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

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

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31 July, 2015

Hillary on climate:  A complete ignoramus

On Sunday, she promised two national goals if elected president. First, she would “set the United States on a path toward producing enough clean renewable energy to power every home in America within a decade.” Second, she would “initiate a process that would bring the total number of solar panels installed nationwide to more than half a billion before the end of her first term.” We truly hope she never sees that first term, because all that proposal will do is line the pockets of cronies in the solar-power industry. But hey, she’s got to repay a favor — the two largest solar contractors in America gave generously to the Clinton Foundation.

Meanwhile, Hillary couldn’t resist the opportunity to blast the GOP on the climate. She claims Republicans answer questions about climate change by deflecting, “I’m not a scientist.” But she did no better, saying, “Well, I’m not a scientist either, I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain.” She forgot to mention she stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Of course, the “science” behind climate change isn’t science at all; it’s an agenda. Hillary and her fellow climate alarmists need to take the blinders off of their eyes and use what’s left of their brains.

Additionally, she promises to fight back against the Republicans' attempt to dismantle the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, though she says she’ll try to help those in the coal industry who have or will lose their jobs due to leftist environmental policies.

Gee, that’s terrific. Who in their right mind would believe she will “try to help those in the coal industry”? Remember Benghazi? The last thing most Americans want to hear from Hillary is that she is here to help. Especially since her economic policy proposals for higher tax rates and a landscape plastered with solar panels do nothing but hurt Americans and their prosperity rather than helping them.


Prince Charles extends climate doomsday deadline by 33 years

Prince Charles is warning that there are only 35 years left to save the planet from climate disaster, which represents a 33-year extension of his previous deadline.

In March 2009, the heir to the British throne predicted that the world had 100 months “before we risk catastrophic climate change,” as pointed out by Climate Depot’s Marc Morano.

“Prince Charles gives world reprieve: Extends ‘100-Month’ climate ‘tipping point’ to 35 more years,” says the Tuesday headline on the Climate Depot website.

The British blog Not A Lot of People Know That announced in a July 19 post, “Charlie Gives Us a Reprieve!”

Prince Charles, who updated his forecast in a July 18 interview with the Western [U.K.] Morning News prior to his visit to the Westcountry, began issuing warnings six years ago about imminent ecological disaster driven by climate change.

“The best projections tell us that we have less than 100 months to alter our behaviour before we risk catastrophic climate change,” the Prince of Wales said in a speech in Rio de Janeiro, as reported by the [U.K.] Telegraph.

Four months later, he predicted in an interview with the [U.K.] Independent that the Earth had 96 months left to avoid “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.”

That prediction, which he continued to reference in other interviews, would have given the world until 2017 before reaching the “tipping point” of environmental catastrophe driven by climate change.

Others have also extended their original “tipping point” predictions in recent years, much to the amusement of climate-change skeptics.

For example, Climate Depot notes that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave the world 15 years to act starting in April 2014, even though its then-chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, had set a five-year deadline in 2007.

In 2006, former Vice President Al Gore said the world may have only 10 years to reverse course, prompting climatologist Roy Spencer to comment in 2014 that, “in the grand tradition of prophets of doom, his prognostication is not shaping up too well.”

Skeptics point out that the global mean temperature has not increased for more than 18 years, a phenomenon referred to by scientists as “the pause.


EPA Extends Deadline on Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to realize that it might be asking a bit too much from the American economy. Sources at the EPA have told The Washington Post that it is extending the deadline for when coal plants must reduce their greenhouse gas output. The EPA has yet to release the final version of the regulation, but it said coal plants have until 2022 instead of 2020 to conform to the gospel of green and avoid too much stress on the electrical grid. By ceding ground, the EPA admits the Clean Power Plan demanded too much.

On a related note, the new ozone standards that the EPA is working on would set the standards so low on the naturally occurring gas that Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon would be in violation, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Things have gone too far when an agency supposedly established to protect the environment finds nature in violation of its decrees.


NOAA Fraudsters Prove Man-Made Global Warming Is Real

That the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is fudging temperature records isn’t a secret, but the (ahem) degree to which it is doing so has hit a mind-numbing level. Climate blogger Steve Goddard explains: “The measured US temperature data from USHCN shows that the US is on a long-term cooling trend. But the reported temperatures from NOAA show a strong warming trend.

They accomplish this through a spectacular hockey stick of data tampering, which corrupts the US temperature trend by almost two degrees. The biggest component of this fraud is making up data. Almost half of all reported US temperature data is now fake. They fill in missing rural data with urban data to create the appearance of non-existent US warming.

The depths of this fraud is breathtaking, but completely consistent with the fraudulent profession which has become known as ‘climate science.’” Fellow climate blogger Steve Milloy adds, “NOAA fakery shows why it’s called man-made global warming.”


The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture

Consumers of organic foods are getting both more and less than they bargained for. On both counts, it’s not good.

Many people who pay the huge premium—often more than a hundred percent–for organic foods do so because they’re afraid of pesticides.  If that’s their rationale, they misunderstand the nuances of organic agriculture. Although it’s true that synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, there is a lengthy list of exceptions listed in the Organic Foods Production Act, while most “natural” ones are permitted.

However, “organic” pesticides can be toxic.  As evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox explained in a 2012 Scientific American article (“Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? Probably not.”): “Organic pesticides pose the same health risks as non-organic ones.”

Another poorly recognized aspect of this issue is that the vast majority of pesticidal substances that we consume are in our diets “naturally” and are present in organic foods as well as non-organic ones. In a classic study, UC Berkeley biochemist Bruce Ames and his colleagues found that “99.99 percent (by weight) of the pesticides in the American diet are chemicals that plants produce to defend themselves.”

Moreover, “natural and synthetic chemicals are equally likely to be positive in animal cancer tests.” Thus, consumers who buy organic to avoid pesticide exposure are focusing their attention on just one-hundredth of one percent of the pesticides they consume.

Some consumers think that the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) requires certified organic products to be free of ingredients from “GMOs,” organisms crafted with molecular techniques of genetic engineering. Wrong again. USDA does not require organic products to be GMO-free. (In any case, the methods used to create so-called GMOs are an extension, or refinement, of older techniques for genetic modification that have been used for a century or more.) As USDA officials have said repeatedly:

Organic certification is process-based. That is, certifying agents attest to the ability of organic operations to follow a set of production standards and practices which meet the requirements of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and the [National Organic Program] regulations . . . If all aspects of the organic production or handling process were followed correctly, then the presence of detectable residue from a genetically modified organism alone does not constitute a violation of this regulation.

Putting it another way, so long as an organic farmer abides by his organic system (production) plan–a plan that an organic certifying agent must approve before granting the farmer organic status–the unintentional presence of GMOs (or, for that matter, prohibited synthetic pesticides) in any amount does not affect the organic status of the farmer’s products or farm.

Under only two circumstances does USDA sanction the testing of organic products for prohibited residues (such as pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or antibiotics) or excluded substances (e.g., genetically engineered organisms).

First, USDA’s National Organic Production Standards support the testing of products if an organic-certifying agent believes that the farmer is intentionally using prohibited substances or practices.

And second, USDA requires that certifying agents test five percent of their certified operations each year. The certifying agents themselves determine which operations will be subjected to testing.


Global warming - scientific nonsense

Comment from Britain

AFTER a wet and miserable May and chilly July five species of butterfly resident at my local nature reserve for more than 40 years have disappeared. I’ve been monitoring them carefully and can’t quite believe their demise.

Perhaps it has something to do with this cold summer - which the BBC will no doubt tell us is the warmest on record.

Readers may remember 2013 was supposed to be the year the Arctic would be “ice free”. Now its thickness has increased by a third. Polar bear numbers are rising, not falling.

Last week Canadian scientists studying the effect of climate change on Arctic ice from an icebreaker had to suspend their research, when they were called to rescue ships trapped in the thickest summer ice seen in Hudson Bay for 20 years.

Global warming is an invention of well meaning folks whose desire to cut so-called greenhouse gases will send us back to the stone age. They are aided and abetted by charlatans masquerading as scientists desperately trying to raise funds for their "research".



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

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


30 July, 2015

A mystery that is a mystery to Warmists only

In science, when something shows your theory is wrong, you change your theory.  In Warmism, if something shows your theory is wrong, it's a "mystery".  The finding below shows that coral deaths presently being attributed to warming are NOT produced by warming

AN ancient coral reef specimen now on display at the Natural History Museum in London is at the centre of a global warming mystery spanning 160 million years.

THE exhibit is proof that ancestors of modern corals somehow thrived during the Late Jurassic period when temperatures were warmer and atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide higher than they are today.

Yet global warming in the 21st century is already associated with serious damage to coral reefs caused by "bleaching".

Dr Ken Johnson, coral reefs researcher at the London museum, said: "By researching historical fossil corals like this, we can understand and predict the impact of climate change and other environmental factors on coral reefs over time.

"This 160-million-year-old specimen is an ancestor of some of the corals on our planet today, showing us that a sustainable future for coral reefs is possible because they can survive severe global environmental changes."

Early corals also managed to survive the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs and many other species.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, atmospheric carbon dioxide is expected to match Late Jurassic levels by 2100 and to exceed them by 2250.

Bleaching occurs when stressful environmental conditions cause corals to expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, turning them white.

Corals depend for their survival on the algae, which provide them with oxygen and nutrients. When they bleach they begin to starve.

Professor Richard Twitchett, palaeoecology researcher at the Natural History Museum, said: "At the time this coral reef was alive, 160 million years ago, our planet's marine biodiversity was as high as it had ever been.

"The fact that this coral reef lived in a much warmer world shows that if we monitor and control future changes, coral reefs can remain one of the most important ecosystems on Earth."


Global Warming Is So Powerful That It Showed The Resilience Of Sea Ice

So, sea ice is more “resilient” that scientists originally assumed, according to the Wall Street Journal. In fact, a “single cool summer” actually stopped the ice cap around the North Pole from melting:

Using new satellite data, researchers at University College London reported in Nature Geoscience on Monday that the total volume of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere was well above average in the autumn of 2013, traditionally the end of the annual melt season, after an unusually cool summer when temperatures dropped to levels not seen since the 1990s.

“We now know it can recover by a significant amount if the melting season is cut short,” said the study’s lead author Rachel Tilling, a researcher who studies satellite observations of the Arctic. “The sea ice might be a little more resilient than we thought.”

A steady decline in the extent of Arctic sea ice since the late 1970s has been taken as a barometer of longer-term warming trends in the Northern hemisphere. The U.S. Navy last year predicted that by 2030 the Arctic’s northern sea route could be ice-free and navigable for nine weeks every year.

Miss Tilling and her colleagues used new data from the European Space Agency’s Cryosat-2 radar satellite, launched in 2010. For the first time, they measured changes in the overall volume of seasonal sea ice across the Arctic and Greenland. Until now, researchers have been able to track the extent of ice, but not its thickness.

In 2013, summer temperatures were about 5% cooler than the previous year and the volume of autumn ice jumped 41%, they said.

Now, the Journal reported that sea ice levels are at its lowest before measurements began, but let’s elaborate on this a bit.

Scientists predicted the Arctic Ice Cap would be gone by 2013 as well. By the time 2013 came around, it had grown by 533,000 square miles. That year we also saw the creation of 19,000 Manhattan-size islands worth of sea ice, the quietest tornado season in six decades, and the calmest hurricane season in three decades*. Our air quality is also better than ever, according to the EPA.

To the south, the sea ice conditions in Antarctica have made the journey for the resupply vessels keeping the various research stations sustained more difficult. Heck, the CIA even shut down their climate research program.

Recently, the CCGS Amundsen, an icebreaker that acts as a research vessel, which conducts experiments 24-hours a day, had its 115-day expedition altered when it was ordered to help out resupply ships en route to Northern Quebec due to the amount of ice in their shipping lanes.

So, scientists were wrong about the resilience of sea ice, they were wrong about global cooling in the 1970s, and they could be wrong about rising global temperatures that seemed to have plateaued almost two decades ago, according to the UK Meteorological Office.

Oh, and those new EPA regulations that are aimed at combating this phantom threat are going to do little; EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy seems to have admitted to it.

'One one-hundredth of a degree?' EPA's McCarthy admits Obama regs have no measurable climate impact


Governed by Zealots

The government's environmental rules defeat even environmentalists.

Thomas Collier is a Democrat who managed environmental policy for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Then he noticed a mining opportunity in Alaska, one he calls "the single largest deposit of gold and silver

Tom's company hired hundreds of people to study the Pebble Mine's potential environmental impact, a first step before asking the Environmental Protection Agency for permission to dig. Usually, the EPA analyzes a company's study, then does its own research, then rules. But in this case, the EPA did something odd -- it rejected the mine before Pebble even got its application in.

That's never happened before, says Collier.

So why would the EPA do that? It's simple: the agency has been captured by environmental zealots.

One of the world's biggest environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council, opposed the mine. The NRDC doesn't do science well -- it employs mostly lawyers, not scientists -- but the lawyers are good at raising money by scaring people about supposed environmental "disasters" like mines.

"The things that NRDC is talking about are from an age far in the past," says Tom Collier. "Now you can build a safe mine."

He points out that two big mines "sit right on the edge of the Fraser River ... the second largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world. ...No problem with the salmon."

To arouse public opposition to the Pebble Mine, the NRDC funded TV ads that claim the mine will mean a "natural paradise (is) destroyed by a 2,000-foot gaping hole." The mining company will build "huge earthen dams up to 50 stories tall, holding back billions of tons of mining waste." That sounds frightening, because the NRDC doesn't mention that the "waste" is sand -- not some poisonous chemical.

Actor Robert Redford lent his voice to the ad, claiming, "The EPA has confirmed that the Pebble Mine, a massive gold and copper mine, would devastate Bristol Bay." After watching that ad, I thought the proposed mine must be right next to Bristol Bay, but it turns out that the Bay is (SET ITAL) 90 miles (END ITAL) away.

It also turns out that some NRDC activists now work for the EPA, and although activists aren't supposed to get involved in issues pushed by the agency, they do it anyway. The NRDC's Nancy Stoner became an EPA regulator. Then she wrote her former colleagues, "I am not supposed to set up meetings with NRDC staff," referring to a pledge she signed not to participate in any matters directly involving her former employer. Then she got around these restrictions by qualifying that she could attend such a meeting if "there are enough others in attendance."

Isn't that revealing? It's the evil private-public "revolving door" that activists usually complain

She didn't respond to my questions, so I asked NRDC spokesman Bob Deans about his group "colluding with regulators" to shut down a mine. He smoothly replied, "NRDC is a source of expertise, and sometimes government takes advantage of that."

It sure does.

I asked Deans, "Are there some mines you don't  complain about?

He said, "Sure." But when I asked him to name "any mines" that NRDC "doesn't oppose," he failed to come up with any.

"NIMBY" used to be the anti-economic-growth refrain. Luddites shouted, "Not in my backyard!" Now, watching bureaucrats stop projects such as the Keystone oil pipeline and the Pebble Mine, it's clear that the phrase has become "BANANA": "Build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone!"

I wish activists would personally experience the economic devastation that occurs when they block every project that might have a slight impact on nature.

Alaskans who still live near the Pebble Mine site say the activists killed their dreams. "The environmental groups," said Lisa Reimers, "made people believe on TV that everything was going to die."

When Pebble ramped up, Reimers' company employed 215 people. Only six remain. "You see your people struggling and you have to let them go," Reimers told us. "There are no jobs here, and they're angry at you because they think it's your fault."

Propaganda is what the NRDC produces. It shouldn't be the basis for EPA policy. These days, too often, it is -- because activists and regulators collude.


Ex-Im’s War on Coal

Lest you needed another reason to oppose the resurrection of the United States Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, bureaucrats haven’t just been picking the winners and losers among American corporations but have also been taking it upon themselves to do the bidding of the Obama administration by helping wage their misguided “War on Coal.”

For the past few years, bank officials have refused to finance many coal exports in order to support President Obama’s climate initiatives. This was done without congressional approval or oversight – and demonstrates yet another example of how transparency was severely lacking in the bank’s lending practices.

At a June congressional hearing on the bank’s reauthorization, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) prodded the bank’s chairman, Fred Hochberg, with questions. Corker quipped, “I didn’t know we were carrying out environmental policies through Ex-Im,” and said he was “offended to realize Ex-Im Bank basically had taken on some of the administration’s policies without Congress being involved in any way.”

In a moment of rare honesty, Hochberg testified that he made a habit of not supporting coal and coal-mining equipment exports or deals involving coal-fired power plants in “wealthier countries” that have the ability to use other sources of power. This left many senators, particularly Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), to question if the bank was more interested in promoting liberal policy agendas than American jobs. That appears to be exactly the case.

At the same time the supposedly independent financial institution was denying coal equipment exports to needing countries across the world, they were promoting the Obama-backed “green energy” firm Solyndra. Nobody will forget the corrupt solar start up that went belly-up after receiving more than $500 million in taxpayer subsidies and a $10.3 million loan from the Ex-Im bank, leading to subpoenas and congressional inquiries of high level Obama administration officials. Ex-Im provided loan guarantees to another politically-connected solar panel company, Abound Solar, before it, too, went under. Abound received $9.2 million from the bank.

As supporters of Ex-Im cry for Congress to reauthorize the bank before they leave for their August recess, it’s important to remember these stories. Plagued with mismanagement and a lack of transparency, the bank’s goal was not, first and foremost, about promoting American jobs.

Claiming in its mission statement that the bank was intended to assist small businesses export overseas, Ex-Im was caught mischaracterizing “potentially hundreds of large companies and units of multinational conglomerates as small businesses,” as reported by Reuters. The most recent data shows that 60 percent of the bank’s financing went to 10 multinational corporations, and a remaining 30 percent went to Boeing alone. The three largest recipients of Ex-Im funds include Boeing, General Electric, and Caterpillar, year after year. And it has since come to light that the Ex-Im bank only supports less than one percent of America’s small businesses with loan guarantees, instead serving only to prop up major companies who are more than capable of finding private lending.

When picking winners and losers in exporting, the taxpayer-backed bank propped up politically-connected corporations and failing alternative energy companies, without disclosing its selection process. The bank promoted a political agenda when it was supposed to remain independent and impartial. Ex-Im was allowed to run rampant, despite multiple congressional attempts to reform and rein in. Thus, Congress in June allowed its charter to expire. It should remain that way.


Pakistan supports global warming

ISLAMABAD: The present unsustainable global economic order has brutally overexploited natural resources to achieve so-called development, benefitted a few while plunging millions in the developing world into poverty and debt.

This was stated by Climate Change Minister Mushahidullah Khan while speaking to the media on Sunday.

“The world direly needs a whole new economic framework to cope with these challenges being aggravated further by the consequences of the global warming caused by the increasing trajectory of emissions of climate-altering and heat-trapping greenhouse gases, mainly carbon-dioxide,” he said.

The minister added that the planet is unlikely to be able to deal with the threat of global warming and achieve sustainable development goals without a new economic order. He said this new order must be made binding on rich industrialised countries, which are historically the world’s leading polluters, so as to use natural resources in a more judicious manner and move from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Khan opined the current ‘business as usual’ model for development has led to dangerous levels of pollution, triggered climate change, biodiversity loss, and failed to address poverty and inequality. He said though a sustainable approach would be for all countries needed to shift towards zero-carbon economies, this remained a tremendous challenge for developing countries in particular.

“No one can deny that no country to date has developed without fossil fuel. However, cooperation is key in providing the technology, finance, skills and systems to create an alternative way of developing countries to adjust to the impact of unfolding climate change for which rich countries are responsible,” the minister said.

He seconded a statement made by Irish President Michael D Higgins, where he noted that the current generation may be the last with a chance to respond to the urgent, uncontested effects of climate change.

“The Irish president, last week rightly said at a meeting in Paris entitled the Summit of Consciences for the Climate that the challenge of climate change provided opportunities to build up a new economic order for humanity and for the sustainability of mother Earth,” Khan said.

The minister also supported former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s view that the threat posed by climate change is as grave as the danger of nuclear war.

The summit was convened by French President François Hollande, and was attended by religious groups, Nobel Laureates, artists and prominent politicians. The event is part of a series of gatherings to be held in the run-up to the two-week UN climate change conference in Paris in December. At the conference, a new global climate agreement is due to be finalised between developed and developing countries to keep the global carbon emission levels below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


'Scientific Method' Australian Government style

by John Elliston AM, FAusIMM(CP)

Since 1936 the ‘scientific method’ has been recognised by Australian law (Subsection 73B(1) of the ITAA 1936) as: - ‘Systematic investigative and experimental activities that involve testing a hypothesis (new idea) by deductive formulation of its consequences. aussie scientific method

These deductions must be rigorously tested by repeatable experimentation and logical conclusions drawn from the results of the experiments. The hypothesis must be based on principles of physical, chemical, mathematical, or biological sciences’ (this would include the Second Law of Thermodynamics).

In 1972 Australian universities abandoned the procedure that had been used for award of their highest degrees in science to that time. DSc candidates were required to submit a doctoral thesis embodying an original research finding (details of a tested hypothesis). This was “peer reviewed” by two or more external scientists selected by the university as most appropriately qualified.

It was recognised that a candidate who had tested an original hypothesis may be equally or better able to interpret the results than an external reviewer. Candidates were therefore entitled to a “right of reply” to the written report or comments of the universities’ reviewers. In reply they could produce references or call on reviewers of their own selection.

University authorities were able to fairly assess the candidate’s new research finding and determine if it merited the award of their highest degree. This procedure raised standards in all scientific disciplines to which it applied but by 1974 it was abandoned by all Australian universities as too tedious and time consuming to cope with the rapidly increasing number of candidates aspiring to higher degrees.

With continuing rates of increase since 1970’s, Australian universities now resemble production-line ‘higher degree factories’! They quite rightly require higher degree candidates to meet very high standards but they are uniform standards requiring each candidate to conform to the limitations of the knowledge of his or her degree supervisor. corrupted scientific method

Significant new discoveries cannot conform to what is currently “generally accepted”. All publicly funded research in Australia tends to digress, at least to some extent, from the scientific method toward the extreme case depicted in the American cartoon (pictured right). Competitive research proposals are written to get research grants rather than to advance our knowledge by resolution of long-standing problems.

Geological researchers spend more time looking at computer screens than looking at rocks and mineral deposits!



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

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


29 July, 2015

Regulations, mostly Green, are destroying America's future

The Jetsons, a sci-fi fantasy family of the 1960s, lived in impossible luxury in 2062. Not only are we not nearing their living standards, we are going in the opposite direction. This column has wondered why, and a recent Supreme Court case has given us the answer. In one of its few good decisions of the recent term, the Court by a slim 5-4 vote struck down an EPA regulation whose costs were 1,000 times its benefits. It’s good to know imposing costs of 1,000 times the benefits is a no-no, but the myriads of regulations where costs are only 100 times, 10 times or even twice the benefits pervade the entire U.S. economy – and are leading us towards the Flintstones rather than the Jetsons.

The case, Michigan vs. EPA, concerned an EPA decision to regulate power plants directly, beyond the general requirements of the Clean Air Act of 1970, if they determined emissions (primarily mercury) from those plants posed a significant risk to public health. Thus the figure of $90 billion for benefits, bandied about in the media by friends of the EPA, included all the benefits from mercury regulation under the Clean Air Act – a dubious figure even under that definition, but of no relevance whatever to the further regulations proposed by the EPA. The new regulations, according to the Supreme Court ruling, imposed costs of $9-10 billion on the electric utility industry, while achieving benefits of $4-6 million – that’s million with an m. The cost/benefit ratio was thus in the region of 2,000 to 1.

Maddeningly, this Supreme Court ruling will in itself provide no benefit to the U.S. economy. Coming as it does three years after the regulations were imposed, it arrives only after most of the $9-10 billion of costs have been incurred, as utilities across the country have closed power plants in response to the EPA regulation.

Friends of regulation will no doubt claim that this was a rogue outlier, or (as many of the mainstream media have done) that the true benefit of the rogue regulation were a huge multiple of those claimed in the Supreme Court ruling. Both claims are implausible. The higher figure for benefits could be arrived at only by including the provisions of the Clean Air Act itself, and is any case highly likely to be spurious if examined closely. (A quick calculation: $90 billion claimed benefit divided by 11,000 claimed lives saved gives a value of $8.2 million per life, three or four times the value assumed in any reasonable actuarial calculation.)

The claim that the 1,000 to 1 cost to benefit ratio of this particular regulation is a rogue outlier is statistically highly implausible. Yes, it’s likely that the ratio was at the extreme of cost/benefit ratios produced by regulations as a whole, if only because 1,000 to 1 is a very rare cost/benefit ratio for anything. But it is vanishingly unlikely that the 1,000 to 1 regulation is one plucked from a population of regulations, the rest of which are close to 1 to 1 or even have a net benefit. Were that the case, the 1,000 to 1 cost/benefit ratio would be 25 or 50 standard deviations from the mean of all regulatory cost/benefit ratios, a deviation that only occurs one in the life of a million universes.

Statistically, it is much more plausible that the 1,000 to 1 cost/benefit ratio is only 3 or 4 standard deviations from the mean, and the population of regulations as a whole is full of 100 to 1, 200 to 1, 50 to 1, 10 to 1 and even 2 to 1 cost-benefit ratios. In other words, the entire population of regulations from the EPA (and we have no reason to believe the EPA to be especially egregious among government regulators) is likely to have costs a substantial multiple of its benefits.

When you look at the incredible density of regulations inflicted on the U.S. economy since around 1970, and more particularly since 2009, it’s clear that they should have a major economic effect. As this column has pointed out before, from the productivity statistics, the effect itself is clear, even if the causal link isn’t. The average annual rate of labor productivity growth in the United States from 1947 to 1972 was 2.88%. From 1973 to 2010 it declined by around a third, to 1.98%. Since 2011, the productivity growth rate has fallen still further, to 0.51% annually from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2015. If average productivity growth had been maintained since 1973 at the rate obtaining before 1973, we would today be 54% richer. The United States would be richer than Singapore, rather than having fallen to a level one third below Singapore’s per capita wealth.

This is not especially an anti-environmentalist point. The personnel restrictions generated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 (another of Richard Nixon’s less stellar moments) and the various anti-discrimination acts generate huge costs, partly for employers attempting desperately to avoid the flood of frivolous lawsuits the legislation has generated. The licensing requirements of the FDA add enormously to the cost of developing new drugs, making the United States’ the costliest pharmacopeia in the world.

The CAFÉ fuel economy restrictions on automobiles have come close to destroying the U.S. automobile industry, by far the world leader in 1970. The recent restrictions on financial services appear to be generating mostly gigantic fines for trivial offenses such as manipulating LIBOR by a basis point or so. They have effectively closed the financial sector to new entrants, while in the long run enormously raising the cost of financial transactions. Even trivial tech improvements such as Uber are banned from various cities by their local governments acting in concert with taxicab companies. Finally, there is the disaster that is U.S. healthcare, more expensive than anywhere else in the world, and always liable to zap ordinary citizens with outrageously padded medical bills, which they have no hope of paying. And so the list goes on.

Further clear evidence of the recent intensification in regulation, and its pernicious effects is the decline in U.S. entrepreneurship since 2008. In recent years, the exit rate of new firms has exceeded the entry rate, something never seen before in the postwar economy. Part of this can be blamed on the Fed, whose extreme ultra-low interest policies stifle saving and thereby prevent many smaller new businesses from getting started. But there can be no doubt that the plethora of modern regulation plays at least an equally important role.

The left invented Gross Domestic Product, so they could include all government activities, however wasteful and even damaging, in national output figures, as though they were truly productive. This statistical legerdemain flattered historical periods such as the middle 1930s and the 1960s and early 1970s, when the U.S. government was increasing rapidly in size. Now they want to move away from GDP towards a measure of output that includes such things as cleaner air and water, and other measures that are merely evidence of compliance with left-devised regulations rather than anything tangibly benefiting the populace as a whole.

The objective of this will be to move further towards the regulatory state, impoverishing ordinary citizens and causing immense economic misery, while being able to claim that their new “Gross National Happiness” index is increasing at a rapid rate and that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Global Warming legislation, ideally on a global scale where democratic forces are impotent, is likely be a key element in the move to the ultimate regulatory state in which all economic activity is controlled by Platonic Guardians – and non-Party members lead a miserable existence. Curiously, this was very much the Soviet dream, and was set out powerfully in George Orwell’s 1984. The success of regulation in the U.S. since 1970 and its effect on the overall economy indicate clearly that the dream never dies – and for the rest of us the nightmare too lives on.

The Commissar wears many hats – and if he comes in the form of a kindly environmental regulator, concerned about the level of mercury in the drinking water, he should be resisted as fiercely as if he bore a hammer and sickle.


New Little Ice Age Started: Climate Change with a Difference

by Professor Cliff Ollier

In the past decades we have been overwhelmed by books on Global Warming and its successor Climate Change. We have also been exposed to a large (though much smaller) number of books that take a skeptical view of these issues. book new little ice age

Here is a book with something new in the Climate Change debate: 'A New Little Ice Age Has Started: How to survive and prosper during the next 50 difficult years.' [1] 

 This book goes beyond global warming and the usual arguments against it. It does not deal with the details of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, simply noting that its amount has gone up in the past 60 years from about 350 to 400 ppm, while temperatures have not risen for the past 18 years. Clearly there is no correlation. Instead the arguments are assembled to show that a new ice is upon us.

On the scientific side he gets into the role of alignment of planets affecting gravity, cosmic rays (the link between solar flares and climate), and the relationship between volcanoes and climate (big eruptions cause T 250 New Concepts in Global Tectonics Journal, V. 3, No. 2, June 2015. cooling).

But this book is for the layman, so he does not use masses of facts and statistics, but rather anecdotal evidence. Instead of using satellite measurements to show the growing Greenland ice cap he recounts that a plane lost in World War II was discovered in 1989 under 87m of ice.

He goes on to show the fallacious science that has been used to blind the public to the reality, with discussion of the role of Climategate where climate scientists exchanged cynical e-mails discussing their fraud and manipulation very openly.

Lawrence Pierce describes the work of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) who publish their political Executive Summaries for politicians months before the actual Scientific Reports. They claim to use first class data but in fact use all kinds of nonrefereed reports from green agencies such as Greenpeace instead of scientific evidence.

Pierce has a few words to say on the disgraced ex-chairman of the IPCC, Dr. Pachauri, Al Gore’s misleading propaganda film, and Michael Mann’s infamous hockey-stick. Why does he do this? It turns out that the author is an ex lawyer who retired to grow grapes in British Colombia.

But the weather didn’t warm as he had been promised and the business failed. So he started his own investigation. Of course he found the pause in global warming. But more than this he found a completely different story. Carbon dioxide was barely a player, and the thing that has the best correlation with climate is the sunspot cycle. He describes the cycle using good diagrams and tables, and recounts the climatic history of the past few hundred years, with the Mediaeval Warm Period and the subsequent Little Ice Age.

As an aside Lawrence Pierce gives an account of Mann’s famous ‘hockey stick’ graph showing ever accelerating temperature increase (a onetime logo for the alarmists), the construction of which required the elimination of both the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age – which are incontrovertible facts. He describes the cold periods in the past starting roughly as follows: – the Oort 1000, Wolf 1250, Sporer 1400, Maunder 1645, Dalton 1780 - all related to sun spot minima.

And then comes the shocking discovery – we have already started our descent into the next Little Ice Age.

Solar Cycle 24 has started, and could be the Solar Cycle with the lowest recorded sunspot activity since accurate records began in 1750, so we are likely to have very cold weather for the next fifty to eighty years. Pierce points out that the minima are not times of permanent cold, but have great variation, with short hot spells and many storms.

In general life is good in the warm spells between little ice ages – the Roman, Medieval and Twentieth century warm periods, but harsh in the cold periods. He ties historical events to his narrative, such as Bonaparte’s attack on Moscow in one the very cold winters, the collapse of the Nordic settlement in Greenland, the Irish potato famine and many others.

We have come to accept the twentieth century warm as the norm, but the time of abundance is over. He sees the oncoming Ice Age as a real cause for alarm, and he asks why has it been kept from us? Why are our governments spending trillions to ‘avoid’ global warming when the real peril is just the reverse, and we have no plans to meet it. Lawrence Pierce feels cheated that the governments, scientists and journalists who he trusted have in fact completely misled him. Finally he writes about what to do about the coming cold.

Unfortunately this is a very parochial view and really tells people in Canada what to do. 35 out of 125 pages of the main text are devoted to this topic. But he pointed out that during the cold periods of previous little ice ages wiped out hundreds of thousands of people outside Canada by famine and associated war and disease. At present there are many countries, especially in the Middle East, who have booming population growth but are entirely dependent on buying food from elsewhere.

If the boundary of the wheat belt in the northern hemisphere moves 300 miles km to the south, they are in jeopardy. Guess what they will do. So if you believe his text you must make your own strategy to survive the hard times that are coming.


Using NOAA's cooked data, NASA says June tied as hottest month

 by Thomas Richard

NASA announced on Wednesday that by using NOAA's recently altered temperature data, June 2015 was tied as the warmest June on record.  goes 8 satelliteAs previously reported here, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reworked its climate data in order to eliminate the 18-year-and-counting pause in global warming. In early June, NOAA released a study saying that long-existing instrument biases have been masking rising sea surface temperatures. Once they "readjusted" the data, the current warming hiatus disappeared. Put simply, by cooling the past, NOAA made the the last two decades look warmer.

With the release of global temperature data for June, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has essentially changed how it analyses measurements by using the same sea surface dataset that was readjusted by NOAA. In using NOAA's highly controversial dataset, NASA can now say that global average temperatures last month tied June 2015 with June 1998 as the warmest on record. The global surface temperature anomaly for June was +0.78 degrees Celsius, which they say was driven by temperature inconsistencies in the Northern Hemisphere.

The June 2015 data released by NASA uses the same readjustments of global sea surface temperature records created by NOAA, which increases the rate of overall global warming (both land and sea) in the last 15 years. NOAA's dataset, known as the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 4 (ERSST v4), reflects these readjustments and have now been arrogated by NASA.

More troubling is the fact that NASA and NOAA have joined forces to hide the global warming pause, even though there are more robust, accurate datasets available that clearly show it. One item of contention is that both agencies have essentially overlooked the satellite record dataset, which shows a global warming pause since 1998. Starting in 1979, orbiting satellites have been measuring the atmosphere five miles up and are accurate to within .001 degrees Celsius.

Satellite data show that the upper atmosphere is warming much less than global surface temperatures, even though computer models predicted the opposite would happen. Worse still, the satellite-derived measurements clearly show a global warming pause. The dataset are analyzed by both the U.S. firm Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and also the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Both the RSS and UAH datasets are unaffected by the issues that plague land-based measurements and ship- and buoy-based biases in sea surface temperatures. NOAA's re-adjustments to the climate's temperature record doesn't impact satellite measurements as they are not susceptible to such distortions.

Even the data from weather balloons agree with the satellite temperature measurements. They show much less warming then was predicted, and in the past 18.6 years have shown no statistical warming worldwide. The other major player in the global temperature measurement field is the UK Met Office surface temperature dataset, which also shows a global warming pause since 1998. Oddly enough, NASA announced on July 9 that the oceans slowed the global temperature rise by "trapping the heat," while simultaneously claiming temperatures haven't stopped rising.

NASA also said it has "eliminated GHCN's Amundsen-Scott temperature series" and will only be using the SCAR reports for the South Pole (Antarctica). The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) also announced it was using the readjusted NOAA ERSST v4 dataset. Unlike the UK Met Office and NCEI products, climate researcher Bob Tisdale writes that "GISS masks sea surface temperature data at the poles where seasonal sea ice exists, and they extend land surface temperature data out over the oceans in these locations."

Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledged two years ago that the "rise in Earth's mean surface temperatures had begun to slow since 1998, and since then everything from volcanic activity to solar output has been used to explain the pause." Currently there are more than 66 excuses to explain the global warming hiatus.

Critics argue all of this comes at a time when President Obama has shifted his focus to climate change ahead of the Paris Climate Talks, and that NOAA and NASA are using this new dataset of revised sea surface temperatures to push other countries into crippling regulations. Even EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted to Congress last week that all the new rules and regulations it is rolling out would only avert warming by .01 degrees.


Science or Selective Ignorance?

In an editorial published in Science magazine on July 3, Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of the Science Journals, removed all doubt concerning the direction that this once prestigious journal is taking. censorship

In "The beyond-two-degree inferno", she wrote: "The time for debate has ended. Action is urgently needed."

Then, she strongly supports the contrived effort of the European Union to keep "global warming" below 2°C above the preindustrial level - a number for which we have no rigorous measurement or logic.

She advocates the political position of the Administration in forcing reductions in carbon dioxide emission (CO2) by stating "The United States has pledged reductions of 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025..."

Of course, there is no such pledge by the American people and its representatives in Congress. The Administration's pledge is arbitrary and authoritarian. Ms. McNutt concludes with a description of the nine circles of Hell found in Dante's Inferno.

Ms. McNutt continues a trend established in the Science journals by Donald Kennedy (2000-2008), who declared while he is editor, Science would no longer accept articles contradicting the pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming, later termed climate change, regardless of the empirical data presented.

The IPCC reports featured glaring deficiencies such as the falsely named distinct human fingerprint, a hot-spot over the tropics, which no one can empirically find; Mr. Mann's hockey-stick, based on sparse data, from which contradicting data was deleted; and global climate models, which greatly overestimate warming, as current measurements demonstrate. The logic behind this editorial policy can be described as selective ignorance. Please see links under Defending the Orthodoxy, including an excellent critique by Judith Curry.

16th Century Thinking: European scientific thinking of the 16th century was dominated by the re-discovery of the works of the Greeks. Their works in geometry and astronomy were very good, particularly considering the lack of precise instruments. Estimates of size of the earth and the moon, and the distance between them were quite accurate. However, they generally underestimated the size of the sun and its distance from the earth.

The concept of a heliocentric solar system was suggested by Aristarchus (died about 232 B.C.) and was accepted by some astronomers but eventually rejected, particularly by Ptolemy, a Roman, (about 150 A.D), whose system became the one widely accepted in the 16th century. During the 16th century, learning and written documents were extremely limited, and authority and consensus were dominate.

Copernicus disagreed with the Ptolemy concept of the solar system, but the work was not published until the year of his death in 1543. It was up to Galileo to earn the full wrath of the Greek scholars (often called Aristotelian scientists) that dominated science in the period. Galileo confronted the scientific models and assumptions of the era with observations from nature and experiments.

The most dramatic of these confrontations was proposing a heliocentric solar system, with an earth that orbited the sun annually, rotated daily, and titled on its axis. [Kepler proposed elliptical, not circular, orbits doing away with epicycles, and non-uniform speeds.] Using a telescope, Galileo identified spots on the sun, refuting the notion that it was immutable (unchanging). There are various versions of what occurred in the 17th century (until Newton) and the importance of various groups.

However, for the purposes of this discussion, one must note that Galileo was the first, influential astronomer of the Renaissance to propose that observations take precedence over authority and consensus of opinion as the objective standard in science. He incurred the full wrath of the scientific establishment of that time.

The Sun? Royal Astronomical Society published a study of a "new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's" 10 to 12 year solar cycle. "The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645."

"It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun's activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years. But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations. Many solar physicists have put the cause of the solar cycle down to a dynamo caused by convecting fluid deep within the Sun. Now, Zharkova and her colleagues have found that adding a second dynamo, close to the surface, completes the picture with surprising accuracy."

"We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun's interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time. Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%," said Zharkova.

Zharkova and her colleagues derived their model using a technique called 'principal component analysis' of the magnetic field observations from the Wilcox Solar Observatory in California. They examined three solar cycles-worth of magnetic field activity, covering the period from 1976-2008. In addition, they compared their predictions to average sunspot numbers, another strong marker of solar activity. All the predictions and observations were closely matched.

Looking ahead to the next solar cycles, the model predicts that the pair of waves become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022. During Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity.

"In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other - peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a 'Maunder minimum'," said Zharkova. "Effectively, when the waves are approximately in phase, they can show strong interaction, or resonance, and we have strong solar activity. When they are out of phase, we have solar minimums. When there is full phase separation, we have the conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, 370 years ago."

Since the period covered in the testing is only three solar cycles, 1976 to 2008, it is far too brief to draw any long-term conclusions. However, the accuracy in the testing is significant. Further, the cooling corresponds with predictions from some other solar scientists.

The short period of study understood, The Summary for Policymakers of Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5), Synthesis Report, of the IPCC also covers a relatively short period. Table SPM.3 presents "Contributions to observed surface temperature change over the period 1951-2010." Yet, the IPCC expressed 95% certainty in its work.

The total of natural forcings presented by the IPCC in this table covers a temperature range of about minus 0.1 ºC to plus 0.1 ºC. If the new report of the Royal Astronomical Society bears out, and we experience a cooling greater than 0.1 ºC, the IPCC and the climate establishment has significant problems.


EPA head: We don't need to justify our regulations with data

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy took a drumming yesterday when she refused to release the 'secret science' her agency used when drafting new regulations. mccarthy testimony Testifying before the House Science, Space and Technology committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R) began the Q&A by asking McCarthy why she wouldn't release the studies and data in which her regulations are based. Rep. Smith told McCarthy that his 'secret science' reform act would make the data public without interfering in the EPA's primary job and maintaining the confidentiality of third parties.

Rep. Smith also quoted Obama's science adviser, John Holdren, saying "The data on which regulatory decisions are based should be made available to the committee and should be made public. Why don't you agree with the president's science adviser?" McCarthy replied that while she supports transparency in the regulatory process, the bill would make public the personal information of the people working on the science.

Smith reiterated that in his secret science reform act, personal information would be redacted but the underlying studies and data that are being used to justify costly regulations would be made public so that other scientists and the American people can review it. This is especially important as the EPA has a 60-day comment period after a new proposal is issued, but the science behind the new regulations is not included. Smith's new bill would rectify that issue.

McCarthy also said she "doesn't actually need the raw data in order to develop science. That's not how it's done."

Rep. Smith: "But why don't you give us the data you have and why can't you get that data you do have? Surely you have the data that you based the regulations on?"

McCarthy: "EPA actually has the authority and the need to actually get information that we have provided to you."

Rep. Smith: "You're saying you can't give us the information because it is personal and then you're saying you don't have the information. Which is it?"

McCarthy: "There is much information we don't have the authority to release."

Rep. Smith reiterated again that any personal information would be redacted and once again asked why she won't release this information after meeting all the criteria McCarthy used to justify not revealing the information. Rep. Smith reminded her that every other agency does this, so why can't the EPA simply redact this personal information and release the underlying science on which the EPA's regulations are based?

McCarthy stressed that the science is generated through the peer-reviewed process and not by the agency itself, prompting Rep. Smith to say that by not showing the American people and the Congress the studies and data they used to make new regulations, it looks like the EPA has something to hide. Rep. Smith said there was no good reason other scientists couldn't review the data, no good reason his committee couldn't review it, and most important, the American people can't review it.

Changing topics, Rep. Smith asked McCarthy about the Clean Power Plan, reminding her that after spending enormous amounts of money and implementing burdensome regulations, increasing the costs of electricity that would hurt the poorest Americans, it would only lower global temperatures 1/100 of a degree. "How do you justify such an expensive, burdensome, onerous rule that isn't going to do much good?…Isn't this all pain and no gain?"

McCarthy admitted the goal of the Clean Power Plan was to show strong domestic action which can trigger strong global action, e.g., getting other countries to follow our lead. McCarthy refused to say if Rep. Smith's analysis of the minuscule effect on global temperatures was correct, stating again it was more about leading on a global scale. She also refused to give Rep. Smith a timetable on when he could expect supporting documentation that he had been requesting for months.

Later in the hearing, Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R) was shocked that McCarthy did not have any idea what percentage of the atmosphere was made up of carbon dioxide (CO2). Stunned by this admission, Rohrabacher said, "You’re head of the EPA and you did not know? …Now you are basing policies that impact dramatically on the American people and you didn’t know what the content of CO2 in the atmosphere was… the justification for the very policies you’re talking about?"

McCarthy: "If you’re asking me how much CO2 is in the atmosphere, not a percentage but how much, we have just reached levels of 400 parts per million."

Rohrabacher: "I think I was very clear on what I was asking. I think it was very clear you didn’t know."

This is not the first time McCarthy has flunked knowing basic science. In a Senate hearing in March, McCarthy was unaware of climate data showing no increase in extreme weather. At that hearing, she was asking for additional money be dedicated to the president's controversial Clean Power Plan, an initiative to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are blamed for any type of bad weather.

As previously reported here, carbon dioxide levels reached a global level of 400 parts per million (ppm) in March, even though global temperatures have not risen for nearly 19 years. You can find 400 carbon dioxide molecules per one million parts of dry air. By volume, "dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide (.04% in March 2015), and small amounts of other gases." Carbon dioxide levels vary between 390 and 400 ppm and change seasonally as more plant life is around to absorb it in the spring and summer.



Anti wind turbine campaigner Susan Crosthwaite is calling for an immediate and full independent investigation into the pollution of surface and groundwater of ALL Scottish windfarm developments sited on River Basin Districts. scottish windfarm  The construction of giant wind turbines has led to the industrialisation of water catchment areas damaging water quality and public health. She demands that relevant legislation be adhered to vigorously to ensure complete protection of Scotland’s reservoirs, lochs and private water supplies can be restored.

Commenting from her home in South Ayrshire Susan Crosthwaite said:

“Windfarm development in Scotland is clearly breaching The Environmental Liabilities Directive and the Water Frameworks Directive. Developers and government bodies have allowed these developments to proceed in the full knowledge that there are risks to surface and groundwater. Authorities such as SEPA, Scottish Water, Councils and the Scottish Government have failed in their legal duty to protect the water environment. Public authorities should ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of the scheme provided for by this Directive.

“People wonder how windfarms can possibly contaminate our water. Firstly, most are constructed on areas of unspoilt moss, heather and deep peat, often with associated forestry. Construction vehicles churn up the ground to make access roads and clear the forests (approximately 3 million trees were cleared at Whitelee). Trees are pulled up, and the churned up peat is washed into the river systems by heavy rain, releasing excessive carbon which the water treatment works are not able to deal with.

“The construction teams then blast quarries and ‘borrow-pits’ to provide rock foundations for access roads and turbine bases - six quarries with 85 articulated dump lorries ferried almost 6 million tons of excavated rock around the Whitelee site for roads and turbine foundations. These excavations allow access to the numerous faults (fractures) and dykes (intrusions) which crisscross Scotland and act as conduits for ground water. Chemical and  diesel spills, therefore, have an immediate channel to the aquifer. It is also a great irony that anti-fracking campaigners make spurious claims about potential water pollution and then support the construction on industrial wind turbines, which are demonstrably causing widespread pollution to our water supplies in Scotland.

groundwater impact

“The evidence of pollution discovered by radiologist Dr. Rachel Connor stems from her own experience of living close to Whitelee, the largest windfarm in Europe, and experiencing first-hand the results of drinking contaminated water. Evidence of pollution was discovered in monitoring reports which  were a requirement for the Whitelee windfarm construction 2006-2009 and were brought before a Public Inquiry re a 3rd extension to Whitelee, where Dr. Connor underwent a 5 hour cross examination. (This material has not yet been ruled on by the Scottish Government.) It included a failure to monitor and test for instances of specific contamination related to chemical spill or diffuse contamination from dangerous chemicals- some of which may have come from 160,000 m3 of concrete which were used in turbine foundations and other areas.

“There was also evidence of contamination of private water supplies where springs had failed completely, boreholes had silted up temporarily and water quality was rendered unfit to drink. There is no effective protective mechanism for private water supplies if the local authority responsible for protecting the water supply has no mechanism to insist that a developer find, chart and protect the water source, and is subsequently not responsible for the hydrological environment upon which that water supply depends.

“Windfarm developments have not been monitored or assessed according to the legal requirements which under a European Directive require Member States to ensure the establishment of programmes for the monitoring of water status in order to establish a coherent and comprehensive overview of water status within each river basin district. It is clear that incidents and concerns have been reported by a Planning Monitoring Officer to the regulatory authorities but have not been investigated. Indeed Planning Monitoring Officers are not routinely employed and in any case, information from such officials may be difficult and costly for the public to access. Consequently developments proceed unchallenged.

“Wind farm construction has coincided with an increase in raw water colour at Amlaird and other Scottish Water treatment works. Scottish Water test results indicated high levels of colour, iron, manganese, coliforms, E coli and turbidity, but these were not investigated and resolved by the appropriate authority. The disinfection procedures meant that drinking water failed to meet European and UK regulatory standards leading to increased levels of Trihalomethanes – recognised by the WHO as possible human carcinogens

“Now Scottish Water test results from 2005 to 2014 for colour, iron, manganese, coliforms and e coli in Loch Bradan, Afton Reservoir and Penwhapple Reservoir – also show a deterioration in water quality associated with windfarm construction and pre-construction forestry clearance. This means that many people in East and South Ayrshire are drinking water below the Drinking Water Regulatory Standards. Where water quality has fallen consistently below regulatory standards, statutory authorities have not informed the public of the potential risks to their health despite an EC Directive that insists  ‘Member States shall ensure the necessary protection for the bodies of water identified with the aim of avoiding deterioration in their quality in order to reduce the level of purification treatment required in the production of drinking water’.

“As Whitelee is Scottish Power Renewable’s flagship windfarm, the credibility of all their windfarm developments is based on the belief that their professed mitigation measures are successfully preventing any water pollution. How can the public be confident that this is the case if they do not constantly and consistently monitor all subsequent developments with results made easily available to the public?

“Arecleoch SPR windfarm consists of 60 turbines, operational since Autumn of 2011 This windfarm along with Hadyard Hill, Hadyard Hill Extension, Assel Valley, Millenderdale and Straid windfarms are all sited within the River Stinchar water catchment protected area. Tralorg plus the 5 ‘Straiton’ windfarms including Dersalloch are sited on the Girvan and Doon water protected catchment zones. None of these developments, according to the FOI, have been adequately monitored or assessed. Indeed failure to monitor the impact on surface and ground water before, during and after the construction of the 60 turbines at Arecleoch constitutes a direct breach of the water directives.”



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

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


28 July, 2015

Is the Pope a Fascist?

If we compare him with Fascists of the past, his ideas are clearly Fascist.  Fortunately, however, he has none of their power.  "But how can such a nice guy be a Fascist?" one might ask. In answer to that remember that "Pope" is a version of the Italian word for "father" and that both Mussolini and Hitler were seen as fatherly figures in their times.  Hitler had most Germans convinced that he loved them. And even in the mouth of a holy man bad ideas can be destructive when other people take them seriously.

And the church has always accomodated Fascism.   In 1929 Mussolini and Pope Pius 12th signed the Lateran treaty -- which is  the legal basis for the existence of the Vatican State to this day -- and Pius in fact at one stage called Mussolini "the man sent by Providence".  The treaty recognized Roman Catholicism as the Italian State religion as well as recognizing the Vatican as a sovereign state.  What Mussolini got in exchange was acceptance by the church -- something that was enormously important in the Italy of that time.

It should also be noted that Mussolini's economic system (his "corporate State") was a version of syndicalism  -- having workers, bosses and the party allegedly united in several big happy families --  and syndicalism is precisely what had been recommended in the then recent (1891) "radical" encyclical De rerum novarum of Pope Leo XIII.  So that helped enormously to reconcile Mussolini to the church.  Economically, Fascism was more Papal than capitalist (though in the Papal version of syndicalism the church naturally had a bigger role).

Syndicalism was of course a far-Leftist idea (with Sorel as a major prophet) long before it was a Papal one but the Holy Father presented a much more humanized and practical version of it and thus seems in the end to have been more influential than his Leftist rivals.  Mussolini was of course acutely aware of both streams of syndicalist thinking and it was a great convenience to him to be able to present himself as both a modern Leftist and as a supporter of the church.

So that is the Catholic intellectual inheritance, making Frank's ideas not at all outlandish in a Catholic context.  Catholic economic ideas in fact formed the basis of Italian Fascism.  And Frank has built on that foundation using more modern ideas.

In his recent encyclical, Frank has made it clear that he idealizes a simple and definitely non-capitalist rural past. Hitler did the same and the modern-day Green/Left do the same.  So exactly from where did Frank get those ideas?  As well as from Catholic economic thinking, he got them from liberation theology.  Liberation theology is a very Leftist doctrine that is widespread among South American priests and Frank is a South American priest.  So where did South American priests get their ideas?  From the prevailing South American culture.  And South American thinking is typically Fascist.  Latin America has had heaps of Fascist-type dictatorships in the recent history of its governance so that is hardly controversial.  Fascism explains Latin-American poverty.  Fascism is a form of Leftism and Leftism is always economically destructive.

So where did South American Fascism come from?  Initially from Simon Bolivar, the great liberator of South America.  Bolivar wanted to replace the king of Spain by a South American elite, not by mass democracy.  And to this day the Venezuelan regime describes itself as Bolivarian.  Bolivar and his ideas are far from forgotten.  Bolivar emphasized the importance of a strong ruler and the constitution he wrote aimed to establish a lifelong presidency and an hereditary senate. He explicitly rejected the liberal ideas of the U.S. founders. Fascist enough?  Memories of  a certain Tausend Jahr Reich come to mind. So the Latin American dictators have simply been good Bolivarians.

So that is the mental world that formed Pope Frank as he was growing up in Argentina.  And who is to this day the most influential political figure in Argentina?  Juan Peron, another Fascist and a friend of Mussolini in his day.  And it was of course Peron who gave refuge to many displaced Nazis after WWII.  And what was Peron's appeal?  He claimed to be standing up for the
descamisados", the "shirtless ones".  In typical Leftist style he claimed to be an advocate for the poor.

Is Frank's thinking coming into focus yet?  He is actually a pretty good Peronist.  He has brought Argentinian Fascism to the Holy See.  He is certainly no original thinker. Paul Driessen  sets out below how his prescriptions would perpetuate poverty, disease, and premature death in the Third World -- just as they have done in Argentina

The Laudato Si encyclical on climate, sustainability and the environment prepared by and for Pope Francis is often eloquent, always passionate but often encumbered by platitudes, many of them erroneous.

“Man has slapped nature in the face,” and “nature never forgives,” the pontiff declares. “Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as in the last 200 years.” It isn’t possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier sectors of society. “Each year thousands of species are being lost,” and “if we destroy creation, it will destroy us.”

The pope believes climate change is largely manmade and driven by a capitalist economic system that exploits the poor. Therefore, he says, we must radically reform the global economy, promote sustainable development and wealth redistribution, and ensure “intergenerational solidarity” with the poor, who must be given their “sacred rights” to labor, lodging and land (the Three L’s).

All of this suggests that, for the most part, Pope Francis probably welcomes statements by his new friends in the United Nations and its climate and sustainability alliance.

One top Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change official bluntly says climate policy is no longer about environmental protection; instead, the next climate summit will negotiate “the distribution of the world’s resources.” UN climate chief Christiana Figueres goes even further. UN bureaucrats, she says, are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the global economic development model.” [emphasis added]

However, statements by other prominent prophets of planetary demise hopefully give the pope pause.

Obama science advisor John Holdren and Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich, in their Human Ecology book: “We need to de-develop the United States” and other developed countries, “to bring our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.” We will then address the “ecologically feasible development of the underdeveloped countries.” [emphasis added]

Ehrlich again: “Giving society cheap energy is like giving an idiot child a machine gun.” And most outrageous: The “instant death control” provided by DDT was “responsible for the drastic lowering of death rates” in poor countries; so they need to have a “death rate solution” imposed on them.

Radical environmentalism’s death campaigns do not stop with opposing DDT even as a powerful insect repellant to prevent malaria. They view humans (other than themselves) as consumers, polluters and “a plague upon the Earth” – never as creators, innovators or protectors. They oppose modern fertilizers and biotech foods that feed more people from less land, using less water. And of course they are viscerally against all forms and uses of hydrocarbon energy, which yields far more energy per acre than alternatives.

Reflect on all of this a moment. Unelected, unaccountable UN bureaucrats have given themselves the authority to upend the world economic order and redistribute its wealth and resources – with no evidence that any alternative they might have in mind will bring anything but worse poverty, inequality and death.

Moreover, beyond the dishonest, arrogant and callous attitudes reflected in these outrageous statements, there are countless basic realities that the encyclical and alarmist allies sweep under the rug.

We are trying today to feed, clothe, and provide electricity, jobs, homes, and better health and living standards to six billion more people than lived on our planet 200 years ago. Back then, reliance on human and animal muscle, wood and dung fires, windmills and water wheels, and primitive, backbreaking, dawn-to-dusk farming methods made life nasty, brutish and short for the vast majority of humans.

As a fascinating short video by Swedish physician and statistician Hans Rosling illustrates, human life expectancy and societal wealth has surged dramatically over these past 200 years. None of this would have been possible without the capitalism, scientific method and hydrocarbon energy that radical, shortsighted activists in the UN, EPA, Big Green, Inc. and Vatican now want to put in history’s dustbin.

Over the past three decades, fossil fuels – mostly coal – helped 1.3 billion people get electricity and escape debilitating, often lethal energy and economic poverty. However, 1.3 billion still do not have electricity. In India alone, more people than live in the USA still lack electricity; in Sub-Saharan Africa, 730 million (equal to Europe) still cook and heat with wood, charcoal and animal dung.

Hundreds of millions get horribly sick and 4-6 million die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, due to breathing smoke from open fires and not having clean water, refrigeration and unspoiled food.

Providing energy, food, homes and the Three L’s to middle class and impoverished families cannot happen without nuclear and hydrocarbon energy and numerous raw materials. Thankfully, we still have these resources in abundance, because “our ultimate resource” (our creative intellect) has enabled us to use “fracking” and other technologies to put Earth’s resources to productive use serving humanity.

Little solar panels on huts, subsistence and organic farming, and bird-and-bat-butchering wind turbines have serious cost, reliability and sustainability problems of their own. If Pope Francis truly wants to help the poor, he cannot rely on these “alternatives” or on UN and Big Green ruling elite wannabes. Who are they to decide what is “ecologically feasible,” what living standards people will be “permitted” to enjoy, or how the world should “more fairly” share greater scarcity, poverty and energy deprivation?

We are all obligated to help protect our planet and its people – from real problems, not imaginary ones. Outside the computer modelers’ windows, in The Real World, we are not running out of energy and raw materials. (We’re just not allowed to develop and use them.) The only species going extinct have been birds on islands where humans introduced new predators – and raptors that have been wiped out by giant wind turbines across habitats in California and other locations. Nor are we encountering climate chaos.

No category 3-5 hurricane has struck the USA in a record 9-3/4 years. (Is that blessing due to CO2 and capitalism?) There has been no warming in 19 years, because the sun has gone quiet again. We have not been battered by droughts more frequent or extreme than what humanity experienced many times over the millennia, including those that afflicted biblical Egypt, the Mayas and Anasazi, and Dust Bowl America.

The scientific method brought centuries of planetary and human progress. It requires that we propose and test hypotheses that explain how nature works. If experimental evidence supports a hypothesis, we have a new rule that can guide further health and scientific advances. If the evidence contradicts the hypothesis, we must devise a new premise – or give up on further progress.

But with climate change, a politicized method has gained supremacy. Based on ideology, it ignores real-world evidence and fiercely defends its assumptions and proclamations. Laudato Si places the Catholic Church at risk of surrendering its role as a champion of science and human progress, and returning to the ignominious persecution of Galileo.

Nor does resort to sustainable development provide guidance. Sustainability is largely interchangeable with “dangerous manmade climate change” as a rallying cry for anti-hydrocarbon, wealth redistribution and economic transformation policies. It means whatever particular interests want it to mean and has become yet one more intolerant ideology in college and government circles.

Climate change and sustainability are critical moral issues. Denying people access to abundant, reliable, affordable hydrocarbon energy is not just wrong. It is immoral – and lethal.

It is an unconscionable crime against humanity to implement policies that pretend to protect the world’s energy-deprived masses from hypothetical manmade climate and other dangers decades from now – by perpetuating poverty, malnutrition and disease that kill millions of them tomorrow.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine

Hansen in the gun

Some excerpts below from comments by  Judith Curry on Jim Hansen's latest brainstorm.  She first notes that lots of people thought Hansen has gone well beyond the realm of the probable this time. She then gives the actual journal abstract and adds some comments of her own

Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous

J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Hearty, R. Ruedy, M. Kelley, V. Masson-Delmotte, G. Russell, G. Tselioudis, J. Cao, E. Rignot, I. Velicogna, E. Kandiano, K. von Schuckmann, P. Kharecha, A. N. Legrande, M. Bauer, and K.-W. Lo


There is evidence of ice melt, sea level rise to +5–9 m, and extreme storms in the prior interglacial period that was less than 1 C warmer than today. Human-made climate forcing is stronger and more rapid than paleo forcings, but much can be learned by  combining insights from paleoclimate, climate modeling, and on-going observations. We argue that ice sheets in contact with the ocean are vulnerable to non-linear disintegration in response to ocean warming, and we posit that ice sheet mass loss can be approximated by a doubling time up to sea level rise of at least several meters. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield sea level rise of several meters in 50, 100 or 10 200 years. Paleoclimate data reveal that subsurface ocean warming causes ice shelf melt and ice sheet discharge. Our climate model exposes amplifying feedbacks in the Southern Ocean that slow Antarctic bottom water formation and increase ocean temperature near ice shelf grounding lines, while cooling the surface ocean and increasing sea ice cover and water column stability. Ocean surface cooling, in the North Atlantic as well as the Southern Ocean, increases tropospheric horizontal temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, which drive more powerful storms.We focus attention on the Southern Ocean’s role in aecting atmospheric CO2 amount, which in turn is a tight control knob on global climate. The millennial (500–2000 year) time scale of deep ocean ventilation aects the time scale for natural CO2 change, thus the time 20 scale for paleo global climate, ice sheet and sea level changes. This millennial carbon cycle time scale should not be misinterpreted as the ice sheet time scale for response to a rapid human-made climate forcing. Recent ice sheet melt rates have a doubling time near the lower end of the 10–40 year range.We conclude that 2 C global warming above the preindustrial level, which would spur more ice shelf melt, is highly dangerous. Earth’s energy imbalance, which must be eliminated to stabilize climate, provides a crucial metric.

The paper is in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, the discussion forum of the European Geosciences Union journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

This is an intriguing and wide-sweeping paper that has put together a multi-disciplinary team to examine the possibility of near term catastrophic sea level rise.

For context,  Hansen et al. present a much more extreme scenario than the  last report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the most recent assessment in 2014  “Expert assessment of sea-level rise by AD 2100 and AD 2300.”

The biggest issue raised by Hansen is the potential (plausible? possible?) for a catastrophic >5 m sea level rise in the 21st century. Hansen et al. have proposed a  a new mechanism for faster sea level rise – can we falsify this?  The collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS)  is arguably the most alarming potential impact of global warming.  WAIS has collapsed before during previous interglacials, and will undoubtedly collapse again (with or without AGW), with a ~5 m sea level rise.  The issue is whether the WAIS can collapse on timescales of decades to a century.  Based on what we know (summarized by Tad Pfeffer above), this is a process that would take centuries.

I am not an expert on sea level rise or ice sheets, but here are a few things that frame my own understanding, including some recent research:

Sea level has been rising for millennia.  I am not convinced that there is a significant acceleration of sea level rise that can be attributed to human caused global warming (see this previous post).

Recent research from Scripps finds that the Greenland ice sheet did not melt as much as expected during the Eemian but that may mean Antarctic ice sheets melted more than expected

A new paper summarized by Cato that found that the size of the Greenland ice sheet—especially the best observed portions covering the west and southwestern parts of Greenland—during the mid-Holocene was smaller than it is today—but not by a whole lot.
Study finds surprisingly high geothermal heating beneath west antarctic ice sheet

So it looks like we should be more worried about WAIS than about Greenland, and it seems that natural processes (natural climate change and geothermal processes) have caused large sea level changes in the past during interglacial periods (albeit not rapid ones) and will continue to cause sea level to changes in the future. 

Human contribution so far to sea level rise does not seem particularly significant, given the early 20th century rate of sea level rise is about the same as the current rate. 

Our ways of inferring future rates of sea level rise from ice sheet melting is crude – we can speculate but not with much confidence.  The danger posed by sea level rise is a function of the rate of change far more than the actual sea level itself.

Does Hansen et al. make any contribution to all this?  Well their proposed mechanism with feedbacks is of interest and should be explored further. But their conclusions regarding an alarming rate of sea level rise are at best possible (and not plausible).


House Action to Ban GMO Labeling Laws Merits Praise

If the U.S. House has its way, state laws passed (and those being considered) requiring that foods produced using genetic modification (i.e. genetically modified crops or biotech foods) be label would become moot. On July 24, 2015, the house voted 275 for to 150 against, passing a bill banning state laws that force food makers to place labels on products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The agriculture industry complained individual state labeling standards would be costly and confusing and, more importantly, any standard, even a universal federal standard, would unfairly lend credence to environmentalists false assertions or suggestions that biotech foods are not as safe or healthy as conventional foods developed through traditional cross breeding techniques.

Vermont, Connecticut and Maine have already passed mandatory GMO labeling laws, though they have yet to take effect, while GMO labeling laws are being considered in few other states. The House bill would prevent them all.

Democrats and Republican’s alike supported the GMO labeling ban. The Minneapolis Star Tribune notes Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota supported the House bill he said, “hundreds of scientific, peer reviewed studies have found [genetically engineered] foods are just as safe and nutritious as non-[genetically engineered] foods.” Another Minnesota Rep. who voted in favor of the bill, Republican Rep. Tom Emmer argued “Minnesota farmers already deal with heavy compliance regulations to ensure that genetically engineered crops are safe to eat.”

The vote came on the heels another in a long list of literature reviews and analyses demonstrating the safety of biotech foods was published in Salon Magazine on July 15, 2015. In it the author William Saletan notes, organizations lobbying against GMOs routinely lie and have been consistently anti-scientific in their claims about biotech foods, contributing to public misunderstanding and, in some cases, hysteria.

Much of the food industry was thrilled with the House vote and hopes the Senate will move quickly to pass the bill as well.

Ag-giants General Mills and Cargill, and the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative, CHS Inc., each lobbied for the bill. In statements post-passage, they praised the House vote. CHS Inc.’s statement said “CHS applauds the House of Representatives for passing the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.”

Sometimes sound science wins despite environmental fear-mongering. Three cheers for the House of Representatives.


Hillary sways Democrats with her impressive ignorance on Global Warming

Hillary Clinton was in Iowa, talking about the subject foremost on everyone's mind. No, not the tremendous national debt, or illegal immigration, or Iran getting nuclear weapons, but global warming.

She praised Iowa for its success with wind energy, which she said was an example of good environmental and economic policy. She said she favored a wind-production tax credit

How is it good economic policy when the championed energy source requires taxpayer subsidies? How is it good energy policy when the championed energy source stops working when the wind dies down?

Clinton called for harnessing the power of the sun to generate enough renewable energy to run every home in the country within the next decade, as part of a climate-change initiative announced Sunday.

And what happens at night when there is no sun? Do we have to go back to the middle ages and live in darkness without power for 12 hours a day?

In a campaign video, Clinton says, “It’s hard to believe that people running for president refuse to believe the settled science of climate change.”

It's hard to believe that Hillary believes the science is settled. Thousands of scientists would disagree. I imagine, in the same vein, that she believes that the matter of her using a personal email server for State Department emails without compromising national security is also settled, as well as the matter of accepting foreign donations to her slush fund/foundation while she was secretary of state.

“This is not complicated, folks,” she said. “The people on the other side will answer any question about climate change by saying, ‘Well, I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain.”

I agree she has two eyes, but what's behind them could simply be jello. I'll bet she can't answer the simplest questions, such as "What causes global warming? Did you know that CO2 is mostly produced naturally, and man-made sources are insignificant? Did you know that CO2 is a tiny percentage of the upper atmosphere? How does that trap heat?"

The climate-change initiative announced on Clinton’s Web site calls for having more than 500 million solar panels installed by the end of her first term and generating enough renewable energy to power every home in the country within 10 years of Clinton taking office.

