are built.

Because the cuts in subsidy will not exceed 10 per cent, Lib Dem ministers are likely to present the announcement as a victory for their party.

The deal has emerged as Conservative ministers look for ways to shore up the position of Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister. Senior Tories are worried that Mr Clegg could yet be toppled as party leader, threatening the Coalition.

Tim Yeo, the Tory chairman of the Commons energy committee, said a 10 per cent cut was a sensible reduction in subsidies for now.

“There is general agreement that 10 per cent is perfectly acceptable to reflect growing efficiency and falling costs of turbines,” he said. “In the long term a signal for sharper cuts post-2017 will give the industry time to adapt.”

Renewable UK, the trade group for “green” energy companies, warned that under the Electricity Act the Secretary of State was obliged to justify cuts in aid for renewable energy with economic evidence. Otherwise the Government could be open to legal action, it said.


Michael Mann's recourse to SLAAP lawsuits seems to be coming unglued

A SLAAP lawsuit is designed to silence critics by the threat of legal costs. Tim Ball has however answered the call to legal arms and insists that Mann disclose the data that lie at the heart of the case -- something that Mann cannot afford to do

Last week Pennsylvania State University (PSU) popped back up on the notoriety radar thanks to lingering fallout over their jailed child sex felon, football coach Jerry Sandusky. PSU’s other alleged bad boy, climatologist Michael Mann, came out with all legal guns blazing after popular right-wing writer, Mark Steyn and the National Review wrote of the parallels in the “whitewashes” PSU investigations performed separately on Sandusky and Mann. The recent and hard-hitting Freeh Report is damning of PSU’s hierarchy.

With talk of more lawsuits flying, observers are now wondering how an earlier Michael Mann face off with Tim Ball is shaping up one year on. Readers may recall that Ball’s whimsy that Mann belongs in “the State Pen., not Penn. State” triggered the first of what now may become a series of desperate SLAAP lawsuits.

You might imagine plenty must have transpired by now up there in the British Columbia Supreme Court. But you would be wrong. Mann’s zeal for pressing home his action against his fellow climatologist appears to have waned. Some observers are even of the opinion that Mann is delaying the inevitable until Ball slaps one home between the pipes.

Today – despite being duly served with legal notices – Steyn and the National Review are taking a leaf from Ball’s book and not caving over their “Football and Hockey” article. Steyn has a reputation for being a tough enforcer capable of lighting the lamp in any SLAAP face off. So is Mann skating on thin ice with more time wasting dangles and dekes?

Steyn and others will no doubt take note of how Mann’s prevarications over Ball suggest he has finally realized he’s dug himself a humungous hole. I’m one of many who believes the Mann-v- Ball case will turn out to be a watershed moment for Mann. It’s most likely he will be compelled by the court to disclose his “dirty laundry” (as Mann, himself, refers to his hidden data in his Climategate email). If the hidden numbers are as bad as skeptics suggest then none of his friends in high places can save him.

So Steyn should take with a pinch of salt the “warning shot” from Mann’s lawyer claiming that a slew of official investigations “cleared” Mann of any wrongdoing in the 2009 Climategate scandal. Such claims are not what they seem.

Andrew Montford (read his ‘Caspar and Jesus’ paper) is one such expert who deftly explains that those (non-judicial) “Climategate” inquiries fell well short of robust exoneration. This is because they all skirted around the unscientific behavior concerning Mann’s key hidden data. Unfortunately, for Mann he has made himself the plaintiff in this Canadian libel suit and cannot now duck the issue.

In the B.C. Supreme Court Ball’s attorney, Michael Scherr, has a clear run to perfectly demonstrate how climate “scientists” have been (and still are) withholding data that would help to resolve the climate controversy; we may say unscientific behavior, because hiding data makes it difficult or impossible for independent scientists/statisticians to replicate the claimed results.

As we know, Mann’s “dirty laundry” is the withheld r-squared correlation coefficient numbers for the “hockey stick” graph which McIntyre, Wegman, Cuccinelli and others have been desperate to see publicly examined but which Mann (and his university employers) have always kept under wraps. It’s not just the key evidence, but also Mann’s days that are numbered.


Obama’s green "investments" drown in red ink

He's undobtedly the worst investment manager in history -- and all on YOUR dime

‘We’ll invest $15 billion a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating five million new green jobs that pay well, can’t be outsourced, and help end our dependence on foreign oil,” candidate Barack Obama pledged in a radio address on November 1, 2008.

Three years and eight months later, as unemployment has exceeded 8 percent for 41 straight months, Obama seems incapable of keeping this promise. With the worst employment figures since at least 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started measuring them, Obama has made a dog’s breakfast of jobs — green and otherwise.

Consider three key Department of Energy programs. DOE’s website boasts that its “clean energy” initiatives — dubbed 1703, 1705, and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) — loaned $34.7 billion and launched “nearly 60,000” jobs. This totals a staggering $578,333 per position.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, private employers pay workers, on average, $62,757 annually in wages and benefits. So, Obama is “creating jobs” at 922 percent of the private sector’s cost of employing workers for a year. For every green job that Obama supposedly spawns with taxpayer dollars and borrowed Chinese money, private enterprises could hire nine people.

Obama touts green-energy “investments,” even though this is not Obama’s money to invest. Rather than choose winners and losers, which would be bad enough, Team Obama picks losers. It subsidized at least 10 “clean” companies that went kaput.

* Abound Solar consumed $70 million of its $400 million Energy Department loan guarantee. The company, based in Loveland, Colo., blamed Chinese subsidy payments and European subsidy cuts for falling prices in its thin-film-panel sector. On July 2, Abound Solar filed for Chapter 7 liquidation and prepared to lock shop and fire its 125 employees.

* Solar Trust envisioned Earth’s largest solar-power plant. DOE enthusiastically offered it a $2.1 billion loan guarantee in April 2011, provided that it raised private capital. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar attended the company’s groundbreaking in Blythe, Calif., and hailed “a historic moment in America’s new energy frontier.” Solar Trust missed DOE’s benchmarks, however, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 2.

* Energy Conversion Devices, a solar-laminate supplier, received a $13.3 million stimulus tax credit in January 2010 to update its factory in Auburn Hills, Mich., and to hire some 600 people. ECD pleaded Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Valentine’s Day.

* Ener1 received a $118.5 million DOE stimulus grant in August 2009. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Greenfield, Ind., to tour Ener1 on January 26, 2011. “Here at Ener1,” Biden said, “we’re going to harness electricity and bring it to the world, like Edison did more than a century ago.” The electric-car-battery company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 26, 2012, exactly one year after Biden’s visit.

* Aptera Motors aspired to build three-wheel electric cars. DOE offered it a $150 million ATVM loan, conditioned on Aptera’s raising $150 million in non-government capital. Aptera never convinced private investors to finance glorified tricycles. So, on December 2, CEO Paul Wilber announced that “after years of focused effort to bring our products to the market, Aptera Motors is closing its doors, effective today.”

* Massachusetts-based Beacon Power Corp. received a $43 million loan guarantee in October 2010 — DOE’s second such subsidy. The energy-storage concern declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 30, 2011.

* Solyndra, the most notorious of Obama’s green-energy baubles, filed for bankruptcy on August 31, 2011. Taxpayers are liable for this solar-panel maker’s $535 million in loan guarantees — the first that DOE made under Obama.

In death, Solyndra has proved anything but green. As San Francisco’s KCBS-TV reported in April, Solyndra’s facility in Milpitas, Calif., features metal drums marked “hazardous waste.” Cadmium, lead, unidentified black chemicals, and other toxins haunt the premises. A company called iStar said it would remove these poisons — as soon as Solyndra pays its bills.

Solyndra also discarded still-valuable solar-panel components, even though selling them could have generated capital to reimburse its creditors, including America’s taxpayers.

* In June 2009, SpectraWatt scored a $500,000 grant from the PV Technology Pre-Incubator project of DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In June 2010, it received $150,000 from the National Science Foundation. Facing stiff Chinese competition, this solar-cell manufacturer closed its factory in Hopewell Junction, N.Y., and dismissed all of its 117 workers in April 2011. SpectraWatt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 19, 2011.

* Raser Technologies received a $33 million Treasury Department stimulus grant in February 2010. As its dreams of a geothermal plant in Beaver County, Utah, turned to steam, its payroll subsequently evaporated from 42 workers to 27 to 10. Raser declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2011.

* Despite the bankruptcy of Mountain Plaza, Inc., in 2003, the EPA decided to inject $424,000 in stimulus funds for that Tennessee company’s “truck-stop electrification” technology. Nonetheless, Mountain Plaza again went bankrupt, on June 3, 2010. EPA officially awarded those funds twelve days later, despite Mountain Plaza’s insolvency and a related lawsuit.
These doomed projects alone devoured $3.4 billion in taxpayer funds and commitments.

Rather than slam Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital — which deployed private capital behind Staples, Sports Authority, and other still-thriving corporations — President Obama should beg taxpayers’ forgiveness for pouring their hard-earned cash down at least ten green rat holes.


Watching the Greens Kill Australia

By Alan Caruba

Fortunately for America, President Obama’s effort to impose a cap-and-trade law on carbon dioxide emission failed in a Democrat controlled Congress that saw how disastrous its impact would have been in a time of economic distress.

It would have imposed higher costs on everything involving the use of energy and would have done so on the basis of the all the lies about global warming, greenhouse gases, and Obama’s anti-energy policies. Using the Environmental Protection Agency, he has been bludgeoning the coal industry and, via the Department of the Interior, thwarting the exploration and extraction of oil on all of the vast land holdings of the federal government.

As I have often noted, there hasn’t been any planetary warming since 1998 when Earth began a normal cycle of cooling and carbon dioxide plays no role whatever in either warming or cooling. It is a mere 0.038 percent of the atmosphere.

For several years now I have been watching the destruction of the Australian economy by its elected leaders. David Archibold, a climate scientists and energy analyst based in Perth is a visiting fellow of the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. where he teaches a course in strategic energy policy. On July 1, he gave a speech at an anti-carbon tax rally in Sydney.

“There is no doubt that we are ruled by evil men and evil women who are fully aware of the damage they are doing to our economy, and to the warp and weft of our society, and who seem to be in a manic rush to do as much damage as possible in the time left to them,” Archibold told those attending the rally. Sadly, they already knew the truth of this.

An Australia friend of mine recently wrote to say “the Australian carbon dioxide tax—or as our lying government calls it ‘price on carbon’—came into effect on July 1, 2012. Already our electricity prices have risen by up to 20%, refrigerant gas gone up 300%. Landfill and tip fees have increased by 30%, food is up. The tax has been imposed on EVERY item we buy in some form or other”, adding that “I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a similar tax if Obama wins in November. We are slowly destroying our economy.”

A word about refrigerant gases; these are required for your home and car air conditioning, your refrigerator, and for a stand alone freezer. Most food items, liquid or solid—particularly meats, poultry and fish—require refrigerated transport. The Australian carbon tax adds thousands of dollars to these costs of operation and affects everyone.

The Greens, whether as part of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or as groups in various nations, have done everything they can to thwart energy use, to replace oil, coal and natural gas with the useless, costly “renewable energies” of wind, solar, and biofuels. Humans, they insist, are destroying the Earth, but it is the Greens who are destroy Australia these days.

Australia is a case history of what happens when Greens and those in power join hands to use the instrument of government to destroy a successful nation. As Sam Fielding recently reported in an article on, Australia went from a thriving economy under former Prime Minister John Howard who served from 1996 to 2007, only to elect Kevin Rudd’s left-wing Labor Party in 2007. By 2009 “a six year run of budget surpluses gave way to the largest deficits in modern (Australian) politics. His deputy was Julia Gillard who challenged him and won election, promised that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.”

If this reminds you of all the promises President Obama made prior to taking office and plunging the U.S. into $17 trillion of debt, it is exactly the kind of duplicity that has ruined Australia when Gillard engineered the controversial tax.

Obama visited Australia in November 2011 and expressed support for the carbon tax saying, “I think that’s good for the world…I actually think, over the long term, it’s good for our economics as well, because it is my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers—we’re all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon.”

As is the case of the IPCC, many of Australia’s scientists were corrupted. Archibold said, “As a scientist, what saddens me is that most of our scientific institutions have failed in their duty to serve and protect the Australian people” referring to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, government bureaus, and the universities—“these have all failed us and sold their souls for a handful of silver.”

“The notion of global warming,” said Archibold, “was concocted to provide a cloak of scientific respectability for a massive socialist redistribution of wealth.” If that sounds like what is happening in America today, you’re right.

My Australian friend also took note of a mining tax that has been imposed, not unlike Obama’s attacks on the U.S. mining industry. America sits atop enough coal to provide electricity for hundreds of years to come, but it is being systematically destroyed. “Australia is in a world of hurt and all so unnecessary. See what socialist, radical, green, lefty governments bring us?”

Yes, look at Australia and see what lies ahead if Obama is given four more years to complete his destruction of America.



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, 2012

Spinning like a top

Reported below is that CO2 emissions FOLLOWED a temperature rise, whereas Warmists claim that CO2 CAUSES temperature rise and is hence prior to it.

Does a small detail like that bother them? Not a bit! By adding a lot of assumptions they pretend that it should alarm us. They just assume what they have to prove: That CO2 is a significant influence on temperature and that a positive feedback loop will take place to produce more warming

The researcher even resorts to lies, as in "the rapid increase now in CO2 is also driving up temperatures". Awkward fact: Temperatures have in fact been stable for about the last 15 years. CO2 certainly is increasing but it's not driving anything

AN Australian Antarctic scientist has made a climate studies breakthrough by examining how the earth warmed up after the last Ice Age.

Glaciologist Joel Pedro, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, is part of an international team that has worked out how quickly carbon entered the atmosphere as a result of temperature rises beginning around 19,000 years ago.

The team discovered that CO2 increased naturally in the atmosphere much more quickly than previously thought during an 8000-year period of global warming.

"The new thing here is to pin down the time scales of how that worked in the past," Dr Pedro told AAP. "If there was a lag at all then it was likely no more than 400 years. "We can't rule out that the two just happen at the same time, whereas previously the figures were more like a thousand (years)."

The finding suggests "feedback" in the climate system - where temperature increases CO2, which in turn increases temperature - happens faster than expected.

It also lends support to theories that the oceans warmed more quickly than the 1000 years it was thought was needed for a significant change to occur.

Dr Pedro spent a month drilling ice cores at Law Dome near Casey Station in Eastern Antarctica in 2008-09. His findings have just been published in the journal Climate of the Past.

The study has been hailed as a major step forward in understanding more recent problems, with US ice core specialist Eric Steig saying it has major implications for understanding the carbon cycle and climate change.

Dr Pedro says the study of natural warming only underlines the speed at which human-created climate change has occurred. He says 8000 years' worth of natural CO2 increases have been created in the 200 years since the industrial revolution.

"Just as the steady increase in CO2 helped to melt the ice caps and warm the earth out of the ice age, the rapid increase now in CO2 is also driving up temperatures, only at a much faster rate," he said. "What we're doing now is over a hundred times faster."


Illiteracy at NASA

Apparently NASA should start distributing dictionaries to the authors of its press releases.

Here is the title of the July 24, 2012 NASA press release reporting on recent ice melt across the surface of Greenland:

“Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt”

And here is a quote from within the release:

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

Now, according to our version of Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, “unprecedented” is defined as:

“having no precedent: NOVEL, UNEXAMPLED” concurs:

“without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled: an unprecedented event.”

So, while it may be meteorologically interesting that a series of high pressure ridges had passed over Greenland this summer with largest and warmest of these parking over the island for a few days in mid-July and raising the temperature to near the melting point of ice all the way up to the summit of Greenland’s ice cap—it is not a type of event which is unique. Rare perhaps, but not unprecedented.

But, apparently, when it comes to hyping anthropogenic global warming (or at least the inference thereto), redefining English words in order to garner more attention is a perfectly acceptable practice.

Which brings to mind this oldy but goody from the late Stephen Schneider:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

At NASA, apparently being honest is not considered as being the most effective.


Climate change’s costs hit the plate

In the mid-1980s, when I was a doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and beginning to study climate change, I attended a lecture by a specialist in plant physiology at nearby Harvard University. He spoke about global warming’s impact on crop productivity. He was quite optimistic. More carbon dioxide in the air, he explained, causes certain kinds of plants to grow faster. So, on balance, food output should rise in a warmer and CO2-rich world.

I chased him down after the lecture and pressed him on things that could make plant response more complex. If plants absorb more CO2, I asked, won’t that change the nitrogen-carbon balance in their tissues and make them less nutritious? And what about other factors that might change in a warmer world, such as soil moisture and the distribution of weeds and pests – shouldn’t we take them into account, too?

He agreed that the issue was more complex than he’d suggested. “But we don’t have good data on these other factors yet,” he said, “so I didn’t talk about them.”

Almost three decades later, we have vastly more data, and the picture is far less rosy. We’ve learned that in the real world, unlike in experimental plots that control everything except ambient CO2 concentration, factors like drier soil and worse pest infestations can swamp carbon dioxide’s positive effect. And one thing that didn’t figure much in experts’ analysis in those days, and which I didn’t ask the Harvard speaker about, turns out to be a really big deal: heat shock.

In the past few years, agricultural scientists have shown that crops critical to humankind’s caloric supply – including corn and soybeans – are extremely sensitive to even short periods of high temperature. Output of these crops increases as the temperature rises to about 30 Celsius, but then it falls sharply as the temperature keeps rising. For instance, just one day of 40-degree weather will produce a 7-per-cent drop in the annual yield of corn compared with its yield if the temperature stays at 29 through the growing season.

In the past, 40 degrees might have seemed unusual, but nowadays it isn’t. In recent weeks, temperatures have topped this level repeatedly in key corn-growing states such as Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. The U.S. grain-growing regions are being hit, in fact, by a particularly brutal combination of drought and high heat.

Climate-change skeptics will dismiss this summer’s North American weather as just that – weather. They’ll argue it says nothing about longer-term climate trends. It’s true that the U.S. droughts of the 1950s and 1930s were worse than the current one, at least so far. But even without getting into the causes of this unusually hot and dry summer, data clearly show that the frequency of extreme weather is soaring around the world. For example, in the 1950s, summertime heat events that scientists classify as abnormally severe – technically, those that are at least three standard deviations from the average temperature and that experts call “three-sigma events” – affected less than 1 per cent of Earth’s land area. Now, in any given summer, three-sigma events affect about 10 per cent of our land area.

What’s happening in the United States is a window on the future. If humankind continues on its current emissions path, and if countries don’t invest far more in research to develop crops resistant to drought and high heat, climate change will depress global food production in the coming decades, just when our population is climbing toward 10 billion.

It sounds harsh, but in light of these realities, this year’s U.S. drought is good news. The sooner we get serious about climate change, the better our chances of keeping temperatures from rising too high. The drought and heat wave have already led to record corn prices. The world’s integrated grain markets will transmit these higher prices around the world, in time affecting just about everyone.

People may not care much about climate change, but most do care about the price of food because it affects their everyday lives. Fears about imperiled food security may be our best hope for breaking through widespread climate-change denial and generating the political pressure to do something, finally, about the problem.


Can Government Protect the Environment...or Anything?

In light of recent comments by NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen – stating that climate change is a moral imperative on par with slavery – climate change is, once again, front and center. Immediately, environmental alarmists and reactionary extremists on both sides of the political spectrum started pointing fingers and raising voices.

While the climate debate certainly has merit and must be studied (scientifically, not politically, of course), climate change is not the crux of this overarching environmental issue. The real issue is can government actually provide the solution?

Answering this question requires only a brief look at government’s track record of fixing problems and protecting things.

A Broken History of Environmental Protection

It is astonishing how convinced people are that environmental salvation can only be reached through government intervention. As if government – equipped with the power of Sauran’s Eye – must be the environment’s final arbiter.

Bear in mind, this great planetary savior is the same force that destroyed hundreds of cities and towns while waging total war across half the globe during a decade of environmental destruction that culminated in the drop of not one, but two, nuclear devices on Japan. Further, only government was responsible for the devastation of millions of acres of present day Belarus, Russia, and the Ukraine when the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Prypiat, Ukraine failed. Subsequently, this same protector tried, in vain, to cover up the entire disaster.

Further, government has a history of introducing invasive plant and animal species to non-native environments, all in a calculated scientific effort to "fix" the environment. A great example is the U.S. federal government’s introduction of the Paper Bark into South Florida over 100 years ago in an attempt to drain the Everglades. Similarly, in the 1930s, the Australian government introduced the Cane Toad into Queensland because it would, in theory, protect the sugarcane fields from destructive insects. Today, authorities in both the U.S. and Australia spend millions of federal tax dollars to eradicate these new pests.

While government may have learned from past mistakes, a concentrated focus on the eradication of all non-native species would be extremely near-sighted. Keep in mind, horses, camels, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, cats, and dogs (just to name a few) are only native to small parts of the world. Complete eradication would devastate the global economy.

Protecting infinity and Beyond

Not to be outdone by a stellar environmental record, government wants to protect money, too. In 1913, the U.S. government established a monetary authority chartered with two main goals: 1) to maintain the purchasing power of the USD, and 2) to moderate the peaks and valleys of the business cycle. After 100 years, the Federal Reserve has done neither. In a few years, 1USD will be worth fractions of a cent when compared to its century old ancestor and the worst business cycles in U.S. history have all occurred under the Fed’s watch. Those financial panics of the pre-Depression era were nothing more than harmless day dreams when compared to the mess caused by the Federal Reserve.

Not content, Congressional meddlers, over the past century, have created a labyrinth of federal laws to further regulate financial institutions. Each law, more convoluted than the last, is promulgated to promote "safety" and "consumer fairness." While these motivations are well and good, the law of unintended consequences has been forgotten. To date, the costs associated with all financial activities – from simply borrowing money to complex corporate regulatory compliance – are increasing exponentially.

These interventionist measures neither protect the consumer nor strengthen the U.S. financial system, but do create systemic problems with rent seeking and moral hazard. It should come as no surprise that every sovereign state around the world has established authority to protect money. In reality, the only thing protected is government entrenchment.

Still not done, government has manufactured a war on poverty, a war on drugs, and a war on terror all under the guise of protecting the individual and the environment. All this, and yet, government fails to keep the streets safe and property secure. The state even fails to protect litigants in a court room or prisoners from each other.

Why place faith in an entity that is one part Mr. Magoo and two parts Officer Barbrady? Yet time and time again activists and voters turn to these omnipotent benefactors as the path to salvation.

Do Viable Market Alternatives Exist?

Privatization, when coupled with a system of governance that promotes and protects property rights, is the most effective way to protect the environment. Only respected property rights can minimize economic problems such as the tragedy of the commons and moral hazard.

One great example, the American Bison, once on the verge of extinction under government regulation, received a new lease on life due to privatization. Media magnate Ted Turner, instrumental in the Bison’s resurgence, owns the largest privately held Bison heard and uses these resources to support his restaurant chain Ted’s Montana Grill. Similarly, in some African countries the African Elephant is facing extinction, while in others, such as Zimbabwe, where privatization was legalized, minor overpopulation concerns exist. Further, while there is no shortage of cows, pigs, or chickens and there are always trees at Christmas, environmentally conscience individuals and private firms, even absent direct financial incentive, are more likely to protect the environment (including undesirable species) for pure altruistic gain than government is.

Finally, privatization supports governance instead of government. Private entities such as Brinks, Underwriters Laboratories, Consumer Reports, Goodwill, and World Land Trust are certainly capable of protecting people, property, and the environment. While private firms are far from perfect, these entities must respond to market demand by providing quality service at reasonable prices. Government, unresponsive to these forces, answers only to political pressure, which leads to the problems identified above.

Free market environmentalists or enviropreneurs are the environment’s best bet, not government

Markets Always Win

The perpetually growing state is synonymous with endlessly eroding freedom and, every year, government shovels more and more responsibility into its bloated craw. At the same time, it fails the most basic obligations. Fortunately, politicians and bureaucrats, convinced they know all the answers, are consistently proven wrong by the laws of economics. As F.A. Hayek eloquently states in The Fatal Conceit, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." Or protect.


Power in the people's hands to block wind farms: British government pledges to give communities more control

George Osborne is planning new powers to allow communities to block wind turbines as the Coalition row over green energy targets escalates.

Whitehall sources said the Chancellor was pushing for changes to the planning regime as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats over the future of climate change policy.

There are 3,800 wind turbines across the UK, but at least 10,000 had been expected to be built to help meet Britain’s pledge to cut carbon emissions to 50 per cent of 1990 levels by 2025.

But more than 100 Conservative MPs have called for cuts in state subsidies for new turbines, and changes to planning rules to limit their construction.

One source said: ‘The Treasury is looking at how to change the planning process around turbines to try to give local communities more say, and potentially how they can share some of the financial benefits.’

Mr Osborne is offering to limit his demands for reductions in subsidies for onshore wind farms if the Lib Dems agree to compromise on inflexible climate goals.

He insists householders should not be faced with bigger energy bills and firms put at a disadvantage by Britain attempting to cut emissions faster than other countries.

The Chancellor points out that the UK accounts for less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 40 per cent from the US and China.

He argues that many renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are too expensive and wants a massive expansion of gas-fired power stations instead.

Applications for new wind farms have to be made to local authorities, and around half are refused. But under the existing system, energy companies often win on appeal to the Government’s planning inspectorate.

Campaigners took heart from a court ruling in May, in which villagers in Hemsby, on the edge of the Norfolk Broads, succeeded in blocking four 350ft turbines after a High Court judge agreed their right to preserve their landscape was more important than renewable energy targets.

In return for changes to allow communities more opportunities to prevent onshore wind farms, as well as financial incentives for those that do accept them, Mr Osborne is prepared to accept Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s proposed cut in onshore wind subsidies of 10 per cent, followed by a review next year.
From the Mail, May 30

The Treasury had been pressing for tougher cuts in the subsidies, though suggestions that they could be cut by as much as 25 per cent were dismissed.

‘We never tried for, nor were going to achieve an immediate 25 per cent reduction in onshore renewable subsidies,’ said one source. ‘This would be likely to be struck down in court.’

Sources said the Chancellor wanted to ‘rule out anything that might make gas investment unviable’ such as another renewables target.

He is pushing for a looser regulatory regime for ‘fracking’ – the fracturing of dense shale rock under pressure of jets of water, sand and chemicals – to extract gas. In the US, gas prices have fallen significantly as shale gas extraction has taken off.

‘Gas should continue to play a massive role in our energy needs for the future, alongside nuclear and some renewables, so we want to do all we can to secure investment in both gas and renewables generation, but also to bring down bills for businesses and consumers,’ the source said.

In a leaked letter to Mr Davey, the Chancellor has urged him to make a ‘clear, strong signal’ of support for ‘unabated gas’ up to 2030 and beyond, including a promise that consumers would benefit from falling gas prices.
‘Setting inflexible targets on the energy sector is inefficient,’ he writes.

Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said: ‘The Chancellor’s pre-election pledge that the Treasury will become a “green ally, not a foe” has been completely trashed.’


Another "Green" company run by Obama donor goes broke

Another green company backed by an Obama bundler just bit the dust. After announcing earlier this year that the company would lay off 200 of its 300 employees, solar manufacturer Amonix Inc. closed its operation in North Las Vegas leaving taxpayers in the red by $20 million.

“Just seven months after California-based solar power company Amonix Inc. opened its largest manufacturing plant, in North Las Vegas,” reports the Las Vegas Sun, a liberal paper, last January, “the company’s contractor has laid off nearly two-thirds of its workforce. Flextronics Industrial, the Singapore solar panel manufacturer that partnered with Amonix to staff the new $18 million, 214,000-square-foot plant, laid off about 200 of its 300-plus employees Tuesday.”

Now only 14 months after opening the facility, and seven months after massive layoffs, it has closed due to manufacturing over-capacity in the solar industry, along with quality control issues.

"I don't think they had a lot of training," said Rene Kenerly, a former material and supply manager at Amonix, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal. "There were a lot of quality issues. A lot of stuff was coming back because it had some functionality issues."

Sounds like a picture perfect Obama program: Very expensive with "functionality issues."

The man behind the company, Steve Westly, has received over $500 million in taxpayer-funded grants, loans and cash for a variety of companies- mostly in the in the green space after raising $86,000 for Obama as a bundler in 2008, according to the campaign cash website

So far this election cycle, Westly has donated $101,000 to various Democrat candidates and groups according to data compiled by opensecrets, including $60,000 to DNC Service Corp, also known by the less creepy name of the Democrat National Committee.

Earlier this week, I detailed plans by another Obama bundler, Steven Gluckstern, to help municipalities seize mortgage loans under eminent domain laws- that is, abuse eminent domain laws- in order to generate fees for his company, Mortgage Resolution Partners.

Westly’s list of interests backed by the Obama administration is much, much longer than the Gluckstern scheme however.



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, 2012

Bacteria outbreak in N. Europe due to ocean warming, study says

Since there has been no global warming for about 15 years, this is at most an effect of local warming. If the scientists involved has been worth feeding, they might have inquired into what made the Baltic warm so much more rapidly than anywhere else. Is Sweden teeming with SUVs?

Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of the first firm evidence that the warming patterns of the Baltic Sea have coincided with the emergence of Vibrio infections in northern Europe.

Vibrios is a group of bacteria which usually grow in warm and tropical marine environments. The bacteria can cause various infections in humans, ranging from cholera to gastroenteritis-like symptoms from eating raw or undercooked shellfish or from exposure to seawater.

A team of scientists from institutions in Britain, Finland, Spain and the United States examined sea surface temperature records and satellite data, as well as statistics on Vibrio cases in the Baltic.

They found the number and distribution of cases in the Baltic Sea area was strongly linked to peaks in sea surface temperatures. Each year the temperature rose one degree, the number of vibrio cases rose almost 200 percent.

"The big apparent increases that we've seen in cases during heatwave years (..) tend to indicate that climate change is indeed driving infections," Craig Baker-Austin at the UK-based Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, one of the authors of the study, told Reuters.

Climate studies show that rising greenhouse gas emissions made global average surface temperatures increase by about 0.17 degrees Celsius a decade from 1980 to 2010.

The Vibrio study focused on the Baltic Sea in particular because it warmed at an unprecedented rate of 0.063 to 0.078 degrees Celsius a year from 1982 to 2010, or 6.3 to 7.8 degrees a century.

"(It) represents, to our knowledge, the fastest warming marine ecosystem examined so far anywhere on Earth," the paper said.


More on the "First Solar" Swindle

As we dig deeper in the green-energy crony corruption-story, it begins to sound more and more like the making of a big-budget Hollywood thriller. Today’s installment on First Solar includes billionaire investors, corporate welfare, favoritism, threats, exaggerations, lawsuits over inferior quality, layoffs and outsourcing, and even a romantic dalliance. The screenplay would be riveting. Too bad it is not fiction. The film would have to be a documentary.

The trailer would open: “What do Goldman Sachs, several Goldman executives, and quite a few billionaire investors have in common? Add in millions of campaign donations followed by billions doled out of the 2009-stimulus package along with a ‘who’s who’ list of high-powered energy connections. Throw in a lead lobbyist with frequent White House visits and an active, yet connected board member.” Dark clouds would roll in as the music comes to a crescendo. The narrator continues: “Along the way, drama and trouble emerge. The CEO sells his own stock, jobs are going overseas. Accusations of money laundering materialize, and inside investigations point to a shady scheme within a solar energy company. The firm in question is implicated—as well as the Department of Energy.” Bold text pops up on the screen: “The First Solar Swindle” Smaller text: “Opening in theaters nationwide…”

Yes, all of this drama can be found in one company with interconnected ties to the Obama White House!

Last week, we wrapped up Senator Harry Reid’s connection to four firms—representing billions in taxpayer money—also part of the green-energy, crony-corruption story. Three of the four are in Reid’s home state: Nevada Geothermal, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve; while both SolarReserve and BrightSource Energy have multiple and significant ties to the President.

Now, we move on to the next three of our Special Seven series––those that received the Department of Energy loans (even though the companies were rated as “non-investment” grade) and grants, as a part of the stimulus spending spree. Additionally, these seven companies received “special” Department of Interior (DOI) treatment through a March 11, 2009 Secretarial Order, which the Washington Free Beacon described as a means “To fast track the siting of renewable energy projects on public lands managed by the agency.”

This chapter exposes First Solar.

From the introduction of this serialized book, the thumbnail says:

First Solar manufacturers “thin film” solar modules and is now moving into project development. While First Solar is not in the “junk bond” list, they do hold the unique distinction of being the single worst performer in the SPX in 2011. Additionally, they are linked to three junk-bond projects: Aqua Caliente (AZ), BB+; Antelope Valley Solar Ranch (CA), BBB-; and Desert Sunlight (CA), BBB-. First Solar was an early green investment of Goldman Sachs—which gave more than $1 million to the 2008 Obama campaign. Goldman Sachs executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee and others were bundlers. In Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer reports on First Solar investor Paul Tudor Jones, who was a 2008 Obama bundler, and First Solar CEO Michael Ahearn, who “gives generously (and exclusively) to Democrats.”


Wind farms DO hit British house prices: Government agency finally admits that thousands can be wiped off value of homes

Wind farms can wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the value of homes, a government agency has admitted for the first time.

The Valuation Office Agency has been forced to re-band homes into lower council tax categories, confirming what most residents who live near the giant turbines already know: they are detrimental to property prices.

The move will make it harder for the wind farm industry to dismiss public concerns over the impact of their turbines.

At least five homeowners have seen their properties officially downgraded by the VOA because of their proximity to windfarms.

But only cases that go to appeal are made public by the agency, suggesting many more applications have been received for council tax discounts.

In one case, a couple saw the value of their home near the Fullabrook wind farm site near Braunton, Devon, fall from £400,000 to £300,000 when they asked estate agents to value it.

The home is 650 yards from three of the turbines and the couple feared that the noise and visual dominance of the turbines would not only de-value their home, but make it impossible to sell.

The VOA agreed to put the home from council tax F to band E, saving the couple £400 a year in council tax.

Families living in the seaside Suffolk village of Kessingland have also applied to be put into a lower council tax band as many of their homes are near 400ft turbines.

When one resident, Sue Price, put her home up for sale last year for £460,000, she found a buyer. But they pulled out when local papers reported that the wind farms were about to be erected and estate agents told her to drop her price, she told the Sunday Times. ‘We went down to £360,000 and still could not sell so now we have taken it off the market,’ she said.

Waveney Council which covers the area has admitted that the constant swooshing noise does constitute a ‘statutory nuisance’, and is working on a technical solution with the wind farm operators, Triodos Renewables.

Recent council-tax rebandings by the Valulation Office are the first admission by an arms-length government body that house prices can be dented by wind farms.

This is despite other studies pointing to their detrimental effects, including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors who pointed out in a 2007 report that homes within one mile of wind farms would lose value.

One in five prospective buyers rate peace and quiet as their number one priority when looking at a house, according to an Alliance and Leicester survey.

Val Weedon, the honorary president of the UK Noise Association, said wind farms would have an impact on people’s quality of life and therefore house prices.

She said: ‘These re-valuations will set a precedent which the wind farm industry does not want. Wind farm noise is like road and airport noise, it has an impact on property prices.’

‘Noise is also associated with headaches and nausea as it is a form of stress, so it can also have a detrimental effect on your health.’

It was revealed last week that every home in Britain will pay £88 to build a vast network of pylons in a £22billion project to link wind farms to the national grid.

Bills will start to rise next year under the controversial plans revealed by industry regulator Ofgem. An average of £11 will be added annually for eight years, making £88 in total on top of any other increases.

The industry was recently dealt a blow by Chancellor George Osborne, who demanded huge cuts in government aid for wind farms.

The Chancellor told the Treasury to draw up plans for a reduction of 25 per cent in subsidies for onshore wind farms.

A VOA spokesman said: ‘The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is responsible for keeping council tax bands up to date in England and Wales. We do not record the number of occasions where a band challenge is made by a taxpayer due to the proximity of a wind turbine/farm.

‘If a taxpayer believes that the value of their home has been reduced by a substantial physical change to their locality, then they may be entitled to make a proposal to alter their band.

'The proposal will be considered by the VOA, which may or may not result in a band change. If the taxpayer disagrees with the decision of the VOA, there is a right of appeal to an independent Valuation Tribunal.’


British government plans to encourage nuclear and wind power 'will add £110 to electricity bills'

The planned shake-up of the electricity market could raise householders’ bills by more than £110 and put off investors, MPs have warned.

In a damning report, they say the Government’s planned revolution in how we produce energy – announced two months ago – will not benefit consumers and needs an ‘urgent rethink’.

The reforms are intended to guarantee high electricity prices for firms who invest in building nuclear power stations and wind farms to meet Britain’s green energy targets.

But the Energy and Climate Change Committee claims the decision to allow energy firms, rather than the Treasury, to guarantee these prices risks higher charges for bill-payers.

Committee chairman Tim Yeo, a former Tory environment minister, said the current plans would increase the power of the Big Six energy companies and ‘will not work for consumers in their present form.’

Ministers hope to put strict controls on coal-fired power stations and imported energy, while boosting renewable energy like wind, wave and solar power.

The Government’s climate advisers said last year that energy bills would rise by £190 by 2020 – with £110 of this down to renewable energy policies.

Barry Gardiner, a former Labour environment minister on the committee said: ‘We will lose a fifth of our generating capacity by 2020 and these reforms will not keep the lights on.

‘These plans do not reassure investors, and if there is pressure on supplies, it will drive up consumer bills. It’s vital the Government back a scheme which will incentivise investment and stop moving the goalposts.’

Last year David Cameron ordered the Big Six – whose profits per customer have soared – to do more to help customers onto cheaper tariffs.

Mr Yeo said: ‘Nobody wants to see a blank cheque written out for green energy, but the Government must provide investors with more certainty about exactly how much money will be available.’

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: ‘The Energy Bill will enable us to make radical changes to the electricity market that deliver investment in secure, low carbon, affordable energy. We are determined to…develop a robust and effective Bill with the interests of both consumers and investors at the heart.’


The Climate Control mirage

Last week, during an entertaining display of comedic jujitsu about the Obamas’ awkward “kiss cam” moment, Jon Stewart managed to subtly relitigate the 2000 Election, saying that had Al Gore won, the “Earth’s temperature would be maybe a few degrees cooler.”

It is tempting - and perhaps comforting - to dismiss Stewart’s snark-infused banter solely as sour grapes, both with a bygone election and President Obama’s failures. That, however, would be a mistake.

Stewart’s lightly disguised political commentary reflects a reinvigorated radical environmentalist movement that hopes to leverage the summer heatwave and drought into legislative action on global, climate, global climate disruption.

Just for fun, let’s imitate Joe Biden by taking Stewart’s joke “literally.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the first six months of 2012 was about 0.94 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the 11th warmest on record. By Stewart’s climate calculations, if we were living in the hypothetical aftermath of an Al Gore administration, the first six months of 2012 would have been 2.06 degrees Fahrenheit BELOW the 20th century average.

What would the “enlightened class” have said about below average temperatures?

A Newsweek article from April 28, 1975, which declared “earth’s climate seems to be cooling down,” gives us an idea:

“If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. ‘A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,’ warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, ‘because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.’”

The thought experiment and historical déjà vu raises interesting questions about Earth’s “proper” temperature and climate. It also gets to the inherent assumption made by folks like Jon Stewart, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, Barack Obama and many others that we can, in fact, control the climate.

Last week, as if to prove Stewart’s pop culture routine is intimately tied to current policy discussions, the Washington Post’s Wonkblog highlighted two of many “zany geoengineering schemes” designed to control earth’s climate: artificial volcanoes and growing plankton in the ocean.

Ironically, this is a mirror image of the 1970s when scientists proposed “spectacular solutions” to global cooling “such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers.”

But as the infamous Newsweek article goes on to note, geoengineering solutions “might create problems far greater than those they solve.”

For those that accept the premise that we must act to prevent the climate from changing, they should apply that same caution to policy proposals. Whether they seek to limit carbon emissions through EPA regulations, cap-and-trade or carbon tax, they must ask whether they are creating problems far greater than they hope - emphasis on hope - to solve.

Even that question is premature, though.

First, they should tell us what they consider to be an appropriate global average temperature. I suppose a compelling case could be made for a similar temperature to the earlier 1940s, which was before the “grim reality” of global cooling. Or perhaps temperatures in the 1850s, before the Pennsylvania “oil rush,” are preferable.

Regardless of what the experts decide, they then have to tell us what atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (co2) is necessary to achieve their temperature goal. The disgraced Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) wants to keep the atmospheric concentration of co2 under 550 parts per million (ppm), and various literature cites 450 ppm as necessary to “stabilize” the climate.

Yet, neither number directly addresses the temperature question - and for good reason.

A 2009 analysis found even aggressive action by the United States - an 83% reduction in co2 emissions by 2050 - would result in a “temperature reduction” of 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a far cry from Stewart’s vision of Al Gore’s America. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson confirmation that “U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels” essentially renders the next question - how do you achieve the goal - meaningless.

So, when it comes to global temperatures, any U.S. plan to reduce carbon emissions is meaningless; and therefore there must be an ulterior motive. Remember that the next time you hear someone talking about a carbon tax.


The Greenies' War on Green Chile Peppers

New Mexico’s best known export, the green chile, is being threatened by the “greens.” It is not just the green chile habitat that is in danger, it is also the cultures and customs of generations of New Mexicans—farmers and ranchers.

The famous chiles are grown exclusively in Hatch, NM. People come from far and wide to buy bushels of fresh green chiles, have them roasted, and take them home to freeze for use throughout the year. In New Mexico, McDonald's even serves a green chile cheeseburger.

This past week, a vote was cast that could signal the end of a multi-generational battle to save the land.

The original fight started in the 1940s with the first of the modern land grabs. Hundreds of ranch families were evicted from the Tularosa Basin—an area that had been home to the Butterfield Trail and many Hollywood Westerns including the John Wayne classic Stage Coach. The families got there first and were “notoriously hard to uproot.” In the name of national defense, the seized land became Fort Bliss, McGregor Range, White Sands Missile Range, Holloman Air Force Base, San Andres National Wildlife Refuge, the Jornada Range, and the New Mexico State University Ranch. All of this adds up to 4.7 million acres that are generally off limits to the very people who pay the bills—the taxpayer.

In 1948, another wave of evictions impacted an additional 40 families. Again, they tried to halt the federal onslaught. At a public meeting, the feds reminded folks that this was for the “public good. The ranchers had to go.” Unprepared for the scope of the battle, these hard-working people were evicted and Washington took their land.

These siezed lands are in New Mexico’s Doña Ana Country—home to the iconic Organ Mountains. Before the turn of the 21st century, Congressman Joe Skeen attempted to designate the mountains as a National Conservation Area (NCA) which would have included existing Wilderness Study Areas (WSA) and the Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) on the Organs to form a 58,012 acre unit—but the plan didn’t get traction. The greens wanted more.

The WSAs existed as a result of the Federal Lands Policy Management Act (FLPMA) signed into law in 1976. FLPMA required that the Bureau of Land Management embark on a study to define lands that had wilderness characteristics. Additionally, FLPMA made several promises to the western states as a part of the management agreement. One of the most significant was “coordination”—which meant that local governments would be in on the initial discussions and kept in the loop on federal land planning measures that affected their community. What has happened, however, is that environmental groups with agendas have commandeered the spot promised to local government. Instead of being part of the concept, steering and planning, the locals only find out when a plan is introduced in the press—and, by then it is already a plan to be fought, not an idea to be discussed. Those with duties, responsibilities and/or investments on the lands were not included in the process. The only way the locals get an alert is to diligently follow the Federal Register—which they do not have the staff or time to do with seven-day-a-week farm and ranch responsibilities.

The 58,012-acre unit proposed by Congressman Skeen grew to 217,500 acres, when the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance approached Senator Domenici to designate the area as “wilderness.” The story at the time was that the local community was on board—which he quickly learned was false. Domenici pushed back.

When Senator Domenici announced retirement in 2009, Senator Bingaman became New Mexico’s senior senator. Once again the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance got involved. This time, they partnered with the Senator when they delivered their plan: S.1689—now 259,000 acres with designated wilderness and NCA buffers. The word in the press was that everyone was really on board this time. The Democrats were in control of virtually every level of government involved from the local county, to the state governor, on up to the House, the Senate and the President. It appeared that their dream was about to come true.

But, by now, the locals were engaged. They had learned from the Tularosa Basin evictions—just being there first didn’t matter, and impassioned pleas for the continuation on their lands didn’t work. But as they found, objective rationale of what the community faced with the passage of the bill did work. For example, the proximity to the Mexican border became a huge issue. The border ranching community knew the harsh reality of life without protection. They knew that the eastern half of the New Mexico bootheel was without electronic monitoring; the BLM had forced the Border Patrol to remove an important transmitter from Big Hatchet Mountain because it was affecting the mating of the big horn sheep. Rancher Rob Krentz, whose ranch spans the Arizona-New Mexico border, was killed on his own ranch. Mexican rancher Alejandro Garza was killed when he took a stand against the Zeta gunman who crossed his property. And later, Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed—long before the DOJ got involved. The lands were dangerous and filled with trash, stashes and drug mules.

Without help from government officials such as the Department of Homeland Security, these local citizens embarked on a study of what made the area so attractive to the smugglers. They found that the smuggling corridors had six common elements:

1. They have East/West highway access north and south of the corridors

2. They have rugged and complex North/South mountain and drainage orientation which provides channels of movement.

3. They are almost entirely, or heavily dominated by, federal agency land management.

4. The concentration of American private property rights at risk is limited, as is the presence of resident American habitation. (Americans at risk will defend their investments; federal agents are not so motivated.)

5. All corridors have high, strategically placed points of observation.

6. Each and every one has designated wilderness or de facto wilderness safe havens where the Border Patrol has only conditional entry due to the restriction of motorized patrols and the bad guys have full and unencumbered access without observation.

These local citizens also found that the watersheds would be impacted with a wilderness designation. Armed with this information, S.1689 was successfully beaten back, and died at the end of 2010. The local citizens had a few moments to catch their breath before the next onslaught—which came in the form of S.1024. This time the land grab was even bigger: nearly 400,000 acres! The local communities found out about it from the front page of the newspaper. No coordination with the local conservation district was even hinted at. They brought the fight to a new level and exposed a problem with farmland attrition in the Rio Grande Valley. A map of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, shows that private lands exist only in very narrow strips along the river channel. Without allowance to grow into federal lands, development had to impact farmland. In essence, the federal government, using taxpayer money against the taxpayers, has underwritten the disappearance of farmland throughout the West—removing land from economic production and preventing contribution to the tax base/encouraging more national debt.

Bingaman’s legacy bill, S.1024, was in trouble. Republican Congressman Steve Pearce, who represents the district and didn’t support the bill, was not about to let it through the, now, Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Perhaps this ever-increasing federal land grab would finally go away!

Then on March 9, 2012, the BLM office was alerted to a new plan. They were not part of the process, nor was the Doña Ana Soil and Water Conservation District and neither were the local citizens with duties, responsibilities and investments on the lands. Headlines heralded a 600,000-acre National Monument—which can be put into place with the stroke of an executive order pen—authorized by the Antiquities Act of 1906. The proposal intends to eclipse the epic six-year battle between undefended Americans and their government.

This new proposal will disallow the full and unencumbered access by the common taxpayer to yet more lands—86% of the landscape of Doña Ana County. Implicit in that is a private ownership base of just 5% of the land. It would also triple the national monument lands in New Mexico. Additionally, some of the other impacts include:

· Land lock between 60-75 private land parcels.

· Land lock 80+ sections of State Trust lands dedicated solely to school revenues.

· Land lock the domestic water system to the village of Hatch.

· Force Hatch to grow into farmland, the very land that has created the world famous Hatch green chiles.

· Impede storm-water and watershed management systems.

· Overlay 38 of the county’s 64 ranches or 70% of the county’s cattle.

· Close other important economic centers.

· Disallow mining, fluid extraction, and disposal.

· And, on and on…

On Monday, July 16, the Las Cruces City Council approved a resolution in support of the national monument proposal.

Senatorial candidate and former Congressman, Heather Wilson, opposes the action because “it would compromise border security and hurt the economy.”

Steve Wilmeth, a local rancher whose family has ranched in the area for 132 years, says the proposal will impact him directly. “Our private property is involved. Our future in terms of our ability to continue to ranch is in jeopardy and a great deal of custom and culture, as well as the value of history is in involved,”

The City Council has no jurisdiction over the county lands, and the resolution is non-binding. Yet, the ranchers' history of coming up against the federal (and now the local) government has come to no good end.

Why would someone, such as Senator Bingaman, come back time and time again, with ever-larger efforts to close off federal lands and private property? Are the people of New Mexico clamoring for more national monuments? Or do they want jobs, economic development, and freedom?

Perhaps the truth lies in the smuggling corridors: Bingaman’s illegal immigration super-highway.

With a president with a proclivity for executive orders, what can be done to save the green chiles and the cultures and customs of generations of New Mexican farmers and ranchers while securing the borders?



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, 2012

BOMs new data set, ACORN, so bad it's funny

What would YOU make of a data set that showed minimum temperatures larger than the maximum temperatures? BOM is the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Australia's authority on global warming (Don't laugh!)

When independent auditors found errors, gaps and deep questions about the HQ (High Quality) dataset for the official record of Australian temperatures, the BOM responded by producing a completely new set called ACORN in March 2012. But this set is also plagued with errors. One of the independent auditors, Ed Thurstan writes to me to explain that though the BOM says it aimed for the “best possible data set” and specified that they check internal consistency of data (one such check is to make sure that the maximum on any given day is larger than the minimum) when Thurstan double checked ACORN he found nearly 1000 instances where the max temperatures were lower than the minimums recorded the same day.

This raises serious questions about the quality control of the Australian data that are so serious, Thurstan asks whether the whole set should be withdrawn.

Why are basic checks like these left to unpaid volunteers, while Australian citizens pay $10 billion a year to reduce a warming trend recorded in a data set so poor that it’s not possible to draw any conclusions about the real current trend we are supposedly so concerned about.

The BOM goes to great lengths to assure us it’s high quality, peer reviewed, and rigorously checked, but with a days work, independent audits find major flaws

Errors in ACORN_SAT Data

Ever since the documentation for ACORN-SAT was released, I have had doubts about the ability of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to honour their published intention to release all software that generated the ACORN-SAT data. ( I might amplify that thought later.)