How much land will that take up? How much will it cost? And again, what will we do at night and on cloudy days?

It's just like a liberal to master a superficial understanding of a subject and then render themselves an expert.


Warming predictions increasingly detumescent

At the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), retired climate scientist Hans-Joachim Lüdecke and two colleagues have responded to the Senate testimony given by Pat Michaels

Lüdecke and his colleagues agree with Dr. Michaels’ assertion that the projected increase in the earth’s temperature from CO2 is getting smaller and smaller.

F. Gervais, C.O. Weiss and H.J. Lüdecke write at EIKE:

“Anyone who has been tracking the scientific journals on climate science has observed over many years that the supposedly expected temperature increase from CO2 has steadily been decreasing over the years.”

This means that all the assumptions and claims made by the IPCC in the past were based on hype and totally inaccurate results.

Gervais, Weiss and Lüdecke conclude in their EIKE piece:

“We can now tell politcians that they can call off the warnings. There’s no chance of a global warming of more than 2°C .

The decrease in the projected temperature rise from CO2 will continue on its present trend. By 2025 the warming by CO2 will be close to zero. We can thus expect that the quality of the forecasts will increase to the point where they will actually reflect reality.”


How Safe is Your Drinking Water and Can the EPA Really be Trusted?

“What’s in my Water?” by David De John

David De John in his book, “What’s in my Water?”, sets forth in fourteen chapters the risks involved in some drinking water. Featured in De John’s book are chapters dealing with the following subjects:  “About EPA contaminant levels; About Water Supply Filtration Systems; Skin Absorption/Inhalation of Contaminants; Is Bottled Water the Answer?; Filtration Devices and Equipment; and EPA Violation Information and Reports.”

De John has been called upon as the expert to review Department of Health investigation reports on water quality by the media. As a keynote speaker at medical conferences, De John has likewise spoken at numerous public venues. Furthermore, his book has been used as training material by some of the largest water filtration companies in the country, along with being distributed to consumers as educational information by the companies.

De John owned multiple water filtration locations in the Midwest. During that period, he came upon a report — referenced as originating from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) — indicating that approximately one million people become ill every year and an estimated 100,000 people die due to infectious drinking water.

This CDC report spearheaded De John’s quest to find the truth about our nation’s drinking water quality, leading him to conduct extensive research through thousands of pages of information and data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the Center for Disease Control (CDC); the American Journal of Public Health; the Department of Public Health and many more sources.

As such, De John’s book is not based on opinions or theories, nor is it intended to impart health or medical advice.  Instead, “What’s in my Water?” is a compilation of the important elements of De John’s research obtained from government and professional organizations, which, in turn, led to his writing of “What’s in my Water?”, prompted, in a large part, by requests from DeJohn’s numerous business associates who at one time were competitors.

EPA and Contaminates

In speaking recently to De John by phone, he stressed how important it was for readers to be briefed on what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say about contaminants in our drinking water:  As printed here on Page 2 of“Drinking Water Quality Consumer Confidence Reports”:

“Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Children and infants, pregnant women and their fetuses, the frail elderly, people undergoing chemotherapy or living with HIV/AIDS, and transplant patients can be particularly at risk for infections… If you have special health care needs, consider taking additional precautions with your drinking water…”

As the standards set by the EPA are relied upon and trusted throughout this nation for drinking water quality, it was most shocking to learn from De John how the Environmental Protection Agency defines contaminant levels. Additionally, the list of drinking water contaminants and their health effects can be further reviewed here.

“Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG):  The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety and are non-enforceable public health goals.”
“Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology and taking cost into consideration. MCLs are enforceable standards.”
It becomes extremely important that the wording of the above EPA definitions be examined.

The first definition is about MCLG (Maximum Contaminant Level Goal):  Notice the wording: “below which there is NO KNOWN OR EXPECTED RISK TO HEALTH” and “THEY ARE UNENFORCEABLE.”

 The second one defines MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level): Again notice the wording: “using the BEST AVAILABLE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGY AND TAKING COST INTO CONSIDERATION” and “MCL’s are enforceable standards.”

Dichotomy Between EPA’s Standards for contaminants and what is allowed

How can it be that the EPA regulates 90 contaminants in our drinking water, allows 33 of those contaminants to exceed the lower level (MCLG), but then decides to regulate the 33 at the higher level (MCL)?  In other words, just because the MCLG states that it allows for a margin of safety, doesn’t mean that drinking water is safe with contaminants at the higher regulated level (MCL)?  Even the EPA is at odds with its own MCLG and MCL definitions as to what constitutes safe contaminate levels in the water we drink.  How is this so?

A cancer-causing contaminant called Radium 226 and 228 can be present in drinking water around the country. The EPA set the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for Radium 226 and 228 at ZERO. That is the level at which there is no known or expected risk to health.  Nevertheless, it’s unbelievable that the EPA allows Water Supply Systems to provide drinking water with a Radium 226 & 228 level of 5 pCi/L.

Is it safe to drink water over a long period of time if containing a 5pCi/L Radium 226 & 228 level?  No!  Increased levels of Radium 226 & 228 are even linked by the EPA to an increased risk of cancer, including fatal cancer.

Following is what the Maryland Department of Environment, the US EPA and the Anne Arundel County Health Department states about long term ingestion of Radium 226 & 228, as found under “What are the health risks of radium indigestion?”

“For radium 226 and 228, the U.S. EPA estimates that the additional lifetime risks associated with drinking water containing 5pCi/l is about 1 in 10,000. This means that if 10,000 people were to consume two liters of this water per day for 50 years, one additional fatal cancer would be estimated among the 10,000 exposed individuals. According to the EPA model, as the level of radium increases, so does the risk. For example, increasing the concentration of radium from 5 to 10 pCi/l would increase the lifetime risk from approximately one to two additional deaths per 10,000 individuals.”

More about Radium 226 & 228 

What they are talking about is death from drinking tap water from your kitchen sink with Radium 226 & 228 at the allowed Maximum Contaminant Level?

As David De John related to me, in his initial research for the book he found over 45 Water Supply Systems that were violating the “higher allowed level” (Maximum Contaminant Level) for Radium 226 & 228 here in Illinois alone. Some Water Supply Systems had levels of over 24 pCi/L. That is almost 500% higher than the allowed 5 pCi/L level.

Based on the Maryland Department of Health and the U.S. EPA’s calculations in the quote above, that would mean potentially five cancer deaths per year per 10,000 people. Although De John did assure me that some of the Water Supply Systems have taken steps to fix the contaminant level, there  still remain many with contaminant levels far exceeding the “higher allowed” Maximum Contaminant Level. This is not a new problem, for Radium 226 & 228 is formed in the rock beds down in the earth and seeps through the cracks in the rocks into the aquifers where Water Supply Systems might be pumping water from.

Radium 226 & 228 is but one of the 33 contaminants in your drinking water that the EPA allows to exceed the MCLG stated lower level, which the EPA then deems as acceptable at the “higher”MCL (Maximum Contaminate Level).  However, a dichotomy exists in what the EPA has to say about drinking water with contaminants that exceed the higher Maximum Contaminant Level and how violations are issued.

“A health-based violation means that either a system has exposed their users to what EPA has judged as an unreasonable risk of illness, or a system has failed to treat their water to the extent EPA has judged necessary to protect their users from an unreasonable risk of illness in the event that the regulated contaminant is present in source water.”

To be noted is that for 33 of the 90 contaminants being regulated by the EPA that were allowed to exceed the MCLG lower level (MCLG), no violations were issued by the EPA until they reached the higher MCL.  Noted below are violations reported by the EPA in 2010:

8,522 violations for health based standards reported by Water Supply System
17,519 Water Supply Systems were in violation for failure to monitor or submit a report on contaminants in their water.
Contaminants added to water with EPA approval

Contaminates in your drinking water should not be your only concern. Regulated and potentially dangerous contaminants approved by the EPA are actually added by the Water Supply Systems themselves, such as Chlorine.

Chlorine started being used back in the 1908 because of illnesses like Cholera and Typhoid. For reference purposes at that time it was estimated that Typhoid Fever killed about 25 people out of 100,000 people. That was serious enough for the government to take action to stop any more deaths. Those death rates work out to 2 ½ per 10,000 people. As a reference point, the anticipated death rate from cancer stated by the EPA from Radium 226 & 228 in drinking water is 1 per 10,000 people at the allowed Maximum contaminant level.

Consider what the EPA has to say about chlorine:

“Disinfectants, while effective in controlling many microorganisms, react with matter in water to form DBPs. Unchlorinated private well water is unlikely to contain any DBPs……..While health effects from exposure to disinfectants and DBPs vary by contaminant, some epidemiological studies have shown a link between bladder, rectal and colon cancers and DBP exposure.”

What about lead?  Can lead be in your drinking water?  Absolutely YES!

“Evidence also suggests that for children with BLLs 5–9 ugdl [indicates lead poisoning threshold], no single source of exposure predominates. For these children, the contribution of multiple sources, including drinking water, seems likely, particularly for children who do not have well-established risk factors such as living in old housing or having a parent who is exposed to lead at work (38). CDC and its Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention concur that primary prevention of lead exposure is essential to reducing high BLLs in children and that reducing water lead levels is an important step in achieving this goal. …”

What about Fluoride?  The Maximum Contaminant Level set by the EPA for fluoride was 1.2 ppm until a few years ago, when it was increased from 1.2 ppm to 4.0 ppm.  Why did this happen?

“Political appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised the acceptable level of fluoride in drinking water from 1.2 ppm to 4 ppm, over objections from their agency scientists… 7,000 *EPA union employees and the unions jumped into the debate.”

*The 7,000 union employees argued against increasing the level of fluoride in drinking water.

According to this report put out by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health: “The PTD, 5.0 mg F/kg, is defined as the dose of ingested fluoride that should trigger immediate therapeutic intervention and hospitalization because of the likelihood of serious toxic consequences.”

Take a look at a tube of toothpaste with Fluoride as an ingredient and you will find a warning:

“…..If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing seek professional assistance or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.”

Did you know that the recommended amount of toothpaste that should be used is a size of a pea!?

Highlighted information in David De John’s book

“What’s in my Water?” is filled with vital information to help you understand what is taking place with our nations water quality and what you can do about it. There are actions points in almost every chapter, there is a chapter on home water filtration systems, bottled water, the complete EPA contaminant list, levels and affects, along with a list of every states drinking water quality office contact information and more.

Also included in De John’s book is a complete list of the EPA Regulated Drinking Water Contaminants, their MCLG’s and MCLs, the EPA stated potential health effects from Long-Term Exposure above the MCL and a list of the 33 contaminants that are allowed to exceed the MCLG. There is also a sample of the Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report (which is available to all consumers from their Water Supply System) with an explanation of how to understand it, and a list of every state’s Drinking Water Protection Program Offices with phone numbers and addresses.

The embedded links are special, in that additional information can be be seen that relates to the issue at hand.

I recommend that if you read only one book this year, it has to be “What’s in my Water?” recognizing that the information in the De John’s book is not intended as health or medical advice.  Any medical questions or concerns should be discussed with a qualified medical practitioner.

How does your drinking water measure up in your community or city?  It is up to you to request the latest analysis of the water you are being supplied by your local water treatment plant.  If not acceptable, demand that action be taken.

After all, it is your health and the health of those in your city or community who might be at risk.



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

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27 July, 2015

"Salon" discusses using courts to punish climate deniers.

Bring it on! Skeptics should be looking forward to this.  A court case would be a great opportunity to expose the hollowness of the global warming scare.  You can see why "Salon" is very tentative about the idea.  For political reasons, the Dutch government could not mount a defense on the basis of the science but other individuals and bodies would not be under that constraint.  Al Gore's movie was declared inaccurate by a British court but it would have much more impact if the whole hoax was declared inconclusive by a court

Last month a court at The Hague ordered the Dutch government to cut its emissions by at least 25% compared to 1990 levels by 2020, the first ruling of its kind anywhere in the world. The victory was the result of a class action lawsuit brought by an NGO called the Urgenda Foundation (short for “Urgent Agenda”), which charged the Dutch government with “hazardous state negligence” in the face of climate change. Along with the rest of the EU, the Netherlands is taking a promise to cut 40% against 1990 by 2030 to the Paris climate talks in December, but they are off track, looking to achieve only a 17% cut by 2020. The court extracted a confession from the government’s lawyers that more could be done, and therefore ruled that not doing more was negligent.

The case has excited activists around the world. This week Marjan Minnesma, Urgenda’s co-founder and director, was in Australia, advising groups looking to emulate her success. “It’s the kind of action we’d love to run and we’re investigating”, environmental lawyer Sean Ryan told the Guardian. Australia is of course headed by the government of Tony Abbott, an aggressive climate change denier. In the face of such apathy, courts may be the best option. The speculative Australian attempt is one of five cases found by that might benefit from the Urgenda example, including one almost identical in its goal and reasoning brought (and recently won) by eight teenagers in Washington State.

Historically, courts seem to have backed away from climate change, preferring to leave it up to legislators and diplomats. In 2008, for example, the tiny Alaskan village of Kivalina sued several major oil corporations, including ExxonMobil, BP and Shell, for putting it under threat of rising sea levels and erosion. It’s handful of citizens wanted compensation to move the entire community to a different location. All courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the case as an issue for the executive and legislative branches. This refusal to play a role may be about to change. Ceri Warnock analyzing the Urgenda decision for the Journal of Environmental Law, believes that the case and a handful like it may indicate that courts are moving, in the face of an extreme danger such as climate change, to close a constitutional gap between the duty of governments to protect their citizens and their means of doing so. Climate change makes the unthinkable — that courts might be called upon to “re-balance” the constitution — thinkable. Such an internal conflict was on display as far back as 2007?s landmark Massachusetts vs Environmental Protection Agency, where the justices of the Supreme Court clashed over the threat posed by climate change and the causal link with emissions. Declaring that emissions caused climate change and climate change was a threat to the plaintiffs, the majority ordered the EPA to reconsider its refusal to treat carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions as pollutants.

With the nations of the world lining up to promise vague or inadequate emissions cuts, and with no mechanism yet in place to enforce them, is it time to call in the lawyers? Do courts have a duty to push governments to act on the threat of climate change, or is this better (and perhaps more legitimately) left to governments?


Have three climate change scientists been ASSASSINATED? The astonishing claim made by a Cambridge professor

Because they don't actually understand what is going on, Leftists are very prone to conspiracy theories.  Climate skeptics can even control lightning, would you believe?

A Cambridge professor has claimed that three scientists investigating climate change in the Arctic may have been assassinated.

Professor Peter Wadhams insists Seymour Laxon, Katharine Giles and Tim Boyd could have been murdered by someone possibly working for the oil industry or within government forces.

The trio had been studying the polar ice caps - with a focus on sea ice - when they died within a few months of each other in 2013.

Professor Laxon, 49, a director of the Centre for Polar Observation at University College London, was at a New Year's Eve party in Essex when he fell down a flight of stairs and died.

Meanwhile oceanographer Dr Boyd, 54, was out walking his dogs near his home in Port Appin, Argyll, western Scotland, in January 2013 when he was struck by lightning and killed instantly.

Just months later in April, Dr Giles, 35, was cycling to work at UCL where she lectured when she was hit by a tipper truck in Victoria, central London, and died.

Professor Wadhams, Cambridge University's head of Polar Ocean Physics Group, claims that in the weeks after Professor Laxon's death, he was targeted by a lorry trying to force him off the road.

He reported the incident to the police but did not express his concerns about the scientists over fears he would be labelled a 'looney', he told The Telegraph. 

'It's just very odd coincidence that something like that should happen in such a brief period of time,' he said.

'They [the deaths] were accidents as far as anybody was able to tell but the fact they were clustered like that looked so weird.'

He added: 'I thought if it was somebody assassinating them could it be one of our people doing it and that would be even more frightening. I thought it would be better not to touch this with a barge pole.'

But his comments have left Professor Laxon's partner, Fiona Strawbridge - also a close friend of Dr Giles - furious and she has labelled it 'outrageous and very distressing'. 


Petroleum power: an eco-revolution

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s "The Long Winter" is generally regarded as the most historically accurate book of her semi-autobiographical "Little House on the Prairie" series. The Long Winter tells the story of how the inhabitants of De Smet (present-day South Dakota) narrowly avoided starvation during the severe winter of 1880-81, when a series of blizzards dumped nearly three and a half metres of snow on the northern plains – immobilising trains and cutting off the settlers from the rest of the world. Faced with an imminent food shortage, Laura and her neighbours learned that a sizeable amount of wheat was available within 20 miles of their snow-covered houses. Her future husband, Almanzo Wilder, and a friend of his risked their lives in order to bring back enough food to sustain the townspeople through the rest of the winter. With the spring thaw, the railroad service was re-established and the Ingalls family enjoyed a long-delayed Christmas celebration in May.

The Long Winter is a valuable reminder of how lethal crop failures and geographical isolation could be before the advent of modern farming and transportation technologies. Not too long ago, subsistence farmers across the West had to cope with the ‘lean season’ – the period of greatest scarcity before the first availability of new crops. As some readers may know, in England the late spring (and especially the month of May) was once referred to as the ‘hungry gap’ and the ‘starving time’. One problem was the cost and difficulty of moving heavy things over often muddy and impracticable dirt roads; three centuries ago, moving a ton of goods over 50 kilometres on land between, say, Liverpool and Manchester was as expensive as shipping them across the north Atlantic.

The development of coal-powered railroads and steamships revolutionised the lives of our ancestors. Among other positive developments, landlocked farmers could now specialise in what they did best and rely on other farmers and producers for their remaining needs. The result was not only more abundant food at ever-cheaper prices, but the end of widespread famine and starvation, as the surplus from regions with good harvests could now be shipped to those that had experienced mediocre ones. (Of course, a region that experienced a bumper crop one year might have a mediocre one the next.)

In time, petroleum-derived products such as diesel, gasoline, kerosene (jet fuel) and bunker fuels (used in container ships) displaced coal because of their higher energy density, cleaner combustion and greater ease of extraction, handling, transport and storage. Nearly two thirds of the world’s refined petroleum products are now used in land, water and air transportation, accounting for nearly 95 per cent of all energy consumed in this sector. Despite much wishful thinking, there are simply no better alternatives to petroleum-powered transport at the moment. For instance, despite very generous governmental subsidies, battery electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have repeatedly failed to gain any meaningful market shares against gasoline-powered cars. This is because of their limited range and power, long charging time, bad performance in cold weather, security concerns (especially in collisions), and inadequate electricity production and delivery infrastructure.

While the convenience of cars is obvious, few people grasp their historical significance in terms of public health and environmental benefits. The best historical anecdote on the topic goes something like this. In 1898, delegates from across the globe gathered in New York City for the world’s first international urban-planning conference. The topic that dominated discussions was not infrastructure, housing or even land use, but horse manure. The problem was that just as a large number of people had moved to cities from the countryside, so had powerful workhorses, each one of them producing between 15 and 30 pounds of manure and one quart of urine every day. For New York, this meant well over four million pounds of manure each day, prompting claims that by 1930 it would rise to Manhattan’s third storey. At about the same time, a contributor to The Times in London estimated that by 1950 every street in London would be buried nine-feet deep in horse manure. Unable to think of any solution, the New York delegates called it quits after three days, as they concluded that urban living was inherently unsustainable.

Paradoxically, much of the urban-manure problem had been created by the advent of the railroad, and other technologies such as canning and refrigeration. On the one hand, it had cut into the profitability of manure-consuming farms, located near cities, by delivering cheaper perishable goods (fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products) from locations that benefited from better soil and climate. On the other, because rail transport was not flexible enough to handle final deliveries, railroad companies often owned the largest fleets of urban horses.

Apart from their stench, urban stables and the manure piles that filled practically every vacant lot were prime breeding grounds for house flies, perhaps three billion of which hatched each day in American cities at the turn of the twentieth century. With flies came outbreaks of deadly infectious diseases, such as typhoid and yellow fever, cholera and diphtheria. Workhorses’ skittishness in heavy traffic also meant that they stampeded, kicked, bit and trampled a number of bystanders. According to one estimate, the fatality rate per capita in urban traffic was roughly 75 per cent higher in the horse era than today. The clatter of horseshoes and wagon wheels on cobblestone pavement was also incredibly noisy. They also created significant traffic congestion, because a horse and wagon occupied more street space than a modern truck, while a badly injured horse would typically be shot on the spot or abandoned to die on the road, creating a major obstruction that was difficult to remove in an age without tow trucks. (Indeed, street cleaners often waited for the corpses to putrefy so they could be sawed into pieces and carted off with greater ease.)

The impact of urban workhorses was also felt in the countryside. First, workhorses ate a lot of oats and hay. One contemporary British farmer calculated that one workhorse would consume the produce of five acres of land, which could have fed six to eight human beings. In the words of transportation historian Eric Morris, ‘directly or indirectly, feeding the horse meant placing new land under cultivation, clearing it of its natural animal life and vegetation, and sometimes diverting water to irrigate it, with considerable negative effects on the natural ecosystem’.

So, while early twentieth-century cars were noisy and polluting by today’s standards, they were a significant improvement on the alternatives. In later decades, advances such as the removal of lead from gasoline and the development of catalytic converters would essentially eliminate their more problematic features. Although not completely green, today’s petroleum-powered cars remain one of humanity’s most underappreciated environmental successes.

Railroads, ships and trucks also delivered significant environmental benefits. One longstanding problem, as the Marxist theorist Karl Kautsky observed in his 1899 classic The Agrarian Question, was that as ‘long as any rural economy is self-sufficient it has to produce everything which it needs, irrespective of whether the soil is suitable or not. Grain has to be cultivated on infertile, stony and steeply sloping ground as well as on rich soils.’ (1) In many locations without much prime agricultural land, primitive technologies ensured not only that at least 40 acres and a mule were required to sustain a household, but also that much environmental damage, primarily in the form of soil erosion, was done in the process. Fortunately, Kautsky observed, modern transportation had made possible the development of regions like the Canadian prairies and brought much relief to poorer soils in Europe, where more suitable forms of food production, such as cultivating orchards, rearing beef cattle and dairy farming, could now be practiced sustainably.

Over time, the concentration of food production in the world’s best locations allowed a lot of marginal agricultural land to revert to a wild state. For instance, France saw its forest area expand by one third between 1830 and 1960, and by a further quarter since 1960. This so-called ‘forest transition’ occurred in the context of a doubling of the French population and a dramatic increase in standards of living. Reforestation – or an improvement in the quality of the forest cover in countries such as Japan where it has no room to grow – has similarly occurred in all major temperate and boreal forests. Every country with a per-capita GDP now exceeding $4,600 – roughly equal to that of Chile – has experienced this, as well as some developing economies ranging from China and India to Bangladesh and Vietnam. (Of course, the replacement of firewood and charcoal with coal, kerosene, heavy oil and natural gas was also significant.)

The modern-logistics industry further allowed the production and export of food from locations where water is abundant to consumers living in regions where it isn’t, thus preventing the depletion of surface waters and aquifers in drier parts of the world. It also made possible a drastic increase in the size of our cities. In the words of economist Ed Glaeser: ‘Residing in a forest might seem to be a good way of showing one’s love of nature, but living in a concrete jungle is actually far more ecologically friendly… If you love nature, stay away from it.’ (2) To put things in perspective, cities now occupy between two and three per cent of the Earth’s surface, an area that is expected to double in the next half century. And in roughly half of the world today, far more agricultural land has been reverting to wilderness than has been converted to suburbia. (3)

Unfortunately, activists are often blind to the environmental benefits of petroleum-powered transportation. Countless local-food activists have embraced the notion of ‘food miles’ – the distance food items travel from farms to consumers – as the be all and end all of sustainable development. However, as has been repeatedly and rigorously documented in numerous studies, the distance travelled by food is unimportant. For one thing, producing food typically requires much more energy than moving it around, especially when significant amounts of heating and/or cold-protection technologies, irrigation water, fertilisers, pesticides and other inputs are required to grow things in one region, but not in another. Reducing food miles in such circumstances actually means a greater environmental impact. The distance travelled by food also matters less than the mode of transportation used. For instance, shipping food halfway around the world on a container ship often has a smaller footprint per item carried than a short trip by car to a grocery store to buy a small quantity of these items. (4)

To most of us, the notion that we can have our cake and eat it too is mind-boggling. Yet, in many respects, this is what petroleum products in general and modern transportation technologies in particular have actually delivered. Until something truly better comes along, they remain essential for the creation of a wealthier, cleaner and more sustainable world.


Green energy policies are costing us the future

When it comes to energy prices, UK homeowners are being seriously ripped off. But it’s not the much demonised energy providers who are to blame. The real culprit, according to a report from think-tank Policy Exchange, is the spiralling cost of green subsidies, which has led to a £60 increase for the average energy bill over the past five years. The report suggests that energy suppliers are only responsible for approximately 19 per cent of the total cost of household energy; meanwhile, the government has direct control over more than a third of your energy bill, meaning that the cost of the UK’s drive towards renewables is footed by energy customers.

This green revolution – demanded by the quinoa-munching class and paid for by everyone else – has cost the UK more than enough already, with far too little to show for it. People are quick to forget that coal – much maligned by green-energy fanatics – was the fuel on which modern Britain was built. As the fossil fuels burned, families were lifted out of poverty, and life expectancy rose. Now, as developing nations emulate us, burning their own abundant fuel reserves in the process, the developed West has the nerve to condemn them for it.

In doing this, we are cruelly pulling up the drawbridge to cheap industrialisation, from the warmth and comfort of our own developed countries. Are we so blinded by green politics that we ignore how much we owe to our own, environmentally unfriendly, Industrial Revolution? The millions of people in China lifted out of poverty over the past decade were helped on their way by vast quantities of coal. When have wind turbines or solar panels ever lifted anyone out of poverty? As the global energy mix is forced towards a greater reliance on renewables, the opportunities for development in the poorest parts of the world are stifled.

In Britain, it’s time to rethink our own energy mix, follow America’s lead and turn to shale gas for our energy needs. Fracking would increase our available supply substantially, and bolster our energy security with it. Nuclear power presents another opportunity. Uranium is as clean as it is plentiful, and is a tried-and-tested winner in the countries that have embraced it.

If we don’t abandon unreliable wind and expensive solar, we’ll end up paying even more for our energy – with a smaller output to show for it. Britain’s misguided and expensive green adventure has served only to run up an enormous subsidy bill. As the taxpayer forks out, UK politicians pat themselves on the back for their efforts in mitigating the supposed threat of global warming, when, in reality, politicians’ impact on global emissions is negligible.

It’s time we put the wellbeing of fellow humans before green dogma. If more lives can be improved by burning fossil fuels, fracking or pursuing nuclear power, then surely it’s time to tear down the turbines and fire up the power plants.


Mr. President: The 1970s Called, They Want Their Crude Oil Export Ban Back

Not long ago, during a presidential campaign debate with Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama suggested Romney had, at one point, stated Russia was the number one geopolitical threat to the United States. The president then quipped—with his usual glibness—“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”

Well, Mr. President, you have a phone call, too. It’s the 1970s calling, and they want their crude oil export ban back.

The crude oil export ban was signed into law in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo that brought long lines for gasoline and high oil prices. Today, by contrast, hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has made the United States the world’s largest producer of crude oil. The outdated export ban puts U.S. oil producers at a competitive disadvantage with other countries, and may actually serve to increase gas prices at the pump.

Imagine what would happen if we didn’t allow our farmers to export their crops. A farmer has just harvested a bumper crop but he doesn’t have enough room to store it all, so he decides to sell it. But there is a problem: All of his neighbors have bumper crops too, and that has driven domestic prices so low the farmer will lose money if he sells his crop because the export ban prevents him from selling it to other countries for a higher price to make a profit.

In the short term, this might sound like a great deal for people in this country who want to buy the farmers’ crops, because they will get lower prices. But that effect is only temporary, because the low prices cause some farmers to go out of business. Other farmers are forced to plant fewer crops the next year because they can’t afford to buy the seeds or fertilizer to grow more. As a result, we produce less food in this country, and we are forced to import food from other countries, making us more reliant on other countries to meet our most basic needs, often at a higher price than before. This is exactly what our crude oil export ban does to American energy producers and consumers.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is the price paid for American oil, and last month the WTI price was about eight dollars lower than the price for Brent oil, the price the rest of the world pays for oil, putting U.S. energy companies at a distinct disadvantage vis-à-vis countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The price of oil produced in North Dakota is even lower than WTI, because oil refineries in the United States are not set up to process the light, sweet, crude oil produced in this area.

Oil refineries in the United States are geared to run on heavy, sour crude oil, not the light, sweet crude that comes from North Dakota. A report by IHS, an energy consulting firm, states the “United States is nearing a “gridlock” with the mismatch between the rapid growth of light sweet oil and the inability of the U.S. refining system to economically process these growing volumes.”

Additionally, the report suggested the assumption that allowing crude oil exports would result in higher gasoline prices is not accurate because oil refineries are already allowed to export gasoline, meaning the price of gas at the pump already reflect global prices. The report also estimates lifting the ban could lower gas prices by an annual average of 8 cents per gallon, adding to the $675 dollars the average American household is already saving on lower gas prices.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released its long-awaited report on hydraulic fracturing and found it has “not led to widespread, systemic pollution of drinking water.” This is great news for our energy future. Now, Mr. President, let’s lift that export ban. It’s time to get frackin’.


The 'Hour of Power': Hybrid Motors come to ships

Ships to run off batteries for one hour -- enough to get them out of port and out from under local regulations

In 2015 two significant developments are going to make many operators, owners and builders of professional vessels consider hybrid marine power. Firstly the new emissions laws in ports and secondly there is now an incentive for high technology manufacturers to invest in developing highly efficient batteries.

Hybrid is ‘here and now’ technology that is being used by many industries globally. The marine industry is now recognizing the potential of utilizing hybrid power and innovative propulsion systems for vessels in the sub IMO / sub 24 meter professional sector.

 ‘The Hour Of Power’ has been well received by the marine industry worldwide. This simple concept enables vessels to run in and out of port for an hour on electric with battery power - then carry out their open sea work on diesel power. The aim of this innovative hybrid solution is to enhance conventional propulsion systems. Vessels can reduce emissions and improve fuel consumption whilst extending engine maintenance periods and engine life.

This is not just green energy for the sake of it - ‘The Hour Of Power’ focuses on hybrid solutions linked to viable business cases. For commercial and professional organisations the concept of running vessels with zero emissions at up to 10 knots for one hour will shape decisions that lead to improvements of in-service systems and procurement of next generation vessels. The overall objective is fuel saving and improved efficiency by all means.

For the marine industry to move forward it needs to use expertise from aviation and other sectors to drive this innovation and support relevant safety standards. Automotive manufacturers in Europe, the Far East and the U.S. have recognised that hybrid technologies such as PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) using lithium ion batteries will be dominant for the next decade. Reducing emissions from busses and trucks in the world’s major cities has been a major driver for lithium ion battery power storage. The need for self sufficient land based grid applications has further extended the capabilities of next generation battery and hybrid technology.

There are two main types of hybrid system. A serial hybrid is where the engine only powers a generator, and is not mechanically connected to the propeller shaft. A parallel hybrid is where the engine is mechanically connected along with an electric ‘machine’ that can operate as both propulsion motor and generator.

Certain sectors are potentially well suited to hybrid diesel / electric systems. These include wind farm service vessels and pilot boats that have relatively consistent duty cycles. We are entering a period of rapid change and commercial opportunity in the hybrid marine market. End-user organizations, boat builders, engine manufacturers and naval architects are now investigating systems for survey vessels, superyacht tenders, patrol vessels and unmanned craft.



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26 July, 2015

Jim's latest scare too extreme even for many Warmists

I pointed out some of the problems with Jim Hansen's latest scary sea level prognostications on Friday.  A few more comments below

Former Top NASA Scientist James Hansen Predicts Catastrophic Rise In Sea Levels – ‘Projects sea levels rising as much as 10 feet in the next 50 years.’ – The paper has already ruffled some, including Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein, who said on Twitter that he would not cover it — primarily because it had not yet been peer-reviewed, a process that allows other scientists to critique the work.

The Washington Post’s Chris Mooney asked other climate experts to weigh in on the paper. While many said it raised key discussion points, Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research called it “provocative and intriguing but rife with speculation and ‘what if’ scenarios.”

Marc Morano comments: “James Hansen’s new paper ratcheting up future sea level rise numbers is consistent with the new strategy of the global warming activists. Given that current sea level rise rates are not alarming, the only way climate activists can claim anything is ‘worse than we thought’ is to make more dire predictions of the future.

Simply making scarier predictions of the future in order to alarm policymakers is not ‘good science.’ Claiming that climate change impacts are ‘worse than we thought’ because predictions are now more frightening is a well worn playbook of the climate movement.
Simply put, when current reality fails to alarm, make scarier and scarier predictions of the distant future.

It is not surprising that James Hansen — a man who has been arrested nearly half a dozen times protesting ‘global warming’ and who has endorsed a book calling for ridding the world of industrial civilization — would continue to make scary predictions. The world needs to take a collective yawn at Hansen’s latest claims and ask how in the world was this man ever allowed to be in charge of the NASA temperature datasets!”

Warmist publication Mashable on James Hansen’s new sea level scare paper: “’s conclusions so contradict [UN IPCC] consensus views expressed last year.”  Mashable’s Andrew Freedman: ‘The godfather of global warming’s scary sea level rise prediction is getting the cold shoulder.”

NYT’s Andrew Revkin on Hansen’s sea level scare paper: “Associated Press, The New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian..among those who steered clear of [Hansen] study”

NYT: UN IPCC Lead Author Kevin Trenberth on Hansen sea level rise paper: “Rife with speculation..many conjectures & huge extrapolation based on quite flimsy evidence.”

Michael Mann admits Hansen’s SLR estimates “prone to a very large “extrapolation error”


End of the world is not nigh after all (it's been pushed back till 2100)

The end of the world has been put back by at least 50 years by a team of British scientists.

A doom-laden US study in 1972 predicted that the earth would run out of food and resources, becoming uninhabitable by around 2050.

Now scientists at Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute have claimed we have a little more grace – until the end of this century, or the year 2100.

To come to their conclusion, the team updated the 1970s computer model used to predict how finite the Earth’s resources are.

The researchers four decades ago failed to take into account a number of factors that mean we are safe for a few years yet.

They include the industrial sector creating less pollution and using less energy than expected based on trends in the 1970s. Industry is also doing more to clean up pollution than the earlier forecasts assumed.

They did not foresee a huge rise in the service sector and telecommunications – making the world’s economy more productive .

And innovations in agriculture have allowed more food to be grown on the world’s land.

Aled Jones, co-author of the study in journal Sustainability, said: ‘They made a good attempt in the 1970s but it might have been too pessimistic.  ‘The limit is pushed back to the second half of this century.’  He added: ‘Many questions remain on exactly when planetary limits will be reached and what the consequences will be.

‘When you run the newly-calibrated World3 model forward in time, society still collapses this century based on reasonable guesses of these limits, although there is of course great uncertainty around exactly what these limits are.

‘Growth cannot continue indefinitely if it is based on material consumption, and not grounded in our understanding that the planet has limited land availability and resources.

‘Society has started to address some of the problems outlined in 1972, but we need to learn lessons from what we have already achieved and focus our efforts on avoiding these limits.’ 


Environmental Protection Agency Flooded With Lawsuits Over Controversial Water Rule

Twenty-nine states, more than half the stars on the American flag, have filed lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for redefining the “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, erasing “navigable” and usurping states’ rights by including local seasonal streams, farm irrigation ponds, roadside ditches, and even “connective” dry lands placed under authority of the Clean Water Act.

The WOTUS rule, published the morning of June 29, potentially subjects every food, energy, transportation and manufacturing industry in the nation to high-handed regulation by one of the most reviled and least trusted federal agencies, dreaded for its cadre of “revolving door” officials hired from anti-industry green groups.

The astonishing response began on the afternoon of June 29: states teamed up in clusters to file their lawsuits in a common U.S. District Court. Utah and eight others filed with Georgia in Augusta’s U.S. Court; Alaska and 11 others filed with North Dakota in Bismark. Days later Mississippi and Louisiana filed with Texas in Galveston; Michigan filed with Ohio in Columbus; Oklahoma filed alone in Oklahoma City.

Each state lawsuit asked a federal judge to declare the WOTUS rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, co-administrator of the rule, from enforcing it. Each state also asked the judge to order both agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law and honors state authority.

The WOTUS rule is so alarming because it enables agency bureaucrats to control virtually anything that gets wet, including a desert dry wash that gets a “drizzle,” actual EPA language criticized by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) at a Heartland Institute conference in Washington in June.

Heartland Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D, commented, “Farmers, ranchers, developers, industry, and individual property owners would now be subject to the EPA’s arbitrary, unsound, and often incomprehensible regulatory system. It cannot be trusted.”

American Farm Bureau Federation general counsel Ellen Steen announced the group’s lawsuit with similar distrust: “When EPA and the Corps first proposed the rule in March 2014, they promised clarity and certainty to farmers, ranchers, builders and other affected businesses and landowners. Instead we have a final rule that exceeds the agencies’ legal authority and fails to provide the clarity that was promised.”

More than a dozen national agricultural and production organizations also filed suit against EPA, including the National Alliance of Forest Owners, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, and Public Lands Council.

The non-profit Pacific Legal Foundation sued on behalf of the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington, and New Mexico. When contacted for comment, the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association’s president, Jose Varela Lopez, said what many ranchers feel. He told The Daily Caller, “My family has been on our land for 14 generations, each leaving it better for the next. Water is the source of all life and after all our generations, our water is clear and the land lives on. We have the history to prove that we are caretakers of the water and the land without the help of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The alarm over WOTUS is not just about strangulation by regulation. Corruption has become a primary issue: evidence has emerged that EPA officials unlawfully lobbied crony green groups to send “one million comments” supporting the rule, according to a May 19 New York Times article. The Army Corps of Engineers examined the comments and found that 98 percent appeared to be non-substantive mass mailings.

Three lawmakers from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and two subcommittee chairmen, Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), immediately sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy demanding answers about rigging public input with YouTube videos, Twitter accounts, and many other social media marketing tools.


Gallup Poll: Climate Change Causes Pope’s Poll Numbers to Implode in U.S.

Despite hysterical forecasts by some scientists, there’s been no empirical evidence of climate change for more than 18 years. But that has just changed – dramatically.

In the time since Pope Francis this spring publicly embraced global warming as “real” and “man-made,” his popularity numbers in the Gallup Tracking Poll have plummeted by 17 points. Climate change, Gallup suggests, caused, in large part, that dramatic drop in papal approval.

“Pope Francis’ favorability rating in the U.S. has returned to where it was when he was elected pope. It is now at 59%, down from 76% in early 2014. The pontiff’s rating is similar to the 58% he received from Americans in April 2013, soon after he was elected pope,” reports Gallup, on its web site. “Pope Francis’ drop in favorability is even starker among Americans who identify as conservative — 45% of whom view him favorably, down sharply from 72% last year. This decline may be attributable to the pope’s denouncing of ‘the idolatry of money’ and linking climate change partially to human activity, along with his passionate focus on income inequality — all issues that are at odds with many conservatives’ beliefs.”

The pope’s reputation has also taken a hit among liberals and moderates, pollsters said.

Pope Francis fares even more poorly when contrasted with one of his recent predecessors in the papacy, Pope John Paul II, who was highly esteemed.

“Pope John Paul II, who served as the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church for nearly 27 years, always polled above 60% in the 1990s and 2000s, reaching a high of 86% favorability in late 1998,” the poll said.

One wonders what the gurus of Gaia worship, Jeffrey Sachs and Ban Ki-Moon, at the United Nations, and Francis’s other secular supporters think of this development. Their ham-handed attempt to hijack the Vatican for the progressive cause of sustainable development is now failing spectacularly, and is yet another liberal strategy that will live on, only in infamy.


Britain's disastrous Green Deal is ditched: Flagship scheme to insulate homes is branded a £170million failure

The Government’s flagship scheme to insulate homes has been axed after it was branded a £170million failure.

Ministers set up the Green Deal three years ago to encourage homeowners to save energy by installing loft and wall insulation and more efficient boilers at no up-front cost.

But Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced yesterday that the scheme would close with immediate effect because of low take-up and to protect taxpayers from further losses.

Miss Rudd said the government was still committed to the goal of insulating homes, and that she would work with the industry to come up with an alternative scheme.

In her first major speech today, she will say that tackling climate change must not be seen as a left-wing issue but a ‘vital safety net for families and businesses’ which can be achieved in a more cost-effective way.

She has undertaken a review of all current energy policies, and cut subsidies for onshore wind and solar power, before turning her fire on the Green Deal which is widely seen as poor value for money.

Which? director Richard Lloyd said the scheme, pioneered by former Lib Dem energy secretary Chris Huhne, had ‘spectacularly failed to take off’.

The Green Deal Finance Company, which delivered, it will close. It offered people loans for up to 25 years to carry out the work, paid back on their energy bills, and has received £59million since 2013.

But take-up was low due to high interest rates, and the fact that loans were attached to a property, like a mortgage, so had to be paid off or passed on to the next owner if the applicant moved.

The Department of Energy and Climate said by the end of last month, around 10,000 properties had installed measures using the scheme.  Another 5,600 which are in progress, will not be affected.

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund - which offered people cash back ‘vouchers’ for home improvements which householders bought up front - will also shut due to spiralling costs.

Some £114million was allocated for 27,000 energy efficiency measures, an average of £4,200 per job.

When the energy efficiency programme was set up, it was billed as the ‘biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War’ and ministers hoped to eventually reach 14million homes.

But last year MPs on the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said take-up had been a fraction of what was expected and called the scheme a ‘disappointing failure’.

Miss Rudd said: ‘We are on the side of hardworking families and businesses - which is why we cannot continue to fund the Green Deal. It’s now time for the building industry and consumer groups to work with us to make new policy and build a system that works.’

The government will seek to insulate a million homes by 2020 with a new scheme, she said. Energy companies will still provide energy saving measures to low income households under the ECO scheme.

Labour welcomed the closure of the scheme. Shadow energy minister Jonathan Reynolds said it was a ‘complete and utter failure’.

He said: ‘Installing energy efficiency measures in the home is an important way of getting consumer bills down, but the Green Deal never represented value for money…the Government urgently needs to lay out what plans they have to replace the Green Deal.’

Green campaigners concede the scheme was not a success but Greenpeace said scrapping it without a replacement in place was a ‘false economy’ and accused ministers of ‘giving up on efficiency’.

Energy companies were among the providers of the Green Deal, but one senior figure at an energy firm said: ‘The Green Deal has long been dead, and now needs a decent burial.’


The Australian Left still loves "renewables"

Labor under Bill Shorten seeks to win the next election by re-fighting the climate change issue with a renewable energy spearhead, pledging a fairer nation and using progressive identity politics — yet its fatal flaw is economic policy.

It is an extraordinary situation. Labor intends to recontest the battles of the Rudd-Gillard era, asylum-seeker boats being the likely exception.

Rather than reform itself because of the Rudd-Gillard experience, Labor has decided it was essentially right. It will ask the Australian public to think again and this time vote down Tony Abbott.

The ALP will prioritise climate change action via higher prices, operate in lock-step with the trade unions, flirt with quasi-protectionist economics, downplay market-based reforms and champion a litany of progressive causes: female equality, same-sex marriage, indigenous recognition and the republic.

At a time when Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens warns that Australian growth is falling to permanently lower levels — the implication being that stalled economic reform has diminished living standards — Labor offers phony words and hollow policy.

It is locked into the old politics and mistakes, playing to its loyalists and institutional interests.

Shorten is a weak leader trying to look strong. He is conspicuously devoid of policy strength. The lesson of Shorten’s leadership, illustrated by his speech yesterday, is the limits of leadership. Nearly everything he does is about adaptation to Labor power realities, ideological orthodoxies, trade unions and polling. He is driven to defy party sentiment on asylum-seeker boats for only one reason: the current policy is a veto on election victory.

These tactics overall should deliver Labor a formidable election campaign. It will be competitive. But Shorten’s latest ploy, the 50 per cent renewables electricity target by 2030, reveals all the problems.

This is plain irresponsible policy. It means Labor has no interest in the most cost-effective method of tackling emissions across the next 15 years.

It has no interest in trying to combat climate change consistent with a competitive growth economy. Labor can duck and weave but it cannot escape financial reality: the cost of renewables remains vastly more expensive than fossil fuels.

Anyone with half a political brain sees through this ploy. Because Shorten knows he must fight on climate change and because he knows pricing carbon risks another “carbon tax” scare, he wants to redefine the contest to “who loves renewables the most”.

Abbott’s ineptitude invites such easy exploitation.

The upshot is that Shorten has shifted much of Labor’s policy response on to the single most ineffective and high-cost mechanism.

He will punish Australian households and businesses with high costs in the interests of his own political convenience and vote-buying. It is the essence of trashing the public interest for party political gain.

At least when Abbott was being irresponsible he merely promised to abolish a tax.

In his speech yesterday, Shorten’s election vision was “more solar panels on Australian rooftops” and more farmers “putting wind turbines on their land”.

It sounds like a joke from a satire program. Sadly, it’s not. The party faithful, evidently, think this is terrific. It is the latest example of how far Labor has sunk.

Shorten pretends he’s being bold. In fact, he’s being weak. Expect that the carbon pricing commitment via an emissions trading scheme will be downgraded. Instead of Labor relying on carbon pricing with the renewable energy target becoming less necessary, Labor seems to be moving in the opposite direction. This is Shorten Labor: 100 per cent political expediency and defective policy.

He pretends this will create investor confidence. What nonsense. Investors will know that renewable energy policy is a volatile political war. The proof is the fact the Coalition and Labor cut a compromise a few weeks ago for a 23 per cent RET and Labor has turned that upside down.

In a re-run of history, the climate change lobby, vested interests and much of the political media will applaud Shorten — meanwhile, the Australian public, concerned about climate change but sceptical of costs, will be far harder to persuade than Labor believes. At this point, Labor has no details, no modelling, no analysis. Its self-obsession is revealing.

A fight over renewables is exactly the wrong fight Australia now needs for good policy. It is being staged solely for politics. The need is to reduce the overall carbon footprint by the most cost-efficient method (obviously including renewables) but both sides now have highly dubious policies.

If the Abbott government has the brain and skill to publish a credible study of the massive income transfer this policy involves from the Australian public to the renewable sector then it will ­destroy the policy.

Is Labor actually pledged to the 50 per cent target? Who knows? Shorten called it an “aim”. This implies it is qualified, but qualified ­according to what conditions? Is such a policy feasible? What are its economic consequences? What are the costs? What business and industry groups did Labor consult about such a long-run distortion of financial resources?

None of these questions is ­answered. It is folly for Shorten to conceal the holes in his 50 per cent pledge with phony “bring it on” bravado. Labor has had 20 months since the last election to prepare a structured policy and, to this point, it has failed to produce any such model.

As for Abbott, his mistake has been monumental: his scepticism towards renewables has been projected as prejudice rather than founded in rational policy.

Indeed, his inability to explain himself on renewables has been a free kick to Labor. But Shorten, in turn, has now tried to make too much of the political opportunity Abbott has given him.

Just as carbon policy was pivotal in ruining the economic standing of the Gillard government, so Shorten embraces the same risks. The combined signals Labor sends on economic policy are damaging and point to policy regression.

There was no mention in Shorten’s speech of the core reality — that Australia faces a growth slowdown, that living standards growth is being reduced, that the budget faces a challenge on both the tax and spending side, and that new measures are needed to ­improve productivity.

Is reality too unpalatable for the Labor Party? More to the point, is the platform agenda and party ethos singularly out of touch with the challenges that would face a new ALP government?

Shorten says higher taxes are a sign of Abbott’s failure. Pardon? Labor tax policies so far involve tightening superannuation concessions at the top end, a new tax on multinationals with the ALP premiers, as their preferred choice, backing a hefty increase in the personal income tax burden via the Medicare levy to fund future health costs.

It is true Shorten pledges to cut tax for small business but Labor’s overall thrust is unmistakable: its strong preference, facing a budget deficit and pressure on core ­services, is for the adjustment to be made via taxation rises.

Shorten says Labor believes in free trade and new markets. Pardon? The ALP conference endorsed yesterday a strong union-driven campaign against the Australia-China free trade agreement on the grounds that it will see Aussie jobs lost to the new Chinese workers coming into this country.

Michael O’Connor, from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, said the FTA “smashes our labour market”.

Opposition trade spokeswoman Penny Wong is now pledged to improve the agreement, a high-risk ­exercise.

There is no sign the government will seek changes. Labor needs to be careful of these tactics, preserve its flexibility and avoid being trapped in a situation where it has condemned the agreement but cannot change it.

Shorten’s speech signalled his symbolic priorities. His first pledge was to indigenous recognition in the Constitution. His second ­declaration was to trade union ­fidelity. Shorten sang from the Julia Gillard songbook.

After a week that saw many iconic ALP figures call for fundamental reform of the Labor-union relationship, Shorten lauded the unions, mocked the royal commission into union governance and, by implication, repudiated the calls for internal reform.

In truth, Shorten’s position is becoming more dependent on the trade unions, a repeat of Gillard’s situation, and anyone who thinks this won’t have policy conse­quences is a fool.

Shorten depicted his policy on renewables as creating the “jobs of the future” and claimed that it meant “cutting power bills for ­consumers”.

This claim arises because the electricity generation market is currently oversupplied and more renewables will add to supply and reduce prices. That is true.

It avoids, however, the bigger reality that the higher cost of renewables compared with fossil fuels means a higher cost structure that consumers will have to meet.

Labor has switched priorities — it has moved from using price to decarbonise the economy to a massive prioritising of renewables without proper regard for costs involved and the consequences for households and business.

This runs against the real interests of workers, families and capital. It will extract, over time, a fearful toll on Labor.

Meanwhile, try not to be ­deafened by the guaranteed ­applause.



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

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24 July, 2015

Where has that pesky heat gone?

Warmists are convinced that there is some unmeasured heat hiding somewhere but can't decide where.  First it was in the Atlantic then in the Pacific.  But Whoops! the Pacific actually seem to be cooling.  Never mind.  Voila!  It's now in the Indian ocean. Story below mostly just modelling so mainly for laughs

The extra heat that has entered the Pacific Ocean during the period of slow surface warming since 1998 has been transferred to the Indian Ocean, reports a study published online in Nature Geoscience. The findings reconcile reports of an enhanced heat uptake in the Pacific Ocean over the past 15 years or so with an observed *decrease* in the heat that is stored there. [Which is pretty pesky!]

Global mean surface temperatures have nearly stabilized since 1998 despite observations at the top of the atmosphere suggesting that the Earth has continued to warm. A significant portion of this heat is believed to have entered the Pacific Ocean, but measurements of the Pacific’s heat content indicate that it has actually been decreasing.

Sang-Ki Lee and colleagues analysed observational data along with simulations with a global ocean–sea ice model, and find that the increased heat uptake in the Pacific Ocean has been compensated by increased heat transport to the Indian Ocean, through the passages of the Indonesian Archipelago. The heat gain in the Indian Ocean accounts for 70% of the heat storage in the top 700 m of the global ocean. The authors suggest that if this transport persists, the accumulating heat in the Indian Ocean could be projected into the Atlantic Ocean, which has already heated substantially since the mid-twentieth century.


Amplifying the speculation

Timed nicely for the big climate conference in Paris coming soon. Even Michael Mann thinks the central claim is 'far fetched'.  And their claim of  polar melting is simply a lie. Total polar ice-cover has been growing, not melting.  The key words highlighted

Sea levels could rise by as much as 10 feet in the next 50 years due to 'highly dangerous' global warming, a leading climate scientist has warned.

Dr James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, and 16 other researchers are preparing to publish new projections for how the oceans may respond to climate change.

They warn an increase in average global temperatures of just 1°C could result in dramatic changes in sea level and an increase in powerful storms.

They conclude that 2°C of warming – the international target for limiting global warming – will be 'highly dangerous' to humanity.

The study warns that glaciers in Greenland and the Antarctic could melt 10 times faster than projections put forward by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which predicted sea levels would rise by around one metre (three feet) by the end of the century.

The scientists said: 'Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating.

'It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.'

Dr Hansen, who was Nasa's lead climate scientist until 2013 when he retired and now holds a post with Columbia University's Earth Institute, has described the paper as his most important to date.

Dr Hansen was one of the first scientists to publicly highlight the risk of global warming during evidence he gave to the US congress in 1988.

He said he now plans to take the results of the latest study to policymakers in an attempt to make them realise the importance of taking action to curb climate change.

Last year the UN's IPCC warned world leaders they need to restrict global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial targets by cutting carbon emissions.

However, the new study by Dr Hansen and his colleagues, which is to be published by the online journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussion, suggests even keeping climate change within these limits may not save the world from disaster.

The 66-page long report highlights evidence that ice loss in many parts of the planet is accelerating.

Previous estimates of sea level rise have assumed ice loss would occur at a consistent rate, but the new evidence suggests it can double within 10 years.

They warn that as ice loss increases, the ice sheets could suffer large scale disintegration and it could change the circulation of the oceans due to large amounts of cold fresh water appearing in the seas.

Last winter, widely seen as the warmest on record across much of the world, saw the water in the North Atlantic reaching the *coldest* temperatures on record, perhaps due to ice loss from Greenland.

Dr Hansen and his colleagues claim this could eventually lead to the ocean currents that circulate warm and cool water around the globe shutting down.

This would lead to the tropics warming more without the ocean to pull heat away towards the poles and this could also lead to more powerful storms.

Their paper notes that in the Eemian period, an interglacial period around 120,000 years ago, there is evidence that gigantic waves moved huge boulders from the seafloor to the top of hills in the Bahamas.

At the time sea levels rose by between 16-30 feet (5-9 metres) due to ice loss from Antarctica and Greenland. It is thought that global temperatures were around 1 degree C warmer than today.

According to the Washington Post, Paul Hearty, a geologist at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, who co-authored the study, said: 'During this last warm interglacial, not much warmer than the present, [the world saw] not only a higher than present average sea level, but ultimately a significantly higher sea level that required the melting and or collapse of probably both Greenland and West Antarctica, along with basically this great oceanic disturbance.

'There were storms, and a lot of more catastrophic type events associated with this big climate shift.'

However, some scientists have reacted sceptically to the findings in the paper.

Dr Ruth Mottram, a glaciologist at the Danish Meteorological Institute, said she did not think such large rises in sea level were possible and doubted the rate reported in the article.

Dr Michael Mann, a climate researcher at Penn State University, told the Washington Post that he felt the shut down of heat transport in the oceans 'seems rather far fetched'.

However, he said their arguments for the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet and substantial sea level rise that would result was 'compelling'.


British Warmist Bob Ward loses another one

IPSO has published its latest judgement on a case brought by Bob Ward against David Rose, the third in as many years. This revolved around a story last year about GISS's claim that 2014 was the warmest on record and their failure to note the significant possibility that that it might not be.

I must say this seemed a relatively small point to me, but it clearly got Bob Ward's blood boiling, in the way that the Jesuits would get a bit upset over minor theological transgressions. It's not so much the details of the offence as the source of the challenge to authority that upsets. No quarter for heretics.

As one might expect, therefore, our obsessive climate Jesuit handed the case over to the Inquisition - the press "regulator" IPSO - no doubt hoping that they would condemn Rose to burn at the stake. Unfortunately IPSO were not playing the same game and their judgement, handed down a few weeks ago, was, yet again, a sound defeat for Ward:

"The Committee noted that information about the margin of error had been made available by GISS, but that it was not in dispute that these details had been omitted from the press release. The article had made clear that this specifically was the basis for its criticism of Nasa, and the newspaper was entitled to present its view that this omission represented a failure on the part of the organisation. While the information had been released by Nasa, it had been released to a limited selection of people, in comparison to those who would have had access to the press release, and had not been publicised to the same level as the information in the release. The press briefing images referred to by the complainant were available on Nasa’s website, but were not signposted by the press release. In this context, it was not misleading to report that the information relating to the margin of error had emerged in circumstances where the position was not made clear in the press release. While these details of the margin of error may have been noted in a press briefing two days previously, rather than “yesterday”, as reported, this discrepancy did not represent a significant inaccuracy requiring correction under the terms of the Code.

So Ward's complaint to IPSO has met the same fate as the earlier ones. Which makes the score to date Heretics 3, Jesuits 0.

One wonders how much longer this can go on before IPSO starts treating Ward as a vexatious litigant. Can they award costs against him, I wonder?


Britain moves to slash renewable subsidy costs

Britain’s government on Wednesday moved to rein in the spiralling costs of renewable power subsidies which it said threatened to push up household bills.

The plans include closing support for small-scale solar projects, changing the way renewable projects qualify for payments and modifying subsidies for biomass plants.

The proposals come just a month after the government said it would scrap new subsidies for onshore wind farms from April next year.

“We can’t have a situation where industry has a blank cheque and that cheque is paid for by people’s bills,” Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said on BBC radio.

Figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show the cost of renewables subsidies could reach 9.1 billion pounds a year by the 2020/21 tax year compared with a proposed budget of 7.6 billion.

Investors said the government’s u-turn had undermined the industry’s case for investing in renewable electricity production.

“The government has stripped away without warning incentives for projects on which many companies have made major investment decisions in renewable technologies,” said Richard Kirkman, technical director at Veolia UK, a subsidiary of French environmental services group Veolia (VIE.PA).

Other European governments have also curbed generous renewable subsidies.

Last year Germany changed its renewable energy law, seeking to cap support for renewables, while Spain changed its subsidy scheme for solar plants after higher than expected demand.

Britain's DECC also said on Wednesday it would no longer guarantee subsidies offered for biomass conversion projects.

The decision sent shares in power company Drax (DRX.L), which is in the process of converting its coal plants to using biomass, down around 2 percent in early trading but they have since recovered.

As part of extensive reforms of Britain's electricity market, the government has been changing the way it supports renewable energy by replacing direct subsidies with a contracts-for-difference (CfD) system.

Under the scheme, qualifying projects are guaranteed a minimum price at which they can sell electricity and renewable power generators bid for CfD contracts in a round of auctions.

But Rudd on Tuesday cast doubt on whether there would be another auction of CfD renewable support by telling a parliamentary committee she could not confirm it would take place.

Asked to clarify Rudd’s comments, a DECC spokeswoman said only that decisions on any further CfD auctions would be taken in due course.

Under the first round of auctions held last December, the government awarded contracts to 27 renewable projects worth a total of more than 315 million pounds.

Previously, the government said the budget for the next CfD allocation round would be confirmed later this year and that the second auction could take place in the autumn.


Minister Slams German Government’s Green Energy Reform Plan: “Nonsense…Little To Do With Reality”!

As more wildly fluctuating solar and wind energy is fed into the German power grid, the question of how to prevent blackouts has been elevated to urgent.

Germany’s weekly Die Zeit recently published an interview with Franz Untersteller, Environment Minister of the state of Baden Wurttemberg. He claims “electrical power supply will be tight“. The reason is because of the federal government’s latest energy reform plan.

Untersteller believes that Germany is headed on the wrong path and is in the process of repeating California’s 1990s blunders, which led to widespread rolling blackouts and a crippling of the Golden State’s power grid.

Currently Germany’s federal Economics Minister, Sigmar Gabriel is planning a reform of Germany’s electricity market. The aim, Zeit writes, is “to allow growth of the fluctuating share of power generation without the occurrence of blackouts whenever green electricity is lacking due to the weather“.

Untersteller thinks the federal government’s plan will lead to power shortages in some areas, in part as a result of the coming shutdown and/or mothballing of non-fluctuating nuclear and conventional power plants – in combination with the lack of power transmission lines to feed power in from north German offshore windparks. There is now an immediate need for a stable baseload power supply in southern Germany.

However Untersteller sees few investors willing to invest in back-up conventional power plants that can be switched on and off as needed according to fluctuating supply because of their complete lack of profitability: “Why would investors want to build such plants? [..] Talk to the managers of the energy business. Many of them are saying that the investment decisions that they made a few years ago would not be made today because of the falling price levels on the spot power exchanges.”

Untersteller calls the federal government’s latest plan for installing reserve capacity using old brown coal plants “nonsense” because they are unable to switch on and off quickly enough in response to wind and solar power supply fluctuations. Untersteller tells Die Zeit: “Old brown coal plants viewed technically are the crass opposite of flexible power plants.”

Untersteller is puzzled as to why Germany has opted to use solutions that have already failed in other countries, recounting a meeting he had with managers of Cailfornia power company PG&E:

“When I told them what the German federal government was planning, their eyebrows went up. California had a similar system, but only until the year 2000. They had blackout situations.”

As a solution to Germany’s power grid needs, Untersteller proposes a “focused capacity market” where in a complicated process certain flexible and environmentally friendly capacities would be bid on and auctioned off with the aim of fulfilling the requirements for a reliable power supply in a market-oriented manner. It would be costly, but Untersteller says, “Supply reliability has its price“, i.e. the consumer would get stuck with the tab.

On the government’s current plan to reform the power market, Untersteller says that it is based on “ideal conditions – on conditions that in my opinion have very little to do with the daily reality in the energy business.”



Three articles below

Millionaire British Tory brands Prime Minister Tony Abbott's climate change policies 'illogical'

A lot of rich people think they are obviously superior and therefore should control the "peasants" -- which is what the global warming scare is good for.  He makes no mention of any evidence for global warming, probably because he knows of none

A prominent British Tory MP has lashed out at Prime Minister Tony Abbott over his climate change policies, labelling them a misrepresentation of true conservative values.

Former British environment minister Richard Benyon wrote in an opinion piece for Sydney Morning Herald that Mr Abbott's decision to become the first world leader to abolish a carbon price is 'illogical.'

The conservative MP urged the prime minister to speak for common sense ahead of a global summit on climate change in Paris at the end of the year.

Declaring that Mr Abbott's policies go against the grain of true conservative values, Benyon writes: 'true conservative values include distaste for over-regulation and enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism.

'But they also include a respect for sound science and economics, a belief in protecting the natural world and a responsibility to do the best for the biggest possible number of one's citizens,' Benon writes.

The former British army member said the issue transcended a national scale, urging the prime minister to speak for common sense in the climate change debate.

'This is more about a global issue where many of us want to see sensible politicians on the centre-right recognising that climate change is a clear and present danger to our world,' he said.

The article is one of the most scathing critiques on the government's environmental policies from the a right wing politician to date.

Mr Abbott's government is due to reveal its post-2020 carbon reduction targets in August, ahead of a global summit on climate change in Paris at the end of the year.

Last year, Mr Abbott declared climate change was not the most important problem the world is facing, after UN climate change spokesman Dan Thomas labelled it the 'defining issue of our time'.

In November American president Barrack Obama piled pressure on the Abbott government to act on climate change, declaring that natural wonders such as the Great Barrier Reef were under direct threat from climate change.


Conservative politician To Host 'Carnival Of Coal' To Make 'Eco-Lunatics Lose Their Minds'

The New South Wales government's Whip in the Legislative Council really loves coal, and he’s hatching a plan to “make the left lose their collective mind in impotent rage”.

The Liberal MP Dr Peter Phelps will be hosting a ‘Carnival of Coal’ at New South Wales Parliament next month “to declare support for coal and associated industries and to send a loud and clear message that action is needed now to protect a secure, inexpensive energy future”.

“The event was inspired by a lunch with a couple of mates from my federal staffer days in Canberra,” said Phelps, who assured New Matilda he is “always happy to assist the fourth estate where [he] can”.

“The question came up: what could we do that would make the left lose their collective mind in impotent rage?

“Naturally, there is nothing the green/left hates more than coal, so I thought it would be a nice way of trolling the eco-lunatics and their fellow-travellers, especially those in the left-wing media who are always the first to hit the 'hysterical outrage' button whenever anyone challenges the efficacy of their pet pieties.”

The event appears to be a parody of an earlier invite, to another ‘party with a purpose’, from Greens MP John Kaye.

“I will be hosting a Solar Shindig at NSW Parliament House to declare support for solar and other renewable technologies and to send a loud and clear message that action is needed now to protect the clean energy future,” Kaye said in an email to parliamentarians.

Just a few hours later Phelps followed suit, managing an impressive turnaround speed to offer “I liked carbon before it was coal” stickers for parliamentarians who can’t make it.

Himself an avid distributor of stickers - only, with a slightly different message - Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham slammed the New South Wales Libs for their “complete disregard for all those who want to see our food bowl in the Liverpool Plains saved from coal mining”.

Buckingham, former Independent MP Tony Windsor, the New South Wales Farmers Association and a host of others have unleashed a blitzkrieg of criticism against the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce over the federal government’s approval of the Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the food bowl of north west New South Wales.

Having declared “the world has gone mad” because of an approval his government issued, Joyce is unlikely to attend. But state Liberal MP Scott MacDonald will be there – he *accidentally* sent an email ostensibly aimed at a staffer to all of Parliament within six minutes.

MacDonald will likely be rubbing shoulders with the big boys of big coal at Phelps’ ‘carnival’, which will be held at Parliaments’ Waratah Room on August 11.

Phelps tells New Matilda there’ll “probably [be] drinks, nibbles, unremitting mockery of green/left lunacy and their hatred of human achievement,” too.

“I also hope that there will be free samples of coal for MPs to be able to take away and place in their office for a display of solidarity,” he said.

“As for industry people, I hope they all come, but I don't have any confirmations from them yet - perhaps because I haven't asked any of them yet. Which I should get around to doing, now that I think of it. Thanks for the reminder.”

Phelps said coal needs mates “because it has been demonised by the extreme green movement, despite it being the safest, cheapest and most reliable source of power in Australia and around the world”.

The coal-loving Coalition member said he does not want to see the industry scaled back in New South Wales, which is a view shared by the Premier Mike Baird.

“I reject the quasi-religious mysticism of anthropogenic global warming, and the increasingly fascistic tendencies of its disciples,” Phelps said.

And yes, he does worry about “what lunatic Socialist governments will do in an attempt to appease the extreme green agenda”.

He said that the response to his event has been “pretty good, so far”.

“But the really interesting thing will be to see how many ALP people turn up, given their putative support for blue collar workers (remember what the 'M' in CFMEU stands for!), especially those that purport to represent miners in the Hunter Valley and Illawarra.”


Astonishing renewable energy target turnaround by the Australian Labor party

In politics nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems, as they say, but Tony Abbott will wonder if it ever gets any better than this.

Bill Shorten has just gifted the Coalition the most simple and effective mantra for the next election - vote Labor and you get higher electricity prices.

Given Labor's intention to return to a price on carbon this was always likely to be the case but it has now been amplified - put up in bright lights if you like - by Shorten himself.

By promising to more than double the share of renewable energy in the economy over the next decade and a half, Labor cannot escape the reality of higher electricity prices.

It is an extraordinary policy announcement - without any detail.

Having voted in parliament last month to lower the nation's guaranteed renewable energy share to about 23 per cent by 2020, Labor is now saying it will boost that share to 50 per cent by 2030.

Labor's spokesman Mark Butler seems to have no idea how the target will be achieved, what it will cost or whether it will increase the country's emissions reduction performance.

"When we get into government and look at putting the finer detail of this," he told SkyNews in an amazing interview, "obviously the cost of power for households and businesses is absolutely the top of the list as well as making sure that energy supply is secure."

In other words, elect us and then we will work out how this policy works and what it will cost you.

On the weekend I wrote that the difference between the government and opposition on climate change was an illusion: "Labor postures as alarmist and evangelical, while the Coalition postures as cautious and sceptical, yet they promise identical emission outcomes through different methods. It is beyond parody."

And I even suggested that despite the rhetoric Labor might not promise to do much more because the downside was obvious; "the higher Labor sets its sights the higher the costs it will have to impose."

Well now Labor has taken a massive risk - and in my view one it will soon regret.

It is promising to do much more on climate change, and it is promising to do it with your money.

Yet, of course, because of Australia's tiny share of global emissions (just over 1 per cent) it can't deliver any discernible environmental benefit. It is all for show.

Just how much extra it will cost is anyone's guess.   But remember these are government mandated targets - if renewable energy was cheaper it wouldn't have to be mandated, investment would flow there naturally.