In March 2012 the BOM released the report

“Techniques involved in developing the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT) dataset CAWCR Technical Report No. 049  Blair Trewin

This specifies in great detail both the background to the development of the database, and the checks applied to the data. As Blair Trewin writes in the Abstract of this report:

“The purpose of this data set is to provide the best possible data set to underlie analyses of variability and change of temperature in Australia, including both analyses of annual and seasonal mean temperatures, and of extremes of temperature and other information derived from daily temperatures.”

I decided to take that document as a Program Specification, and write code to perform those data checks.

The very first check specified in section 6.1 of the above report is

“1.   Internal consistency of daily maximum and minimum temperature

 Since the temperature recorded at the time of observation (09:00 under current practice) is an upper bound for minimum temperature on both the day of observation and the following day (i.e. Tnd ≤ T0900,d and Tnd+1 ≤ T0900,d), and a lower bound for maximum temperature on both the day of observation and the preceding day (i.e. Txd ≥ T0900,d and Txd-1 ≥ T0900,d), daily maximum and minimum temperatures must satisfy the relationships:

Txd ≥ Tnd

Txd ≥ Tnd+1

If one or both of these relationships was violated, both maximum and minimum temperatures were flagged as suspect unless there was strong evidence that any error was confined to one of the two observations.”

In testing my code for the first of the two conditions specified above (which says simply that the maximum temperature recorded on any day must be greater than the minimum temperature recorded for that day), I found violations of this condition in the BOM data.

The following are extracts from the full violation log. The errors occur in many different sites and are spread across many decades:

In total, the ACORN-SAT database released in March displays about 1,000 (one thousand) violations of that simple rule that for any day

The Maximum Temperature must be greater than the Minimum Temperature.

This is a blindingly obvious type of error which should not have escaped quality control. It throws serious doubt on the whole ACORN-SAT project. In my opinion, these violations indicate that the entire ACORN-SAT database is suspect, and should be withdrawn for further testing.

Ed Thurstan

thurstan AT

July 16, 2012


Americans Produce More Regulatory Compliance Paperwork than Manufactured Goods

Yes ma'am. You heard that 'torectly as they say (sometimes) in the South.

Americans spent enough time and effort complying with government regulations to total $1.8 trillion of our roughly $15 trillion national GDP. (Source: Small Business Administration). During the same year, the entire American manufacturing industry made $1.7 trillion worth of: airplanes, cars, furniture, clothes, upholstery, widgets, gadgets, wingnuts and Sidewinder missiles. Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Industry Economic Accounts (2009)

This is why this current 'debate' (mid-slinging) by the Obama Administration over 'out-sourcing' and 'Bain Capital' is so maddening, mind-numbing and quite honestly, 'dishonest'.

If you have ever wondered why so many US corporations have fled to set up shop overseas over these past 30 years, look no further than this astounding fact:

$1.8 trillion in regulatory costs > the entire $1.7 trillion in total manufactured goods produced in America today.

We have become #1 in the World in passing more regulations and legislation! Wonder if there is an Olympic Gold Medal in London for 'Shooting Your Nose Off to Spite Your Face'? The United States of America will lead the gold medal count hands-down.

Once American businessmen and women figured out that they could make products overseas and ship them back here for far less than it costs to make them domestically, the scene was set for a massive exportation of jobs overseas in the 1990's and early 21st century. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) estimates that, totally aside from lower wage differentials overseas vis-a-vis the US, the excessive cost of regulation and government intervention in American free enterprise amounts to about 20% in extra costs.

20% is the difference between many American businesses shutting down their overseas operations and moving operations back to the States, even with a lower wage advantage in some Asian and South American countries. Wouldn't you like to see business and jobs return to the US, particularly in the hard-hit Textile Belt where 250,000 textile jobs have just simply vanished over the past 15 years from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia? Here's just one small regulatory issue on particulate matter that has driven cotton ginners and manufacturers particularly batty over the past decade as they are attempting to rebuild the textile industry in the South.

Do you understand all the math in this study? Imagine you are a cotton farmer or ginner and all you want to do is grow great Southern cotton again here in the States and you have to deal with these sorts of regulations that really govern how much 'dust' can be expelled from the cotton gin factory. They could shoot a beachball-sized load of cotton dust high into the air in these rural counties and the dust wouldn't fall on anything but the rabbits and chipmunks who live around their fields.

Millions of jobs aren't going to come back from overseas if President Obama has his way as he continues to issue executive order after executive order and continues to load up the private sector with more taxes and regulations. Plus his unbridled disdain for the American entrepreneur and business owner and operator is frustrating the very people who want to expand their business and hire more people. What is so difficult to understand about that connection between the desire to make a profit and reasonable return on investment and job creation and growth?


Enough with the Malthusian miserablism

An expanding UK population is not a problem, but the scepticism towards economic growth most definitely is

The latest release of data from the 2011 UK Census suggests that the population of England and Wales rose by seven per cent since 2001. The news has brought forth much anguished commentary about how overcrowded the UK is and how we will soon be unable to afford to teach the growing numbers of children, pay pensions or treat the sick.

The rise over the past decade is the biggest on record, from 52.4million to 56.1million. In proportional terms, however, that's not very different from the rises seen between the 1901 and 1911 censuses (when population rose from 32.6million to 36.1million) and between 1951 and 1961 (a rise from 43.8million to 46.9million). The twist is that a substantial part of the rise is from net immigration, both from countries that have recently joined the EU and from outside the EU.

`With the exception of tiny Malta, England is now the most crowded country in Europe, with 407 people for every square kilometre', declared the Daily Mail before blaming this fact on `record immigration'. The Mail quoted Conservative immigration minister Damian Green: `These figures are firm evidence that Labour let immigration run out of control.'

The chairman of Migration Watch UK, Sir Andrew Green, warned that population would run out of control if immigration were not quelled: `The latest projections show that immigration will account for two thirds of our population increase in the next 15 years. That is five million people and is the equivalent of the combined populations of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol. Nobody wants to see the population grow at this rate.'

Simon Ross, of neo-Malthusian lobby group Population Matters, demanded that we think of the planet: `England faces unsustainable pressure on housing, roads and public transport and green spaces.' For Ross, the problem is too much demand - in other words, too many people. `The response from many is often to increase the supply - to demand more building, more roads and more infrastructure. What we need instead to do is limit the demand - to say that prospects for our prosperity and quality of life in Britain do not improve with ever more people.'

In reality, the UK is more than capable of coping with, and benefiting from, the arrival of more people. Those who do come are usually of working age, boosting the workforce at a time when average ages are rising. The UK's `problem' of a rising population would seem to be a far better one to have than that which faces many other countries, where population is both ageing and falling. If people do want to come to the UK, that is a product of relative economic wealth. And those immigrants - very often the most dynamic sections of the societies that they come from - should help to generate even more wealth.

Talk of overcrowding is nonsense. The Mail selectively talks about England, but Monday's figures cover England and Wales. Overall, they show a population density of 371 people per square kilometre - still below that of the Netherlands. In any event, as BBC home editor Mark Easton and numerous others have pointed out, England is only about 10 per cent urban area and Wales is just 4.1 per cent urbanised. When you take into account city greenspace - like parks, allotments, playing fields and gardens - the built-on area of relatively urbanised England is just 2.27 per cent.

Yes, London is densely populated - apparently 16 times more densely populated than the national average - but it is clearly still enormously popular, its population having increased by 850,000 between 2001 and 2011. But even then, London still enjoys large open spaces like Regent's Park, Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath in close proximity to its centre. The eight royal parks alone cover nearly 20 square kilometres. There's still plenty of room to breathe.

Nonetheless, it would be wrong to be glib about a rapidly changing population because it does bring into relief some significant problems. For example, there is a desperate housing shortage in London, with houses too expensive for many people to buy and rents shooting upwards. There are simply not enough homes being built to supply the capital's rising population. But the answer is not in reducing the numbers moving in but in tackling the barriers to supplying those homes - like the ring of `green belt' land that surrounds London which should be made available for new developments.

The real question is this: how can we see a way forward to a prosperous future? Put like that, the answer is to produce more wealth and not, as Simon Ross cluelessly believes, to try to divide our existing, stagnating wealth among fewer people. We need economic growth, and that means the UK must become more productive. That, in turn, requires a mixture of investment in infrastructure, education and training, the creation of a better environment for wealth-creating businesses and a fairly ruthless assault on relatively unproductive sectors of the economy.

Unfortunately, we have a political class that seems incapable of driving that process forward, and a culture in which the idea of economic growth is regarded in influential quarters as, at best, a mixed blessing and at worst a selfish, materialistic and planet-wrecking addiction.

There is no `right' number of people for the UK or anywhere else. We should certainly welcome more freedom of movement so that people can make the most of the opportunities open to them. Blaming immigration - or fecund immigrant families, for that matter - for the UK's problems is wrong-headed. Instead of scapegoating the newest and often poorest members of our society, we need to tackle the low-growth outlook at the top.


Climate refugees fleeing Alaskan cooling

After a record-breaking winter, we are now headed for one of the coldest months of July on record. And it has some Alaskans thinking it may be time to leave the great land.

By Alaska summer standards, it's been a pretty cool and gloomy start to the beginning of July. The temps may be setting records, but it's not the first summer that's been less than sunny - and some people say they've had enough.

But while Alaskans are donning sweaters in July, people in the Lower 48 are sweltering in the heat.

Anchorage has averaged 53 degrees for the beginning of July, when the normal temperature is closer to 65 - but the National Weather Service says that may soon change.

In fact there is every reason to be optimistic. If those temperatures do come, you may want to get out and enjoy them now, because August is traditionally our rainy month, and there's a good chance it could be a wet one.



by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

This is meant to be just a heads up that we have submitted a paper to Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) which I think is quite significant. We used a 1D forcing-feedback-diffusion model of ocean temperature change to 2,000 meters depth to explain ocean temperature variations measured since 1955.

We ask the question: What combination of (1) forcings, (2) feedback (climate sensitivity), and (3) ocean diffusion (vertical mixing) best explain the Levitus global-average ocean temperature trends since 1955? These are the three main processes which control global-average surface temperatures on longer time scales (a point which has also been made by NASA's James Hansen).

The 1D model has the advantage that it conserves energy, which apparently is still a problem with the IPCC 3D models which exhibit spurious temperature trends (peer reviewed paper here). Our own analysis has shown that at least 3 of the IPCC models actually produce net (full-depth) ocean cooling despite positive radiative forcing over the 2nd half of the 20th Century.

After all, if a climate model can't even satisfy the 1st Law of Thermodynamics, and global warming is fundamentally a conservation of energy process (net accumulation of energy leads to warming), how then can 3D models be used to explain or predict climate change? I don't see how the IPCC scientific community continues to avoid mass cognitive dissonance.

The primary forcing used in our model is basically the same as that used in the new CMIP5 experiments, the largest components of which are anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols, and volcanic aerosols. Using these traditional forcings alone in our 1D model gives a climate sensitivity in the range of what the IPCC models produce.

But an important additional component of our model is the observed history of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as a pseudo-forcing, both through changes in ocean mixing across the thermocline (ENSO's primary influence), and through potential changes in global albedo preceding ENSO temperature changes. These pseudo-forcings are included only to the extent they help to explain the Levitus ocean temperature data, as well as explain the satellite-observed relationship between radiative flux variations and sea surface temperature.

The results are, shall we say, not as supportive of the IPCC view of the climate system as the IPCC might like; more frequent El Ninos since the late 1970s do impact our interpretation of climate sensitivity and the causes of climate change. The paper also serves as a response to Andy Dessler's published criticisms of our feedback work.

A shorter version of the paper was first submitted to Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) a few weeks ago, and was rejected outright by the editor as not being appropriate for GRL (!), a claim which seems quite strange indeed. I suspect the editor was trying to avoid the kind of controversy which led to the resignation of the editor of the journal Remote Sensing after publication of a previous paper of ours.

Now we shall see whether it is possible for JGR to provide an unbiased peer review. If our paper is rejected there as well, we might post the paper here so anyone can judge for themselves whether the study has merit.


Football and Hockey

Mark Steyn

In the wake of Louis Freeh's report on Penn State's complicity in serial rape, Rand Simberg writes of Unhappy Valley's other scandal:

"I'm referring to another cover up and whitewash that occurred there two years ago, before we learned how rotten and corrupt the culture at the university was. But now that we know how bad it was, perhaps it's time that we revisit the Michael Mann affair, particularly given how much we've also learned about his and others' hockey-stick deceptions since. Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet."

Not sure I'd have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr Simberg does, but he has a point. Michael Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change "hockey-stick" graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus. And, when the East Anglia emails came out, Penn State felt obliged to "investigate" Professor Mann. Graham Spanier, the Penn State president forced to resign over Sandusky, was the same cove who investigated Mann. And, as with Sandusky and Paterno, the college declined to find one of its star names guilty of any wrongdoing.

If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won't it cover up? Whether or not he's "the Jerry Sandusky of climate change", he remains the Michael Mann of climate change, in part because his "investigation" by a deeply corrupt administration was a joke.


More huffing and puffing from Michael Mann

John O'Sullivan

Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University today (July 21, 2012) announced his intention to pursue legal action against The National Review Online (NRO) and popular right-wing writer, Mark Steyn over their article `Football and Hockey.' [above]

On his Facebook page an irate Mann proclaims, "I have formally demanded a retraction of, and apology for, this defamatory piece about me by National Review. I have retained counsel to pursue my legal rights." Mann's attorney, John B Williams of Cozen & O'Connor (Washington D.C.) asserts on the first page of his "take down" notice that NRO "know" that there is "no evidence of any academic fraud" by Mann. Page Two of the notice lists those whitewash official investigations that cleared Mann. However, Williams appears unaware that the official investigations did not examine Mann's still hidden "dirty laundry" - his metadata - nor did they address other adverse evidence or interview witnesses against Mann.

"Fair Comment" Rule Applies for Media Reporting

Independent lawyers who have examined the article believe it is not libelous because it merely expresses Styen's opinion on another commentary by Rand Simberg from the website. Steyn can be seen to have fairly quoted Simberg and then declares his own belief that he wouldn't have gone as far as Simberg's comments. Steyn then concludes his piece by merely asking the question: "If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won't it cover up?"

The Steyn article is one of many following in the wake of the publication last week of the damning report of former FBI Director Judge Freeh into PSU's appalling conduct during the Sandusky scandal. My legal analysis on the damning report identifies stark similarities in the way PSU appeared to cover up for both Sandusky and for Mann in their respective internal investigations.

Ineptly, Mann has drawn further attention to the Steyn article by inserting a link to it. Thus millions of web users can apprise themselves of why there is a groundswell of opinion that Mann's employers, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) may well have covered up Mann's crimes in the Climategate scandal - just as the Freeh Report suggests they did for PSU football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The world's leading science blog, WUWT was quick to see the irony in Mann's blunder in linking Steyn's article to his Facebook announcement. WUWT owner, Anthony Watts observes that Mann had made himself a victim of the "Streisand Effect" - primarily an online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely.

Mann Losing Confidence in his Canadian Legal Team?

In this instance, Mann is doing without the expensive Canadian libel expert, Roger McConchie who Mann has been using to pursue a separate libel claim against popular Canadian climate scientist, Dr. Tim Ball. That case isn't going well for Mann because he appears to be stalling about complying with a court motion to hand over his hidden "dirty laundry" metadata to courtroom scrutiny. The British Columbia Supreme Court, where the case is currently being heard, has the right to order Mann to reveal all such withheld data. If Mann persists in failing to comply the court may find him in contempt and dismiss his case and award substantial damages in favor of Ball.



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, 2012

Vale Alexander Cockburn -- a powerful Global Warming critic

It's mainly older people (including your present writer) who can afford to question the Warmist orthodoxy but unfortunately, older people are quite likely to die, as many valued critics have already done. It is sad to see another one go -- JR

It has been announced that Alexander Cockburn, a columnist for The Nation and co-editor of CounterPunch, died yesterday. Although Cockburn reflected a leftist viewpoint (mandatory if you write for The Nation) he displayed a refreshing iconoclasm on one topic sacred to the left: global warming. Cockburn didn't merely lightly criticize the global warming dogma worshipped by the left, he absolutely savaged it.

Cockburn's "heresy" has been noted in the past here at NewsBusters by both Matthew Sheffield and Noel Sheppard. As a tribute to Cockburn's willingness to smash certain idols of the left, here are some of his selected quotes on the topic of global warming. First up, Cockburn's charge of fraud and dogmatism by the global warming alarmists:
I began this series of critiques of the greenhouse fearmongers with an evocation of the papal indulgences of the Middle Ages as precursors of the "carbon credits"-ready relief for carbon sinners, burdened, because all humans exhale carbon, with original sin. In the Middle Ages they burned heretics, and after reading through the hefty pile of abusive comments and supposed refutations of my initial article on global warming I'm fairly sure that the critics would be only to happy to cash in whatever carbon credits they have and torch me without further ado.

The greenhouse fearmongers explode at the first critical word, and have contrived a series of primitive rhetorical pandybats which they flourish in retaliation. Those who disagree with their claim that anthropogenic CO2 is the cause of the small, measured increase in the average earth's surface temperature, are stigmatized as "denialists," a charge which scurrilously combines an acoustic intimation of nihilism with a suggested affinity to those who insist the Holocaust never took place.

Powerful stuff by Cockburn but, wait, there's more:
Since I started writing essays challenging the global warming consensus, and seeking to put forward critical alternative arguments, I have felt almost witch-hunted. There has been an hysterical reaction. One individual, who was once on the board of the Sierra Club, has suggested I should be criminally prosecuted. I wrote a series of articles on climate change issues for the Nation, which elicited a level of hysterical outrage and affront that I found to be astounding - and I have a fairly thick skin, having been in the business of making unpopular arguments for many, many years.

There was a shocking intensity to their self-righteous fury, as if I had transgressed a moral as well as an intellectual boundary and committed blasphemy. I sometimes think to myself, ‘Boy, I’m glad I didn’t live in the 1450s’, because I would be out in the main square with a pile of wood around my ankles. I really feel that; it is remarkable how quickly the hysterical reaction takes hold and rains down upon those who question the consensus.

This experience has given me an understanding of what it must have been like in darker periods to be accused of being a blasphemer; of the summary and unpleasant consequences that can bring. There is a witch-hunting element in climate catastrophism. That is clear in the use of the word ‘denier’ to label those who question claims about anthropogenic climate change. ‘Climate change denier’ is, of course, meant to evoke the figure of the Holocaust denier. This was contrived to demonise sceptics. The past few years show clearly how mass moral panics and intellectual panics become engendered.

It turns out that global warming wasn't the only dogma on which Cockburn sharply disagreed with most of the left. He also criticized their peak oil belief and advised the left to "Forget peak oil---America has a glut of the black stuff."

So farewell to Alexander Cockburn. Your humble correspondent has disagreed with most of your opinions but hails your incredibly refreshing willingness to brave criticism and smash sacred idols of the left.


Senator Harry Reid’s Pet Green Project Goes Solyndra on Him

Another federally subsidized green project bites the dust. The Amonix solar facility in Las Vegas, according to former employees, has been out of operation since May of this year. The solar facility was backed by $21.5 million in federal grants and tax breaks. Naturally, Harry Reid was an early and vocal supporter of this undertaking.

If solar panel production at the facility has permanently ceased, it could prove awkward for Reid, who touted the “permanent green jobs” that Amonix’s Nevada business supposedly represented. The company laid off 200 employees in January.

In May of 2010, Reid attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility. “Amonix is taking full advantage of a tax credit from the Recovery Act and is helping Nevada lead the way in producing clean energy,” Reid said at the time. “I’ve pushed hard to establish a clean energy industry in Nevada that will diversify our economy and protect us from future economic downturns.”

Amonix would be the second Nevada-based – and Reid-backed – green energy project to hit dire financial straits in recent weeks. Nevada Geothermal, which received a $98 million stimulus loan guarantee, announced in a recent SEC filing that “material uncertainties exist which cast significant doubt upon the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Like Amonix, Nevada Geothermal received significant support from Reid before obtaining taxpayer backing. According to the New York Times, Reid “pressur[ed] the Department of Interior to move more quickly on applications to build clean energy projects on federally owned land and urg[ed] other member of Congress to expand federal tax incentives to help build geothermal plants, benefits that Nevada Geothermal has taken advantage of.”

Like so many big-government failures in recent years, this effort enjoyed bipartisan support. Amonix, the California based company that created the Las Vegas solar facility, received a $15.6 million grant from George W. Bush’s Department of Energy in 2007. Nevada’s Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval, joined Harry Reid in backing Amonix’s Las Vegas solar facility.


Imams of Islam and Environmental Imams

Ideology and affluence make it possible to ignore history — and destroy its monuments

In the Arabic media, there are reports that Muslim clerics — energized by the sudden emergence of Egypt’s new president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood — are agitating to demolish the Egyptian pyramids. According to the imams, the pharaohs’ monuments represent “symbols of paganism” from Egypt’s pre-Islamic past and therefore must vanish.

Don’t dismiss such insanity too easily. Islamists in Mali are currently destroying the centuries-old mausoleums of Sufi Muslim saints in the city of Timbuktu, the historic site of early Islamic scholarship and jurisprudence. But perhaps the most regrettable recent Islamist attack on the past was the Taliban’s 2001 dynamiting and shelling of the huge twin sixth-century statues of Buddha carved into a cliff at Bamiyan in Afghanistan. “We are destroying the statues,” Taliban spokesmen at the time bragged, “in accordance with Islamic law, and it is purely a religious issue.”

Ideologically driven and historically ignorant violence is not an Islamist monopoly. Sometimes postmodern, politically correct Westerners can be every bit as zealous — and as potentially destructive of the past — as premodern Islamists. One of the joys of visiting California’s Yosemite Valley is a series of historic arched bridges that span the Merced River on the valley floor. One, the 80-year-old Stoneman Bridge, is an architectural masterpiece and a tribute to Depression-era ingenuity and artistic elegance; the sister Ahwahnee Bridge and Sugar Pine Bridge were likewise designed to combine functionalism and beauty. All are used daily, are appreciated by thousands of visitors each summer, and now are listed as endangered treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Environmental zealots are now proposing to demolish all three bridges, motivated by pie-in-the-sky dreams of allowing the flood-prone Merced River to be freed to find its original course, without human contamination. To paraphrase the Taliban, these green fundamentalists probably believe that the bridges are “symbols of humanism” and their destruction is “purely an environmental issue.”

Again, don’t laugh. A petition circulated by an environmental group is forcing the city of San Francisco — in a state currently struggling with a $17 billion budget shortfall — to hold a November referendum on a proposal to blow up the historic O’Shaughnessy Dam that holds back the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. That brilliantly engineered early-20th-century water-and-power project still supplies San Francisco and the South Bay with as much as 85 percent of their water, while providing the city with 400 megawatts of clean electrical power and providing Central Valley farms and towns with irrigation and flood control. Where the billions of dollars would come from to dynamite the vast dam and the penstocks, pipelines, and powerhouse complex and to clean up the ensuing mess; how the green electricity would be replaced; and where the Bay Area’s millions of residents would find their daily water are questions that matter little to ideologues who believe the aboriginal valley of Hetch Hetchy can be reborn without man’s baleful touch.

What do these present-day wars against the past have in common? One shared trait is the power of ideological zealotry, whether religious or environmental, to trump all questions of practicality, historic preservation, and reverence for prior generations. The zealot’s version of purity, and only his version, matters.

Modern affluence and leisure also contribute to both the ability and the desire to destroy monuments of the past. Twenty-first-century technology allows premodern Islamists to have the weaponry, and the leisure time, for such destruction. If the statutes at Bamiyan are pagan, then so are the explosives that the Taliban used to obliterate them. And it is only because water so easily flows from San Francisco faucets, and power is a matter of flicking a switch — not the case in 1913, when a growing San Francisco was short on clean water and newfound electricity — that today’s green imams have the latitude to dream of their own version of a pure and uncontaminated paradise.

A general historical ignorance among the public at large plays a role, too. Just as fundamentalist madrassas pound dogma into the heads of students without any historical appreciation of the richness and variety of religions in the early Middle East, so too have politically driven courses in our universities crowded out broad classes in history. Students in our own versions of the madrassas can recite all the commandments of their sacred green texts, but they know very little about the nation’s past — and almost nothing about the constant poverty, physical ordeal, and, yes, early death that our forefathers struggled against to ensure that we might not.

Beware of the wages of professed purity, whether religious or environmental — whether it targets a mausoleum in Timbuktu or a stone arched bridge in Yosemite.


Western Wildfires- Horrific, Destructive...and Unnecessary

Millions of Americans watched their evening news in horrified fascination. The Colorado Springs wildfire had doubled in size overnight, to 24 square miles – half the size of San Francisco – as 50-mph gusts carried fiery branches from exploding treetops across fire breaks, down Waldo Canyon and into fresh stands of drought-dried timber. Flames crested the ridge above the beautiful Air Force Academy campus, 346 houses burned, hundreds more faced immolation, and 32,000 people were evacuated, through smoke and ash that turned daytime into a choking night sky.

130 miles north, another monster fire west of Fort Collins consumed 136 square miles of forest and torched 259 homes. By July 4, this year’s Colorado forest fires had devoured 170,000 acres – 265 square miles, nearly five times the size of Washington, DC. Across eleven western states, nearly 2,000,000 acres have already burned this year; imagine all of Delaware and Rhode Island ablaze.

People died. Many homes are now nothing but ashes, chimneys and memories. In the forests, the infernos exterminated wildlife habitats, roasted eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, boiled away trout and trout streams, left surviving birds and mammals to starve for lack of food, and incinerated every living organism in the thin soils, presaging massive erosion that will clog streambeds during downpours and snowmelts. Many areas will not recover their foliage or biodiversity for decades.

Having hiked in many of these areas, I’ve been truly depressed by these infernos. Why were they allowed to happen? “We are doing everything possible to control these blazes,” officials insist. One has to wonder.

Put aside the insanity of letting horse-blindered environmentalists, bureaucrats and judges obstruct even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber or remove trees killed by beetles, after decades of Smoky the Bear management. Forget for a moment that these policies turn forests into closely bunched matchsticks, waiting for lightning bolts, sparks, untended campfires or arsonists to start conflagrations.

Ignore the guideline that say fires in these areas can be extinguished if they are of human origin (if making that distinction is even possible in the midst of an inferno) – but must be allowed to burn if they are “natural” (caused by lightning, for example), even amid droughts, in the hope that they won’t become raging infernos that threaten homes. Disregard the crazy jurisdictional disputes that prevent aircraft from dropping water on a fire, because the crew cannot tell whether the blaze is on Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service land.

Once a fire erupts, there is no reason it should devastate homes, suburban developments or vast forest areas. The technology exists to stop these fires, long before they reach such intensities and proportions.

Two days before Waldo Canyon burst into flames, a revolutionary fire suppressant stopped a 300-acre fire north of Albuquerque, New Mexico almost in its tracks. Just nine single-engine planeloads of FireIce (about 7,200 gallons) were needed to douse the flames, prevent nearby trees and homes from igniting, and insure that the fire remained permanently extinguished.

Dutch Snyder, the independent 27-year veteran fire-fighting pilot whose airplane handled this successful mission, remarked afterward that he had “never seen a retardant hold a fire line” so well, or “any product knock down a fire so quickly.”

According to its inventor, GelTech Solutions chief technology officer Peter Cordani, FireIce smothers fires, by taking heat and oxygen away from combustible materials. It can be dropped directly onto a fire, penetrating through to burning trees and brush – rather than just being dropped far from flames, in often futile efforts to create fire breaks that hold.

As many news outlets, like Fox 21 KXRM-TV in Colorado Springs, have documented in recent years (visit the GelTech website for video clips), this product can be dropped by plane to suppress wildfire intensity, or sprayed by homeowners on houses and landscaping to protect them from heat and flames. Even a 2,000-degree F blowtorch cannot ignite a wood board (or burn a human hand) coated in FireIce.

The product is non-toxic, non-corrosive and environment-friendly, Cordani says in the news stories. It’s been tested, certified and approved by the US Forest Service, which has FireIce and GelTech on its “qualified products list” of fire-battling chemicals and professionals. The company maintains its own state-of-the-art mixing equipment and is ready at a moment’s notice to assist aerial and ground fire-fighting operations anywhere in the USA. It can fill trucks and airplanes of any size, including 3,000-gallon Air Force C-130s and even 10,000-gallon DC-10 supertankers.

Duly impressed, I called the company to ask what role it was playing in fighting the Colorado blazes and why its technology apparently was not working. The answer shocked me. It had not been asked to help!

Despite all the news stories about FireIce, its certification by the USFS, and frequent communications between GelTech and federal, state and local officials – no one had contacted the company.

How is that possible? What will it take to persuade officials to break from traditional (and obviously inadequate) wildfire tactics and retardants, and use FireIce to combat what Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown called fires of “epic proportions” – to protect homes, habitats, wildlife and human lives?

New Mexico has now used FireIce with great success against several forest fires. With a long fire season still ahead, perhaps US Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Dan Jiron, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs Mayors Karen Weithunat and Steve Bach will now follow the example set by Governor Susana Martinez and her colleagues in the Land of Enchantment.

If they do not, responsible legislators and environmentalists should find out why – so that tragedies like these Colorado fires never happen again.


The Paradox of Energy Efficiency

How more efficient cars and appliances often lead to more energy use

Automobile manufacturers have been hard at work, figuring out new technologies to improve fuel efficiency. So why aren't the cars we drive today getting dramatically improved gas mileage? Fuel economy actually increased by 60 percent between 1980 and 2006, but at the same time the average curb weight of vehicles increased 26 percent, while their horsepower rose 107 percent. Consequently, most of the gains in fuel economy have gone into compensating for weight and horsepower. A recent study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Christopher Knittel found that average fuel economy actually rose since 1980 from 23 miles per gallon to only 27 miles per gallon.

And cars aren't the only place where greater efficiency has failed to translate to reduced consumption. Looking at even longer time scales, lighting efficiency has improved by more than many thousand-fold from sputtering candles to modern LEDs over the past three centuries. The result of this vast improvement in lighting technologies, writes Jeffery Tsao from the Sandia National Laboratory and his colleagues, “has been an increase in demand for energy used for lighting that nearly exactly offsets the efficiency gains.” They note, “When lighting become cheaper, economic agents become very creative in devising new ways to use it.” In fact, they predict that as lighting efficiency improves, say, with LED lighting, over the coming decades that the increased demand for lighting will again likely swamp any gains in energy efficiency.

Another study looked at trends in space heating efficiency [PDF] over the past 50 years in Melbourne, Australia. Modern houses are up to 10 times more energy efficient, yet the study found that modern Australians are collectively using just as much energy to heat their houses. Why? Modern houses are much bigger, people heat larger areas for longer, and fewer people live in each dwelling. The study notes, “The result that per-capita heating consumption has remained remarkably stable over the last 50 years.” However, modern Australians are much more comfortable in the winter than their grandparents were.

Similar results were reported in a 2006 study done for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that found that Energy Star homes in Phoenix, Arizona use 12 percent more energy than homes without an Energy Star label. The Energy Star houses actually use 16 percent less energy per square to heat and cool, but on average they are larger than non-Energy Star houses. In other words, people consumed their savings from energy efficiency by buying bigger houses.

These are all examples of the energy rebound effect where increased energy efficiency is offset by increases in energy use because increased fuel efficiency lowers the relative cost of consumption. The magnitude of energy rebound effects has important implications for strategies aimed at restraining climate change through energy conservation requirements. For example, a variety of studies suggest that improvements in energy efficiency could reduce energy consumption enough to cut global carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 by as much as 25 percent.

In a 2007 article in Science, two Princeton University researchers, Robert Socolow and Stephen Pacala, calculated that seven “stabilization wedges” could prevent global carbon dioxide atmospheric concentration from rising to more than twice its pre-industrial level by 2050. “Improvements in efficiency and conservation probably offer the greatest potential to provide wedges,” they argued. One wedge (a seventh of necessary reduction) could be achieved by doubling the miles per gallon from 30 to 60 of a fleet of two billion automobiles, or by cutting half the number of miles they travel annually. Another wedge could be achieved by boosting the efficiency of coal-burning electric generation plants from 40 to 60 percent.

Wouldn’t such energy efficiency improvements result in rebounds in which consumers demand more energy, perhaps more than the amounts “saved” by increased energy efficiency? This is a highly controversial area of scholarship. Proponents of energy efficiency regulations argue that rebounds are trivial in comparison to the overall reductions in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, rebound theorists believe that economy-wide demand for relatively cheaper energy can “backfire,” ultimately outstripping the efficiency gains.

A new report, The Rebound Dilemma, for the Institute for Energy Research (IER) by California State University, Fullerton economist Robert Michaels analyzes the implications of depending on energy efficiency improvements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a way to mitigate future climate change. Michaels looks at studies of direct, indirect, embedded energy, and economy-wide rebounds. The Melbourne heating case is largely an example of direct rebound effect in which better insulation and more efficient heaters apparently resulted in no reduction of energy use. An indirect rebound occurs when efficiency improvements raise the productivity of other goods and inputs that, in turn, boost the demand for relatively cheaper energy. Embedded energy is the energy used to produce, distribute, and maintain more energy-efficient capital goods. And economy-wide rebounds result from the ways in which people use their savings on energy to purchase other goods and services that also consume energy to produce. For example, cheap gasoline enabled suburban living.

Proponents of energy efficiency [PDF] point to studies of direct rebound effects that often find that they are rather small in comparison to the energy saved by increased efficiency. One classic 1992 study reported a 5 to 15 percent rebound effect for increased automobile fuel efficiency, i.e., people boosted their annual mileage only by that percentage in response to their lower fuel bills with the result that they burned a lot less gasoline. Maybe people aren’t driving all that much more, but the new MIT study finds that most of the rebound came from consumer preferences for bigger and more powerful cars.

So what did the IER report find? There are lots of studies of direct rebound effects that look at the effect of more energy efficient appliances on household energy use. The results of the studies vary considerably, but eyeballing the reported results the rebound appears to hover around 30 percent. Assuming an appliance that uses 100 kilowatt hours (kwh) per month to operate is replaced by one that uses just 50 kwh, a 30 percent rebound implies that the actual reduction in energy consumed would be 35 kwh per month. Still not bad at all since the consumer gets the extra services from the new appliance while saving cost of energy.

Indirect rebounds are much harder to calculate. One way to think of them is that whatever a consumer saves from using less energy at home can now be spent on other products and services that themselves consume energy. The money saved from driving a fuel-efficient car may now be spent on flying to a Caribbean beach vacation. Compounding these indirect rebounds throughout the economy can lead to even more energy consumption than that initially saved by introducing energy efficiency measures. The IER study cites the results of 11 econometric models that find economy-wide rebounds ranging from a low of 23 percent to a high 177 percent. Five of the studies report economy-wide rebounds of more than 100 percent. The implication of these studies is that “if energy becomes more productive, history often shows that new energy-using technologies and business models will follow.” In other words, the long-run net result is that eventually more energy is consumed than is saved.

The upshot is that energy efficiency mandates advocated by environmental activists with the aim of mitigating future man-made global warming will likely fall far short of their goals. As Michaels concludes, “Instead of imposing energy efficiency mandates, energy policy should embrace market prices and disruptive innovations to guide energy to its most valuable uses.” After all, the point of improved energy efficiency is not to forgo its use but to boost its productivity as a way to provide people with more of the goods and services they want.


Nestle blames biofuels for high food prices

The head of the world's largest food producer believes high prices are due to the growing of crops for biofuels. "The time of cheap food prices is over," says Nestle chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.

He is highly critical of the rise in the production of bio-diesel, saying this puts pressure on food supplies by using land and water that would otherwise be used to grow crops for human or animal consumption.

"If no food was used for fuel, the prices would come down again - that is very clear," he says. "We are now in a new world with a completely different level of food prices because of the direct link with fuel," he says.

He says biofuels are only affordable because of the high subsidies they receive, particularly in the US. "It is absolutely unacceptable and cannot be justified," he says. "There is one demand that I have, and that is not to use food for fuel."

Mr Brabeck-Letmathe says politicians have not understood that the food market and the oil market are the same - they are both calorific markets.

"The only difference is that with the food market you need 2,500 calories per person per day, whereas in the energy market you need 50,000 calories per person," he says.

When politicians said they wanted to replace 20% of fossil fuels with biofuels, it meant increasing the production of crops threefold, according to Mr Brabeck-Letmathe.

And most of the world's sugar production now goes into making biofuels, he says.

Agriculture uses 70% of world's water consumption and the public must be made aware of the inefficient usage of this precious resource, Mr Brabeck-Letmathe adds.

"It takes about 4,600 litres of water to produce one litre of pure ethane oil if it comes from sugar, and it takes 1,900 litres of water if it comes from palm oil," he says.

"This is not a crisis which might arise in 100 years, it is something which is already here today."


Astronomers ignore data they don't like too

ASTRONOMERS have discovered a planet that may be capable of supporting human life, and it's right at Earth's front door.
"It's not just in our backyard, it's right in our face," lead researcher Professor Steven Vogt said.

The planet is 22 light years away, previously thought to be 20 light years, and is formally known as Gliese 581g, but Professor Vogt told that he has since named it after his wife. "I called it 'Zarmina's world'," Professor Vogt said.

While his claims have been previously reported, a new study, released to this week, dismisses calls of balderdash by the international science community.

The study - by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington - shows the planet is twice the size of Earth. It is known as a "super Earth" due to its ability to hold on to its gassy atmosphere, which increases its chances of retaining liquid.

Whether this liquid is frozen and stored under the surface or flowing freely across the planet, the researchers can't say.

The planet exists in a band of perpetual twilight near its orbiting star known as the "Goldilocks zone" - an area near earth that isn't too hot, or cold but is just right for sustaining life.

These findings are not without controversy, however.

This isn't the first time Professor Vogt has claimed the existence of a habitable planet. His findings back in 2010 sparked a scientific cat fight between the US researchers and a rival team of Swiss astronomers, known as "HARPS" (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet).

HARPS published research saying it had found four planets that orbited the same star as Gliese 581g (which at the time had not yet been confirmed).

Prof Vogt's team questioned the team's data and suggested two more planets existed in the Goldilock's Zone and published its findings in the US’s Astrophysical Journal.

HARPS claimed that Vogt's research was nonsense, creating waves in the scientific community.

The international media then seized on HARPS and Vogt's data, reporting problems with both team's research.

A year later the HARPS team released expanded data on its findings confirming the existence of four planets but not Vogt's extra two.

Vogt's team then analysed HARPS data and tried unsuccessfully to replicate the findings.

Prof Vogt told that they discovered that the Swiss team omitted five points of data which related to the radial velocity of the planets because it didn't fit their data model or modes of thinking.

“Such setting of eccentricities introduces biases and personal choices into the model that inappropriately affect the resulting solution,” Prof Vogt wrote in the study, which was provided to

"You're basically deliberately deleting information in your data that's telling you there's more in the system than you're telling people about. You're hiding that stuff,” he told

Prof Vogt's study will be published in European astrophysics journal, Astronomisch Naschrischten tomorrow (AEST).



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, 2012


20 July, 2012

No Warming Since Kyoto Was Rejected Fifteen Years Ago

The US Senate unanimously rejected Kyot0 in 1997, and since then there has been no change in global temperature.

The lesson from this might seem obvious, but the woman below is having a tough time figuring it out.

"The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, warned on Monday that global warming will accelerate at a dramatic rate unless leaders reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible"

The current rate of warming is 0.0 degrees per century. Imagine the disaster if that increased by a factor of ten. Our leaders tell us that we need to do much better than Kyoto, in order to slow down global warming even further.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Oregon county fears repercussions of radical anti-logging policies

In 1988, the booming timber industry in Oregon harvested 8,743 MMBF (million board feet) of wood. In 2010, the amount harvested was less than half at only 3,227 MMBF.

For comparison, in 2009, Oregon Business cited Bob Ragon, executive director of Douglas Timber Operators, as saying that over the last two decades Oregon and Washington states have lost 35,000 jobs in the timber industry.

Why? A restriction on logging due to the Endangered Species Act protection afforded the Northern Spotted Owl and hard economic times resulting from somewhat dwindling demand for timber have made it difficult for the industry to survive. But as restrictions on this industry abound from federal and state governments, counties in Oregon are learning the hard way that this industry is indeed vital to their way of life.

Sixty percent of forestlands in Oregon are owned by the federal government and the resulting government interference in the name of “protecting” forest land has diminished those county budgets that depend upon logging revenue.

Fox News reports that Oregon’s Lane County faces a $100 million budget deficit and recently released 92 inmates from its jail due to revenue shortfalls. This follows the elimination of 64 positions in the county’s Sheriff’s Department.

The fact that 54 percent of the county’s land is owned by the federal government makes it easy to see why the county is in such a fiscal disaster. The government doesn’t pay taxes on the land; therefore the county receives no tax revenue. And due to the protection of the Northern Spotted Owl, loggers are not able to harvest any timber, which was the main revenue source for Lane County.

However, in an attempt to give a reprieve to those in the logging industry during the spotted owl debate, then President Bill Clinton initiated a form of payout to loggers for not timbering the forest land. Lane County was receiving $50 million a year in timber payments. This year it will get $10 million.

Lane County is now home to loggers who aren’t allowed harvest timber and criminals who received a get-out-of-jail-free card. Not the ideal situation for a financially strapped county.

“We keep hearing from the mouths of Obama and his administration that job growth in the U.S. is a priority, yet at the same time they are destroying the timber industry and devastating entire communities of people who depend on this business for their livelihood,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

Those in the timber industry have a special skill set and are able and ready to work. These are the workers who clean up the air by planting many more new and younger trees than they remove. They keep forest clean and healthy, which helps to prevent forest fires. They help maintain habitats where wildlife can thrive, including the endangered Northern Spotted Owl. These people care a great deal about the environment — it is their livelihood.

Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken told Fox News, that instead of Washington, D.C. telling “Lane County, you’re not important,” he’d like to see the U.S. Forest Service resume timber sales. “If we would just put the forest back to work,” he said, “I just think about the employment that would happen, let alone the revenue that would come into Lane County.”

There is an industry right in the backyard of Lane County that is ready and able to create much-needed revenue. But that land is being held up by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile the cash-strapped county is letting its criminals walk out of jail because of this anti-forestry ideology and that is the real crime.


Japan to restart second reactor despite faultline concerns

Which will put a bomb under German policy

Japan will on Wednesday restart its second nuclear reactor after the Fukushima crisis closed the nation's atomic power plants, even as fresh concerns surfaced about the unit's positioning near a faultline.

The Ohi No.4 reactor, 370 km (230 miles) west of Tokyo is scheduled to be restarted at 9 p.m. (0800 EDT), according to the operator, Kansai Electric Power Co. It is expected to reach full criticality by 6 a.m. on Thursday (1700 EDT on Wednesday).

The No.3 reactor at the station was reactivated earlier this month, to help avert possible power shortages more than a year after an earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggering a series of meltdowns.

All 50 reactors operating in the country were subsequently taken off line for maintenance and tests.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said on Wednesday it would order a reassessment of geological data after seismologists said there were potentially active faults under Ohi and the nearby Shika station, operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Co.

The assessments will not prevent the restart of Ohi reactor No. 4, Jiji news agency reported, citing vice-trade and industry minister Seishu Makino.

The restarts have prompted street protests, with more than 100,000 people pouring through central Tokyo on Monday to denounce atomic energy.

The future of nuclear power poses serious problems for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ahead of an election that could come later this year, threatening to further dent his declining support and fracture his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), already divided over a plan to double the sales tax.

One day after Monday's anti-nuclear rally, three members of parliament's upper house left the DPJ, citing opposition to the reactor restarts and the sales tax rise as well the possibility that Japan might join a U.S.-led free trade pact.

Opposition parties already control the upper house, which can block bills. The defections further weaken Noda's hand in talks with rival parties, which are pushing for a snap election.

In response to public criticism, the government on Tuesday said it would ban employees of electric utilities from speaking at public hearings being held around Japan on producing a post-Fukushima energy policy.

A spokesman for Kansai Electric said the company had received no order from NISA, but was ready to carry out a reassessment on Ohi if necessary.

Hokuriku Electric said in a statement on Tuesday that it stood by its findings that the fault line below the 19-year-old Shika reactor was inactive.

NISA said in April it was concerned about an active fault under the Tsuruga nuclear plant not far from Shika and operated by unlisted Japan Atomic Power Co.


Chevy Volt Costs Taxpayers Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Per Car

The Jurassic Press is missing much in their reporting on the $50 billion bailout of General Motors (GM). The Press is open channeling for President Barack Obama - allowing him to frame the bailout exactly as he wishes in the 2012 Presidential election.

The President is running in large part on the bailout’s $30+ billion loss, uber-failed “success.” And the Press is acting as his stenographers. An epitome of this bailout nightmare mess is the electric absurdity that is the Chevrolet Volt. The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama’s signature vehicle.

The Press has failed to mention at least five Volt fires, myopically focusing on the one the Obama Administration hand-selected for attention.

The Press has failed to mention that the Volt fire problem remains unsolved. Is it the battery? Is it the charging station? Is it the charging cable? All of the above?

GM and the Administration don’t know. And the Press ain’t breaking their necks trying to find out.

In more recent news, the Press has almost as one hailed the June Volt sales increase. The Press has for the most part failed to mention how pathetic this “second-best sales month” actually is. And even when one Dinosaur does, the unwarranted enthusiasm is palpable.

GM sells 1760 Volts in June, double from 2011. Wow. Huge number.

The Press also fails to put this pathetic tally in perspective. The Chevy Cruze is basically a Volt without the dead-weight, flammable 400-lb. electric battery. Which makes it $17,000, rather than the Volt’s $41,000.

Chevy in June sold 18,983 Cruzes - more than ten times the number of Volts. And that’s down 1/3 from last June’s 24,648.

But that feeble Volt tally has the Press all revved up.

And speaking of the Volt’s ridiculous $41,000 sticker price:

According to multiple GM executives there is little or no profit being made on each Volt built at a present cost of around $40,000. Furthermore, the $700 million of development that went into the car has to be recouped.

Get that? GM makes “little or no profit” on the Volt.

So it makes perfect sense that GM would spend millions of dollars advertising it, does it not? No ideological or campaign intent there, eh President Obama?

Look, I get it, it’s fun. I just spent $1 million - of your money - advertising free air. On which my profit margin is just as good as GM’s is on the Volt.

Only my ads didn’t have a song, or a dance. We just aren’t as cool as the Volt.

I mean, it’s so cool - it can travel back in time to inspire the production of cars before it even existed.

I mean, it’s so cool - it can travel back in time to offer the exact same technology as a car from 1991. And the exact same electric battery range as a car from 1897. We’re talking retro-grade cool. But wait - there’s so much more.

(A)dd $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.

Speaking of those “tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives” - as of November of last year that tally all by itself was $250,000 per Volt sold.

And that excruciating pain is ongoing. Again, a Volt sold makes GM no money - but costs We the Taxpayers a $7,500 bribe - I mean “incentive.” Oh - and President Obama wants to jack that bribe to $10,000 per.

I guess it’s good news after all that Volt sales remain so anemic.

And with GM’s new 60-day return policy, it looks like you can buy a Volt and cash the $7,500 bribe check. Then return the Volt - and keep the $7,500 bribe cash. How’s that for Taxpayer coin stewardship?

Keep all of this outrageousness in mind when next the Jurassic Press joins with the Obama Administration in celebrating the Chevy Volt.

But it (allegedly) helps President Obama get reelected. And nothing would make the Press happier - and for that there’s (almost?) nothing they won’t do.


EU energy chief warms to offshore oil and shale gas

Europe is at a competitive disadvantage because of a reluctance to take risks on offshore oil drilling and tar sands, and a failure to fully explore its shale gas options, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger says.

Speaking at an energy conference in Brussels on 17 July, Oettinger expanded on his recent call for Europe to add a fourth target - a 20% industrial contribution to GDP - to the EU’s three 2020 climate-related goals.

Asked by EurActiv how the industrial target could be met, Oettinger replied that the EU faced “three disadvantages” in competing with the United States: a greater dependence on imports of oil and gas, and correspondingly higher energy prices.

“In the US there’s a process to re-industrialise the country first by oil. Whoever rules in Washington, one gallon can’t be more than $4,” he said.

Washington also offers lower initial taxation.

“They accept some risks with offshore drilling for ‘own sources’ in the Gulf of Mexico and they accept [tar] sand oils and others,” the commissioner said. By contrast, “we import oil and have high taxation.”

The result is that Europe’s transport and industrial sectors are disadvantaged, Oettinger said.

Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, the Liberal vice chair of the European Parliament’s environment committee, described Oettinger’s words as “a very interesting quote from an energy commissioner who also has long-term targets for renewables”.

The EU is pledged to increase the share of renewable sources such as wind and solar in national energy mixes to 20% by 2020, as well as cutting CO2 emissions by 20% on 1990 levels, and making voluntary energy savings of the same amount.

But Europe’s industrial associations and the EU’s energy directorate are increasingly restive about the costs of climate action in a recession.

Offshore oil drilling

Brussels legislation to classify oil from tar sands as highly polluting is currently on hold. In October 2011, Oettinger’s energy directorate in the EU published a limited proposal to improve safety in offshore oil and gas drilling.

MEPs are currently fighting to get this strengthened by including considerations such as:

Delicate ecosystems and adverse weather conditions in the Arctic;
Extending the ‘polluter pays’ principle to include financial guarantees from operators covering all liabilities, in the event of accidents;
Expanding EU oversight of the regulation’s implementation through a reinforced mandate for the European Maritime Safety Organisation (EMSO).

“I think that the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has shown that we are taking too many risks at the moment,” Gerbrandy told EurActiv. “It’s a very worrying development when Shell oil company is now planning to start drilling in the Arctic’s extremely vulnerable ecosystem.”

On 15 July, one of Shell’s Arctic ships – the Noble Discoverer – slipped its moorings in windy conditions and drifted to within 91 metres of the Alaskan shore, sparking environmental protests in Britain.

“We should be spending our money on further development of renewable energy instead of looking for the last drops of oil in the world in the most extreme places,” Gerbrandy said.

Shale gas

Shale gas is also a divisive issue in Europe, with states such as Poland and the United Kingdom incorporating it into their energy strategies, while Bulgaria and France have banned the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, over fears of earthquakes, freshwater contamination and other hazards.

Earlier this year, an EU report on unconventional gas in Europe found no need for further environmental legislation on shale.