If wind energy was really more cost-effective than coal and gas, Labor would not have been complaining just days ago about the government directing Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment away from wind projects.

If wind energy really drove down prices, Labor would not have agreed in parliament just weeks ago to not only reduce the 2020 renewable energy target but exempt industries where jobs were under threat.

The cost pressures and threatened job losses that Labor pragmatically tried to alleviate in that decision are now back on the table - with double the impact - thanks to today's announcement.  It is an astonishing policy turnaround.

The sudden change, the lack of detail and the timing all suggest this is about Bill Shorten desperately seeking to appeal to the Green Left of his party in order to head off the aspirations of his deputy and potential leadership rival Tanya Plibersek.

This is Labor turning its back on household costs, manufacturing jobs and economic prosperity in order to appeal to the inner city green left.

For all his problems over almost two years of government, Abbott must be thinking good things really do come in threes: Kevin Rudd destroyed his prime ministership when he dropped his commitment to an emissions trading scheme aimed at meeting what he called the greatest moral challenge or our time; Julia Gillard blew herself up when she broke her carbon tax promise; and now Shorten has put a carbon price and a massive (uncosted) renewable energy target on the table.

Whatever is happening to the climate, politics doesn't seem capable of changing.



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

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


23 July, 2015

Sierra Club puts almighty dollar ahead of Mother Earth

One of America’s oldest, most respected environmental nonprofits has traded in one kind of green for another. Some of the Sierra Club’s board members and most important donors have put the almighty dollar before Mother Earth by encouraging the organization to engage in activities that bolster their bottom line.

In a new report, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute reveals that a number of environmental activists, including billionaires Nathaniel Simons, Roger Sant and Michael Bloomberg, benefit richly from their hefty donations to the Sierra Club.

Mr. Simons, a hedge fund baron worth an estimated $12 billion, has donated more than $14 million to the Sierra Club since 2009. Those contributions have largely been earmarked for campaigns to “educate the public about clean energy.” The donations have likely proven quite worthwhile to Mr. Simons. According to Fortune magazine, at the same time he was underwriting the Sierra Club’s efforts to promote renewables, Mr. Simons was quietly creating a clean-tech venture fund that invests in clean energy.

Mr. Sant, co-founder of Applied Energy Services, has donated as much as $4 million to the Sierra Club, according to IRS records. Mr. Sant, who still serves as chairman emeritus of the renewable energy company, is among the most outspoken advocates for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, and it’s no wonder. Such a policy would mean millions of dollars for Mr. Sant and other Applied Energy Services investors. Few organizations have championed a carbon tax more fervently than the Sierra Club. Those efforts have undeniably been bolstered by Mr. Sant’s contributions.

Mr. Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor, has donated more than $105 million to the Sierra Club since 2011. Mr. Bloomberg, who is well-invested in the renewable energy industry, is able to fan the fire of Sierra Club’s unfounded fossil fuel hysterics. By using his Bloomberg L.P. media empire to give credibility to the organization’s war on fossil fuels, he is able to spur demand for renewables, padding his portfolio in the process.

This isn’t the first damning example of conflicts of interest between the Sierra Club and its directors uncovered by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute.

The Sierra Club’s well-known “Beyond Coal” campaign has been largely discredited because the campaign appears bought and paid for by board members and other donors who benefit financially from the organization’s anti-fossil fuel crusades,

Eight of the Sierra Club Foundation’s 18 directors are involved with organizations that profit from the Beyond Coal campaign, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute discovered.

Those directors are owners, founders and CEOs of renewable energy companies and investment firms that donated millions to the Sierra Club’s war on fossil fuels. These green energy tycoons knew lambasting coal, oil and natural gas would increase demand for renewables like solar and wind … and generate more money for their businesses.

Companies with top executives on the Sierra Club’s board of directors include solar firms such as SolarCity, Sun Run and the Solaria Corp., as well as the green energy investment funds at Barclays, Walden Capital and Boston Common Asset Management.

For those eight board members, earnings, not the environment, appear to motivate their involvement with the Sierra Club.

The organization’s largest donor – ultimately the funder behind much of the Beyond Coal campaign – may have the biggest investment of anyone in strangling America’s cheap and stable conventional energy market. That man, David Gelbaum, has spent $500 million starting, buying and investing in more than 40 green energy companies, from solar panel makers to electric car producers, all of which benefit from the Sierra Club’s attack on fossil fuels. For Mr. Gelbaum, the $100 million he has donated to the Sierra Club is a marketing expense; a way to vilify his competition and entice more people to buy into his expensive green energy schemes.

Obviously, today’s Sierra Club, which seems to operate first and foremost as a political lobbying firm focused on enriching its donors and board members, is a far cry from what celebrated naturalist John Muir had in mind when he created the organization in 1892. As Energy & Environment Legal Institute’s Legal Executive Director Craig Richardson points out, the Sierra Club’s war on fossil fuels is “an effort that clearly benefits the very same people who are donating the money – it’s clear the Sierra Club is now just a mercenary force beholden to the highest bidder.”

The egregious conflicts of interest created when Sierra Club donors and board members use contributions to entice the organization to engage in advocacy efforts that benefit the donors’ pocketbooks aren’t just unethical. They’re also illegal.

According to the IRS, if a nonprofit’s donors or board members intentionally financially benefit from the actions of the organization, it “would lose its tax exempt status for at least one year.”


Obama’s new Americorps Resilience program for climate change preparedness

A "Greenshirts" Sturmabteilung?

This is surreal and frightening. As part of Obama’s Climate Action Plan, he established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. A White House press release issued last week announced it has partnered with Rockefeller Foundation to launch a new Resilience AmeriCorps program and will recruit, train and imbed AmeriCorp Vista members in a dozen U.S. communities this year.

Other new actions the Administration is taking as part of its Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience include:

It is targeting native American tribes and colleges with $11.8 million in grants to indoctrinate tribal youth on climate change and elicit their participation.

HUD is giving $1 billion in National Disaster Resilience Competition grants to communities to “provide amenities that improve the quality of life for all,” with Rockefeller Foundation adding $3.2 million towards the effort.

Kresge Foundation is adding $10 million to support the agenda in low-income communities through community nonprofits.
and more…

Additional actions being taken by the Administration to prioritize resilience in every branch of the Federal government: targeting minority colleges, universities and institutions to focus education on environmental justice and climate change; mandating all federal facilities must be aligned with its climate preparedness and resilience goals; and mandating that all federal programs must also become aligned with its goals.

So, how will AmeriCorps make cities more resilient and prepare for climate change? They must have universal healthcare, sustainable development and “minimal human vulnerability.” The City Resilience Framework report defines “minimal human vulnerability” as:

“This relates to the extent to which everyone’s basic needs are met. Minimizing underlying human vulnerabilities enables individuals and households to achieve a standard of living which goes beyond mere survival. A basic level of wellbeing also allows people to deal with unforeseen circumstances. This is only possible once their physiological needs are met through a basic level of provision of food, water and sanitation, energy and shelter.”

It goes on to say that for a city to be resilient, everyone must have a living wage and “unrestricted access to legitimate occupations.” It would seem that a Resilient city must provide food, shelter, energy and unrestricted access to a job for its inhabitants.”

There is more here about what are very Marxist plans, demonstrating yet again that environmentalism and climate change is not about the environment, it is a political agenda.


Arctic ice was still increasing in 2014

Global cooling?

According to the Europe's Cryosat satellite, Arctic sea ice volume has increased by a third in 2013 and that this growth continued into last year. Researchers have been examining data from the satellite to study the loss of Arctic sea ice volume. Researchers involved in the study believe that "shifts in summer temperatures have a much bigger effect on sea ice volume than previously expected," writes BBC News.

Compared to the average of the period between 2010 and 2012, a 33 percent increase in sea ice volume was found in 2013 and and in 2014 there was still a quarter more ice than during that period. The satellite uses a sophisticated radar that is capable of measuring the thickness of sea ice from its orbit in space.

The researchers have been studying sea ice volume over the last five years using the polar monitoring spacecraft to estimate the volume of the Arctic. They used "88 million measurements of sea ice thickness from Cryosat and found that between 2010 and 2012, the volume of sea ice went down by 14%." This is far less than what computer models predicted would happen in the Arctic.

Measurements for 2014 showed there was still a quarter more sea ice than there was between 2010 and 2012. Lead author Rachel Tilling, from University College London, told BBC News, "We looked at various climate forcing factors, we looked at the snow loading, we looked at wind convergence and the melt season length of the previous summer."

The colder temperatures in the polar region allowed more multi-year ice to persist northwest of Greenland because there were fewer days when it could melt. Temperature records also showed that the summer was about 5 percent cooler than 2012. "It would suggest that sea ice is more resilient perhaps - if you get one year of cooler temperatures, we've almost wound the clock back a few years on this gradual decline that's been happening over decades," Rachel Tilling told BBC News.

In 2009, Al Gore predicted the polar ice cap would disappear by 2014. Gore cited new scientific work at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School for his statement. The "computer modeling at the school stresses the "volumetric" and looks at both the surface extent of ice and its thickness."

The Ocean and Ice services of the Danish Meteorological Institute also shows that, "Arctic ice extent is right where it always is this time of year, and is tracking 2006 – the year with the highest extent of the past decade," Real Science notes. This is due to "cold temperatures over the Beaufort sea that is forecast for the next two weeks, making the odds of a big melt occurring pretty close to zero."

And Dr Peiser, from the Global Warming Policy Foundation, says that the poles are "much more stable" than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought. The Daily Express also notes that Arctic sea ice volumes in October and November this year averaged at 10,200 cubic kilometres. "This figure is only slightly down on the 2013 average of 10,900 cubic kilometres, yet massively up on the 2011 low of 4,275 cubic kilometres and the 6,000 cubic kilometres recorded in 2012."


Obama’s backward dishwasher rules just more of the same

By Rick Manning

The Obama Administration revealed one more of a string of regulations that have a practical impact of making the problem they claim to want to solve worse.

This time it is a Department of Energy regulation forcing new dishwashers to only use 3.1 gallons of water to wash a load of dishes.

What could go wrong?

Nothing so long as homeowners don’t mind grunge baked onto their dishes due to the failure to have sufficient water to clean off the food. No matter how much Cascade and JetDry you put into the system, not enough water means disgusting baked on egg, and other delights.

The purported reason for the water limitations is to cut those dreaded greenhouse emissions to comply with Obama’s on-going global warming jihad. In Obama’s Ivory Tower world, it is inconceivable that a dishwasher that doesn’t actually get dishes clean might cause people to take alternative action. The most likely of which is to use much more water by hand washing every dish before it goes into the dishwasher and effectively only use the appliance for killing bacteria through the high heat drying process. Or, perhaps people could go full Madge, and only hand wash dishes rendering the modern appliance and convenience useless.

Apparently, regulators at the Energy Department don’t wash their own dishes, so they are unaware of what a real person would do when their dishes come out of the dishwasher disgusting. But this is just the latest of many bafflingly out of touch decisions made by environmental regulators.

The New York Times reported that in 2012, oil refiners were forced to pay about $6.8 million in fines to the U.S. government due to their failure to mix a government decreed biofuel into their gasoline and diesel.

The only problem was that the government mandated biofuel did not actually exist outside of the laboratory. That’s right, the government mandated use of a product that wasn’t in production and still was in the laboratory testing phase, and turned a deaf ear toward those who complained, instead fining companies for failing to use a non-existent product. Eventually, the federal courts disallowed the fines, but left the mandate of a gradual shift to using additional biofuel in gasoline, leaving refiners uncertain about the availability on a year to year basis.

And this is not the only biofuel problem where the federal government pointyheads fail to understand how products like ethanol impact both automobile engines and the overall environment.

For years, the government has attempted to jam gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol into the marketplace disregarding the damage that this level of ethanol does to the automobile engines themselves.

The perverse effect of ethanol is that according to the Department of Energy it reduces gas mileage by three to four percent, while the higher concentration of ethanol in E-15 reduces it by five percent. This government mandated gas mileage reduction occurs at the same time that the federal government is demanding dramatic increases in fuel efficiency standards.

In practical terms if a vehicle would normally get 400 miles on a 15 gallon tank of 100 percent gasoline, E-10 reduces this amount to between 388 and 384 miles, just under a full mile per gallon less than straight gasoline.

Yet, in spite of overwhelming evidence that corn ethanol is bad for both vehicles and for the environment, the mandates persist due to the apparent extraction of the common sense gene from anyone who works in the Obama Administration.

So, don’t be surprised when Obama refuses to relent on its crazy dishwasher rules that render the appliance obsolete while wasting water. After all, nothing can get in the way of their global warming quest, not even harming the environment along the way.


Pope calls on world leaders to take a 'strong stand' on climate change ahead of UN summit

Popey has merged the RC church with the church of global warming

Pope Francis has urged world leaders to take a 'very strong stand' on climate change ahead of the United Nations summit in Paris this year.  He was speaking at a conference of mayors and governors, who signed a declaration saying it may be the last chance to tackle human-induced global warming, at the Vatican today. 

The meeting linked climate change and modern slavery because, according to an introductory paper, 'global warming is one of the causes of poverty and forced migration'.

It is the Vatican's latest attempt to influence the summit in December, which aims to reach a global agreement to combat climate change after past failures.

The cleric, speaking to the group in unprepared comments in Spanish, said he hoped the UN conference would address 'particularly how it (climate change) affects the trafficking of people.'

He added: 'I have great hopes in the Paris summit. I have great hopes that a fundamental agreement is reached. The United Nations needs to take a very strong stand on this.'

Mayors from South America, Africa, the United States, Europe and Asia signed a declaration stating that it 'may be the last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below two degrees centigrade.'

It says that leaders should come to a 'bold agreement that confines global warming to a limit safe for humanity while protecting the poor and the vulnerable.'

High-income countries should help finance the cost of climate-change mitigation in low-income countries, it also reads.

In a rejection of so-called climate-change deniers, the declaration also says: 'Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity.'

California Governor Edmund 'Jerry' Brown, whose state is suffering a severe drought, urged mayors to 'fight the propaganda' of big business interests that deny that climate change is human induced.

'We have fierce opposition and blind inertia and that opposition is well-financed,' he said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called Pope Francis 'the most powerful voice on this earth for those whose voice is not being heard.' He added: 'He did not convene us here to accept the status quo but to indict it'.

De Blasio announced that New York City would commit to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 on top of a previous commitment to reduced them by 80 per cent by 2050.

Tony Chammany, the mayor of Kochi, India, said coastal areas were already feeling the effects of rising sea levels. 'It is now or never, there may never be a replay,' he said.

The cleric issued an encyclical on climate change, the first ever dedicated to the environment, last month.

The call to his church's 1.2billion members could spur the world's Catholics to lobby policymakers on ecology issues and climate change.


Muscle-man chomps a cigar as he is selected by the French Government to address world leaders on climate change

He has drifted a long way Left since he married into the Kennedys.  He has gained righteousness

Arnold Schwarzenegger was spotted chomping a stogie on the same day he was named an environmental advocate by the French Government.

The 67-year-old star looked in great form as he ran errands in Los Angeles after being selected to address world political and spiritual leaders ahead of a major climate change summit in Paris in December.

Meanwhile 10,000km away in Vatican City, a much more formal looking Arnie was addressing a room full of dozens of mayors from across the world and spiritual leaders of all faiths via pre-recorded video, urging them to get their leaders and followers involved in the fight against climate change.

'I've starred of course in a lot of science fiction movies and, let me tell you something, climate change is not science fiction; this is a battle in the real world, it is impacting us right now,' he said in the six minute clip.

The video appears to have been recorded in the actors personal office; wearing a navy suit and vivid green tie, he is flanked by the American and Californian State flags...while his rearguard appears to be a painting of a naked muscular back, presumably his own.

'I believe the science is in. The debate is over and the time for action is now,' he continued. 'This is bigger than any movie, this is the challenge of our time. And it is our responsibility to leave this world a better place than we found it, but right now we are failing future generations.'

After apologising for not being there in person because of a promotional tour, Arnie admits in the video that he was star-struck when he seen the line-up of who he was about to address.

He claimed environmental advocates were failing to communicate with the masses. 'We should be concerned about rising temperatures, and we should be concerned with the rising sea levels, and the melting ice caps and all of those things, but those are things that will happen down the line.

'But most people are concerned with what is happening right now: people worry about their jobs and healthcare and national security, they worry about putting food on the table for their families, they worry about their survival,' he said.

'And you know something? They should be concerned about their survival - 7million people die every year because of our pollution.'



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

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


22 July, 2015

You were warned

Here we go again:  June warmest EVER recorded globally

Random fluctuations of hundredths of a degree taken seriously again  -- even though the precision of measurement is much coarser than that

Earth dialed the heat up in June, smashing warm temperature records for both the month and the first half of the year.

Off-the-charts heat is 'getting to be a monthly thing,' said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

'This is the third month this year that we've broken the monthly record.'

NOAA calculated that the world's average temperature in June hit 61.48 degrees Fahrenheit (16.33 Celsius), breaking the old record set last year by 0.22 degrees (.12 degrees Celsius). Usually temperature records are broken by one or two one-hundredths of a degree, not nearly a quarter of a degree, Blunden said.

And the picture is even more dramatic when the entire year is considered.

The first six months of 2015 were one-sixth of a degree warmer than the old record, set in 2010, averaging 57.83 degrees (14.35 Celsius).

The old record for the first half of the year was set in 2010, the last time there was an El Nino - a warming of the central Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide.

June was warm nearly all over the world, with exceptional heat in Spain, Austria, parts of Asia, Australia and South America.

Southern Pakistan had a June heat wave that killed more than 1,200 people - which according to an international database would be the eighth deadliest in the world since 1900.

In May, a heat wave in India claimed more than 2,000 lives and ranked as the fifth deadliest on record.

May and March also broke monthly heat records, which go back 136 years.

Earth has broken monthly heat records 24 times since the year 2000, but hasn't broken a monthly cold record since 1916.

'This is what anthropogenic global warming looks like, just hotter and hotter,' said Jonathan Overpeck, co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona.


Arctic sea ice boosted by a THIRD during unusually cold summer of 2013, study reveals

What!?  Arctic ice growing.  All Greenies say it is shrinking

Arctic sea ice received a surprising boost in 2013 thanks to an unusually cool summer, a new study reveals.

The rapidly melting region increased its volume by a third, figures reveal, as temperatures dropped dramatically for the first time since the 1990s.

It meant there were 5 per cent fewer 'melting days' - warm days when the ice physically melts away.

The findings suggest the ice pack in the Northern hemisphere could be more susceptible to changes than previously thought - and efforts to stem climate change could be more effective than predicted.

The study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, is the first analysis of the entire ice caps volume.

Researchers used 88 million measurements of sea ice thickness recorded by the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 mission between 2010 and 2014.

The results showed that there was a 14 per cent reduction in the volume of summertime Arctic sea ice between 2010 and 2012 - but the volume of ice jumped by 41 per cent in 2013, relative to the previous year, when the summer was five per cent cooler than the previous year.

In 2014, the most essential indicators of Earth?s changing climate continued to reflect trends of a warming planet, with several  markers such as rising land and ocean temperature, sea levels and greenhouse gases - setting new records.  These key findings and others can be found in the State of the Climate in 2014 report released online today by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

The report, compiled by NOAA?s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information is based on contributions from 413 scientists from 58 countries around the world (highlight, full report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice, and in space. 

Lead author Rachel Tilling, a PhD student from the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at University College London (UCL), hailed the results as key for future predictions about the region's prospects.

Tilling said: 'The summer of 2013 was much cooler than recent years with temperatures typical of those seen in the late 1990s.  'This allowed thick sea ice to persist northwest of Greenland because there were fewer days when it could melt.


New paper shows N. Greenland was warmer during early 20th century (1920-1940) & during Medieval Warm Period

A new paper published in Climate of the Past Discussions reconstructs temperatures from 12 ice cores in Northern Greenland over the past 1100 years and demonstrates temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period beginning ~1065 years ago were warmer than at the end of the record in 2000. In addition, the data shows temperatures ~1450 AD (during the Little Ice Age) and from 1920-1940 were also considerably warmer than the latter 20th century, the opposite of expectations of anthropogenic warming theory:

d18O ice core temperature proxy shows Medieval Warm Period in red box labeled "MCA", Little Ice Age in blue box labelled "LIA" and Early Twentieth Century Warming (from 1920-1940) in red box labeled "ETCW". Temperatures of the early 20 century from 1920-1940 were considerably warmer than the latter 20th century, opposite the expectations of anthropogenic warming theory.
In addition, the paper shows a reconstruction of August Arctic sea ice extent over the past 1000 years (purple line in middle graph below) demonstrating that sea ice at the end of the record in the late 20th century was near the average of the past millenium and about the same as during the Medieval Warm Period:


Senior cardinal breaks ranks by questioning the Pope’s authority to pronounce on climate change

A senior figure in the Vatican has questioned the Pope’s authority to pronounce on climate change. Cardinal George Pell, who was appointed by Pope Francis last year to manage the Vatican finances, said the Roman Catholic church had ‘no mandate’ to lay down doctrine on scientific matters.

His remarks indicated concern among some high-ranking Catholics at the direction and tone of Francis’ encyclical on climate change last month.

In the encyclical, which carries the full authority of church teaching, the Pope said that the world risked becoming ‘an immense pile of filth’ and that ‘doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain.’

Australian Cardinal Pell made his misgivings clear by telling an interviewer that Francis’ paper has ‘many, many interesting elements. There are parts of it which are beautiful.

‘But the church has no particular expertise in science. The church has got no mandate from the Lord to pronounce on scientific matters. We believe in the autonomy of science,’ he added.

The Cardinal said in the interview with the Financial Times that the encyclical, called ‘Laudato Si’, was ‘very well received’ and the Pope had ‘beautifully set out our obligations to future generations and our obligations to the environment.’

The Cardinal is the most senior Roman Catholic yet to sound a note of caution over the encyclical, which argues that the world must take precautions against climate change at the summit to be held in Paris in December. It said that climate change is doing most harm to the world’s poor.

Cardinal Pell, who took over the management of Vatican spending last February with a brief to tighten financial controls, has provoked anger among green campaigners in the past.

In 2006 he declared that ‘hysteric and extreme claims about global warming are also a symptom of pagan emptiness’ and a year later wrote that he was ‘sceptical about extravagant claims of impending man-made climatic catastrophes.’

His criticism of the Pope’s encyclical was carefully phrased – the Pope said in his own paper that ‘The church does not presume to settle scientific questions’ – but it reflects signs of dissent among other prominent Catholics.

A senior British Catholic layman, Labour peer Lord Donoughue, last week criticised Francis’ faith in renewable energy, saying that ‘wood and dung fires may be renewable energy sources but their disastrous impact on human health is undeniable.

‘We would have liked to have seen the encyclical address moral dilemmas like this head on. We would also have liked to have known Pope Francis’s view on the bans on development aid for fossil fuel plants that so many western governments have put in place.’

In the same paper published by the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, the Church of England Bishop of Chester, the Right Reverend Peter Forster, said: ‘Pope Francis should certainly be commended for his desire to deal with poverty in the developing world, but it is hard to see how he hopes to do so without economic growth and fossil fuels, both of which he thinks are unnecessary evils.’

The Bishop of Chester did not speak in the Church of England General Synod’s debate on climate change last week, during which at the prompting of the Archbishop of Canterbury it adopted a string of green policies, including a promise to teach ‘ecotheology’ and ‘eco-justice’ to its trainee priests, and a request to the faithful to fast in protest on the first day of every month.

There have been concerns in the CofE that many churchgoers have failed to be impressed by their leaders’ anxiety over climate change.

The CofE’s environmental adviser David Shreeve wrote earlier this month that the church had not been ‘successful in dragging environmental concern into its mainstream’.

He added: ‘The majority of those who do link their faith with environmental concern are still on the edges – members of special environmental groups rather than in the main body of the church.

'It still seems that amongst the pews and the pulpits the environment remains not so much a cause for worship, or a way of life, but somewhere to walk on a Sunday afternoon.’


Global warming hysteria one huge ghastly mistake


A Royal Astronomical Society study published in Science Daily on July 9 and presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales postulates that solar activity will decline by 60% in the 2030s, producing sunspot minima and a temperature decline similar to that of the “Maunder minimum” that began in 1645. During that period, the effects of this temperature decline may well far outweigh the modest effects of global warming, on which so much taxpayer money has been wasted in the last 20 years. Since moderate temperature declines are more damaging to agriculture and life in general than moderate increases, it will also cause far more economic damage and human misery than can possibly be attributed to global warming over the next century. The global warming hysteria has thus been a statist, hugely dishonest disgrace – but that’s not to say there are no steps that should be taken to mitigate this and other climate fluctuations.

The new study does not contradict the global warming hypothesis that increased carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming. Instead it looks at cycles of solar activity, and comes to the conclusion that in the decade 2030-40 there will be a short period of perhaps a decade during which solar activity is exceptionally low, as it was in the Maunder minimum of 1645-1715. Lower sunspot activity correlates with lower solar output, and the Maunder minimum coincided with a period of sharply lower temperatures known as the “little ice age.”

The question is: what effect this will have on the world’s climate? In this area, the ideological preconceptions of the majority of the world’s scientists have made modern estimates of past data very suspect indeed. One estimate of 2011 postulated that the 17th Century “Maunder Minimum” lowered average temperatures by only 0.1 degree Celsius. That is obviously fatuous, because of the effect the Maunder Minimum had on contemporary life. Harvests were notably smaller during its operation, and the Thames froze over several times, as it had not done before, to the extent of sufficient solidity for commerce, roast oxen etc. to take place in some winters. Contemporaries noticed both the poorer harvests (which were a major cause of working-class discontent during the English Civil War) and also the frozen Thames, which had not happened before.

John Evelyn, the diarist, recorded on 24 January 1684 “The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames before London was still planted with booths in formal streetes, furnish’d and full of commodities, even to a printing presse, where the people and ladyes tooke a fancy to have their names printed, and the day and yeare set down when printed on the Thames; this humour tooke so universally, that ’twas estimated the printer gained £5 a day, for printing a line onely, at sixpence a name.” The enterprising printer could not have made £5 a day if the temperature decline had been only 0.1 degree Celsius!

More recently, weather scientists have suggested that volcanic activity triggered more of the temperature drop than the Maunder Minimum in sunspot activity. However only one major volcanic eruption was recorded during the period – Mount Etna in 1669 – and evidence suggests that this was much smaller than the Indonesian Tambora and Krakatoa eruptions of the nineteenth century. One thus remains skeptical.

To find a more accurate estimate of the temperature effect of the Maunder Minimum, we may need to go back 35-40 years, before global warming was a source of political activity and vast scientific funding, but well after Walter and Annie Maunder (1851-1928 and 1868-1947) had identified and studied the phenomenon. However one more recent source, from 2003 (when “global warming” was already a phenomenon but new Maunder Minima had not yet been postulated) by Willy Soon and Steven Yaskell, records the temperature drop in 1675-1700 to be around 4-5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2.5-3 degrees Celsius. Given Evelyn’s surprise at the weather he experienced, that seems a reasonable estimate.

But if that figure is correct (and let’s put in all the caveats about projections and estimates, caveats which global warming scientists would do well to include) then the temperature drop in 2030-40 will not only exceed the effect of global warming by then, it will be close to double the highest plausible estimate of global warming’s effect by 2100. Needless to say, we have done nothing whatever to prepare for this.

A Maunder Minimum on this scale would be far more damaging than a moderate global warming, because of its size, our lack of preparedness, and the reality that cooling is far more damaging to agriculture than moderate warming. Professor J.E. Kutzbach of the University of Wisconsin calculated in a 2010 paper that a 3 degrees Celsius drop in average temperature would reduce global food production by 25%. That’s far more damaging than any agricultural effect of global warming, where greater warmth up to about 5 degrees Celsius results in increased agricultural production.

This suggests that a Maunder Minimum in 2030-40 would be truly catastrophic. With the global population at 7 billion, we are already fairly close to the maximum that can be fed with current land usage and technology. Any technological improvements before 2030 will only be matched by the increase in population by then – on U.N. figures it is expected to pass 8 billion in 2024 and 9 billion in 2040. Thus a 25% decline in agricultural output in the 2030s is likely to result in starvation of something less than 25% of the world population at that time – maybe 15%, or 1.3 billion people.

To summarize, we are subject to both natural and man-made climate fluctuations, but the natural fluctuations may well be both larger and more immediate than the gradual effects of what humanity has caused so far (we are of course capable of producing a “nuclear winter:” that would be as fast as a natural fluctuation and possibly larger. Let’s not try this!) It now appears likely that the first such fluctuation, considerably larger and more immediate than the effect of global warming, will be a cooling beginning in only 15 years.

There are a number of conclusions to be drawn from this. First, the hugely expensive steps we have taken to combat global warming – all the ethanol production, wind farms, electric car subsidies to Elon Musk, etc. – have been money wasted. Yes, global warming may be a problem after 2050, to a limited extent, but it’s not going to be a problem before then, and some of our actions taken to combat it are highly damaging to the fight against the Maunder Minimum of the 2030s and 2040s. The ethanol program, for example, subsidizes non-food production from The United States’ most productive farmland; if it is continued in the 2030s it may well be directly responsible for killing several hundred million people.

Second, we must do what we can to enable humanity to survive the Maunder Minimum, without a major wipe-out of population. There are no programs equivalent to solar panels and wind farms we can adopt to do this; even if a mass re-conversion to coal burning power stations were possible, it would not increase the temperature sufficiently to conquer Maunder (and the sulfates from coal burning might well increase the cooling – there is a strong possibility that global warming began only when we started to clean up all the nice sulfates from coal usage, about 1970.)

Finally, it is essential that intellectual integrity be restored to the scientific profession. Too much money has been devoted to funding global warming scientists, who have depended for their livelihood on a high level of public and political anxiety about global warming, and have hence tended to suppress the evidence against the popular hysteria. The South Sea Bubble of 1720 would have done far more damage if the press and the scientific community had been ordered to magnify the potential profitability of the South Sea enterprise. Like that Bubble, global warming, possessing about as much reality as the plans of the South Sea Company, is an “Extraordinary Popular Delusion” inflated by the “Madness of Crowds” in the immortal title of Charles Mackay’s 1841 masterpiece. Enlightenment standards of scientific integrity have been subverted by government cash and media hysteria. For the sake of all our futures this must never be allowed to happen again.

Meanwhile, 2030 is not all that far away. Maybe it’s time to stock up on overcoats or move to Florida, according to taste. Coats and relocation are at least private choices, not forced upon us by the political process.



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

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


21 July, 2015

CO2 is making the desert bloom

Being politically correct, the authors try to say that  increased rainfall could be bad somehow somewhere but if that is the only problem we have to be worried about everyone can sleep soundly at night

Live Aid took place 30 years ago this summer, raising £150million for drought-stricken regions of Africa. But the world inadvertently did something else to help: greenhouse gas increases brought back life-giving rains.

A new study by scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Reading, UK, shows how increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere accidentally triggered a return of the crucial seasonal rains on which much of the Sahel region relies for agriculture and drinking water.

The Reading scientists say the findings show just how fragile and sensitive the African climate is to man-made climate change.

In the 1970s and 1980s, a large part of North Africa was suffering from a devastating persistent drought, leading to a famine in which more than 100,000 people died. Since then, rainfall levels have recovered significantly.

Scientists used a supercomputer climate simulator to study different influences on North African rainfall. When they examined the increases in rainfall since the 1980s, they found around three-quarters of the additional rain was caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

Previous studies had suggested other factors, especially changes in the temperature of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, would be more influential on the region in the short-term.

The study is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.


Sahelian summer rainfall, controlled by the West African monsoon, exhibited large-amplitude multidecadal variability during the twentieth century. Particularly important was the severe drought of the 1970s and 1980s, which had widespread impacts. Research into the causes of this drought has identified anthropogenic aerosol forcing and changes in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) as the most important drivers. Since the 1980s, there has been some recovery of Sahel rainfall amounts, although not to the pre-drought levels of the 1940s and 1950s. Here we report on experiments with the atmospheric component of a state-of-the-art global climate model to identify the causes of this recovery. Our results suggest that the direct influence of higher levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was the main cause, with an additional role for changes in anthropogenic aerosol precursor emissions. We find that recent changes in SSTs, although substantial, did not have a significant impact on the recovery. The simulated response to anthropogenic greenhouse-gas and aerosol forcing is consistent with a multivariate fingerprint of the observed recovery, raising confidence in our findings. Although robust predictions are not yet possible, our results suggest that the recent recovery in Sahel rainfall amounts is most likely to be sustained or amplified in the near term.


No Real Global Warming for 20 Years Now

A paper published in Nature magazine in 2014 (see link below) looked at recent trends in global temperature in the lower troposphere (TLT) from satellite observations and attempted to remove the effects from major volcanic activity and from the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The result indicates no global warming for over 20 years now, despite the continued rapid increase in carbon dioxide concentrations. Yet one more study that greatly calls into question the “settled science” of man-made global warming. More evidence that the effects of man-made carbon dioxide on global temperature are quite small and perhaps not even significant. 

Most people don’t realize that carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant and is absolutely critical for plant survival. Higher carbon dioxide levels actually promote more rapid plant growth and therefore have a major beneficial effect for crops as well as natural plant growth. From 3 million years ago back to more than 200 million years ago, Earth had no glaciers, global temperatures were much warmer, and carbon dioxide levels were much higher than today. Then about about 3 million years ago at the start of the Pleistocene period for reasons unknown global temperatures gradually cooled and Earth entered an ice age that continues today.

We are lucky to live in one of the relatively short interglacial warm periods between the much longer intense glacial periods. During the last 500,000 years there have been five intensely cold glacial periods each lasting about 80,000 to 100,000 years and separated by interglacial warm periods with much less ice but each lasting only about 10,000 to 15,000 years on average. Our present interglacial period is called the Holocene and started about 11,700 years ago and based on past history will likely end sometime within the next few thousand years or less. The next glacial period will be a major challenge for humanity, with ice covering most of Canada, the northern US, and northern Europe. With colder global temperatures come drier air and expanding deserts as well as much lower carbon dioxide levels that will inhibit plant growth. We should count our blessings today and explore the deep meaning of true climate change over the ages to prepare for what will come.


UK: Green Subsidies Slashed Again – Solar Farms Next In Line As Cabinet Stance ‘Hardens’

Green subsidies are to be slashed again, as the new Tory cabinet “hardens” its stance on eco policies. Cabinet source have said a “big reset” is coming this autumn on subsidies, which are paid for by consumers and push up household bills.

“There is a hardening view in the cabinet that we’ve got to deal with green subsidies,” the source told the BBC. An estimated £4.3 billion is expected to be paid by consumers and hard working families into the green energy industry this year alone.

The cuts are expected to hit the solar farm industry within weeks, which is spreading like a rash across the British countryside. This follows last months surprise announcement by the government to strip the on-sure wind farm industry of its generous subsidies by April.

Furthermore, a tidal lagoon to generate power off the cost of Swansea could be ditched, and there will be a major expansion of nuclear and gas to meet demand under this government.

“We need to deal with those extra costs at the top of the electricity bill,” another Cabinet source told The Daily Mail. “A struggling pensioner has to pay it when she doesn’t have the benefit of putting solar panels or a wind turbine on her roof.”

Last week the think tank Policy Exchange release a new report which stated: “The average household energy bill has risen by £120 over the past five years purely due to ill thought through energy and climate policies which fail to put affordability at the heart of policymaking.”

Richard Howard, author of the report, said: “Household energy bills have soared in recent years. This is not, as some have suggested, due to “rip off energy companies”, but in fact in large part due to government policy. Over the past five years energy and climate policy and network costs have pushed up energy bills by £120 for the average household.”

The report revealed that, “Government energy and climate policies in the form of carbon taxes, subsidies for renewable energy and energy efficiency grants now make up 7% of the average bill and network costs account for a further 22%.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: “Reducing energy bills for hard-working British families and businesses is this government’s priority. We’ve already announced reforms to remove subsidies for onshore wind, and that work to make sure bill payers are getting the best possible deal is going to continue.”


Wind Lobby Scrambles To Hide Alleged Influence Of Foreign Companies

The American Wind Energy Association, the wind energy industry’s main lobbying group, touts wind power as helping the U.S. economy, but a news report claims the group’s advocacy is being driven by a group of foreign executives.

To make matters more interesting, AWEA removed its list of companies on its Leadership Council from its website — the Leadership Council was still missing from AWEA’s website when this reporter went to check on its status. AWEA refused to comment on the removal when approached by The Washington Free Beacon. Likewise, the wind lobbying group declined to comment on the removal when asked by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“All of the companies represented on AWEA’s Board are American companies or have U.S. subsidiaries,” David Ward, AWEA’s lead spokesman, told TheDCNF. “Like any global industry, some of those companies have parent companies that are active in other countries.

“That distinction is irrelevant as all companies on AWEA’s Board have major offices in America, employ large numbers of Americans, and are making large investments in America,” Ward said.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday the influence of AWEA’s foreign membership clashed with their “made-in-the-USA rhetoric.” The Free Beacon reported there were seven foreign firms listed on AWEA’s Leadership Council as of late 2013 — all of which get federal subsidies for wind power.

One of the companies listed in 2013 as part of AWEA’s leadership council was Iberdola, a Spanish company that’s been awarded billions in government subsidies over the years. The other companies are “Nordex and E.ON Climate & Renewables, both German companies; French EDF Renewable Energy; Portuguese EDP Renewables; a subsidiary of the British RES Group; and Danish firm Vestas,” according to The Free Beacon.

Iberdola has gotten $2.2 billion in green energy subsidies — making it the largest recipient of federal corporate welfare, according to a report by the left-wing group Good Jobs First. The Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill gave billions of dollars in subsidies to wind and solar companies.

The Good Jobs First report also notes that the German-based E.ON Climate & Renewables got $576 million in subsidies , the French company EDF Renewable Energy got $325 million and the Portuguese EDP Renewables received $722 million.

“[A] large portion of the funds received by the foreign energy firms came from Recovery Act programs such as Section 1603,” the report notes. “Japan’s Toshiba, on the other hand, received most of its funding through Energy Department research grants, including numerous awards to its Westinghouse Electric subsidiary for work on nuclear energy. Energy Department grants also make up nearly all of the $237 million in funds received by Germany’s Siemens.”

AWEA brushed off criticism of its foreign membership, saying the wind industry provides tens of thousands of jobs for Americans. Though the group still did not address its removal of the membership list from its website.

“73,000 Americans work in the wind industry, building wind projects that benefit American consumers,” Ward told TheDCNF. “That includes nearly 20,000 manufacturing jobs at over 500 facilities across 43 states. The domestic content of wind farms has risen, with more than 60 percent of the value of U.S. wind farms made in America.”

“The large number of jobs associated with installing, maintaining, and operating wind plants cannot be outsourced, and it is often cost-prohibitive to import large turbine components like blades and towers,” he said. “Wind turbine and component manufacturing is a significant contributor to U.S. heavy manufacturing.”


Lawsuits:  A new form of Ecofascism

Climate action is finally gaining ground in Washington. No, not that Washington.

Following their victory in a Seattle court, eight children are pressing Washington State’s Department of Ecology to crack down on carbon pollution. The agency has until August 7 to reach an agreement with the youths, who sued after the department rejected their petition. Otherwise, the kids will go back to court.

“I hope our voices are heard,” said Aji Piper, a 14-year-old and one of the plaintiffs.

Judge Hollis Hill, for one, is listening. She agreed with the teens and tweens in a first-of-its-kind ruling, citing a “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming.”

Climate change mashes up environmental, moral, meteorological, economic, political, scientific, and industrial challenges. Given that complexity, it’s no wonder it took more than 25 years of international climate talks for global emissions to even stabilize.

Slashing climate pollution may take something new — like suing governments for failing to shield their constituents from a climate catastrophe and prosecuting the oil, gas, and coal industries for this mess. Ultimately, climate lawyers could replicate successes scored with tobacco litigation and the legal actions that brought about marriage equality.

The biggest breakthrough came right after the Washington ruling when a Dutch court ordered the government of the Netherlands to reduce that nation’s emissions by 25 percent within five years. As the low-lying nation currently aims for only a 17 percent cut, this case filed on behalf of 900 people marked a global precedent.

More lawsuits are in the pipeline.

One pits South Pacific islanders whose countries are threatened by rising sea levels against big oil companies. These folks from Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and the Philippines may already have Exhibit A.

It’s an email from Lenny Bernstein, a scientist who worked for both Exxon and Mobil when they were separate companies. In this note, obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Bernstein reveals that Exxon was already taking climate-related risks into account with its investment decisions by 1981.

Experts say the scientist’s email shows that corporate leaders knew for more than 30 years that their oil and gas operations were bound to harm the climate. Instead of changing their ways, they emulated Big Tobacco by bankrolling climate denial.

Proving government liability might also be easier than you’d think. The record shows that U.S. officials began to fret about climate change by 1965.

President Richard Nixon’s advisor — and future Senator — Daniel Patrick Moynihan made this clear in a 1969 memo he wrote to another Nixon aide. In it, he outlined “the carbon dioxide problem” caused by fossil fuels.

“Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter,” Moynihan wrote of the consequences of a potential 10-foot rise in sea levels. “We have no data on Seattle.”

Julia Olson is the founder and lead lawyer of Our Children’s Trust, one of the two groups that helped file the Washington lawsuit. She says the evidence of federal wrongdoing is clear.

“Fifty years ago, they knew exactly what was happening and how to stop it,” she told me. “The solutions at this point lie in the courts.”

She came up with her youth-focused strategy after becoming a mom.

“Kids don’t get to vote and choose the policies for their future,” Olson said. “They are going to suffer the impacts of climate destruction more than the rest of us.”

The lawyer and her team have filed more than a dozen climate cases on behalf of children. Suits in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Colorado, and North Carolina are pending. More are coming soon in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Hawaii. Also on this deep docket: suing the federal government for a second time by the end of July.


Australian public broadcaster hides Green Left bias by reading out questions

The ABC seems to have found a novel way to guard against the Green Left bias shown by so many of its leading presenters. Instead of having them conduct their own interviews, Auntie can simply have them read out questions from audiences.

On Lateline last week Tony Jones was interviewing former Labor environment minister Greg Combet. "Let's go to a Facebook question," said Jones. "This is from Linda Mae Reeb and it's on this subject, she asks, `Can you estimate the investment required in the Australian renewable market to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in emissions?'?"

Combet nodded as Jones read it out. Why wouldn't he? What a pleasant break from the rigours of a forensic television interrogation.

We look forward to similar intermezzos when government ministers are grilled. "I know you're on the back foot now, Treasurer, and my questioning is getting just a little snide," Sarah Ferguson might say, "so let's go to a Facebook question on taxation reform".

Given revelations about high ABC salaries, perhaps this is also a way to save the public broadcaster some money. There are plenty of presentable and relatively cut-price juniors who could sit in the chair and read out the online questions.

No doubt government staffers are busy setting up fake Facebook accounts so they can post their curly queries. "Prime Minister, if we could just leave the Speaker's woes and budget difficulties there for a moment we have a Facebook question," Leigh Sales might say. "This one is from Jenny at Mt Druitt and she asks, `To what do you attribute your greatness?'?"

Next, no doubt, we'll have to commission an investigation into question selection. Perhaps a committee could be formed to devise an ABC code of conduct for social media question selection and presentation. A strong tip for rule No 1 would be to ignore Zaky Mallah's Facebook questions until further notice.

Speaking of that interminable Q&A controversy, there is another reason that infamous Mallah episode was memorable and MediaWatch Watch has been meaning to get back to it ever since. It relates to that regular frustration for regular viewers that we might refer to as Q&A interruptus. Not only do right-of-centre panellists tend to be outnumbered two to one but they often seem to have some difficulty getting any flow into their answers. A random sample might turn up Sophie Mirabella in July 2013. "Tony, the polls have changed," Mirabella said, "but a third of the frontbench, very experienced ministers, refuse to serve with Kevin Rudd and, you know ..."

But the host chips in. "OK," says Tony Jones, "I am going to interrupt you there ." Later in the same episode Mirabella went on. "Over the last 12 months, Tony Abbott has done twice as many interviews as Julia Gillard has done and he is out there every day. He's out ..."

Again, Jones jumps in. "Can you explain why we don't see him doing long format interviews? Why he won't do this program or Lateline or Insiders?" Good question, perhaps we could take it as a comment from the Prime Minister. Back in 2010 (believe it or not) Abbott was on the program and spoke about Labor's leadership coup. "Now, that would never happen in our party," said the Liberal leader. "Because you openly stab people in the back, OK," Jones snapped back. "We don't have," Abbott began before the host jumped in again. "All right, sorry, no, I'm just going to interrupt."

In November last year Attorney-General George Brandis was a solo panellist. "But this is a particular threat to your community because you're the victim of these predators," he said. "Well, George, I'm going to interrupt you there," said Jones. The Education Minister joined the panel in March. "Christopher, I'm not meaning to interrupt here but I'm actually," said the host. Christopher Pyne protested. "I was asked a question," he complained, "so I was just answering it."

You get the picture. It's all part of the cut and thrust and all the more reason, in my view, for Coalition MPs to get back on the program and robustly argue their case. Politicians boycotting television are like fishermen refusing to go to sea.

Still, just in case they might like to know how it is done, there is an alternative method to Q&A interruptus. "I'll start with Antony Hegarty on this because you've made a kind of, I guess, best to say a spiritual connection with the Martu people," Jones said to his panellist during last month's Mallah episode, "and you are here in Sydney with them at the moment. So maybe you could start us out on this subject."

Hegarty wasn't so keen. "Well, I don't want, I think it would be great if they answered the question first," responded the Green Left activist, transgender singer. "Let these guys answer their question," she instructed, motioning to the politicians. "All right," said Jones. "Well, we can start on the question of why, we'll go to Steve Ciobo first, if you like, and then you can respond afterwards." There you go, just take charge. And Hegarty directed proceedings a second time. "Antony?" Jones asked, looking for a response on the indigenous issues. "Yeah, maybe we could ask them about their experience, you know," deflected Hegarty. "Sure, well, I'm happy to," said Jones. Easy done. No Facebook required.



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

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


20 July, 2015

Take a bow for the new revolution

Americans are less inclined to be fooled again, or to “smile and grin at the change all around”

Paul Driessen

From the outset, President Obama directed his powerful government agencies and congressional allies to help him “fundamentally transform” the United States. Too many of them were eager to nationalize the nation’s healthcare system, ignore or rewrite inconvenient laws, control the internet and political speech, implement new regulations that imposed enormous costs for few or illusory benefits, and shut down oil, gas and coal in favor of expensive, unreliable, heavily subsidized wind, solar and biofuel energy.

We voters and citizens were supposed to “tip our hats to the new Constitution” and “take a bow for the new revolution,” as The Who put it in their classic song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

But now people seem less inclined to “smile and grin at the change all around.” They increasingly grasp the enormous costs of this ruling class totalitarian anarchy, refuse to get fooled again, and are telling Mr. Obama, “Your states and your citizens are beyond your command,” as Bob Dylan might say. Perhaps “the times are a-changing” once again, and “the losers now will be later to win” – in 2016 and beyond.

Pervasive signs certainly portend a newer revolution. Indeed, the reactions of some previous cheerleaders respond to the disdain the president often seems to show for their jobs and well-being. The energy and environment arena is only part of the total picture, but it’s a vitally important one.

Ozone. EPA is determined to implement stringent new ozone regulations – even though US ozone levels and overall air quality have improved steadily for decades, and the already tough 2008 ozone standards have not yet been fully implemented. This action would turn hundreds of cities and counties into nonattainment areas, impair manufacturing and transportation, cost up to $140 billion per year, and increase unemployment – for health benefits that are inflated or even fabricated.

A Small Business Entrepreneurship Council study found that EPA’s proposed rules would put numerous jobs at risk in a six-county Chicago area that is home to 65% of Illinois’ population, over 60% of its Latinos and 80% of its blacks, 73% of its GDP and 70% of its employment. With the unemployment rate already at 12% for Latinos and 25% for blacks, elected officials and business owners are alarmed.

The US Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, National Association of Regional Councils – Democrats and Republicans representing 19,000 cities, 3,000 counties and 500 councils – have all expressed deep concern and asked EPA to retain the 2008 ozone standards. So have the National and Illinois Black Chambers of Commerce, US Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers.

They worry that the new rules would stifle economic growth and investment, and cause major job losses across the country. The rules set ozone standards lower than naturally occurring in many national parks. Thus far, EPA is ignoring the pleas, though Inside EPA says the agency may grant a one-year extension for some areas to comply with the 2008 standards, before slapping them with the newer diktats.

Coal-fueled electricity generation. The Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) will force still more coal mines and power plants to close, imposing higher electricity costs on businesses and families, and causing lost jobs, lower incomes, higher poverty rates, reduced living standards, and diminished health and welfare. It will hit blacks and Hispanics especially hard and require families to pay $1,225 more per year for electricity, heating and air conditioning in 2030 than in 2012.

A dozen states have already sued EPA to prevent it from implementing the plan. They and other experts note that the CPP will bring no climate benefits, even if carbon dioxide actually is a major factor in global warming. In fact, even EPA admits it would prevent merely 0.03 degrees F of warming – because China, India, Germany and other countries are planning or building nearly 2,200 coal-fired power plants. That and increasing natural gas and gasoline use worldwide will raise atmospheric CO2 levels still higher.

Impacts on people. EPA’s rules are devastating coal-reliant communities. By 2020, they will cost 75,000 direct jobs in coal mines, power plants and railroads, a union study estimates; by 2035, job losses will reach 152,000. When secondary employment is included, the total impact will be some 485,000 lost jobs. This will also affect state tax revenues and funding for company pensions and retirement health care benefits, putting hundreds of thousands of current and future retirees in harm’s way.

EPA ignores the huge toll that job losses have on people’s health and welfare. Unemployed families find it harder to buy food, pay for doctor visits and medicine, give to churches and charities, save for college and retirement, and make mortgage, rent and car payments. They face less sleep, worse nutrition and more stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, strokes and heart attacks.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says “a lot of people on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum are going to die,” because of the CPP. Liberal constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe (who once hired Barack Obama as a legal research assistant) says the EPA plan is unconstitutional. National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford calls it “a slap in the face to poor and minority families.”

Trade unions. Once strong supporters of President Obama, the United Mine Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and other unions have come out in strong opposition to the Administration’s job-killing actions on the Keystone XL Pipeline and other initiatives.

Wind power. States are reducing or terminating Renewable Portfolio Standards and programs. Kansas, West Virginia and Indiana repealed their mandate, Ohio froze its standard at 2.5% renewable electricity, and North Carolina may freeze its RPS. Wildlife groups are finally recognizing and objecting to the serious habitat destruction and bird and bat slaughter that is a hallmark of wind and solar facilities.

Collusion. There is growing concern about the cozy ties and private meetings between EPA officials and eco-activists, their sue-and-settle deals, and EPA payments to advisory committees and environmental pressure groups that propagandize for agency actions. Far too many regulations have their origins in collusion, collaboration, and secretive input and “reports” from radical anti-hydrocarbon groups.

The Secret Science Reform Act would compel EPA to develop regulations and scientific studies in the open, and allow truly independent experts to examine and challenge data, evidence and studies that supposedly support EPA dictates that could cost billions of dollars and millions of jobs. It is long overdue.

The Supremes. Even if it must ignore the clear intent or language of laws like ObamaCare, the US Supreme Court has often been another reliable Obama rubberstamp. Yet it recently ruled in Michigan v. EPA that EPA violated the law by failing to consider monetary costs in deciding to regulate air pollution from power plants. The agency’s refusal to recognize the damage its regulations inflict on human health and welfare is a far more serious offense, and the agency must not be allowed to continue doing that.

Dwindling overseas support. Countries once enamored with “renewable” energy are now reexamining those policies, as they realize wind and solar energy kills four to six jobs for every “green” job created via unsustainable subsidies – and the electricity costs families and businesses up to 36-40 cents per kilowatt-hour (without counting taxpayer subsidies), compared to 8-9 cents per kWh in coal-reliant US states.

The African Development Bank says it will no longer tolerate policies that prevent construction of coal-fired power plants needed to bring electricity to 730 million Africans who do not yet enjoy the countless blessings that this miracle energy brings. About the only reason poor countries support a new climate treaty is that they (or at least their ruling elites) expect to share in the $100 billion per year that they claim developed nations must pay them for supposed global warming “reparation, mitigation and prevention.”

Far too many EPA and other environmental regulations are wrong for workers, families, states and the overall “quality of the human environment.” That’s why “there’s a battle outside raging.” Free, responsible citizens do not want or need to be “fundamentally transformed” by deceit, collusion and decree.

Via email

Big Media Ignores Nobel Physicist, Promotes Hollywood Climate Activists

By William F. Jasper

So, a world-famous scientist, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, delivers a scathing speech at an annual gathering of Nobel Laureates, during which he skewers President Obama (whom he previously endorsed and advised) for the president’s “ridiculous” claims that global warming is an existential threat. Did Dr. Ivar Giaever’s speech rate even a blip on the radar screen of the corporate Big Media?

Of course not. The “mainstream” media were completely occupied, falsely reporting for the umpteen time, for instance, on the supposed demise of polar bears — due, allegedly, to human-caused global warming. Or warning how anthropogenic global warming (AGW) may be causing sex changes in Australian lizards. Or broadcasting the never-ending cascade of environmental tirades from the pampered Hollywood jet set scolding us middleclass folks for our “wasteful” lifestyles that, they say, are killing the planet.

What did Dr. Giaever say to the assembled Nobel Laureates? “I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong,” the celebrated scientist told his distinguished audience. Moreover, he said, climate alarmism is based on “pseudoscience” that has become a “religion” with many people, including scientists. Global warming, he said, during his 30-minute address to the 65th Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, on July 1, is a “non-problem” on which untold billions of dollars are being wasted.

Dr. Giaever, a professor for many years at the School of Engineering and School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (as well as other universities), received the 1973 physics Nobel for his work on quantum tunneling. Among the comments he made to the Nobel audience, Giaever accused NASA and federal scientists of “fiddling” with temperature data. “They can fiddle with the data. That is what NASA does,” he charged.

One might think that these and the many other comments on global warming he made might be deserving of a headline or two, yes? A reporter or editor in a newsroom somewhere in the world should find that interesting, wouldn’t you think? Especially since 2015 has been designated by the United Nations as the year for passing a global climate compact, and repetitious disaster stories on the supposedly imminent global warming apocalypse continue, relentlessly, to churn out of every Big Media outlet.

But, no, the globalist media choir are not interested in stories that run counter to the scripted alarmist narrative that supports the agenda for global “governance.” Instead of hearing from distinguished scientists — including renowned converts from global warming alarmism — news consumers who rely on the major corporate media are fed a monotonous diet of  AGW disaster hoaxes and  “expert” rants from Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Brangelina, et al.

Here is a sampling of the menu that was served to Big Media consumers in the two-week period since Professor Giaever spoke to the assembled Nobel Laureates:

* Washington Post (July 1) — Headline: “Global warming may cause sex changes in lizards.” Seriously, we are supposed to fret that driving an SUV may be causing wild populations of Pogona vitticeps to undergo sex reversal. (Well, looking at the bright side, at least the taxpayers won’t get stuck with sex-change operations for every confused reptile with a Bruce/Caitlyn identity complex.)

* Reuters,, Tech Times and others (June 30-July 5) — Headline: “Robert Redford calls for global action on climate change.”

* Associated Press (July 5) — Headline: “Federal report: Polar bears in peril due to global warming.” Yes, yet another polar bear false alarm, one of the favorite go-to myths of the AGW alarmists. However, as we have reported here, here, and here, the scientists who are genuine experts on polar bear populations have repeatedly refuted these alarmist claims.

* Huffington Post, Toronto Star and others (July 5) — Headline “Jane Fonda sounds climate change alarm in Toronto.”  Yes, its certainly earth-shaking “big news” when aging former star (and Vietnam War traitor) Jane Fonda jets in from Los Angeles to Toronto’s “Climate Summit of the Americas” and “March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate” to deliver a wearisome jeremiad on the evils of fossil fuels.

* NBC, UPI, Guardian, and others (July 14) — Headline: “Leonardo DiCaprio's Foundation Pledges $15M to Protect Wildlife, Combat Global Warming.” "The destruction of our planet continues at a pace we can no longer afford to ignore," DiCaprio said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to innovate a future where the habitability of our planet does not come at the expense of those who inhabit it. I am proud to support these organizations who are working to solve humankind’s greatest challenge."

The organizations he supports are some of the most fanatically zealous AGW alarmists that demand global resource controls and drastic energy consumption reductions for humanity (except, naturally, for the privileged royals, such as DiCaprio). Yes, this is the same Leonardo DiCaprio who owns several luxurious, multi-million-dollar residences and lives a globe-hopping lifestyle on private jets, helicopters, yachts, and limousines.

* The Sunday Times,,,, and others (July 11-14) — Headline: “Kate Moss, George Clooney and Sienna Miller join forces for Vivienne Westwood.” The story features photos of actors George Clooney, John Hurt, Pamela Anderson, Sienna Miller, and Judy Dench, actress/songstress Kylie Minogue, super models Kate Moss and Naomie Campbell — and dozens of other celebrities who donned “Save the Arctic” T-shirts created by fashion designer/activist Vivienne Westwood.

Clooney is one of the A-list stars that has gone full-tilt into the AGW alarmist camp. His "Tomorrowland" sci-fi/enviro-agitprop film that opened in May was a mega-flop, barely recouping $90 million of the $190 million Disney spent on it. Clooney has used every opportunity to push the climate zombie apocalypse theme and to denounce as “stupid” and “ridiculous” all skeptics/realists that dare to question the absurd claims of the warmists.

Naturally, he supports the UN agenda for global controls to restrict consumption — except for his own. Variety magazine reported on July 16 the celebrity scuttlebutt that Clooney is planning to downsize his real estate portfolio, putting his opulent villa on Italy’s famously scenic Lake Como (asking price, reportedly, $100 million) and his beachfront mansion at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (asking price undisclosed). But don’t worry, Clooney and his bride will not be homeless; they still own several residences, including their recently purchased mansion on a private island estate on the Thames River near London (reportedly, for $12 million plus).

The examples cited above could be multiplied many times over, as the UN and its Big Media allies have launched a concerted propaganda blitz to supersaturate the public with doomsday stories that they hope will win support for the UN’s draconian climate, to be unveiled in Paris in December. 

However, considering Big Media’s massive wall-to-wall, 24/7 hyperventilation over global warming for the past two decades, there is always the risk that dialing up the propaganda noise a few more clicks will actually alienate many in the targeted audience that are tiring of the Chicken Little routine.

There are indicators that is already happening. A recent story on Google search trends notes that searches for climate related topics have taken a noticeable dive. Eric Worral, writing for the popular climate realist site,, reports: “According to Google search trends, interest in climate change continues to bump along rock bottom, despite strenuous efforts by alarmists to hype climate issues, in the lead up to the upcoming Paris COP21 conference. Even Google’s information engineering efforts have failed to stir general interest in climate change.”

According to Visual News, despite Google’s efforts to stir interest, searches related to climate change “are going down.” Visual News reported:

"Google recently released a beautiful interactive visualization that explores search volumes for phrases related to climate change. Curious to see how “global warming,” “energy” or “oceans” are trending around the world? Google put those and other popular searches on the map, highlighting recent searches and data from 20 cities around the globe.... The troubling takeaway from these trends? While climate change grows more and more imminent, search volumes for many terms related to it are going down."

Perhaps the downturn in AGW interest is due to the fact that many more people are becoming aware that, contrary to the hype from politicians, activists and partisan media  organizations, there has been no global temperature increase for nearly two decades. This is now admitted even by many of the top AGW alarmists.

Or perhaps they are becoming more aware of the numerous hoaxes, fraudulent computer models, flawed science, censorship, financial corruption, and Climategate scandals associated with the massive AGW alarmism industry. Or, maybe it’d simply climate alarmism fatigue.

At any rate, it is clear that the Big Media purveyors of global warming apocalypse are committed to that narrative, and are not going to allow any real debate of issue, even if contrarians happen to be prominent scientists. We’ll still be force-fed doomsday disinformation by vacuous, self-righteous, overindulgent celebrities.

However, Dr. Giaever is not a lone maverick, as the alarmist choir would have us believe. As The New American has reported many times, there are literally thousands of renowned scientists, including many prominent climatologists, paleo-climatologists, meteorologists, astrophysicists, atmospheric scientists, etc., that have also spoken out to challenge the false “consensus” of science on global warming alarmism.


Maryland Bans Fracking Despite Governor’s Opposition

Maryland has placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, also called “fracking,” for energy extraction in the state until October 2016. The bill became law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) signature and contrasts strongly with Oklahoma’s embrace of fracking.

Hogan was elected in 2014 after campaigning as a strong supporter of fracking. During the campaign, he cited a 2014 study from Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute that found hydraulic fracturing in western Maryland could generate more than 3,000 jobs and upwards of $5 million in new tax revenue each year during peak drilling. Hogan said the state was “sitting on an economic gold mine.”

The law, approved by veto-proof margins in both houses of the Democrat-controlled legislature, went into effect May 29.

Lack of Knowledge Cited

Gary Stone, vice president of engineering for Five States Energy, says Maryland’s limited experience with the process and benefits of fracking may have contributed to support for the ban. “Maryland joined New York and succumbed to a coalition of environmental activists and others under the ‘Don’t Frack Maryland’ campaign to pass a veto-proof two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing,” Stone said.

“Oklahoma has tens of thousands of producing wells, while Maryland has 11 total historical gas wells, [and] none are horizontal wells that would have been hydraulically fractured,” Stone said.

“Oklahomans obviously know more about the advantages and disadvantages of modern oil and gas production and have produced legislation accordingly.”


Time to question IPCC authority on climate change science

IPCC garners public distrust as the scientific authority on global warming. Why? In the words of Alan Carlin, former EPA analyst: "IPCC is basically a political/propaganda organization rather than a scientific one."

In his book entitled “Environmentalism Gone Mad,” Carlin points to the IPCC as acting with that eco-political malady. Scientists selected to draft IPCC reports qualify with more ideological mentality than they do with scientific merit. IPCC science is all too often penned by academic eco-activists or graduate-student activists in training. IPCC cherry-picks its science through the filter of its catastrophic perspective.

Carlin claims that IPCC reports are designed to present the case for man made global warming. That humans induce the world to warm up is their one-sided focus. IPCC neglects any natural contributions such as solar variation or multidecadal ocean cycles. Carlin points to facts left out when IPCC points its accusatory finger at people causing catastrophe by simply living on earth.

With every IPCC report that is issued comes an Executive Summary, as it is called in business, except for the IPCC it’s a Summary for Policymakers, not for business executives. This means that IPCC summaries are nothing more than a reader’s digest of politically correct "science" for supportive governments. Rather than full reports, the Summaries are what are read widely through the world’s media markets, reading with the alarmist rhetoric that governments, like the U.S., like to hear.

One problem: The 19-year hiatus in global warming belies the catastrophic caca of climate model predictions. Scientific evidence against runaway temperature rise grows stronger, making IPCC reports look more political statements than they are scientific ones they should be. What, we should worry about global warming when there isn't any?

IPCC aggressively pushes the invalid hypothesis of a warming earth while the U.S. government wastes more than $39 billion for politically correct climate research. Add $43 million more wasted for IPCC assessments. That’s a lot of U.S. taxpayer money to toss down the rising-temperature toilets. Your money and mine fund a power-grabbing fantasy.

Oh, and, speaking of grabbing, fantasies, and bathroom behavior, Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC for 13 years, resigned his post this year on the ignobility of a sex scandal involving a junior colleague.

And now that actual temperature data bely the gaffe of global warming, another myth in the making spews from IPCC “certainty.” Extreme weather events now come as consequence to rising CO2 emissions, never mind that their frequency and severity remain unchanged or lower compared to past historical records. IPCC demands that action must be taken now. And it is, by TV and radio reporting any non-idyllic weather as caused by global warming.

It’s time to question international authority the IPCC holds on the science of climate change and set scientists of individual nations free to research the issue unencumbered by world politics.


When Will Climate Scientists Say They Were Wrong?

By Patrick J. Michaels

Day after day, year after year, the hole that climate scientists have buried themselves in gets deeper and deeper. The longer that they wait to admit their overheated forecasts were wrong, the more they are going to harm all of science.

The story is told in a simple graph, the same one that University of Alabama’s John Christy presented to the House Committee on Natural Resources on May 15.

The picture shows the remarkable disconnect between predicted global warming and the real world.

The red line is the 5-year running average temperature change forecast, beginning in 1979, predicted by the UN’s latest family of climate models, many of which are the handiwork of our own federal science establishment. The forecasts are for the average temperature change in the lower atmosphere, away from the confounding effects of cities, forestry, and agriculture.

The blue circles are the average lower-atmospheric temperature changes from four different analyses of global weather balloon data, and the green squares are the average of the two widely accepted analyses of satellite-sensed temperature. Both of these are thought to be pretty solid because they come from calibrated instruments.

If you look at data through 1995 the forecast appears to be doing quite well. That’s because the computer models appear to have, at least in essence, captured two periods of slight cooling.

The key word is “appear.” The computer models are tuned to account for big volcanoes that are known to induce temporary cooling in the lower atmosphere. These would be the 1982 eruption of El Chichon in Mexico, and 1992’s spectacular Mt. Pinatubo, the biggest natural explosion on earth since Alaska’s Katmai in 1912.

Since Pinatubo, the earth has been pretty quiescent, so that warming from increasing carbon dioxide should proceed unimpeded. Obviously, the spread between forecast and observed temperatures grows pretty much every year, and is now a yawning chasm.

It’s impossible, as a scientist, to look at this graph and not rage at the destruction of science that is being wreaked by the inability of climatologists to look us in the eye and say perhaps the three most important words in life: we were wrong.



Three current articles below

Australia tops the world for climate change skepticism

Nearly one in five Australians do not believe in climate change, making the country the worst in the world for climate sceptics, a study of almost 20,000 people has found.

The research by the University of Tasmania found 17 per cent of Australians thought climate change was not real, compared with 15 per cent of people in Norway, 13 per cent of New Zealanders and 12 per cent of Americans.

The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, was based on data collected as part of the International Social Survey Programme in 2010 and 2011.

Researchers focused on 14 industrialised countries, including Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United States. In total, 19,991 people were surveyed.

It found the reasons for being a climate sceptic varied according to the political context of each country.

However, people across the board were more likely to be sceptics in countries that had high carbon emissions, and also more likely to be sceptics if their countries were vulnerable because of climate change.

In nine of the 14 countries, men were more likely than women to be sceptical about the danger of climate change.

Being politically conservative, male, and having a low level of concern for the environment were some indicators shared internationally that predicted whether people were more likely to be climate sceptics.

But the study also challenged some notions of climate scepticism, finding a modest number of people who reject climate science around the world were well-informed.

"Despite the findings of climate scientists, the proportions of climate sceptics appear to be increasing in many countries," the study said.

The reasons for this were varied and complex and warranted further investigation.

"Fruitful explanations of scepticism must ... account for the way in which partisans are influenced by their political leaders.

"Integrating such accounts may provide a way to both understand and address the social problem of climate scepticism."

The study surveyed 1946 respondents from Australia and was designed to be nationally representative.

In Australia, where views on climate change were described as "entrenched", or socially embedded, those who identified with left-leaning political parties were more likely than supporters of right-leaning parties to believe climate change is dangerous for the environment.

Highly educated people and those who lived in a large city were also less likely to be climate sceptics.


The journal abstract:

Despite the findings of climate scientists, the proportions of climate sceptics appear to be increasing in many countries. We model social and political background, value orientations and the influence of CO2 emissions per capita and vulnerability to climate change upon climate scepticism, drawing upon data from the International Social Survey Programme. Substantial differences in the levels of climate scepticism are apparent between nations.

Yet cross national data show that climate sceptics are not merely the mirror image of environmentalists. Typical predictors of environmental issue concern, such as education level, postmaterial value orientations and age are poor predictors of climate scepticism.