But concerns about the warming impact of methane emissions from shale led the International Energy Agency’s chief economist Fatih Birol to tell EurActiv in May that it was “not the optimum path.”

For his part, Gerbrandy said: “I have the feeling that there are still too many uncertainties about the environmental cost to put our money on shale gas.”

But Oettinger argues that since the US used shale to reduce its dependence on cheap imports from Qatar and Nigeria, North Americans now pay roughly 30% of the European gas price.

“We are not really active in looking at which risks and options we would have with shale gas,” he added.


Underwriting Oettinger’s analysis is a concern that industry’s contribution to European GDP fell from 22% in 2000 to 18% in 2010. “We need more industrial production,” he said.

Because power prices in northern Italy were twice as expensive as in the US, the commissioner proposed “a clear energy price strategy to avoid an ongoing process of deindustrialising Europe”.

This was welcomed by the EU’s energy intensive sector, which has lobbied heavily for more support.

“We cannot deny that the cost of energy is too high in Europe and the tendency is to see it increasing,” David Valenti, a spokesman for the European steel association, Eurofer, told EurActiv.

“We also have to pay for renewables, and the carbon price that energy producers are passing on in their power prices,” he added. “These are all things that put us at a disadvantage.”


Shale gas rethink on the cards in France

SHALE gas is about to return to the government's agenda as ministers gets ready for an environmental conference next month - which is expected to start with a clean slate.

The conference, on September 14 and 15, will be preceded by meetings with environmental campaigners, local politicians, businesses and consumer groups to discuss the themes of the transition to new energy sources and preserving biodiversity.

An adviser to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told Le Figaro "the idea is to say that shale gas exists," to accept that it is not the shale gas that is the problem but the method of extracting it.

Plans to drill for shale gas in large areas of the south of France drew wide-scale protests last year and led to the Fillon government banning the only known extraction method, hydraulic fracturing or fracking, as its use of toxic chemicals under high pressure was feared to be a danger to water supplies.

However, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho is opposed to reopening the debate saying: "France made a choice which, looking at current technology, is fully justified."

She was speaking after Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg said last week that the need to look at "France's energy self-sufficiency" meant shale gas could not be ignored.

Some politicians have suggested that, with the government looking to introduce new taxes on oil companies and trying to keep gas prices down, there could be a "give and take" agreement in return for approval to restart shale gas exploration, if not exploitation through fracking.

It is thought that there could be 5,000 billion cubic metres of natural gas locked in the shale deposits deep underground below France - but without exploration wells even that is uncertain.

In the US, where shale gas is being extracted using fracking, the cost of gas has fallen spectacularly and the thought of similar could drive France to look again at its "reserves".



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, 2012

Recent findings: Smaller 20th Century Warming: Hotter Medieval Warm Period

Data "adjustments" questioned

Anyone who has seen the raw temperature output from a weather station must have wondered at the marvel of averages. The output is all over the place – large fluctuations in temperature from hour to hour and day and night. Yet from those measurements the result is just one number – the monthly average – that finds its way into climate data.

Picking meaningful information from the variable set that are weather stations often seems more art than science; truncated sequences, gaps, changes of equipment, changes of sites, changes in the local environment, to name but a few factors that have to be taken into consideration, or sometimes not taken into consideration.

A new analysis of some of the statistical methods used in getting something out of temperature readings from weather stations carried out by Steirou and Koutsoyiannis of the National Technical University of Athens has been gaining some publicity as its conclusions are startling. The researchers say that the statistical manipulation of the data to correct errors often introduces even greater errors, as well as exaggerating positive trends.

Such statistical pitfalls are everywhere when one manipulates data like this. Consider the recent case of Dr Joelle Gergis of the University of Melbourne whose paper on 1000 years of climate data in Australia has had to be withdrawn for rewriting when it was pointed out that the “hockey sticks” produced by the calculations were artifacts. Then there is also the original hockey stick, once the unquestioned (by some) emblem of global warming, which was also shown to be in its broad detail an artifact of data processing.

Considering the processes applied to temperature time series Steirou and Koutsoyiannis say: “It turns out that these methods are mainly statistical, not well justified by experiments and are rarely supported by metadata. In many of the cases studied the proposed corrections are not even statistically significant.”

“In total we analyzed 181 stations globally. For these stations we calculated the differences between the adjusted and non-adjusted linear 100-year trends. It was found that in the two thirds of the cases, the homogenization procedure increased the positive or decreased the negative temperature trends.”

“The above results cast some doubts in the use of homogenization procedures and tend to indicate that the global temperature increase during the last century is between 0.4 deg C and 0.7 deg C, where these two values are the estimates derived from raw and adjusted data, respectively.”

If the rise in temperature really is only 0.4 deg C then that changes everything.

Warmer Than Today

Another potentially highly significant paper, this time concerning the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) comes from the Journal Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology and Paleoecology. It is entitled “Marine climatic seasonality during early medieval times (10th to 12th centuries) based on isotopic records in Viking Age shells from Orkney, Scotland.”

In the abstract the authors say; “Seasonal sea-surface temperature (SST) variability during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA), which corresponds to the height of Viking exploration (800–1200 AD), was estimated using oxygen isotope ratios (?18O) obtained from high-resolution samples micromilled from archaeological shells of the European limpet, Patella vulgata.”

“Our findings illustrate the advantage of targeting SST archives from fast-growing, short-lived molluscs that capture summer and winter seasons simultaneously. Shells from the 10th to 12th centuries (early MCA) were collected from well-stratified horizons, which accumulated in Viking shell and fish middens at Quoygrew on Westray in the archipelago of Orkney, Scotland. Their ages were constrained based on artifacts and radiocarbon dating of bone, charred cereal grain, and the shells used in this study. We used measured ?18OWATER values taken from nearby Rack Wick Bay (average 0.31 ± 0.17‰ VSMOW, n = 11) to estimate SST from ?18OSHELL values. The standard deviation of ?18OWATER values resulted in an error in SST estimates of ± 0.7 °C.”

“The coldest winter months recorded in the shells averaged 6.0 ± 0.6 °C and the warmest summer months averaged 14.1 ± 0.7 °C. Winter and summer SST during the late 20th century (1961–1990) was 7.77 ± 0.40 °C and 12.42 ± 0.41 °C, respectively.”

“Thus, during the 10th to 12th centuries winters were colder and summers were warmer by ~ 2 °C and seasonality was higher relative to the late 20th century. Without the benefit of seasonal resolution, SST averaged from shell time series would be weighted toward the fast-growing summer season, resulting in the conclusion that the early MCA was warmer than the late 20th century by ~ 1 °C.”

“This conclusion is broadly true for the summer season, but not true for the winter season. Higher seasonality and cooler winters during early medieval times may result from a weakened North Atlantic Oscillation index.”

Two papers in well-respected, peer-reviewed scientific journals conclude that perhaps the warming observed in the past century has been overestimated, and that the MWP was substantially warmer than today. This is bound to provide food for thought.


Back, or Forward to the Energy Future?

Over the years, many have wondered what happened to “Say Anything” star Ione Skye. Now we may have our answer. In the movie her character, Diane Court, famously urged her fellow graduates to “go back.” So maybe Ione has followed her own advice and become an environmentalist.

Greens today are all about going back. Back to a world with fewer, cars fewer power plants and less energy use. Some may think that sounds appealing. But not those of us near the nation’s capital. We’ve recently had to live through it, if only for a few days.

A recent storm ripped down trees and knocked out power all around Washington, D.C. While the high temperature topped 95 day after day, hundreds of thousands of area residents sweated it out with no air conditioning and no refrigeration.

But this is just a preview of the dystopian future that supposedly awaits Americans unless we repent of our energy-intensive ways, according to some enviros.

“It now seems that the global climate is becoming unstable at a rapid pace,” warns the “peak oil” columnist at the Falls Church News-Press. “This will eventually result in increased hunger, malnutrition and higher death rates. Somewhere along the line the effects of climate change may become so bad that a consensus will develop that the burning of fossil fuels must be sharply curtailed or the economic costs of rising temperatures become too much to bear or as some believe do us all in.” In other words, we’d better use less energy, or our planet will be destroyed.

One thing’s for sure: in the blistering heat that spawned and followed the storm, even some environmentally-minded liberals found themselves melting down.

“It is the millions who live in Washington, D.C. and its perimeter who constitute the total response capability of the nation to an attack and it is those millions who were effectively cut off by the storm and rendered helpless from numerous standpoints,” thundered the owner of the FCNP, a staunchly Democratic newspaper.

His answer: greater centralization of power in Washington. “In this case, the lack of integration of vital elements of our regional infrastructure, from the major utilities to the state and federal government and their agencies, is to blame. By this I do not mean more bureaucracies and cell phones, but I mean the deployment of Homeland Security dollars to the task of undergrounding utility lines, for one.”

But even assuming that would work (it wouldn’t), where would the money come from? The failed Obama “stimulus” plan came and went, spending some $1 trillion the country didn’t have without delivering on its promise to create jobs. Our federal budget deficit tops $15 trillion, with another trillion or so in deficit Obamacare spending on the way. Entitlement spending is on track to almost double by 2050. In just three years, the Obama administration has done more than its part to increase the federal deficit.

So there simply isn’t any cash available to throw at this problem, even if we wanted to do so or thought it might help. But this is an area where we could look to the past for guidance.

In The Washington Post, columnist Robert Samuelson explains that the country is “still paying the price for the greatest blunder in domestic policy since World War II,” when policymakers in the Kennedy administration decided to pursue a policy of growing inflation and deficit spending.

The resulting pile of debt, run up by leaders of both parties across decades, “has limited government’s ability to ‘stimulate’ the economy through higher spending or deeper tax cuts -- or, at least, to have a meaningful debate over these proposals. The careless resort to deficits in the past has made them harder to use in the present, when the justification is stronger,” Samuelson writes.

So a sensible first step would be to “go back,” to a time when political leaders strove for balanced budgets. Doing so would bring down the federal deficit.

The problem isn’t a lack of resources. As Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute reports, “An affirmative policy to expand extraction and export capabilities for all hydrocarbons over the next two decades could yield as much as $7 trillion of value to the North American economy, with $5 trillion of that accruing to the United States, including generating $1–$2 trillion in tax receipts to federal and local governments. Such a policy would also create millions of jobs rippling throughout the economy.”

There’s no need to go back. Instead, we need to move forward, into a bright energy future. It’s there for us, if we’re willing to work for it.


Does the EPA Have Selective Hearing?

A few months ago we reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had snubbed Native American groups in an apparent effort to ‘Keystone’ the Pebble Mine Project in Alaska. The same group of mining supporters have tried to meet with EPA Director Lisa Jackson again and again she has refused to meet with them.

Both Native groups, community leaders and authorities (including Alaska’s Attorney General) have attempted to meet with and have their voices heard by the EPA. But it appears the EPA has developed selective hearing, only giving an ear to the voices of those who agree with the radical environmentalists who seem to oppose any development of resources within the United States.

A June 21, 2012 Greenwire article quotes an EPA spokesperson who states that the EPA has reached out to Native communities in Southwestern Alaska to offer them an opportunity to have their voices heard regarding the Pebble Mine Project. However, according to Trefon Angasan, board chairman of Alaska Peninsula Corp., a grouping of Alaska Native villages, the communities that have had the ear of the EPA aren’t close to the potential mining site. One of the communities Lisa Jackson has visited is Dillingham, Alaska, an anti-mining stronghold.
“We should have a consultation established with the EPA, and we don’t,” Angasan said, complaining about the lack of high-level consultation required for federally recognized tribes. “We have been excluded from the development of that watershed assessment.”

EPA’s comment period on the draft assessment runs through July 23. Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty (R) is calling for a delay until November.

“In short, this is a voluminous amount of complex information that requires thorough public review and comment,” Geraghty told the agency in a recent letter. “As EPA is well aware, normally such information for a specific proposed project takes several years to gather and be scientifically vetted and scrutinized by multiple state and federal agencies, which has not occurred here.”

Angasan said, “Right now, our people are gathering, they are fishing, they’re getting ready to fill their freezers for the summer so they can survive the winter. And they don’t have time to put everything aside.”

The EPA has not ruled out a preemptive veto of the Pebble Mine Project’s permitting process using the Clean Water Act. All this while the economic viability of the Native Alaskan communities in the area are tenuous at best. The Pebble Mine Project would inject jobs and businesses into the area that would not only allow the communities to survive, but would help them thrive. Lisa Reimers, CEO of Iliamna Development Corp. says that preemptively vetoing the development of Pebble Mine could amount to ‘cultural genocide’ for the Native peoples living in the area.

There is a lot at stake here. How this situation plays out in Alaska has implications far beyond Bristol Bay. The EPA’s unprecedented power grab and expansion impacts not only Alaskans and the Pebble Mine Project. If the EPA succeeds in preemptively shutting down the Pebble Mine Project, they will have the power to do the same with any project any where without input from local people and authorities.

This is not just about shutting down the jobs and economic boost available through the Pebble Mine Project. It is about the expansion of EPA’s power to use the Clean Water Act to shut down private citizens who just want to build a home or any other industrial project that attracts the ire of the radical environmentalists.


Smart Growth Questioned in Britain

Much of the inspiration for what is today called Smart Growth—concentrating development in urban centers, urban growth boundaries, higher densities and expanded transit—originated in the U.K. long before it was embraced by many urban and transportation planners in this country. Consequently, it’s newsworthy when respected U.K. figures question some of these long-embraced policies.

The Spring 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association carries an analysis by four U.K. academic urban planners (Marcial Eschenique, Anthony Hargreaves, Gordon Mitchell, and Anil Namdea) titled “Growing Cities Sustainably: Does Urban Form Really Matter?” One of its principal conclusions is that “The current planning policy strategies for land use and transport have virtually no impact on the major long-term increases in resource and energy consumption. They generally tend to increase costs and reduce economic competitiveness.”

The authors created a model of land use and travel behavior, using data from three areas in England: the London metro area, the Newcastle area, and the Cambridge sub-region. For each one, they modeled the impact of three alternative land use policies: compact development, planned development, and dispersal (similar to the suburbanization common in the United States and Australia for most of the post-World War II period). Although land uses differed somewhat among the three models, outcome variables such as transportation energy use, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and houses, and air pollution showed very minor differences. Projected economic costs by 2031 were lowest for the dispersed model and highest for the compact one.

An article on the NewGeography site (June 28) provides useful extracts from the paper, two of which I found especially interesting:

“One of the main arguments for the dispersed city is that there is no longer a single center where most jobs and services occur. Urban areas, rather, exhibit a dispersed and often polycentric structure, bringing jobs and services closer to residents with a more complex movement pattern not readily served by public transport.”

“Smart growth principles should not unquestioningly promote increasing levels of compaction on the basis of reducing energy consumption without also considering its potential negative consequences. In many cases, the potential socioeconomic consequences of less housing choice, crowding, and congestion may outweigh its very modest CO2 reduction benefits.”

Shortly after reading this, I read the 16-page “Special Report: London,” included in the June 30th issue of The Economist. In the section on housing, after noting the very high cost of housing in the London metro area, the author identified the Green Belt—a donut-shaped area up to 50 miles wide intended as the world’s first urban growth boundary—as the biggest constraint on development and hence as a major contributor to high housing prices. “This has not stopped growth, but it has pushed it into the greater south-east, thus spoiling the countryside across a bigger area. It has also raised the cost of housing and forced workers to travel farther. Commuting costs in London are now higher than in any other rich-world capital.” As a remedy, the report suggests that “Taking a mile of the Green Belt all around London would release around 25,000 hectares [62,000 acres], the equivalent of a sixth of London’s area—far more than would be needed to make a huge difference to housing affordability.”


Green Energy Panic: German Government Fears Voter Anger About Electricity Price Explosion
br />Is the green energy transition crumbling? Within the German government doubts are emerging about its timetable. Electricity must remain affordable, warn key ministers. The government fears the price explosion - and punishment by voters.

Peter Altmaier wants to clarify something. Not that anyone thinks he intends to question the big picture about the green energy transition, the central project of this government, which has now become his own personal project. Asked about the green energy transition at the Bonn climate change dialogue on Tuesday, the Federal Environment Minister talks about "challenging targets" which he still wants to achieve - "with challenging measures." But there should be an honest assessment, Altmaier says. Nothing more.

But also nothing less.

Fully committed to a very honest appraisal, Altmaier had denounced past mistakes in an interview over the weekend and doubted specific goals of the green energy transition – for example to bring one million electric cars onto the roads by 2020, or to reduce power consumption by ten percent during the same period. "If we still want to achieve this somehow, then we need huge efforts," the Christian Democrat politician warned.

Whether he agreed or not, Economics Minister and Deputy Chancellor Philipp Roesler joined the debate on Tuesday. "Is the whole time table crumbling?" asked the BILD tabloid newspaper. "The timeline and the goals for the green energy transition still stand," replied the leader of the Free Democrats (FDP). "But we need re-adjustments if jobs and competitiveness are threatened."

"Still want to achieve this somehow ..." - "... re-adjustments if ..." – We are not there yet. None of the targets are officially under threat to be dropped or postponed. But the government keeps a backdoor open, and, with their conditions, ministers Altmaier and Roesler are preparing the way for possible corrections to the green energy transition.

Better to fight now than during the election campaign

[...] The government does not primarily worry about the question whether the self-imposed targets are technically achievable. They are worried about the costs. "For me, the highest priority is that electricity remains affordable," says Altmaier. Roesler repeated this almost verbatim.

Concern about rising electricity prices is politically understandable. Or rather, the concern about the voters’ reaction to the rising electricity prices. Because with all due sympathy for nuclear phase-out and green energy - if their own money is involved, many citizens do not care much about their green principles anymore. And since the green energy transformation is one of the key projects of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the voters’ anger about price increases could also be expressed by withdrawing of support for those responsible in the general election in 2013. This is at least what many in the coalition government fear.

The message of the Minister Altmaier and Roesler is clear: Dear voters, do not worry, the problem is identified, we will take care of it. And this message must be sent out by the government long enough before the general election, so that it cannot be blamed. Rather have a few inevitable battles now because, of course, the publicly expressed doubts are a gift for the opposition.


Thailand – A Country Where Eco-Facism Has Gone Mad

Thai farmers are being fined huge sums of money for causing global warming by farming their ancestral land.

The reality of what the warming alarmists and environmentalists refer to as the “polluter pays principal” and the new post Rio+20 scam of “loss and damage” has been played out in Thailand since 2006.

The Thai government has computed a formula where already financially poor farmers are being fined crippling amounts of money for causing global warming, the fines are not only for the current generation of farmers, but also for the environmental impact their ancestors caused by cutting down trees and farming the land hundreds of years ago.
Small farmers in the Baan Pra village of Thailand’s southern Trang province have been living in anxiety ever since they were slapped with stiff fines by the government in 2006 and ordered to vacate their ancestral lands for ‘contributing to global warming’.

Last month, the villagers, after suffering bankruptcy and loss of land, appealed in an administrative court, pleading against a controversial formula used by the department of national park, wildlife and plant conservation under the environment ministry to compute the fines and evict them.

Baan Pra’s ordeal is not an isolated. Thousands of smallholders with farmlands abutting national forests have been in distress ever since the environment ministry began enforcing the 1992 National Environmental Quality Act five years ago.

So far 2000 farmers have been fined for causing “destruction, loss or damage to natural resources owned by the state”, the law allows the Government to penalise farmers who farm in areas around national forests.
“Being charged for causing global warming and fined sums of money they never dreamt of owning were a big shock to the villagers,” said Boon Saejung, LRN coordinator in Baantad mountain area which covers four southern provinces including Trang.

According to Boon, farmers in the area have survived for generations on produce from their ancestral lands, long before government proclaimed them as national parks. Most of them own plots no bigger than 15 rais (24,000 sq m). With the new laws being enforced many have been dispossessed of their lands.

Exactly what the Thai governments motives really are have yet to be seen, though history shows us clearly that methods like these are used when vested interests want the land cleared of the people who get in the way of the get rich schemes, in much the same way that the “Highland Clearances” were used during the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain.
Critics of the formula question why small-scale farmers are being singled out for punishment on environmental damage charges, using the global warming formula.

“Neither small farmers nor their communities are the main contributors to global warming. They are now facing unjust measures and there is a need to find a solution to this,” Boon said.

The Thai Government has enacted a law that demonstrates exactly what to expect from the environmentalists and their polluters pays principal, a Green zealot with an erroneous formula for calculating retrospectively the environmental damage caused by your grandparents.



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, 2012

Wind Energy CO2 Emissions Reductions are Overstated

Governments have passed laws that provide various subsidies to promote build-outs of wind and solar power systems to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled energy generators; CO2 is one of many contributors to global warming.

If CO2 is so important, why are real-time, 1/4-hr grid operations data not reported by grid operators to determine just how effective wind and solar energy is for reducing CO2 emissions and how effective one balancing generator is versus another? If Ireland and Texas can do it, so can Germany and every other nation with wind energy on their grids.

Instead, elaborate systems of emission factors are applied to fuel consumption data or energy production data for a week, or a month, or a year to calculate CO2 emission reductions, i.e., nothing is measured, monitored and reported on a real-time, 1/4-hr basis.

Government statistics end up showing their CO2 emissions are declining month-to-month or year-to-year, i.e., our RE subsidizing policies are working, let’s charge ahead and tell everyone to do the same.

Various power systems engineers, with decades of experience designing and operating power plants and grids, some retired and finally free to speak their minds, have doubts whether the CO2 emissions reductions claimed by government officials and wind energy promoters are actually true.

The purpose of this article is to examine the issue in some detail.

Dispatch Value, Variability and Intermittency of Wind Energy: Wind energy is different from conventional gas, coal, nuclear and hydro energy. The latter are controllable and dispatchable, whereas wind energy is a product of variable wind speeds, i.e., its supply is unpredictable and uncontrollable, and therefore, it has zero-dispatch value to a grid operator.

A grid operator needs to have available an adequate capacity mix of generators to serve peak demands for long-term planning purposes. The mix varies from grid to grid. Wind turbine systems have a capacity value in this mix.

Example: For summer peak capacity planning, ERCOT counts 8.7 percent of wind turbine rated capacity as dependable capacity at peak demand, in accordance with ERCOT’s stakeholder-adopted methodology. According to ERCOT, the capacity value is a statistical concept created for generator planning purposes. It is based on multi-year averages of wind energy generation at key peak demand periods.

ERCOT's capacity planning value of 8.7% does not assure that the ENERGY of 8.7% of wind turbine rated capacity would be available at any specified “time-ahead” period. Because of the randomness of wind speeds, no one can accurately predict available wind energy at any future time. Hence, it's not available “on-demand”, i.e., not dispatchable.

Because wind energy increases by the cube of the wind speed, any change in wind speed creates significant surges and ebbs of wind energy. If such energy were fed in larger quantities into the grid, it would create chaos, unless the grid had enough quick-ramping generators to compensate for the wind energy surges and ebbs.

Wind energy generation usually it is minimal during summer, moderate during spring and fall, and maximal during winter. Almost all the time it is maximal at night.

Example: German wind power output peaked at about 12,000 MW on July 24, 2011, four days later the peak was 315 MW.

About 10-15 percent of the hours of a year wind energy is near zero, because wind speeds are too low (less than 7.5 mph) to turn the rotors, or too high for safety. During these hours wind turbines draw energy FROM the grid, and also during hours with slowly turning rotors when parasitic energy exceeds the generated energy.

Parasitic Energy Demand: Wind turbines need energy for their own operation 24/7/365. The parasitic energy demand can be 10%-15% of rated output on cold winter days, whether operating or not.

Example: The average Danish Vestas-V82 wind turbine produces about 1,650 kW x 0.228 (2007 CF) = 376 kW. The AVERAGE power draw from the grid to keep itself running is about 50 kW and at times up to 80 kW. A V82 operating in Denmark has an ADVERTISED output of about 376 kW +50 kW = 426 kW, but an actual output of about 376 kW, about 13% less than advertised in Vendor brochures. No wonder Vendors keep quiet about parasitic energy; at 426 kW, the CF would have been 426/1,650 = 0.258.


The bully tactics of the Warmists

Matt Neal tries the same old tired bully tactics that have become so familiar to warmists over the years. First, the doctor analogy that has never been used ever.
Of the 100 doctors you see, 97 tell you that you have cancer. Three say you don’t.

Only a fool would take the opinion of three trained professionals over 97 trained professionals.

Hmmm. Where have I heard that number before?
Let’s go back to the cancer analogy — are you going to believe the 97 trained doctors, or the untrained man with the megaphone shouting that your cancer is “a hoax”?

Hang on. That’s not what he said before. He has just demoted three trained doctors to one guy with a megaphone. Surely, if you are going to make an analogy, you should stick to that analogy and not change it to exaggerate your point.
As someone working in the media, I would love to see my fellow journalists and reporters put a ban on covering the views of climate change deniers.

[...]“What about freedom of speech?”, someone will cry. I respectfully submit that freedom of speech should only cover the truth. After all, we have laws to stop people from spreading lies about other people or other races or religions.

And although the truth can often be subjective, I would suggest things move onto the objective side of the chart when you have 97 per cent of scientists backing the truth.

What an anti-scientific nonsense. Science evolves through the challenging of pre-conceived ideas, not strict adherence to the dogma of consensus. If throughout scientific history, no one had dared to step outside the groupthink, we would still be in the dark ages.

I wonder why he fears free speech. If his side is right, that all the reason and evidence supports his view, then surely he would welcome the opportunity to take advantage of that and show the “deniers” up. I can only conclude that either he isn’t that confident in his own position, or he believes most people to be too stupid to weigh up both sides of the debate.

Neal consistently repeats Al Gore’s famous line; “the debate is over”. In a previous post, I characterised some of this non-existent debate.

* the role of clouds in the climate system: are they a forcing factor in their own right or merely feedbacks? What direction is the feedback even in?

* how cosmic rays influence clouds. Recent experiments have indicated this plays a major role in the working of the climate.

* the lack of warming as climate models have predicted. This is something prominent warmists have as good as admitted to in their attempts to explain it away. Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth suggests the heat is hiding in the oceans while Kaufmann thinks aerosols have countered the influence of carbon dioxide. Even the warmists can’t agree on where the heat has gone.

* the models also fail to predict other notable observations; the lack of ocean warming, the lack of a hotspot and the increase in infrared radiation escaping to space.

* not to mention there is no empirical evidence to substantiate the large and counterintuitive positive feedback the IPCC factors into their climate models.

Neal’s entire argument is based on the tactics of a bully. Claiming that no legitimate doubt exists (“consensus”, “debate is over”) is equivalent to saying ‘you have no friends’. It is intended to isolate his opponents and undermine the confidence they have in their position. Of course, we do have friends. There is also the childish name-calling. Only “deniers” are so stupid as to doubt consensus. He then seeks to forcibly have his will imposed, to shut down debate by proposing media censorship. ‘If you talk back again, me and my friends will hit you’.


The Mother of All Hoaxes

By Alan Caruba

There was a brief flurry of stories in the media at the beginning of what has become a historic summer of hot weather across the U.S. that global warming was to blame. They faded swiftly because the public has concluded that global warming is the mother of all hoaxes, because we are in the midst of a failing economy and the political campaigns that will decide if the nation literally lives or dies.

This has not stopped the Public Broadcast System’s News Hour from airing a new series “on how climate change in the Pacific Northwest is affecting the region’s Native American Indian tribes—flooding their reservations and threatening the region’s salmon fisheries.” Climate change is shorthand for global warming.

While the nation’s media continues to propagate the hoax, what hope is there for the TRUTH?

Significantly “the NewsHour’s year-long Coping with Climate Change series is funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.” The nation’s leading foundations have been funding the global warming hoax for decades and continue to do so.

So one more article about the deception and duplicity of global warming may seem superfluous and it would be if the U.S. Air Force wasn’t spending $59 per gallon of “green biofuel” and the U.S. Navy wasn’t doing the same for its Great Green Fleet. The justification for this is the utterly false assertion that “alternatives” are needed in the event we can’t produce or import petroleum.

The U.S. is floating on an ocean of oil, but for now it can only be extracted from lands owned privately because the Obama administration has done everything in its power to restrict access to it on federally owned lands and, of course, the billions of barrels locked up off-shore.

In exactly the same way that the Obama administration has presided over the loss of billions in subsidies and loan guarantees for the solar panel companies or the ridiculous costs of wind power industry compared to a single coal-burning plant, at the heart of it all has been the claim the global warming is caused by “greenhouse gas” emissions, carbon dioxide, that imperil the Earth.

Recently, my friend Joseph L. Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, wrote an article, “IPCC Admits Its Past Reports Were Junk”, posted on

It struck me that very few people even know that IPCC is the acronym for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Few people know that the entire global warming hoax was generated by the IPCC, let alone know what it is.

Most people associate global warming with Al Gore who has been among its most prominent advocates, warning that “the Earth has a fever” and that we were doomed if we didn’t stop generating carbon dioxide. Gore and his collaborators wanted to sell “carbon credits” in exchanges around the world and for a while he greatly enriched himself.

In Australia, the government has imposed a tax on carbon dioxide which it likely to destroy its manufacturing base along with the extraction of coal and other minerals.

Here in the U.S. the Environmental Protection Agency continues to assert that carbon dioxide must be regulated as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act and, if successful, will likewise destroy what is left of our manufacturing base and all other industries that generate or use energy to function.

And the man in the street remains completely clueless about the impending ruin of the nation based on the reports of the IPCC which the Inter-Academy Council (IAC), a group created by the world’s science academies to provide advice to international bodies, has long since concluded were utterly false and baseless.

On June 27, the IPCC issued a statement saying it had completed the process of implementation of the recommendations that an August 2010 IAC analysis had made after examining who was contributing to their reports, who was reviewing their content (the same people!), and the astonishing, utterly false, claim of “a consensus” that global warming was happening.

As Bast points out, “It means that all of the ‘endorsements’ of the climate consensus made by the world’s national academies of science—which invariably refer to the reports of the IPCC as their scientific basis—were based on false or unreliable data and therefore should be disregarded or revised.”

“It means that the EPA’s ‘endangerment finding’—with its claim that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and threat to human health—was wrong and should be overturned.”

It is a terrible thing to live in a nation governed by falsehoods, spending the public wealth on useless technologies, living under the tyranny of government departments and agencies pursuing those lies for their own agendas and political masters.

Unless the harm perpetrated in the name of global warming is reversed, we shall all remain the victims of the United Nations IPCC, the EPA, and all other entities seeking to control every aspect of our lives.

The poles are not melting, the glaciers are growing, the oceans rise mere millimeters over centuries, and right now planet Earth is cooling.


Time for an Energy Debate

Before we begin, let me remind you that I have worked for T. Boone Pickens on the Pickens Plan since 2008, so filter everything that follows through that lens.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy produces a monthly report of how much money we import, how much we've paid for it, and what percentage of our total oil use it represents.

In June, 2012, for instance, we produced about 6.2 million barrels of crude oil per day. That is third most in the world behind Saudi Arabia (10.04 million barrels) and Russia (just behind at 9.89 million barrels).

That's pretty good; six million barrels a day, right?

Problem is, the United States still has the largest economy on the planet - about a third larger than China's which is in second place - and it takes a lot of fuel to … fuel that economy and so we imported 338 million barrels of oil, averaging 10.27 million barrels a day - something in the vicinity of 60 percent of our daily oil use.

There is a common misconception about how much oil it takes to make electricity in the U.S. You hear it on cable chat shows all the time when the conversation turns to solar, wind, or some other form of alternative energy source.

The EPA which knows about these things, has estimated that coal accounts for nearly half our electricity, nuclear is in second with about 19 percent, natural gas is a close third at 18.8 percent; and oil is at three percent - about half the electricity produced by hydro in the U.S.

So, what do we need all that oil for?

Your car. Well, your car and the rest of the 250 million cars and light trucks on American roads burning gasoline that take us and our families to work, to soccer practice, and to the Safeway. Also the more than eight million heavy-duty trucks, running on largely imported diesel, that bring the food to the Safeway, the soccer shoes to the sports store, and take the stuff we make from our work and deliver it all over the country.

You know that the Pickens Plan is all about using natural gas as a transportation fuel. You also know there are precious few natural gas refueling stations in your neighborhood so unless you install one of those devices that allows your natural gas vehicle (NGV) to refuel overnight in your garage, the kids are going to be late for vacation bible school.

Using natural gas as a fuel for 18-wheelers is a different issue. Over the road trucks tend to ru the same routes on a regular schedule and their drivers tend to pull into the same truck stops to eat, rest and refuel so the random nature of refueling passenger vehicles doesn't exist for heavy-duty trucks.

The Strait of Hormuz is the bottleneck at the southern end of the Persian Gulf through which, in 2011, some 17 million barrels of oil (about 35 percent of the world's seaborne traded oil) flows every day, according to the EIA.

The Strait divides Oman and Iran. Iran has been threatening to close down the Strait of Hormuz in the face of increased pressure to stop its development of nuclear weapons. In April, the U.S. Navy deployed a second Carrier Strike Group to protect the oil coming through the Strait.

A Carrier Strike Group typically consists of one Aircraft Carrier, two Guided Missile Cruisers, two Anti-Aircraft Warships, and one or two Anti-Submarine Destroyers or Frigates. So, this is a little bigger deal than loading up the SUV to go tubing on a summer Sunday afternoon.

Halfway through 2012 we have spent about $223 billion on imported oil. But, that's just the cost of the oil. When you add the amount we are spending every day for things like two Carrier Strike Groups, that cost increases dramatically.

We are producing more oil than at any time in our history and we're still on track to ship about a half trillion dollars off shore in 2012.

We have enough natural gas to last more than 100 years and changing over our national fleet of heavy trucks from diesel to that domestic resource would not only help clean up the air (natural gas produces about a third less greenhouse gasses as diesel or gasoline) but would reduce our need for OPEC oil by about half.

As of last night West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, which is the benchmark, was selling for $86.90 per barrel. That is down from the nearly $110 of a few months ago, and so energy has fallen off the table as an election issue.

It shouldn't. We're spending too much in treasure and blood to protect oil we don't need to import.


Official Probe Shows Climategate Whitewash Link to Sandusky Child Sex Case

Legal investigation into Penn State University exposes institutional cover up of the Jerry Sandusky pedophile scandal. Judge’s findings also throw new light on “whitewash” investigation of Climategate suspect, Michael Mann.

Former FBI Director Judge Louis Freeh and his law firm have now published their independent report (July 12, 2012) that “assessed the facts and circumstances of the actions of Pennsylvania State University surrounding the child abuse crimes of former employee, Gerald A. Sandusky.” The shocking story made international headlines. Lawyers for the child sex victims say Judge Freeh’s Report affirms that the university hierarchy “chose to protect themselves, Penn State’s brand and image.”

Sandusky was jailed on June 22, 2012 after being found guilty of 45 out of 48 counts of sexual abuse of young boys while employed as football coach at Pennsylvania State University (PSU). The Freeh Report adjudged that PSU administration and Board of Trustees fostered lying, cover-ups of wrongdoing, ignored the effects of staff misdeeds and condoned obfuscation of investigations of wrongdoing by Sandusky.

In this article we show how PSU’s cover up for Sandusky is eerily similar to the university’s “whitewash” investigation of discredited climatologist, Michael Mann after the “Climategate” scandal. A key suspect in the scandal, Mann is implicated for allegedly fraudulent research activities, before, during and outside of his employment at PSU. The university received a cool $2 million in climate research funding. Professor Fred Singer covers the essential details here.

But while arguments over PSU’s hidden “Climategate” emails will rage anew in the U.S., across the Canadian border in the Supreme Court of British Columbia Mann is close to losing another legal battle on this issue. Mann is yet again stonewalling a court over showing his hidden “dirty laundry” of dodgy data.

But such incessant secrecy won’t save Mann. Judge Freeh’s damning report may persuade his Canadian counterpart that Mann’s libel suit against Canadian climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball is likely vexatious and premised on a cover up. Freeh’s findings will thus make it harder for Mann to dodge a Canadian Supreme Court requirement to hand over all his disputed “dirty laundry”. If Mann won’t comply he faces punitive legal sanctions. Leaked emails proved Mann was an influential figure among climatologists accused of fixing global warming records to win lucrative government research grants worth millions. In particular, evidence reveals a statistical “trick…to hide the decline”in reliability of proxy data in Mann’s research. And Mann certainly ahead of his peers in arrogance because he’s the only climate scientist to boast on Facebook that he “shared the Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC authors in 2007.”

As Dr. Klaus L. E. Kaiser says: “I would like to have him answer the following: (1) Name (all) the other IPCC authors he shared the prize with; (2.) How much of the money coming with the prize did he declare in his tax return for that year?”

Apart from Tim Ball’s legal team the wider scientific community is also poring over the Freeh report. What they are finding is disturbing similarities in the way PSU handled Sandusky compared with the Michael Mann “whitewash” probe of 2010.

One British climate co-conspirator of Mann, Professor Phil Jones, escaped criminal prosecution only by a legal loophole. While the Freeh Report does not use those words, its recommendations imply that PSU actively covered-up such crimes and created a culture of silence in the face of wrongdoing by the university’s media stars and idols.

Spanier and Schultz Led Sandusky and Mann Cover Ups

The stunning report, that took eight months to compile with over 400 interviews and which cost in excess of $4 million, pointed to the university’s overriding motive: money and prestige. It names PSU President Graham B. Spanier and Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Shultz for failing to do their duty during the cover up of Sandusky’s crimes. PSU President Spanier was fired from his $813,000/year job for failing to hold a proper investigation into Sandusky. Schultz is charged with perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury and failing to report suspected child abuse. Both men were likewise instrumental in getting Mann cleared in the PSU “Climategate” probe.

Last year this author first highlighted startling similarities in the self-serving way PSU handled both the Mann and Sandusky controversies. Despite Michael Mann being the most likely fraudster in “Climategate” PSU exonerated him with a one-sided investigation. The university conceded it only interviewed two witnesses – both ardent supporters of Mann – Jerry North and Donald Kennedy. Mann, once cleared by PSU of any wrongdoing then launched a libel case in Canada against climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball who criticized Mann’s mendacious methods. Ball, a leading skeptic, opined that Mann belongs “in the State pen, not Penn. State.”

Criminal Cover Up Taints University at “Highest Level”

Today, the Sandusky victims’ lawyers, Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici, declare that the Freeh report exposes corruption in Penn State “at the highest level.” They are satisfied that Judge Freeh’s Report focused on the inaction of these administrators who failed to create an environment that held senior officials accountable.

“From 1998-2011, Penn State’s “Tone at the Top” for transparency, compliance, police reporting and child protection was completely wrong, as shown by the inaction and concealment on the part of its most senior leaders, and followed by those at the bottom of the University’s pyramid of power,” Judge Freeh said.

The Freeh Report outlines hard-hitting recommendations in its 267-pages. His final statement: “It is critical that Old Main, the Board and the Penn State community never forget these failures and commit themselves to strengthening an open, compliant and victim sensitive environment — where everyone has the duty to ‘blow the whistle’ on anyone who breaks this trust, no matter how powerful or prominent they may appear to be.”

Spanier’s Bold-faced Lies to Save Michael Mann

Pointedly, Spanier and Schultz had falsely claimed that PSU’s self-serving investigation into Mann had “spent hundreds of hours studying documents and interviewing people and looking at issues from all sides.”

But this was a bold-faced lie. Incredibly, Spanier saw to it that his “investigation committee” did not investigate three of the four charges against Mann – especially not the “trick…to hide the decline.” But PSU never sought any examination of his calculations and the term “hide the decline” doesn’t even feature in their report. Thus PSU may be adjudged to have willfully failed to investigate whether Mann was in breach of PSU’s Research Administration Policy No. 10.

Further examination of PSU’s “investigation” shows the investigators wanted to keep hidden Mann’s climate data processes. As PSU admits, “enormous confusion has been caused by interpretations of the e-mails and their content.”


Scientists agree the Great Barrier Reef is fast deteriorating

I have been hearing this claim every year for at least the last 50 years, long before global warming was thought of

A diving expedition to the Great Barrier Reef towards the end of this century is likely to be a weird and disappointing experience, for anyone who had seen footage of the reef thriving in our time.

It will be paler, smaller and emptier. Many of the thousands of species of fish, turtles, dolphins and sea birds will have dispersed, and everywhere the crumbling bones of dead coral will be peeking through.

"It's going to be very boring out there," a James Cook University scientist, Janice Lough, told reporters in Queensland this week, at the world's largest gathering of coral researchers.

The bleak vision isn't an exaggeration designed to shock, but the logical consequence of processes that are unfolding now, scientists explained in their daily briefings.

This edition of the four-yearly conference was remarkable for the unified message presented by the 2500 researchers. A statement, said to represent the participants, called for action on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which are making the world's oceans more acidic as they absorb extra carbon dioxide from the air.

"This combined change in temperature and ocean chemistry has not occurred since the last reef crisis 55 million years ago," it said. "A concerted effort to preserve reefs for the future demands action at global levels, but also will benefit hugely from continued local protection."

Reefs are caught in a pincer between local pollution and overfishing on the one hand, and rising temperatures and ocean acidification on the other. Dealing with the local threats would put corals in a stronger position to stave off the global problems of heat and acidifcation, which are expected to intensity later this century, said Jeremy Jackson, a senior scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

"Of course, how long this will work, we don't really know," Professor Jackson said. "Climate change is inexorable and we're seeing progressive effects. So, how long local protection will serve to increase resilience is anybody's guess."

Reef decline is worldwide, though some reefs are adapting better than others and those remote from human activity are holding up the best, he said. "If you think about this, the Great Barrier Reef is the best-protected reef system in the world, and still we're seeing these aggressive declines."

Dr Lough, who studies the massive coral skeletons beneath reefs, said warming of the water was contributing to a huge stunting of coral growth in many reefs.

Although corals thrive in tropical waters, their level of tolerance for temperature change can be very small. As global air temperatures have crept up about 0.7 degrees over the past 100 years, water temperatures near the surface have also risen by half a degree, on average. This has driven a global epidemic of coral bleaching and coral diseases, while the higher carbonic acid content of the water means coral structures are often weaker.

"Tropical coral reef waters are already significantly warmer than they were and the rate of warming is accelerating," Dr Lough said. "With or without drastic curtailment of greenhouse gas emissions we are facing, for the foreseeable future, changes in the physical environment of present-day coral reefs."

The change in reef habitat is likely to have a corresponding effect on fish. A coral expert from James Cook University, Philip Munday, described a recent experiment where fish in tanks were exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide. Of the exposed fish, some adjusted to the changes over time, but others showed neurological changes that made them less effective at escaping predators.

"Like coral, there will be winners and losers and the communities of fish we see on reefs in the future are likely to be different to those of today," he said.

The research director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Peter Doherty, said Australia appeared to be "losing the war" to save the Great Barrier Reef.

It remains to be seen whether the statement endorsed by the reef research community has any lasting effect, but at least policy makers cannot be accused of having unambiguous advice before them, researchers said.

"The reef consensus statement is just the beginning," said Steve Palumbi, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University.

"With only the consensus statement there will be no change - it's political leaders that change the world, it's people that change the world. The turning of the corner from science to policy is really difficult to do. That's where we are right now, and that's why we're reaching out to the political leaders of the world."



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


17 July, 2012

New cold war over shale gas

Russia inflames environmental fears to dominate energy market

We lost Bulgaria. We are likely soon to lose the Czech Republic. We gained Ukraine. Poland has always stood with us. Germany hedges its bets. France definitely is not with us. The United Kingdom probably will side with us. The Baltic States would love to join us if they have the resources. A fierce battle rages over Romania.

The adversary is Russia, a petro-state that projects power through control of the European energy market. President Vladimir Putin’s regime depends on selling hydrocarbons. That pays for the Russian state and for a patronage system that keeps his supporters and backers in clover.

Many of Gazprom’s decisions are political. It pays for long pipelines to bypass Ukraine. Political appointments and scams are costly. Analysts estimate that Gazprom needs to charge about $12 per 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas to break even. It collects about $16 per 1,000 cubic feet in Eastern Europe. In the United States, the cost is about $2.

The price of natural gas in America dropped because hydraulic fracturing glutted the market with cheap gas. There are no such commercial wells in Europe.

If hydraulic fracturing can be used on a commercial scale in Europe, the price of natural gas there will plummet. It could force Russia to start working for a living and would have radical political repercussions.

Almost all European countries have some shale gas deposits. Commercial use of those resources would increase energy independence, reduce demand for gas imports and thus reduce prices, improve the balance of trade and create local jobs. Three European countries, Poland, France and Ukraine, have potential deposits that may turn them into gas exporters.

The Polish reserves are deeper and older than the American ones. Drilling technology will have to evolve to adjust to the local geological features, as it has in the Barnett and Marcellus shale formations. Exxon has beat a retreat from Poland for now, but other, smaller companies are continuing to explore. Ukraine has just opened its territory to bids for shale gas exploration.

Unlike Poland and Ukraine, France has no history of Russian domination. Most of its energy comes from nuclear power. Russia is just its third-largest natural gas supplier, after Norway and Algeria. When environmentalist groups protested against the potential use of hydraulic fracturing in France, there was no interest group on the other side of the debate. Yet Total is using the technology outside France. Given the French economy’s dire straights, a decision to start exploiting France’s domestic gas resources has obvious advantages, even if hydraulic fracturing needs to be rebranded.

The significance of the French ban, the Bulgarian moratorium and a likely Czech one is not economic. Gazprom’s revenues from France, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are relatively small. If Bulgaria and the Czech Republic start exploiting their own shale gas resources, they still will have to import some or even most of their natural gas. The holy grail for Gazprom is a European Union-wide ban or moratorium on the technology. The more countries adopt such restrictions, the stronger the case for it would be in Brussels, capital of the EU, and Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament.

The challenge facing Gazprom is to convince nations that pay it exorbitant sums of foreign currency to forgo a technology that can save them a lot of money, create local jobs and support their political independence. This challenge is not unlike the task the Soviet Union faced after World War II: The United States offered the devastated countries of Europe substantial free economic aid in the Marshall Plan. Fearing economic and political independence, the Soviets had to persuade Europeans to give up free money.

Some Czech anti-hydraulic-fracturing demonstrators, who protested against granting concessions to Hutton Energy, an Australian company headquartered in London, carried signs proclaiming, “We do not want your American money.” They could have dusted off similar signs from 1947.


EU energy chief Oettinger warns of deindustrialisation

Policies governing the European Union's drive towards a low- carbon economy should not lose sight of the need to retain the bloc's industrial base, Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a newspaper column on Monday.

"Europe should think about adding a fourth goal to the three 20-20-20 energy-related ones up to the year 2020," Oettinger wrote in the business daily Handelsblatt.

The bloc's goals are a planned 20 percent hike in energy efficiency, a 20 percent cut in CO2 emissions and reaching a 20 percent share of renewables in energy usage by 2020.

"(Europe) ... should make (another) permanent goal a 20 percent industrial contribution to gross domestic product (by 2020)," Oettinger said.

This share had sunk to 18 percent in 2010 from around 22 percent in 2000. "We need a strategy for the re-industrialisation of Europe," he said.

Oettinger said Europe was too dependent on energy imports - its main natural gas supplier is Russia and its oil comes mainly from the Middle East - and therefore had to ensure efficient energy production and usage, to help stand up to competitors such as the United States where gas prices have plummeted.

Electricity would become the EU's main energy benchmark as it would expand its share in fuelling transport, Oettinger said, adding Europe needed a policy "that considered that security of supply and affordability of power are a decisive location factor in the global context," he wrote.

Oettinger, a German national, echoed rising concern about runaway power prices in his home country, where subsidising of fast-expanding green power is burdening industrial and household consumers.

This has already caused a government rethink on, and subsequent cuts to, solar power.

Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told the mass circulation Bild am Sonntag on Sunday he was sceptical about some important goals of Germany's energy U-turn, put in place last year in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In particular, Altmaier doubted whether power usage could be cut by 10 percent up to 2020, which the government had stipulated along with goals to get out of nuclear energy fast in favour of green power.


China goes for shale gas in a big way

China has already got a lot of what was American industry. With this it might get a big slice of Europe's too

With China having put shale gas near the top of the government agenda for energy security concerns, the scramble for this game-changing unconventional gas is gathering momentum.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said that more than 70 companies have shown their interest in participating in the country's much talked about second tender for domestic shale gas blocks, which is estimated to kick off this month or next.

China opened four blocks for the first round bidding to selected State-owned companies last June. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp and a provincial coalbed methane company won the bid for two blocks.

Compared with the first auction to test the water, the second one may offer about 17 blocks, located in areas including the provinces of Hunan and Anhui, for bidding, said Jiang Xinmin, deputy director of the Energy Research Institute, a think tank of the National Development and Reform Commission.

The ever-growing shale gas fever in China, buoyed by the United State's revolutionary breakthroughs in the sector, has turned the new sector that has yet to take off into a new gold rush for companies in the country.

Even domestic property companies, which have generated the biggest number of billionaires in recent years before they started wobbling on the government's tightening policies, are considering seeking a share.

Li Jun, board secretary of Zhongtian Urban Development Group Co, flew almost 2,000 kilometers from the southwestern city of Guiyang to the eastern costal city of Shanghai just to attend a shale gas forum held in the city in July.

"It's not a gamble. We hope to leverage the cash earned from the property market to invest in the energy arena," Li said. Zhongtian is a local real estate developer in Guizhou province with total assets of 15 billion yuan ($2.4 billion), according to its website.

State-owned companies strictly control the energy industry so shale gas may be the last resort for privately held companies to participate in the lucrative sector, Li said.

The Ministry of Land and Resources said in May that Chinese companies with more than 300 million yuan of registered assets and survey licenses for natural resources, among others, are allowed to tender.

Zhang Dawei, head of the oil and gas strategy center of the ministry, reiterated several times in public that private investors are allowed to bid to diversify the investment bodies.
Guanghui Energy Co, a privately held natural gas pipeline operator based in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, for instance, has shown its strong interest in shale gas exploration.

"We will definitely apply for the second auction but the government has the final say on whether we can squeeze in," said Wang Yuqin, board secretary of Shanghai-listed Guanghui.

Shale gas is a clean and efficient energy trapped within shale formations. China is estimated to have 25.1 trillion cubic meters of exploitable shale gas resources, exceeding the 24.4 trillion cu m in the United States, making it the world's biggest. If all gas can be extracted from the shale, it will able to meet natural gas demand for the world's second biggest energy consumer for two centuries.