Affiliation with conservative political parties, gender, being unconcerned about ‘the environment’ or having little trust in government are consistent predictors of scepticism. Climate change scepticism is also correlated positively with CO2 emissions and vulnerability to climate change.

While high levels of scepticism have been documented among citizens of the United States, scepticism is as high or higher in countries such as Australia, Norway and New Zealand.


Australian Federal minister Takes To Twitter To Threaten Green Groups Will Lose Their Charity Status

Federal Queensland Liberal-National Party politician George Christensen has issued what appears to be a veiled threat to non-government organisations to “get the donations in” before a committee he sits on strips environmental charities of their tax-exempt status.

Yesterday, the National Party Deputy Whip grilled environmental groups in the first of a series of public hearings which the House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment will stage as it considers whether to strip environmental organisations from receiving tax-free donations.

The Queensland Minerals Council - which has allied itself to Christensen in the debate over how huge new coal mines in the Galilee Basin will affect the Great Barrier Reef - appeared first, yesterday morning.

Then Christensen turned his attention to environmental groups, who he described as “morons” during a technical exchange over whether land should be considered to be part of the Great Barrier Reef’s ecosystem.

Felicity Wishart from the Australian Marine Conservation Society was interrogated by the Queensland MP, whose electorate takes in a swathe of coastline adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef.

“He was questioning me about our commitment to accurate information that wasn’t misleading and then trying to grasp at straws and find something that we had done that was misleading,” Wishart told New Matilda.

The Marine Conservation Society had used an image in its campaign material which superimposed a ‘grab dredger’ over the Calley Valley Wetlands and an image of Abbot Point Port, 25km north of Bowen.

Reportedly, Christensen’s main gripes were that the wetlands are ‘not part of the reef’, and the type of dredge to be used for the Abbot Point Port expansion was ‘suction dredger’, not a ‘grab dredger’.

While maintaining the wetlands are an important part of the reef’s ecosystem, Wishart said that the image of a grab dredger was a metaphor for the “one million cubic metres of dredge spoil… that was to be dumped on the wetlands” under previous plans.

After grilling Wishart about the integrity of her organisation’s campaigning, Christensen took to Twitter insisting “they were caught out fibbing, and the committee will sort these sort of lies out”.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society denounced Christensen for “unparliamentary” behaviour, accusing him of “announcing the outcome of the inquiry before it has concluded”, but Christensen said he was “just reading the tea leaves”.

Christensen has previously attacked “gutless green grubs” and “eco-terrorists” for campaigning to win more stringent protections for the reef and battling against an increase in Queensland’s coal exports, which would pump out emissions roughly equal to those created by the United Kingdom, South Africa, or Italy.

The Member for Dawson, who has questioned widely accepted understandings of climate science, has a history of Tweet-controversy. Last month he was forced into an apology over comments linking the American right to bear arms with a recent court decision which legalised marriage equality across the US.

Yesterday, at the inquiry, groups like the AMCS got the distinct impression Christensen was pressing the gun harder to their temples.

“This sounds very much like a government member of the Inquiry threatening environment groups who have been vocal about issues like dredging, dumping and increased shipping in the Reef’s waters,” said Wishart, who acts as a Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director.

In late March, Wishart’s work was singled out as part of a pack of “extreme greens” working for organisations like “Greenpeace, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Friends of the Earth, Get Up, and the Environmental Defenders Office” who Christensen said “act like Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings”.

“That is treason,” Christensen told Parliament, “flying overseas and whispering in the ears of the decision-makers and diplomats who have anything to do with UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee, poisoning their minds on the state of the reef”.

“What treachery,” Christensen said, “to go against the interests of your own nation and your own people for no sound reason at all!”


Rare praise for conservative environment policy from the Australian Left

In a major break from convention, New Matilda brings you a positive story about an Abbott Government initiative.

The Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt will unveil “Australia’s first national strategy for threatened species” at a summit in Melbourne later today, along with new funding and a shortlist of the most at-risk bird species.

The plans have been cautiously welcomed by environmental groups, but they agree with Hunt that “we have to work harder” to turn back the nation’s shocking extinction rate.

As part of the announcement Hunt has unveiled a list of 12 Australian birds singled out for “priority action”. “I want to bring these birds back far enough from the brink to survive in the wild long-term,” Hunt said ahead of the summit yesterday.

The 12 birds, which are the frontrunners of a list of 20 birds to be decided after one year’s consultation with the community, include the Helmeted Honeyeater, Hooded Plover, Eastern Bristlebird, Regent Honeyeater, Mallee Emu-Wren, Plains-Wanderer, Night Parrot, Alligator Rivers Yellow Chat, Norfolk Island's Green Parrot and Boobook owl.

“Two more – the Orange-Bellied Parrot and Western Ground Parrot – will benefit from emergency interventions,” Hunt said.

In 2010, research indicated that the critically endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot had dwindled to a wild population of just 50 birds, and Hunt said the new strategy for threatened species would include an “emergency intervention” to help secure its future.

The parrot, which at around 200mm long is slightly larger than a budgerigar, breeds in Tasmania but wings its way to the mainland in Winter to forage in coastal salt marshes.

The critically endangered Western Ground Parrot is even smaller, at around 135-145mm, and the green, black-flecked, Western Australian native has been pushed to less than 140 individuals.

Hunt said the government is “committed to improving their fortunes within five years,” and that he “wants future generations to enjoy the colour, movement and song [the threatened birds] bring to our lives”.

He said the threatened species plan “will clearly set out what will happen by when, turning good intentions into clear and measurable targets”.

“The recovery of 20 bird species by 2020 is one such target.”

New South Wales government projects to protect two of the 12 species will also get a boost of federal funds, with Hunt promising a cumulative $140,000 to help conserve the plains-wanderers of the Riverina and the south coast’s Hooded-Plover.

Hunt said “it is possible to recover birds at risk of extinction because we have access to high quality science and can act in partnership with the community and other governments,” but a number of environmental groups have used the Threatened Species Summit in Melbourne to sound the alarm over a proposed government reform.



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

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19 July, 2015

Are the diet dictators worse than the Greenies?

They are at least just as bad. They do start out with a lot in common psychologically. Both think they are wiser than the "herd" but have such a lot of trouble proving it that they have to resort to wild and unproven claims in an attempt to substantiate that. And they need to impose their crazy ideas on the rest of us as some sort of validation for those ideas. So the Greenies want to make electricity increasingly unavailable to us and the diet police want to make sugar increasingly unavailable to us. It's Fascistic extremism in both cases and totally unwarranted by the evidence in both cases. The latest pontification below, showing just how extreme these guys can get. If you have a single can of fizzy drink, you are allowed no more sugar in any form that day:

Britons need to halve the amount of sugar they eat to prevent an obesity epidemic, a report will warn today.

In a bleak assessment, a government advisory body will tell ministers that the country is facing a health crisis that could cripple the NHS unless people slash their sugar intake. The report will raise questions about whether ministers should heed calls to impose a tax on sugary foods and drinks.

The new guidelines, from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, mean that men and women should consume no more than seven teaspoons of added sugar a day – equal to less than a single can of Coca-Cola.

Research by the food industry-backed British Nutrition Foundation suggests that hitting the new target will mean cutting out almost all fizzy drinks and making crisps and chocolate bars a ‘once or twice a week’ luxury, rather than an everyday snack.

Ministers are divided on a sugar tax, with some urging David Cameron to drop his opposition to it before the Government publishes its obesity strategy in the autumn.

A Cabinet source said previous attempts to persuade the food industry to reduce sugar levels had produced only limited success.

‘The truth is that these deals with industry can only take us so far,’ the source said. ‘Most people already eat more than the recommended amount. If we are going to halve that, we are going to have to do something dramatic.’

The British Medical Association this week called for a swingeing 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks. The move would raise the price of a one-litre bottle of Coke from £1.50 to £1.80. The BMA said poor diet was killing 70,000 people a year and costing the NHS £6billion.

A similar tax has been introduced in Mexico, but the jury is still out on its impact.

Today’s report, drawn up by a committee of experts, is designed to shock the Government, the food industry and individual shoppers into action. Following a review of 600 scientific studies, it will warn that sugar plays a critical role in the obesity crisis. It will link sugar intake with the rising number of cases of type 2 diabetes, and will say there is a direct link between sugary drinks and childhood obesity.

Public Health England is studying the potential effectiveness of a sugar tax. The body may also recommend a clampdown on advertising and in-store promotions of fizzy drinks and other sugary products.

Existing guidelines say added sugar should make up no more than 10 per cent of people’s diets. This is equal to 70 grams a day for men (about 17 teaspoons) or 50g for women (about 12 teaspoons).

Four to eight-year-olds can have 12g (three teaspoons) per day, while older children and teenagers should consume no more than 20 to 32 grams (five to eight teaspoons).

Today’s report will call for this target to be slashed to just 30g for all adults, equal to about seven teaspoons of added sugar, or a single can of Red Bull. The figures for children and teenagers are expected to be cut proportionately.

The term covers sugar added during preparation or cooking as well as sugar in honey. Sugar in milk and in whole pieces of fruit and in fruit juice is excluded at present.

Experts believe that getting anywhere near the target will require a revolution in eating habits.

A Government source said Mr Cameron was committed to tackling obesity, and is taking personal oversight of the new obesity strategy. ‘But the Prime Minister does not believe a new tax is the answer,’ the source added. ‘We will not solve this problem by slapping new taxes on the shopping baskets of working people.’


So what about all that research evidence that lies behind the condemnation of sugar? There is essentially no such evidence. It is in fact virtually impossible to reach sound scientific conclusions on the matter. Most of the "evidence" is epidemiological and I can see no epidemiological way of disentangling total sugar consumption from total calorie consumption. People who eat and drink a lot of sugary stuff probably eat and drink a lot of everything. And it could be the total calorie consumption rather than the total sugar consumption that gives rise to any effect. But researchers go on gaily ignoring that problem. The big bugaboo for the sugar crusaders is sugar-sweetened soft drinks (SSD). So let us look at that:

As a 2008 survey of the research findings concluded: "Most studies suggest that the effect of SSD is small except in susceptible individuals or at high levels of intake. Methodological weaknesses mean that many studies cannot detect whether soft drinks or other aspects of diet and lifestyle have contributed to excess body weight.

So the following conclusion from a 2006 survey of the evidence is no surprise either: "The equivocal evidence on this topic makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding the role of SSB in the etiology of obesity. Many of the prospective and experimental studies are of unsatisfactory methodological rigor." [SBS stands for sugar-sweetened beverages].

I could go on (See also here, here, here and here for example) but you get the idea. The whole claim that sugar is particularly likely to cause obesity is an act of faith. The data is against it. And, fortunately, reality does not change. It is only the opinions of self-inflated intellectuals that change. The only way to reduce obesity is to reduce total calorie consumption and, if that's too hard, so be it.

But what about other bad effects that are often claimed for sugar? Does it, for instance cause heart disease? We are told that it does but let's look carefully at one of the most recent studies saying so. It will give us a good up-close look at what the summarizers are talking about when they speak of the inconclusiveness of existing sugar research

Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults

Quanhe Yang et al

Importance: Epidemiologic studies have suggested that higher intake of added sugar is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Few prospective studies have examined the association of added sugar intake with CVD mortality.

Objective: To examine time trends of added sugar consumption as percentage of daily calories in the United States and investigate the association of this consumption with CVD mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 1988-1994 [III], 1999-2004, and 2005-2010 [n?=?31?147]) for the time trend analysis and NHANES III Linked Mortality cohort (1988-2006 [n?=?11?733]), a prospective cohort of a nationally representative sample of US adults for the association study.

Main Outcomes and Measures Cardiovascular disease mortality.

Results: Among US adults, the adjusted mean percentage of daily calories from added sugar increased from 15.7% (95% CI, 15.0%-16.4%) in 1988-1994 to 16.8% (16.0%-17.7%; P?=?.02) in 1999-2004 and decreased to 14.9% (14.2%-15.5%; P?<?.001) in 2005-2010. Most adults consumed 10% or more of calories from added sugar (71.4%) and approximately 10% consumed 25% or more in 2005-2010. During a median follow-up period of 14.6 years, we documented 831 CVD deaths during 163?039 person-years. Age-, sex-, and race/ethnicity–adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of CVD mortality across quintiles of the percentage of daily calories consumed from added sugar were 1.00 (reference), 1.09 (95% CI, 1.05-1.13), 1.23 (1.12-1.34), 1.49 (1.24-1.78), and 2.43 (1.63-3.62; P?<?.001), respectively. After additional adjustment for sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical characteristics, HRs were 1.00 (reference), 1.07 (1.02-1.12), 1.18 (1.06-1.31), 1.38 (1.11-1.70), and 2.03 (1.26-3.27; P?=?.004), respectively. Adjusted HRs were 1.30 (95% CI, 1.09-1.55) and 2.75 (1.40-5.42; P?=?.004), respectively, comparing participants who consumed 10.0% to 24.9% or 25.0% or more calories from added sugar with those who consumed less than 10.0% of calories from added sugar. These findings were largely consistent across age group, sex, race/ethnicity (except among non-Hispanic blacks), educational attainment, physical activity, health eating index, and body mass index.

Conclusions and Relevance: Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.

JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):516-524. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563.

The conclusion seems plain enough, does it not? It is not. It is a good example of weasel words. The key issue is HOW GREAT is the effect of consuming a lot of sugar. And the conclusions don't address that: For a good reason. The effects they found were TRIVIAL -- as trivial as the tiny degree of global warming over the 20th century.

To see how trivial the effect is, note first one thing: They divided people into quintiles (fifths) in their analysis. And the effects observed were negligible except for the most extreme quintile.

How do we judge negligibility? The Federal Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition says (p. 384): "the threshold for concluding that an agent was more likely than not the cause of an individual's disease is a relative risk greater than 2.0." It was only the highest quintile of sugar consumption that just squeaked in to meet that criterion. There was some interesting effect only for people who were huge sugar consumers but for most people sugar did no harm.

And who were the extreme sugar users? We are not told. Quite likely they were people at the lower end of the socio-economic status range. And such people are in general known to be less healthy anyway. So it may not have been sugar which did the harm. In short, there is NOTHING in this study which proves sugar is harmful. Even if we accept their incautious assumptions, their data shows that sugar is harmless for four fifths of the population. And examining 600 similar studies is not going to improve on that. The sugar scare is as big a fraud as global warming. It's just another way to give highly educated people a feeling of importance and wisdom.

Green Energy Steals from the Biosphere

Earth has only three significant sources of energy:

First is geothermal energy from Earth’s molten core and decaying radioactive minerals in Earth’s crust. This energy moves continents, powers volcanoes and its heat migrates towards the crust, warming the lithosphere and the deep oceans. It can be harvested successfully in favourable locations, and radioactive minerals can be extracted to provide large amounts of reliable heat for power generation.

Second is energy stored in combustible hydrocarbon minerals such as coal, oil, gas, tar sands and oil shale. These all store solar and geothermal energy collected eons ago and they are the primary energy sources supporting the modern world and its large and growing populations.

Third are radiation and gravitational energies from the Sun and Moon which are captured by the biosphere as heat, winds, tides, rain, rivers and in biomass such as forests, crops and animals. These are the natural “Green” energies that support all processes of life and still support a peasant existence for some peoples.

Green zealots believe that we can and should run modern societies exclusively on “Green” energies, and they have embarked on a war on hydrocarbons. They need to be told that their green energy favourites are just stealing from the biosphere – they are not as green as they claim.

The most obvious example is the ethanol industry which takes food crops like corn, sugar and palm oil and uses heaps of water and a lot of hydrocarbon energy to convert them to ethanol alcohol which will burn in internal combustion engines, but has less energy density than petrol.

This process is replacing natural grasslands and forests with artificial monocultures.

The latest stupid ethanol suggestion is to power Obama’s “wanna-be-green” US Pacific Fleet using Queensland food crops. Feeding ethanol to the engines of the US Navy would consume far more food than was used feeding hay and grain to the thousands of horses used to move our artillery and Light Horse Brigades in the Great War. Sailors in the British Navy got much of their energy from Jamaican Rum, but the American navy will not run on Queensland ethanol whiskey.

Biomass is a fancy name for plant material and vegetable trash which, if maintained in/on the soil, will provide the fertility for the next crop. Burning it reduces the humus that maintains fertile soil. The ultimate biomass stupidity is to harvest American forests, pelletise them, dry them and ship them across the Atlantic (all using hydrocarbon fuels) to burn in a UK power station. Burning biomass produces the same emission gases as coal.

Most plants will not grow without energy from the sun. Solar arrays steal energy directly from the biosphere. Some incoming solar energy is reflected to space by the panels, some is converted to waste heat on the panels, and some is converted to electricity - much of which ends up as waste heat. Solar radiation that could have given energy to growing plants is largely returned to the atmosphere as waste heat and much is then lost to space.

Some solar farms are built over land that is already a desert - the rest create their own deserts in their shadow. Because solar energy is very dilute, very large areas of land must be shaded and sterilised by the panels in order to collect significant energy.

Solar radiation also evaporates water from the oceans and provides the energy for rain, winds and storms. Much of this moisture falls as useful rain when the winds penetrate land masses. Wind turbines create artificial obstacles to the wind, reducing its velocity and thus tending to create more rain near the coast and rain shadows behind the turbine walls. And they chop up many birds and bats. Again, green energy harms the biosphere.

Hydro power is one of the few green energy sources that is “grid ready” and can supply economical reliable energy. So, naturally, many greens are opposed to it. However, in most places there is competition for fresh water for domestic uses, irrigation, industry and environmental flow. Hydro power is just one more competitor for this valuable green resource.

So… Green energy is not so green after all. It reduces the supply of food, water and energy available to all life on earth, and it often consumes large amounts of hydrocarbon energy for its manufacture, construction, maintenance and backup.

Green advocates are enemies of the poor. They want to burn their food, waste their water and deny them access to cheap reliable energy.

Hydrocarbon fuels are the true green energy sources. They disturb less land per unit of energy produced, they do not murder wildlife, and their combustion produces new supplies of water and carbon dioxide for the atmosphere. More carbon dioxide and water in the atmosphere enables plants to grow faster, bigger and more able to cope with heat or drought.

It was coal, and later oil, which created and still largely supports the populations, prosperity and industry of developed nations. With a backdrop of freedom under the law, they can do the same for the whole world.

Those professing concern for the poor need to realise that Green Energy steals from the biosphere and that hydrocarbons are the real friends of the poor.

Finally, those who have swallowed the carbon dioxide scare should be told that nuclear energy is the most reliable and least damaging “low carbon” option.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

UK Solar power subsidies to be slashed by ministers to cut energy bills as part of a 'big reset' of green taxes

Green taxes which push up energy bills are to be slashed by the government, MailOnline has learned.

A 'big reset' of the support given to the renewable industry is expected to be announced within weeks, including cuts to funding for the solar industry.

Cabinet insiders say the view on tackling subsidies has 'hardened' over fears recent price cuts announced by power firms will be wiped out by rising environmental taxes.

The Tories have already announced that taxpayer subsidies for wind farms are to be axed a year early.

But the government is expected to go much further and review all support given to green energy which is funded by levies on bills worth £4.3billion-a-year.

The solar industry in particular is braced for an announcement on cuts to its support.

The Cabinet discussed this week election promises to focus on only 'backing good-value green energy' with a promise to 'cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible'.

There will be a major expansion of nuclear and gas, but solar farms and plans for a tidal lagoon to generate power off the cost of Swansea could be ditched.

British Gas this week announced its second price cut of the year, which together will reduce the average annual bill by around £72.

But ministers have been told that state funding for green energy and a carbon tax on coal and gas will together add £175 to the average household bill by 2030.

'We need to deal with those extra costs at the top of the electricity bill,' one Cabinet source said.  'A struggling pensioner has to pay it when she doesn't have the benefit of putting solar panels or a wind turbine on her roof.

'There is a hardening view in the Cabinet that we've got to deal with green subsidies.'

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has warned the renewables industry and campaigners that support for the environment has to be weighed against the impact on families' energy bills.

'All that support costs money,' she said last month. 'We cannot ignore the fact that, obviously, people want subsidies if they are on the receiving end of subsidies, but we have to ensure that we get the good measure of it.

'We are trying to reduce emissions and give a variety of renewable energy, and to ensure that individuals who look at their bills when they get home see that they continue to come down.' She has ruled out backing large-scale solar farms and favours small community energy projects on people's homes and on other buildings.

There are calls in the Tory party to go further and cut or abolish subsidies given to offshore wind farms as well.

A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change said: 'Reducing energy bills for hard working British families and businesses is this government's priority.

'We've already announced reforms to remove subsidies for onshore wind, and that work to make sure bill payers are getting the best possible deal is going to continue.'

But environnemntal campaigners condemned the move. Alasdair Cameron from Friends of the Earth said: 'The Government is behaving incredibly irresponsibly in attacking renewable energy and the green economy – locking people into higher bills, bad health and dying industries.

'There is no green-cost crisis – the only problem is that renewables have done better than the Government expected. This is a problem of George Osborne's own creation.

'Renewable energy is already cheaper than nuclear and closing in on new gas, yet the UK risks being left in the dust as China, the US, Japan and Germany blaze a trail.

'We know David Cameron has said he is committed to tackling climate change but if he is to have even a shred of credibility on the world stage, and at the Paris talks, he needs to stop his Government undermining renewables and re-commit to the green economy.'

The plan is the latest stage of Conservative plans to cut the costs of going green made possible by the loss of the Lib Dems from the government.

George Osborne has also torn up the Coalition government's commitment to increasing the proportion of revenue from green taxes.

The Chancellor argues that the target of 'does not always reflect the success of government policy in achieving environmental outcomes'.

Officials stress that the government is not abandoning its commitment to the environment ahead of major climate change talks in Paris later this year.

But any support for the environment will be considered against the cost to households and business.

In a further sign of a cooling on green issues, in last week's Budget Mr Osborne announced changes to road tax which scrapped discounts for driving low emission vehicles.

He said the rules which mean three in four new cars pay no Vehicle Excise Duty 'isn't sustainable and it isn't fair'.


UK: Plane Stupid, The return of the snobs

Air travel always brings out greens' anti-masses prejudices

The stupid stunt. The costumes – one polar bear, 12 smug tossers. And the miserable, joyless ‘down with your aeroplanes’ message. It’s as if Plane Stupid hasn’t been away – which, given its objective, it probably hasn’t.

But a good few years after its headline-seeking peak, when barely a week passed without a politician being gunged by a slumming-it Hooray, or a roof being redecorated by a gang of Ruperts, Plane Stupid is back in the media spotlight, sticking two disdainful fingers up at the lifestyles of a vast swathe of humanity. This time, as the gurning selfies on its Twitterfeed told us, Plane Stupid activists had cut themselves into Heathrow, chained themselves together and to some sort of metal tripod, before lying down in the corner of the north runway. They were eventually moved, but not before over 20 flights were cancelled and countless others delayed. A good day for Plane Stupid; stupidly annoying for everyone else.

The ostensible prompt for Plane Stupid’s bumptious re-entry into public life is the prospect of a new, third runway at Heathrow, a development that picked up momentum last week with news that the Airports Commission had given a ‘clear and unanimous’ recommendation that an extra runway should be built. This was clearly too much for Plane Stupid. So, armed with just a fence-cutter, a two-for-one offer at I’m Mad, Me fancy-dress supplies, and a face-full of rosy-cheeked entitlement, Plane Stupid decided to forgo public debate, not to mention the tiresome act of having to win support from actual people, and instead simply imposed its vision of the Not-So-Good Life on people.

This is not to say that Plane Stupid doesn’t make arguments. It’s just the ones it does are so deadeningly familiar and unpersuasive. Another runway will mean more flights, and therefore more carbon emissions. As one Plane Stupid activist put it: ‘Building more runways goes against everything we’re being told by scientists and experts on climate change. This would massively increase carbon emissions exactly when we need to reduce them; that’s why we’re here.’ Or, as the anti-runway protester’s paper of choice described it, more people flying will contribute to ‘the planet’s slow cooking’.

But as always with environmentalists, the cleaving to The Science, and the retelling of the same interminable apocalyptic narrative, is fuelled by something else, too: a loathing of the lifestyles, the ambitions and the wants of the vast majority of Western society. A loathing, in short, of other people. That’s why Plane Stupid was always such a revealing manifestation of green politics. Its vainglorious disdain for people, for their desire to consume in the ‘wrong’ way, to go on holiday, to get lagered up and enjoy themselves, was always so close to the surface. Air travel was never really a practical target (its total carbon emissions amount to just six per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions). It was a symbolic target, a symbol of modernity, a symbol of man’s refusal to accept natural limits, and, as it became ever cheaper, a symbol of something else, too: the vulgarity and crassness of the easyJet-flying hordes. ‘We’re not saying that everybody who wants to fly is a bad person’, protested one anti-runway activist a little too much.

Admittedly, this loathing of the lifestyles ever-cheapening air travel facilitates was more palpable during Plane Stupid’s previous incarnation in the mid- to late-2000s. Then, with a gang of public-school wallies at the helm, the anti-masses prejudice latent in environmentalism bloomed. Targeting budget airlines like Ryanair in particular, Plane Stupid uncorked green snobbery and let it flow: ‘There’s been an enormous growth in binge-flying, with the proliferation of stag and hen nights to Eastern European destinations’, wrote Plane Stupid co-founder Joss Garman, contempt dripping from his quill. ‘[These destinations are] chosen not for their architecture or culture but because people can fly there for 99p and get loaded for a tenner.’ It was all too obvious. The object of Plane Stupid’s attacks was never really cheap flights; it was the cheap, uncultured plebs doing the flying.

The snobbery is less overt this time round. Plane Stupid’s new cadre of activists desperately stick to the environmentalist script, complete with its neutral-seeming carbon-emissions stats and sciencey tone. But behind the evidence-based sheen, the aloofness lurks. Plane Stupid is still setting itself apart from the oiks, still denouncing their lifestyles, still standing in the middle of a runway and saying to the onlooking public, their holidays and business jaunts on hold, ‘We’re better than you, more ethical, more tasteful’.

The mask slips, and the leering self-aggrandisement appears, when Plane Stupid complains about ‘unnecessary’ flying, the fact that, as one of its tweets reads, ‘growing UK aviation demand driven entirely by leisure, not business’. That’s what bugs its activists, that’s what sticks in their craw – the ever-increasing number of people choosing to travel, not because they have to, but because they want to, in order to enjoy themselves. To Plane Stupid, it appears indulgent, excessive, a sign of the West’s decadence. Of course, Plane Stupid is aware of the snobbish implications of its anti-flight strictures – hence it said that a third runway would benefit ‘the rich’.  And no one likes the rich, do they?

But the figures tell a different story. Those going on holiday from Heathrow aren’t gallivanting yahoos; they’re pretty average in financial terms. As of 2013, the average household income per year of those going on holiday from Heathrow was £53,656. Given that the average annual income for an individual is just over £26,000, and the fact that many people do live with other wage-earners, the average household income of Heathrow holidaymakers seems less than super-rich. Indeed, the average income of a family with two kids is just over £50,000. Far from being the preserve of wealthy pleasure seekers, Heathrow, and air travel in general, is increasingly serving the pleasure-seeking ends of everyone.

And that’s a good thing. But it’s also the reason why environmentalists are drawn to air travel, like snooty moths to a terribly tasteless lamp. It embodies mainstream choices and desires; a choosing to travel far and wide, and a desire for an enjoyment and pleasure (whatever shape that takes). And this, for the sort of people who join Plane Stupid, is tasteless. It is why they think they are better than us. It is why they are willing to appoint themselves as our judges. It is why they are willing to lie down on a runway and ruin hundreds of people’s plans.


Five reasons shale gas is fracking fantastic

Economically, socially and environmentally, fracking makes sense.

You wouldn’t know it from most of the mainstream UK media coverage, but, far from being the work of the Antichrist, shale gas is a great thing.

Last week, Lancashire County Council rejected a proposal from Cuadrilla for the UK’s first fracking site at Little Plumpton near Preston. It rejected the proposal, against the advice of its lawyers and planning advisers, not on environmental or safety grounds, but because of ‘unacceptable noise and impact’ and the ‘adverse urbanising effect on the landscape’. Essentially, this is a case of ‘not in my backyard’ on a massive scale that is detrimental not only to the local area, but to Britain as a whole.

Everyone knows the UK, like the rest of Europe, is facing an energy crisis. And under Lancashire and Yorkshire there is a vast, untapped reserve of shale gas. To me, this presents a pretty obvious solution to our energy problems. But in case you remain unconvinced, here are five reasons Britain should ignore the environmentalist hyperbole and get ourselves onboard with the shale-gas revolution.

It’s fracking good value

Across the pond, Americans have experienced a dramatic fall in energy prices, in large part down to the success of fracking. In Britain, energy costs are a big topic of discussion. A winter never goes by without stories of how some less well-off people, particularly pensioners, have to choose between ‘heating and eating’ during the dark, cold nights. So it seems mad not to exploit our natural resources. In comparison to oil extraction or wind power, fracking is staggeringly cheap. In America since 2009, spot prices for natural gas have averaged at $3.87, where for the five years preceding 2009 they averaged $7.46. By any standard that is an astonishing reduction in cost, which has been passed on to American customers and was also partly responsible for the dramatic reduction in petrol prices we experienced in the UK earlier this year. So, as consumers, we are already benefiting from fracking overseas.

It’s not fracking dangerous

Opponents of fracking have two main arguments: that it poisons the water supply and causes earthquakes. This helps them to paint fracking in a similar light to a Biblical plague. Admittedly, two tremors were caused by fracking near Blackpool in 2011, but these registered just 2.3 and 1.7 on the Richter scale – so low it would be unlikely to wake you up. Current legislation prohibits continued fracking if tremors above 0.5 are registered – that is equivalent to a passing bus or a slamming door, according to two engineering professors at Glasgow University. So yes, fracking does cause tremors, but so far only people in possession of a seismograph would have noticed them.

As far as contaminating the water supply goes, that only happens if the wells themselves are poorly constructed. Given that restrictions currently in place in the UK are far more prohibitive than those in the US, and that there have been very few instances of water contamination in the US anyway, the risk to UK water supplies is negligible.

It’s pretty fracking clean

Whatever your view on climate change, the fact is that there is no source of renewable energy that can come close to providing the amount of energy we need. On top of this, all sources of renewable energy currently require large government subsidies to make them remotely economically viable. Shale gas, although not renewable, is a far cleaner fuel than coal. This has been demonstrated by the significant reduction in CO2 emissions the US has seen since fracking began. Last year, the US produced less carbon than it has for 20 years; even the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) credits fracking for this development. I know most greenies want us basically to spend our days weaving our own clothes from hemp and trying to come up with some way to make carbon-neutral hummus – but anyone genuinely serious about reducing the UK’s carbon footprint has to get behind fracking.

It will create a frack-load of jobs

You know where there is a booming economy? Texas. The Lone Star State has benefitted from its natural resources for decades. The Texan mindset of entrepreneurship and preference for small government has made it one of the most successful states in the US. In 2014, Texas had 418,000 people directly employed by the oil and gas industry; there were a further 1.8million jobs in supporting industries. That is over 2.2million jobs created by a sensible approach to exploiting natural resources. The latest figures available for unemployment in the north west of England, by contrast, are above the UK national average, with significantly more men unemployed than women. This region used to have a massive coalmining industry, and many people claim that there are still areas that have not recovered from the winding down of that industry. The introduction of a new industry, like fracking, would go a very long way to solving economic and social problems in this part of the UK. An industry report estimated that fracking could create up to 64,000 jobs across Britain, as well as bringing £33 billion in investment into the UK economy over the next 16 to 18 years. Economically, refusing this gift from Gaia is insanity.

What the fracking hell else are we supposed to do?

Britain’s current largest source of renewable energy is wind, which provides us with about eight per cent of our total energy. Including all the other renewables currently available, we just about get to 15 per cent of our energy. According to the Spectator, if we only extract 10 per cent of the shale gas available in this country it could provide us with 25 years worth of gas supplies. Never mind looking any old gift horse in the mouth: as a country we are currently wasting time inspecting Red Rum’s teeth rather than riding him to victory in the energy Grand National.

Of course, the real low-carbon alternative that might actually work in place of fracking, in terms of producing enough energy so that we don’t all have to move into yurts, is nuclear power. However, given the time and money that it would take to build and run enough nuclear-power stations to create the same amount of energy we have the potential to tap into with fracking, it makes no financial sense. Oil-services company Halliburton puts the average cost of a new fracking well at around $8million (£5.1million), whereas the recently approved nuclear plant at Hinkley Point has an estimated cost of around £24.5 billion ($37.8 billion).

The simple fact is that there’s no energy source in Britain at the moment that makes more sense than shale gas. Fracking’s opponents are standing in the way of increased employment and greater energy resources. Economically, fracking is a brilliant idea; socially, it would increase employment; environmentally, it is cleaner than coal; and aesthetically, I find windfarms no less displeasing than a fracking well (plus wells have the added benefit of actually producing significant energy). Factually, the argument is won; all that’s standing in fracking’s way in Britain is selfish vested interests and wrongheaded ideologies. As Americans say: it’s time to frack, baby, frack.


Gov. Pence: ‘Indiana Will Not Comply’ With EPA’s CO2 Power Plant Regs

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that “Indiana will not comply” with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulations that would for the first time limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants.

The draft regulations, known as the Clean Power Plan, “must be strenuously opposed,” Pence said, characterizing them as “a very serious threat” to the economic well-being of residents and businesses in Indiana, who rely on coal-burning power plants for 84 percent of their electricity.

Pence is one of a handful of Republican governors who are refusing to go along with the Clean Power Plan, one of the centerpieces of President Obama’s climate change agenda.

The plan sets state targets to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants in order to comply with Obama’s pledge to cut CO2 emissions nationwide 28 percent by 2025. It gives states one year to submit a State Implementation Plan (SIP) before having one imposed on them by EPA.

“We think the stakes are very high here for Hoosier ratepayers,” Pence said during a conference call with reporters last week hosted by the American Energy Alliance, which opposes the plan.

“Indiana is the number one or number two most dependent states on coal-burning power plants for our electricity. We have one of the most dynamic manufacturing economies in the country, and it is our judgment that this rule as drafted would be very harmful to the vitality of our economy and more importantly, to working families in Indiana and ratepayers across our state.

“So we have every intention of following through on our commitment not to comply,” the governor said.

 “It’s all about protecting ratepayers in Indiana,” Pence explained. “We’re very fortunate right now that Indiana is on the cusp of record employment, and our state economy has tremendous momentum. But one of the advantages in our economy has always been the affordability and reliability of electricity.

“And the fact is that here in the State of Indiana, we get 84 percent of our electricity from coal-burning power plants, and so the effort by the administration in the proposed rule that I wrote to [EPA] Administrator [Gina] McCarthy about as early as December of 2014 represents a genuine threat to the affordability of electricity. And it’s a threat to the vitality of Indiana’s economy and to similarly situated states.”

“Let me be very clear, though. I believe the EPA’s attempt to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants is ill-conceived, it’s poorly constructed, but the core of our concern is that it’s going to harm Hoosier families and Hoosier businesses, small and large. Electricity prices will invariably go up dramatically if this rule in its current form were to be put into effect.

“And I also believe the EPA lacks the authority to impose this rule. And the recent MATS ruling I think supports a sense that the court is recognizing and putting new limits on the EPA’s ability to generate rules that go far afield of the law.”

Pence said he was encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent smackdown of the agency in Michigan v. EPA, a case brought by 23 states challenging EPA’s 2012 Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS) regulations governing power plant emissions.

MATS, which EPA estimated would cost Americans $10.9 billion annually, was one of several regulations the Congressional Research Service (CRS) warned would be a “train wreck” for coal-fired power, which accounted for 39 percent of all the electricity generated in the U.S. last year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

On June 29, the Supreme Court ruled that “the Agency must consider cost – including, most importantly, cost of compliance – before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary” under the Clean Air Act.

A study commissioned by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity estimated the cost of compliance with the Clean Power Plan would cost electricity consumers $41 billion annually – or four times the cost of the rejected MATS regulations – while reducing atmospheric CO2 by less than one-half of one percent. 

Pence noted that Indiana made a decision not to comply with the CPP before the MATS ruling came out, but added that the court decision “validated” the concerns he expressed in a June 24 letter to President Obama.

Pence told the president that “this plan will force the premature closure of reliable coal-fired power plants, threatening our stable source of affordable energy…Our nation cannot afford your climate plan, and Indiana will not stand for it.”

“In my letter to the president, I essentially said that the rule must be demonstrably and significantly improved. If that doesn’t happen, Indiana will not comply. And we stand by that,” Pence said.

When asked whether Indiana was “prepared for litigation with the federal government” over the issue, Pence replied: “The short answer is yes,” adding that “it’s worth a fight.”

“No state is obligated to adopt the president’s climate change agenda as their own,” he stated. “States have to do what’s in [their] best interest.”

Noting that Indiana is “a proud coal state” with a 300-year supply, Pence added that his state is nonetheless “committed to common sense and an all-of-the-above energy strategy” that includes renewables as well as fossil fuels.

Other governors are also balking at the proposed CO2 regulations. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker sent a letter to Obama on May 21 stating that the plan could cost his state $13.4 billion in higher electricity costs.

“It is difficult to envision how Wisconsin can responsibly construct a state plan” given the “staggering costs it would inflict on Wisconsin’s homes and businesses,” Walker told the president.

In May, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott met with congressional leaders to express his “grave concerns that the EPA’s proposed action will burden Texas far more than any other state, killing jobs and stagnating Texas’ unprecedented economic growth.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order on April 28 prohibiting state environmental officials from submitting a SIP.

“The proposed regulations seek to go beyond [EPA’s] traditional authority and regulate all aspects of state energy systems…” she wrote. “As Governor, I will not submit a Section 111(d) SIP to ensure Oklahoma’s compliance with such a clear overreach of federal authority.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, have also publicly stated their opposition to the plan.

EPA released its proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), also known as the Clean Power Plan, on June 2, 2014.

“Nationwide, the Clean Power Plan will help cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent from 2005 levels,” according to the EPA. “The proposal will also cut pollution that leads to soot and smog by over 25 percent in 2030.”

The agency is expected to finalize the regulations later this summer.

Saying that the proposed rule rests upon “a very dubious legal foundation,” Pence pointed out that “the EPA is attempting to regulate existing power plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act, but existing power plants are already regulated under Section 112, and the EPA can’t regulate the same source under two different sections.”

“We think that simply withdrawing the rule would be the best and most appropriate legal” remedy, Pence said.

“That being said, what we would want to see short of withdrawal is a willingness by the EPA to address the concerns about cost increases….

“We do believe that this rule represents an effort by the administration to continue to advance a climate change agenda through the regulatory state and does not give due regard to the impact that that will have on electricity rates from coal-burning power plants,” he added.



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

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


17 July, 2015

Fun! Is organic farming making climate change worse?

Both Greenies and food freaks are "wiser than thou" types. They have a desperate need to feel superior, even though they have just about zero originality.  So it's neat to set one sort of false wisdom against another

It has a reputation for being better for us and the environment, but new research suggests organic food may actually be harming the planet.

Scientists have found that rather than reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released, organic farming may actually be increasing them.

They found the shift to large scale organic farming in order to meet growing demand for organic products in shops has led to an increase in emissions for each acre of land.

They also argue that these changes have moved organic farming away from its original attempts to produce a sustainable form of agriculture.

Julius McGee, a sociologist at the Univeristy of Oregon who conducted the research, said: 'My analysis finds that the rise of certified organic production in the United States is not correlated with declines in greenhouse gas emissions derived specifically from agricultural production, and on the contrary is associated positively overall agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

'The big questions are what are we are doing when we shift from conventional to organic production and what are the environmental consequences.

'This study says that the organic farming industry is in the early stages. So far we don't see any mitigating effect on greenhouse gasses.

'We need to pay close attention to what processes in organic farming operations make them the sustainable alternative that we want them to be, and we are going to need to more strictly follow those.'

The study, which is published in the journal Agriculture and Human Values, analysed data in the US between 2000 and 2008 on organic and conventional agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr McGee also collected data on socioeconomic and agricultural indicators that may have been influencing industry growth trends.

Organic farming first emerged in the US in the 1940s and now makes up three per cent of agricultural land in the US.

He found that rather than causing greenhouse gas emissions to fall, organic farming was actually producing more intense levels of emissions.

He claims the move to large corporate organic farming operations has led to many organic practices being watered down and ignored.

He found many organic farms now use single rather than rotated crops, use more organic pesticides and herbicides and import manure based fertilisers from other locations.

This all contributes to the growing carbon footprint of organic farming.

Mr McGee says the organic farming sector must now take action to change its approach.  He said: 'We're not going to solve all these problems with technology.

'The issue of agriculture and climate change doesn't derive only from technology.  'Sure, that's part of it, but a lot of the issue is the social context in which we relate to food — the idea that overproducing food at a level exceeding what we need — for both forms of agricultural production.'


Truth in jest

NOAA: Record 117-Month Major Hurricane Drought Continues

It has been 117 months since a major hurricane, defined as a Category 3 or above, has made landfall in the continental United States, according to 2015 data from the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This is the longest span of time in which no major hurricane has struck the mainland U.S. in NOAA hurricane records going back to 1851.

The second longest time between major hurricane strikes was the eight years between 1860 and 1869—146 years ago.

A recent study published May 5 and co-authored by Tim Hall of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies entitled The Frequency and Duration of U.S. Hurricane Droughts also confirmed that the current "admittedly unusual" drought is “unprecedented in the historical record."

That study found that major hurricane droughts only occur every 177 years, and calculated that there is less than a 5 percent chance (0.39%) that the current drought will end this hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30.

Hurricane Wilma, the most recent major hurricane to strike the U.S., was a Category 3 when it made landfall in North Carolina on October 24, 2005—almost 118 months ago.

Since the end of the 2005 hurricane season, the U.S. has experienced a nine-year major hurricane “drought,” which is approaching 10 years at the end of the 2015 season this November.

Last month, Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, told that this is “easily the record—with all the necessary caveats.”

Blake co-authored NOAA’s The Deadliest, Costliest, And Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010 report, which explains that “category assignment is based on wind speed from 1851-1930 and 1990-2010 and on a combination of wind, pressure and storm surge from 1931-1989.”

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale assigns categories from 1 to 5 based on sustained wind speeds and potential for damage. The scale was developed in 1969, so storms before then were assigned categories retroactively, using the historical measurements on record.

Blake told that measurements for storm categorizations have improved over time.

While a Category 3 or greater storm has not struck the U.S. since Wilma in 2005, several hurricanes of lesser wind speeds have still caused considerable damage, including Ike in 2008 (Category 2), Irene in 2011 (Category 1), and Sandy in 2012 (Category 1).

According to NOAA, Category 1 storms cause “some damage” with sustained winds between 74-95 mph, and Category 2 storms cause “extensive damage” with winds between 96 and 110 mph.

Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered “major” because of their ability to produce “devastating” and “catastrophic damage” with wind speeds of 111-129 mph, 130-156 mph, and 157 mph or higher, respectively.

"Small differences today that we could detect, you couldn’t detect a long time ago,” Blake told “Given that we just see things a little better, we‘ve got more data and better satellite data, we can give a little better estimate than we could a generation ago.”

“But nonetheless, it is a record. It’s easily the record,” he continued.

That a 117-month pause in major hurricane activity follows the most active Atlantic hurricane season in history is “an unlikely event, so ascribing the significance of it is a challenge,” Blake told

“I like to think of it as Mother Nature giving us a little bit of a break after giving us a beating in 2004 and 2005.  That’s my best guess, but I don’t know[That is the most important sentence in the article.  They really don't know -- despite the science being "settled"]


Japan restarting nukes

The fuel is now loaded into the reactor; following inspections, the switch will be flipped; and, around August 10, the reactor will be fired up. Three days later, transmission of electricity is expected to start, ramping up to full power and commercial operation in September. The same process is expected to take place at a second reactor in September/October.

Despite public protest, Japan is going nuclear — again.

Following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused the severe accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor in northeastern Japan, all nuclear reactors were gradually switched off for inspections. No commercial reactor has been online in Japan for nearly two years. Due to safety concerns, the country’s nuclear power generation has been at a standstill. Meanwhile, new regulatory standards have been developed and reactors are undergoing inspections.

Prior to 2011, nuclear power provided nearly one third of Japan’s electricity. Lost power-generation capacity has been replaced by importing pricey fossil fuels. Japan has few natural resources of its own. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports, “Japan imports more than 90 percent of its fossil fuels, and is particularly dependent on the Middle East for oil and natural gas.”

The loss of nuclear power has, according to the CS Monitor, raised household utility bills in Japan by 20 percent. A survey of Japanese manufacturers, conducted by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, found that increases in power rates represented the greatest burden for more than 40 percent of the 335 firms who responded, and that “chronic power outages” and further increases in power rates “would do serious damage to industries located in the Kansai region.” The WSJ confirms that “businesses say the rise in electricity costs without the nuclear reactors makes it harder to run a factory in Japan.”

The economic impact of shifting from nuclear power to imported fossil fuels is evident in Japan’s trade deficits. In, John Manfreda sees a direct correlation. He says, “Before the Fukushima accident occurred, Japan’s economy was driven by its large trade surpluses, which it achieved year after year. However, since Fukushima, Japan reversed that trend, and began posting trade deficits on a yearly basis.”

Japan’s reliance on nuclear power began after OPEC’s 1973 oil embargo that caused a severe energy shortage and nearly derailed its economic progress. Manfreda reports, “When this embargo ended, Japan conducted a national energy study to find out how the country could implement an energy policy that would protect supplies from future embargoes and geopolitical turmoil. The ultimate conclusion of the study was that Japan needed to invest heavily in the use of nuclear power, which could supplant imported fossil fuels for electricity. After that study, the development of nuclear power was considered a national priority.”

Japan has, once again, reviewed its energy needs. The fourth Basic Energy Plan, approved in June 2015, concludes, “Nuclear power is an ‘important power source that supports the stability of our energy supply and demand structure.’” The plan increases nuclear from current levels by restarting most of the idle plants, while calling for an approximate 10 percent reduction from the pre-Fukushima level of 30 percent. WSJ adds, “Japan also plans to continue its use of coal, the cheapest of its energy imports. …Already this year, the nation’s utilities have announced the construction of seven new coal-fired power plants.”

Due to its need for power and its reliance on fossil fuels, Japan revised its emissions targets, saying, according to the New York Times, that “it would release 3 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 1990, rather than the 6 percent cut it originally promised or the 25 percent reduction it promised two years before the 2011 nuclear accident.” In 2012, Japan opted out of a proposed U.N. Kyoto Protocol extension. WSJ reports, “The government’s energy plan also seeks to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, but doesn’t stop companies’ plans to spend billions of dollars on new plants powered by cheap coal from countries like Australia and the U.S.”

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) favors nuclear power because it is a “quasi-domestic source” (four of the world’s top six manufacturers of nuclear plant technology are Japanese or Japanese-owned). Addressing Japan’s plan, World Nuclear News states, nuclear power “gives stable power, operates inexpensively and has a low greenhouse gas profile.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government reportedly wants to operate as many nuclear plants as possible “to meet the nation’s energy needs and grow the economy.” Twenty-five reactors are seeking a restart.

The plant, fueled up on July 10 and scheduled to start commercial operation in September, is one of two reactors being restarted at the Sendai Nuclear Power Station, owned by Kyushu Electric Power Company. With all six of its reactors idle, Kyushu Electric has been “reeling from losses caused by hefty imported fossil fuel costs to run conventional power plants.” Likewise, Chubu Electric Power Company, according to the Japan Times, has applied to restart the Number 3 reactor at its Hamaoka nuclear plant and hopes to resume power generation as soon as possible “to reduce its reliance on expensive fossil fuels.”

“There is no greater issue for the health of the Japanese economy,” Robert Feldman, managing director of Morgan Stanley’s MUFG Securities Co., opined in WSJ, “than energy.” Echoing the sentiment, Masahiro Sakane, chairman of a panel sponsored by METI that has been debating the energy mix, said, “The most important thing is energy self-sufficiency.”

Regarding Japan’s energy plan, Makoto Yagi, Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan chairman, stated, “We believe that energy policy is a core policy of a nation and must be approached from a medium to long-term standpoint.”

Japan is restarting its nuclear program. Iran, supposedly, wants nuclear power. Driven by the need for clean reliable power and the need to bolster energy security and to reduce dependence on imported fuels, many other countries are pursuing nuclear power. Russia has eight reactors under construction — which will double its nuclear capacity. China has 26 reactors in operation, with 24 under construction, and is now building identical power plants that allow for cost efficiencies that come with mass production. Many new plants, such as the reactors being built in the U.S., utilize “third-generation designs that improve safety and cut costs,” E&E News reports. Fourth-generation reactors, which use different coolants and fuels, are in the proposal stages.

The lesson here is less about nuclear power and more about the need for energy that is cost-effective, reliable, and secure.

In a country like Japan, with limited natural resources, nuclear power meets the need. In the U.S., where we are rich in coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium (the fuel for nuclear power), we have more options and should select the energy source that is right for specific needs and locales. As Japan has demonstrated, energy is one of the most important components of the economy, and expensive energy has hurt it.

Japan has an energy plan that is a “core policy” of the nation. In the U.S., instead of having an energy policy, we continue to drive up costs by regulating away our energy advantage and throwing money at expensive renewable energy — with the Clean Power Plan ignoring new nuclear. It is time for America to really evaluate our energy needs and maximize our advantage.


Billionaires Use Environmental Movement to Profit Handily

New Report Details New Definition of "Going Green"

From Tom Steyer to Nat Simons, billionaires have hijacked the environmental movement to line their own pockets. Hedge funds and billionaire investors with a line into government contracts, grants and loan guarantees have built relations with these lobby groups to influence government to ensure taxpayer largess flows to the green industries which they are invested in.  A new report by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute examines some of the largest contributors to the Sierra Club and their self-interested dealing that gives new definition to the meaning of “going green.”

E&E Legal produced a report on the Sierra Club Foundation last fall, which showed how eight of the Foundation’s 18 directors own or operate organizations that directly benefit from its Beyond Coal campaign, the Sierra Club Foundation’s single most expensive program. This type of “self-dealing” is a violation of IRS; a clear case of a private individual receiving “goods and services” from the Sierra Club to their direct and personal benefit. In response, E&E Legal filed a referral with the IRS pointing this out.

In the latest report, E&E Legal documents similar benefits accruing to some of Sierra Club’s largest donors and, specifically, how they appear to use the Sierra Club for market manipulation. Such self-dealing by donors is prohibited by the IRS.

“What is apparent from this latest report is that very wealthy individuals and family foundations use the Sierra Club as hired guns to beat up the coal industry, and to push renewable energy while these same individuals stand to gain significantly from this market manipulation,” said E&E Legal General Counsel David Schnare. “This is a blatant violation of the IRS tax laws, and we will be filing a referral with the tax agency reporting several of the Sierra Club’s largest donors as we did last fall regarding the eight Sierra Club Foundation directors who engaged in similar activities.”

What is clear from examining the large contributors to the Sierra Club is that these donors seek to use the Sierra Club to manipulate government policies in order to irrevocably alter the world’s energy portfolio in a manner that benefits the donors and their businesses. This strategy appears to have been put in place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Energy Foundation, for example, was launched in 1991 by three extremely wealthy family foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation.

“Looking back to the late 1980s, what emerges is that these influential elites, or ‘one-percenters,’ dedicated themselves to sounding alarms about ‘global warming,’ which morphed into ‘climate change’ as conditions demanded,” said Craig Richardson, E&E Legal Executive Director and author of the report. “Huge money followed from some of this country’s largest and most influential foundations, much of which ended up in the hands of groups like the Sierra Club.”

Other billionaires, all large contributors to the Sierra Club and including Michael Bloomberg, Nathaniel Simons, and Roger Sant, jumped into the fray. Their strategy is simple. Phase I targeted coal as the threat that must be arrested, claiming anthropogenic C02 emissions are the root cause of ‘climate change’ and threaten a catastrophic future, thus opening the door to non-coal technologies in which they have invested; and to create movement in the markets that these men can manipulate to their own hedge fund benefit. The group’s unprecedented contributions allowed them to engage in one of the most intense and thorough public relations, political, and grassroots assaults ever waged.

Phase II of their campaign was a heavy push on government policies promoting renewable energy – primarily wind and solar. These intermittent energy sources are not an alternative to what is known as “dispatchable” energy sources such as coal and natural gas-based electricity and thus cannot replace the older, cheaper coal and gas generation. In 2009, this second phase accelerated in earnest with the Obama Administration’s policies to prop up renewable interests, benefiting these donors, while disabling coal through regulatory policy. Similarly, states pushed renewable energy rules requiring a percentage of a state’s consumption be composed of wind and solar.

In addition to serving the obvious financial and generally ideological interests of Sierra’s donors, the Sierra Club’s policies also serve donors who succor population control. This includes the family foundation of William Hewlett, a Sierra Club supporter, which is dedicated to population control and view environmental issues as a means to curb and ultimately reduce human involvement in the world as well. This, of course, is nothing short of a war on the poor, the antithesis of a war on poverty.

“This report helps answer the mystery of why the Sierra Club abandoned the mission of its founder John Muir, which was to protect this country’s most sacred nature resources,” noted Richardson. “When you see the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped through the Sierra Club for its war on coal – an effort that clearly benefits the very same people who are donating the money – it’s clear the Sierra Club is now just a mercenary force beholden to the highest bidder.”


UK Government 'reckless' with consumer cash for green energy

Ministers have been "reckless and wasteful" in spending consumers' money on green energy subsidies, a leading think tank has said, urging them to slash “excessive” payments to households who install rooftop solar panels.

Household energy bills have risen by £120 as a direct result of “ill thought-through” climate change policies and the costs of running energy networks – together accounting for half the total bill increase over the period, Policy Exchange said in a report.

Subsidies for green energy are allocated by the Government but paid for through energy bill levies. They are subject to a Treasury-set spending cap, but the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has exceeded the cap in each of the last three years and is likely to do so again, the report warns.

“This is reckless and wasteful spending of consumers’ money – the impact of which will be felt for decades to come given the duration of some of the commitments made,” it says.

The group has already warned that household bills will rise more than expected to fund the subsidies unless ministers change their policies.

The influential group said that subsidies paid to households for small-scale renewable energy projects such as rooftop solar panels were “excessive, and should be cut significantly to stem the increase in policy costs”.

Richard Howard, author of the report, said: “Household energy bills have soared in recent years. This is not, as some have suggested, due to “rip off energy companies”, but in fact in large part due to government policy.”

Official Department of Energy and Climate Change analysis suggests that bills were £90 lower in 2014 than they would have been without policies and regulations.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: “Reducing energy bills for hard working British families and businesses is this government’s priority. We’ve already announced reforms to remove subsidies for onshore wind, and that work to make sure bill payers are getting the best possible deal is going to continue.”


Chaos over carbon plans hits Australian Leftist leader

Bill Shorten faces a destructive Coalition carbon tax scare campaign through to the next election after the damaging leak of draft Labor plans for an emissions trading scheme and an extra tax on electricity generators further ­undermined his leadership cred­ibility.

The Opposition Leader and his frontbench colleagues were forced to play down the importance of an internal Labor proposal to introduce a carbon price and limit greenhouse gas emissions from power generators after Tony Abbott accused the ALP of wanting to revive a “triple whammy” carbon tax.

Senior Labor sources said the document was a discussion draft, there had not been any decisions on electricity or vehicle emissions schemes and carbon policy had not yet been the subject of a meeting of shadow cabinet.

“Labor will not introduce a carbon tax,’’ Mr Shorten said, dismissing suggestions to the contrary as “complete rubbish’’.

Sources conceded the leak, whether a deliberate attempt to undermine Mr Shorten or an accid­ent, was damaging.
The leak came a week before an ALP national conference, where the Left and Right factions will battle for control amid ­looming contentious debates on asylum-seeker boat turnbacks, the Israel-Palestine question, a binding vote on same-sex marriage and climate policy.

While it had been widely ­expected the opposition would take a revived emissions trading scheme to the next election, the Prime Minister yesterday leapt on the chance to tar Mr Shorten with a carbon tax after successfully using such campaigns to help bring down Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard as Labor prime ministers in 2010 and 2013.

“Now we find out that if Labor were to come back, the carbon tax would be back,” Mr Abbott said. “Not just the carbon tax that we had before, but a carbon tax which is going to have a triple-whammy effect; a carbon tax that will act as an emissions trading scheme on households, a special carbon tax on power generation, and yet another carbon tax on cars. This just shows that Labor can’t learn and hasn’t changed. And it shows that Bill Shorten is, in every respect, a carbon copy of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.”

Mr Shorten responded to the disclosure with an emphatic ­denial that Labor would introduce a carbon tax and the accusation that Mr Abbott “hates to talk about climate change”.

“But I tell you what we will do, we won’t stick our heads in the sand, bury ourselves in the past and ignore climate change,” he said. “The Labor Party I lead ­believes in climate change.

“The choice is clear in Australia. You’ve got Mr Abbott, who doesn’t like solar power, doesn’t like wind power, is walking away from investing in it, jeopardising business certainty and the thousands of jobs that go with it, or you’ve got my Labor team. We believe in climate change, we don’t believe in passing the problems of pollution to future generations, and our focus will be on renewable energy, and there is going to be no carbon tax.”

Despite the quick response from Mr Shorten, the Labor leadership team knows the carbon tax attack will further hurt his standing in the polls and continue to pose a political challenge.

Mr Shorten’s public approval has suffered after the ABC’s Killing Season revisited his role in the demise of Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard and last week’s appearance at the trade union royal commission.

The document, prepared by environment spokesman Mark Butler, was relatively tightly held, having been distributed to about 10 MPs, although sections had been given to experts for consultation. There had been several different drafts of the discussion, which had been circulated to various groups within the party but not taken to shadow cabinet.

The leaked document discussed a modified version of the original carbon tax that would be resurrected in the first-term of a Labor government with a separate scheme for the electricity sector and another for other sectors.

Although businesses would be offered “no upfront cost’’ in the first phase between next year and 2019, firms that exceeded the cap would have to buy international credits to offset their emissions. A second post-2020 phase with tougher requirements would be worked out in government.

The draft also canvassed Canadian and US-style regulations to limit the emissions intensity and operating life of power plants, and an intermediate energy efficiency target. Adopting European and US vehicle emissions standards was also canvassed, with forecasts this could add $1500 to the cost of a new car by 2025 but this would be offset by fuel savings of $830 in the first year and $8500 over the life of the vehicle.

Mr Butler said Labor had not finalised its climate policies but it would not introduce a carbon tax and would instead take to the next election an emissions trading scheme. He said the leaked document was one of a series of discussion papers “to guide the thinking of the leadership from the shadow cabinet in this area’’.

Energy Supply Association of Australia chief executive Matthew Warren called for an end to the politicisation of climate change policy. He said the effect of a decade of chronic climate policy failure had been to render the electricity generation sector virtually unbankable, and to exhaust the patience of businesses and consumers.



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

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


16 July, 2015

Another stupid prophecy of doom

Now we're running out of carbon! You can't win, can you?  It reminds me of a Greenie scare in the '70s that said we are running out of phosphorus -- and we need phosphorus for our bones.  Then there was a huge phosphate discovery in North Africa!  So that one died.  The lesson:  Greenie estimates of available resources are self-important crap

Researchers have issued a chilling warning that life on Earth is unsustainable for humans unless there are major changes.

Unless we slow the destruction of Earth's declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a new paper.

It claims that humans have 'depleted the Earth's battery'.

'You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years,' said the study's lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA's College of Engineering.

'The sun's energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished.'

Earth was once a barren landscape devoid of life, he explained, and it was only after billions of years that simple organisms evolved the ability to transform the sun's light into energy.

This eventually led to an explosion of plant and animal life that bathed the planet with lush forests and extraordinarily diverse ecosystems.

The study's calculations, published by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are grounded in the fundamental principles of thermodynamics, a branch of physics concerned with the relationship between heat and mechanical energy.

Chemical energy is stored in plants, or biomass, which is used for food and fuel, but which is also destroyed to make room for agriculture and expanding cities.

Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago.

Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century.

'If we don't reverse this trend, we'll eventually reach a point where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us,' Schramski said.

Working with James H. Brown from the University of New Mexico, Schramski and UGA's David Gattie, an associate professor in the College of Engineering, show that the vast majority of losses come from deforestation, hastened by the advent of large-scale mechanized farming and the need to feed a rapidly growing population.

As more biomass is destroyed, the planet has less stored energy, which it needs to maintain Earth's complex food webs and biogeochemical balances.


Alarmist Potsdam Institute Concedes: “Natural Variability Underestimated”…”WE ARE CURRENTLY FACING A COOLING PERIOD”!

By Dennis Ambler and Pierre Gosselin

Few institutes have been as adamant and dogmatic about man-made global warming as the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), headed by German climate doomsday professor, Herr Professor-Doktor Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber.

German climate doomsday professor Hans Schellnhuber forced to postpone climate doomsday scenarios due to natural factors, but insists warming is still happening, and it will be worse – at a later time in the future. Photo: PIK

The institute has long maintained that the science was settled, and was instrumental in formulating a master-plan for re-organizing global society and watering down democracy in order to avert the modeled disaster. Their master-plan calls for allotting more power to an elite group of “visionary” scientists – like to Herr Doktor Schellnhuber himself.

So today it’s all the more surprising that they are announcing a paper that concedes natural factors indeed are more powerful than the 0.01% CO2 atmospheric concentration added in part by humans over the last 150 years. This is a milestone for the PIK, which earlier claimed they could not find any real evidence of other factors driving the climate.

Their press release writes:

So far it seemed there were hardly any major natural temperature fluctuations in Antarctica, so almost every rise in temperature was attributed to human influence,” says Armin Bunde of Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen (JLU). ‘Global warming as a result of our greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels is a fact.

However, the human influence on the warming of West Antarctica is much smaller than previously thought. The warming of East Antarctica up to now can even be explained by natural variability alone.’ The results of their study are now published in the journal Climate Dynamics.”

They had us going there for a minute, but no, it isn’t a real admission they were wrong: global warming has been merely hiding behind natural variability as well as in the oceans, they insist.

The press release continues:

The scientists did not only analyze data from individual measuring stations but also generated regional averages. The results show a human influence on the warming of West Antarctica, while this influence is weaker than previously thought.

However, the warming of Antarctica altogether will likely increase more strongly soon.
Soon? How long are we to wait? Many are losing patience in their long wait for the promised catastrophe. Suddenly things look as if they are losing their urgency.

For several years temperatures in Antarctica, but also globally, have been increasing less rapidly than in the 1990s. There are a number of reasons for this, e.g. the oceans buffering warmth.

The study now published by the German team of scientists shows that man-made global warming has not been pausing – it was temporarily superimposed and therefore hidden by long-term natural climate fluctuations like in Antarctica.2

How do they know it’s temporary? From their models? Well, they have been wrong since day 1. Obviously there’s much more to the climate system than just trace gas CO2.

‘Our estimates show that we are currently facing a natural cooling period – while temperatures nonetheless rise slowly but inexorably, due to our heating up the atmosphere by emitting greenhouse gas emissions,’ explains Hans Joachim Schellnhuber.

‘At the end of this natural cold spell temperatures will rise even more fiercely. Globally, but also in Antarctica which therefore is in danger of tipping.”

The good Herr Dr. Schellnhuber never lets you down. Just be patient longer than we thought. The catastrophe that we promised is just taking longer to get here – but when it does, by golly, it’ll be a lot worse – you’ll all be sorry for not doing what we told you.

This is taking on comical dimensions.


A new war on coal gearing up

The Department of Interior (DOI) is publicly reviewing the fees it charges for coal production on federal land, but representatives of the coal industry see the move as a potential threat to a domestic energy resource that provides billions of dollars to states and the U.S. Treasury.

“These listening sessions are an opportunity to better understand how taxpayers, stakeholders and local communities perceive the federal government’s coal program today and how we can improve and strengthen it for future generations,” DOI Secretary Sally Jewel said in a press release announcing the public forums, which she said would advance “honest and open discussion.”

Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association (NMA), told, that the DOI announcement has “implicit assumptions” that are “concerning.”

“The National Mining Association trusts that the Department will conduct the ‘honest and open discussion’ of this valuable program that the Secretary calls for,” Popovich told via e-mail. “However, the implicit assumptions in the Secretary’s notice are concerning.

“The federal coal leasing program fairly values an important public resource that is sold at auction and generates substantial revenue to American taxpayers,” Popovich said. “Calls by environmental activists to replace the current program with costly new fees and royalties are misguided for many reasons.”

Popovich listed those reasons in the e-mail he sent to

 *  Depressing coal production from federal land will deprive taxpayers of a rare government program that provides net revenue to the U.S. Treasury and to state governments ($4.8 billion over three years). Demands to “keep coal in the ground” in effect will mean keeping approximately $1.6 billion a year away from taxpayers.

 *  Slowing production from Powder River Basin coal fields (in southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming) will also reduce supplies of one of the nation’s largest sources of energy for electricity generation. Coal mined on federal land accounts for 42 percent of total U.S. coal production, the largest share of any region. Reducing supplies of an affordable energy source will likely mean further increases in electricity costs for households and businesses across the country.

 *  More importantly, the federal government’s own studies – from the Government Accountability Office and the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General – do not suggest the current coal leasing program needs major reforms. The coal leasing and valuation process already requires compliance with various benchmarks to ensure that taxpayers receive fair market value for coal sold at auction. In fact, the 12.5 percent royalty paid on coal leased from federal land is approximately 40 percent higher than royalty rates paid by coal mined on private land in Appalachia.

The liberal ThinkProgress media outlet, run by the Center for American Progress, reported on Thursday that fees aren’t the only intent of reviewing the federal coal program.

“The listening sessions, while focused on royalty rates, are the next step the administration will take to address concerns about coal mining on public lands, a senior administration official told ThinkProgress,” the article stated.

“The official said that this examination of raising royalty rates, combined with a parallel process focused on closing loopholes on artificially low coal sale prices as well as the upcoming release of the Stream Protection Rule, demonstrate the administration’s commitment,” it added.

“A stream protection rule would not affect revenue, but advocates, especially in Appalachia, have been pushing for a strong rule to limit the damage caused by mountaintop removal mining,” the article stated.

“Increasing royalty rates is not just about increasing revenues,” University of Colorado Law School professor Mark Squillace told ThinkProgress in the article. “It is even more importantly about finding a way to ensure that coal covers more of its external costs to society. And when coal is forced to pay more of these costs, other energy sources look more attractive.”

“It is also conceivable that coal production will continue for the foreseeable future, especially in areas like the PRB where production costs are low,” he continued. “So, the federal government should demand a fair return for whatever future coal it sells.”

The DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in charge of the coal program, which is explained on its website.

“BLM has responsibility for coal leasing on approximately 570 million acres where the coal mineral estate is owned by the federal government. The surface estate of these lands could be controlled by BLM, the United States Forest Service, private landowners, state landowners, or other federal agencies.

BLM receives revenues on coal leasing at three points:

 *  A bonus paid at the time BLM issues the lease

 *  An annual rental payment of $3.00 per acre or fraction thereof

 *  Royalties paid on the value of the coal after it has been mined

The Department of the Interior and the state where the coal was mined share the revenues.”


States Fight Back Against Obama's Climate Rules

Emboldened by the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Michigan v. EPA, governors in several states have indicated they will reject new EPA regulations on greenhouse gases that will needlessly drive up energy costs and harm power industries.

The new regulations set to take effect next month call for states to devise plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from their energy plants. The EPA believes it has the authority under the Clean Air Act to force compliance for states that don’t write their own plans. Governors of six states are prepared to call the EPA’s bluff, setting the stage for a major legal battle that could unravel Barack Obama’s draconian environmental policy.

Republican governors Mike Pence (Indiana), Mary Fallin (Oklahoma), Scott Walker (Wisconsin), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) and Greg Abbott (Texas), as well as Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin (West Virginia), have all gone on record stating their intention to fight the new law.