China produced more than 103.1 billion cu m of natural gas last year with 7.3 percent year-on-year growth. Apparent consumption - production plus imports minus exports - was 129 billion cu m in the same year.

It topped the world with its 22 percent year-on-year growth in natural gas demand last year, with increasing Chinese production, imported pipe gas and liquefied natural gas supplies, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

China's natural gas consumption will be doubled within the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) to account for 8 percent of its total energy mixture by the end of 2015 from 4 percent now, said Jiang, from the National Development and Reform Commission. He added that the development of shale gas is a strategic move, given China's ever-growing shortage of natural gas.


North Carolina sea-level scare neutered

Action killed off until 2015

North Carolina legislators intend to postpone consideration of a state-sponsored science panel’s warning of rising sea levels until July 2016, calling instead for more studies.

A conference report that amended the much-debated Coastal Policies bill – House Bill 819 – to control how North Carolina prepares for climate change along its coast passed the Senate Monday night 40-1.
At 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, the House passed the conference report, which includes the bill, 68-46, thereby adopting the bill and sending it to the governor for final approval.

The bill to put the sea level debate on hold now goes to Gov. Bev Perdue. The governor’s Communication Director Jon Romano said Gov. Perdue has not yet received the bill or decided whether she will consider a veto.

Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, filed the bill April 7. It was originally intended to amend oceanfront setback laws to allow certain buildings constructed prior to Aug. 11, 2009, to be repaired or rebuilt on their original footprints, even if they didn’t meet current setback requirements. The Senate amended the bill on June 12, however, to include language directing the state on how to address sea level rise.

Rep. McElraft opposed the amendments to her bill. When it came back to the House on June 19, she made a motion to not concur with it, which the House supported. She then chaired the conference committee, which created the current version of the bill.

The latest version of HB 819 puts a temporary moratorium on the state adopting any rate of sea level change for the purpose of regulations. It calls for additional studies by the state Coastal Resources Commission’s science panel, to be completed by 2015.


World’s biggest maker of wind turbines going broke

The world’s biggest maker of wind turbines is considering putting itself up for sale as concerns mount over its giant debt pile. Vestas is studying the drastic move after entering debt restructuring talks with its lenders.

The banks have demanded that the Danish company prepares a comprehensive financial restructuring plan after it was forced to bolster its cash position by drawing down a €300m (£242m) bank facility.

The company, which has more than 20,000 employees worldwide, has been one of the biggest casualties of the global slowdown in the renewable energy industry. Two weeks ago, it cancelled plans to build a giant factory at Sheerness, Kent, dealing a blow to the government’s plans to create a domestic renewables industry.

Vestas was founded in 1898 by a blacksmith in the small town of Lem, on the west coast of Denmark. In 2009 it provoked uproar in Britain with the closure of an Isle of Wight factory, making 400 redundant.

The group has nearly €6 billion of annual sales but has racked up debts of more than €2 billion. Its shares have shed more than 95% of their value since the 2008 peak.

In January Vestas announced 2,300 job cuts after posting its second profit warning in just a few months and falling €60m into the red. Its market value has shrunk to £700m.

The company’s woes reflect a significant shift in the wind industry since the recession took hold. The sector has been battered by a perfect storm of government belt-tightening, lack of project financing and rising costs.

Lenders to Vestas, including Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC, have appointed Ernst & Young to advise on negotiations with the company.

Vestas has hired PWC to help draw up a plan to repair its creaking balance sheet. The options include putting the company on the block. It could be an attractive target for industrial giants with a growing interest in renewables technology, such as General Electric and Siemens. There have been rumours that Chinese rivals are circling.

Alternatively, Vestas may decide to sell some of its assets. The company declined to comment.


Where are the jobs?

Short excerpt from a report by the Energy and Commerce Committee Majority Staff

Section 1603 of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Recovery Act or “stimulus”) created a grant program administered by the Department of Treasury (Treasury) and the Department of Energy (DOE). This program offered cash payments to renewable energy projects, mainly solar and wind.

Before the stimulus, qualifying renewable energy projects were Federally supported, primarily through the production tax credit or investment tax credit. Through March 15, 2012, $8.2 billion (74.7 percent) of the total amount in Section 1603 grants awarded was for wind and another $2.0 billion (17.4 percent) was for solar electricity. The remaining 8 percent went to technologies such as geothermal electricity, biomass, solar thermal, and small wind.

The Recovery Act was touted by President Obama as a jobs program. Separately, DOE Secretary Steven Chu, in testimony before a joint subcommittees of the Committee on Energy and Commerce (Committee) on March 16, 2011, stated that “the Section 1603 tax grant program has created tens of thousands of jobs in industries such as wind and solar by providing up-front incentives to thousands of projects.”

An investigation by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations shows that: Most current methods used to calculate jobs created by Section 1603 are largely unreliable. What accurate jobs data that exists for Section 1603 shows that it produces very few long-term jobs.



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16 July, 2012

An "electric" car that actually runs on a toxic form of alcohol (methanol)

Green, they may be. But electric cars have struggled to overcome one of the main shortfalls that put buyers off - an inferior range to their petrol-powered rivals. That may be about to change after a new electric car was unveiled that promises to go 500 miles (800km) before the battery needs recharging.

The Modular Energy Carrier concept (MECc), created by three Danish companies, uses bio-methanol to bolster its battery life.

Mogens Lokke, CEO of ECOmove, designers of the innovative 'QBEAK' car said bio-methanol was far better than diesel or gasoline because it produces substantially less carbon dioxide.

'In combination with the way we built the car, which is really lightweight (425 kilograms), we can get the 500-mile range,' he told CNN.

A bio-methanol/ water is converted by the fuel cell to create electricity, while waste heat from the process powers the car's heating and cooling system.

It also benefits from a innovative chassis design which has really pushed the technology forward. 'Instead of putting in a fixed battery, we have built in (six) modules that can be fitted inside the chassis. We can use battery power in the modules or any other kind of energy source,' Lokke said.

The award-winning QBEAK also uses patented in-wheel electric motors to deliver a top speed of 75mph (120kph).

According to Mads Friis Jensen from Serenergy, the designers of the fuel cell, bio-methanol is a cheap and abundant fuel with a short carbon chain. Compared to gasoline, bio-methanol production can cut CO2 emissions by more than 70 per cent

The U.S. Department for Energy (DOE) says direct methanol fuel cells are not hampered by the storage problems that affect other green fuels like hydrogen because as a liquid it's easier to transport and supply through current infrastructure.


No fact checking please! We're Warmists!

Attempts to link recent U.S. weather to global warming have already be extensively debunked on this site but I liked the article by Pat Michaels below so am putting it up as a parting shot at the nonsense concerned

What ever happened to rudimentary fact-checking? There certainly wasn't very much of it in a recent Associated Press screed conflating this summer's weather and global warming.

True, AP's Seth Borenstein had the good sense to never directly say that any particular event could be linked to global temperature. But his intent was obvious:
Climate scientists suggest that if you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, take a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks.

Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho.

Before we go into the facts he didn't check, let's start with the obvious. If this summer's weather is a result of global warming, then it had better be globally warm.

Below is a plot of the four major global temperature histories. This chart begins in 1979 because that is the starting date of the satellite history, which is likely to be the best record. The top three charts are from ground-based thermometers, and the bottom is the satellite. (Don't worry about the absolute difference between the records-they are referenced to different mean values.)

Global average temperature anomalies, 1979 through 2012 (red, NASA dataset; green, US Department of Commerce dataset; orange, University of East Anglia; blue, satellite records from University of Alabama-Huntsville). The open circles are annual departures from average for each dataset. The last point (filled circle) is for the first five months of 2012.

All of these records share a common characteristic. They don't show much warming since the late 1990s. More germane to Borenstein's article is that, so far, 2012 is actually cool compared to the run of years since then. Such an inconvenient fact.

Now to the specifics. Borenstein reiterated the old rural legend about wildfires being enhanced by a bug called the western pine beetle. It works like this: bark beetles, which kill pine trees, survive in larger numbers during warm winters. Therefore warm winters result in more dead trees which results in more fuel which results in bigger fires. Logical, right?

Having done a bunch of research on pine beetles myself, I, too, once believed this. But it's wrong. Last year, Martin Simard of the University of Wisconsinactually checked the facts, measured the amount of fuel left behind, and found that beetle-infested forests have less fuel and that they suppress forest fires. The results were published in Ecological Monographs, about as prestigious a journal as there is in the field of Ecology.

Given the fact that 2012 is nothing special globally, then, under Borenstein's logic, any odd weather from 1996 through now-when temperatures have been pretty constant-is consistent with global warming. That would include:

* Last year's mild winter,

* The record length of time that the U.S. has seen since its last major hurricane strike, and

* The very low hurricane activity observed worldwide since 2005,

* The gigantic snowstorms that hit Washington DC in 2009-10,

* The very active hurricane season of 2005, and

* The lack of any trend whatsoever in severe tornadoes or economically-adjusted weather damages.

* Etc..

But the largest insult in Borenstein's article was his completely careless conflation of global warming with last week's "derecho" that blew down trees in and around our Nation's Capital, These systems, known more accurately as Mesoscale Convective Systems (MCS), are not rare. Some places average one a year. They tend to form in the daytime and usually (but not always) wane at night. Very few form east of the Appalachians, so they have to migrate over mountains that are very hostile to them to get to DC, which is why there is about one every four years here.

Whatever bad weather lands in Washington hits the media right between its eyes. Even modest snowstorms acquire cosmic importance And the local culture does its best to make things worse.

Politically and arboreally, Washington is a jungle. The modern cult of tree-worship is especially popular. People squawk when the power company comes by to trim branches, so the power company goes away. When an ice storm, a decaying hurricane, or-yes-an MCS shows up, so goes the power. For millions, and sometimes for weeks.

With regard to global warming, some aspects of it would enhance derechos, and others would detract from them. It's probably a push. Indeed, given the total lack of anything special about global temperatures in 2012, if derechos were being plumped by warming, then they would have become much more frequent over the last 16 years. Of course, there's absolutely no evidence of this, but why let the facts get in the way of a good story?


Senator Harry Reid’s Part in Green-Energy Crony-Corruption

So far our chronicle of the green-energy crony-corruption story, has focused primarily on the connections the players have to President Obama. This chapter stars Senator Harry Reid. When looking at the whole story, it’s important to note that Senator Reid “led passage of the $814 billion stimulus bill and worked to include the loan guarantee program to help finance clean-energy projects”—projects to which, as we will show, he is connected.

In a DOE press release, Reid actually bragged about how he included the green loan guarantee in the stimulus bill: “As I led passage of the stimulus bill, I worked to include the loan guarantee program to help finance clean energy projects” that will “bring us closer to energy independence.”

We’ve already unveiled two of these expensive and politically explosive projects through our Special Seven series––those that received the touted loans as a part of the stimulus bill (even though they were rated as “non-investment” grade) and grants, as well as “special” Department of Interior treatment. As the “Special Seven” moniker indicates, there are more companies and/or projects to reveal.

Before we start on the new information, here’s a highlight of the previous players’ specific connections to Senator Harry Reid—the focus of this chapter.

Last week, we exposed BrightSource Energy that received a $1.6 billion DOE loan. BrightSource’s executives donated almost $4000 to Reid’s 2010 campaign, including $2400 from the CEO John Woolard, who in September 2010, along with Peter Darbee, then Chairman of PG & E, hosted a fundraiser for the majority leader in his corporate offices.

The week before, we uncovered the fact that a couple of SolarReserve (with its $737 million loan) board members are big Democrat donors, including contributions to Obama’s 2008 campaign as well as Senator Reid. The Washington Free Beacon divulged, “…Nevada Geothermal, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve—are located in Reid’s home state. Executives from all three companies have donated to Reid and his fellow Democrats, contributing more than $58,000 since 2008.”

However, what you are about discover is that the two projects we’ll profile in this chapter have similar direct ties, some sly connections to the Senator, and some stinky consequences.

Nevada Geothermal Power

First we’ll look into Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) as recent news exposes that its power is dimming. NGP may be the next green-energy bankruptcy.

Here’s the NGP thumbnail presented in the introduction to the green-energy crony-corruption story:

Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) holds leasehold interests in six geothermal projects located in the Western United States. They hold a BB+ rating and received a $78.8 million loan, guaranteed by the DOE, in September of 2010. Executives from NGP contributed in 2008 to Harry Reid’s campaign.

Additionally, since 2009, NGP was the recipient of more than $69 million in federal grants, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The New York Times reports: “Reid was instrumental in securing that financing for Nevada Geothermal.” The NYT noted: “Mr. Reid has taken the nascent geothermal industry under his wing, pressuring the Department of Interior to move more quickly on applications to build clean energy projects on federally owned land and urging other members of Congress to expand federal tax incentives to help build geothermal plants, benefits that Nevada Geothermal has taken advantage of.” You might think Reid has altruistic motives, such as creating jobs for his state, however, as the NYT points out: “Mr. Reid has received some support from the industry, in the form of at least $43,000 worth of campaign contributions from the geothermal industry since 2009, according to an analysis of federal campaign finance records.” The “campaign contributions” could be why, in a 2010 press release, he declared “Northern Nevada is the Saudi Arabia of geothermal energy.”

Despite the flowery rhetoric, at the time the DOE approved the conditional loan guarantee in September 2010, they were well aware of NGP’s “well-documented” financial difficulties. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) called the loan a “bailout”—which “violated the spirit and, quite possibly, the letter of the law” and provided “an opportunity for private industry to exit an investment, deleverage and transfer the extraordinarily high default risk to taxpayers.”

Less than a year after the loan was issued, leading accounting firm Deloitte & Touche did an audit of NGP and concluded: “significant doubt” about Nevada Geothermal Power’s “ability to continue as a going concern.” The company’s vital signs are not looking good: it “has incurred net losses over the past several years, has an accumulated deficit of $44.0 million and an anticipated inability to retire its long-term liabilities.”

The project continued to have “operational and financial problems.” In the October 2011 NYT article, it states: “Executives expressed confidence that they can recover” and that “the government investment is not at risk.” As CEO Brian D. Fairbank stated: “We’re doing OK.”

During Fairbank’s “Green Energy Gamble” May 16, 2012 testimony before the HOGRC, he spoke “about the many good things occurring at Blue Mountain” and stated that they “remained bullish on the future of geothermal resource potential” at Blue Mountain. However, the future of Nevada Geothermal is looking dim, it still faces financial problems, and the company’s internal auditors have questioned whether it can stay in business.

The audit report states: “NGP has incurred $98 million in net losses over the past several years, has substantial debts and does not generate enough cash from its current operations after debt-service costs.”

With the audit completed in March 2012, one as to wonder how much did Fairbanks actually know about the status of NGP during that May 16 testimony when he claimed he “remained bullish?”

Another angle, in that DOE press release, both Secretary Chu and Senator Reid praised the potential job creation of the NGP project. Chu said: “Our support for the Blue Mountain project is part of the Administration’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions while creating clean energy jobs,” and Reid: “clean energy projects like Blue Mountain geothermal that will put Nevadans back to work...” In conflict with these claims, the HOGRC report states: “It was known to him [Secretary Chu] at that time [of the press conference], however, that the loan would not create a single job, but instead would simply refinance an existing loan, despite DOE’s claim that it would create over 200 jobs”

Instead of using the loan as Title XVI, Section 1602 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, requires: “Recipients shall use grant funds in a manner that maximizes job creation and economic benefit,” the loan was used to pay off a creditor. According to the Washington Times report, “At the time the Energy Department announced its conditional approval of the guarantee, Mr. Issa said NGP would have defaulted on a loan from TCW Asset Management Co., then its primary lender, ‘had DOE not swooped in to save the failing company with taxpayer money.’ A committee report said the loan did not finance any new construction and ‘did not help to create a single job.’”

So, Senator Reid received money from the geothermal industry, he, apparently, then pressured the DOE to fund projects in Nevada based on the false promise of job creation—which he knew was not accurate at the time. Instead of creating jobs, Reid’s advocacy actually “bailed out” his cronies—that is really corrupt.

Ormat Nevada

But the story continues. As we reported in the introduction, Kai Anderson, a lobbyist for NGP’s partner corporation, Ormat Technologies, Inc., is a former Senate aide to Harry Reid. Ormat’s CEO Paul Thomsen is another former Reid aide. Additionally, according to the Washington Times, “Mr. Fairbank denied knowing or lobbying Mr. Reid, but the House Oversight Committee said Ormat Inc., which was paid $80 million to build NGP’s Blue Mountain plant, has ‘strong ties’ to the senator.”

The thumbnail of Ormat in the introduction reads as follows:

Ormat Nevada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, Inc., whose website touts “green energy you can rely on.” They have an S&P rating of BB and received $350 million in partial loan guarantees. Ormat’s lobbyist Kai Anderson and Director of Policy and Business Development Paul Thomsen were both former senate aides to Harry Reid and donors to his campaign.

The May 2012 HOGRC report expands the connections: “During Senator Reid’s 2010 reelection campaign, Thomsen starred in a campaign ad for Senator Reid to advertise the benefits of Ormat’s loan guarantee for Nevada. In addition to Anderson and Thomsen, Ormat’s President, Yoram Bronicki, gave thousands in political contributions to Senator Reid. The strong ties between the company and the Senate Majority leader raise questions about whether the DOE acted in the best interests of the American people when it approved the loan guarantee.”

Yoram Bronicki is the son of Ms. Yehudit Bronicki (also known as Dita). She is CEO and Director of Ormat Technologies. In addition to the $350 million loan guaranteed by the DOE with John Hancock in aggregate principal amount, Ormat Technologies’ projects received more than $200 million in various DOE grants.

The 2010 campaign ad, starring former Reid staffer Thomsen, heralded “Geothermal means 16,000 Nevada jobs… Harry Reid saw the potential just before everybody else.” With projects like NGP, it seems those jobs have never materialized and the reason Harry Reid was such a soothsayer is the same reason a fortune teller tells you what you want to hear: you are holding the money. With the geothermal industry “contributing more than $58,000 since 2008” and, in just these two stories, receiving $700 million in loans and grants, they’ve gotten an amazing return on their investment. In the bad economy, the best way to grow your money just may be to invest in green energy—just make sure you have friends in high places.

All this, and it does nothing to “bring us closer to energy independence.” Geothermal—and wind and solar—power generates electricity. America is already electricity independent. We have enough coal, natural gas, and uranium to power us for centuries! We even export coal, we have so much.

So why are we killing good-paying jobs in the coal industry, preventing thousands of union jobs the Keystone pipeline would create, and potentially putting thousands out of work with a pending ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction, for the supposed jobs in green energy—when we are already electricity independent? These green-energy projects can only raise the cost of electricity and waste public money, while the energy sources the administration’s efforts are killing or blocking can actually reduce costs—without taxpayer investment.

The green-energy crony-corruption story is explains it all.


Clinton’s Colorado Legacy

Just as the financial crisis that caused everything to collapse in 2008 was a delayed consequence of Bill Clinton doubling down on Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act insanity, the wildfires that have caused such massive destruction in Colorado reflect Slick Willy’s cherished legacy:
Environmental regulations restricting the construction of forest access roads have limited the ability of the Forest Service to clear combustible brush and trees, adding dangerous fuel to the wildfires that have ravaged Colorado this summer. The so-called “roadless rule,” which was first implemented in 2001 by President Clinton shortly before he left office, restricts and in many cases prohibits local and federal officials from building and maintaining roads that allow firefighters to clear out growth that could instantly become tinder for a new fire.

The Roadless Area Conservation Rule, regularly referred to as the 2001 roadless rule, was adopted in January of 2001 and classified 31 percent of national forest lands in Colorado as Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRA’s).

As with the looming Fannie/Freddie catastrophe, W at least tried to fix it.
President Bush attempted to give more control over roadless areas back to the states by throwing out the one-size-fits-all 2001 roadless rule and allowing states to engage in a petition process in order to promulgate their own rules.

But this was held up by the clueless moonbats running the courts until the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals nixed it last year, with the blessing of the dementedly envirofascistic Obama Regime and other usual suspects such as the Sierra Club.


Soaring green energy taxes could force firms out of UK as industry becomes uncompetitive

Industry will become increasingly uncompetitive due to soaring green energy taxes, according to the Government’s own advisers.

A shocking report has found UK manufacturers’ electricity bills are already significantly higher than those in other leading nations due to climate change levies.

By the end of the decade, our green taxes will be double those in other EU nations and dozens of times higher than those in the US.

Industry groups said the report was ‘extremely worrying’ and could force firms abroad, where regulations are less stringent.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) report looked at the iron and steel, aluminium, cement and chemicals industries in 11 countries, most of which have renewable energy policies.

These energy-intensive industries directly employ 600,000 in Britain and contribute nearly £50billion a year to the economy.

Firms will be forced to pay an extra £28.30 in green taxes on top of the market price they pay for every megawatt hour of electricity by 2020 due to climate policies, according to the report by an independent firm.

This compares with £15.70 in Denmark, renowned for its renewable energy drive, £15.20 in France, £17.30 in Germany, £10 in China and a fall in the US and Russia.

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said: ‘This report provides clear, independent evidence supporting concerns we have long put to government – that UK manufacturers in energy-intensive sectors are paying more for their electricity than many global and European competitors.’

He said the report showed ‘a mismatch between intent and reality’, given ministerial assurances that costs would not be loaded on to hard-pressed businesses.

Ian Rodgers, director of UK Steel, said: ‘The findings paint an extremely worrying picture for the UK’s steel industry. UK Government policy is making it more expensive to do business in the UK.’

The Government has committed to cutting carbon emissions by 80 per cent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2050.

Last May India’s Tata Steel announced 1,500 job cuts in the UK, which it put down to the impact of expensive climate policies.

Its chief executive in Europe, Karl-Ulrich Kohler, said there was a ‘great deal of uncertainty’ about how far the UK Government was prepared to go in its green policies.

The CBI said the report showed measures announced by Chancellor George Osborne last year – such as £250million to alleviate energy costs up to 2015 – did not go far enough.

Manufacturers yesterday urged the Treasury to put similar measures in place by 2015-20 to put them on a level playing field.

The report was also scathing about the proposed Carbon Price Floor, which from next year will tax firms £16 per ton of carbon they emit.

It has been criticised by environmental groups for simply encouraging firms to shift production to countries without such strict rules.

The BIS said the report did not take into account the Chancellor’s recent £250million subsidy for businesses. A spokesman said: ‘Government is committed to ensuring that manufacturing remains competitive during the shift to a low carbon economy and that the UK is open for business.’


British Wind farm subsidies to top £1bn this year

The cost of subsidies for wind farms is expected to top a billion pounds this year for the first time. The disclosure comes ahead of a long-awaited government announcement to cut the size of the subsidy, which benefits the big energy companies but is added on to household electricity bills.

The scale of the reduction was last night bogged down in Whitehall wrangling. Edward Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, was expected to make a decision before the Commons breaks up for the summer on Tuesday.

However, Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph last night that discussions were “still continuing” – code for Coalition rows about the scope of subsidy cuts – leading to fears that the announcement could be postponed.

Original government plans were to cut onshore wind subsidies by 10 per cent for the period 2013-17, a move backed by the Liberal Democrats. Conservative MPs have been fighting for cuts of about 25 per cent.

The consumer subsidies were introduced by the Labour government to encourage green energy projects, including wind farms. However, it is now generally accepted that the subsidies are too generous as technologies have become cheaper.

According to an analysis of official figures by the think-tank Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), the total annual subsidy for onshore and offshore wind farms has, for the first time, topped £1billion. REF estimates that on current renewable energy targets – and with only modest cuts – the energy companies will have received £100 billion in subsidies by 2030.

REF said it expects 10 companies, between them, to pocket £800million through subsidies over the next 12 months.

The biggest winner is Dong Energy, a Danish energy company, which is on course to earn more than £156 million in subsidies through its British wind farms. Dong is also paid for the energy that it sells to the National Grid.

The next highest earner is Vattenfall, a state-owned Swedish energy conglomerate, which will earn £128 million from its wind farms. Out of the top 10, only two of the companies are British-owned – Centrica, which will receive £58 million in subsidy and SSE, which is due £53 million.

The remaining energy companies that make money out of British wind farms and British consumers are based in Germany, Norway, Spain and Italy.

The subsidy cut has caused anxiety in the onshore wind farm business, which has lobbied hard to keep the reduction at 10 per cent – a figure that was first mooted in a consultation document last year. The reduction was suggested as a means of deterring “poorly sited projects which are more expensive to develop”. Offshore wind farms, which are more expensive and receive a bigger subsidy, face a 5 per cent subsidy cut.

Back-bench Conservative MPs want a bigger reduction. Oliver Letwin, a Cabinet minister who is close to David Cameron, revealed in an email last month that he expected the subsidy to be scrapped by 2020.

REF, which opposes wind farms on the grounds of cost and on the damage they do to the countryside, said that the planned subsidy cut – even at a 25 per cent reduction – may still not be enough to cap costs because of the number of planned wind farms.

John Constable, director of REF, said: “The total savings that a 25 per cent reduction in subsidy could produce are macro-economically significant, and it is unlikely that either the Treasury or the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will want to stop there. Retrospective cuts for existing wind farms and those in construction cannot be ruled out.”

He described the future saving as “a big barnacle scraped off the hull of the UK economy”.

The size of the cut, and a possible delay in the announcement, has caused uncertainty in the wind energy industry. The industry’s figures show that 348 onshore wind farms are in operation and that 275 have planning consent but remain unbuilt. REF claims that “investor anxiety over the long term sustainability of the subsidies is a major factor” in explaining why energy companies have not constructed more onshore wind farms.

One developer, RES, which has not started construction on several projects that have planning permission, insisted that it was nothing to do with the subsidy cut.

A spokesman for RES said: “There is nothing on any of these wind farms that is holding them up. They are just going through due process.”

Þ Proposals for an offshore wind farm in the Irish Sea between Anglesey and the Isle of Man have been submitted.

The joint venture between Centrica and Dong Energy could include up to 440 turbines. Centrica said that the plans were in an extremely early stage.



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


15 July, 2012

Gauleiter Michael Mann says there is no room for good faith debate about global warming

Lies and distortions are OK then? A rather surprising revelation of his thinking, but it was part of a discussion with a Warmist journalist, so he appears to have let caution slip

And it wasn't that many years ago when this really wasn't a partisan issue, when politicians of conscience on both sides of the aisle recognized that we needed to have a good faith discussion about what to do about the problem.

There is no room anymore to have a good faith discussion about whether the problem is real. But there is a worthy discussion to be had about what to do about that problem, and wouldn't it be great if we could get beyond this false debate about whether the problem even exists, and on to the legitimate debate that is to be had about what to do about it?


Global Warming Fosters High-Latitude Cooling?

Discussing: Cohen, J., Foster, J., Barlow, M., Saito, K. and Jones, J. 2010. Winter 2009/10: a case study of an extreme Arctic Oscillation event. Geophysical Research Letters 37: 10.1029/2010GL044256.

In a study published in Environmental Research Letters, Cohen et al. (2012) note that over the last four decades Arctic temperatures have warmed at nearly double the global rate, citing Solomon et al. (2007) and Screen and Simmonds (2010); and they state that "coupled climate models attribute much of this warming to rapid increases in greenhouse gases and project the strongest warming across the extratropical Northern Hemisphere during boreal winter due to 'winter (or Arctic) amplification'," citing Holland and Bitz (2003), Hansen and Nazarenko (2004), Alexeev et al. (2005) and Langen and Alexeev (2007).

However, they say that "recent trends in observed Northern Hemisphere winter surface temperatures diverge from these projections," noting that "while the planet has steadily warmed, Northern Hemisphere winters have recently grown more extreme across the major industrialized centers," and reporting that "record cold snaps and heavy snowfall events across the United States, Europe and East Asia garnered much public attention during the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 (Blunden et al., 2011; Cohen et al., 2010)," with the latter set of researchers suggesting that "the occurrence of more severe Northern Hemisphere winter weather is a two-decade-long trend starting around 1988."

So what's going on here?

Cohen et al. say that "whether the recent colder winters are a consequence of internal variability or a response to changes in boundary forcings resulting from climate change remains an open question." But like most scientists who love to resolve dilemmas, they go on to propose their answer to the puzzle, suggesting that "summer and autumn warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover, which dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling."

But, again, who knows? The only thing that is certain, as Cohen et al. describe it, is that "traditional radiative greenhouse gas theory and coupled climate models forced by increasing greenhouse gases alone cannot account for this seasonal asymmetry." And so we have yet another reason why so many scientists are so skeptical about the ability of even the most sophisticated of today's climate models to adequately portray reality.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

How neo-Malthusians demonise dissent

In branding those who disagree with them `deniers', the overpopulation lobby reveals its allergy to debate

Michael Buerk, the broadcaster famous for bringing images of Ethiopia's famine to BBC viewers' attention in 1984, claimed this week that the issue of human population growth is the `invisible issue of the twenty-first century'.

And why is population growth the great unmentionable of our time? Because, as Buerk puts it, of `the population deniers'. This evil constituency seems `to regard the whole issue as bad taste, a kind of disguised racism', he said. As a result, overpopulation `does not seem to be up for discussion'.

Really? An `invisible issue'? Not `up for discussion'? In fact, here's just a few of the people who have joined the choir singing about the perils of population growth: former US president George HW Bush, the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton, David Attenborough, Bob Geldof and Cameron Diaz. They're not exactly low-profile people. Even Queen Elizabeth II has chimed in with some miserable Malthusian rhetoric. When speaking of the Caribbean island of St Vincent's, she said: `One must remember that its resources are finite and cannot accommodate indefinite population growth.'

And if recent surveys are any indication, this `invisible issue' which is `not up for discussion' seems to be pretty visible and widely discussed among the public. According to a Guardian poll, for instance, 75 per cent of respondents agreed that `the planet can't sustain more mouths to feed'. Elsewhere, a YouGov poll found that `over four out of five (84 per cent) thought the world population was too high'. Overpopulation hardly seems to be a taboo issue in polite conversation.

In fact, it seems to be Buerk himself who is attempting to shut down debate about population growth by using the pejorative `population deniers' to describe those with differing views. The use of the term `deniers' is a cheap attempt to place those who dissent from neo-Malthusian malarkey on the same level as those with whom the term is most closely associated: Holocaust deniers. By labelling opponents as such, Buerk is trying to portray them as being as mad and irrational as those who refuse to acknowledge the mass slaughter of European Jewry during the Second World War.

Besides, there's a reason why neo-Malthusian population obsessives are accused of racism - and it has nothing to do with trying to shut down debate. Rather, racism is an inescapable feature of the Malthusian tradition. Thomas Malthus, the awkward godfather of the modern overpopulation movement, attempted to set in biological stone the social problems of early industrial Britain at the turn of the nineteenth century. By claiming that population always outgrew the development of the means to support it, he was able to blame poverty on the copulating habits of, as he put it, the `race of labourers'. This elitist and prejudiced view of Britain's emerging working class is now projected on to the people of Africa and Asia by today's neo-Malthusians. Where Malthus portrayed the impoverished workers of early capitalism as causing their own misfortune and misery through being so stupid as to have lots of children, his contemporary equivalents frame the impoverished Africans and Asians in the same way.

The racism of neo-Malthusian types is often apparent today. Hence when ever the alleged issue of overpopulation is discussed, the focus is always on the dark-skinned people of the Third World. Despite their meagre consumption levels, the dark mass of people Over There are accused of using up too many of the world's resources. That's why, as Brendan O'Neill has pointed out, news articles discussing overpopulation often use pictures of `Indians squeezing on to a train, Chinese women going shopping, [and] black babies sleeping'.

The problem with the overpopulation theorists, be it Malthus or Michael Buerk, is their dismal view of humanity. When looking at the population of the earth, they view humans simply as mouths to feed, a plague of locusts that consumes all it can. They don't take into account the other side, that humans are also producers. Each mouth to feed also comes with a pair of hands and a brain. The problem of poverty in the Third World is not due to Africans' feckless, contraceptive-averse behaviour creating too many mouths to feed; it is a product of a lack of economic growth, growth that would allow the hands and brains to be used to create more goods for more people to consume.

As Karl Marx pointed out, poverty that may seem to be the result of overpopulation is due to limits `posited rather by specific conditions of production. How small do the numbers which meant overpopulation for the Athenians appear to us!' As economies and societies develop, so too does the ability to support more and more people. The Malthusians view resources as fixed and finite; they ignore advances in human productivity. What was a useless piece of the earth one day becomes a highly useful resource the next. When pre-industrial man used oil to water-seal boats, none would have imagined that this black liquid would one day power the world. As human progress continues, so will our ability to produce more stuff for ever larger numbers of people.


Caught in a Green Crossfire

President Obama has waged war on fossil fuels for three and a half years - and American consumers and families are caught in the green energy crossfire.

They are getting hit with higher energy prices, dismal employment prospects and a floundering economy, as billions go to unfriendly overseas countries for oil we could produce in the USA, and billions of tax dollars are wasted on subsidy schemes designed to make "green" energy more competitive - by raising the cost of electricity and fossil fuels that really power our economy. Even worse, his policies are actively killing jobs and preventing job creation: in the oil patch, coal country, and hundreds of industries whose survival depends on reliable, affordable energy. Family salaries and budgets, health and welfare, hopes and dreams are being pummeled. In reality, the only thing "green" about his ideologically driven energy policies is the money leaving our wallets. Mr. Obama's energy policy isn't about serving American consumers. It's about appeasing environmentalists and crony capitalists whom the President is counting on for his reelection campaign.

In an incredible "coincidence," some of the "green" energy companies that received portions of the $15 billion in taxpayer-financed US Energy Department loans and grants are run or backed by some of President Obama's biggest campaign donors. Solyndra - the solar company that went bankrupt, fired its employees and now cannot repay its $535-million loan - is just one example. Presidential candidate Obama said energy prices "would necessarily skyrocket" under his policies. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said "somehow we have to figure out a way to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe" (over $8 per gallon), to reduce consumption. And EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is issuing carbon dioxide and other regulations that will drive coal-based electricity out of existence, make cars even more expensive and less safe, and give her agency effective control over our entire economy.

Belatedly realizing that supporting $8 gasoline is not politically astute, President Obama and many Democrats are now trying to recast themselves as friends of consumers, at least until November, by backing a few oil and gas projects - while strangling other projects and entire industries in miles of regulatory red tape.

When the House Appropriations Committee asked Secretary Chu if his goal now was to lower gasoline prices, he responded: "No, the overall goal is to reduce our dependency on oil, and build and strengthen our economy" - via algae and other "alternative" or "green" energy projects, mandates for further improved energy efficiency, and even expensive biofuel for fighter jets and navy ships, to justify keeping America's abundant petroleum resources off limits.

When his comments sparked new torrents of criticism, Mr. Chu did another flip-flop, saying days later, "Both I and the President and everybody in the administration want to do what we can to lower the price of gasoline." Their anti-leasing, anti-drilling, anti-pipeline policies are a strange way to do that.

Even former Tennessee Democrat Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. has called on President Obama to support more production from federal lands and waters, and approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada, Montana and North Dakota to Gulf Coast refineries - and create 180,000 direct and indirect jobs in the process. These are two long overdue steps, but there is no indication that the President will take them. Worse, his administration is doing just the opposite.

His Interior Secretary says drilling proponents live in "a world of fairy tales," if they think we can drill our way into more jobs and greater prosperity. He sends helicopters out to find 28 ducks that died when they landed in oilfield waste pits - and then proposes regulations that would allow wind turbine operators to kill hundreds of bald and golden eagles annually, without penalty, and fast-track wind and solar projects that would severely impact wildlife, habitats and scenic areas.

His Environmental Protection Agency issued 588 pages of new rules to over-regulate hydraulic fracturing that has been the only reason American oil and gas production has increased under Mr. Obama's watch. Meanwhile, EPA, Interior and other federal agencies are issuing extreme, often conflicting, environmental regulations that do little or nothing for human health or the environment, delay oil and gas production, saddle consumers with billions of dollars in extra expenses, drive up pump prices, impair job creation, and deprive America of billions in bonus, royalty and tax revenues.

In an attempt to distract voters from these real issues, President Obama calls incessantly for investigation into alleged "oil speculators" and for an end to what he falsely labels "oil company subsidies." In reality, he wants to block certain oil companies from getting the same tax deductions that other American companies are allowed to claim, and hit the oil companies with $4 billion in tax hikes that will drive gasoline prices even higher.

It's like saying new regulations and taxes on coffee will make a cup of java cost less. The only way any of this makes sense is when you realize that higher gasoline (and electricity) prices are the very purpose of Obama policies. The President just wants to achieve his goals without leaving any fingerprints - and by getting people to blame oil companies instead. President Obama and his allies need to stop masquerading as friends of American motorists, workers and families - and change their energy policies so that they become friends in reality. But don't bet on that happening.


The relentless drumbeat of Warmist false prophecy continues

The article below is from December 12, 2007 and was headed "Arctic Sea Ice Gone in Summer Within Five Years?". It was by the inimitable Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press. The Arctic sea ice has of course since bounced back

An already relentless melting of the Arctic greatly accelerated this summer-a sign that some scientists worry could mean global warming has passed an ominous tipping point. One scientist even speculated that summer sea ice could be gone in five years.

Greenland's ice sheet melted nearly 19 billion tons more than the previous high mark, and the volume of Arctic sea ice at summer's end was half what it was just four years ago, according to new NASA satellite data obtained by the Associated Press (AP).

"The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colorado.

Just last year two top scientists surprised their colleagues by projecting that the Arctic sea ice was melting so rapidly that it could disappear entirely by the summer of 2040.

This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new climate cycle that goes beyond the worst case scenarios presented by computer models?

"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. "Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."


Australia too: The relentless Warmist drone of false prophecy continues
January 4, 2008

This drought may never break

IT MAY be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent, one of the nation's most senior weather experts warned yesterday.

"Perhaps we should call it our new climate," said the Bureau of Meteorology's head of climate analysis, David Jones.

Sydney's nights were its warmest since records were first kept 149 years ago.

"There is absolutely no debate that Australia is warming," said Dr Jones. "It is very easy to see . it is happening before our eyes."

Four and a half years later - drought in Australia is at historic lows (we are having unseasonable winter rain outside my window right now -- JR), and Sydney just had their coldest summer on record.
February 15, 2012

Sydney's record cool weather to continue

WESTERN Sydney is experiencing its coldest summer on record thanks to cloud and rain associated with the La Nina weather cycle.

Tom Saunders, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel, said Penrith had experienced average maximum temperatures of 26.2C, while Parramatta recorded an average of 24.6C.

Blacktown hit an average 25C.

Meanwhile, Sydney was only able to record an average 24.6C, putting it on track for the coldest summer since 1953.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)


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


14 July, 2012


13 July, 2012

Tree-rings indicate climate was WARMER in Roman and Medieval times than it is now - and world has been cooling for 2,000 years

Tree rings are dubious thermometers but the "Hockeystick" is based on them so this looks like a case of the Warmists being hoist with their own petard

And the desperation in the response from Michael "Hockeystick" Mann is amusing. "Mann argues that Esper's tree-ring measurements come from high latitudes and reflect only summer temperatures".

So guess where most of Mann's tree ring data came from? Northern Russia! A high latitude!

How did the Romans grow grapes in northern England? Perhaps because it was warmer than we thought. A study suggests the Britain of 2,000 years ago experienced a lengthy period of hotter summers than today.

German researchers used data from tree rings – a key indicator of past climate – to claim the world has been on a ‘long-term cooling trend’ for two millennia until the global warming of the twentieth century. This cooling was punctuated by a couple of warm spells.

These are the Medieval Warm Period, which is well known, but also a period during the toga-wearing Roman times when temperatures were apparently 1 deg C warmer than now. They say the very warm period during the years 21 to 50AD has been underestimated by climate scientists.

Lead author Professor Dr Jan Esper of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz said: ‘We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low.

‘This figure we calculated may not seem particularly significant, however it is not negligible when compared to global warming, which up to now has been less than 1 deg C.’

In general the scientists found a slow cooling of 0.6C over 2,000 years, which they attributed to changes in the Earth’s orbit which took it further away from the Sun.

The study is published in Nature Climate Change. It is based on measurements stretching back to 138BC.

The finding may force scientists to rethink current theories of the impact of global warming

Professor Esper's group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC.

In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling.

Professor Esper said: 'Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today's climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods.’

The annual growth rings in trees are the most important witnesses over the past 1,000 to 2,000 years as they indicate how warm and cool past climate conditions were.

Researchers from Germany, Finland, Scotland, and Switzerland examined tree-ring density profiles.

In the cold environment of Finnish Lapland, trees often collapse into one of the numerous lakes, where they remain well preserved for thousands of years.

The density measurements correlate closely with the summer temperatures in this area on the edge of the Nordic taiga; the researchers were thus able to create a temperature reconstruction of unprecedented quality.

The reconstruction provides a high-resolution representation of temperature patterns in the Roman and Medieval Warm periods, but also shows the cold phases that occurred during the Migration Period and the later Little Ice Age.

In addition to the cold and warm phases, the new climate curve also exhibits a phenomenon that was not expected in this form.


Wildfires: Government praised for “solving” problem it started

As the wildfires raged, apologists for government thought they had a trump card against libertarians and triumphantly concluded this was the latest proof that the government and its firefighters remain that thin line between order and chaos. Unfortunately for them, however, history has now made it abundantly clear that the true driving force behind the increasingly large mega-fires that plague public lands are the product of decades of mismanagement by the forest service. That is, we can thank the government for putting out the fires it is responsible for.

This has been well documented in some research published by the Property and Environment Research Center here and here.

Briefly put, decades of fire suppression and bans on logging by the feds to protect obscure rodent species has doomed the forests to massive wildfires which thrive on forests where underbrush piles up and creates a “fuel ladder” which in turn ignites the trees.

More logging, more small, natural fires, and more decentralized management (including privatization) is the answer, but don’t expect the politics to line up behind any of these sensible solutions any time soon. Most Americans now have utterly unrealistic expectations for forests. Forest fires are going to happen, and short of an army of robots to clean out and manage forests constantly, lighting will ignite forest fires in even the most well managed environments. The idea is to let these fires happen. The politics is against this however since wealthy vacationers with second homes in forested lots think that they should be able to build mansions in the wilderness and not be subject to the basic laws of nature.

Thus, the forest service gets huge funding increases every year to badly manage forests, and when that fails, spend tens of millions on fire suppression.

But don;t worry, it turns out that forest service has spent the last eleven years developing a plan for the forests. They’ll be finished sometime before the end of the next decade.


Environmental Extremists Exposed as Political Goliaths

Our National DebtBy Rachel Swaffer — In 2010 the Center for Responsive Politics reported that in the past 20 years corporate oil interests had spent a combined $250 million dollars on political activism. Environmentalists were, as was intended, outraged that the philistine big oil interest was buying and bullying its way into a political advantage.

But if liberals claim that this big oil money is buying political outcomes and muzzling environmentalists with an average of $12.5 million a year, how much political clout do they think $100 million dollars a year will buy?

They of all people would know – in 2010 $100,000,000 was donated to the environmental advocacy organization ClimateWorks by a single progressive funding organization: the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.

While the Hewlett Foundation’s $100 million dollar donation is an outlier, the amount of liberal money flowing into environmental groups is undeniably extreme. According to tax records, in 2010 the aforementioned Hewlett Foundation gave a total of $135,203,199 to environmental advocacy groups. Similarly, Pew Charitable Trusts gave out $18,494,516 in grants to the green movement, and Tides chipped in a little over $10 million as well. Environmental advocacy group The Sierra Club Foundation even donated an astounding $33,789,753 to fellow environmental organizations. In fact, the top 30 “Green Movement” funders donated a combined total of $286,861,331 to groups concerned with climate, environment, and sustainable energy, according to 2010 tax information.

Again that is more than $286 million that groups pushing the environmental agenda raked into their coffers in one year alone.

In that single year, these 30 top funders bankrolled a total of 237 different environmental advocacy groups. Many of these groups received grants totaling in the millions of dollars.

For example, according to tax records, in 2010 the Natural Resources Defense Council received at least $3,055,413 from liberal funding giants. The Sierra Club received even more: $34,803,245. And the list continues: $3,750,000 to the Resources Legacy Fund, $810,000 to the Center for Biological Diversity, $5,110,000 to Ducks Unlimited, $8,833,000 to the Energy Foundation, $2,571,860 to the League of Conservation Voters. The Trust for Public Land received over 3 Million Dollars in 2010, NatureBridge received 4 million. The Environmental Defense Action Fund received grants in 2010 totally $1,650,000, according to tax records.

Not only are these numbers titanic, they are also disproportionate to the activity on the other side of the table. Though many die-hard environmentalists claim that they have to fight against a glut of corporate oil money, the truth is that big-oil’s support for those who honestly evaluate climate change science and environmental realists is nowhere near the mega millions that the left is pumping into the Green Movement.

The proof is in the numbers:

According to oil-money watchdog, ExxonMobil gives, on average, about $831,500 a year to top pro-resource development targets like the American Legislative Exchange Council, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Heritage Center, Frontiers of Freedom, the Annapolis Center, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Factor in donations from two more pro-resource development funders, the Claude Lambe Foundation (a Koch affiliate) and Scaife Foundation, and the total number of pro-resource dollars to top conservative non-profits is still just under 3 million dollars per year, according to tax records.

On the other hand, the Hewlett Foundation alone gave almost 120 million dollars to their top 10 environmental activist groups in 2010. According to tax records, not only did ClimateWorks receive $100,000,000, but the Energy Foundation received $8,833,000, the Natural Resource Defense Council got $1,240,333. Sierra Club? Nearly a million dollars as well. Hewlett gave $4 million to Trout Unlimited and approximately $1.5 million to the Trust for public land, $2million to the Western Conservation Foundation, and a little over a million dollars to Western Resource Advocates.

And this money goes directly to political use: frequent grant recipient the Sierra Club Foundation maxed out their lobbying expenditures in 2010, spending the exact legal maximum – $1,000,000 on direct political lobbying activities.

While it’s undeniable that these private donors have every right to invest their money in causes that they support, the hundreds of millions of dollars pouring in from biased donors have all but silenced rational, scientific inquiry, buried as it is under a crushing mountain of prejudiced money.

The disproportionate expenditure of funds on behalf of environmental extremism drowns out rational discussion on the state of our planet. Instead, these jaundiced millions, are used to guilt trip ordinary Americans into squandering their wealth on pointless projects under guise of saving Mother Earth.

The constant careening from environmental disaster to environmental disaster allows these very prophets of global doom to raise even more funds to promote their latest scare.

All the while, these same extremists push America further along the road toward an “economic suicide pact” coined in Americans for Limited Government and FreeMarketAmerica’s viral video “If I Wanted America to Fail.”

The irony of the situation is that, in what the Green Movement paints as a “David and Goliath” battle between environmental interests and pro-resource development groups, the environmentalists are Goliath.

Of course, for those familiar with history, David slays the giant.


Global Food Shortage Becomes Urgent as Planet Warms

How do we know that the article below is demonstrable crap? Because even Warmist scientists now admit that there has been no warming for over a decade. So warming that did not exist cannot have caused anything.

The causes of food shortages are all political. Witness the transformation of China from a food importer to a food exporter after capitalism became allowed.

Interesting that the writer below pinpoints 2008 as the time when food prices began to rise -- about the time that the conversion of about 40% of the huge U.S. corn crop into ethanol got underway

A growing global food shortage has caused prices to double in recent years, and a growing consensus of scientists now blames climate change as one factor in an equation that includes a burgeoning population and increasingly scarce water supplies. More people around the planet are going hungry as a result.

Even as prices have also risen in the United States, most residents may not grasp the scope and severity of the problem.

Americans toss about 40 percent of their food in the garbage, according to a 2009 study. In this country, food waste per person has increased 50 percent since 1974.

Yet one in seven people go to bed hungry every night, according to the United Nations World Food Program. Hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The problem is worst in developing countries. But the problem has implications beyond the borders of those poor countries.

Saw it coming: Scientists have been predicting for years that a warmer planet coupled with increasing water demands could cause food shortages. A study in 2007, building on and confirming previous research, warned that climate change could help cause food shortages leading to war. Other scientists have predicted that water shortages will fuel war.

The situation became acute in 2008 when food shortages helped fuel uprisings in several poorer countries. High food prices played a role in the ouster of the Haitian government that year.

More crap HERE

And even the FAO says (in effect) that the above article is crap

The world is expected to harvest the largest ever crop of cereals in 2012-13 according to an estimate released by the UN affiliated Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently. It is estimated that this year's world cereal production will be a record 2371 million tonnes, marking a 1 percent, or 27 million tonnes increase over 2011.

India is forecast to produce a bumper harvest of 234.4 million tonnes of cereals, up from last year's 232.3 million tonnes. Wheat production is expected to grow marginally from 86.9 million tonnes last year to 88.3 million tonnes this year and rice from 103.4 million tonnes to 105 million tonnes.

Cereals consist of wheat, rice and coarse grains (including maize). Increases are expected for coarse grains (3.7 percent) and rice (2.6 percent), while wheat may decrease by about 3.6 percent, mainly due to reduced output forecast for Ukraine, followed by Kazakhstan, China, Morocco and the EU.

Meanwhile prices of cereals, as measured by the FAO Cereal Price Index have dipped by about 11.7 percent during January to April this year compared to the same period last year, though they still remain on the higher side. The FAO's price index hit a high last year at 247 but is currently down to 225. In April, wheat prices on average were roughly 21 percent, maize 15 percent and rice 4 percent lower than the corresponding month last year.

Total cereal utilization is anticipated to expand by 1.4 percent in 2012/13, to 2 357 million tonnes, with feed utilization growing fastest and food consumption keeping pace with population, the FAO report says.

After several years of strong gains, growth in industrial use of cereals for the production of biofuels is likely to stall, says the FAO report.

Based on these early estimates, world end-of-season cereal stocks for crop years closing in 2013 could increase to 524 million tonnes, roughly 9 million tonnes, or 1.7 percent, higher than their opening levels. This is not expected to result in any significant variation in the global stocks-to-use ratio, which is estimated by FAO to remain stable at roughly 22 percent.

World trade in cereals in 2012/13 is forecast to reach 295.5 million tonnes, slightly higher than in 2011/12. This increase mostly concerns maize, supported by rebounding supplies, more than offsetting an anticipated contraction in wheat, while rice trade is forecast to remain stable.


Australia: Fossil fuel (gas) better than "renewable" wood?

Nobody expects Greenies to be consistent, I guess

Wood heaters will be banned in the new residential suburbs of the Molonglo Valley, with the government citing threats to air quality in the large new development.