“The EPA’s latest attempt at imposing burdensome regulations represents an unprecedented meddling with Texas in order to push the Obama administration’s liberal climate change agenda,” said Gov. Abbott.

Gov. Walker wrote that in considering the “staggering costs it would inflict on Wisconsin’s homes and businesses … it is difficult to envision how Wisconsin can responsibly construct a state plan.”

The Court’s rejection of EPA’s overreach in the Michigan case put the agency on notice that it can’t make up its own laws. The EPA in that case had decided to reject an established statute in the Clean Air Act in determining the cost of emissions rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urged governors in a letter to reject this new EPA regulation in the wake of the Michigan ruling, and his staff has been working with state-level environmental officials and regulators to craft a legal strategy to protect them from the EPA’s latest power grab.

“As governors begin to seriously look at what these plans will look like,” said spokesman Robert Steurer, “we expect more and more governors will follow Senator McConnell’s lead.”

In turn, we’d urge McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner to remember that Congress holds the purse strings. As the EPA continues its lawless regulation under Obama, defund it. Play hardball.

The Obama administration hopes this new emissions rule will be the spearhead of its environmental policy to fundamentally shift electricity generation from fossil fuels to more “environmentally friendly” forms of energy. But there are several problems with this line of thought.

There is little infrastructure in place for a widespread shift to green-energy production nationwide, and the existing technology is so expensive that energy prices for consumers would “necessarily skyrocket,” to borrow Obama’s phrase. Not that the administration cares about that. Additionally, the labeling of a natural gas like carbon dioxide as a pollutant is an arbitrary claim with no scientific basis made by arrogant government bureaucrats, and it has unfortunately gone unchallenged by many in the scientific community. Furthermore, there is solid evidence that global warming has actually stalled in the last 18 years, negating the need for implementing expensive policies that will have virtually no impact on the environment.

It will surely be an embarrassment for Obama and the EPA if states openly reject this latest environmental action in the months leading up to the international climate change meeting in Paris, where governments are expected to fully support hamstringing the world economy to fight global warming.

This latest battle with the EPA could be a litmus test for the Republican presidential nomination, with two announced and at least one potential candidate already leading the resistance. Republican voters will surely be watching to see just who has the chops to stand up for federalism and combat the gross bureaucratic overreach that has been a hallmark of the Obama years.



Australia's recently defeated Leftist government was very "Green"

There were some things [conservative leader] Abbott wasn’t prepared to do to gain Government in 2010... one was to “sell my arse” to [Green Party] Bob Brown, the other was to plaster the beautiful Aussie landscape with wind turbines. [Leftist] Julia Gillard was willing to do both, and anything else that secured her the keys to The Lodge [the Prime Ministership].

In a previous article I said the problem with windmills is that they will all become unserviceable and useless at the one time. These hideous turbines have a life span of between 10 and 15 years and replacement costs will not attract the generous subsidies that allowed them to be built in the first place.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s slush fund consisted of a borrowed and unimaginable amount of $10 billion (by 2010 Rudd had already drained the treasury dry unnecessarily).

Applicants who wanted a piece of Bob Brown’s deficit bank had to show that other financing alternatives had been exhausted. In other words, every crazy green scheme had to have already been rejected as uneconomic by investors who can do simple sums when it comes to their own hard-earned.

Gillard had instructed the CEFC to hurriedly hand out as much in subsidies as was legally possible in the lead up to the 2013 election... (A) because she knew the contracts would be irreversible, (B) she knew struggling farmers would agree to have wind turbines installed and (C) it was clear the ALP/Green Government would lose Office even with a change back to Rudd and there would be nothing Abbott could do to reverse it anyway.

With the Greens certain to hold sway in the Senate from their 2007 six-year terms it became impossible to rid Australians of one of the most costly and destructive of the Brown/Gillard land-mine deals.

Of course they are both now in voluntary retirement sucking off the taxpayers’ teat and laughing their cosmetically challenged heads off.

One of these delightful people is intent on saving whales aboard the Green Peace while the other is intent on saving her own neck from upcoming Victorian Major Fraud Squad charges. (Once Blewitt and Wilson are charged, and they will be, Gillard is back in the witness box.)

The best course to take with these carpets of visual- and noise-polluting windmill disasters is to join two D9s with a heavy duty chain and keep motoring until every last one is flattened.

Is it any wonder the world is finally waking up to the UN’s IPCC global warming hoax. The object of publicly-funded green energy financing is to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gasses but since its inception the C02 level hasn’t changed at all yet, through normal climatic variations, North America, Europe and even Australia is experiencing record cold winters with snow extending to the Queensland border for Christ sakes.

If these ridiculous windmills are responsible for this new cold then that’s reason enough to get rid of the hideous things.

When the normal financial checks and balances of democratic free enterprise is replaced with disastrous, no penalty, taxpayer funded programs of the far Left, pull the covers over your head and pray, because that’s exactly what we’ve got with these damned windmills.

The damage wreaked by Rudd/Gillard/Brown/Rudd and a prospective Shorten carries Greek overtones.


Australian Left, maddened by the warming hoax, plans another useless carbon tax

The Labor Party was destroyed when the Gillard Government imposed a carbon tax.  A carbon tax costs money and jobs but makes no measurable difference to global warming.

Global warming seems to have paused, with no real rise in atmospheric temperature for some 18 years.

The catastrophes predicted by global warming scientists have not emerged. We have not seen worse or more cyclones, we have not seen falls in food harvests, we have not seen an increase world wide in droughts.

Most low-lying islands once thought vulnerable to inundation through global warming are in fact stable or growing in size.

Some a few scientists now warn not of global warming but a mini ice age in 15 years.

So a carbon tax is electoral poison and a costly and useless response to a problem that may well not exist anyway.


The Opposition Leader faces a ferocious government assault and his biggest test of political will after the leak of Labor’s plans to resurrect a version of the carbon pricing scheme which contributed to its defeat in 2013.

Labor’s leaked plan looks like a version of an emissions trading scheme linked to other international schemes which at today’s prices would give us a carbon price of around $8-$10…

Leaked internal policy documents reportedly show Labor is planning a carbon pricing scheme with emissions caps that would apply to the electricity sector and a separate scheme which would apply to the rest of the economy.

Labor could also take a higher emissions reduction target to the next election if it considers the post 2020 target that is to be revealed by the Abbott Government next month too low.

Some Labor frontbenchers know this is madness. But global warming makes believers so crazed and intolerant that trying to argue against this within Labor is useless. Besides, see how many journalists won’t hear a word of criticism of the warming faith either.



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

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15 July, 2015

Global warming forcing planes to spend up to 11 minutes longer in the air battling strong winds

Another entertaining bit of nonsense.  It may be that winds have got stronger in recent times but even the IPCC does not claim any upsurge in extreme weather as a result of climate change -- and there has been no climate change for 18 years anyway.  This is at best just propaganda

Global warming might be creating a vicious cycle of rising temperatures as its effects exacerbate its causes.

Strong winds caused by extreme weather are fuelling this rise as planes spend longer in the air battling them to create a warming feedback loop, a new report reveals.

According to the study, there are approximately 30,000 commercial flights per day in the US.

If the total round-trip flying time changed by one minute, commercial jets would be in the air approximately 300,000 hours longer per year.

This translates to approximately one billion additional gallons (4.5 billion litres) of jet fuel, which costs an extra $3 billion (£1.9 billion) and 22 billion lbs (10 billion kg) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per year.

'Upper level wind circulation patterns are the major factor in influencing flight times,' said Dr Kris Karnauskas, associate scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

The consequent additional input of CO2 into the atmosphere can feed back and amplify emerging changes in atmospheric circulation.

'We already know that as you add CO2 to the atmosphere and the global mean temperature rises, the wind circulation changes as well - and in less obvious ways. [A cheeky little "and" there.  The temperature is NOT rising as CO2 levels increase]

'The airline industry keeps a close eye on the day-to-day weather patterns, but they don't seem to be concerned with cycles occurring over a year or longer.

'They never say "Dear customer, there's an El Niño brewing, so we've lengthened your estimated flight duration by 30 minutes." I've never seen that.'

Passenger jets contribute 3.5 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions globally according to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but changes in wind speeds as a result of global warming can cause aircraft to burn more fuel, which in turn accelerates climate change.

Comparing 20 years of US flight data to recorded wind speeds, the researchers showed that the atmospheric circulation affects how long planes are in the air.

After smoothing out the seasonal differences, 91 per cent of variation in flight times could be explained by flight-level wind speed, the researchers said.

The result also pointed toward the influence of the El Niño weather pattern.

As the temperature of the equatorial Pacific Ocean rises and falls, atmospheric waves are set off toward the higher latitudes of both hemispheres, where they can change circulation patterns.

Just by looking at the state of the tropical Pacific Ocean, Dr Kris Karnauskas claims he could predict what the airline's flight time had been.

'We're talking about anomalies happening down at the equator that are affecting the atmosphere in such a spatially broad way that it's probably influencing flights all around the world,' he said.

The researchers also found that while the jet stream blows west to east, when an eastbound flight became 10 minutes shorter, the corresponding westbound flight became 11 minutes longer, meaning effects were not cancelled out.

The study, published in Nature Climate Change said that while minor for each flight, the cost is huge for major airlines.


"C. of E." now stands for the Church of the Environment

Salvation by Al Gore?  Who was that JC guy anyway?

Leaders of the Church of England declared yesterday(Mon) that fighting climate change is a holy duty.

They called for a new generation of vicars to be trained in ‘ecotheology’ as well as the Bible and ‘eco-justice’ alongside Christian ethics.

Churchgoers are to be encouraged to skip lunch on the first day of every month in a fast against climate change after the General Synod, the CofE’s parliament, adopted a wholesale programme of green activism.

It backed a motion which said creation is holy and the Church is ‘called to protect the earth now and for the future’. It called on governments around the world to limit the global rise in temperatures to no more than two degrees celsius.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said the CofE faithful must set an example to others. He suggested the Synod could make the gesture of using less paper and that its members might cut back on their travel.

Other speakers in the debate in York said that people could help save the planet by downloading fewer photographs from their mobile phones and by attaching solar panels to vicarage roofs.

Each of the CofE’s local dioceses will be asked to appoint its own environmental officer to encourage green behaviour – a new breed of officials instantly dubbed ‘ecommissars’ by Synod sceptics.

The Bishop of Sheffield, the Right Rev Steven Croft, called for ‘an ecological conversion of individuals and communities’.

But the Synod drew back from instructing all churchgoers that skipping a sandwich to save the planet on the first day of every month is a duty. Instead it voted to ‘encourage prayer and fasting for climate justice’ on the first of the month.

The Church’s chief spokesman on climate change, the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, said: ‘There has been some puzzlement about encouraging prayer and fasting.

‘It’s not just about skipping a sandwich but helping those of us who are well fed to notice what it means to be hungry and to hunger for justice.’

Bishop Holtam added that the Church would ‘develop and promote new ecotheological resources. ‘It is a new word to me too,’ he said. ‘But it was used at the Anglican Communion Environmental Network conference in February.  ‘Christians will want to use ecotheology and seek eco-justice for the love of God and our neighbour.’

The Environmental Network meeting in February was staged in Cape Town and 15 bishops from around the world flew to South Africa to take part. Bishop Holtam has said the importance of face-to-face talks outweighed the damage done to the environment.

Archbishop Welby told the Synod: ‘We are to be exemplary in what we do ourselves.  ‘That comes down to some very basic things about use of our buildings and imaginative work there; about how use our heritage; about how we use and invest our finances; and around how we heat and light things.

‘Symbolic action such as use of paper at General Synod, the amount we travel, and disinvestment or the tackling and engagement with companies in certain areas, such as arctic drilling, are equally important.’

Canon Margaret Swinson of Liverpool told the Synod that 97 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are generated each year running data storage clouds in the US. ‘Think before you download on to cloud storage 100 photographs of which 25 are out of focus,’ she said.

Alexandra Podd of the CofE Youth Council said the Church should consider a policy to ‘put solar panels of the roofs of vicarages.’

Only six of the 479 Synod members voted against the declaration.

But Rochester lay representative and former Green Party activist Martin Sewell said that in the mid-1980s environmental campaigners had claimed that climate change would make the world uninhabitable by 215.

‘If there was a Nobel Prize for failed apocalyptic warnings, the green movement would win it every year,’ he said.

‘The capitalism we despise has reduced the proportion of the world’s people who are in absolute poverty from 53 per cent to 17 per cent since 1981. This is astonishing. How did it happen? It happened because of two forces – cheap energy and free trade.

‘What if the choice is not green energy and helping the poor? What if the choice is between green energy or helping the poor?’


Gates: Renewable energy can't do the job. Gov should switch green subsidies into R&D

Cost of cost of using renewables only would be "beyond astronomical"

Retired software kingpin and richest man in the world Bill Gates has given his opinion that today's renewable-energy technologies aren't a viable solution for reducing CO2 levels, and governments should divert their green subsidies into R&D aimed at better answers.

Gates expressed his views in an interview given to the Financial Times yesterday, saying that the cost of using current renewables such as solar panels and windfarms to produce all or most power would be "beyond astronomical". At present very little power comes from renewables: in the UK just 5.2 per cent, the majority of which is dubiously-green biofuel burning1 rather than renewable 'leccy - and even so, energy bills have surged and will surge further as a result.

In Bill Gates' view, the answer is for governments to divert the massive sums of money which are currently funnelled to renewables owners to R&D instead. This would offer a chance of developing low-carbon technologies which actually can keep the lights on in the real world.

“The only way you can get to the very positive scenario is by great innovation,” he told the pink 'un. “Innovation really does bend the curve.”

Gates says he'll personally put his money where his mouth is. He's apparently invested $1bn of his own cash in low-carbon energy R&D already, and “over the next five years, there’s a good chance that will double,” he said.

The ex-software overlord stated that the Guardian's scheme of everyone refusing to invest in oil and gas companies would have "little impact". He also poured scorn on another notion oft-touted as a way of making renewable energy more feasible, that of using batteries to store intermittent supplies from solar or wind.

“There’s no battery technology that’s even close to allowing us to take all of our energy from renewables," he said, pointing out - as we've noted on these pages before - that it's necessary "to deal not only with the 24-hour cycle but also with long periods of time where it’s cloudy and you don’t have sun or you don’t have wind."

So what are the possible answers, in Gates' view?

Gates is already well known as a proponent of improved nuclear power tech, and it seems he still is. He mentioned the travelling-wave reactors under development by his firm TerraPower, which are intended to run on depleted uranium stockpiled after use in conventional reactors. He also spoke of methods of using solar power to produce liquid hydrocarbons, which, unlike electricity, can be stored practicably in useful amounts: "one of the few energy storage things that works at scale", as he put it.

Gates also spoke of the radical plan of high-altitude wind farming using kite-balloons flying high up in the jet stream - though he admitted that that one was something of a long shot.

In Gates' view, decades from now a few of today's new-energy companies will have become massive and early investors will have reaped the sort of rewards that he, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer have from Microsoft. But many others won't be so lucky.

"Now there’s a tonne of software companies whose names will never be remembered," he told the FT interviewers.

Gates has said a lot of this before. The main new thing is the firm assertion that renewable energy technology as it now is has no chance of powering a reasonably numerous and well-off human race. This is actually a very simple thing to work out, and just about anybody numerate who thinks about the subject honestly comes to the same conclusion - examples include your correspondent, Google renewables experts, global-warming daddy James Hansen, even your more honest hardline greens (they typically think that the answer is for the human race to become a lot less numerous and well-off).

Unfortunately a lot of people aren't numerate and/or aren't honest, so it's far from sure that the colossal subsidies pumped into today's useless renewables will get diverted into R&D which could produce something worthwhile. In the UK at least this would be quite difficult, as the subsidies are not actually subsidies as such - no tax money is paid out to windfarmers and solar-panellists from the Treasury.

Rather, the system works by artificially pumping up the price of 'leccy and gas and channelling the extra cash - minus various margins for various people involved - to the windfarmers and panel people, such that they get paid vastly more than the market price of the power they produce.

A lot of people - including the government at times - prefer to pretend that this isn't happening at all: that prices are going up because of the gas market, or corporate profiteering, or something, and that green policy is actually saving people money in some way.

So given that officially nobody is paying any more money and therefore there aren't any subsidies, they probably can't be diverted to anywhere. The newly-reelected Chancellor is trying to stop them getting bigger, but he probably won't manage to seriously reduce them overall, let alone re-purpose them. ®


Germany’s Energiewende Finds the Sour Spot

German Energy Plan Based on Unexamined Green Movement Beliefs

Every time we see Germany’s eco-energy transition, dubbed the energiewende, in the news lately, someone’s upset about it. The plan is a raft of different energy policies that can be boiled down to the following plan: phase out nuclear energy while boosting wind and solar by guaranteeing producers long-term, above-market rates called feed-in tariffs. It was a plan that from the outset reflected all the unexamined beliefs central to the modern green movement, and it’s been plagued by problems at every step.

Der Spiegel criticized the energiewende‘s “aggressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power,” rightly pointing out that German consumers are shouldering the costs of those feed-in tariffs in the form of sky-high electricity bills. Those power bills have encouraged some of Germany’s heavy industry to look abroad for a better environment in which to do business. The Financial Times observed that by shuttering its nuclear reactors, Berlin was increasing its consumption of much dirtier coal and making it “ever more reliant on imports of Russian natural gas.” Shutting down those reactors hasn’t been a cheap undertaking, costing much more than was initially estimated.

When Germany decided against levying an extra charge on its older coal plants last week, we noted that Berlin was struggling to find a balance between its vaunted green ideals and harder economic realities. Now, as Reuters reports, some analysts are saying that, by failing to bill those dirtier facilities, Germany has taken a route that satisfies neither green nor economic goals:

Analysts warn that safeguarding the utilities’ income stream could drive up climate protection costs and hurt consumers, and prevent the depressed power market from shedding overcapacity. […]

“It may make sense politically, but it is not economic and not the best solution for climate policy,” [said Roland Vetter, head of research at energy risk management firm CF Partners].

If this were some computer simulation it might be worth celebrating—creating an energy policy that so consistently fails to satisfy the concerns of such a wide variety of stakeholders is truly remarkable. But this isn’t a virtual strategy, and it’s hurting real businesses and real households. The energiewende does manage to do some good by serving as a cautionary tale to the rest of the world: this is what happens when you let starry-eyed greens take the reins.


Wind turbines may trigger danger response in brain

Living near a wind turbine could harm emotional wellbeing after scientists discovered that low frequency sounds generated by rotor blades trigger a part of the brain which senses danger.

Wind farm critics have long complained of the detrimental impact of turbines on their mental health, sleep patterns and physical wellbeing.

But now a study suggests that the brain can register low frequency sounds even below the level of normal human hearing.

Brain scans show that even infrasound as low as 8hz – a whole octave below the traditional cut off point for human hearing – is still being picked up by the primary auditory cortex, the part of the brain which translates sounds into meaning.

And a separate part of the brain, linked to emotions, also lit up when the seemingly ‘inaudible’ noises were played to volunteers in a lab.

Dr Christian Koch of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin said: “The observations showed a reaction in certain parts of the brain which play a role in emotions.

“This means that a human being has a rather diffuse perception, saying that something is there and that this might involve danger.

“All persons concerned explicitly stated that they had heard something.”

People living in the vicinity of wind farms have long reported experiencing sleep disturbances, a decline in performance, and other negative effects, apparently from the “infrasound” generated by the turbines

But the wind energy sector has always maintained that the sounds created by rotor blades are too low a frequency to be picked up by humans.

To test whether sounds could be heard the team generated an infrasonic source which is able to create sounds that are completely free from harmonics.

Volunteers were asked about their hearing experience, and these statements were then compared by to their brain scans.

The results revealed that humans hear lower sounds from around 8 hertz on - a whole octave lower than had previously been assumed.

Infrasound is not only produced by wind turbines, but also sometimes when a truck thunders past a house, or when a home owner installs a power generator in his basement.

Last year the University of Munich found that living near wind farms could lead to severe hearing damage of even deafness.

But then wind farm owners pointed out that the level of sound used was significantly higher than the levels now emitted from turbines. A separate report a report by the Energy and Policy Institute in Washington, also concluded that sickness caused by wind turbines was not a real illness. The authors concluded that symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and migraines were simply imagined by those living nearby.

Dr Koch added: Neither scaremongering nor refuting everything is of any help in this situation. Instead, we must try to find out more about how sounds in the limit range of hearing are perceived, Further research is urgently needed.”

RenewableUK’s Director of Onshore Renewables, Gemma Grimes: “The wind industry takes all health and safety issues very seriously. This piece of work was, by the author’s own admission, just him thinking aloud and raising a number of possible issues relating to all types of infrastructure that could be researched further - he undertook no research at wind farms.

"The author himself stated that it would be scaremongering to make any a connection between wind farms and public health issues. There is an existing body of peer-reviewed scientific research, which clearly shows that living near a wind farm has no adverse effect on anyone’s health, and to suggest otherwise is inaccurate and irresponsible”.

The project, which is part of the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP), was coordinated by the German National Metrology Institute (PTB).


The Climate Wars’ Damage to Science

For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food causes cancer, and so on. But the great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses put to the test. So a really bad idea cannot survive long in science.

Or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I have changed my mind. It turns out bad ideas can persist in science for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they can turn into intolerant dogmas.

This should have been obvious to me. Lysenkoism, a pseudo-biological theory that plants (and people) could be trained to change their heritable natures, helped starve millions and yet persisted for decades in the Soviet Union, reaching its zenith under Nikita Khrushchev. The theory that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease, based on a couple of terrible studies in the 1950s, became unchallenged orthodoxy and is only now fading slowly.

What these two ideas have in common is that they had political support, which enabled them to monopolise debate. Scientists are just as prone as anybody else to “confirmation bias”, the tendency we all have to seek evidence that supports our favoured hypothesis and dismiss evidence that contradicts it—as if we were counsel for the defence. It’s tosh that scientists always try to disprove their own theories, as they sometimes claim, and nor should they. But they do try to disprove each other’s. Science has always been decentralised, so Professor Smith challenges Professor Jones’s claims, and that’s what keeps science honest.

What went wrong with Lysenko and dietary fat was that in each case a monopoly was established. Lysenko’s opponents were imprisoned or killed. Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise shows in devastating detail how opponents of Ancel Keys’s dietary fat hypothesis were starved of grants and frozen out of the debate by an intolerant consensus backed by vested interests, echoed and amplified by a docile press.

Cheerleaders for alarm

This is precisely what has happened with the climate debate and it is at risk of damaging the whole reputation of science. The “bad idea” in this case is not that climate changes, nor that human beings influence climate change; but that the impending change is sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses. In the 1970s, when global temperatures were cooling, some scientists could not resist the lure of press attention by arguing that a new ice age was imminent. Others called this nonsense and the World Meteorological Organisation rightly refused to endorse the alarm. That’s science working as it should. In the 1980s, as temperatures began to rise again, some of the same scientists dusted off the greenhouse effect and began to argue that runaway warming was now likely.

At first, the science establishment reacted sceptically and a diversity of views was aired. It’s hard to recall now just how much you were allowed to question the claims in those days. As Bernie Lewin reminds us in one chapter of a fascinating new book of essays called Climate Change: The Facts (hereafter The Facts), as late as 1995 when the second assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its last-minute additional claim of a “discernible human influence” on climate, Nature magazine warned scientists against overheating the debate.

Since then, however, inch by inch, the huge green pressure groups have grown fat on a diet of constant but ever-changing alarm about the future. That these alarms—over population growth, pesticides, rain forests, acid rain, ozone holes, sperm counts, genetically modified crops—have often proved wildly exaggerated does not matter: the organisations that did the most exaggeration trousered the most money. In the case of climate, the alarm is always in the distant future, so can never be debunked.

These huge green multinationals, with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, have now systematically infiltrated science, as well as industry and media, with the result that many high-profile climate scientists and the journalists who cover them have become one-sided cheerleaders for alarm, while a hit squad of increasingly vicious bloggers polices the debate to ensure that anybody who steps out of line is punished. They insist on stamping out all mention of the heresy that climate change might not be lethally dangerous.

Today’s climate science, as Ian Plimer points out in his chapter in The Facts, is based on a “pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored and analytical procedures are treated as evidence”. Funds are not available to investigate alternative theories. Those who express even the mildest doubts about dangerous climate change are ostracised, accused of being in the pay of fossil-fuel interests or starved of funds; those who take money from green pressure groups and make wildly exaggerated statements are showered with rewards and treated by the media as neutral.

The cheesy lady

Look what happened to a butterfly ecologist named Camille Parmesan when she published a paper on “Climate and Species Range” that blamed climate change for threatening the Edith checkerspot butterfly with extinction in California by driving its range northward. The paper was cited more than 500 times, she was invited to speak at the White House and she was asked to contribute to the IPCC’s third assessment report.

Unfortunately, a distinguished ecologist called Jim Steele found fault with her conclusion: there had been more local extinctions in the southern part of the butterfly’s range due to urban development than in the north, so only the statistical averages moved north, not the butterflies. There was no correlated local change in temperature anyway, and the butterflies have since recovered throughout their range. When Steele asked Parmesan for her data, she refused. Parmesan’s paper continues to be cited as evidence of climate change. Steele meanwhile is derided as a “denier”. No wonder a highly sceptical ecologist I know is very reluctant to break cover.

Jim Hansen, recently retired as head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies at NASA, won over a million dollars in lucrative green prizes, regularly joined protests against coal plants and got himself arrested while at the same time he was in charge of adjusting and homogenising one of the supposedly objective data sets on global surface temperature. How would he be likely to react if told of evidence that climate change is not such a big problem?

Michael Oppenheimer, of Princeton University, who frequently testifies before Congress in favour of urgent action on climate change, was the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior scientist for nineteen years and continues to advise it. The EDF has assets of $209 million and since 2008 has had over $540 million from charitable foundations, plus $2.8 million in federal grants. In that time it has spent $11.3 million on lobbying, and has fifty-five people on thirty-two federal advisory committees. How likely is it that they or Oppenheimer would turn around and say global warming is not likely to be dangerous?

Why is it acceptable, asks the blogger Donna Laframboise, for the IPCC to “put a man who has spent his career cashing cheques from both the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Greenpeace in charge of its latest chapter on the world’s oceans?” She’s referring to the University of Queensland’s Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

These scientists and their guardians of the flame repeatedly insist that there are only two ways of thinking about climate change—that it’s real, man-made and dangerous (the right way), or that it’s not happening (the wrong way). But this is a false dichotomy. There is a third possibility: that it’s real, partly man-made and not dangerous. This is the “lukewarmer” school, and I am happy to put myself in this category. Lukewarmers do not think dangerous climate change is impossible; but they think it is unlikely.

I find that very few people even know of this. Most ordinary people who do not follow climate debates assume that either it’s not happening or it’s dangerous. This suits those with vested interests in renewable energy, since it implies that the only way you would be against their boondoggles is if you “didn’t believe” in climate change.

What consensus about the future?

Sceptics such as Plimer often complain that “consensus” has no place in science. Strictly they are right, but I think it is a red herring. I happily agree that you can have some degree of scientific consensus about the past and the present. The earth is a sphere; evolution is true; carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The IPCC claims in its most recent report that it is “95 per cent” sure that “more than half” of the (gentle) warming “since 1950” is man-made. I’ll drink to that, though it’s a pretty vague claim. But you really cannot have much of a consensus about the future. Scientists are terrible at making forecasts—indeed as Dan Gardner documents in his book Future Babble they are often worse than laymen. And the climate is a chaotic system with multiple influences of which human emissions are just one, which makes prediction even harder.

The IPCC actually admits the possibility of lukewarming within its consensus, because it gives a range of possible future temperatures: it thinks the world will be between about 1.5 and four degrees warmer on average by the end of the century. That’s a huge range, from marginally beneficial to terrifyingly harmful, so it is hardly a consensus of danger, and if you look at the “probability density functions” of climate sensitivity, they always cluster towards the lower end.

What is more, in the small print describing the assumptions of the “representative concentration pathways”, it admits that the top of the range will only be reached if sensitivity to carbon dioxide is high (which is doubtful); if world population growth re-accelerates (which is unlikely); if carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans slows down (which is improbable); and if the world economy goes in a very odd direction, giving up gas but increasing coal use tenfold (which is implausible).

But the commentators ignore all these caveats and babble on about warming of “up to” four degrees (or even more), then castigate as a “denier” anybody who says, as I do, the lower end of the scale looks much more likely given the actual data. This is a deliberate tactic. Following what the psychologist Philip Tetlock called the “psychology of taboo”, there has been a systematic and thorough campaign to rule out the middle ground as heretical: not just wrong, but mistaken, immoral and beyond the pale. That’s what the word denier with its deliberate connotations of Holocaust denial is intended to do. For reasons I do not fully understand, journalists have been shamefully happy to go along with this fundamentally religious project.......

None of this would matter if it was just scientific inquiry, though that rarely comes cheap in itself. The big difference is that these scientists who insist that we take their word for it, and who get cross if we don’t, are also asking us to make huge, expensive and risky changes to the world economy and to people’s livelihoods. They want us to spend a fortune getting emissions down as soon as possible. And they want us to do that even if it hurts poor people today, because, they say, their grandchildren (who, as Nigel Lawson points out, in The Facts, and their models assume, are going to be very wealthy) matter more.

Yet they are not prepared to debate the science behind their concern. That seems wrong to me.

Much more here


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

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14 July, 2015

Mrs. Obama to Indian Youth: We're Finally Embracing 'Wisdom of Your Ancestors' on Climate Change

The The Iroquois Confederacy has been praised to the skies by the American Left. It is one of their abiding myths:  So much nicer that praising the much greater democratic achievements of American whites!  It has even been praised as the "Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on earth". That Iceland's Althing was at least 500 years ahead of them doesn't count, apparently.  And if "a few thousand" Icelanders don't count, neither do a few thousand Iroquios

But how often do the Left praise warlike imperialists who wage wars of extermination and eat their enemies?  Cannibalism is cool? But such were the Iroquois in their heyday.  And even their famed  unity is crap.  During the war of independence, half sided with the British and half sided with the American revolutionaries.  So Mrs Obama is speaking utter crap.  Next she will be saying, as Muslims do, that the Jews have no historic connection to the land of Israel.  Ain't revisionist history wonderful?

And the idea that the Indians knew something about climate change that we do not is ludicrous on the face of it.  It's all just Leftist blah

First Lady Michelle Obama said on Thursday at a tribal youth gathering at the White House that the United States is “finally” embracing the wisdom of Native Americans on conservation and climate change, and claimed that America’s founders modeled the U.S. government partly on the “Iroquois Confederacy.”

“Today, on issues like conservation and climate change, we are finally beginning to embrace the wisdom of your ancestors,” Mrs. Obama said at the event where youth from 230 tribes from 42 states participated.

“Now, long before the United States was even an idea, your ancestors were harvesting the crops that would feed the world for centuries to come,” Obama said. “And places like Seattle and Michigan and natural wonders like Niagara Falls and Yosemite can only be named using your Native languages.”

“Your artwork has inspired generations of artists,” Obama said. “Your healing techniques have spurred great medical advances and saved countless lives.”

“One of your early democratic institutions –- the Iroquois Confederacy -– served as a model for the United States government,” Obama said.

The Iroquois Confederacy was a group of five and eventually six Iroquois tribes that some historians cite as a society operating as a democracy because all decisions made by the Confederacy had to be unanimous.

Aside from crediting Native Americans for inspiring the Founding Fathers, the First Lady also said the government today is “beginning to embrace” their wisdom on conservation and climate change.

“And today, on issues like conservation and climate change, we are finally beginning to embrace the wisdom of your ancestors,” Obama said.

“So make no mistake about it, your customs, your values, your discoveries are at the heart of the American story,” Obama said. “And yet, as we all know, America hasn’t always treated your people and your heritage with dignity and respect.”

“Tragically, it’s been just the opposite,” Obama said. “Your traditions were systematically targeted for destruction.

“Your people were forced to relocate far from the lands they’d lived on for generations,” Obama said. “Young people just like you were sent to boarding schools designed to strip them of their language, culture, and history.”

“And your religions and ceremonies were outlawed by so-called ‘civilization regulations,’” she said, “regulations that literally made your cultures illegal.”

Obama noted that “blatant discrimination is thankfully far behind us,” but that

Native Americans still face challenges, including sometimes being “filled with doubts, or you feel weighed down by history or stifled by your circumstances, or think that no one really understands what you’re going through.”

Obama, who supports abortion-on-demand and, according to, once called a ban on partial-birth abortion a “flawed law,” then told the youth their lives are “precious and sacred.”

“When you start to feel that way, I want you all to remember one simple but powerful truth: that every single one of your lives is precious and sacred, and each of you was put on this earth for a reason,” Obama said.


Driving policies through fraud and fear-mongering

A physician offers sanity-based perspectives on EPA’s “Data Derangement Syndrome”

Charles G. Battig, MD

Propaganda tactics employed by the Environmental Protection and its activist allies increasingly employ emotion as a primary media tool. Mothers and children pose on the US Capitol steps, waving signs that claim they are fighting for clean air and their children’s health. Images of these “lovable lobbyists” for EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other rules are intentionally heart-tugging.

It is maternal instinct versus scientific facts; emotions versus informed debate. If EPA issues dire warnings, that is all these moms need to hear. Indeed, it is hard to overcome such pleadings with cold facts alone.

The well-orchestrated “do something” demonstrations enable politicians and agencies to devise and implement new legislation and regulations. It is much like physicians who succumb to patients’ “do something” demands by prescribing antibiotics for common colds. It is a useless, if not dangerous practice.

The public’s general fear of anything labeled a chemical, or requiring some comfort with numbers, is a powerful psychological tool for alarmists. In-the-street TV interviews showing fearful reactions to di-hydrogen monoxide represent but one example. The scary-sounding chemical, of course, is H2O: ordinary water.

If the air is hazy, even from natural sources like pine trees, many people automatically assume it is injurious to their health, even if the “pollution” levels are perfectly safe. The dose makes the poison. It’s even worse for invisible toxins. The linear no-threshold mindset now governs virtually all government toxicology programs.

The attitude assumes there is no safe limit. Any and all substances in any amount may be injurious to health, until proven otherwise.  Forgone possible health or economic benefits from the demonized substances are not considered. Economist Julian Simon coined the term “false bad news” to describe how activists, regulators and the media make innocuous substances sound harmful, when they target something and set-out to ban it.

These crusaders ignore impartial and even convincing scientific rebuttals, since they specialize in publicizing bad news and perpetuating their own prejudiced agendas. Hollywood celebrities and politicians have become pseudo-authoritative fonts of pseudo-scientific knowledge for the media-obsessed public. Actors should be the least believable, as they make a career by pretending to be what they are not and regurgitating words written for them by others. But somehow they become star experts. Many career politicians are little better.

EPA reports that the six major Clean Air Act pollutants have declined some 62% on average. Meanwhile, reported asthma incidence has risen from 8.9% in 2005 to 9.4% in 2010. How can that be? EPA blames air pollution. But more likely factors include increased public awareness and reporting; expanding the agency’s asthma definition to include all reactive airway diseases; and blunted development of natural immunity, as children exercise less and play less outdoors, in environments that may now be too clean to challenge and bolster developing immune systems.

EPA’s guiding principles seem to be “never let a hypothetical disease go to waste” and “look for data that prove the assumption” (but ignore all unsupportive data). A favorite new bogeyman is what EPA calls PM2.5 (particulate matter or soot 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter). Pollutants like this are appropriately categorized under the rubric of DDS: “Designer Disease Syndrome” or “Data Derangement Syndrome.”

PM2.5 is a most peculiar disease-causing agent, compared to traditional agents. Its pathophysiologic mechanism is undefined, even by EPA. It includes multiple substances whose only common characteristic is that they are really tiny: human hair is 16 to 48 times wider than 2.5 microns. However, they must pose a substantial health threat because EPA says they do – even though the particles have no unique chemical composition, arise from both natural and manmade activities, and vary in composition from one geographic location to another and over different periods of time.

EPA claims inhaling PM2.5 can cause death, including sudden death and long-term death (which the agency calls “premature deaths”). But what level is healthy or safe, and by whose and what criteria? Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson must have known, since she told Congress in 2011: “If we could reduce particulate matter to healthy levels, it would have the same impact as finding a cure for cancer in our country.”

Her claim has no scientific basis, and underscores EPA’s growing credibility problem. The agency claims PM2.5 particles cause death. However, epidemiological studies provide no direct evidence of definitive causation, or even validated explanations for the biological mechanisms allegedly causing death.

EPA claims “epidemiological studies … have found consistent, precise positive associations between short-term exposure to PM2.5 and cardiovascular mortality ... at short lags (0-1 days).”  Do we really face a zero to one-day timeframe? Is EPA predicting near-instant deaths? Even if so-called precise positive associations exist – and EPA has not shown that they actually do – how does this demonstrate cause-and-effect relationships?

Even EPA’s epidemiological tests on human subjects do not show such relationships. Volunteers were told PM2.5 is associated with health risks and death. However, EPA had conducted “297 controlled human exposures” to PM2.5, while encountering only “one clinically significant event” – and even that study participant experienced “no harm or injury.” Some tests even involved pollution levels close to what a person might encounter in “a typical urban center in America on a smoggy day,” also with no problems.

Valid, useful experimental designs must define what animal species, human test subjects and dose sizes are involved. Were all possible confounding factors identified and accounted for? Were these valid, random population samples – or biased selections? Were the computers programmed to find the sought-for correlations? We do not know. But we do know that weak statistical correlations are being presented as proof of cause-and-effect. We do know that EPA is a master at trolling data banks to find needle-in-the-haystack clinical correlations that can be used to predict “dire risks” and project “deep concerns” to mothers.

EPA has conducted controlled human exposure studies to air pollutants for more than thirty years, at the University of North Carolina. During that time, more than six-thousand volunteers were studied, without a single serious adverse event.

The Harvard Six Cities Study (Laden et al 2006) provides a key scientific basis for EPA claims regarding supposed PM toxicology. Yet examination of the data shows that the statistical “relative risk” (RR) for total mortality claims ranges from below one to barely above one and a fraction. That does not meet the minimum legal standard of a RR of at least 2 to identify a significant population risk.

Even worse, the Harvard study teams have walled-off their raw clinical data from independent investigators, by claiming patient confidentiality, thereby preventing verification of results by other experts. Independent reproducibility and verification of test results are the traditional (and essential) hallmarks of scientific research. Invoking patient confidentiality to block access to raw data casts doubt on the entire process, especially since providing adequate patient confidentiality is rather easy to do.

So is there a health problem to investigate, or not? How much more testing do we need to demonstrate an actual problem? It looks more like a disease concept in search of a susceptible victim.

Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has led the congressional effort to make governmental agencies provide open disclosure of data and analyses used to formulate policy. The Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 1030) is designed to ensure such ethical behavior. Public funds support most such research, which is used to justify costly rules. We have a right to expect that our funds are used in an open and ethical manner.

EPA claims PM2.5 mortality begins at just 35µg/m3. Then why are airport smokers and the Shanghai population not dropping dead on the spot? Airport smoker lounges have ambient levels of 600 to 10,000µg of PM2.5 per cubic meter. A single draw on a cigarette floods a smoker’s lungs with 10,000µg to 40,000µg.  The Shanghai press reports PM outdoor levels of 600µg/m3 – and says average life expectancy there is 82.5 years – greater than in any major US city. Where are our overflowing emergency rooms and mortuaries?

EPA’s chosen path has been to fabricate a PM2.5 disease entity, endow it with a unique pathological profile, fund scientific reviewers who support its claims, and present as proof of serious health impacts the favorable published reviews it paid for – while ignoring contrary findings by other scientists. Post-modern medicine has fused with post-modern pseudo-science. This perverse combination does not justify expensive regulations that kill jobs and impair people’s health and welfare.

Via email

Ethanol and biodiesel: Guilty as charged

Bogus biofuel trading costs us millions – while the absurd biofuel program costs us billions

Paul Driessen 

Two notorious crooks are helping us wrap up another sordid episode in the saga of the United States biofuel mandates, while further highlighting how bungled and long past its expiration date the program is.

Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.

Turning corn into ethanol requires vast amounts of land, fertilizers, pesticides, tractor and truck fuel, and natural gas for distillation. It enriches some farmers but raises animal feed prices and thus the cost of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fish and international food aid. Biodiesel from restaurant waste oil makes some sense, but making it from palm oil or soybeans has similar negative ecological impacts.

The ethanol mandate encourages farmers to plow wildlife habitats and fallow fields to grow corn, releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide. Ethanol gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline, so motorists get fewer miles per tank and per dollar. It produces ozone, attracts water and corrodes car and small engine components, forcing us to spend billions on repairs.

The tale of Philip Joseph Rivkin (aka Felipe Poitan Arriaga) reveals an equally disgusting aspect of the mandate, resulting from the absurdly complex Renewable Identification Number (RIN) system devised by EPA bureaucrats. As Ron Arnold explains in our book, Cracking Big Green, EPA requires that every gallon of biofuel must also have its own unique 38-digit RIN. That’s billions of RINs per year!

“Dry” RIN paper credits are supposed to be associated with actual “wet” gallons of biofuel: corn-based ethanol, biomass-based diesel or nonexistent “advanced cellulosic” fuels. When fuels are not available, refiners can buy RINs from another party that was able to blend the fuel. This “tradable credits” market creates irresistible opportunities for “entrepreneurs” like Rivkin, whose Green Diesel company sold phony biodiesel RINs to oil companies and brokers.

Between 2011 and 2012, Rivkin sold $29 million worth of phony RINs, without producing a single gallon of anything. Secret Service agents arrested him last year in Houston, after he had been expelled from Guatemala, where he had falsely claimed to be a citizen. He plead guilty and now faces ten years in prison, millions of dollars in fines, and the forfeiture of his Lamborghini, Maserati, Canadair LTD plane, $29 million in cash, and an art collection valued in the millions.

His escapade copied what Rodney Hailey pulled off in Perry Hall, Maryland. He rented a garage, filled it with pipes, tanks and pumps (none connected to one another), registered his Clean Green Fuel company with EPA, put up a fancy website, and claimed he would produce 20 million gallons of biodiesel annually from recycled cooking oil. Through a network of traders, Hailey sold more than 32 million bogus RINs for $9 million, while still collecting unemployment.

Eventually, his fancy house, 20 luxury cars and lavish lifestyle attracted law enforcement. In 2013, he was sentenced to 12-1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $42 million in restitution: his sleazy profits plus what his victims had to pay for valid replacement RINs.

The good news is that Rivkin and Hailey will have to pay for their fraudulent actions. (How many other biofuel crooks have not been caught we have no way of knowing.) The bad news is that the RIN system is still in place, under a misguided federal law that benefits almost no one outside the biofuel industry. The worse news is that the cost of their fraud pales by comparison to the lies and fraud perpetrated by EPA and its climate crisis, clean energy and ultra-pure air allies.

Since the biofuel mandate was imposed in 2005 and expanded in 2007 under the Renewable Fuel Standard, it has sent billions of taxpayer and motorist dollars to corn farmers and ethanol producers. It has cost consumers countless billions in reduced mileage, higher food prices, and repairs to their cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles, chain saws and other small engine equipment. The corn converted into biofuel each year is enough to feed 412 million malnourished people in African and other countries.

Antique autos and other older cars are not compatible with fuels containing ethanol, especially E15 (15% EtOH). Gaskets and other rubber parts can fail, causing fuel leaks and even engine failure or fires. On boats, fiberglass fuel tanks deteriorate and outboard motors can overheat and stop functioning. On airplanes – well you don’t want to ponder what happens when your engine stalls at 10,000 feet.

Many consumers – even corn farmers with older tractors – prefer straight gasoline, which is increasingly hard to find. Nevertheless, in 2014, straight gasoline accounted for almost 7% of total US gasoline sales, double the 3.4% of pure gasoline sold in 2012.

Meanwhile, worries about “peak oil” and “over-dependence” on foreign oil have nearly evaporated. Thanks to fracking and other advanced drilling technologies, the United States is now the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. As consumers drive less and invest in more fuel-efficient newer vehicles, gasoline demand is moderating, after peaking in 2007. And the other justification for ethanol, “dangerous manmade climate change,” is steadily being exposed as just another über-expensive ecological scare.

If consumers want “alternative fuels,” natural gas presents more viable, environmental, free-market, cost-competitive choices. Compressed into high-pressure tanks, it can (and already does) power cars, trucks, taxis and buses. Converted into methanol, our abundant natural gas would enable Detroit to build light, powerful, low-pollution, high octane engines that get better mileage than ethanol-tainted fuels. Existing cars can be converted into “flex-fuel” vehicles for less than $100 – and producing the natural gas and converting it into methanol involves minimal land impacts, no food price hikes and no harm to engines.

Biofuels are guilty as charged. They do to motorists, taxpayers and consumers what wars and riots do to cities. Justifying legislative mandates by saying they create jobs for a few corn growers, biofuel producers and engine repairmen is akin to claiming mobs and warfare foster employment for insurers, firemen, carpenters and window repair companies. The perverse logic also ignores jobs destroyed and businesses destroyed or relocated, and the far better ways our billions of dollars could have been spent.

Politicians, bureaucrats and eco-activists clearly care little about the coal mine workers and communities they have destroyed. Why should biofuel producers be more sacrosanct and protected – based on false claims that these fuels ensure emission reductions, “home-grown” energy supplies and climate stability?

The Renewable Fuel Standard and biofuel mandates do more harm than good. They have outlived their usefulness and should not merely be “fixed,” as some suggest, but scrapped entirely.

Americans should no longer be forced to prop up crony-corporatist biofuel companies and pay for expensive repairs under outdated congressional and EPA edicts.

Via email

Government Climate Data Found Unreliable

Effective immediately, the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC), a leader in climate prediction, has dropped the US government’s ground based global temperature data from its list of reliable sources. co2 fraud

This significant step has been made by the SSRC after extensive review of the US government’s ground temperature data and its wide divergence from more reliable sources of climate data, namely satellite systems.

The SSRC has found multiple flaws that it says render the US government’s climate data virtually unusable. The SSRC has further observed that the US government and specifically, President Barack Obama, have routinely deceived the people regarding the true status of the Earth’s climate, its causes, and where the global climate is heading.

In the past, the SSRC has used five global temperature data sets, three ground based (NOAA, NASA and HADCRUT) and two satellite data sets (RSS, UAH). These data sets are analyzed and an integrated picture of all five allows the SSRC to produce its semi-annual Global Climate Status Report (GCSR). HADCRUT is a combined set from two UK science groups.

As of today, the SSRC will no longer use the ground based data sets of NASA and NOAA because of serious questions about their credibility and allegations of data manipulation to support President Obama’s climate change policies. Use of HADCRUT will also be suspended on similar grounds.

According to SSRC President, Mr. John L. Casey, “It is clear that during the administration of President Barack Obama, there has developed a culture of scientific corruption permitting the alteration or modification of global temperature data in a way that supports the myth of manmade global warming.

This situation has come about because of Presidential Executive Orders, science agencies producing unreliable and inaccurate climate reports, and also with statements by the President about the climate that are patently false. For example, the President has said that global warming is not only a global threat but that it is “accelerating” (Georgetown Univ. June 2015). Further, he has said that “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record” (State of the Union Address, January 2015).

Both these statements are simply not true. He has also publicly ridiculed those who have correctly stated that there has been no global warming for eighteen years therefore nullifying any need for US government actions to control greenhouse gas emissions for any reason.

Climate mendacity seems to be the rule and not the exception in this administration. “As a result, the US government’s apparently politically manipulated ground based temperature data sets can no longer be regarded as credible from a climate analysis standpoint.

Until scientific integrity is restored in the White House and the rest of the federal government, we will henceforth be forced to rely solely on satellite measurements. “Most disturbing of course, is that the President has failed to prepare the country for the difficult times ahead as a result of the ominous changes taking place on the Sun.

Not only is the Sun the primary agent of climate change, but it is now cutting back on life giving warmth, bringing a new cold climate period. We will all face a more difficult future, one which the President is ensuring we will be totally unprepared for.”

Dr. Ole Humlum, a Professor of Physical Geology at the University of Oslo, Norway and an expert of global glacial activity, is the co-editor of the SSRC’s Global Climate Status Report (GCSR). He adds to Mr. Casey’s comment with, “It is regrettable to see the politically forced changing of temperature data which will of course lead to the wrong conclusions about the causes and effects of climate change.

Recently, NOAA indicated that May 2015 was the warmest May since 1880. Yet, this cannot be verified by satellite measurements which show that May was in the average range for the month over the past ten years. Also, on page 41 of the June 10, 2015 GCSR, we noted that the temperature spread between ground based and satellite based data sets, has now widened to a point that is problematic.

The average in degrees Centigrade among the three ground based sets shows a 0.45 C warming in temperature since 1979. For the more reliable satellite systems, it is only 0.17 C warming. This 264% (0.45/0.17) differential is scientifically unacceptable and warrants ending the reliance on the ground based data sets until some independent investigation of the variance resolves the matter.

While the use of satellite data only, will limit the depth of quality of the Global Climate Status Report, it will at the same time allow us to still provide the best available climate assessment and climate predictions possible using only the most reliable data.”


NOAA's estimate of coral bleaching likely two times too high

Written by Thomas Richard

NOAA sounded the alarm yesterday that coral reefs are dying off at an unprecedented rate, even though a recent paper shows that these statements may be more alarmist than accurate. coral bleachingThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said multi-yearwarm ocean temperatures are creating conditions that are causing corals to die off and turn white (bleached), and they believe that global warming is the culprit. But a new paper, published in Marine Biology in April 2015, shows that even though some corals appear bleached, it doesn't mean they are dead, as conventional tracking methods can't distinguish between white and bleached (dead) colonies.

The paper, by Cruz et al, says that "although bleaching leaves the coral skeleton visible under its transparent tissue, not all white coral colonies display this feature," which "raises the question as to whether all 'white'-shaded colonies are indeed bleached." To answer that question of whether bleached coral is actually dead, Cruz et al studied different colored specimens of the coral M. cavernosa sampled off the east coast of Brazil, and found thatwhite corals exhibited the same lifelike features as their multi-colored cousins.

Simply put, white corals were physiologically healthy when compared to dark and light-brown colonies, which would lead to the "potential overestimation of coral bleaching" by nearly twice as much. One reason for this overestimation is that traditional coral monitoring is unable to detect between white and bleached (dead) colonies. Video transects from reef monitoring surveys off the coast of Brazil showed that the "proportion of bleached and white colonies is similar, thus suggesting that current coral reef surveys may be overestimating the bleaching of M. cavernosa by nearly twofold."

That didn't stop Mark Eakin, NOAA's Coral Reef Watch coordinator, from saying, "The bleaching that started in June 2014 has been really bad for corals in the western Pacific. We are worried that bleaching will spread to the western Atlantic and again into Hawaii." The announcement from NOAA appears to be part of the Obama administration's ongoing campaign to attribute global warming to any event as it gathers commitments from other countries ahead of the Paris Climate Talks.

NOAA also added that only warm ocean temperatures can cause the widespread bleaching that monitoring has found since last year, but this new paper also contradicts that statement. Coral bleaching, the paper says, "is a physiological mechanism triggered by environmental stress, such as elevated temperature, changes in salinity, high solar radiation, pollutants or diseases." They note that "although bleaching leaves the coral skeleton visible under its transparent tissue, not all white coral colonies display this feature."

Once corals die, they turn "white" and have a bleached appearance. But other studies have shown corals are more resilient then previously estimated. One 13-year study of coral reefs showed "them spontaneously recovering," refuting the "often doomsday forecasts about the worldwide decline of the colorful marine habitat." Tom Frazer, professor of aquatic ecology at the University of Florida and part of the research team, told Reuters, "People have said these systems don't have a chance. What we are saying is: 'Hey, this is evidence they do have a chance.'"

One study—funded by NOAA—shows that coral reefs could even adapt to warmer ocean temperatures through a variety of processes. Even after the great coral die-off in 1998 from a particular brutal El Niño, most of the coral reefs across the planet rebounded to their original numbers.

This isn't the first time that NOAA has used dubious data to justify global warming alarmism. In early June, NOAA rewrote the historical climate record by making it "cooler" so the present appears warmer. Even climate scientists who believe that man is primarily responsible for the planet warming less than one degree Celsius over the last 100 years rejected NOAA's readjustments to hide the 18-year-and-counting global warming hiatus.


Other countries 'airy-fairy' on climate change, says Australia's conservative PM

The Abbott government does not get enough credit for its emissions reduction policies, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said, as he revealed Australia will not announce post-2020 climate targets until August.

Mr Abbott told a media conference on Monday that targets Australia will take to a global climate summit in Paris at the end of the year will not be made public until after a cabinet meeting at the beginning of August.

But he said the difference between Australia and the rest of the world was that "when we make commitments to reduce emissions we keep them".  "Other countries make all these airy-fairy promises that never come to anything," Mr Abbott said.

Australia is the only developed country that has given no indication of what level of emissions reductions it is prepared to take on.

The government has previously said it would reveal Australia's targets in July, and an announcement was widely expected this week to coincide with the Major Economies Forum in the United States.

Mr Abbott was asked about Australia's likely target after New Zealand revealed its target of 30 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 – a figure condemned by climate experts as not ambitious enough to avoid the globally agreed 2 degrees of warming.

"I'm not going to speculate in advance of a decision by the cabinet and the party room," he said.  "We flagged that we would finalise our position about the middle of the year and we've got a party room meeting coming up at the beginning of August.

"I'm not going to flag any final position in advance of due process and proper consideration."

But he gave an assurance the figure reached by the government would be a "strong" one.  "We'll take a very strong and credible position to Paris," Mr Abbott said.

"This government doesn't get enough credit, Australia doesn't get enough credit, for the emissions reduction work that we have already done.

"We don't get enough credit for the environmental protection that has already been achieved and, while I'm on the subject, let me again congratulate [Environment Minister] Greg Hunt for his work in getting the Great Barrier Reef taken off the World Heritage Commission endangered list."

Australia's emissions are the highest per capita of any country in the developed world.

Erwin Jackson, deputy chief executive of the Climate Institute, said Australia and Japan were the last two developed economies to formally announce post 2020 targets, although Japan has given some indication of what its target will be.

"But the core issue is the target will need to be strong and it will need to be credible if it's to be a foundation for stable and effective climate policy in Australia," Mr Jackson said.

The independent Climate Change Authority has urged Australia to adopt an emissions reduction target of 30 per cent on 2000 levels by 2030, which is equal to 36 per cent on 2005 levels

When compared with other developed nations, the recommendations would put Australia ahead of the US, which has a 26 to 28 per cent target by 2025 and well in front of Canada's 30 per cent target on 2005 levels by 2030.

They would place Australia roughly on par with Germany and Switzerland, but behind Britain.

Australia's current target is to reduce emissions by 5 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020, which is roughly equivalent to a target of 13 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020.

The Climate Council said only Canada, which withdrew from the Kyoto Agreement, was not on track to meet its current emission reduction promises.

Mr Hunt, who has previously said the government would reveal its new targets in July, said on Monday the announcement would be "in the coming weeks". He suggested Australia's target might surprise people and that it would be bigger than some expected.

"We are actually ahead of where I had hoped to be. We are in a remarkably strong position," Mr Hunt said.

"We will have a strong and I think more ambitious target than others would have previously expected. So I couldn't be more pleased and more delighted."

Australia became the first country in the world last year to axe a price on carbon when the government repealed Labor's carbon tax and replaced it with Direct Action, a policy to pay polluters to reduce their emissions.

The first auctions under the Emissions Reduction Fund took place in April, with the government pledging $660 million out of a possible $2.5 billion for 144 projects.

It is unclear when the second round of auctions under the scheme will occur.



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

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


13 July, 2015

More failed prophecy.  BOM bombs out again

The BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) is Australia's great temple of the global warming faith

Climate is the sum of weather so big failures to predict the weather cast great doubt on predictions about the climate.  The forecast for Eastern Australia below issued last Friday is a case in point.  It was headed:

"Antarctic blast begins to bite: Heavy snow falls in southern states, 90km/h blizzards set to batter NSW and drivers urged to stay off the roads as temperatures plummet to lowest in 15 YEARS"

In fact: At mid-afternoon in Brisbane on Saturday it was 22 degrees Celsius (70F)! And late on Sunday afternoon it was 20 degrees Celsius.  Some people call 70F the ideal temperature.

And the "soaking" predicted for Brisbane did not happen either. There were a few light showers on Saturday and a fine day on Sunday

It appears that there was some unusual cold weather in some parts of the Southeast but if a comprehensive forecast can not be made for just the Southeast of Australia, how likely is a forecast for the whole planet to be accurate?

Emergency services are on high alert as the Antarctic blast is beginning to hit the southern and eastern coast of Australia and people have been warned to batten down the hatches ahead of the worst of the storms overnight and into Sunday.

Damaging 'blizzard intensity' winds of 90km/h in NSW are causing havoc across NSW, and snow is also falling in South Australia and Victoria as conditions worsen.

NSW Police has appealed for all drivers to take extra care on the roads, as thousands of families return home after the school holidays. The warning calls for people to avoid 'risky behaviour'.

A State Emergency Service spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia people should avoid travel all together if possible, as roads become potentially deadly in 'icy conditions'.

It also advised people to move cars undercover, put away or secure loose items at home and be aware of falling trees and power lines.

The freezing front began to roll across the country on Friday afternoon, delivering conditions not seen in 15 years, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Temperatures are expected to fall to zero or below across large parts of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, with bitterly cold winds and hail also forecast. Snow is predicted to reach as far north as Queensland, after already falling across Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

The snow spread is forecast to reach further north than it has since 2000.

Sydney and Melbourne can expect average low temperatures of 8 degrees for the weekend, while Canberra will be hit with a freezing 4 - but it could feel as cold as -1 due to the wind chill.

Brisbane will likely end the weekend soaked, with heavy rain predicted across most of the state, in addition to potential snow in areas of higher-elevation.


Leftist site praises global warming memo from the Nixon era

A combination of deception and false prophecy:  Quintessential Green/Leftism

Are the Global Warming hoaxers so desperate they’re pushing stuff that actually discredits their movement? That’s the only rationale I could find for the morons at Talking Points Memo pushing this comical and stupid memo from 1969 to Richard Nixon:

They prattle on and on about what “could have been” if only Nixon had listened to the memo:

Moynihan, then, wrote to Ehrlichman as an ally rather than an opponent.

Acknowledging that there was as yet no accurate way to measure carbon in the atmosphere, Moynihan nevertheless suggested: “this very clearly is a problem…one that can seize the imagination of persons normally indifferent to projects of apocalyptic change.” Ever the technocrat, Moynihan then explained how carbon dioxide could change the climate, warning that, if left unchecked, it might “raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye to New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter.” He suggested that “fairly mammoth man-made efforts” could “countervail the CO2 rise. (E.g., stop burning fossil fuels.)”

Here’s what they cut out – this was the prediction for 2000 – FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!

Ohhhh you conveniently skipped that part didn’t you TPM? LOL!

What a bunch of maroons!

‘Climate scientists’ are psychologically fragile

That’s not me saying that. It’s New York Magazine:

"Every year brings a new batch of data regarding the progression and likely effects of climate change, and the results are almost always worse than previous models had predicted. In fact, they’re frankly terrifying: rapid and accelerating deterioration of the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets that will yield massive sea-level rise and submerge coastal cities; paralyzing drought on continental interiors that will lead to Dust Bowl–style famine; and incredibly powerful floods and storms that happen more frequently — five times as often now, in fact, as in the 1970s.

Most of the worst predicted outcomes will occur down the road. In the meantime, though, the people making these predictions — climate scientists — are dealing with a heavy psychological toll, as a piece in Esquire by John H. Richardson points out. They are living, as Richardson puts it, a “surreal existence.”

One psychologist who works with climate scientists told Richardson they suffer from “pre-traumatic stress,” the overwhelming sense of anger, panic, and “obsessive-intrusive thoughts” that results when your work every day is to chart a planetary future that looks increasingly apocalyptic. Some climatologists merely report depression and feelings of hopelessness. Others, resigned to our shared fate, have written what amount to survival guides for a sort of Mad Max dystopian future where civilization has broken down under the pressures of resource scarcity and habitat erosion"

The article goes on to quote some notable “climate scientists” and the meany pants treatment they have received in their roles as latter day Jeremiahs and Cassandras.

Michael Mann, renowned as the Jerry Sandusky of Climate Change, snivels about alleged mean words directed at him. Never mind that he conspired to foist of fraudulent data on the world in order to destroy peoples lives and livelihoods for no greater reason than masturbatory release for the amusement of his colleagues. Some chick named after a cheese, Camille Parmesan, whined that Rick Perry removed her analysis of Galveston Bay from a report throwing her into ‘professional depression.’

There are two reasons that they are depressed. It isn’t Weltanschauung or Weltschmerz or one of those other cool German words we associate with really smart people or mental illness. The sociopaths among them see the government grant dollars gravy train drying up as it becomes increasingly obvious that your pet cockatoo tossing heads-or-tails is at least as accurate as any climate model currently in existence.

Some failed-climate-predictions

“[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots…[By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.”

Michael Oppenheimer, published in “Dead Heat,” St. Martin’s Press, 1990

“We have 500 days – not a day more – to avoid a climate disaster. We must face up to climate disruption, climate chaos. The scientists, several of whom are present here, have said it: ‘you’d have to be blind not to see it’”

M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, 14 May 2014 about France hosting the major climate conference in December 2015.

On July 5, 1989, Noel Brown, then the director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program, warned of a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming — “entire nations could be wiped off the face of Earth by rising sea levels if the global-warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”

as reported in The Washington Times, 21 Apr 2014

The planet has just five years to avoid disastrous global warming, says the Federal Government’s chief scientist. Prof Penny Sackett yesterday urged all Australians to reduce their carbon footprint. Australians – among the world’s biggest producers of carbon dioxide – were “better placed than others to do something about it”, she said.

The professor said even if all the world stopped producing carbon dioxide immediately, temperature increases of 1.3C were unavoidable. If the earth’s temperature rose 2C, she warned, there would be risks that were “difficult and dangerous”.

Herald Sun, December 04, 2009

You get the drift.

The handful of normal people involved in ‘climate change’ research are right to have anxiety. The have a conscience. They know what they are doing is wrong. They know they are running a scam. The made a Faustian bargain in order to advance their careers and now they see that their 10-year career plan includes a stint a Arby’s.


Amusing!  "New Scientist" has given up on scientists. Says artists are more authoritative on global warming

Desperation below

THIS may not be popular. At least not in a magazine like this. But here goes: scientists should take a back seat from now on in public discussions on climate change.

It's not that the science doesn't matter. But the heavy lifting has been done. The Nobel prize has been won. We know enough to act. And those who persist in believing that global warming is a myth are unlikely to be convinced by another dose of data.

What we need are other ways of thinking about our climate future that do not have science centre-stage. Too often, the issue gets pigeon-holed as something for researchers to sort out, with everyone else marginalised. To change that, we need to hear a lot more from artists and lawyers, priests and playwrights, economists and engineers, moralists and financiers, and a lot less from the lab.

Two recent interventions have shown the power of broadening the canvas. The pope's encyclical on climate change on 18 June didn't say anything new scientifically. But it used a different language. It raised the ethical stakes, and challenged the often-conservative religious world to step up as stewards of the planet. And for that reason it made headlines worldwide.

A week later, a court in the Netherlands broke new ground by ordering the Dutch government to do more to fight climate change – rising seas pose a particular threat to this low-lying country. The legal challenge had been brought on behalf of 900 citizens. Courts in other countries will hear similar class actions from those whose lives are blighted by climate change.

The divestment movement is gaining strength. It empowers ordinary citizens, who have little say on global greenhouse gas emissions. It gives us a realistic prospect of forcing our university, pension fund or bank to ditch coal or oil investments. The movement works because it shifts the focus away from complex issues and towards simple moral and financial choices.

But we need to hear more from non-scientists. We await the great play, movie or novel on climate change. Something to stir the soul, like John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath did during the US Dust Bowl era. The right artistic contribution could be much more powerful than another report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Of course, climate science must continue. But in public, the dominance of scientists on almost every platform where our climatic future is discussed has become an impediment to progress – stifling rather than encouraging debate.

Scientists have long been told to engage with the public on the great issues of the day. But maybe on this issue, it is time to shut up and let others take the floor.


Research & Commentary: EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Report

The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, commonly known collectively as “fracking,” has transformed the energy outlook of the United States by unlocking vast oil and natural gas resources from source rocks that were previously uneconomic to develop. Fracking has made the United States the largest producer of natural gas in the world, and crude oil production has increased by 80 percent, nearly doubling, since 2008. Growing oil and natural gas development has helped spark an economic boom in oil- and gas- rich regions of the United States.

Environmental activists, including Josh Fox, director of the movie Gasland,  nevertheless continue to assert fracking has contaminated drinking water resources. An exhaustive report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found these claims are not supported by the scientific evidence.

EPA’s report, which took more than five years to complete and is widely considered to be the most exhaustive research to date on the subject of hydraulic fracturing, found no evidence that horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, or other activities related to oil and natural gas development have had any systemic effect on drinking water resources in the United States.

EPA concluded the number of identified cases where drinking water resources were affected is very small considering the number of hydraulically fractured wells. Moreover, current standards and regulations mitigate the risk of environmental damage while maximizing the economic and national security benefits of dramatically increasing domestic energy production.

Policymakers at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels, industry representatives, and the public can use this report to understand and address any vulnerability of drinking water resources to hydraulic fracturing. The report’s conclusions demonstrate state regulatory bodies across the nation have enacted sufficiently protective standards to ensure responsible energy development while protecting the environment. The study also demonstrates the ban enacted by New York state is unnecessary, overly restrictive, and not based on the best-available scientific evidence.


Joe Bastardi: An Open Question to Our Universities on AGW: What if You Are Wrong? 

No climate program in the nation that I can find is teaching anything but the "party line" on global warming. Perhaps they are right, though if the forecasts made by computer modeling (as shown below) were graded like any college exam (if you said one thing was the answer and it turned out it was wrong), then I would expect the professor to grade it as being wrong. I assume college courses are still graded based on correct answers.

 In my world it comes down to this: The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) take the global temperatures with the most accurate information available and the finest gridding every 6 hours. The trends can easily be seen — the warming that was shown *by all* measuring tools through the late '90s and the recent downturn or even slight cooling over the past 10 years.

On the left is 1979-1978, the middle is 1988-2005, and the right is the last 10 years.

Of particular interest are the past two El Niños, which had “spikes” in '07 and '10. But the downturns that followed wound up lower than before the spike. Also of interest is this question: Why would the NCEP come up with a global temperature that does not support the idea that the earth is still currently warming as a recent NOAA press release implied? Here is why the coming five years are huge: If, as I believe, the coming El Niño spike is followed by a bigger downturn, will the universities, lined up solidly in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) camp, admit there is a problem? The current El Niño excitement is similar to the that of the great El Niño of 1997-1998. Many on the AGW side are opining this will lead to a “step up” to a new plateau. And they certainly have a point here, in my opinion. If there is a “readjustment” up — and the chart below shows this nicely — then it will silence me for one.

But I am curious, given the constant drumbeat that comes from government, media, academia and, most recently, papal authority and immense investments: Is there any way out for the other side that will not ruin them completely? I asked this question in my article, “Can an AGW Climatologist Be Truly Objective?

There is so much behind this movement, I really can’t see any way the people driving it can possibly back away. As for me, it’s simple. This El Niño and the three years that follow with objective global temperature recordings will answer it for me.

In a world spinning out of control, we are asked to believe that global warming is the biggest threat to mankind. I ask people of goodwill that don’t see things my way to ask themselves this question: What would it take for you to at least have doubt (that should be natural in any future event) and to change your position? I even wrote on that: “Is There Anything in the Global Warming Debate That Would Convince Me I’m Wrong?

Perhaps there is hope. Dr. Ivar Giaever, a real Nobel Prize-winning physicist and former professor at the School of Engineering and School of Science at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (and also a supporter of President Obama), said this: “I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem.” He added, “I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.” You can listen to the speech here.

To know for certain one is right, one has to also know for certain what would prove one wrong. Only by that kind of open-mindedness can one really search for the truth.



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

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


12 July, 2015

A picture is worth 1,000 words

Receiving a hammer and sickle.  Note the small added crucifix. The media try to make out that he was embarrassed but he showed no sign of it.  It is in fact a symbol of Latin American "liberation theology", a belief system that Frank clearly shares


Seas could rise 6 metres even IF governments curb global warming: Study says ocean changes have 'already begun'

Pure speculation. They don't understand what drives present temperatures nor do they understand what drove temperatures in the past

Sea levels could rise by at least six metres (20 feet) in the long term, swamping coasts from Florida to Bangladesh, even if governments achieve their goals for curbing global warming, according to a study published on Thursday.

Tracts of ice in Greenland and Antarctica melted when temperatures were around or slightly higher than today in ancient thaws in the past three million years, a U.S.-led international team wrote in the journal Science.

And the world may be headed for a repeat even if governments cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to a United Nations goal of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Thursday's study, based on studies of everything from ancient ice to fossil corals, said sea levels rose by between six and nine metres in a warm period about 125,000 years ago when temperatures were similar to those of today.

Ocean levels gained between six and 13 metres 400,000 years ago when temperatures were up to about 1C warmer than present.

And in a warm period three million years ago, sea levels were also at least six metres higher than now.

'Present temperature targets may commit Earth to at least six metres sea level rise,' the authors at the Past Global Changes project wrote. Some greenhouse gases can linger for centuries in the atmosphere.

Such a thaw would threaten cities from Beijing to London, and swamp low-lying tropical island states.

Lead author Andrea Dutton, of the University of Florida, said it could take many centuries for a six-metre rise, despite some ancient evidence that more rapid shifts were possible.

'This is a long-term projection. 'It's not going to happen the day after tomorrow,' she told Reuters.

'Studies have shown that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contributed significantly to this sea level rise above modern levels,' said Anders Carlson, an Oregon State University glacial geologist and paleoclimatologist, and co-author on the study.

'Modern atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are today equivalent to those about three million years ago, when sea level was at least six meters higher because the ice sheets were greatly reduced.

'It takes time for the warming to whittle down the ice sheets,' added Carlson, who is in OSU's College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, 'but it doesn't take forever.

'There is evidence that we are likely seeing that transformation begin to take place now.'

The United Nations' panel of climate scientists said in 2013 that global warming could push up world sea levels by 26 to 82 cm (10 to 32 inches) by the late 21st century, on top of a 19 cm gain since 1900.

Thursday's study, based on studies of everything from ancient ice to fossil corals, said sea levels rose by between six and nine metres in a warm period about 125,000 years ago when temperatures were similar to those of today.

Ocean levels gained between six and 13 metres 400,000 years ago when temperatures were up to about 1C warmer than present.

And in a warm period three million years ago, sea levels were also at least six metres higher than now.  Six meters (or about 20 feet) of sea level rise does not sound like a lot.

However, coastal cities worldwide have experienced enormous growth in population and infrastructure over the past couple of centuries – and a global mean sea level rise of 10 to 20 feet could be catastrophic to the hundreds of millions of people living in these coastal zones.


That really IS a buzzkill: Global warming shrinks range of pollinating bumblebees

Since there has been no global warming for 18 years, this attribution CANNOT be correct

Global warming is shrinking the terrain where bumblebees live in North America and Europe, with these vital pollinators departing the southernmost and hottest parts of their ranges while failing to move north into cooler climes, scientists say.

Their study, published on Thursday, used records from 1901 to 2010 to track 67 bumblebee species, finding that the insects have surrendered about 185 miles (300 km) from the southern end of the regions they called home on both continents.

The researchers found no evidence pesticide use or habitat destruction were to blame, instead implicating rising temperatures recorded since climate change began accelerating in the 1970s.

To respond to this problem, the research team suggests that a dramatic solution be considered: moving bee populations into new areas where they might persist.

This 'assisted migration' idea has been considered--and controversial--in conservation biology circles for more than a decade, but is gaining support as warming continues.

'This is the 'climate vise,'' said University of Ottawa biologist Jeremy Kerr, with the bumblebees 'stuck at the northern edges of ranges while the southern edges are crushed inward and those populations are lost.'

'Bumblebees are declining incredibly fast and the fingerprints of human-caused climate change are all over these changes,' Kerr added. 'Even more incredibly to us, these effects are often nearly identical across continents, occurring at the same pace in both Europe and North America.'

The steep decline of bumblebees on a continental scale threatens food security and the economic viability of some crops, the researchers said.

Bumblebees pollinate numerous plants that provide food for people and wildlife.

'Wild bumble bees are important pollinators of agricultural crops such as blueberry, apple, pumpkin and tomato, and declines in this ecosystem service of pollination could lead to lower crop yields and higher food costs, with consequences for both our food supply and the economy,' University of Vermont biologist Leif Richardson said.

Bumblebees are losing the southernmost portion of their ranges amid rising temperatures, but unlike other species they have not moved further north into more hospitable territory.

'They are failing to colonize newly available environments created by this warming. [Because there aren't any]

'Climate change may be making things too hot for them in the south, but warming conditions are not pulling them north as we would expect,' University of Calgary ecologist Paul Galpern said.

Kerr said dramatic action should be considered: a proposal called 'assisted migration' involving a large-scale relocation of bee populations into new areas where they might thrive.

'More generally, losing pollinators is a sign that we are playing dangerously with life-support systems we can't do without,' Kerr added.  'That is an experiment we should never have started.'


Climate is too complex to be modelled

There is no science to global warming, because the climate is too complex and random for the questions which are raised. The few tests that can be done show that saturation precludes global warming caused by greenhouse gases. Scientists who promote global warming skipped over the subject of saturation and used modeling to contrive an effect. Modeling is nothing resembling science, as it is shaped by assumptions and would be too arbitrary even if reliable data could be acquired. Along with the misrepresentations of modeling are contrivances throughout the subject, which includes alteration of temperature measurements to show an increase, where collected data shows none.

The most significant fact about claimed global warming science is that proper scientific methods have been defied so blatantly that nothing can be pinned down. Sheltering claims from accountability to the extent that occurs with global warming corrupts what science is supposed to be so totally that it should not be viewed as science.

Evolution of the Concept

The initial concept of global warming was that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would absorb more radiation and heat the atmosphere. Scientists then found that laboratory tests were not showing an increase in radiation absorption with an increase in CO2 for a very simple reason: A very small amount of CO2 absorbs all radiation available to it in a short distance. Adding more CO2 only shortened the distance required for absorbing all of the radiation. Climatologists refer to this concept as "saturation." But hold-outs were sure global warming must be caused by increases in CO2 and looked for explanations. During the seventies, as computers became available, complex modeling was used to show heating of the atmosphere upon increases in CO2.

In 1979, a quasi governmental office created a study group to clarify the climate influences of carbon dioxide. The result was a publication by Charney et al, 1979 (1), who used modeling of atmospheric effects. Their conclusion was that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere would result in a temperature increase of 3°C. The claims were total fakery. Scientists do not have the slightest ability to convert the details, complexities and randomness of the atmosphere to measurement or calculation, which is why weathermen cannot predict more than a few days for simple elements such as temperature and precipitation. They claimed to model such things as "horizontally diffusive heat exchange" and "heat balance."

The terms used are nothing but word salad. There is no such thing as horizontally diffusive heat exchange in the atmosphere. In large fluids, diffusion would cover no more than a few nanometers before convection renders it irrelevant. Why add "heat exchange?" There needs to be two mediums with an interface for heat exchange. If atmosphere and oceans were the interface, there is no "horizontally diffusive" element to it. Diffusion is a chemistry concept, not an energy concept. Heat moves through conduction, not diffusion. There is also no such thing as "heat balance." Heat migrates and transforms to and from other forms of energy. There is nothing balanced about it.

To model heat through the atmosphere resulting from carbon dioxide, the starting point must be some quantity of heat which is supposed to be moving through the atmosphere. Yet that quantity was the end result of the Charney study rather than the starting point. Numerous other studies used the same basic modeling concepts.

In 1984 and 1988, Hansen et al (2,3) used similar modeling but started with a concept of how much heat carbon dioxide should produce determined as "empirical observation," by which they meant the assumed historical record of carbon dioxide heating the atmosphere. [The assumed historical record is that humans increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by 100 parts per million (ppm) (280-380 ppm) when the first 0.6°C temperature increase occurred in the near-surface atmosphere.] Modeling then had the purpose of showing how the atmosphere would add secondary effects to the primary effect of carbon dioxide. But the historical record included the secondary effects, which means the secondary effects were compounded. In other words, there is no clear concept of a purpose or a logical set of cause-and-effect relationships.

Yet Hansen et al arrived at approximately the same conclusion as Charney et al—that the expected temperature increase upon doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would be about 3°C. This result is always given for hundreds of such studies with widely varying procedures, which shows that it is nothing but a contrived end result with nothing but fakery for a method of deriving it. How could the same number be produced with and without a starting point for the amount of heat CO2 supposedly produces based on the historical record?

The reason for the invariable 3°C increase upon doubling CO2 is that journalists said they would not be concerned unless the temperature increase would be 3°C. Otherwise, why not just use the historical record? If it is extended, it would indicate a temperature in crease of 1.7°C upon doubling CO2 in the atmosphere. (280/100 x 0.6 = 1.7) To get some other number than 1.7°C upon doubling CO2 is to say the atmosphere is going to do something different than it did in the past. There is no explanation of why it should.

The next major development was in incongruous leap. In 1998, Myhre et al (4) added "radiative transfer equations" to the brew. Radiative transfer equations erase the saturation problem. Isn't it strange that the saturation problem didn't exist for Charney et al or Hansen et al. The conclusion of Myhre et al was that Charney et al and Hansen et al were only off by 15%. In other words, the radiative transfer equations sharpened the pencil but did not change the analysis much. Yet they changed everything. Notice a very strange contradiction: Modeling now days shows an expected range of somewhere between 1°C and 4°C in the future upon doubling CO2 in the air. This is a 400% uncertainty. If Myhre et all had the certainty down to 15% in 1998, why so much uncertainty now? Total fakery is always the answer.


Is a mini ICE AGE on the way?

The Earth could be headed for a 'mini ice age' researchers have warned.  A new study claims to have cracked predicting solar cycles - and says that between 2020 and 2030 solar cycles will cancel each other out.

This, they say, will lead to a phenomenon known as the 'Maunder minimum' - which has previously been known as a mini ice age when it hit between 1646 and 1715, even causing London's River Thames to freeze over. 

Conventional wisdom holds that solar activity swings back and forth like a simple pendulum.

At one end of the cycle, there is a quiet time with few sunspots and flares.  At the other end, solar max brings high sunspot numbers and frequent solar storms.  It's a regular rhythm that repeats every 11 years.

Reality is more complicated.  Astronomers have been counting sunspots for centuries, and they have seen that the solar cycle is not perfectly regular.

The new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's 11-year heartbeat.

It draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone.

Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645, according to the results presented by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.

The model predicts that the pair of waves become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022.

During Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity.

'In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun,' said Zharkova.    'Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. 'We predict that this will lead to the properties of a 'Maunder minimum''

'Effectively, when the waves are approximately in phase, they can show strong interaction, or resonance, and we have strong solar activity. 'When they are out of phase, we have solar minimums.

'When there is full phase separation, we have the conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, 370 years ago.'

The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period starting in about 1645 and continuing to about 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.

It caused London's River Thames to freeze over, and 'frost fairs' became popular.

This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the 'Little Ice Age' when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes.

There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past, Nasa says.

The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.

It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun's activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years.

But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations.

Many solar physicists have put the cause of the solar cycle down to a dynamo caused by convecting fluid deep within the Sun.

Now, Zharkova and her colleagues have found that adding a second dynamo, close to the surface, completes the picture with surprising accuracy.

'We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun's interior,' she said.

'They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time.

'Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%,' said Zharkova.

Zharkova and her colleagues derived their model using a technique called 'principal component analysis' of the magnetic field observations from the Wilcox Solar Observatory in California.

They examined three solar cycles-worth of magnetic field activity, covering the period from 1976-2008.

In addition, they compared their predictions to average sunspot numbers, another strong marker of solar activity.

All the predictions and observations were closely matched.


The EPA Got Marketing Help from Green/Left organization

The Center for American Progress, a progressive, DC-based think tank that has served as a training ground for Obama Administration officials, coordinated with the EPA to provide talking points on carbon control rules, emails show.

A series of emails, obtained by the Environment and Energy Legal Institute, demonstrate an ongoing relationship between the EPA – specifically Joseph Goffman, a senior official with the EPA’s air and radiation practice – and CAP’s then-strategy director David Weiss. The two collaborated as they tried to convince a New York Times reporter, who had discovered that the Carbon Capture and Sequestration program (the EPA’s method for assisting power plants that could not meet Clean Air Act regulations for air pollution) was much less effective than the EPA had previously noted.

According to the Free Beacon, which broke the story:

A prominent left-wing group helped formulate Environmental Protection Agency talking points designed to sell a controversial regulatory scheme to skeptical journalists, internal emails show.

The emails show Joseph Goffman, the senior counsel of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, circulating talking points from Center for American Progress climate strategy director Daniel Weiss among EPA colleagues attempting to sell the agency’s controversial power plant regulations to a New York Times reporter.

Weiss emailed Goffman in September 2013 with a series of suggestions for convincing the Times’ Matt Wald of the commercial viability of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, a vital component of the agency’s stringent power plant emissions regulations.

Goffmann, who you’ve met before, no doubt, in our coverage of the EPA’s carbon emissions regulations and “Clean Air Act” materials, had been charged with making a legal justification for the carbon regulations, which would have a demonstrable economic impact on the power industry. As part of that justification, the EPA tried desperately to include references to CCS technology, which they said making adapting to their air pollution standards economically feasible and technologically possible, even for existing coal-powered plants.

The problem? CCS’s reliability has always been in question, and the New York Times became aware of that, sometime in 2013. NYT reporter Matt Wald planned to go public with an “expose” of the CCS program, and Goffman wanted to either head him off or convince him of the error of his ways. Working with associates in the White House and in the EPA’s messaging department (yes, they have one), Goffman contacted Weiss and began sharing ideas. According to the emails, Weiss outlined what he called a “compelling case” that CCS was ready for prime time. Goffman then appears to have emailed Weiss’s suggestions (though copy-pasted in to his own email) to his communications colleagues.

Even though the effort was manic and the collaboration widespread, the “compelling case” for CCS does not appear to have swayed Matt Wald, who went on to write his original story about CCS – and it’s failures. Weiss, on the other hand, apparently so enamored of the CCS justification he’d emailed to Goffman, went on to co-author a Center for American Progress white paper using almost the same language.

The Center for American Progress has filled a number of key roles for the Obama Administration, from rehabbing their ex-employees for suitability on cable news television programs, to serving as a proving ground for administration employees – according to Heartland’s own research, CAP’s outlets have submitted recommendations to 32 regulatory agencies in the Obama Administration and make up 5 of 6 positions on regulatory agencies in the Administration itself. Of the approximately $40 million CAP takes in on a yearly basis from organizations like the George Soros Open Society Foundation and corporations like Wal-Mart, it spends $3.5 million on lobbying for its policies alone. This, however, is one of the first indications that it actively collaborates with the Obama Administration and its officials on marketing strategies for environmental regulations.

The EPA insists that the interactions are just fine (since, of course, no one misrepresented themselves, and no one used copyrighted material), but the emails imply a much larger, closer relationship between the Administration and CAP than was expected. It’s not a surprising relationship of course, given what we known from research on both organizations, but it is concerning – especially that the EPA, which is supposed to focus on environmental protection, is so closely affiliated with an organization tasked with pushing an environmental agenda that relies more on ideology than it does on science.



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

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


10 July, 2015

"From each according to his ability and to each according to his need"

Karl Marx?  Check.  But it is also the message of a pontifical ignoramus: Pope Frank.  The asshole obviously knows no history.  Does he not know the vast evils that have been done under the mantle of that slogan?  A Marxist nut for a Pope:  Just what the world needs

Pope Francis wraps up the first leg of a three-nation South American pilgrimage today after issuing an impassioned call for a new economic and ecological world order where the goods of the Earth are shared by everyone, not just exploited by the rich.

Francis will visit the elderly and give a pep talk to local priests before flying to Bolivia, where the environment, ministering to the poor and the government's tense relations with the Catholic Church are high on the agenda.

Taking up the global warming issue in Quito on Tuesday, Francis pressed the arguments made in his headline-grabbing encyclical earlier this month that the planet must not be exploited by the wealthy few for short-term profit at the expense of the poor.

'The goods of the Earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage,' Francis said.

'The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits.'

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has been harshly criticised by environmentalists and indigenous groups for pushing mining and oil drilling in the Amazon, which together with the Galapagos Islands make Ecuador one of the Earth's environmental priorities.

That push, coupled with high crude prices, allowed Correa to lift 1.3 million people out of poverty in his eight years in office.


South Polar Ice Age: Stations Show “Dramatic” Antarctic Peninsula Cooling Since 1998, Sea Ice Surge

By Ed Caryl

This is a follow-up to the article AWI’s Sloppy Antarctic Peninsula Science…Overlooked GISS Temperature Data, Snowfall Amounts. The reality is that the situation at the South Pole is worrisome.

Ocean around Antarctica markedly colder since 2006…

It is difficult to believe that global warming/climate change is doing anything to the glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Western Antarctic. Here is why: The ocean around Antarctica has been getting markedly colder since 2006; sea ice is increasing, especially since 2012; and land temperatures have been cooling since the El Niño of 1998.

0 – 100m ocean temperature plummeting:

Sea temp 60 - 70°S

Figure 1 is the upper 100 meters of ocean south of 60°S. There’s been a rapid cooling since about 2007. Negative numbers are used to select latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere. The source is KNMI, link.

Sea ice skyrockets…

SH Sea Ice Extent

Figure 2 is the Southern Hemisphere sea ice area anomaly. The source is KNMI, link.

Sea Temp and Ice plot

Figure 3 is a plot of the annualized ocean temperature and Southern Hemisphere ice extent using the KNMI data from figures 1 and 2. Ocean temperature is inverted to show that the ice extent matches the cooling ocean. Note the correlation between the two curves.

Antarctic Peninsula sees dramatic cooling…

Antarctic Peninsula Stations

Figure 4 is a plot of the temperature anomalies at 13 Antarctic stations on or near the Antarctic Peninsula. The baseline is the 1998 to 2014 average for each. Antarctic peninsula has been cooling since 2000. Data source: GISTemp, link.

There is a lot a variation in the annual average temperatures for these stations, especially in the years where there were only two stations reporting, Esperanz and Faraday. For that reason, the average in figure 5 begins in 1963 when O’Higgins began reporting.

Larsen Ice Shelf

 Figure 5 is the average anomaly for the stations in figure 4.

There were two peaks in temperature, one in 1989 and a second during the El Niño year of 1998 which caused a steep upward in temperature world-wide, and especially in Antarctica. But since then there has been a dramatic cooling. There is no “hiatus” on the Antarctic Peninsula, there is marked cooling.

Larsen Ice Shelf station cooling at a rate of 18°C per century

Cooling is especially true of the very location everyone is concerned about, the Larsen Ice Shelf. There is an automated weather station (AWS) there that has been reporting continuously since 1995.

Larsen Ice Shelf

Figure 6 is the annual average temperature at the Larsen Ice Shelf. The source is GISTemp.

Figure 6 shows the step in temperature in 1998 at the Larsen Ice Shelf. The trend in cooling after 1998 is 1.8°C/decade, the second fastest cooling on the Peninsula. Butler Island is cooling faster, at 1.9°C/decade.

Result: exploding sea ice

It is easy to see why the sea ice around Antarctica is increasing. The average ocean temperature from the surface to 100 meters dropped below the freezing point in 2008 and has stayed there. It is hard to melt ice when the water it is floating on is below the freezing point of fresh water, and seldom rises above that temperature.

The Southern Ocean around Antarctica has similar warming and cooling cycles as the North Atlantic, just not as strong. The cycle is now going negative, and temperatures on land and in the ocean are going sharply cooler, with ice increasing. There is no warm ocean water melting ice shelves from below. The ocean is getting colder and is below freezing most of the time. Any increase in ice calving off the glaciers must be from increased snow feeding those glaciers or geothermal heating from volcanism under the ice.

Welcome to reality.


The best renewable energy investment

By Marita Noon

solar panel installationWhen you read a headline such as one from CNBC touting “Solar power’s stunning growth,” realize that it’s thanks to you — even if you’ve never even thought of putting solar panels on your roof or live in an apartment where you couldn’t install them if you wanted to. If you live in the United States, vote, pay taxes, and get your electricity from a utility company, you’ve helped the solar power industry. You support the solar industry through a variety of tax and regulatory policies — voted in by politicians you elected — that favor it over other lower-cost forms of electricity generation.

The CNBC story from December 2014 that claims “US generation up 100 percent this year,” acknowledges the reality of my postulation. “Four major factors have made the solar surge possible,” it states. It, then, goes on to list them (Only one is the result of market conditions, with the other three relating to government policy.):

The extension of the Investment Tax Credit for renewable energy;
State renewable portfolio standards;

The Obama administration’s pro-solar policies, including friendly environmental reviews, cash grants in lieu of tax credits and guaranteed loans; and

The steep decline in the price of PV.

With such favorable conditions, solar may seem like a fail-safe investment — which is exactly what Sunrun is hoping for with its new initial public offering (IPO), expected to raise about $100 million. After all, the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) reporting on the Sunrun IPO points to SolarCity’s success: “shares have soared more than sixfold since its 2012 IPO.”

However, before investing, it would be wise to consider the changeable nature of politics. Tim Snyder, President of Agri-Energy Solutions, Inc. told me, “I spent years developing ethanol and biodiesel opportunities. That was in a time when everyone wanted to invest in them. When times were good you could expect payback of your initial investment in less than two years with skyrocketing internal rates of return. All it took to kill investor interest for these projects was for the government to turn its back on the standard corn-based ethanol plant.”

Snyder added, “The countryside is littered with the carcasses of investors who thought they were investing in the new energy wave for the future, in ethanol and biodiesel, only to have their hopes and cash robbed by a very conflicted energy policy. It’s just not a safe place to put your money without a real and comprehensive plan, and the federal government has no such plan. Remember the old saying, ‘The government giveth, and the government taketh away.’”

Sunrun, as WSJ summarizes, “installs solar panels on residential homes either for no upfront cost or at low cost. Sunrun owns the solar panels and receives monthly payments from homeowners for the power generated by the panels. It also receives government tax incentives to cover its costs.”

Reading through the 234 pages of fine print in Sunrun’s form S-1, filed on June 25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it becomes very clear that its past and future success is because of government policies. Government-dependent growth is why, on page 104, under the heading “Government Regulation,” Sunrun is committed to maintaining a “policy team to focus on the key regulatory and legislative issues impacting our entire industry.” The term “policy team” is gentlespeak, meaning lobbyists whose sole job is to insure policy favorable to its business model, as the S-1 explains, “We plan to continue to invest in building out our team to shape the dialogue and promote a policy framework that will be beneficial.”

Just how “beneficial” is the “policy framework”? The answer is found a few paragraphs down: “These incentives enable us to lower the price we charge homeowners for energy from [solar], and to lease energy systems, helping to catalyze homeowner acceptance of solar energy as an alternative to utility-provided power.”

Under the heading “Policies and Incentives” the S-1, on page 89, outlines the three specific “federal, state, and local policies” that have “been strong factors affecting the market for distributed solar generation.” They are the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), net metering, and Solar Renewable Energy Credits and “other state incentives.”

The S-1 states, “Tax incentives have accelerated growth in U.S. solar energy system installations.” Under today’s policy, businesses and homeowners who install a solar system can receive a tax credit worth up to 30 percent of the system’s cost — though it is scheduled to drop to 10 percent on January 1, 2017. In bold print, page 18 states, “Our business currently depends on the availability of utility rebates, tax credits and other financial incentives in addition to other tax benefits. The expiration, elimination, or reduction of these rebates and incentives could adversely impact our business.” Extending the ITC is likely a top priority of the “policy team.” All U.S. taxpayers, then, are paying for solar’s “stunning growth.”

Net metering is essentially a “utility rebate,” that, according to page 18, provides “homeowners with a one-for-one full retail credit within a monthly billing period for electricity that the solar energy system exports to the electric grid.” Interestingly, the only states where Sunrun operates are those states that have “adopted net metering policies.” Sunrun’s S-1 acknowledges “we rely on net metering and related policies to offer competitive pricing to homeowners” and “changes in net metering policies may significantly reduce demand for electricity from our solar service offerings.” It continues addressing proposed changes and/or caps to net-metering policies, saying that if changes are made, homeowners “will be unable to recognize cost savings.” And, states that do not have favorable net-metering policies “would pose a barrier to entry.”

It is net-metering policies that have made all ratepayers shoulder the tab for solar’s “stunning growth.” As the S-1 points out, homeowners get “a one-for-one full retail credit” for the electricity the system generates. What it doesn’t make clear is that the policy requires the utility to pay the retail rate for electricity whether it needs it or not, and even though it can get lower-priced electricity from conventional sources. As a result, the utility is wasting money and not operating efficiently as a business must do to be profitable. This loss is a result of government policy, not bad management. Therefore, to stay in business, the utility has to raise rates on all its customers so that the few can benefit. Page 88 points out, “Residential solar has penetrated less than 1 percent of the 83 million single family detached homes in the United States.”

Many states are revisiting the generous net-metering policies that were put in place a decade ago when solar adoption was miniscule. In Arizona, where solar penetration is now the second highest in the country, homeowners who install new solar systems pay a fee for “plugging into the electric grid of Arizona Public Service.” Solar customers need to plug into the grid. Page 99 explains, “The home’s energy usage is provided by the solar energy system with any additional needs provided by the local utility.”

Tucson Electric Power wants to change to paying wholesale for the excess electricity homeowners sell to the grid — which, according to the Arizona Republic, “may mean solar power would no longer be a good buy for homeowners.”

Louisiana is reining in its generous solar tax credits with a bill signed into law on June 19. The Advocate reports, “During the recently adjourned legislative session, they capped solar spending at roughly $20 million next year and put in place tighter fraud controls.”

Citing a March report from GTM research, WSJ warns, “a number of new state laws ‘could impact residential solar’s value proposition’ due to changes in subsidies and electric rates.”

With all the claims of renewable energy reaching cost parity with conventional energy, realize this headline is only semi-accurate because government regulation is driving up the cost of conventional electricity while ratepayers and taxpayers are underwriting the cost of renewables.

For once, it is nice to see the solar industry acknowledge (on page 18) that, “Any of these changes could materially reduce the demand for our products and could limit the number of markets in which our products are competitive with electricity provided by the utilities.” As Sunrun states: “We focus our resources on markets with high electricity rates, favorable policy environments, and other characteristics that allow for low operational costs and favorable unit margins.”

If you are tired of having your tax dollars raise your electricity costs, benefitting the 1 percent while the 99 percent pays twice, the best investment you can make is to vote accordingly.


Let Them Have Solar Panels: New Obama Plan Doesn’t Help Poor, But Reducing Regulations Would

The White House is planning to give more than a half a billion dollars in government and private funding for solar panel installations for low and moderate-income households.

Too bad the White House is simultaneously hurting those same struggling Americans by pushing energy regulations that will hike their utilities costs.

The Obama administration plans to modify existing federal programs through executive order to triple the amount of solar systems on federally-subsidized housing. The administration also wants to make it easier for low-income families to take out loans up to $25,000 to install rooftop solar panels.

Is this really helping low-income families?

Actually, this could backfire and hurt low-income families by encouraging them to be exposed to more financial risk. The White House is directing the Federal Housing Administration to make it easier to borrow  money and provide “flexible underwriting to recognize the reduced cost of utilities for energy efficient homes.”

In theory, the loans make sense because people could repay the loans with the money they’ve saved with lower utility bills. But if the solar electric systems installed fail to deliver the anticipated savings, home owners would still be on the hook to payback the full amount of the loan.

Furthermore, taking out a loan for a 20-year solar lease could present problems for low-income homeowners who opt to sell their homes. The seller would have to convince potential buyers to take over the loan, pay off the loan themselves or pay the solar company to take down the solar system and install it on their new homes.

Solar technology’s rapid development also creates potential problems. As the White House notes, the average cost of a solar electric system dropped 50 percent in the past 5 years. Do people want an old technology on their roof? How difficult will it be to renegotiate the contract? How easy will it be to transfer the system to a potential home buyer if that technology is already outdated?

If there is truly an opportunity to save money through solar installation, then private investors and developers should bear the risk of providing the loans. If solar (or any energy technology) is such a good idea, we shouldn’t need to convince anyone to install.

But when the government provides generous carve outs, that risk is distorted and places taxpayers on the hook for any failures.

What about the energy savings? Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who was born, raised and currently lives in Baltimore, remarked, “The difference in a monthly bill of $10 or $15 means a lot to the people who live on my block.”

Cummings’ statement is undoubtedly true. Higher energy bills essentially act as a regressive tax. While the median family spends about 5 cents out of every dollar on energy costs, low-income families spend about 20 cents.

We do need to make energy more affordable. But encouraging families through loans and subsidies to install solar panels is the wrong solution for that problem.

Energy costs for families would go down if regulations decreased. But instead of decreasing them, the Obama administration is implementing a series of energy regulations that will drive up costs and drive people out of work.

One of the biggest threats facing low-income Americans is the administration’s climate change regulations for new and existing power plants that will likely be finalized by the end of the summer.

According to a new study from the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the regulations “would have serious economic, employment, and energy market impacts at the national level and for all states, and that the impacts on low-income groups, blacks and Hispanics would be especially severe.” The study finds that from 2015-2035, black median household income would drop by more than $5,000 and Hispanic median household income would drop by more than $7,000. By 2020, black job losses total nearly 200,000 and Hispanic job losses total more than 300,000.

And the environmental benefit of the economic sacrifices low-income families that are struggling to make ends meet? A change in the earth’s temperature of a few hundredths of a degree Celsius.

Energy policies rooted in the principles of economic freedom lead to increased production, competition and access. Let’s not be duped by federal government gestures and special interests pursuing political and environmental agendas that deprive Americans access to affordable energy and greater prosperity.

As Bill Gates said, the cost of decarbonizing of our energy economy is “beyond astronomical.”  And it’s the America’s poor who pay the highest cost.


Fracking is green

Last Sunday Christopher Booker wrote a brilliant article "Why are greens so keen to destroy the world's wildlife?" He says:

When Professor David MacKay stepped down as chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) last year, he produced a report comparing the environmental impact of a fracking site to that of wind farms.

Over 25 years, he calculated, a single "shalegas pad" covering five acres, with a drilling rig 85ft high (only needed for less than a year), would produce as much energy as 87 giant windturbines, covering 5.6 square miles and visible up to 20 miles away.

Which made me think: where would you rather live, in a county full of giant turbines littering the countryside, killing eagles and bats and producing unreliable electricity, or one with a small discreet gas tap somewhere?



Four current articles below

Climate scientists: More scared of an inquiry into the science than they are of climate change

What’s more terrifying to a climate scientist than “2 degrees” of warming? Answer: Half a degree of hard questions.

Australian climate scientists don’t complain at all when the UN says it wants to redirect $89 Trillion in a quest to change the climate. But they are suddenly all concerned that the Australian Government might waste 0.0001% investigating the science. A disaster!  Since when were climate scientists concerned about wasting public money? Since never.

A group of thirteen scientists, who’ve personally achieved little in the way of scientific advances, have written to Dennis Jensen and Chris Back offering to brief them on the “latest science”, afraid the skeptics might launch an inquiry into the science.  The ABC calls them “prominent”

Isn’t the scientific evidence the most important thing?

Surveys show half of the Australian public are skeptical — unconvinced by their claims that coal will cause a climate crisis or that solar panels can stop the storms. Right now, if the climate is headed for a disaster, nothing is more important than convincing the public. Instead, the climate scientists keep repeating that the debate is over, “trust us”, and “don’t ask questions”. But the debate never happened, the public don’t trust them, and we have many many questions — and they are not going away.

In a Reuters poll, 57% of people said they don’t think UN Climate Scientists can speak with authority on climate. Some scientists keep repeating that there is a consensus, but that spin isn’t working. More of the same isn’t going to change that. It’s time for a real debate.

If the evidence was overwhelming, 95% certain, the climate scientists would welcome the attention. But it’s a gambit they played ten years ago, and the game is over. Skeptics know the case for a crisis will fall over with the merest honest inspection. The unskeptical scientists know it too — that’s why they are so afraid the Coalition might really call their bluff and demand real answers.

The laws of physics are the same in every field

If there is a climate crisis, real scientists would have no trouble convincing other scientists from other fields, but that’s not what we are seeing. Increasingly scientists from other branches of science are protesting, and in their thousands. They are fed up at the way the scientific method is being abused and milked for press attention.

There is no consensus amongst scientists – only among certified “climate” scientists, paid by government. Almost half  of meteorologists are skeptics (crikey!), survey after survey shows that two-thirds of geoscientists and engineers are skeptics, and most readers of skeptical blogs (who chose to respond to surveys and list their qualifications in  comments) have hard science degrees.

Dan Kahan conducted a survey and found people who knew more about maths and science were more likely to be skeptical. In other words, skeptics were better informed about science. See the  qualifications of 400 skeptics here.

How weak is their scientific position?

Dennis Jensen pointed out 97% of models did not predict “the Pause”. So Professor Hoegh-Guldberg simply denied there is a pause. (Hello? What about those satellites? Ignoring most of the big climate temperature data sets?) Probably the only paper in Professor Hoegh-Guldberg’s arsenal is the recent Karl et al one, which ignored the best ocean gauges and used a wildly uncertain estimate to blend two bad data sets together. What’s the certainty? The data was corrected with a figure where the error was 17 times larger than the correction: 0.12 ± 1.7°C. See, exotic adventures in global climate data to unfind “the Pause”. They must be kidding.

Hoegh-Guldberg says 18 years of a global temperature pause is “short term”:

But Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said that was a short-term perspective.  “When you look at the literature, there’s been no hiatus,” he said.

“There’s random variability around the upward signal of temperature.  “It’s just like the stock market. If you look at that it’s going up and down but it’ll have a trend — that trend is what we’re watching.  “[It's] not whether it’s going up or down over a period of 10 years — it’s a long-term signal.”

18 years. 10 years, what’s the difference? It’s only math. ;- )

And oh, yes, please, Hoegh-Guldberg, let’s look at the long term. How many of the IPCC favourite climate models “predicted” the medieval warm period? How many can model the holocene optimum? None and zero. None of their models understand the climate.

M.P.s who understand science are harder to fool

Senator Chris Back is trained in veterinary science. Dennis Jensen has a PhD in physics. Both are happy to listen to the “experts”, but neither will be convinced by weak claims of “consensus”.

Mr Jensen said he was willing to meet the scientists to hear their views.

“I’m open to being convinced but the data and the evidence that I’ve seen [on climate change] thus far certainly I don’t find compelling,” he said.

He claimed that pointing to a scientific consensus on climate science “indicates your argument is weak”.  “When is the last time you heard the consensus of the world scientists is that the earth is roughly spherical?” he said.

“You get the appeal to consensus when the data and the evidence is weak and it’s an appeal to authority rather than examining the data and the evidence.”

Senator Back said he was happy to meet the scientists.

As “a person with a scientific background”, Senator Back said he was concerned by claims that “the science is in and no-one should challenge it”. He is trained as a veterinarian and does not have expertise in climate science.  In response to their concerns, the best the experts can offer is “trust us”

“Exhaustive” and “experts” are just words, not evidence:

Professor Peter Newman, a signatory to the letter and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said the panel’s research was an “exhaustive” process.

He said the political debate around climate change action was legitimate but ”frustrating”.

Professor Newman said MPs should “just deal with the politics, that’s their job”, adding “the scientists have done their job”.

Professor Hughes said MPs who cast doubt on the science of global warming were trying to delay political progress on the issue.


New coal-mine approved for Australia

The Abbott government was under fire Thursday after approving a huge Chinese-run coal mine near prime farmland, sparking division in its own ranks with Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce complaining that "the world has gone mad".

Joyce called the decision "ridiculous" after Chinese company Shenhua was granted approval for the $1 billion Watermark mine near Gunnedah in New South Wales state, under 18 conditions the government said were among the strictest in Australia's history.

"I've never supported the Shenhua mine. I think it is ridiculous that you would have a major mine in the midst of Australia's best agricultural land," Joyce said on Facebook about the project, which is in his constituency.

Large-scale mining in rural areas and concerns about valuable agricultural and mineral assets passing into foreign hands is a hot topic in Australia, with the government earlier this year tightening scrutiny on overseas investment in farmland.

The NSW Farmers Association blasted the Shenhua move as the government turning a "food bowl into coal". The area is known for its rich black soil, excellent water resources and ideal climate.

It said the Shenhua Watermark Coal Project, with a mine life of 30 years, would "disturb an area of over 4,000 football fields in size, in the middle of some of Australia's best farming country".

But Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who approved the mine this week, said he had listened to community concerns and put strict conditions on the mine, with Shenhua needing to complete water and biodiversity management plans before any mining starts.

"There will be no impact on the availability of water for agriculture," Hunt said.

Another condition includes the power to stop mining if there were any effects on agricultural water supply. In the event that it did occur, the mine must immediately provide an alternative water supply to farmers.

National broadcaster ABC said a legal challenge had been launched by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission in a last ditch bid to halt the mine, on claims officials failed to properly consider the impact on a local koala population.


Nuclear power and waste storage proposed for South Australia

THINGS are looking grim for the South Australian economy, and everyone is trying to think of ways to kickstart growth. But is building a nuclear waste dump really the best idea?

South Australia has the worst unemployment rate in Australia, which hit 7.6 per cent in May, the highest since 2001. New figures out today showed it grew to 8.2 per cent in June.

University of Adelaide Associate Professor John Spoehr told The Advertiser the state was “on a pathway to double digit unemployment in the absence of major new investment in infrastructure and construction projects”.

In this atmosphere Liberal senator for South Australia Sean Edwards has floated his ambitious new plan for a nuclear power plant and waste storage that promises economic growth and which could potentially see state taxes abolished and free electricity for residents.

In February a poll for The Advertiser revealed 58.3 per cent of its readers were supportive of building a nuclear power plant in the state. Now state Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, who has acknowledged that the state is in transition with some industries in decline, has formed a Royal Commission to look into the idea.

Money does talk, and Senator Edwards believes nuclear could be an “economic game changer”.


A strong cold front is set to deliver heavy snow and wild winds for much of Australia

Where's that global warming?

THE most powerful cold front to cross Australia’s southeast in years will hit this weekend with forecasters warning of freezing conditions.

The weather event will start on Saturday and unusually cold conditions are expected to last until the middle of next week.

Weatherzone says South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland and the Northern Territory will experience the coldest spell in at least two years, and more than five years in some places.

Snow is forecast to fall in areas of Australia’s south east down to 600 metres, including in some Melbourne suburbs and in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.

“Snow should fall almost right along the Victorian and NSW ranges, falling as low as 600 metres, most likely in southernmost parts.”

This means great news for Ski resorts who have been struggling to open runs after one of the worst starts to the snow season on record.

Victorian and New South Wales alpine areas are likely to receive at least 50cm of fresh powder.

The nation’s capital can expect an average maximum of about 8C over four days, the coldest since June 2009.

Rainfall wise, the heaviest falls will be in eastern Victoria and south-eastern New South Wales where up to 50mm is possible.

“These showers will at times and in some places contain small hail and combining with the bitterly cold and strong winds will add to an already exceptional chill, making the actual temperature feel as much as five degrees colder.”

The situation is being closely monitored and warnings will be issued in each state, as required, as conditions deteriorate.

In the meantime, Perth has recorded its coldest night of the year as the mercury plunged below zero in some suburbs.

The official temperature in the capital dipped to 0.8C while suburbs in the cities south east fell to -1.5C.



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

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


9 July, 2015

Are shrubs causing global cooling?

I initially thought this story about shrubs might be an allusion to George Bush II.  Leftists always thought they were enormously clever by referring to him as "Shrub".  But it was not to be.

But some amusing nuttiness below anyway.  I fully accept that shrubs are thriving these days.  There is one in my front garden that certainly is.  The known higher levels of CO2 would be the main cause of that.  But the effect should be worldwide and not confined to the Arctic.  But note what we read below:

"'While plants help to slow climate change in other parts of the world, in the Arctic, taller shrubs prevent snow from reflecting heat from the sun back into space, thereby warming the Earth's surface.'"

So plants worldwide must be doing well and we are told that "plants help to slow climate change" outside the Arctic.  As there are a lot more plants outside the Arctic than it it, shrubs should in fact overall be COOLING the planet!

The usual illogic below

Shrubs growing in the Arctic may cause global warming to get worse, according to research.  Scientists have found climate change has already resulted in an increase in shrubs across the tundra.

They say shrubs reduce the amount of sunlight reflected by snow as they provide a darker surface while they also alter the soil temperatures causing permafrost to thaw.

This can contribute to global warming by reducing the amount of heat from the sun that is reflected back into space.

Dr Isla Myers-Smith, a climate change scientist at the University of Edinburgh who led the study, said: 'Arctic shrub growth in the tundra is one of the most significant examples on Earth of the effect that climate change is having on ecosystems.

'Our findings show there is a lot of variation across this landscape. Understanding this should help improve predictions of climate change impacts across the tundra.'

The research, which is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, involved an international team of scientists studying vegetation changes at 37 sites in nine countries.

They analysed the annual growth rings in the plant stems of shrubs growing in the tundra to build up a 60 year record of the effects of climate on vegetation growth.

They found that as global temperatures have increased, the number of shrubs has increased and their distribution has moved further north.  The type of shrubs has shifted in some areas to taller plants such as alder and willow.

The study also found that the changes appear to be happening faster in Europe and Russia than they are in North America.

The researchers warn that as these changes continue, it could accelerate the transformation of the arctic ecosystem.

Some animals like moose prefer to eat shrubs while others, such as caribou, live on the lichen and grass species that cover northern parts of the Arctic.

Kevin Guay, a researcher who took part in the study at the Woods Hole Research Centre in Falmouth, Massachusetts, said: 'While plants help to slow climate change in other parts of the world, in the Arctic, taller shrubs prevent snow from reflecting heat from the sun back into space, thereby warming the Earth's surface.'


Obama and EPA imperil minority welfare

“Clean Power Plan” would bring imaginary benefits – and real health and welfare damage

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency and environmental activists frequently claim that climate change will disproportionately affect poor and minority communities. In their view, this justifies unprecedented environmental regulations, like EPA's pending “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from coal and gas-fueled power plants 30% by 2030.

But what effect will the regulation itself have on poor and minority communities?

The plan will result in higher electricity costs for businesses and families, lost jobs, lower incomes, higher poverty rates, reduced living standards, and diminished health and welfare, our exhaustive recent study found. This damage will be inflicted at the national level and in all 50 states. The CPP will impact all low-income groups, but hit America’s 128 million Blacks and Hispanics especially hard.

The EPA rules will: 1) more than double the cost of natural gas and electricity, adding over $1 trillion to family and business energy bills; 2) require average families to pay $1,225 more in inflation-adjusted dollars for power and gas in 2030 than in 2012; 3) destroy millions of jobs in companies and industries that can no longer compete, here or internationally; and 4) significantly reduce U.S. economic growth every year for the next two decades, causing more than $2.3 trillion in total lost gross domestic product.

Compared to whites, blacks and Hispanics already spend 50% and 10% more of their incomes on utilities, respectively, 20% and 90% more on food, and 10% and 5% more on housing. The EPA regulations will significantly increase the minority family “energy burden” – the percentage of annual household incomes they must pay for residential energy bills – and thus the number of families driven into energy poverty. Inability to pay energy bills is second only to inability to pay rent as the leading cause of homelessness, so increasing numbers of poor and minority families will become homeless.

Black and Hispanic household incomes will decline by increasing amounts every year, while their food and healthcare costs will climb significantly, since those business sectors will also have to pay much more for energy. The poverty rate will increase by more than 23% for blacks and more than 26% for Hispanics.

EPA’s rule will force poor and minority families to choose between buying food, putting gas in the car, going to the doctor, buying medicines, giving to their church, saving for retirement, or making mortgage, rent and car payments. Small businesses will have to find thousands more just to keep the heat, lights and air conditioning on, without laying people off or closing their doors. Factories, malls, school districts, hospitals and cities will have to pay millions more for energy.

By 2035, cumulative job losses resulting from the rule will total 7 million for blacks and 12 million for Hispanics. Most of these losses will occur in localities where blacks and Hispanics are most heavily concentrated. The rule will especially harm residents of seven states with the highest concentrations of blacks and Hispanics: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York and Texas.

Entire communities could sink into poverty. Bread winners lucky enough to find work will be forced to take multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and suffer severe sleep deprivation. Families will have to cope with more stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will have strokes and heart attacks.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) bluntly summed up the effects of EPA’s “clean power” rules. “A lot of people on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum are going to die,” he said.

Ironically, these are the very people that Obama and EPA claim to care about the most. As African-American author and news analyst Deneen Borelli observes, President Obama “is rewarding his overwhelming support by black voters with an energy policy that will significantly reduce their disposable income.” Indeed, she says, climate change is “the green movement’s new Jim Crow law.”

National Black Chamber of Commerce President Harry Alford accurately called EPA’s carbon dioxide regulation “a slap in the face to poor and minority families.”

Blacks and Hispanics work hard to provide better futures for their children. The EPA regulations will push the American dream even further out of reach for them. Their incomes will be less, their unemployment rates will increase substantially, and it will take those who are out of work longer to find another job. Blacks and Hispanics are often the “last hired and the first fired.”

These are real impacts. However, EPA refuses to consider them, much less tabulate them and compare them to supposed regulatory benefits. It won’t even acknowledge that the health and climate risks that its costly regulations will allegedly prevent are in fact speculative, exaggerated and even fabricated.

For almost 20 years, average planetary temperatures have barely budged, even as carbon dioxide levels “soared” from 0.03% all the way to 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere. No category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 9-1/2 years. Tornadoes, floods, droughts, polar bears, polar ice, sea levels and wildfires are all in line with, or better than, historic patterns and trends. Meanwhile, the Sahel is green again, thanks to that extra plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, without which life on Earth would end.

Moreover, even if CO2 does drive climate change, slashing US greenhouse gas emissions would bring no benefits, since China, India and other developing nations will not be reducing their enormous emissions.

Other EPA rules are equally suspect. Its mercury regs are based on an imaginary group of US women who catch and eat 300 pounds of fish annually – and whose children would supposedly improve their IQs by an un-measurable 0.00209 points if coal-fired power plants are shut down. As to soot, EPA’s illegal experiments on 296 people found that even “dangerous” or “lethal” exposures harmed no one.

Our air is clean. We don’t need these job-killing, health-impairing EPA regulations. But our governing elites will not give up their power or perks – or their propensity for playing with people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and well-being, for virtually no climate stability, air quality or other benefits.

The good news is that all of this is not inevitable. A recent Supreme Court decision held that EPA should have considered these and other enormous costs from its “mercury and air toxics” regulations, before imposing the rules. The decision should give governors and federal and state lawmakers every incentive to resist EPA’s harmful and dictatorial actions, and not wait for the CPP regulation to go into effect.

A dozen states have already sued EPA over its Clean Power Plan, which is opposed by experts on both sides of the aisle – and even noted liberal constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe. Other states should join the suit, demand a full accounting of regulatory costs, and simply refuse to implement the plan.

As currently written, the regulation calls on unelected state environmental agencies to draft their own state plans and submit them directly to EPA for review and approval. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed an executive order blocking her state's environmental agency from submitting a plan. Other states have introduced legislation to the same effect. More should follow them into battle.

The grim reality is that the EPA wants states to do their dirty work for them.  By submitting a plan, states will become complicit in the agency's plan to shut down affordable, reliable power generation, destroy jobs and livelihoods, and plunge minority families deeper into poverty, hardship and ill health.

For the sake of their constituents, elected officials in Washington and state capitals have an obligation to fight this federal takeover of state authority. They should act soon. EPA is scheduled to release its final regulation in August, initiating a one-year period before states will be forced to comply.

As this deadline approaches, our elected officials should determine how best to confront – and resist – EPA’s latest power grab. They should remember that the jobs, economic well-being, health and very lives of millions of minority and blue-collar families hang in the balance.

Via email

No, Polar Bears Won't Face Existential Threat Within 10 Years

In 2009, then-Sen. John Kerry said, “Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013.” In that same year, Al Gore reiterated the claim: “Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months will be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years.”

Without ice, polar bears have a tough time surviving, and sadly we had to bid farewell to this wonderful creature a few short years ago because we failed to heed the warning.

Actually, no, that’s not at all true. Not only has the Arctic retained a considerable amount of ice in recent summers, but polar bears are thriving. Earlier this year, Dr. Susan Crockford of the Global Warming Policy Foundation discovered, “On almost every measure, things are looking good for polar bears. Scientists are finding that they are well distributed throughout their range and adapting well to changes in sea ice. Health indicators are good and they are benefiting from abundant prey.” With roughly 25,000 polar bears estimated to be roaming the Arctic, up from 5,000 in the ‘60s, the alarm should be over.

But it’s not.  According to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey, computer models suggest nearly one-third of polar bears could be wiped off the planet in 10 years as greenhouse gas emissions rise.

Let’s get this straight: The same scientific lobby that warned decades ago polar bears would be extinct by now — but which instead grew in population — are now telling us that a significant percentage of bears could face eradication within a decade based on computer models. The same computer models that utterly failed to forecast the current 18-year-old global warming hiatus. That kind of logic is enough to make even a polar bear do a facepalm.


23 things Congress could defund in Interior and Environment

This week, the House of Representatives is taking up the appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. This is an opportunity for Congress to exercise its constitutional power of the purse through policy riders that can help limit the size and scope of government.

To that end, Americans for Limited Government suggests the following areas where House members might look to offer amendments to curb what has been a department run amok.

1. Defunding EPA Carbon Endangerment Finding. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the carbon endangerment finding that held carbon dioxide to be a harmful pollutant under the terms of the Clean Air Act.  It has been used to justify punitive regulations, particularly against producers of coal electricity, to reduce carbon emissions — all without any vote in Congress. It should be defunded, along with any rule that restricts or limits the emissions of carbon dioxide of any motor vehicle, combined heat and power plants or plants for the generation of power or for the production of heat, including the new and existing power plant rules.

2. Defunding UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since 1988, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been responsible for promoting the man-made global warming hypothesis that the EPA now bases its punitive carbon restriction regulations on. Congress could send a strong message by taking away funds to participate in the forum any longer.

3. Defunding Northern Spotted Owl protection under Endangered Species Act. In 1990, the northern spotted owl was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. That designation has since obliterated the logging industry in California, Oregon and Washington, and now the radical environmentalists want to expand the territory protecting the owl. We propose the opposite. Congress could deny funds to protect any land the owl resides on so loggers can get back to logging.

4. Defunding ethanol mandate. Congress adopted the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005 and expanded it in 2007, with the EPA now requiring so-called renewable fuel including corn-based ethanol to be blended into transportation fuel. It is simply a corporate handout to ethanol producers that presumes ethanol would not otherwise be sold without a government mandate. Congress could deny funds to make any rule that ethanol be included in the blending of gasoline for commercial sale.

5. Defunding removal of lands for energy production purposes without reporting and energy production offsets elsewhere. Instead sitting aside waiting for the EPA to take energy off the table and out of markets, Congress can be proactive and require that no land be removed for energy production until a public report on the amount of energy potential of those lands is issued by the Energy Information Agency, and other public lands containing an equivalent or higher amount of energy potential are made available for energy production.

6. Defunding any litigation pursued under new and existing power plants rule. The heart of the EPA’s strategy for ensuring compliance with its carbon emissions restrictions is via litigation against energy producers. Congress could strike a blow by defunding carrying forth any litigation under Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units and under Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units under the Clean Air Act or any substantively similar rule that limits emissions of carbon dioxide from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units, including, primarily, coal- and natural gas-fired units.

7. Defunding the Green Climate Fund. Since 2010, the UN Green Climate Fund has been redistributing funds to developing countries, supposedly to combat man-made global warming. Congress could deny funds for this purpose.

8. Defunding the EPA Social Cost of Carbon assessment tool. Congress could deny any funds from being used to utilize the Social Cost of Carbon or any other tool to estimate of the economic damages associated with a small increase in carbon dioxide emissions, the value of damages avoided for a small carbon dioxide emission reduction, changes in net agricultural productivity, human health, or property damages from increased flood risk.

9. Cut EPA general counsel’s office by 30 percent. Just like it sounds. Do not allow no more than $40 million be used to pay for personnel in the Office of the General Counsel of the Environmental Protection Agency.

10. Defunding surveillance cameras in national parks. Congress could block any funds from being used to purchase, install, or maintain any surveillance cameras in national forests and other public lands administered by the U.S. Forrest Service.

11. Zero funding the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Somehow, we suspect there would be still be arts and humanities in the U.S. without national endowments set up for that purpose. As such, Congress could zero fund both of these agencies to carry out any part of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965.

12. Defunding light bulb ban. In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which was to phase out certain types of incandescent light bulbs. But we don’t have to say goodbye to Thomas Edison’s most famous invention just yet. Congress could block funds from being used to implement or enforce section 430.32(x) of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations; or to implement or enforce the standards established by the tables contained in section 325(i)(1)(B) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6295(i)(1)(B)) with respect to BPAR incandescent reflector lamps, BR incandescent reflector lamps, and ER incandescent reflector lamps.

13. Barring sue and settle arrangements under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The EPA escalation of sue and settle cases to change the law through federal court rulings threatens to shut down America’s coal producers and other entrepreneurs and compromise our electric grid.  Operating hand in hand with radical environmentalist groups that are willing participants in the scam, sue and settle not only endangers the economy, but also the constitutional separation of powers. Congress could deny any funds from being used for paying legal fees or damages under cases in which the government is a party arising those laws and put a stop to it.

14. Protecting ANWR from Obama executive action. Better safe than sorry. Obama asked Congress to designate portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness, but Congress has not acted. And we all know what that means. Where Congress won’t act, Obama will, so Congress can get ahead of another usurpation by blocking funds from being used to from suddenly claiming ANWR is wilderness.

15. Defunding Special Envoy to get Keystone XL approved. Can we just get this pipeline approved already? Perhaps the Secretary of State and Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change would notice if the salaries of employees were not permitted to be paid in an amount exceeding $1.00 per pay period until the Secretary of State issues a permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that shall have effect for a period lasting no less than 10 years.

16. Defunding EPA activities that impose additional, extralegal requirements for approving mine permits. Congress could deny funds from being used in defending the government’s position in the Pebble Limited Partnership versus Environmental Protection Agency case that is blocking gold and copper from being mined in Alaska.

17. Defunding EPA rules on burning wood. But what if it gets cold? Congress may want to consider blocking funds from being used by the EPA to enforce the “New Source Performance Standards for Residential Wood Heaters” or any other rule that that restricts the use of wood burning as a heat source, fireplaces, and for cooking.

18. Reporting on Climate Impacts of Forest Fires. When you engage in proper timbering of our nation’s forests, it can help prevent forest fires. As such, Congress should require the EPA to report on the climate impacts of the forest fires that the agency through its regulation is causing.

19. Defunding Navigable Waters Rule. The EPA thinks it can regulate every pond and puddle in America. But not if Congress steps in. It could block funds from being used to implement Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the Clean Water Act  or any other rule that attempts to define waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act.

20. Defunding Delta Smelt protection and all actions to divert water away from farmers in the San Joaquin delta of California under Endangered Species Act. Water is a big problem in California right now, and for farmers whose lands depended on irrigation waters from the San Joaquin delta, it got a whole lot worse when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to start protecting the Delta Smelt. Congress should block funds from being used to divert water from the San Joaquin delta away from agriculture farmland under the guise of protecting the Delta smelt under the Endangered Species Act.

21. Defunding Boiler MACT regulations. Congress could block funds from being used to enforce the Boiler MACT regulations.

22. Defunding additional national monument designations. There’s probably enough national monuments by now. Congress could defund any more from being created under the Antiquites Act of 1906.

23. Defunding no-take zones or marine sanctuaries designations. There’s probably enough no-take zones and marine sanctuaries already, too. Congress could block funds be used to create any more no-take zones or marine sanctuaries in U.S. waters under the National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act, the National Park Service Organic Act, the Wilderness Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the National Marine Sanctuaries Act or any other act, executive order, rule, regulation, policy, or initiative.


Reusable bags encourage shoppers to buy junk food, Harvard finds

Canvas shopping bags might be good for the environment but they could be bad for your waistline, Harvard University has found.  Researchers have discovered that a customer’s choice of shopping bag influences purchasing.

And while canvas or hessian bags are more likely to encourage shoppers to choose environmentally friendly organic products, they also make people feel more virtuous and so deserving of a sugary or fatty treat.

In fact, a study showed that people who took their own reusable bag into supermarkets were 33 per cent more likely to pick up unhealthy snacks than those who used the shop provide film bags.

“Grocery store shoppers who bring their own bags are more likely to purchase organic produce and other healthy food,” said study author Uma Karmarkar, assistant professor of business administration at Harvard’s Marketing Unit.

“But those same shoppers often feel virtuous, because they are acting in an environmentally responsible way.  “That feeling easily persuades them that, because they are being good to the environment, they should treat themselves to cookies or potato crisps or some other product with lots of fat, salt, or sugar.”

The study also showed that canvas bags could also be adding to the cost of the weekly grocery shop. The study showed that they encourage people to buy organic food, which adds around £8 to a family of four’s grocery bill, totalling an extra £416 a year.

The study is the first to demonstrate that bringing your own grocery bags causes significant changes in food purchasing behaviour.

The authors collected loyalty cardholder data for 142,938 shopping trips at a major grocery chain in California between May 2005 and March 2007. California has banned plastic bags since 2014.

They compared the same shoppers on trips for which they brought their own bags with trips for which they did not.

Participants were also recruited online from a national pool and were randomly assigned one of two situations: bringing their own bags or not bringing their own bags.

“In short, bringing your own bags changes the way you shop," said Bryan Bollinger of Duke University, who co-authored the research.

"Our findings thus have important implications for grocery store managers. In stores where reusable bags are popular, marketing organic or sustainably farmed foods as indulgences could increase the sales of those items.”


Australia: Greens infiltrate the classroom

By retired Leftist politician Gary Johns

I received a letter this week that had been sent to the parent of a 10-year-old schoolboy and signed by the deputy principal of Cottesloe Primary School, Perth. The letter requested her permission to send a letter, allegedly written by her son, to Julie Bishop regarding the UN climate talks.

This was part of a school project. I am informed the parent looked into the project and spoke with her son and was very unhappy about what the school had done. Her son would not author the letter so much as be encouraged to copy a letter written by a green activist.

“Climate Action for a Safe Environment” is a Greens-inspired campaign to infiltrate schools, indeed the minds of schoolchildren. The campaign website contains a note for teachers: “Students can craft a persuasive letter based solely on the information in Curtin’s CASE flyer” (emphasis added).

The letter seeking parental permission reads in part: “This morning (students) had a speaker, Dr Chilla Bulbeck, discussing environmental issues including climate change and global warming.

“The students … were asked to write a letter to Julie Bishop ­putting forward their thoughts on global warming and climate change” (emphasis added).

The letter to parents directs them to the campaign website where a standard letter is ready and waiting.

“Dear Julie Bishop,

My name is … and I am an ­average … student ... please help this goal of mine (to stop global warming) become yours too ­because we can make a difference for Australia” (emphasis added).

Craft a persuasive letter using their thoughts, describing their goal? This is a deception. This is high-pressure propaganda and it is taking place in primary schools right now.

Bulbeck is an expert in selling ideology. She held the chair of women’s studies at ­the University of Adelaide until 2008 but is now a full-time “volunteer” for the Greens in Western Australia. She is a big-time feminist. Her recent book is a lament for the young generation who seem ­comfortable in their skins and not at all concerned with the evils of inequality, racism and sexism that apparently lurk in every conversation and gesture.

Unlike feminist radicals of yesteryear, she finds young people “are stumped to identify or discuss collective or structural bases for inequality and difference”.

She is a radical in love with the idea of a never-ending revolution. To let her at the minds of 18-year- olds at university is one thing; to let her near 10-year-olds quite ­another. Bulbeck claims Curtin’s CASE is not a political organisation, but admits “our project does appeal to Greens members and supporters”. Very subtle. She also makes an appeal to “climate consensus” based on a “tri-partisan” world. It seems the Greens are now up there with the big two parties, provided they fall into line.

A representative of a political party was allowed into the classroom to push the party’s agenda on young children and to use them to write letters to achieve the party’s goals. Were other ­voices heard?

Were children aware that if the world decides to cut the output of carbon dioxide emissions by denying cheap energy-dense sources they are condemning ­millions to an early death through poverty?

The sunny shores at Cottesloe Beach will remain sunny, the West Australian economy will continue to give succour to millions, provided non-renewables remain strong until such time as there are cheap and reliable ­alternatives.

This exercise in high-pressure manipulation of 10-year-olds took place a few suburbs from the University of Western Australia where a posse of ignorant ­academics and students ran Bjorn Lomborg out of town.

They asserted he was a ­climate-change denier. He is not. Lomborg knows the cost of trading the possible loss of life in 100 years from climate change against the certain loss of life now through lack of access to cheap dense forms of energy.

Did children feel pressured to write a letter and to take the Greens’ viewpoint in that letter? I suspect the school will say there was no pressure, but the examples of letters in the project are all from one position.

It is also understandable that a 10-year-old child might feel very awkward about saying in the presence of his teacher and the other students that he did not wish to write such a letter.

The Greens are no doubt presenting this “lesson” at more than one school. Please, parents, if you have examples of this propaganda send them to me.



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

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


8 July, 2015

The climate youth

Not quite the Hitler youth -- yet

A group of concerned mothers and their children will descend on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to rally for stronger protections from climate change.

Moms Clean Air Force is organizing a “play-in” for climate action near the Capitol building, where they will draw attention to upcoming methane regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The group promises “fun activities for kids” at the rally.
“This family-friendly protest against the air pollution that causes dangerous climate change will showcase exactly what’s at stake as temperatures and sea levels rise: our kids,” the group says.

“Moms know that kids can’t sit still, so we are ditching a traditional sit-in and having our second annual play-in,” it added.

The EPA is preparing to levy new methane regulations once the White House’s Office of Management and Budget signs off on the proposal. The rules could come later this summer.

The mothers are calling for the strongest possible methane regulations to protect against pollution from the oil and gas industry.

The group is concerned about what it says is a rise in methane pollution that can have harmful effects on children’s health, particularly near homes, schools and parks.

In addition to Tuesday's “family-friendly” protest, the group is also sponsoring a new advertising campaign to push for stronger climate protections from methane.


A new Dr. Strangelove Craves One World Government Run by “Experts”

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the scientist behind Laudato Si, is an activist for a global state run by “enlightened” elites

This is the thing that wants to run your life for you

Who’s up for a one-world government run by radical ecologists? Herr Professor Doktor Hans Joachim, a.k.a. John, Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Commander of the British Empire, prophet of doom, avowed atheist, and the most prominent advisor to Pope Francis and the Vatican on global warming, is hot for it. And he has a “master plan” to bring it about.

Schellnhuber is a quantum physicist who apparently believes the earth is a self-aware, self-regulating, cognizant organism. He sees mankind as an infection which causes Mother Earth to develop planetary syndromes like global warming, which, Schellnhuber says, might soon kill billions. And he has the ear of the Vatican. Or, rather, as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he plugs the ear of the Vatican. Schellnhuber has openly boasted of denying access to Vatican events to scientists who disagree with him about global warming. Schellnhuber is a courtier who will allow no good news to reach the sovereign.

Anyway, global government can’t come soon enough, Schellnhuber says, because the current benighted political system will “tear this cultivated world and its breathing inhabitants apart.” Schellnhuber would be the world’s tutor — and the cure for its ills.

In his own wistful words, here is his “daydream” about what the “Great Transformation” to “world government” would look like:

the Earth Constitution would transcend the UN Charter and identify those first principles guiding humanity in its quest for freedom, dignity, security and sustainability;
the Global Council would be an assembly of individuals elected directly by all people on Earth, where eligibility should be not constrained by geographical, religious, or cultural quotas; and
the Planetary Court would be a transnational legal body open to appeals from everybody, especially with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution.

You have to admire Schellnhuber’s suggestion that our world leaders be elected directly. If you thought national campaigns were bad now, when we have the moderating effects of a common culture and separation of powers, just wait until we have planetary direct democracy.

Also ingenious is his recommendation that eligibility not be constrained by geography and other cultural ties. This makes it possible to achieve his goal of filling all top posts with experts. Who can be against experts? Yet the true innovation is that Global Council leaders not only get to impose solutions to our problems, but would also get to define those problems in the first place.

The Planetary Council, presumably chosen from the Global Council — has Schellnhuber daydreamed about leading this body? — has the added pleasure of assigning punishments for failing to implement whatever “solutions” are imposed, but also, we might suspect, of issuing penalties for failing to acknowledge Council-defined problems. Would disagreeing with World Government be a “hate crime” against Mother Earth?

Supporters will say such a political system would be efficient. Things will happen and quickly. In this, they are right. French citizens who lived through la Terreur were amazed at the rapidity with which efficient, unchecked government lopped off heads.

The Pope’s New Encyclical
Schellnhuber was one of the advisors to Pope Francis as he wrote his “environmental” encyclical Laudato Si. So it is no surprise to hear in that document not only Schellnhuber’s scientific opinions but the echoes of his cry for one-world government. For instance, the Pope writes:

[I]t is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions. (paragraph 175)

Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls. Unless citizens control political power — national, regional and municipal — it will not be possible to control damage to the environment. (179)

In these calls, Francis sought (as in 175) to enlist support from Pope Benedict XVI, quoting from his encyclical Caritas in Veritate, that “there is urgent need of a true world political authority.” But Francis left out what came before, which was Benedict’s concern “of giving poorer nations an effective voice in shared decision-making.” Francis also cut short Benedict’s ending, which was this warning: “Such an authority would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity.”

In Laudato, Pope Francis does not say much about subsidiarity, which encourages local solutions rather than centralized ones. The Catholic Catechism lays heavy emphasis on its importance (although the following italics are mine):

1883 … Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good.”

1895 The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.

A “true international order,” which respects the place of families, the Church and local communities, is not the equivalent of a secular unaccountable world government, but more like its opposite. Yet with radical globalists like Schellnhuber whispering in the halls, we are right to fear that such subtleties will be lost. Schellnhuber should be spouting his theories to weary patrons at a local bar in Potsdam, not gaining the ear of British monarchs and popes.


Protecting Humanity from Ice Ages

By S. Fred Singer

I have recently become quite concerned about ice ages and the dangers they pose to humans on our planet—and indeed to most of terrestrial ecology.

I must confess I never much worried about the supposed dangers of global warming—even if we could rely on the predictions of IPCC climate models. In fact, they seem to be failing miserably, as judged by the ongoing pause in GW—while atmospheric levels of anthropogenic CO2 and other greenhouse gases continue to increase. It seems that our climate is mainly controlled by natural forcings, like solar activity and atmosphere-ocean oscillations that are not included in current models.

What drew my attention to ice ages is the manuscript (Climate and Collapse) by agricultural economist Dennis Avery, my coauthor on Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years [Rowman&Littlefield 2007]. Dennis documents the historic collapse of civilizations, using recorded history and archeological data. Cold periods and droughts appear to be the main dangers to agriculturally based societies in all regions of the world.

There is no question here: To protect our civilization from harm, it is vitally important to understand the causes of severe climate cooling and try to figure out how to prevent such cooling episodes, if possible.

There are two kinds of ice ages; they are fundamentally different and therefore require different methods of mitigation: (i) Major (Milankovich-style) glaciations occur on a 100,000-year time-scale and are controlled astronomically. (ii) “Little” ice ages were discovered in ice cores; they have been occurring on an approx. 1000-1500-yr cycle and are likely controlled by the Sun. The current cycle’s cooling phase may be imminent—hence there may be urgent need for action.