The wood heaters will be prohibited in Coombs and all future suburbs in Molonglo Valley, but the existing suburb of Wright will be exempt.

The decision follows the release of the annual Air Quality Report for 2011, which identifies domestic wood heaters as the biggest source of air pollution in the ACT.

Wood heaters are already banned in Dunlop and East O'Malley, according to Environment Minister Simon Corbell.

"We know that wood smoke can be a problem in the ACT which is why the Government recently launched the "Burn Right Tonight" campaign to raise the public awareness of correct wood heater operation," he said.

The air quality report identified four breaches of air quality standards in the colder months of May and July last year, but Mr Corbell said the report highlighted an excellent overall quality of air in Canberra.

Greens environment spokesman Shane Rattenbury welcomed the government's decision to ban wood heaters in the Molonglo Valley.

But Mr Rattenbury described it as a first step, and urged the government to do more to tackle wood heater pollution caused in the ACT.

"The Government knows that wood smoke pollution has a detrimental impact on people's health and Canberra's environment, which is why it needs to go further than it has,' Mr Rattenbury said.

"We need to take action on wood smoke all parts of Canberra, not just in the new Molonglo developments. Tuggeranong Valley remains an area of particular concern," he said.

The government and ActewAGL currently run a wood heater replacement program that gives residents a rebate of up to $800 to make the switch to gas flued systems.

The Greens have proposed improvements to the buy back program alongside legislation that would introduce stricter efficiency and emissions standards for wood heaters in the ACT.

Mr Rattenbury said the Greens had also proposed ways of better enforcing wood heater use, and ways to phase out older, dirtier wood heaters.


Australia's new carbon tax already hurting

Bills skyrocket with sales tax on top of carbon tax

AUSTRALIANS are facing a surprise "tax on a tax", as the GST is applied on top of the carbon tax to power bills, appliance repairs and other everyday costs.

PUTTING the GST on a carbon tax is inefficient and revisits the old era of hidden wholesale sales taxes, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey says.

News Ltd reported on Thursday that energy companies, waste disposal firms and appliance repairers are among businesses charging consumers GST based on carbon tax costs.

Mr Hockey said the "taxes on taxes" scenario revisited the pre-GST era of hidden wholesale sales taxes and would make the economy inefficient.

"The only area where you still have taxes on taxes is insurance which is the most hideous area of tax," Mr Hockey told the Seven Network.

"The best way to get efficiency in the economy is to have only one tax on a product, not an embedded tax and then another tax on top of it which is what's happening with the carbon tax."

But cabinet minister Tony Burke said GST charges have been levied in the same way since it was introduced in 2000.

"The mechanics of how the GST works across the entire economy have been set down for more than a decade now," Mr Burke told the Seven Network.

Some companies are grappling with how to apply the 10 per cent GST to the carbon tax, amid fears the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will crack down on illegal pricing.

One of the country's largest waste disposal firms, J.J. Richards, was threatened with fines of up to $1.1 million after informing its customers the carbon tax will cost "$25.30 a tonne including GST".

A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the claim - outlined in an "Important Notice to Our Customers" issued by J.J Richards - was "wrong and the Government will refer it to the ACCC".

"Any businesses jacking up their prices and falsely blaming the carbon price could be liable for fines of up to $1.1 million," Mr Combet's spokesman said.

Air-conditioning firms, data contractors and waste companies have all begun applying the GST on top of the carbon tax, according to invoices seen by the Herald Sun.

NSW electricity companies confirmed the 10 per cent GST would be applied to power bills after the carbon tax had been added to the bill.

Origin Energy confirmed that it was normal practice. As the carbon price was an input cost to supply of electricity to customers, it was added to the cost of supply.

The GST, as mandated, must apply to the total retail cost of a good or service, but companies are cautious about publicising this, as customers already are angry at the rising costs of the carbon tax.

In another case, the cost of repairing a household air-conditioner was inflated by several hundred dollars, because the price of refrigerant gas has risen 90 per cent. The GST was then added to the overall bill, increasing it by about $40. An apologetic repair man told his customers he was forced to increase his price by several hundred dollars "due to the carbon tax".

Tax experts confirmed the GST would add to household and business costs as the carbon tax was rolled out across the economy.

"Consumers will be paying tax on a tax, which is 10 per cent GST on top of the carbon price that some businesses will be passing on," said Yasser El-Ansary, of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.



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, 2012

Mega-pesky! New paper finds wildfires in the western US are at the lowest levels in 3,000 years

A recent paper reconstructs wildfire activity in the western US over the past 3,000 years and finds current fire activity is at the lowest levels of the entire 3,000 year record. According to the authors,

"there is now a forest “fire deficit” in the western United States attributable to the combined effects of human activities, ecological, and climate changes. Large fires in the late 20th and 21st century fires have begun to address the fire deficit, but it is continuing to grow."
Long-term perspective on wildfires in the western USA

By Jennifer R. Marlona et al.


Understanding the causes and consequences of wildfires in forests of the western United States requires integrated information about fire, climate changes, and human activity on multiple temporal scales. We use sedimentary charcoal accumulation rates to construct long-term variations in fire during the past 3,000 y in the American West and compare this record to independent fire-history data from historical records and fire scars. There has been a slight decline in burning over the past 3,000 y, with the lowest levels attained during the 20th century and during the Little Ice Age (LIA, ca. 1400–1700 CE [Common Era]). Prominent peaks in forest fires occurred during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (ca. 950–1250 CE) and during the 1800s. Analysis of climate reconstructions beginning from 500 CE and population data show that temperature and drought predict changes in biomass burning up to the late 1800s CE. Since the late 1800s , human activities and the ecological effects of recent high fire activity caused a large, abrupt decline in burning similar to the LIA fire decline. Consequently, there is now a forest “fire deficit” in the western United States attributable to the combined effects of human activities, ecological, and climate changes. Large fires in the late 20th and 21st century fires have begun to address the fire deficit, but it is continuing to grow.


Pesky: Satellite study of Asian mountains show that glaciers are NOT melting - and some are actually gaining new ice

Haven't the stupid things heard about global warming? Or is a large slice of Asia not part of the globe?

Huge glaciers in the area between Pakistan and China are puzzling scientists - and disproving the doom-laden predictions of some climate experts. The glaciers in the Karakoram Range between northern Pakistan and western China have actually grown, rather than shrinking.

Unlike most mountain glaciers, the Karakoram glaciers, which account for 3 percent of the total ice-covered area in the world, excluding Greenland and Antarctica, are not shrinking.

A team of French glaciologists has recently confirmed that these glaciers on average have remained stable or may have even grown slightly in recent years.

The new study used data from satellites to study the Karakoram Range of northern Pakistan and western China.

The researchers found that the ice had actually increased in thickness by 0.11 (plus or minus 0.22) meters per year between 1999 and 2008.

Experts cautioned that the gain is so small that the glaciers might not actually be growing - but what is clear is that the glaciers are not shrinking, according to a report published in Nature Geoscience.

Etienne Berthier, a glaciologist at the Université de Toulouse in France says, 'Not all glacial regions are changing in the same way.'

A Nasa study earlier this year using the gravity-sensing GRACE satellites hinted that ice loss in the high Asian mountains might be far less drastic than earlier predictions.

Previous estimates of ice loss in the high Asia mountains have ranged up to 50 billion tons a year, according to the University of Colorado Boulder University's Professor John Wahr.

Previously, it had been claimed by the UN that Himalayan glaciers would have melted to a fifth of current levels by 2035, leading to sea level rises and drought.

Those predictions used ground-based measurements, whereas the new study measured the effect of gravity on twin Nasa satellites to give an accurate measure of the mass of ice being lost.

‘The results in this region really were a surprise,’ said Wahr.

‘One possible explanation is that previous estimates were based on measurements taken primarily from some of the lower, more accessible glaciers in Asia and were extrapolated to infer the behavior of higher glaciers.'

'But unlike the lower glaciers, many of the high glaciers would still be too cold to lose mass, even in the presence of atmospheric warming.’

Around the world, melting has been overestimated. Earth's glaciers and ice caps are shedding roughly 150 billion tons of ice annually - up to 30 per cent lower than predicted.

The researchers used satellite measurements taken with the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE,, to calculate that the world's glaciers and ice caps had lost about 148 billion tons, or about 39 cubic miles of ice annually from 2003 to 2010.

Traditional estimates of Earth's ice caps and glaciers have been made using ground-based measurements from relatively few glaciers to infer what all of the unmonitored glaciers around the world were doing, he said.

Only a few hundred of the roughly 200,000 glaciers worldwide have been monitored for a decade or more.

‘The strength of GRACE is that it sees everything in the system,’ said Wahr. ‘Even though we don't have the resolution to look at individual glaciers, GRACE has proven to be an exceptional tool.’

The total does not count the mass from individual glacier and ice caps on the fringes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets -- roughly an additional 80 billion tons.

Launched in 2002, two GRACE satellites whip around Earth in tandem 16 times a day at an altitude of about 300 miles, sensing subtle variations in Earth's mass and gravitational pull.

Separated by roughly 135 miles, the satellites measure changes in Earth's gravity field caused by regional changes in the planet's mass, including ice sheets, oceans and water stored in the soil and in underground aquifers.

A positive change in gravity during a satellite approach over Greenland, for example, tugs the lead GRACE satellite away from the trailing satellite, speeding it up and increasing the distance between the two.

A sensitive ranging system allows researchers to measure the distance of the two satellites down to as small as 1 micron- about 1/100 the width of a human hair - and to calculate ice and water amounts from particular regions of interest around the globe using their gravity fields.

‘The total amount of ice lost to Earth's oceans from 2003 to 2010 would cover the entire United States in about 1 and one-half feet of water,’ said Wahr, also a fellow at the CU-headquartered Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

According to the GRACE data, total sea level rise from all land-based ice on Earth including Greenland and Antarctica was roughly 1.5 millimeters per year annually or about 12 millimeters, or one-half inch, from 2003 to 2010, said Wahr.


Ravaged Reefs Bounce Back

In a new study of coral reefs off the Pacific coast of Panama, a team of scientists has discovered something shocking: those seemingly thriving, permanent reefs have undergone widespread devastation in the past. Even more shocking was the realization that, despite this natural destruction of coral reefs, the reefs bounced back—after laying dormant for 2,500 years. We have been told that the oh so sensitive coral reefs of the world are all going to die if the world's temperature rises due to that horrible man-made scourge, global warming. Yet it seems that nature has been happily wiping out and re-establishing reefs across all the oceans of the world since before the rise of human civilization. Once again the warmists' scare tactics founder on the reefs of actual science.

A team led by Richard Aronson, Professor and Biological Sciences Department Head at Florida Institute of Technology, studied coral reefs off the Pacific coast of Panama. The reefs in this part of the ocean are relatively untouched by the bleaching seen in other ocean locations, thriving and home to hundreds of ocean species. Just as land based researchers use tree rings to establish cronology and climatic conditions, the FIT team took core samples from a number of reefs to determine their lifespan and past health.

“We jammed 17-foot-long irrigation pipes down into the reef and pulled out a history, a section of the reef, that told us what the ups and downs of the reef had been,” Aronson said in an interview heard on America's National Public Radio and other popular news outlets. The data they gathered, along with data from other studies from around the world, were reported in a paper in Science entitled “ENSO Drove 2500-Year Collapse of Eastern Pacific Coral Reefs.” Here is the paper's abstract:
Cores of coral reef frameworks along an upwelling gradient in Panamá show that reef ecosystems in the tropical eastern Pacific collapsed for 2500 years, representing as much as 40% of their history, beginning about 4000 years ago. The principal cause of this millennial-scale hiatus in reef growth was increased variability of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and its coupling with the Intertropical Convergence Zone. The hiatus was a Pacific-wide phenomenon with an underlying climatology similar to probable scenarios for the next century. Global climate change is probably driving eastern Pacific reefs toward another regional collapse.

Ignoring for the moment the gratuitous last sentence (an obvious allusion to anthropogenic global warming) we should pause for a moment and consider what this means. The first point of interest is that nature, acting without human interference, has caused long periods of reef damage, lasting for extended periods. Aronson and his colleagues, including researchers from an array of institutions, believe that natural climate change was responsible for killing off the coral. Yet nowadays any reef that shows signs of ill health is automatically a victim of human activity. Also note, this was not some small, localized disaster either.

The second point is that this phenomenon was global, or at least “Pacific-wide,” which is near global enough. This period came a thousand years after the Holocene Climate Optimum, a period of global warming that scientists think may have led to ice free summers in the Arctic—something that now fills eco-alarmists, Hollywood airheads and media news manikins with dread. Here is more proof that climate is always changing.

Third and lastly, the reefs that had been so laid to waste have bounced back to abundant, glorious life. The standard line from the green lobby is that when the world's fragile reefs die they will never (ever!) recover. Humanity's failed stewardship of nature will be written in dead coral reefs and lifeless oceans. I guess that has been proven conclusively wrong.

To be fair, most greens have extraordinarily short attention spans, witness the agitation they exhibit when temperatures turn hot or the weather nasty. Every summer high is the hottest temperature ever, every new hurricane is the most powerful humanity has seen, every outbreak of tornadoes unprecedented. This is because they have no sense of time, even on a decade to decade scale. Nature, not being limited by faulty human memories or even ephemeral human lifespans, continues to vary on time scales of decades, centuries, millennia and longer.

It is unsurprising that reefs have come and gone, with nature the proximate cause for the waxing and waning. Instead of running to their keyboards and microphones, the chattering simpletons of the news media would be better off to spend a few moments doing research. Now that everyone has Internet access there is no excuse for such uninformed reporting on maters scientific. Reefs die, reefs will continue to die, and reefs will bounce back as environmental conditions change.

Conceptual model of reef collapse.

But what of cries that AGW induced change, unlike “natural” change, is too sudden for nature to deal with? Or that recovery, if any, will be slow and laborious? “It seemed to be fairly instantaneous,” Aronson said of the gap his team discovered in the Panama reef's history. “About 2,000 years ago or so, some corals that are not the main reef-building corals started up, and then maybe 500 years later, around 1,500 years ago, the main coral started growing again very rapidly.” I guess nature didn't read all those news releases from Greenpeace and the IPCC.

Do human activities have an impact on the world's reefs? Undoubtedly. But it is not an irreversible, unprecedented or even abnormal impact in most cases. So despite the obligatory verbal genuflecting by study's authors, paying obeisance to the gods of Political Correctness, there is precocious little difference between natural and man-made change—in either its form or impact. So remember the next time some ecological blatherskite starts going on about the death of the ocean reefs—the reefs, like Earth itself, are more resilient than we know.


Big surprise: Higher levels of CO2 are causing speedier tree growth (even if they are not warming anything)

CO2 is the basic plant food

As the scientific community worries about greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming, a new Auburn University study suggests the Southeastern U.S. absorbs more carbon than it produces. And, at least in the short term, air pollution may actually be helping to speed the growth of young, carbon-absorbing forests in the region.

“Our study actually showed that Southeast carbon uptake is much faster than other regions,” said Hanqin Tian, a professor at Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, and lead author of the study published in the journal Ecosystems. “This area has trees that are very young and the growth is very fast. So, they uptake more carbon from the atmosphere.”

While earlier studies have examined the effect of individual factors on carbon storage and climate change, Tian developed a computer model that takes into account multiple natural and manmade variables – such as land use, climate and pollution – over the past century.

The model suggests that moderate amounts of air pollution, in the form of carbon and nitrogen, had a fertilization effect on young forests. Many of these new trees appeared on abandoned agricultural land during the mid-20th century.

“In the short term, it could increase the carbon uptake,” Tian said. “But that’s not guaranteed for long.”

The Auburn study suggests the Southeast is approaching a “tipping point.” The region’s urban areas are growing. And, despite the temporary fertilization effects of atmospheric carbon and nitrogen, Tian said increasing levels of other pollutants, such as ground level ozone, threaten to do more harm than good to the environment in the long-term.

“The take-home message is we really need to do urban/land use planning and also air pollution control to help the Southern U.S. forests to become maybe a sustainable carbon sink,” Tian said.


Heat Wave Is No Reason For Alarm

Baby, it's hot outside. If it wasn't for the refreshing cold front pushing through parts of the U.S. right now, one might be tempted to think there is something to all that global warming nonsense that conveniently breaks out every time it is warm enough for a climate change alarmist to break out in a sweat.

To be fair, climate change is real. It occurs four times a year when winter turns into spring turns into summer turns into fall. Alarmists don't see it that way, so they squawk "The sky is falling" every time conditions vary outside their interpretation of what they think is normal.

If there was ever a case to be made for global warming, it would have been in 1936 - back in the days when no one worried about how cow flatulence or greenhouse gas affected the atmosphere.

Unlike anything we've experience since; the three-month long 1936 North American heat wave wiped out crops and snuffed out lives during the Great Depression's "Dust Bowl" days. The heat wave that began in June largely ended in September, leaving in its wake over 5000 deaths, drought, and widespread destruction. Even as hot as it's been, many of the record-high temperatures experienced then are unmatched today.

To make matters worse, the 1936 heat wave was preceded by one of the most severe cold waves of the 1930s. The 1936 North American cold wave included recorded wind chills of minus-100 degrees Fahrenheit in the Midwest, ending with March floods. People concentrated on how to put the next meal on the table rather than obsessing over things like air temperature fluctuations.

It's good they didn't obsess, because temperatures returned to normal that fall, just like the cold front making its way across the country is doing today as I write.

The planet spins, the seasons change, temperatures fluctuate - and mere mortals are foolish enough to think they can control the forces of nature on a global scale and believe they can turn back the tides by the sound of their voice. Four years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama proclaimed his policies would lead to future generations acclaiming "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal," attributing zero credit to the planet's creator in whom Obama professes to believe.

It's funny how nature has a way of rebounding all by itself. The BP Gulf Oil Spill illustrates this "God Factor" in contradiction to everything alarmists believe. A most informative January 10, 2011 Time Magazine article, "After the Great Spill: How the Gulf Cleaned Itself" explains how it did just that when "microscopic bacteria" digested "much of the hydrocarbons while they were still deep under the surface." Texas A&M University chemical oceanographer John Kessler said the spill "helped us understand the capacity of a natural system to handle this kind of event by itself." Wow.

Kessler's study also found formally "significant amounts of methane" scientists thought might impact global warming and assumed "would be around for years" had "largely disappeared" when "methanotrophs (bacteria that feed off methane)" mopped up most of the mess.

Reasonable stewardship of the planet is a non-partisan no-brainer, but there is a line to be drawn at the point where choices inflict indelible injury on mankind -- making man subservient to the very things created to serve him.

According to The New Yorker, Obama has said "the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change." Unemployment numbers are abysmal, and the economy is in tatters, so the Alarmist-In-Chief elevates his pay grade to do something a little more vexing like healing the planet. Amazing.


Energy Wars Hurt the Poor!

Summer is coming and everyone expects to pay a little more to keep the temperature in the house bearable. But do you expect to pay eight times as much as you have in previous years? Unfortunately, that is exactly what will happen to consumers in some parts of the country unless Congress stands up to the insane regulations on coal put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

During the last few years there have been hundreds of families in my denomination who have had trouble keeping basic utility bills paid. In warmer cities, the impoverished elderly routinely run the risk of heat strokes and occasional deaths in the summer. Why would the EPA enact policies that would cause many Americans, already affected by the recession, to go nearly bankrupt paying their utility bills? These problems are avoidable. Poor energy policies affect the poor disproportionately.

Nearly everyone agrees that the environment is important, but most of us also agree that it is not more important than the human beings that live in it. Taking care of your house is important, but you would not stop buying food for your children so that you could replace your windows. When looking at measures to protect our air, water and other natural resources, we must weigh the cost of those measures against the benefits we can realistically expect.

The EPA’s new Utility MACT rule is supposed to protect us from mercury emissions, and the agency readily admits it is the most expensive regulation in the EPA’s history. Let us start by looking at the projected costs and benefits. The EPA estimates the new regulations will cost $10 billion a year, and they estimate the total benefits of mercury emissions that would supposedly be reduced by compliance with the regulation to be between $500,000 and $6 million. (Other touted benefits come from reducing particulate matter emissions that are already regulated separately.)

So the EPA is already telling us that it makes sense to pay tens of billions of dollars to save hundreds of thousands of dollars. But it’s even worse than that. The estimated cost of the regulation is almost certainly an understatement. (For example, a study released last year found that the cost of a particular 1998 regulation known as the Cluster Rule was 34% higher than the EPA’s original estimates.) And the estimated benefits may be even smaller: mercury emissions circulate globally, and according to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, U.S. power plants emit less than 48 tons of mercury per year, compared to 400 tons per year from Chinese power plants (and if you want to include Mother Nature in the mix, we can also mention the 9,000 tons per year that come from volcanoes, subsea vents and other natural sources).

Although the Utility MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) rule is not set to take effect until 2015, we have already observed several negative developments in response to these new regulations. First of all, power companies confirm that the Utility MACT makes it impossible for new coal plants to be built in the United States. Current coal plants are facing closures and are already generating less power, which means higher energy costs for everyone and thousands of lost jobs. The National Economic Research Associates estimate that the EPA’s Utility MACT will cost 180,000 to 215,000 jobs over the next two and half years. Including manufacturing jobs affected by coal regulations, job losses could top 1.4 million! Although the EPA touts a few hundred jobs created by this rule, most of those jobs would be temporary manufacturing jobs, and the total number would not come close to compensating for jobs lost. In an already struggling economy, the regulation seems almost suicidal.

As I have written for years, hikes in energy prices disproportionately hurt the poor and working class. It may irritate the wealthy to pay extra to keep their summer homes cool and their winter homes warm, but it will devastate those who already pay between 20%-35% of the income just to keep the lights on. The EPA’s latest assault on coal-fired power plants and coal-fueled manufacturing merely illustrates that they are happy to force poor Americans into a Stone Age lifestyle for the possibility of a miniscule improvement in air quality. The only thing standing between us and this astronomical spike in energy costs is our legislators.

We can have both clean air AND affordable energy, but only if the EPA is willing to face the realities about the limits and costs of regulations. It’s time that we call a truce in the energy war on the poor!



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, 2012

Can't put a number on it? Then the number could be zero! Warmists implicitly admit that global warming could have NOTHING to do with current weather extremes

In science, numbers are everything. If you can't put a number on the things you are describing you are just telling stories. So when veteran Warmist journalist Seth Borenstein asked for numbers, he inadvertently exposed the hollowness of the Warmist assertions about global warming being the cause of recent climate extremes in parts of the USA. Background:
Press Conference & Report on Heat Waves and Climate Change

On June 28, 2012, Climate Communication hosted a telephone press conference on the connections between heat waves and climate change. The press conference was accompanied by the release of a new science update from Climate Communication, Heat Waves and Climate Change, a summary of the latest peer-reviewed literature on climate change and the recent increase in temperatures — a contributing factor to wildfires. The report can be read and downloaded on our website.

Moderated by Director Susan Hassol, the press conference featured a panel of scientists who discussed how climate change contributes to the extreme weather events unfolding now, their public health impacts, and how similar risks could multiply in the future. The expert panelists were Dr. Steven Running, Dr. Howard Frumkin, and Dr. Michael Oppenheimer.

Download and listen to the full recording of the press conference

From the transcript:
Seth: Okay, can you hear me? In terms of – let me try and put you more on the spot, Mike and Steve, I know there’s no attribution - you haven’t done attribution studies, but if you ballparked it right now and had to put a percentage number on this, on the percentage that the heat wave, the percentage of blame you can put on anthropogenic climate change, on this current heat wave and on the fires, what percentage would the two of you use? Aren’t you lucky, Howard, this isn’t part of your question?

Dr. Michael Oppenheimer: Come on, I’m not going to answer that. Yes I will answer it, and my answer is: I won’t do it. You know, we have to do these things carefully, because if you don’t, you’re going to end up with bogus information out there. People will start disbelieving because you’ll be more wrong, more often. This is not the kind of thing I want to do off the top of my head. Nor do I think it can be done, you know, convincingly, without really taking - doing careful analysis, so I’ll pass on this one and see if Steve has a different view.

Dr. Steven Running: (Laughter) Well, I already got way too hypothetical in my last answer. Yeah, it’s… it’s probably really dangerous for us to just lob out a number. I - We could certainly lob out some guess, but it wouldn’t be based on the kind of analysis and statistical rigor that we want to put out into the public arena.

Seth Borenstein: Okay let’s make it easier. 50% line…how about 50% line: Is it more than 50%, do you think, or less? Just, you know, on one end. More or less?

Susan Hassol: Seth, most of the scientists I talk to say it’s a contributing factor and that’s what we can say and that it’s really not even really a well-posed question, to ask for a percentage, because it just - what you’re asking really is for a model to determine the chances of this happening without climate change or with climate change and models are not very good at that. And so –

Seth: I understand, I’ve been covering this for 20 years, I understand. I don’t need a lecture, thank you very much. What I’m asking for is when the fingerprint – when the attribution studies are done, two or three years later, it’s already beyond people’s memory. I’m just looking for whether you could say this is - global warming was the biggest factor, more than 50 – most of the factor, you know, either more or less than 50%...

Dr. Michael Oppenheimer: I honestly don’t think you can really put a number right on it. what I honestly think is global warming has in general made this part - that part of the world - warmer and drier than it otherwise would be, and that makes it fertile ground for fire events like the one we’re seeing. So did global warming contribute? Yes. Can I really make any sort of estimate – numerical estimate- about how much? Not really sitting here on a telephone at my desk, and maybe not even if I had six months.


Three “Geniuses” Insist Reducing CO2 Will Magically Tame Future Weather Events

Pierre Gosselin also comments on the nonsense above:

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard such high-grade rubbish. At least not since Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Here’s an audio readers really need to listen to.

Here we have three scientists doing their darnedest to whip up public fear and panic. Do they realize how they’ve just set themselves up to be classic, textbook science charlatans for future generations to look back at? Can’t they see what laughing stocks they’ve made themselves into? I’m sure we will be playing excerpts of that conference, again and again, for years to come.

I guess they’ve all forgotten the dust bowl of the 1930s, a time when things were a lot worse in North America, and that these things are natural weather occurrences.

Years ago I remember my dad telling us how one winter morning in Vermont in the 1930s he woke up and saw that the snow on the ground was red. Dust had blown all the way to the Northeast. That’s how bad it was. That was when CO2 was below 350 ppm. Forests, etc. weren’t tinder dry back then?

According to the 3 quacks in the audio, the weather problems can be solved simply by stopping CO2 emissions. Boy, what geniuses. It’s that simple and elegant, is it?

And notice how they’re playing the public health card now, their latest mind-job scheme I wrote about a while back.

This press conference is nothing but an irresponsible state-sponsored public mind-job, all aimed to fan the flames of public hysteria. I’m now convinced these three men are complete bozos and need to be discharged from their duties immediately.

Next month it’ll be hurricanes. And given their current level of hysteria, I can assure you they’re going to make the first hurricane into the end of the world. Is this surreal, or what?


EPA attacking Arizona power station

The federal government is a bull that has found yet another china shop, this time in Arizona. It seems determined to inflict, for angelic motives and progressive goals, economic damage on this state. And economic and social damage on Native Americans, who over the years have experienced quite enough of that at Washington’s hands.

The gain from this pain? The most frequently cited study says “research to date .... is inconclusive as to whether” there would be “any perceptible improvement in visibility at the Grand Canyon and other areas of concern.” The Environmental Protection Agency says that the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) is “near” 11 national parks, several of which are 175 miles distant.

The NGS on Navajo land in northern Arizona burns coal from the Kayenta Mine, which is co-owned by the Navajo and Hopi nations. The EPA is pondering whether all three units of the NGS should be required to install the “best available” emission-control technologies, perhaps costing more than $1.1 billion. More than 80 percent of the power plant’s employees are Navajo, many of whom speak Navajo to help preserve the nation’s culture. In 2007, the percentage of the Navajo Nation’s population living in poverty was 36.8.

But the Navajos, the plant and the mine that powers it may be sacrificed to this dubious environmental crusade. The new technology would reduce nitrate aerosols. They, however, are responsible for just 4 percent of what is called “light extinction” over the Grand Canyon.

Water falls unbidden from the sky but must be pumped to Arizonans — Tucson is 2,500 feet above sea level. The NGS provides 95 percent of the power for the pumps of the Central Arizona Project (CAP), which made Phoenix and most of modern Arizona possible. A study sponsored by the Interior Department estimates that the EPA’s mandate might increase the cost of water by as much as 32 percent, hitting agriculture users especially hard. They might be driven back to using scarce groundwater — which was supposed to be protected by the CAP. That is why many environmentalists supported the CAP, one of the largest reclamation projects in U.S. history.

An Arizona State University study estimates that between now and 2044, the NGS and the mine will contribute $20 billion to the state’s economy and provide 3,000 jobs each year. If there is an NGS. Its site lease expires in 2019. If the EPA mandates the most expensive technologies, each of the NGS owners would have to weigh whether it is sensible to make large capital investments in a plant that might not operate after that. Furthermore, one of the six owners of the NGS is the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which may be prohibited by California law — the state may be destitute, but it is determined to fix the climate — from making investments that will extend the life of coal-fired plants.

Testifying to Congress last February, an EPA official uttered the six-word incantation that summarizes Obama administration policies and progressivism generally: “We do not have to choose.” It is, the official said, quoting President Obama, a “false debate” that we have to choose between the “public health benefits from reducing air pollution from power plants” and “growing this economy in a robust way.”

But benefits usually have costs. And in reality — which is the region contiguous to Washington — two pertinent questions usually are: How much government do you want, and how much are you willing to pay for it in diminished economic growth? The Obama administration consistently favors more government and, believing that “we do not have to choose,” is mystified by stubbornly sluggish growth.

In 1990, Congress passed the Clean Air Act amendments, which high-mindedly mandated restoration of visibility in parks and wilderness areas to natural conditions. “Natural” meaning what? Before humanity? Anyway, the EPA is empowered to make this happen, so it empowers its professional writers of regulations — sometimes 26-year-olds fresh from law school — to maximize regulations to that end. These are regulations that others must live with while minimizing the damage the regulations cause.

The Navajo have been here before. EPA regulations caused the closure of the Mohave Generating Station near Laughlin, Nev., which was the sole buyer of coal from the Black Mesa Mine, leading it to cease operations. The mine’s land is co-owned by the Navajo and Hopi nations.

This story has become as American as “The Great Gatsby,” wherein Tom and Daisy Buchanan “smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness . . . and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”


EPA rules will hike electricity costs as many coal-fired generators close down

On Jan. 17, 2008, President Obama revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle what is finally becoming reality for America’s main energy producers. He said, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has followed the president’s agenda and is nearing its goal of bankrupting many coal-fired power plants. By hyper-regulating air pollutions, carbon dioxide, mercury and other air emissions, if government policies stay on the same course, the coal industry is facing a losing battle.

However, it won’t just be coal miners and power plant workers who lose should the EPA continue to get its way. Every American that flips on a light switch or likes their air conditioning loses this battle. If you are of the thinking that these overreaching regulations on coal aren’t so bad, you better not complain about a much higher electricity bill.

Institute for Energy Research data shows that 34.7 gigawatts (GW) of electrical generating capacity will close as a result of the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule (Utility MACT) and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) regulations—nearly 10 percent of our coal energy capacity. And that’s just the result of two rules placed on coal by the EPA.

A Sierra Club estimate is even more generous, expecting the closings of 319 coal-fueled generating units totaling 42,895 megawatts or 42.9 gigawatts—about 13 percent of the nation’s coal fleet as a result of these overbearing rules on the coal industry.

However, these rules are having no impact on the demand for coal. Despite the EPA restricting coal production there is still a constant worldwide demand for the resource. Therefore, energy prices have nowhere to go but up.

By 2015, when coal power plants must abide by environmental rules or shutdown, residential customers can expect to pay 10 percent higher electricity costs, or between $150 and $330 a year more than what they are paying now.

But some states can expect to see even higher prices. For example, families and businesses in Illinois could pay 20 percent more for electricity by 2014. In fact, Chicago public schools may have to find an extra $2.7 million a year to keep the lights and heat on and computers running.

Is shutting down a cost-efficient, productive industry worth all this additional cost?

A new power plant in Indiana, costing a total of $3.3 billion due to the need for special outfitting to comply with environmental rules, will cost its customers a 15 percent rate hike for the next two years.

The list of costs as a result of hyper-regulation by the EPA goes on and on. Energy consumers nationwide will be affected by these rules and regulations.

Not surprisingly, the EPA doesn’t have a plausible plan B that it deems to be environmentally acceptable. Once the coal industry is pushed out of business, there is no other energy producer to make up for the 45 percent loss of energy production. It won’t come from wind, solar, hydro or any other “green” energy source. Even combined these sources don’t make up even close to the amount of electricity America demands.

As Americans across the country face electricity outages and no air conditioning, it might be a good time to reevaluate our president’s agenda of bankrupting our main electricity providers. Fewer coal plants generating electricity could quite possible mean more days of blackouts.

Unfortunately this is one promise President Obama has not broken.


Which is the fairest Chevy of them all?

The automotive press thrilled this week over June sales numbers that showed Chevy Volt sales tripling to 1,760 units sold. Not bad for Obama’s Car of the Future . . . until you look at the sales numbers for other Chevy vehicles.

For example, the giant, gas-guzzling Chevy Suburban—the planet-destroying, SUV dinosaur thought extinct in the enlightened age of Obama and $4 gas—sold 5,136 units, a 53 percent increase over June 2011.

That is, GM sold three times as many Suburbans as Volts without the federal government having to throw in a $7,500 tax credit to buy one. Nor did California have to offer emissions-based state rebates or extend carpool-lane privileges to Suburban owners—both big factors in Volt sales increases in California.

And good news for American taxpayers who own GM stock: The Suburban makes an estimated $5,000-plus per sale. The Volt? Nada.


Australia: Hoagy is back! With straight-out, unproven Warmist propaganda

Danish Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg was a great prophet of doom about the Great Barrier Reef until his own research showed the reef was in no danger. He fell silent for a few years after that. But we see below that he has now managed the usual Greenie trick of ignoring the facts and is back at his old stall

For the record, the ocean is very alkaline. There would have to be huge changes for it to become acidic. And the claim that warming would cause acidity goes against Henry's law, anyway. A warmer ocean would outgas CO2 and hence reduce the incidence of carbonic acid. The laboratory studies reported below therefore have no real-world significance

NEMO the clown fish, high on "acid", heads from the safety of home with no fear and no sense of smell, straight into the jaws of a predator.

No, it's not a dark sequel to the Pixar animated movie hit, but a reality facing one of the Great Barrier Reef's signature species clown fish.

The International Coral Reef symposium in Cairns yesterday heard disturbing new evidence that burning fossil fuels was not only pushing up global temperatures, but also ocean acidity that in turn could send the brains of some fish species haywire.

"It shows the next Hollywood release will not be so pretty," University of Queensland's Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said. "Nemo does not get so lucky next time."

About 2500 of the world's top reef scientists yesterday shared the latest research into coral growth and fish behaviour under climate change.

Townsville-based James Cook University researcher Phillip Munday and his team found clown fish, made famous in the movie Finding Nemo, as well as damsel fish and open-water predators like tuna and spanish mackerel, suffered adverse effects under high acidity.

They said laboratory studies showed increased acid levels affected the main neuro-transmitters in fish brains, causing a malfunction in the sense of smell, hearing and perception of risk, and an increased tendency to stray from safe reef areas.

"We're not talking about extinction (if acidity continues to rise) but changes in abundance," Mr Munday said.

Other dire predictions yesterday included a warning that bleaching could leave many reefs a white "stumpy" mass dominated by only a few coral species covered in a "brown scuzz" or "green, slimy sludge".

"Within 20 years, some coral species will have been nailed into the coffin," Prof Hoegh-Guldberg said. "It sounds like alarmism, but that is what the biology tells us."



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, 2012

Fatal blow to the "tipping point" theory

The earth appears to have been warming very slowly for the last 150 years. The temperature rise over that period (less than one degree Celsius) is so slight, however, that projecting it forward for another 100 years gives no cause for alarm

So what is an alarmist going to do in that case? They predict a DEPARTURE from the existing trend due to a "tipping point". But what could cause a "tip"? Their theory is that clouds warm the earth and that an accumulation of clouds as warming proceeds on its gentle way will eventually start a positive feedback cycle, where warming causes more warming.

Now isn't that a simple explanation of Warmism? All the blather boils down to that one paragraph above. But you can see the crucial point: Do clouds really warm the earth? Amazingly enough, Warmists just assume it. They have no proof of the most critical point in their theory. And what evidence on the matter that is available so far suggests the opposite: Clouds COOL the earth. And more evidence has just become available -- and it appears in a very prestigious peer-reviewed journal:

A paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research finds that a natural atmospheric oscillation, the Southern Annular Mode, is correlated to significant increases in cloud cover resulting in "large scale" local cooling of approximately -2.5C.

The research concerned South America only but South America is a rather large place and any claim that clouds behave differently there from anywhere else is something only a Greenie could even propose, let alone accept.
Understanding sudden changes in cloud amount: The Southern Annular Mode and South American weather fluctuations

By Benjamin A. Laken et al.


This work investigates the cause and effects of extreme changes in synoptic-scale cloud cover operating at daily timescales using a variety of satellite-based and reanalysis data sets. It is found that the largest sudden increases detected in globally averaged cloud cover over the last ten years of satellite-based observations occur following positively correlated shifts in the phase of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index. The associated pressure anomalies are found to generate frontal cloud formation over large areas of the South American continent, increasing regional cloud cover by up to 20%; these changes are correlated to statistically significant reductions in local temperatures of approximately −2.5°C with a +1 day time lag, indicating the SAM index is associated with large scale weather fluctuations over South America.



Natural Climate Shifts stopped Coral Reef growth for 2500 years

My heading above reflects what was actually found. The original screeching headline was "Natural Climate Shifts Drove Coral Reefs to a Total Ecosystem Collapse Lasting 2,500 Years"

The authors go on to speculate that man-made global warming could have similar effects but we will worry about that when we actually see some of that fabled man-made global warming -- or any global warming at all, for that matter

Climate change drove coral reefs to a total ecosystem collapse lasting thousands of years, according to a paper published this week in Science. The paper shows how natural climatic shifts stopped reef growth in the eastern Pacific for 2,500 years.

The reef shutdown, which began 4,000 years ago, corresponds to a period of dramatic swings in the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

Doctoral student Lauren Toth and Aronson, her adviser at Florida Tech, led the study of how past episodes of climate change influenced tropical reefs of the eastern Pacific. Toth, Aronson and a multi-institutional research team drove 17-foot, small-bore aluminum pipes deep into the dead frameworks of coral reefs along the Pacific coast of Panama and pulled out cross-sections of the reefs. By analyzing the corals in the cores, they were able to reconstruct the history of the reefs over the past 6,000 years.

"We were shocked to find that 2,500 years of reef growth were missing from the frameworks," said Toth. "That gap represents the collapse of reef ecosystems for 40 percent of their total history." When Toth and Aronson examined reef records from other studies across the Pacific, they discovered the same gap in reefs as far away as Australia and Japan.

Toth linked the coral-reef collapse to changes in ENSO. ENSO is the climate cycle responsible for the weather conditions every few years known as El Niño and La Niña events. The timing of the shutdown in reef growth corresponds to a period of wild swings in ENSO. "Coral reefs are resilient ecosystems," said Toth. "For Pacific reefs to have collapsed for such a long time and over such a large geographic scale, they must have experienced a major climatic disturbance. That disturbance was an intensified ENSO regime."


Germany's €300 Billion Green Energy Disaster

Solar subsidies cost German consumers billions of dollars a year and are widely regarded as inefficient. Even environmentalists are concerned that Berlin's focus on solar comes at the detriment of other renewables. But the solar industry has a powerful lobby, and politicians have proven powerless to resist.

A new study by Georg Erdmann, professor of energy systems at Berlin's Technical University, reveals just how far Germany's current center-right governing coalition -- made up of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) -- has strayed from its own self-imposed goals. Erdmann has calculated the effects that the latest changes to the EEG will have between now and 2030. He believes that subsidies for renewable energy, including an expansion of the power grid, will saddle energy consumers with costs well over €300 billion ($377 billion).

An environmental surcharge known as the EEG contribution, which is already added to German energy bills, will rise sharply. This renewable energy surcharge currently amounts to 3.59 cents per kilowatt hour. Chancellor Angela Merkel previously promised to cap it at 3.5 cents, but Erdmann's calculations show the EEG contribution jumping to "over 10 cents per kilowatt hour," or nearly three times what the chancellor pledged.

The study is all the more interesting because Erdmann himself is a member of a panel of experts the German government appointed a few months ago to monitor Germany's transition to renewable energy. Though the panel is expected to deliver its conclusions at the end of this year, it already seems clear that Erdmann considers solar energy subsidies a hindrance rather than a help in Germany's phase-out of nuclear energy.

Photovoltaics are threatening to become the costliest mistake in the history of German energy policy. Photovoltaic power plant operators and homeowners with solar panels on their rooftops are expected to pocket around €9 billion ($11.3 billion) this year, yet they contribute barely 4 percent of the country's power supply, and only erratically at that.

When night falls, all solar modules go offline in one fell swoop; in the winter, they barely generate power during the daytime. During the summer, meanwhile, they sometimes generate too much power around midday, without enough storage capacity to capture it all. The distribution network is also not laid out in a way that would allow the country's thousands of owners of photovoltaic arrays -- a term used to denote an installation of several panels working together -- to feed into the grid as well as draw power from it.

To keep the lights on, Germany ends up importing nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic. Grid operator Tennet even resorted to tapping an aging fossil fuel-fired power plant in Austria to compensate for shortages in solar power.

Lobbyists for the solar industry like to impress the public with big numbers concerning their products' theoretical capabilities. And it's true that all currently installed photovoltaic arrays, theoretically, add up to more than 25 gigawatts of capacity, easily double the power generated by all nuclear power plants still operating in Germany.

Unfortunately, solar arrays provide peak performance only with maximum light exposure when the sun is at the perfect vertical angle and the modules at the ideal temperature -- in other words, under laboratory conditions. In reality, all of Germany's photovoltaic arrays together generate less power than two nuclear reactors. And they can't even replace those reactors unless they have enough storage capacity available. The figures on peak performance of photovoltaic arrays lead to misunderstandings, the German Physical Society writes in an expert opinion, stating, "Photovoltaics are fundamentally incapable of replacing any other type of power plant." Essentially, every solar array must be backed up with a conventional power plant as a reserve, creating an expensive double infrastructure.

Many environmentalists, too, believe solar subsidies need to be cut drastically -- for the sake of the environment. Despite the drop in the price of solar modules, solar power is still the least efficient of Germany's renewable energy technologies, yet it's the one that receives the most funding. Nearly 50 percent of all green energy subsides go to solar power, which yields only 20 percent of the energy generated by subsidized technology.

Other green energy technologies have the opposite economics. For the same amount of money, wind power produces about five times more energy than solar power. Hydropower generates six times more, and even biomass power plants are three times as effective as solar power.

This means photovoltaics' contribution to protecting the climate is correspondingly negligible, as calculations by Magdeburg-based environmental economist Joachim Weimann show. To save one ton of CO2, Weimann explains, we could either spend €5 on insulating an old building, €20 as investment in a new gas-fired power plant, or around €500 on photovoltaic arrays. The benefit to the climate is the same in all those scenarios. "From a climate standpoint, every solar plant is a bad investment," Weimann concludes.

Even Greenpeace is dissatisfied, fearing this will become a race to grab the remaining subsidy money. "This is a dangerous decision," Niklas Schinerl, Greenpeace's spokesperson for energy issues, commented in response to the verdict reached by the arbitration panel on the EEG amendment last Wednesday. Schinerl believes costs will skyrocket unnecessarily. "That puts acceptance of the transition to renewable energy at risk, and ultimately compromises the entire EEG," he says.


California cuts its own throat

The California Manufacturers and Technology Association released a new report last week that suggests costs associated with AB 32 may be a lot higher than previously estimated. AB 32, otherwise known as the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger- propelling California to the forefront in the fight against global warming. Successful passage of the law effectively turned the state into one of the most stringent regulators of green house gas emissions in the nation and globally. Some would argue that the move all but eliminated California’s competitive edge in today’s market.

The California Air Resources Board, which has been charged with developing and implementing the state programs needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels, hasn’t released an updated economic impact study since 2010.

Andrew Chang & Company, which conducted the latest fiscal and economic impact study on behalf of CMTA, found that the average California family will end up paying an additional $2,500 annually by 2020 when AB 32 is fully implemented. In addition, the state is expected to lose an additional 262,000 jobs, 5.6 percent of the gross state product, and a whopping $7.4 billion through decreased annual state and local tax revenues as a result. Figures from the study were based on more conservative estimates, suggesting that expected costs could actually range much higher.

This new information comes at a time when state government is already struggling to maintain funding for some of California’s most basic services, and economic recovery remains anemic- prompting calls for further consideration of the law.

“These policies will create a large but hidden tax on families and will add new burdens to a fragile state economy,” said Jack Stewart, President of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA). “This new tax is not what we need while Californians struggle to find jobs, meet mortgage payments and maintain a reasonable quality of life.”

The consequences appear even more severe for California’s small business community.

According to John Kabateck, California Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business:

“This comprehensive report tells us that small business will get hit from all sides. Consumers will have less money to buy our products, employers will be forced to purchase more affordable products outside of California, and our own energy costs will make it nearly impossible to stay in business.”


Europe loves American coal

Europe is burning coal at the fastest pace since 2006, as surging imports from U.S. producers such as Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) (ACI) helped cut prices 26 percent in a year and benefited European power companies including EON AG.

Demand for coal, the dirtiest fuel for making electricity, grew 3.3 percent last year in Europe while sales of less- polluting natural gas fell 2.1 percent, the steepest drop since 2009, according to a BP Plc report. Germany’s EON and RWE AG (RWE), the biggest utilities in Europe’s largest power market, are considering shutting unprofitable gas-fired plants even as Chancellor Angela Merkel promotes gas to replace nuclear energy.

Europe’s higher coal use defies its policies to penalize carbon emissions and is based on profit margins climbing to a two-and-a-half year high for coal-burning power stations, data compiled by Bloomberg Industries show. Cheaper coal was made possible partly by a 49 percent jump in first-quarter imports from the U.S., Energy Information Administration data show.

“Coal will continue to remain on the money in Europe because it’s more competitive to burn than gas,” said Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London. “More and more of the coal to Europe will come from the U.S. where just the opposite is happening.”

Thanks to the explosion of shale drilling, natural gas futures have fallen about 34 percent in 12 months in New York, pushing utilities to combust more gas and rely less on coal.
$530 Million Expansion

Lower prices resulted in gas increasing its share in electricity generation in the U.S. to 32 percent in April, compared with 23 percent a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. Coal’s share dropped to 32 percent from 41 percent a year earlier.

That decline has pushed U.S. producers such as Arch Coal to increasingly look to Europe as an export market. Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) (BTU), Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR) (ANR) and Arch stand to gain from Europe’s rising appetite for coal.

Arch, which opened a London sales office on March 1, “expanded our reach with a dedicated sales team in Europe because we see increasing energy demand,” Kim Link, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis-based company, said in an e-mail yesterday.

Companies in the world’s biggest economy are spending at least $530 million to expand coal-export capacity to meet overseas demand, David Host, chief executive officer of shipping agent T Parker Host Inc., said June 22 at the IHS McCloskey Coal USA Conference in New York. Capacity will grow 35 percent to 285 million tons annually by 2015, he said.

Coal accounted for 30 percent of global energy consumption last year, the highest share since 1969, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012. Demand grew 5.4 percent in 2011, the fastest among fossil fuels.


Australia: Sydney's Greenie mayor vetoed over traffic

LORD Mayor Clover Moore's utopian dream of a car-free CBD, exorbitant on-street parking and an extensive bike path network has been dealt a crushing blow.

Transport for NSW boss Les Wielinga, now also chairman of Sydney's traffic and transport committee, has effectively run a line through several controversial ideas from Ms Moore, in a bid to bring "some sort of sensible planning" to the city.

Top of his list is Ms Moore's divisive bike paths.

Under Mr Wielinga's new powers - which require the City of Sydney to defer all decisions on CBD roads to his committee for approval - the council must now prove each new bike lane contributes to the economic development of the state and improves movement for the majority of people.

In an exclusive interview, Mr Weilinga also ruled out the city's intention to make on-street parking as expensive as commercial carparks.

"We will always have a situation where cars need to get into a fair proportion of the CBD," Mr Wielinga said.

"At the moment 16 per cent of people choose to come into the CBD by road.

"For many people, the only viable option for getting to and from work is by road. I don't think anybody can dispute that the operation of the CBD is affected more broadly than just by the CBD."

He said existing bike lanes won't be ripped up but future lanes considered on their merits and their impact on "the future economic welfare of the state".

The traffic and transport committee was engineered by Premier Barry O'Farrell, who also introduced laws banning mayors from sitting as members of parliament - effectively terminating Ms Moore's dual role as Lord Mayor and Sydney MP.

"The Sydney CBD is too important to be held hostage to the political constituency of Clover Moore," Mr O'Farrell said.

"It's very clear Clover Moore's pitch for re-election is built around more bike lanes and making the CBD as unfriendly to cars as possible."

Mr Wielinga said congestion on York St was foremost in his mind and suggested running buses down Bridge St or the Cahill Expressway.

Ms Moore has accused the Premier of playing politics and merely adding another layer of bureaucracy. In a mayoral minute about the committee, said she hoped the committee would "rise above politics, headlines and shock jocks".

For Mr Wielinga, there is only one clear goal.

"I would like to see an increase in community satisfaction with how the CBD operates," he said.



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


9 July, 2012

Ignoramus Dyer is at it again

He is anti-Israel and compares climate skeptics to Nazis. His expertise is in military history but below he talks as if it were in climatology. He admits that "complex systems like the climate can produce strange local results" but uses a selection of strange local results as evidence for global warming!

Maybe he should go back to military history and try to answer why Britain has not produced an outstanding military general since the first Duke of Marlborough. Wellington and Monty both held their ends up but it was their allies who did most of the work

But even if Dyer came up with an answer to that I don't think I would give much heed to an answer from someone who says that global warming freezes Indians to death ("At least 300 people died in a cold wave in northern India in the previous January")

He really does sound like he has lost his marbles

It was 42° C in St. Louis, Missouri, last weekend, about the same as in Saudi Arabia. Along the U.S. Atlantic coast, it was cooler, but not much: 41° C in Washington, D.C., just short of the city’s all-time record. And 46 Americans are already dead from the heat wave.

In Britain, it was incredibly wet. Almost six centimetres of rain fell on July 7 in parts of southern England, and there were over 20 flood warnings and 100 flood alerts in effect. The wettest April ever was followed by the wettest June (more than double average rainfall), and July has started the same way.

Russia had its hottest summer ever in 2010, with peat wildfires raging out of control—over 5,000 excess deaths in Moscow in July alone—but this summer, it’s wet in Russia, too. On July 6, an astonishing 28 centimetres of of rain fell overnight in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia, and flash floods killed 155 people.

It is a big planet, and some local record for hottest, coldest, wettest, or driest is being broken somewhere or other almost every day. But these are records being broken over very large areas, in regions where records go back a long time.

As Krasnodar governor Alexander Tkachev said: "No-one can remember such floods in our history. There was nothing of the kind for the last 70 years."

There are very unusual events happening in winter too: last January only 14.7 percent of the United States was covered by snow, compared to 61.7 percent at the same time in 2011. At least 300 people died in a cold wave in northern India in the previous January.

One could go on, enumerating comparably extreme weather events in the southern hemisphere in the past couple of years. But that would just be more impressionistic evidence, and no more convincing statistically.

The events are too few, and the time period is too short. But it does feel like something is going on, doesn’t it?

The most recent opinion polls indicate that a majority even of Americans now accept that climate change is happening (although, being American, many of them still cling to the belief that it is a purely “natural” event that has nothing to do with human greenhouse-gas emissions). But opinion polls are not a good guide in these matters either. Can we really say that something serious is happening, and that it is evidence that the climate is changing now?

No, we can’t. It’s a statistical longshot, but it is possible that this is just a random collection of extreme events signifying nothing in particular. Occasionally a tossed coin comes up heads six times in a row. But usually it doesn’t.

The best way to approach the question is to ask what we would actually see if global warming had crossed some threshold and triggered big changes in weather patterns. The actual change in the average global temperature would be almost imperceptible: only one or two degrees C, or the difference in an average day’s temperature between 9 and 10.30 a.m. What we would notice is that the weather is getting wild.

We never really experience the climate; what we feel is the daily weather that it produces. A climate that is changing will produce unfamiliar weather—and if it is getting warmer, it will be more energetic weather. Wilder weather, if you like.

That means hotter, longer heat waves, and bigger storms that bring torrential rain and killer wind speeds. But it can also mean prolonged droughts as rainfall patterns change—and much more severe winters, like the “Snowmageddon” storm that hit Washington, D.C. in February 2010 and shut down the U.S. federal government for a week.

That last phenomenon confuses people who think colder winters prove that the climate isn’t getting warmer, but complex systems like the climate can produce strange local results. As an article by Charles H. Greene and Bruce C. Monger in a recent issue of Oceanography points out, the melting of the Arctic sea ice will cause colder winter weather in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.

“Since the dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice during summer 2007,” the authors point out, “severe winter weather outbreaks have periodically affected large parts of North America, Europe and East Asia. During the winter of 2011–12, an extended and deadly cold snap descended on central and eastern Europe in mid-January (with temperatures approaching -30 ° C)...By mid-February, the death toll had exceeded 550."

How does melting Arctic sea ice cause colder winters? Much of the solar heat absorbed by the ice-free parts of the Arctic Ocean in the summer is released into the air by evaporation in the autumn.

The higher atmospheric pressure in the Arctic weakens the Jet Stream, which allows cold Arctic air masses with a high moisture content to spill out into the middle latitudes.

Hence colder winters and more snow in the U.S., Europe and northern Asia.

You can’t prove that all this means we are sliding into a new and steadily worsening climate right now—that the long-threatened future has arrived. The statistics aren’t good enough to support that conclusion yet. But if you have to put your money down now, bet yes.


Growing rice in Texas?

Rice is a water intensive crop. Growing it in a region with erratic rainfall is crazy. Only politics props it up. There's no shortage of water in Texas -- just misuse of it

The punishing seven-year drought of the 1950s in Texas brought about the modern era of water planning. But the drought of 2011 was the hottest, driest 12 months on record there.

Though only a handful of towns saw their water sources dry up last summer, it got so bad that cities, industries and farmers began to think the unthinkable: Would they run out of water?

With the state's population expected to double by 2060, Texas must begin an expensive and politically charged search for new water sources. No other reservoir in Texas better symbolizes the state's competing demands for water than Lake Travis, nestled in the juniper-covered hills west of Austin.

Marina owners, a nuclear power plant, computer chip makers, rice farmers and the booming city of Austin all depend on Lake Travis and its upstream cousin, Lake Buchanan, for their existence.

Last summer, Lake Travis was nearly two-thirds empty. Today, the drought persists, and the lake is only half full.

Boat ramps lead to nowhere. Weeds encroach where bass used to swim. The views of million-dollar homes look out on boat docks sitting on a bed of dried mud.

Connie Ripley is a Texas homeowners activist. "A lot of people are trying to sell their properties because they're just fed up with Lake Travis," Ripley says. "I mean, we're looking in Colorado right now. It's just not worth the hassle of the lake going up and down and up and down constantly, when it could be managed better."

Ripley and other upstream water users are increasingly concerned over the fact that half of all managed water in Texas goes to agriculture. In the case of Lake Travis, 60 percent of the water released from the dam last year went to farmers 300 miles downstream.

"We had plenty of water last year at the beginning of the season. So the farmers got their water, and they just continued to take all the water they wanted," Ripley says.

That's not the case this year. In March, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the entity that manages this basin, asked the state for emergency authority to cut off water to the farmers, fearing there wouldn't be enough water for customers such as Austin.

The Franzen brothers raise cattle and rice in Matagorda County, down on the Texas coast, and they depend on the Colorado River to flood their rice fields.

Derril Franzen, in jeans and a cowboy hat, surveys an unplanted field of gray dirt. "It's the funniest feeling we've had in our life. It's the first year in the history of this ranch that's been producing rice since the early 1900s that we haven't had any water," Franzen says.


Canada's Inuit roar in protest over move to protect polar bears

They say animal rights activists put the species at more risk than hunters who regard it as central to their livelihood

Doomsday predictions of the polar bear's demise tend to draw an Inuit guffaw here in Nunavut, the remote Arctic territory where polar bears in some places outnumber people.

People will tell you about the polar bear that strode brazenly past the dump a month ago or the bear that attacked a dog team in the town of Arviat in November. Heart-rending pictures of polar bears clinging to tiny islands of ice elicit nothing but derision.

The move to protect polar bears is appreciated for one thing, however, and that's a hefty hike in the price for a dead one. Across Canada, prices for polar bear pelts have soared over the last few years, with two at a June 20 auction in Ontario fetching a record $16,500 each.

"Four years ago, we were lucky to get a thousand dollars for a 7-foot polar bear. Now, you can sell that 7-foot polar bear for between $3,500 and $4,000," said Frank Pokiak, chairman of the Inuvialuit Game Council in northwestern Canada.

The only country in the world that allows its polar bears to be shot and sold commercially on the international market, Canada — home to two-thirds of the remaining population — has reaped the benefits of the rest of the globe's concern for the bear. So have its native people. An estimated 77% of the world trade in polar bear parts in recent years came from about 500 bears a year killed in Canada, 300 of which typically enter the international market, according to a review by the Humane Society of the United States and Canadian officials.

Now U.S. conservation groups are pushing the U.S. to back an agreement that would ban most international trade in polar bear parts, with a move to upgrade the listing for the polar bear under the 175-nation Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, known as CITES.

Forty-three Democrats from the House of Representatives signed a letter in June in favor of the upgrade. Further, the Center for Biological Diversity in January petitioned the U.S. Interior Department to initiate trade sanctions against Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement, contending the nation is in violation of a 1973 treaty on conservation of polar bears.

"Not only is Canada home to two-thirds of the world's population of polar bears, but it's home to what is arguably the most important population of polar bears, because it's the population in Canada that scientists expect to persist the longest in the face of global warming," said Andrew Wetzler of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is pushing for the trade ban.

Inuit leaders from Canada's far north are preparing to fight back, arguing that new international restrictions could wreck the region's fragile economy and possibly create even greater threats to the bears.

"For the world to suggest that we'll save the polar bears and forget the people, that's a little backwards," said Terry Audla, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents about 55,000 Inuit across Canada. He and most Canadian game management officials argue that Canada's polar bear quotas are set well within sustainable levels.

"The Inuit have always hunted the polar bear. It's in our best interest to ensure the population is healthy," Audla said. "But people have to have faith in us and work with us — to base things on facts, and not listen to these animal rights activists who are bending the truth."


Stop the presses! Michael Mann says that Warmists have predicted the present warm summer in parts of the USA

Of course they have. That's what Warmists do. It's the cold winters that they have never predicted. A valid scientific theory does not predict only half the events

As Washington, D.C., endures a record ninth straight day of near-triple-digit temperatures, it might be hard for the city’s residents to remember that just two years ago, when the capital was blanketed with record snowfall, Republican senator and noted climate change skeptic James Inhofe and his family were building an igloo on the national mall to mock former vice president and leading environmentalist Al Gore. That winter, Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh gleefully noted that a Senate conference on climate change had to be canceled due to snow.

Scientists and environmentalists pointed out at the time that a record snowfall is in no way inconsistent with a warming planet — in fact many models predict that heavy snow could become more common because a warmer atmosphere will hold more water vapor. But the larger point is that, as Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), put it in 2010, “It is important that people recognize that weather is not the same thing as climate.” Large variations in temperature and humidity will occur even as global temperatures rise.

But in this record-breaking heat wave, it can sometimes seem like the weather-climate distinction is being lost on the other side. “This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,” University of Arizona professor Jonathan Overpeck told the Associated Press of this summer’s heat waves, wildfires and brutal storms. The liberal news watchdog Media Matters has blasted outlets that fail to mention climate change in the coverage of the wildfires sweeping across western U.S. states. Some commentators have also attributed the “derecho” storm that left 23 dead and 1.4 million without power to climate change. The public might be forgiven for wondering if the mantra “weather is not climate” only applies when the weather is politically inconvenient for the person discussing it. So when is it OK to chalk up unusual weather conditions to climate change, and when is it just normal weird weather?

“It’s OK to talk about events when you discuss them in a proper scientific context,” says Michael Mann, director of the Earth Science Center at Penn State and creator of the famous “hockey stick” graph. “The climate models have predicted what we’ve now seen, which is a doubling in the rate at which we break all-time warmth records in the U.S. We’re breaking those records, over the past decade, at a rate of almost twice what we would expect from chance alone.”

In fact, more than 2,000 U.S. heat records were broken just in the past week. Climatologists argue that while there’s certainly nothing unexpected in periodic record-breaking temperatures, the rate at which these records are being broken year after year can’t be explained away by coincidence.

“There’s a randomness to weather, but what we’re seeing is loading of the weather dice to the point where sixes are coming up 10 times more often,” says Mann. “If you were gambling and you saw sixes coming up 10 times more often you’d start to notice. We are seeing climate change now in the statistical loading of these dice.”

Mann also notes with some satisfaction that the year after Inhofe’s igloo stunt, his home state of Oklahoma had the hottest month of any state in U.S. history, with an average temperature of 88.9 degrees in July 2011. The senator himself became ill after swimming in a lake that suffered from unexpected algae growth, likely due to the hotter temperatures.

But while the planet is undoubtedly getting warmer, attributing a particular weather phenomenon to this shift is a bit problematic. Although the science may be on the side of climate change, blaming one particular weather incident on global warming is just as misleading as saying that a cold winter disproves it.


Another false prophecy -- from a Warmist and a weather "expert"

Check out this prediction from last week on Jeff Master’s blog. The High Park fire will burn until winter

Here in High Park Fire land, we have had about 25% of our average annual rainfall – just during the last week. You couldn’t start a fire here if your life depended on it.

None of this has stopped Obama’s Department of The Interior from banning all shooting in Colorado and Wyoming. You never know when hot lead might strike flood water and spontaneously combust.


Joe Romm On The Super-Drought In The UK

Joe is an equal opportunity neurotic, and does not confine his moronic forecasts to the US. Who is paying this guy to be wrong about everything?
June was wettest since records began in 1910

You felt it in your bones, but now it’s official – it was the lousiest June ever.

The month just gone was the wettest June in the United Kingdom since rainfall records began in 1910, according to provisional Met Office figures released yesterday, but it wasn’t only very wet.

It was also very cold for the time of year, and it was also very dull, and in many parts of the country, the idea of Flaming June was no more than a fantasy.

During the month, the total UK rainfall was 145.3mm – exactly twice as much as you would normally expect compared to the 1971-2000 average of 72.6mm – and this figure beats the previous record of 136.2mm, set in the incredibly wet month of June 2007.

Looking at individual countries, it has been the wettest June on record for Wales and Northern Ireland, the second wettest in England, and the eighth wettest in Scotland.

Many areas have seen extremely high rainfall – with 83 out of 237 observation sites marking their wettest June on record, the Met Office said. Some of these are not significant as they have very short recording histories, but others have been operating much longer – Otterbourne in Hampshire has been operating for 119 years.


Scientists call for action to "save" coral reefs

There have been headlines in Australia like the one above for at least 50 years. Like all natural phenomena, nothing stays the same over time on the reef and there have always been attention-seekers trying to create panic over the changes they observe

Thousands of scientists have signed a statement calling for immediate action on climate change to save the world's remaining coral reefs. ["Remaining"? The Great Barrier reef is the biggest reef in the world and is as extensive and as diverse as ever. This call is plain dishonest]

MORE than 2500 marine researchers signed the consensus statement from the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, which calls for global action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The statement calls for action to prevent rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification [There is no acidification. There is a possible reduction in alkalinity but that is a long way from acidification], overfishing [Fishing is now banned in most of the reef area] and pollution from the land [Unproven theory].

"The international Coral Reef Science Community calls on all governments to ensure the future of coral reefs, through global action to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and via improved local protection of coral reefs," the statement says.

Professor Terry Hughes, convener of the symposium and director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said Australia's Great Barrier Reef was a prime example of a reef in need of protection.

"Unfortunately in Queensland, the rush to get as much fossil fuel out of the ground as quickly as possible ... has pushed environmental concerns far into the background," he said.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently released a report that was highly critical of Australia's management of the Great Barrier Reef.

It said the reef could be listed as a World Heritage site in danger unless high-risk coastal developments including new ports in Queensland are shelved.



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8 July, 2012

A riddle only Greenies can answer: How can something be global when it isn't global?

If hot weather in some parts of America is due to global warming, why is it unusually cool in other places -- e.g. Sweden and the Pacific NW?

Michelle Malkin

Good news: The Waldo Canyon fire, which forced 32,000 residents (including our family) to flee, claimed two lives and destroyed 347 homes, is now 100 percent contained. Bad news: Radical environmentalists won't stop blowing hot air about this year's infernal season across the West.

Al Gore slithered out of the political morgue to bemoan nationwide heat records and pimp his new "Climate Reality Project," which blames global warming for the wildfire outbreak. NBC meteorologist Doug Kammerer asserted: "If we did not have global warming, we wouldn't see this." Agriculture Department Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the Forest Service, claimed to the Washington Post: "The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that."

And the Associated Press (or rather, the Activist Press) lit the fear-mongering torch with an eco-propaganda piece titled "U.S. summer is what 'global warming will look like.'"

The problem is that the actual conclusions of scientists included in AP's screed don't back up the apocalyptic headline. As the reporter acknowledges under that panicky banner:

"Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn't caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen."

So, this U.S. summer may or may not really look like "what global warming looks like." Kinda. Sorta. Possibly. Possibly not.

Furthermore, the AP reporter concedes, the "global" nature of the warming and its supposed catastrophic events have "been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren't having similar disasters now, although they've had their own extreme events in recent years."

A more hedging headline would have been journalistically responsible, but Chicken Little-ism better serves the global warming blame-ologists' agenda.

More inconvenient truths: As The Washington Times noted this week, the National Climatic Data Center shows that "Colorado has actually seen its average temperature drop slightly from 1998 to 2011, when data is collected only from rural stations and not those that have been urbanized since 1900."

Radical green efforts to block logging and timber sales in national forests since the 1990s are the real culprits. Wildlife mitigation experts point to incompetent forest management and militant opposition to thinning the timber fuel supply.

Another symptom of green obstructionism: widespread bark beetle infestations. The U.S. Forest Service itself reported last year:

"During the last part of the 20th century, widespread treatments in lodgepole pine stands that would have created age class diversity, enhanced the vigor of remaining trees, and improved stand resiliency to drought or insect attack -- such as timber harvest and thinning -- lacked public acceptance. Proposals for such practices were routinely appealed and litigated, constraining the ability of the Forest Service to manage what had become large expanses of even-aged stands susceptible to a bark beetle outbreak."

Capitulation to lawsuit-happy green thugs, in others, undermined "public acceptance" of common sense, biodiversity-preserving and lifesaving timber harvest and thinning practices.

Local, state and federal officials offered effusive praise for my fellow Colorado Springs residents who engaged in preventive mitigation efforts in their neighborhoods. The government flacks said it made a life-and-death difference. Yet, litigious environmental groups have sabotaged such mitigation efforts at the national level -- in effect, creating an explosive tinderbox out of the West.

Stoking global warming alarms may make for titillating headlines and posh Al Gore confabs. But it's a human blame avoidance strategy rooted in ideological extremism and flaming idiocy.


You ain't seen nothing yet

A massive swath of the East Coast has been struck by a weather phenomenon called a “derecho.” Hot winds whipping at up to category 1 hurricane levels extended over Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas wreaking havoc with the availability of electricity during a high 90-degree heat wave.

As the predictable morons of doom, the global warming extremists, climb out of their dormancy like 13-year cycle cicadas to declare the heat to be proof of their faith, it is fair to remind readers that these same “experts” assured us that when the D.C. area was hit with a massive snow storm dubbed Snowmaggedon a couple of years back that the blizzard event was just weather and should not be analyzed too much.

The same local government officials in areas surrounding D.C. who couldn’t get roads cleared of snow during Snowmaggedon are busily denouncing the utility companies for not snapping their fingers and getting power restored to their hot, frustrated constituents.

But even more ironic is that many of these same people, who demand air conditioning out of thin air, actually are the most ardent supporters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on mercury that would put 37 power plants out of business within the next three years.

That’s 37 fewer sources of electricity. The very same electricity that people depend upon to run their water wells, heat, lights and air conditioning.

That’s 37 fewer sources of electricity that can be relied upon to provide the source of electricity to take up the slack when the power grid gets strained.

In fact, it is my prediction that the same morons of doom who so glibly support the new EPA mercury rule will be the first to blame the utility companies when summer brown outs and black outs occur.

They will be the producers of public service announcements telling customers that it is their fault for the failure of the electric grid due to overuse with patriotic demands that thermostats be turned to 78 in the summer and 65 in the winter, that clothes washing only occur in the wee hours of the night and people burn a solo curly cue light bulb at night and squint through the darkness, Abraham Lincoln-like, to read a book.

Nowhere will they admit that they shut down the most available, convenient and inexpensive source of electricity with their anti-coal crusade.

In the world of the environmental jihadists, there can be no accountability for the consequences of their actions. To admit that they have caused massive disruption and harm takes them from their lofty moral perches.

All that matters to them is that they meant well.

Unfortunately, shutting down power plants across the nation does not make the air conditioner run. It does not help the elderly survive the heat wave that strikes every summer. It doesn’t provide comparatively low-cost heat in the winter.

The simple law of nature is that actions have consequences, and if America continues to follow the environmental crackpots of the left, we will reap what we have sown.

And when the lights go out on the city, there will be no one to blame but ourselves. Although we know from history that the only people who won’t accept responsibility will be those who shut down the power plants themselves.

After all, they meant well, so it cannot be their fault. Can it?

In years to come, as Americans join their Third World brothers and sisters sitting in the sweltering heat without the electric power to run our air conditioners, perhaps we will finally understand the meaning of the phrase, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


Obama Released Restrictive New Energy Plan Under Cover of SCOTUS, Holder Contempt

File this one under While You Were Out: the Obama Administration unveiled its new five-year energy plan on Thursday, when the rest of us were conveniently preoccupied with SCOTUS and the Holder contempt vote. Real smooth.

Of course, it's pretty clear why they wanted this to fly under the radar: as Hot Air's Erika Johnsen noted on Saturday, the plan is just not good. She points out that it opens up a miniscule percentage of our offshore resources, but not nearly enough to make a dent in our energy use, and what's more, by constraining the number of jobs that this could produce, it does nothing to help the economy. Some details:
U.S. oil companies will be allowed to drill in more areas of the Gulf of Mexico but won only limited access to the Arctic under the final version of the Obama Administration's five year drilling plan that was slammed by industry and some environmentalists.

The 2012-2017 plan calls for three potential lease sales in areas offshore Alaska but the auctions would not be held until the final years of the plan because of environmental concerns about operating in the Arctic.

"Today, the Obama Administration has announced a bleak future for American energy production by keeping 85 percent of America's offshore areas under lock and key and refusing to open any new areas to drilling," said Doc Hastings, Republican chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The plan calls for 15 potential lease sales in six offshore areas, including in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico, and the portion of the Eastern Gulf not currently under Congressional moratorium.

Indeed, the plan is so bad that it's been panned by everyone, from the GOP to hard-left environmentalists (who, ironically, think it's too permissive) -- but interestingly, it's produced a fair amount of unity in the Virginian Congressional delegation. Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, has joined with his Commonwealth brethren to oppose the president's restrictive plan:
Republicans pounced on President Obama on Thursday afternoon for his administration's failure to include Virginia in the final five-year plan for offshore oil and gas drilling.

But it wasn't just Republicans complaining. Sen. Jim Webb (D) joined the bipartisan dissent.

"I regret that the administration failed to include Virginia in its proposed final five-year lease plan," Webb said. "Energy exploration . . . would boost domestic energy production, while benefiting the commonwealth's economy."

The plan announced Thursday postpones drilling off Virginia's coast until at least 2017.

Obama had announced that Virginia would become one of the first East Coast states to drill offshore. But the administration postponed lease sales after the spill and never included Virginia in subsequent plans.

The last study of the Atlantic Ocean by the federal government, conducted two decades ago, estimates that at least 130 million barrels of oil and at least 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could be off Virginia's coast. That's equal to the amount of oil used in six days and the amount of gas used in less than a month in the United States.

Errr, so is this what an "all of the above" energy plan looks like?


The touted "Alternative" energy sources of today are not practical now and are never likely to be

And even if something new and satisfactory is devised, it takes several lifetimes to put a new energy system into place, and wishful thinking can’t speed things along

By Vaclav Smil (Vaclav Smil is a distinguished professor in the department of environment and geography at the University of Manitoba, in Canada)

In June 2004 the editor of an energy journal called to ask me to comment on a just-announced plan to build the world’s largest photovoltaic electric generating plant. Where would it be, I asked—Arizona? Spain? North Africa? No, it was to be spread among three locations in rural Bavaria, southeast of Nuremberg.

I said there must be some mistake. I grew up not far from that place, just across the border with the Czech Republic, and I will never forget those seemingly endless days of summer spent inside while it rained incessantly. Bavaria is like Seattle in the United States or Sichuan province in China. You don’t want to put a solar plant in Bavaria, but that is exactly where the Germans put it. The plant, with a peak output of 10 megawatts, went into operation in June 2005.

It happened for the best reason there is in politics: money. Welcome to the world of new renewable energies, where the subsidies rule—and consumers pay.

Without these subsidies, renewable energy plants other than hydroelectric and geothermal ones can’t yet compete with conventional generators. There are several reasons, starting with relatively low capacity factors—the most electricity a plant can actually produce divided by what it would produce if it could be run full time. The capacity factor of a typical nuclear power plant is more than 90 percent; for a coal-fired generating plant it’s about 65 to 70 percent. A photovoltaic installation can get close to 20 percent—in sunny Spain—and a wind turbine, well placed on dry land, from 25 to 30 percent. Put it offshore and it may even reach 40 percent. To convert to either of the latter two technologies, you must also figure in the need to string entirely new transmission lines to places where sun and wind abound, as well as the need to manage a more variable system load, due to the intermittent nature of the power.

All of these complications are well known, and all of them have been too lightly dismissed by alternative energy backers and the media. Most egregious of all is the boosters’ failure to recognize the time it takes to convert to any new source of energy, no matter how compelling the arguments for it may be.

An example is the 2008 plan promoted by former vice president Al Gore, which called for replacing all fossil-fueled generation in the United States in just a decade. Another is Google’s plan, announced in 2008 and abandoned in 2011, which envisaged cutting out coal generation by 2030. Trumping them all was a 2009 article in Scientific American by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil engineering at Stanford University, and Mark Delucchi, a researcher in transportation studies at the University of California, Davis. They proposed converting the energy economy of the entire world to renewable sources by 2030.

History and a consideration of the technical requirements show that the problem is much greater than these advocates have supposed.

What was the German government thinking in 2004, when it offered a subsidy, known as a feed-in tariff, that guaranteed investors as much as €0.57 per kilowatt-hour for the next two decades of photovoltaic generation? At the time, the average price for electricity from other sources was about €0.20/kWh; by comparison, the average U.S. electricity price in 2004 was 7.6 cents, or about €0.06/kWh. With subsidies like that, it was no wonder that Bavaria Solarpark was just the beginning of a rush to build photovoltaic plants in Germany. By the end of 2011, Germany’s PV installations had a capacity of nearly 25 gigawatts, which was more than a third of the global total. If you subsidize something enough, at first it can seem almost reasonable; only later does reality intervene. This past March, stung by the news that Germans were paying the second highest electricity rates in Europe, the German parliament voted to cut the various solar subsidies by up to 29 percent.
graphic link to downtime graph

Such generous subsidies are by no means a German peculiarity. They have been the norm in the new world of renewable energies; only their targets differ. Spain also subsidized wind and PV generation before cutting its feed-in tariff for large installations by nearly 50 percent in 2010. China’s bene­fits to its wind-turbine makers were so generous that the United States complained about them to the World Trade Organization in December 2010. In the United States the greatest beneficiary so far has been neither solar nor wind but biomass—specifically, corn used to produce ethanol.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the excise tax credit for ethanol production cost taxpayers US $6.1 billion in 2011. On top of that direct cost are three indirect ones: those related to soil erosion, the runoff of excess nitrate from fertilizers (which ends up in the Gulf of Mexico, where it creates dead zones in coastal waters), and the increased food costs that accrue when the world’s largest exporter of grain diverts 40 percent of its corn to make ethanol. And topping all those off, the resulting fuel is used mostly in energy-inefficient vehicles.

You might argue that [PDF] subsidies aren’t bad in themselves; indeed, there is a long history of using them to encourage new energy sources. The oil and gas industries have benefited from decades of tax relief designed to stimulate exploration. The nuclear industry has grown on the back of direct and enormous R&D support. In the United States it received almost 54 percent of all federal research funds between 1948 and 2007. In France it got the all-out support of the state electricity-​generating company. Without that subsidy, the industry would never have managed to get its recent share of more than 75 percent of the French electricity market. We must therefore ask whether the subsidies for alternative energy can deliver what their promoters promise.

Make no mistake—they promise much. The most ardent supporters of solar, wind, and biomass argue that these sources can replace fossil fuels and create highly reliable, nonpolluting, carbon-free systems priced no higher than today’s cheapest coal-fired electricity generation, all in just a few decades. That would be soon enough to prevent the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide from its current level of 394 parts per million to more than 450 ppm—at which point, climatologists estimate, the average global temperature will rise by 2 °C. I wish all these promises would come true, but I think instead I’ll put my faith in clear-eyed technical assessments.

The matter of affordable costs is the hardest promise to assess, given the many assorted subsidies and the creative accounting techniques that have for years propped up alternative and renewable generation technologies. Both the European Wind Energy Association and the American Wind Energy Association claim that wind turbines already produce cheaper electricity than coal-fired power plants do, while the solar enthusiasts love to take the history of impressively declining prices for photovoltaic cells and project them forward to imply that we’ll soon see installed costs that are amazingly low.

But other analyses refute the claims of cheap wind electricity, and still others take into account the fact that photo­voltaic installations require not just cells but also frames, inverters, batteries, and labor. These associated expenses are not plummeting at all, and that is why the cost of electricity generated by residential solar systems in the United States has not changed dramatically since 2000. At that time the national mean was close to 40 U.S. cents per kilowatt­-hour, while the latest Solarbuzz data for 2012 show 28.91 cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny climates and 63.60 cents per kilowatt-­hour in cloudy ones. That’s still far more expensive than using fossil fuels, which in the United States cost between 11 and 12 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2011. The age of mass-scale, decentralized photovoltaic generation is not here yet.

Then consider the question of scale. Wind power is more advanced commercially than solar power, but with about 47 gigawatts in the United States at the end of 2011 it still accounted for less than 4 percent of the net installed summer generating capacity in that country. And because the capacity factors of U.S. wind turbines are so low, wind supplied less than 3 percent of all the electricity generated there in 2011.

It took 30 years—since the launch of small, modern wind turbines in 1980—to reach even that modest percentage. By comparison, nuclear power had accounted for 20 percent of all U.S. generation within 30 years of its launch in 1957, and gas turbines achieved 10 percent three decades after they went into operation in the early 1960s.

Projections of wind-power generation into the future have been misleadingly optimistic, because they are all based on initial increases from a minuscule base. So what if total global wind turbine capacity rose sixfold between 2001 and 2011? Such high growth rates are typical of systems in early stages of development, particularly when—as in this case—the growth has been driven primarily by subsidies.

And a new factor has been changing the prospects for wind and solar: the arrival of abundant supplies of natural gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, from shales. Fracking is uncommon outside the United States and Canada at the moment, but it could be used in many countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, which also have large shale deposits. Some countries, such as France and Germany, have banned the technology for fear of possible environmental effects, but such concerns accompany all new energy technologies, even those touted for their environmental virtues. And natural gas can be used to generate electricity in particularly efficient ways. For example, combined-cycle gas plants exploit the heat leaving the gas turbine to produce steam and generate additional electricity using a steam turbine. What’s more, gas turbine modules with up to 60 megawatts of capacity can be up and running within a month of delivery, and they can be conveniently sited so as to feed their output into existing transmission lines.

The siting of massive wind farms is also becoming increasingly contentious—many people don’t like their look, object to their noise, or worry about their effect on migrating birds and bats [see “Fixing Wind Power’s Bat Problem,” in this issue]. This has become a problem even for some offshore projects. For example, a vast project off Martha’s Vineyard island, in Massachusetts, which was supposed to be the first offshore wind farm in the United States, has been stalled for years because of local opposition. The intermittence of the wind makes it hard to estimate how much electricity can be generated in a few days’ time, and the shortage of operating experience with large turbines introduces even greater uncertainty over the long term. We’ll just have to wait to see how reliable they’ll be over their supposed lifetimes of 20 to 30 years and how much repair and maintenance they will require.

And, of course, you can’t use wind turbines unless you’re prepared to hook them to the grid by building lots of additional high-voltage transmission lines, an expensive and typically legally challenging undertaking.

Assuming that any major wind farms in the United States would be built on the Great Plains, where there is sufficient wind and land, developers would need to construct many thousands of kilometers of transmission lines to connect those farms to the main markets for electricity on the coasts. Of course, the connection challenge is easier for small countries (particularly if they can rely on their neighbors), which is one reason why Denmark became a leader in wind power.

In the United States, the problem goes beyond building new lines; it is also necessary to add them to an existing grid that is already stressed and inadequate. The most recent Report Card for American Infrastructure, prepared with 2009 data by the American Society of Civil Engineers, gives the country’s energy system a D+, largely because the grid is relatively old and its operations are repeatedly challenged by spikes of high summer demand. Raising that grade is more than a technical challenge, because improvements in infrastructure often face entrenched political opposition—the not-in-my-backyard syndrome.

As for Europe, there may be better interconnections, but it faces other problems in converting to wind and solar power. Its economic prospects are bleak, and that will limit its ability to invest massively in new technologies. Even Germany, the strongest European Union economy and a great proponent of new energies, has a difficult road ahead; it must find a replacement for its nuclear plants after having decided, following Japan’s nuclear disaster in Fukushima, to phase them out. This is no small challenge at a time when Germany is cutting its subsidies for wind and solar power and its economy is close to recession.

Government intervention is needed because the odds are poor that any private program will be massive enough to speed the conversion to new sources of energy. But even governments in the rich countries are having trouble shoring up essential infrastructure, mainly because of mounting debts. Their causes include uncontained health-care costs, trade deficits, uncompetitive manufacturing, and tax-­revenue shortfalls. At the same time, government subsidies to new energy technologies haven’t delivered on an often-made promise: They haven’t created many new, permanent, well-paid jobs either in the EU or the United States.

The ultimate justification for alternative energy centers on its mitigation of global warming: Using wind, solar, and biomass sources of energy adds less greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. But because greenhouse gases have global effects, the efficacy of this substitution must be judged on a global scale. And then we have to face the fact that the Western world’s wind and solar contributions to the reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions are being utterly swamped by the increased burning of coal in China and India.

The numbers are sobering. Between 2004 and 2009 the United States added about 28 GW of wind turbines. That’s the equivalent of fewer than 10 GW of coal-fired capacity, given the very different load factors. During the same period China installed more than 30 times [PDF] as much new coal-fired capacity in large central plants, facilities that have an expected life of at least 30 years. In 2010 alone China’s carbon-dioxide emissions increased by nearly 800 million metric tons, an equivalent of close to 15 percent of the U.S. total. In the same year the United States generated almost 95 terawatt-hours of electricity from wind, thus theoretically preventing the emission of only some 65 million tons of carbon dioxide. Furthermore, China is adding 200 GW of coal-fired plants by 2015, during which time the United States will add only about 30 GW of new wind capacity, equivalent to less than 15 GW of coal-fired generation. Of course, the rapid increase in the burning of Asian coal will eventually moderate, but even so, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cannot possibly stay below 450 ppm.

Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of energy transitions is their speed. Substituting one form of energy for another takes a long time. U.S. nuclear generation began to deliver 10 percent of all electricity after 23 years of operation, and it took 38 years to reach a 20 percent share, which occurred in 1995. It has stayed around that mark ever since. Electricity generation by natural gas turbines took 45 years to reach 20 percent.

In 2025 modern wind turbines will have been around for some 30 years, and if by then they supply just 15 percent of the electricity in the United States, it will be a stunning success. And even the most optimistic projects for solar generation don’t promise half that much. The quest for non­carbon sources of electricity is highly desirable, and eventually such sources will predominate. But this can happen only if planners have realistic expectations. The comparison to a giant oil tanker, uncomfortable as it is, fits perfectly: Turning it around takes lots of time.

And turning around the world’s fossil-fuel-based energy system is a truly gargantuan task. That system now has an annual throughput of more than 7 billion metric tons of hard coal and lignite, about 4 billion metric tons of crude oil, and more than 3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. This adds up to 14 trillion watts of power. And its infrastructure—coal mines, oil and gas fields, refineries, pipelines, trains, trucks, tankers, filling stations, power plants, transformers, transmission and distribution lines, and hundreds of millions of gasoline, kerosene, diesel, and fuel oil engines—constitutes the costliest and most extensive set of installations, networks, and machines that the world has ever built, one that has taken generations and tens of trillions of dollars to put in place.

It is impossible to displace this supersystem in a decade or two—or five, for that matter. Replacing it with an equally extensive and reliable alternative based on renewable energy flows is a task that will require decades of expensive commitment. It is the work of generations of engineers.


More Obama Green Energy Corruption

The previous green-energy crony-corruption column unraveled SolarReserve and its share of “meaningful” political connections –– Citigroup, a major investor in SolarReserve, also a top 2008 Obama donor, as well as two former Citigroup executives, one of whom is an Obama “buddy and bundler” and now has a “seat” at the White House, while the other served on President Obama’s Transition Team and now sits on his Jobs Council.

Then add more investor connections –– one of whom went on to be a 2008 Obama campaign advisor and then a DOE advisory role under Secretary Chu. Another was a 2008 Obama bundler who just so happened to be a frequent White House visitor, while the other was related to the former Speaker of the House. The mix is topped off with a high-powered lobbyist with White House connections, and several SolarReserve board members who just so happen to be 2008 (and 2010) Democrat, Harry Reid, and Obama donors.

The combination is a recipe for SolarReserve’s $737 million DOE “noninvestment” grade loan guarantee, which was rated a BB by Fitch and potential millions in a 1603 tax-free grant—both programs implemented under the 2009 Obama Stimulus package.

SolarReserve is only the first chapter in our green-energy crony-corruption story. The next is BrightSource Energy. Like SolarReserve, the BrightSource tale also has interesting political ties: Obama, Reid and Democrat donors, as well as a DOE advisor. However, it gets even brighter when you look into its high-powered investors.

As featured in the introduction, here is a quick overview of BrightSource’s green-energy crony-corruption Story:

BrightSource Energy has a three-unit power system project known as “Ivanpah,” located near the California/Nevada border, south of Las Vegas, which uses a proprietary power-tower solar thermal system. Ivanpah I and III have a BB+ rating while Ivanpah II is BB. On April 11, 2011, the DOE announced the finalization of $1.6 billion in loan guarantees for BrightSource’s Ivanpah project. The apparent “payoffs” to Democrats are myriad—the company having donated at least $21,600 to Democrats since 2008 (and zero dollars to Republicans). According to a Washington Free Beacon report, Senator Harry “Reid received almost $4,000 from Brightsource executives in the 2010 cycle, including $2,400 from CEO John Woolard, who hosted a fundraiser for the majority leader. Woolard is also a Barack Obama donor and has visited the White House 10 times since Obama took office.” Additionally, Sanjay Wagle (a significant 2008 Obama campaign supporter and contributor), a principal at Vantage Point Partners (the major stakeholder in BrightSource) was an advisor at the DOE at the time the loan was approved. And, John Bryson, BrightSource Chairman, became Obama’s Secretary of Commerce (although he resigned in June following a series of mysterious auto accidents) and has ties to an organization that helped craft the stimulus package.

The above thumbnail introduced the key players. Here we’ll really get to know them and, more specifically, their connections to the Obama administration.

John Bryson was Chairman of BrightSource Energy prior to his appointment as Secretary of Commerce with the Obama White House in May 2011—shortly after the BrightSource loan was approved. Bryson’s appointment was confirmed in October. The Washington Free Beacon reports: “According to financial disclosures, Bryson had up to $500,000 in stock options from BrightSource and a $700,000 advisory fee from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, an investment group that has bought a number of solar farms in California. He was also the CEO of Edison International, which obtained exclusive power purchase agreements for four of the solar projects, at the time the awards were issued.”

Bryson also has ties to Obama supporter George Soros. In 1970, Bryson was a co-founder of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which is funded, in part, by the Tides Foundation, to which philanthropist George Soros has donated more than $7 million over the years. Ron Arnold of the Green Tracking Library says: “the NRDC is one of the richest, most snobbish elite Big Green groups in America.” The NRDC is a member of and funder for the Apollo Alliance, a far left organization, which has boasted about being behind several of the Obama administration’s “green” initiatives, in addition to crafting “green” sections of the stimulus bill. (More on the Apollo Alliance in a future column.)

John Woolard is President and CEO of BrightSource Energy. A March 16 2012 hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) revealed that Woolard used his connections to try to get a “commitment” for the DOE loan for BrightSource—despite the fact that Secretary Chu has repeatedly said the loans were based on merit. During the hearing, Woolard said: “I believe that everything we did in our project was fully on the merits. It was a very solid project.” Yet, a series of emails involving Woolard show him interacting with decision-makers in the administration seeking political influence. HOGRC Chairman Issa told The Hill: “Clearly we have a discovery of emails showing there was direct conversation intended by the people having those conversations to be lobbying all the way up to and including President Obama.”

The emails reveal communications between Woolard and Matt Rogers, senior adviser to the secretary of energy for the Recovery Act, and between Woolard and Jonathan Silver, executive director of the Energy Department loan program. The January 2010 Woolard/Rogers email referenced a conversation between Peter Darbee, then-CEO and chairman of Pacific Gas and Electric, and President Obama that addressed the program’s challenges. At the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, emphasized to Woolard, PG& E and Darbee “had a vested interest in getting this thing approved because you were providing them their required commitment for green power.” The March 7, 2011, Woolard/Silver email asked Silver to look over a letter drafted by Woolard and then-Brightsource chairman John Bryson that requested direct White House influence in BrightSource’s loan guarantee application. The letter, intended to be sent to then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, said: “We need a commitment from the WH to quarterback loan closure between OMB and DOE.” It also included a request for “guidance and support from the White House.” One month after the email exchange asking for “direct White House influence,” the $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee was approved. Even the Washington Post confirms that: “venture capitalists who held advisory roles with the Energy Department were given access to Obama’s top advisers.”

According to the Washington Examiner report, “President Obama discussed the Department of Energy loan program with a stakeholder dependent on the DOE, and the conversation appears to have expedited the process.”

The “stakeholder” (Darbee) and Rogers and Silver each have their own interesting “connections” that can be found on the Green Corruption Blog.

Sanjay Wagle, according to the HOGRC report, “has most recently served as Renewable Energy Advisor to DOE under Secretary Chu.” The report continues, “Prior to arriving in Washington, Wagle was a principal at Vantage Point Venture Partners, a cleantech venture capital firm whose investments received $2.4 billion in taxpayer funds….His former firm and the companies it invested in, therefore had a large stake in the financing decisions being made by DOE at the time.” Wagle joined the DOE just as, according to the Washington Post, “the administration embarked on a massive program to stimulate the economy with federal investments in clean-technology firms.”

In addition to being a major stakeholder in BrightSource, Vantage Point received different types of government funding for at least nine green energy projects. (Note: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a Partner and Senior Advisor at Vantage Point.) The HOGRC report lists three of the nine projects, so the $2.4 billion cited in the report is probably really much higher.

Wagle was an Obama fundraiser for the 2008 campaign through his Clean Tech for Obama group. In time for the 2012 election cycle, Wagle left the DOE and has returned to California to work as an investor and clean-tech advisor. Like some of his DOE peers (Steve Spinner and Steve Westly), he has probably gone back to fundraising for Obama.

Bernie Toon, who served then-Senator Joe Biden as his Chief of Staff, became a lobbyist for BrightSource Energy on March 6, 2011. According to the Wall Street Journal, “BrightSource spent more than $500,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of 2010 through the second quarter of 2011.” $40,000 of the lobbying money went to Toon—which paid off immediately. Toon, and BrightSource executives made two visits to the White House in March. The loan was approved the following month. Toon’s contract ended the day after BrightSource got the loan.

In addition to these high-profile connections, BrightSource Energy’s investors include other top Obama donors including Google, Morgan Stanley, BP Alternative Energy, and Goldman Sachs—though, according to Forbes, “the federal loan guarantee is financing the bulk of Invanpah’s construction costs.”

As we’ve seen with SolarReserve, and now with BrightSource Energy, the companies who get the government funding are those with inside connections that may be decades old, as in the case of Toon, or current, as in the case of John Bryson, who would still be Secretary of Commerce if not for the recent car incidents. Sadly, the widely publicized Solyndra story, SolarReserve and BrightSource Energy are just three of the many stories in the green-energy crony-corruption saga. Next week, we’ll profile two energy companies not only in Senator Harry Ried's back yard, but with unique political connections and even DOE violations.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

High cost and nil effect: that's Australia's carbon tax

ONE of the main reasons the Gillard government is so unsuccessful in selling its carbon tax is that its overall narrative is so utterly dishonest.

Here is the key example. The government and its countless, mostly paid, carbon tax spruikers would have you believe that the Australian carbon tax is in line with most international practice.

Here is a sharp reality check. Nowhere in the world, in any significant jurisdiction, is any carbon tax or market-based mechanism having a significant economic or environmental impact.

There is a thick cloud of fantastic obfuscation and misleading falderol all around this issue.

So I asked Warwick McKibbin of the Australian National University, formerly a board member of the Reserve Bank, and the Australian economist who has done the most serious academic work on carbon markets and the like, about it.

I don't want to verbal McKibbin and attribute to him views he doesn't hold. He supports a very specific type of carbon market mechanism, completely unlike the one the government is introducing.

However, on the matter of simple fact, I asked McKibbin whether any market-based system anywhere has produced any significant greenhouse gas abatement.

His reply: "Right now, no. The only evidence is in the models."

That's a very telling statement. No market mechanism has had any success in greenhouse gas abatement. The only evidence that it might have some success is in the modelling the various schemes' designers have contrived in their heads and on their computers.

McKibbin continues: "There is no evidence of substantial reductions in emissions through a market-based mechanism, nor any other mechanism really, except building nuclear power stations."

I put the same question to Nicholas Linacre, who now runs a consultancy in Washington. He was director of carbon markets in the Climate Change Department in Canberra until Kevin Rudd abandoned the proposed emissions trading scheme. He left the public service and went to Washington where last year he wrote the World Bank's official State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2011 report.

He told me he agrees with McKibbin's assessment: no existing market mechanism is having much effect anywhere.

But what about the European carbon market that the government makes so much of?

Says McKibbin: "The recession in Europe has brought down emissions much more than any carbon price the Europeans have implemented."

The US has no national carbon price, but what about the couple of US state-based schemes?

McKibbin again: "The recession in the US has brought down emissions much more than the state-based systems. People I speak to in the US are very pessimistic about their current schemes ever having an effect."

There are two main US state-based schemes. The western scheme is based on California but it doesn't start until next year and is very unlikely to have any substantial effect. The other, in the northeast, has such a high cap and such a low price that it has negligible economic, or greenhouse gas, consequence.

Yet the government talks of these schemes as though they have been up and running for years, turning whole economies away from carbon. That's a giant, giant con. It just ain't remotely so.

The truth is, as the Productivity Commission concluded, no economy anywhere in the world is doing anything like the Australian carbon tax with a price of $23 a tonne.

Says Linacre: "No one's doing anything comparable (to the Australian tax). Australia is setting the highest price.

"Carbon prices across the globe are relatively low, so many Australian companies are keen to buy (carbon) credits internationally because in theory they'll get a lower price. This is why (Climate Change Minister Greg) Combet is trying to renegotiate the floor price with the Greens."

The Gillard government's carbon tax is designed not to lower Australia's greenhouse gas emissions but to make them increase more slowly, and we are to buy our carbon reductions on the international market.

This is the Green Development mechanism. However, Linacre does not believe such an international trading scheme will ever really work.

He says: "This mechanism of carbon credits may not survive because Europe is turning away from it. Most low-cost carbon credits are coming out of China, and Europe won't accept those any more. So will we be buying the credits Europe won't buy?"

I did not get to explore this issue with Linacre but Europe won't accept China's credits because everyone knows they are mostly shonky. There has been a certain amount of actual fraud. There has been a lot of spurious activity undertaken and then forgone wholly for the purpose of creating carbon credits. The whole thing is absolutely ropey. No intelligent person would waste two bob on it if politics didn't require it.

The Gillard government and its acolytes talk incessantly about the fact that a couple of Chinese provinces have talked about the possibility of trialling a market mechanism.

They treat this airy policy speculation as though China already had a carbon price and carbon market and was utterly committed to this.

Says McKibbin: "The Chinese prices they are talking about are tiny. What we have hit the economy with is a very high price."

Says Linacre: "In the case of China I find myself very sceptical. They say they are going to do something one day but they are arguing so strongly against the European aviation carbon trading scheme. They won't provide the information the Europeans need for their calculations. I don't believe the Chinese are going to do anything myself."

The New Zealanders have watered down their low-price scheme. The Canadians say they will never have one. The Japanese lost interest in a carbon market after Fukushima; and while the South Koreans have made a notional pledge to start a scheme in 2015, it is yet to be designed and is likely to be infinitely less consequential than ours.

In other words, we are imposing a cost on our economy unlike that imposed by any other government. You can probably find the occasional carbon price notionally greater than Australia's, but it is inevitably levied on such as small a segment of the economy, and paid by so few that its impact is not comparable.

No one in the developing world is going anywhere near this line of policy. Indonesia, a country I love, sometimes talks a good game on carbon. Many countries do this for political reasons. But only actions count. Indonesia continues to give huge fuel subsidies to its people. This is the opposite of a carbon tax. It is a carbon subsidy.

The Australian carbon tax is a species orphan, the Collins-class submarine of global environmental policy. It is environmentally inconsequential, economically costly, administratively nightmarish and unlike anything else in the world. Policy folly that it is, the Gillard government would still have a better chance of selling it if it occasionally told the truth about 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


7 July, 2012


6 July, 2012

More of that glorious Greenie data faking

Pesticides researcher guilty of faking data; two papers to be retracted

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has found that a neuroscientist who studied the effects of pesticides on a mouse model of Parkinson's disease made up data.

As The Scientist reported on Friday, the ORI found that Mona Thiruchelvam faked cell counts in two grant applications and a number of papers that claimed to show how the pesticides paraquat, maneb, and atrazine might affect parts of the brain involved in Parkinson's. The Scientist notes:

A collaborator at UMDNJ first brought the matter to the attention of university research integrity officials a few years after Thiruchelvam joined the university in 2003, when he realized she was publishing cell density data without using his lab as she had done before. An initial inquiry was launched, for which Thiruchelvam provided the name of a researcher in California who she said had provided her with data.

The witness, who Thiruchelvam said by that point had moved to England, was called and confirmed the story, but further investigation by UMDNJ revealed that this was a false witness. When investigators got a hold of the actual person Thiruchelvam had named, they learned she still resided in California and that she denied providing any data to Thiruchelvam.

Thiruchelvam produced 293 data files she said were the product of a confocal microscope system manufactured by the company Micro Bright Field (MBF). When UMDNJ investigators gave MBF the data to interpret, the company concluded that the files were corrupted and couldn't be verified as real or false.

However, when the case was passed to the ORI for oversight review, agents used forensic computing software to determine that many of the files, despite having different file names and dates, were identical in content.