Major glaciations—on a 100,000-year time scale

I recently published an essay on these pages on how to avoid the next major ice age; there have been nearly 20 such glaciations in the past two to three million years. The coolings are quite severe: the most recent one, ending only about 12,000 years ago, covered much of North America and Europe with miles-thick continental ice sheets and led to the disappearance of (barely) surviving bands of Neanderthalers; they were displaced by the more adaptable Homo Sapiens.

According to the Serbian astronomer Milankovich, glaciation timing was controlled by astronomical parameters, such as oscillations, with a 100,000-year period, of the eccentricity of the Earth’s elliptic orbit around the Sun, oscillations with a period of 41,000 years of the Earth’s “obliquity” (inclination of the spin axis to the orbit plane, currently at around 23 degrees), and a precession of this spin axis, with a period of about 21,000 years.

While many consider the timing issue as settled, there are plenty of scientific puzzles still awaiting solutions: For example, how to explain the suddenness of de-glaciation, transiting within only centuries from a glaciation maximum into a warm Interglacial, like the present Holocene period.

Most expect the next glaciation to arrive rather soon; but calculations by Prof Andre Berger of the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, suggest a delay of up to 40,000 years—so there may be no great urgency. Nevertheless, it would be useful and of great scientific interest to verify the existence of a hypothesized “trigger” that might be disabled by human action—at low cost and negligible risk.

Little Ice Ages (LIA) and the Dansgaard-Oeschger-Bond (D-O-B) cycles

After digesting hundreds of comments about my essay on stopping the next major ice age, I recognized the need to explain the existence also of “little” ice ages, which are likely of solar origin. They occur quite apart from the major glaciations, have a cycle length of about 1000-1500 years, and demand different methods of mitigation. They were discovered in Greenland ice cores by the Danish researcher Willi Dansgaard and by (Swiss scientist) Hans Oeschger, and further observed in ocean sediments by the late US geologist Gerard Bond [see Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years]

We don’t know what triggers an LIA, but suspect a strong correlation with a quiet Sun and prolonged absence of sunspots. Experts in this field—Willie Soon (Harvard Observatory), Harjit Ahluwalia (University of New Mexico), Russian astronomer Habibullo Abdussamatov, the Hadley Centre in UK, and many others—believe that the next LIA is imminent. The most recent LIA lasted from 1400 to 1830 AD—off and on. It followed the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), when wine grapes grew in northern England and Norsemen were able to farm in southern Greenland.

The impact of the recent LIA was rather severe. The Norse settlements were abandoned; indeed, Scandinavia was hardest hit. Climatology pioneer Hubert Lamb documents crop failures, starvation, and disease in Europe, together with ice fairs on the frozen Thames. During much of the American Revolution, New York Harbor was frozen over. And we recall paintings of George Washington crossing the Delaware River, impeded by ice floes.


Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Dr. Ivar Giaever: 'Global warming is a non-problem'

Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Prize-Winner for physics in 1973, declared his dissent on man-made global warming claims at a Nobel forum on July 1, 2015.  “I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem,” Dr. Giaever announced during his speech titled “Global Warming Revisited.”

Giaever, a former professor at the School of Engineering and School of Science Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, received the 1973 physics Nobel for his work on quantum tunneling.

Giaever delivered his remarks at the 65th Nobel Laureate Conference in Lindau, Germany, which drew 65 recipients of the prize. Giaever is also featured in the new documentary “Climate Hustle”, set for release in Fall 2015.

Giaever was one of President Obama’s key scientific supporters in 2008 when he joined over 70 Nobel Science Laureates in endorsing Obama in an October 29, 2008 open letter. Giaever signed his name to the letter which read in part: “The country urgently needs a visionary leader…We are convinced that Senator Barack Obama is such a leader, and we urge you to join us in supporting him.”

But seven years after signing the letter, Giaever now mocks President Obama for warning that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change”. Giaever called it a “ridiculous statement.”

“I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong,” Giaever said.

“How can he say that? I think Obama is a clever person, but he gets bad advice. Global warming is all wet,” he added.

“Obama said last year that 2014 is hottest year ever. But it’s not true. It’s not the hottest,” Giaever noted.

The Nobel physicist questioned the basis for rising carbon dioxide fears.  “When you have a theory and the theory does not agree with the experiment then you have to cut out the theory. You were wrong with the theory,” Giaever explained.

Global Warming ‘a new religion’

Giaever said his climate research was eye opening. “I was horrified by what I found” after researching the issue in 2012, he noted.

“Global warming really has become a new religion. Because you cannot discuss it. It’s not proper. It is like the Catholic Church.”

“I am worried very much about the [UN] conference in Paris in November. I really worry about that. Because the [2009 UN] conference was in Copenhagen and that almost became a disaster but nothing got decided. But now I think that the people who are alarmist are in a very strong position,” Giaever said.

“The facts are that in the last 100 years we have measured the temperatures it has gone up .8 degrees and everything in the world has gotten better. So how can they say it’s going to get worse when we have the evidence? We live longer, better health, and better everything. But if it goes up another .8 degrees we are going to die I guess,” he noted.

“I would say that the global warming is basically a non-problem. Just leave it alone and it will take care of itself. It is almost very hard for me to understand why almost every government in Europe — except for Polish government — is worried about global warming. It must be politics.”

“So far we have left the world in better shape than when we arrived, and this will continue with one exception — we have to stop wasting huge, I mean huge amounts of money on global warming. We have to do that or that may take us backwards. People think that is sustainable but it is not sustainable.

Giaever accused NASA and federal scientists of “fiddling” with temperatures. “They can fiddle with the data. That is what NASA does.” 

“You cannot believe the people — the alarmists — who say CO2 is a terrible thing. Its not true, its absolutely not true,” Giaever continued while showing a slide asking: ‘Do you believe CO2 is a major climate gas?’

“I think the temperature has been amazingly stable. What is the optimum temperature of the earth? Is that the temperature we have right now? That would be a miracle. No one has told me what the optimal temperature of the earth should be,” he said.

“How can you possibly measure the average temperature for the whole earth and come up with a fraction of a degree? I think the average temperature of earth is equal to the emperor’s new clothes. How can you think it can measure this to a fraction of a degree? It’s ridiculous,” he added.

Giaever accused Nature Magazine of “wanting to cash in on the [climate] fad.”  “My friends said I should not make fun of Nature because then they won’t publish my papers,” he explained.

“No one mentions how important CO2 is for plant growth. It’s a wonderful thing. Plants are really starving. They don’t talk about how good it is for agriculture that CO2 is increasing,” he added.

“The other thing that amazes me is that when you talk about climate change it is always going to be the worst. It’s got to be better someplace for heaven’s sake. It can’t always be to the worse,” he said.

“Then comes the clincher. If climate change does not scare people we can scare people talking about the extreme weather,” Giaever said.

“For the last hundred years, the ocean has risen 20 cm — but for the previous hundred years the ocean also has risen 20 cm and for the last 300 years, the ocean has also risen 20 cm per 100 years. So there is no unusual rise in sea level. And to be sure you understand that I will repeat it. There is no unusual rise in sea level,” Giaever said.

“If anything we have entered period of low hurricanes. These are the facts,” he continued.  “You don’t’ have to even be a scientist to look at these figures and you understand what it says,” he added.  “Same thing is for tornadoes. We are in a low period on in U.S.”

Media Hype

“What people say is not true. I spoke to a journalist with [German newspaper] Die Welt yesterday…and I asked how many articles he published that says global warming is a good thing. He said I probably don’t publish them at all. Its always a negative. lways,” Giever said.

“They say refugees are trying to cross the Mediterranean. These people are not fleeing global warming, they are fleeing poverty,” he noted.  “If you want to help Africa, help them out of poverty, do not try to build solar cells and windmills,” he added.

“Are you wasting money on solar cells and windmills rather than helping people? These people have been misled. It costs money in the end to that. Windmills cost money.”

“Cheap energy is what made us so rich and now suddenly people don’t want it anymore.”

“People say oil companies are the big bad people. I don’t understand why they are worse than the windmill companies. General Electric makes windmills. They don’t tell you that they are not economical because they make money on it. But nobody protests GE, but they protest Exxon who makes oil,” he noted.


The Supreme Court’s EPA decision, while not all positive, is worthy of celebration

By Marita Noon

downwiththeepaThe Supreme Court has been harsh on the Obama Administration’s regulatory overreach (remember Hobby Lobby and the National Labor Relations Board vs. Noel Canning decision), and this week’s decision on mercury and air toxics standards for power plants — known as the MATS regulations — serves as a severe smack down and has the potential to impact future regulations like the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is even more far-reaching and costly than MATS. Addressing CPP, American Electric Power President and CEO Charles Patton sees that the ruling “provides the basis for future litigation.”

(A multi-state coalition tried to stop the proposed CPP in federal court; however, the court dismissed the case June 9, saying the challenge is premature because the rule hasn’t been finalized.)

Bill Raney, President of the West Virginia Coal Association was happy with the Supreme Court’s decision: “The ruling is a positive, clearly better than a negative position.” Addressing the ruling’s impact on the upcoming CPP final rule, scheduled for release this summer, he added, “They’re going to have to do economic analysis. And, there’s no available technology to meet the CO2 standards they want.” Many believe the newly required economic analysis will have to delay the release of the final rule and may require new public hearings.

Unfortunately, the justices’ decision comes after much of the electricity-generation industry has started costly moves toward meeting the regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has essentially responded with a shrug. In a statement, EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison said, “This rule was issued more than three years ago, investments have been made, and most plants are already well on their way to compliance.” Patton is pleased with the decision, but is not over-the-top with enthusiasm as his company, to comply with the regulation, has already engaged in closures, conversions, and retrofits — “all at a cost,” he explained, “that will be borne by consumers.”

In his response, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) stated, “While the ruling is certainly a victory, EPA even acknowledges the negative economic costs that have already occurred including the premature closure of coal plants and thousands of lost jobs. EPA’s actions have far-reaching consequences, even when they are the result of unauthorized actions. The Courts must keep this in mind as the agency approaches finalization of its so-called Clean Power Plan.”

That’s right, just introducing the regulation, forced expensive modifications and premature power plant closures — meaning increased rates for consumers and thousands of lost jobs.

The big lesson for the Obama Administration should be read between the lines. They may be, in some back room at the White House, rubbing their hands in glee over the court’s EPA decision. The Administration can introduce all kinds of controversial and unreasonable rules and regulations that crush growth, kill jobs, and favor its friends and ideology. And even if they, ultimately, get shot down, it will be too late; the impact will already be felt.

“The tragedy of it all is when the EPA fails to fully contemplate the economic cost of their proposals,” Patton added. “We don’t see any opportunity to bring these plants back. Sometimes you can’t turn that aircraft carrier back; you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube.”

Before more aggressive, expensive policy, like the CPP, is finalized and wends its way through the appeal process, something must be done to blunt the impact of announced rules. Patton agrees, “Let’s have a definite solution, a set of rules that are un-appealable before we spend billions of dollars.”

Fortunately, as Justice Antonin Scalia admonished in last year’s UARG v. EPA decision, Congress is working on such legislation. The bipartisan Ratepayer Protection Act passed the House on June 24 and is headed to the Senate. The legislation allows states to delay compliance with, for example, CPP, until all legal challenges have been exhausted.

In the Senate, Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and a bipartisan group of Senators has introduced the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA) that would go much further than the House-passed bill by immediately killing off pending carbon pollution rules and setting even stricter requirements for the EPA to meet if it elects to try again on regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The court’s decision should also encourage more governors to refuse to comply with the administration’s CPP. Encouraged by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), several states have announced that they will not draft their own compliance plan as required by CPP.

In April, Governor Mary Fallin (R) signed Executive Order 2015-22 declaring that the state will not develop a plan to implement the CPP. The order prohibits Oklahoma’s environmental agencies from developing an implementation plan unless it is determined to be legally required by the Attorney General of Oklahoma or a court of competent jurisdiction.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott (R) flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with McConnell. He called CPP: “unprecedented meddling with Texas in order to push the Obama Administration’s liberal climate change agenda.” Two different pieces of legislation with intent similar to Oklahoma’s order have been filed in Texas.

On May 21, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sent a letter to President Obama in which he called CPP “unworkable” and stated, “Compliance with the rule could cost Wisconsin as much as $13.4 billion and raise electricity rates in the state by 29 percent.” Walker says, “Wisconsin will not comply with the president’s plan without ‘significant and meaningful changes.’”

Last week, Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence (R) sent a letter to President Obama stating that his state will not comply unless major changes are made to CPP. In West Virginia, lawmakers sent a letter to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) urging him not to submit a compliance plan. Up to twenty states are expected to forgo developing their own implementation plans, though the number could be higher. Real Clear Policy reports, “According to one survey, there are today 32 states ‘in which elected officials (e.g., legislatures, governors, and/or attorneys general) have expressed firm opposition’ to the CPP.”

Monday’s Supreme Court decision is worth celebrating — if for no other reason than that the anti-fossil fuel movement isn’t celebrating. While the decision may be too late to save the money spent and the jobs lost due to MATS, it does put the brakes on the EPA’s headlong rush to minimize hydrocarbon fuel sources without due consideration of the real costs to American families and our industries.

Experts believe that this decision will impact all pending rules and regulations, setting a new course toward a rational, measured approach to energy issues. We need to seize this momentum shift by voicing support for ARENA and encouraging state leaders in resisting EPA’s draconian edicts while leaving environmental protection to the states.


India Will Defy UN On Global Warming And Not Peak CO2 Emissions

India is refusing to specify a year it will peak its carbon dioxide emissions levels from fossil fuel use, a blow to plans by the Obama administration and the United Nations to get firm commitments from the world’s major emitters to fight global warming.

Despite pressure from the U.S. and the U.N., India has so far refused to sign a global warming deal that would force the country to forsake development in favor of environmental protection. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has already rejected overtures from the U.S. to peak emissions.

“The world is not expecting… India to announce its peaking year,” India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar told the BBC. “Countries know where India stands and what its requirements [development needs] are and therefore nobody has asked us for [the] peaking year.”

Javadekar said the country would soon submit its plans for reducing CO2 emissions and it would be much more “ambitious than what the world is perceiving.” India has said it would do its part to fight global warming, but has repeatedly shown its resolve not to cave to international pressure.

“Some people are trying to put pressure on us, saying that India too needs to declare its emissions peaking year,” Javadekar said. “China’s per capita annual emission is nearly 20 tonnes whereas ours is only two tonnes.”

India is the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, but the country’s per capita emissions are well-below the national average. About one-third of Indians lack access to reliable electricity and poverty remains rampant throughout the country. India’s government is working hard to combat both of these issues, which includes using some green energy but also involved boosting coal-fired electricity use.

Ramping up electricity use, mainly from fossil fuels, will require the country to drastically increase its carbon dioxide emissions in the coming decades as standards of living rise.

The Obama administration tried to convince India to commit to peaking carbon emissions, echoing a similar deal the White House cut with China late last year. China promised to peak its emissions by 2030 and the U.S. promised to cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

“Having a peaking year was not acceptable to us,” an environment ministry official told the Hindustan Times earlier this year.

In 2010, India did pledge to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy 20 to 25 percent below 2005 levels — the country’s agriculture sector, however, was exempted from the pledge. Though that pledge was made before Modi came to power and embarked on a campaign to raise Indian’s living standards.



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7 July, 2015


Written by Dr Klaus L.E. Kaiser   

SUBJECT: Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si, On care for our common home

Respected Academician,

There is a widespread view that the Academicians of The Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) will have had substantial input to the scientific aspects expressed in Papal Encyclical Letters like the ENC and that such encyclicals do reflect the deliberations, views and opinions expressed by the PAS as a whole and by the majority of its individual members. papal academiaHowever, this common assumption may be incorrect and, therefore, I have some questions to you which I hope that each of you is willing and able to provide a simple YES or NO answer to.

No doubt you are aware of the significance of the ENC for the future, especially its influence on the development of poorer nations and their people.

My questions are not just out of my personal curiosity but to help the world at large to better understand the ENC and what it means for the people who are presently deprived of many of the energy-driven amenities of the developed countries.

My questions to you:

1. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the trace gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is the basis for all life on earth. Without CO2 in the atmosphere, neither plants or animals, nor human life would exist on earth. DO YOU AGREE?

2. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that for most of its 4.5 billion year history, the earth’s atmosphere contained much higher levels of CO2 than today. DO YOU AGREE?

3. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the process of photosynthesis transformed the then-abundant atmospheric CO2 to “organic matter” with commensurate reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere.DO YOU AGREE?

4. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the entire oxygen (O2) in the earth’s atmosphere has been produced from CO2 by the natural photosynthesis process. DO YOU AGREE?

5. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the oceans and most fresh water are alkaline, the opposite of acidic. The same photosynthetic process that converts the CO2 to organic matter also increases the alkaline property of neutral or acidic water. DO YOU AGREE?

6. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that some 20,000 years ago, the northern parts of the North American and Eurasian continents were covered with large ice shields, up to several km thick. These ice shields had melted completely by approx. 5,000 years ago, entirely without human influence. DO YOU AGREE?

7. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the atmospheric CO2 levels barely changed during the 15,000-year period when the ice shields melted; it stayed around 250 parts per million for most of that time. DO YOU AGREE?

8. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that the earth’s plants and ocean algae consume any CO2 stemming from fossil resource use with the same vigor as that emitted from volcanoes and fumaroles. Therefore, is it then not incorrect to consider the life sustaining CO2 as “pollution?” DO YOU AGREE?

9. To my knowledge, it is widely considered to be a scientific fact that coal, undoubtedly a major source of anthropogenic CO2, provides a large percentage of the world’s electricity needs. Together, the countries of India and China consume more than one half of the world’s coal production and have already stated that they will not curtail their expansion of coal-sourced electricity generation. That includes the construction of about one new coal-fired power plant each week. Many countries in Africa and elsewhere will (and should) follow their lead and expand the use of fossil energy resources.DO YOU AGREE?

10. Even an overwhelming majority of identical views does not establish a scientific fact. How wrong the learned majority can be has been shown repeatedly in history, even by the Catholic Church. For example, the Italian astronomer Galileo was recently exonerated by the Vatican, about 400 years after having been found a heretic, solely for his scientific view of a heliocentric system. Similarly, when facing an onslaught of contrary views, the famous mathematician-physicist Einstein remarked “One [scientific fact] would have been enough” to disprove his then-novel theory. It is clear then that the term “consensus” has no meaning in the world of science. DO YOU AGREE?

Respected Academician,

11. If your answers to my questions above are in the affirmative, then one has to wonder whether these known scientific facts can be reconciled with statements to the contrary as found in the ENC. For example, the ENC calls CO2 “carbon dioxide pollution.” In fact, CO2 is not a “pollutant” but a vital trace gas in the atmosphere. Therefore, the atmosphere is not being “polluted” by the use (oxidation) of fossil fuels.

The ENC also asserts that “the use of … fossil fuels needs to be progressively replaced without delay.” Some people even claim that 80% of the currently known fossil fuel reserves in the world need to stay undeveloped and that within a few decades the world could generate its entire energy needs from renewable primarily wind and solar energy sources. This is to avoid a claimed runaway global warming trend, even though the more than 100 climate models have all miserably failed in the past. The models’ predictions of a catastrophic warming trend, based on higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere, have not materialized for close to 20 years and the polar ice masses have been growing rather than shrinking. This is no surprise as the atmospheric CO2 levels follow – not lead – any temperature increases with a considerable time lag.

Such contradictions also raise the question if the deliberations and opinions of the PAS and its members have indeed been heard and whether the ENC reflects them accurately. DO YOU AGREE?

12. Your nomination as Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences recognizes you as a scientist of acknowledged moral personality and international renown.

In my humble opinion, your nomination to the PAS also implies a duty to your faith, The Holy See, the Academy, the world at large and, last not least, to your conscience as an independent researcher in your professional field. DO YOU AGREE?

In closing, I urge you to publicly and clearly state your opinion as to whether or not you are in full agreement with the scientific views on CO2 expressed in the ENC. However, if you do not agree with the ENC, please say so too; in fact, any dissenting voice should be heard even louder. Either way, please state your views out loud and clearly. The world’s hungry and energy-poor people depend on your wisdom!



Pope Chooses Penury over Plenty for the Poor

Judging by the company he has been keeping, it seems the Pope either dislikes capitalism more than he loves the poor, or he simply doesn’t understand all the good that has flowed from capitalism and the horrors that have resulted throughout history under every other economic system.

Two months ago, Pope Francis was getting advice and guidance from Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a German scientist who believes the world’s carrying capacity is 1 billion people give or take a few million – a man wedded to extreme “population control” measures to get the earth back in balance. So much for being fruitful and multiplying.

Now, Pope Francis has invited anti-capitalist useful idiot Naomi Klein for a chat. What could they have in common other than hatred for the market? She’s known for little else, and based on her own comments I’m sure she and the Pope have little else to tie them together. I doubt they shared a laugh over Pope Francis’  social teachings. Nor, I’m sure, did Klein go to the Vatican because she suddenly found herself in agreement the Catholic Church’s views on birth control, marriage and women in the priesthood.

I’ve speculated liberation theology, developed in South America during the formative years of Pope Francis’ development as a priest, tainted his understanding of economics. His recent remarks and the company he has kept, have only served to confirm my suspicions. The Catholic Church long fought to keep the liberation theology wolf at bay, punishing and chastening its most vocal proponents, only now, with Francis, to invite the socialist wolf within the walls of the Vatican.

For all the pope’s expressed concern about the perils climate change poses to the poorest amongst us, it seems he’s really less concerned about the climate and the plight of the poor, than remaking the world’s economy to his liking, even if everyone has to live with less. In this, he is once again following the lead of climate advisors at the U.N. who in a rare moment of candor earlier this year divulged that remaking the economy was what the treaty’s being formulated to fight climate change were really about.

President Obama falsely offered us hope with the change he promised. Now Pope Francis offers change in the form of death through disease and starvation – which is all that would come if capitalism were truly overthrown. He skips the hope, except, perhaps, in the afterlife.

Feudalism and various petty types of tyranny kept the world in a, well, feudal state, for most of human history. People were enslaved to tyrants who wanted to expand their empires on the backs of both those they conquered and their slave class back home. Or, they sacrificed thousands to slake the blood lust of their gods (and in the case of the Aztec’s to provide a steady diet of protein), for the sun to continue shining, the rains to come, the witchcraft to stop, plagues to end … etc.

It was only with the advent of modern, widespread property rights, and the right to exchange one’s labor for capital and, yes, the right to gain one’s own piece of the pie that the vast majority of the people on earth were raised out of the extreme penury the humanity had lived in for the vast majority of human history.

Utopian idealists may believe mankind yearns to be free of wage labor and wishes for the life of idyll back on some commune, but most people never choose such a lifestyle, and those that do, rarely make a go of it for long and rejoin the market economy in fairly short order. Its true many native peoples were never given the opportunity to consciously, as societies, choose to join the modern age, but when modern tools seeped into their communities, they adopted them as soon as possible and asked for more. I know of no native culture, offered modern amenities that have refused them and consciously gone back to their hunter-gatherer existence.

Ron Bailey has a great discussion of the Pope’s failure to grasp the virtues of capitalism, and I encourage him to ponder it.

Even Karl Marx, father of Communism, recognized the virtues of capitalism. Marx thought it both a necessary and desirable state of development – after all, how are you going to dole out all those necessities to those in need, taken from those who produce, unless the latter had property, capitalism and industrialization to produce the plenty.

Marx badly misunderstood human nature, human motivations and the fact that capitalism could bring wealth or at least great comfort to the many, not just the few, but he did understand that capitalism was critical to producing plentiful goods and services out of uncaring nature. Marx was no environmentalist. There were two things in the world for Marx, people and resources and resources were meant for human use and our highest development. One can disagree with Marx’s view of what either any individual’s or societies highest development would or should look like without rejecting his dichotomy between man and the rest of nature.

Nature is indispensible to human well-being, and I wouldn’t want to live in a world absent wildlife and wild places (I spend as much time communing with and in nature as I can) but I believe those things are possible even as we bring the remaining billion or so people still living without access to regular electricity, safe readily accessible drinking water and other modern marvels out of the conditions our ancestors fought so long and hard to bring us out of. But only through capitalism! Every other economic system is just a fantasy, or tyranny cloaked as a fantasy, with the only result being a backward slide into poverty and persistent want.

Next time I’ll tell you how I really feel!


The Tide Is Turning, Time For Global Cooling

Climate scientists have constructed models to predict what Earth's climate will look like decades, even hundreds of years in the future. Unfortunately, many major components of Earth's climate system have not been accurately monitored for very long. This makes such predictions suspect if not laughable. A case in point are variations in ocean circulation and temperature. In the Atlantic there is a cycle for sea surface temperatures variation called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The AMO is linked with decadal scale climate fluctuations like European summer precipitation, rainfall in Europe and India, Atlantic hurricanes and variations in global temperatures. A new study in the journal Nature reports that the AMO is again transitioning to a negative phase, meaning the vaunted “pause” in global warming may be with us for decades. In fact, scientists at the University of Southampton predict that cooling in the Atlantic Ocean could cool global temperatures a half a degree Celsius.

Climate scientists and oceanographers have studied ocean circulation patterns for years and—given the ocean's massive capacity for absorbing, storing, and releasing heat energy—they have long suspected linkage between sea surface temperatures (SST) and climate variation. Now that linkage is the subject of a new study titled “Ocean impact on decadal Atlantic climate variability revealed by sea-level observations.” In it, researchers from University of Southampton, led by Gerard D. McCarthy, have tried a new approach using sea level along the east coast of the US to estimate ocean circulation on decadal timescales. Here is the overview from the article's abstract:

Decadal variability is a notable feature of the Atlantic Ocean and the climate of the regions it influences. Prominently, this is manifested in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) in sea surface temperatures. Positive (negative) phases of the AMO coincide with warmer (colder) North Atlantic sea surface temperatures. The AMO is linked with decadal climate fluctuations, such as Indian and Sahel rainfall, European summer precipitation, Atlantic hurricanes and variations in global temperatures. It is widely believed that ocean circulation drives the phase changes of the AMO by controlling ocean heat content. However, there are no direct observations of ocean circulation of sufficient length to support this, leading to questions about whether the AMO is controlled from another source. Here we provide observational evidence of the widely hypothesized link between ocean circulation and the AMO. We take a new approach, using sea level along the east coast of the United States to estimate ocean circulation on decadal timescales. We show that ocean circulation responds to the first mode of Atlantic atmospheric forcing, the North Atlantic Oscillation, through circulation changes between the subtropical and subpolar gyres—the intergyre region. These circulation changes affect the decadal evolution of North Atlantic heat content and, consequently, the phases of the AMO.

There are a number of cycles in Earth's short term, decadal scale, climate variability—the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and so forth. When it comes to the AMO the authors claim that circulation records do not go back far enough to get a really good handle on its behavior. This is despite the fact that NOAA publishes time series data going back to 1856. The researchers state their case this way.

The difficulty in linking ocean circulation changes to decadal climate variations lies in the fact that long observational records of ocean transports are rare. Measurements such as those of the Florida Current since 1982 and the Greenland–Scotland ridge transports since the mid-1990s are some of the longest continuous ocean transport records available. Continuous, full-depth, basin-wide measurements of the Atlantic overturning circulation only began in 2004 with the RAPID monitoring project at 26° N (ref. 13). None of these records are long enough to directly link ocean circulation with decadal climate variations such as the AMO.

The authors' claim that sea-level measurements from tide gauges provide an integrated measure of water column properties, offering time series of sufficient duration to study decadal ocean circulation variation. While using tide gauges to investigate ocean circulation is not new—an attempt to estimate Gulf Stream flow using tide gauges was made by R. B. Montgomery in 1938—this is the first time the technique has been applied to the AMO.

“The principle is based on geostrophic dynamics: on timescales longer than a few days, ocean circulation is in geostrophic balance so, looking downstream, the sea level is seen to increase from left to right in the Northern Hemisphere,” the paper explains. Historical data regarding sea-level change were gathered from Florida to Boston, as depicted in the figure below.

The study’s authors based their results on ocean sensor arrays and 100 years of sea-level data. After much crunching of numbers they decided that the picture is clear: in recent years, the sea-level index indicates that the AMO is shifting to a negative phase, consistent with observations of reduced overturning circulation.

“The observations of [AMO] from [sensor arrays], over the past ten years, show that it is declining,” Dr. David Smeed, a co-author, said in a statement. “As a result, we expect the AMO is moving to a negative phase, which will result in cooler surface waters. This is consistent with observations of temperature in the North Atlantic.” The relationship of the Sea-level circulation index, the NAO and the AMO are shown in the graph below.

The figure, taken from the paper, shows the accumulated sea-level index (blue), which is representative of subpolar heat content evolution, the accumulated NAO (red, dashed) and the AMO (black). The heat content proxy and the accumulated NAO have been normalized. All time series have been 7-year low-pass filtered. The accumulated sea-level index and accumulated NAO have been detrended.

The bottom line? The AMO is heading down and this means a cooling phase lies ahead. Such a cooling phase in the Atlantic will influence “temperature, rainfall, drought and even the frequency of hurricanes in many regions of the world,” says Dr. Gerard McCarthy. This could mean global cooling ahead, much to the consternation of climate alarmists everywhere. After all, it's hard to sell global warming when things are getting colder.

Indeed, this result is consistent with data from other areas, leading some scientists to argue that the world is headed for a cooling phase. Scientists from around the world have concluded that weakening solar activity could bring about another “Little Ice Age.” This is not a new idea but it has been drowned out by the clamor of the “CO2 is the climate control knob” crowd. As B. van Geel et al. wrote in Quaternary Science Reviews in 1999:

Evidence for millennial-scale climate changes during the last 60,000 years has been found in Greenland ice cores and North Atlantic ocean cores. Until now, the cause of these climate changes remained a matter of debate. We argue that variations in solar activity may have played a significant role in forcing these climate changes. We review the coincidence of variations in cosmogenic isotopes (14C and 10Be) with climate changes during the Holocene and the upper part of the last Glacial, and present two possible mechanisms (involving the role of solar UV variations and solar wind/cosmic rays) that may explain how small variations in solar activity are amplified to cause significant climate changes. Accepting the idea of solar forcing of Holocene and Glacial climatic shifts has major implications for our view of present and future climate. It implies that the climate system is far more sensitive to small variations in solar activity than generally believed.

The old climate change dogma was that solar irradiance only varied by a miniscule amount, roughly 0.1% as measured over the normal 11 year solar cycle. This has caused many scientists to dismiss changes in the Sun's output as unimportant to climate change here on Earth. But new research is proving this assumption to be shaky at best. In a long online post by NASA in 2013, a good overview of current research into the solar-climate link is presented.

As the online report states: “Of particular importance is the sun's extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum.  Within the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a minuscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more.  This can strongly affect the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere.”

The full report, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” is available from the National Academies Press. This research and more are causing the tide to turn with regard to climate change and the importance of our local star.

“The stagnation of temperature since 1998 was caused by decreasing solar activity since 1998,” said Jürgen Lange Heine, a physicist with the German-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). “From 1900 to 1998, solar radiation increased by 1.3 W/m2, but since 1998 it has diminished, and could reach values similar to those of the early 20th century. A drop in global temperature over the next few years is predicted.”

It is amazing that climate scientists seem to have forgotten where the energy that drives Earth's climate comes from in the first place. The fact that McCarthy et al. have detected a trend in the AMO that indicates a future cooling trend only reinforces what solar scientists have been saying for several years. This is because the shift in the AMO is a result of the climate system changing, not a fundamental cause of climate change. It is a cyclic oscillation in a complex system driven by solar energy.

Of course, if the climate does start cooling, old guard global warming fanatics will be at pains to explain what is happening. The last thing they want is to change the focus of the climate change scare from human generated CO2. Science is self correcting when done correctly, but scientists are only human. They really hate to change their minds once they've settled on an explanation for something, even when that explanation grows less believable every day. As always, time will tell, because nature pays no attention to nattering hoards of foolish human scientists. I hope everyone is ready for a little global cooling.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.

SOURCE   (See the original for links and graphics)

UK: Top Climate Scientist Warns: Global Warming is Relevant Even if it Doesn’t Happen

Monmouthshire MP and climate realist David Davies crashed today’s parliamentary launch of the Committee on Climate Change’s new report and used the opportunity to ask some awkward questions.

Challenging the findings of the bumper three-volume 500-page report, which called for massive new subsidies for ‘green energy’ and low-emission cars, Davies questioned how it could be that short periods of minor global warming could be considered significant, while similar periods of cooling or stagnation could be ignored by the scientific community.

Describing the meeting chaired by green energy tycoon Lord Deben, Davies said:

“…it was a great big love-in, with about 150 Greens. So I got up and asked why it was not one single scientist could explain how much of the small amount of warming that has taken place was natural – especially given now even the MET office even seems to accept there was a little ice age.

“Why is it no one can explain why there was cooling between 1940 and 1970, and why no one can explain the present hiatus in warming. I said this just shows the whole report is a shambles which is going to cost the taxpayer a lot of money”.

IPCC vice-chairman Jim Skea was called upon by the panel chair to address Davies’ questions and made an interesting admission.

Unusually, for a climate scientist, actually going so far as to accept that there is a hiatus in global warming – a fact that many still challenge – but said it was “insignificant”.

Davies related his feelings on the selective vision of climate scientists to Breitbart London, remarking:  “Sixteen years of hiatus, he said, was ‘statistically insignificant’, yet this whole fandango is based around just 27 years of slight warming. Why the hell do you think we’ve got to drive a coach and horses through our economy on the back of it?”

Davies warns those who would seek to waste taxpayers money on dodgy climate science, subsidies for inefficient energy generation, and carbon allowances that he hasn’t finished gate-crashing meetings yet – Westminster beware!


Shelly is getting hysterical again

A RICO investigation could actually be good.  It would show that Warmist conspiracy theories were the only hot air in the story

Writing in the Washington Post, Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, offered a curious suggestion for dealing with global warming skeptics:

"In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the tobacco companies’ fraudulent campaign amounted to a racketeering enterprise. According to the court: “Defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations, scientific, legal, and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective — to . . . maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public.”

The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking. ... The coordinated tactics of the climate denial network, Brulle’s report states, “span a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science.” Compare that again to the findings in the tobacco case.

The tobacco industry was proved to have conducted research that showed the direct opposite of what the industry stated publicly — namely, that tobacco use had serious health effects. Civil discovery would reveal whether and to what extent the fossil fuel industry has crossed this same line. We do know that it has funded research that — to its benefit — directly contradicts the vast majority of peer-reviewed climate science. One scientist who consistently published papers downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change, Willie Soon, reportedly received more than half of his funding from oil and electric utility interests: more than $1.2 million.

To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke."

That's right -- a sitting U.S. Senator is suggesting using RICO laws should be applied to global warming skeptics. Courts have been defining RICO down for some time and in ways that aren't particularly helpful. In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled RICO statutes could be applied to pro-life activists on the grounds that interstate commerce can be affected even when the organization being targeted doesn't have economic motives.

Obviously, there's a lot of money hanging in the balance with regard to energy policy. But when does coordinating "a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts" go from basic First Amendment expression to racketeering?

The tobacco analogy is inappropriate in regards to how direct the link between smoking and cancer is. Even among those who do agree that global warming is a problem, there's a tremendously wide variety of opinions about the practical effects. Who gets to decide whether someone is "downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change" relative to the consensus? If message coordination and lobbying on controversial scientific and political issues can be declared racketeering because the people funding such efforts have a financial interest in a predetermined outcome, we're just going to have to outlaw everything that goes on in Washington, D.C.



Three current articles below

Climate change is causing DRAGONS to change gender: Researchers find Australian reptiles are switching sex

Since there has been no climate change for 18 years, these results CANNOT be due to climate change

The cold-blooded Australian Central Bearded Dragon is widespread on red sandy areas in the semi-arid regions of eastern Australia.

It occupies open woodland and is conspicuous when it perches high to warm in the early morning sunlight.

Now a study of this creature has shown embryos with two Z chromosomes - making them genetically male - can develop as female at warm egg-incubation temperatures.

It means its sex is determined both by its complement of chromosomes and by the temperature at which its eggs are incubated.

In place of X and Y sex chromosomes reptiles have Z and W - with ZZ producing males and ZW females.

Combining field data from 131 adult lizards with controlled breeding experiments chemical analyses showed eleven individuals found towards the warmer end of the species' range had a male set of chromosomes - but were actually female.

It was also found they can facilitate a quick change from a genetically-controlled system to a temperature-controlled one, reports Nature.

When these sex-reversed females were mated with normal males none of the offspring had sex chromosomes and their sex was entirely determined by egg incubation temperature.

The offspring arising from sex-reversed mothers also had a higher propensity to reverse - reinforcing the transition - and sex-reversed mothers laid almost twice as many eggs per year than their normal peers leading to more feminized populations.

The study highlights the potential role of global warming in altering the biology and the genome of climate-sensitive reptiles.

Dr Clare Holleley, of Canberra University, said the finding 'adds to concern about adaptation to rapid global climate change.'

She said: 'Here we make the first report of reptile sex reversal in the wild - in the Australian bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps) - and use sex-reversed animals to experimentally induce a rapid transition from genotypic to temperature-dependent sex determination.

'Although sex reversal in reptiles has been demonstrated under laboratory conditions this is the first time sex reversal has been shown to occur naturally in a wild population of reptiles - or indeed any amniote.'

She said sex reversal was widespread with instances distributed over a total area of almost 15,000 square miles in remote semi-arid Australia.

The proportion of sex-reversed females increased each year over the study from 6.7% in 2003 to 13.6% in 2004 to 22.2% in 2011 - suggestive of a trend.

Biologist James Bull, of Texas University at Austin, reviewed the study for the journal and says it will inspire 'parallel work on other species.'

He said: 'Broader geographic and longitudinal comparisons for these lizards will give insight into the ramifications of climate change on this temperature-dependent reproductive mode.'


The church and fossil fuels

Divestment from fossil fuels has become the moral weapon of choice in the armoury of ecclesiastical environmental activists who want to end coal production in Australia.

Pope Francis' recent papal encyclical Laudato Si identified the intensive use of fossil fuels as a major aggravating factor in anthropogenic global warming.

Now Sydney Anglican diocese's investment arm, the $262 million Glebe Administration Board (GAB), wants to divest from fossil fuels altogether or set targets for "carbon reduction" across its entire portfolio.

But this means choosing to ignore coal investment's potential economic benefits - and its benefits to the world's poorer emerging populations.

Christian investment funds should certainly think carefully about where they put their money. There is no godly reason why they should invest in the gambling industry.

But there is no moral equivalence between investing in pokies and investing in coal. Gambling never did anyone any good, but the same can't be said about coal.

Oil giant BP reports that use of coal has grown four times faster than renewables and 2.8 times faster than oil over the past decade. Investment interest in fossil fuels and the supply of cheap energy is booming.

Coal has helped lift the living standards of hundreds of millions of the world's poor by providing a cheap source of energy that has a huge, economy-wide impact.

Coal also happens to be Australia's second most valuable export after iron ore and supplies the fuel for our own electricity networks.

Divesting from fossil fuels may be fashionable but it is also immoral. Quite apart from putting domestic jobs at risk, 'ethical' attacks on the coal industry threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people in developing economies.

The Sydney GAB fund managers will be the latest to jump with their misplaced ideals on to the bandwagon of climate correctness when they take their revised policy to the diocese's Standing Committee later in the year for endorsement.

A truly ethical investment policy aims to help the world's poor. Instead, the flawed reasoning of environmental activism threatens only real economic and moral harm.


More From Deniliquin

Steve Goddard on the "fiddled" climate records of Australia's  BOM

Deniliquin has not only cooled since the 19th century, but the frequency of very hot days has also dropped dramatically.

BOM ignores all pre-1910 temperatures, because they don’t fit the global warming narrative.



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

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


6 July, 2015

Red Tape on Steroids — the Obama War on Consumers

Consumers and businesses won big at the Supreme Court on Monday.

The justices struck down an Environmental Protection Agency regulation on coal-plant emissions on the grounds that the EPA failed to consider whether the costs outweighed the benefits. Not the cost to government, mind you. The cost to us, as consumers and business owners, to comply.

The Court's 5-4 decision in Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency is a setback for the Obama administration, but an important protection for the rest of us.

Federal over-regulation - of everything from automobiles to fast food and power plants - makes it more expensive for employers to hire workers and more expensive for consumers to buy everyday products. Amazingly, 29 percent of what the average household spends is due to regulations jacking up prices.

We could all afford a lot more if there were fewer regulations.

Some are needed to protect our health and safety, of course. But Washington, DC, overdoes it.

Monday's court ruling is a red flag to regulators to measure the costs and benefits to society before deciding to pile on another regulation.

The lawsuit against the EPA was brought by the coal industry and 21 states reliant on coal plants. Though the regulation, limiting emissions of mercury and other metals, only went into effect this April, dozens of coal plants already had closed to avoid the cost of complying, estimated at a whopping $10 billion nationwide.

The court's ruling will not undo those plant closings. They are casualties in Obama's war on coal.

In Monday's ruling, Justice Antonin Scalia raked the EPA over the coals, saying it "refused to consider whether the costs of its decision outweighed the benefits. The Agency gave cost no thought at all, because it considered cost irrelevant to its initial decision to regulate."

Congress opposes the president's crusade against coal, so the EPA found a provision in a law already on the books - the Clean Air Act of 1970 - to justify regulating metallic emissions from coal plants where "appropriate and necessary."

Scalia raged that it's not "even rational, never mind ‘appropriate,' to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health and environmental benefits."

Requiring cost-benefit analysis originated with Ronald Reagan in 1981. But it's only part of the remedy, since regulators will play fast and loose with the numbers to justify their regulations.

The problem, explained Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion, is that Congress gives agencies too much leeway to decide when to regulate. It's inevitable they'll overdo it - regulation is their business. The undemocratic result is regulation without representation.

Obama's regulatory strategy can best be described as red tape on steroids. Regulations imposing more than $100 million in yearly compliance costs are up 41 percent over what the George W. Bush administration imposed, even though Bush over-regulated as well.

These proliferating regulations take money out of your pocket - for example, adding $44 to the cost of a dishwasher, $83 to the price of a refrigerator and $1,357 to a new car (which will soar to $3,157 in 2017), according to economists at the American Action Forum.

And then there's the cost to our democracy. Obama's EPA is also rolling out another scheme - the Clean Power Plan - against the will of Congress. It'll force states to close coal plants and make greater use of alternative-energy sources while cutting their use of fossil fuels.

Harvard constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe is urging his old student, Barack Obama, to obey the Constitution.

"Frustration with congressional inaction cannot justify throwing the Constitution overboard," he warned recently.

Twelve states are now suing the EPA to halt this scheme as well. Obama's EPA lost in the Supreme Court on Monday.

But the president, ruling with a pen and phone and without Congress, bullies on.


Will High Court ruling save Britain's most glorious coastline from wind farms invasion?

Plans to erect thousands of wind turbines across some of Britain’s most picturesque vistas have been thrown into disarray by a landmark High Court ruling.

Cornwall County Council has been forced to accept it acted unlawfully when it gave the go-ahead for a 250ft eyesore near a beautiful stretch of coastline – throwing doubt on about 4,000 other turbines it wants to erect.

The ruling followed damning claims of a cosy relationship between a ‘green’ energy company and a planning officer who misled elected councillors about the scale of protest.

He failed to properly consult locals – at one stage using just a postcard pinned to a parish noticeboard to alert them of the planned blot on their landscape – failed to pass on objections from English Heritage and the National Trust; and relied on dubious figures about how much energy the turbine would generate.

Retired police officer Peter Waller brought the judicial review as part of his fight against a planned turbine 400 yards from his cottage near Newquay. In it, he complained of the relationship between Clean Earth Energy and planning officer Ellis Crompton-Brown, who has recommended that other of the company’s wind projects go ahead.

Campaigners claim the case demonstrates the danger of a national policy of allowing developers to pay a council to have the planning officer of their choice.

Mr Waller said: ‘If this turbine had gone ahead, life here would have been miserable. I should be happy that I have won, but I really want those responsible for this to be held to account. Mr Crompton-Brown and head of planning Phil Mason should be made to apologise for what they have done and disciplined.’

He also questioned the value of the guidance given by planning offers who he claims ‘are expected to promote such projects’ in line with the council policy.

Emails between Mr Crompton-Brown and Clean Earth showed the firm assumed it could press ahead with work even before a final planning meeting had been held.

Mr Crompton-Brown failed to include a detailed objection from English Heritage in a report to the planning committee. Key among its fears was the impact on views from Trerice, a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house, and other beauty spots. A landscape architect with the National Trust, which owns Trerice, also wrote to Mr Crompton-Brown about his concerns, but this, too, was withheld from the committee. Meanwhile Clean Earth claimed the turbines would be 30 per cent efficient, well above the usual 23 per cent.

Following the ruling, several previous applications involving Mr Crompton-Brown and Clean Earth are to be scrutinised. Mr Waller’s lawyers say this is ‘far from an isolated case’.

Danny Mageean, of anti-turbine pressure group Cornwall Protect, said: ‘Far too much power is delegated to planning officers, who are sometimes not immune to the will of their political masters.’

He also said turbines would affect Cornwall’s vital tourist trade, saying they have replaced church towers as the dominant structures in the landscape

Planning chief Mr Mason said that, of the 9,200 planning and enforcement decisions the council makes each year, fewer than five are typically challenged by judicial review, less than half of which succeed. He added that he has ‘full confidence’ in Mr Crompton-Brown, who declined to comment.

Clean Earth Energy said it was ‘unfortunate’ that the council did not defend itself in the judicial review and added: ‘We work in a transparent manner.’


Fracking hell: the green war on progress

A UK council’s refusal to allow shale-gas exploration is very bad news

In the US, the ‘shale-gas revolution’ has brought down energy prices substantially and enabled a switch from burning coal to gas, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The ‘dash for gas’, based on North Sea gas, was a major reason the UK managed to reduce emissions in the past. So when large deposits of shale gas were found in Lancashire, it was good news, right? At a time when supplies of gas from the North Sea are dwindling, Britain potentially had a new supply of energy that was cheap(ish) and relatively clean.

Prime minister David Cameron renewed his support for shale gas in January this year: ‘I want to see unconventional gas properly exploited in our country… I think there are good reasons for doing this. We want to have greater energy security, we want to keep prices down, we also want to tackle climate change. The most important thing that needs to happen is for some exploratory wells to be dug and all would see local communities are benefiting from [fracking].’

The decision by Lancashire County Council to reject two applications for exploratory drilling is, therefore, hugely disappointing. The decision was surrounded by a veritable circus of green groups spreading scare stories about fracking. So Frack Free Lancashire could claim: ‘We know that fracking carries serious risks to local people, to our health, our water, our wildlife, and contributes to climate change.’ This flies in the face of a report by Public Health England, revised in 2014: ‘PHE has reviewed the literature on the potential public-health impacts of exposures to chemical and radioactive pollutants as a result of shale-gas extraction. We conclude that the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health in the vicinity of shale-gas extraction sites will be low if shale-gas extraction is properly run and regulated.’

The Cuadrilla proposals were rejected on the grounds of visual impact and increased traffic on rural roads, not the safety of fracking itself, which has been pored over at great length. But a decision on the basis of visual impact and heavy traffic seems to condemn industrialisation in general. How can there possibly be economic development without traffic or some changes to the skyline? It also seems to suggest a preference for one kind of development over another. Windfarms clearly have a massive visual impact on rural areas and, unless they were installed by magic pixies, wind turbines are carried to their sites on large road vehicles. But wind is good, gas is bad, it seems.

In truth, green groups simply don’t want fossil fuels to be used at all, despite their enormous benefits for society. Indeed, many greens are really arguing for a society based on zero economic growth. Of course, such an attitude is not exactly popular among people who want jobs and decent living standards rather than an existence based on nut roast, crochet and folk singing. So instead of an honest debate about how we move society forward, we get scare stories about poisoned water tables or the safety risks of heavy-goods vehicles on rural roads. In that context, and with little support for development beyond that from the companies involved, local residents prefer to play safe.

If we want to generate wealth and, in the process, make our lives more comfortable and open up new possibilities for humanity, we need industrialisation in general and more energy production in particular. Shale gas is just the canary in the coal mine of a wider rejection of economic growth. The poisonous arguments of environmentalists need to be taken on. The problem, as Daniel Ben-Ami has frequently argued, is that this scepticism about growth runs right to the top of society. In the absence of a counterweight to the arguments about growth, sustainability and precaution, we will all end up worse off.


British green subsidies in the budget firing line

George Osborne to abolish coalition's green tax target as customers face paying £1.5billion more through their bills to subsidise wind farms, solar panels and biomas plants
The cost of subsidising new wind farms is spiralling out of control, government sources have privately warned.

Officials admitted that so-called “green” energy schemes will require a staggering £9 billion a year in subsidies - paid for by customers - by 2020. This is £1.5 billion more than the maximum limit the coalition had originally planned.

The mounting costs will mean every household in the country is forced to pay an estimated £170 a year by the end of the decade to support the renewable electricity schemes that were promoted by the coalition.

Tory ministers are said to be "angry" at the scale of the over-running costs. They are blaming the Liberal Democrats who ran the Department for Energy and Climate Change for the past five years for the spectacular failure to control renewable energy programmes.

The huge excess spending is thought to be a result of higher-than-expected numbers of rooftop solar panels being fitted on houses, falling wholesale energy prices, and offshore wind farms proving more productive than anticipated.

The Chancellor believes the figures demonstrate the need to rein in the cost of policies to tackle climate change.

As a first step, he will use this week’s summer Budget to announce that he is abandoning targets set under the coalition to increase the level of environmental taxes in a move he hopes will save customers and businesses billions of pounds.

This Budget will be Mr Osborne’s first opportunity to exercise complete control over setting environmental tax rates, and subsidies for wind and solar power, without being constrained by Liberal Democrats.

Under the coalition, ministers decided that investment in new renewable energy developments, such as wind turbines, solar panels and biomass schemes, would be paid for by energy companies, rather than through taxation.

Energy firms were allowed to recover the cost of these subsidies from their customers by adding it to household bills.

In order to limit the impact of the green schemes on customers, ministers set a strict cap on the total amount that could be spent in these consumer-funded subsidies for renewable energy.

By 2020, the maximum amount to be spent through these subsidies was set at £7.6 billion a year. But new projections from DECC show this cap will be exceeded by a massive 20 per cent, or another £1.5 billion.

Official figures showed that environmental levies added £68 to the average household bill last year. By 2020 this had been expected to rise to £141. But the latest DECC figures suggest the true figure will be closer to £170 as costs continue to mount.

One million people are living in homes with solar panels on the roof

Government sources say there is little that Mr Osborne can do because the subsidies have already been agreed under long-term contracts signed by DECC while Liberal Democrat ministers were in charge.

However, the Chancellor will review the system to see whether further steps can be taken to cut the cost of climate change schemes such as the subsidies, sources said.

In previous years the Chancellor has tried to help businesses cope with punitive environment policies in Britain and across Europe by providing tax relief. He has warned that forcing steel mills and aluminium smelters to shut down and relocate outside Britain will not help “save the planet”.

However, in coalition, DECC was run for five years by Liberal Democrat ministers, firstly Chris Huhne, and then Ed Davey, while Nick Clegg, the party leader was passionately committed to protecting the environment.

In Wednesday’s Budget Mr Osborne will abandon the coalition’s target to increase the proportion of taxation raised from key environmental taxes, such as the Carbon Price Floor, charged on fossil fuels, and the Climate Change Levy, which businesses pay on their energy use.


Republican Governors Signal Their Intent to Thwart Obama’s Climate Rules

As President Obama prepares to complete sweeping regulations aimed at tackling climate change, at least five Republican governors, including two presidential hopefuls, say they may refuse to carry out the rules in their states.

The resistance threatens to ignite a fierce clash between federal and state authorities, miring the climate rules in red tape for years. The fight could also undermine Mr. Obama’s efforts to urge other nations to enact similar plans this year as part of a major United Nations climate change accord.

Republican strategists say that rejection of Mr. Obama’s climate policy at the state level could emerge as a conservative litmus test in the 2016 election. Two of the governors who have said that they might defy the regulations — Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana — are among at least four Republican governors who are expected to vie for the presidential nomination.

Other governors who have issued threats over the rules include Greg Abbott of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma.

The governors’ actions have come after the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, opened a campaign earlier this year urging all governors to refuse to carry out the climate change rules.

Mr. McConnell sent a letter to every governor in March, and he has continued his push in meetings and phone calls. In addition, his staff has been working closely with regulators and environmental officials in many state governments, helping them shape legal strategies to block the rules.

“As governors begin to seriously look at what these plans will look like, we expect more and more governors will follow Senator McConnell’s lead,” said Robert Steurer, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell.

The fate of Mr. Obama’s climate change agenda, which he hopes will be a cornerstone of a major environmental legacy, depends heavily on the compliance of state governments.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a draft regulation that stands at the heart of the president’s efforts to fight global warming. The proposed rule assigns each state a level by which it must reduce its planet-warming carbon emissions from electric power plants. Under the rule, which the administration expects to release in its final form in August, every state will have one year to draft a customized plan detailing how it will comply.

States, for example, could submit plans to shut down heavily polluting coal plants, replacing them with natural gas plants and wind, solar and nuclear power generators, and to improve energy efficiency in buildings. They could also enact taxes on carbon pollution, or join regional “cap and trade” programs, which require companies to pay for government-issued pollution permits.

The White House envisions the plan as a trigger that will prompt a transformation of the American electricity system, shifting it from dependence on fossil fuels to a reliance on renewable and low-carbon energy sources.

But some governors call the proposal a federal intrusion on their authority.

“The E.P.A.’s latest attempt at imposing burdensome regulations represents an unprecedented meddling with Texas in order to push the Obama administration’s liberal climate change agenda,” said Mr. Abbott, the Texas governor, who has met with Mr. McConnell about his effort to ensure that states do not submit climate change plans, and has announced that he will support the push.

Michael Reed, a spokesman for Mr. Jindal, said in an email: “The president’s Clean Power Plan undermines the role of states in the federal Clean Air Act in an effort to realize a radical, liberal agenda that will lead to increased energy costs. While we believe the proposed rule should be immediately withdrawn, we are considering all options to mitigate the damage if it becomes final, including not submitting a plan.”

In a letter to Mr. Obama, Governor Walker wrote that he feared the “staggering costs it would inflict on Wisconsin’s homes and businesses,” and added that absent major changes to the plan, “it is difficult to envision how Wisconsin can responsibly construct a state plan.”

Given the volatile politics, the Obama administration is preparing for some states to reject the proposal. The E.P.A. is drafting a model state-level plan to have at the ready if states refuse to submit their own plans.

Administration officials say it is in states’ interest to design their own plans, which would be customized to meet the needs of their local and regional economies.

“E.P.A. has an obligation under the Clean Air Act to develop a model federal plan, something that many states have asked E.P.A. to do so it can provide an example for states developing their own plans,” said Thomas Reynolds, a spokesman for the agency. “E.P.A.’s strong preference is to approve state plans, but we know that setting out a federal plan is an important step to ensure that our Clean Air Act requirements are fulfilled.”

Environmental policy experts say that the federal government could ultimately force a policy created in Washington on the economies of each state. But that could mean the process would be extended for years.

“If the federal government has to enforce this program if the state is unwilling or unable to comply, it will drag out the process, exacerbate the challenges, and make implementation that much more difficult,” said William Becker, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

But for presidential candidates promoting their conservative credentials, highlighting the difficulties of federal regulation may be precisely the point.

Michael McKenna, a Republican energy lobbyist and political strategist, has advised governors to reject the plan.

“When this rule is final, people are going to have to say whether they’re in favor of it or against it, and political activists, voters in Republican primaries, are going to look at it,” he said. “It’s going to be on the test.”


Historic Climate Court Decision in the Netherlands

And Americans complain about SCOTUS over-reach!

Big news from the Netherlands, where a court just decided that the government was not doing enough to combat climate change. Yep. You read that right.

“The state must do more to reverse the imminent danger caused by climate change, given also its duty to protect and improve the environment,” the court said in its ruling.

The court’s decision is being seen as not only a victory for environmentalists, but also for human rights advocates worldwide. This is the first attempt by European citizens to hold the state accountable for potentially devastating inaction on climate change. It’s also the first case in the world in which human rights are used as a legal basis to protect citizens against climate change, according to the Urgenda Foundation.

“This makes it crystal clear that climate change is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with much more effectively, and that states can no longer afford inaction,” said Marjan Minnesma, a Dutch citizen and one of the plaintiffs in the case. “States are meant to protect their citizens, and if politicians will not do this of their own accord, then the courts are there to help.”

The logic behind the court case was, actually, quite simple. As Minnesma stated above, governments have an obligation to protect us, its citizens, from dangers. And few dangers have as widespread, potentially devastating impacts as climate change. Attempts to both plan for, and mitigate, emissions require incredible coordination between governments, businesses and citizens.

You would think the Netherlands would get it. Of all the countries in Europe, it is one of the most vulnerable. It is a very low-lying nation, with significant land-area below sea level, leaving it highly susceptible to even a small sea-level rise. Moreover, one of its national symbols is the windmill, showing its place as an early-adopter and developer of wind-technology.

Yet, the Netherlands is lagging behind its neighbors in installing clean energy, and in cutting carbon emissions. The decision, which can be appealed, would force the country to cut its emissions



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5 July, 2015

New paper finds Mediterranean Sea was up to 7C warmer than present during the Pliocene

In a Greenie coal-free paradise

Regional and global significance of Pliocene sea surface temperatures from the Gulf of Cadiz (Site U1387) and the Mediterranean

Alexandrina Tzanova and  Timothy D. Herbert


The Atlantic – Mediterranean water exchange is a component of global ocean circulation capable of influencing deep water formation in the North Atlantic, yet it is poorly constrained for the time period preceding the intensification of Northern Hemisphere Glaciation (NHG). The sea surface temperature (SST) gradient between the Atlantic and Mediterranean sides of the Strait of Gibraltar can shed light on the communication between the two basins. IODP Site U1387 in the Gulf of Cadiz provides the first alkenone based reconstruction of SST for the Atlantic waters that flowed into the Mediterranean Sea during the Pliocene. This site reflects open ocean North Atlantic subtropical temperature trends while the published SST records from the Rossello composite section (Sicily) in the Mediterranean reflect the addition of regional, continentally-influenced signals from Europe and Northern Africa. The Mediterranean, in particular, may be influenced by high latitude Northern hemisphere climatic evolution. In the modern regime the sites discussed in this work have comparable SST and uninhibited surface connection; however, change in local heat loss/gain over the Mediterranean due to variability in latent heat loss and obstructed connection can result in a gradient between the sites in the Pliocene. The Pliocene surface waters of the Gulf of Cadiz and the Mediterranean Sea were as much as 7°C warmer than the modern average of ~ 19-20°C. The reconstructed temperatures show a ~ 1°C cooling for the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar from ~ 6 Ma to ~ 2.7 Ma and increasingly cooler glacials. The long-term SST record from Site U1387 provides a basis for future studies into the hydrological balance of the Mediterranean and the temperature component of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) density. We compared SST on either side of Gibraltar between ~ 3.4 – 2.7 Ma and found that between ~ 2.7 and ~ 3.1 Ma the Mediterranean and Atlantic surface waters show comparable average temperatures and comparable variance.

Global and Planetary Change. Available online 4 July 2015. In Press, Accepted Manuscript

German silliness

Germany to "mothball" largest coal power plants to meet climate targets -- but will switch them on whenever "renewables are not delivering!  It would almost certainly be cheaper and safer to leave them in spinning reserve.  You can't fire up such things instantaneously.  Perhaps that is really what they are going to do

Germany agreed on Thursday to mothball about five of the country’s largest brown coal power plants to meet its climate goals by 2020, after months of wrangling between the parties in chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition.

But Merkel and the leaders of her two junior coalition partners also, in effect, agreed to set up a “capacity reserve” system where utilities could switch on the brown coal plants if there were power shortages in the country.

An economy ministry spokesman said the decision on brown coal would mean Germany could meet its goal of reducing German CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990. The goal is much more ambitious than the EU-wide target of the same cut by 2030.

“Brown coal-fired plants with a capacity of 2.7 gigawatts will be mothballed. Those plants will not be allowed to sell any electricity on the normal power market,” said a spokesman for the economy ministry after the talks which lasted four hours.

In a television interview, economy minister Sigmar Gabriel expanded on the plans, which are part of Germany’s switch to renewable energy away from nuclear and fossil fuels.

“We need a capacity reserve on the power market in case there are shortages due to the switch to renewables. The reserve will be made up of brown coal,” Gabriel told ARD television.

Gabriel originally proposed putting a levy on CO2 emitted by the oldest and most-polluting power stations above a certain threshold to help curb CO2 emissions from the coal sector by a further 22m tonnes by 2020.

But he faced a backlash from industry, with unions saying the plan could put up to 100,000 jobs at risk and lead to the decline of the mining and power generation industries.

The utility companies lobbied hard against the levy and demanded compensation for an alternative reserve option.

While the levy now seems to be scrapped, it is unclear whether companies such as RWE or Vattenfall Europe will get compensation payments or not.

Gabriel also said the leaders of the coalition had agreed that taxpayers should not end up paying for provisions for the costs of the nuclear phase-out.

“We agreed that we want to ensure, a bit like parents being responsible for their children, that a situation doesn’t arise where, due to changes within companies, taxpayers have to pay for the provisions,” Gabriel said.


Germany’s Green Energy Transition May Be Running Out Of Money, Study Warns

The expansion of Green energy is costing billions. The strain on utilities is so heavy that they threaten to fall away as capital providers. Other investors are needed – but that is easier said than done.

The German energy transition has cost more than 100 billion euros so far. It has hit large and small electricity suppliers with force and put traditional business models in question. But 15 years after the start of the transition of the power sector with the aim of renewable, low-carbon generation, experts are asking themselves an anxious question: is the energy transition running out of money?

Quite possible, is the answer that the German section of the World Energy Council and the consultants from Roland Berger provide. In an unpublished study they come to this conclusion: “The necessary equity funds for the expansion of the network infrastructure and offshore wind can probably be provided only with the participation of alternative and international investors. High risks however make it questionable whether the investment needs can be met at a sufficient capacity and speed.”

New investors must be found

It is not about small change. At least 280 billion euros would need to be invested in the next 15 years in order to promote the politically demanded goal of the transformation of the energy system: from wind turbines, biomass plants and solar power plants to local, regional and national electricity distribution networks to large offshore wind farms. This calculation already includes “sustained political support”. Otherwise, it could get even more expensive.

The traditional energy companies – whether they be public utilities or large corporations – are no longer reliable. “Many traditional utilities, which previously financed investments in the electricity sector, mainly through their shareholders’ equity, are today with their backs to the wall,” says Uwe Franke, president of the German section of the World Energy Council, a global association of energy companies. He previously ran the business of BP Europe. Franke says, private and municipal suppliers lacked the investment funds. Therefore, new investors would have to be found to ensure “the energy transition and the security of supply.”

The prerequisites for this will vary. Money for photovoltaic systems, wind turbines on land and for biomass is there. “The necessary funds can still be provided by banks, households and project planners in the future”, according to the Berger study. In addition, the state could possibly easily help out with incentives.

“High risk and market entry barriers” and a “significantly tighter situation” are however applying to investments in offshore wind farms and networks. In 2012 two-thirds of offshore capacity were located in the hands of utilities, which had invested between one and 2 billion euros per wind farm. Here a greater commitment of other investors would be needed in the future. But that is easier said than done: “The high risk of investing in offshore wind farms, however, contradicts the risk profile of institutional investors.” Not least because laws and capital market regulations make the business hard for investors.

When it comes to the distribution networks, weakened public utilities are faced with a significant need for investment. Investors are additionally deterred by structural reasons: the fragmentation in 900 network operators and the trend towards re-municipalisation. For the expansion of the distribution networks, the German Energy Agency estimates costs from 28 to 43 billion euros by 2040.

Required equity questionable

For the transmission systems that transport electricity over long distances double-digit billion investments are needed too. Given the high amounts, it is questionable whether Tennet, Amprion, 50Hertz and Transnet BW “can muster the necessary capital resources on their own.” Funds and institutional investors could be discouraged by the associated risks of major projects like network expansion such as delays in approvals and construction. The current big resistance of the state of Bavaria against the network expansion could be included here.

According to the study, the utilities get under pressure from two sides. On one hand, many lack the capital for green energy investments. At the same time, big investors entered the market, driven by low interest rates and searching for attractive investments. Utilities could therefore lose their role as financiers and owners of installations and networks. At the same time its role as operators will be questioned by specialized project engineers and possibly soon also by equipment manufacturers.

Utilities should be more flexible, understand themselves more as a mediators and think in terms of cooperation. They could take the roles of fund initiators, fund service providers and financial investors. A business model opens at the interface of project developers and investors. “But this transition will not happen automatically,” says Franke. Utilities would have to change and understand the “energy transition as a capital transition”.


Encyclical Ghostwriter: Pope Francis ‘Did Not Intend to Canonize’ Scientific Theories

With the help of some rather convoluted language, American Catholic theologian Thomas Williams attempts below to row back from the plain words of the Pope

In a recent interview, Bishop Mario Toso, who co-wrote the first draft of the papal encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, denied that Pope Francis had any intention of “canonizing” scientific theories regarding climate change, but only wished to assert his authority on the moral level.

Toso, who was secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the time of the drafting of the encyclical, said that in the encyclical letter the Pope sought to offer “reflections on the anthropological and ethical issues” related to the care of creation, but that he did not wish to “impose” the results of scientific studies on anyone or to confer his moral authority on scientific opinions.

“Everyone knows that many opinions today considered ‘scientific’ are not irrefutable or incontrovertible,” he said.

“The Church has no competence on the technical and scientific level,” he said, “but rather on the anthropological and ethical levels that relate to scientific phenomenology.”

Toso’s comments come at an opportune moment, when many wonder aloud how far the Pope intended to go in endorsing scientific theories regarding the environment in his letter.

For instance, a London priest, Father Ashley Beck, recently wrote an essay, titled “No Catholic Is Free to Dissent from the Teaching of Laudato Si.” While true in its own way, such a statement could easily be misunderstood to mean that Catholics have to believe everything in the encyclical, which is not the Pope’s intent in writing it.

Much of Pope Francis’ encyclical is an appeal to discussion, rather than a definition of doctrine. He addresses the letter not just to Catholics, but to the whole world, asking for active engagement in facing our common call to responsible stewardship of the environment. He presents a point of view and asks that it may serve as a stimulus to debate.

To take just one example, when the Pope states that the “land of the southern poor is rich and mostly unpolluted,” he is not defining doctrine or asking for Catholics to nod their heads in agreement. One look at the Riachuelo Basin in the Pope’s former archdiocese of Buenos Aires—one of the most polluted places on the entire planet—is sufficient to know that there is plenty of environmental cleaning to be done in the “land of the southern poor.”

The Vatican’s doctrinal office has taught that the papal magisterium sometimes intervenes “in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements” and notes that it often only becomes possible with the passage of time “to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent.”

It also noted that one must “take into account the proper character of every exercise of the Magisterium, considering the extent to which its authority is engaged.” By saying that the Pope was not intending to engage his moral authority regarding scientific opinions, Bishop Toso offers a helpful point of reference for reading the letter.

Moreover, Pope Francis specifically states that his letter forms part of the Church’s social teaching. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church offers its own guidelines for interpreting papal texts in this area. Specifically, it says that the “doctrinal weight of the different teachings and the assent required are determined by the nature of the particular teachings, by their level of independence from contingent and variable elements, and by the frequency with which they are invoked.” Obviously, where “contingent and variable elements” are themselves the matter in question, the Pope is not trying to assert any authority on the matter at all.

Francis himself, in fact, stated bluntly that “the Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics.” This is important for those who find scientific opinions presented in the encyclical as unsettling.