Thiruchelvam has agreed to retract two papers:

Rodriguez, V.M., Thiruchelvam, M., & Cory-Slechta, D.A. "Sustained Exposure to the Widely Used Herbicide, Atrazine: Altered Function and Loss of Neurons in Brain Monamine Systems." Environ Health Perspect. 113(6):708-715, 2005, cited 36 times, according to Thomson Scientific's Web of Knowledge

Thiruchelvam, M., Prokopenko, O., Cory-Slechta, D.A., Richfield, E.K., Buckley, B., & Mirochnitchenko, O. "Overexpression of Superoxide Dismutase or Glutathione Peroxidase Protects against the Paraquat + Maneb-induced Parkinson Disease Phenotype." J. Biol. Chem. 280(23):22530-22539, 2005, cited 74 times

The JBC paper had already been the subject of a correction in 2008 in which co-author Eric Richfield was removed. We asked Richfield why his name was taken off the paper, but he declined to comment. It's not clear if Richfield is the collaborator referred to in The Scientist story.

The JBC usually prints unhelpful one-line retraction notices saying only whether the study has been retracted by the author or editor, and claims that any other information is confidential.

Given that the ORI has given the reasons for this retraction in the Federal Register, we'll see what the JBC publishes.

Thiruchelvam left UMDNJ in February 2010, according to The Scientist, and is now barred from receiving federal grants for seven years. That's a longer ban than we typically see in ORI cases.


Michael Mann's Hissy Fit Shows Why Global Warming Alarmists Fear Debate

Last month I received a worried telephone call from a government official in California. An Orange County government agency was holding a water summit, just days away, and one of the speakers was throwing a last-minute hissy fit about a fellow speaker scheduled for his panel. According to the official, the speaker throwing the hissy fit, Climategate central figure Michael Mann, was expressing indignation that the other speaker allegedly did not have the scientific credentials to share a stage with him. The official worried that Mann would back out of his speaking appearance, after Orange County had extensively advertised Mann's appearance there, if they did not remove the scientist to whom Mann objected. As cameraman Larry exclaimed after a Phil Connors hissy fit in the movie Groundhog Day, "Prima Donna!"

The government official was hoping for some good scientific give and take on the panel. Accordingly, he asked me if I could identify highly qualified scientists who could give a different perspective on global warming than alarmist Mann, and at the same time match Mann's inflated view of his own credentials.

The Michael Mann hissy fit, I advised the government official, likely had little to do with the other speaker's credentials. From my own experience with Mann and other politically driven global warming alarmists, they will go to great lengths to avoid appearing on the public stage in a format that requires them to debate or defend their alarmist assertions in the presence of scientists who actually focus on facts rather than scare tactics. I nevertheless gave the government official a list of highly qualified skeptical scientists and wished him good luck with his upcoming conference. "Don't be surprised, however, if Mann refuses to take the stage with any of these scientists, or anybody else who will ask him challenging questions on the panel," I predicted. "I know that scientists are supposed to encourage and celebrate critical thinking and open debate, but alarmists like Mann are scientists in only the loosest sense of the term."

A few days later I ran into one of the scientists I had included on my list, Patrick Michaels. Dr. Michaels is a senior fellow in research and economic development at George Mason University. He spent many years as a research scientist at the University of Virginia. He is the former State Climatologist for the State of Virginia. He is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists. He has a Ph.D. in ecological climatology and has been published repeatedly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. If anybody, regardless of their views on the global warming debate, was qualified to speak at the Orange County conference, it would be Patrick Michaels.

I asked Michaels if anybody had contacted him about speaking at the conference. Michaels responded that they had contacted him and that he told them he would be happy to participate, but they never followed up with an invitation to speak. Indeed, despite the government official's strong desire to have balance on the panel, no other scientist appeared on the panel.

I don't mean to say "I told you so," but I told you so..

The Orange County conference, as it turned out, offered a perfect illustration of why alarmists like Michael Mann are so afraid of public debate. In his efforts to scare the audience into sharing his alarmist global warming views, Mann presented a number of arguments that were scientifically laughable. Any objective scientist knowledgeable on global warming issues would have picked Mann's arguments apart and in the process exposed Mann's presentation for the scaremongering that it was.

Mann's final slide in his PowerPoint presentation provides a perfect illustration and summary of Mann's unscientific scaremongering throughout his presentation. Mann's final slide showed a picture of his daughter, a picture of a polar bear sitting on a strikingly small iceberg, and a number of assertions about global warming. According to Mann's slide, our children and grandchildren "may come of age at a time when:

"Polar bears . will be the stuff of myth

"There will be no Great Barrier Reef to explore

"Giraffes and elephants will no longer loom in the foreground of the majestic snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro

"Great coastal cities such as Amsterdam, Venice, and New Orleans will join the lost city of Pompeii. ."

Let's examine these claims one by one.

Mann says polar bears may go extinct by the time his daughter and her children come of age. Yet polar bear populations are rising dramatically. As Canadian polar bear researcher Mitch Taylor reported after this year's official polar bear count, "There aren't just a few more bears. There are a hell of a lot more bears."

The polar bear population has roughly doubled during the past 35 years, precisely during the time when global temperatures began modestly rising again after a 30-year cooling trend. Now Mann claims the world's 25,000 or so polar bears will go extinct within the next 40 or so years? Oh, please..

Mann says the Great Barrier Reef may disappear within the next 40 years. The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 133,000 square miles and has expanded during the warming temperatures of the twentieth century. Moreover, recent peer-reviewed research shows coral reefs are benefiting from warming temperatures. Now Mann claims the Great Barrier Reef will completely disappear in 40 or so years? Oh, please..

Mann says global warming may cause the glacier atop Mt. Kilimanjaro to soon disappear. Scientists, however, report that temperatures at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro rarely if ever rise above freezing. The much-ballyhooed decline in Kilimanjaro's mountaintop glacier, scientists report, is being caused by a recent decline in snowfall in the region rather than declining temperatures. Now Mann claims global warming will cause the Kilimanjaro mountaintop glacier to disappear in the next 40 or so years? Oh, please..

Mann says Amsterdam, Venice, and New Orleans may "join the lost city of Pompeii." Correct me if I am wrong, but there are no imminently erupting volcanoes in the vicinity of Amsterdam, Venice, or New Orleans. And even if such volcanoes were to miraculously appear and then erupt during the next 40 or so years, I don't think global warming will be to blame. Oh, please..

If Michael Mann had presented any of these arguments on a panel with an objective participating scientist, he would have been laughed off the stage. This explains why he throws hissy fits about having objective scientists sit on his panels.

And this, in short, is the state of the debate regarding global warming. Alarmists make ridiculous claims in the hope of swaying an uninformed populace. They refuse to allow critical objective critiques of their work. And when a skeptical scientist presents objective data that call the ridiculous claims into question, they accuse the skeptical scientist of being "anti-science."

Thank you, Michael Mann, for perfectly illustrating why global warming media hounds are so frightened of public debate.


Sweden Records One Of Its Coldest and Wettest June Months Since Records Began In 1786

The English language Swedish online news site The reports on how the weather in Sweden has been so far during the month of June: wet & cold.

According to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), temperatures have been well below average in June, at just 13.3 degrees Celsius. Normal is 15.2øC.

On June 2, the temperature in Stockholm rose only to 6øC, the coldest high in 84 years, read more here. Earlier in the month one town recorded a temperature of 6øC below zero - the coldest June temperature in Sweden in 20 years. Snow even blanketed parts of northern Sweden.

Normally in the month of June, the mercury rises to 25øC or more on just days 5 days on average. This June the mercury never reached that mark. In fact it didn't even reach the 22øC mark. The high temperature for June in Stockholm was only 21.6øC. This is only the second time the temperature has failed to reach 25øC in June in 92 years.

What's behind the unusual cool weather? An SMHI spokesman explains it to us: "Sweden's climate has become both warmer and rainier because of global warming, and rainfall and storms have increased in recent years."

I'm glad he cleared that up.

June has also been a very wet month. According to the SMHI, Stockholm recorded a record rainfall so far for the month: 145.8 millimetres, the most since records began in 1786.


Windstorms in the Netherlands at a record low

A 101 year record of windstorms in the Netherlands

Stephen Cusack


A 101 year time-series of storm losses in the Netherlands is developed from the near-surface wind speed records at five Dutch stations. Station metadata combined with results from statistical tests were used to homogenise the data and retain the temporal variability driven solely by changes in climate processes. The wind speed data were transformed into storm damage using a model measuring loss impacts upon society.

The resulting windstorm loss time-series for the Netherlands contains some interesting features. Annual losses are stable over the whole period and have a dominant cycle with a period of about 50 years. The Netherlands is currently experiencing the minimum aggregate storm damage of the past 100 years, though only slightly lower than a quiet period of 50 years ago. Both of these minima are driven primarily by lowered rates of occurrence of damaging storms. However, further analysis reveals the present-day minimum has different characteristics from the previous lull: currently, the frequency of stronger storms is slightly above the previous minimum whereas the frequency of weaker storms is uniquely low. A seasonal analysis provides more information: there is a dearth of damaging storms in the earlier half of the storm season in the present day; since this period contains generally weaker storms, this seasonality is also manifested as a lack of weaker storms. These results suggest a different mix of climate forcing mechanisms in modern times compared to 50 years ago, in the earlier half of the storm season.

Climatic Change 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0527-0

Organization is "non-partisan" but was founded to combat climate change

Maybe I should found a non-partisan organization to oppose Obamacare! Come to think of it....

Just as easy as a consumer knows how many calories are in a 12 oz. can of Miller Lite (70), an architectural movement is calling for labels on every construction product that identify its "global warming number."

Architecture 2030, a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization established in 2002 in response to the climate change, is challenging the architecture, design and building communities to design structures that cut fossil fuel usage to zero by 2030.

As part of the challenge, group wants all products to cut their carbon footprint by 50 percent, covering the greenhouse gas emissions of a product from the raw resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, construction, usage, and end-of-life stage.

For structures as a whole, the challenge asks that all new buildings immediately be designed and built with an energy consumption level that is 60 percent below the nation's average, with a gradual scale leading to carbon neutral by 2030.


Local warming ("4 times faster than average") good for crabs and the birds that eat them

Scientists have shown that climate change has resulted in winners as well as losers with a study revealing that lesser black-backed gulls are booming in the North Sea.

The warming water has created an abundance of swimming crabs that are picked off by the greedy gulls. The experts have identified that the arrival of a new warm water species - Henslow's swimming crab, Polybius henslowii - might by an important crustacean in the cycle.

It spends more time swimming at the surface that any other species, and the crab has colonised the North Sea as it has warmed by 1 degree C since the mid 1980s. That level of warming is four times faster than the global average.

The scientists, led by Dr Richard Kirby from Plymouth University, have shown that an increase in crab larvae in the plankton is followed the next year by an increase in adult crabs.

And three to four years later there is an increase in the numbers of breeding pairs of lesser black-backed gulls that feed upon the crabs. This time period is the same as it takes for chicks of the gulls to reach maturity and start to breed.



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, 2012

Climate Change Is Already Shrinking Crop Yields

The story below is a laugh a minute. A world warming due to high CO2 levels would produce FLOURISHING crops -- as CO2 is their basic food and a warmer world would be wetter. So if any of the stories about crop failures below are true, they indicate global COOLING -- which does in fact appear to be happening

For years now, people have wondered how climate change will affect farming. How will humanity feed itself during a time of rising temperatures and recurring drought?

Here in the US, we're starting to get a taste of things to come—and it's bitter. Brutal heat is now roiling the main growing regions for corn, soy, and wheat, the biggest US crops. According to Bloomberg News, 71 percent of the Midwest is experiencing "drier-than-normal conditions," and temperatures are projected to be above 90 degrees in large swaths of key corn/soy-growing states Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana through July 7 if not longer.

As a result, Goldman Sachs projects that this year's corn yields will come in 7.5 percent below the USDA's projection of 166 bushels an acre. (Why is a Wall Street behemoth like Goldman Sachs fussing over corn yields? That's another story, altogether, and an interesting one). Accordingly, crop prices are rising steeply, Bloomberg reports.

Of course, we can't tie any individual heat wave to long-term climate trends—there's plenty of random weather variation even in times of climate stability. But we do know that hot, dry weather can stunt plant growth and reduce yields—and we also know that we can expect more hot, dry weather in key growing regions as the climate warms up.

I hope the current heat wave gets policymakers thinking about the effect of climate change on food, because for for a long time, the consensus was that global warming might be more or less neutral for agriculture. Sure, the thinking went, climate change will likely make droughts more common and make some already-hot areas too hot for farming; but it will also lengthen the growing season in cold-winter areas like the US Midwest, perhaps increasing crop yields. Also, all that carbon dioxide we're pumping into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels would be manna to plants, allowing them to grow faster. These factors, many thought, would largely cancel each other out, and mean that climate change would have no great effect on global food production.

But back in 2008, a pair of researchers from the USDA and Columbia University shattered that comforting idea. In a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, they looked at three major US crops (corn, soy, and cotton) and found that rising temperatures would indeed cause a slight increase in crop yields—up to a certain point. But when temperatures climb above that critical threshold, yields would plunge dramatically. And here's the kicker: At current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, average temperatures are expected to rise well above the critical levels identified by the researchers. As a result, they project that yields will fall by the end of this century by as much as 43 percent "under the slowest warming scenario" and 79 percent "under the most rapid warming scenario."

The paper should have exploded like a bomb in US and even global policy circles. The US produces around 40 percent of the entire globe's corn and soy, the authors pointed out. The global food system is highly geared to those crops, and dwindling production in the US heartland would be devastating. You'd think policymakers would have been compelled to act. Instead, they looked the other way. President Obama's tepid push for a climate bill collapsed ignominiously in the Senate, and the much-ballyhooed Copenhagen global climate talks ended in a cloud of hot air.
According to Monsanto's own data, its drought-tolerant corn seeds don't work any better than already-existing conventional varieties.

And then in 2011, another major study, this one published in Science, found that climate change is already biting into yields of major crops. By 2008, global corn and wheat were 3.8 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, lower than they would have been without climate change, they found. For soy and rice, the good and bad effects of climate change had, to that point, largely balanced out, they found. But these crops, too, could eventually see lower yields as temperatures keep rising.

What to do about this, especially when it seems apparent that there will be no global pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions any time soon?


Climate Scientists Ripping-Off The U.S. Taxpayer? Lonnie Thompson & Ellen Mosley-Thompson

Billions have been invested in climate science research by the American taxpayers with the expectations that climate scientists would produce results that would become part of the public record - but some scientists appear to be ethically-challenged

It's a great lifetime gig if one is comfortable by making a career of ripping-off the U.S. taxpayer. Just get the taxpayer to repeatedly fund your climate science "research" trips, literally from Pole-to-Pole, and then just conveniently forget to produce the scientific results in the manner required by Federal policies. And, by the way, don't worry your pretty little head because neither the science bureaucrats, nor the appropriate Federal agencies (hmmm....the IRS?), nor any spineless politico will actually challenge your perpetual forgetfulness or your ethical and moral compass.

Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit very bluntly describes how the Thompson "scientists" have been doing this for decades and the public has nothing in return other than some basic ice core squiggle charts, like the one above.

What are they required to produce if funded by the Feds?

* "...despite clear U.S. federal government policies dating back to 1991 which, on paper, require thorough data archiving by the climate community as a condition of receiving grants."

* "Full and open sharing of the full suite of global data sets for all global change researchers is a fundamental objective. As data are made available, global change researchers should have full and open access to them without restrictions on research use…"

* "The data products and their metadata will be provided in a standard exchange format no later than the grant final report or the publication of the data product’s associated results, whichever comes first."

And what did the public and science community receive instead?

* "Unfortunately, the U.S. climate funding bureaucracy has been thoroughly co-opted by the climate industry and has failed to enforce regulations that, on paper, would require the Thompsons and others to archive data."

* "While Lonnie Thompson has been a frequent example at Climate Audit of a serial non-archiver, it turns out that Ellen Mosley-Thompson is even worse. Mrs Lonnie has spent her entire career in the ice core business> According to her CV, she has led “nine expeditions to Antarctica and six to Greenland to retrieve ice cores”. However, a search of the NOAA paleo archive for data archived by Mrs Lonnie shows only one data set from Antarctica or Greenland associated with her. Lest this example be taken to mar her otherwise unblemished record of non-archiving, the data was published in 1981 while she was still junior...I believe that it’s fair that she has not archived at NOAA (or, to my knowledge, elsewhere) any data from the “nine expeditions to Antarctica and six to Greenland”."

* "Squiggles for 6 of Mrs Lonnie’s Greenland cores (5 PARCA and one 1989 core) and 3 of her Antarctic cores (dating back to the early 1990s) were shown in a 2006 article. None of this data has been archived."

* "The total failure of the PARCA program to archive a single d18O measurement is really quite remarkable."

As we said, a great lifetime gig if one has no conscience or scruples.

Honestly, is it any wonder why the public has such low regard for the climate science community? Is it really that difficult for the academia and government 'elites' to understand why the public's trust in science has faded in recent years when this type of crap happens and officials keep condoning these Federal "science" rip-offs?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Exxon CEO blames 'illiterate' public for 'overreacting' to global warming

This will give Warmists erections all round -- to have a genuine representatice of Big Oil opposing them reinforces all their fantasies

The CEO of ExxonMobile says fossil fuels might be causing the Earth to warm, but says a collaboration of scaremongering environmentalists, 'lazy journalists' and the 'illiterate public' are blowing the problem out of proportion.

Rex Tillerson, who leads the world's largest oil company, believes the true impact of climate change cannot be accurately predicted by scientists. And whatever fallout might come from the, he said, humans will be able to adapt.

Meanwhile, scientists claim the disastrous effects of global warming are on display across the nation right now, as American celebrate the July Four holiday with record heat, dangerous thunderstorms and the remnants of horrific wildfire still burning in Colorado.

Tillerson dismissed the dire warnings about consequences of possible global warming. 'We have spent our entire existence adapting. We’ll adapt,' he said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. 'It’s an engineering problem and there will be an engineering solution.'

He added that the oil industry is capable of providing cheap, reliable and safe energy well into the future.

Fears about spills, environmental contamination and the disastrous effects of global warming are overblown by environmental groups that 'manufacture fear' and 'lazy' journalists who report their findings without checking that the claims are valid, Tillerson said.

Because of this, he said, the industry's biggest challenge is 'taking an illiterate public and try to help them understand why we can manage these risks.'


More Greenie tyranny

A small seaside village in Oregon was forced to cancel its Independence Day fireworks display that has been a lifeblood for local businesses -- and this decision was for the birds.

Depoe Bay has attracted hundreds of visitors every July 3 for nearly 20 years with a pyrotechnics show that filled its small motels and brought diners into its restaurants.

But now, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has demanded a halt to the fireworks because they disturb nearby seabird nests.

In 2010, a resident called the federal agency to report that the explosion of the rockets over Pirates Cove sent flocks of bird fleeing their nests in terror, the Oregonian reports.

The next year, regulators studied the behavior of the fowl, such as the Brandt's Cormorant, during the fireworks show. They used aerial photography, video footage and observers on the ground watching the nests, as well.

They discovered some of the cormorants fled their nests and returned to find that predators had destroyed or damaged their eggs.

'We did document disturbance, including nests that were lost,' Rebecca Chuck, a project leader with the Fish and Wildlife Service, told the newspaper.

The village fought the conclusion, arguing that the harm to the birds from one fireworks show each year was minimal.

But the federal government threatened that Oregon could be held liable under the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, even though the Brandt's Cormorant is not listed as endangered or threatened by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

This year, the state refused to issue a permit for fireworks to Depoe Bay.

'It's a great loss to our community,' Peggy Leoni, co-owner of Trollers Lodge, a small motel, told the Oregonian.

Business owners have tried drawing tourists to the village this year with a series of sidewalk sales, events and restaurants specials.

However, they say no matter what they do, their efforts will not attract nearly the numbers of people that the fireworks show did.


Cold Comfort

By Alan Caruba

Unless you live in Seattle, you likely did not know that the National Weather Service just announced that the city endured its third coolest June on record. As much of America swelters through a heat wave, it’s not surprising that the usual suspects are telling everyone that it’s because of “global warming.”

On July 3rd Seth Borenstein, a reporter for the Associated Press, a newswire service that has been reporting global warming lies for decades, wrote that “If you want a glimpse of some of the worst of global warming, scientists suggest taking a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks.”


It did not take long for the high priests of global warming to proclaim the current WEATHER to be CLIMATE. There’s a very big difference. Weather is what is occurring now while climate is measured in terms of centuries. It’s about trends and cycles.

It surely has been a hot summer thus far. Reuters reported that “more than 2,000 temperature records have been matched or broken in the past week as a brutal heat wave baked much of the United States.” The announcement was made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on July 2nd.

Meteorologist Joe Bastardi took another reporter to task for coupling the heat wave with global warming, pointing out that “The US is less than 10% of the globe” while ignoring that "Scandinavia had coldest June on record and that Australia is having a bad winter.”

What we should all know by now is that the Warmists all use trickery to advance their hoax.

The simple fact is that heat waves are nothing new. In 1936 a North American heat wave was the most severe in the modern history of the continent. It occurred in the middle of the Great Depression, killing more than 5,000 Americans and desiccating vast amounts of crops. To put it in perspective, there were no home air conditioning appliances at the time. People depended on fans to circulate the air.

The sun surely is hot, but its heat—solar radiation—has not been sufficient to avoid cyclical ice ages and short term periods of intense cold because the sun itself goes through cycles of increasing and diminishing solar radiation.

There was a “Little Ice Age” that lasted between 1550 and 1850. Temperatures dropped to the point that the Thames River in England froze over and “frost fairs” were held on its surface. It was felt through Europe and parts of North America.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Matt Ridley noted that “Over the past million years, it has been as warm as this or warmer for less than 10% of the time, during 11 brief episodes known as interglacial periods,” adding that “this warm spell is already 11,600 years old, and it must surely, in the normal course of things, come to an end.”

The average length of interglacial periods is 11,500 years.

In the 1970s, prior to the global warming hoax, many scientists were convinced that a new ice age had begun. In January 2012, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Habibullo Abdusamatov, predicted that the next ice age will begin in 2014 and will last at least two centuries. Regarding the timing, he could be right. He could be wrong. One thing is sure. The Earth is overdue another ice age.

My friend, Robert W. Felix, the author of “Not by Fire, But by Ice”, is an expert on ice ages and magnetic reversals. It is the latter that accompanied mass extinctions such as the dinosaur’s fate and many other species at the end of the Cretaceous period. In ice ages, the Earth’s water doesn’t disappear, it turns to ice. The current growth of the planet’s glaciers is an indicator of what is actually occurring.

Another indicator, of course, is the sun. On January 29, 2012, writing in the Daily Mail, a British newspaper, David Rose noted that “The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the plane has not warmed for the past 15 years.”

“After emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters, and a shortening of the season available for growing food. Solar output goes through 11-year cycles, with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak.”

“We are now at what should be the peak of what scientists call ‘Cycle 24’…but sunspot numbers are running at less than half those seen during cycle peaks in the 20th century.” Oddly, despite the obvious and documented effect of the sun on the planet’s average temperature, there remain scientists who are unconvinced of its essential role. Only a relative few even understand the role of magnetic reversals on the planet’s history.

Actually, the diminishing number of sunspots has been known for a while. In June 2010, Stuart Clark, writing in The New Scientist, observed that “For the past two years, the sunspots have mostly been missing. Their absence, the most prolonged for nearly a hundred years, has taken even seasoned sun watchers by surprise.”

The obvious often catches people by surprise. The last Ice Age came on very swiftly and the next is likely to do so as well. In the meantime, the current heat wave will capture everyone’s attention.


Legal action against corrupt temperature records

In New Zealand there is an ongoing legal action against the government producer of the New Zealand temperature record, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research Limited [NIWA].

Researchers found the temperature record produced by NIWA had a warming bias which basically created a warming trend of 1ºC per century when the raw data showed no increase at all. After being stonewalled by NIWA the researchers issued a Statement of Claim seeking a Judicial Review of the temperature record.

The Defence issued by NIWA was novel in that it claimed there was no official New Zealand temperature record [clauses 6 & 7].

An Amended Statement of Claim was issued and the case is now at the Affidavit stage.

Could a similar case be brought in Australia challenging the validity of the Australian temperature record which is prepared by the Bureau of Meteorology [BOM]?

There are similarities between BOM and NIWA: both have adjusted their temperature record and both have created a warming trend through the adjustments.

The BOM’s temperature has adjusted their temperature by approximately 40%. This appears not to be consistent with criteria laid down by Torok and Nicholls and Della-Marta et al.

However a complication with BOM is that they have replaced the former High quality network [HQ] with the new improved ACORN adjusted temperature network. In ACORN supposedly the problems with the HQ network which involved the creation of a warming trend have been corrected. However the temperature trend in ACORN is greater than in the HQ network!

Clearly the ACORN temperature network has not corrected the problem. But is it possible to litigate the ACORN temperature record and, as in New Zealand, seek a Judicial Review that the ACORN record is flawed and misleading?

More HERE (The article goes on to argue that a legal challenge is possible but expensive)


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, 2012

The current U.S. climate extremes are due to global warming -- Natch

Everything is, after all (Even though we haven't had any global warming since 1998). Anthony Watts is a bit more specific:

I cringe every time I see stories like the one being pushed in the Associated Press today by AP science writer Seth Borenstein: My Way News - This US summer is `what global warming looks like' Even Drudge picked it up.

The amount of unsupported speculation trying to be passed off as science is nothing more than the classic appeal to authority. In this case, the "authority" is NCAR's Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a man with so much hatred for alternate viewpoints that he refused to remove the holocaust word "denier" from his keynote address to the American Meteorological Society.

This reminds me of the Russian heat wave of 2010. The same people made essentially the same comments, then months later the peer reviewed literature (published by NOAA researchers no less) said that it was caused by natural variation.a blocking high pressure pattern. That was followed up by another paper saying the same thing:

We have essentially the same thing happening here, a persistent quasi-stationary weather pattern, part of the normal natural variation.

As for the derecho [a long-lived, straight-line windstorm], it is hardly new. The word was first used in the American Meteorological Journal in 1888 by Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs in a paper describing the phenomenon and based on a significant derecho event that crossed Iowa on 31 July 1877. Further, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has catalogued them through the years. According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, climatology, the Washington DC area gets a derecho about once every four years:

As I said in my essay, The idea that the recent derecho is linked to global warming is pure folly spun by people that wish to exploit any remotely plausible situation for political purposes. It happens on a regular basis, for example when they try to link tornado outbreaks to global warming:

Or how about the disparity in "weather is not climate except when we say it is" blame game: New York Times Blames 2009?s Record Cold on Natural Factors - But Blamed Record Warmth in 2000 on Man-Made Global Warming!

Given how badly global warming is faring in the minds of the public according to the last Washington Post/Stanford poll: Global warming no longer Americans' top environmental concern, poll finds is clear they are desperate to sell any connection because the public will probably not hear about the science studies that will follow.

It is another shameful attempt to do just that by Dr. Kevin Trenberth aided by Seth Borenstein's media bully pulpit. I will give Borenstein at least one credit though, he asked Dr. John Christy what he thought about it and printed it:

"history is full of such extremes, said John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He's a global warming skeptic who says, "The guilty party in my view is Mother Nature."`

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

"Great Green Fleet" sails, meets stiff headwinds in Congress

A U.S. Navy oiler slipped away from a fuel depot on the Puget Sound in Washington state one recent day, headed toward the central Pacific and into the storm over the Pentagon's controversial green fuels initiative.

In its tanks, the USNS Henry J. Kaiser carried nearly 900,000 gallons of biofuel blended with petroleum to power the cruisers, destroyers and fighter jets of what the Navy has taken to calling the "Great Green Fleet," the first carrier strike group to be powered largely by alternative fuels.

Conventionally powered ships and aircraft in the strike group will burn the blend in an operational setting for the first time this month during the 22-nation Rim of the Pacific exercise, the largest annual international maritime warfare maneuvers. The six-week exercise began on Friday.

The Pentagon hopes it can prove the Navy looks as impressive burning fuel squeezed from seeds, algae and chicken fat as it does using petroleum.

But the demonstration, years in the making, may be a Pyrrhic victory.

Some Republican lawmakers have seized on the fuel's $26-a-gallon price, compared to $3.60 for conventional fuel. They paint the program as a waste of precious funds at a time when the U.S. government's budget remains severely strained, the Pentagon is facing cuts and energy companies are finding big quantities of oil and gas in the United States.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the program's biggest public booster, calls it vital for the military's energy security.

But to President Barack Obama's critics, it is an opportunity to accuse the U.S. leader of pushing green energy policies even if they don't make economic sense. The bankruptcy of government-funded solar panel maker Solyndra last year was a previous example of that, they say.

Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed outrage over the costs of the fuel at a hearing earlier this year.

"I don't believe it's the job of the Navy to be involved in building ... new technologies," he said. "I don't believe we can afford it."

But the U.S. Defense, Energy and Agriculture departments are moving ahead with their plans, jointly sponsoring a half-a-billion-dollar initiative to foster a competitive biofuels industry.

Mabus and officials at the Energy and Agriculture departments announced on Monday that they would make $30 million in matching funds available for companies working to produce large-scale biofuels plants. A second phase sometime next year is expected to provide another $70 million in follow-on funding.


Monbiot retreats again: Admits "peak oil" was wrong

He also likes nukes these days

The facts have changed, now we must change too. For the past 10 years an unlikely coalition of geologists, oil drillers, bankers, military strategists and environmentalists has been warning that peak oil - the decline of global supplies - is just around the corner. We had some strong reasons for doing so: production had slowed, the price had risen sharply, depletion was widespread and appeared to be escalating. The first of the great resource crunches seemed about to strike.

Among environmentalists it was never clear, even to ourselves, whether or not we wanted it to happen. It had the potential both to shock the world into economic transformation, averting future catastrophes, and to generate catastrophes of its own, including a shift into even more damaging technologies, such as biofuels and petrol made from coal. Even so, peak oil was a powerful lever. Governments, businesses and voters who seemed impervious to the moral case for cutting the use of fossil fuels might, we hoped, respond to the economic case.

Some of us made vague predictions, others were more specific. In all cases we were wrong. Peak oil hasn't happened, and it's unlikely to happen for a very long time.

A report by the oil executive Leonardo Maugeri, published by Harvard University, provides compelling evidence that a new oil boom has begun. The constraints on oil supply over the past 10 years appear to have had more to do with money than geology. The low prices before 2003 had discouraged investors from developing difficult fields. The high prices of the past few years have changed that.

Maugeri's analysis of projects in 23 countries suggests that global oil supplies are likely to rise by a net 17 million barrels per day (to 110 million) by 2020. This, he says, is ''the largest potential addition to the world's oil supply capacity since the 1980s''. The investments required to make this boom happen depend on a long-term price of $70 a barrel - the current cost of Brent crude is $95. Money is now flooding into new oil: a trillion dollars has been spent in the past two years; a record $600 billion is lined up for 2012.

The country in which production is likely to rise most is Iraq, into which multinational companies are now sinking their money, and their claws. But the bigger surprise is that the other great boom is likely to happen in the US. Hubbert's peak, the famous bell-shaped graph depicting the rise and fall of American oil, is set to become Hubbert's Rollercoaster.

Investment there will concentrate on unconventional oil, especially shale oil (which, confusingly, is not the same as oil shale). Shale oil is high-quality crude trapped in rocks through which it doesn't flow naturally.

There are, we now know, monstrous deposits in the US: one estimate suggests that the Bakken shales in North Dakota contain almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia (though less of it is extractable). And this is one of 20 such formations in the US. Extracting shale oil requires horizontal drilling and fracking: a combination of high prices and technological refinements has made them economically viable.

So this is where we are. The automatic correction - resource depletion destroying the machine that was driving it - that many environmentalists foresaw is not going to happen. The problem we face is not that there is too little oil, but that there is too much.

There is enough oil in the ground to deep-fry the lot of us, and no obvious means to prevail upon governments and industry to leave it in the ground. Twenty years of efforts to prevent climate breakdown through moral persuasion have failed, with the collapse of the multilateral process at Rio de Janeiro last month. The world's most powerful nation is again becoming an oil state, and if the political transformation of its northern neighbour is anything to go by, the results will not be pretty.

Humanity seems to be like the girl in Guillermo del Toro's masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth: she knows that if she eats the exquisite feast laid out in front of her, she too will be consumed, but she cannot help herself. I don't like raising problems when I cannot see a solution.

But right now I'm not sure how I can look my children in the eyes.


The Green Energy Myth

John Stossel

Last week, another subsidized company, Abound Solar, joined Solyndra in bankruptcy. Taxpayers lost $70 million. Sterling Burnett, of the National Center for Policy Analysis, lists other companies you funded. 6 went bankrupt:

- Solyndra: (awarded $528 million)

- Beacon Power ($39 million)

- EnerDel ($118 million)

- Babcock & Brown ($178 million)

- Solar Trust of America ($2.1 billion)

- Abound Solar ($400 million)

Many more struggle:

- A123 ($300 million): One factory, financed by government money, made defective batteries.

- Fisker Auto ($529 million)'s electric cars shut down in their testing phase. Why? Because Fisker used A123's defective batteries.

- First Solar ($3 billion) had the worst performing stock on the S&P 500 in 2011.

- Johnson Controls ($299 million): When Obama spoke at this company's headquarters in Michigan last August, he said this company builds high-tech batteries that help America lead the world in manufacturing. But now they shut down a US plant.

- Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million): One auditor of Nevada Geothermal expressed "significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

- AREVA ($2 billion): Shareholders of AREVA lost over 60% of their money last year.

- SunPower ($1.2 billion): This company hired the son of the Congressman who helped it secure a government-backed loan. At one point, it was the sixth most shorted stock on the New York Stock Exchange. It was sued for a variety of reasons, including "gross mismanagement, breach of fiduciary responsibility, unjust enrichment and abuse of control."

- BrightSource ($1.6 billion): This company spends more than half a million dollars on lobbying, and hired Joe Biden's former Chief of Staff. It admits that its cash condition is "perilous," spent millions of dollars on relocating turtles, and cancelled its IPO because of "poor market conditions."

Unlike private investors, bureaucrats aren't guided by profit and loss. Your tax money pays for daydreams, and for projects backed by the bureaucrats' friends.

Sadly, the loan guarantees will continue. Both parties support crony capitalism. Welfare for the rich is good politics. But it sure is bad for America.


Shale gas is giving the Greenies just what they have been asking for

How frustrating for them! What will they do now? Easy answer: Move the goalposts

For US energy-related carbon emissions, fuel switching to gas is back to the future. After the first quarter, the USA's 2012 emissions are falling sharply again and may drop to 1990 levels, or just slightly above that important milestone, according to data in EIA's latest Monthy Energy Review.

America's energy related carbon emissions fell about 7.5%, during the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period of 2011. And first quarter 2012 emissions are approximately 8.5% lower than emissions in the first quarter of 2010.

Total energy carbon emissions were 5,473 million tons in 2011 and last year fell below the 1996 mark of 5,501 million tons.

The first quarter 2012 reduction of 7.5% makes it possible that this year emissions will fall back essentially to the 1990 level of 5,039 million tons. That is shockingly good news.

The 1990 level of carbon emissions is an important measuring stick, as it is often used as a critical data point for judging progress in reducing a nation's carbon emissions.

Why are US carbon emissions plummeting back to 1990 levels?

First and foremost are sharp reductions from electric power production, as a result of fuel switching from coal to gas, rising renewable energy production, and increasing efficiency. Yet, the shale gas revolution, and the low-priced gas that it has made a reality, is the key driver of falling carbon emissions, especially in the last 12 months.

As of April, gas tied coal at 32% of the electric power generation market, nearly ending coal's 100 year reign on top of electricity markets. Let's remember the speed and extent of gas's rise and coal's drop: coal had 52% of the market in 2000 and 48% in 2008.

Apart from power production, reductions of carbon emissions from the transportation sector since 2007 are pushing down US Carbon emissions. First quarter 2012 transportation emissions declined by about 0.6%, compared to the same period in 2011. Rising fuel efficiency and some switching to lower carbon fuels are the main causes of falling transportation emissions.

The bottom line is that America's carbon emissions may drop back close to 1990 levels this year. That result would have been thought impossible, even at the end of 2011.

But the shale gas revolution makes a reality many things recently thought impossible. It was thought impossible to slash carbon US carbon emissions back to 1990 levels by 2012. It was thought impossible to massively, quickly cut carbon emissions and, at the same time, have lower energy bills.

Shale gas production has slashed carbon emissions and saved consumers more than $100 billion per year. Truly astonishing!


Shale gas reserves looking very good in Britain

Despite the desperate hopes of the many who want to dismiss any impact of UK shale as inconsequential, that old trouble called facts keeps getting in the way.

The recovery rate of Cuadrilla's 200TCF resource would range from 5 to 40%. How large the recovery would be depends on the results of further drilling and future technology. To argue today that it wont' mean much is rather pointless, especially because "only" a 5% recovery rate for example still would supply over four years of total UK usage. That sounds like a yawn until understanding at today's prices it would have a value of 'only' œ70 billion pounds taxable at 62%.

Cuadrilla are on the public record as saying that their estimate is conservative, but an investor presentation by Igas just to the south of the Cuadrilla concession shows that the scale of the Bowland resource shows potential to expand. Igas are already on the record as saying that their first serious exploration for shale at Ince Marshes near Ellesmere Port Cheshire show a recoverable reserve of over 4 TCF. This from the Chairman's statement shows how the company is now positioning themselves:
Since 1 January 2011 we have moved from being a non-operated partner having equity interests in CBM licences under appraisal, to delivering material hydrocarbon production, having full control (as operator) and ownership (100% in most cases) of our assets and having early indications of significant shale resource potential.

Just as DECC has a sentimental attachment to Peak OIl, many UK operators continue publicly to talk about CBM. CBM was the reason most got their license in the first place, but luckily under UK regulation the license is for hydrocarbons including gas and oil thousands of feet below the coal layer. CBM has trundled along for years. I continue to be amazed how companies can do almost nothing in the way of activitiy but still continue to exist, but shale is changing the dynamics at least at Igas:
Successful appraisal of our unconventional resource potential continued with Ince Marshes-1 well, which was spudded on 4 November 2011. This well was planned to log and core the coals in an area around which less was known than elsewhere in our portfolio. The entire coal sequence was encountered shallower than anticipated and the decision was taken to continue to drill into the deeper horizons to better understand the geology and resource potential of the area. While it was anticipated that shale would be encountered, the results of the drilling, the logs and samples received, completely surpassed our expectations. We encountered and logged a significant Bowland Shale section of approximately 1,000ft. The well was TD`d in the Bowland Shale due to the limitations imposed by the CBM well design criteria. The well was suspended so that it might be re-entered and deepened at a later stage to fully appraise the entire thickness of the Bowland Shale. The logs and samples were sent for independent analysis. These results indicate a resource in excess of twice the pre-drill estimate and with the total organic carbon (?TOC?) observed between 1.2 and 6.9 (average 2.7) and initial analysis of the samples support our view that we may have discovered a potentially world class shale resource. Clearly, further wells and analysis are required to fully appraise the shales and critically flow tests need to be performed, however our results combined with those of operators in neighbouring licences in the Bowland Shale are extremely encouraging.

Combine the caution of public statments by public companies and English reticence, and extremely encouraging sounds like just that. As I've noted before 1,000 feet of shale is world class shale all by itself. Within the investor presentation geological data allows us to make some educated guesses.

We already know that Cuadrilla have revealed over 3,000 feet shale at Preece Hall. The question is how big is the resource. Cuadrilla have been stymied by the seismicity issue from investigating further to see a) if they can get the gas out of the ground and b) if Preece Hall was a fluke and there isn't much gas elsewhere.

Igas figures show what could be confirmation that the Cuadrilla and Igas PEDL's have a lot of gas, since now we see that forty miles south of Preece Hall the Bowland Shale is still 1000 feet thick. In other words, the surface extent is as healthy as the thickness.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)


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


3 July, 2012

Sea levels 'will continue rising' regardless of greenhouse gas treaties, warn scientists

This is arrant nonsense. The ocean deeps are COLD. There is no reserve of heat down there. Heat rises

Rising sea levels may not stop for several hundred years, even if global average temperatures drop, scientists have warned.

Rising sea levels threaten about a tenth of the world's population who live in low-lying areas and islands which are at risk of flooding, including the Caribbean, Maldives and Asia-Pacific island groups.

Measures to limit sea rises have focused on lowering temperatures - but this may not be enough.

Even if global average temperatures fall and the surface layer of the sea cools, heat would still be mixed down into the deeper layers of the ocean, causing continued rises in sea levels.

This is because as warmer temperatures penetrate deep into the sea, the water warms and expands as the heat mixes through different ocean regions.

If global average temperatures continue to rise, the melting of ice sheets and glaciers would only add to the problem.

Global average surface temperatures have risen about 0.17 degrees Celsius a decade from 1980-2010.

Sea level rise of about 2.3mm a year from 2005-2010 as ice caps and glaciers melt.

How much of this has been caused by 'greenhouse gases' is still being debated by scientists.

More than 180 countries are negotiating a new global climate pact which will come into force by 2020 and force all nations to cut emissions to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius this century - a level scientists say is the minimum required to avert catastrophic effects.

But even if the most ambitious emissions cuts are made, it might not be enough to stop sea levels rising due to the thermal expansion of sea water, said scientists at the United States' National Centre for Atmospheric Research, U.S. research organisation Climate Central and Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research in Melbourne.

‘Even with aggressive mitigation measures that limit global warming to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial values by 2100, and with decreases of global temperature in the 22nd and 23rd centuries ... sea level continues to rise after 2100,’ they said in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The scientists calculated that if the deepest emissions cuts were made and global temperatures cooled to 0.83 degrees in 2100 - forecast based on the 1986-2005 average - and 0.55 degrees by 2300, the sea level rise due to thermal expansion would continue to increase - from 14.2cm in 2100 to 24.2cm in 2300.

If the weakest emissions cuts were made, temperatures could rise to 3.91 degrees Celsius in 2100 and the sea level rise could increase to 32.3cm, increasing to 139.4cm by 2300.

‘Though sea-level rise cannot be stopped for at least the next several hundred years, with aggressive mitigation it can be slowed down, and this would buy time for adaptation measures to be adopted,’ the scientists added.


North Africa : Ground Zero For Global Warming

According to Phil Jones, Algiers has warmed at a shocking rate of 0.00 degrees per year since 1850.


Obama’s Green-Energy, Crony-Corruption

Marita Noon

Everyone who pays any attention to the news knows the name Solyndra. It has become synonymous with the overall failed green energy program administered by the Obama team. Politicos know there are many other companies that have received loan guarantees for various green energy projects that have since become a source of ridicule for the White House. Some might even be able to name a few. There is the now-bankrupt company that made batteries for electric cars: Ener1. The plug-in electric sports car company, Fisker, that made its cars in Finland and has troubles too numerous to cite. And, of course, we know about the Chevy Volt—that our taxpayer dollars bailed out only to have demand so low that Chevrolet had to pull the plug on the production line and lay off workers for five weeks earlier this year. But few know the full story.

Connecting the dots will make your head hurt. There are various programs and special tax breaks and different kinds of companies that received green energy loans: solar, wind, and geothermal; and car companies, battery manufacturers, and biofuel producers. While the projects differ, they have several startling similarities. The vast majority of the green energy loan guarantees were given to companies that could not obtain enough financial backing from private investors. Their “junk” or “speculative” grade kept people from putting their own money into them —yet your money and mine was given to them, and we had no say in the matter. Of the 27 loans issued through the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program to 21 firms, virtually all of them have “connections” to either President Obama or other high-ranking Democrats—or both! The loans were made to fill a market created not by free-market demand, but by government mandates. And, all of the “special seven” got fast-tracked approvals through the Department of Interior with little scrutiny over environmental damages that would have taken any other energy company months, if not years, to get, and EPA regulations were applied selectively.

Many of the companies that received the funds had involvement with large donors and/or bundlers for the Obama campaign, and there is an amazing revolving door through which the players pass many times. They worked, for example, for Senator Harry Reid. Then they are on the staff of an investment firm that invested in one, or more, of the companies. Next you find he or she is on some White House commission—or worse, became part of the Obama Department of Energy team. Some 460 companies applied for DOE loans, but only 27 projects, 21 companies, got the funds. And 85% of these have been found to have “connections.” The remaining 15% may well have connections too, albeit more guarded or hidden.

These are not wild assertions. I have the data to back them up.

Following the publication of my column a couple of weeks ago on crony capitalism, I was connected with Christine Lakatos. She’s a private citizen and a single mom with a nose for research. Beginning in 2009, she was hired to work on investigative projects, following the green energy money. But when those projects were completed, she didn’t stop digging. She kept finding more and more. With no outlet for her work, she started a blog where she “brain dumps” her findings—which for a total unknown has received an impressive number of readers. For anyone but the most stalwart, her Green Corruption Blog is like getting a drink of water from a fire hydrant.

On Sunday, some of Lakatos’ research was presented in my weekly column. The response prompted us to begin a collaboration.

For each of the next 17 weeks, we will expose one green-energy, crony-corruption story after another (though my travel schedule may require me to skip a week here and there). It will be a “book” released chapter-by-chapter. If you like what you find, we hope you’ll let us know and come back the following week for the next installment.

Some single stories of what we’ll expose are “out there”—though surely not covered by the mainstream media and not all in one place or all connected as we’re doing. If you made a study of the green-energy, crony-corruption story your passion, you likely found out a lot of what we’ll share. If you read the report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGRC) on the Obama Administration’s green energy gamble word-for-word, or watched the incriminating hearings, you’ll already know some of what we’ll present. Or, if you’ve read the chapter in Peter Schweizer’s book Throw Them All Out that addresses alternative energy and “how the game of funneling taxpayer money to friends has exploded to astonishing levels in recent years,” you have a good idea of the big picture. If you have made this your passion, have studied the report, and have coordinated with Schweizer, as Lakatos has, you are encouraged to help make these reports as complete as possible. Together, we’ll connect the dots and present it here in bite-sized pieces.

Each of the energy projects we will profile in the “special seven” section were recipients of billions of taxpayer dollars through the 1705 Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) and many will be receiving millions more through the 1603 Grant Program. The 1705 LGP is an expansion of the 1703 program that was approved in 2005 under President Bush—increasing the expenditures from $17.9 billion in 2007 to $37.2 billion in 2010. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act significantly expanded the DOE’s authority, under Energy Secretary Steven Chu, through the newly created 1705 LGP. (Under the Recovery Act, $86 billion—approximately 10% of the stimulus package—was earmarked for green energy projects.) The LGP means that companies get risk-free money. If the company succeeds, the low-interest loan gets paid back. If they fail—as many have—we, the taxpayers, lose. In contrast, the 1603 Grant Program—implemented as part the Obama stimulus––is administered by the Treasury Department, with the goal of reimbursing eligible applicants for a portion of the costs of installing specified energy property used in a trade or business or for the production of income. Basically 1603 gives billions in favored businesses tax-free cash gifts that do not have to be paid back.

While we can prove that cronyism has run amok within the majority of 1705 LGP, we'll stay focused on the Special Seven. Here, in Part 1, we present a complete overview of the connecting dots on one project: SolarReserve, LLC. With this introduction made, we’ll likely address several companies, with a common denominator, in subsequent releases.

In Sunday’s column, the following thumbnail was presented: “SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes project is a solar thermal power tower plant utilizing the advanced molten salt power tower technology with integrated storage located in Tonopah, NV. The company's Fitch rating is BB, yet in September 2011, it was the recipient of $737 million in DOE loan guarantees. Obama’s law school buddy and 2008 Obama campaign bundler, Michael Froman, was managing director of alternative investments at Citigroup—which became a major investor in SolarReserve. Froman currently serves on the White House staff. Additionally, other high profile Democrats are involved with SolarReserve.”

But there is more.

More about Michael Froman. Peter Schweizer reports that “When Obama ran for president, Froman helped raise large sums of money on Wall Street” for the 2008 campaign. The HOGRC report (page 47) confirms Peter’s findings and adds that Froman was a $200,000 bundler: “Michael Froman currently serves as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs. He was a friend of President Obama’s from law school, and supported his political career by bundling over $200,000 for his 2008 presidential candidacy. Prior to his arrival at the White House, Froman was the Managing Director of Alternative Investments at Citigroup, where he managed infrastructure and sustainable development investments. Citigroup became a major investor in SolarReserve, which ultimately received a $737 million loan guarantee in September 2011.”

The Citigroup connection is tighter. Richard Parsons was Chairman for Citigroup from 2009 until he announced stepping down in March 2012. Citigroup was a top Obama donor in 2008. Parsons served on the Obama Transition Team and on the Economic Advisory Board. In 2011, Parsons was appointed to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competiveness.

Next, David Sandalow—who is currently “the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at DOE, where he acts as Secretary’s Chu’s principal adviser on energy policy, as well as coordinating DOE’s foreign policy involvement.” (HOGRC report page 49) “Sandalow’s ties to the White House date back to the Clinton Administration, during which he worked with President Clinton on environmental issues. After having gained this experience, Sandalow became the influential Chair of the Energy & Climate Working Group of the Clinton Global Initiative. He went on to advise President Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Sandalow was a senior advisor to Good Energies, Inc., an energy-focused venture capital firm. Good Energies is an investor in SolarReserve.”

Other SolarReserve connections to the Democratic Party include:

Ronald Pelosi—Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s brother-in-law, Ronald Pelosi, holds a leadership position with Pacific Corporate Group Asset Management—which is an investor in SolarReserve. Additionally, his colleague, Jasandra Nyker, has served as a member of SolarReserve’s board of directors.

George Kaiser—Argonaut Private Equity is an investor in SolarReserve. Argonaut Private Equity is owned by major Democratic fundraiser and a 2008 Top Obama bundler George Kaiser, who also invested in Solyndra. Kaiser made multiple visits to the White House in the months before the company was granted a $535 million loan from the government. The Managing Director for Argonaut Private Equity, Steve Mitchell, serves on SolarReserve's Board of Directors.

Tony Podesta— shows that SolarReserve paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees to the Podesta Group. Tony Podesta is the principal at the Podesta Group—which he started with his brother John. John Podesta ran Barack Obama’s presidential transition team and is the Director of the Center for American Progress—which is “reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House Policy.” Both Tony Podesta and his wife Heather (a Washington power couple) are frequent White House visitors that share high ranks in "lobbying power," and Democrat bundling as well.

Lee Bailey—SolarReserve’s Chairman of the Board is Lee Bailey, a Managing Director with U.S. Renewables Group, who holds a significant financial stake in SolarReserve. Bailey has donated $21,850 since 2008 to Democratic candidates, including President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, California Sen. Barbara Boxer and then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

James McDermott—SolarReserve board member James McDermott is also a Managing Director with U.S. Renewables Group. He contributed $61,500 to various Democratic campaigns since 2008, including $30,800 to Obama’s presidential election campaign. U.S Renewable Energy Group has ties with Senator Harry Reid.

If there were only one connect-the-dots story, it would be easy to dismiss it as coincidence. But here, with just one company, you can see the dots connect, and connect, and connect. As you will continue to see, they keep on connecting. In this case, connect-the-dots is no innocent childhood game. It is a high-stakes gamble and only those with connections get to play. Obama and his Democratic friends are the winners. We, the taxpayers, the losers. We lose the financial investment of our tax dollars and our electricity rates go up—all to support the discredited ruse of man-made climate change.


Keystone is a winning issue

Romney should tour pipeline route and meet with Democrat and union leaders who support it

Deroy Murdock

With his recent swing-state bus tour behind him, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney should plan his next road trip. Romney should ride along the envisioned route of the Keystone XL pipeline. Along the way, he should invoke, meet, and even appear with Democrats and labor leaders who agree with him on Keystone and are frustrated with President Obama’s obstructionism on this vital, job-rich energy venture.

Romney should remind voters of their stark choice this November: The former Massachusetts governor favors the 2,480-mile pipeline. Each day, the completed Keystone system would deliver up to 1.4 million barrels of friendly oil from Hardisty, Canada, to refineries in Port Arthur, Texas. America’s northern neighbor is a NATO ally whose brave soldiers stormed Normandy Beach beside U.S. GIs. Canada’s 950 military trainers serve in Afghanistan along with Americans in uniform.

President Obama opposes Keystone, preferring instead to continue undiminished U.S. shipments of greenbacks to Middle Eastern tyrants whose subjects have murdered Americans by the thousands and conspire to do so again.

As Romney’s bus follows Keystone’s path to the Gulf of Mexico, he should tell Montanans what their Democratic U.S. senator, Jon Tester, said about this endeavor.

“I am disappointed in the president’s decision,” Testor stated after Obama on January 18 killed TransCanada’s application to build Keystone. He added: “I have long supported responsibly building this pipeline with the highest safety standards and with respect for private property rights.”

In North Dakota, Romney should cite former state attorney general Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee. She called Keystone a “jobs program” and lamented that Obama’s decision created “a missed opportunity to put Americans to work.” Her campaign website promises: “As Senator, Heitkamp will fight alongside anyone who agrees that it’s time to move the Keystone pipeline forward – even if it means upsetting members of her own party.”

Rolling into South Dakota, Romney should invite rank-and-file members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 620 to join him near Keystone’s prospective course. These construction workers, whose industry peers endure 14.2 percent unemployment nationwide, likely would echo LIUNA general president Terry O’Sullivan.

“We are completely and totally disappointed,” O’Sullivan said after Obama scotched Keystone. “This is politics at its worst. . . . The administration and environmentalists have blown the whistle on workers trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. Instead of celebrating their victory by hugging a tree, they should hug a jobless construction worker because they’re the ones who are going to need it.”

Oklahoma boasts several Democratic state lawmakers who concur with Romney on Keystone. They should welcome him to the Sooner State.

“With unemployment stubbornly high throughout many parts of the country, the pipeline is expected to create approximately 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs in the United States,” Democratic state representative Steve Kouplen noted as he pleaded with Obama to authorize this initiative. “It could also generate more than $5.2 billion in tax revenue to the Keystone XL corridor states.”

“Because the pipeline will travel through Oklahoma, the safety of the pipeline is a top concern,” state senator Susan Paddack, Democratic Caucus vice chair, similarly argued. “TransCanada has agreed to meet an additional 57 safety requirements not required for any other pipeline project – making it the safest pipeline ever constructed in the United States.”

After crossing into the Lone Star State, Romney should emphasize that Texas congressmen Henry Cuellar, Charles A. Gonzalez, Al Green, Gene Green, Ruben Hinojosa, and Sheila Jackson Lee were among 22 U.S. House Democrats who wrote Obama last fall in a quixotic bid to secure his endorsement of this “shovel-ready project,” as they called it. As they observed, “Keystone XL Pipeline will inject $20 billion of private sector investment investment into the American economy, create 20,000 direct jobs, spur the creation of 118,000 spin-off jobs, pay out $5 billion in taxes to local counties over the project’s lifetime, bolster America’s energy security, and strengthen our national security.”

As he finally reaches Port Arthur, Mitt Romney should stand atop his bus and shout: “Barack Obama will not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. But I will!”


Leftist hate erupts over Colorado wildfire disasters

Wildfires have become much worse as a result of Greenie opposition to precautionary burns. But instead of a more responsible attutude all we get is hate

Michelle Malkin

Did you know that President Obama has been incommunicado with Colorado's governor for more than two weeks as the nation's worst wildfires rage across the state? Maybe he thought we were all "doing fine." After an embarrassing Beltway press briefing revelation about our out-of-touch White House, the administration finally decided to divert the campaigner in chief from his nationwide fundraising frenzy for a quick look-see at our devastated city on Friday. It's "leadership from behind" you can count on.

As Obama sightsees overhead in this key swing state and surrounds himself with first responders for campaign-ready photo-ops, his supporters on the ground are busy spewing excuses, attacks and death wishes on their political opponents. I know. I've received countless numbers of them hoping that firefighters let my "mansion" burn down and gloating that God is punishing Colorado's conservative population. Liberals took to Twitter to bash local GOP officials as "fire retardants" who should be dropped over the blaze. And jokes about Colorado social conservatives like this proliferated: "If this Colorado fire takes out the Focus on the Family campus, then God really exists."

The sniping isn't limited to social media. Obama strategist Rahm Emanuel said in 2008: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." On cue, Hickenlooper mocked limited-government watchdogs who questioned the Obama administration's decision to cancel a key aerial tanker contract last summer. (It was the topic of my June 20 column last week, "How Obama Bureaucrats Fueled Western Wildfires.") The Denver Post reported Wednesday:

"Asked about criticism from the right over the Obama administration's canceling of the contract, Hickenlooper offered an uncharacteristically strong defense of the president. 'Were these the same conservatives that were so worried about the Obama administration spending too much money, or were these different conservatives?' Hickenlooper said. 'Quite honestly, in a situation like this where over 30,000 people have been evacuated, I don't think that (criticism of Obama) is appropriate,' the governor said. 'We should be focusing our support on them and on the people out there risking their lives to fight these fires.'"

Spare us the sanctimony, and lay off the firefighter human shield strategy. The conservatives in Congress and libertarians at and elsewhere on the right who called attention to the U.S. Forest Service's aging, neglected and undercapitalized aerial tanker fleet are the same conservatives who have doggedly called attention to the Obama administration's serial squandering of taxpayer dollars on nonessential, ineffective, crony-driven spending. We are the conservatives worried about dumping billions of dollars into bankrupt federal green boondoggles like Solyndra, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Ener1 and LightSquared at the expense of fundamental services -- like fighting fires.

It is entirely appropriate and possible to question this administration's policy decisions while supporting frontline emergency personnel at the same time. And it is entirely logical and rational to express gratitude for firefighters and police officers -- while working to ensure the long-term financial viability of their departments through tough but necessary budget and public employee union reforms.

But don't look to Obama to put out the flames of politically expedient and inflammatory rhetoric. He may be slow on the uptake to respond to national crises, but when it comes to exploiting them, he's an industrial-grade accelerant.


Higher Levels of CO2 are greening the planet (even if they are not warming it)

A new study published today in “Nature” by authors from the Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and the Goethe University Frankfurt suggests that large parts of Africa’s savannas may well be forests by 2100. The study suggests that fertilization by atmospheric carbon dioxide is forcing increases in tree cover throughout Africa. A switch from savanna to forest occurs once a critical threshold of CO2 concentration is exceeded, yet each site has its own critical threshold. The implication is that each savanna will switch at different points in time, thereby reducing the risk that a synchronous shock to the earth system will emanate from savannas.

Tropical grasslands, savannas and forests, areas the authors call the savanna complex, are expected to respond sensitively to climate and atmospheric changes. This is because the main players, grasses and trees, differ fundamentally in their response to temperature, carbon dioxide supply and fire and are in an unrelenting struggle for the dominance of the savanna complex. The outcome of this struggle determines whether vast portions of the globe’s tropical and sub-tropical regions are covered with grasslands, savannas or forests. In the past such shifts in dominance have played out in slow motion, but the current wave of atmospheric changes has accelerated the potential rate of change.

Experimental studies have generally shown that plants do not show a large response to CO2 fertilization. “However, most of these studies were conducted in northern ecosystems or on commercially important species” explains Steven Higgins, lead author of the study from the Biodiodversity and Climate Reseach Centre and Goethe-University. “In fact, only one experimental study has investigated how savanna plants will respond to changing CO2 concentrations and this study showed that savanna trees were essentially CO2 starved under pre-industrial CO2 concentrations, and that their growth really starts taking off at the CO2 concentrations we are currently experiencing.“

The vegetation shifts that the Higgins and Scheiter study projects are an example of what some theorists call catastrophic regime shifts. Such catastrophic regime shifts can be triggered by small changes in the factors that regulate the system. These small changes set up a cascade of events that reinforce each other causing the system to change more and more rapidly. The study demonstrated that the savanna complex showed symptoms of catastrophic regime shifts. “The potential for regime shifts in a vegetation formation that covers such vast areas is what is making earth system scientists turn their attention to savannas” comments Higgins.

Knowing when such regime shifts will occur is critical for anticipating change. This study discovered that locations where the temperature rise associated with climate change occurs rapidly, for example in the center of southern Africa, are projected to switch later to forest as the high rate of temperature increase allows the savanna grasses to remain competitive for longer in the face of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration. This means that even though a single location may experience its catastrophic regime shift, the vegetation change when averaged over a region will be smoother. Such gradual transitions in regional vegetation patterns will reduce the potential for shocks to the earth system. “While this may seem reassuring, we have to bear in mind that these changes are still rapid when viewed on geological time scales”, says Higgins.

The practical implications of the study are far reaching. For example, the study identified a belt that spans northern central Africa where fire suppression would encourage savannas to transition to forests. “So if you wanted to sequester carbon as part of a carbon mitigation action, this is where you should do it” explained Higgins “with the caveat that where this will work is shifting as atmospheric conditions change.” A worrying implication is that the grasslands and open savannas of Africa, areas with unique floras and faunas, are set to be replaced by closed savannas or forests. Hence it appears that atmospheric change represents a major threat to systems that are already threatened by over-grazing, plantation forestry and crop production.



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


2 July, 2012

Japanese reactors restarting

Germany next?

Dozens of protesters have shouted and danced at the gate of the first nuclear power plant to restart since Japan shut down all of its reactors for safety checks following the Fukushima disaster.

Ohi nuclear plant's reactor No.3 returned to operation despite a deep division in public opinion.

Last month, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restarts of reactors No.3 and nearby No.4, saying people's living standards can't be maintained without nuclear energy.

Many citizens are against a return to nuclear power because of safety fears after the Fukushima accident.

Tens of thousands of people have gathered on Friday evenings around Noda's official residence, chanting "Saikado hantai", or "No to nuclear restarts".

All 50 of Japan's working reactors were gradually turned off following last year's massive earthquake and tsunami, which sent the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into multiple meltdowns, setting off the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

But worries about a power crunch over the hot summer months have been growing. Oil imports are soaring. Officials have warned about blackouts in some regions.

The government has been carrying out new safety tests on nuclear plants, and says Ohi No.3 and No.4 are safe to restart.

Protesters such as Taisuke Kohno, a 41-year-old musician among the 200 people trying to blockade the Ohi plant, aren't so sure. He said protesters were facing off against riot police and planned to stay there day and night.

"It's a lie that nuclear energy is clean," he said. "After experiencing the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, how can Japan possibly want nuclear power?"

Kansai Electric Power Co, the utility that operates Ohi in central Japan, said on its website that a nuclear reaction restarted on Sunday afternoon at the No.3 reactor, a key step for it to begin producing electricity.


Government must share financial risk of new British nuclear plants

The Government must subsidise or loan money to support the construction of new nuclear power stations to ensure Britain has a reliable electricity supply in the future, an eminent panel of experts will say this week.

Britain needs to rebuilt as a “nuclear nation” rather than relying too heavily upon renewable energy sources such as wind power, according to a report by the Birmingham Policy Commission to be released on Monday.

The Commission, a group of leading energy experts chaired by former Labour secretary of state for energy and climate change Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, will warn that industry is unlikely to invest the billions of pounds needed to build new nuclear power stations by itself.

Instead it will say that the Government must be prepared to share some of the financial risk with taxpayers’ money.

The report will warn that delays in making a decision to build new nuclear power stations over the past decade have resulted in the country falling behind other countries in research and expertise on nuclear energy.

Successive governments have agonised over approving the building of new nuclear power stations due to the high costs involved in decommissioning and disposing of nuclear waste. Concerns over safety following the Fukushima disaster in Japan also introduced delays.

The new report will, however, call for the establishment of a statutory Nuclear Policy Council to establish a long term road map for nuclear energy in the UK. It will also urge for greater incentives to encourage communities to host geological disposal sites for nuclear waste.

It will say: “Rebuilding the UK as a suitably qualified nuclear nation, capable of building new stations and developing new technologies is a priority.

“The lack of certainty and clarity in the UK Government policy on energy, and the hiatus while the Electricity Market Reform bill is drafted and put into law, is producing a sense of drift in which energy companies lack the conviction to invest in new plant construction.

“The financial risks associated with building new nuclear power stations are beyond the balance sheets of many of the utilities. These risks need to be shared between the public and private sectors.”

The Birmingham Policy Commission, whose members include prominent nuclear scientists, energy experts and environmental advisers, was established in September last year by the University of Birmingham to explore the future of nuclear power in the UK.

The report warns that by the time the current nuclear power stations reach the end of their lifetime in 2035, Britain will have lost around half of its ability to produce electricity as many coal fired power stations are also due to close within the next decade.

Environmental campaigners last week were celebrating after plans to build the first new coal-fired power station in the UK for 40 years were abandoned following a campaign.

The Commission’s report will warn that while renewable energy can supply some of the shortfall, “one drawback of renewable energy sources is that they need a lot of space”.

Instead, it will say, the Government must make concrete plans for the role nuclear energy will play in the future of Britain’s electricity supply.

Lord Hunt said: “When you look at the challenge we face, I am convinced that nuclear has a strong role in the future. The longer you leave it, the longer it takes before you get new nuclear power stations up and running.

“The foundations have been laid for new nuclear power stations, but I think the worry is that the companies involved are reluctant to commit to investment.”

The Coalition Government recently announced plans to introduce a feed in tariff to help subsidise green energy. This will see consumers paying a premium on their electricity prices to help cover the higher costs of producing green energy.

It is expected that nuclear power will also benefit from these green energy subsidies. The Commission’s report will warn, however, that substantial up front sums will be needed to build new power stations and these consumer subsidies may not be enough.

A nuclear power station costs an estimated £5 billion to build.

The report will say: “In the current economic climate, the challenge is not simply predicting lifetime economics but also how to raise the billions needed up front.”

There has not been a new nuclear plant built in the UK for more than 20 year and there have been rumours of energy companies planning to pull out due to the lack of clarity on government energy policy.

Earlier this month, however, EDF Energy awarded a £2 billion contract to start developing the design and building a new power station at Hinkely Point in Somerset.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “Nuclear is a mature technology and with our market reforms in place we don’t believe there is a need for public subsidy.”


How is Creating Green Jobs Like Banning Tractors to Create Farm Jobs?

Todd Myers uses sarcasm to expose profound economic illiteracy

Recently the “Political Economy Research Institute” at the University of Massachusetts released a graphic purporting to show “green” technologies create more jobs than traditional energy sources. The graphic has been distributed widely by advocates of creating “green jobs.” This is a common assertion from the environmental left.

As I note in my book Eco-Fads, this claim is made by many on the left.

One Seattle Times columnist wrote approvingly of a study that found spending on ‘green’ projects “produced more ‘job hours’ than tax cuts or traditional infrastructure spending.” This, they claim, is a good thing.

The left, however, is halfhearted in its application of this approach. If they really want to create more jobs we can do much better.

For example, the graph shows 14 jobs are created per $1 million invested in solar energy, twice the amount created from coal. But we can do better. We can generate 500,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of perfectly clean energy (enough to power 80 houses for an entire year!) while creating hundreds of jobs.

I’ve modified the original graphic, which ended with the “Mass Transit/Freight Rail” row to include the best option of all – generating electricity using bicycle generators. Pedaling ten hours a day on a stationary bike, each person can generate 1 kWh. Investing $1 million in bicycle generators and paying people the going rate for the energy they create, we could create 1,610 jobs.

There is another benefit: these are not part time jobs. These are full-time jobs for an entire year, unlike many of the temporary jobs often included in “green” jobs calculations.

The reason solar power creates more jobs per $1 million is that solar is extremely inefficient, requiring more workers to do more as they produce less. We could easily apply this to other sectors.

If we want to create more farm jobs (after all the percentage of farm jobs in the economy has fallen dramatically in the last century), we could ban tractors. Think of all the jobs we’d create for farm workers!

Of course, the cost of farm products would rise dramatically, making it more difficult to buy food, especially for low-income families. But do we want to create jobs or not?!

If you’ve done the math by now, you may have figured out that I am paying my green-energy producing bike riders only 10 cents a day – the average rate for generating one kWh of electricity in America. So, let’s pay them $10 a hour. The cost per kWh would rise from 10 cents to $1,000. This might make it more difficult for manufacturers to buy the electricity, but it hardly seems fair to demand our bike riders earn less than a living wage, and wealthy investors like Warren Buffet can certainly afford to pay a bit more for electricity.

You may think that environmentalism and concern about resources means doing more with less. According to the Political Economy Research Institute and the environmental left, you would be wrong. They believe the way to create jobs and help the environment is by doing less with more – substituting high-cost solar power for low-cost natural gas. Using more resources (human and otherwise) and returning less energy.

And there are real-world examples of the “success” of this strategy. In 2008, Spain was widely lauded for its efforts to create a new, green economy. Today their unemployment rate is 25 percent.

The Pew Research Center ranks Oregon as the top state for “green jobs” in the country. Their unemployment rate has been above the national average every month for the last four years. Number three on the list is California, with a current unemployment rate of 10.9 percent. Last on the list? Natural gas rich North Dakota, with a current unemployment rate of 3 percent.


Energy smart meters are a threat to privacy, says watchdog

European Data Protection Supervisor warns 'massive collection of personal data' could be accessed without safeguards

Hi-tech monitors that track households' energy consumption threaten to become a major privacy issue, according to the European watchdog in charge of protecting personal data.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has warned that smart meters, which must be introduced into every home in the UK within the next seven years, will be used to track much more than energy consumption unless proper safeguards are introduced.

The EDPS warns that "while the Europe-wide rollout of smart metering systems may bring significant benefits, it will also enable massive collection of personal data".

It said the technology could be used to track what "households do within the privacy of their own homes, whether they are away on holiday or at work, if someone uses a specific medical device or a baby monitor, or how they spend their free time".

It claims the vast amount of information collected by the new generation of devices could have serious consequences for consumers and what they pay for their energy.

"These patterns can be useful for analysing our energy use for energy conservation but, together with data from other sources, the potential for extensive data mining is very significant," said Giovanni Buttarelli, assistant director of the EDPS.

"Profiles can be used for many other purposes, including marketing, advertising and price discrimination by third parties."

The European commission is now under pressure to consider whether legislation should be introduced to ensure that smart meters do not breach data protection rules.

All homes are expected to have their old meters replaced with the new technology by the end of 2019. The installation of smart meters will cost an estimated £11bn in the UK. However, few consumers are aware of the new technology.

"Many consumers don't know anything about smart meters, despite a nationwide rollout from 2014," said Zoe McLeod, head of smart and sustainable energy markets at Consumer Focus. "As with any new technology, there are potential benefits such as accurate bills and opportunities to help you save money on your energy bills, but also new issues that customers should be aware of."

Anna Fielder, consumer rights advocate and campaigner at Privacy International, which campaigns against commercial and state intrusion, said consumers in other countries were starting to question the roll-out of smart meters. "Research in Germany, for example, has found that consumers say it's really creepy and they don't want Big Brother in their houses," Fielder said.

She added that a key issue for privacy watchdogs would be the frequency at which information would be collected from the new meters. "If you collect energy information from a household very often, particularly live, even a few things at the end of each day, you get an awful lot of information about people's lifestyles that can potentially be abused in a number of different ways," Fielder said.

The EDPS recommends that states issue guidance on the frequency of meter readings, how long data can be stored and the use of sophisticated algorithms that allow companies to create profiles of their customers.


British Conservative politician has been "bought"

Bought not by Big Oil but by Big Green

For those who've missed it, Tim Yeo MP has been engaged in an online debate at the Centre For Policy Studies with former chancellor Lord Lawson on the subject "Is there an economic case for going green in an age of austerity"? As you'd perhaps expect from a man named "Politician of the Year" at the inaugural 2011 Green Business Awards, Yeo very much believes there is. We'll examine more closely why a Tory MP might feel so strongly about this in a moment. But let's first see what Lord Lawson has to say:
It is sad that fashionable obsession can lead an intelligent man like Tim Yeo into such a farrago of factual error and economic illiteracy. The reason why there is no economic case for ‘going green’ is simple. It is that green energy is hugely more expensive than carbon-based energy, it always has been and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

That, and no other reason, is why the world relies on carbon-based energy – coal, oil and, increasingly, gas.

And that is why to ‘go green’ requires either a heavy tax on carbon-based energy, to make it less competitive, or a massive subsidy for wind power and other forms of green energy, to make them more competitive – and probably both. Either way, these represent a huge economic cost and a burden on the consumer that bears especially hard in an age of austerity, but which would be unjustifiable at any time.

Ouch. Anything else, Lord Lawson, to salve Tim's hurt feelings?
One of Tim’s more remarkable assertions is that “to delay Britain’s investment in low-carbon technology just when other countries are starting to accelerate theirs verges on the Luddite”. The trend is in fact in the reverse direction. Not only is the emerging world firmly committed to carbon-fuelled growth, but even in slower-growing Europe ‘green’ subsidies are being phased out. Spain, which went for wind power (in particular) in a big way, has decided to cut back drastically all its ‘green’ energy subsidies. In recent months, similar cuts have been announced in Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic. And Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is doing much the same. Meanwhile, in the United States, the solar power industry, once their renewable of choice, is mired in scandal and in a state of collapse.

I regret, incidentally, the use of ‘Luddite’ as a generalized term of economic abuse, since it does in fact have a precise meaning. It refers to the movement in the early days of the industrial revolution to destroy machines in order to protect jobs. It precise analogue today is the attempt by the Tim Yeos of this world to persuade the government to move from comparatively cheap carbon-based energy to much more expensive green energy in order to create ‘green jobs’.

This also underlines the fundamental point that even if the whole world were to be converted to costly ‘green energy’ – which is not going to happen – there would still be a heavy economic cost, not to mention the human cost in those countries where a slower rate of economic development means unnecessary poverty, disease, malnutrition and premature death for hundreds of millions of people.

Tim, of course, confidently tells us that this is merely a temporary burden that will soon pass, since “despite the discovery of shale gas, the price of fossil fuels will continue to rise”, presumably making green energy thoroughly economic. I wonder how he knows this. As a former Energy Secretary, some 30 years ago, I have watched fossil fuel prices rise and fall as confident predictions regularly bite the dust. What we do know is that in the US, which at the present time is leading the way, the shale gas revolution has caused the price of gas to plummet, and this is bound to spread to the rest of the world before too long.

One last point. The one essential resource for onshore wind power – the UK’s (or at least the unlamented Mr Huhne’s) green energy of choice – is large tracts of land. I am constantly surprised that politicians who like to think of themselves as progressive support such a massively perverse scheme of income redistribution: a scheme that takes money from the pockets of the people and pays it out in subsidies to wealthy landowners.

Ouch and double ouch! Now let's see what arguments Tim Yeo can produce in response to Lord Lawson's analysis.
If we were to price in the true costs of CO2 pollution, even expensive low-carbon generation would look attractive.

Ah. OK. That old junk science theory about CO2 being a pollutant. Nice try. Anything else?
Investing in renewables, CCS and nuclear will not only improve the UK’s energy security and guard against rising fossil fuel prices, it could also help to rebalance the economy and create jobs if we can create the right conditions for low-carbon companies to flourish.

Oh. The "green jobs" gambit? Nope. We know that far from creating jobs, government "investment" in the renewables sector kills jobs in the real economy. Anything else?
So why are the Chinese investing so much? Partly it’s because climate change is a risk, but mostly because they believe that growth depends on a low-carbon economy.

Oh puh-lease. The Chinese don't believe for one second in the climate change myth. And the extent to which they believe in a low-carbon economy rests entirely on their ongoing ability to exploit Western credulity on this score by cashing in on the wind-farm and solar bubble (due to burst any second now as governments and taxpayers alike wake up to the fact that these industries are only sustainable through massive subsidy).

Hmm. I think there's an important element which Tim Yeo forgot to include in his impassioned defence of "green economics". Ah yes, here it is: from Tim Yeo's registered business interests at "They Work For You":

ITI Energy Limited; suppliers of gasification equipment.
AFC Energy; company developing alkaline fuel cell technology. Address: Unit 71.4 Dunsfold Park, Stovolds Hill, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8TB. Undertake duties as Chair, run board meetings and keep in touch with senior management.
Received payment of £3,750. Hours: 10 hrs. (Registered 20 March 2011)
Received payment of £3,750, 9 May 2011. Hours: 11 hrs. (Registered 14 June 2011)
Received payment of £3,750, 13 June 2011. Hours: 12 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £3,750, 11 July 2011. Hours: 11 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £3,750, 22 August 2011. Hours: 11 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £3,750, 12 September 2011. Hours: 10 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £3,750, 7 October 2011. Hours: 8 hrs. (Registered 17 November 2011)
Received payment of £5,000, 14 November 2011. Hours: 10 hrs. (Registered 13 December 2011)
Received payment of £5,000, 13 December 2011. Hours: 12 hrs. (Registered 2 February 2012)
Received payment of £5,000, 10 January 2012. Hours: 9 hrs. (Registered 9 February 2012)

Aha, now your argument is starting to make sense, Tim. Anything else you want to tell us?

Groupe Eurotunnel SA (non-executive) (of which Eurotunnel plc is a wholly owned subsidiary); company managing the Channel Tunnel. Address: Cheriton Parc, Cheriton High Street, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 4QS. My duties as a non-executive director include attendance at meetings of the Board and of the Environment and Safety Committee and advising senior management on a range of issues.
Received payment of £3,622.57, 9 May 2011. Hours: 6 hrs. (Registered 14 June 2011)
Received payment of £3,569.33, 31 May 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 14 June 2011)
Received payment of £7,238.97, 28 July 2011. Hours: 11 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £6,440.62, 12 September 2011. Hours: 16 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £4,245.20, 14 October 2011. Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 17 November 2011)
Received payment of £3,526.97, 21 November 2011. Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 13 December 2011)
Received payment of £6,885.38, 31 January 2012. Hours: 8 hrs. (Registered 9 February 2012)
Eco City Vehicles plc, Hemming House, Hemming Street, London, E1 5BL; distributes and services London taxis. Duties include chairing board meetings and keeping in touch with senior management.
Received payment of £3,333.33. Hours: 10hrs. (Registered 20 March 2011)
Received payment of £3,333.33, 23 May 2011. Hours: 9 hrs. (Registered 14 June 2011)
Received payment of £3,333.33, 22 June 2011. Hours: 9 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £3,333.33, 22 August 2011. Hours: 8 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £3,333.33, 22 September 2011. Hours: 8 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £3,333.33, 24 October 2011. Hours: 6 hrs. (Registered 17 November 2011)

Environment and safety? Gosh, what with all your enthusiasm for environmental issues I can see why it would make absolute sense for this company to pay such hefty sums for your expertise. Truly, you are Eco Superman! Busy saving the world from "global warming" – and jolly well being rewarded handsomely for it, as you surely deserve. But wait, what's this? Not more green business work you want to tell us about?

Chairman of TMO Renewables Limited, 40 Alan Turing Road, Surrey Research Park, Guilford, Surrey GU2 7YF. The company is developing and supplying technology for second generation biofuels. My duties involve chairing board meetings and keeping in touch with senior management.
Received payment of £4,987.75. Hours: 14 hrs. (Registered 20 March 2011)
Received payment of £4,166.66, 21 February 2011. Hours: 12 hrs. (Registered 29 March 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.73, 25 May 2011. Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 14 June 2011)
Received payment of £4,166.66, 27 May 2011. Hours: 11 hrs. (Registered 14 June 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.73, 24 June 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £4,166.66, 27 June 2011. Hours: 14 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £4,166.66, 22 July 2011. Hours: 13 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.53, 25 July 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 3 September 2011)
Received payment of £4,166.66, 22 August 2011. Hours: 14 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.73, 25 August 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £4,166.66, 22 September 2011. Hours: 14 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.73, 23 September 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 12 October 2011)
Received payment of £4,166, 23 October 2011. Hours: 13 hrs. (Registered 17 November 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.73, 25 October 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 17 November 2011)
Received payment of £4,166, 24 November 2011. Hours: 13 hrs. (Registered 13 December 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.73, 25 November 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 13 December 2011)
Received payment of £1,666.73, 12 December 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 2 February 2012)
Received payment of £4,166.66, 22 December 2011. Hours: 5 hrs. (Registered 2 February 2012)

Gosh Tim! I think I'm beginning to understand why you have such faith in the powers of the "green economy"! It's certainly something you've done very nicely yourself out of, eh mate?

Still, you know what? I have to say that if I were a member of your South Suffolk constituency and my view had been blighted or my property values wiped out by one of those wind factories they're putting up to deal with this non-existent "carbon" problem you keep promoting – or if I were a constituent who had been driven into fuel poverty by all the taxes and tariffs your government keeps adding onto energy bills, I think I might start asking awkward questions, like: "This guy's supposed to be a Tory MP isn't he. So what's he doing trying to ruin the economy, destroy the countryside and drive up the cost of living?" In fact, worse than that? If I were a Tory in your constituency, I think I'd be agitating very strongly right now to have you deselected.


Australia's carbon tax came into force yesterday

Two comments below:

Labor Party government putting on a brave front about the carbon tax despite latest polls

100% wipeout of Federal seats predicted for Labor in Qld. -- and after a 90% wipeout in the State election, that's believable

It's grim reading for Labor in the polls this morning as well, as voter backlash against the carbon tax grows.

Speaking on the first business day of the tax, Ms Gillard said people could make up their own minds "not based on the claims of politicians but from by what they can see in their own lives".

"What people are going to see is tax cuts ... and people are going to see that the claims like the coal industry is going to shut down is all untrue," she told the Seven Network today.

Ms Gillard acknowledged there would be some flow-on effects from about 300 big polluters paying $23 a tonne on carbon, but said tax cuts would benefit seven million people.

A Nielsen poll published in Fairfax newspapers found opposition to the carbon tax had risen three points to 62 per cent.

Just over half of those surveyed thought they would be worse off as a result of the tax.

According to the latest Newspoll, Labor's primary vote in Queensland is down to just 22 per cent.

The results mean federal Labor MPs in the state are facing a swing against them of 10 per cent, which would unseat every Labor MP, The Australian reported.

But Ms Gillard said implementing a price on carbon wasn't about the polls. "This is about what is right for our nation's future," she said.

"We have had some very divisive debates in the past - the GST, universal superannuation, Medicare ... and when the dust has settled and people have had the opportunity to judge it all for themselves they recognised it was the right thing for the nation."

Ms Gillard said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would create a "fiddle" and only pretend to scrap the carbon tax if he wins power.

But Mr Abbott said the Coalition would get carbon emissions down without saddling the coal and gas industries with extra costs.

Mr Abbott is today campaigning hard to convince people it will be all financial pain for no environmental gain.

He is warning it will kill off the gas and oil industries. "The whole point of a carbon tax is to use less coal, less gas, less oil," Mr Abbott told ABC Radio.

The Coalition would do things differently, he said. "We want to get emissions down without loading up the coal and the gas industries with these kind of additional cost imposts," he said.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said Mr Abbott could not and would not repeal the carbon pricing scheme. Mr Combet is confident the Government will be able to win back the Australian public's support once it has "lived" the carbon tax.

"We're taking a lot of the revenue from that paid by the largest polluters and using it to implement a significant income tax reform that will treble the tax free threshold from $6000 to $18,200 liberating one million people from having to pay tax and file a tax return," he said.

"As the message gets through and we keep arguing our case, I'm sure that we can win people's support back."


Australian climate views have moved on

THE Gillard government hopes Australians will change their minds this week, when the introduction of the carbon tax doesn't result in sudden and startling changes to the economy or their standards of living. But a close reading of Lowy Institute polling since 2005 suggests the government's hopes may be misplaced.

Our polling tells a strong story: that Australians supported tough action on climate change, and were prepared to pay for it, when they thought it was a real and pressing problem. But as they've come to see climate change as less of a problem, with no global solution in sight, they have steadily turned against action and are less willing to pay to address it.

When we began polling in 2005, Australians ranked improving the global environment equal second (with protecting jobs) as a foreign policy priority, more important than combating terrorism, countering the spread of nuclear weapons and stopping illegal migration.

In 2006 addressing climate change was thought to be the No 1 foreign policy priority and in 2007 the most important domestic policy priority.

In this mood, Australians supported strong action on climate change. In 2006 more than two thirds of the people we surveyed agreed with the statement , "global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs."

There was daylight to the next most-supported proposition, with less than a quarter agreeing global warming would have gradual effects and should be dealt with gradually, using low-cost measures. Just 7 per cent opted for the wait and see option.

People were reasonably willing to contribute through electricity bills. In 2008 we asked people how much they were prepared to pay. The largest number (almost one-third) said they would be prepared to pay up to $10 a month, another fifth said they'd pay between $11 and $20 extra a month, and 19 per cent said they'd pay more than $21 a month. Seventy-one percent were prepared to pay something towards dealing with climate change, compared with 21 per cent not prepared to pay anything at all.

That was Kevin Rudd's first year as prime minister. Two-thirds of people we asked said his decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol as one of his first actions in office hadn't solved the problem of climate change but was a step in the right direction. The following year, 60 per cent of people said the problem of climate change had become more urgent, while 80 per cent said that the prospects for a solution were either steady or improving.

Then things started to change. Australians' attitudes on climate change have shown remarkable variation over the nine years of Lowy Institute polling. In 2008, people still saw climate change as the second biggest threat we faced, on a par with terrorism, but dealing with climate change had slipped to fifth most important foreign policy goal, down 9 per cent from 2007. In 2009 it had slumped to seventh, down 10 per cent from 2008 and 19 per cent from 2007. Climate change dropped to the fourth most worrying threat, down 14 per cent from its 2008 levels.

People were losing their confidence in the government's ability and willingness to address the issue. When we asked people for their opinion on the most convincing option for reducing carbon emissions in 2008, the fewest were convinced by one of the government's most preferred options: carbon capture and storage. Renewables, biofuels, hydroelectric and even nuclear were considered more convincing. In 2008 51 per cent were not confident that the government could address climate change; by 2010 people gave the Rudd government a mark of five out of 10 for its handling of the issue. By last year, three-quarters of those we polled believed the Gillard government had done a poor job in addressing climate change.

Falling confidence in the government's handling of the issue drove further declines in the seriousness with which people took climate change. In 2010 and 2011, dealing with climate change ranked third last among 12 foreign policy priorities, down 29 per cent since 2007.

The majority of commentators argue the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks in December 2009 led to the sudden falls in support for action. Our polling suggests otherwise. In 2010, 72 per cent of respondents still thought Australia should act to reduce its carbon emissions even before a global agreement.

Our figures show two factors behind the erosion of public support for climate change action. The first is a steady slide of concern about the problem - from 75 per cent seeing it as a foreign policy priority in 2007 to just 46 per cent last year. The second is growing alarm about the economic impact of climate action, particularly as the global economy lurches from crisis to crisis. By this year's Lowy Institute poll, the number of people who thought global warming serious enough that we should act now even if it involves significant costs had fallen to 36 per cent from 68 per cent in 2006.

This combination of public perceptions is bad news for the government's hopes of a poll bounce now that the carbon tax has come into effect. The situation has exactly reversed from 2005-2007. Now, as they're less and less concerned about the problem, they resent the financial impact of dealing with it more and more. This means that even if the economic impact of the carbon tax is less severe than Tony Abbott suggests, there won't be a whole lot of returning warmth for a government whose major piece of policy is seen to be addressing a problem that most people don't see as a priority.



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, 2012

A little fiddle here and a little fiddle there and: Hey Presto! You have some more "warming" data

Below is some "news" about the Greenland ice sheet:
The Greenland ice sheet is poised for another record melt this year, and is approaching a "tipping point" into a new and more dangerous melt regime in which the summer melt area covers the entire land mass, according to new findings from polar researchers.

The ice sheet is the focus of scientific research because its fate has huge implications for global sea levels, which are already rising as ice sheets melt and the ocean warms, exposing coastal locations to greater damage from storm surge-related flooding.

Trend in the reflectivity of high elevation ice in Greenland, showing the record low as of June 26, 2012. Credit:

Greenland's ice has been melting faster than many scientists expected just a decade ago, spurred by warming sea and land temperatures, changing weather patterns, and other factors. Until now, though, most of the focus has been on ice sheet dynamics — how quickly Greenland's glaciers are flowing into the sea. But the new research raises a different basis for concern.

The new findings show that the reflectivity of the Greenland ice sheet, particularly the high-elevation areas where snow typically accumulates year-round, have reached a record low since records began in 2000. This indicates that the ice sheet is absorbing more energy than normal, potentially leading to another record melt year — just two years after the 2010 record melt season.

“In this condition, the ice sheet will continue to absorb more solar energy in a self-reinforcing feedback loop that amplifies the effect of warming,” wrote Ohio State polar researcher Jason Box on the blog. Greenland is the world's largest island, and it holds 680,000 cubic miles of ice. If all of this ice were to melt — which, luckily won't happen anytime soon — the oceans would rise by more than 20 feet.

Just one teeny problem; The 2012 figure (black line) in the graph above looks like it's heading off in a different direction from all the other years (see the bottom of the graph). But the guys the author took that graph from show something quite different:

The black line is not dropping relentlessly at all. It's moving off in the same direction as the other years. Nothing to see here. Move along! Is there such a thing as an honest Greenie?

Also note that the misquoted article says: "accurate records began in March, 2000", and Warmists are usually emphatic to say that a 10-15 year period is too short to allow any generalizations about climate trends!


Global Warming's Killer: Critical Thinking

By Russell Cook

Is there any issue more dependent on widespread lapses in critical thinking than the idea of man-caused global warming?

Nothing wrecks an argument faster than a question revealing a gaping hole in that argument's fundamental premise. Notice the abundantly obvious derailment in this example:

"We need to do something about the proliferation of ghosts causing an unprecedented number of people to have nightmares lately. This problem leads to widespread sleeplessness, which in turn leads to a downturn in work productivity and overall economic hardship, and you are a cold-hearted capitalist pig if you deny the need for workers to be healthy."

Any critical thinker will yell, "What?! Prove ghosts exist before you start calling me names!"

The so-called global warming crisis has gotten away with an equally preposterous premise -- that human activity drives climate change -- for nearly two decades, because that premise at least sounded plausible. After all, humans do damage the environment to some extent in various ways, and the weather does seem a bit weird lately, so maybe it's possible that our greenhouse gas emissions have a detrimental effect. Plus, reporters tell us that scientists are saying this is so.

Overlooked by many is the very thing that's kept the issue alive all this time. No different from in a ponzi scheme, the public must never lose confidence in the idea that this issue is a problem in need of a solution. The moment anything approaching a majority of people starts asking tough questions about skeptic scientists expressing legitimate opposition, the entire issue goes into a fatal tailspin, taking down all those who unquestioningly defend the idea.

Think about all the assertions we've heard and what happens when anybody starts asking critical questions using information that's easier than ever to find on the internet.

Even at the height of winter in the northern hemisphere, we're told the Arctic ice cap is melting and that polar bears drown when swimming through too much open water. Yet polar bear populations are increasing, online Arctic weather station feeds closest to the ice cap routinely show freezing temps in all but the warmest summer months, and this particular winter, Arctic Sea Ice Extent has returned to levels very close to the 1979-2000 average.

The media has been implying that extreme weather is more frequent, yet blaring headlines from long ago are easily found on weather appearing to be just as extreme, if not worse.

We're told that the dry warm winter in the U.S. this time around indicates global warming, yet horrible cold temperatures in Europe this same winter aren't called a similar indicator.

Many express anguish over ocean acidification, yet these same people never mention the irrefutable fact that oceans are alkaline and that it would thus take some kind of herculean phenomenon just to push them into a pure neutral pH balance, long before they ever become even mildly acidic.

Prominent NASA personnel who criticized NASA's alarmist narratives on global warming in a recent WSJ letter are said to be politically driven, yet NASA climate scientist James Hansen is routinely seen being arrested at civil disobedience global warming rallies organized by far-left enviro-activists.

The chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that "everything that we look at and take into account in our assessments has to carry credibility of peer-reviewed publications, we don't settle for anything less." Yet people who meticulously sift through IPCC reports are finding out that in its 2007 report alone, over 5,500 such publications were non-peer-reviewed.

And on and on. Critical thinking is eventually deadly to the idea of man-caused global warming. It's a death by a thousand cuts.

But there is one more especially egregious lapse in critical thinking here -- not regarding the science, but instead vis-à-vis what the public is led to believe about skeptic scientists.

We're told that skeptic scientists lie about all of the "death by a thousand cuts" evidence. We're told that they work for big coal and oil -- much like so-called expert shills were paid by tobacco industries to "manufacture doubt" about the hazards of smoking.

Yet no reporter pushing that narrative bothers to show which peer-reviewed science journal-published paper written by a skeptic is an outright fabrication written in exchange for fossil fuel industry money. No reporter bothers to show how myriad examples of critical thinking reveal pre-existing -- not manufactured -- doubt about claims of evidence for global warming. And no reporter ever attempts to first disprove that the paltry funding skeptics did receive from the fossil fuel industry was given simply because those people agreed with what the skeptics were already saying.

The accusation that skeptic scientists are corrupt is devoid of critical thinking. Anybody will spot these problems after a thorough examination of all the facts:

Al Gore says that book author/reporter Ross Gelbspan discovered leaked evidence from 1991 coal industry memos proving that skeptics are corrupt, yet other book authors and reporters quoted words from those memos prior to Gelbspan, including Gore himself.

Uncounted numbers of people quote words from those memos to prove that skeptics are corrupt, yet not one ever shows the memos in their full context.

Gelbspan claimed in a late summer 1997 NPR radio interview, using the most commonly quoted fragment sentences from the memos, that "sinister" efforts were being made to confuse the public about global warming, yet when the full-context memos are read at Greenpeace archive scan web pages (where only an astute researcher would know to look for them; they are not found there via ordinary internet searches), it becomes abundantly obvious that the memos were for a very small pilot project PR campaign, and Gelbspan took the fragment sentences entirely out of context.

Gelbspan was long praised as a Pulitzer-winner, the designation even appearing on the front of his hardcover 2004 Boiling Point book, yet the Pulitzer organization has never recognized him as a prize-winner.

On and on and on, there is a sea of red flags to be found in the accusation itself and all the people surrounding it.

Tie the full exposure of the global warming issue's ever-increasing science problems with the revelation of how a literally unsupportable accusation bordering on libel/slander was concocted against its scientist critics, and the world should now see how all the hysteria was and is nothing more than an "information" Ponzi scheme based on constant infusions of misinformation that could have been revealed as such years ago. A death of a thousand cuts becomes a stake through the heart.


Sea level rising fast along American East Coast – or not

A new study published in Nature Climate Change claims there is a sea level rise “hotspot” along the East Coast of the United States. The gullible press picked up on the story. The lead sentence from the Arizona Daily Star reads: “From Cape Hatteras, N.C., to just north of Boston, sea levels are rising much faster than they are around the globe, putting one of the world’s most costly coasts in danger of flooding, government researchers report.”

The paper is Asbury H. Sallenger Jr, Kara S. Doran, & Peter A. Howd, 2012, Hotspot of accelerated sea-level rise on the Atlantic coast of North America, Nature Climate Change (see full paper here).

Sallenger et al. claim that during the periods 1950–1979 and 1980–2009 the rate of sea level rise in this northeast hotspot was ~ 3–4 times higher than the global average. Their contention is based on computer modeling, statistical analysis, and extrapolation of data. “We test the hypothesis that a statistically significant observed northeast hotspot of accelerated sea level rise exists by determining its position and dimensions and comparing them with model projections. (See my post Statistical Significance in Science – how to game the system)

The computer games of Sallenger et al. are countered by real data. Actual readings from tidal gauges show a record of deceleration of sea level rise (dated from the early 20th Century to present) in the following cities: Annapolis, Baltimore, Bar Harbor, Boston, Charleston, Eastport, Newport, and Portland, all in or near the alleged hotspot. Some other stations in the area, such as Atlantic City, Montauk, and New London, show a small increase in the rate of sea level rise.

(Reference: Houston, Jr. And Dean, R.G., 2011, Sea-level acceleration based on U.S. tide gauges and extensions of previous global-gauge analyses. Journal of Coastal Research, 27(3), 409–417.)

Sallenger et al. are hard-pressed to come up with an explanation for the “hotspot.” They invoke this: “Climate warming does not force sea-level rise (SLR) at the same rate everywhere. Rather, there are spatial variations of SLR superimposed on a global average rise. These variations are forced by dynamic processes, arising from circulation and variations in temperature and/or salinity, and by static equilibrium processes, arising from mass redistributions changing gravity and the Earth’s rotation and shape.”

They miss a simple explanation: sediment compaction and subsidence from varying rates of groundwater withdrawal. Relative sea level depends in part on the geology of the area. That is superimposed on a regional, long-term sinking of the East Coast caused by isostatic rebound from the last glacial epoch, i.e., as the central part of North America rebounds from the weigh of the now melted continental ice sheet, it tilts the coastal area into the ocean producing an apparent sea level rise.


Brit global warming skeptics now outnumber believers

Fewer Britons than ever support the proposition that global warming is caused by human-driven CO2 emissions, according to the latest survey.

Some 48 per cent of Britons now agree with the suggestion that warming could be "mostly natural" and that the idea of it being human-caused has yet to be proven. By comparison only 43 per cent agree with the idea that warming is "mostly" caused by industrial and vehicular CO2 emissions.

In Canada the ratio is 58:34 in favour of the mamade warming hypothesis, while in the USA it's a tie.

Only 43 per cent of Britons think we should get poorer in order to protect the environment. The numbers have actually moved very little since November 2009, but believers are now in the minority.

The studies were conducted by Angus Reid and surveyed four thousand people in the USA, Canada and the UK.

The UK is only one of three countries in the world to pass legislation mandating CO2 reduction, and the issue dominated the media agenda between 2006 and the Copenhagen Summit in 2009. So the UK is unique amongst the three countries surveyed, in giving its population saturation exposure to the climate change issue, and early exposure to CO2 mitigation policies.

It would seem that the more people hear the arguments and study the policies, the less they like them.


Meteorologist Dr. Wolfgang Thüne Calls Warmist Institute’s Science “Pure Voodoo Magic For Spreading Fear Among The Public”

As the science of the warmists gets exposed as woefully inadequate, slipshod and flawed, all they can do now is give each other awards in pompous ceremonies in an effort to generate a (fake) sense of achievement and contribution. They’ve been reduced to a pretend world.

One example is the Technical University of Berlin recently awarding Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber an honorary doctorate. Schellnhuber is Director of the infamously über-alarmist Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and is chairman of the WBGU Advisory Council.

Last year Schellnhuber and his WBGU published a “masterplan” calling for the dilution of democracy worldwide and forcing societies to take up a highly restricted “sustainable path” that would keep the planet from reaching his nine mathematically concocted “dangerous tipping points”. In it he advocates indoctrination and “changes in awareness”.

Schellnhuber even once publicly stated that 1 billion people would be the ideal human population for the planet, which would be like eliminating all the world’s people except China and letting them have it all to themselves.

Schellnhuber, however, having clearly drifted from science to radical policy formulation and advising, is coming under increasing fire from number of scientists and critics.

For example, Dr. Wolfgang Thüne, a retired German meteorologist and member of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) commented yesterday on Schellnhuber’s honorary doctorate:

That Professor Dr. Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, the inventer of the “tipping elements”, is now being celebrated and awarded an honorary doctorate is amazing. But what’s even more amazing is that he received this from the TU Berlin for his ‘outstanding scientific achievements in the fields of climate impact research and policy counselling’. Did the TU Berlin, in its addiction to political attention, even stop to consider just how much it is damaging its excellent reputation among the professional world?

The climate science by Schellnhuber & Co. is pure voodoo-magic spreading fear among the public and reaching big time into the pockets of taxpayers.

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) is senselessly wasting the money of taxpayers. ‘Climate protection’ is a scientific swindle because the weather is not something that can be protected.”

Thüne even demands that the PIK be shut down immediately.

"That would be a small but effective step in preventing the national debt from getting out of control.“

Dr. Wolfgang Thüne is a certified meteorologist, who for years was a meteorology expert for ZDF television, and has written about the falsifiications and fraud surrounding the UN IPCC. He is the author of numerous books. His latest work is: “Prophets in the Struggle for the Climate Throne. How primal fear is used in the struggle for money and power.”


British Greenies fracked!

Fracking should be permitted in Britain because the risk of earthquakes and water contamination is minimal, a government-ordered report has found.

Scientists from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society said the controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale should be given the go-ahead, subject to tight regulations and continuous monitoring of drilling sites.

The panel said that despite evidence fracking can trigger small earthquakes, the tremors felt at ground level would be about the same size as those caused by a lorry driving past a house.

Chances of any contaminated water or gas escaping into groundwater supplies were "very low" because of the depth at which the process takes place, they added.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals into shale beds at high pressure to split the rock and release the natural gas stored within.

Prof Robert Mair, chair of the panel, said: "The risks associated with fracking can be managed effectively in the UK, provided operational best practices are implemented and enforced through effective regulation.

"[There are] a number of issues we believe must merit further consideration including the climate risks associated with the extraction and subsequent use of shale gas and, very importantly, the public acceptability of hydraulic fracturing."



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.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)