None of this comes anywhere near “dissent” or “cafeteria Catholicism.” To refute settled Church teaching on faith and morals is one thing; to question scientific interpretations on the state of the environment or what will or might happen in the future is quite another.

“Climate change” will never, and by its nature could never, form part of Catholic doctrine, something which should give Catholic climate skeptics a little relief when they are accused of being somehow less Catholic than the Pope.



By Rich Kozlovich

Sustainable development is a phrase that's being bandied around everywhere these days. It's promoted by the United Nations as the answer to every problem in every aspect of human activity: sustainable development in agriculture, sustainable development in banking, sustainable development in tourism, sustainable development in education, and more. Let's get this right.  Sustainable development is just another effort by the left to take commonly understood words and re-define them in support of an irrational, misanthropic and morally defective ideology. Socialism! 

P.T. Barnum would have been truly impressed with this trompe l'oeil, for what better way to deflect attention away from themselves, the real perpetrators of the economic mess in which the world finds itself.  And now, because they've adopted and promoted this phrase - sustainable develoment - and tout it as a philosophy, we're to believe the economic incompetents who run these socialist governments, including the United States, have an economic vision that can be implemented with them in control and it will work to humanities benefit!  We desparately need to explore this.

Just as when they use the phrase “it’s for the children” when they want some pesticide banned - after all, who could be against something that's "for the children" - they resort to these emotional appeals to prevent you from looking deeper into what they’re really promoting.   Their policies haven't been "for the children", it been  “to the children”.  For over 50 years those policies have devastated the children of the third world terribly.

Correspondingly, we had better look more deeply into the phrase “sustainable development” when they talk about economic development.  After all - Who can be against sustainability? After all isn’t sustainability something that can be done over and over again!  Who can be against development?  Isn’t development about creating more and better ways to live!  What can be wrong with any of that?

Let’s think about this for a second.  The words sustainability and development can easily be defined separately, but can they be defined as a phrase?  Are they even compatible as a philosophy?  Ask ourselves this question.   Is anything sustainable if there’s development?  We will explore that!

What happens when the two are combined and defined illogically and in a way that will generate a diametrically different goal than either sustainability or development would mean independently? What happens when the real goal isn’t the leftist mantra – we can fix everything if the world just adopts our vision of sustainable development and give us the power to define it, and unendingly re-define it, as we see fit to meet needs that only we can understand and implement according to some unknown formula?  What if the real goal is global governance under the auspices of the United Nations? 

Independently both of these words are easily definable. The trick is to put these words together in order to create a phrase that is so meaningless anyone can attribute any philosophy to it they wish and call their policy “sustainable development”.

In reality the term sustainable development as a philosophy is a logical fallacy because it has no logical foundation.    Who decides what’s sustainable, and for whom?  Who decides some practice or other is or isn’t worth developing?

There are no identifiable parameters for a universal definition or modalities of action to which everyone can agree.  As a result there can be no logical foundation from which to make viable verifiable determinations for what needs to be done.  That leaves opinion - not facts, not science, not history, not results – just someone’s opinion as to how the world should function.  Make no mistake about this.  If the world accepts this there will be no level of individuality will be tolerated, including the real foundation for economic sustainability or development – personal property rights.

Here in the United States that is now, and has been, the thrust of these people from the beginning.  The elimination of personal property rights by use of the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, via their agents of tyranny at the EPA, the Wildlife Service and the Army Corp of Engineers.

They claim sustainable development is to support current and future generations. Both of which is completely incomprehensible for central planning purposes, especially by bureaucrats who’ve never had a real job. Who knows what future generations need?  Who knows what developments will arise that will change the needs of society today.  Who knows what developments will be thwarted by central planning meddling?   Who’s to say what’s best for current of future generations, and how do we know their goals and plans are benign?

Especially since - as a group – the sustainable development mob thinks – mostly privately lest the world find out how insane their vision of the world really is – the world has between four and six billion too many people.  So why does anyone think a massive infusion of regulations and taxes implemented by an unconnected, unaccountable, unconscionable United Nations bureaucracy dominated by tyrants should regulate sustainability?

The reality is that sustainability has no need of government at all.  Actual sustainability is self regulating! Either something can be done or it can’t.  If it can’t be done people will stop doing it and attempt some other way of achieving a needed goal.

That makes development self regulating also.  Development occurs when a need arises, and as in all developmental processes there will be successes and failures.  That’s how light bulb came into being.  Edison tried 1000 compounds as a filament and failed, but he took each failure as a success because they now knew what wouldn’t work.   When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps."

What regulation from a central authority could have made that happen?   What if central planners didn’t want this development to happen?  What if central planners had decided electric light bulbs were destructive to the economic interests of candle makers and declared light bulbs as a threat to current and future generations?

Who was the most antagonistic opponent of the electric light bulb?  John D. Rockefeller!  Why, was he a supporter of sustainability or development?  I guess you could say he was a supporter of sustainability – because his company, Standard Oil of New Jersey’s number one product was kerosene, which was used to light the nation’s buildings, and the electric light bulb would not be sustainable for his business model.  Remember, gasoline was a by-product of kerosene production and was thrown away because it was so volatile and there were few cars.  Once again – the reality of history is this - nothing is ‘sustainable’ if there’s development.

Now we find these promoters of sustainable development claiming sustainable development isn’t possible without equality of genders.  Really?  Why?  Whether or not our particular societal paradigms practice equality of race, equality of gender, equality of class or not, there is no ‘sustainable’ proof that has anything to do with sustainability or development.  Great political and economic empires came into being without practicing anything that could be construed equality in any arena.

The world’s history demonstrates the largest obstacle to sustainability or development is   government!   The very people who are promoting what they call sustainable development are the very people who stand in the way of legitimate economic sustainable or development with massive infusions of regulations, fees, taxes and penalties for doing anything with which they disagree.

What if they decide drinking wine is a threat to the needs of today’s society? What if they decide growing grape vines or the making of wine will not be tolerated?  What if they decide theatrical entertainment should be restricted in order to more directly focus on producing the things the central authority decides is most important?  Both of those things occurred in ancient China.

These aren’t stupid people.  They’ve been educated in the best universities in the world so they must have studied history….but did they really?  In order to really understand world economics we need to study the history of China!

According to the book Wealth and Poverty of Nations, “by about 500 BCE the Chinese had learned to improve the supply and use of water by means of artificial devices and arrangements; were making use of draft animals (above all, the water buffalo) for plowing; were weeding intensively; and were putting down animal waste, including night soil, as fertilizer. All of this required prodigious labor, but the work paid off.  Yields shot to a high of 1,100 liters of grain per hectare, which would have left a substantial surplus for the maintenance of nonfood producers.”

Printing and paper was invented by the Chinese around the 9th century, but the difficulty of ideographs versus an alphabet made printing or even learning difficult.  “for all that printing [in China] did for the preservation and diffusion of knowledge in China, it never “exploded” as in Europe,.  Such publication depended on government initiative, and he Confucian mandarinate discouraged dissent and new ideas”.  (WAPN pg 52)

The Chinese use of gunpowder started by the eleventh century (two to three hundred years before it appeared in Europe, and probably brought from China) but never advanced beyond their use as incendiaries because the “Chinese would seem to have been more afraid of rebellion from within than invasion from without.  More modern armaments might fall into the wrong hands, and these including those of the generals.” (WAPN Pg. 53)  

So it appears the central authorities decided gunpowder was not to be developed any further for the benefit of a sustainable society…Right?  Or was it for the benefit of the central authorities? 

The control of the Chinese population by a central authority – The Emperor, who was presented as “The Son of Heaven”, making him a semi-divine being in the eyes of the Chinese – feared innovation as a threat to his rule.  As a result a nation that was scientifically 500 years ahead of the rest of the world stifled innovation with regulations and an unyielding bureaucracy until the rest of the world surpassed them.  That’s been the history of central planning all over the world.

While there have been times when in the short term it has worked to meet a specific need, as a permanent arrangement to meet societies needs – it’s a disaster!

Their rhetoric about "sustainable development" gives the impression this will benefit society providing for all of humanities needs.  But what happens when this central authority decides to change it to "sustainable consumption"? All they promote in all their schemes and international treaties lead to that - sustainable consumption - and they will decide what and how much will be consumed and by whom.

After he took power in China communist dictator Ma0 Tse Tung decided he needed armament but he didn’t have the capital to purchase it.  So to fix that economic problem he decided to sell the food needed by his Chinese countrymen to get that capital.  Over thirty million innocent people starved to death and Mao said that was the beginning and more may need to die in order to attain his goals.  What was he sustaining?  His power at the expense of humanity!

The left is not a lover of humanity, sustainable development as a policy defined by them and under their control, will not be benefit humanity.   We have the history of leftism, and that history is incontestable!  There really is good and evil in the world and there really is such a thing as right and wrong.  What needs to be demonstrated over and over again is the left isn’t just wrong.  It’s evil! 


Australia: Not so little Lambie compares Greens to Islamic State

She's got a point

INDEPENDENT senator Jacqui Lambie's comparison of the Greens to Islamic military extremists has left the political group demanding an apology

ADDRESSING a mining conference in her home state of Tasmania on Friday, Senator Lambie opened her speech with "a little joke".

"What's the difference between the Greens and ISIS?" she asked an audience gathered for the third and final day of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council annual conference.

"Not very much. They both want to take us back into the dark ages."

Pre-empting a backlash, Senator Lambie said she was not talking behind the Greens' backs.  "I told the same comments (to) a group of Green senators at the last sitting of Parliament. "I make no apologies. They need to be told, and often."

However, Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor took offence.
"It is outrageous to compare Greens and conservationists with murderous terrorists," she told reporters.  "It's unnecessary, divisive language and she should apologise."

Senator Lambie's comments came in response to a United Nations committee decision in Germany on Thursday to uphold protection measures across Tasmania's 1.5 million hectare Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"The people from the UN would be better off listening to the average person from northwest Tasmania than the environmental zealots and alarmists like the Wilderness Society's Vica Bayley, who will never be satisfied until we're all living in caves, burning candles and eating tofu," she said.

The first-term senator renewed her call for an upper house inquiry into the activities of the Greens, citing the party's move to shut down Tasmania's mining and logging industries. "The key question is: did they use taxpayer funds to kill off Tasmanian jobs and sabotage a sustainable, environmentally friendly industry?"

Senator Lambie went on to tell the conference that she struck a deal with federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, that guaranteed Tasmania the right to burn wood waste to produce energy, in exchange for her support of the renewable energy target legislation.

"Let's see if he keeps his word," she said, according to News Corp.



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

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


3 July, 2015

The church of global warming

The new rosary: "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is unhappy with the Pope's backing of what Zeg insists on calling "anthropological" global warming. 

Zeg seems to be a bit of a Latinist too.  That gobbledegook above the Pope's head in the toon is not dog Latin  but real Latin.  It translates as, "The crack-brained poison of Rome".

Radiation hormesis rediscovered

Panic merchants of all kinds insist that harm from ionizing radiation rises in a linear way.  Greenies need to argue that to justify their scares about nuclear technology. But the evidence for a threshold effect is strong.  Weak to medium strength radiation has repeatedly been shown to be beneficial in fact.  So it is good to see below some cautious acknowledgement of that

Countless scientific studies have debated the issue - does radiation from X-rays and CT scans cause cancer?  At very high doses the evidence is clear, scientists say - the answer is yes.

But one oncologist from Loyola University in Chicago now points to 'serious flaws' in the theory, when considering everyday exposure to radiation during medical scans.  Dr James Welsh said the reliance of past research on unproven statistical models is important.

'Although radiation is known to cause cancer at high doses and high-dose rates, no data have ever unequivocally demonstrated the induction [start] of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates,' said Dr Welsh, and his co-author Dr Jeffry Siegel.

They argue studies that have identified a link between medical imaging and cancer, typically use a model known as 'linear no-threshold' (LNT).

In LNT, the well-established cancer-causing effects of high doses of radiation are simply extrapolated downward in a straight line to low doses.

The LNT model assumes there is no safe dose of radiation, no matter how small. But although LNT is used by regulators around the world, the model is 'of questionable validity, utility and applicability for estimation of cancer risks,' Dr Welsh and Dr Siegel said.

Contrary to the LNT model, there is compelling evidence that the human body has evolved the ability to repair damage from low-dose radiation.

For example, the mutation rate caused by low-dose background radiation in the environment is 2.5 million times lower than the rate of spontaneous mutations in the body.

So even if the LNT model were true, the small increase in mutations caused by low-dose radiation from medical imaging would be unlikely to overwhelm the body's defences.

They add studies purporting to find a cancer link to medical imaging radiation have other flaws besides the questionable LNT model.

For example, Dr Welsh and Dr Siegel highlight, two recent studies suggested possible increased cancer risks from low-radiation doses associated with paediatric CT scans. But these cancers are likely due to the medical conditions that prompted the need for a CT scan, rather than the radiation exposure, the pair noted.

While many people focus on the apparent risks of radiation in medical imaging, 'the more significant and actual risks associated with not undergoing an imaging procedure or undergoing a more invasive exploratory surgery are generally being ignored in both the scientific literature and the popular media,' they added.

The views first appeared in the journal Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment.


Scientists predict polar bear population crash

Greenies have not got a prediction right yet so there is no cause for alarm. Additionally, there has been huge fraud in  estimating bear numbers, with whistleblowers heavily sanctioned.  So this is just propaganda and prophecy combined: A unimpressive combination

Imperilled polar bears will see a population crash in most parts of the Arctic if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at current rates, thereby causing accelerated melting of the sea ice the animals depend on for survival, a study has found.

A study led by US Geological Survey (USGS) biologists showed that a worldwide failure to reduce the release of atmospheric pollutants tied to the burning of fossil fuels will likely lead to "a greatly decreased state" for polar bear populations in Alaska and elsewhere, except for an Arctic region north of Canada where summer ice is known to persist for longer.

The world's 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears, which can stand as high as 3.35 metres and weigh as much as  635 kg, use floating sea ice as platforms for hunting their preferred prey of ringed seals, for mating and to travel vast distances quickly and without expending crucial energy reserves on long-distance swimming, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The bears were protected in 2008 under the federal Endangered Species Act after US wildlife managers said climate changes threatened the massive mammal's survival, in the first such listing of its kind.

USGS ecologists used updated models for predicting greenhouse gas levels under a variety of scenarios in a research paper that concluded that polar bears will face severe challenges in the next several decades even if climate warming stabilises thanks to of reductions in global emissions.

"Substantial sea ice loss and expected declines in the availability of marine prey that polar bears eat are the most important specific reasons for the increasingly worse outlook for polar bear populations," said Todd Atwood, USGS research biologist and lead author of the study.

Dr Atwood and his team found that other stressors for polar bears, including oil and gas exploration and hunting by indigenous peoples, had little impact on them compared to the loss of sea ice.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release for public review a draft plan on Thursday for the recovery of polar bears.


The link between climate and poverty

The climate alarmists are practically giddy over Pope Francis’ recently released “climate encyclical” — remember, these are, generally, the very same people who dis the church and its position on abortion, the origin of life on earth, and the definition of marriage. Even Al Gore, who admits he was “raised in the Southern Baptist tradition,” has declared he “could become a Catholic because of this Pope.”

Not surprisingly, Carl Pope, who served as executive director of the Sierra Club for 36 years, chimed in. He penned a piece published on June 22 in EcoWatch in which he bashes “American conservatism” and positions the papal publication as being responsible for a “new dynamism” that he claims is “palpable.”

“It is more a gale than a fresh breeze,” Pope exclaimed, “when the most ground-breaking pope since John XXIII links poverty and climate.” In his post titled “How Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical is Disrupting American Politics,” Pope pronounces, “Something fundamental is shifting this summer in political and cultural attitudes around the climate.”

The former Sierra Club director then goes into a litany of news stories to support his position. Included in his list: the recent agreement from the “world’s major industrialized nations” to “Phase Out Fossil Fuels by 2100” — which is more rhetoric than reality.

In his claim of colliding “new realities and social change forces,” Pope never mentions the polling indicating that after the most extensive and expensive global propaganda campaign, fewer people are worried about a warming planet than were 25 years ago. Nor does he acknowledge that, according to Harvard Political Review, the vast majority of Americans — even those who agree that “global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants” — are still “unsupportive of government measures to prevent climate change that might harm the economy.”

And “harm the economy” it does — which is why, despite the G7 non-binding “agreement,” many European counties are returning to fossil fuels and retreating from renewables — led by German capacity payments to keep coal-fueled power plants open.

On June 19, in PV Magazine, Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, laments Greece’s “policy U-turn towards lignite.” Psomas said, “All [the new government] is concerned with is how to promote power generation from fossil fuels e.g. new lignite power stations, new gas pipes and exploratory drilling for oil. So far, it has shown no interest at all for renewables energy.”

In May, Greece’s Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, sent a letter to the European Commission “requesting permission to reactivate and prolong the life of Ptolemaida 3” — an “old technology” coal plant. Among his arguments, Lafazanis cited “the country’s ongoing recession, which has prompted the need to maintain household heating costs as low as possible.” Greece is also due to start construction any day on Ptolemaida 5, a new lignite-fired power station in Northern Greece.

Greece’s return to coal is due, according to Lafazanis, to the intermittency of renewable power, which endangers the country’s “energy security,” and to economic concerns. The Greek photovoltaic industry is “now preparing for the worst.”

Similarly, Poland is also seeking exemptions from “the European Union’s rules on reducing carbon emissions because the nation’s energy security and economic development depends on coal,” BloombergBusiness reports. Poland has previously received concessions from the EU climate policy. The new governing party, Law & Justice, is planning a strategy for the economy that “rejects the dogma of de-carbonization.” On, Ben Garside predicts, “it may become more tempting for Polish governments to try to opt out of the [climate] laws altogether.”

Following elections in the United Kingdom that gave the conservative Tories a decisive majority, Britain’s energy policies are changing. While, so far, claiming to stick to its carbon targets, the new government will focus on minimizing costs.

In an editorial prior to the elections, The Guardian framed the party differences this way: “The Tories have cast off their green disguise. They will end subsidies for onshore wind power and rely on the market to bring down prices, they are enthusiastic about fracking and they want to build more roads. … The Greens, of course, remain committed to creating a zero-carbon economy, even if that is at the cost of economic growth.”

As predicted, the new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced an end to onshore wind subsidies, which “will save hundreds of millions of pounds.” She acknowledged that ending the “subsidy scheme” meant about 250 projects, totaling about 2,500 turbines, are now “unlikely to be built.”

The change in the government’s attitude toward wind energy, which was part of the Conservatives Manifesto, is likely the first of many to come in the weeks ahead. The Manifesto pledges to:

Keep energy bills as low as possible;

Halt the spread of onshore windfarms;

Back a significant expansion in new nuclear;

Continue to support development of North Sea oil and gas and the safe development of shale gas; and

Not support additional distorting and expensive power sector targets.

In The Telegraph, columnist Fraser Nelson reports that, after taking stock of what has been learned in the past five years, Rudd intends to take the summer to come up with “a proper Tory plan” — which, like the wind subsidy decision, is expected to follow the Manifesto and keep energy bills as low as possible.

Once again, economics are an important factor. Nelson states the following as a problem with climate-driven energy policy: “the fact that at least 15,000 British pensioners die of the cold each winter. It’s a staggering death toll, which has been greeted with a shrug for far too long. But this, too, is ending. The notion of ‘fuel poverty’ is being more widely recognized — and green subsidy is compounding the problem.”

In Germany, Greece, Poland, and the UK, fossil fuel has reemerged. However, in Ethiopia, according to Pope, they are willing to reduce projected 2030 carbon pollution by 64 percent. The caveat? “If climate finance is made available.”

Yes, there is a “link” between poverty and climate. The green energy favored by the Pope, Carl Pope, and other climate alarmists threatens energy security, harms the economy, and creates fuel poverty that kills thousands of people each year.


The EPA gives with one hand and takes away with the other

The Obama administration issued a potential setback to Royal Dutch Shell's  Arctic oil exploration plans on Tuesday, telling the company that established wildlife protections prevent it from drilling two rigs simultaneously within 15 miles (24 km) of each other, as it had planned.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued Shell a permit on Tuesday that said that under existing federal walrus and polar bear protections, Shell must maintain a 15 mile buffer if it plans to drill two rigs simultaneously. In Shell's 2015 Arctic drilling plan, no two of its wells are more than 15 miles apart.



Three current articles below

Unpacking wind farm impacts in Australia

Fears over adverse health impacts caused by wind farms are being heavily scrutinised during a parliamentary inquiry into the controversial renewable energy source.

The Senate select committee inquiry into the regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines, established last November, is due to report by August 3.

The inquiry’s extensive terms of reference include investigating the impacts of wind farms on household power prices and the Clean Energy Regulator’s effectiveness in performing its legislative responsibilities.

The role and capacity of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in providing guidance to state and territory authorities is also under scrutiny.

The first public hearing was held at Portland in Victoria on March 30 while two were held in Cairns and Canberra in May.

About 460 public submissions have been received with four more public hearings scheduled for June in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra.

Conflicting views

At the most recent hearing in Canberra on May 19, witnesses presented a range of conflicting views about the adverse health impacts of wind turbines, particularly around low-frequency infrasound.

Family First Senator Bob Day said the inquiry had heard extensive evidence from state and local governments that they were struggling with regulating the wind turbine industry.

Senator Day said infrasound did not appear to be covered by regulations, “which mostly cover audible decibel measured sound”.

He said evidence from hearing expert Dr Andrew Bell claimed infrasound cannot be measured, and it was unknown how the ear coped with infrasound.

“It is just not possible to measure it – all you can do is accept the overwhelming evidence that people are affected by it,” he said.

Dr Bell said large infrasonic impulses – whether from a wind turbine, coal mine or a gas turbine or “whatever” – can have an effect of altering the middle ear and causing a pressure effect, “maybe headaches, maybe seasickness and things like that”.

“I think infrasound by itself with very large low-frequency pressure pulses does disturb the human ear,” he said.

“Exactly how it happens is unknown; my suspicion is that it is the middle ear muscle – the gain-control before the cochlea – but we are just beginning to do work in this area.”

The annoyance factor

The Australia Institute research director Roderick Campbell referred to a report on the wider impacts of wind energy written by researchers at the Nossal Research Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

Mr Campbell said the institute’s medical researchers concluded in the report that there was “no credible peer-reviewed scientific evidence that demonstrates a causal link between wind turbines and adverse physiological health impacts on people”.

But he said they found that there was some connection between annoyance from wind turbines and sleep disturbance.

“They felt that attitudes towards wind farms have a considerable influence on these factors and the extent to which noise, visual disruption and social change resulting from wind farms can cause stress or annoyance, which in turn can contribute to health issues,” he said.

“Any effects from such exposures are therefore likely to vary considerably across communities and are best considered indirect effects.”

Mr Campbell said the Warburton review – along with almost every other review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) “which is dominated by wind energy” – found that the RET either has a minimal impact on household prices or, in the longer term, is likely to put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices.

‘No problems whatsoever’

Australian Wind Alliance national co-ordinator Andrew Bray said evidence also existed of people living near wind farms with no reported problems.

Mr Bray said he had also spoken personally to people who were in “great distress” – and “I certainly do not want to say that they are making stuff up”.

However the danger of looking at those cases selectively was “that you miss the much larger pool of people who live near wind farms who have no health problems whatsoever”.

Mr Bray said if a study was undertaken of all people living around a wind turbine, “you would find that the incidence of health problems is not high”.

However, NSW Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm said: “With cigarettes, the incidence of lung cancer was not high either”.

Public Health Association of Australia CEO Melanie Walker said complaints from people affected by noise from wind turbines must be recognised and managed, with fair and reasonable solutions developed.

Ms Walker said allegations of harm to health from wind turbines must also be placed in the context of minimal evidence supporting some claims and the considerable evidence supporting harm from other energy sources.

She said governments should also support wind power as one of the viable evidence-based renewable energy options to rapidly transition the economy from fossil fuels.

“This is supported by the Public Health Association on both health and safe climate grounds,” she said.

“We know that people who are disturbed by noise become annoyed, and we know that if you are annoyed you become more acutely sensitive to the cause of your disturbance,” she said.

“We are also aware that if you are annoyed and disturbed that you are going to have interrupted sleep, and we know that this is not good for people’s health in the short term.

“The linkage from the short-term annoyance to longer term health problems is more problematic, because there is a chain of events that takes decades to work through.

“But we do know from the broader social determinants of health literature that there are some connections between psychological distress and, over a period of years, the emergence of chronic diseases.

“So we are not saying that this does not happen, but we are saying that it is a long-term, not immediate, effect.

“We are also aware that people who live near coalmines in the Hunter Valley or people who live in Morwell in Victoria also have sources of stress in their environment which is contributing to their sense of unease as well.”

Senator Leyonhjelm said the committee had heard from people who favoured having wind turbines erected on their properties and were also very supportive of renewable energy.

But he said after the wind turbines were erected, some of those people then reported suffering adverse health effects.


Bass Strait's artificial structures good for hungry fur seals

Greenies will hate this,  Everything artificial is BAD, according to them

A study looking at the feeding behaviour of Australian fur seals in Bass Strait has found the animals benefit from the shipwrecks, pipelines and cables in their underwater world.

The researchers found these structures act like artificial reefs, attracting fish and other marine life. This makes them a happy hunting ground for hungry fur seals, which feed on a variety of bony fish, squid and octopus.

Revealed by the study's GPS tracking data and underwater "seal-cam" footage, the results showed the animals from the Kanowna Island colony off Wilsons Promontory favoured particular foraging routes.

"In one case we looked at the GPS track and it was a straight line, which made us think that the seal might be following fishing vessels," said John Arnould from Deakin University.

On closer inspection the researchers realised something else was at play: the animal's foraging path mirrored a pipeline. And it wasn't alone. Others were doing the same.

Underwater infrastructure in Bass Strait includes the high-voltage Basslink power pipeline, communications cables, wells and numerous shipwrecks.

Published in the journal PLOS ONE on Thursday, the findings showed this infrastructure benefited the fur seals because by forming an artificial reef, marine life became concentrated in what was otherwise a sandy seafloor with very little habitat variation.

Associate Professor Arnould said the Australian fur seals, which feed almost exclusively on the seafloor, appear to have cottoned-on.

"For some individuals it influenced where they were foraging and for some of the 36 studied, the artificial structures were heavily influencing where they were foraging," he said. 

The research team, including scientists from the University of Tasmania and the University of California Santa Cruz, also looked at how far from the infrastructure the seals were feeding.

In some cases it was up to 100 metres but Associate Professor Arnould said this still indicated the artificial environment was having an impact on foraging behaviour.

"Structures can influence currents and therefore nutrient transport," he said. "So even if seals aren't always feeding on the pipeline, the pipeline is influencing where they forage."

On one case, black and white video footage of a seal foraging around an oil rig revealed a surprising number of fish concentrated in the area.

"The amount of fish around this structure was unbelievable," Associate Professor Arnould said.

Thirty-six Australian fur seals were fitted with a GPS tracker and dive recorder as part of the study. Two of the 36 had an underwater camera attached to their dorsal fur.

Heavily hunted for their coats in the 1800s, the Australian fur seal population dipped to as few as 20,000. Now protected, the seal population is recovering at about 3000 pups a year, or 2 per cent.


Huge subsidies needed for electric cars:  Australian government not interested

Renault Australia boss Justin Hocevar has held up the delivery of the Renault Nissan Alliance's 250,000th electric car as evidence the Australian government has the wrong approach to motoring.

The partnership sold the landmark car, a Renault Zoe hatch, to French resident Yves Nivelle, who took advantage of a €10,000 ($14,500) subsidy to buy a €21,990 ($31,885) car for little more than half its retail price.

"The government's environmental bonus was a big factor in my decision to get an EV," Nivelle says.

The French subsidy encourages drivers to trade in older diesel models for a new electric car.

For customers who aren't prepare to pay cash for the car, other French subsidies allow drivers to lease an electric Renault for just €99 ($145) per month.

Australian drivers miss out on the Renault Zoe as tawdry charging infrastructure and a lack of rebates provide little incentive for people to choose electric cars.

"The lack of support for electric vehicles certainly impacts the business plan for Renault to introduce electric vehicles to Australia," Hocevar says.

"Currently electric vehicles in Australia carry a price premium over their internal combustion engine counterparts and in such a competitive and price sensitive market; this does make it difficult for us to look at introducing product."

Asked whether the Federal Government would consider subsidising electric cars, a spokesman for Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry and Science, says the main encouragement for people to consider green cars lay in the Green Vehicle Guide website that helps consumers compare cars "based on greenhouse and air pollution emissions".

The government also charges less in luxury car tax to prestige vehicles that use less than 7.0L/100km, however that threshold (set at $75,375) hasn't changed in four years.

Minister MacFarlane is on the record as saying electric cars are "an idea, not a solution", and that he is more interested in hydrogen-fuelled cars than machines that primarily use coal-sourced electricity.

That's not a notion supported in Norway, where government subsidies have pushed electric car sales to around one in five of all models. More than 50,000 electric cars are on the road in Norway, where battery-powered motorists benefit from reduced taxes, toll-free use of motorways, free parking and the use of public transport lanes.

Hocevar says "it would be fantastic if we could emulate this support in Australia", but "at this stage we don't believe there is a plan for the government to introduce support in the near future".  "The lack of support for electric vehicles in Australia is disappointing," he says.

The difference between Australia and Norway is that the majority of local power comes from coal, whereas the Scandinavian nation relies on hydroelectric energy [Those wicked DAMS!] . Yet plenty of other federal, state and local governments around the globe provide strong incentives for green cars, and Hocevar isn't the only Australian executive to criticise the government's approach to electric machines.



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

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


2 July, 2015

Once more: Climate was highly variable in prehistory too

Findings from Finland yesterday, South America today.  Another finding of big climate swings.  Also found below: Insolation (the sun) was primary driver of tropical S. American climate in the past 120,000 years.  Just the first half of the unusually long abstract below.  The second half deals with models

Nature and causes of Quaternary climate variation of tropical South America

Paul A. Baker et al.


This selective review of the Quaternary paleoclimate of the South American summer monsoon (SASM) domain presents viewpoints regarding a range of key issues in the field, many of which are unresolved and some of which are controversial. (1) El Niño-Southern Oscillation variability, while the most important global-scale mode of interannual climate variation, is insufficient to explain most of the variation of tropical South American climate observed in both the instrumental and the paleoclimate records. (2) Significant climate variation in tropical South America occurs on seasonal to orbital (i.e. multi-millennial) time scales as a result of sea-surface temperature (SST) variation and ocean–atmosphere interactions of the tropical Atlantic. (3) Decadal-scale climate variability, linked with this tropical Atlantic variability, has been a persistent characteristic of climate in tropical South America for at least the past half millennium, and likely, far beyond. (4) Centennial-to-millennial climate events in tropical South America were of longer duration and, perhaps, larger amplitude than any observed in the instrumental period, which is little more than a century long in tropical South America. These were superimposed upon both precession-paced insolation changes that caused significant variation in SASM precipitation and eccentricity-paced global glacial boundary conditions that caused significant changes in the tropical South American moisture balance. As a result, river sediment and water discharge increased and decreased across tropical South America, lake levels rose and fell, paleolakes arose and disappeared on the Altiplano, glaciers waxed and waned in the tropical Andes, and the tropical rainforest underwent significant changes in composition and extent.

Quaternary Science Reviews. Volume 124, 15 September 2015, Pages 31–47

There's nothing unusual about current levels of CO2

Even though there were no coal-burning power stations in the Eocene. The late Eocene interglacial was ~100,000 years ago. Data from China

The pCO2 estimates of the late Eocene in South China based on stomatal density of Nageia Gaertner leaves

X.-Y. Liu et al.


Late Eocene pCO2 concentration is estimated based on the species of Nageia maomingensis Jin et Liu from the late Eocene of Maoming Basin, Guangdong Province. This is the first paleoatmospheric estimates for the late Eocene of South China using stomatal data. Studies of stomatal density (SD) and stomatal index (SI) with N. motleyi (Parl.) De Laub., the nearest living equivalent species of the fossil, indicate that the SD inversely responds to atmospheric CO2 concentration, while SI has almost no relationships with atmospheric CO2 concentration. Therefore, the pCO2 concentration is reconstructed based on the SD of the fossil leaves in comparison with N. motleyi. Results suggest that the mean CO2 concentration was 391.0 ± 41.1 ppmv or 386.5 ± 27.8 ppmv during the late Eocene, which is significantly higher than the CO2 concentrations documented from 1968 to 1955 but similar to the values for current atmosphere indicating that the Carbon Dioxide levels during that the late Eocene at that time may have been similar to today.

Clim. Past Discuss., 11, 2615-2647, 2015

All Isn't Lost, as SCOTUS Rebukes EPA

EPA chief Gina McCarthy isn't pleased. 

The Supreme Court proved it still has a little bit of respect left for Rule of Law in its decision yesterday in Michigan v. EPA. In a 5-4 ruling that predictably followed partisan lines with Justice Anthony Kennedy swinging to the right, the High Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly consider the high costs of regulation of emissions from coal-fired power plants.

That this Court — the one content to rewrite ObamaCare in order to save it, twice — found the EPA went too far in rewriting the law is saying something.

The EPA, which has been pursuing the ecofascist dream of completely wiping the coal industry off the face of the earth, released a series of regulations in 2012 that would force energy producers to comply with limits on mercury and air toxins released in coal energy production. The National Federation of Independent Business said the regulations, known as Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), are among the costliest ever issued.

The EPA estimated the new rules would cost close to $10 billion annually, while bringing direct annual benefits of no more than $6 million. Bureaucrats also made the un-provable assertion that the rules would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases each year. In developing its regulations, the EPA was expected to adhere to the Clean Air Act’s “appropriate and necessary” standard. But the agency arbitrarily determined that cost had no bearing in the development of the regulations, essentially flouting the decades-old law and choosing to make up its own rules. The EPA determined that its work protecting the environment justified whatever actions it saw fit.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion stated, “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.” Scalia also noted, “The costs to power plants were … between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” He added, “No regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California weighed in on the decision in a statement, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision today vindicates the House’s legislative actions to rein in bureaucratic overreach and institute some common sense in rule making.” That said, Congress has more work to do to rein in an out-of-control EPA, especially given that the Court left open a substantial loophole of sorts: Regulations are fine as long as the EPA “counts the cost.”

Indeed, the EPA seemed nonplussed by the decision, with spokeswoman Melissa Harrison saying, “EPA is disappointed … but this rule was issued more than three years ago … and most plants are already well on their way to compliance.” In other words, she gloated that the damage was already done and blew a raspberry at opponents.

The EPA and the White House will certainly try to play down this loss, but the Court’s decision lays groundwork for a number of other cases in which multiple states are seeking to challenge the imperial overreach of the EPA. As noted by National Mining Association President Hal Quinn, “The decision effectively puts EPA on notice: reckless rulemaking that ignores the cost to consumers is unreasonable and won’t be tolerated.”

But Justice Clarence Thomas warned in his concurring majority opinion, “[W]e seem to be straying further and further from the Constitution without so much as pausing to ask why. We should stop to consider that document before blithely giving the force of law to any other agency ‘interpretations’ of federal statutes.” We can think of a few other cases in which that logic applies, and we hope this victory isn’t merely symbolic.


EPA Predicts: Workers Will Lose $170B in Wages By 2100 Without Global Action on Climate Change

Lucky that Greenie prophecies are always wrong

 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has projected that by 2100, without global greenhouse gas mitigation, labor hours in the U.S. are projected to decrease, costing an estimated $170 billion in lost wages, according to a new EPA report. 

The EPA report, released on June 22, 2015, is titled “Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action,” and was created to estimate the physical and monetary benefits of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, otherwise referred to in the report as GHG mitigation.

“Without global GHG mitigation, labor hours in the U.S. are projected to decrease due to increases in extreme temperatures,” states the report. “Over 1.8 billion labor hours are projected to be lost in 2100, costing an estimated $170 billion in lost wages.”

The EPA claims that labor hours are lost when the “extreme summer heat” causes workers to take more breaks, get ill, or stop working altogether.

“Extreme summer heat is increasing in the U.S. and will be more frequent and intense in the future,” states the EPA. “Heat exposure can affect workers’ health, safety and productivity. When exposed to high temperatures, workers are at risk for heat-related illnesses and therefore may take more frequent breaks, or have to stop work entirely, resulting in lower overall labor capacity.

“This is especially true for high-risk industries where workers are doing physical labor and have a direct exposure to outdoor temperatures (e.g., agriculture, construction, utilities, and manufacturing),” according to the EPA.

“The majority of the country is projected to experience decreases in labor hours due to extreme temperature effects,” states EPA. “In 2100, parts of the Southwest and Florida are estimated to experience a decrease in hours worked for high-risk industries ranging from -5% to -7%. Although the impacts vary by region, only a limited number of counties are projected to experience increases in labor hours.”

The EPA claims that if we act on global climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, labor hours can be saved.

“Global GHG mitigation is estimated to save 1.2 billion labor hours and $110 billion in wages in 2100 in the contiguous U.S. that would otherwise be lost due to unmitigated climate change,” states the report.

“Climate change poses significant risks to humans and the environment” the EPA stated. “The report shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.”


Australia's crooked BOM again

Vanishing hot days of December 1931 — and BOM monthly averages hotter than every single day that month

Lance Pidgeon has drawn my attention to the mysteriously detailed weather maps of the Australian BOM, with their mass of contradictions. The intricate squiggles of air temperature profiles suggests an awesome array of data — especially remarkable in places like “Cook”, which is a railway station with a population of four. Eucla, the megopolis in the map, has a population of 368. The shared border in the map (right) is 674km long top to bottom.

Thankfully, after 80 years of modern technology, the weather at Eucla and in the Great Victorian Desert is much more bearable than anyone would have expected. The BOM ACORN data set works better than airconditioning. In places near Eucla, where old newspapers record 43C, the BOM tells us the highest maximum that month was “under 27C”. Far to the north of there, the highest maximum stayed under 36C, but the average for that same whole month was above 36C. Go figure. It’s a new kind of maths… [or maybe the miracle of reverse cycle a/c?]

There are a half million square kilometers in this map here and almost no thermometers, but plenty of lizards. It is so empty that every railway station and even a single house will earn a “dot” and a label. The point where WA meets SA and the NT is so remote that more people have been to the South Pole. Despite that, the BOM can draw maps of daily air temperature variation separating sand dunes and salt lakes where no man probably walked in a whole year.  Marvelous what computers and assumptions can do.

Jokes aside. The state of the BOM database is not so funny.


A lesson? Under an unsympathetic conservative government, Australian Greenies have become more moderate and balanced in their demands

The set of policy principles released by the Australian Climate Roundtable yesterday are extraordinary for two reasons.

First, the principles themselves offer some calm common sense in an arena that has been dominated by ferocious partisan politics and dramatic policy reversals. They could therefore offer a way to break the current policy deadlock and re-establish a bipartisan approach to climate change.

Second, the principles are the product of a highly unusual alliance of ten organisations, representing business, unions, environmentalists, and the community. It is unusual that such disparate groups can sit down together to talk, and downright extraordinary that they can agree on a common set of principles. So what is going on here?

A principled approach to policy?

On the first point, the principles state that: Our overarching aim is for Australia to play its fair part in international efforts to achieve this while maintaining and increasing its prosperity.

The Roundtable’s ideal policy would lead to “deep reductions in Australia’s net emissions”, using policy instruments that are well targeted, well designed, based on sound risk assessments, internationally linked, operate at least cost, and are efficient.

On the environmental side, there is a demand for net zero emissions in the long run, an acceptance that there are market failures that need to be fixed, and a call for long-term planning based on climate change scenarios.

On the economic side, there are statements about achieving reductions at the lowest cost, avoiding regulatory burdens, ensuring no loss of competitiveness for trade-exposed industries, and the need for a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy, without undue shocks for investors.

Finally, on the social side are concerns about providing decent work opportunities, protecting the most vulnerable people, and helping communities to make the necessary transition.

While there is apparently something here for everyone, the contentious issues are avoided.

There is no mention of the Government’s Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund, the former Government’s price on carbon, or the recently reduced Renewable Energy Target. This is clever politics, as it allows for the establishment of a broad consensus without the need to quibble over policy detail.

An unlikely alliance

The roundtable’s membership is remarkably diverse: the Australian Aluminium Council; the Business Council of Australia; the Australian Industry Group; the Energy Supply Association of Australia; the Investor Group on Climate Change; the Climate Institute; WWF Australia; the Australian Conservation Foundation; the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU); and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS). How and why did these disparate groups form such an alliance?

It is clear from the principles themselves that all the member groups want some policy consistency that will survive regardless of who is in Government. The last thing they want is for the recent cycle of major policy changes to continue.

Such reversals impose waves of new compliance costs on industry and create uncertainty for investors, which is why business is so heavily represented in the Roundtable. Policy changes also make it difficult to consolidate significant emissions reductions, which is where the environmentalists come in. Finally, policy uncertainty has implications for employment options and the cost of living, which is why the ACTU and ACOSS are also on board.

There are also some specific strategic advantages to being involved in the Roundtable for each of the participants.

Business groups that have been getting bad publicity about their contributions to climate change might use the Roundtable to improve their image and frame the future policy debate in a way that suits them (for instance, by calling for a strong focus on costs and competitiveness).

Environmentalists, who have effectively been sidelined by the Abbott government on climate change, might see this is a way to deal themselves back into the policy game and make some progress in reducing emissions.

Unions concerned about their members' future employment might see this as a way to manage the transition by creating new “green-collar” jobs that will offset the loss of employment opportunities in the older polluting industries.

Finally, ACOSS is clearly worried about the impact of climate policies on low-income households, and being part of the Roundtable ensures that their concerns are heard.

A precedent for influencing policy?

While unusual, alliances such as the Australian Climate Roundtable are not unknown in Australian environmental policy. Sometimes they have led to the creation of effective long-term policies; other times they have fizzled out, leaving little more than rhetoric.

One positive example is that of Landcare. In 1989 the Australian Conservation Foundation and the National Farmers' Federation proposed a grant scheme that would empower communities to rehabilitate their local environment. More than a quarter of century later, Landcare is still going strong with the support of all four leading political parties.

On the negative side, an extensive consultation process involving all levels of government, business, unions and environmentalists led to the creation of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development in 1992. It is still on the books and referred to by current legislation, yet we don’t appear to be much closer to sustainability.

So will this be a Landcare moment or not? Only time will tell.



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

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


1 July, 2015


I would be interested to know what happened in the last few hours.  A lot of internet sites were inaccessible until about an hour ago -- including Twitter.  The problem had the earmarks of an overload condition but why?  A DDOS attack?  Surely those are routinely  defeated these days?  Though it was notable how suddenly everything became accessible again.  My best guess would be that all the uproar about judicially mandated homosexual marriage in America overloaded a lot of sites that feature comments.  Maybe the news will tell us all in the next few hours what it was all about.

There is no such thing as climate stability

It swings up and down all the time with or without human presence. It's a "delusion of reference" (as in paranoid schizophrenia) to think mankind is responsible.  See the research paper below:

Major cooling intersecting peak Eemian Interglacial warmth in northern Europe

Karin F. Helmensa et al.


The degree of climate instability on the continent during the warmer-than-present Eemian Interglacial (around ca. 123 kyr ago) remains unsolved. Recently published high-resolution proxy data from the North Atlantic Ocean suggest that the Eemian was punctuated by abrupt events with reductions in North Atlantic Deep Water formation accompanied by sea-surface temperature cooling. Here we present multi-proxy data at an unprecedented resolution that reveals a major cooling event intersecting peak Eemian warmth on the North European continent. Two independent temperature reconstructions based on terrestrial plants and chironomids indicate a summer cooling of the order of 2–4 °C. The cooling event started abruptly, had a step-wise recovery, and lasted 500–1000 yr. Our results demonstrate that the common view of relatively stable interglacial climate conditions on the continent should be revised, and that perturbations in the North Atlantic oceanic circulation under warmer-than-present interglacial conditions may also lead to abrupt and dramatic changes on the adjacent continent.


Global warming gets nearly twice as much taxpayer money as border security

New estimates show the federal government will spend nearly twice as much fighting global warming this year than on U.S. border security.

The White House reported to House Republicans that there are 18 federal agencies engaged in global warming activities in 2013, funding a wide range of programs, including scientific research, international climate assistance, incentivizing renewable energy technology and subsidies to renewable energy producers. Global warming spending is estimated to cost $22.2 billion this year, and $21.4 billion next year.

At the same time, the federal government will spend nearly $12 billion on customs and border enforcement this year.

Obama’s climate agenda has attracted criticism from congressional Republicans who have been hammering the administration over the accountability and transparency of its global warming efforts.

Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee have been calling on the heads of major federal agencies to testify on global warming activities. So far, only the heads of the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have opted to testify in front of the House.

“With billions of dollars currently being spent annually on climate change activities, Congress and the public should understand the scope of what the federal government is doing, how the billions of dollars are being spent, and what it will accomplish,” said Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield. “Anyone who believes the committee ought to be focusing its attention on climate change related issues should be standing with us to get these answers.”

Earlier this summer, the Senate held a hearing to highlight the immediate impacts of global warming. However, Senate Republicans released a report ahead of the hearing that rejected many of the claims made by scientists, politicians and activists about rising global temperatures.

“Over nearly four decades, numerous predictions have had adequate time to come to fruition, providing an opportunity to analyze and compare them to today’s statistics,” reads the report from Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Republicans have also taken aim at the EPA’s efforts to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The agency will be imposing emissions caps on new and existing power plants across the country, which significantly hurts the coal industry.

“The American public should be deeply troubled to learn that EPA is actively working to increase energy prices based on predicted global temperature increases without first undertaking efforts to determine if temperatures are actually increasing to the extent predicted by the climate models they are using,” reads the Senate Republicans’ report.

The Obama administration recently declared that the country has moved beyond debating whether or not global warming is a threat, and instead, should be debating what can be done about the issue.

“We have turned a corner on that issue,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a recent speech. “We are — including in our Congress — really past the issue of whether we need to respond.”


Will 2015 be the year of renewable fuel standard reform?

By Marita Noon

downwiththeepaThe fact that the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) management — er, mismanagement — of the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) is indicative of the growing frustration over both the agency and the RFS itself.

At the June 18 hearing, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator, Janet McCabe was grilled by Senators from both sides of the aisle. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), who chaired the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, opened the hearing by calling the RFS “unworkable in its current form.” In her comments, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) claimed that the EPA’s management of the RFS ignored “congressional intent,” while creating “uncertainty” and costing “investment.”

The RFS has been under fire from all sides. It is the product of a different energy era — one in which presumed scarcity was the norm and reducing greenhouse gases was the concern. As a solution to both problems, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act in 2005, which established the first renewable-fuel volume mandate. Two years later, through the Energy Independence and Security Act, the RFS program was expanded, requiring that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into gasoline and diesel by 2022 (annual targets were outlined). The EPA website explains the RFS: “achieving significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the use of renewable fuels, for reducing imported petroleum, and encouraging the development and expansion of our nation’s renewable fuels sector.”

The EPA administers the RFS and is required to finalize the next year’s proposed fuel volumes by November 30 of each year — something it has failed to do, as Lankford pointed out: “On June 1, the amounts for the proposed mandates 2014, 2015, and 2016 volumes were all released together…some say better late than never, but we need to take a serious look at why these delays are unavoidable every year now, under current law.” The EPA has failed to meet the deadline every year since 2009.

When the 2014, 2015, and 2016 proposed volumes were released — in the middle of 2015 — almost no one was happy. It reduced the amount of corn-based ethanol blended into gasoline, while slightly increasing the share of biofuels.

One day before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing on “Re-examining EPA’s Management of the RFS Program,” the American Petroleum Institute held a press call in which an unlikely coalition of RFS opponents — the American Motorcyclist Association, the Environmental Working Group, and the National Council of Chain Restaurants— sounded optimistic that 2015 is the year for RFS reform. The Environmental Working Group says the RFS has led to more greenhouse gas emissions. The leading chain restaurant trade group, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, is opposed to the RFS because of its alleged effect on food commodity prices.

Corn growers aren’t happy with the EPA’s new proposed corn ethanol volumes — covering 2014-2016 — that are well below the benchmarks established by Congress. NPR’s Ari Shapiro, in a June 10 Morning Edition broadcast, stated, “Farmers in the Midwest have made good money growing corn for ethanol. To do that, they’ve plowed up lots of grassland. And that cancels out much of the hope for carbon savings. While the EPA still supports ethanol, it wants to take some of the focus off corn, and put it back on greener ways of making ethanol.”

The National Journal states, “The EPA cited market forces, specifically lower-than-expected growth of non-ethanol renewables and lower gasoline use than projected, in lowering the ethanol mandates.”

One of the problems with the 2007 targets is that they are based on an assumption of increased fuel usage and require ever increasing “volumes,” or gallons, of ethanol be produced rather than a percentage of ethanol being blended into gasoline. The combination of more fuel-efficient vehicles, the economic downturn, and an aging population has contributed to “lower gasoline use than projected.”

Last week, I was on the radio with Baron Lukas, President of Vital Strategies Management Consulting, a firm working in the oil-and-gas sector. He explained, “With the advent of the U.S. shale revolution, we have a lot more oil and gas than we thought possible just a couple of years ago. This is a true paradigm shift in how we view our domestic energy situation. The impact is compounded by aging demographics for Japan, China, Russia, Europe, and for the short-term, the United States, which will reduce or at least dampen domestic and global fuel requirements — older people simply drive less and represent lower industrial needs. Lastly, continuing technological advances are increasing fuel efficiency for a broad spectrum of applications, further placing downward pressure on hydrocarbon fuel demands. The bottom-line is a new reality of impending U.S. energy independence, continuing lower crude oil and natural gas prices, and far less dependence on OPEC for us and potentially for our allies.”

While EPA’s newly-released renewable-fuel volumes don’t meet the law’s target of 22.25 billion gallons for 2016, they do increase year after year — with the 2016 target being an increase over current use. Addressing EPA’s new numbers, US News reports, “The update calls for a 27 percent increase in what the EPA calls ‘advanced biofuels’ from 2014 through 2016, a catch-all category that includes cellulosic ethanol made from corn stalks, husks and other leftovers from a harvest, plus fuel converted from sugar cane, soybean oil, and waste oils and greases, such as from fast-food restaurants. Combined with conventional corn ethanol, the proposed volumes overall rise 9 percent.”

Associated Press reporting adds, “The EPA said the standards set by the law cannot be achieved, due partly to limitations on the amount of renewable fuels other than ethanol that can be produced. Next-generation biofuels, made from agricultural waste such as wood chips and corncobs, have not taken off as quickly as Congress required and the administration expected. Also, there has been less gasoline use than predicted.”

Increasing targets may encourage the renewable fuels industry. They are, however, unrealistic; and, as the June 18 hearing revealed, are expected to be “reset.”

In pressing McCabe on the RFS and the consistently-missed deadlines, Lankford asked, “How does RFS get back on schedule? Or, has Congress put a requirement on EPA that it can’t fulfill?” McCabe promised they were working on it and offered some vague explanations. Lankford then asked, “I assume you would agree there’s no chance we will hit the target for 2017 based on the statute required for 2017, so we’ll have to reset it…unless there is a tremendous amount of cellulosic ethanol that comes on board.” Lankford continued, discussing the way the law was written to decrease corn ethanol use and increase cellulosic fuel, which he pointed out isn’t “possible based on production.” McCabe agreed that the cellulosic number would need to be decreased by at least 50 percent.

Later in the hearing, Lankford called cellulosic fuels “great in theory,” but acknowledged that “no one has been able to make it in a quantity that is affordable yet.” He alluded to the fact that the cellulosic industry has struggled — with the largest manufacturer of cellulosic product going bankrupt. He said, “No one can seem to crack the code to be able to make this in a way that’s actually affordable.”

Others support Lankford’s view. On the June 10 NPR broadcast, Rob Mitchell, a researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture who studies how to make switchgrass grow for cellulosic ethanol, acknowledged, “We’re not producing any ethanol from switchgrass at this point on a large scale.”

Tim Snyder, agriculture economist with Agri-Energy Solutions, Inc., a Lubbock, Texas-based agriculture- and energy-consulting group, explains, “Because cellulosic ethanol is made from the ‘non-food’ portions of plants, this type of ethanol has gained widespread grassroots interest. Lignocellulosic fibers are found in plant materials like stalks, leaves and stems. These cellulosic fibers contain long chain sugars that are tied together by lignin. Only the sugars are needed to produce ethanol. Lignin is necessary to keep these chains of sugar bonded together. However, lignin renders the sugars unusable, and so it has to be extracted. Once the lignin is stripped away, yeast is added to convert the remaining cellulosic fibers or unbound sugars into ethanol. This description is extremely simplified, but should help to understand that adding steps to the production process that corn-based ethanol does not employ, adds to its overall production cost. Stripping lignin adds significant costs to the production process; even more than corn-based ethanol.”

Snyder continues, “From the standpoint of land use, it takes significantly more land to produce ethanol from cellulosic materials than it does from corn. Additionally, it will take totally new transportation, initial processing and storage infrastructures that currently do not exist on a commercial scale.”

Clearly, to reference Lankford, the RFS is a program, required by Congress in 2005/2007, that can’t be fulfilled. No wonder it has so many who see the EPA’s failures as proof that 2015 is the year for RFS reform. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee says, The mandate is in need of significant reform and oversight.”

Maybe, just, maybe, 2015 will be the year it happens.

(Author’s note: Please tune into “America’s Voice for Energy,” Thursday at 11:00AM ET to hear more from Baron Lukas discussing changing global demographics and the impact on energy demand and Tim Snyder on the economics of cellulosic ethanol and the impact on the ranching community.)


Son of Soviet dissident slams EPA chief for saying climate skeptics ‘not normal’ – ‘Shades of insane asylums for Soviet dissidents’

Jamie Glazov

Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov disappeared from public view in early May, 1984 after he had begun a hunger strike to get permission for his wife, Yelena Bonner, to travel to the U.S. for heart surgery. In the Soviet paradise, wanting one’s anti-Soviet wife to live, and, worse still, to be saved by evil capitalist surgeons and not by the holy surgeons of the Soviet utopia, was, clearly, an exercise in abnormal psychology.

Sakharov was undoubtedly “mentally ill.” No wonder, therefore, that Soviet authorities forcibly confined him in a closed ward of the Semashko Hospital in Gorky, where he was force-fed and given drugs to alter his state of mind. This is how Soviet authorities believed they would get the Soviet dissident to not only stop caring about his wife, but to also make a public recantation about his abnormal anti-Soviet views – a gambit in which they ultimately failed.

The Soviet system had a long and cruel record of perverting psychiatry to abuse political dissidents. Labelling many thought-criminals ''insane,'' the communist regime institutionalized them under horrifying conditions in mental hospitals and force-fed them dangerous and mind-shattering drugs. Dissidents such as Pyotr Grigorenko, Joseph Brodsky, Alexander Esenin-Volpin, Vladimir Bukovsky and Natalya Gorbanevskaya were among the brave heroes who did not elude this grotesque form of Soviet barbarity. Grigorenko was forcibly committed to a special psychiatric hospital for criticizing the Khrushchev regime. Brodksy was sent to mental hospitals for not writing the right kind of poetry; his treatments involved "tranquilizing" injections, sleep deprivation and forced freezing baths. Esenin-Volpin was institutionalized in the Leningrad Special Psychiatric Hospital for his anti-Soviet thoughts. Bukovsky was also confined to the same psychiatric hospital for “anti-Soviet agitation.” Gorbanevskaya was committed to a psychiatric hospital for, among other “abnormality” crimes, attending the 1968 Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

And now enter the leftist totalitarians of the Obama stripe. While anti-Soviet ideas caused dissidents to be confined to psychiatric institutions in the Soviet Union, the soil is now being fertilized for the same process in the American leftist land of Alinskyite hope and change. Indeed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy consoled leftists worldwide this past Tuesday, engaging in Soviet-style labeling vis-à-vis global warming dissidents that would have made Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov proud. Addressing an audience at a White House summit, she stated that “normal people,” and not climate skeptics, would win the debate on global warming. She made the comment in the context of why the EPA had issued a recent report on global warming’s negative impacts on public health, stressing that, “It’s normal human beings that want us to do the right thing, and we will if you help us.”

The contention that global warming skeptics are not “normal people” is, of course, a normal sentiment coming from a leftist. The Left, as the history of the Soviet regime and other communist regimes has well revealed, breathes it oxygen by labeling. The opponents of the messianic utopian cause are always “evil” and/or “mentally deranged” to one extent or another. And these labels are very effective in demonizing and dehumanizing dissidents -- especially when the labels have that little inconvenient limitation of not having any relationship to the actual facts. There is enough evidence to suggest, after all, that man-made global warming is the myth that the skeptics say it is. A strong presentation of the facts by Shillman Fellow Daniel Greenfield on this score can be found here and here.

Gina McCarthy’s totalitarian attitude toward global warming skeptics parallels, of course, the Soviet mindset that forced Soviet dissidents into psychiatric hospitals and to be force-fed drugs. McCarthy and her superiors in the Obama administration do not, at this point, have the power to put the skeptics they are labeling into asylums, and to be administered "tranquilizing" injections and immersed into ice baths, but it is clear from their own words what their desires are – and what path they are clearing for the brave new world.

dad2The spheres of powerlessness and dehumanization being built by the Gina McCarthys of the Obama administration, to which dissidents and the opponents of “hope and change” are being banished, are somewhat of a personal issue for this writer. My father, Yuri Glazov, was a scholar at the Soviet Academy of Sciences and a professor at Moscow State University who became a “skeptic” about the Soviet paradise in which he lived. He attended human rights demonstrations in Moscow on behalf of political prisoners and signed letters of protest against Soviet political repressions. For not being “normal” in this particular regard, he was fired from his work and received a labor card with a special secret code that meant that he was blacklisted and could not receive employment anywhere in the country. The activities he had engaged in could land a Soviet citizen in the gulag or a psychiatric hospital for decades. But we were the lucky ones. The ones who got away.

My family never forgot, obviously, those who we left behind -- and Joseph Brodsky, Alexander Esenin-Volpin, Vladimir Bukovsky and Natalya Gorbanevskaya were and are among our friends, and the torment they endured for not being “normal” remains etched in history and in our hearts, and we gauge very clearly the pernicious ideological seeds that spawned their persecution and suffering.

My family escaped a totalitarian hell to come to a free country to now face, in the most tragic and bizarre sense, the ideological cousins of our tormentors. The Left and its totalitarian gate-keepers are now in solid power here, slowly but surely building the prison walls and “psychiatric” spaces designed for the treatment of abnormal skeptics. Gina McCarthy and her ilk must be called out for exactly who they are -- and for what they are intending to do. The unimaginable cruelties that Andrei Sakharov endured in the Semashko Hospital in Gorky in the mid-1980s must never be forgotten and must never leave our hearts, for they are the dividing lines in the battle between good and evil, despite the labels that try to camouflage the truth.


Drillers Big on Conservation of Water

In their never-ending search for villains and scapegoats, environmental activists are blaming U.S. oil and gas companies for exacerbating water shortages in California and elsewhere, recklessly depleting water supplies to support the shale boom.

The facts tell a different story: Shale drillers are among the most conservation-minded companies in our country—precisely because the water they use to free trapped oil and gas from underground geologic formations, in the process known as hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), is becoming expensive. So they’ve turned to conservation and recycling.

After fracking, 10 percent to 50 percent of the water used in the process flows back up through the well. This is a resource, not a waste product. Because the value of water has doubled or tripled in some places, energy companies are conserving as much as possible, especially in areas that are just one dry season away from drought.

If it seems almost absurd to imagine oil wildcatters conserving water, it becomes less so when you realize that water accounts for up to 25 percent of a fracking project’s costs, with the typical oil or natural gas well requiring some three million gallons of water. Combining wise water use with recycling can save hundreds of thousands of dollars per well.

Looking at the big picture, fracking actually uses comparatively little water overall—no more than 3 percent of total U.S. freshwater consumption. That’s trivial when compared with other economic activities. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that irrigation consumes about nine billion gallons of water daily, more than three trillion gallons a year, or more than 60 times the amount used for fracking. Watering lawns uses trillions of gallons of water every year; golf courses, parks, and other recreational facilities also consume far more water than fracking.

Fracking is currently underway in 21 of the 50 states. Experts estimate that 55 percent of the wells created through the use of fracking since 2011 are in drought-prone areas. Water management thus has become critically important for energy producers, especially in bone-dry California, a state that is home to huge shale oil deposits.

The Monterey Shale holds as much as 15.4 billion barrels of oil, according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s more than four times the recoverable reserves of North Dakota’s Bakken Shale or Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale. Full-scale production could provide as much as a $1 trillion boost to the California economy.

Restrictive laws and regulations are not the solution to water shortages, but one of the main causes of the problem. Public policies have kept the price of water artificially low, especially in the western United States. Therefore, no one is motivated to use water wisely.

The oil and gas industry is different. It is conscious of water’s value—and is doing something to find alternatives and achieve efficiencies, without the heavy hand of government forcing it to do so.

Accusing oil and gas companies of squandering water may grab headlines, but the fingers are pointed in the wrong direction. Because they seek to maximize profits, fossil-fuel producers actually use water more wisely than most other consumers.


Making Greenies pay their own way is "Blue blooded"?

Far-Left Australian webzine "New Matilda" says so -- so who am I to argue?  I can see no logic in it however.  I think "Blue blooded" just seemed like a good term of abuse for them.  As good Leftists, they of course think that government should fund everything.  The idea that Greens are just another political lobby who should pay their own way is incomprehensible to them.  A few excerpts from the usual long-winded ramble below

In December 2013, the Abbott government gutted the Australian Network of Environmental Defenders, cutting off all funding, including $10 million over four years despite the agreement being just six months in.

Much of it was effective immediately, and the eight EDOs around the country were told that beyond June 2014 the recurrent base-funding the organisations had received from federal governments for 18 years would be pulled.

The flow of federal funds to the EDOs was critical to their ability to perform their public interest role, but the Attorney General refuses to meet with them to discuss the cuts.

There had been no warning, no consultation, and despite recommendations from the Productivity Commission and a Senate Inquiry, there has been no back-down.

The government has made it clear it does not value the work that the 20 full-time legal staff and 17 non-legal support staff around the country do, or the function they serve our democracy.

Driving them out of the democratic contest over the environment will diminish citizens’ access to justice, the quality of environmental protections, and the scrutiny and awareness of the corporations whose operations have the potential to permanently damage our environment.

The Productivity Commission has noted that the work EDOs do - on law reform, on public education, in outreach and importantly, running cases for people who otherwise couldn’t afford them - is not being done by anyone else.

Environmental Defenders Offices are a recognised bulwark against corporate power over the biosphere. Implicit in that, Smith said, is the fact they “can’t apologise for being relevant and playing the role we do”.

“We are not a lobbying group, we’re not a campaign group. But the work we do - public interest environmental law - is, by nature, about being relevant,” he said.

“That means working in the areas which are often high-profile and highly contested.

“At the moment that is definitely in the area of coal mining and coal seam gas, but it wasn’t so long ago we were working almost reservedly in the area of, say, native vegetation reform.”

Earlier this year EDO Queensland brought a case which revealed that coal mining company Adani had provided decision makers with extremely high estimates of the taxes, royalties and jobs its mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin would create.

The company plans to build the biggest mine in Australia’s history, along with the world’s largest coal terminal, adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. In August, a separate EDO case will examine its environmental record, which is scarred with breaches and negligence in its home state of India, and whether the Environment Minister should have taken the development's vast carbon emissions into account.

Despite the potential for huge environmental damage and dodgy calculations the state government, under Campbell Newman’s tenure, had been offering to help pay for critical and expensive rail infrastructure to ensure Adani’s mine (and nine others) went ahead.

Recent weeks have shown that the Abbott government - which George Brandis reiterated last week believes “coal is very good for humanity indeed” - is more than willing to extend the same favour through its $5 billion Northern Australia Investment Facility.

The case the EDO brought - through logic and proper application of environmentally law - directly challenged the legitimacy of the Galilee developments.

And yes, it potentially damaged proponents’ chances of approval and financial close.

The small community group the Queensland EDO represented could not have funded a five-week case involving nearly two dozen expert witnesses, but the new information it dragged into the public domain has added substantial weight to widespread community concern.

Facilitating communities’ use of the law is central to the EDOs function, which is largely why the Senate Inquiry Into the Abbott Government’s Attacks on the Environment this week found that “the long-term cost to communities and to the environment will far outweigh the short-term financial gains achieved by the defunding of the EDOs.”

To the EDO, access to justice for communities and the environment is a public good: “The dominant purpose is not to protect or vindicate a private right or interest, but to protect the environment.”



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

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


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This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed. Greenie policies can in fact be actively bad for the environment -- as with biofuels, for instance

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

Leftists have faith that warming will come back some day. And they mock Christians for believing in the second coming of Christ! They obviously need religion

Global warming has in fact been a religious doctrine for over a century. Even Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, believed in it

A rosary for the church of global warming (Formerly the Catholic church): "Hail warming, full of grace, blessed art thou among climates and blessed is the fruit of thy womb panic"

This Blog by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

I am the most complete atheist you can imagine. I don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat. How skeptical can you get? If sugar is bad we are all dead

Inorganic Origin of Petroleum: "The theory of Inorganic Origin of Petroleum (synonyms: abiogenic, abiotic, abyssal, endogenous, juvenile, mineral, primordial) states that petroleum and natural gas was formed by non-biological processes deep in the Earth, crust and mantle. This contradicts the traditional view that the oil would be a "fossil fuel" produced by remnants of ancient organisms. Oil is a hydrocarbon mixture in which a major constituent is methane CH4 (a molecule composed of one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). Occurrence of methane is common in Earth's interior and in space. The inorganic theory contrasts with the ideas that posit exhaustion of oil (Peak Oil), which assumes that the oil would be formed from biological processes and thus would occur only in small quantities and sets, tending to exhaust. Some oil drilling now goes 7 miles down, miles below any fossil layers

As the Italian chemist Primo Levi reflected in Auschwitz, carbon is ‘the only element that can bind itself in long stable chains without a great expense of energy, and for life on Earth (the only one we know so far) precisely long chains are required. Therefore carbon is the key element of living substance.’ The chemistry of carbon (2) gives it a unique versatility, not just in the artificial world, but also, and above all, in the animal, vegetable and – speak it loud! – human kingdoms.

David Archibald: "The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better life on Earth will be for human beings and all other living things."


Consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough - Michael Crichton

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

Calvin Coolidge said, "If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you." He could have been talking about Warmists.

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

Was Paracelsus a 16th century libertarian? His motto was: "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself." He was certainly a rebel in his rejection of authority and his reliance on observable facts and is as such one of the founders of modern medicine

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Something no Warmist could take on board: "Knuth once warned a correspondent, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it." -- Prof. Donald Knuth, whom some regard as the world's smartest man

"To be green is to be irrational, misanthropic and morally defective. They are the barbarians at the gate we have to stand against" -- Rich Kozlovich


This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Update: After 8 years of confronting the frankly childish standard of reasoning that pervades the medical journals, I have given up. I have put the blog into hibernation. In extreme cases I may put up here some of the more egregious examples of medical "wisdom" that I encounter. Greenies and food freaks seem to be largely coterminous. My regular bacon & egg breakfasts would certainly offend both -- if only because of the resultant methane output

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

A Warmist backs down: "No one knows exactly how far rising carbon concentrations affect temperatures" -- Stefan Rahmstorf, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Jimmy Carter Classic Quote from 1977: "Because we are now running out of gas and oil, we must prepare quickly for a third change, to strict conservation and to the use of coal and permanent renewable energy sources, like solar power.


Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

97% of scientists want to get another research grant

Hearing a Government Funded Scientist say let me tell you the truth, is like hearing a Used Car Salesman saying let me tell you the truth.

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

Greenie antisemitism

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds appear overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

After fighting a 70 year war to destroy red communism we face another life-or-death struggle in the 21st century against green communism.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

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

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"

Cook the crook who cooks the books

The great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)

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